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A Civil War emblem in a Bluffton church window?

Forgotten Bluffton story from

By Fred Steiner

Few residents are aware that a Bluffton church features four of the most unusual emblems ever seen in a church window anywhere.

As a serious student of this community’s church windows, Bluffton Forever believes that the most intriguing, most beautiful and most ornate windows in the village exist in the First United Methodist Church.

The church building, constructed in 1915, obviously had church members belonging to secret and not-so-secret societies and fraternal organizations popular in Bluffton at the time.

Those organization’s insignias–of forgotten organizations today–stand out in three of the church’s windows.

Three windows on the church’s north side carry four such insignias. These include:

• The Grand Army of the Republic emblem

Eagle, cannons, U.S. flag and five-point star

• Independent Order of Odd Fellows

Three links and the all-seeing eye

• Knights of Pythias Lodge

Shield with initials FCB

•Pythian Sisters

Maltese Cross and plumed helmet with crossed halberds covered by a shield bearing initials PFLE

Our theory of how these emblems got here is that members of the congregation belonged to these organizations and paid for the windows or perhaps donations were received from these bodies.

The Grand Army of the Republic emblem may have had the IOOF emblem added to its window because the GAR was full of older men and the GAR Camp may not have had the money for a window by itself.

Go to for the entire story plus photos.