The Order of Knights of Pythias is a great international fraternity, which was founded in Washington, DC, February 19, 1864, by Justus H. Rathbone. The first African American Pythian lodge was organized in Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 1880, by Dr. T.W. Stringer, and known as Lightfoot Lodge No. 1. The primary object of fraternal organizations is to promote friendship among men and to relieve suffering. It bases its lessons and builds it ritual largely on the familiar story of the friendship of Damon and Pythias. Strict moralities, absolute truthfulness, honor and integrity is thoroughly instilled in the minds of its membership.
Damon had opposed the motive of the king of Syracuse, who had gained the throne by fraud, and as a result he was condemned to death. Pythias became a hostage for Damon, while the latter was permitted his liberty to bid his wife and child goodbye. Each was willing to die to save the other's life. Their loyalty to each other, the adventures that beset them, and the outcome of this noble friendship, form the basis for the knights of Pythias Order.
The first Lodge organized in the State of Florida was by Dr. Thomas W. Stringer at Pensacola in 1881. It soon became defunct. Another start was made and San Marco No. 1 at St. Augustine, Fl, was organized by D. M. Pappy, Deputy Supreme Chancellor in 1886, under Dr. T. W. Stringer, Supreme Chancellor. The first officers were A. A. Pappy, CC; W.M. Pappy, VC; D. M. Pappy, PC; John Williams, KR & S; Lee Saunders, MF; James Mongon, ME; Frank Johnson, MA; S. Martin, IG and Pierre Reddick, OG.
The Order progressed by having created Samson Lodge No. 2, Jacksonville, No. 3 at Key West until Myrtle Lodge No. 6 was organized at Pensacola. May 25, 1889, Supreme Chancellor Williams organized the Grand Lodge at St. Augustine, with D. M. Pappy, GC and W. H. Artson, GKR & S.
The financial condition of the Order continued to steadily improve under each succeeding Grand Chancellor. In 1908 the membership was 2,264.
The Session of 1909 was held at Orlando, with D. G Adger, GC and W. W. Andrews, GKR & S. There were 88 Lodges, with 2,923 members; 28 deaths reported.
The Session of 1910 was held at Apalachicola, with D. C. Adger, GC and W. W. Andrews, GKR & S. One hundred Lodges in good standing, with 2,368 members and 52 deaths.
The Session of 1911 was held at St. Augustine, the place where the first real Lodge was organized. Sir W. W. Andrews, GC, and C. E. Murry, GKR & S. There were 113 Lodges in good standing, with a membership of 2,883. No deaths reported.
In 1912 the Session was held at Jacksonville, with W. W. Andrews, GC, and C. E. Murry, GKR & S. One hundred and Nineteen Lodges in good standing, with 4,145 members, 32 deaths reported.
The Session of 1913 was held at Ocala, with W. W. Andrews, GC and C. R. Williams, GKR & S.; 138 Lodges with a membership of 4,424.
In 1914 the Session was held at Tampa, With W. W. Andrews, GC and C. R. Williams GKR & S.; 151 Lodges, with a membership of 4,595; 73 deaths reported.
From this early beginning the Knights of Pythias has grown to be the greatest and most progressive organization among the Fraternal Orders.