Lodge History

The Plymouth Tonquish Lodge #32 was chartered in 1847 and is one of the oldest Odd Fellows Charters in the State of Michigan. The name Tonquish was used in honor of Chief Tonquish who was a leader of the local Native American tribe (the Potawatomi). Chief Tonquish died in 1819 during a clash with pioneers while trying to save his son. His burial site is said to be East of Plymouth along the shore of Tonquish creek which is a branch of the Rouge River.

The history of our Lodge is rooted deep in the history of Plymouth. Many names of our past members coincide with many of the well-known names who helped form Plymouth into the great community that it is today. One of our original members included George Starkweather. He was the first non-native child born in Plymouth. Starkweather became a successful farmer, merchant, and politician.  George served as a Michigan legislator in 1854 and served as President of Plymouth Village in 1898. George had been directly responsible for bringing the Rail Road lines to Plymouth. Starkweather’s legacy still lives on in our community today. Not only was a street named after him but the historic Starkweather School was also named in his honor. The iconic Starkweather building (where he ran a general store) is still standing strong in the heart of Plymouth’s “Old Village”. His affect on our community is deeply rooted in the continuing legacy of Plymouth itself and we are proud of his accomplishments as a community member and as a brother of the Odd Fellows.

George A. Starkweather

(February 20, 1826 – February 7, 1907) was an American merchant, schoolteacher, lawyer, farmer, greenhouse owner, banker, Plymouth Village President, Plymouth Township Supervisor, philanthropist, leading community member and firm believer in education who, during the 1850s, served one term in the Michigan Legislature, representing Plymouth.

Tonquish Lodge #32 • circa 1925

Above is a photograph of the Temple (499 S. Main St) that the Tonquish Lodge built in 1925 to serve our needs during one of the heights of our membership. Although is was later sold to the Mayflower Hotel (when it was still in existence). The building is privately owned today and still bares the Tonquish IOOF shield at the top and center part of the building.