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Location: Stockbridge

Chartered By: Joseph Webb

Charter Date: 03/08/1777 I-258

Precedence Date: 03/08/1777

Current Status: unknown; historical note 1920-233. History Page 1977-16ff. Note also reference to Berkshire's regalia, sold to Cincinnatus Lodge in 1796, mentioned in the centenary history, 1896-188.



1777 1778 1779 1780 1781 1782 1783 1784 1785 1786 1787 1788 1789 1790 1791 1796

1896 1935 1968 1977



From Proceedings, Page I-320, Massachusetts Grand Lodge:

Voted, That Trinity Lodge held in the town of Lancaster having omitted paying their dues and in other Respects fail'd to comply with the Constitutions of Masonry as universally acknowledged be and hereby is required forthwith to return their Charter granted by the authority of this Grd. Lo. to the Gd. Secy. of the said Gd. Lo., that they may no longer (be) held or be convened under the same untill such injunctions and Rules as by the Constitutions of Masonry and their Special Instructions are made & provided shall be fully and faithfully complied with.

Voted, That a Similar Vote to the above be also wrote to Berkshire and Amity Lodges.


From Proceedings, Page 1886-83, cornerstone laying at Hampshire County Courthouse, address of Grand Master:

"The first Lodge in Western Massachusetts was chartered by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge (of which Joseph Warren was the first Grand Master), March 8, 1777. It was named Berkshire Lodge, No. 5, and was located at Stockbridge, Mass.


From Proceedings, Page 1920-232:

A special meeting of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was held in Boston February 14, 1777. This was the second meeting held by this body after the stand of the Minute Men at Lexington, April 19, 1775, the beginning of hostilities between Great Britain and America, and in consequence of which, the town being blockaded, no Lodge was held until December 27, 1776. At this meeting was heard the petition of Seth Dean and other citizens of Stockbridge for a Charter to hold and erect a Lodge in this town, and it is interesting to note that beside referring this petition to the March meeting, preliminary steps were taken to elect a Grand Master to succeed the late Most Worshipful Gen. Joseph Warren, killed at the battle of Bunker Hill. On the 8th day of March this Charter was granted by the Most Worshipful Joseph Webb to John Patterson, Samuel Brewer, Seth Dean, John Grace, Stephen Pearl, Charles and Israel Debel, all free, ancient and accepted Masons resident in Stockbridge and Lenox. They were given authority to meet and convene as Masons in the town of Stockbridge, to receive and enter Apprentices, pass Fellowcrafts, and raise Master Masons, upon the payment of such sums as may be hereafter determined, to be known under the name, title, and designation of Berkshire Lodge No. 5, they were enjoined to collect and receive funds for the relief of the poor and decayed brethren, their widows and children, to conform to all ancient customs and usages of Masons, were required to attend the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge, and keep a fair and regular record of their proceedings. For the support of the Grand Lodge they were to contribute the sum of six dollars per quarter. This Charter was signed by Samuel Barrett, Senior Grand Warden, and Paul Revere, Junior Grand Warden. That this Lodge survived the most troublesome times in the history of the nation reflects great credit on its founders, who not only interested themselves in Masonic work but were actively prominent in town, county, and state affairs. John Patterson was commissioned General and served with Washington during his campaigns. Samuel Brewer held a Colonel's commission and served faithfully and well during the war. Seth Dean rendered great assistance to his cousin Silas, who was appointed Commissioner to Prance for the purpose of making arrangements for the supply of materials necessary for carrying on the war, and other members are frequently mentioned in the Town records as having always taken their places in affairs of interest and public welfare.

In September, 1784, the Grand Lodge demanded the Charter of Berkshire Lodge for failure to pay its dues. This demand, however, was not enforced, for on December 6, 1785, the time of settlement was extended to the following year. This assessment, amounting to 7 pounds and 10 shillings, was undoubtedly paid, for when the Massachusetts Grand Lodge combined with the Saint John's Grand Lodge to form the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1792, Berkshire Lodge is borne upon the list of the former Grand Lodge. As no mention is made of its proceedings after that date it is presumed that it became extinct shortly afterwards.


From Proceedings, Page 1957-151:

The first Lodge in Berkshire County to receive a Charter was Berkshire Lodge No. 5 of Stockbridge. Their Charter was granted on March 8, 1777. On that very same day our own Most Worshipful Grand Lodge gained its independence; for until that time it had been a Provincial Grand Lodge. Berkshire Lodge No. 5 continued to operate until 1792. After this date there is no record of its proceedings. When or why it ceased to exist we do not know. Thus we have the first example of fact fading into legend. (1920 Mass. 233f)


From Proceedings, Page 1968-232:

The first lodge in Berkshire County to receive a Charter was Berkshire Lodge No. 5 of Stockbridge. Their Charter was granted on the eighth day of March in 1777. On that very same day our own Most Worshipful Grand Lodge gained its independence, for until that time it had been a Provincial Grand Lodge. Berkshire Lodge No. 5 continued to operate until 1792. After this date there is no record of its proceedings. When or why it ceased to exist, we do not know. Thus, we have the first example of fact fading into legend. (1920:233f)


From Proceedings, Page 1977-16:

History of Berkshire Lodge No. 5
By Worshipful Richard W. Mauke

Occidental Lodge A. F. & A. M. in the Town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts on the eighth day of March 1977 celebrates the 200th anniversary of the original Berkshire Lodge of Stockbridge.

General Joseph Warren of Revolutionary War fame was the Provincial Grand Master of Massachusetts Grand Lodge by appointment of the Grand Master of Scotland. General Warren was slain in the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Provincial Grand Lodge continued to function without its legitimate head.

On March 8, 1777 the die was cast; it was no longer the Provincial Grand Lodge of Scotland but an independent Massachusetts Grand Lodge with Most Worshipful Joseph Webb, Esq., as Grand Master. Thus a new Lodge was formed in Stockbridge, the first Lodge west of Boston.

Berkshire Lodge No. 5 was granted a Charter on March 8, 1777, signed by Joseph Webb, Grand Master; Samuel Barrett, Senior Grand Warden; Paul Revere, Junior Grand Warden.

The Charter Members of Berkshire Lodge No. 5 of Stockbridge were John Paterson, John Grace, Samuel Brewer, Stephen Pearle, Seth Dean, Jr., Charles Dibble, Israel Dibble, all Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, residents in Stockbridge and Lenox. The Charter was issued to Seth Dean, Jr., and John Paterson was its first Master. All were active patriots and four served with John Paterson, a Major General of Revolutionary War fame. Each of the seven original members of the Lodge mentioned in the charter would make a story in itself. All were active in promoting the country at large and its welfare.

  • John Paterson, Major General in the Continental Army. History records General Paterson had much to do not only with the defense of the country, but also with establishing the laws on a proper basis after independence was gained. He had always been on the side of law. As a citizen he upheld it, as a general he enforced it, as a lawyer he defended it, as a judge he interpreted it and as a legislator he formed it to give equal justice to all.
  • Samuel Brewer, Colonel in the Continental Army. In the summer of 1776, Colonel Brewer led a Berkshire regiment to Ticonderoga.
  • Seth Dean, Jr. Mr. Dean was responsible for the funds raised and the appointment of his cousin as an agent to France for the purchase of arms and ammunition for the use of the Army.
  • John Grace was a Captain in the Continental Army and Stephen Pearle was an Officer in the Continental Army.
  • Israel Dibble was a member of the Lenox Minutemen and Charles Dibble was Captain of the Lenox Minutemen of 1775 and a Captain in the Continental Army.

The records of this pioneer Lodge disappeared long ago. It is probable that they were deposited with Evening Star Lodge, organized at Lenox in 1795, and with the records of that Lodge were destroyed by fire in 1857.

It is thought some of its members became associated with Evening Star Lodge, and with Cincinnatus Lodge, instituted at New Marlboro in 1796. It is known its jewels were of first quality and made by Paul Revere, and that they were equally divided between these two Lodges, and, by agreement, to be in possession of Cincinnatus.

At a time when Stockbridge was little more than a collection of farms and the whole country was discussing war, this Lodge came into being through the efforts of the seven men mentioned in the Charter.

The home across from the William's Plain School, now owned by Norman Charbonneau, and previously by Brother James H. Punderson, a Past Master of Occidental Lodge and District Deputy Grand Master in 1900 and 1901, also known as the Van Duesen home, served as the Lodge rooms for the Berkshire Lodge No. 5 in 1777.

In all probability it was a moon Lodge, meeting on the full moon, thereby giving members a notice of a meeting and to provide enough light for the journey back home for the horseman or the man on foot through the woods and paths at night.


John Paterson, born in 1744 in Newington, Connecticut, graduated from Yale College in 1762. He taught school and practiced law in New Britain. Early in 1774 he came to Stockbridge to practice law but moved up to Lenox where he enjoyed an enviable practice.

In Lenox, he served as Clerk, school committeeman, selectman and representative of Lenox in the Berkshire Convention which convened at Stockbridge July 6, 1774 and continued in session for two days.

On July 14, 1774, the resolutions adopted by the Berkshire Convention were signed. These resolutions and the "Solemn League and covenant" were the basis of the principles upon which the Revolution was made, and they became in a few weeks as familiar to all the people as household words. Mr. Paterson also represented Lenox in Salem for the setting up of the Provincial Congress. He was a representative at the General Court of 1774 and in October he realized that war was inevitable. Before the Second Congress was called, and during its session, he raised and organized a regiment. On January 30, 1775, John Paterson was elected to the Second Provincial Congress and served on many important committees. Appointed to draft an address to the Stockbridge Indians, he was also on a committee to address the Mohawk Indians.

News of the Battle of Lexington and Concord on the 19th of April took only a day to reach here through relay couriers who had ridden day and night. The news came on the 20th and Col. John Paterson marched the next day with his regiment and a company of Stockbridge Indians for Cambridge. He built Fort No. 3 and was ordered by Washington to remain there. He was then ordered to defend Prospect Hill and from there ordered to defend Cambridge, Bunker Hill and Lechmere's Point. He dislodged the British in Charlestown.

General Washington complimented Col. John Paterson on his many skirmishes with the enemy. Three regiments commanded by Ward, Putnam and Paterson were declared to be "the flower of the Continental Army."

On the 17th of March 1776, the British evacuated Boston and on the 18th Col. Paterson's regiment left for New York and was stationed for a short time on Staten Island for the defense of New York.

Almost the first act of Washington on his arrival in New York on April 13, 1776 was to send four battalions to the relief of the army in Canada, under the command of Brig. Gen. Thompson, and among these was Col. Paterson's regiment. The Canadian expedition was hopeless, as the British fleet had arrived in the St. Lawrence with reinforcements to the extent of 13,000 men under Burgoyne. Col. Paterson's regiment retreated and participated in the Battle of the Cedars. In their retreat from Canada by way of Crown Point under the command of General Gates, Col. Paterson's regiment occupied and strongly fortified Mount Independence opposite to Ticonderoga and later ordered to Fort George and then on to Saratoga.

Col. Paterson left Saratoga with his men on November 26th with orders to reinforce Washington's troops retreating through New Jersey.

Washington, along with Col. Paterson's regiment of 170 men, crossed the Delaware on Christmas and attacked the Hessians in the Battle of Trenton.

Col. Paterson and his regiment were next in the Battle of Princeton, where his regiment acted with distinguished bravery.

Congress, on the 16th of February 1777 promoted Col. Paterson to Brigadier-General and on the 21st he was commissioned and assigned to the Northern Department. Brigadier-General Paterson then returned to Lenox on furlough to await his next command.

A charter member of Berkshire Lodge No. 5, A. F. & A. M., he was elected its first Worshipful Master.

On April 22nd Brigadier-General Paterson left for Ticonderoga and on June 13th General Schuyler ordered him to Stillwater. Brigadier-General Paterson participated in the Battles of Stillwater, Bemis Heights and after the second Battle of Bemis Heights, all of which were part of the Saratoga campaign, acted bravely at the surrender of Burgoyne. This battle was one of the turning points of the Revolution.

Brigadier-General Paterson next joined Washington and wintered in Valley Forge 1777-1778 and was one of his wisest advisors.

Brigadier-General Paterson was everywhere when there was duty to be done and was always efficient. At the express wish of Washington and under the orders of General Green, on January 20, 1778, he undertook the superintendence of the fortifications of the left wing at Valley Forge, which he did very efficiently. At the council at Hopewell General Lafayette and Brigadier-General Paterson presented the battle plans for the Battle of Monmouth, which met with some opposition from some of the Generals. Washington favored Paterson's plan of sending 2,500 to 3,000 men forward at once. After the battle, Paterson's plan proved correct. With Baron von Stuben training the troops at Valley Forge, the Continental Army was better disciplined and moved more effectively.

Brigadier-General Paterson was the Commander of West Point during the winters of 1778, 1779, 1780 and 1781, and during the summer and fall of 1783. He devised the forerunner of the current service and chevron for non-commissioned officers, sat at Benedict Arnold's and Major Andre's court marshalls. He gave his servant "Grippy" of Stockbridge to General Kosciusko. He was a charter member of the Society of Cincinnati and President of Massachusetts Society of Cincinnati. He returned to Lenox as a lawyer and commanded the Berkshire Militia, which he called out during Shay's Rebellion. Brigadier-General Paterson then moved to Lisle, New York where he was Chief Justice of Broome County. He served in the United States Congress from 1803-1805. He was a member of the Ohio Land Company.

Major-General John Paterson died July 9, 1808, at age 64. He was 6'1 1/2" tall and athletic in build. He was commissioned a Major General and held the highest rank of any Berkshire County resident. With the exception of Lafayette, he was the youngest officer of his rank in the Revolutionary Army. We celebrate 200 years of Masonry in Stockbridge and we honor a great Patriot, John Paterson, a Mason.


From Proceedings, Page 2007-150:

The first lodge in Berkshire County to receive a Charter was Berkshire Lodge #5 in Stockbridge. Their Charter was granted on the eighth day of March in 1777. On that very same day our own Worshipful Grand Lodge gained its independence, for until that time it had been a Provincial Grand Lodge. Berkshire Lodge #5 continued to operate until 1792. After this date there is no record of its proceedings. When or why it ceased to exist we do not know. Thus, we have the first example of fact fading into legend. (See G. L. Proceedings Book of 1920 – Pages 233-234.)


Massachusetts Lodges