BethesdaB

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BETHESDA LODGE (Brighton)

Location: Brighton; Watertown (1983)

Chartered By: Francis J. Oliver

Charter Date: 03/12/1819 III-184

Precedence Date: 03/10/1819

Current Status: Active


PAST MASTERS

Need list of living PMs

  • John Norcross, 1819
  • Francis Moore, 1820-1821
  • Thomas Park, 1822-1823, 1826-1827
  • Joseph Warren, 1824-1825 Mem
  • William R. Champney, 1828-1829
  • B.W. Hobart, 1830
  • Ebenezer Fuller, 1831-1848
  • Amos Wright, 1849
  • E.C. Sparhawk, 1850-1851
  • Sumner Wellman, 1852-1856
  • F. Lyman Winship, 1857-1861
  • Weare D. Wickford, 1862-1863
  • Charles H.B. Breck 1864-1866
  • Eben D. Jones, 1867-1868, 1870
  • W.H. Merritt, 1869
  • Louis H. Adams, 1871-1872
  • George B. Livermore, 1873-1874
  • S.T.P. Martin, 1875-1876
  • Austin Bigelow, 1877-1878
  • S.N. Davenport, 1879-1880
  • Horace E. Marion, 1881-1882; Mem
  • J. Wesley Farmer, 1883-1884
  • Otis H. Marion, 1885-1886; SN
  • Joshua J. Duncklee, 1887-1888
  • George W. Warren, 1889-1890
  • Edward C. Scates, 1891-1892
  • H.B. Hazelwood, 1893-1894
  • Leonard W. Ross, 1895-1896
  • William M. Farrington, 1897-1898
  • Frank H. Howe, 1899-1900
  • Daniel W. Hyde, 1901-1902
  • Charles E. Holman, 1903-1904
  • Frank G. Howard, 1905-1906
  • Fred A. Norcross, 1907-1908
  • Charles A. Hunt, 1909-1910
  • James H. Dalton, 1911-1912
  • James Young, Jr., 1913
  • Irving G. Findlay, 1914-1915
  • George E. Brock, 1916
  • Walter V. Batson, 1917-1918
  • Frank J. Perry, 1919
  • Walter A. Lambert, 1920
  • Herbert A. Wilson, 1921
  • William D. Williams, 1922
  • Clarence N. Holman, 1923
  • Rudolph Burrough, 1924; SN
  • George A. Mosher, 1925
  • Ernest L. Porter, 1926
  • H. Wendell Prout, 1927
  • Leon E. Smith, 1928; N
  • Roger W. Conkey, 1929
  • Frank W. Larrabee, 1930
  • Bradford C. Patch, 1931
  • Albert W. Holbrow, 1932
  • George B. Sargent, 1933
  • Roy B. Stewart, 1934
  • Benjamin F. Wood, 1935
  • Everett A. Kelly, 1936
  • Harry N. Girard, 1937
  • Frederick W. Mosher, 1938
  • Frederick W. MacSween, 1939
  • Henry C. Teudesman, 1940
  • William Hall, 1941
  • Henry H. Sullivan, 1942
  • Charles H. Warren, 1943
  • Walter W. Weeden, 1944
  • Chester G. Parsons, 1945
  • Bradley H. Wentworth, 1946
  • William J. Russell, 1947
  • Evan A.G. Anderson, 1948
  • William H. Welch, 1949
  • James W. O'Donnell, Jr., 1950
  • Albert W. Keddy, 1951
  • Leslie McNally, 1952
  • Walter J. Day, 1953
  • John E. Henderson, 1954
  • Albert C. Gaskell, 1955
  • Theodore R. Woodworth, 1956
  • Harry W. Leigh, 1957
  • Brewster A. Thorburn, 1958
  • William J. Ireland, 1959
  • James M. Allan, 1960
  • Kenneth F. Haley, 1961
  • Hugh A. Howes, 1962
  • Richard F. Humber, 1963
  • John A. Collins, 1964
  • Ira L. Enman, 1965
  • Walter T. Watson, 1966
  • John A. Musserian, 1967, 1972; SN
  • Chester S. Miller, 1968, 1974
  • Clifford B. Porter, 1969
  • William M. Tennant, 1970, 1973, 1983
  • Theodore L. Miller, 1971
  • Benjamin L. Todd, 1975
  • James V. Pelusi, 1976, 1991
  • Frank R. Puccino, 1977
  • Alan E. Otash, 1978-1979
  • Harold J. Cunningham, 1980
  • James L. Woodyard, 1981, 1984
  • Leon P. Fontaine, 1982
  • Robert N. Morley, 1985-1986, 1990
  • Donald S. Pacuska, 1987
  • David P. Echevarria, 1988, 1992
  • Ralph S. Dodge, 1989
  • Deeb E. Homsi, Jr., 1993-1994
  • William R. Davis, Jr., 1995-1996, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2010-2012
  • Mark F. Sweeney, 1997, 1998, 2000
  • Jonathan A. Cohen, 2002-2004, 2007, 2008
  • Morris H. Rosenthal, 2009

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Charter: 1818

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1894 (75th Anniversary)
  • 1919 (Centenary)
  • 1944 (125th Anniversary)
  • 1969 (150th Anniversary)
  • 1994 (175th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1873 1881 1888 1892 1893 1894 1896 1898 1899 1901 1902 1908 1912 1919 1920 1922 1927 1933 1934 1937 1945 1949 1953 1955 1958 1968 1977 1982 1990 2013

HISTORY

  • 1880 (Historical Sketch, from Liberal Freemason; see below)
  • 1944 (125th Anniversary History, 1944-44; see below)
  • 1969 (150th Anniversary History, 1969-8; see below)
  • 1994 (175th Anniversary History, 1994-33; see below)

HISTORICAL SKETCH, JANUARY 1880

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. III, No. 10, January 1880, Page 308:

The precedence of Bethesda Lodge in Grand Lodge and elsewhere, dates from March 10th, 1819, and its charter was granted to twenty brethren, whose names are entered therein. This document is in good preservation, and bears the official signature of Francis J. Oliver, G. M.; Caleb Butler, S. G. W.; Joseph Jenkins, J. G. W.; John Soley, G. Sec'y.

The first meeting of the Lodge, as shown by'the records, was held in the old Town Hall in Brighton, now occupied as a wheelwright's shop by Mr. Joseph Caldwell, on Mar. 15, 1819.

The Lodge was organized with the following officers : John Norcross, M.; Francis Moore, S. W.; Edward Sparhawk, J. W.; Jonathan Livermore, Jr., Treas.; Joseph Warren, Sec'y. At the meeting held on April 21st, following, Brother Norcross resigned, and Brother Francis Moore was chosen to the office. During its existence the Lodge has had twenty-two Masters, as follows : John Norcross, Francis Moore, Thomas Parks, Joseph Warren, Thomas Parks (a second term), William R. Champney*, B. W. Hobart, Eben. Fuller, Amos Wright", Edward C. Sparhawk", Sumner B. Wellman", F. Lyman Winship*, Ware D. Bickford*, C. H. B. Breck*, Eben. D. Jones, W. H. Merritt*, Louis H. Adams*. George B. Livermore*, S. T. P. Martin*, Austin Bigelow*, and Samuel N. Davenport*, the present incumbent. The living Past Masters are indicated by a star (*); of these Bro. Champney was elected in 1827. The shortest term served by any one of these was that of Bro. Norcross, commencing with the issue of the charter, and ending April 15, following. The next shortest was that of Bro. Wright, who seems to have been elected to fill out a term, from February to December, 1849. Bros. Merritt and Jones served one year each and all the others two or more years, — the longest period of service being that of Bro. Fuller, who was elected December 14. 1830, and continued in office until February 13, 1849. It will he noticed that this brother came into the chair during the anti-Masonic period, and no doubt causes arising in consequence of that, contributed to keep him there for so long a time.

The Lodge has had the same number of Wardens, and their terms of service correspond to those of the respective Masters.

The names of the Treasurers who have succeeded Bro. Livermore are Moses Kingsley, elected Aug. 3, 1820; Stephen Stone, Oct. 14, 1828; Otis Fay, Dec. 6? 1831; John Duncklee, Dec. 1, 1846; John Gordon, Dec. 14, 1847; Wm. R. Champney, Feb. 13, 1849, and Cyrus E. Marshall, Jan'y 19, 1865.

The Secretaries have been, since the first one, Otis Fay, elected Dec. 9, 1823; Joseph Warren (second term), Dec. 20, 1825, and was continued until his entire services was twenty-six years; John Duncklee, Dec. 14, 1847; E. A. Story, Feb, 13, 1849; J. P. C. Winship, Dec. 20, 1862; F. Lyman Winship, Dec. 26, 1865; J. T. Needham, Dec. 18, 1866, and Chas. A. Nutter, the present incumbent, Dec. 3, 1878.

So far as the records show, it would seem that the Lodge was organized with only five brethren, but during its first year of existence, nineteen candidates were received, which accounts for the number of names entered in the charter. During its existence it has initiated one hundred and eighty-four persons, counting to November, 1879; or, more correctly, that number of its initiates have signed the By-Laws. No one of these was admitted during the years 1821, 22, 26, 27, 30 and 31; one was admitted in 1832, and none from that time till 1846, when six were received; from this latter year the Lodge bad work every year till i860, except 1853; since 1860, eighty-eight of the whole number have been received. Its ■ present membership is one hundred and fourteen.

With the year 1879, expired a lease of apartments occupied by the Lodge for the last ten years. Its present quarters, taken on a lease for the same term, are in Warren Building, a fine brick structure, just completed, and within a few steps of the apartments vacated. These new ones have all the modern conveniences, and are among the most commodious and economical in the jurisdiction. The Lodge has in its possession the original Hook of Records, the Visitors' Hook, and Charter, commencing with the time of its organization. Of the record-book the present secretary says the writing in it "is as fresh as when first written: the book itself is somewhat yellow from age, but everything is as plain as if written yesterday."

The Lodge is in a prosperous condition, though its resources have been frequently drawn upon for charitable donations. Its work is well done, and no doubt but it will achieve further success, and gather still greater rewards.

125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MARCH 1944

From Proceedings, Page 1944-44:

by Wor. Bro. Walter V. Batson.

The records of Bethesda Lodge, A.F. & A.M., begin with the first meeting of the Lodge, which was held after the receipt of notice of the vote of Grand Lodge, on March 10, 1819, granting a charter for the Lodge. The first meeting of the Lodge was held on March 18, 1819, in the Town Hall and there were present twelve substantial citizens of the town.

The following extracts are taken from the originals, which have been carefully preserved:

  • "Voted; that a committee of three be chosen to fix and furnish the Hall, and the following Brethren were chosen; Bro. Jonathan Livermore R.W.B., John Norcross, W.B., Edward Sparhawk, S.W. elect."
  • "Voted; that the same committee see what the Jewels can be procured for and report at the next meeting."
  • "Voted; to adjourn this meeting to Monday, the 27th. Inst, at Seven O'clock P.M., which night shall be considered our regular night till further regulations are made."


Attest, Joseph Warren, Sec.

The regular meeting was held on March 29th in Mason's Hall, with Master-elect John Norcross in the Chair. It was voted that a committee of three be chosen to make the By-laws for the Lodge, that the 24th of June next be the day for our installation, and that a committee of one be chosen "to wait on the Grand Master and" see if he can come on that day." It was further

  • "Voted; to have an Altar erected" and
  • "Voted; that the Brethren pay $5.00 each as membership in the Lodge."

The following vote is an indication of the small size of the Lodge and the simplicity of the life of that day, for it was:

  • "Voted; that the Secretary call on all absent Brethren, in the course of the week and collect this fee for membership."

By April 12th, there were sixteen members who had paid the fee of $5.00 for membership.

At the meeting on March 29, 1819, the first candidates, two in number, were proposed for membership in the Lodge and a committee was chosen to inquire into the "caracter" of the candidates.

At a meeting on April 12th it was voted that the second Tuesday in the month be the night for the regular Lodge meeting, and that the second Tuesday of July, annually, be the time for the choice of officers. At this meeting it was voted that when refreshments were served, every visiting Brother pay twenty-five cents. This vote has not been obeyed within the memory of this Historian, but might have proved of some help to the Treasury if it had been.

During the early months of the life of the Lodge, meetings were held oftener than once a month and at several of them, action was taken on various details of the furnishing of the Lodge, as for instance, at the meeting on April 12th, it was voted to paper the Hall and "Bro. C. Kimball gave the paper for it, which was accepted with the thanks of the Lodge." At later meetings it was voted to put in a new floor and procure a stove.

At the meeting on April 25th, 1819, the committee previously chosen to investigate the candidates, reported favorably and one was elected and given the first degree, paying $15.00. The other candidate was not balloted on until the next meeting and was then accepted.

The earliest records of the Lodge seem to indicate several differences in the procedure of the Lodge, as for instance: business seems to have been done when the Lodge was open on any degree; a candidate given the degrees did not thereby become a member of the Lodge, but at some later time, was balloted on for membership and paid a fee of $5.00. The fee paid at initiation did not cover all degrees as candidates seem to have paid $5.00 when they received the third degree. As candidates were few between the organization in March and the 24th of June, the time at meetings was used to rehearse the lectures of the several degrees.

We now come to the first great day in the history of Bethesda Lodge. We have seen that as early as March 29th, it had been voted the installation of officers should be on June 24th and at different meetings between March and June, committees had been appointed to arrange for the different features of the day. A committee was appointed to see the Parish committee of the First Parish Church and ask for the use of the Meeting House for the installation ceremony, which was granted; a committee was appointed to secure tickets for the installation and appoint suitable places for the sale of them. The tickets were sold for $2.00 for men and $1.50 for ladies.

The following description of the exercises at the installation and the celebration after it, are taken from the records of the Secretary:

Special Meeting, June 24th, 1819. The Feast of St. John having been celebrated as a suitable occasion for the consecration of Bethesda Lodge and the Installment of officers, the Lodge convened at their Hall at 9 A.M. and opened on the First Degree, and after a short session, adjourned to attend the Services of the day.

After the arrival of the Grand Lodge and the Preparatory Services of it, a procession was formed under the direction of the Grand Marshal comprising a great number of visiting Brethren, officers of various Lodges, Royal Arch Masons, the Encampment of Knights Templar in full dress with their banners displayed, Bethesda Lodge and the Grand Lodge, which moved to the Meeting House, accompanied by a band of music.

After the ceremonies at the Church, which included a Hymn, Prayer, Address, Consecration to the memory of the Patron Saint, whose Festival had been celebrated that day, the officers were installed by the Grand Lodge officers, with a very impressive Charge given by the M. W. Grand Master, and a second Address.

Appropriate music was interspersed through the whole performance which was witnessed by large numbers of spectators and were conducted with a dignity and decorum as pleasurable to the Brethren as honorable to the Institution. On retiring from the Meeting House the procession was again formed, increased by some of the Rev. Clergy and a Brilliant Assemblage of Ladies, and repaired to an elegant bower, where dinner had been prepared in a superior stile . . . at which Invited guests enjoyed a feast of reason and a flow of social feelings, while the generous sentiment and lively song enlivened and added zest to the whole entertainment.

Nothing of a disorderly nature, no instance of dissention {sic}, no act of intemperance occurred to mar the festivities of the day and the company separated at an early hour, with more friendly feelings toward each other and with better impressions in favor of our excellent Institution.

The Lodge returned to their Hall about 5 O'clock and closed in order, waiving usual ceremonies.

At a later meeting fifteen members paid $2.60 each and one visitor paid $1.50 for the music at the installation.

For some unknown reason, Wor. B. John Norcross, the first Master-elect, failed to function after the earliest meetings, and although attempts were made by committees to get him to act, he refused and was excused, and at another election the Senior and Junior Wardens-elect were advanced one station and a new Junior Warden was elected. Worshipful Brother Norcross was later given a dimit and elected the first Honorary member.

The first visitation of the Right Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master was in November, 1819, with a collation, at which fifteen officers and members and fourteen visitors were present.

The history of Bethesda Lodge is closely connected with the history of the district in which it was organized and in which it has been active ever since.

The district known as Brighton was first a part of Cambridge, which was settled in 1638. It then included what is now Cambridge, Newton, Brighton, Arlington, Lexington, Billerica and Bedford. Brighton was set off as a separate Parish on April 2, 1779, and was incorporated as the Town of Brighton on February 24, 1802, and was annexed to Boston on January 5, 1874.

Brighton was settled by a number of families who came directly from England or who were of the early descendants of such emigrants, and many of the members of the families of those early settlers were living in Brighton during the early years of the Lodge and some are even now members of it.

As a rule, the Past Masters of Bethesda Lodge have been able men, who have held high positions in the business and Masonic world. Three of them have served the Grand Lodge as Grand Wardens, Worshipful Brothers F. Lyman Winship, Horace E. Marion and William M. Farrington; one is now Grand Treasurer, Worshipful H. Wendell Prout; two have been Deputy Grand Masters, Worshipful Brothers James Young, Jr. and H. Wendell Prout; and seven have been District Deputy Grand Masters, Worshipful Brothers F. Lyman Winship, Horace E. Marion, Otis H. Marion, James Young, Jr., Rudolph Burrough, H. Wendell Prout and our present Secretary, Leon E. Smith, who was appointed this year.

Worshipful Ebenezer Fuller, Jr. who was elected Master in 1831, is much esteemed in Bethesda Lodge, because it was he who kept the Lodge alive during the unhappy period known as the Anti-Masonic Time or Morgan Inquisition. In 1832, the By-Laws were changed so that the Master was to remain in office during the pleasure of the Lodge, instead of for the usual term of two years. During these years the Lodge met regularly and adjourned without doing any business. For eighteen years there were no applications for the degrees.

While many Lodges ceased to function and surrendered their Charters to the Grand Lodge, the officers of Bethesda Lodge did not surrender our Charter and it is one of few Charters which do not bear the endorsement indicating its surrender. The only offspring of Bethesda Lodge was constituted in 1920 and chose for its name that of the valiant Master of Bethesda Lodge, Wor. Ebenezer Fuller, who served through those trying times.

The Secretary's records of the meeting of February 13, 1848, say that: "Wor. Ebenezer Fuller, Jr. delivered a very able and appropriate address on resigning the Chair which he had filled since January 25, 1831."

The records which have been carefully kept by the Secretaries have been carefully preserved and are complete from the first meeting on March 18, 1819, down to the present time. While they give an accurate record of the doings at the meetings, they do not give much of help to an Historian who is trying to present an interesting story of the life of the Lodge.

The Secretaries have been faithful servants of the Lodge and some have held the office for long terms, as for instance the first Secretary, Joseph Warren, who served continuously from the first meeting in 1819 until 1847, except in the two years when he was Master in 1824 and 1825, a period of twenty-six years, and in a later period when Brother William M. Cotton served for twenty-four years.

The Lodge has occupied rooms in various buildings during its long life. It is thought that the first meeting was held in the old Town Hall, then located at the corner of Washington and Market Streets. At the completion of the new Town Hall in 1842, the old building was sold and the Lodge must have changed its place of meeting, but the records make no mention of it. As there were no visitations in 1842 and 1843, it is possible that the Lodge had no meeting place for some time.

On January 9, 1844, the records state that: "The Lodge met in the new Hall in the School House, regulated its furniture, put the Lodge to rights and adjourned." That Hall was on the second floor of the High School House on Academy Hill, which was later moved to another location.

It is not known how long the Lodge remained in this building, but an entry in the records states that at the Visitation in October of 1854, "The Company adjourned to the Insurance Office below, for refreshments," which indicates that the Lodge Room must have been in a building which was on Washington Street nearly opposite Market Street, where it is known that they held meetings for many years.

In February of 1860, the Lodge moved to new and more commodious quarters in Dr. Mason's building at the corner of Washington Street and Harvard Place, and its Hall was dedicated by Most Worshipful Grand Master Winslow Lewis and the officers of the Grand Lodge.

In 1870 the Lodge moved to Osborn's Block, where it remained for ten years, until 1880, when it moved again to the Warren Building, where it remained until 1941, when it moved into the present elegant and ample apartments in the building of the First Parish Church, thus completing a cycle, for it was in an early Meeting House of this Society that the Lodge held its first installation of officers in 1819.

Your Historian cannot speak with any knowledge of the lodge-rooms used before 1880, but since 1902 he has been quite familiar with them. In 1902 the lodge-room itself was fairly adequate for the size of the Lodge at that time, but ante-rooms and a room for refreshments were extremely limited. For the simple refreshments, usually served only on evenings when the third degree was worked, there was a tiny room on the floor above the lodge-room floor, and when there was a larger gathering, a slightly larger room on the same floor could be had by special arrangement. There was considerable crowding on certain occasions, such as nights of Visitation by the Right Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master. The lodge-room had no facilities for ventilation and was uncomfortably warm on some of the later meetings of the year.

In 1914 during the administration of Worshipful Irving G. Findlay, the apartments were considerably improved; the upper part of the wall behind the Senior Warden's station was taken out and the former banquet room was made into a balcony with seats which provided much needed seating capacity; the ante-rooms were enlarged and toilet facilities, ventilation and lighting were much improved. By this time attendance at the meetings and the variety of the refreshments became larger so arrangements were made to use the large hall on the same floor as the lodge-room, known as Warren Hall, as the banquet room. These improvements were made under the direction of Worshipful Fred A. Norcross, who was a Past Master of the Lodge and a very competent architect.

In 1898 a Building Fund was started with a deposit of $198.85. This fund grew by gifts of members, by money set aside from the income of the Lodge, and by at least two bequests, one of $500.00 from Brother W. R. Rollins and one of $1000.00 from Worshipful Charles E. Holman, until by 1941 the fund had grown to the sum of $23,577.35, which was sufficient to allow us to take over the Church building of the First Parish Church on Chestnut Hill Avenue and make such repairs and alterations as were needed to adapt the building to our purposes.

For many years the musical part of the ceremonies could not be adequately rendered, since the only musical instrument available was a reed organ, blown by the feet of the organist. In 1920 an Organ Fund was started with contributions of the members, which grew to $2558.65 by 1931, when a modern organ, with electric action and a power driven blower, was installed in the north end of the balcony. The addition of this instrument improved the musical services very much. Among the activities of Masonry, the relief of a distressed, worthy Brother is considered of great importance and Bethesda Lodge has, throughout its life, cheerfully responded to many calls from the Brethren and their families, for the help which we could give.

Various funds have been established by sums set aside from the income of the Lodge, by gifts from members and by bequests from deceased Brothers. The total amount of these funds is $18,830.00, the income from which is available for charity.

In closing, we can say that the prospects for the future look bright; we have about 337 members, very attractive and convenient apartments, and a corps of able and energetic officers, and we feel sure that at some future anniversary period the Lodge will be found to have continued faithful to the Tenets of its Profession.

150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MARCH 1969

From Proceedings, Page 1969-8:

By Worshipful Roy B. Stewart.

The History of Bethesda Lodge legally begins with the first meeting of the Lodge, in the Town Hall of Brighton on March 15, 1819, after the granting of a Charter by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on March 10, 1819.

The Charter was granted to:

  • John Norcross
  • Francis Moore
  • Edward Sparhawk
  • Joseph Warren
  • Charles Dana
  • Stephen Stone
  • Ebenezer Fuller, Jr.
  • Timothy Cory
  • Solomon Rice
  • Moses Kingsley
  • Ebenezer Kimball
  • Josiah Holland
  • Thomas Park
  • Amos Wright
  • Elijah Cory
  • S. W. Pomery
  • John English
  • Ebenezer Whitney
  • Benjamin Herrick
  • Jonathan Livermore, Jr.

In reviewing the early History of Boston and especially of Brighton (which in the early days was known as Little Cambridge), you will find the family names of many of these Charter members.

They were the descendants of a hardy breed who had known poverty and privation, they had a strong belief in God, Liberty, and Independence with the fortitude to undergo pain and peril to preserve their beliefs.

Most Worshipful Francis J. Oliver was Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts at the time Bethesda Lodge was granted its charter. Most Worshipful Brother Oliver was a very talented and able man. He was graduated from Harvard at the age of 18 and became one of the leading and most respected citizens of the City and State.

A matter of interest that should be noted is that it was during his term of Grand Master that the corner-stone of the Massachusetts General Hospital was laid by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. So Bethesda Lodge and the Massachusetts General Hospital have something in common.

The records of Bethesda Lodge A. F. & A. M. begin with the first meeting of the Lodge, which was held after the receipt of notice of the vote of Grand Lodge, on March 10th, 1819, granting a charter for the Lodge. The first meeting of the Lodge was held on March 18, 1819 in the Town Hall and there were present twelve substantial citizens of the town.

The following extracts are taken from the originals, which have been carefully preserved:

  • "Voted; that a committee of three be chosen to fix and furnish the Hall, and the following Brethren were chosen; Bro. Jonathan Livermore R.W.B., John Norcross, W.B., Edward Sparhawk, S.W. elect."
  • "Voted; that the same committee see what the Jewels can be procured for and report at the next meeting."
  • "Voted; to adjourn this meeting to Monday, the 27th. Inst, at Seven O'clock P.M., which night shall be considered our regular night till further regulations are made."


Attest, Joseph Warren, Sec.

The regular meeting was held on March 29th in Mason's Hall, with Master-elect John Norcross in the Chair. It was voted that a committee of three be chosen to make the By-Laws for the Lodge and that the 24th of June, next, be the day for our installation, and that a committee of one be chosen "to wait on the Grand Master and see if he can come on that day." It was further,

  • "Voted; to have an Altar erected" and
  • "Voted; that the Brethren pay $5.00 each as membership in the Lodge."

The following vote is an indication of the small size of the Lodge and the simplicity of the life of that day, for it was:

  • "Voted; that the Secretary call on all absent Brethren, in the course of the week and collect this fee for membership."

By April 12th there were sixteen members who had paid the fee of $5.00 for membership.

At the meeting on March 29th, 1819, the first candidates, two in number, were proposed for membership in the Lodge and a committee was chosen to inquire into the "caracter" of the candidates.

At the meeting on April 12th it was voted that the Second Tuesday in the month be the night for the regular Lodge meeting, and that the Second Tuesday of July, annually, be the time for the choice of officers.

At this meeting it was voted that when refreshments were served, every visiting Brother pay 25 cents. This vote has not been obeyed within the memory of this Historian, but might have proved of some help to the Treasury, if it had been.

During the early months of the life of the Lodge, meetings were held oftener than once a month and at several of them, action was taken on various details of the furnishing of the Lodge, as for instance, at the meeting on April 12th, it was voted to paper the Hall, and "Bro. C. Kimball gave the paper for it, which was accepted with the thanks of the Lodge." At later meetings it was voted to put in a new floor and procure a stove for it.

At the meeting on April 25th, 1819, the committee previously chosen to investigate the candidates, reported favorably and one was elected and given the First Degree, and paid $15.00. The other candidate was not balloted on until the next meeting and was then accepted.

The earliest records of the Lodge seem to indicate several differences in the procedure of the Lodge, as for instance: business seems to have been done when the Lodge was open on any Degree; a candidate given the Degrees did not thereby become a member of the Lodge, but at some later time, was balloted on for membership and paid a fee of $5.00. The fee paid at initiation did not cover all Degrees as candidates seem to have paid $5.00 when they received the Third Degree.

As candidates were few between the organization in March and the 24th of June, the time at meetings was used to rehearse the Lectures of the several Degrees. We now come to the first great day in the history of Bethesda Lodge. We have seen that as early as March 29th, it had been voted the Installation of officers should be on June 24th and at different meetings between March and June, committees had been appointed to arrange for the different features of the day. A committee was appointed to see the Parish committee of the First Parish Church and ask for the use of the Meeting House for the Installation ceremony, which was granted; a committee was appointed to secure tickets for the installation and appoint suitable places for the sale of them. The tickets were sold for $2.00 for men and $1.50 for ladies.

The following description of the exercises at the Installation and the celebration after it, are taken from the records of the Secretary:

"Special Meeting, June 24th, 1819. The Feast of St. John having been celebrated as a suitable occasion for the consecration of Bcthesda Lodge and the Installment of officers, the Lodge convened at their Hall at 9 A.M. and opened on the First Degree, and after a short session, adjourned to attend the Services of the day.

"After the arrival of the Grand Lodge and the Preparatory Services of it, a procession was formed under the direction of the Grand Marshal comprising a great number of visiting Brethren, officers of the various Lodges, Royal Arch Masons, the Encampment of Knights Templar in full dress with their banners displayed, Bethesda Lodge and Grand Lodge, which moved to the Meeting Flouse, accompanied by a band of music.

"After the ceremonies at the Church, which included a Hymn, Prayer, Address, Consecration to the memory of the Patron Saint, whose Festival had been celebrated that day, the officers were installed by the Grand Lodge officers, with a very impressive Charge given by the M.W. Grand Master, and a second Address.

"Appropriate music was interspersed through the whole performance which was witnessed by large numbers of spectators "and were conducted with a dignity and decorum as pleasurable to the Brethren as honorable to the Institution.

"On retiring from the Meeting House the procession was again formed, increased by some of the Rev. Clergy and a Brilliant Assemblage of Ladies, and repaired to an elegant bower, where dinner had been prepared in a superior stile . . . at which Invited guests enjoyed a feast of reason and a flow of social feelings, while the generous sentiment and lively song enlivened and added zest to the whole entertainment.

"Nothing of a disorderly nature, no instance of dissention, no act of intemperance occured to mar the festivities of the day and the company separated at an early hour, with more friendly feelings toward each other and with better impressions in favor of our excellent Institution.

"The Lodge returned to their Hall about 5 O'clock and closed in order, waiving usual ceremonies."

At a later meeting fifteen members paid $2.60 each and one visitor paid $1.50 for the music at the Installation.

For some unknown reason, Wor. Bro. John Norcross, the first Master-elect, failed to function after the earliest meetings, and although attempts were made by committees, to get him to act, he refused and was excused; and at another election the Senior and Junior Wardens-elect were advanced one station, and a new Junior Warden was elected. Worshipful Brother Norcross was later given a Demit and elected the first Honorary Member.

The first visitation of the R. W. District Deputy Grand Master was in November, 1819, with a collation, at which fifteen officers and members and fourteen visitors were present.

The history of Bethesda Lodge is closely connected with the history of the district in which it was organized and in which it has been active ever since.

The district known as Brighton was first a part of Cambridge, which was settled in 1638. It then included what is now Cambridge, Newton, Brighton, Arlington, Lexington, Billerica and Bedford. Brighton was set off as a separated Parish on April 2, 1779 and was incorporated as the Town of Brighton on February 24, 1807, and was annexed to Boston on January 5, 1874.

Brighton was settled by a number of families who came directly from England or who were of the early descendants of such emigrants, and many of the members of the families of those early settlers were living in Brighton during the early years of the Lodge.

It was just 12 years after Brighton became a Town that Bethesda was Chartered. The population of Brighton at that time was 702 "1820 Census".

The Town Hall at that time was situated at the corner of Market and Washington Streets. The Town Hall was located in the Meeting House of the First Parish Church which was erected in 1744.

EXCERPTS FROM EARLY RECORDS

September 1819. A Committee of one was chosen "to wait on Rt. Wor. Bro. Powers and request him, if consistent with his business, to put off our visitation to a more convenient time, on account of the Cattle Show."

At another meeting the records state that "The Lodge was closed, omitting all ceremonies, on account of the noise and tumult of the Cattle Show."

At the meeting after the first visitation by the District Deputy it was voted "That the Treasurer be requested to call on Mr. Aaron Fuller and pay his bill for entertaining if it does not exceed $1.20."

The Historian records: "that this was the Golden Age of American History when New England Rum was three cents a glass."

April 9, 1822. It was voted to have a Past Masters Jewel by subscription and have the Jewel marked: "If sufficient money is subscribed."

May 10, 1825. The quarterages (Dues) were reduced to 37x/2 cents and on January 8, 1828 they were placed at 25 cents. Wherever the obloquy gathered around Masonry at that time, it did not cost much in cash to be a Mason.

January 8, 1833. The record states that Bro. William Fletcher was elected Master, but declined to serve.

July 8, 1833. The first Committee on Charity was appointed, and apparently there has been need for a committee of this kind to function ever since.

One of the first acts of charity to relieve the distress of a needy brother is recorded in January 1826, when it was voted "That as a Lodge we truly lament the severe loss of R. W. Bro. Park, and the Treasurer present him with the sum of $50.00 as evidence of our sorrow for the heavy loss sustained to him by fire."

During the intervening years Bethesda can be justly proud of her charitable record. Propriety restrains the recording of these acts, but the records are testimony that a distressed brother, his widow, or orphans have never knowingly been neglected. December 11, 1833. The records say,

"The by-laws were changed so that the Master was to remain during the pleasure of the Lodge, instead of two years only." This was occasioned by what was known as the Anti-Masonic times or Morgan Inquisition.

"The events that aggravated and brought about these times are a chapter of Masonic History that we do not have time and space to relate. To quote Wor. Bro. Livermore, Historian for the 75th Anniversary of Bethesda Lodge.

"This country has seen fierce and bitter political contests but none has approached in intensity of those of the Anti-Masons against Masons — No relation of family or friend was a barrier to it. Not only were Teachers and Pastors driven from their stations, but children of Masons were excluded from their Schools and members from their Churches. The Sacraments were refused to Masons. Families were divided, brothers were arrayed against brothers, fathers against sons, and even the wife against husband. Desperate efforts were made to take away charted rights from the Masonic Corporation and to pass laws that should prevent Masons from meeting and performing their ceremonies."

For 18 years this Lodge did not receive an application or confer a degree, yet through all that long period it met regularly, preserved its organization and recorded its constancy.

Proud therefore are we of those who during these trying and troublesome times faithfully and loyally carried on, that our original charter was preserved when many were given up, and the old 'Bethesda Banner' like that of the American Flag has never struck the ground.

During these trying but stirring times Ebenezer Fuller was the Master; serving from 1831 to 1848. When the young daughter of this Lodge was constituted in 1920 what greater name could they have honored than by using that of the one who so nobly and fearlessly preserved for this Lodge its Charter. He was truly named 'Ebenezer' the rock; and on February 13, 1849, he laid down the gavel and as the record says, "Delivered a very able and appropriate address on resigning the chair which he had filled with honor to himself and the Craft since January 25, 1831." From the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge 1844, Vol. IV, P. 740

The R.W. Bro. E. M. P. Wells offered the following resolution which was adopted:

"Resolved: That the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts views with cordial approbation, and the highest admiration, the firm unyielding, and right onward course of Bethesda Lodge of Brighton; in that for the past 8 years, though old members have every year been leaving them, and not one new member has been made yet they have maintained their connexion with, and paid their dues to this Grand Lodge with the fidelity of a Hiram Abif."
Charles W. Moore, Rec. Grand Sec.
March 11. 1845

"The Wor. Master proposed the names of Edward Spar-hawk and John Gordon for degrees in Bethesda Lodge"— eighteen years before they had last listened to the reading of an application. This was followed on March 6, 1846 by one from John Duncklee. From this time on applications were numerous. Hope burned brightly, and life and energy rapidly succeeded to the torpor and depression of years. Up to January 1850 the Lodge met on the 2nd Tuesday of the month. On January 8, 1850 it was voted: "to hold the monthly meeting on the Tuesday on or before the Full Moon."

This change was probably made for the desirability of having light for driving or walking home after the meetings.

This was in effect until 1893 when it was voted to hold the meetings on the first Tuesday which has been the custom ever since.

MEETING PLACES

The first meeting place is presumed to have been in the Town Hall, on the second floor of the First Parish Church, which at that time was near the corner of Market and Washington Street.

At the completion of the New Town Hall in 1842 the old Town Hall was sold and the Lodge must have changed its meeting place, but the records do not show it. There is a tradition that at one time it met at the house of Bro. Stephen Stone, and without doubt it was at this time.

In 1844- the records state that the Lodge met in the new Hall in the School House. This was the High School Building then situated on Rockland Street, now Academy Hill Road. This Hall was probably used for about 10 years.

From 1854 to 1860 it is believed the Meetings were held in rooms over the Baxter and Sanborn Store on Washington Street nearly opposite Market Street.

In 1860 the Lodge moved to new and more commodious quarters in The Dr. Mason Building at the corner of Washington Street and Harvard Place.

In 1870 the Lodge moved to the Osborne Block where it remained for ten years. On January 11, 1870 with M. W. Winslow Lewis, Past Grand Master presiding, a special meeting of the Grand Lodge was called at Brighton to dedicate the new Hall of Bethesda Lodge.

In 1880 the Lodge moved again to the Warren Building on Washington Street. In this location it undoubtedly received more members than in any other location. In 1920 alone 120 applications were submitted for Degrees and 97 candidates were raised.

That year ten Regular and thirty-four Special Meetings were held. The only Line Officer living today who survived the grueling year is Wor. Bro. Clarence Holman who was then Senior Deacon.

Many of the old members have a fond memory for the Old Hall, especially the two long, long flights of stairs you had to climb to reach the Inner Chamber.

In 1898 a building fund was established and grew by gifts from members and two bequests from Bro. William R. Rollins and Wor. Bro. Charles E. Holman, so that by 1941 we had the sum of $23,577.

In May and June 1915, while Warren Hall was being renovated, Bethesda Lodge met in the Masonic Hall of Beth-horon Lodge of Brookline at the corner of Harvard and Kent Streets, Brookline.

In 1941 the Lodge took over the Church Building of the First Parish Church and made such alterations and repairs necessary for the artistic and ample apartments we now occupy.

This Church Building was built and dedicated in 1895 and is rich in cultural and historic value. Thus we have completed a cycle for it was in the Town Hall in the Old First Parish Church where the first meetings and installation of officers took place in 1819.

May 6, 1941. Wor. Bro. Teudesman reported for the Building Committee that the estimated repairs and alterations to the church property under consideration would be $6,154; carpets, $1,123; pavements east and west entrances $120; a total of $7,510. No figures for chairs were available. The assessed valuation of the property is $47,000, but there would be no taxes. The purchase price would be the amount now in the Building Fund less the above estimated figures for remodeling, etc. The estimated cost of operation would be about $1,600 a year or $350 more than our present rent. This additional amount could probably be met by other Masonic Bodies who have expressed a desire to hold their meetings in these quarters.

Wor. Bro. Clarence N. Holman then presented the following motion which was seconded by Bro. Hugh H. Beaton:

Moved: "That a committee of five of whom one shall be a past-master, one a trustee and the present master exofficio, be empowered to negotiate with the officers of the First Parish Church for the purchase of the church building and land on Chestnut Hill Avenue owned by them and that a sum not exceeding #23,000 be appropriated from the Building Fund for the purchase and alteration, necessary repairs, to the building and equipment for the same for lodge purposes."

EARLY MASTERS

Including our present Master, Bethesda Lodge has been served by ninety-three Worshipful Masters, twenty-seven now living. We have been most fortunate in the selection of the men who have served us. Many have held high positions in the business, professional and Masonic world.

1st Master: As has been noted our first elected Master, John Norcross, for some unknown reason never served. He demitted in January 1821 and was made an Honorary Member.

2nd Master: Our second Master, 1820-1821, Dr. Francis Moore, was a practicing physician. Historical records state that he lived on Fanueil Street, but left town in 1828. Mrs. Moore was the person who suggested that the new lodge be called Bethesda.

3rd and 5th Master: All that history and the records relate about our third and fifth Past Master, Wor. Thomas Park, was that he was a Charter Member of Bethesda Lodge and had seven children. He was a signer of the Boston Declaration of 1831. The Lodge records of January 10, 1826 relate that he sustained a heavy loss by fire and a resolution was proposed to alleviate his distress.

4th Master: Wor. Bro. Joseph Warren: Charter Member of Bethesda, born November 8, 1775. First Secretary of the Lodge, 1819-1847. Worshipful Master, 1824-1825. Also known as Captain Joseph Warren. Signer of the Boston Declaration of 1831 (See Chapter under Secretaries). Died at Brighton in October, 1855.

6th Master: Wor. William R. Champney, son of Nathanial Champney, a descendant of one of the original settlers, was born in Brighton, March 18, 1798. He became a member of Bethesda Lodge in 1820, was Wor. Master in 1828-1829 and was Treasurer from 1848 to 1875. He died on Christmas Day, 1884, in his 87th year. He held several Town Offices: Constable, Clerk of the Market and Selectman.

Bro. William Cotton, Secretary of Bethesda Lodge records: "It was my fortune to be the last member of Bethesda to converse with Wor. Bro. Champney. I called to wish him a "Merry Christmas" and found him lying partly dressed on the couch in the room in which he was born, apparently brighter than I had seen him for some days, but within a half hour after I left the house he passed away."

The Champney House, one of the oldest houses in Brighton, stood on the right side of Washington Street, #655, going up from Oak Square. It was demolished in the 1920's.

7th Master: Wor. Bro. Benjamin W. Hobart was Master in 1830. He signed the Boston Declaration of 1831. He was born in Groton, Massachusetts in 1796 and died at Brighton, Massachusetts in 1864.

8th Master: Ebenezer Fuller was born in Brighton, Massachusetts on February 19, 1793. He married Sarah Jackson Hastings on April 30, 1815. He was a descendant of Amos Fuller, one of the first settlers of Needham. He was a Charter Member of Bethesda Lodge and served as Master from 1831 to 1848 during the anti-Masonic times. Known as the "Savior of Bethesda Lodge" I have heard it said that he preserved the Charter by secreting it in the hollow trunk of an apple tree, although there is no authentic record of this fact.

Our Sister Lodge, Instituted in 1920, was named Ebenezer Fuller after him. Signer of the Boston Declaration of 1831, he died at Brighton, Massachusetts in January, 1879, at the age of 86.

9th Master: Amos Wright, Charter Member of Bethesda Lodge, was Worshipful Master in 1849. He was born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1783. He was a carpenter by trade. He was a signer of the Boston Declaration in 1831. He died in November, 1858.

It will be noted that many of our early Past Masters were signers of the Boston Declaration of 1831. This was a Declaration by the Free Masons of Boston and vicinity, presented to the public on December 31, 1831, in the midst of the anti-Masonic agitation. It was a statement of the principles of Free Masonry and a denial of the allegations that had been reiterated against the order and its members. Twelve men from the Town of Brighton, mostly members of Bethesda Lodge were among the signers. It took courage and fortitude in those times "to stand up and be counted."

10th Master: Wor. Edward C. Sparhawk, Master in 1850-1851, was born in Brighton in 1805. His father, Edward Sparhawk, was one of the Charter members of Bethesda Lodge. At an early age, Edward Sparhawk, like many other New England boys, desired to be independent and gain experience by a trip to sea. He made several voyages to different parts of the world and gained the position of mate, after which he returned home and took charge of the home farm. On this, as in other undertakings, he was successful.

He was a tall, erect gentleman of the old school. For many years he was a Selectman and Assessor for the Town of Brighton; a Director of the Market National Bank; and President and Director of the Citizens Mutual Insurance Company. In religion he was an uncompromising Universalist and built and furnished the Universalist Church in Allston. He died on May 31, 1890 at the age of 85.

11th Master: Wor. Sumner Wellman was born in Farrington, Maine, on October 11, 1811. He came to Brighton, Massachusetts in 1835. He ran a line of omnibuses from Brighton to Boston. (A four wheel vehicle with seats along the side.) In 1850, five trips in each direction were provided daily. The tickets were 25 cents or six tickets for $1.00. He was Master of Bethesda Lodge from 1852-1856. He died on December 31, 1880.

12th Master: Right Wor. F. Lyman Winship was born in Brighton on January 25, 1827. He was the son of Jonathon Winship who was widely known as the owner of the Brighton Nurseries. He succeeded his father in the business. No town meeting was considered perfect unless he was the Moderator and he was considered one of the finest in the Country. For several years he was Town Auditor and served seven years on the School Committee. He received his Degrees in 1851. He was Master of Bethesda Lodge from 1857 to 1861. He served as District Deputy Grand Master, 1870-1871. He was Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge in 1881. He died in Brighton on December 10, 1884.

13th Master: Wor. Weare D. Bickford was born in Epson, New Hampshire in 1815. He came to Boston at the age of 18. He was in the ship chandlery business with his brother Samuel. He lived on Lincoln Street, Boston, and then moved to Gardener Street, Allston. He was a Selectman from 1864-1871. He was a 32nd Degree Mason, serving as Master of Bethesda Lodge 1861-1862. He died at Newton, Massachusetts, November 2, 1890.

14th Master: Wor. Charles H. B. Breck, son of Joseph Breck, the founder of the Agricultural House of Joseph Breck & Sons, was born in Pepperell, Massachusetts in August 1820. He came to Brighton at an early age. He was educated at Lancaster Academy and entered business with his father and in 1850 became a partner in the firm, which he helped develop and expand so that it became widely known throughout the country. He served four years on the School Committee and six years on the Board of Aldermen. A very prominent member of the Massachusetts Llorticultural Society, he served 17 years on its Committees and as Vice President. He was also Director of the Metropolitan National Bank of Boston. He served as Master of Bethesda Lodge in 1864-1866. The Historian records that "He is one of a small minority of citizens, who in a Samaritan way sacrificed substantially, personally, and physically to aid the sick and unfortunate."

15th and 17th Master: Wor. Bro. Eben D. Jones served as Master in 1867-1868 and again in 1870. Wor. Bro. Livermore, the Historian at the 75th Anniversary, records the following: "Ernest and enthusiastic, loving Masonry beyond all else and infusing that love into the hearts of all with whom he came in contact — died at the early age of 52, when misfortune and disaster laid their heavy hands upon him he bore all with patient and pathetic fortitude."

16th Master: Washington H. Merritt, Worshipful Master in 1869. He probably received his degrees in another Lodge and affiliated with Bethesda in 1864. No further record or data of his death can be found.

18th Master: Wor. Bro. Louis H. Adams, Master in 1871-1872. He was an exceptional character who gave to friendship a new meaning, so faithful, ardent and intense was his. He was a gentleman in the truest sense of the word and greatly admired by all who knew him. He died at Brighton on July 5, 1888.

19th Master: Wor. Bro. George B. Livermore was born in Brighton on May 11, 1836, a descendant of one of the early settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts. His grandfather, Jonathon Livermore, Jr., was a charter member of Bethesda Lodge. He received his degrees in 1867 and was Worshipful Master in 1871-1872. He served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1880-1881. His daughter married Wor. Brother Herbert A. Wilson who was Master of Bethesda Lodge in 1921.

Wor. Bro. Livermore was historian at the 75th Anniversary in 1894. He was a Trustee of the Brighton Five Cent Savings Bank. Modest, unassuming, gentlemanly, cultivated by his extensive reading of superior literature, he died at Brighton on September 26, 1915.

20th Master: S. T. P. Martin, descendant of an old colonial family, became a member of Bethesda Lodge in 1869. He was Master in 1875-1876. He was engaged in the wholesale hardware business.

Abstract from the resolutions passed at the time of his death: "He honorably filled the various offices to which he was appointed. He presided over the Lodge with conspicuous ability and courtesy and left the Master's chair possessed of the gratitude, respect and confidence of every member. He had a thorough knowledge of Masonic law acquired by earnest and attentive study." Active in the work of the First Parish Church, and founder of the Unity Club and its first President, he died on December 30, 1899.

EARLY SECRETARIES

If Bethesda Lodge has had able and efficient Masters, it was largely due to the fact that from the beginning the Lodge has been blessed with a line of faithful and hard working secretaries.

The first secretary, Wor. Bro. Joseph Warren, served as secretary from 1819 to 1847 with the exception of the years 1823-1824 when he was Worshipful Master. Twenty-eight years of constant service during which time he scarcely missed a meeting. A worthy member of that family which has furnished brilliant names in our national and local history. He was also Town Clerk for 18 years, 1817-1835; served as Constable, and a member of the School Committee for three years. With all these duties he found time to pursue his trade as carpenter. Known also as Capt. Joseph Warren, the source for this commission cannot be ascertained, but it could be assumed to derive from service in the War of 1812 or as a member of the Militia. He died in Brighton in October, 1855.

Brother John Duncklee served as Secretary from 1847 to 1849. He was the father of Wor. Joshua S. Duncklee, our distinguished Past Master (1887-1888). The Brighton Historian, Bro. J. P. C. Winship states: "He was born in Amherst, N. H. and came to Brighton about 1838. He was tall, erect, and an exceedingly honorable man. He was strong in his democratic views and might be termed as an Andrew Jackson type of man."

The records between 1849 and 1891 have not been made available, but during part of that time Bro. J. P. C. Winship, the noted Brighton Historian, held the office of Secretary.

For a number of years Bro. Edward A. Story was Secretary. It is recorded that he was Superintendent of the Winship Nurseries and a member of the committee on the laying-out of Evergreen Cemetery.

From 1891 to 1916 Bro. William M. Cotton was the efficient and faithful Secretary. He was a native of Meredeth, N. H., born in 1840, and received his degrees in Bethesda Lodge in 1880. There still may be a few of us who remember him — all six foot four inches of him, as a conscientious Police Officer. He died at Brighton, Massachusetts, May 8, 1927 after 47 years of service to Bethesda Lodge, twenty-five of which he served as Secretary. Masonic Funeral Services were held at the Brighton Congregational Church on May 11, 1927.

ANNIVERSARIES

On March 12, 1894 the Lodge received friends and invited guests to the number of 200 to celebrate the 75th Anniversary. This was held in the Lodge quarters in the Warren Building and adjacent Warren Hall. A Historical address was delivered by Wor. Bro. George B. Livermore.

A copy of this is in the Lodge files and it records in detail many of the events of the first 75 years of the Lodge.

From the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge 1908, p. 167, under Visits of the Most Worshipful John Albert Blake, Grand Master:

March 3, 1908: I attended Bethesda Lodge of Brighton, on the occasion of its 89th Anniversary and 1200th meeting accompanied by six Grand Officers; also 20 Brethren representing the Masters' Association of the Fifth District."

The Secretary records of Bethesda Lodge are not available to elaborate on this event.

In 1919 our Centennial Anniversary was celebrated with Wor. William M. Farrington serving as Chairman and Frank Perry as Presiding Master.

On Sunday, March 9th, at 3 P.M., services were held at the Brighton Congregational Church. The Secretary records that there were 107 members and 5 visitors present; also that the festivities of the day were marred by the exceedingly heavy rain.

On Monday evening, March 10th, at 6 P.M., a banquet was held at the Hotel Somerset, followed by speakers and a musical program.

The Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, was present on both occasions with a distinguished suite of officers.

115th BIRTHDAY PARTY

There was a gathering of some two hundred members and guests of Bethesda Lodge, A.F. & A.M., at Warren Hall on Tuesday evening when the one hundred fifteenth anniversary of the founding of the Lodge was observed with a turkey dinner and entertainment.

Dr. Roy B. Stewart, Worshipful Master, was in charge of the evening and presided most acceptably as Master of Ceremonies.

Speakers of the evening included Bro. Leverett Saltonstall, Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives; Rt. Wor. Joseph Earl Perry, District Deputy Grand Master; Rt. Wor. Walter M. McCammon, District Deputy Grand Master, Waltham Fifth District; Wor. Edwin O. Childs, ex-Mayor of Newton; Rt. Wor. James Young, Deputy Grand Master; and Bro. Martin Hays, Representative. Interspersed with the speaking were vocal and instrumental selections by Miss Mildred Beardsley and dance specialties by Miss Bunny.

Almost without exception, the speakers, after congratulating the Lodge on its long record of service, dealt with the present situation existing throughout the country and stressed the necessity, now if ever, for Masons to live up to the principles of their craft in the endeavor to bring about normal conditions.

This certainly was a distinguished group of speakers. Bro. Leverett Saltonstall was elected Lt. Governor and then Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after which he served for three terms as Senator from Massachusetts in the U. S. Senate.

Rt. Wor. Joseph Earl Perry, then District Deputy, was also a Representative in the Massachusetts Legislature. He later was elected Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. He also was appointed Commissioner of Banking for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Rt. Wor. Walter McCammon was honored and served in the Highest Offices of the Higher Masonic Bodies.

Wor. Edwin O. Childs was one of the most gifted orators of his time. He served the City of Newton for 22 years as Mayor.

Our own Rt. Wor. James Young served the Grand Lodge as Deputy Grand Master and was awarded almost all the honors a Mason could receive.

Bro. Martin Hays, a member of Bethesda Lodge, represented the Brighton-Allston District in the Massachusetts Legislature for a quarter of a century.

During the evening there was community singing with Walter J. Hayes at the piano. Mr. Hayes also acted as accompanist for the entertainers.

At the close of the program in the main hall there was adjournment to the Lodge room where an historical address was read by Wor. Harry K. Newhall, a direct descendant of Moses Kingsley, one of the Charter members of the Lodge. Records of some of the earlier meetings were also presented by the Secretary, Wor. Leon E. Smith.

THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY

The 125th Anniversary was properly observed in our new and present Lodge quarters. Wor. Bro. Walter W. Weedon was Master of Ceremonies and Wor. Bro. Walter V. Batson was Historian.

On Sunday, March 5, 1944, a Divine Service of Worship was held at the Brighton Congregational Church with, as the guest of honor, Chaplain Rev. Bro. Silas W. Anthony. The sermon was delivered by Rt. Wor. Francis D. Taylor, D. D., Deputy Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts.

On Friday evening, March 10, 1944, a dinner was served in the Banquet Hall, and at 8:00 o'clock the Most Worshipful Arthur W. Coolidge, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and a distinguished Suite of Grand Officers were received in the Lodge Room.

The Grand Master gave the principal address and there were remarks by other guests. The Weber Quartet provided the musical entertainment.

EXCERPTS FROM LODGE RECORDS 1913 TO 1968

October 7, 1913. Application of George Churchill Kenny, Civil Engineer, was received. On November 4, the application was accepted. He was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason by Wor. Bro. James Young. This was no other than General George C. Kenny (now retired), Commander of all the U. S. Air Forces in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, and next in command to General Douglas MacArthur. (Now a Life Member and residing in New York.)

March 30, 1915. Plans for the renovation and changes of Warren Hall (plans on file in the records) at a cost of not over $3400 adopted.

April 6, 1915. Rt. Wor. William Hunt was present on an informal visit and presented Wor. Bro. James Young, Jr., with a duplicate Past Master's diploma to replace the one lost in the Salem fire.

October 1918. By dispensations from the Grand Lodge this meeting was omitted on account of the prevailing "flu" epidemic.

June 26, 1919. A Special Communication of Bethesda Lodge was held in the Chapel of the Masonic Home in Charlton. With Wor. Bro. Frank Perry presiding, Bro. Frank David Keen was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. At the completion of the work, the Master, on behalf of the Lodge presented to the Home a beautiful picture entitled "Blue Ionic Heather". Thirty-eight members participated in the trip.

June 1, 1920. A petition for a new Masonic Lodge at Brighton, Massachusetts to be known as Ebenezer Fuller Lodge, was received and read. By vote of the Lodge the petition was approved.

October 4, 1927. Members of the Adassachusetts Savings Bank Club were guests of the evening and took an active part in the Raising of different candidates. Wor. Bro. H. Wendell Prout of Bethesda Lodge, Treasurer of the Home Savings Bank, was host and presiding officer.

April 3, 1928. Information regarding the forming of a Lodge of Instruction presented. The first meeting after organization was held on October 23, (Newtonville).

January 8, 1929. Wor. Bro. Conkey notified the Lodge of the appointment of Rt. Wor. James Young, Jr., by the Grand Master, as Deputy Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. On March 5, the Lodge voted to procure a suitable jewel for Rt. Wor. Bro. Young.

April 2, 1929. The meeting was devoted to a reception by members and ladies in honor of Rt. Wor. James Young as Deputy Grand Master. A committee consisting of all Past and Presiding Masters of the District with Wor. Bro. Herbert Wilson as Chairman, escorted him into the Lodge-room where he was given a hearty welcome. Rt. Wor. Bro. Rudolph Burrough outlined some of Bro. Young's accomplishments in Masonry and presented him with a Deputy Grand Master's Jewel as a gift from Bethesda Lodge. After retiring to Warren Hall a reception and dancing followed. A very enjoyable evening and a notable one in the History of Bethesda Lodge.

January 7, 1930. It was announced that Rt. Wor. Bro. James Young had been recently presented with a Henry Price Medal for distinguished Service to Masonry. Rt. Wor. Bro. Young being present offered a few remarks. He said that he was proud to be a member of Bethesda Lodge; that Bethesda Lodge was held in high regard by the Grand Lodge and that we stood among the first fifteen Lodges in the State in our contributions to the Masonic Hospital.

June 6, 1933. It was voted to change the date of the Annual Meeting from the first Tuesday in December to the first Tuesday in September.

January 2, 1935. The Worshipful Master announced that Bethesda Lodge had been honored by the appointment of Rt. Wor. H. Wendell Prout as Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge; also Wor. Leon E. Smith was appointed Grand Standard Bearer.

April 2, 1935. A reception was held to honor Rt. Wor. H. Wendell Prout. The Most Worshipful Grand Master with twenty-four guests from the Grand Lodge were escorted to the head table in Warren Hall where dinner was served. Bro. Everett A. Kelley, Senior Warden, presided. Wor. Bro. Ben Wood had been called away on business. There were 175 present.

After dinner the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Claude L. Allen, was escorted into the Lodge Room with a very distinguished Suite. Among the guests were two other Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge: Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince and Most Worshipful Curtis Chipman.

Rt. Wor. H. Wendell Prout was presented to the East and the Grand Master presented him with a Deputy Grand Master's Jewel as a gift from the members of Bethesda Lodge. Rt. Wor. Bro. Prout was escorted to the East for a second time and the Grand Master presented him with a Henry Price Medal explaining that this medal was presented only to distinguished Brothers selected by the Grand Master as worthy of a Special Masonic Recognition.

This was the second time within a period of eight years that Bethesda Lodge has been honored by having one of its Past Masters appointed to be the Deputy Grand Master.

September 3, 1935. Wor. Bro. Wood announced that a check of $507.00 for the Building Fund had been received in accordance with the provisions in the Will of our late Bro. William R. Rollins.

December 7, 1937. Fathers and Sons night observed.

October 7, 1941. The Secretary read a communication from Rt. Wor. James Young, Jr., who enclosed a check for $25.00 for the Masonic Service Fund stating that the Lodges were asked to contribute on a basis of $.50 per member for Masonic work among the men in the active service of the United States.

November 4, 1941. We were greatly honored by the presence of Most Worshipful Herbert Dean, Past Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, who gave us a very interesting talk on Masonic Service.

October 5, 1943. Following the Installation, Wor. Bro. Charles Warren was conducted to the East and Rt. Wor. H. Wendell Prout presented him with the Past Master's Jewel which was worn by his father, Wor. Bro. George W. Warren, who presided over Bethesda Lodge in 1889-1890.

October 2, 1945. Wor. Bro. Chester G. Parsons presented Wor. Bro. Leon E. Smith with a desk set from Bethesda Lodge as a mark of appreciation of his seventeen years service as Secretary and for his work in the interests of Masonry in general as District Deputy Grand Master.

February 4, 1947. On motion of Wor. Bro. Everett A. Kelley, it was voted that $236.00 from the Charity Fund be allocated for a member who had lost his leg and still owed for an artificial limb.

April 12, 1948. The Lodge received the Brighton Assembly No. 62 Order of Rainbow Girls who gave an exemplification of the Candidates Degree. This was given by about fifty young ladies who performed with beauty, grace and accuracy, and received hearty applause which was well merited.

June 3, 1952. Wor. Bro. Everett A. Kelley was presented the Joseph Warren Medal by R. W. Carl C. Peterson, District Deputy Grand Master, by direction of the Grand Master. This medal is also known as the Distinguished Service Medal and is conferred upon such Brethren who have labored long and well in the interests of their Lodge — and their fellow-men.

March 2, 1954. Rev. Bro. Henry Hallam Saunderson was elected to Honorary Membership. Pastor of the First Parish Church, Chaplain of Bethesda Lodge and Associate Chaplain of Ebenezer Fuller Lodge, it was through his efforts and devotion to Masonry that we were able to acquire the lease and later purchase the beautiful Temple in which we now assemble.

October 5, 1954. The Secretary announced that under the Will of Mildred N. Prout (widow of Rt. Wor. H. Wendell Prout) that Bethesda Lodge would receive a third of the residue of her estate estimated at between $10,000 and $11,000.

April 2, 1957. Fifth Masonic District Project for 1957. To replace 180 old chairs in the dining room of the Masonic Home at Charlton. Bethesda share is 11 chairs at $20.00 a piece. Bethesda Lodge over subscribed by $151.00.

September 5, 1961. The Lodge voted to buy a flag of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the purchase price not to exceed $80.00.

October 3, 1961. The Secretary announced the receipt of $500.00 under the Will of our late Brother Benjamin Snider. It was voted to place same in Bethesda Lodge Charity Fund.

January 2, 1962. The Past Master's Jewel and coveted Joseph Warren Medal belonging to our late Past Master, Wor. Everett Kelley, were presented to the Lodge by his daughter.

June 5, 1962. Rev. Bro. Dr. Harold Bursey was elected to Honorary Membership in recognition of faithful performance of his duties as Chaplain. Wor. Walter Weeden tendered his resignation as Secretary after 16 years of faithful service.

March 5, 1963. Recognition was extended to our Senior Past Master, Wor. Clarence N. Holman, on his SOth Anniversary as a member of Bethesda Lodge.

May 6, 1964. Table Lodge was declared open by Rt. Wor. Cecil R. Crissey who gave a description of Table Lodges in ancient times. He asked the Brethren to imagine that they were in the "Green Dragon Tavern in Ole Boston Town". The first toast was to the President of the United States. The next toast was to our late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and the next to our Most Worshipful Grand Master. (On several occasions since the above date the work of the Table Lodge has been exemplified.)

Reviewing the history of Bethesda Lodge, one will observe that the founders of this Lodge, and those that followed for the first half century, were for the most part descendants of old New England Colonial Stock.

During the next few decades there was an influx of membership from English, Scottish, German and Scandinavian ancestry. These men were more or less familiar or had some knowledge of Masonry and were easily assimilated. From 1900 on immigration to this country was to a great extent from Italy, Greece, Armenia and other Mediterranean areas. In the past 30 years the sons and grandsons of these men, having had the advantage of our culture and educational facilities, and no doubt having observed the high character shown by the members of our Fraternity, began knocking on the doors of Free Masonry for admission. To the everlasting honor of Bethesda Lodge, she listened and opened her doors and admitted those that were qualified. Our ritual proclaims that "Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance."

Two years ago this logic was fulfilled when on three different occasions we observed a Scotch night, an Armenian night, and a Greek night. Descendants of these races performed an impressive exemplification of the Degree work that any Lodge would be proud to observe.

Bethesda's past is revered and honorable and a tribute to its founders. Its present is reflected in the heritage of its past, with Brotherly love prevailing.

With an energetic membership, and a beautiful meeting place, may the tenets of our profession be transmitted from generation to generation.

"To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way,
And the High Soul climbs the High Way,
And the Low Soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth,
A High Way, and a Low.
And every man decideth
The Way his soul shall go."

- John Oxenham

175TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MARCH 1994

From Proceedings, Page 1994-33:

The History of Bethesda Lodge legally begins with the first meeting of the Lodge, in the Town Hall of Brighton on March 15, 1819, after the granting of a Charter by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on March 10, 1819.

The Charter was granted to: John Norcross, Josiah Holland, Joseph Warren, Elijah Corey, Ebenezer Fuller, Jr., Ebenezer Whitney, Moses Kingsley, Ebenezer Kimball, Edward Sparhawk, Amos Wright, Stephen Stone, John English, Solomon Rice, Jonathan Livermore, Jr., Francis Moore, Thomas Park, Charles Dana, S.W. Pomery, Timothy Corey and Benjamin Herrick.

In reviewing the early History of Boston and especially of Brighton (which in the early days was known as Little Cambridge), you will find the family names of many of these Charter members. They were the descendants of a hardy breed who had known poverty and privation, they had a strong belief in God, Liberty, and Independence with the fortitude to undergo pain and peril to their beliefs.

Most Worshipful Francis J. Oliver was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mass. at the time Bethesda Lodge was granted its charter. Most Worshipful Oliver was a very talented and able man. He was graduated from Harvard at the age of 18 and became one of the leading and most respected citizens of the City and State.

A matter of interest that should be noted is that it was during his term of Grand Master that the cornerstone of the Mass. General Hospital was laid by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, so Bethesda Lodge and the Mass General Hospital have something in common.

The records of the Bethesda Lodge A. F. & A. M. begin with the first meeting of the Lodge, which was held after the receipt of notice of the vote of Grand Lodge, on March 10th, 1819, Granting a charter for the Lodge. The first meeting of the Lodge was held on March 18, 1819 in the Town Hall and there were present twelve substantial citizens of the town.

The following extracts are taken from the originals, which have been carefully preserved:

  • "Voted: that a committee of three be chosen to fix and furnish the Hall, and the following Brethren were chosen: Bro. Jonathan Livermore R. W. B., John Norcross, W. B., and Edward Sparhawk, S. W. elect."
  • "Voted: that the same committee see what the Jewels can be procured for and report at the next meeting."
  • "Voted: to adjourn this meeting to Monday, the 27th. Inst. At Seven O'clock P.M., which night shall be considered our regular night till further regulations are made."
  • Attest, Joseph Warren, Sec.

The Regular meeting was held on March 29th in Mason's Hall, with Master-elect John Norcross in the Chair. It was voted that a committee of three be chosen to make the by-laws for the Lodge and that the 24th of June, next, be the day for our installation, and that a committee of one be chosen "to wait on the Grand Master and see if he can come on that day." It was further, "Voted: to have an Altar erected: and "Voted: that the Brethren pay $5.00 each as membership in the Lodge."

The following vote is an indication of the small size of the Lodge and the simplicity of the life of that day, for it was: "Voted: that the Secretary call on all absent Brethren, in the course of the week and collect this fee for membership."

By April 12th there were sixteen members who had paid the fee of $5.00 for membership.

At the meeting on March 29th, 1918, the first candidates, two in number, were proposed for membership in the Lodge and a committee was chosen to inquire into the "character" of the candidates.

At the meeting on April 12th it was voted that the Second Tuesday in the month be the night for the regular Lodge Meeting, and the Second Tuesday of July, annually, be the time for the choice of officers.

At this meeting it was voted that when refreshments were served, every visiting Brother pay 25 cents. This vote has not been obeyed within the memory of this historian, but might have proved of some help to the Treasury, if it had been.

During the early months of the life of the Lodge, meetings were held more often than once a month and at several of them, action was taken on various details of the furnishings of the Lodge, as for instance, at the meeting on April 12, it was voted to paper the hall, and "Bro. C. Kimball gave the paper for it, which was accepted with the thanks of the Lodge. At later meetings it was voted to put in a new floor and procure a stove for it.

At the meeting on April 25th, 1819, the committee previously chosen to investigate the candidates, reported favorably and one was elected and given the First Degree, and paid $15.00. The other candidate was not balloted on until the next meeting and was then accepted. The earliest records of the Lodge seem to indicate several differences in the procedure of the Lodge, as for instance: business seems to have been done when the Lodge was open on any Degree: a candidate given the Degrees did not thereby become a member of the Lodge, but at some later time, was balloted on for membership and paid a fee of $5.00. The fee paid at initiation did not cover all Degrees as candidates seem to have paid $5.00 when they received the Third Degree.

As candidates were few between the organization in March and the 24th of June, the time at meetings was used to rehearse the Lectures of the several Degrees.

We now come to the first great day in (he history of Bethesda Lodge. We have seen that as early as March 29th, it had been voted the Installation of officers should be on June 24th and at different meetings between March and June, committees had been appointed to arrange for the different features of the day. A committee was appointed to see the Parish Committee of the First Parish Church and ask for the use of the Meeting House for the Installation Ceremony, which was granted; a committee was appointed to secure tickets for the Installation and appoint suitable places for the sale of them. The tickets were sold for $2.00 for men and $1.50 for ladies.

The following description of the exercises at the Installation and the celebration after it, are taken from the records of the Secretary: Special Meeting, June 24th, 1819. The Feast of Saint John having been celebrated as a suitable occasion for the consecration of Bethesda Lodge and the Installment of Officers, the Lodge convened at their Hall at 9 A. M. and opened on the First Degree, and after a short session, adjourned to attend the Services of the day.

After the arrival of the Grand Lodge and the Preparatory Services of it, a procession was formed under the direction of the Grand Marshall comprising a great number of visiting brethren, officers of various Lodges, Royal Arch Masons, the Encampment of Knights Templar in full dress with their banners displayed, Bethesda Lodge and the Grand Lodge, which moved to the Meeting House, accompanied by a band of music.

After the ceremonies at the church, which included a Hymn, Prayer, Address, Consecration to the memory of the Patron Saint, whose Festival had been celebrated that day, the officers were installed by the Grand Lodge Officers with a very impressive charge given by the M. W. Grand Master, and a second Address.

Appropriate music was interspersed through the whole performance which was witnessed by a large number of spectators and were conducted with a dignity and decorum as pleasurable to the Brethren as honorable to the Institution.

"On retiring from the Meeting House the procession was again formed, increased by some of the Rev. Clergy and a Brilliant Assemblage of Ladies, and repaired to an elegant bower, where dinner had been prepared in a superior style at which Invited guests enjoyed a feast of reason and a flow of social feelings, while the generous sentiment and lively song enlivened and added zest to the whole entertainment."

"Nothing of a disorderly nature, no instance of dissension, no act of intemperance occurred to mar the festivities of the day and the company separated at an early hour, with more friendly feelings toward each other and with better impressions in favor of our excellent Institution."

"The Lodge returned to their Hall about 5 O'clock and closed in order, waiving usual ceremonies."

At a later meeting fifteen members paid $2.60 each and one visitor paid $1.50 for the music at the Installation.

For some unknown reason, R. W. B. John Norcross, the first Master-elect, failed to function after the earliest meetings, and although attempts were made by committees, to get him to act, he refused and was excused: and at another election the Senior and Junior Wardens-elect were advanced one station, and a new Junior Warden was elected. R. W. B. Norcross was later given a Demit and elected the first Honorary member.

The first visitation of the R. W. District Deputy Grand Master was in November, 1819, with a collation, at which fifteen officers and members and fourteen visitors were present.

The history of the Bethesda Lodge is closely connected with the history of the district in which it was organized and in which it has been active ever since. The district Known as Brighton was first a part of Cambridge, which was settled in 1638. It then included what is now Cambridge, Newton, Brighton, Arlington, Lexington, Billerica and Bedford. Brighton was set off as a separate Parish on April 2, 1779 and was incorporated as the Town of Brighton on February 24, 1807, and was annexed to Boston on January 5,1 874.

Brighton was settled by a number of families who came directly from England or who were of the early descendants of such emigrants, and many of the members of the families of those early settlers were living in Brighton during the early years of the Lodge.

It was just 12 years after Brighton became a town that Bethesda was Chartered. The population of Brighton at that time was 702 "1820 Census."

The Town Hall at that time was situated at the corner of Market and Washington Streets. The Town Hall was located in the Meeting House of the First Parish Church which was erected in 1744.

OTHER

  • 1844 (Resolution praising the work of the Lodge)
  • 1896 (Cornerstone laying of Newton Masonic hall)

EVENTS

OFFICER LIST, FEBRUARY 1831

From Boston Masonic Mirror, New Series, Vol. 2, No. 34, February 19, 1831, Page 268:

Officers of Bethesda Lodge, Brighton, Massachusetts.

  • Ebenezer Fuller, Jr. Master
  • Wm. Fletcher, S. Warden
  • James Morse, J. Warden
  • Stephen Stone, Treasurer
  • Joseph Warren, Secretary
  • Thomas J. Leverett, S. Deacon
  • James Fullerton, J. Deacon
  • Rev. Daniel Austin, Chaplain
  • Thomas Park, Marshall
  • Thomas Smallwood, S. Steward
  • Charles Herd, J. Steward
  • Amos Wright, Tyler

OFFICER LIST, DECEMBER 1831

From Masonic Mirror, New Series, Vol. III, No. 33, February 1832, Page 259:’’

Officers of Bethesda Lodge, Brighton, December 6th, A. L. 5831, for the ensuing year:

  • Ebenezer Fuller, Jr. M.
  • Wm. Fletcher, S. W.
  • Benj. W. Hobart, J. W.
  • Otis Fay, Treasurer.
  • Joseph Warren, Secretary.
  • Thomas Parks, S. D.
  • James Fullerton, J. D.
  • Thomas Smallwood, S. S.
  • George Thompson, J. S.
  • Rev. Daniel Austin, Chaplain.
  • Wm. R. Champney, Mar.
  • Amos Wright, Tyler

INSTALLATION, JANUARY 1847

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. VI, No. 4, February 1847, Page 107:

The officers of Bethesda Lodge, at Brighton, were publicly installed by the Grand Master and his officers, on Tuesday, the 5th January. The Lodge room was well filled by ladies and invited guests. The address was delivered by Rev. Br. Addison Searle, Dist. Dep. Grand Master of the 1st District.

HALL DEDICATION, MARCH 1860

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XIX, No. 5, March 1847, Page 139:

This flourishing Lodge having recently fitted up for its exclusive use a neat and spacious hall, with the necessary ante-rooms and other conveniences, the same was dedicated in due form, by the M. W. Grand Lodge, on the 7th ult., in the presence of a large number of Brethren from the neighboring Lodges. The dedicatory ceremonies were performed by Dr. Lewis, G. M., assisted by Dr.J. V. C. Smith, Dep. Grand Master, Wlm. D. Coolidge, J. G. Warden, and other officers of the Grand Lodge. The installation was performed by the R. W. Brother Coolidge in his usual effective manner. After which the Brethren present were addressed by Dr. Smith, who was listened to with great attention and with the highest satisfaction. At the conclusion of these ceremonies the Lodge with its invited guests repaired to the hall below, where an hour was agreeably spent at refreshment.

OFFICER LIST, FEBRUARY 1864

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXIII, No. 5, February 1864, Page 160:

Officers of Bethesda Lodge, Brighton.

  • C. H. B. Breck, W. M.
  • E. D. Jones, S. W.
  • W. A. Brabiner, J. W.
  • W. R. Champney, Treas.
  • J. P. C. Winship, Sec.
  • E. H. Chamberlin, S. D.
  • H. H. Blake, J. D.
  • E. A. Snow, S. S.
  • Thos. Hunt, J. S.
  • Rev. James Eastwood, Chap.
  • W. D. Bickford, Mar.
  • L. A. Story, Tyler.

PRESENTATION, FEBRUARY 1879

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. II, No. 12, March 1879, Page 378:

Bethesda Lodge has also been moved to recognize the fidelity of its caterer, Bro. Wm. T. Osborn, and on the evening of its last meeting, some of the brethren requested W. Bro. G. B. Livermore to present him a Jewel appropriate to his office; accordingly, this was done in a very genial and witty manner, to the enjoyment of all present. This jewel is designed to be worn on the breast suspended by a ribbon and pin. It is a representation of a tea pot wrought in tin, and denotes the favorite beverage of the brethren, to whose appetites the recipient caters.

INSTALLATION, FEBRUARY 1879

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. II, No. 12, March 1879, Page 381:

Bethesda Lodge F. and A. M. was organized March 19th, 1819, and is now classed as a Boston Lodge by reason of the annexation of Brighton to the City. It has ten Past Masters living, has long been known for its good work, and has been frequently complimented for its general excellence. The names of the Past Masters referred to are W. R. Champney, E. C. Sparhawk, Sumner B. Wellman, F. Lyman Winship, W. D. Bickford, C. H. B. Breck, L. H. Adams, George B. Livermore, S. T. P. Martin, Austin Bigelow, — and the list of its officers for 1879 is as follows: Samuel N. Davenport, Worshipful Master; Horace E. Marion, Senior Warden; J. Wesley Farmer, Junior Warden; C. E. Marshall, Treasurer; C. A. Nutter, Secretary; Rev. Henry A. Stevens, Chaplain; W. W. Bemis, Marshal; Otis H. Marion, Senior Deacon; Wm. H. Pierce, Junior Deacon; Martin Mackenzie, Senior Steward; Frank Mathews, Junior Steward; Wm. H. Hall, Inside Sentinel; Chas. O. Beck, Organist and Chorister; Wm. Gregory, Tiler; Wm. T. Osborn, Caterer.

The usefulness of this Lodge is well-known, and main of its members have contributed very much to the benefit of the Craft.

We have been led to speak of this Lodge because of the Installation of the officers of De Molay Lodge. No. 498, in Buffalo, N. Y., January 19th, on which occasion an interesting and eloquent Address was delivered by Rev. Luther J. Fletcher, D. D., who was made a Mason in Bethesda Lodge in 1846. . . We cannot devote space to insert the entire Address in this Magazine, but. we print an extract from it elsewhere, and compliment Bethesda Lodge for having made a Mason of one who knows how to sustain the character he professes in Masonry and in Religion.

SPECIAL MEETING, MARCH 1880

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. IV, No. 1, April 1880, Page 31:

The Masonic apartments recently completed and occupied by Bethesda Lodge were well filled and much admired by all who had the pleasure of being present on the evening of March 3d, last. The Lodge gave a "Promenade Concert and Sociable" on that evening, to which the families of the members were admitted according to arrangements well planned and executed. The music was by BrotherT. M. Carter's orchestra, which is a sure guarantee to all who know the brother, that for such purposes none can be better.

The Lodge room is 44 feei by 37, and 22 feet high. The walls are handsomely tinted in French gray, the. ceiling is brown and drab colors, with a clouded canopy within a large circle in the centre. In the East and West respectively are represented the rising and setting sun. Over the chair of the Junior Warden hangs a painting of the trestle board, executed in 1825; opposite is a large organ, and over it a fine clock, the latter a present from one of the brethren. The canopies over the principal chairs were designed by the Wor. Master, S. N. Davenport. Connected with the main room are four ante-rooms, a banquet hall and kitchen. These all being in Warren building, the brethren can, if need be, on special occasions, have the use of a large hall therein, used for social and public purposes. A fine collation was served on this occasion by Brother William Tufts, whose professional skill is proverbial among the craft.

DRESS BALL, MARCH 1881

From Liberal Freemason, Vol. IV, No. 12, March 1881, Page 382:

The second annual dress ball under the auspices of the Bethesda Lodge, F. and A. M., took place in Warren Hall, Wednesday evening, March 2d, and the event was of a most brilliant, select and successful character. The lodge rooms, on the same floor and opening into Warren Hall, in which the dancing took place, were thrown open and elaborately decorated for the occasion with a wealth of beautiful flowers. A handsome pyramid of tropical and other plants, conspicuous among which was the emblem of wisdom and secrecy, occupied considerable of the area in the centre of the lodge room, and the platform of the dancing hall was adorned with a great display of pot plants, which almost entirely hid from the dancers the forms of the gentlemen, of Carter's Orchestra, who sat in the centre and furnished excellent music, directed by Brother T. M. Carter.

Only a limited number of tickets were disposed of, and the pany numbered about two hundred persons. The gentlemen present were almost wholly Masons, either from the home or adjacent organizations, most of whom appeared in regalia. The programmes were printed upon exquisitely adorned paper, and in fact, every appointment of the affair was superb. Supper was served about midnight. The floor director for the evening was Dr. E. H. Marion, with the following aids: George B. Livermore, Austin Bigelow, J. W. Farmer, Dr. O. H. Marion, C. H. Breck. Messrs. H. E. Marion, Austin Bigelow, G. B. Livermore, S. N. Davenport, J. W. Farmer, and O. H. Marion composed the Committee of Arrangements.

1200TH COMMUNICATION, MARCH 1908

From New England Craftsman, Vol. III, No. 7, April 1908, Page 271:

Bethesda Lodge, Brighton, Mass., is eighty-nine years old and held its 1200th communication Tuesday, March 3d. It was an evening of notable interest and was greatly enjoyed by a large number of the members and Masonic friends of the lodge. Among the guests were; Most Worshipful J. Albert Blake, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. William H. L. Odell, Deputy Grand Master, William M. Belcher, Senior Grand Warden, Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Marshal, W. F. Jarvis and H. P. Ballard, District Deputy Grand masters of the Fifth and Seventh Districts, the Past Masters' Association of the Fifth District, and representatives of mam of the lodges in Boston and vicinity. Worshipful Fred A. Norcross, Master of Bethesda, extended a cordial welcome to his guests. Grand Master Blake made a very interesting speech in which he gave much information on the subject of the proposed Masonic Home in Massachusetts. Other speeches were made by Deputy Grand Master Odell, Grand Senior Warden Belcher, Grand Marshal Johnson and District Deputy Grand Master Jarvis. The exercises of the evening closed with a banquet.

SENIOR GRAND WARDEN RECEPTION, MARCH 1917

From New England Craftsman, Vol. XII, No. 7, April 1917, Page 242:

Bethesda Lodge, Brighton, Mass., held a notable Communication, Tuesday, March 6, in honor of its past master, Right Worshipful William M. Farrington, who was elected to the office of senior grand warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in December last.

There were present M. W. Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master; R. W. Moses C. Plummer, Deputy Grand Master; R. W. Edward L. Chase, junior grand warden; M. W. Melvin M. Johnson, Past Grand Master; R. W. Frederick W. Hamilton, D. D., LL. D., Grand Secretary; R. W. Horace A. Carter. D. D. Grand Master of 5th District; R. W. Edward N. West, Grand Marshal; who were escorted to the lodge room, together with R. W. William M. Farrington, by a committee of Past Masters of the lodge-of which Wor. J. Wesley Farmer, the senior Past Master, was chairman, and were received by Wor. Walter V. Batson. Master of the lodge. An informal reception was held, giving the memhers an opportunity of meeting the grand officers.

At the close of the reception, all adjourned to Warren Hall, where a banquet was served to about three hundred.

Following the banquet addresses were made by the grand officers and glowing tributes were paid to the sterling qualities of the guest in whose honor the affair was given. The closing address was made by Most Worshipful Brother Johnson, who presented, on behalf of Bethesda Lodge, R. W. William M. Farrington with a Senior Grand Warden's jewel, indicative of his present office. Right Worshipful Brother Farrington made a happy and appropriate response to the remarks of Most Worshipful Brother Johnson and took occasion to mention the honors that have come to other members of Bethesda Lodge from the Grand Lodge during the ninety-eight years the lodge has been at work.


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1819: District 1 (Boston and vicinity)

1821: District 9

1835: District 1

1849: District 1

1867: District 4 (Cambridge)

1883: District 5 (Newton)

1897: District 5 (Waltham)

1911: District 5 (Waltham)

1927: District 5 (Brighton)

2003: District 3

2009: District 5

2011: District 3


LINKS

Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges