In 1923 the Unionist Women of Portadown and District became the leading force for Women joining the Loyal Orange Order in increasingly large numbers.
The first Portadown Lodge of the Women’s Orange Institution, WLOL 62, was formed in Carleton Street Orange Hall in 1921. By 1923 the town had three flourishing Women’s Lodges. In the same year Women’s Lodges were also opened at Tamnificarbet and Bannfoot.
A special meeting of the officers of Portadown Women’s LOL No. 62 was held in Carleton Street Orange Hall in May 1923. The purpose of the meeting was to install the first officers of Portadown Women’s District LOL No.3.
The Formation of Portadown District Women’s LOL No.3
The chair was occupied by Sister Martin, Grand Secretary, who acted as installing officer. Sister Martin was assisted by Sister Beatty, Deputy Worshipful Mistress, Antrim. Also present at the meeting was the Worshipful Mistress and Officers of Clounagh Women’s LOL. Brother W.H Wright and Brothers Hamilition, Patton, Bell and Jenkinson represented the Men’s District.
After the Installation, Sister Martin addressed the officers, congratulating them and Portadown on ‘being raised to the position of a District, and stating that Newtownhamilition Women’s LOL would also be attached to their District’.
The First Worshipful Mistress of Portadown District
The chair was then taken by Sister McDonald, Deputy Grand Mistress of Ireland, who thanked those present for unanimously electing her to the position of the first Worshipful Mistress of Portadown District. In her speech she urged all to “live up to the high religious ideals for which the association was instituted”.
Brother Wright congratulated the Sisters on the success of the order in Portadown. He said:
“the Women’s Loyal Orange Lodge was a good united sisterhood banded together in a religious order for the uplifting of the people”.
Formation of WLOL 101
It was during this meeting that the officers of the newly formed Women’s Lodge No.101 of Edenderry were also installed by Sister Martin:
Worshipful Mistress: Sister Jessie Collen
Deputy Mistress: Sister Morgan
Chaplin: Sister Hoy
Secretary: Sister Sullivan
Treasurer: Sister Campbell
Committee: Sister Haack
Influence of Women’s Orange Lodges
Brother John Patton and R.H Bell spoke in appreciative terms regarding the influence of Women’s Orange Lodges, ‘congratulating Sister Collen on her appointment as Worshipful Mistress’ and the Lodge on having made such a “splendid choice”.
Both Brethren felt assured that “the Lodge would prove a credit to both Edenderry and Killycomaine”.
All present were afterwards entertained to tea by sisters of the newly formed Lodges.
Over the period of the next few years a number of other Women’s Orange Lodges were formed within Portadown District Women’s LOL.