CharlesCDame

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CHARLES C. DAME LODGE

Location: Georgetown

Chartered By: Charles C. Dame

Charter Date: 12/11/1867 VII-193

Precedence Date: 04/05/1867

Current Status: Active

  • Warren Lodge merged here, 07/09/2016.

PAST MASTERS

  • Osgood, Stephen, 1867-1869
  • Nelson, Sherman, 1870, 1871
  • Harriman, Hiram N., 1872, 1873; SN
  • Tenney, George H., 1874, 1875
  • Wilson, Isaac, 1876
  • Handren, William A., 1877
  • Chaplin, Edward A., 1878, 1879
  • Noyes, Chauncey O., 1880, 1881
  • Carter, M. Frank, 1882, 1883
  • Wadleigh, William G., 1884, 1885
  • Osgood, Charles C., 1886, 1887
  • Dodge, Ignatius S., 1888, 1889
  • Simonds, Winfield S., 1890, 1891
  • Holland, J. Douglas, 1892, 1893
  • Butler, William A., 1894, 1895; Mem
  • Howe, Alfred A., 1896, 1897
  • Perley, Albert O., 1898, 1899
  • Batchelder, John, 1900, 19 01
  • Howe, Roger S., 1902, 19 03
  • Baker, Fred W., 1904, 1905
  • Urquhart, William, 1906, 1907
  • Perkins, Harry E., 1908, 1909; Mem
  • Holmes, C. Atherton, 1910, 1911
  • Hatfield, Albert J., 1912, 1913
  • Urguhart, Herbert W., 1914, 1915
  • Poole, William H., 1916, 1917
  • Johnson, Sidney E., 1918, 1919
  • Stackpole, Ralph R., 1920, 1921
  • Hazen, Jacob, 1922, 1923
  • Melvin, Robert A., 1924
  • Reed, A. Raymond, 1925
  • Reed, Herbert C., 1926, 1927
  • Dresser, Leonard M., 1928, 1929
  • Dean, Harold S.,, 1930, 1931; N
  • Pingree, Calvin N., 1932, 1933
  • Brown, Bernard C. , 1934
  • Adams, Robert B., 1935, 1936; SN
  • Thompson, Arthur F., 1937
  • Roberts, Merton E., 1938, 1939
  • Tarbox, Claude R., 1940, 1941
  • Buckmaster, Clarence W., 1942
  • Baker, Charles G., 1943, 1944
  • Pingree, H. Nelson, 1945, 1946; N
  • Rogers, Burton H., 1947
  • Newcomb, Charles I., 1948
  • Toppan, Warren N., 1949, 1950
  • Pingree, Lewis A., 1951, 1952
  • Ray, Weldon M., 1953
  • Roberts, Frank S., 1954
  • Dushame, Harold, 1955
  • Farrar, J. Harold, 1956
  • Knott, William M., 1957
  • Nichols, Richard L., 1958
  • Blair, James A., 1959
  • Gadd, A. Neil,, 1960, 1984; N
  • Wood, Myron O., 1961
  • Hatch, Fairfax, Jr., 1962
  • Roberts, Gardner A., 1963
  • Dexter, Robert C., 1964, 1965
  • Kelley, William, 1966
  • Rudolph, Robert P., 1967
  • Blake, Charles F., 1968
  • Esty, Hobart B., 1969
  • Salter, John P., 1970, 1979
  • Ellis, G. Harvey, 1971; N
  • Mansell, Bruce W., 1972
  • MacDonald, Lee E., 1973
  • Roberts, Harold A., 1974
  • Condon, David H., 1975
  • Garland, Richard E., 1976, 1980
  • Freeman, Charles M., 1977
  • Cronk, Raymond, 1978
  • Costanzo, Anthony J., 1981
  • Amodio, Michael P., 1982
  • Cotton, Vernon N., 1983
  • Wright, Edward C., 1985
  • Johnson, William C., 1986
  • Arakelian, Kevin D., 1987
  • Takesian, Michael K., 1988
  • Kenneally, Bryan N., 1989
  • Barker, Walter E., 1990
  • Perkins, Edwin H., 1991
  • Hamblet, James E., 1992, 1998
  • Langevin, David T., 1993
  • Kenneally, David B., 1994
  • Prescott, Kevin B., 1995
  • Prescott, William B., 1996
  • Prees, Kenneth A., 1997
  • Corthell, Frederick O., 1999, 2003
  • Chorzewski, Ronald C., 2000
  • Redfearn, Shawn E., 2001, 2002
  • Ringuette, Steve M., 2004, 2012
  • Todd, Peter A., 2005
  • Ouellette, Gerard L., 2006
  • O'Shaughnessy, Thomas M., 2007, 2015 PDDGM
  • Shea, David A., 2008
  • Montes, Carlos, 2009
  • Collins, Nicholas A. J., 2010, 2018
  • Stewart, James E., Jr., 2011
  • Mansur, Christopher M., 2013
  • Richard, Brian J., 2014
  • Freni, Santo T., 2016
  • Turner, Jeffrey A., 2017
  • Givas, Christos S., 2019

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1867
  • Petition for Charter: 1867

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1887 (20th Anniversary)
  • 1918 (50th Anniversary)
  • 1967 (Centenary)
  • 1992 (125th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1874 1875 1880 1891 1918 1921 1928 1945 1956 1957 1959 1962 1965 1970 1973 1976 1979 1981 1982 1994 1997 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006 2008 2012

HISTORY

  • 1917 (50th Anniversary History; not in Proceedings; see below)
  • 1967 (Centenary History, 1967-177; see below)

50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, DECEMBER 1917

by Rev. Oliver S. Butler.

Worshipful Master and Brethren of Charles C. Dame Lodge:

In addressing you this evening, you will permit me to trace (so far as I am able,) the rise and early progress of Free Masonry in Georgetown and its vicinity.

We do not know the precise date of its origin hereabout, but are very certain that as early as 1750, there were several brethren of the Mystic Tie living within the limits of territory now known as Georgetown, and that they were quite active in developing the sublime principled of our order, and yet this fact was not very generally known to the public. The way that the true character of those men became known to the community around them, was on this wise, (as I learned from an old Irish Mason by the name of George Ferry, the old Blacksmith at Byfield.)

In the month of January 1750, a stranger was passing through the town; he was footsore and weary with his journey; he was far from childhood's home, a stranger in a strange land; he was famishing for bread, and yet no human soul knew his name, or would answer to his friendly call for aid. He was, indeed, entirely destitute.

The sign of an old country Inn swung lazily in the chill November winds. Within the house there was evidently plenty of good cheer, but what was that to him. He had no money to pay even for a night's lodging, and he was too proud to beg. After hesitating for an hour, his pride struggling with the imperious demands of hunger, and being admonished by the howling of the night winds of the danger of delay, he entered the house with trembling steps, where strange to tell, he found a hearty welcome from the genial landlord. The best the house afforded was placed at his disposal. During the night the stranger was taken sick, fearfully, dangerously sick. In the grey of morning the doctor was called to examine the case. He. pronounced the disease contagious. It was thought to be small-pox, the most dreaded disease known to the community at that early day. The landlord was alarmed at the condition of things; what was to be done. The stranger was too sick to be removed to the pest-house. If he remained at the Inn, his business was ruined for a year. His only hope was to keep the facts from the public.

Consequently the stranger's room was securely guarded with bolted doors and watchful sentinels. Here he was left to care for himself, perhaps to die. The next morning a respectable farmer who lived near the Boxford line of the town, called at the tavern as usual to get his morning dram, and while in the act of passing the cup to his lips he heard the groaning of the stranger. It arrested his attention at once, and what to all others seemed incoherent, was to his familiar ear the well known cry of the widow's son. The farmer set his glass on the counter untouched and at once demanded of the landlord to be shown to the stranger's apartment. The host hesitated for a moment and but for a moment, for to have resisted this man under these circumstances would have been dangerous. It might have cost him his life; for he was now confronted by a man that had taken an oath and made a vow, and he meant to redeem them at whatever cost of life or treasure. He was soon in the sick room, but what took place within its walls I need tell you here, only this, that Ms wants were all supplied and under the kind treatment of the generous farmer who never left him for au hour, the sick man soon recovered his health and went on his way rejoicing, and after the good Samaritan had paid the bills for this mysterious stranger, it was very generally supposed that farmer Jewett was a Free Mason, and from that distant day to the present, Masonry has never been without a representative in this town, whether known as New Rowley or Georgetown, and many of her best citizens have loved its mysteries and practised its arts.

In the eastern section of Union cemetery may be found an old grave. The mound is sunken, and the head-stone has fallen into almost ruinous decay, but on the weather-beaten headstone may be seen the following inscriptions and devices, which show most conclusively that the historic signs of Masonry remain unbroken from 1750 to 1809, when Dr. Richard Spofford took the degrees of the Ancient Craft.

The inscription is as follows:

The crown device is the three great lights in Free Masonry. On the left of the Holy Bible is the Sprig of Acacia, underneath these is the twenty-four inch gauge. Then follows the name of Nathan Rogers, born in New Hampshire in 1768, died in Rowley, Mass. Oct. 17, 1813, at the age of 45 years. He is described as a good man, a kind husband and father. As a Mason he was an officer of King Solomon Lodge, Nl H., and was endowed with a lively sense of Faith, Hope and Charity.

This monument was undoubtedly erected by his brother Masons in this vicinity, and doubtless this was the first interment of a brother of the order in this town.

By opening a correspondence with the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, the following data has been obtained in regard to this distinguished Mason of nearly a Century ago.

Nathan Rogers was born and lived in what was then the town of Wendell, N. H., but now known as Sunapee. He received his degrees in King Solomon Lodge, New London, N. H., his Entered Apprentice taking place on December 15th, 1802; passed to Fellow Craft, May 11th and made a Master Mason June 8th, 1803. He was appointed Sword Bearer and Tyler from 1804 to 1808, was elected Treasurer in 1809, but during that year moved to New Rowley, (now Georgetown, Mass.) where he was active in exemplifying the principles of our Order, and assisted in conferring the Degrees upon Dr. Richard Spofford in St. John's Lodge the same year.

But the Masonry of today, with all Its Feasts, Fairs, Festivities and Fellowship, with its strong social position and enormous wealth, is very unlike the Masonry of even fifty years ago. We of today know but little of the hatred and malignant opposition that our fathers encountered during that desperate Anti-Masonic crusade from 1826 to 1832, when the wealth and political power of the whole country conspired to crush out the institution and expel it from the land.

In many of the states, laws were enacted by their Legislatures, compelling Masters of lodges to appear before their Governors and Councils, demanding of them to divulge the secrets of Free Masonry, or suffer the extreme penalties of the law, and in some of the principal cities of New York and Rhode Island such extreme measures were adopted that our brethren were compelled to guard their lodge-rooms both night and day with their best men, thoroughly armed and determined to defend their sacred Archives from all comers, at whatever cost or peril. I have seen and conversed with one of those defenders of our rights who guarded the lodge-room of our brethren in Providence, R. I-, with a shotted cannon, muzzle to the wicket and torch in his good right hand for forty-eight hours.

This was a most perilous epoch In the history Of Free Masonry in New England, and right well did our brethren suffer and succeed, and .it may be interesting to the younger members of the Craft to know that the Masons of Georgetown and its vicinity, shared in the conflicts and triumphs of that stormy crusade, and in 1828, when the storm was at its height, a call was issued to all the Masons in this vicinity, inviting them to meet at the house of Mr. Sewall Spofford on Spofford's hill, for mutual consultation. This was in many respects, the most important meeting Masonry ever held in this vicinity, and but a few of the most daring of our brethren responded, finding their way to the house singly and by circuitous routes under the cover and protection of darkness. The meeting continued all night and was deeply interesting, the following named Master Masons being present:

  • Dr. Longley, Master of Merrimack Lodge, Haverhill.
  • Dr. Johnson, Master of St. Mark's Lodge, Newburyport.
  • David Grey, Master of St. Matthew's Lodge, Andover.
  • Judge Marston, also of Newburyport.
  • Dr. Richard, Sewall and George Spofford of Georgetown and about thirty others whose names we have not been able to obtain, some of them coming from Danvers and Salem.

This session a new degree was instituted, called the Rebound Degree, by which these brethren bound themselves together by solemn vows, that after every other secret vow and right had been surrendered to their enemies, this one should remain sacred and inviolate. The sign and obligation of this degree was communicated to me by our late Brother George Spofford, who was a Charter member of this lodge, and the last survivor of the Rebound Degree, who died a few years ago within sight of the old Spofford house where the degree was instituted, full of years, and with his early love of Masonry unabated, and borne to his last rest by his brethren of this lodge.

From the year 1860 to 1868 the Interest in. Masonry had greatly increased in this and the surrounding towns, and several of the most prominent and active of our young men had taken the Degrees in neighboring lodges, of Haverhill, Newburyport, Salem and South Danvers. The stirring scenes of the war and the dangers connected with it, helped to increase the interest, and many lodges worked night and day to confer the Degrees upon those who were enlisting for the suppression of the rebellion.

About the year 1866, the resident Masons of Georgetown became very desirous of having a home lodge instituted, and upon inquiry it was found that the brethren, in the adjoining towns were in full sympathy with this noble purpose and ready to cooperate in so desirable an undertaking, cheerfully united in petitioning the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a dispensation to work the Degrees of Masonry in Georgetown. The enterprise however desirable, was deemed impracticable, as there was no suitable hall in which to confer the Degrees. Thus matters went on for a time without any change for the better, except that the interest had greatly increased, and whenever and wherever our brethren met, the first salutation was, "how about a Masonic lodge."

In the month of December 1866, (I think it was about the last of the month,) Capt. John G. Barnes, Capt. Isaac Wilson, W. A. Harnden and a Brother from Byfield, providentially met in Haraden's Paint Shop. It was a stormy day, everything was cold and forbidding without, but it was warm and cheerful within. As usual, the conversation turned on the feasibility of securing a Masonic hall in Georgetown. The Brother from By field made a proposition, to wit: "That a suitable lot of land be hired for a term of years, and a cheap one story buiJding be erected on the same, the entire cost not to exceed One thousand dollars, the same to be taken in shares of One hundred dollars each." Barnes and Harnden favored the proposition, and Wilson favored it if ten men could be found to give, the One hundred dollars apiece, and pledged himself to be one of the number. The next morning long before the sun was up, Harnden was at Byileld in close consultation with the before mentioned Brother. This was really the first definite proposition made and would have undoubtedly been the last, if other brethren had not taken hold of the matter, when new plans were proposed and perfected, and the thought of the few became the fact of the many.

A few evenings after this interview in the Paint Shop, (January 2nd 1867,) Brothers Stephen Osgood, M. G. Tenney, Isaac Wilson, John G. Barnes, W. A. Harnden, L. E. Carter, Solomon Nelson, John Bradstreet, Sherman Nelson and H. X. Harriman were on their way home from Haverhill, whither they had been to attend a Communication of Merrimack Lodge. Then and there in that old Coach, the former proposition was renewed and enlarged, and so far perfected after arriving at the Lobby, that it may be truthfully said of our very beautiful hall, that it was born there, for in less than one week from that evening, the question was decided beyond all controversy, that the Masons of Georgetown were to have a hall, and not a little insignificant one story building located on some obscure lot, but a noble structure, placed upon the only unoccupied land in the village suitable for that purpose, the same to be owned exclusively by brethren of the Mystic Tie, thus securing suitable accommodations for the proposed lodge, and affording increased facilities for business, and adding materially to the interest of the town by placing on the public square a building of which every citizen might be justly proud, and which we hoped might inaugurate a new era in the erection of commodious and substantial buildings, and this has really been the result.

The first meeting of the brethren for consultation was held in Empire Hall, in the month of January, 1867, Oliver S. Butler was chosen chairman, and Milton G. Tenney, secretary. There were present about thirty Master Masons, and after a very full and careful consideration of the whole subject matter, it was voted unanimously to petition the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a dispensation to confer the Degrees. A committee was chosen to prepare a petition, secure signatures, and forward the same to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge. A committee was also chosen to secure a lot of land for the building and to open a subscription book for stock in the Masonic Building Association, and to report their doings at a subsequent meeting to be held at the same place one week from the date of the first meeting.

The committee chosen at this meeting were earnest and active, and in a short time the land was secured, the contract for building was prepared and perfected, and the most perfect success assured.. This was indeed a great week in the history of Masonry in Georgetown, however you may regard it today. The announcement of what had been done was received by all the members of the Craft hereabouts with inexpressible delight. The long looked for day had arrived, and the character of the men engaged in this enterprise, gave assurance of the most perfect success. The dispensation to work the Degrees was received in due time, bearing date of April 5th, 1867, the Charter bearing the date December 11th, 1867. The first regular meeting was held in Empire hall, April 15th, 1867. At this meeting the applications of James O. Berry and John H. Lovering were received and properly referred. These were the first to apply, and the first to receive the Degrees in this town, they being conferred in the Town hall, where the Communications were subsequently held.

The first officers were fortunate in securing the services of Brother Charles H. Norris, of Essex Lodge, Salem, Mass. for their instructor, none of the members having held office excepting Isaac Wilson, who had served one year as Junior Warden of King Solomon's Lodge, Charlestown, Mass. Our new Organization found many warm and helpful friends, but to none are we under more deep and lasting obligations than Brother Norris, who proved a most thorough and competent tutor, and withal, a zealous and devoted patron of Free Masonry, and during the ensuing summer months the work of the Lodge increased so rapidly that Degrees were conferred each week.

The building committee pushed forward their work to its earliest completion. The hall was ready for occupancy early in September 1867, it was beautiful in its symmetrical proportions, the frescoing of ceiling and walls had been executed by the most skilled German artists in the highest style of the art. The furnishings were elegant. The working tools of the most approved pattern, were presents from brethren of other lodges. The hall and entire building was lighted with gas manufactured on the premises. The whole scene was in such striking contrast with the halls previously occupied, and the working tools so different from the improvised ones, that we were led to exclaim with Israel of old, when the glory of the Temple fell upon them in such wonderful splendor:

"How amiable are thy Tabernacles, O Israel;
How goodly are thy Tents, O Jacob:
as the valleys are they spread forth,
as trees by the water courses,
as gardens which the Lord had planted."

At the first convocation in our new hall, we shared the communion of a few distinguished guests from Haverhill and Newburyport, and among them the Most Worshipful Grand Master, for whom the lodge is named, and from whom we received the very beautiful present of the Jewels we now wear. The lodge was not yet constituted nor the hall consecrated to the high purposes for which they had been erected, but preparations were immediately commenced in anticipation of the grand event which was to occur. Consequently, on the 26th of December, 1867, the lodge was constituted, and the hall consecrated by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and the officers installed into their respective stations by the Grand Master, assisted by the Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge. The services were very interesting, many of our brethren never having witnessed them before, and the hall was filled to repletion with the most happy and delighted audience ever assembled in this town, none more so than our lady friends, whose busy hands contributed so essentially to the beautifying of the hall, and the decorating of the tables. Our guests were of the most distinguished Patrons of Free Masonry, among them we name with honest pride, Chas. C. Dame, Gen. William Sutton, William Parkman, Dr. Winslow Lewis, Chas. W. Moore, Rev. John W. Dadmun and a host of others whose names have been identified with Masonry for half a century. And thus our new lodge, full of its youthful ardor, was launched out on the sea of life, nobly named and thoroughly equipped for its onward voyage, receiving the benediction of its founders and friends, and inspired with hopes and aspirations as broad and far-reaching as the cardinal virtues of the craft, and as wc doubt not, resting under the favoring smiles of the Supreme Architect of the Universe.

During the first year six Masonic festivals were held, which were visited by more than two hundred brethren, representing fifty lodges, and these, representing seven states besides three of the British Provinces, the brethren hailing from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Gulf of Mexico, and the golden sands of California.

Among the oldest members of the Craft who furnished us aid and sympathy were George Spofford, who was made in St. Marks Lodge of Newburyport in 1818, Ebenezer Poor, made in St. Mark's, in 1824, Moses Carter, St. Mark's in 1825, just before the Masonic crusade, and Dr. Richard and Sewall Spofford, having taken their degrees a few years earlier, Dr. Richard having been made in St. John's, Newburyport, in 1809, and Sewall Spofford in Merrimack Lodge, Haverhill, in 1812. Brother James T. Dunbar, who claimed to be one of the oldest Masons in town, was raised on the Eastern shore of Maryland in 1804, all of whom lived respected by their fellow citizens and died lamented by the entire community.

Thus we have tried to trace the early rise and progress of Free Masonry in this vicinity so far as we have been able to gain the necessary data, but any attempt at such a work must of necessity be imperfect for our brethren of the early time were very careful not to communicate to the outside world, what they were or what they were doing, and the records of our lodges were very imperfectly kept. Enough, however, has been gathered from authentic records and from the most reliable traditions to establish the fact, that as early as 1750, Masonry had entrenched itself securely in New Rowley, and for more than seventy-five years, this was its stronghold, and with the commencement of the present century the Spoffords on Spofford's Hill, were its earliest defenders and most devoted patrons, and Charles C. Dame Lodge is really the fruit of the seed of their planting. But what of the future, for really this is the most important question for us to answer today, for while we are musing on the heroic past with increasing interest, the new-bom years are upon us. Time waits for no man. but irresistibly presses on to destiny. The overmastering question for us, my brethren, is, how shall we meet and discharge the responsibilities for the coining years. Our past record is made up, it must stand as we have made it, for the admiration or condemnation of those who shall come after us, but what kind of a history shall we make for our lodge for the years to come?

We start out upon our second decade under the most favorable circumstances and conditions. Our members are good men and true: Our officers are competent, and devoted to the Masonic art. Our hall and its furnishings are all that we could reasonably desire. Our lodge is free from debt, with a generous fund in the treasury. Our position among our brethren around us is most flattering to our pride, and yet we may not succeed, but we can and will prosper if we conform strictly to the old landmarks of the order and adhere faithfully to the valuable tenets of our profession.

First, guard well the outer door and never forget that it is not every good man even, who will make a good Mason. The applicant may be your friend, or brother, but let not your friendship blind your eyes to the fact, that in order to appreciate our mysteries and to admire our forms and ceremonies, the candidate must have in himself the ardent love for the beautiful, an admiration for the great facts of antiquity, and a fixed purpose to be a good man and true. A brute may be inquisitive to know our mysteries, but it takes a man a whole man to make a good Mason.

Second. Meet and greet every new made Mason with a hearty welcome. Take him by the hand and make him feel that he is with brethren among whom no contention can ever exist except that noble contention, or rather emulation as to who best can work and best agree.

Third. Let us seek by every possible means to cherish and exhibit the spirit of concord and harmony among ourselves. There may arise questions of gravest interest in our convocations upon which there may be an honest difference of opinion, and yet agreeing perfectly in promoting the general good of the lodge. If there should arise any cause for such differences, let the good of Masonry in general, and the welfare of Chas. C. Dame lodge in particular, harmonize all discordant elements.

Finally my brethren, let us be true to each other, and to the sublime principles of our Order. Let us exercise the largest Charity; let us practice the purest and most unselfish benevolence; and let us maintain the Masonic character in all its integrity and uprightness. Then shall the future open up brightly before us, the Bow of promise span the whole Heven of our hopes, our own beloved institution will shed its pure and beneficent light upon all around us, "even upon the stranger that is within our gates," our own hands will be strengthened for the duties that are before us, our hearts cheered and hopeful to bear the responsibilities of our several stations, and when we shall have passed away, our children shall sit joyfully under the shadow of the beautiful tree which their fathers have planted.

Ah, yes! my brethren, we shall pass away, on to the great beyond; away from these scenes we have loved. Many have already passed on and into the sere and yellow leaf of life, and the dews of evening are on our fleece. Others are further advanced, they have reached the Beulah land, "where desire fails, and the golden bowl is broken, and the pitcher is broken at the fountain."

"They are waiting, only waiting till the shadows be a little longer grown," and we are reminded by the rapid transition of events, that "what we do, we must do quickly." Many of our brethren who started with us, with whom we took sweet council together as we labored with them In the foundation of our present organization, have gone forward in the race of life. We are parted from them for a little time, but their memories are already embalmed in our hearts to remain among the unwithered fruit of mutual love. Who of us can ever forget Capt. John G. Barnes, the beloved disciple, Isaac Wilson, the rough ashler, yet true as steel, Geo. W. Sanborn, straight as an arrow as a man or Mason, Geo- W. Boynton, stately and cold as an Iceberg, but every inch a Mason, Henry Stickney, tall and graceful in form and figure, a true friend and a zealous Mason, Solomon Xelson, who as a man or Mason, was the peer of them all. Of our older members who have gone forward, there was George Spofford, Moses Carter, Eben Poor, James T. Dunbar, gone, but not forgotten. Good men and true they were, and we left them at the gate.

And we shall go! perhaps some of us before the next decade is reached, will have passed away, and others will fill our places here and [execute the offices of the lodge. But this is no cause for regret, Masonry will survive the wastes of time and live till time shall be no more. And now, let us all be good men and true, worthy representatives of the Masonic character, so that living we may be respected and loved by those who know us best, and dying, leave behind an example that may be safely followed by those who shall come after an,We like the perfect Ashler, adjusted by the working tools of the Fellow Craft take our places in that spiritual building, "that house not made with hands, Eternal in the Heavens."

So Mote It Be.

CENTENARY HISTORY, APRIL 1967

From Proceedings, Page 1967-177:

By Brother Homer K. Tapin.

When the Worshipful Master asked me to give the historical address, he said to make it brief but interesting. The least I can do is be brief. The accuracy of local histories often depends upon the imagination of the author; in this address I shall try to adhere to the facts, while perhaps sacrificing interest.

This is the year for Masonic Anniversaries, this being the 250th Anniversary of the Grand Lodge of England, the 200th Anniversary of the Scottish Rite in North America, the 100th year of the Unity of the Scottish Rite Bodies, and the most important to us, the Centennial of Charles C. Dame Lodge A. F. & A. M.

As we approach the end of the first century of our lodge and look forward to the beginning of the second century, let us look back to the beginning of Masonry in Georgetown to see "from whence we came".

We know that organized Masonry has existed in this area for over two hundred years. St. Johns' Lodge of Newburyport was instituted in 1766. Several other lodges were established in this part of Essex County during the following years. The nearest to us is Merrimack Lodge of Haverhill, whose charter dates from 1802. The Masons who were living in the Georgetown area were members of these nearby Lodges.

The earliest record we have of Masonic activity in this locality is told in Rev. O. S. Butler's address to the lodge on its 25th Anniversary. This was told to him by George Perry, "the old Irish blacksmith of Byfield". About the year 1750 a man traveling through New Rowley, now Georgetown, stopped at a local tavern for the night. While there he became ill, apparently from smallpox, so he was locked in the backroom with no one to care for him, until a man visiting the tavern heard of his plight and also learned that he was a Mason. Upon learning this he took care of the ill brother until he recovered. George Perry died some years before the founding of Charles C. Dame Lodge, but his Masonic membership is attested to by the Rev. O. S. Butler.

In the Union Cemetery there is the Masonic grave-stone of Nathan Rogers, dated 1813, who belonged to King Solomon's Lodge, New Hampshire. Also in the Byfield Cemetery there is the grave stone of James Hall, a native of England, who died in his 85th year in 1825. This stone has Masonic emblems upon it.

Masonry throughout this country sank to a very low condition during the anti-Masonic years, about 1826 to 1840, as a result of the "Morgan affair." It is hard to realize that this could happen in a then Protestant country. Most lodges in this section returned their charters to the Grand Lodge, and the Grand Lodge was in a very weak condition for some time.

One could not hold membership in some of the Protestant churches if he was a Mason. It was during the darkest days of this period that a meeting was held at the Sewall Spoffard Homestead on Andover Street of the leading Masons of this area. About 35 attended this meeting during which a new degree was formed which they called the "Rebound Degree", in which they reaffirmed their previous pledges and promised to renew their Masonic strength. George Spofford, a charter member of Charles C. Dame Lodge, was the last surviving member of this so-called degree. It served its noble purpose in binding its members together so that when the dark clouds began to pass over, a strong flame of Masonic light was still burning.

As the revival of Masonic activities took place, more men from Georgetown became members of the surrounding lodges. At the time of the Civil War there was a strong feeling that it was possible to have a lodge of Masons in Georgetown. This was not possible during the war, however; the town furnished 200 men to the armed forces of which 50 were not to return.

At the end of the Civil War the shoe industry in town began to expand, the town was again becoming prosperous. The veterans returning had new ideas about establishing a lodge of Masons. This led to several discussions and no doubt several different plans. To attend Lodge meant traveling to Haverhill, Newburyport, or Danvers. It was while returning from a meeting in Haverhill that six or seven agreed to a plan and promised to meet in William Harndon's Paint Shop to draw up final plans. This was done in December 1866. In January 1867 it was decided how the money for a Masonic building was to be raised. A meeting of Masons, not a Lodge, was held in Empire Hall, on Union Street, for the purpose of petitioning the Grand Lodge for a charter.

The dispensation to work the degrees was received, bearing the date of April 5, 1867 and the charter bears the date of December 11, 1867. The first regular meeting was held in Empire Hall on April 15, 1867. The first to apply for degrees were James 0. Berry and John H. Lovering. These degrees were conferred in the Town Hall, where meetings were held until the new lodge rooms were ready.

The lodge was named after Charles C. Dame of Newburyport, who was the presiding Grand Master. When the new hall was ready, he attended the first meeting and presented the officers' jewels which are still used.

The lodge was constituted and the hall consecrated by the Grand Lodge on December 26, 1867. The charter was signed by 34 Masons. Stephen Osgood was chosen as first Master, and later he became the first D. D. G. M. from Charles C. Dame Lodge.

The lodge prospered from the start. During the first ten years 111 men were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.

On October 26, 1874 the first of two disastrous fires struck our building. This fire destroyed several of the surrounding buildings, but ours was saved although severely damaged. It was several months before meetings could again be held there. In the meantime the Odd Fellows offered the use of their fine rooms, which then occupied the upper floor of Little's Block, for a meeting place.

It is not necessary at this time to list the other officers for each year. Needless to say they have all proven "worthy and well-qualified."

The lodge returned to their own quarters as soon as they could after the fire of 1874. In the following years several Masonic festivals were held, including a large Masonic fair held in 1879 for which the lodge published a newspaper.

On Christmas night in 1885 a fire was discovered in the Adams Block, which adjoins the Masonic building. This fire was soon out of control. Charles Osgood, who was Senior Warden at the time, went into the lodge rooms to save what he could. When the walls of the Adams Block collapsed, killing three young men, he was knocked unconscious, but came to in time to save the officers' jewels and the Great Lights. All else was lost. The building together with several other buildings was completely leveled by the fire. It was a disaster not only to the lodge but to the town. It was some time before normal business could be resumed. Three doctors, all members of the lodge, performed heroic deeds of mercy tending the injured that night. This was done in near zero weather and by torch light. They were Dr. R. B. Root, Dr. R. C. Buze and Dr. Thomas Whittle.

The future of the lodge was in doubt, as there was no insurance. The charter and all records were lost as well as the building. Our neighboring lodges came to our assistance and once again the Odd Fellows offered their rooms for our use.

As soon as the town recovered from the shock of this disaster, the rubble of the Temple was cleared away and plans for rebuilding were made. A group of men organized the Union Building Association. The present building that we now occupy was built. As soon as it was possible, the lodge arranged to rent suitable quarters in this building. The new lodge rooms were consecrated by the Grand Lodge on Dec. 26, 1887 in the presence of the presiding Grand Master and Past Grand Master, M. W. Charles C. Dame.

Charles Osgood, the son of Stephen Osgood, our first Master, was the Master. Our new lodge rooms are being re-consecrated near the one hundredth anniversary of the original consecration.

I have tried to outline the origin and early history of Charles C. Dame Lodge. Since the fire of 1885 we have suffered no major crisis, although we have had to survive two World Wars, a major depression and several minor ones. I have not singled out any one member or groups of members as being outstanding. Read the list of members and each has contributed his share according to his abilities. The thirty-four charter members became firm and solid foundation stones upon which to build a Temple and this foundation has been added to by each succeeding Entered Apprentice as he stood in the Northeast Corner of the Lodge.

As a Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons we claim no lasting fame but do offer this "a century of honorable service to God, the grand architect of the universe, our country and to the fraternity".

Now let us turn to the blank pages upon which the record of the next century will be written and see to it that this also becomes an honorable record.

OTHER

  • 1886 (Granting of a replacement charter for one destroyed by fire)

EVENTS

CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, DECEMBER 1867

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXVII, No. 3, January 1868, Page 91:

This is a new Lodge, and one of the most promising in the jurisdiction. It is located at Georgetown, in Essex county, and was duly constituted by the Grand Lodge, on the evening of the 26th of December, in the presence of a large number of brethren from the neighboring Lodges. The ceremonies of dedication and installation were performed by the Grand Master, in his peculiarly impressive and dignified manner.

The Lodge has been in existence, and working under a dispensation, not quite a year, during which time it has nearly doubled its members from among the most respectable and influential residents of the pleasant village in which it is located ; it has put up a large four-story building, and finished and furnished one of the most beautiful halls in the State, richly frescoed and ornamented by Brother Haberstroh, of this city. We refer to these facts with the greater pleasure, because, while they indicate the zeal and liberal spirit of the members, they afford assurance that the Lodge is in the hands of brethren who will so conduct its affairs that it will continue, as now, to honor the name it bears.

The Master of the new Lodge having been installed in his office, the Grand Master arose and addressed the Lodge, as follows : —

Worshipful Master and Brethren of Charles C. Dame Lodge:

I have observed your Lodge from the time when a dispensation was granted for it, and have noticed your progress in the craft with feelings of anxiety which have at last given place to great satisfaction at your advance, and contentment with your condition.

I know that you have taken great pains to select good men and true only for admission to your ranks, and I am satisfied that your solicitude in that respect has been crowned with eminent success. I know that you have shown great zeal in the acquisition of proficiency and skill in masonic work; and I am satisfied that your attainments excel your highest expectations.

Having just received your charter, you stand on the threshold of real Masonic life; well prepared and worthy to fulfill the high duties and wide obligations which shall hereafter be incumbent on you.

It is hardly necessary that I should offer you advice as to your future conduct, and yet it may not be without its use if I say something of the life ahead. Hereafter you will be in relations with your Grand Lodge, and through her, with the great masonic organization, whose mystic ties encompass the earth. These open new subjects of thought, wider spheres of study, and will require greater scope of judgment than the microcosm within the Lodge. The success with which the principles of Freemasonry have been propagated, is due not alone to their intrinsic truth and merit, but also to the wisdom of the principles of organization under which the Craft live, and the fidelity and judgment with which they have been administered. A little Republic we have; but it is one devoted to conservatism and equality, hating change and oppression; great in the law of liberty and toleration; but restraining all tendency to insubordination, licentiousness, or impiety.

As a wise Lodge, you will frown upon all efforts at innovation on the ancient landmarks of organization, as well as of ritual; you will use due care to select steady and conservative representatives of your Lodge, and avoid giving high office to those of erratic and scheming minds, or to ambitious men. You will also see to it that you are faithful in acts and heart to the Grand Lodge, and that you always be found sustaining its just authority, and promoting its conservatism. If you shape your conduct by these rules your future will be honorable and prosperous.

Worshipful Master, I would not hide my earnest desire for your success. I feel that in some sort I may derive a borrowed light from the good name you shall win among Masons. I stand before the altar as your sponsor in baptism, with a godfather's pride in your present promise, and hope for your future performance.

It is customary on such occasions, in the Christian world, that the newly sprinkled infant receive from its sponsor some engraved silver plate of a useful and serviceable character, as a mark of affection.

To you who, in the Masonic world, have this night been severed from the maternal Grand Lodge, through whom you have heretofore drawn your vital force, and who now stand a living, breathing, entity, baptized with a wane, and endowed with a voice, — to you, I repeat, something is due as my namesake, that may not only be useful, but serve to recall me to your memories when I shall have passed away.

Be pleased, then, Worshipful Master of Charles C. Dame Lodge, to accept from me, for your Lodge, this box, containing all the jewels needful for the working of your Lodge, from that of the Worshipful Master to that of the lowest officer. Wear them for my sake; and as you use them, remember that I feel profoundly grateful to every member of this Lodge for the compliment paid me by adopting my name; and shall look on its present and future members as bound to them by more than ordinary masonic ties.

And while my own reputation, in a great measure, is in your hands, so your credit will, to some extent, depend upon my future life. As I have full confidence that no tarnish will come to my name through any act of yours, in like manner, it will be my constant care so to regulate my life as to honor you; but should I, through the weakness of human nature, ever become unworthy of your confidence, or my name bring a blush to your check, then request the Grand Lodge to give you another name, and obliterate the present name from your jewels, that no more remembrance may be had of me in your Lodge forever.

The jewels, which are of the most elegant workmanship, are of silver, ornamented with gold. They were made by Guild & Delano, of this city, at a cost of about three hundred dollars, and are the most splendid complete set of jewels in the State. They are beautiful in their finish and workmanship, and reflect great credit on their makers. The Master of the new Lodge, in response to the address, expressed the gratification of the members of Charles C. Dame Lodge, for the privilege of bearing his name, and appealed to each member to jealously guard the good name as their own, and to remember that in their charge, in a measure, was placed the responsibility that by no act of theirs should any shadow ever be cast upon it. At this moment a large frame which had been hanging face to the wall was suddenly reversed, and to the audience was shown a life-size portrait, in a massive frame, of him after whose name the Lodge is called. No one was more surprised at this exhibition than Brother D. himself, the portrait having been finished from a family picture, without his knowledge. In acknowledging the surprise, he expressed the hope that never might there be any occasion 10 turn it face to the wall again. After the service of installing the officers had been completed, the Grand Lodge, members from other places, and the newly-constituted Lodge, repaired to the banqueting, hall, where a bountiful collation of substantial and luxuries had been made ready.

The officers of the Lodge are as follows : —

  • Stephen Osgood, W.M.
  • Sherman Nelson, S. W.
  • Henry E. Pearson, J. W.
  • Chauncy O. Noyes, Treasurer
  • Milton G. Terry, Secretary
  • Hiram N. Harriman, S. D.
  • Isaac Wilson, J. D.
  • L. F. Carter, S. S.
  • P. J. Lowell, J. S.
  • Rev. O. S. Butler, C.
  • J. G. Barnes, M.
  • E. P. Wildes, O.
  • G. H. Spofford, I. S.
  • W. A. Harnden, T.

125TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, MAY 1992

From TROWEL, Fall 1992, Page 18:

On May 30, 1992, Charles C. Dame Lodge of Georgetown celebrated its 125th Anniversary. The Lodge was opened by Wor. James E. Hamblet and M. W. Edgar W. Darling, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts and a distinguised suite were received by a committe of Past Masters with Wor. Bernard C. Brown as chairman. On the Committee were: R. W. H. Nelson Pingree. R. W. G. Harvey Ellis, Wor. Arthur F. Thompson, Wor. Richard L. Nichols, Wor. James A. Blair, Wor. Robert P. Rudolph, Wor. Hobart B. Esty, Wor. David H. Condon, Wor. Anthony Costanzo, Wor. William C. Johnson, Wor. Michael K. Takesian, Wor. Bryan N. Kenneally, Wor. Edwin H. Perkins, and Wor. Walter E. Barker, Jr.

Accompanying the Grand Master were: R. W. Paul W. Rolston, Senior Grand Warden; R. W. James A. Vytal, Junior Grand Warden; R. W. Charles Dana Batchelder, Jr., P. S. G. W., Acting Grand Secretary; R. W. Herbert Eaton, D. D. G. M., Newburyport 10th District; R. W. Harry Holman, D. D. G. M., Lawrence 11th District; and R. W. John Hanson, Grand Marshal.

Bro. Homer Tapin, Lodge Historian read the Charter of Charles C. Dame Lodge and gave a history of the Lodge. After remarks by the Grand Master and Grand Lodge officers, members with 50 years of more of service were recognized. They were escorted to the Alter and presented a gift by the Worshipful Master. Recognized were: Wor. Bernard C. Brown, 67 years; Bro. Kenneth Brown, 67 years; R. W. H. Nelson Pingree, 60 years; Wor. Arthur F. Thompson, 64 years; Wor. Edwin H. Perkins, 63 years; Bro. Alan Lindquist, 50 years; and Bro. Homer Tapin, 55 years. The celebration continued with dinner and entertainment at a local restaurant.


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1867: District 6 (Newburyport)

1883: District 9 (Newburyport)

1911: District 10 (Newburyport)

1927: District 10 (Newburyport)

2003: District 11


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges