Several family plots
at the Whipps Garden Cemetery were enclosed by cast iron posts
and decorative fencing with medallions and tassels bearing the
insignia of the I.O.O.F. (International Order of Odd Fellows),
c. 1833, The medallion depicts Gold’s all-seeing eye. The
significance of the ironwork was first identified by Harding
Westcott of ironworker’s Union Local No. 16.
Several grave stones in the cemetery are engraved with their emblem of the enjoined three links of chain, which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth, the insignia of the I.O.O.F.
Early members of the I.O.O.F. were often blacksmiths by trade. William Whipps (1807-1861), founder of the cemetery, and his descendants, were blacksmiths, owning and operating the at Oakland Manor for over 140 years. The blacksmith building still stands on Old Columbia Road, off Route 29 in Ellicott City/Columbia.
From “Early Recollections of Howard County: by Dysart McMullen (written in the early 1900’s) from the historical journal Heritage, in 1979: “some grave lots were enclosed by cast iron ropes fashioned with hollow tassels in which wasps made their nests.”
The I.O.O.F. began in 17th century England to aid those in need and to pursue projects for the good of mankind. The I.O.O.F. was founded on the North American continent in Baltimore, MD, by Thomas Wildey on April 26, 1819. The Ellicott City Lodge was chartered in 1843. The Odd Fellows are also known as “The Three Link Fraternity” .
Oakland Mills Blacksmith House and Shop,