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January 2018

Maps of the American Revolution: On View Starting 3 February 2018

Plan of the Encampment Burgoyne Braemus Heights
Plan of the Encampment and Position of the Army under His Excelly. Lt. General Burgoyne at Braemus Heights on Hudson's River near Stillwater on the 20th Septr. with the Position of the Detachment &c. in the Action of the 7th of Octr. & the Position of the Army on the 8th Octr 1777, 1780. Drawn by William Cumberland Wilkinson (1756-1802). Engraved and published by William Faden (1749-1836), London, England. RARE G3803 .S3 S3 1780

Rich with information, historic maps can tell us a lot about the past.  Although maps convey facts, no map is neutral; each has its own purpose and bias. Mapmakers, like other authors, had a point of view that informed the choices they made about what to include, emphasize or leave off their portrayal of a location or event.  The fourteen maps displayed in Maps of the American Revolution, on view at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library starting Saturday, 3 February 2018, were produced, primarily in London, from 1775 to 1794.  They describe military engagements that took place during the American Revolution. 

Mapping Current Events

During the American Revolution, the British government sought surveys and maps that would help them better understand the topography and resources in the American colonies and, with this information, hoped to win the conflict.  The government and military leaders on the ground relied on existing maps, soldier cartographers, surveyors and engineers to produce the maps they needed.  Some of these maps, originally sketches produced in pen and ink, were later engraved, published and sold to the general public. In offering these maps, publishers satisfied their customers’ interest in events that took place in the often unfamiliar landscapes where British soldiers and colonists vied for territory.  These maps, sometimes available just months after the events they depicted, helped English citizens follow important actions during the American Revolution.  

Shaping the Story

When the war ended and combatants signed the treaties that reshaped contested areas, mapmakers continued their work.  Among the maps they published were maps that helped tell the history of the conflict.  These allowed interested readers and military professionals to look back and understand—or argue about—how events unfolded.  Several of the maps on view in the exhibition, such as the one pictured at left which shows one of the battles at Saratoga, New York, were engraved and printed a few years after the conflict they depict.  British Army officer William Wilkinson, who had participated in the battle, created the pen and ink map upon which this printed map was modeled while he was a prisoner of war.  Another map, the Plan of the Siege of York Town in Virginia, pictured below, was  published in a written history of the war released in 1794.  Today these maps and others help tell the story of the American Revolution. 

Maps of the American Revolution, in the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum’s corridor space will be on view from Saturday, 3 February 2018, through Saturday, 2 February 2019.

Plan of the Siege of Yorktown
Plan of the Siege of York Town in Virginia, 1794. Published in Charles Stedman’s, The History of the Origin, Progress, and Termination of the American War, London, England. RARE G3884 .Y6 S3 1794



The Odd Fellows Home in Liberty, Missouri

Independent Order of Odd Fellows Home with Children, 1900-1940. Liberty, Missouri. Museum Purchase, 2016.004.

Modeled on the group founded in England in 1745, the American form of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows was organized in Baltimore in 1819 by Thomas Wildey (1782-1861). As a fraternal and benevolent order dedicated to providing aid to members and their families, the Odd Fellows built and operated a number of homes throughout the United States. These homes provided care and shelter for elderly or ill Odd Fellow members, widows and their children.

The site of the Odd Fellows home pictured above was originally the location of the Reed Springs Hotel built in 1888. Constructed near the site of newly discovered mineral springs, the hotel, later named the Winner Hotel, became a popular wellness and relaxation site for visitors from across the country. The hotel changed hands a few times before the I.O.O.F Grand Lodge of Missouri  purchased it in 1895.  

The property included 12 acres of farm land with an option for 230 additional acres. The original hotel structure was destroyed by a fire in 1900. The brick administration building pictured here, a school, a hospital, a working farm, and a cemetery were erected between 1900 and 1930. A nursing home and new hospital were added in the 1950s. Physically able residents were expected to work on the farm. Its products provided food for the site and were sold for profit. At the height of its activity, the home housed  just under 200 children and adults. By the early 1950s the orphanage closed. The site remained open for permanent hospital patients and convalescent members. At this same time the Grand Lodge voted to allow paying non-members to stay at the hospital.

The Odd Fellows Grand Lodge of Missouri operated the home and hospital until 1993. A local family in the winery business purchased the Home in the early 1990s. The largest building on the site is now home to the winery's tasting room and offices.  The lobby of the main building houses a small exhibit of Odd Fellows artifacts and regalia, including a skeleton of a past member who, according to the current proprietors,  donated his body to the Odd Fellows after his death. Odd Fellows symbols are still visible in the architecture throughout the main site. In recent years the winery and other buildings on the site have become well-known landmarks and have been included in a variety of Travel Channel shows. The site has been on on the National Register of Historic places since 1987.

Miniature Chair in Bottle, 1924, George Barnhart (b. 1851), Liberty, Missouri, Museum purchase, 2015.044. Photograph by David Bohl.

Interestingly, the Museum recently purchased a charming miniature chair in a bottle that was made at the Odd Fellows Home in Liberty, Missouri. Previous research from a past blog suggests that initials on the chair "G.G. Barnhart" are the initials of the maker, a George G. Barnhart. According to the 1920 United States Census, he was living at the "Odd Fellows Home" in Liberty, Missouri.

Do you or your family have any memories, photographs, or experiences related to this or other Odd Fellows Homes? Leave them in the comments section below.


Deon K. Wolfenbarger & Lacey Alkire. "Odd Fellows Home District." National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination Form. Missouri Department of Natural Resources State Historic Preservation Office, Jefferson City, July 1, 1987.