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Author: William F. Ray Lodge

Speaker’s Forum Series: The Internet – Taming Technology

Speaker’s Forum Series: The Internet – Taming Technology

Wednesday, March 18th @ 6:30pm
Franklin Public Library
118 Main Street

The Franklin Odd Fellows are excited to continue our informative community forums. On March 18th join us as we welcome Kevin Martin of NerdsToGo speak on how to explore and stay safe on the internet. Our reliance on technology and the internet can sometimes outpace our ability to fully grasp it’s dangers and potential. Kevin brings decades of expertise to the table in helping the community navigate this overwhelming landscape.

As always, these community forums are presented free of charge so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity!

Summer Corn Hole Tournament

Summer Corn Hole Tournament

We are hosting our second annual summer corn hole tournament at the Bellingham Sportman Club on June 23rd. We will be registering 2 person teams in a Double Elimination Blind Draw style tournament. ACA rules will be in effect for this tournament. The $20 entry fee entitles the registrant to a complimentary lunch buffet while drinks will be available for purchase at the club bar. There will also be unique and fun raffle prizes available.

This year we are utilizing Eventbrite for registration as well as accepting personal checks and cash at the door.

Register Now!


Collage created using TurboCollage software from
Winter Cornhole Tournament Results

Winter Cornhole Tournament Results

On February 23, 2019, Members of the Franklin Odd Fellows held a fundraiser Cornhole Tournament at the Downtown Sports facility 240 Cottage St. in Franklin.  Ten teams came together for a fun time in a double elimination, blind draw style tournament that was organized to raise funds for the Massachusetts Arthritis Foundation and other local charities. This was a first of a kind event for the Odd Fellows who wanted a team sport oriented fundraiser in one of the winter months to balance out a similar event that was held in June of 2018. Facility owners, Richard Frongillo and Kevin Sayward, were gracious hosts throughout the day and lodge members put on a free buffet lunch complete with lasagna, chili, meatballs and rolls, salads, pastas, chips, soft drinks and desserts.

The Grand Prize for the winning team received an all expenses, round trip experience to Nantucket Island on Daffodil Weekend that included round trip tickets for two on the Grey Lady high speed boat out of Hyannis, and participation in the hugely popular Antique Car Parade. The winning team of “Two Kids and a Bean Bag” were by Shane Jackson & Dan Labonte. The second place team of “J & R” was fielded by Ralph Delucia and Jerry Rinkel. Raffle prizes included Red Sox and Patriots shirts and a hand-made ball point pen that retails at $80.00. This high quality and very unique pen is made by the current Noble Grand of the Odd Fellows lodge, Rob Knospins of Millis, MA.

Downtown Sports is an athletic Facility available to teams, clubs, and the community at large for the enjoyment and development of athletes. The sports complex includes a turf field and a multi- sport court with separate space for fitness and exercise classes, training and group activities.

William F. Ray Lodge #71 is located at 330 West Central St and has been doing good charitable behind the scenes work in Franklin since 1878. This article, with pictures, can be seen on the lodge’s web site:

Winter Cornhole Tournament

Winter Cornhole Tournament

We’re bringing the fun indoors in the throes of winter.

Our Cornhole Tournament in last June was so successful we decided not to wait until June to do it again. Our winter tournament will be held in the comfort of climate controlled Downtown Sports in Franklin this February. See below or download the event flyer for more information.

How to Sign Up:
Up to (16) two person teams will be able to compete in a Double Elimination Blind Draw style tournament. ACA rules will apply.

How Much to Play:
The cost for each person to enter the tournament will be $20 at the door, cash or check only and you should try to sign up with a partner.

Additional donations may be made out to:
Franklin Odd Fellows
330 West Central Street
Franklin MA 02038

Your entry fee into this great family event includes:
– Free Lunch Buffet
– Raffles & prizes

Please note:
This is a new indoor basketball court venue. Please bring suitable indoor footwear to protect the courts.

Winter Corn Hole Tournament Flyer

1st Annual Cornhole Tournament Results

1st Annual Cornhole Tournament Results

On June 23, 2018, William F. Ray Lodge hosted our first annual Cornhole tournament. The forecasted rain held off as brothers, sisters, friends and family took part in some friendly and sometimes intense competition. Members from Reliance Lodge, Walpole and Herman Dexter, Dedham were also in attendance and allowed us to field 6 teams of two. While the double elimination style competition was taking place using our custom crafted boards and bean bags, members of William F. Ray grilled up burgers, hot dogs and steak tips!

Congratulations to our inaugural champions Ralph and Ralph of team R & R who went undefeated all afternoon. Special call out to team Achtung, which consisted of members from 2 different lodges for putting up a valiant effort in the final match.

Stay tuned for additional photos and a video of the event!

We are looking forward to building on the momentum from this year’s event. See you next year!

Our Cornhole Champions Ralph and Ralph accepting their prizes.


Results of this year’s tournament

Cornhole Tournament

Cornhole Tournament

William F. Ray Lodge #71 (at 330 West Central St. in Franklin, MA 02038) will be putting on a fundraiser “Cornhole Tournament” at the lodge property at 2 PM on June 23rd.  The object of the fundraiser will be to raise funds for Odd Fellows Charitable Donations for our lodge for this coming year.

Up to (4) two person teams will be able to compete at the same time in a “Double Elimination” style tournament.  The cost for each person to enter the tournament will be $10.00 and you must sign up with a partner, no singles allowed.  If your team loses the first game, you will be entered into the loser’s bracket and you will be allowed to continue for another game.  In either the winner’s or the loser’s bracket, if you keep on winning – you will keep on advancing until there are only two teams remaining to compete for the Grand Prize.

Included in the entry fee price will be our end of the year barbecue/cookout with all the fixins.

More information to follow!

Profile of a Grand Lodge Officer: Clarence Plant

Profile of a Grand Lodge Officer: Clarence Plant

Picture courtesy of

The Worcester Telegram published an article about Grand Lodge Officer Clarence Plant.

The following is the article, in it’s entirety, as written by Paula J. Owen and published in the Worcester Telegram on March 18th, 2018.

WORCESTER – Vietnam veteran Clarence Plant grew up in the South in the 1940s and 1950s at a time when whites and blacks were separate and never equal, he said, and joined the U.S. Army after fleeing from likely persecution, and possibly getting murdered, when a cotton farmer’s white daughter who lived next door was spotted giving him a hug.

“It was either go in the Army or go to jail,” Mr. Plant, 79, said in a sitting area in his Worcester home.

The oldest of six boys, he said he lived in the deep South with his father, who raised corn and other crops on his 23-acre farm, and mother, a homemaker. He would walk 5 miles to school each day through the valley that was full of vines, he said, though he was always afraid of the snakes.

“There were mean snakes. They would chase you,” he said.

Every Friday his father would go to the market to buy mullet – a “cheap fish,” he said, and every Sunday morning the family would go to church, whether they wanted to or not. Mr. Plant was responsible for “ringing the neck” of the chicken his mother would cook each Sunday for dinner after church.

“We would call it the ‘gospel bird,’” Mr. Plant explained. “We always had enough to eat.”

Mr. Plant said he would pick cotton for the farmer next door.

“The guy who lived next to us had the largest Caucasian farm in the state of Georgia,” Mr. Plant said, speaking with a slight Southern accent. “He used to hire a lot of African Americans and he had the cutest daughters. One daughter to a liking to me, but it was a ‘no go.’ You didn’t mess around with Caucasian girls. One day I was milking the cow and the guy’s wife was peeking out the window and the girl came over to hug me. Her father told my father I had to leave town immediately.”

He was only 18 when he boarded a train for Detroit, Mich., where he lived with one of his aunts for about a year. When he found out the girl who hugged him back home, Emily Murph, moved to Alabama, Mr. Plant decided to go back home, working several jobs helping out on the family farm, working with a plumber and picking cotton for the same neighbor who told him to leave town.

“It was a mistake to go back,” he said. “You always had to watch your back. A lot of people died because of those sort of things (hugging a white girl). Those things just didn’t pan out. If you wanted to do something like that you go to major cities like New York. You didn’t do that kind of thing down in Mississippi or Georgia.”

He began taking college courses, until June, 1960, he said he had the opportunity to join the Army Reserves at Fort Valley, Georgia, because he “needed something to do on weekends.” “But, I wasn’t dedicated,” he said. “I had no intention of going to meetings, so they forced me to go on active duty. It was the greatest decision that happened to me that someone else made. It got me out of that environment. A lot of black people got killed and they got away with it. They would shoot people and stab people and they got away with that s*** and not spend one night in jail.”

He was in his early 20s when he was sent to Fort Jackson, S.C.

“The military was segregated, regardless of what they say,” he said. “When I got there, training was not what it was supposed to be, but I was in good shape and would always listen and never really got into trouble. I was put in the engineers.”

During roll call for Fort Benning, Georgia, one morning, the soldier who was supposed to go didn’t show up. Mr. Plant was sent in his place, he said.

“I was there four days and went out on patrol,” he said. “I was carrying a .60 caliber machinegun and took a break to sit on a log. I heard a rattlesnake, jumped up and left my gun.”

His family only lived 40 miles away, he said.

“I left the Army and went home,” he said. “The Lord looked after me. Normally, you’d go to jail, but the MPs brought me back. They wouldn’t put me in the brig because I made the commitment I wouldn’t leave again, but I didn’t want to be infantry.”

He said his commanding officers agreed to that and sent him to school for engineering.

“I was very polite. They were all white,” he said. “It was an all African American unit we were in – 175 African Americans. They separated us.”

He was later sent to Germany to an engineer battalion with about 1,800 people with only about 12 African Americans, he said, spread out over different companies.

“We had a guy, Hopkins, from Jackson, Miss., who couldn’t read his own name,” he said. “He was a white platoon sergeant and he wanted me to be his driver because he liked that I was polite, saying ‘yes, sir’ and ‘no, sir.’ He had two beautiful daughters that he didn’t want any white guys dating, so he would invite me to his house because he knew the white soldiers wouldn’t come and he knew I wasn’t going to talk to his daughters.”

Mr. Plant boxed and played football in the military and was sent to German schools (though he didn’t speak German) when the inspectors came around. He said he was treated good by some and bad by others in the battalion. He and other black soldiers would go into town, he said, and catch the train back to the barracks to make curfew.

“People thought black men had tails, so a lot of times, girls wanted to see our tails,” he said, about going into town. “I had three friends and we’d catch the train to go to Offenbach near Hanau to see the girls. We had to make curfew, but I had a good relationship with the sergeant and we used to pay them to cover for us. Sometimes when we’d get off the train to go back to the barracks, if the taxi was not there, we had to fight. Caucasian soldiers used to beat us up. I was beat up a couple of times, but I beat up a lot of people, too. People don’t like to talk about that.”

He said he learned a lot about life during his time serving in the Army in Germany before was discharged. 

When he went back home, he said he realized how prejudice it was.

“It was really, really bad,” he said. “Most African Americans lived on Caucasian farms and people threw a shack up for them to stay in. Being away from it and going back to that environment, I knew it wasn’t a good future for me. A lot of people were in jail who shouldn’t be.”

He said he went back into the Army after three months at home and “never looked back.”

He was given the “right jobs and assignments” and was drafted into military intelligence.

“They said I couldn’t get security clearance, but I did it,” he said. “I went from E1 to E5 because of boxing and aligned myself with good people. I was still getting beat up, but it was good for me. I realized I wasn’t the only one who could box and get an a** whipping, too. Not many people came from where I did and went from private E1 to E9. I was promoted below the zone and I went all the way to the top. My record was one of the cleanest. I used to get very bitter about being African American, but what I learned is that I can work with anybody.”

While serving during the Vietnam War in a combat engineer battalion that supported an infantry unit building roads and other infrastructure from 1965-1966, Mr. Plant said he was wounded twice – when he came under fire on a mission and was ran over by a road grader, and when he slipped on a log. He later returned to Vietnam during the war working in intelligence.

He and former wife of 33 years, Mary A. Plant, have two sons who also served in the military.

In 1985, Mr. Plant took a position at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as Sgt. Major of the New England brigade of the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) where he retired from in 1990. He still serves as an adviser to WPI’s Black Student Union. He is CEO at the Odd Fellows Home where he was instrumental in getting a contract for the agency to also take care of military veterans and has served on numerous local boards and committees.

You can also read the article here.

Herman Dexter Lodge Participates in Haiti Fundraiser Event at Granite Links

Herman Dexter Lodge Participates in Haiti Fundraiser Event at Granite Links

On March 1, 2018, members of the IOOF, Herman Dexter Lodge # 133 of Dedham were in attendance at the Annual Saint Rock Haiti Foundation.  The St. Rock Haiti Foundation is a wonderful organization who’s mission blends very well with the core tenets of the Odd Fellows.  The Haiti Foundation Mission is to provide quality primary health care, to help children and young adults access valuable educational opportunities, to institute community outreach programs that support economic sustainability, to invest in infrastructure which supports overall health and to empower members of the community to advocate for their own rights in the future.  The annual gala was held at the Granite Links Golf Club in Quincy, Mass. and was attended by over 375 people. 

The festivities began at 6 pm with a cocktail hour and silent auction.  The Gala had a wonderful array of items available for the silent auction.  Brother Greg and his wife were very fortunate to outbid many people in attendance for a piece of Haiti art work.  Prior to the dinner being served, the Gala master of ceremonies set the tone of this wonderful event explaining that yes, we could have served prime rib, or Chicken Parm, however the intent of this event was to raise as much money for the Saint Rock Foundation as possible; so the dinner for the night was a lovely pasta dish.  The Gala also severed a yummy stuffed squash ravioli dish.  Once dinner was complete, the MC took the podium and introduced the guest speakers for the evening.  After Dr. Dacius finished his inspiring speech on the current health averages of the Haiti people, the MC again took the podium and showed a great video of her last trip to Haiti.  Annually, the Gala tries to raise specific funds for the Foundation.  This year’s request was to raise funds to purchase a new vehicle for the foundation clinic.  The total cost of the vehicle is approximately $65,000.  This vehicle will be used for mobile health care for the people of Haiti who are unable to make it to the clinic.  Even though we don’t have the final total of this year’s event, we do know that last year, with the generous matching gift from the Flatley foundation, we were able to raise $365,000!  Our hope is that we collectively can match or beat that number this year. 


Odd Fellows Speaker Series: William P. O’Donnell

Odd Fellows Speaker Series: William P. O’Donnell

The Franklin Independent Order of Odd Fellows continues their speaker series this March with Norfolk County Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell. The program will review the history of the Registry and modernization of the of Norfolk Counties real estate records.

Members of the Register’s staff will be onsite to assist in the following Registry services:

  • Massachusetts Homestead Act information
  • Provide status of  mortgage discharge
  • Print a copy of your deed
  • Provide demonstration of the Registry’s Online Land Records Database

For more information on this valuable upcoming speaking event, please download the official press release or event flyer.

For more information about the Franklin Odd Fellows, click here or contact us!

Read about the event in Franklin Matters.