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BLACKSTONE RIVER LODGE

Location: Blackstone

Chartered By: Winslow Lewis

Charter Date: 12/12/1856 V-264

Precedence Date: 12/12/1855

Current Status: in Grand Lodge Vault; merged to Montgomery Lodge, Milford, 06/12/1997


PAST MASTERS

  • Samuel S. White, 1872-1874, 1883
  • 1875?
  • Leonard T. Gaskill, 1876, 1878, 1882
  • Charles F. Sisson, 1877, 1878 died in office
  • Jeremiah Gatchell, 1879-1881; Memorial
  • George J. Baldwin, 1884, 1885
  • William H. Hawkins, 1886, 1887
  • William A. Cole, 1888, 1888
  • Charles W. Rickards, 1890, 1891
  • Edward E. Wheelock, 1892, 1893
  • George W. Maxon, 1894, 1895; SN
  • Melvin E. Ellis, 1896, 1897, 1901, 1902; SN
  • Isaac T. Holman, 1898
  • Ambrose B. White, 1899, 1900; Memorial
  • John Kinnibergh, 1903
  • Ansel Holman, 1904
  • Joseph Hoyle, 1905-1907; SN
  • Fred M. Bennett, 1908
  • William R. Booth, 1909
  • Ralph M. Estes, 1910
  • Edward J. Saalfrank, 1911, 1912
  • Joseph F. Barnet, 1913
  • Duncan B. Cunningham, 1914
  • William C. Hay, 1915
  • Harry S. Nelson, 1916
  • Nelson Slater, 1917
  • William Carville, 1918
  • Samuel L. Lampher, 1919
  • William Spencer, 1920
  • Harold W. Armstrong, 1921
  • Philip E. Thomas, 1922; N
  • Edwin M. Crane, 1923
  • Louis A. Webster, 1924
  • William E. Loveland, 1925
  • Morton C. Matteson, 1926
  • Ray S. Maxon, 1927
  • Daniel E. Greene, 1928
  • Harrison M. Smyth, 1929
  • Lester H. Matteson, 1930
  • Andrew N. Maxon, 1931
  • George A. Arnold, 1932
  • Edwin M. Crane, 1933; N
  • Cornelius J. Hauge, 1934
  • Henry F. Feddern, 1935
  • John W. Mellor, 1936
  • John Alden, 1937
  • Paul E. Larson, 1938
  • Fred Israel, 1939
  • Lester E. Carpenter, 1940
  • Philip L. Voelker, 1941
  • Jules E. Conrardy, 1942
  • Joseph D. Rosenthal, 1943
  • William A. Robbins, 1944
  • Philip H. Hoyle, 1945, 1946
  • Harold A. Gustafson, 1947
  • Gerard A. Lafreniere, 1948
  • Paul L. Hoyle, 1949, 1954
  • Raymond G. LaFreniere, 1950-1951, 1955, 1978-1980; N
  • Neilson A. Darling, 1952
  • Daniel B. Middleton, 1953
  • Frank C. Wadsworth, Jr., 1956
  • Herbert S. Smith, 1957
  • Joseph D. Rosenthal, 1958
  • Walter Karasek, 1959
  • Samuel H. Stein, 1960
  • Henry C. Feddern, 1961
  • Alexander Kokolski, 1962
  • Clinton S. J. Jacks, 1963
  • Joseph Hoyle, Jr., 1964
  • Robert E. Ranslow, 1965, 1966
  • Hollis S. Booth, 1967
  • Robert F. Taylor, 1968, 1969
  • Victor J. Karasek, 1970
  • John J. Salisbury, 1971
  • Elmer E. Normandin, Jr., 1972
  • Henry R. Reiner, 1973
  • Randall L. Faneuf, 1974
  • Cecil H. Lane, Sr., 1975, 1983
  • Cecil H. Lane, Jr., 1976, 1981, 1982, 1985
  • George A. L. Ethier, 1977
  • Ross N. Fisher, 1984, 1988
  • Stewart R. Holbrook, 1986; PDDGM
  • Todd E. Smith, 1987
  • Ross N. Fisher, 1988
  • Russell S. Wise, 1989-1992; N
  • David W. Farrington, 1993, 1995
  • Richard E. Heon, 1994
  • Donald E. Guertin, 1996, 1997

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1855
  • Petition for Charter: 1857 chartered 1856; constituted 1857
  • Consolidation Petition (with Montgomery Lodge): 1997

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1955 (Centenary)
  • 1980 (125th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1859 1874 1882 1912 1913 1922 1926 1927 1928 1929 1940 1947 1955 1956 1957 1982 1986

HISTORY

  • 1955 (Centenary History, 1955-281)

CENTENARY HISTORY, DECEMBER 1955

From Proceedings, Page 1955-281:

By Worshipful Fred M. Bennett.

A brief sketch of our Lodge's history and mention of some of the active members is all that can be attempted in this part of our anniversary program.

One hundred years ago, Blackstone was a growing and flourishing community. Ten years previous it had been set aside from the mother Town of Mendon and was now an incorporated Town. Within the boundaries were three villages with cotton and woolen mills, and later felting and rubber factories were erected. Two main railroad systems had recently laid their tracks through the Town with a junction depot and round house. The population was about 5000 and employees of these activities had become residents and some had built homes. Some among this group were Masons. The nearest Lodges were at Cumberland, Rhode Island, and Uxbridge and Milford, Massachusetts. The distances to these Towns with horse and buggy conveyance over dark, dirt roads, as well as the time consumed in travel, made it inconvenient to attend monthly communications. And so it was that fourteen Masons signed a petition to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a new Lodge at Blackstone. These Masons were Emory Scott, Alexander W. Griswold, Samuel E. Bowley, John Cady, Arthur Cook, Caleb Colvin, William Legg, Nahum Morse, Noah Taft, Lewis Warfield, Lebbeus L. Wood, David Brayton, John Remington and Jacob Chase. A charter was obtained and dated December 6, 1855, with the name of Blackstone River Lodge, A. F. & A. M. It was organized with Emory Scott, Master; Alexander W. Griswold, S. W.; Samuel Bowley, J. W.; John Cady, Treasurer; and Arthur Cook, Secretary.

For a few years the Lodge was under the close supervision of the District Deputy Grand Master, with the monthly meetings called for two o'clock in the afternoon. Later on they were held on the first Wednesday on or before the full of the moon. With the coming of electric lighted highways, the date was changed to the first Wednesday in the month.

The new Lodge rented what seems to have been at that time the only hall in town, the upper room in the brick block on Monument Square. At the end of fifteen years, the rent had been raised to a figure that did not set well with the members. With confidence in the esteem in which Masonry is held, and in the future of the Town, a small lot on Main Street was purchased and our present Lodge building was erected.

Dr. George E. Bullard was Chairman of the building committee and, because of his unremitting interest in its erection, has been called the father of this building. Since it was built on swampy ground, Brother Bullard poured many bags of cement into the basement to ensure a firm foundation and our members have with equal effect, poured the cement of brotherly love and affection which is a strong bond of our existence through the century. Its cost was $8000, which was raised by bond issue. Dedication was on Washington's birthday, February 22, 1870, with a ball.

Now eighty-five years old, this building has known the first candidates and probably most of the charter members. Its walls have echoed to the business of one thousand regular communications, the working of the degrees, and social times. Banquets were held for many years in the upper story, and an esteemed Brother, Rufus A. Benson, ran a hardware store in the lower story. Reminders of departed Brothers are in the Deacon's and Stewards' rods given by Lucius S. Pennimen; the flag and its staff by W. Austin B. Rankin; the fine painting on the north wall of W. Charles F. Sisson, given by his widow; the Bible on the altar, of W. William R. Booth, given by his son, Bro. Hollis S. Booth; the small cast-iron stove in the coat room of W. Charles W. Rickards; the jewels of the officers and their aprons by Morning Star Lodge of Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

It has long been our custom to attend divine service on or .ibout June 24th, in a body. Our late Brother Wardwell C. Matteson always carried the flag, and now his son, Wor. Morton C. Matteson, carries it in his father's place. The Lodge conducted many Masonic funerals, always at the deceased's request, and older members remember the impressive renderings of the burial service by Wor. William A. Cole, who served thirty years as Chaplain.

1 think that the Past Masters of this Lodge who were appointed to be District Deputy Grand Masters of this Masonic District by the Grand Master should be listed. This office calls for much time and travel. They are

  • Daniel W. Taft
  • Joseph Hoyle
  • Jeremiah Gatchell
  • Ambrose B. White
  • George W. Maxon
  • Edwin M. Crane
  • Melvin E. Ellis
  • Philip E. Thomas
  • Philip H. Hoyle

They retain the title of Right Worshipful and are presented a jewel of their office. R.W. Daniel W. Taft was raised in 1856 in the lodge-room in the brick block on Monument Square, and thus the Masonic lives of these officers cover the span of one hundred years.

The growth and continued life of an association depends largely on the faithfulness and efficiency with which the officers discharge their respective duties. This is particularly so in the just and true keeping of the records of the Treasurers and Secretaries. The Treasurers with the longer tenure of office are: John Cady, 16 years; Dr. George E. Bullard, 28 years; R. W. Ambrose B. White, 15 years; and R. W. Edwin M. Crane, 27 years. Brothers John Cady and Dr. George E. Bullard received gold headed canes on their retirement from office. The officers are benefited at rehearsal by the attendance of R.W. Edwin M. Crane with his knowledge of Masonic law and procedure, and his impressive rendering of the charge in the Master Mason Degree. In the Secretaries' list are Thomas Ball, 8 years; Americus Welch, 12 years; Wor. Harry S. Nelson, 8 years; R.W. Philip E. Thomas, 13 years; and Wor. Philip L. Voelker, 9 years. Wor. Ansel Holman is our oldest living Past Master, who in his terms of over two years, raised seventeen candidates.

Three distinguished members have served the Lodge in important offices through their entire Masonic careers. They are:

  • R. W. Jeremiah Gatchell. Master, 1880-1; District Deputy Grand Master; Treasurer for 9 years; installing officer many years; Proxy to the Grand Lodge, 18 years; member of Trustees, Relief and other important committees for many years, a vigorous and eloquent Mason of thirty-six years.
  • R.W. George W. Maxon. Master, 1895; District Deputy Grand Master; for fifty years a Trustee and member of Relief Committee; thirty-three years guardian of East Gate; installing officer many years; Tyler SO years, a popular and able Mason of fifty-five years.
  • R. W. Joseph Hoyle. Master, 1906-1907; District Deputy Grand Master of the Blackstone 20th District; Master of the Lodge at the fiftieth anniversary; Trustee and Proxy to the Grand Lodge SO years; installing officer many years; he has had the pleasure and pride of raising six sons — one, Philip, now a Past District Deputy Grand Master, and another, Paul, now a Past Master and his successor as Proxy to the Grand Lodge. This Lodge and Masonry in this area are much indebted to him for his time and able services generously given in 55 years of membership. We wish him many happy years of life.

Two notable occasions have been the visit of M. W. Joseph Earl Perry and suite in 1939, to present fifty-year Veterans' Medals to R. W. George W. Maxon and Wor. Andrew N. Maxon; and on September 11, 1927, the visit of M. W. Frank L. Simpson to lay the corner-stone of the Federated Church on the corner of Main and Blackstone Streets.

If the scope of this sketch allowed, the names of members who have given much of their time and services would be a long one. Suffice it to say that in support of the officers and work of the Lodge they have been a strong factor in its life, and the Grand Lodge in recognition of this cooperation, has named this Masonic District the 20th Blackstone Masonic District.

The members have a most important paft in the social life of the Lodge and in the extension of friendship. In looking over the names, it is surprising to find so many listed for over forty years and quite a number over fifty years. Our oldest living members are James B. Hodder and Edward W. Mongeon, now on the list for sixty-three years. This has been equalled only by Henry C. Phillips and Wor. Andrew N. Maxon.

The generations come and go, but the tenets and teachings of Masonry never change. An institution having for its foundation the practice of the moral and social virtues and the extension of brotherly love, relief and truth among its members, a belief in God and individual responsibility, has the qualities of permanency and will always continue to attract men of good will.

OTHER

  • 1870 (Complaint against Olive Branch Lodge)
  • 1872 (Petition regarding formal charity to families of deceased members)

EVENTS

CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, FEBRUARY 1857

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVI, No. 5, February 1857, Page 155:

At Blackstone, Worcester Co., was consecrated by the Grand Lodge of this State, on Monday evening, Feb. 2, by the usual ceremonies. The officers of the Lodge for the current year were duly installed and the new hall dedicated on the same evening. The exercises were attended by an audience of ladies and gentlemen, and the occasion was one of more than ordinary interest to the fraternity of the neighborhood. After the ceremonies the Brethren and their ladies supped together at Gaskill's hotel.

In the course of the evening, brief and appropriate speeches were made by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, John T. Heard, Esq., John H. Sheppard, C. W. Moore, and W. D. Coolidge, Esqs., and other gentlemen. The Grand Lodge was well represented by its chief officers. They were received with great courtesy and attention, and the presence of the highest officers of the order in this part of the Commonwealth, (never visited before by them as a body,) was a compliment duly appreciated by the new Lodge and the Brethren generally. — B. H. Aurora.

OFFICER LIST, JANUARY 1864

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXIII, No. 3, January 1864, Page 96:

Officers of Blackstone River Lodge, for 1864.

  • William A. Northup, W M.
  • Lewis Holmes, S. W.
  • Ben. Ainsworth, J. W.
  • John Cady, Treas.
  • Geo. E. Bullard, Sec.
  • E. Metcalf, S. D.
  • E Daniels, J.D.
  • Thomas Fisher, S. S.
  • Wm. Walton, J. S.
  • E. Nichols, Mar.
  • Moses Farnum, R. A. Benson, J. P. Pillsbnry, Trustees.
  • J. P. Pillsbury, John C. Scott, J. S. Weedham, Relief Committee.
  • E. Nichols, Tyler.

GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1855: District 4

1867: District 12 (Milford)

1883: District 19 (Southbridge)

1911: District 22 (Blackstone)

1927: District 22 (Milford)

1931: District 20 (Blackstone)


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges