- 1 CINCINNATUS LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.4.1 CENTENNIAL HISTORY, JUNE 1896
- 2.4.2 150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1946
- 2.4.3 175TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1971
- 2.4.4 200TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, SEPTEMBER 1995
- 188.8.131.52 BICENTENARY OF CINCINNATUS LODGE
- 184.108.40.206 CINCINNATUS LODGE
- 220.127.116.11 OUR CHARTER
- 18.104.22.168 THE TWENTY-ONE CHARTER MEMBERS
- 22.214.171.124 THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY
- 126.96.36.199 THE MOVE TO GREAT BARRINGTON
- 188.8.131.52 A SHEFFIELD INTERLUDE
- 184.108.40.206 FESTIVAL OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
- 220.127.116.11 THE CENTENARY
- 18.104.22.168 THE SECOND CENTURY
- 22.214.171.124 125TH ANNIVERSARY
- 126.96.36.199 R. W. JAMES F. WATSON
- 188.8.131.52 150TH ANNIVERSARY
- 184.108.40.206 A NEW LODGE BUILDING
- 220.127.116.11 AN ACTIVE LODGE
- 18.104.22.168 200TH ANNIVERSARY
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 OTHER BROTHERS
- 2.9 DISTRICTS
- 2.10 LINKS
Location: New Marlborough; Great Barrington (1800); Sheffield (1852); Great Barrington (1857).
Chartered By: Paul Revere
Charter Date: 12/09/1795 II-79
Precedence Date: 12/09/1795
Current Status: Active
According to the web site, the lodge moved to Great Barrington in 1800.
MEMBER LIST, 1802
From Vocal Companion and Masonic Register, Boston, 1802, Part II, Page 16:
- R. W. Joseph Jewett, M.
- W. John Whiting, S. W.
- W. John Farnham, J. W.
- Samuel Rosseter, Tr.
- George Stanley, Sec.
- Cornelius Morgan, S. D.
- Artemus Ray, J. D.
- Ebenezer Comstock, Steward.
- Barnet Bushnel, Tiler.
No of Members, 75.
- Benjamin Rogers
- Ira Smith
derived from centenary history; likely includes inaccuracies; need full corrected list and living PMs list
- Walter Dean, 1795, 1796
- Noah Church, 1797
- Gideon Canfield, 1798
- Dan. Chappell, 1799, 1802, 1803
- Joseph Jewitt, 1800, 1801
- John Whiting, 1804, 1805; SN
- Samuel Rossetter, 1806-1811
- William Whiting, 1812, 1824, 1825
- possibly in recess 1813-1820?
- Charles Taylor, 1821-1822?
- Artimus Ray, 1823
- Washington Adams, 1826
- Hezekiah Lathrop, 1827-1829
- DARK 1830-1851
- Constant Southworth, 1852, 1856, 1857
- William F. Ensign, 1853-1855
- George B. Curtis, 1858
- Samuel B. Sumner, 1859-1861
- Parley A. Russell, 1864
- Marcus E. Tobey, 1865
- Henry T. Robbins, 1866-1868, 1871-1874, 1888; SN
- Willard W. Rice, 1869, 1870
- John A. Brewer, 1875, 1876
- Charles J. Burget, 1877-1880
- Miles T. Huntington, 1881-1883; SN
- Charles J. Potter, 1884-1887, 1889, 1890
- Charles J. Potter, 1888
- John N. Easland, 1891, 1892
- Frank W. Adams, 1893
- C. H. Booth, 1894-1896
- Orlando C. Bidwell, 1897-1900; SN
- Frank D. Rowe, 1901
- Walter B. Sanford, 1902, 1903, 1904; Mem
- William D. Hill, 1905
- Fred J. Fuller, 1906-1908
- Clarence E. Culver, 1909, 1910
- Robert S. Rorrison, 1911, 1912
- Alfred W. Wilcoxson, 1913, 1914
- George M. Chamberlain, 1915, 1916
- Fred A. Van Alstyne, 1917
- Clarence I. Sweet, 1918, 1919; N
- Joseph P. G. Davis, 1920
- A. Chalkley Collins, 1921
- Frederick A. Remington, 1922
- Wilbur E. Foote, 1923
- Leonard R. Miller, 1924
- Jesse M. Pushee, 1925
- Edward D. Dolby, 1926
- Roy W. Kinne, 1927
- Henry A. Stevens, 1928
- Floyd M. Kline, 1929
- Marsh B. Giddings, 1930
- James F. Watson, 1931
- James L. Sinclair, 1932
- George A. Ketchen, 1933
- William H. Smith, 1934
- William B. Hall, 1935
- Courtlandt G. Sparks, 1936
- Charles L. Shove, Jr., 1937
- Harold E. Grant, 1938
- J. Monroe Dewkett, 1939
- John W. Taylor, 1940
- Philip S. Armstrong, 1941
- Karl N. Peiffer, 1942
- David B. Grant, 1943
- Rutson J. Longdyke, 1944
- Arthur B. Kinne, 1945
- Zacheus H. Cande, 1946; N
- John B. Kreyenbuhl, 1947
- Edward C. Durant, 1948
- Morton A. Smith, 1949
- Milton L. Stevens, 1950
- Ransom E. Taggart, 1951
- Roderick MacLean, 1952
- John H. Leonard, 1953
- Lawrence F. Tonini, 1954
- William D. Cahill, 1955
- R. Gordon Granger, 1956
- Kenneth F. Preston, 1957
- Robert B. Anderson, 1958
- Harold E. Atwood, 1959
- Matthew J. Dempsey, Jr., 1960
- William L. Kline, 1961
- Norman F. Holt, 1962
- H. Albert Stevens, 1963
- Lawrence Barbieri, 1964
- William O. Shuts, 1965
- C. Raymond Williams, 1966
- John Madison Watson, 1967, 1980, 1999; N
- Peter S. Brown, 1968
- Nathan Horrelly, 1969
- Richard E. Watson, 1970
- Arthur J. Zwick, 1971
- Arthur Stavisky, 1972
- Robert A. Hatch, 1973
- Harry M. Weiss, 1974
- Fred B. Wright, 1975
- Donald E. Crandall, 1976
- John D. Walther, 1977
- Lee R. Barnes, 1978
- Ralph P. Macy, 1979
- Robert Macy, Jr., 1981
- Harry Sano, Jr., 1982
- Paul W. Marcel, 1983
- Thomas B. Thorne, 1984
- Thomas R. Dawson, 1985
- Raymond A. Wells, 1986
- Arthur A. Hyatt, 1987
- James N. Parrish, 1988
- Lee R. Barnes, 1989
- James N. Parrish, 1990
- Harry H. Sano, Jr., 1991
- Peter S. Brown, 1992; PDDGM
- Duke L. Donsbough, 1993
- John D. Walther, 1994
- Owen E. Wright, 1995
- Thomas R. Dawson, 1996
- William A. Crowell, 1997, 1998
- Courtney K. Turner, 2000
- Paul W. Marcel, 2001
- Arthur A. Hyatt, Jr., 2002
- Lawrence H. Davis, III, 2003, 2004
- David M. Weiss, 2005-2007, 2009
- Peter D. Saunders, 2008
- Courtney K. Turner, 2010, 2011
- Melvin T. Cobb, Jr., 2012
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Charter: 1795
- Petition for Removal (to Sheffield): 1852
- Petition for Removal (to Great Barrington): 1857
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1881 (Lawrence)
- 1896 (Holmes)
- 1905 (Sanford)
- 1912 (Benton)
- 1917 (Abbott; see below)
- 1919 (Abbott; Ladies' Night)
- 1928 (Simpson)
- 1945 (Wragg; reception for Junior Grand Warden James F. Watson)
- 1946 (Wragg; 150th Anniversary)
- 1958 (A. Jenkins; Hall dedication)
- 1971 (Jaynes; 175th Anniversary)
- 1995 (Lovering; 200th Anniversary, with Evening Star Lodge)
- 1998 (A. Johnson)
- 2009 (Pageau)
1858 1870 1886 1887 1891 1913 1922 1927 1928 1929 1931 1933 1950 1958 1959 1961 1980 1994 2003 2013 2016 2017
- 1896 (Centenary History, 1896-180; see below)
- 1946 (150th Anniversary History, 1946-156; see below)
- 1971 (175th Anniversary History, 1971-247)
- 1995 (200th Anniversary History, 1995-183; see below)
CENTENNIAL HISTORY, JUNE 1896
Presented by Bro. Isaac R. Pridle; from Proceedings, Page 1896-180:
THE FIRST PERIOD
M. W. Grand Master, W. Master and Brethren: The first information that we have in regard to the formation of Cincinnatus Lodge is the entry in the records of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, to the effect that at the Communication held on December 8, 1795, Brother Walter Dean presented a petition signed by himself, Drake Mills, Dan. Chappell, Samuel Carrington, Benj. Pierce, Gideon Canfiekl, Noah Church, Jr., John Shaw, Abel Smith, Hezekiah Kil- born, Reuben Buckman, Obediah Smith, Eliphalet Gregory, Gideon Post, Elihu Grant, Obediah Dickinson, Jr., Stephen Moss, Zebadiah Dean, John Nash, Moses Hopkins and Ebenezer Chadwick, in all twenty-one, seventeen of whom were Master Masons, three Fellow Crafts and one an Entered Apprentice, asking for a charter for a Lodge to be known by the name of Cincinnatus, and to be organized arid to hold meetings in the town of New Marlborough. Why this name (Cincinnatus) was chosen we know not, and the meaning of the name having often been asked, we quote as follows:
"Cincinnatus, Lucius Quinctius, a Roman Consul regarded by the later Romans as the model of antique virtue and simple manners. So far as we can discern his character through the veil of legend, Cincinnatus appears to have been a violent patrician. About 460 years B.C. he was chosen Consul and two years later was made Dictator. When the messengers from Rome came to- tell Cincinnatus of his new dignity they found him ploughing on his small farm. He soon rescued the Consul, Lucius Minucius, who had been defeated and surrounded by the Æqui. We are next informed that after a dictatorship of sixteen clays he returned to his small farm on the Tiber. When eighty years old he was once more made Dictator, 439 B.C., and suppressed a threatened plebeian insurrection." Legend tells more, but enough has been said to give one an understanding of the man whose name we bear, and of all the names given other Lodges in the State none suit us better than Cincinnatus."
This petition was at once granted and Brother Dean was assigned a seat in the Grand Lodge,
The Charter was dated December 9, 1795, and accordingly took rank in the list of Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. This Charter was sighed by the illustrious Paul Revere, then Most Worshipful Grand Master for Massachusetts; William Scollay, Deputy Grand Master; Isaiah Thomas, Senior Grand Warden; Richard Sutton, Junior Grand Warden; William Little, Grand Treasurer; and Daniel Oliver, Grand Secretary. We are proud to-day of the fact that we still have this valuable document in our possession. For one hundred years faithful men have zealously guarded and preserved it, and to-day we proudly exhibit it, yellow with age, but with the signatures as distinct as the clay they were traced.
The Charter of Montgomery Lodge, of Lakeville, Conn., our elder sister by thirteen years, has the signature of Paul Revere, then Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Proud that Lodge which began its work under the authority of that illustrious patriot, soldier, statesman and Mason, and twice proud that Lodge which yet possesses its original Charter with that signature!
The first officers were Walter Dean, W.M., Drake Mills, S.W., and Dan. Chappell, J.W. In just two weeks from the date of the Charter the first meeting was held at the house of Joel Brigham, in New Marlborough, of which we have this record:
At a Meeting of a Number of Free and Accepted Masons of the town of New Marlborough and towns adjacent, Convened at the house of Joel Brigham of Sd. N. Marlboro on December 23rd, 1795. Brother Walter Dean Brought forward his Papers which he Rec'd from Boston in Consequence of a mission from the Sd. Brethren.
- Voted that we accept of the Doings of Br. Dean.
- Voted that we Present our thanks to Br. Dean for services in obtaining the afores'd Papers.
- Voted that Br. Bucknum be agent to Present a letter to Br. Bennington from the Gd. Lodge.
- Voted that the first Day, January, 1796, be the Day in which the Lodge in N. Marlboro be Installed.
- Voted that a Committee be Sent to Rev. Mr. Catlin to Consult him on the subject if he is willing to have the Brethren meet on Sd. Day in his meeting House and Deliver a Discourse to them. Voted that Brs, Canfield, Mills and Carrington be the Committee to wait on Mr. Catlin. The Committee waited on Mr. Catlin, returned and reported in the affirmative.
- Voted that we accept their report.
- Voted to Proceed to Elect the remainder of the officers of the Lodge.
- Voted that the officers Be Chosen by Nomination.
- Voted that brother Canfield be Treasurer; Br. Church, Sect.; Br. Carrington, Sr. Deacon; Br. Dickinson, Jr. Deacon; Bro. Milo Shaw be Sr. Steward; Br. Bucknum, Jur. Steward.
- Voted that Br. John Shaw and Br. Abel Smith Be the Tylers for the first of January.
- Voted that we meet at Joel Brigham's on January 1st. at 9 o'clock and walk to the Church at one o'clock.
On January 1, 1796, at nine o'clock A.M., the Brethren met as had been agreed upon, and Cincinnatus Lodge was duly installed. At one o'clock P.M. the Brethren marched to the church and Rev. Mr. Catlin gave a discourse. There is no record of this exercise, but at a meeting held June 1st of the same year it was voted "to procure one hundred and fifty copies of this discourse." Our records have this brief entry of the ceremonies of the day: "Cincinnatus Lodge, Duly Installed by Lawful authority on the first day of January, A.D. 1796, and of light 5796, in the Town of New Marlborough." A brief record for so important an occasion. On January 6 the first meeting for work was held, and two candidates were proposed, accepted and initiated that evening. At this meeting all the officers and five other members were present. This meeting was opened at the house of Joel Brigham, then closed to meet at the house of Jarvis Muclge at six in the evening. It was at the latter house that the work was done.
Of the personal history of the charter members we know but little. They mostly came from the vicinity of Hartford and probably some of them took their Masonic degrees there. They were mostly residents of New Marlborough, although the adjacent towns of Great Barrington, Sheffield, Tyringham and Sandisfield furnished several. They were all hardy pioneers and stanch patriots, and when their country needed them they left their ploughs and served faithfully in the Revolutionary wrar, the war of 1812, in the local outbreaks of the Indians, and in the short Shays' rebellion, returning again to their farms and merchandise, thus imitating that noble Roman whose name this Lodge bears.
Walter Dean settled in New Marlborough in 1773, being about twenty-two years of age. At the beginning of the Revolutionary war he joined the regiment of Colonel Patterson, of Lenox, (who was later a prominent Mason), served faithfully as a private until the army was disbanded and returned to New Marlborough. At the opening of the war of 1812, although well along in years, he was one of a company who went from this vicinity to Boston ready for service, but were not called into action. A few years later he moved to Hillsdale, N.Y.
- Walter Dean, Gentleman. We find on the records of the town of New Marlborough .his name so affixed to deeds and other documents and that the other names were written as Yeomen. Also we find in the church records that he with others gave very large sums towards the building of a new church in said town, which leads us to suppose that he was one of the leading citizens in the town while he was living there.
- Gideon Post was a charter member of Montgomery Lodge, of Lakeville, and was its first Senior Warden. He was also a charter member of the Sheffield Lodge, organized in Sheffield in 1803. At the beginning of the Revolutionary war he was appointed on the Committee of Inspection, his duty being to see that the advice of the Continental Congress be strictly adhered to.
- Noah Church took his degrees in Montgomery Lodge in 1790. His father was one of the first settlers of New Marlborough. In September, 1774, he was appointed a town committee to attend a convention of committees from the towns of the county at Stockbridge. On his returning and reporting to the town the doings of that convention, the town immediately voted a town stock of two hundred and twenty-four pounds of powder, six hundred pounds of lead, nine gross good flints, and thirty-five pounds good money.
- John Shaw was also the son of one of the first .settlers of New Marlborough, and did excellent service in Colonel Patterson's regiment.
- Moses Hopkins was the son of Rev. Samuel Hopkins, D.D., who was pastor of the Congregational church in Great Barrington from 1743 to 1769. Moses was a merchant, and for months before the battle of Saratoga greatly assisted Captain Walter Pynchon in collecting large supplies of cartridges, cannon shot, rum, salt and flour, and forwarding the same for the use of the army of General Gates. When the post-office was established in Great Barrington, in 1797, he was appointed and served as the first postmaster.
The remainder of the charter members were residents of the surrounding towns, and the family names are still familiar in Southern Berkshire.
It may be interesting to take a glance at the condition of this portion of the county at the time the Lodge was organized. New Marlborough was strictly an agricultural town, and ranked third in this section for population. In 1800 the population of Sheffield was 2,050, Sandisfield 1,857, New Marlborough 1,848, Great Barrington 1,755 and Tyringham 1,712.
In 1796 there, was no post-office south of Stockbridge except at Sheffield, one being established in Great Barrington in 1797 and one in New Marlborough in 1806. The roads were nothing but rough wood roads through the forest. - The teaming was all done with oxen, and Hudson, N.Y., was the nearest market. There the farmers went once a year and exchanged surplus farm products for necessities they could not raise 'on their farms. Travelling was done on horseback or on foot. A family on their way to church of a Sabbath would have given a picture of the flight into Egypt. Mother and baby riding upon the horse; the able-bodied and unencumbered walking by their side. Loads were moved by teams of oxen, and as much as possible in the winter. Teamsters and travellers put up for the night at the wayside inn. About this time a mortar for West Point passed through this section, twenty yoke of oxen and sixty men being required to drag it over Blandford Hill and through New Marlborough.
We of to-day can little realize what that journey by Bro. Walter Dean to Boston after this charter meant. It meant days of horseback riding over the rough roads of the forests, in the short clays of December. The return trip appears to have takeu over a week. We find by the records of the Lodge that the money advanced by Bro. Dean for the Charter and expenses to Boston and return amounted to £15 18 shillings, which sum the Lodge reimbursed to him. What did it mean for men to go, under these circumstances, from Great Barrington, Sheffield, and surrounding towns to New Marlborough to attend Lodge?
Previous to the organization of Cincinnatus Lodge there had been but three Lodges established, in Berkshire county; namely, Franklin Lodge, which met in Cheshire and Lanesborough, alternately six months in each place, Evening Star Lodge, then situated in Lenox, and Berkshire Lodge, which had become extinct and which appears to have been established for a few months in Stockbridge. The only information we have regarding Berkshire Lodge is from the record of a meeting of our Lodge held February 3, 1796, when Bro. Dan. Cbappell was appointed a committee to join a committee from Evening Star Lodge, respecting the jewels and clothing that belonged" to the late Berkshire Lodge, (of which we claim a part), and report at the next regular Lodge night. No report is recorded, but a few months later the Lodge voted to pay Evening Star Lodge $4.87 for the jewels. Presumably this Lodge had the jewels and paid Evening Star this amount for their share.
For the first six months the affairs of the Lodge moved smoothly and the membership was constantly increasing. During this time By-Laws were adopted, then revised and the old ones burned. In fact, for the first four years we find frequent records of the revision of the By-Laws. The first record book was purchased in July, 1796, and cost 10 shillings. This book we have in our possession to-day.
In February, 1796, Bro. John Mix, of Farmington, was invited to New Marlborough to instruct the Brethren in the art and work. In December of the same year a Bible was bought for the use of the Lodge, said Bible costing $2.83.
June 24, 1796, the Lodge observed St. John's day, at which Bro. Child delivered an address, for which he received a vote of thanks and $10, and a copy was requested for the press. . A banquet was served at this gathering. There were present twenty-two members and thirteen, visitors. At this same date the Lodge chose new officers.
On the 27th of December of the same year the festival of St. John the Evangelist was celebrated. There were present twenty members and three visitors. There is no record of the exercises, but as Bro. Church had been selected to deliver an oration, it is presumed that he delivered it.
The members who lived in the towns of Great Barrington, Stockbridge, Egremont, Alford and Sheffield found it very inconvenient to go the long distances necessary to attend Lodge in New Marlborough. Accordingly, early in the first year the question of moving to or holding a part of the meetings in Great Barrington arose. In July it was voted to hold the meetings half the time in Great Barrington and half in New Marlborough as the Lodge shall hereafter agree. The New Marlborough Brethren, however, did not wish the Lodge moved, and it was voted to move, and then not to move, several times, and it was not. until October, 1797, that a meeting was held in this town.
The first meeting of the Lodge in this town was held in the house of Captain Pinchins. This was situated on the corner of Main and Bridge streets where our Lodge is now held. There were fourteen members and four visitors present. At this meeting a committee was appointed to ■ again revise the By-Laws. The By-Laws were revised about once every three months in those days.
December 27, the festival of St. John the Evangelist was celebrated. Parson Judson received a vote of thanks and $5, presumedly for the delivery of a sermon or oration. The singers were also given a vote of thanks.
John Kellogg made the Lodge a present of $5, for which he was thanked.
The Lodge met in this town for six months. On April 4, 1798, we read of it again in New Marlborough, where it was held in the house of Brother Church, where it met until October, when it a second time moved to Great Barrington to meet at the Brick house. This is the D. J. Coleman house, situated on the Stockbridge road just north of Belcher square . school-house.' The record of this meeting states that a lunch of crackers and biscuits was furnished at a cost of $1.56; also fifty cents was expended for crackers and rum. This year (1798) the festival of St. John the Baptist was celebrated in New Marlborough, and that of St. John the Evangelist in Great Barrington. At the latter, an oration on "Masonry within the Walls," was delivered by Bro. E. Bradley. At this meeting a By-Law was adopted making the hour for closing the Lodge seven P.M. Until November, 1799, the Lodge met on the first Wednesday of each month. The day of meeting was then changed to the Wednesday on or before the full moon, probably for the convenience of those who were obliged to travel a long distance to attend Lodge. The Lodge continued to hold meetings for six months in New Marlborough and six months in Great Barrington until February 5, 1800, when it was voted to move to Great Barrington. This was clone, and the Lodge only held one meeting in New Marlborough after this, namely, May 4, 1803. There appears to have been considerable hard feeling about this action, for at nearly every meeting the matter was brought up. But the Barrington Brethren seem to have been in the majority, for the vote to move back to New Marlborough was always lost. January, 1802, a committee was appointed to " see what the difference was that existed between the. members here and at New Marlborough." Whatever these differences were they were probably amicably settled, for they are never alluded to again. At this time the fees for the degrees were made $15 at initiation, $3 at passing and $3 at raising. Previous to this there had been simply the fee of $15 at initiation.
On October 20, 1802, it was voted to approbate a petition of a number of Brethren, (George Pomeroy and others), in West Stockbridge to the Grand Lodge for a Charter to establish a Lodge in said town, by the name of Constellation, afterwards changed to Wisdom. The only record we have that this petition was granted is a copy of the return sent the Grand Lodge by the District Deputy, This return gives a list of the officers and members of Wisdom Lodge, (Lewis Tyrrell being Worshipful Master), and contains this closing paragraph:
This Lodge was instituted September 6, 1803. The members are zealous in the cause of Masonry, and, I think, will do themselves honor to their profession.
(Signed) Caleb Hyde, D.D.G.M.
Lenox, November 1, 1803.
Several of the Brethren named in that list were former members of Cincinnatus Lodge. This return was found among old papers of Cincinnatus Lodge about four years ago, and returned to the Brethren of Wisdom Lodge, who highly prize it, being the only record they have of their early days, their records having all been destroyed.
May 4, 1803, it was voted that the petition received from Bro. Andrew Andrews, from Sheffield, for a Lodge in that town receive the approbation of Cincinnatus Lodge. This Lodge was instituted May 27, 1804. This Lodge was in existence about twenty-two years, the last meeting being held under date of December 28, 5826, when officers were chosen and installed for the ensuing year and the Lodge closed in due form. We find many of the members were members of Cincinnatus at the same time.
The formation of this Lodge also drew from the membership of Cincinnatus, for nearly all, if not all, the charter members came from this Lodge. Our Bro. Gideon Post, whom we have seen was a charter member of Montgomery Lodge, of Lakeville, in 1782, a charter member of Cincinnatus, 1795, was next a charter member of Sheffield Lodge, in 1804; but with this extensive Masonic record we are unable to trace the source of his Masonic career, or find out anything of his last clays on this globe. In 1808 there was another Lodge formed, the members of Cincinnatus and other Masons residing in Bethlehem, Louclon and Sandisfield uniting. This Lodge was named "Rising Sun," and held meetings for a few years in the towns of Sandisfield and Tyringham. In 1820 they asked permission to sit a part of the time in New Marlborough.
There are many curious entries to be found among the records of the early years. For instance, on January 22, 1812, it was voted that the Stewards provide vessels for the necessary liquors of the Lodge. At the next meeting it was voted to abolish the practice of bringing refreshments into the Lodge; also, that the Stewards return the wine they had procured, and it was returned. At one meeting it was voted to obtain a chest for the safe keeping of the glass and other articles belonging to the Lodge. At another time a trunk was ordered for the security of the money of the Lodge. We find that it was the practice to .loan at the close of each meeting any surplus funds after the bills of the evening were paid. This caused a deal of trouble in settling.
The Lodge, after permanently removing to Great Barrington, met at private houses until September 4, 1806, when the new Hall provided by Bro. Dr. Leavenworth was dedicated, there being present delegations from the neighboring Lodges. This Hall was in the upper story of a block situated where the Burget & Lewis block now stands, and was burned in 1839.
February 2, 1803, the Lodge donated $16 to erect a monument to the memory of Bro. Isaac Nash; and Bro. Samuel Rossetter was appointed a committee to meet Bro. B. Pease, from Evening Star Lodge, to determine the monument device, etc.
We find the records of many of these early meetings ending with this formula: "Lodge closed and stand closed until God gives us another opportunity." During these early years every recurring anniversary of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist was appropriately observed. In December, 1800, Evening Star Lodge, of Lenox, was our guest, and the following .June Cincinnatus was entertained at Lenox by Evening Star. The Hudson Lodge frequently exchanged courtesies with Cincinnatus. Several times Cincinnatus arranged for a celebration of the day and gave a general invitation to Lodges and Masons by advertising in the Western Star, a paper published in Stockbridge.
The meetings were held regularly every month until 1813; in that year there being only three Communications. The thirteen Secretaries up to this time performed their duty faithfully, as the full and concise records in the first book will prove. At the election held December 16, 1812, however, there appears to have been a reluctancy on the part of the Brothers to accept this important office. It is reported that five were elected and declined to serve. Finally Bro. David Leavenworth was elected and accepted on condition that he " act only when he pleased."
The W. Masters for the same years and the Initiates received were:
- Walter Dean, 1 1/2 years, 23 initiates
- Noah Church, 1 1/2 years, 7 initiates
- Gideon Canfield, 1 year, 3 initiates
- Dan. Chappell, 1 year, 8 initiates
- Joseph Jewitt, 2 years, 13 initiates
- Dan. Chappell, 2 years, 5 initiates
- John Whiting, 2 years, 10 initiates
- Samuel Rossetter, 6 years, 39 initiates
- William Whiting, 1 year, 1 initiate
making eight different Masters and one hundred and nine Initiates during the first eighteen years.
The records for these first eighteen years are very profitable reading, but time compels us to pass on to the next period. We have given much space to this period, as it shows the struggles and the triumphs of the Lodge and the debt we owe the founders for their devotion and untiring fidelity.
For the time from 1814 to 1824 we have no record, but there were twenty-six signatures to the By-Laws during that time, which would prove that meetings were held in those years, but how frequently we do not know. Ralph Taylor, father of Charles J. Taylor, was made a Mason during that period, and he frequently told his son that his (Ralph's) brother Charles, who was made a Mason in Sheffield Lodge, was Master of Cincinnatus Lodge sometime between 1821 and 1824.
THE SECOND PERIOD
We now enter on the second period of the' existence of our Lodge. On the 9th day of June, 1824, the Lodge met at Bro. Timothy Griswold's; that was the tavern standing where the Berkshire block is now located, and where the Lodge is at present housed. There were fourteen members present and officers were elected for the ensuing year. A committee was appointed to provide a room for the Lodge.
At the next meeting, July 7, the committee reported and it was voted to remove to the house of David Wilcox, which is the old house now standing near the entrance to Kellogg Terrace. There they met on August 4 and September 8. At the latter meeting it was voted to adjourn the Lodge to their new Lodge-room at the store of Van Deusen & Pynchon. A committee was appointed to remove all the property of the Lodge before the next regular Communication, which was done by Bro. William Whiting, who beforeN the next meeting got the old chest and other property of the Lodge from the store of Charles Taylor, who had the goods placed in his care sometime previous by a vote of the Lodge. Said store was situated where the Long Stone store now is. Brother Whiting with one horse and lumber wagon carted the goods to Van Deusenville, and not a very heavy load either. This store was situated in Van Deusenville east of the bridge and on the north side of the brook. On October 6 they met in their new Hall.
About this time there appears to have been some trouble between the Lodge an4 Grand Lodge, for immediately after this there were several meetings of the Lodge and committees with, the D. D. G. M., Alpheus Harding; and we infer that the R.W. had called for the charter, for we find that at a meeting held November 3, after some deliberation on the subject of returning the charter to the Grand Lodge, it was voted not to return, but to retain it, and Bros. Ebenezer Pope and Isaac I. Van Deusen were appointed a committee to wait on D. D. G. M. Harding and acquaint him of the action of the Lodge; also to confer with him upon any subject for the benefit of the Lodge and to pay the dues owing the Grand Lodge. It is recorded that on June 14, 1825, there was an extra meeting at which two were passed to the degree of Fellow Craft, and that the Rev. Mr. Rodgers, a visiting Brother, gratuitously conferred the degree of Union Master Mason on nine Brothers, for which the Lodge tendered him a vote of thanks and a present of two dollars.
On December 26, 1825, D.D.G.M. Edward F. Ensign was present at the celebration of the festival of St. John the Evangelist and installed the newly elected officers. The meetings were held regularly until the beginning of the year 1827, when the attendance began to drop off, and the last meeting recorded in the book was held on March 25, 1828.
A scrap of paper was, however, found among the old papers of the Lodge, with this record: "Lodge met July 20, 1829, pursuant to adjournment. Entered Apprentice's Lodge opened in due form; H. Lathrop, W. M.; W. M. Battell, S. W.; C. Southworth, J. W.; D. Wilcox, Treasurer pro tern.; I. Seeley, Secretary; J. N. Robins, S. D.; W, Adams, J. D.; eight Brothers present. Lodge opened in clue form for the despatch of business. Lodge closed in due form, to be convened on Tuesday."
For years it has been a mystery what the meeting to be convened on Tuesday was for, but a memorandum found within two months among some old papers in the possession of the clerk of the Episcopal church at Van Deusenville reads as follows:
Tuesday, July 21, 1829.
The Masonic procession will organize in the meantime at the house of Mr. Chace, and Masonic procession will move in due form with the Corner Stone in the rear under the conduct of the Master Workman and Master of the Lodge.
This brief memorandum explains the record of the meeting of Monday, the 20th.
We have always known that the corner-stone of the brick chapel at Van Deusenville was laid by this Lodge. There was no record of the service, and even the date could not be fixed until the above-mentioned memorandum was discovered this spring by Rev. Mr. Foxcroft, the present rector at Van Deusenville.
The growth of the parish necessitated a large edifice, and in 1866 the brick chapel was taken clown and the present church edifice erected. At the laying of the corner-stone of the brick edifice by this Lodge, in 1829, in a receptacle prepared for it, was placed a box containing papers and other articles pertinent to the occasion, though of small pecuniary value.
When the structure was taken down, thirty-seven years later, it was expected that much interesting information could be obtained from the contents of the box, but an examination of the corner-stone disclosed, the fact that the box and the relics had disappeared; probably stolen from the stone before the walls were reared thereupon. This was the last meeting of the Lodge in Van Deusenville, and there is no record of another meeting until 1852.
The Masters for this period were: Artimus Ray, June, 1824, to January, 1825; William Whiting, 1825-26; Washington Adams, 1827; and Hezekiak Lathrop from Jan. 1, 1828, as long as meetings were held.
Isaac I. Van Deusen, referred to" many times in the records as "wise Isaac," was Secretary for three years; Ebenezer Pope one year; and Increase Sumner the rest of the time. There were seventeen candidates initiated and St. John's Day celebrated four times.
The furniture, books, jewels and other property of the Lodge were left in the Lodge Hall for a long time, and it is known that the boys of' the neighborhood used to get in at the windows and read the records and dress themselves up with the clothing of the Lodge. The Tyler's sword is now in the possession of J. C. Munson, who has kindly loaned it to us for use to-day. The jewels were lost. The Record Books were saved and have given us the facts for our present history. So ends the second period.
THE THIRD PERIOD
We now come to the third period of the history of our Lodge.
In the spring of 1852 a few old Masons, five in all, met in the Hall used by the local Lodge of Odd Fellows, known as Housatonic Lodge. This Hall was in the upper story of . the Long Stone store, and still remains to-day unchanged. These five men met to take action in regard to reorganizing Cincinnatus Lodge. They were Edward F. Ensign, Constant Southworth, Increase Sumner and Isaac Seeley, all former members of Cincinnatus, and Merritt Van Deusen, a member of Evening Star Lodge. They talked of the advisability of reorganizing, went home, and for days agitated the matter, and on the 31st of May, the same year, met again in the Odd Fellows Hall, and Jared Johnson and Egbert P. Tobey, old Cincinnatus Masons, and Silas Eddy, of Evening Star Lodge, met with them. During the interval between these meetings, Brother Ensign had been busy and had obtained a decree from the Deputy Grand Master authorizing a reorganization of this Lodge. This was read, and the following officers were elected: Edward F. Ensign, W. M.; Constant Southworth, S.W.; Isaac Seeley, J.W.; Increase Sumner, Secretary. All those present pledged themselves to Bro. Southworth to share equally in any expense lie may incur for jewels for the Lodge.
The next meeting was held on June 14, 1852, and it was voted that all Brother Masons in good standing be admitted members of this Lodge by signing the By-Laws. At this meeting Bros. Silas Eddy and Clark W. Bryan were admitted to membership on recommendation of Evening Star Lodge. On the 24th of June the officers were installed by D.D.G.M. Franklin Weston.
At a meeting held July 30, 1852, we find a vote of thanks was given Bro. Babcock Bush, late consul and resident at Hong Kong, China, for his magnificent gift of a Bible.
The Lodge, January 22, 1853, met in their new Lodge-room in Sheffield. There is no record of any previous arrangements for this move. The Lodge had been held in Great Barrington seven months, since reorganizing, and it was voted that the thanks of the Lodge and ten dollars be sent to Housatonic Lodge of I. O. O. F. for the use of their rooms during the greater part of that time. At Sheffield the rooms of the Konkapot Lodge of I. O. O. F. were used, for which the sum of three dollars and seventy-five cents per meeting was paid. December 29, 1854, a committee was appointed to procure rooms at Great Barrington, suitable for the Lodge. There appears to have been more ceremony necessary in regard to moving back to this town than there was- in moving away, for on November 23, 1855, the W.M. was instructed to ask a dispensation of the D.D.G.M. to remove this Lodge to Great Barrington. June 5, 1857, a committee was appointed to obtain the assent of the Lodges of Lee and West Stockbridge for the removal of this Lodge to Great Barrington, and on October 2, 1857, the Lodge met again in the Odd Fellows Hall in this town after a sojourn in Sheffield of four years and eight months.
At this time the Odd Fellows Hall was in the third story of the brick building now known as the Miller House. There were twenty-four members present at that meeting. At tbe May meeting, 1858, a committee was appointed to canvass the Lodge in reference to celebrating St. John's Day, June 24, and report at the next meeting. June 4 the committee reported in favor of having such a celebration and their, report was unanimously accepted.
Frederick Whiting, Samuel B. Sumner, William S. Bradley, Andrew L. Hubbell, John N. Robbins, Henry T. Robbins, Isaac B. Prindle, Marcus E. Tobey, Merritt Van Deusen, and Benj. F. Duraut were appointed a committee of arrangements with full power to invite neighboring Lodges and citizens, and to make such preparations for dinner, oration, music, etc , as shall give character and respectability to the occasion. On June 11 the committee reported that they had secured Hon. Bro. Increase Sumner as orator for the celebration, and that Mrs. Elizabeth Pixley, at the Berkshire House, would provide dinner, and that she had agreed to close her bar and not allow ahy spirituous liquor to be sold during the day. (The idea that Masons would want anything to drink!) It was voted that.'the members of Cincinnatus Lodge be requested to bring their ladies to the celebration, and inform other Lodges that their ladies' society would be desirable on the occasion,
On the 24th; the Lodge met at their Hall at 10:30 A.M., and proceeded; to the depot to welcome the visiting Lodges. The officers of Cincinnatus Lodge that day were: Constant Sonthworth, W.M., Ralph Little, S.W.; Horace D. Train, J.W; Egbert. Hollister, Treasurer; Walter W. Hollenbeck, Secretary; Samuel B. Sumner, S.D.; Luke B. Miller, J.D.; Harbron Rogers,. S.S.; Frederick T. Whiting, J.S.; Edward F. Ensign, Auditor; W. S. Bradley, Marshal; Jared Johnson, Tyler. The visiting Lodges and numbers .present were as follows: Friendship, of Copake, 15; Berkshire, of Adams, 13; Mystic, of Pittsfield, 18; Lafayette, of North Adams, 15; Wisdom, of' West Stockbridge, 16; Evening Star, of Lee, 34; from various other Lodges, 14; making 125 visitors. Cincinnatus turned out. 53 members that day, making 178 Masons in line. Headed by a band from Adams they proceeded to these grounds, where the literary exercises were held in the old part of that Hall in your rear, and where we will banquet, at the close of these exercises. After the exercises on these grounds were completed the'line was re-formed and marched to the Berkshire House, where a banquet was served on the lawn under a rustic bower. This, was the only time until to-clay that Cincinnatus has celebrated the festival of St. John since its re-organization, in 1852.
There are few present with us to-day who were with us that day, just thirty-eight years ago. Of our own members there are seven here to-day who participated in the pleasure of of that occasion. They are Isaac B. Prindle, John Gibson, Henry T. Robbins, George Church, Marcus E. Tobey, Andrew L. Hubbell and myself. We remember with gladness the perfect June day. The weather was on its best behavior and the ladies added to the enjoyment of the occasion, as they always do when present with us.
The Lodge, continued to occupy the Odd Fellows' rooms until October 14, 1864, when they took possession of rooms fitted up for them by Bro. Frederick T. Whiting in his new brick block. There we continued to meet until the first of January of this year, when we moved into our present beautiful and commodious quarters in the Berkshire Block, where we hope to remain for many years.
The history of the Lodge since 1860 is familiar to us all and there is no need to review it today. During.the years from '60 to '65 many of our dear Brothers went forth in response to their country's call, some never to return. On our roll of membership will be found the names of many of the prominent men of this section; men whom the world delights to honor, and who are always loyal to Cincinnatus. The Masters, their term of. office, and, the Initiates throughout this last period are as follows:
- William F. Ensign, 3 years, 14 initiates
- Constance Southworth, 3 years, 29 initiates
- George B. Curtis, 1 years, 5 initiates
- Samuel B. Sumner, 3 years, 18 initiates
- Henry T. Robbins, 10 years, 110 initiates
- Parley A. Russell, 1 year, 8 initiates
- Marcus E. Tobey, 1 year, 13 initiates
- Willard W. Rice, 2 years, 23 initiates
- John A. Brewer, 2 years, 13 initiates
- Charles J. Burget, 4 years, 15 initiates
- Miles T. Huntington, 4 years, 26 initiates
- Charles J. Potter, 5 years, 40 initiates
- John N. Easland, 2 years, 15 initiates
- Frank W. Adams, 1 year, 3 initiates
- C. H. Booth, 2 1/2 years, 25 initiates
making in all fifteen Masters and three hundred and fifty-seven Initiates for the forty-four years, and five hundred and six Initiates for the century.
During the past forty-four years the Lodge has had fifteen secretaries, eight of whom served one year each; four, three years each; one, six years; and one for sixteen years.
During the century three members of Cincinnatus Lodge have been honored with the appointment of District Deputy Grand Master — Edward F. Ensign, Henry T. Robbins and Miles T. Huntington, which high office they held with pleasure to themselves and honor to the Grand Lodge.
Brethren of Cincinnatus Lodge, this, in brief, is the. history of our Lodge for the past one hundred years. The record of the past is closed. What the next one hundred years will bring forth depends upon us. Shall we go on in the same spirit that has actuated the labors of the past? If so, the growth and grandeur of Cincinnatus for the second century is assured.
150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1946
From Proceedings, Page 1946-156:
By Worshipful James L. Sinclair.
Abler men than I have struggled with the history of Cincinnatus Lodge and have brought to light considerable data, much of which has previously been published and is on file in the archives of the Grand Lodge. Much is lacking, and as the years go by, there is less probability of its being made known to us of this later generation. To some of these other searchers I am indebted for much of the material used in this article.
One hundred and fifty years is a long time — indeed, even fifty years finds only a few of our Brethren remembering our centennial celebration. If careful records had been made and preserved during that century and a half, data for several volumes would be available. But Secretaries, as well as other officers, can be careless; and it is a sad thing that the period we would like most to know about remains almost blank so far as records go. My assignment this evening is simply to step back a century and a half and tell the story of our Lodge in as few words as possible, touching only the high spots, and omitting as many uninteresting dates, figures, lists of officers and statistics as I can without harm to the story. We start with the year 1795.
At the communication of the Grand Lodge on December 8th of that year, Brother Walter Dean of New Marlborough presented a petition, signed by himself and twenty other Masons, asking for a charter for a Lodge of Masons to be known as Cincinnatus Lodge, which would hold its meetings in New Marlborough.
Of the twenty-one signers, seventeen were Master Masons, three were Fellowcrafts, and one was an Entered Apprentice. The petition was at once accepted, and Brother Dean was assigned a seat in the Grand Lodge. The charter was dated the following day, December 9, 1795, and signed by the illustrious Paul Revere, then Grand Master over a jurisdiction which took in not only Massachusetts, but the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island as well.
Naturally we are proud to exhibit tonight this same charter, yellow with age, preserved for a century and a half. It has been lost and found several times; carefully guarded by some, and carelessly handled by others. It has survived fires and depressions of the Fraternity; it has had various homes, but we have it still—the most valued possession of Cincinnatus Lodge.
Twenty other Lodges, I believe, are still in existence whose charters were signed by Paul Revere as Grand Master, but few are as fortunate as Cincinnatus in having the original document. Montgomery Lodge of Lakeville, Connecticut, thirteen years our senior, and with which we are very intimate, has his signature on its charter as Grand Senior Warden. Some of our charter members were raised in Montgomery Lodge, and only recently we exchanged work with this Lodge. We have long been friends.
The name Cincinnatus, as applied to a Masonic Lodge, is, to say the least, distinctive. For some time I was under the impression that we stood alone as such. However, recently I discovered that a Lodge with the same name exists in the State of New York, at Cincinnatus, Cortland County. Why this particular name instead of one pertaining to the planets or some constellation? The simplest, and probably correct, reason goes back to the old Roman Consul of that name, who, about 460 B.C. left his plow in the fields, fought a victorious and decisive battle, and at its conclusion, returned to his interrupted labors. In like manner, several at least of the charter members af our Lodge were veterans of the Revolution, and like Cincinnatus of old, returned to their farms in the vicinity of New Marlborough when their terms of service were finished. Our beautiful Lodge banner displays a painting depicting the Roman Cincinnatus receiving the news of his being chosen Dictator of Rome.
The first officers were: Walter Dean, Worshipful Master; Drake Mills, Senior Warden; and Dan Chappell, Junior Warden.
Two weeks after the date of the charter, December 23, the first meeting of the Lodge was held, at the home of Joel Brigham in New Marlborough. Brother Dean brought the papers which he received from the Grand Lodge; was voted the thanks of the Brethren for his labors; and it was voted that the first day of January, 1796, be the day when the Lodge should be installed.
Accordingly, on January 1, 1796, at 9:00 a.m., the Brethren met as had been agreed upon, and Cincinnatus Lodge was duly installed. At 1:00 p.m. they marched to the church and Rev. Mr. Catlin gave a discourse. Although the record of this meeting has been preserved, it is decidedly brief for so important an event.
On January 6th the first meeting for work was held and two candidates were proposed, accepted and initiated that evening. Again they gathered at the home of Joel Brigham, but the meeting adjourned to the home of Jarvis Mudge at 6:00 o'clock, where the work was done.
In all probability most of the charter members took their degrees at Hartford or in other Connecticut Lodges. Walter Dean settled in New Marlborough in 1773, being then about twenty-one years of age. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, he joined the regiment of Colonel Patterson of Lenox, who later, as General John Patterson, became the first Master of Washington Lodge No. 10, a traveling Lodge in the Revolutionary Army. Brother Dean also served in the War of 1812 in the vicinity of Boston. He was prominent in New Marlborough affairs and later moved to Hillsdale, New York.
Gideon Post was a charter member of Montgomery Lodge, Lakeville, and was also a charter member of Sheffield Lodge, which was organized in 1803. He, too, was active in the Revolution.
Noah Church took his degrees in Montgomery Lodge in 1790. His father was one of the first settlers of New Marlborough. He was an ardent patriot and served on important town committees.
John Shaw served in Colonel Patterson's regiment, along with Brother Dean.
Moses Hopkins, son of the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, first pastor of the First Congregational Church of Great Barrington, was a merchant in this town and did much to collect large supplies of powder, shot, rum, salt and flour, and forwarded them to General Gates previous to the battle of Saratoga. He was Great Bar-rington's first postmaster, in 1797.
Names of many of the other charter members are familiar in Southern Berkshire history. Those not previously mentioned are: Samuel Carrington, Benjamin Pierce, Gideon Canfield, Abel Smith, Hezekiah Kilborn, Reuben Buckman, Obediah Smith, Eliphalet Gregory, Elihu Grant, Obediah Dickinson, Jr., Stephen Moss, Zebediah Dean, John Nash and Ebenezer Chadwick.
Brother Dean's trip to Boston to secure our charter was no pleasure jaunt. It meant days of horse-back riding over rough roads, through forest wilderness, and fording streams in the winter month of December. The return trip alone appears to have taken him two weeks. His expenses, refunded later by the Lodge, amounted to 15 pounds and 18 shillings. And some of those faithful attendants at the first meetings at New Marlborough had no easy time of it. I dare say we today would find it much easier to attend a Lodge meeting in Worcester and return in an evening, than did our Brethren in those days who made the trip from Great Barrington to New Marlborough.
In 1800 Sheffield was the largest town in this section, with a population of 2050; Sandisfield was second, with 1857; New Marlborough, with 1848, was third; and Great Barrington, numbering 1755, was only slightly larger than Tyringham, with 1712.
In 1796 Sheffield and Stockbridge had postoffices. The highways were nothing but rough wood-roads through the forests. Teaming was all done by oxen, and as much as possible of it in the winter. Hudson, New York, was the market for the entire area—twenty-six miles of mountain roads. Traveling was done on horseback or on foot. It was only natural, therefore, that soon after organization, the method of determining the dates of holding stated communications was by the moon's fullness rather than by the calendar days. We still retain this style, and while comparatively few Lodges stick to the idea, it is one of the traditions we hope to keep. Most of us do not need the moon to light our path in attending Lodge now, but on the rare occasions when our car headlights suddenly go out, we can perhaps partially understand how dark it can be in the woods at night. Previously to the organization of Cincinnatus Lodge, there had been but three Lodges established in Berkshire County, namely: Franklin Lodge, which met in Cheshire and Lanesboro, alternately six months in each place; Evening Star Lodge, then situated in Lenox; and Berkshire Lodge (extinct), which appears to have been established for a few months in Stockbridge. Some of the jewels of this Lodge were purchased by Cincinnatus.
For the first six months the affairs of Cincinnatus Lodge moved smoothly and the membership increased. The by-laws were often changed. In fact, for four years this was constantly done—making new ones and burning the old.
In February, Brother John Mix of Farmington was invited to come to New Marlborough to instruct the Brethren in "the art of the work"—evidently our first lodge of exemplification.
On June 24, the Lodge observed St. John's Day, with a banquet and an address by Brother Child. There were twenty-one present, and on the same date new officers were chosen. On December 27th of the same year, the Festival of St. John the Evangelist was celebrated.
Early in the first year, the question of holding part of the meetings in Great Barrington arose. In July, 1797, it was voted to hold half of the meetings in this town and half in New Marlborough, in spite of strong objections from the Brethren of the latter place. The vote was rescinded, and again came up. It was voted to move and not to move, according to the predominance of one faction or the other, several times, but it was not until October, 1797, that the first meeting was held in this town.
The Lodge continued to hold meetings for six months in each town until February 5, 1800, when it was voted to move to Great Barrington. This was done and the Lodge held only one meeting in New Marlborough after this, on May 4, 1803.
Considerable hard feeling seems to have been evident as a result of the move, and at nearly every meeting a vote to move back to New Marlborough would come up. In January, 1802, a committee was appointed to "see what the difference was that existed between the members here and in New Marlborough." Whatever difference there was seems to have been cleared up, for it is not alluded to again.
On October 20, 1802, it was voted to approve a petition of a number of Brethren in West Stockbridge to the Grand Lodge for a charter to establish a Lodge by the name of Constellation in that town, the name afterwards being changed to Wisdom. May 4, 1803, it was voted that the petition received from Brother Andrew Andrews from Sheffield for a Lodge in that town received the approbation of this Lodge.
Sheffield Lodge was instituted May 27, 1804, and was in existence for nearly twenty-two years. The last meeting was held December 28, 1826, when officers were chosen for the ensuing year. Many of the members were also members of Cincinnatus Lodge.
In 1808 another Lodge was formed, members of Cincinnatus and other Masons residing in Bethlehem, Loudon and Sandisfield uniting. The Lodge was named Rising Sun and held meetings for a few years in Sandisfield and Tyringham. In 1820 they asked to sit a part of the time in New Marlborough.
After permanently removing to Great Barrington, Cincinnatus Lodge met at private houses until September 4, 1806, when the new hall provided by Brother David Leavenworth was dedicated, in a block on the site of the present Mahaiwe Building. This block burned in 1839. The meetings were held regularly every month until 1813; in that year only three communications were held.
From 1814 to 1824 we have no record, but there were twenty-six signatures added to the by-laws during that time, which would prove that meetings were held in those years.
On June 9, 1824, we have a record of the Lodge meeting at Brother Timothy Griswold's Tavern, on the site of the present Lodge room. At the next meeting, July 7, it was voted to remove to the house of David Wilcox, which stood near the entrance to the present Barrington School for Girls. They met there August 4th and September 8th. At the latter meeting it was voted to "adjourn the lodge to their new rooms at the store of Van Deusen and Pynchon," in Van Deusenville, east of the bridge on the north side of the brook.
About this time there seems to have been some trouble with the Grand Lodge, which finally asked for our charter. At the meeting November 3rd, after some deliberation, it was voted not to surrender it, and the differences were settled and the Grand Lodge dues paid.
The meetings were held regularly until the beginning of the year 1827, when attendance began to drop off, and the last meeting recorded in the book was held March 25, 1828. However, a scrap of paper was found in the old files with a record of a meeting held July 20, 1829, which adjourned to the following day. Later it was discovered from other documents and the Episcopal Church records, that the adjourned meeting was for the purpose of laying the corner stone of the brick chapel in Van Deusenville. This chapel was taken down in 1866 and the present church built. This was the last meeting of the Lodge in Van Deusenville, and there is no record of another meeting until 1852.
The lapse of Masonic activity throughout the country was of course reflected in Cincinnatus Lodge. In spite of the nonexistence of actual records of Lodge meetings, tradition persists that some sort of activity existed among a few faithful Masons in spite of the furor of public opinion and political opposition. Today perhaps it would be termed an "underground."
Be that as it may, after the tumult and the shouting died, in the spring of 1852, five Masons met in the Odd Fellows Hall on the top floor of the Long Stone Store. Their object was the reorganization of Cincinnatus Lodge. Their names should be blazoned on the records, for they were the ones who kept the light burning. They were Edward F. Ensign, Constant Southworth, Increase Sumner and Isaac Seeley, all members of Cincinnatus, and Merritt Van Deusen, a member of Evening Star.
Four days later, May 31st, they met again. They were joined by Jared Johnson and Egbert P. Tobey, old Cincinnatus Masons, and Silas Eddy of Evening Star. During the interval between these meetings a decree had been obtained for reorganization of the Lodge, officers were elected, and on June 24th, they were installed.
On January 22, 1853, they met in their new Lodge rooms in Sheffield, but the reason for such removal is not known. Here they met for over four years, although for two years arrangements were in the making for permission to move once more to Great Barrington.
Back they went, meeting October 2, 1857, in the building later known as the Miller House, with 24 present. The Lodge was again thriving. I would like to read the names of the committee appointed to make arrangements for the celebration of St. John's Day, June 24, 1858. They were life-long, ardent supporters of Masonic ideals, and some of them, as old men, are remembered as faithful attendants at Lodge meetings up to the time of their deaths: Frederick T. Whiting, Samuel B. Sumner, William S. Bradley, Andrew L. Hubbell, John N. Robbins, Henry T. Robbins, Isaac R. Prindle, Marcus E. Tobey, Merritt Van Deusen and Benjamin F. Durant. This celebration was perhaps the largest Cincinnatus Lodge had held up to that time. Hon. Brother Increase Sumner was the orator, and a banquet was served at the Berkshire House to the Brethren and their ladies. A delegation went to the railroad station to meet the visiting Lodges from Copake, New York, Adams, Pittsfield,
North Adams, West Stockbridge and Lee, as well as Brethren from other Lodges. A line was formed, headed by a band, and the 125 visitors were escorted by members of Cincinnatus, where the exercises were held, then countermarched to the Berkshire House, where the out-door banquet was held
The Lodge continued to occupy rooms in conjunction with to occupy rooms in conjunction with the Odd Fellows until October 14, 1864, when they moved to the hall in the new Whiting Block. There they continued to meet until January 1896, when our present site was taken over.
The one hundredth anniversary of our Lodge fell upon December 9, 1895, and was fittingly celebrated in the lodge-rooms on the evening of that date. A large gathering of Masons, ladies and friends filled the hall to overflowing, and officers for the ensuing year were publicly installed. Followed these ceremonies, a banquet was served and speeches appropriate to such an auspicious occasion were given. But the big celebration, plans for which were even then well under way, was held over until June 24th of the following year.
This was a grand affair — the most elaborate this section of the county has seen before or since. Newspapers of that week carried columns devoted to the details, descriptions of the street decorations. the principal speeches in full, the parade of over one thousand Masons, with seven bands, the feast at the grounds of the Agricultural society.
The day was perfect, even for June in the Berkshires and the streets were lined with people from miles around to witness the parade. No doubt there are some present here tonight who remember the event clearly, but I believe only six who are now members of our Lodge were members at the time of this celebration fifty years ago. Charles H. Booth was Worshipful Master and Isaac R. Prindle was Secretary. Most Worshipful Edwin B. Holmes, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, was present and his was one of the important addresses of the day. Brother Herbert C. Joyner's greeting to the large gathering has gone down in local History as one of the most fluent and flowery orations ever heard here.
We haven't the time to go into details of this mammoth celebration. A full account may be found in the files of The Berkshire Courier at the Mason Library reference room, and I have no doubt is also among the papers in the archives of the Grand Lodge. I will quote the last lines of the minutes of that day as they appear on the record: "After a day of great joy and gladness to all, the lodge was closed in form. I. R. Prindle, Secretary."
It is said that the first one hundred years are the hardest. So far this seems to have proven true of Cincinnatus Lodge, for certain it is that the first century of our existence had some rough times and some blank years in our series of record books. The past fifty years have been more serene, with steady growth, but this does not produce material for the historian. Its unbroken record of meetings has been on the whole rather uneventful; its standard of membership has remained high, and although by no means a large Lodge, it maintains an enviable reputation in the district and not too bad a one in the Grand Lodge.
Less than six years after the observance of the centennial, on January 29, 1901, a disastrous fire gutted the block in which the Lodge was located, and we lost practically everything therein. A compass and square set and a Bible, both over one hundred years old and formerly the property of Sheffield Lodge, were saved; the Senior Warden's chair, ancient sword of the Tyler, a few pictures, drawers from the Secretary's desk, a copy of the charter, and an old green chest of records and papers were also rescued. Our original charter was safely deposited in the vaults of one of the local banks.
Meetings were held in the rooms of Taghconic Lodge of Odd Fellows in Foresters Hall, and in the G. A. R. Hall in the Whiting Block while the Berkshire Block was being rebuilt. October 17, 1902, we moved back and have remained there up to the present time.
We were also visited by fire on July 14, 1898, but not to such an extent that our quarters had to be abandoned.
The records of May 12, 1911, carry the vote of acceptance to the invitation of Rev. Brother J. R. Lynes, Rector of St. James' Church, to lay the corner stone of the parish house on June 24, but there is no further record of carrying out the vote, although a committee was appointed to have charge of the work.
On June 8, 1912, we received a fraternal visit from Most Worshipful Grand Master Everett C. Benton, who presented the Lodge with a gavel made of wood from the Forests of Lebanon.
We accepted an invitation to be present at the dedication of the Pittsfield Temple on May 4, 1914, and a number of the Brethren attended. Our one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary was fittingly celebrated on the evening of December 9, 1920, with a capacity gathering in our Lodge rooms. The Grand Lodge was represented by R. W. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary, R. W. Charles H. Ramsay, Grand Treasurer, and Wor. Frank H. Hilton, Grand Sword Bearer. R. W. Walter B. Sanford, then District Deputy Grand Master of the 16th District, presided, and R. W. Orlando C. Bidwell read an historical paper, bringing the history of the Lodge up to that date. The principal address of the evening was by R. W. Brother Hamilton, who took for his subject "The Democracy of Paul Revere." The next evening a Masonic ball was held at the town hall, which was the social event of the year. Another Most Worshipful Grand Master visited Cincinnatus Lodge in 1928. On May 11th of that year Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson and Suite made a fraternal visit, and he addressed the Brethren on what the Grand Lodge was doing and what it hoped to accomplish in the future. A recent event, one which many of us present tonight attended, was one of the most important of the last half century. It was the reception given to Right Worshipful James F. Watson soon after his election as Junior Grand Warden. The honor conferred upon him and upon Cincinnatus Lodge was fittingly celebrated here at the Berkshire Inn on the evening of May 18, 1945, after a communication of the Lodge in its rooms, which was closed in ample form by Most Worshipful Samuel H. Wragg, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. The banquet was followed by addresses, and the Grand Master presented Brother Watson, on behalf of Cincinnatus Lodge, a Junior Grand Warden's jewel. Brother Watson, who was the youngest Master ever to preside over Cincinnatus Lodge, is the only permanent member of the Grand Lodge we have ever had. During the one hundred and fifty years, Cincinnatus Lodge has been honored by furnishing seven District Deputies, namely: Edward F. Ensign, Henry T. Robbins, Miles T. Huntington, Orlando C. Bidwell, Clarence I. Sweet, Walter B. Sanford and James F. Watson. It has had some grand old men during the past fifty years, as well as those stalwarts who went before. I would not want to conclude without mentioning Brother Isaac R. Prindle, Secretary for fifteen years, who was responsible for putting our records and work book in such splendid order, and who was the historian of the Lodge at its centennial.
If I started to recall the names of Brethren who were outstanding in faithfulness to their Lodge, I would have to produce a long list. Let me mention but two, and you can add others to them on the souvenir of the evening, which you will receive later. Right Worshipful Henry T. Robbins, faithful attendant and organist for many years—an officer 48 of his 61 years as a Mason. Right Worshipful Walter B. Sanford, gone from us but a short time, Secretary for years, and a pillar of Masonry in the County, who was rewarded with the highest honors in the Fraternity.
Cincinnatus Lodge has furnished soldiers in every war in which the United States has been engaged, with the possible exception of the war with Tripoli. Every member engaged in World Wars I and II returned safely, although several sons of members made the supreme sacrifice. We enthusiastically responded to the Grand Lodge appeal for funds for the Service Center at Ayer, and individual members held responsible places in the war-time emergencies.
Our work book contains a long list of men prominent as citizens and Masons in this part of the state. The last name is numbered 2067; Brother Dean was number one. Between these numbers may be found names of the leaders in every branch of civic and business activity for a hundred and fifty years. It is our hope that at the completion of the second century of our history, fifty years hence, those celebrating the event can look back and credit us with carrying out our responsibilities and upholding tradition as well as did our predecessors.
175TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1971
From Proceedings, Page 1971-247:
From 1946 to 1971
By Worshipful Peter S. Brown.
(A detailed history of Cincinnatus Lodge for the period from 1796 to 1946 by Worshipful James L. Sinclair may be found in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1946 — pages 156 - 168, inclusive.) The 150th anniversary celebration of Cincinnatus Lodge was held May 24, 1946. (1946 Mass. 152-168) Lodge was opened at 6:15, and at 6:30 Most Worshipful Samuel Holmes Wragg was received with a large and distinguished suite. The meeting was later adjourned to the Berkshire Inn, where a crowd of 426 dined, danced and otherwise enjoyed themselves for many hours. One account names it the "social event of the year."
The past twenty-five years will not excite many of the historians in the future, but they were good years and active years. The most important events have been the purchase of Walker Hall, the building of the new Temple, the sale of Walker Hall and its razing, and the discharge of our mortgage. On January 26, 1949, a Special Communication was called and, in spite of the severely inclement weather, 68 Brothers voted to form a committee to determine the advisability of purchasing Walker Hall. The committee did its work and reported to the next meeting in favor of the purchase. The Lodge voted on February 11, to "form a committee to purchase the above property" and subscribed #17,000 of its building fund for that purpose. Eight years later on November 10, 1957, the cornerstone for the new Temple was laid with proper Masonic ceremony. The following May 24, Most Worshipful Andrew G. Jenkins, Grand Master, dedicated the new Masonic Temple in ancient form. (1958 Mass. 92-94) A new altar, the gift of Monument Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, was in place for the ceremony. In 1970, Walker Hall and some of the land around the new Temple were sold to the Great Barrington Savings Bank to make room for some needed expansion. Walker Hall was razed in the process, and the landscaping is still in progress as was noticed on our entry to the building. The proceeds of the sale and the efforts of many of our Brethren have combined to make possible the ceremony of this afternoon.
In reviewing the history of Cincinnatus Lodge one cannot overlook the name of Right Worshipful James Ferguson Watson. He was personally known to many of the Brothers in this room and his name is probably recognized by more Masons out of this Lodge than the name of any other member, even this long after his departure. Right Worshipful James Watson was Master and Treasurer of his Lodge. He served on most of its appointed committees. He was influential in the making of many of its decisions. In fact, he is probably as responsible as any for the building of this Temple. He was: Master of the Twentieth Lodge of Instruction, District Deputy Grand Master for the Pittsfield 16th Masonic District, a member of the Grand Lodge Education Committee for many years, Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Colorado near the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and Junior Grand Warden of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. On May 18, 1945, he was honored, at a reception at the Berkshire Inn, by Most Worshipful Samuel Holmes Wragg who presented to him his Junior Grand Warden's Jewel. Brother Watson was the only Permanent Member of Grand Lodge we have had. His untimely death in 1954 at the age of 52, deprived the Lodge of one of its most willing and able workers.
During the last quarter century we have been honored to have two of our Past Masters appointed as District Grand Masters for the Pittsfield 16th Masonic District. Right Worshipful Zacheus Cande served this District with distinction in 1953 and 1954. This past December 11, the Worshipful Master was pleased to announce that Brother John Madison Watson had been appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the Pittsfield 16th Masonic District. It is interesting to note that he is the nephew of Right Worshipful James F. Watson, Past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
We have had three Masons raised by their Past Master fathers: William Lowry Kline, Henry Albert Stevens, Jr., and Edward Terry Durant. In the very near future Worshipful William Kline's son will be raised in Cincinnatus Lodge. It will be interesting to see whether his father or grandfather does that raising.
During the past twenty-five years at least 37 of our Brothers have received Fifty-year Veterans' Medals, and many of them are still very active in this and other Lodges.
Cincinnatus Lodge has visited many Lodges and been visited by members of numerous Lodges. Our relations with the neighboring Lodges in Connecticut and New York are strong and have provided us with many moments of fraternal happiness and joy. The visits of the Pittsfield Masonic Choir, which were frequent in bygone years, should not be ignored. The annual exchange of work with Evening Star Lodge of Lee has strengthened the bonds between the two oldest Lodges in the 16th Masonic District. Their gift of a framed list of the oldest Lodges in America was much appreciated, although one wonders as to their motive in giving it. (It shows Evening Star Lodge as having received its charter a few days before Cincinnatus Lodge.) The visit to New York City to witness the Legend of the Third Degree as presented by St. Cecile's Lodge No. 568, in May of 1962, was a hi-light.
The exchange of work in 1967 between Jerusalem Lodge No. 49 of Ridgefield, Connecticut and our Lodge, and the word that this exchange will be continued in the future, have been well received.
The visits and work of several degree teams are remembered as are our sponsorship of a Queen Contestant, a float, and a marching unit in the Bi-Centennial Celebration.
The organization of a Valentine's Day Ball, under the chairmanship of Brother William Kline in 1958, has probably meant as much to the Lodge financially as anything we have done. Not only has the Ball come to be a very important social event, but the money raised by the ball committee has done much to enhance our Lodge, as witnessed by the carpet under our feet and many other needed projects.
The history of any group is the remembrance of the deeds of its members. This Lodge has existed for 175 years. It has seen the rise and fall of many members. As with any organization, some have been workers and some have not. This Lodge is fortunate to have had so many who have labored: Walter Dean, who was instrumental in founding the Lodge; Edward Ensign, Constant Southworth, Increase Sumner, and Isaac Seely, who kept the light burning during the years of the "Morgan Incident" and restored active Masonry to Cincinnatus; Brother I. R. Brindle who kept the records of the Lodge safely and accurately; Judge Sanford, Clarence I. Sweet and James F. Watson who eminently led the Lodge and District in such amiable and distinct manners; Worshipful James Sinclair, who labored for so many years as Secretary. These worthy Brothers are all resting from their labors, but we are fortunate to have so many who are still at work. It would be unfair not to mention Worshipful Floyd Mason Kline, our oldest Past Master, who is as active as the youngest. Worshipful Brothers Arthur B. Kinne, Edward C. Durant, Lawrence F. Tonini, Harold E. Atwood, William L. Kline, and Right Worshipful John M. Watson can all be found at any hour of the day or night where Masons are together. If one were to examine the back page of our trestleboard, he would find it difficult to find any Officer or Past Master who is not actively involved in the work of our Lodge. We are a busy and active Lodge. The future history of this Lodge should be long and interesting.
200TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, SEPTEMBER 1995
From Proceedings, Page 1995-183:
Wor. James L. Sinclair, lodge historian on the occasion of our lodge's 150th anniversary in 1945, wrote the following lines which seem particularly appropriate:
"Abler men than I have struggled with the history of Cincinnatus Lodge, and have brought to light considerable data, much of which has been previously published and is on file in the archives of the Grand Lodge . . ."
Wor. Sinclair also acknowledged his appreciation for those who contributed to the 150th anniversary edition and made the obvious observation that "Much is lacking, and, as the years go by, there is less probability of its being made known to us of this later generation."
Like our Wor. Sinclair in 1945, we, the historians at the 200th anniversary of our lodges chartering, are indebted to him and his predecessors for their diligence in preserving the story of our existence. We, therefore, thank our past historians from whom much of the older history is re-transcribed here, particularly the following:
- Bro. Isaac R. Prindle, Centennial Historian
- R. W. Orlando C. Bidwell, 125th Anniversary Historian
- Wor. James L. Sinclair, 150th Anniversary Historian
- Wor. Peter S. Brown, 175th Anniversary Historian
Their careful recording made this bicentennial edition much easier to compile. We have also attempted to work through Wor. Sinclair's theory on the probability of learning more of our ancient roots. Some of what we write should be of interest to our brother historians for only lately have we learned more of the relationship of people and places in the community that surrounds our lodge.
We are also indebted to Cynthia W. Alcorn, Librarian and Curator of the Samuel Crocker Lawrence Library and the Museum of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. She has furnished us with much of historical value from the library.
R. W. Peter S. Brown and Wor. James N. Parrish
BICENTENARY OF CINCINNATUS LODGE
Great Barrington, Massachusetts
Grand Lodge: December 8, 1795, Brother Walter Dean of New Marlborough presented a petition, signed by twenty-one Masons, requesting a charter for a Masonic Lodge to meet in the Town of New Marlborough and be known as Cincinnatus Lodge. (More about the name later).
Of the twenty-one signers, seventeen were Master Masons, three were Fellowcrafts and one was an Entered Apprentice. The Grand Lodge record reads as follows:
"A petition of Walter Dean and others was presented praying for a Charter for holding a Lodge in the Town of New Marlborough, by the name of Cincinnatus Lodge. Voted that the petition be granted. Brother Dean, being present, had a seat assigned to him."
R.W. Orlando Bidwell notes that the Grand Master was none other than the patriot, Paul Revere, who some twenty years earlier had made his famous ride to alert the Middlesex farmers and villagers that the British were coming. Quoting Bro. Bidwell:
"Have we a mental image of that (Grand Lodge) meeting? Masons gathered there in a public hall dressed in the conventional costume of the day: wigs, short coats and long waist coats with ruffled bosoms, knee breeches, silk stockings and shoes with buckles. The petition for the charter is read by the Grand Secretary. Walter Dean, presumably clad in winter riding habit, for he had ridden on horseback from New Marlborough to Boston, is invited by the Grand Master, in a cordial word of greeting, to a seat in the east, with the dignity and formality paid to a guest of honor."
The following day, December 9, 1795, 200 years ago, the Charter of Cincinnatus Lodge, signed by Grand Master Revere, was delivered to Bro. Dean for his return to New Marlborough.
Bro. Sinclair describes the name of Cincinnatus, when applied to a Masonic lodge, to be distinctive, at the least; but also mentions that at least one other lodge (in neighboring New York state) bears the same name. However, the pronunciation in the New York lodge and town emphasizes the hard "a," as in "sin-sin-NAY-tus." In any event, the reference is to the Roman Consul, Lucius Quinces Cincinnatus, who, about 460 B. C., left his plow in the field, fought a victorious battle, and, at its conclusion, having "beat his sword into a plow share again," returned to his interrupted agricultural pursuits.
As we assess the application of this name to our lodge, we must remember the twenty-one signers of the original petition for a charter. Several were veterans of the Revolutionary Army and, of those, some served with Col. John Paterson of Lenox, who later was named a general in the struggle for independence. Gen. Paterson was also a Mason and became Master of Washington Lodge No. 10, a traveling lodge in the Revolutionary Army. Almost all the signers can be linked with patriotic efforts in the colonial cause. And, not unlike Cincinnatus of old, they returned to their mostly rural pursuits at the conclusion of the war.
One of our lodge's treasures is our banner, which displays a painting of Cincinnatus receiving the news of his being chosen Dictator of Rome.
We still have the original charter, signed by Paul Revere on December 9, 1795, establishing our lodge. It is without question our most prized possession. A copy hangs on the wall at the right of the Master and is always on display.
However, the original resides in a local bank vault for protection and is only present in the lodge on special occasions. When each new Master receives the charter at his installation, he does so with some foreboding and concern in his responsibility for this valued document (at least, this writer did).
And the safe redepositing in the bank vault always brings a sense of relief. We will proudly display the original charter during our 200th celebration. We believe that today there remain fewer than eight lodges with charters signed by Paul Revere as Grand Master.
THE TWENTY-ONE CHARTER MEMBERS
Paul Revere signed the charters of twenty-three lodges during his three years as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. As Senior Grand Warden, he signed the charter of Montgomery Lodge of Lakeville, Connecticut.
Thirteen years our senior, Montgomery Lodge was the home lodge of many of our original signers. Some may wonder as to the propriety of a Connecticut lodge being chartered by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, but the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was the first regular established Grand Lodge in the New World and is the third oldest Grand Lodge, being preceded by the Grand Lodges of England and Scotland. As such, it established lodges in many parts of North America. We still maintain close fraternal ties with our brothers in Montgomery Lodge, as well as so many other lodges that are our neighbors in northwestern Connecticut, and enjoy the brotherly ties that are strengthened by our historical bonds.
Among those first members here who are believed to have been members of Montgomery Lodge were Walter Dean, Gideon Post and Noah Church Jr.
We know that Bro. Dean settled in New Marlborough in 1773 at the age of twenty-one. He enlisted in Capt. Caleb Wright's Company, Col. John Fellow's Regiment, and in Col. Paterson's Regiment. He later served in the War of 1812 in the vicinity of Boston. He was active in town affairs until he moved to Hillsdale, New York, where we lose track of him.
Bro. Post was also active in the Revolution. He was a fifer and a private m Col. Zenas Wheeler's Company, Col. Mark Hopkins' Berkshire County Regiment. As well as being a charter member of Cincinnatus Lodge, he was a charter signer of Sheffield Lodge which was organized in 1803.
Bro. Church took his degrees in Montgomery Lodge in 1790. His father was one of the first settlers of New Marlborough. He was an ardent patriot and served on important town committees. He was a private, enlisting in Lt. Samuel Warner's Company, Col. Ashley's Regiment. He served at Bennington and later marched with Capt. Daniel Taylor's Company, Lt. Col. John Collar's Berkshire County Regiment.
Let's look at some of the other charter members of Cincinnatus Lodge.
Moses Hopkins, son of the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, first Pastor of First Congregational Church of Great Barrington, was a merchant in the town and did much to collect large supplies of powder, shot, rum, salt and flour to forward to Gen. Gates prior to the Battle of Saratoga.
Bro. Hopkins was Great Barrington's first Postmaster, appointed in 1797, and was the Registrar of Deeds. Great Barrington at the time was the only place in the county to record a deed; Registries of Deeds were formally established after 1790 in Williamstown and Pittsfield. The dual positions of Registrar of Deeds and Postmaster seem to have been tied together for many years; the office holder changed as the political winds changed. However, Bro. Hopkins held the job from 1798 to 1838. John Shaw served in Col. Paterson's Regiment along with Bro. Dean. He enlisted as a private in Lt. Russell Kellogg's Company, Col. Ezra Mays's Regiment, and served in expeditions to Saratoga and Stillwater.
Benjamin Pierce enlisted Aug. 20, 1781, in Capt. Robbin's Company, Col. Ashley's Regiment. He was eighteen years old. Five foot and five inches tall, he was light complexioned and had dark hair. He reportedly was from Sandisfield.
Gideon Canfield was a sergeant in Capt. Zenas Wheeler's Company, Col. Mark Hopkins' Berkshire County Regiment. Abel Smith enlisted July 8, 1777, and served twenty days. He also put in forty-one days' service beginning September 28, 1777.
Hezekiah Kilborn enlisted October 14, 1781, and was also from Sandisfield.
Reuben Bucknum enlisted October 24, 1779, and served to December 1, 1779.
Syvenus Moss of Tyringham enlisted July 17,1775, signed the muster roll August 1, 1775, and served fifteen days. He re-enlisted in March 1781 and served to January 1782, serving one year.
Zebediah Dean served from 1777 to 1780.
John Nash of Great Barrington was a corporal in Capt. William King's Company. He enlisted April 21, 1775, and served again in October 1781.
Ebenezer Chadwick was born in Old Center, Monterey, the son of John Chadwick. The Chadwick House was known as the Burgoyne House at the corner of Brett Road and Beartown Mountain Road. Chadwick served in the military in 1776 and 1780.
As Captain, he purchased the four-acre lot on which sat the first Tyringham Meeting House (near the present Bidwell House in Monterey) for $40 in 1805.
THE 200TH ANNIVERSARY
The 200th Anniversary Celebrations began by the Grand Master and Suite being received at thirty minutes past nine o'clock in the morning at Evening Star Lodge, Lee, Massachusetts, where a plaque commemorating the first meeting place of Evening Star Lodge in Lenox, Massachusetts, was dedicated. The
now in Lee; and Berkshire Lodge, which was established for some time in Stockbridge and many of whose members later formed the nucleus of Occidental Lodge. Some of the jewels of Berkshire Lodge were purchased by Cincinnatus after its demise.
Hadley K. Turner in a History of New Marlborough wrote that "Wor. O.C. Bidwell of Great Barrington, sometime in the year 1909, found an interesting document concerning the early history of New Marlborough. It was a deed of gift to the town by Cincinnatus Lodge of Masons of New Marlborough of the land at the center of the village, the Village Green. The date of the instrument is 1795."
In 1800, Sheffield was the largest town in this county, with a population of 2,050. Sandisfield was second with 1,857; New Marlborough, with 1,848, was third; and Great Barrington, numbering 1,755, was only slightly larger than Tyringham, which, until 1847, also included what was to become the Town of Monterey.
Stockbridge had a post office, the first in Berkshire County, in 1792. Sheffield followed suit in 1794 and Great Barrington in 1797. All were established to accommodate the stage routes that began some time previously. The path the railroads eventually followed and changed forever the demographics of the area as the population shifted gradually toward the developing commercial sites.
In 1796, the highways were not much more than rough wood roads through the forests. Teaming was done by oxen, and most of that during the winter. Hudson, New York, was the market for the entire area and it was twenty-six miles from Great Barrington over mountain roads. Travel was either on horseback or foot. It seems only natural, then, that Cincinnatus should have adopted as its monthly meeting night, Friday, on or before the full moon. We continue to cling to this relic from our past when the only available light was star or moon light. Most of us don't need the moon to light our way in attending or returning home from lodge these days. But sometimes, while we return to our homes in the light of a bright full moon, we are able to feel a kinship with our brothers of old; and while we seldom are dependent on moon glow alone, we think of the importance this brotherhood must have had to them and wonder about our own dedication to the brotherhood of man.
THE MOVE TO GREAT BARRINGTON
Early in the first year, the question of holding part of the meetings in Great Barrington was brought up. In July 1797, it was voted to hold half the meetings in Great Barrington and half in New Marlborough, despite some strong objections from members of the latter town. The vote was rescinded, and, yet again, came up. It was voted to move, and not to move, as determined by the dominance of the particular faction in attendance at a given meeting.
Eventually, in October, 1797, the first meeting was held in Great Barrington. The meeting site alternated until February 5, 1800, when it was voted to move permanently to Great Barrington. One meeting after this date was held in New Marlborough, though, on May 4, 1803.
There is some evidence that the result of the move was a cause of concern for several years as there were numerous votes taken on motions to move back to New Marlborough.
Finally, in January, 1802, a committee was appointed to "see what the difference was that existed between the members here and in New Marlborough." Whatever the cause, it seems to have been put to rest, for there is no further reference to it.
The old lodge records indicate Cincinnatus members were active in the spread of Freemasonry in Berkshire County.
The lodge voted on October 20, 1802, to approve a petition to Grand Lodge for a lodge to be named "Constellation" in the Town of West Stockbridge. The name was afterwards changed to Wisdom Lodge, and we anticipate its 200th anniversary in a few years.
On May 4, 1803, the lodge approved the petition for a new lodge in Sheffield. Sheffield Lodge was chartered May 27, 1804, and many members of Cincinnatus were active there. Sheffield Lodge held its last meeting on December 28, 1826. The square that is evident in our lodge bears the inscription of Sheffield Lodge and is one of our cherished mementos.
Rising Sun Lodge was organized in 1808 by members of Cincinnatus and other Masons who lived in the vicinity of Bethlehem, Loudon and Sandisfield. They met for several years in Sandisfield and Tyringham. In 1820, they asked to sit for a part of the time in New Marlborough.
Great Barrington, in 1797, was a far different place than today. Public buildings, including the Congregational Church, were on the east side of the Housatonic River. The site of the first Meeting House is marked in the Water Street Cemetery, then called Upper Burial ground. The Episcopal Church stood on land formerly owned by John A. Brewer on Main Street, diagonally opposite Mahaiwe Cemetery. There was a new school erected that year on Main Street north of today's Searles Castle.
The first county courthouse stood near the present Town Hall and Registry of Deeds on Main Street. It was possible to drive up Castle Street, as the railroad had not yet been built. There were two houses on Castle Street. One was the present Russell House, which houses Children's Health Program. The other was built by the Rev. Samuel Hopkins, father of one of our charter members, and was located where the Walter Hollenbeck house now stands on the west side of Castle Hill Avenue.
Main Street was laid out as a "six-rod road"; in other words, it was approximately a 100-foot way. Across from the aforementioned Castle Street, which ventured off toward Alford, Bridge Street led to the east. The road to Egremont led off to the west by the South Cemetery, now called Mahaiwe Cemetery.
Main Street was not smooth and level. Bro. Bidwell noted it "was hilly and with ravines where Taconic Avenue and South Street now branch off it." The land where Railroad Street, and the area to the north was a wet swamp, including the land where our present lodge is now safely located. The first meeting of Cincinnatus Lodge in Great Barrington was in a tavern of one Capt. Pynchon at the corner of Main and Bridge Streets. This site, in a succession of buildings, was often the home of our lodge. Later the lodge met at a brick building on the west side of Stockbridge Road, not too far from the intersection with State Road. We do have a picture of that building, although the structure was torn down in November, 1952. The Remington-Burr House, as it was known, was built in 1762 and was later owned by Bro. F.A. Remington who noted to Bro. Bidwell in 1920 that, until it had been modernized, an upstairs door had a round hole through it about the size of a small stove pipe. After the permanent move to Great Barrington, the lodge met at private homes until September 4, 1806, when a new hall provided by Bro. David Leavenworth was dedicated at the site of the present Mahaiwe Block, at the corner of Main and Castle Streets.
The records show that Cincinnatus met every month until 1813, in which month they met thrice. There are no records again until 1824, but twenty-six signatures were added to the bylaws which would indicate some level of work in that ten-year period.
In 1812, R. W. John Whiting was named District Deputy Grand Master, the first Past Master of Cincinnatus so honored. He held the position for seven years. It is interesting to note the different forms of address used:
- In 1812 R. W. John Whiting Esquire
- In 1817 R. W. General John Whiting
- In 1819 R. W. Honorable John Whiting.
On June 9, 1824, a meeting of the lodge was held at Bro. Timothy Griswold's tavern. It was voted to hold the next meeting, July 7, at the house of David Wilcox, which stood near the present Searles Castle. The record shows meetings at Bro. Wilcox's on August 4, and September 8. At the latter meeting, members voted to "adjourn the lodge to their new rooms at the store of VanDeusen and Pynchon in VanDeusenville, east of the bridge on the north side of the brook.
Wor. Sinclair notes that "about this time there seems to have been some trouble with the Grand Lodge, which finally asked for our charter. At the next meeting, November 3rd, after some deliberation, it was voted not to surrender it and the differences were settled and the Grand Lodge dues paid."
Meetings were held regularly until 1827, when attendance began to fall off, and the last meeting recorded in the book was held March 25, 1828. A scrap of paper found in the old files records a meeting held July 20, 1829, and the notation that it had been adjourned to the following day. Further search, including the records of the Episcopal Church, demonstrate that the meeting was held for the purpose of a cornerstone laying at the brick chapel in VanDeusenville. This chapel was taken down in 1866 and replaced with the present structure, which gained fame as a major setting in Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant. Another Past Master of Cincinnatus was named a District Deputy Grand Master in 1825 and again in '32. He was R. W. Edward F. Ensign, a Past Master of Sheffield Lodge also. His appointment apparently stemmed from that later activity, rather than from his term as Master of Cincinnatus.
According to Great Barrington historian Charles J. Taylor, in reference to the public hall on the second floor of Leavenworth's store, said a variety of public meetings and assemblages were held there including "the Masonic fraternity." The building burned in 1839.
No further record of activities exists between the cornerstone laying and the year 1852. These, of course, are the years of the infamous "Morgan Affair" and are representative of the reaction of the public, as well as Masons, to that well-publicized, but still not comprehensively understood, event.
Despite the noise and misinformation of the Morgan Affair, which affected all Freemasons in those days, Masons in Cincinnatus Lodge were faithful to the length of their cable-tow. In the spring of 1852, on May 27, five Masons met in the Odd Fellows Hall on the top floor of the Long Stone Store (built 1835, demolished 1955) on Main Street, about 200 feet south of the intersection with Bridge Street. Their goal was the reorganization of Cincinnatus Lodge.
From Wor. Sinclair's history: "Their names should be blazoned on the records, for they were the ones who kept the light burning. They were Edward F. Ensign, Constance Southworth, Increase Sumner and Isaac Seely of Cincinnatus, and Merritt VanDeusen, a member of Evening Star."
These five met again four days later, having obtained a decree for reorganization of the lodge. They were joined by old Cincinnatus Lodge members Jared Johnson and Egbert P. Tobey, and Silas Eddy of Evening Star. Officers were elected and, on June 24, installed.
A SHEFFIELD INTERLUDE
On January 22, 1853, having obtained permission from Grand Lodge to move to Sheffield, and with the right to also meeting in Great Barrington, Cincinnatus gathered in new lodge rooms in Sheffield, in quarters formerly used by the then-extinct Sheffield Lodge, on the second floor of a house most recently used as the office for Macy's Garage on Main Street, about 300 feet north of Miller Avenue in Sheffield. The building had once been a tavern and the second floor had a large barrel-vaulted ceiling. The building was moved circa 1990 to Connecticut.
When Cincinnatus left Sheffield in 1857, it brought much of the furniture of Sheffield Lodge, including the aforementioned square. There's some speculation about the lodge's decision to move to Sheffield. Important factors must have been the availability of suitable rooms, plus the presence of Bro. Ensign, a Sheffield resident, prominent Mason, and Past District Deputy of what was then the Eighth Masonic District.
The decision to return to Great Barrington may have been made before the first meeting in Sheffield. In any case, for two of the four years Cincinnatus spent in Sheffield, it was making preparations to return, specifically in seeking Grand Lodge permission and in searching for proper quarters.
Finally, on October 2, 1857, they met in their new lodge rooms in the building then known as the Miller House, now Barrington House, at 280-286 Main Street.
There were twenty-four Masons present. Bro. Sinclair notes that "the Lodge was again thriving."
Cincinnatus never left Great Barrington after this date, although circumstances caused the lodge to move to a succession of new quarters; to our knowledge in 1995, all were in close proximity to the center of Great Barrington.
Cincinnatus Lodge continued to occupy rooms in conjunction with the Odd Fellows until October 15, 1864, when it moved to the hall in the new Whiting Block. There it continued to meet until January 1896, when rooms in the Berkshire Block became available. The lodge met for many years at this latter location.
FESTIVAL OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST
R. W. Bidwell notes that the lodge celebrated the Festival of St. John the Baptist in a noteworthy way on June 24, 1858. He also relied on an account by Bro. Isaac R. Prindle, the historian in 1896; he had attended that 1858 celebration.
Hon. Bro. Increase Sumner delivered the oration. A band was procured from Adams. A banquet was served on the lawn of the Berkshire House. A delegation was dispatched to the railroad station to meet the visiting lodges from Copake, New York; Adams, Pittsfield, West Stockbridge and Lee, as well as brethren from other lodges.
A line was formed, headed by the band, and the 125 visitors were escorted to the fairgrounds by members of Cincinnatus, where the exercises were held. They then counter-marched to the Berkshire House, where the outdoor banquet was served. Two images of that account are of note to today's authors: Adams was then, as now, a trip of some 40 plus miles. Even then the cost must have been significant or else music was much cheaper than it is now. And the Berkshire House, which became the Berkshire Block, the site of several tenancies by Cincinnatus, with a lawn large enough for such an event? The block still stands, at the corner of Main and Bridge. It is also called the "Old Post Office Building," for obvious reasons. The Grand Master selected R. W. Henry T. Robbins as a District Deputy Grand Master in 1890. Bro. Robbins is noted by R.W. Bidwell as having served Cincinnatus as its Master for nine years. He also noted that, "Henry T. Robbins became a Mason in 1857 and held office for forty-eight of his sixty-one years as a Mason. For his untiring service he was awarded the Henry Price Medal, bestowed on no other member of Cincinnatus Lodge."
The rooms in the Whiting Block were the scene of our centennial celebration on January 9, 1895. The occasion was marked by a large gathering of Masons, ladies, and friends who filled the hall to overflowing. Officers were installed, a banquet was served, and appropriate speeches were made; but even then plans were being made for the really big celebration of June 24, 1896.
Bro. Bidwell in describing the Centennial Celebration of Cincinnatus Lodge on St. John's day, June 24, 1896, called it "the most notable public event in the History of Cincinnatus Lodge." He appears not to have been overstating. From his history: All the business blocks and private residences were elaborately decorated, and flags and banners were hung across the business streets at regular intervals. The decorations of the Town Hall and the Berkshire Block were worthy of special description. In the center of the balcony of Town Hall, a large oil painting of the Goddess of Liberty was the central figure; on the Berkshire Block a life size portrait of George Washington, in his Masonic regalia; underneath that, in a frame of red, white, and blue, the principal insignia of Masonry, the Square and Compasses on the open Bible; the sides of the building covered with flags and bunting arranged in festoons and rosettes; and the whole representing a magnificent sight. A decoration on Railroad Street showed a large picture of a terrified candidate astride a bucking goat. The entire village was resplendent with color. Large delegations attended from Housatonic Lodge of Canaan, CT, Western Star of Norfolk, CT Montgomery of Lakeville, CT, St. Peter's of New Milford, CT, the Berkshire Commandery, and numerous lodges of Berkshire and this Masonic district. Seven bands and several drum corps took part in the parade, which was the largest and most imposing ever witnessed in Southern Berkshire, I think. At the fair grounds, where the literary exercises were held, Hon. Bro. Herbert C. Joyner delivered an address of welcome which will go down in our Masonic history as a masterpiece.
If this address were all repeated today, no more poetic or inspiring words could well be spoken. Most Worshipful Edwin B. Holmes, Grand Master, delivered an eloquent response. It was a grand affair, the most elaborate this section of the county has seen before or since.
Newspapers of the week carried columns devoted to the details, descriptions, the principal speeches in full, the parade of more than 1,000 Masons, with seven bands, and the feast at the Agricultural Society.
Quoting Bro. Sinclair; "The day was perfect, even for June in the Berkshires, and the streets were lined with people from miles around to witness the parade. A full account may be found in the files of the Berkshire Courier at the Mason Library reference room". (Note: The issue is dated June 25, 1896.)
THE SECOND CENTURY
It may be true that the first one hundred years are the hardest, but certainly the celebration of June 24,1896, must have provided a glimpse into some of Cincinnatus Lodge's golden years.
Many of us revel in the repetition of the stories of those very early years, yet the accomplishments of this second hundred years demonstrate a commitment to Masonic principles as the lodge experienced dynamic growth, in membership but also in activity.
Today we talk about Masonic awareness and enjoy multiple events designed to attract men of good will to our fraternity. In some cases today's program proves very successful. At other times we seem to just get along. Perhaps we should more closely examine the activities of our brothers of the turn-of-the-century, for they took part in the greatest growth this lodge has ever seen. Despite a disastrous fire, on January 29, 1901, which destroyed many of the oldest records and artifacts of our lodge, save only the compasses and square and a bible which had been the possession of Sheffield Lodge, and a very few other items which were only a small part of the lodge's existence, the lodge regrouped and continued to grow. (We had also been visited by fire on July 14, 1898, but not to the extent that we had been forced to relocate.)
Meetings were again held in rooms of Taghconic Lodge of Odd Fellows in Forester's Hall, and in the G.A.R. Hall in the Whiting Block while Berkshire Block was rebuilt. On October 17, 1902, the lodge moved back and remained at this site until it built the current building.
From the original twenty-one petitioners in 1795, Cincinnatus Lodge had grown to a membership of 150 brothers in 1896. By 1920, the total had doubled to 300; but membership showed a gradual decline over the next seventy-five years so that today's rolls are somewhat static at about one hundred and fifty Masons.
The often-quoted historian, Bro. Orlando C. Bidwell, was himself named a District Deputy Grand Master in 1902. As the modern day historians, it is our privilege to reflect upon the wisdom of the Grand Master in making this appointment As readers of his well-written and informative history, the merit for that appointment of almost ninety-five years ago is still most apparent.
The lodge was invited to lay the cornerstone of the parish house of St. James' Episcopal Church by the Rev. Bro. J.R. Lynes. A committee was appointed on May 12, 1911, but no record was made as to whether the committee carried out the pleasure of the lodge.
On June 8, 1912, the lodge was paid a fraternal visit by Most Worshipful Everett C. Benton, who presented the lodge with a gavel made with wood from the forests of Lebanon.
We were present on May 4, 1914, when Mystic Lodge dedicated its Pittsfield temple.
In time for our 125th anniversary, R.W. Walter B. Sanford was named a District Deputy by the Grand Lodge. Judge Sanford was a highly respected member of the community and the lodge, and had distinguished himself in his passage through the chairs. He is noted to have served as secretary of our lodge for eleven years.
We celebrated our 125th Anniversary on December 9, 1920, with a capacity gathering in the lodge rooms. There were the appropriate speeches. The next evening the celebration concluded with a Masonic ball at the Town Hall, which is recorded as having been the social event of the year.
A new district deputy was named from Cincinnatus in 1927. He was R. W. Clarence I. ("Cap") Sweet, a prominent local banker who had a good deal of influence in the later building of our present Masonic building.
Grand Master Frank L. Simpson visited the lodge on May 11, 1928. He addressed the brethren on what the Grand Lodge was doing and what it hoped to accomplish in the future.
R. W. JAMES F. WATSON
A significant event was May 18, 1945. A reception was held for Right worshipful James F. Watson soon after his election as Junior Grand Warden.
There was a visit from the Most Worshipful Samuel H. Wragg, who closed Cincinnatus Lodge in Ample Form before the assemblage traveled to the Berkshire Inn (the original one on Main Street) for a reception in honor of R. W. Watson. R.W. Watson was at that time the youngest Master Cincinnatus Lodge had ever had, and he became, with his election as Junior Grand Warden, the only permanent member of Grand Lodge that Cincinnatus Lodge has ever had.
James Fergus Watson was Master and Treasurer of his lodge. He was a Past Master of the Twentieth Lodge of Instruction, District Deputy Grand Master in 1937-38, a member of the Grand Lodge Education Committee for many years, a Grand Representative from the Grand Lodge of Colorado to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and Junior Grand Warden, he was perhaps the most instrumental of all the forces that brought about the existence of our present Masonic Edifice. His untimely death in 1954 at the age of fifty-two deprived the lodge of one of its most able and willing workers.
The lodge celebrated its 150th Anniversary on May 24, 1946, with Grand Master Samuel Holmes Wragg in attendance. A crowd of 426 dined, danced and otherwise enjoyed the occasion for many hours. This feast was again mentioned as "the social event of the year."
The Master on this august occasion was Wor. Zacheus H. Cande. We have no way of knowing the degree of good will engendered by Bro. Cande on the occasion, but in 1953, R. W. Cande was named a District Deputy Grand Master. Many of us only witnessed his work on infrequent occasions, but at least this writer will note the sincerity and self-possession that were a part of Brother Cande's speaking skills.
A NEW LODGE BUILDING
The most important undertaking of our last fifty years is, without doubt, the acquisition of the Walker Hall property and the construction of our present lodge building.
A special communication of Cincinnatus Lodge was called on January 26, 1949. Despite inclement weather, sixty-eight brothers formed a committee to look at the feasibility of purchasing Walker Hall. With a positive committee recommendation, the lodge on February 11, voted to form a committee to purchase the property and subscribe $17,000 of its building fund to that purpose.
Schedule of activities for Lodge dedication in 1958 Once Dr. Samuel Camp's home, Walker Hall on Main Street was purchased in 1915 by the Thursday Morning Club for its meetings. Local inventor William Walker donated funds to add an auditorium on the rear. The auditorium would eventually be removed to make way for the new lodge hall.
The decision and purchase were not necessarily an easy accomplishment for the lodge. Of enormous help was the generosity of Bro. Lawrence Barbieri, who offered to loan the lodge the funds needed for the erection of the new building. This was definitely not a reflection on the financial resources of the lodge, but probably reflects the attitude of some of the bankers involved, who, at various times, expressed their frustration with the lodge's purchase of the property and their own inability to acquire said property.
Eight years later, on November 10, 1957, the cornerstone of our new building was laid by M. W. Andrew G. Jenkins in Ancient Form. The stone was prepared by Wor. William Hall at his monument company in Ashley Falls.
M. W. Jenkins returned to Cincinnatus Lodge on May 24, 1958, for the "Dedication of the Temple."
- 4:30 P. M.
- Grand Lodge Opening, Walker Hall.
- Cincinnatus Lodge opening, lodge room.
- Reception of Grand Master and Grand Officers Dedication ceremony.
- Presentation of fifty-year medals to Wor. Bro. George A. Ketchen and Bro. Joseph S. Wright, White Plains, N. Y.
- 6:00 P. M.
- Dinner, prepared and served by ladies of the Eastern Star
- 7:30 P.M.
- Entertainment and remarks by distinguished guests, lodge room.
By 1970, in time for a combined mortgage burning and 175th anniversary celebration, Walker Hall and some of the land around the lodge had been sold to the neighboring Great Barrington Savings Bank. Walker Hall was razed in the process and the healing remnants of the landscaping that was made possible were still in evidence when M. W. Herbert H. Jaynes was received for the mortgage burning ceremony. Dinner and dancing followed at the Cove Inn with a large crowd of friends and brothers in attendance.
The bricks from the razed main section of Walker Hall were used to reface the present building. In at least two different stages, work crews assembled to scrape and chip the used brick to fit them to the builders' use. There should be a campaign badge to those who performed this arduous task. Special recognition is due Brothers Paul Lopez, Marsh Giddings, Don Spaulding, Duke Donsbough, Art Kinne, Harold ("Barney") Atwood, and Charles Shove. Many others were involved at a variety of times. All their labors were important. Special note should be made that Brothers Lopez and Giddings were especially instrumental in the construction. Bro. Giddings drew the plans and Bro. Lopez was the builder.
In 1971, one of Cincinnatus Lodge's most influential and involved Past Masters was recognized as a District Deputy Grand Master. The son of a Mason and the nephew of the renowned James F. Watson, John Madison Watson is a flawless ritualist, influential member of the community, one who has demanded more of each of us than we might have expected of ourselves. He has consistently over the last thirty-five years been a leader of the affairs of Cincinnatus Lodge. He is the chairman of the 200th anniversary celebration. He is, to our minds, the most respected Mason in this part of Massachusetts. To him we owe a great deal.
Cincinnatus Lodge's last appointed District Deputy Grand Master was recognized by the Grand Master in 1993. R. W. Peter S. Brown is the Junior Past District Deputy of the Pittsfield 16th Masonic District.
AN ACTIVE LODGE
The lodge has been an active traveler over the last half century.
As well as making frequent trips to neighbors in the Pittsfield 16th District, lodge members as a group have visited sister lodges in neighboring Connecticut and Massachusetts communities. We have made several trips to New York to St. Cecilia's Lodge, to visit Ellis Island and the statue of Liberty; to Long Island to Spartan Lodge. We visited Mitchell Field and the Air Museum (The Cradle of Aviation Museum"), Hillsdale and the Coxsackie Lodges in neighboring New York State.
The lodge continues to participate in community events and has sponsored floats in parades and a queen contestant in the Great Barrington Bicentennial celebration. It has contributed to every fund drive by the local Fairview Hospital, sustained in part by the proceeds of a number of Masonic Balls, all of which were described as being the "social event of the year." Held for many seasons at the Cornwall Academy gymnasium, the annual event was given its original impetus by Wor. William Paine. It drew crowds of more than 500 people who danced until exhausted at about 3 a.m.
The lodge contributed to the preservation of the Washington Cenotaph which allowed the Great Barrington Historical Society to keep it in Great Barrington.
The lodge has made annual contributions to maintain one or more abused children at a camp designed to help their healing, and as with Masons everywhere, the lodge has been involved in the D.A.R E. Program to keep our children free of the influence of drugs.
Cincinnatus Lodge entered into an agreement with the South Berkshire Educational Collaborative that allowed local schools to conduct a "hands-on" restaurant operation in our social rooms. One of the benefits to the lodge was the establishment of a commercial kitchen setup. The result has been a multitude of dinners and banquets, held in our own lodge rooms, including an annual Special Ladies Night, and Table Lodgesevents which centered on the ability to serve good food. While the financial aspects of the contract with the Educational Collaborative have not been insignificant, certainly the social accommodations were an unexpected benefit and continue to sustain our social events well beyond any expectation.
Officers for 1995
- Master: Wor. Owen E. Wright
- Senior Warden: (vacant)
- Junior Warden: Bro. William A. Crowell
- Treasurer: R. W. John M. Watson
- Secretary: Wor. Richard E. Watson
- Chaplain: Wor. Duke L Donsbough
- Marshal: Wor. John D. WaJther
- Senior Deacon: Wor. Paul W. Marcel
- Junior Deacon: Bro. Courtney K Turners
- Senior Steward: Bro. Clifford A. Richards
- Junior Steward: Bro. Robert D. Brown
- Inside Sentinel: Bro. Everett F. Drumm
- Tyler: Bro. Hugh L. Egine
- Organist: Bro. Hugh D.A. Lawson
In 1995 the lodge is celebrating its bicentennial, as is Evening Star Lodge of Lee, whose 200th Anniversary is just six months before ours. It is also a Paul Revere Lodge.
The lodges plan a joint celebration. The Grand Master has been invited, and he will dedicate a marker at the site of our first meeting hall in New Marlboro Village.
A medal has been designed and struck to commemorate this anniversary. Following is a calendar of bicentennial events:
- Thursday, September 21. 1995
- 200th Anniversary Golf Tournament, Wyantenuck Country Club, Great Barrington, register 10 a.m. to noon; shotgun start 12:30
- social hour 5:30p.m.; dinner 7 p. m.
- Friday, September 22, 1995
- Tours and recreation for out-of-town guests
- Buffet dinner, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Great Barrington, 6:30 p. m.
- "18th Century Lifestyles and Fashions" program for ladies, put on by "Distaff Side" of the Colonial Craftsmen's Club, 7:30 p. m., Monument Mountain Regional High School
- "On the Square 1775," Reenactment by American Union Colonial Degree Team of Colonial Craftsmen's Club, Tyled Lodge, Monument Mountain Regional High School, 7 30 p. m.
- Saturday, September 23, 1995
- Open Evening Star Lodge, Lee, 9:30 a. m.
- Receive Grand Master and Suite
- Presentation of anniversary medal, 10:00 a. m;
- Dedication of historical marker, Lenox, 11:00 a. m.
- Lunch at noon
- Open Cincinnatus Lodge, Great Barrington, 1:30 p. m.
- Receive Grand Master and Suite
- presentation of anniversary medal, 2:00 p. m.
- dedication of historical marker, New Marlborough, 3:00 p. m.
- Social hour, Hilton Hotel, Pittsfield, 5:30 p. m.
- Receive Grand Master and Suite, 6:30 p. m.
- Dinner, addresses and remarks; dancing and socializing, 9:00 p .m.
- 1806 (Regarding disputes with New York)
- 1822 (Report of delinquency)
- 1824 (Report of delinquency)
- 1828 (Report of delinquency)
- 1829 (Report of delinquency)
- 1851 (Petition for remission of dues)
- 1895 (Participation in the centennial of Evening Star Lodge)
- 1909 (Grand Lodge Visit, October 1909; not in Proceedings)
OFFICER LIST, FEBRUARY 1827
From Masonic Mirror and Mechanics' Intelligencer, Vol. III, No. 8, February 1827, Page 58:’’
Officers of Cincinnatus Lodge, Great Barrington, Ma.:
- Bro. Washington Adams, M.
- Bro. Hezekiah Lathrop, S. W.
- Bro. William M. Battelle, J. W.
- Bro. Orange H. Arnold, Treasurer.
- Bro. Ebenezer Pope, Jun., Secretary.
- Bro. Constant Southworth, S. D.
- Bro. John Balch, J. D.
- Bro. Jerre Monson, Steward.
GRAND MASTER VISIT, MAY 1917
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XII, No. 10, July 1917, Page 354:
One of the most interesting social events in the history of Cincinnatus Lodge, of Great Barrington, Mass., occurred Thursday. May 24th, in honor of Worshipful Brother Henry T. Robbins. It was the observance of his 84th birthday, it also marked the 60th year of his connection with Masonry.
More than 200 members of the fraternity and their ladies were present to congratulate him upon reaching these enviable milestones.
Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master, attended by leading officers of the Grand Lodge, were present and contributed to the success of the occasion.
The Grand Master and suite were formally received and cordially welcomed bv Worshipful Master F. A. Van Alstyne of Cincinnatus Lodge. The introductory address was made by Bro. the Hon. H. C. Joyner, who spoke in the warmest terms of Brother Robbins. Following this a Henry Price Medal was presented to Brother Robbins by the Grand Master.
Brief addresses were made by Grand Marshal Edward N. West; Senior Grand Warden William M. Farrington and Deputy Grand Master Moses C. Plummer, which were interspersed with musical selections.
Grand Master Abbott concluded the speaking' program with a brilliant address on the principles of Masonry and their part in the progress of the world events. Stating that the secret part was the lesser part of the work of the fraternity, he impressed upon his audience the fact that the universal brotherhood of man was and had always been its great ideal, ard by adherence to this lofty principle the amount of good accomplished by Masonry since its institution at the building of King Solomon's Temple, was so large as to be impossible to even estimate.
Members of Cincinnatus Chapter, order of the Eastern Star, then presented Mr. Robbins with a birthday cake illuminated with 84 candles as a token of the appreciation of the chapter's members of his connection with Masonry. Good-Night by the Imperial quartette and America sung by the audience and quartette completed the evening's program, which largely due to the efforts of the committee in charge, Judge W. B. Sanford, Dr. W. D. Hill and C. I. Sweet, was an unqualified success. Members of the Eastern Star then served refreshments to the 200 persons present.
Brother Robbins in whose honor the program was carried out, was one of the five men, including F. T. Whiting, Marcus E. Tobey, I. R. Prindle and I. B. Prindle, to be raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason at the first meeting of Cincinnatus Lodge in Great Barrington. Gatherings previous to the first meeting, Nov. 27, 1857, had been held in Sheffield. Since that date Mr. Robbins has held an enviable position in Masonry and his work has been characterized by an interest which has merited the admiration of every member of the fraternity to whom the facts have been made known. Attending regularly practically every meeting, regular and special, of the lodge since its removal to Great Barrington, he has become dearly loved and highly respected by its entire membership.
He has served Cincinnatus as master ten years; as Junior warden, one year; as senior deacon, one year; as chaplain, four years; as organist, thirty-two years; as auditor, one year; as District Deputy Grand Master, two years.
In local affairs he has also taken a keen interest and has served the town in various official capacities, being for many years the town treasurer. Mr. Robbins also served for thirty years as secretary of the Housatonic Agricultural society and was for a time its president. In church affairs he holds the office of warden of St. James Episcopal church, which office he has held f01- many years, in. recognition of which he was recently tendered a reception in the church parlors by the parish and presented kith a silver pitcher. As foreman and later chief of the Hope fire company he was for years a familiar figure in the old-time musters about the county aml companies under his direction brought back to Great Barrington numerous trophies as a testimony of their efficiency.
SPECIAL COMMUNICATION, MAY 1919
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XIV, No. 8, May 1919, Page 258:
One of the most enjoyable Masonic gatherings ever held in southern Berkshire was that which took place in Cincinnatus Lodge rooms of Great Barrington, Mass., Friday, May 2. The occasion was a special communication, and the work was the third degree. A unique feature of the event was the gathering together of the clergymen-members of the order in the county and an exemplilicaton of the work by them in honor of one of the candidates, who also was a clergyman.
Arrangements had been under way for a number of weeks and the success of the evening is in a great part due to the Master of the lodge, Clarence I. Sweet, whose untiring efforts were rewarded by one of the largest gatherings Cincinnatus Lodge has had in a number of years.
Immediately after the opening of the lodge, the Worshipful Master Introduced the different clergymen and they were escorted to their several stations, as follows-Rev. W. L. DuBois of West Stockbridge Wisdom Lodge, Worshipful Master; Rev. c M. Calderwood of Lee, Manchester Lodge, Manchester, Conn., Senior Warden; Rev. L. B. Bliss of Sheffield, Evening Star Lodge, Lee, Junior Warden; Rev. J. R. Lynes of Great Barrington, Cincinnatus Lodge, Senior Deacon; Rev. M. O. Bennett of Lee, Rhinebeck Lodge, Rhinebeck, N. Y., Junior Deacon; Rev. C. Williams Fisher of Stockbridge, St. Paul Lodge, Rockport, Me., Secretary; Rev. G. M. Starkweather of Hingham, Cincinnatus Lodge, Marshal; Rev. T. W. Haven of Great Barrington, Western Stnr Lodge, Norfolk, Conn., Chaplain; Rev. C. E. Freeman of Lenox, Evening Star Lodge, Lee, Inside Sentinel.
The work was carried out in an exceptionally impressive manner by the clergymen, the floor work and charge being unusually fine. Brethren filled every availabl. seat in the lodge room and extra chair were required to accommodate later arrivals. Delegations from lodges in surrounding towns were present.
At the conclusion of the work an elaborate banquet was served by ladies of the O. E. S. Clarence I. Sweet presided at the post prandial exercises and some excelled speeches by the clergymen were listened to. The gathering broke up shortly before midnight and it was the unanimous opinion thai the occasion was one of the most successful Cincinnatus Lodge has had in years.
Cincinnatus Lodge of Great Barrington is one of three lodges in Berkshire County who are working under Charters granted by Paul Revere, and is the only one of the three that still have their original Charter, the other two, Evening Star Lodge of Lee and Wisdom Lodge of West Stockbridge having lost theirs by fires.
125TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, DECEMBER 1920
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVI, No. 3, December 1920, Page 83:
The opening of the 125th celebration of the founding of Cincinnatus lodge of Great Barrington, Mass., took place Thursday evening, December 9, in Masonic hall. There were many visiting Masons present, including state officials. This is the second time that the lodge has celebrated its famous charter, which was signed by Paul Revere and now hangs on the walls of the lodge room. It is one of the few charters signed by Paul Revere that are now in existence.
One address of the evening dealt largely with the older members of the order. This was delivered by H. C. Joyner, one of the oldest members. Bro. Joyner brought forth many interesting facts concerning the early days of the lodge and the loyalty of those who were active when he first joined.
Judge Walter B. Sanford, Past Master, presided, and in opening the program gave a short speech. Later a musical program was carried out and at the close refreshments w'ere served. On Dec. 10th there was held a ball in the town hall for members and their friends. The Shire City orchestra of Pittsfield furnished the music.
The program follows: Reception to grand officers at 8; prayer, Rev. Vere V. Loper; music, quartet, Mrs. J. R. McComb, Mrs. F. A. Pearson, A. P. Culver, F. A. Pearson; historical address, R. W. Orlando C. Bidwell; address, R. W. Frederick W. Hamilton; duet, Mrs. J. R. McComb, Mrs. F. A. Pearson; remarks, R. W., Charles H. Ramsay; reminiscences of lodge, H. C. Joyner; remarks, W. Frank H. Hilton; music by quartet; refreshments.
The following brief history of Cincinnatus lodge was delivered by O. C. Bidwell:
Prior to 1795 there had been Masonic orders in Berkshire County, but it was in that year that some of the influential citizens and Masons in south Berkshire thought it wise to try to start a lodge in the southern section of the county.
Walter Deane of New Marlboro, a veteran of the Revolutionary war, was the man chosen to go to Boston and try to secure a charter for the formation of a Masonic order. He could not make the journey in six hours, as can be done in the 20th century. It took him a week to go one way, for he had to travel by horseback, through dense forests, over lonely paths, and encounter many hardships. Nevertheless he went, and his errand proved successful, for a charter was granted which was signed by Paul Revere, the noted figure in Concord and Lexington, w'ho was then grand master, holding that office in the years 1795, '96 and '97. During that time he chartered 23 lodges, 18 of which are still in existence.
The name Cincinnatus, as chosen for this newly-chartered lodge, proves the sturdi-ness and thoughtfulness of the originators of the lodge. It is thought that it was from the Roman dictator, Cincinnatus, who w'as a farmer that was twice called from his tilling of the soil to help save the empire of Rome. Later an order of Cincinnati was formed, and it is from this that Cincinnatus lodge F. and A. M. took its name. Among the charter members of the lodge are Walter Deane, Gideon Post and John Shaw.
The second week after the granting of the charter a meeting was held in New1 Marlboro at 1 in the church, where the officers were installed. There were members present from that village, Sheffield, Great Barrington, Stockbridge and some visitors from the further north. Moses Hopkins, son of Rev. Samuel Hopkins, was a member of this lodge and the first postmaster in Great Barrington in 1797.
Meetings were held in New Marlboro for a time, and then for a few years the time was divided betw'een New Marlboro and Great Barrington, those of the summer, while the traveling was good being held in New Marlboro and the rest of the year in Great Barrington.
On December 9, 1895, Cincinnatus lodge held an installation of officers, and although it was the 100th anniversary of its birth, the members decided to hold its real celebration on St. John's day, June 24, 1896. Arrangements were carried out under the mastership of Charles H. Booth and the parade, which marched from the rooms to the fair grounds, where the cele- bration was held, was the largest and most brilliant ever witnessed in this town.
There are in Berkshire County three lodges working under Paul Revere charters, viz.: Evening Star of Lee, Wisdom of West Stockbridge, and Cincinnatus of Great Barrington.
The grand officers present were Frederick W. Hamilton, Charles H. Ramsay and Frank Hilton of Boston.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Orlando C. Bidwell, DDGM, District 15 (Pittsfield), 1902; SN
- Peter S. Brown, DDGM, District 16 (Pittsfield), 1993, 1994
- Zacheus H. Cande, DDGM, District 16 (Pittsfield), 1953, 1954; Cincinnatus; N
- Thomas Edwards, Junior Grand Warden 1787, 1788, Senior Grand Warden 1791, Mass. Independent Grand Lodge
- Miles T. Huntington, DDGM, District 15 (Pittsfield), 1893, 1894; SN
- Paul A. Moore, DDGM, Pittsfield 16, 1995, 1996; N
- Henry T. Robbins, DDGM, District 15 (Pittsfield), 1890, 1891; SN
- Walter B. Sanford, DDGM, District 16 (Pittsfield), 1919, 1920; Memorial
- Clarence I. Sweet, DDGM, District 16 (Pittsfield), 1927, 1928; N
- Christopher A. Tonini, DDGM, District 31, 2017-2019
- James F. Watson, DDGM, District 16 (Pittsfield), 1937, 1938; Junior Grand Warden 1945
- John M. Watson, DDGM, District 16 (Pittsfield), 1971, 1972; N
- John Whiting, DDGM, District 8 (Berkshires), 1813-1820; SN
- Washington Bissell, Memorial
1883: District 15 (Pittsfield)
1911: District 16 (Pittsfield)
1927: District 16 (Pittsfield)