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In 1810, various lodges of the Union or United Order in the Manchester area declared themselves as an "Independent Order", and organized the "Manchester Unity of Oddfellows" which chartered the Odd Fellows in North America in 1819.
The Catholic Church in the 19th and early 20th centuries condemned secret societies such as the Freemasons, deemed "pseudo-religious", but also addressed other organisations, including expressing suspicions against the stated religious neutrality and independence of Oddfellows.
In 1842, due to British authorities intervening in the customs and ceremonies of British Odd Fellows and in light of post-colonial American sovereignty, the American Odd Fellows became independent as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows under British-American Thomas Wildey (1782–1861), soon constituting the largest sovereign grand lodge.
Likewise, by the mid-19th century, the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity become the largest and richest fraternal organisation in the United Kingdom.
Odd Fellows from that time include John Wilkes (1725–1797) and Sir George Savile, 8th Baronet of Thornton (1726–1784), advocating civil liberties and reliefs, including Catholic emancipation.
Political repressions such as the Unlawful Oaths Act (1797) and the Unlawful Societies Act (1799), resulted in neutral amalgamation of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows in 1798.
9, suggesting there were earlier ones in the 18th century.To this day, beyond recreational activities, Odd Fellows promote philanthropy, the ethic of reciprocity and charity, albeit with some grand lodges implying Judeo-Christian affiliation.Still largest, the American-seated Independent Order of Odd Fellows enrolls some 600,000 members divided in approximately 10,000 lodges in 30 countries, Several theories aim to explain the etymological background of the name "Odd Fellows", often spelled "Oddfellows" in British English.The exact origin of Oddfellowship is involved in obscurity.It must have had a beginning, but just when and where, no historian has ever been able to ascertain.