A remarkable proof of the widespread activities and influence of Masonry is found in the establishment of a lodge in Sullivan county only a few years after the organization of the county, while the churches and schools and other essential institutions of society were still in primitive condition. Hiram Lodge No. 18, F. & A. M., was chartered at Carlisle in 1821. This charter with its number was given to Attica Lodge in 1835, but in 1850 a reorganization was effected, and this time the lodge got the third number in Indiana Masonry, the lodge being henceforth known as Carlisle Lodge No. 3, the number being taken from an arrested lodge. Among the early Masons at Carlisle was John W. Davis, who is reported to have paid his dues with "one quart of cherry bounce."

A lodge of Masons, Shelburn Lodge, No. 369, was organized at the village of Shelburn in 1867. At Merom the Masons were earlier in activity. After conducting Masonic work for a while under dispensation, they were granted a charter in 1863.

W. H. Cornelius, Alex Knoy, Willis G. Neff, and Joseph W. Briggs were the principal movers in the organization of Masonry in the town of Sullivan. They worked under a dispensation from June, 1859, until Sullivan Lodge No. 263 was chartered on May 30, 1860. Twenty years later this was the strongest and richest fraternal organization in the county.

One of the noteworthy occasions in the history of Masonry in this county was the assembling, on June 24, 1868, of several hundred Masons of the county and state at the Sullivan fair grounds. The Merom band was present, and a general celebration indulged in, the chief feature of which was the institution of the newly organized Shelburn lodge. The Masonic hall at Sullivan was dedicated in January, 1886.

Six residents of Carlisle were granted a charter to form a lodge of Odd Fellowship on January 30, 1850, and with that event begins the career of Carlisle Lodge No. 50, I. O. O. F. The six charter members were: J. H. Massey, T. Leuep, John Caldwell, Edward S. Hussey, James A. Curtner, A. M. Murphy.

The progress of Odd Fellowship in the southern part of the county was denoted in the organization of Morse Encampment No. 139, for which a charter was granted May 16, 1876.

Some of the prominent Odd Fellows in the southern part of the county are noted in the list of officers for the Carlisle lodge for 1856- John F. Curry, Hamet N. Helms, William M. Skinner, Thomas E. Ashley, A. A. Curry, W. D. Blackburn, J. V. Caddington, William F. Dodds.

At the same date the officers elected for Sullivan Lodge No. 147 were John J. Thompson, John P. Dufficy, James W. Hinkle, William Wilson. This lodge was organized July 18, 1854. Its lodge hall was destroyed by fire in November, 1858, and a few faithful members upheld its existence until the end of the war and the return of men's interests to the regular pursuits of life. In 1869 a new charter was received, and in July, 1878, a new hall was dedicated, the lodge having built, in connection with a business firm, a two-story brick building on Jackson street near the southwest corner of the square.

In 1873 Prairie Lodge, I. O. O. F., was organized at Shelburn. This lodge dedicated its new hall in August, 1884.

In the same year Pleasantville Lodge No. 408 was instituted, and the order became so active in this part of the county that in 1879 Pleasantville Encampment No. 148 was chartered.

Hymera Lodge No. 603 was instituted at Pittsburg (Hymera) in October. 1883, the special deputy in charge of the organization being Murray Briggs. Dr. L. K. Stock. Frank Need, James Manwaring and S. O. Self were the first officers.

Oriole Lodge No. 616 was instituted at Dugger in September, 1885, the first officers being W. H. Slocum, Alexander Pope, George E. Scofield, T. S. Bedwell and Ed Cochran.

During the last twenty years Odd Fellowship has become a strong fraternal order at Farmersburg. Lodge No. 622 was organized there in June, 1886, with 19 members, the first officers being Dr. R. W. Van Cleave, Dr. Thomas Kennedy, Daniel Moore, F. Kirkham. In 1894 this lodge built a new hall, which was dedicated December 5th. In the meantime its membership had increased to fifty, and in October, 1893, an encampment of thirty members was organized, and on December 29th the Farmersburg Hannah Ruth Lodge No. 432 was organized with 22 members.

An Odd Fellows lodge was organized at Buell City in February, 1887.

The Knights of Pythias reorganized their Sullivan lodge September 16, 1891, after a period of inactivity by the old lodge. P. H. Blue, F. E. Easier, C. J. Sherman, W. H. Burks, William McCammon were among the officers chosen at the reorganization.

Camp No. 3567 of the Modern Woodmen was established at Sullivan in February, 1896, with 18 beneficiary members, J. T. Whitman, Joseph Freeman, Jesse Creager and L. E. Townsley being among the first officers.

A lodge of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organized at Sullivan May 2, 1904, their first set of officers being James R. Riggs, Milton A. Haddon, Ed J. Hoke, William H. Bridwell, P. A. Barco, B. C. Crowder, C. H. Stratton, P. L. Reid, Arthur R. Martin.