Robert Morrison

I was born on March 15, 1822 near Greensboro, Pennsylvania, a little over fifty miles from Pittsburgh. My family, soon thereafter, moved west to Knox County, Ohio. My father cleared that land and soon had a thriving farm. I was diligent in my pursuit of education, and I was eventually awarded my county’s scholarship to attend Ohio University in Athens. After two years there, I began teaching at a school in Butler County where Oxford is located. I was drawn to Old Miami, so I enrolled in the spring of 1846. The University was costly, but I was able to finance my education with profit I gained from work at the school bookstore. I had the good fortune to graduate Magna Cum Laude, and I was asked to deliver a valedictorian address.

Wilson was the first man I approached with the concept of our Fraternity. He agreed with it, and we invited the other four to join us in our endeavor. Together, we authored The Bond of which I was the first to sign, and we designed the badge together; Wilson choosing the scroll and I, the shield and eye. I chose our secret Greek motto.

After commencement, I taught and preached in various capacities in Tennessee, Indiana, and Ohio, and finally settled in Fulton, Missouri. There, I built Woodlawn, my home. I joined the Chapter Grand on Sunday, July 27, 1902.

John McMillan Wilson

I was born on September 10, 1825 in Union Township, Indiana, which makes me the only native of Indiana in our group. Ours was a proud family of Scots. My mother can trace her lineage to Sir William Wallace himself! I also entered Miami University that fall of 1846. I was out front of Main that cold January night in 1848. We showed Ol’ MacMaster! They called it “The Snowball Rebellion.” I don’t know if I’d go so far to call it a rebellion, but it was a very fine prank. They certainly didn’t catch me that evening, but eventually that streak of rowdiness in me disappeared, and I eventually went on to deliver an address on “Liberalism and Absolutism” at my graduation in 1849.

I proposed to Robert that we have a gathering, a Convention, of our beloved brotherhood, and we did. In December of 1851, Phis from Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky gathered in Cincinnati. The younger Phis called me “Old Dad” and “Pop Wilson,” even though I was only twenty-six years of age. At the start of the War Between the States, I enlisted as a recruiting officer in the Union Army. I mustered young men from both Ohio and Indiana to serve in the Grand Army of the Republic. I settled in Benton, Illinois about 30 miles northeast of Carbondale. There, I died of “dropsy” on July 19, 1874.

Robert Thompson Drake

Just east of Dayton, Ohio and a bit south of Springfield, you’ll find the little village of Yellow Springs. That’s where I was born in the spring of 1822. When I reached the age of twenty- four, I decided it was time to expand my horizons, and I enrolled at Miami University that fall. My friends in the Miami Union Society, and the Fraternity, called me “Thompson,” but I didn’t mind that at all. I had the fortunate opportunity to lead hymns in both the college chapel and the Oxford Presbyterian Church. My faith, you could say, defined my college experience. I even gave my commencement address on “The Influence of Christianity on Civilization.”

Upon leaving my alma mater, I entered work as a minister. I first went to New Albany, Indiana, just across the river from Louisville, but I didn’t stay too long. I migrated back near my fraternal home, to Lebanon, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Oxford. I traveled as far west as Des Moines, Iowa, but I generally stayed pretty close to Old Miami. I resided in New Castle, Indiana until I followed Ardivan into the Chapter Grand in 1873. They brought me back to Lebanon and buried me there.

John Wolfe Lindley

I was born in Fredericktown, Ohio in August 1826. As fate would have it, my humble place of birth was nestled between what was to become Ohio Beta at Ohio Wesleyan University, and Ohio Delta at The College of Wooster. I decided to attend Miami in the fall of 1846. I was third cousin to Robert Morrison, so perhaps Robert had no choice, but to include me in this great experiment of brotherhood. When the six of us gathered that day after Christmas in 1848, I was the youngest of the lot.

I completed my studies in 1850, and began teaching Latin and mathematics at an academy in Tennessee. Later, I moved on to Charlestown, Indiana where I graciously accepted an invitation to become a member of the Masons. However, Phi Delta Theta was always closest to my heart. Father Morrison and I were known to have stayed up until the wee hours of the morning at the 1898 Convention banquet and the 1899 Semi-Centennial debating the direction of our Fraternity, and the news of the day. Robert could probably be credited with my fluctuation in political views; he being a Democrat. I was a Whig, a Republican, and even a “know-nothing” for a time. I wrote Bonds until the year of my death, 1907; some still in use today. As it turned out, I outlasted the rest of my Immortal Brothers.

Ardivan Walker Rodgers

I was born in the fall of 1824, just north of Oxford, Ohio in a little town called Piqua. My parents had eight children, of which I was the fifth. My father used to tell me how his granddad led troops and fought for our independence in the Revolutionary War. In 1846, I figured it would be in my best interest to enroll in college, so I departed for Miami that fall. Two years later, I met up with Morrison and Wilson. Robert had the idea of forming a secret society. I had heard of the Alphas and the Betas, but they were in hot water with Ol’ Dean MacMaster for a little disturbance known as the Great Snowball Rebellion. Since Robert was my loyal friend and a man composed of strong moral convictions and values, I thought it would be a fine idea.

I graduated in 1851 and went back home to Piqua to teach. I moved on to St. Mary’s, Ohio, and finally taught in Brighton, Iowa. Just eight years after I helped pioneer this great and beloved Brotherhood, I caught Typhoid fever, which was quite common in those days. I was the first of us to join the Chapter Grand, and they buried me in Brighton, just south of where our Iowa Alpha Chapter would be founded in 1871.

Andrew Watts Rogers

I was welcomed into the world on March 12, 1825 by my parents on their farm near Greenfield, Ohio; barely even a speck on the map in those days, but we were equidistant between Columbus and Cincinnati which were both large cities in my day as well. My half-brother being a Miami graduate and a citizen of Oxford, I decided this would be a favorable place to pursue my education, and it was. I was enrolled at Old Miami for five years, where I was introduced to our great Brotherhood. I was even asked to give a commencement address on “French Republicanism.”

I was granted admission to the Bar in the great states of Tennessee and Illinois. I was even fortunate to practice law with a distinguished fellow named Stephen A. Douglas and a powerfully sharp man by the name of Abraham Lincoln. When it became apparent there was going to be trouble with those boys down South, I enlisted in the 81st Illinois Volunteers. I figured it was my duty since my grandfather served under General George Washington in the Continental Army. I was eventually appointed to the post of lieutenant colonel when we laid siege to Vicksburg in 1863. I was also proud to serve the great state of Missouri as a state representative for a time. Old Father Time finally caught up with me in February of 1901. I died of an affliction of the heart, and was laid to rest in Warrensburg, Missouri, a bit south of Kansas City.