The K. of P. became the major sponsor for the annual city Jubilee beginning in 1914. The Lodge was instituted on March 7, 1914 with a charter membership of 87. “At that time it was the largest charter list ever submitted in the state of West Virginia.” Initially organized in 1913, the membership grew to 265 by 1920. Within two years of its charter date, the local lodge had purchased and paid for two lots located on Main near Ohio street in the heart of the town’s business section. The Boosters of K. of P. laid the plan for the annual city Jubilees which were held in September on the streets of Follansbee and the K. of P. lots. Each year, the Boosters out-did themselves as the spirit behind the Jubilees increased and the city became known as “The Little Town That Does Big Things.” The Jubilees were big fundraisers for the city and attracted thousands to see the motorcycle and car races, water battles, boxing matches, band concerts, a great steam driven Merry-Go-Round and other amusements.
During World War I, the Lodge made purchases of $3,500 worth of U.S. Liberty Bonds, besides individual purchases by members. The Lodge also gave substantial donations to the Red Cross and to the Welcome Home City Celebration in honor of returning Brooke County servicemen in 1919. On the national level, the Knights of Pythias was founded in 1864. It was the first fraternal order to be chartered by an act of Congress. Its distinguishing principles of Friendship, Charity, and Benevolence energized the spirit of Follansbee.
Cecil Lusk (up-front) served in the “Rainbow Division.” In winter 1918, the division fought from the trenches stopping the final German offensive of the war.
- Steubenville Herald Star, “Follansbee Section,” September 17, 1920, p. 5.
- Steubenville Herald Star, “Rainbow Division Photo,” Oct. 17, 1919, p. 5.