- 1 CORNER STONE 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 HISTORICAL SKETCH, JUNE 1881
- 2.4.2 CENTENARY HISTORY, JUNE 1902
- 2.4.3 125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, OCTOBER 1926
- 2.4.4 150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, DECEMBER 1951
- 2.4.5 175TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, DECEMBER 1976
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 OTHER BROTHERS
- 2.9 DISTRICTS
- 2.10 LINKS
CORNER STONE LODGE
Chartered By: Samuel Dunn
Charter Date: 12/14/1801 II-190
Precedence Date: 12/14/1801
Current Status: Active
Charter surrendered 07/05/1834; functioned as the "Corner-stone Charitable Association" for the next nine years.
Charter restored 12/11/1844
A very detailed Centennial History appears on Pages 1902-98 through 1902-120.
Note that Corner Stone Lodge was a member of the 5th Masonic District at least from 1861 through 1867.
MEMBER LIST, 1802
From Vocal Companion and Masonic Register, Boston, 1802, Part II, Page 36:
- R. W. Amos Brown, M.
- W. John Pattin, S. W.
- W. Benjamin Bosworth, J. W.
- Thomas Winsor, Sec.
- Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., Tr.
- Joseph Soule, Jr., S. D.
- Solomon Washburn, J. D.
- Bradford Freeman, Steward.
- Elishah Holmes, Steward.
- Studley Sampson, Tiler.
No. of Members, 31.
- Eden Wadsworth
- Nathaniel Holmes
- John Holmes
- Jesse Howard
- Seth Simmons
- Joseph Prior, Jr.
- Benjamin Prior, Jr.
- Sylvanus Delano
- Henry Chandler
- Amos Brown, 1801, 1802, 1804
- John Pattin, 1803
- Studley Sampson, 1805-1807, 1812, 1813, 1818; SN
- Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., 1808-1811
- George Loring, 1814, 1815
- Thomas Winsor, 1816, 1817
- Soloman Washburn, 1819
- Seth Sprague, Jr., 1820-1822
- Thomas Peterson, 1823, 1831, 1834
- William V. Kent, 1824
- Gershom B. Weston, 1825, 1826, 1829, 1830, 1840-1845
- John Porter, 1827, 1828
- Joseph P. Bosworth, 1832, 1833
- DARK 1835-1840
- Martin Waterman, 1846, 1853-1856
- William H. Sampson, 1847-1852
- John Perkins, 1857
- Samuel E. Ripley, 1858
- Hambleton E. Smith, 1859
- John Holmes, 1860
- George Bradford, 1861-1864, 1869
- Jabez Keep, 1865
- George F. Sampson, 1866-1868, 1870
- David Cushman, 1871
- Henry Brewster, 1872
- George H. Bonney, 1873-1875
- George Baker, 1876, 1877
- Thomas Alden, 1878-1880
- Fernando Wadsworth, 1881
- Stephen W. Eastman, 1882, 1883
- Elnathan Delano, 1884, 1885
- Franklin W. Hatch, 1886-1888
- George H. Chandler, 1889, 1890
- Arthur F. Blanchard, 1891, 1892
- William W. Myrick, 1893, 1894
- Walter C. Hammond, 1895, 1896
- Joseph Sherman, 1897-1899, 1903; SN
- Nathaniel K. Noyes, 1901, 1902
- Daniel D. Devereaux, 1904-1906
- Charles W. Bartlett, 1907, 1908
- George A. Tower, 1909, 1910
- Robert J. Needham, 1911, 1912
- Henry T. Sturtevant, 1913, 1914
- Frank C. Woodward, 1915, 1916
- Edgar A. Baker, 1917, 1918; SN
- George B. Cushing, 1919, 1920
- Oscar C. Swope, 1921, 1922
- Abraham S. Feinberg, 1923, 1924
- Charles A. Whitman, 1925, 1926; N
- Howard W. Carver, 1927, 1928
- Morgan L. Woodruff, 1929
- Clarence H. Nickerson, 1930, 1931
- Harry L. Tinker, 1932, 1933
- J. Newton Shirley, 1934, 1935
- Earl W. Chandler, 1936, 1937
- Clinton W. Baker, 1938, 1939
- Harvey J. Page, 1940, 1941
- Eugene O. Page, 1942, 1943
- Willard R. Randall, 1944, 1945
- George W. Cushman, 1946, 1947; SN
- Benjamin J. Goodrich, 1948, 1949
- Sidney R. Merry, 1950, 1951
- George R. Riddell, 1952, 1953; N
- Theodore M. Chase, 1954
- Denman G. Baker, 1955
- George A. Davis, 1956, 1957
- Harold A. MacDonald, 1958; N
- Georg F. Holl, Jr., 1959
- Robert B. Delano, 1960
- Richard A. Melvin, 1961; N
- Robert W. Melvin, 1962
- Charles E. Thygeson, 1963
- Leon O. Paulding, 1964
- Willard L. Thomes, 1965
- William E. Hogan, 1966
- Roger J. Melvin, 1967
- Kendrick A. Williams, 1968, 1969
- Richard Frederick Warren, 1970
- Robert C. Melvin, 1971
- Richard L. Frisbee, 1972
- John Burgoyne, 1973
- Donald R. Foote, 1974
- Russell E. Blank, 1975
- John A. Melvin, 1976
- Winslow B. Carver, 1977, 1992
- Walter E. Osborne, 1978
- Irving B. Pierce, Jr., 1979
- Dexter L. Gasper, 1980; N
- Bruce Tenney, 1981
- Paul Z. Cushman, 1982
- Ernest G. Davis, 1983
- Frederick M. Turner, 1984, 1997, 1998
- August P. Cabral, 1985, 1986
- Phillip L. Balboni, 1987
- Roy B. Davis, 1988
- Clifton J. Woodward, 1989, 1994
- David R. Gasper, 1990, 1993
- Alan M. Alexis, 1991
- James J. Devaney, 1995, 1996
- Thomas H. Kirkaldy, 1999, 2001
- Henry Q. Dowd, 2000
- Jeffrey M. Goldman, 2002
- James M. Walsh, 2003
- Thomas A. Morris, III, 2004, 2005
- James J. Bennette, 2006
- Carl E. Russell, 2007
- Jack T. Sutton, 2008
- Kenneth E. Tucker, 2009
- Mark A. Grylls, 2010
- Brandon T. Turner, 2011
- Roy B. Davis, 2012
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1880 (Welch)
- 1883 (Lawrence)
- 1902 (Gallagher; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1911 (Flanders)
- 1926 (Simpson; 125th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1934 (Chapman)
- 1951 (Roy; 150th Anniversary; Special Communication, though not recorded in Proceedings)
- 1961 (Eaton; Hall Dedication; Special Communication)
- 1976 (Maxwell; 175th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1983 (Berquist)
- 2017 (Gleason; Rededication; Special Communication; 1 other visit)
1879 1893 1898 1903 1914 1918 1920 1927 1929 1946 1954 1957 1967 1968 1969 1972 1989 1991 1999 2001 2004 2007 2012 2016
- 1881 (Historical Sketch, 1881; from Liberal Freemason; see below)
- 1902 (Centenary History, 1902-86; see below)
- 1926 (125th Anniversary History, 1926-363; see below)
- 1952 (150th Anniversary History, December 1951, 1952-1; see below)
- 1976 (175th Anniversary History, 1976-390; see below)
HISTORICAL SKETCH, JUNE 1881
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. V, No. 3, June 1881, Page 95:
In answer to a petition presented by Brothers Amos Brown, John Patten, Benjamin Bosworth, Joseph Prior Jr., Zadock Bradford, Ezra Prior, Matthew Prior, Ezra Weston, Lewis Peterson, Job Lamson, Jabez Prior, George Loring, and Eden Wadsworth, "all Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons," a charter was granted constituting them into Corner-Stone Lodge, in the town of Duxbury, in the County of Plymouth, and Commonwealth of Massachusetts; said Lodge to take rank and precedence from the fourteenth day of December, 1801.
This charter was dated as above, sealed and signed by Samuel Dunn, Grand Master, Joseph Laughton, D. G. Master. John Boyle, Senior Grand Warden, Isaac Hurd, Junior Grand Warden, "By order of the Grand Lodge," John Proctor, Grand Secretary.
Under the baneful influences of the period, (anti-Masonic and political) the Lodge surrendered its charter on July 5th. 1834, and on the petition of Martin Waterman, Samuel Loring, Jr., Nathaniel Winsor, Solomon Washburn, William H Sampson, John Wadsworth, Simon Whitney, Thomas Peterson, Samuel Hunt, Joseph P. Bosworth, Reuben Peterson Jr., G. B. Weston, George Winsor, Jr., Daniel W. Brewster, and Samuel W. Gleason, by order of the Grand Lodge, the charter with all its "original privileges" was restored to the Lodge, on December 11th, 1844.
An endorsement to this effect is upon the back of the original charter, duly attested by Charles W. Moore, Recording Grand Secretary.
The first organization of the Lodge is worthy of note, from the fact that six of the ten composing it, are enrolled among its Worshipful Masters, and all received promotion at the hands of their brethren. The roster is as follows: Amos Brown, W. M.; Benjamin Bosworth, S. W.; John Patten, J. W.; Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., Treas.; Thomas Winsor, Secretary; Joseph Soule, S. D.; Solomon Washburn, J. D.; Bradford Freeman, S. S.; Elisha Holmes, J. S; Studley Sampson, Tyler.
During the first period of its existence, the Lodge had thirteen Masters, with varying terms of service, as follows : Amos Brown, 1802 and 1804; John Patten, 1803; Studley Samson, 1805-6-7, 1812-13-18; Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., 1808-9-10-11; George Lining, 1814-15; Thomas Winsor, 1816-17; Solomon Washburn, 1819; Seth Sprague, Jr., 1820-21-22; Thos. Peterson, 1823-31-34; William V. Kent, 1824; Gershom B. Weston, 1825-26, 1829-30; John Porter, 1827-8; John P. Bosworth, 1832-3.
Of these several workers, none appears to have been more zealous than Studley Sampson; he first appears as Tyler for two years ; Secretary one year, and then Master, until he seems to have gone out of official life with 1827. In 1819, the office ol Marshal was recorded for the first time, and this was filled by Brother Sampson, and though he subsequently held, the offices of S. W., S. D., and S. S., yet he closed his official career as Marshal, and this office, except the year 1829, as thereafter filled by Past Masters.
It appears that the earlier members called themselves "Proprietors of Corner-Stone Lodge," and under this designation thirty names are enrolled; forty others appear as members, thus showing an inclusive membership of seventy, prior to surrendering the charter, It must not be concluded, however, that this included all who were in any way connected with the Lodge, for it is specially noted, that "the name of Samuel W. Gleason appears for the first time as an officer, he not being a member in 1834, and no mention is made of his election." Joseph Wadsworth is also credited with the payment of quarterages, but no mention of his election is made, and a careful analysis of the records and roll of members will show other analogous facts.
Since the restoration of the charter, and the revival of the Lodge, in December, 1844, one hundred and twenty members have been identified with it, and sixteen Masters have presided over its deliberations. G. B. Weston was Master in 1845 and 1856. He has been succeeded by Martin Waterman, in 1846, 1853-4-5, and 1857; Wm. H. Sampson, in 1847-48-49-50-51 and 1852; Samuel E. Ripley, in 1858; H. E. Smith, in 1859; John Holmes, in i860; George Bradford, in 1861-2-3-4 and 1869; Jabez Keep, in 1865; George F. Sampson, in 1866-7-8 and 1870; David Cushman, in 1871; Henry Brewster, in 1872; Calvin Pratt, in 1873 ; George II. Bonney, in 1874-5; George Baker, 1876-7; Thomas Alden, in 1878-9, and Fernando Wadsworth, in 1880-81.
During its first period the Lodge had seven Treasurers, who served from one to thirteen years each, the latter service-being by Nathaniel Winsor, Jr., interrupted however, by his occupancy of the chair. The office of Secretary was held by thirteen different brethren during the time, the longest term of service being by John Patten, who served for six consecutive years.
It may be noteworthy to mention the fact that in the organization of the Lodge, from 1819 to 1834, the office of Marshal invariably succeeds that of Tyler, and is the last on the roll. This order was followed on reviving in 1844-5, until in 1846 the office of Chaplain is entered for the first time, after that of Marshal, and is so continued until 1857, after which, no entry is made of it until 1813. In 1855 the office of I. S. appears for the first time, and the record is still preserved in order as follows: Tyler, Marshal, Chaplain, Inside Sentinel.
The membership of Corner Stone Lodge has always been noted for its representative men. In years long passed, Dux-bury was well known for its enterprise in ship-building, and her sons have been among the foremost in the mercantile marine of New Kngland. The energy which characterizes them locally, has pushed them into newer and larger fields of usefulness, but the integrity which secured so much respect from abroad, attached itself firmly at home, and the good old town may justly be proud" of its reputation, to which the Lodge and its members have so materially contributed.
CENTENARY HISTORY, JUNE 1902
From Proceedings, Page 1902-98:
By Rev. Bro. Edward B. Magathlin.
Most Worshipful Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brethren, Worshipful Master, Brothers and Friends of Corner-stone Lodge: In remote periods of civilization, wise and good men withdrew from society, and in the solitude of secret temples sounded the depths of the mind and heart.
Out from these mystic devotions came the elements of Freemasonry, whose springs of thought and feeling were hidden very deep in the past and nourished by the civilizing agencies of ancient nations: the priests of Egypt, the astronomers of Chaldea, the moralists of Greece, the legislators of Rome. The continuity is unbroken; from the earliest times of authentic history till now Freemasonry has developed by the vital forces of Religion, Science, Morality and Law.
The building of Solomon's Temple was a landmark of ancient operative Masonry; but the Masonic ideals were never even partially realized until about six centuries before the Christian era, when Pythagoras organized a secret brotherhood for mutual aid, social communion, intellectual cultivation and moral progress.
The Pythagorean Fraternities and their successors rekindled enthusiasm for the pursuit of learning, the cultivation of architecture and the fine arts; they brought new moral life into society, and contributed largely to the political stability of modern civilization. The ever widening and deepening current of Freemasonry can be traced from its sources in the Orient, across continents and islands around the globe; everywhere diffusing the principles of religious faith, brotherly love, inflexible honor and absolute truth. It has followed the sun in his circuit, and every day and every hour inspires to higher enlightenment. Its truths are addressed to the universal intellect; its principles underlie all relations and stations and offices of men; and its duties are the services which humanity requires.
Freemasonry was introduced into Massachusetts at Boston in 1733 by a commission from the Grand Master of England. This was forty-two years before the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Eighteen years after the close of that war Freemasonry found a habitation and a name in this ancient town.
In the first year of the nineteenth century, thirteen eminent men and Masons residing at Duxbury presented a petition to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts, praying that they might be constituted a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons under the title of Corner-stone Lodge. The petitioners were Amos Brown, John Patten, Benjamin Bosworth, Joseph Prior, Jr., Zadock Bradford, Ezra Prior, Matthew Prior, Ezra Weston, Lewis Peterson, Job Lamson, Jabez Prior, George Loring and Eden Wadsworth.
In accordance with their petition a Charter was granted to them on the fourteenth day of December, 1801; a day hallowed in the annals of our country; for exactly two years had transpired since George Washington, the foremost Freemason of all this world, from the summit of human greatness had stepped to the skies.
Ten of the petitioners received their degrees in the Old Colony Lodge, of Hingham; and it is conjectured that the remaining three were raised in the old Forefather's Rock Lodge, of Plymouth. They were all descended from the early settlers of the old Colony, and inherited the virile qualities of the Puritan character.
In 1793 the corner-stone of the National Capitol at Washington was laid by the President, assisted by the Grand Lodge of Maryland; and two years later the corner-stone of our State Capitol, at Boston, was laid by the Governor, assisted by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. These occasions attracted the attention of Freemasons throughout the Commonwealth and probably suggested the name " Corner-Stone" to the patriotic citizens and founders of the Lodge whose centenary we this day commemorate.
Up to comparatively recent times it had been the practice of the Grand Lodge not to constitute a subordinate Lodge until several months had elapsed after granting the Charter. For instance, Middlesex Lodge was granted a charter on the eighth of June, 1795, and constituted on November 25 of the same year. Other Lodges had to wait longer. Rising Star Lodge, of Stoughton, waited nearly two years. But Corner-stone was r emarkably fortunate — having to wait only eighteen days. At the first regular meeting, which occurred on New Year's Day, 1802, Corner-stone Lodge was constituted by the Grand Lodge. A t that meeting, the following-named officers were elected and duly installed : ,
- Amos Brown, Worshipful Master.
- Benjamin Bosworth, Senior Warden.
- John Patten, Junior Warden.
- Nathaniel Winsor, Treasurer.
- Thomas Winsor, Secretary. ,
- Joseph Soule, Senior Deacon.
- Solomon Washburn, Junior Deacon.
- Bradford Freeman, First Sentinel.
- Elisha Holmes, Second Sentinel.
The election of a Tyler was postponed.
After the exercises of Installation, a dinner was served by the proprietors of the Corner-stone Hall, who received pay for dining from all except the officers of the Grand Lodge. Corner-stone Hall was built and managed by a company of Masonic proprietors, thirty in number, each of whom agreed to pay 858.04 as his proportional share of the cost.
The Lodge continued to meet in Corner-stone Hall until the close of the year 1805; when, differences arising, between the Lodge and the proprietors, it was deemed advisable to secure new quarters. Accordingly on May 5, 1806, the Lodge moved into Joshua Winsor's new hall, where the meetings were held until Sept. 8,. 1820, when the Lodge moved back to the old Corner-stone Hall, which had become the property of the widow of Amos Brown. In Mrs. Brown's hall the Lodge remained until the present Masonic Building was erected and dedicated on the eleventh of October, 1825.
At the second meeting, on Jan. 15, 1802, the Lodge adopted By-Laws, one of which determined the fees for degrees and membership and the dues. The fees for degrees were $16 for the first and $1.50 each for the second and third; the membership fee was $5 and the annual dues $1. Another By-Law provided that visiting Brethren should.be admitted without charge on their first visit; and thereafter should be charged twenty-five cents each for every visit.
On April 5 Studley Sampson was proposed, balloted for, declared elected to receive the degrees, initiated as an entered apprentice, and elected Tyler with a compensation fixed by vote of the Lodge at nine dollars a year. Three weeks later he received his Master Mason's degree, and became a member, although in the meantime he had been the only salaried officer of the Lodge. It may be of interest to mention here that this same Studley Sampson was also the first Marshal of Corner-stone Lodge, being appointed to that office in 1819.
The first Chaplain was the Rev. Aaron Josselyn, in 1849. Previous to that time prayer was offered by the Master, or by some Brother duly authorized to perform that sacred service, which is never omitted in the formal opening and closing of a Lodge.
Corner-stone Lodge was represented at a Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge as early as Sept. 13, 1802, when John Patten, Junior Warden, was present and paid Quarterages amounting to six dollars.
Before the commencement of the second year, sixteen Masons were raised in the Lodge — ten of whom became members. Two others were also admitted to membership, who had received their degrees in the Old Colony Lodge, of Hingham. One of these was Daniel Hall, an influential citizen of the south part of the town, for whom Hall's Corner is named.
The first public function of the Lodge occurred on Dec. 27, 1802 ; when the Feast of St. John the Evangelist was celebrated. The. next winter this feast was again observed and the Secretary's minute is thus quaintly expressed:
"The Officers and Brethren of Corner-stone Lodge met at their hall and opened the Lodge upon the first step of Masonry, formed a procession and walked to the meeting-house in Masonic order; where we heard a very edifying discourse delivered by our Rev. Bro. John Allyn before a respectable audience both of the middle chamber and the outer courts of the Temple.
"This discourse being ended, we were taken back from whence we came, closed the Lodge, and, after addressing ourselves to the Great Architect of Universal Nature, we partook of a repast, highly delightful, and spent the remainder of the time in toasting the former and latter day worthies and patrons of our Ancient and Honorable Fraternity."
A meeting held on Jan. 26, 1804, is memorable for the official visit of R.W. John D. Dunbar, D. D. G. M. of the Third Masonic District, who was received with Masonic honors and given a most cordial welcome. He complimented the Officers and Brethren upon the condition and appearance of the Lodge and gave an address full of encouragement and helpful suggestion.
At the first meeting held in Winsor Hall, May 5, 1806, R. W. Benjamin Gleason, Grand Lecturer, visited the Lodge and gave instruction in the E. A. degree.
The records make no mention of the death of a member until Nov. 27, 1809. At a meeting held on that day it was voted that Wor. Bro. Studley Sampson write an affectionate address from the officers and members of the Lodge to the widow of our late beloved Brother, Ezra Prior. He was one of the charter members and a proprietor of the Corner-stone Hall. For several subsequent years no event occurred which need be mentioned in this brief sketch; the Lodge continued to prosper, rapidly increasing in membership,' adding to the funds, procuring better furnishings, regalia and other appurtenances of the,Order; doing kindly deeds among the poor, the aged, the sick; and solemnizing the impressive funeral service of our ritual.
There was no sound of hammer, but the Temple was rising upon sure foundations.
In the closing year of the 18th century, a motherless child, only seven years old, ran away from his home in Richmond, Va., and went aboard ship as a cabin boy, and for ten successive years roamed the seas. At the age of seventeen he came to Boston, which was then a seaport of only about thirty thousand people. The whole city was a narrow belt stretching along the shore, and going back but a few rods from the sea. All the commercial affairs were transacted at two wharves, by one of which lay a vessel that had among its sailors this young man. Being attracted by the tolling of a church bell, he left his craft in sailor costume, and, strolling through the town, came to the Park-street church. Let him tell the rest of it in his own words: "I put in, and, going to the door, I saw the port was full. I up helm, unfurled topsail, and made for the gallery; entered safely, doffed pennant and scud under bare poles to the corner pew. There I hove to, and came to anchor. The old man— the captain of the craft— was just naming his text, which was, "But he lied unto them." As he went on and told how the devil lied to men, and how his imps led them into sin, I said a hearty Amen, for I knew all about it. I had seen and felt the whole of it. Pretty soon he unfurled the mainsail, raised the topsail, run up the pennants to free breeze; and I tell you the old ship Gospel never sailed more prosperously. The salt spray flew in every direction; but more especially it ran down my cheeks. I was melted. Satan had to strike sail; his guns were spiked; his light crafts, by which he led sinners captive, were all beached: and the Captain of the Lord's host rode forth — conquering and to conquer. "I said, 'Why can't I preach so? I'll try it.'" The young man converted that night became one of the world's great preachers; and no American citizen ever enjoyed a reputation " more impressive and unique."
In 1819 this Soldier of the Cross, this Sailor of the Gospel Ship, came to Duxbury to reside for one year, while preaching as a Methodist itinerant on the Scituate Circuit, which included all the shore towns between Dorchester and Kingston. In Corner-stone Lodge, on the sixth of March, 1820, he was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.
You doubtless anticipate the name of "Father Taylor." He was known then simply as the Rev. Edward Thompson Taylor, to whose sanctuary the people of. Duxbury flocked like doves to their windows. His preaching was so fascinating, it was said that they would willingly and gladly stay till morning if he would only talk to them all through the night. The pastor of the First Church, the venerable Dr. Allyn, who also had received his degrees in Corner-stone Lodge, looked with scant favor upon the young minister. His first greeting to the interloper was characteristic: "So you've come to preach in Duxbury, young man?" "Yes; the Lord says, 'Preach the gospel to every creature.'" "That is so; but he never said that every ' critter ' should preach the gospel."
We are not told what the young preacher said in reply to this, but it was something to the point, for his wit never failed him. Some twenty years later Father Taylor revisited Duxbury. It was the time of the anti-slavery excitement, when even churches were divided on that question. There had been secession in the Methodist Episcopal Church, headed by the Hon. Seth Sprague, Jr., who was Master of Corner-stone Lodge when Father Taylor was made a Mason. The Hon. Seth Sprague, Sr., had founded the Methodist Episcopal Church, and now the son had founded another called the Wesleyan Methodist, which later became the Pilgrim Congregational Church. Some of the abolitionists had gone so far as to nail up the doors of their pews in the old church.
Father Taylor was invited to dine with one of his earlier converts who had just joined the new church- She asked, "Well, Father Taylor, what do you think of us secessionists?" "Think! I think you will all go to hell. There is but one thing to do — you have got to weep tears enough to rust out all those nails."
Under the influence of the Methodist revival, possibly, but from some good motive certainly, the Lodge became anxious concerning the moral welfare of its members, for at the annual meeting in 1820 it was voted "that the members of Cornerstone Lodge shall hold a meeting on the first Thursday in the months of March and September for the purpose of communicating in a Christian and Masonic manner any irregular conduct which may have taken place among the Brethren of the Lodge."
At the same meeting it was voted that whenever the funds in the treasury shall exceed one hundred dollars they shall be invested in safe securities for the benefit of the Lodge. This vote was the foundation of a Charity Fund by means of which the Lodge ministered unto the poor with a watchful and persevering sympathy.
In March, 1821, the Grand Master appointed Studley Sampson D. D. Grand Master. He had held the office of Master of Corner-stone Lodge for six years, and the attributes of his rugged character were knotted and gnarled, like the roots of the sturdy oak, into the genial soil of his Masonic affections. This crowning honor was appreciated, alike by himself and his Brethren.
In the summer of 1824 St. John's Day was observed by an all-day meeting. The Lodge was opened at eight o'clock, con tinued throughout the forenoon, afternoon and evening, with intermissions for the midday and evening meals which were served in the hall. At this Communication four candidates were elected to receive the degrees. These were all initiated in the morning, passed in the afternoon, and all, save one whose place was taken by another Brother, raised in the even ing.
Early in the year 1825 a committee consisting of George Loring, Erastus Bartlett, Thomas Peterson, Nathaniel Winsor and Seth Sprague, Jr., was chosen to contract with a builder to erect a building on land purchased of Zenas Faunce, in accordance with plans submitted by the Worshipful Master, the Hon. Gershom B. Weston. Subsequently the Lodge ratified an agreement by which Gershom B. Weston took a deed of the land and hall and gave in exchange a bond to the committee. On the morning of October 11, at ten o'clock, the hall was dedicated in Ample Form; whereupon a procession of Masons was formed. Accompanied by a band of music they marched to the Unitarian Church, where the Rev. Paul Dean, Senior Chaplain of the Grand Lodge, .delivered the Dedicatory Address.
In the spring of 1825 the Lodge received a communication from the Most Worshipful John Abbot, Grand Master, inviting the members to participate in the laying of the corner-stone of Bunker Hill Monument on June 17, and to meet our illustrious Brother General Lafayette. This invitation was accepted, and a delegation was appointed to attend the imposing exercises of what proved to be one of the proudest and happiest days in the history of Freemasonry, and of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The first public installation of officers of Corner-stone Lodge was held on the evening of Nov. 20, 1826. Perfect weather and the presence of ladies conspired to make it the largest and most successful meeting ever held in the hall. Duxbury's beloved physician, John Porter, was Master-Elect, and his genial character, his earnest and impressive manner added dignity and happiness to the occasion.
In 1827 the Grand Master again honored Corner-stone by appointing to the office of D. D. G. M. the Hon. Seth Sprague, Jr., a Mason revered by his Brethren and a man whom the people delighted to honor — an uncompromising leader, an incorruptible legislator, a religious benefactor, and a friend to the poor — one who "let not the left hand know what the right hand doeth."
A full quarter of -a century had passed since the date of the Charter; it had been a period of Masonic prosperity, during which seventy Masons had joined the Lodge. But fair weather and smooth sailing is not the unvarying rule, for societies any more than for individuals. In the early twenties serious differences had arisen in the Lodges of the State of New York. Through bad management some of them had fallen into the hands of unscrupulous men who ought never to have been admitted to the Order. The attention of the public was drawn by the speeches of seceding Masons. Notice was taken of the fact that here was an organization which conducted its affairs behind closed doors.
The little flurry gradually developed into a storm which awaited only an occasion to begin the work of devastation. The occasion came. One William Morgan, of New York, was known to he the author of a book purporting to be an expose of the secrets of Freemasonry. He disappeared and the belief was current that he had been kidnapped. Suspicion fell upon the Masons, and ridiculous and horrible charges were made against the Fraternity. Masonry was declared to be the sum of all villainy: a menace to the individual, to society and the State. Nothing could stem the on rushing and furious tide but the closing of Lodges and the giving up of their charters.
The storm, at first central over New York, spread to Massachusetts and settled over all New England; anti-Masonic conventions were held, anti-Masonic newspapers were published, and anti-Masonic literature inflamed the minds of the people against the Masons. The same old prying spirit, which, two centuries before, invaded the privacy of the family in order to devise schemes for proving to a deluded public that harmless peculiarities were the blackest forms of witchcraft,— this same mischievous spirit was rampant once more. The public, in a blind fanaticism, could see nothing of the moral, social and political virtues of Freemasonry, and clamored for its annihilation. Lodge after Lodge quietly surrendered its charter and patiently waited for the calm which must succeed the storm.
The first heavy blow given to anti-Masonry was the Massachusetts Declaration presented to the public on the last day of the year 1831. It was signed by more than six thousand Masons in New England. Among the Boston signers were the Rev. Paul Detm and the Rev. Edward Thompson Taylor. The Duxbury signers were men typical of the old town, which, for a hundred years, has-grandly upheld the honor and fame, the beauty and power of Freemasonry; they were George Loring, Thomas Peterson, Samuel Ripley, Joseph P. Bosworth, Reuben Peterson, Jr., Seth Brooks, Samuel A. Frazer, Jr., George P. Richardson, John Porter, Judah Alden, Seth Sprague, Jr., Briggs Alden, Gershom B. Weston. Has Duxbury, or any town for that matter, ever produced nobler men than these?
With sturdiness of spirit and bold, unflinching courage, the Lodge faced the inevitable. While most of the neighboring Lodges had surrendered their charters, "Corner-stone," rightly named, met the persecution with a loyalty of feeling which kept the Lodge intact till 1834, — covering a period of eight long years since the beginning of the onslaught.
Let it be set down for an everlasting remembrance that "Corner-stone" was one of the last to close its doors and one of the first to open them again! The Charter was duly surrendered on the fifth of July, 1834; but it was only the shell which had been laid aside. The spirit of Masonry still survived, and built around itself a body of deeds. On the twenty-seventh of-that same month of July, the members of the Lodge met and organized the "Corner-stone Charitable Association." True to their Masonic principles, true to their manhood, were these brave-hearted members of the ancient Lodge! What a denial of the charges brought against the brotherhood! Until 1844 this association performed unnumbered acts of benevolence.
In that year the Charter was returned with this indorsement: "At the annual Communication of the Most Worshipful.Grand Lodge, held at the Masonic Temple in Boston, on the eleventh day of December, 1844, the within Charter was ordered to be restored, with all its original privileges, to the following petitioners:
- Martin Waterman.
- Nathaniel Winsor.
- William H. Sampson.
- Simon Whitney.
- Samuel Hunt.
- Samuel Loring, Jr.
- Solomon Washburn.
- John Wadsworth.
- Thomas Peterson.
- Joseph P. Bosworth.
- Reuben Peterson, Jr.
- George Winsor, Jr.
- Gershom B. Weston.
- Daniel W. Brewster.
- Samuel W. Gleason.
It was attested by Charles W. Moore, Recording Grand Secretary.
Thus the Charter was restored, embellished by the signature of the man who wrote the Masonic Declaration of Independence; and who received the signal honor of an election as Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts. Folly has its martyrs as well as wisdom.
There is a tradition of the poor deluded anti-Masons being finally reduced to two, who fell to quarrelling and disappeared like the Kilkenny cats:
"There was onst two cats in Kilkenny
And aich thought there was one cat too many.
So they quarrelled and fit,
And they gouged and they bit,
Till, excepting their nails
And the tips of their tails,
Instead of two cats, there wasn't any."
"Who laughs last laughs best." But, to be serious, Brethren, was not the contest a fulfillment of Bryant's prophecy —
"Truth crushed to earth shall rise again,
The eternal years of God are hers."
After the restoration of the Charter, the first meeting was held on the seventeenth of December, 1844. The Hon. Gershom Bradford Weston was in the chair, but there were many vacant places. During the interregnum the zealous Studley Sampson, and many another whose loyalty of service had endeared them to their Brethren, had passed to the Mansions of Rest. But those who remained hopefully took up the burden that others had laid down ; and the Lodge began a new career of splendid achievement.
A vote was passed that all former members should be, admitted without the payment of a membership fee.
It was the Master's good fortune, at this meeting, to propose for the degrees, and, at subsequent meetings, to confer them upon his son, Capt. Gershom B. Weston, Jr.,
At the next regular Communication, the Charity Funds were transferred to the Lodge; and it was voted that the.thanks of Corner-stone Lodge be extended to the members of the Cornerstone Charitable Association for their judicious and benevolent management of these funds.
On Christmas Day, 1847, a Board of Trustees, composed of William H. Sampson, Thomas Peterson and Martin Waterman, was chosen to take a deed of the Hall from Gershom B. Weston. The. deed was read aloud to the members; but a vote upon it was deferred until the next regular Communication, to be held on Jan. 18, 1848. At that meeting it was voted to increase the membership on the Board of Trustees to five; and John Holmes and Winthrop S. Babbidge were added to the three trustees already chosen. It was then ordered that the trustees should accept the deed of the Hall, to. be held in trust for the Master, Wardens and Members of Corner-stone Lodge.
In the settlement with Gershom B. Weston, a promissory note was given for the balance due him. This note was paid in full, on or before the fourth of November, 1850; for on that day the Board of Trustees reported to the Lodge that the hall was clear of debt.
During the next few years nothing unusual appears upon, the records; but the Lodge was constantly enlarging the membership — receiving accessions from Duxbury, Kingston, Marsh-field and Pembroke.— and without any ostentation or publicity, crystallizing in life the principles of .brotherly love, relief and truth.
Honorary membership was conferred by Corner-stone Lodge for the first time Nov. 8, 1856. Nathaniel Winsor was the recipient. His services to the Lodge had been of great value. He was one of the proprietors of the Corner-stone Hall; a petitioner for the restoration of the Charter; the first Treasurer of the Lodge, holding that.office fifteen years; Secretary, four years ; Junior Steward, two years; Senior Warden three years; and Master, four years. His Masonic career of nearly sixty years.was characterized by positive convictions, sound judgment and even temper.
Aug. 2, 1859, the Lodge participated in two important ceremonies at Plymouth : the laying of the corner-stone of the canopy over Plymouth Rock, and the laying of the cornerstone of the National Monument to the Pilgrim Fathers. The Grand Lodge, was present, under escort of the Boston and DeMolay Encampments of Knights Templar. Corner-stone Lodge was represented by a large delegation which,, with a new silk banner, made a very creditable appearance in the procession.
Dec. 9, 1859, the Officers of the Lodge were publicly installed. The wives of the Brethren and the members of Mattakeesett Lodge of Odd Fellows and their wives were the specially invited guests. The Lodge opened at half-past one o'clock, and a procession was formed in conjunction with Matakeesett Lodge, Accompanied by the Duxbury Brass Band, they marched to the Universalist Church where an oration was delivered by the Hon. Gershom B. Weston, and musical selections were rendered by a choir and the band ; after which they all returned to the hall, where a banquet was served and musical and social exercises enjoyed until ten o'clock, when the guests retired and the Lodge was closed in due form.
The first set of formal resolutions on the death of a member were adopted May 5, 1860, as a tribute to the memory of Martin Waterman, a Past Master, and one of the original trustees, whose record had been long and honorable. Heretofore, it had been the custom to send elaborate letters of condolence to the families of deceased members. One of these letters, extended in full upon the records, contains more than a thousand words.
April 20, 1861, Corner-stone Lodge joined the Paul Dean Lodge of instruction which had been recently organized for the benefit of the Lodges in the Fifth Masonic District. To this connection, which continued for several years, is largely due the long established reputation of the Lodge for successful work.
June 24, 1867, the Lodge attended in a body the dedication of the Masonic Temple in Boston. Twelve thousand Masons, from Lodges throughout New England, New York, and the District of Columbia, formed in procession. The Temple, the attendance of the President of the United States, the thousands of Masons assembled, and the tens of thousands of spectators, made the day one never to be forgotten.
Up to 1871 the Master of the Lodge was a citizen of Duxbury. On the eleventh of November of that year, Henry Brewster, of Kingston, was installed as Master in the presence of an unusually large company, including one hundred and fifty visiting Brethren from seven Lodges. Henry Brewster, and all the Masters who preceded him, have passed away ; all the Masters who succeeded him are living.
On the seventh of October, 1872, occurred the laying of the corner-stone of the Standish Monument, under the superintendence of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, in the presence of ten thousand people, by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Massachusetts. In the pro-, cession to Captain's Hill, Corner-stone Lodge with Plymouth Lodge immediately preceded the Grand Lodge. With fitting ceremonies was duly honored the memory of the first commissioned officer of America by the oldest military organization on this continent, and by representatives of the oldest Fraternity in the world. In his interesting address at the banquet, M. W. Grand Master Nickerson said: "I am hot aware that Myles Standish was one of the Craft, but he certainly practised in an exemplary manner the four cardinal virtues which are most impressively inculcated as binding upon Masons — Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice."
It is the common opinion that the " Little Captain " was the only influential man of the Pilgrims who was neither a church member nor very devout, and yet he seems to be the saint of Duxbury, duly and lawfully canonized.
Nov. 10, 1883, the M. W. Samuel C. Lawrence, Grand Master, visited the Lodge, and earnestly recommended the commutation of the Grand Lodge tax. He was tendered a rising vote, of thanks for his able and convincing address; and, at the next regular Communication, it was voted, unanimously, to commute the tax, amounting to $307.
Aug. 1, 1889, the Monument, at Plymouth, in commemoration of the Pilgrim forefathers, was dedicated by the Grand Lodge; and again representatives of Corner-stone Lodge were present. The Grand Lodge left Boston under the joint escort of Boston and De Molay Cornmanderies of Knights Templar; at Abington, they were joined by Old Colony Commandery of that town, and at Plymouth by South Shore Commandery of East Weymouth, Bay State Commandery of Brockton, and ten Lodges fro in towns along the South Shore and Cape Cod, accompanied by six bands of music. At the monument grounds, after the Temple Quartet had rendered a "Song of Praise," the Hon. John D. Long, President of the Pilgrim Society, requested the M. W. Henry Endicott, Grand Master, "to dedicate the monument to the patriotic purposes which it will inspire for ages yet to come." After the formal ceremonies of dedication, the Grand Master gave an address in which he said : "Let this monument say to him who would honor the Pilgrims, tlhat he can rightfully do so only by practising the Pilgrims' virtues."
Jan. 13, 1900, a member of Corner-stone Lodge had the unique pleasure of witnessing the raising of his four sons to the Master Mason's degree; they are now members of the Lodge; and as one Brother said, " We 'Needham' all."
From 1801 to 1835 Corner stone Lodge was included in the Third Masonic District; from 1835 to 1867 in the Fifth; from 1867 to 1882 in the Sixteenth; and from 1882 to the present time, in the Twenty-fifth. The Lodge has held 997 regular and 301 special meetings. There have been 256 members with 38 Masters. Upwards of a hundred members, including 13 Past Masters, are still with us — earnest, efficient, wise and faithful men and Masons. These Past Masters are W. Bros. Calvin Pratt, formerly of Duxbury, now of Bridgewater; George H. Bonney, of Kingston; George Baker of Marshfield; Thomas Alden, of Duxbury;. Stephen W. Eastman, of Marshfield; Franklin W, Hatch, of Marshfield; Elnathan Delano, of Duxbury; George H. Chandler, of Marshfleld; Arthur F. Blanchard, formerly of Kingston, now of Brockton; William W. Myrick, of Kingston; Walter C. Hammond, of Kingston; R.W. Bro. Joseph Sherman, of Marshfleld; and W. Bro. Nathaniel K. Noyes, of Duxbury. R. W. Bro. Joseph Sherman had the honor to officiate as the D.D.G.M. of the Twenty-fifth Masonic District in the last year of the nineteenth and the first year of the twentieth Century.
With the archives of the Lodge are kept the ancient jewels, and the.old seal made by Paul Revere, the first Tyler's sword, a relic:of the Revolution, and a Master's gavel, made from wood of a tree which was standing on the field of Gettysburg where the Union army fought to a successful issue the decisive battle of the Civil War. The records, from the beginning, are in a good state of preservation, although, in some cases, the ink has faded. From this cause several pages are scarcely legible, and these, should be retraced with.indelible ink. One of the central figures in the history of Corner-stone Lodge was Gershom Bradford Weston, a strong, forceful man who stamped.his personality upon all he did; and of whom it was said that he loved to have his own nay, and usually had it. Made a member in 1820, he was Master of the Lodge when the hall was dedicated, and again had that honor immediately upon the restoration of the Charter. He inherited great wealth from his father, Ezra Weston, a Charter.member of the Lodge — who was one of the leading ship-builders and the largest, ship owner of his time in the United States.
In his elegant mansion,. Mr. Weston dispensed a lavish hospitality and frequently entertained the Grand Officers and other guests of the Lodge. Though he loved popularity, yet he was outspoken in his defence of unpopular movements; he was thoroughly consistent in his advocacy of total abstinence, and vehement in his denunciation of slavery, long before the formation of the Republican party.
Near the close of Lincoln's first administration, Mr. Weston was offered the appointment as minister to Austria, an honor which, on account of the loss of his property, he felt obliged to decline. An exacting taskmaster, yet just in all his dealings and benevolent, he was beloved by many, and respected by all.
Perhaps the most revered member was the wise friend, the skillful physician, the public-spirited citizen, the enthusiastic Mason — John Porter. Notwithstanding the ever-increasing demands of his profession, he was unceasingly active in the work of the Lodge and in all matters of the public weal.
Whether as officer in the Lodge-room, or as the village doctor in the busy round of daily duties; whether as member of the parish or as trustee of the Academy; in all places he did what was appointed for him to do with no shirking, no avoidance, no evasion of any burden or responsibility. The life and aspirations of such a man, especially his devotion to the church and the school, bring to our minds the sane utterances of Whittier:
"The riches of the Commonwealth
Are free, strong minds and hearts of health;
And more to her than gold or grain,
The cunning hand and cultured brain.
"For well she keeps her ancient stock,
The stubborn strength of Pilgrim Rock;
And still maintains, with milder laws,
And clearer light, the good old cause!
"Nor heeds the skeptic's puny hands,
While near her school the church-spire stands;
Nor fears the blinded bigot's rule,
While near the church-spire stands the school."
Time would fail one to speak adequately of Masons like the practical Marcus Gaines, who said the way to honor the dead is to provide for the living; the intrepid David Cushman, of transparent character, who had the rare gift of high thinking joined to plain sincerity; the vivacious Stephen Sprague, whose life was radiant with kindly deeds; the trusted Samuel Ripley, who, in his early manhood, became a Mason, whose Masonry strengthened with his strength, arid, when his working period had passed, amid the lengthening shadows the spirit of by-gone days rested like a benediction upon him ; the venerable Reuben Peterson, who squared his Masonic practice by his Masonic precept that duty is the highest privilege ; the faithful John Loring, whose official service outlengthened that of any other member of the Lodge; and the genial Hambleton Smith, gifted with the common sense which is so uncommon. His neighbors trusted implicitly to his judgment, and, year after year, elected him to the dignified office of Moderator of the Town Meeting. In many ways he set a good example. On Sunday morning he went to church as regularly as he went to his breakfast; he loved his home and had unbounded confidence in his wife. It used to be said that Mrs. Smith was the most powerful personage in Duxbury; for Hambleton ruled the town, and Harriet ruled Hambleton. This suggests, what every Mason knows to 'be true, that nowhere more than in the halls of Freemasonry is the name of woman cherished and revered.
Would there were time to speak of all our departed Brethren; though their names be not mentioned, yet they are not forgotten!
"They throng the silence of the breast;
We see them as of yore;
The kind, the true, the brave, the sweet,
Who walk with us no more."
Though dead, yet they speak, urging us to realize that charity is greater than faith or hope; that the service of man is the service of God.
Through all these hundred years, the Lodge has quietly and unobserved performed the gentle offices of charity, — smoothing a dying .pillow, comforting and providing for the widow and the fatherless, and ever seeking to uplift a fallen Brother and restore him in moral rectitude, to his family and his friends.
From the unseen lips of those who have borne the burden and heat of the clay there seems to come an earnest message, making articulate again the words of that great poet, whose Puritan forbears are enrolled upon Duxbury's record of noble names: "Look not mournfully into the Past, it comes not back again; wisely improve the Present, it is thine; go forth to meet the shadowy Future without fear and with a manly heart."
From Proceedings, Page 1902-120:
By Bro. Willard Holland.
We stand to-day upon that eminence of years which marks the century of usefulness to the Craft of those Brethren in Masonry who builded the structure of their temple upon this corner-stone. How changed are all things since those days when the few faithful to the principle of Masonry joined hands in the association which has accomplished so much for good in this Masonic District. In this ancient town, which has been made sacred by the footsteps of the founders of the Republic, they laid the foundation which has supported their temple of brotherhood through these many years. They who were with them in the early days were among the captains of commerce in their time, their ships brayed the tempests of every ocean, threaded the current of every river, where commerce sought its prizes in the early clays of the Republic.
Thus through vicissitude of fortune, the flowing and the ebbing tides of its prosperity alike, have its results been ever forward, in true Masonic efforts for the upbuilding of the good throughout its sphere of influence. How great have-been the changes time has wrought since this cornerstone was laid; how small was the territory embraced within the confines of the Union; how feeble, by comparison with its mighty strength to-day, was the influence of the Craft! It has witnessed the material growth of the United States from the time when, as commercial dependents, one by one the industries which rule in the commercial world have found a place among us. We were an agricultural and commercial people in those days, creating little of those articles of commerce that minister to the comforts of our daily lives. Those who wrought in trades had not the aid of those vast powers with which inventive genius has supplemented the labor of the mechanic's arm. We dwelt remote from each other, and saw little of that community, life which we know to-day. As the means, of communication were developed and the railroad took the place of the stage, speed in the exchange of our commodities and facility of transportation brought with that condition enlarged activities and broadening spheres of social life.
The division and subdivision..of our industrial processes consequent upon the application of machinery, which have been the product of the fertile brain of the American mechanic, has brought laborers together, made necessary by the fact that each contributes his share, and not the whole, to the finished product which is the article of commerce. Hence men have associated more closely in their crafts and trade than in the earlier days. And this process of annihilating time and space, of multiplying the productive energies of our people, still goes on. Thought whispered through the telephone is recorded in the brain of the receiver, is recorded in the brain of him who receives it one thousand miles away. Thus space is annihilated. The iron horse which speeds away across the plain and climbs the mountains, traversing the rails of steel, has found a way which knits the people of this continent together by a common bond of indissoluble union. State lines no longer confine industries and commercial endeavor, and we find ourselves in this age of progress more closely in community of interests than the States eof the Union have ever been before. It but exemplifies in great political communities the principles which lie at the foundation of this great brotherhood of ours, whose complete history no man knows, and the beneficence of its future none can prophesy. The great.industrial changes which have been accomplished during the life of this Body, whose centennial anniversary we celebrate, have been fraught with greatest consequences to mankind throughout the world. This nation has grown on every side: commercially, territorially, in its social influence, and in the moral grandeur of its world-felt power. These changes which have come are but the predecessors of those which are to be; As one who by a toilsome journey rises to some heights, and turns a moment to survey the path his feet have trod, so we, in retrospect, survey our age and time through which, as Brethren, we have marched unto this day. All about us and around us is the evidence of change. Not one, whose name is borne upon the muster roll of this Assembly of the Craft, remains. And those who, as their predecessors ceased their labor, took up the work, they too in vast majority sleep the long sleep and rest from labor.
But all this change has left the Institution of Masonry as it ever has been and doubtless it will ever remain.
Out from beyond the curtain of oblivion, which hangs between recorded time and that of which no man can know, this great Institution of Freemasonry has come and through all ages has exercised its enlightening influence upon civilized mankind. It was a part of the social life of those nations which have grown and flourished from Palestine along the coast of the Mediterranean, and in those northern isles where the Saxon arm and brain at last achieved the sturdiest national growth, which, until then, had crowned the efforts of mankind. The world knows the great brotherhood by a title most appropriate, "Ancient Free and Accepted Masons." Whence came the appellation? History and tradition say that in the early clays when architecture claimed the attention of the Craft and operative Masonry alone was the labor of the Brethren, the term "Ancient" was applied to them since they alone of all who labored could claim an organization older than all records, — so strong both in numbers and in the powers they wielded in the field of constructive art, that the Craft was able to demand of those who sought their services in the construction of great works, either religious, such as temples or cathedrals, or national, such as.forts, bridges or public buildings, concessions of freedom not enjoyed by other citizens ; hence came the name " Freemasons." As that freedom, which :the .Craft enjoyed fostered a spirit of liberality in thought as well as action, the cause of education flourished among them, and science and the arts felt the stimulus of their generous patronage, learned men sought affiliation with the Craft, though not performing any part of the labor of the operative Mason.
By degrees the doors of Freemasonry were opened to them also, they were "accepted " as members of the Ancient and Free order of Masons, and the title of the Order broadened, and the Craft became known as it is known to-day as the "Ancient Free and Accepted Masons," ever enlarging the boundaries of human thought and action, ever reaching out in spirit to the attainment of the highest ideals, keeping, pace with the onward march of civilization, it early set its foot upon our shores unchanged in principles and in the benign influence exerted upon those who saw its light through all the ages. The recorded and unrecorded story of the moral and intellectual force which Masonry has exerted in the growth and development of this nation would- form a history which would be the occasion of just pride to every Brother of the Craft. They who were foremost in the battles of the forum and the field, the issue of which was the independence of these United States, were members of the Craft.
And who shall say how much is due to. the bond of brotherhood, which, under Masonry, existed between Washington and Lafayette, for the inestimable advantage of the patriotic aid rendered to our cause by him who wore the colors of the French? That our Order was misunderstood and lacked appreciation in the early days, that Masonry was the object of relentless persecution, is perhaps the strongest evidence which time adduces to its power to live and grow with ever broadening fields of usefulness, unchanging in the principles for which it stands, reliance upon God, faith in man.
125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, OCTOBER 1926
From Proceedings, Page 1926-363:
By Bro. George A. Green.
When I was asked to write up the history of Comer Stone Lodge I thought, with the complete records running back to its inception in the year 1801, that it would be an easy task; but upon examination I found them almost stereotyped and containing very few incidents out of the ordinary working of the Lodge. Even those which are of greatest interest to us now are alluded to in a very vague manner — nothing leading up to them. While these allusions may have been perfectly clear to those who knew of their origin, they are very blind to us now and we have to draw largely upon our imagination as to their causes. There are, however, some incidents of outstanding importance, but even these are not clearly recorded. The most important event was the granting of the Charter of our Lodge on December 11, 1801, when the Most Worshipful Samuel Dunn was Grand Master. The Charter members were among the most influential and respectable citizens of the town. They were: Amos Brown. Benjamin Boswell. Zadoc Bradford. Mathew Prior, Lewis Peterson, Jabez Prior, Eden Wadsworth. John Pattin. Joseph Prior, Jr., Ezra Prior, Ezra Weston, Job Sampson, and George Loring. Many of their descendants are among our present members.
The Lodge first met in the hall of Captain Amos Drown, which was situated on the site of the house of Miss Ella Wadsworth. The first meeting was on January 7, 1802, when the charter was received and the Lodge constituted in due form. Thereafter meetings were held regularly (with few exceptions on account of weather conditions) until we come to March 10, 1806. Previously to this meet ing there had evidently been some trouble with Brother Brown, but there is no record of what it was. On that date (March 10, 1806), it is recorded "Voted to present our grievances that occurred at our usual hall, through the abuse we received from Bro. Brown, to the D. D. G. M. Dunbar, in order to get advice how to proceed in future."
This meeting and the one following in April were held 'in the shop of R. W. Bro. Pattin's shop", which, at that time, stood on the land now owned by Mr. Maxwell. It was moved up behind the house of the late Thomas Hathaway on Chapel Street where it now stands in good condition. May 5, 1806, the Lodge met at Mr. Joshua Win sor's New Hall, which was situated on Mattakessett Court, about 400 yards south of here. It was pulled down three years ago. Thereafter, they continued their meetings there until our present hall was erected — of which there is no record as to by or for whom it was built, or who owned it, but there is recorded that certain members were referred to as "proprietors" who paid $58.04 as such at different times, from which we can only conjecture that it was built by a syndicate. The first reference to it is dated August 1, 1825, when it was "Voted to paint the new Hall and the manner in which it should be painted left with the former committee and also a fence round the same." A further reference thereto is dated August 28, 182, when it was "Voted that the former committee purchase of Mr. Faunce land from 6 to 10 feet wide at the east end of new hall, and 1 1/2 feet at the north side of the same." Again, on December 26, 1826 it was "Voted to pay Mr. Loring's bill for finishing the hall." Under date of November 30, 1829 there is entered "Corner stone Lodge in a/e with Gersham B. Weston and others (an account which evidently refers to the hall, but it does not say so) in settlement reported by John Porter and Martin Waterman" — the amount being $643.91. On April 16, 1832 we find the "report of a committee chosen to ascertain the amount due to G. B. Weston on the bond," which amount was $533.08. This apparently shows that the Lodge gave a bond for the cost of the hall.
From this time forward the Lodge pursued its regular meetings without any particular incidents which call for specific mention in a paper necessarily concise as this is, until we come to July 5, 1834, when R. W. Bro. Gersham B. Weston offered the following resolve which was unanimously accepted,
"That owing to the present state of public opinion unfavorable to the usefulness of the institution of Freemasonry prevailing among that class of our citizens whom we highly respect and whose opinion we are bound to regard from a sense of gratitude we owe them for the candid and generous support rendered us in vindicating our right as Freemasons and free citizens when assailed and denounced by unprincipled men and political demagogues and not from the slightest conviction that the principles of Freemasonry are unholy, unchristian or adverse and is now in a flourishing state throughout our country and the world, and being desirous to aid in the perpetuation of an institution. founded in virtue, and calculated to promote brotherly love among its members, as well as the best interests of mankind generally, the principles of which we love and revere;—
"For this, and other good reasons which we hope to make appear, are desirous of reorganizing our Lodge, by taking again our Charter, and meeting, as in years gone by, for the purpose of working in Masonry, and cultivating those brotherly and friendly feelings, it is so well calculated to produce. We have accordingly bad a meeting, which has been twice adjourned: and we gave as general and particular notice to all the former members of our Lodge, as well as to other master masons as we possibly could. The object of the meeting was to learn the views of brethren upon the subject, and to take such measures as the case seemed to require.
A committee was chosen, consisting of the under signed, to make such enquiries as they deemed necessary, respecting the course to be pursued, the feelings of brethren not present, and whatever else might seem to us to be proper and right in the premises. We have made the necessary enquiries from the officers of the Grand Lodge, and find that taking again our old charter will cost us nothing, while to take out a new one will cost us Sixty Dollars ($60.), which we do not feel able or willing to pay if we can avoid it. We are also satisfied by conversation with many members of the Grand Lodge, that — as the funds of the Lodge were not surrendered to the Grand Lodge when the charter was surrendered, as required by the 2nd section of the 3d Article of the Constitution of the Grand Lodge, our charter can only be obtained upon the condition of the funds reverting again to the Lodge. As but three of the members of your association have ever met with us, and they on different evenings, we have never had such an opportunity as we desired of conversing upon the subject.
The committee were therefore instructed at our last meeting to request your association to meet, that we might make a written communication to you on the subject, and if agreeable to you, to be present by our committee and discuss it in a calm and friendly manner. And hen it will be necessary for us to correct an erroneous impression that seems to have gone abroad and obtained to some extent among your members; viz., that our chief object was to get the funds out of the hands of your association, that we might have the exclusive disposal of them: this is a false impression for such an idea has never, we believe, entered the mind of one of us; it is true that we desire these funds, because we believe the only condition upon which we can obtain our charter as we have already stated, but so far are we from desiring to get the funds out of your hands for any base purposes, that we are extremely anxious that you should all come and join with us in the reorganization of our Lodge and help to manage them at in the years past; our object is the good of the craft, dissemination of its principles and the perpetuation of good and friendly feeling among us; we wish to unite all Masons here, in an indissoluble bond of union and harmony "among whom no contention should ever arise, but that noble contention, or rather emulation, of who best can work and best agree."
We are satisfied that "antimasonry" has ceased to exist, and if there are any relics of it left, it is entirely powerless; and that our institution is in higher repute now, than at any former period of its history, and is daily gaining in the estimation of the world; we have had opportunities to know this, because some of us have put ourselves in a way to ascertain it: we can therefore confidently assert, that the obstacles which existed to the progress of Freemasonry, at the time we surrendered our charter, no longer exist; one striking proof of this we find in the fact, that other secret societies, similar to ours, founded on the same principles, and having the same objects in view, are extremely popular at this day; and that the prejudices that formerly existed against secret societies have in a great measure subsided, and will more and more give way as their principles are developed, and diffused throughout the community: we have also got good reason to believe, that not a few are now ready to be initialed into our mysteries if we obtain our charter, and they are anxiously waiting for that event, and unless we get it soon, will probably go somewhere else; we have no doubt but our income would be more than sufficient to defray all our expenses, so that we need not touch our pockets for this purpose in these hard times; which would undoubtedly be a serious objection in the way to many of joining us: yet we wish the funds that have been accumulated, by the Lodge, to return to it again, because it is essential to our obtaining our old charter, will place the Lodge on a permanent foundation, and what we consider more important than all, it will place the funds in a permanent institution, and when they legitimately belong, for we do feel, that now, under the present arrangement, they have do good security.
You must all be aware of this for the fact cannot be disguised; however safe they may now be in the hands of your association while that association exists, it must he manifest, that when it ceases to exist, by the death of all its members, the funds must die in the hands of him who may then hap pen to hold them; and we think it will not be pretended that there is the least prospect of your institution being perpetuated, beyond the life of its present members: this to us is a strong argument the force of which, we believe you will readily see, why these funds should be placed in an institution that is permanent in its character.
There is another fact which goes to prove their present insecurity, and to show that they are ow held at loose ends: if we have been correctly informed by legal gentlemen; your association cannot, by any Iegal process whatever, take them from where they now are, or may hereafter be; nor is there any power in the law of the land (we apprehend) to take them from your association for the use of the Lodge, in the event of its charter being returned. The law of HONOR, then, which should be as binding on all men, and especially on Masons, as the law of the land, is the only law which has any potency in this case; and we feel confident that this law has power enough with you, and is amply sufficient to give us all that we ask for, which is the assurance that these funds shall be restored again to "Corner stone Lodge," in case we obtain our charter.
We have thus stated our object, and set forth some of the reasons which impel us on; and we now want your aid in this work one and all of you; to build up again our Lodge and place ii upon a respectable and firm foundation.
As it regards the expediency, or propriety of surrendering the charter when it was done, and withholding the funds and disposing of them as you did, we have not now a word to say. Many of us had no hand in it; for various reasons: some of us were absent from home, others indifferent about it: and those of us who were present, either thought it was the best thing thai could be done under the circumstances, or was willing to abide by the decision of the majority; and as it respects the management of these funds, we have no fault to find. We believe they have been well husbanded, and the interest judiciously applied, and so far you have volunteered to perform a service to suffering humanity, which but for the circumstances of the case would have devolved upon the Lodge — but if we should succeed in again establishing our Lodge, we think that your labour of love in this particular should naturally cease and the Lodge again resume her rights and responsibilities.
We request that you would have immediate and final action upon it, as we are desirous of proceeding as soon as may be, in presenting our petition and reorganizing our Lodge.
Duxbury, June 30th, 1844.
- Martin Waterman,
- Nath. Winsor,
- Simon Whitney,
- Sam. Loring,
- Wm. H. Sampson,
On December 3, 1844, at a meeting of the Association, it was "Voted to surrender the funds to the Petitioners when they obtain their shorter, with the proviso that they insert a clause in their by-laws that the principle of the funds shall not be used to defray any of the incidental or other expenses of the Lodge but the fund should be kept sacred for the purposes of charity."'
January 5, A. L. 1845.
The annual meeting of the C. S. C. A. was held this evening at 6 o'clock at the Masonic Hall, agreeable to previous notice. Present: Thos. Peterson, D, W. Brewster, S. E. Ripley. G. B. Weston, and John Porter. A committee of Corner Stone Lodge was present: Wm. H. Sampson, Nathaniel Winsor and James G. Gleason, who informed us that Corner Stone Lodge had received their former charter from the Grand Lodge which was Surrendered to them A. L. 5834; that Corner Stone Lodge was now regularly constituted and organized as a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons; was ready to receive any funds in the possession of the Association belonging to the Corner Stone Lodge at the surrender of its charter. On motion it was voted unanimously to surrender the funds in possession of the Association amounting to sum $602.52, into the hands of the Corner Stone Lodge, having the fullest confidence in their integrity, that they will continue to preserve the principal unimpaired and apply the interest, if necessary, for purposes of Masonic charity and benevolence.
Voted, that the thanks of the Association be tendered to Thomas Peterson, President, and the other officers for the faithful amd impartial discharge of their duties.
Voted, that in consideration of the Association having fully accomplished the great object for which it was originally constituted — the preservation of the fund durin the surrender of the charter for the sole purpose of charitable, benevolent and Masonic purposes, that this Association, in the spirit of Brotherly Love and Charity, be now dissolved, trusting that these sacred bonds of Friendship and Union which we have formed may continue to increase and finally be associated in the Grand Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the universe presides."
The first regular meeting alter return of the Charter was on December 17, 1844; after that they were continued without any particular interest until October 25, 1847, when it was "Voted to choose a committee to confer with Brother G. B. Weston and ascertain on what terms he would sell the Lodge we meet in." At the November 1 meeting his terms were not acceptable to the Lodge and the Committee was directed to negotiate with him further. At the November 13 meeting it was "Voted to offer through the committee to Brother Weston, the face of the note we hold against him, with the balance of interest due after deducting his charges against the Lodge for rent, etc., and in the case he refuses, to negotiate for the purchase of the hall at the lowest price they can, not to exceed the sum he asked for it as reported by the committee."
At a special meeting November 27, the committee was not prepared to report, but at the meeting on December 25, 1847, it was "Voted to leave the time of dating the deed to January first to the Trustees;" the terms were the same as above stated, viz. the note, etc. The Trustees were: Wm. H. Sampson, Thomas Peterson and Martin Waterman. The deed shows that the price paid was $750.00.
The Lodge continued upon its regular course without any very special matter of interest until we arrive at the one hundredth Anniversary which was observed June 24, 1902. The reception committee met the Grand Officers at the depot and escorted them to the Lodge. They were:—
- M. W. G. M. Charles T. Gallagher
- Charles M. Green, D. G. M.
- Daniel W. Taft, S. G. W.
- Henry J. Fay, J. G. W.,
- Sereno D. Nickerson, G. Sec..
- Wm. H. H. Soule, Gr. Treas.,
- Rev. Charles A. Skinner, G. Chap.,
- Martin White, S. G. D.,
- Frank W. Mead, J. G. D.,
- George W. Chester, G. Tyler.
Many distinguished guests attended. The Grand Master addressed the Lodge, speaking of M. W. G. M. Samuel Dunn who issued our Charter December 14, A.L. 5801, and also in an urn which he carried exhibited a lock of hair of George Washington, which was given to Grand Master Dunn by Mrs, Washington. After light refreshments, served in the lower hall and also in G. A. R. Hall, barges were taken to the Unitarian Church where the following program was rendered:—
- Organ Prelude, Bro. H. Reves Jackson
- Anthem — Sing Alleluia Forth", Harvard Quartette
- Reading of the Charter, W. Bro. George Baker
- Historical Address, Rev. Bro. Edward B. Maglathlin
- Centennial Hymn, Harvard Quartette
- Oration, Hon. Bro. Willard Howland
- Selection — "Remember now thy Creator", Harvard Quartette
- Benediction and Organ Postlude
At two o'clock a banquet was served in a tent. In ad- ■ lition to the Grand Officers, members of the following Lodges wciv present:— Satuit, Phoenix, Delta, Konohassett, Plymouth, Orphan's Hope, and Old Colony; Past D. D. G. Masters, Selectmen of Duxbury, Marshfield, Kingston; Clergy of Duxbury, Marshfield, Kingston and Plymouth; Commanders of William Wadsworth, Martha Seaver and David Church Posts, G. A. R.; Noble Grands of Mattakeesett and Helping Hand Lodges, I. O. O. F.; widows of deceased Brothers; members of Corner Stone Lodge, and their friends. Brother Walter H. Faunce was toast-master and many influential gentlemen addressed the banqueters. The exercises ended with the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
Since then nothing calling for special mention has occurred until now. The Lodge has continued to prosper; our membership has increased to over two hundred. Without undue egotism or self praise may I be allowed to say that our work is of as high order as our limited space will allow, due doubtless to the proficiency of our officers. We have continued to dispense our loving charity whenever it has been necessary.
When I first became Treasurer thirty-one years ago our combined fund was $116.00. Today it is over $4,000, which, I am somewhat sorry to say will be considerably reduced by our expenditure for painting and refurbishing our Hall, but we cannot "have our cake and eat it too."
In the earlier records we find many rather peculiar, not to say amusing things. The Master was dubbed "Rt. Wor." They always opened on the first degree, which they called "the first step." The initiation fee was at first $15 but paid in a sort of go as you please manner; $2 on application, $1.50 each for Crafting and Raising; the rest probably was paid somehow, but it does not appear; some paid the full amount down. The annual dues were one dollar. One Brother agreed to light and heat the hall for fourteen cents a night: another charged seventeen cents; while Bro. Samuel Ripley did it for nothing. Their bookkeeping was very peculiar; no balancing of accounts, which bye-the-bye were called "accompts"; their finance committees were specially appointed each quarter and they declared the amount in the Treasurer's hands. One amusing record says "If a Brother shall get disguised with liquor he shall be reprimanded by the Master for the first offense, for the second he is liable to be excommunicated." I wonder if strong liquid refreshments were allowed in the Lodge in those days. I should not be surprised if they were, for I have seen the day book of one of the old stores wherein every second or third charge was "1 quart of rum" and we know from personal evidence that at eleven o'clock every day in the old ship yards there was the cry "Grog, OH!" The only real evidence of intoxicating liquors being used in connection with our Lodge is a bill for 7 quarts of whiskey, 1 quart of rum, 1 pint of brandy, at the centennial celebration. I hope nobody got "disguised."
150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, DECEMBER 1951
From Proceedings, Page 1952-1:
by Worshipful Harvey J. Page
A history should start with the beginning, but it is difficult to say where and when the beginning was for such determination and inflexible honor which was so apparent in the makeup of the individuals who founded Corner Stone Lodge. It must have been building over the centuries to have created such men.
Masonry may with pride trace its traditional history back through the ages to the time before Noah's flood. Lamesh, a man mentioned in Genesis, had two wives. The first, Ada, gave birth to two sons, Jubel and Jubal. Zillah, Lamesh's second wife, gave him a son Tubalcain and a daughter. These four children founded the beginning of all science. Jubal, having heard Adam say that the universe would be twice destroyed, once by fire and once by water, and not knowing which would come first, combined with Tubalcain, the founder of smithcraft, and the other sons and daughter to inscribe the knowledge of the sciences that they had founded on two pillars: one of marble, which would not burn; the other of brass, which would not sink in water. Thus was knowledge of the sciences, so much a part of Operative Masonry, preserved from the time of its origin.
From that beginning, the continuity is unbroken. The building of King Solomon's Temple was a landmark of ancient Masonry, but the Masonic ideals were never even partially realized until six centuries before the Christian era, when Pythagoras, born in 586 B.C., established a school at Crotona, which in reality was a secret brotherhood for mutual and moral progress. That school is said to be the model for Masonic Lodges.
The principles taught and followed in Pythagoras' school rekindled the enthusiasm for the pursuit of learning and the cultivation of Geometry or Masonry and the fine arts. They brought new moral life into society and the political stability of modern civilization.
From that beginning in the Orient, Freemasonry can be traced in ever-widening circles across continents and around the globe, everywhere diffusing its teachings and principles of religious faith, brotherly love, inflexible honor and absolute truth.
In 1733, the Grand Lodge of England executed a commission for the founding of a Grand Lodge in Boston, and in the Fall of 1801, thirteen Masons residing in Duxbury made application to that Grand Lodge for a charter to establish a Lodge, to be known as Corner Stone Lodge.
At a meeting of the Grand Lodge on December 14, 1801, it was voted to grant a charter to the following Masons for a Lodge in the Town of Duxbury: Amos Brown, John Pattin, Benjamin Bosworth, Joseph Prior, Jr., Zadock Bradford, Ezra Prior, Mathew Prior, Ezra Weston, Lewis Peterson, Job Samson, Jabez Prior, George Loring and Eden Wadsworth. The charter was signed by Most Worshipful Samuel Dunn, Grand Master, and John Proctor, Grand Secretary,
The first meeting of record was held January 7, 1802, and from the records of the meeting held January 7, we find: "Received our charter from Boston, Grand Lodge. Corner Stone Lodge instal'd by the Grand Lodge in due form . . ."
The list of officers elected for the year 1802 were:
- Amos Brown, Worshipful Master
- John Pattin, Senior Warden
- Benjamin Bosworth, Junior Warden
- Thomas Winsor, Secretary
- Nathaniel Winsor, Treasurer
- Joseph Soule, Senior Deacon
- Solomon Washburn, Junior Deacon
- Bradford Freeman, First Steward
- Elisah Holmes, Second Steward
- Studley Sampson, Tyler
The first representation of Corner Stone Lodge at a Grand Lodge meeting was on September 13,1802. The Senior Warden, Brother John Pattin, represented the Lodge and paid the Grand Lodge $6.00 as from Corner Stone Lodge.
At a meeting held December 27, 1802, we read: "Paid R. W. B. Pattin for purchase of the seal of our Lodge and chairs." The seal is the present seal used by the Lodge and was made by Paul Revere. The chairs used by the Marshal, Deacons, Stewards and Inside Sentinel are believed to be the original chairs.
The original meeting place is said to have been a hall on Washington Street, where our present organist, Bro. W. T. C. Jones, resides. Later, in 1806, the Lodge, having found the burden too much for so few members to carry, disposed of it and moved to John Pattin's shop for two meetings.
From there they moved to Wor. Joshua Winsor's New Hall, where they continued to meet, until on September 8, 1823, they voted to move to Mrs. Brown's Hall. This could have been the original meeting place, that having been taken over by a Brother Brown when the Lodge moved to new quarters in 1806. Mrs. Brown was a widow.
Misunderstandings arose between the Lodge and Mrs. Brown, and continued attempts to reach a settlement and secure satisfactory conditions from Mrs. Brown failing, a committee recommended that the Lodge build a hall.
On February 28, 1825, a committee was chosen to contract with a carpenter to build a hall according to the plan presented by the Worshipful Master. The Lodge voted to build it on a lot to be purchased from Mr. Thomas Faunce. The hall was built by Joel Peterson, and the committee listed the cost as follows:
For building hall and fence: $906.91
Of this sum, the Lodge paid a total of $590.33 and gave a mortgage to R.W. Gersham B. Weston for the balance, $580.79.
The first meeting held in the new hall, the present Temple, was on October 3, 1825, and on October 11, the Temple was officially dedicated, at which time the members marched to the "meeting house and heard an oration from Rev. Br. Paul Dean." A new altar was in use at the dedication and every member receiving degrees in Corner Stone Lodge from that date has had the privilege of kneeling at that altar, first used 126 years ago.
On August 21, 1826, a communication was received from Plymouth Lodge inviting Corner Stone Lodge members to attend their Consecration. The original Lodge in Plymouth was the Forefathers' Rock Lodge, which was instituted before Corner Stone Lodge, but carried on for only a few years.
In the short space of twenty-five years, the members of Corner Stone had organized and gone through the first critical years experienced by all organizations. They had increased their membership and prospered financially to the place where they were in possession of their own Temple. They had administered charity where needed and practiced other Masonic functions. They were respected in the community and were an influence for good among their fellow citizens.
Masonry throughout the country had proven itself as an outstanding organization with many leaders and prominent men publicly acknowledging membership in the fraternity and endorsing its principles and objects. The future looked bright, and progress for the Lodge was apparently assured.
Like a sudden storm in the summer that comes over the horizon with a rush and so quickly engulfs every point of the compass, the storm clouds of anti-Masonry were gathering and would so spread that even the small Lodges in places remote from the center of the storm would soon be drowned in the tidal wave of current thought and passion that swept through the nation in that decade, 1825-1835. Many Lodges, including Corner Stone, tried to breast the wave of feeling against Masonry that invaded society and even extended into the homes of members. Pressure was brought to bear from every angle, including newspapers, churches, schools and political parties. In many states Grand Lodges as well as local Lodges were forced to suspend activities. In Massachusetts the Lodges continued to function wherever possible.
In many places, because of Grand Lodge rulings on continued meetings, some Lodges were forced to surrender their charters for a period. Among these Lodges was Corner Stone. At a meeting held on July 5, 1834, it was voted to surrender the charter to the Grand Lodge. Then it was that the calibre of the men in Corner Stone became apparent. Unwilling to disband and give up the principles that the Lodge had worked for, a group of members organized the Corner Stone Charitable Association, and on July 27, 1834, just twenty-two days after surrendering the charter, held their first recorded meeting. At this meeting they elected officers and adopted the rules for governing the organization. The opening paragraph will explain the purpose of that determined group of Masons.
To the end that the funds belonging to the Corner Stone Lodge (which has surrendered its Charter to the Grand Lodge) may be applied to objects of charity for which they were originally intended, and which the principles of the Institution of Freemasonry inculcates and cherishes as one of its greatest virtues, the subscribers, members of the above-named Lodge, do hereby form themselves into an association for the purpose heretofore named and do hereby solemnly pledge themselves to be governed by the following rules and regulations.
Then followed the rules and by-laws under which they were to function in the future.
The first meeting was held in the present lodge-room July 12, 1834. Subsequent meetings were held in Gersham B. Weston's counting rooms and the Tremont School House.
The total funds from the treasury of Corner Stone Lodge, now at the disposal of the Corner Stone Charitable Association, were $473.67. In the ten years that this Association functioned, much charity was dispensed, and through careful investment, the funds grew to $602.92.
The By-Laws of the Corner Stone Charitable Association made no provision for new members other than former members of Corner Stone Lodge. Because of this, there was no way of perpetuating the life of the organization beyond the life span of its present members. This was a subject for discussion at Association meetings in 1844. A group of former members of Corner Stone Lodge, some of whom were members of the Corner Stone Charitable Association, petitioned the Grand Lodge for a return of the Lodge charter. The Grand Lodge agreed under the condition that the funds held by the Corner Stone Charitable Association, originally acquired from Corner Stone Lodge, should be returned to the Corner Stone treasury. At a meeting of the Corner Stone Charitable Association held December 2, 1844, it was voted to return the funds to the Lodge and disband the Association.
A letter was forwarded to the Lodge on January 5, 1845, informing them of the action.
On January 5, 1845, Corner Stone Charitable Association ceased to exist and Corner Stone Lodge resumed its former activities under their original charter. Thus ended a most dramatic incident in the history of Freemasonry and the life of Corner Stone Lodge. The teachings of Freemasonry have never had a most perfect demonstration than was given by these few men who faithfully kept its ideals and followed its time-honored principles through Masonry's darkest hour. They served well their generation and others yet to come, and preserved for their sons the respect and confidence of their neighbors.
The first meeting of the Lodge after restoration of the charter was held in the Lodge hall December 17, 1844, although the funds from the Corner Stone Charitable Association were not turned over to the Lodge until January 6, 1845.
Title to the Masonic building was in the name of G. B. Weston up to December, 1848, at which time a Board of Trustees was elected to take title from Brother Weston. On January 18, 1848, the Lodge voted to accept the deed as written.
On October 4, 1851, a communication was received from the Washington National Monument Association, asking for contributions to help build the monument. It was voted to make a donation of $8.00 and receive a print of the monument and of Washington. The picture is now in the lodge-room.
The traditional clam chowder may have had its birth at a meeting February 7, 1857, when "we partook of a first rate oyster and clam soup which was prepared by our Worthy Treasurer."
Meeting, July 23, 1859 — "Voted to attend the celebration at Plymouth on the second of August as a Lodge."
Special meeting, July 30, 1859 — "The Wor. Master exhibited banner for the Lodge which he had procured from Boston, the price of which was $44." This is the banner which hangs on the west wall of the lodge-room and was used in the parade held in the Plymouth celebration August 2, 1859, more than ninety-two years ago.
100th Anniversary Celebration
On June 24, 1902, Corner Stone Lodge celebrated one hundred years as a Lodge. From the records, the celebration is outlined as follows:
Lodge opened at 10:00 A.M. with 45 members present. Levi E. Ford, Worshipful Master, received visiting delegations and the Reception Committee met the Grand Lodge officers at the depot, escorting them to the Lodge. They were received at 11:00 A.M. The Grand Master, Charles T. Gallagher, was introduced by the chairman of the Anniversary Committee, Worshipful George H. Bonney, Jr. The Grand Master made a short address, speaking of Most Worshipful Samuel Dunn, the Grand Master who signed Corner Stone's charter. He also showed an urn which contained a lock of hair from George Washington's head, which was given to Samuel Dunn by the widow of Washington.
A light lunch was served in the lower hall of the Temple, then coaches and carriages conveyed the members and guests to the Unitarian Church for exercises at 12:00 o'clock.
Bro. Joshua M. Cushing, acting as master of ceremonies, formed a procession of the following units; Lodges — Satuit, Phoenix, Delta, Konohassett, Plymouth, Orphan's Hope, and Old Colony; also Past District Deputy Grand Masters, Selectmen of Duxbury, Marshfield, Kingston; clergymen of Duxbury, Marshfield, Kingston and Plymouth; Commanders of William Wadsworth, Martha Seaver and David Church G. A. R. Posts; Noble Grands of Mattakeesett and H. H. Lodges, I. O. O. F.; widows of deceased Brothers; members of Corner Stone Lodge, their ladies and friends. All marched to a tent erected in front of the Town Hall where a banquet was served. The Worshipful Master introduced Bro. Walter H. Faunce as toastmaster. Speakers were Most Worshipful Charles T. Gallagher, Grand Master; Grand Secretary Sereno D. Nickerson, Deputy Grand Master Charles W. Green, Hon. Bro. Willard Howland, General Blackmor of Hingham, General Sprague of Worcester, District Deputy Grand Master George S. Marsh and Bro. Kyle of Plymouth.
Letters were read from Ex-Governor John I. Long, Congressman Levering and Hon. Curtis Guild. The Harvard Quartette furnished the musical entertainment and the exercises closed with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne" by the entire assemblage.
125th Anniversary Celebration
October 16, 1926, from the records:
The 125th Anniversary celebration was held in the Lodge room on this evening.
The committee to receive the Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson, Grand Master, consisted of the Past Masters of Corner Stone Lodge, with R. W. Edgar A. Baker as chairman.
The Grand Master and his suite were introduced to Worshipful Master Charles A. Whitman, who resigned the oriental chair to the Grand Master. Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson gave a very interesting talk, and it was followed by Rev. Bro. Horace F. Holton, D. D., and R. W. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary.
The Concord Male Quartette entertained with music.
The Lodge adjourned to Mattakeesett Hall for refreshments.
Corner Stone Lodge had a part in some of the well known historical events of the eighteen hundreds.
On June 17, 1825, they were represented at the laying of the corner stone of Bunker Hill Monument by the Grand Lodge officers.
At the dedication of the Soldiers Monument in Duxbury, May 30, 1872, the Lodge was invited to help.
October 7, 1872, the Lodge entertained the Grand Lodge officers and assisted them in laying the corner stone of the Standish Monument.
In Plymouth, on July 20, 1889, the Lodge was among those chosen to assist in the dedication of the National Monument to the Forefathers of Plymouth.
Some of the furnishings cherished by the Lodge are:
- The ancient seal used by the Lodge — the work of Paul Revere.
- The jewels of the Worshipful Master's, Senior and Junior Wardens' collars, also made by Paul Revere.
- The Tyler's sword is a relic of the Revolutionary war.
- The working tools of the second degree were presented to the Lodge April 4, 1888, by Bro. Joshua M. Cushing.
- A gavel made from a piece of wood taken from Gettysburg battlefield, a peculiar feature of it being a Minié ball showing in the wood, was presented to the Lodge on February 2, 1901, by Bro. Cushing, acting for Bro. E. Everett Chandler of Union Lodge, Dorchester.
- The Rough and Perfect Ashlers were a gift from Bro. James Craig of Quincy, December 21, 1901.
- On the north wall of the lodge-room is an old mirror with a hand-carved frame with many Masonic symbols. This was a gift to the Lodge from Mrs. Lvdia T. Adams of Kingston June 30, 1904.
There are many more articles from the past distributed about the Temple. Working tools, pictures, books — all a memorial to Corner Stone's past — that some member or friends have donated, not for their intrinsic value alone, but that they may be laid up in the archives of the Lodge as a memorial to some departed Brother.
The Temple itself is a memorial to the founding fathers of the Lodge. It represents the hopes and desires of courageous and determined men, building their Temple to the Most High God.
That they builded well is evidenced by the records left by them for all to read. From the first recorded meeting, January 7, 1802, continuing to the present meeting 150 years later, the Secretaries faithfully carried out their assignments, and so today we have an unbroken story of their hopes and disappointments, their endeavors and accomplishments. Even under the most severe oppression, they yielded only that which it was impossible to retain, carrying on in their own way to accomplish the ends to which they were pledged.
If we of the present need an example of prudence, fortitude and justice, we should look at our inheritance from them, 150 years in the making, a Temple which is becoming a shrine to Masonry, one of the few in existence today containing much of the original furniture and form. There is an atmosphere of the earlier days still apparent in the plainness of the several apartments to the Temple.
The most beautiful degree which the author has seen in any Lodge was not in one of the larger Lodge rooms with its mosaic pavements, enormous pillars, starry-decked heavens and its beautiful lighting effects, but was in this little old lodge-room built in 1825, with its altar of the same antiquity and many of its old paintings and adornments dating back to 1801. The occasion was the conferring of a degree on a candidate during a severe electrical storm. The lighting system was put out of order, and the Tyler brought in three burning tapers or candles, and placed them in a proper position in the Lodge. It was a perfect setting and carried the members back through the years to the days when all light was received in the same manner. Perhaps the spirit of the founders of this Lodge was there to witness the beautiful work. Maybe they are watching to see how we of this generation carry on the work they so ably Started. In <me sense, it is still their Lodge. They founded it. They carried it through Masonry's darkest days and have passed it on to us to hold in trust for a future generation.
May we prove to be as true to Masonic traditions as they were 150 years ago.
175TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, DECEMBER 1976
From Proceedings, Page 1976-390:
By Worshipful Kendrick A. Williams.
(For more detailed histories of the Lodge for the earlier years, see 1902 Mass. 98-120; 1926 Mass. 363-377; 1952 Mass. 3-12)
This history is to be a bit different from many. It is not to be merely a compendium of names and dates of who preceded or succeeded whom without regard to the living world. Corner Stone Lodge has always been a part of Duxbury, and Duxbury a part of it. At its very beginning back in the autumn of 1801 when thirteen Masons petitioned the Grand Lodge for a Charter to found Corner Stone Lodge, Thomas Jefferson, our Third President, was finishing the first year of an eight year term of office. A portion of Kingston was part of Duxbury, as had Pembroke been in the past. The old school house at Powder Point, which had been built over a creek in the Marsh and permitted the unique opportunity to fish through holes in the classroom floor, was but a year old!
The first meeting hall is said to have been located on or just off Washington Street, but not at the present location. Little is known of the activities of those first officers. We do know Treasurer Nathaniel Windsor was one of the best known craftsmen in carving figureheads and bow and stern decorations for ships. He also owned a warehouse which was situated on his own wharf. We know the seal of our Lodge was made by Paul Revere and is presumably the same that is in use today. Our first Master, Amos Brown, served twice and our first Senior Warden once. Our first Junior Warden never served as Master. The Church, known as the First Parish Church and now Unitarian Universalist, was the only church and Town affairs were conducted in the Meeting House under the able Pastor Reverend Brother John Allyn. It is a certainty that all of our early officers were communicants of this church. Studley Sampson, the original Tyler served as our third Master, and indeed, served in that capacity six times; a record that was equaled twice later, but not exceeded. One of those whose terms equaled that of Sampson was Gershom B. Weston whose first term was in 1825. Weston, along with others, petitioned that the First Parish Church be separated from the Town of Duxbury in 1828, the year before his third term. Weston served as Trustee of Partridge Academy and carried on the family shipbuilding started by his grandfather, "King Caesar" Ezra Weston. Ezra was one of Corner Stone's original petitioners to the Grand Lodge. Gershom became one of six District Deputy Grand Masters Corner Stone Lodge has had in its 175 years. Another six termer was William H. Sampson, who along with Weston, attempted to build a railroad from Braintree via Cohasset to Duxbury in 1846. Three years later, despite tremendous effort, the attempt was abandoned and the railroad came only as far as Cohasset. All this transpired while Sampson presided over Corner Stone.
Another well known man in Duxbury was Seth Prague, Jr., who began his first term as Master in 1820 and served for three consecutive years. Brother Sprague was active in establishing Dux-bury's first school committee, and what we now know as the Pilgrim Church. He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and our first District Deputy Master. About this time, a black cloud appeared in the history of our Lodge in the form of the Anti-Masonic Movement. Pressures mounted against our forebears to the point that our Charter was surrendered to the Grand Lodge by vote of our Lodge on July 5, 1834. Thus it is that if you look at the back of our notice, you will find no Past Masters listed from 1835 through 1844. However, Masonry was not dead in Duxbury. A group of members of Corner Stone Lodge organized Corner Stone Charitable Association just three weeks after the Lodge ceased to exist. This organization continued to dispense that greatest of virtues, charity. Nonetheless the Lodge treasury taken over by the Charitable Association grew by 27%. The first Association meeting was held in the Lodge room, and later meetings in Gershom Weston's counting house as well as one of the schools.
As the flood of resentment ebbed, it again became possible to convene a Lodge, and accordingly Grand Lodge was petitioned for a return of our Charter. On December 2, 1844, Corner Stone Lodge again became active and the Charitable Association ceased to exist. The first meeting of the renewed Lodge was held in the lodge building on December 17, 1844, just one week and one hundred thirty-two years ago tonight. Well, so the years have marched since then. Many notable men have added their bit to our glorious effort. To the original building built in 1825, after various other homes since 1801, the Parish House of the First Parish Church was added and dedicated in 1961. (1961 Mass. 154-155). In 1857, in fact February 7th, we perhaps had the first of our traditional clam chowders, which when quoted from the records state, "We partook of a first rate oyster and clam soup which was prepared by our worthy Treasurer." In the recollection of many of us, a more recent worthy Treasurer, now departed, perpetuated this custom and others have taken up the challenge. Although the oysters have disappeared, may the custom of clam chowders persist as they have for 120 years.
In 1885, the William Wadsworth Post G.A.R. was formed by the veterans of the War between the States with our Past Master George H. Bonney as Chief Mustering Officer. Of those Post members, Joseph Sherman, a Master in 1897 and 1898 and again in 1903, was elected Senior Grand Warden of our Grand Lodge, the only member of our Lodge in 175 years to become a Permanent Member of that august body. He participated in 1872 in the laying of the cornerstone of the Myles Standish Monument (1872 Mass. 151-163), as well as that of the Soldiers Monument, as we had in the laying of the cornerstone of Bunker Hill forty-seven years previous. At our hall on July 16, 1869, Duxbury citizens assembled to direct "a celebration worthy of renown of the old Pilgrim-town of Duxbury" for the formal ceremony of the completion of the laying of the 3,300 miles of transatlantic cable from Brest, France to Duxbury. History tells us the celebration was in keeping with the spirit of the call of that meeting.
We celebrated our 100th birthday on June 24, 1902, with gala ceremonies (1902 Mass. 38-125), and our 125th on December 16, 1926. (1926 Mass. 361-377) In recent years Corner Stone has continued to grow in numbers and in prominence. As previously mentioned, in 1961 we enlarged our Home from the one built in 1825. We enlarged our membership until it exceeded 400. We traveled as a Lodge to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial to confer the Master Mason Degree in George Washington's own lodge. We survived the impact of formation of adjacent Lodges and the very recent decline of interest in the Craft. As of tonight our oldest Past Master and member is Worshipful J. Newton Shirley, who has served us for over thirty years as Tyler and is still going. He, by the way, served the Lodge as Master in the years 1934 and 1935. We as of 1954, with two exceptions, have discontinued the practice of spending two years in the Master's station.
And now where do we go from this hour? We revere the past and its relics. We know our Master and Wardens' Jewels were fashioned by Paul Revere. We know our Tyler's sword dates from the Revolution, and the ashlers were given to us 75 years ago and the cornerstone from the keepers' dwelling of Gurnet Light on which the Square and Compass were engraved came to us in 1971. We are aware of the little old altar, around which many of us knelt, dates back to the original building in 1825, and has since been replaced. But we must look forward and rise above the threats to Masonry, and indeed to civilization, that abound. We must preserve that haven the Lodge room presents, of Equality, Friendship and Brotherly Love. Here let us rededicate ourselves again, as every Master Mason has done, to present our Master's piece as Apprentices to the Supreme Master, that we may rightly earn for ourselves, the title Master Mason. Let our light so shine that we will have reached out to others, and most important, have touched the human heart.
- 1816 (Petition for abatement of dues, III-64; rejected)
- 1830 (Report of delinquency, IV-170)
- 1866 (Jurisdictional dispute with Norfolk Union Lodge, VII-72)
- 1872 (Participation in laying the cornerstone of the Myles Standish Monument, 1872-151)
- 1881 (Jurisdictional dispute with Plymouth Lodge, 1881-66; 1881-193)
OFFICER LIST, DECEMBER 1825
From Masonic Mirror and Mechanics' Intelligencer, Vol. II, No. 3, January 1826, Page 17:
Officers of Corner Stone Lodge, Duxbury, chosen first Monday night in December 5825:
- Bro. G. B. Weston, Esq., W. M.
- Bro. John Porter, S. W.
- Bro. Seth Brooks, J. W.
- Bro. S. Sprague, Jr., Treasurer.
- Bro. W. Delano, Secretary.
- Bro. Thomas Peterson, S. D.
- Bro. S. Loring, J. D.
- Bro. W. T. P. Bosworth, S. Steward.
- Bro. L. Holmes, J. Steward.
- Bro. James C. Chandler, Tyler.
INSTALLATION, DECEMBER 1911
From New England Craftsman, Vol. VII, No. 4, January 1912, Page 131:
George C. Thacher, Past Master of Rabboni Lodge, Dorchester, assisted by Edward E. Reynolds, Past Master of Massachusetts Lodge, installed the officers of Corner Stone Lodge, Duxbury, Mass., Dec. 23d. The ceremony was followed by a program furnished by the Weber quartet, Miss Grace Sanborn Cole, reader, and an orchestra. There was dancing.
The officers are Herbert J. Needham, WM; Henry T. Sturtevant, SW; Frank C. Woodward, JW; George A. Green, T; Paul C. Peterson, S; Frank C. Barrett, C; Thacher M. Baker, M; Willard Baker, SD; Edgar A. Baker, JD; Henry L. Barker, SS; Martin Hannigan, JS; Clifton R. Bates, IS; Hiram Foster, Tyler. It is the 31st year for the latter officer.
Thomas Alden, aged 90, the oldest living Past Master, was in attendance, and is constantly present at the communications. A fact of great interest is that when the mMster was admitted to the lodge three of his brothers received their degrees. Neither had been previously aware that the others had applied until they had been elected.
The lodge, which is 110 years old, has some valuable treasures. Probably the most highly prized are the officers' jewels of silver which were made by Paul Revere, once Grand Master, and no others have been used. Among other articles are the tyler's sword, which was carried in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars; a mirror, elaborately carved and showing emblems of the craft; gavel, the head of which is from wood taken from the field of Gettysburg, with a bullet embedded in it, while the wood of the handle was from the scene of Pickett's charge; ancient Masonic chart; master Mason's diploma dated 1804, of one of the members, and old tin candlesticks formerly used by the lodge.
Corner Stone is the mother of three lodges — Plymouth of Plymouth, Phoenix of Hanover and Satuit of Scituate. During the time the charter was surrendered meetings were held at houses of members, under the name Masonic Relief Association. The records were carefully preserved and when the charter was returned they were included in the lodge proceedings, so that it has a complete record from the date of institution.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Edgar A. Baker, DDGM, District 27 (Plymouth), 1922, 1923; SN
- George W. Cushman, DDGM, District 27 (Plymouth), 1948, 1949; SN
- Dexter L. Gasper, DDGM, District 27 (Plymouth), 1994, 1995; N
- Thomas U. Kenney, DDGM, District 18, 2021
- Richard A. Melvin, DDGM, District 27 (Plymouth), 1978, 1979; N
- Harold A. MacDonald, DDGM, District 27 (Plymouth), 1984, 1985; N
- Thomas A. Morris, III, DDGM, District 18, 2019, 2020
- Frank Morton, DDGM, District 19 (Taunton), 1878, 1879; SN not WM here
- Deane P. Price, DDGM, District 18, 2008, 2009, 2014; N
- George R. Riddell, DDGM, District 27 (Plymouth), 1960, 1961; N
- Studley Sampson, DDGM, District 3 (South Shore and Cape Cod), 1821, 1822, 1823; SN
- Joseph Sherman, DDGM, District 25 (Hingham), 1900, 1901; SN
- Seth Sprague, Jr., DDGM, District 3 (South Shore and Cape Cod), 1827, 1828, 1829; Senior Grand Warden 1829
- Earl T. Taylor, Grand Chaplain, 1834-1837, 1840-1841.
- Charles A. Whitman, DDGM, District 27 (Plymouth), 1930, 1931; N
1803: District 3 (South Shore and Cape Cod)
1821: District 3 (South Shore and Cape Cod)