BFSA President’s Report Years 2015-2016

The Bermuda Friendly Societies Association has been in existence since 2001. Established and operated on the format of the old Friendly Societies Council which brought selected members of the various lodges together to make decisions regarding the body of lodges that existed in Bermuda from 1848. The Friendly Societies now having remaining within their ranks six lodges and as such are making every effort the keep these noble and historical institution functioning.  So it is with this in mind that  a report submitted by the serving President of the society be recorded here:

BFSA President’s Report Years 2015-2016( In brief)

The records/minutes of the BFSA and the report of the Recording Secretary give an accurate detail of the events of my immediate past term as President of the Bermuda Friendly Societies Association between 2015 to 2016. It has been my delight to contribute to the organization and I thank all officers who have steadfastly supported me and done whatever they could to ensure we have maintained our existence and also done what they could to further our presence. I have requested and been granted a leave of absence for a few months and I also acknowledge at this point there is a proposal, if successful, members of the immediate past executive be returned for a further 2 year term. I will always endeavour to give my best to the organization.

I will add some personal perspectives to the overview of the past two years. I note that there has been a series of various declines. An effort to rejuvenate the Bermuda Friendly Societies Council as an internal body, charged to deal with long-term issues and principles of our movement met with some early success but has fallen away due to a lack of support by various Orders. Without the necessary support to action a project, it seems that unless there is some looming catastrophe, other priorities and demands of life tend to take the attention of the membership. This is seen replicated in declining attendances of ordinary members at general monthly meetings of the BFSA and many lodge delegates are continuously absent. It is further observed, that many lodges are struggling with attendance of their members at their regular meetings,and so this is an ongoing malaise. The cure is up until now unknown to me and unfortunately, we have not generated the necessary energy for a comprehensive discussion and search for solutions.

In celebratory contrast, there are some positives to be noted. First and foremost we must salute the Sisters for their increased membership, though welcoming new initiated members to the Household of Ruth (GUOOF), and to the Loyal Mayflower Lodge (IOOFMU). We hope that this may be a spur for a similar new energy within the Brothers Lodges. Meanwhile, we look forward to the seasoned ‘ Sisters ensuring that the new Sisters grow steadily and competently to be able to serve and advance our interest. I certainly pledge my full support and assistance.

I have noted with great anticipation, a very encouraging passion, that is especially strong in the ‘middle and young seniors’ age groups for more knowledge about the Friendly Societies. This suggest that we have a real opportunity to build on the successful exhibitions that were held in 2015. In August an exhibition was held by us at the Masterworks Museum which created several firsts and which was very well received by Masterworks members, visitors and locals. In Bermuda the Friendly Societies predated the Trade Unions and were the vehicle for the start of trade unionism locally, often providing the earliest memberships and leaders. We have broadened the public interest and awareness although starting from a very small base.

OTHER EVENTS: POSITIVELY MOVING ON:

There was a work rally held at the Loyal Irresistible Lodge which was well supported by both the BFSA executive and membership and our Somerset colleagues in the West End. The community was out in force. A grand start was made and much was accomplished. A work rally also took place  for the Princess Royal Union Lodge (IOGS and DOS) on Cobb’s Hill Road in Warwick it was a more modest turnout but this was a welcome beginning. There will be an exhibition of lodge material associated with the Good Samaritans Lodges of Paget/Warwick and the parish’s communities. This is in an effort to restore the knowledge of the ‘treasured memories and contributions ‘ of our seniors, and also to inform the current generations so that they are aware of the legacy that belongs to them through their predecessors involvement in these particular Friendly Societies.

In summary, we are jubilant in saying that we have continued to hold together and to even bolster our efforts in some areas. However the quietude in most areas and from many of the membership seems to have lead to many forms of excuses, which are certainly inexcusable in the vast majority of cases when we contemplate the nature and history of the Friendly Society movement locally. We must be reminded , that in far harsher climate our fore bearers sought after and achieved so much in a comparatively short time by, simultaneously, uniting and supporting each other’s independence. Members consistently did their duty and were pleased to make their contribution. We salute those who made those monumental efforts of our successes of yesterday. We salute those who continue to make commendable efforts today. We further value those who go the extra mile’ in service in so many ways; and we implore the new members and the quiet ‘seasoned’ members to remember our watchword ‘Strength in Unity” . We must work together and hold each accountable for the finest efforts, and support each other to excel in new endeavours for the good of our Orders, in particular, and all of  humanity, in general.

Written with affections of love for fellows; Purity of heartfelt intent; and Truth of mind.

Respectfully , Bro. Michael Bradshaw President (BFSA 2015-2016)

Bermudian Friendly Society History

Sister Gloria Tuzo PPGM

Sister Gloria Tuzo

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Sister Ruth Simons

They say that knowledge is power but sometimes too much of one thing is not as good as we hope it would be. Nevertheless I’m prepared to add a brief series of historical information on some aspects of Bermuda history and how religion, early schooling and the Friendly Society movement  played its’ role in the lives of the Black Bermudian population.

Researchers trace the origins of Fraternal Organizations from the Israelites through the Romans and into Britain up to the time of the formation of the Guilds. Note however that most Oddfellows terminology has biblical origins and takes it names from the old Testament Characters. For many years the name Friendly Societies has been mentioned world-wide, here in Bermuda it is no exception. It must be stated here that when we refer to Friendly Societies this includes the establishment of various organizations that came into being since 587 B.C when many people who were exiled banded together in a brotherhood for mutual support and defense. When we mention Oddfellows they were persons that came out of the early formation of Guilds and these organizations worked under the same premise of Oddfellows.

Over the 300 years the idea of ordinary people joining together to improve their situation met with various degrees of opposition, but groups like Oddfellows survived by adapting their roles to social support functions. Friendly Societies were the predecessors of modern-day trade Unions.  Oddfellows started here in Bermuda as early as 1848 and subsequently introduced a number of benefits to members. Many people therefore joined Societies like the Oddfellows to obtain all forms of support. These Societies made vast contributions to the Island of Bermuda. From 1848 the Island gradually formed some 51 Orders. They cared for the sick and distressed, educated children, supported the widows, formed marching bands and Guilds, built homes, churches and theatres, supported other orphan homes, built nursing establishments and assisted in the support of black nurses education. They were the ones who took the risk and represented the slave captives on board the ship ‘Enterprise” which wrecked here during a storm in 1835. Under the leader ship of Brother Julian Tucker President of the Friendly Societies Institution and his lodge brothers they obtained the freedom of 78 slaves.  They were the institutions that initiated friendly family games of cricket at lodge picnics between their respective lodges. On several occasions the youth lodges were selected to play the adult lodges in friendly cricket games. At the yearly picnics, teams from either end of the Island played each other and the first official Cup match was held in 1902 between two lodges. It was a few years later that  two respective clubs Somerset in the West and St. Georges in the East got involved and the grand classic has been played by them ever since for a cup. Many persons question the ribbon colours but the lodge members know how they came about and what they represent. Lodges were the first to start an assurance scheme and savings clubs to assist their members financially. The longest club remaining open for 110 years.  Suffice it to say that some of the most notable movements within Bermuda involved members of the Friendly Societies.

One of  the greatest and most daring was the Marcus Garvey movement which hit the island between 1919-1921 although their headquarters was at the Church of God on Angle Street Hamilton the organizers were Rev. E.B. Grant and Rev. R.H. Tobitt and they along with many of their wives were graveyites. It was at that time a greater political awareness to blacks. Black business sprang up everywhere and black men and women began to speak out and establish their own business like soda factories, small variety stores better known as ‘Ma and Pa stores’. One thing that remained constant between 1834-1934 and became extremely noticeable was that most of the black leaders were lodgemen.  Should I repeat and say that Oddfellowship  played a major role in the establishment of this island Yes! Should it continue? Yes! Will they be accepted for the contributions made throughout this Island ? In many respects NO! Why? because until we learn to look within our history and accept the reality and relay the truth that Oddfellows with their business savvy and offers of friendship was all that we had and if we continue to deny this fact we deny the greatest portion of our history and our true beginnings into this Island and Society. There is so much more history to be told as we struggle to hold our place in this Island so let me pass on the contributions of two of our very productive sisters from the Loyal Mayflower Lodge.

SISTERS: RUTH E. SIMONS and GLORIA  E. TUZO.’ THEIR NOTABLE CONTRIBUTIONS:

Ruth born in Bermuda as Ruth Elizabeth Lightbourne spent her early childhood in the city of Hamilton, during her early teens her family moved to Paget where she lived until her marriage to Clarence Simons in 1934. They were able to build their own home and raise a productive family. Sister Ruth was the type of person that left nothing to chance and after her children grew she took up studies at the Adult Education Centre and became a tutor for young women. After the death of her husband  she became a savvy property manager and shrewd financial investor. She studied Art and learn to play the Guitar. Ruth joined the lodge in 1958 and studiously applied herself to the workings of the Order. She became a Noble Grand in 1964 and ultimately worked her way into the Hamilton District and served as Provincial Grand Master of the District. She was chosen to represent her Lodge on two occasions at overseas conferences. She joined delegates from around the world celebrating the 175  Jubilee of the Manchester Unity in Blackpool. She received an award  for long and dedicated service from her Lodge in November 1999. She easily lived up to the principles of her lodge and displayed it throughout her life.

Gloria  Elizabeth  was born in Somerset and was lovingly raised by her grandparents Mr. & Mrs. William Binns.  Gloria lived by the wise words that her grandfather instilled in her ‘ no one was better  than her no matter who they were.’ Those words gave her the self-esteem as she developed throughout her life. Her early education was at West End Primary School before moving to North Shore Pembroke. In her teen years she attended Berkeley Institute where she met the love of her life, Ross Tuzo.  Gloria studied under Dr. Kenneth Robinson himself a noted personality in Education and Bermuda.  Sister Gloria made her presence felt as she worked in various establishments and her career path lead her into the role of manageress of the women’s department of A.S. coopers; She was political minded and joined the United Warwick Progressive Club under the late Martin T. Wilson and Juvenile Lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity. After raising her  family Sister Tuzo resumed her lodge activities and she worked her way within the Mayflower Lodge. She became Noble Grand in 1965 and later excelled in the role of Provincial Grandmaster of the Hamilton District. On several occasions she served as Installing Master. Sister Gloria credited her lodge for teaching her the art of parliamentary procedures, public speaking and social welfare including international fellowship. She was a supporter of the Arts and served in the executive of the Bermuda Ballet Association under the chairmanship of Sir John Swan. Sister Gloria was a giver and gave lots of her time to family and friends . She boasted about her husband himself a noted musician and praised her children and grandchildren . Truly when people refered to her as a diva they were not far wrong. She showed her delight as the younger members worked their way throughout the Order next to her family it was one of her great loves.  These sisters left those of us who continue to try to keep Oddfellowship alive with a mammoth task and large shoes to fill. They were true sisters and Oddfellows and the Grand Lodge above is certainly gleaming with two of the brightest stars from Oddfellowship.

submitted Joy Wilson-Tucker author/Historian/Researcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

came into being since 587 BC when people who were exiled banded together in a brotherhood for mutual support and defense. When we mention Oddfellows  they were persons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

persons that came out of the early formationof Guilds and these organizations worked under the same premise of oddfellow. Over the next 300 years the idea of ordinary people joining together to improve their situation met with various degrees of opposition,but groups like Oddfellows survived by adapting their roles to social support functions. Friendly Societies were the predecessors of modern-day trade unions.

 

 

 

 

 

world wide. Here in Bermuda it is no exception but most time with a bit of uncertainty because of the lack of information. When Wwhen

concerning the history and the important role they played in the history and development of the black race. It must be stated here that when we refer to Friendly Societies this includes the establishment of various organizations that came into being since 587 BC when many people who were exiled banded together in a brotherhood for mutural support and defence. When we mention Oddfellows they were the persons that came out of the early formation of guilds and these organizations worked under the same premise of Oddfellows. Over the next 300 hundred years the idea of ordinary people joining together to improve their situation met with various degrees of opposition , but groups like Oddfellowssurvivedby adaptingtheir roles to social support function. FriendlySocieties were the predecessors of modern-daytrade unions.

 

THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

The Bermudian Slaves were masters at the helm and many historians relate facts.Bermuda has long been known as a place where slaves and indentured servants struggled to obtain their place in Society once they gained their freedom. One of the most notable trades came to the fore well before Emancipation was that of building and sailing ships.. Local Pilots were some of the most knowledgable to maneuver around the reefs of Bermuda so the local pilots were encouraged after the collapse of the Somers Isle Company in 1684 to apply this trade.Bermuda disappointed by its failing in the tobacco and agriculture industry moved into the Maritime Commerce allowing Whaling,fishing,shipbuilding smuggling and even privateering to take over.By 1700 fishing boats appeared in abundance and they were operated by Bermudians.By 1800’s a surge of acts regarding the regulations of pilots was put into practice. This brought about the titles of Master & Warden of Pilots. All vessels were required to pay pilot fees. Wardens were authorized to license branch pilots and made by- laws to instruct pilots.By 1812 legislation prevented unskilled persons from becoming pilots unless they took an examination and they were also forced to register their boats.

JAMES JEMMY DARRELL is a well known name about Bermuda he was among the slaves who assisted Lt. Thomas Hurd  a British Surveyor sent to Bermuda to carry out a marine survey on the island.  Black pilots had extensive knowledge of the Inlets  bays and coastlines in the island. On May 1795 two years after Hurd began his survey Jemmy Darrell maneuvered Rear Admiral George Murrary’s huge Gun Ship HMS Resolution into a deep anchorage know as Murray’s anchorage on the North Shore near Tobacco Bay, St. George’s. Because of this vast and safe task Jemmy was made a kings’ pilot and given his freedom by Admiral Murray. Jemmy Darrell, Jacob Pitcarn and Tom Bean were appointed the first Kings pilots.Although free men they had no legal rights. They could not serve on a jury, or testify in court. Least of all they could not Will any property they acquired to any of their heirs. Only two pilots later petition to stay here in Bermuda and keep their property they were Jemmy Darrell and Jacob Picarn. Jemmy eventually Willed his property to his heirs.

STEPHEN BENJAMIN RICHARDSON 1800-1879 born a slave always had a desire to become a pilot. An alert and intelligent young man he quickly advanced in his chosen career. He saved enough to purchase his freedom and in later years the freedom of his wife for 30 pounds.He was one of 38 free blacks who signed a petition addressed to the government for the removal of disabilities under which free blacks and free people of colour had to labour.He was classed a hero when he saved a young woman from a near fatal accident in 1838.Stephen was issued a certificate of competence by captain by Captain Edward Franklin of the Royal mail Steam ship Tweed after he piloted the vessel out of Castle Harbour.Stephen Richardson was  able to purchase property in St. Georges’ near the Golf course in 1847. He later built his home on this land and named it “Northside”. He was one of 563 signatures who petitioned against the importation of farm labour. He was classed as one of the most skillful branch pilots of his time and for many years held the position of Pilot examiner.  Both Jemmy Darrell and Stephen Richardson homes have been selected to be put on the Bermuda Foundation African Diaspora Trail.

.James B. Richardson

An Anniversary to remember

DSC00173On Sunday 31st. May 2015 the Loyal Mayflower Lodge celebrated its’ 96th Anniversary.Hosting this event was the newly installed Sister Joy Wilson-Tucker. Sister Wilson-Tucker resumed this seat again after some fifteen years. It was a beautiful sunny day and this added to the excitement of the event. The day started with the unveiling of an African Diaspora site plaque under the auspices of the Bermuda African Diaspora Foundation. The site was the Manchester Unity Hall and lot of land where  the Colonial  Opera House Theatre once stood. The history centered around these buildings is vast being built-in 1908- and 1923 respectively. and the site is well deserving of being chosen to be among the Heritage Trail. The event started at 3.30 with the unveiling of the plaque.The prayer was given by Sister Violet Brangman Past Grand and serving as the newly elected Vice grand of the sisters’ lodge. Assisting with the unveiling was the Provincial Grand Master of the Hamilton District Brother Norbert Simmons, Ms. Maxine Esdaille  Director and Chairperson of the Bermuda  Diaspora Foundation and Mrs. Joy Wilson-Tucker also a director on the board. The service was held in the upper hall beautifully decorated in  the subordinate  colours of blue and white. The theme for the day was Heritage ‘Woman  of Substance”  the welcome was given by Sister Marion Tannock  Past Grand and the  scripture Proverbs 31 Chapter 10-31 was read by Sister Sherma Calder Right Supporter to the Vice grand. The history of the women who were responsible for fighting to get a female Lodge established was read by the Noble grand sister Wilson-Tucker and a beautiful liturgical dance was performed by six-year-old Isis Tucker daughter of Ryan and Bernadette Tucker as a dedication to the past and present sisters. This was her Debut in front of a large gathering as some 75 people in attendance enjoyed the festivities. Ms. Esdaille gave a most inspiring presentation on the topic and the showing of a video added to the historical knowledge for all present. Thanks was given to the speaker by member Sister Clara Saunders newly installed conductor. Greetings and well wishes  came from several lodges and organizations. Sister Deborah Burgess and her staff gave great service in the catering department. It was an event full of pleasure with the singing of  We’re marching to Zion and  to God be the Glory. Well done to the sisters of the Loyal Mayflower Lodge Keep up the good work.

She gave of herself-Paid her dues

She gave Her All

She gave Her All

Vivian Mary Lorina Jones—-came from a very prominent and proud family. She was one of five siblings. Her father was a well-known tailor and operated his own business on Church Street in Hamilton Bermuda. He sold clothing and made high-end men’s Trousers for Trimingham brothers and H. & E Smiths’ Department stores. After the death of her father the business was moved to Glebe Road in Pembroke. The Jones Dry Goods store came into existence and became well-known throughout the Island.

Vivian had a particularly good knowledge of Mathematics which she used in her store management. Vivian however was also interested in Music. She studied piano at the Stovell and Hinson schools and later went on to the Boston conservatory of music where she trained as a singer and concert pianist. She displayed this talent around many of the churches in Bermuda. She became a member of the Christian Science in 1963 and  in 1966 accepted the role as church organist and served in this position for over 46 years. Her musical career spanned some 60 years and she taught private piano and voice lesson. She was one of the first music teachers to have students sit the Associated board of the Royal School of Music exams. She continued to assist her mother in operating the family business going on buying trips and bringing back quality merchandise to sell in the community. In 2010 she received the Queen’s certificate and badge of Honour for her dedicated service to the community.

She was celebrated by the North Village Community on two occasions. Vivian had a charitable spirit and willingly helped those in need. She not only shared her musical gift and her kindness she was a faithful villager in her community. Vivian Mary Lorina Jones was a true Community —-Icon.

Man On A Mission —- Martin George Prescott White

Martin George Prescott White– was the youngest son of Edith Dill White.  Educated at Central Primary School and later Technical Institute.  He was an avid Sportsman  playing cricket and football for the North Shore Giants. His first work was at the Hamilton Press under the management of Mr. Shirley Jackson a trail blazer in his own right. He later went on to work at Bermuda Press under Mr. Lionel Pearman as a lino-typist operator and salesman. He served in the printers division of the Bermuda Industrial Union. Martin martin White was known as (Marty) to his family and friends. In 1978 he changed careers and went to work for H .M. Customs as an assistant. He excelled at his job and as a result was promoted as a full-time customs officer in 1980. Marty was determined to be the best that he could be at his job and furthered his knowledge by pursuing several  courses of study in Bermuda and overseas. He became keenly interested in world affairs his well watched news stations  was C N N, Fox and C span. Marty  had an extensive and outstanding career he left a legacy for many of our young people to follow. He worked in Drugs Interdiction, passive Canine Training, X-ray of suspected smugglers profile Drugs. He assisted with the implementation of the Customs  Canine Unit. He received merit awards and numerous letters of appreciation for his helpfulness. Marty was a gentle giant. He never tooted his own horn during the 30+ years for his illustrious career. Like many we know Marty left us  to soon.  He was truly a man on a mission.

Music to my Ears

Antonio McQuillian “Jugs” Dill was a musical star in his own right. Born to Clarence    Spammie” Dill and Mildred         Tweed. He received his early education at Prospect Primary School and later the  Bermuda Technical Institute.             Antonio ironically (Tony) was blessed to have the name of his great-great ancestor Antonio Deminks-Ferrier       from his Father’s ancestry.Tony loved music and at age 4 played the drums with the North Village Jr. band. He was determined to make music his career.  Tony learned to play drums saxophone flute trumpet percussions and bass. His passion however was the key board.  He formed his first band the Dynamics and they played throughout Bermuda.His most popular band formed was Burning Ice. So popular was this band that they toured Canada and stayed there for 15 years. He than changed the name of the band to Circular Force. Tony returned home and organized a three-piece ensemble.named The Chique. He played just about every tourist establishment in beautiful Bermuda. He was a musician extraordinaire and played the four corners of the world.He was proud to be Bermudian. When he played it was music that relaxed the mind and endured the heart.

Antonio Mc. Dill