From MasonicGenealogy
Jump to: navigation, search


Location: Balboa, Canal Zone

Chartered By: Melvin M. Johnson

Charter Date: 03/13/1918 1918-33

Precedence Date: 05/16/1917

Current Status: merged with Army Lodge to form Balboa Lodge, 07/26/1983.


  • William M. James, 1917, 1921
  • Samuel Sloan, 1918
  • Stanley R. Ford, 1919
  • William M. White, 1920, 1923
  • Lewis B. Bates, 1922; N
  • Edward C. Blessing, 1924
  • Harry A. Comley, 1925
  • James E. Jacob, 1926; N
  • Samuel W. Steele, 1927
  • Mace A. Jacques, 1928
  • Harvey A. McConaughey, 1929
  • Jerome P. Prager, 1930
  • Francis W. Feeney, 1931
  • Charles Little, 1932
  • Philip A. Hale, 1933
  • John W. T. Mann, 1934
  • John T. DeYoung, 1935, 1945
  • Robert Toone, 1936
  • Frederic J. Lyons, 1937
  • John R. Keenan, 1938
  • Arthur M. Veney, 1939
  • John R. McLavy, 1940
  • Jack H. Hearn, 1941
  • George M. Lowe, 1942
  • Charles T. Jackson, Jr., 1943
  • Walter T. Schapow, 1944
  • Harry C. Wallbridge, 1946
  • William H. Gaines, 1947
  • David N. Percy, 1948
  • Tadeusz Witek, 1949
  • Phra Ashby, 1950
  • Nathaniel Litvin, 1951; N
  • Clarence Priest, 1952
  • Thomas McGuiness, 1953
  • Frank A. Chollar, 1953, 1954
  • Burman S. Spangler, 1955
  • Ray D. Wilson, 1956
  • John R. Townsend, Sr., 1957
  • Duncan Laird, Jr., 1958
  • Warren W. Morse, 1959
  • Ernest C. Van Horn, 1960
  • Robert F. Boyd, 1961
  • Hilton Hughes, 1962
  • Mortimer C. Hill, 1963
  • Woodrow DeJernette, 1964
  • George O'Masta, 1965
  • Samuel H. Rowley, 1966
  • Henry K. Johnstone, 1967
  • Robert F. Rowe, Jr., 1968
  • John M. Stuart, 1969
  • John M. Purvis, Jr., 1970
  • Benjamin Blumberg, 1971
  • Charles E. Fowler, 1972
  • Norris F. Fussell, 1973
  • Clarence C. McNeese, 1974
  • Robert L. Hammer, Jr., 1975
  • John J. Dorsa, 1976; N
  • Richard A. Gilman, 1977
  • Joseph R. Steuart, 1978
  • Robert R. McCoy, 1979
  • Raymond M. Dragseth, 1980; Mem
  • Robert E. Redfern, 1981
  • David R. Patton, 1982
  • Francisco M. Negron, 1983


  • Petition for Dispensation: 1916
  • Petition for Charter: 1918
  • Consolidation Petition (with Army Lodge): 1983


  • 1967 (50th Anniversary)



1924 1926 1948 1951 1956 1957 1958 1959 1963 1964 1968 1972 1974 1979 1982


  • 1967 (50th Anniversary History, 1967-6; see below)


From Proceedings, Page 1967-6.

By Wor. Ernest C. Van Horn.

The moving finger writes; and having writ,
Moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.

Omar Khayyam.

Thus the moving finger of history records and weaves into the tapestry of the life history of Darien Lodge the episode of its many struggles, triumphs, and victories. Perhaps our greatest victories are seldom sung, yet they all make for progress in life's development. To achieve progress we must set aside prejudices, hate, revenge, or a love of anything that will turn us aside from our purpose; fix our eyes on the goal we have chosen; listen not to those who are jealous, who for selfish reasons would discourage us. With the application, practicing, and perfecting of the tenets of Freemasonry as its constant goal, D'arien Lodge has progressed and prospered for the past fifty years. All the great benefits that the world enjoys today we owe to someone with vision who stepped out from the multitude and broke a new trail, suffered hardships, and quite often, death. History has been written in the blood of the martyr who dared to brave the ridicule and condemnation of his family, friends, and enemies. The history of Masonry dates so far back into the mists of antiquity that it would be impossible to list the martyrs and outstanding leaders who have made their contributions to the fraternity. We must be sure we are right if the mission to lead is ours. If we are followers, we must keep in line to lend strength to the leaders we accept. Regardless of eminence of station v/e must never forget that Freemasonry's success and progress to date have been due solely to the concerted efforts of the Brethren. In the world of today, the progressive mind will find expression: "Only the idler idles, only the worker-can progress." He who says "it can not be done" builds a fire to consume himself; he who, seeing, "dares to try" already has won the victory. He who neither dares nor does, forges for himself the shackles of the slave.

In the following pages are briefly related the progress of a Lodge which "dared to try;" and which during the past fifty years played a prominent part in the annals of Freemasonry in the Canal Zone, and the Republic of Panama. It has established a record of which its members can justly feel a deep sense of gratification and pride.

The hours spent in going over the minutes of the meetings of the past fifty years have been a rewarding, gratifying and interesting experience. It has practically been a Masonic education in itself. It is interesting to note the influence and effect the wise and far-seeing Brethren had in guiding the Lodge to the successful and correct solution to its many problems. I strongly advocate and urge any Brother with sufficient time to peruse the minutes of this Lodge, whenever it may be, for a more thorough and complete understanding of his Lodge.

Darien Lodge most certainly owes to its many secretaries a vote of thanks lor the interesting and complete records they kept of its meetings.

It goes without saying that this publication must of necessity be confined to the bare essentials and highlights of the History of the Lodge, lest it become a tome. With this thought in mind an attempt has been made to cover only the unusual or outstanding events that might be of interest to the Brethren.

A petition for a dispensation, signed by 88 Master Masons, was made to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, to start a Lodge in Balboa. This was granted on May 16, 1917.

The first meeting for the purpose o{ initiating the Lodge under dispensation was held on Thursday evening, June 14, 1917 at B p.m. in the Panama Canal Lodge Hall, Balboa, Canal Zone. They selected as their ofrcers under dispensation the following: William M. James, Master; Stanley R. Ford, Senior Warden; Samuel Sloan, Junior Warden; Henry C. Jullien, Treasurer; Ernest M. Reinhold, Secretary; Stephen E. Calvit, Chaplain; Daniel J. Genec, Marshal; Lewis B. Bates, Senior Deacon; James E. Jacob, Junior Deacon; William L. Fey, Senior Steward; Jerome F. Prager, Junior Steward; Arthur J. Sweet, Inner Sentinel; Henry A. Westendorff, Tyler.

The Assembly of Master Masons was called to order by the Right Worshipful Herbert A. White, District Grand Master of the Canal Zone, and the dispensation was read by him and presented to the Worshipful Master, authorizing him to open Darien Lodge in accordance with the Ancient Usages and Customs of Freemasonry.

The Grand Lodge of Panama was represented by Most Worshipful Rafael Neira A., Grand Master, and several Past Grand Masters.

The first meeting for Degree work was held on Thursday evening, July 16, l9l7 and the Entered Apprentice Degree was conferred on George J. Cassell, Jr., and William R. Howe. The fathers of both candidates were present at this Communication.

The first election of Officers Under Charter was held on Thursday evening February 14, 1918, and the following Officers elected: Samuel Sloan, Worshipful Master; William M. James, Senior Warden; Stanley R. Ford, Junior Warden; Jul Johnson, Treasurer; William G. H. Russell, Secretary.

At a Special Communication held on Thursday evening August 8, 1918, the Lodge was constituted in full form according to the Ancient Usages of the Craft, and the Officers who had been elected on February 14 were installed.

By Special Dispensation from the Grand Lodge, the Worshipful Master, Samuel Sloan, and the Senior Warden, William M. James, were installed by proxy; Brother Sloan having been called to the U.S.A. on important war duties. Brother James had gone into the Army. Brother Ford after being installed as Junior Warden presided as Acting Master.

Since the Worshipful Master, Brother Sloan, had moved to the States, the Senior Warden, Brother James, in the Army, and the Junior Warden, Brother Ford, transferred to Gatun with little likelihood of being able to attend the meetings of the Lodge with any regularity, the Office of Senior Warden was declared vacant and a Dispensation was granted to hold an election on September 18, 1918 to fill the vacancy thus created, which resulted as follows: Stanley R. Ford, Senior Warden; Lewis B. Bates, Junior Warden; Harry A. Comley, Treasurer; William M. White, Senior Deaconl Jul Johnson, Junior Deacon. After the installation, Brother Bates presented the Lodge with a set of Officers'aprons; Brother James presented a set of Officers' jewels.

Brother Ford acted as Master until the regular election, December 12, 1918, when he was elected Master and served during 1919. Upon his transfer to Gatun, he was instrumental in the organization of Sibert Lodge.

The Third Master, Worshipful Brother William M. White, was installed on January 8, 1920. He had a very successful year. At the Annual Election on December 14, 1922, he was re-elected Master and served as such during the year 1923.

On March 10, 1921, during Worshipful Brother William M. James' year, the Lodge was honored by the first visit from one of its Grand Masters, Most Worshipful Brother Arthur D. Prince. Worshipful Brother James established the custom of serving a dinner on the night of the District Grand Lodge's Annual Visitation. It has now become a tradition which has been followed ever since.

On April 23, 1922, during the term of Right Worshipful Lewis B. Bates, the Lodge, together with the other Lodges on the Canal Zone, accompanied the District Grand Master and assisted in laying the corner-stone of St. Luke's Cathedral in Ancon. Worshipful Brother Bates eventually became the Right Worshipful District Grand Master.

During the term of Worshipful Brother Edward C. Blessing, one of the most important events of the year, in which the Lodge took part, was the laying of the corner-stone of the first Masonic Temple in Panama City on Sunday afternoo,n, July 29, 1924. Worshipful Brother Bates also has the distinction of being the first Master from candidates raised in the Lodge. He performed an outstanding job as Secretary for many years.

On June 11, 1925, during the term of Worshipful Brother Harry A. Comley, $25. was voted to purchase books as a nucleus to form our present Masonic Library. At this meeting it was also suggested that a dance be held in an endeavor to raise additional funds for the purchase of books. Arrangements were made and on September 12 a card party and dance for Master Masons, their families and friends, was held at the Shrine Mosque. This was the first public social affair ever held by the Lodge, a very delightful and well-attended event. Worshipful Brother Comley also initiated a yearly Past Masters' night during his tenure in office.

In 1926, during the term of the now Right Worshipful Brother James E. Jacob, Past District Grand Master, another outstanding Darien Lodge Mason, the now traditional Past Masters' night was one of the most interesting meetings of the year. Right Worshipful Brother Jacob, after ho,lding several offices in District Grand Lodge, went on to become Right Worshipful District Grand Master.

During the 1927 term of Worshipful Brother Samuel W. Steele, due to the work having fallen off appreciably, it was decided to hold only two meetings a month. The traditional Past Masters' night was observed and the Lodge participated in the Bi-Annual Exemplification.

In 1928, while Worshipful Brother Mace A. Jacques was Master of the Lodge, Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, paid a Fraternal Visit. On February 9, 1928, Darien Lodge petitioned the Grand Master for permission to establish a Lodge of Instruction in the Canal Zone. On Sunday afternoon, March 25, 1928, the Lodge assisted in laying the corner-stone of the new Bella Vista Orphans Home, Bella Vista, Panama, the only Protestant Home of children in that country during this year. Darien Lodge initiated the idea of a hospital visitation committee, an idea adopted by all the Lodges. On November 11, 1928, Darien Lodge participated in the laying of the cornerstone of the Scottish Rite Temple. During this year the Lodge initiated an English National, Brother Vickers, an employee of All American Cables. After receiving his Entered Apprentice Degree, he returned to England.

In 1929, during the term of Worshipful Brother Harvey A. McConaughey, after considerable correspondence, Pengwerne Lodge, Shrewsbury, England, Passed and Raised Brother Vickers. This Brother corresponded with and continued his membership in Darien Lodge until his death in 1964. On July 11,1929, the Lodge voted $500. to help furnish the Blue Lodge Hall room in the Scottish Rite Temple, now nearing completion. On November 14, 1929, the Lodge held its first Regular Communication in the new Temple.

In 1930 during the term of Worshipful Brother Jerome P. Prager, Darien Lodge made a substantial contribution to the Grand Lodge to help construct "Juniper Hall" hospital. On December 11, 1930, the Lodge sold its first Life Membership to Brother Turner.

In 1931, under Worshipful Brother Francis W. Feeney, the Lodge had a successful and prosperous year. Past Masters' night was again observed.

Tt 1932, during the tenure of Worshipful Brother Charles Little, Masonry in the Canal Zone suffered a severe loss when on November 23, 1932, Right Worshipful Brother Ralph Osborn, District Grand Master, passed on to the celestial Lodge above. Darien Lodge, as well as all Masonic Bodies in the Canal Zore and Panama, participated in the funeral rites.

The Lodge continued to prosper in 1933 under the Worshipful Brother Phillip A. Hale.

In 1934 during the term of Worshipful Brother John W. T. Mann, an unusual event occurred when all of the Lodges on the Isthmus were presented with a bill from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge notifying them that the $5. collected in the initiatory fee of the candidates had not been forwarded. Since September 1924, Darien Lodge owed $425. During the year, three irregularly made Masons, due to misspelled names, the first in the history of the Lodge, were healed by the Grand Lodge.

The Lodge had a very successful year in 1935 under the guiding hand of Worshipful Brother John T. DeYoung.

In 1936, under Worshipful Brother Robert Toone, the Lodge participated in the laying of two corner-stones: one for Sibert Lodge on March 15, and one for the Ancon Temple on August 9. On October 8 the Lodge voted a substantial sum to eliminate the mahogany benches in use in the Lodge Hall and replace them with the presently used opera type seats.

The Lodge had another successful year in 1937 under Worshipful Brother Frederic J. Lyons.

On November 30, 1938, during his year, Worshipful Brother John R. Keenan had the pleasure of Raising his son, Brother John Paul Keenan.

In 1939, during the term of Worshipful Brother Arthur M. Veney, the Lodge started presenting the initiates with a copy of the "Great Light."

During Worshipful Brother John R. McLavy's term in 1940, the Lodge purchased the three beautiful candlesticks still in use. Worshipful Brother McLavy went on to become Deputy District Grand Master.

Worshipful Brother Jack H. Hearn had a busy and successful term in 1941.

In 1942, during the term of Worshipful Brother George M. Lowe, due to the war and the great influx of personnel, the Lodge kept a long list of applicants in abeyance. Degree teams from the Navy, Hospital, Mechanical Division, etc., put on the work at the meetings on many occasions.

In 1943, under the guidance of Worshipful Brother Charles T. Jackson, Jr., the Lodge celebrated its 26th Anniversary and had two of the first five candidates initiated in the Lodge when under Dispensation at this meeting.

In 1944, during the term of Worshipful Brother Walter T. Schapow, for a period of time, neither Lambskin aprons nor Bibles were obtainable. Darien Lodge was the first Lodge to use Rainbow Girls to serve dinners at a meeting. Lodge worked two nights per week and still maintained a long waiting list.

In 1945, Worshipful Brother John T. DeYoung served his second term. He was the second Master to do so. Brother Gaines sat in the East and Raised his son. He presented his son with a Masonic Book that had been in the family for five generations.

In 1946, Worshipful Brother Harry C. Wallbridge had a successful term. This was still a busy period for the Lodge.

In 1947, during the term of Worshipful Brother William H. Gaines, Worshipful Brother Harvey McConaughey, Past Master of Darien Lodge, had the pleasure of Raising his son, Richard. Brother Phra Ashby conferred the first section of the Third Degree on his brother, Melvin. On August 7, the Lodge held a meeting honoring Right Worshipful James E. Jacob and presented him with a Past Master's apron.

Worshipful Brother David N. Percy presided in 1948 and during his term the Lodge purchased twelve dozen aprons for Blue Lodge and a new set of Oftcers' aprons.

The Lodge was honored by a visit from Most Worshipful Roger Keith. in 1949 during the term of Worshipful Tadeusz Witek. During this year, the Temple was air-conditioned.

Worshipful Phra Ashby presided in 1950 and during his term the large Bible was reconditioned and the Lodge's name printed on it. At the Bi-Annual Exemplification no mistakes could be found in the Lodge's work. The idea of sending cards to the Secretary of the Home Lodge of visiting Brethren was initiated during this term. Brother Thomas McGuiness presided in the East to Pass his father, Brother Frank McGuiness, in the Second Degree, an unusual event. Worshipful Brother Sloan was given Life Membership.

In 1951 during the term of Worshipful Nathaniel Litvin, the Past Master's Jewel of Worshipful Brother James was donated to the Masonic Museum. The Master gave a perfect lecture at the Annual Visitation and the annual picnic with Chagres Lodge was postponed because of the prevalence of polio.

Most Worshipful Thomas S. Roy visited the Lodge during 1952 while Worshipful Clarence Priest was Master. The idea of a walking blood bank of Lodge members was initiated. The annual picnic was held in March.

In 1953, Worshipful Thomas McGuiness presided. The Lodge sponsored a dance for DeMolay boys and. Rainbow girls. The Master resigned and left for the United States in June. Worshipful Frank A. Chollar finished the 1953 term of Worshipful Brother McGuiness and served a full year of his own in 1954. Darien Lodge and the other Lodges on the Canal Zone Lormed a Masonic Blood Bank. Minutes of all the Lodge meetings up to 1954 are bound in book form.

Worshipful Burman S. Spangler had a successful year in 1955. Due to circumstances beyond their control, some of the elected Officers were forced to decline the Ofdice. A special Dispensation granted a second meeting for another election.

In 1956 under the guidance of Worshipful Ray D. Wilson, the Lodge had a prosperous year. The Lodge was honored by a visit of the Most Worshipful Whitfield W. Johnson. The annual picnic was held in March. Worshipful Brother Gaines was presented with a Past Master's apron on May 17.

The Lodge continued to prosper in 1957 during the rerm of Worshipful John R. Townsend, Sr.

In 1958 Worshipful Duncan Laird, Jr. guided the Lodge to a very successfut year. We were honored by a visit from Most Worshipful Andrew G. Jenkins, Grand Master. Washable Past Masters' aprons were purchased for visiting Past Masters.

Worshipful Warren W. Morse led the Lodge to another successful year in 1959. The Lodge made a substantial contribution to help furnish Doric Lodge in Colon, Panama, with new mahogany benches. Several revisions were made in the Lodge By-Laws.

Worshipful Ernest C. Van Horn presided in 1960. During this year the Lodge decided to present all Past Masters with an apron. On Past Masters' Night, all the Past Masters presiding on the Isthmus were so honored. The Past Masters residing in the United States were to receive theirs in 1961.

Due to failing interest in annual picnics, the Lodge sponsored a dinner dance which was very successful. A Memorial Service was held on Past Masters' night for the Past Masters of Darien Lodge who have been called to the Celestial Lodge above. The Lodge was presented with a new fifty-star flag on behalf of our late Brother Louis C. Maurer. Lodge participated in the laying of the corner-stone at the new Cathedral Center Building at the Cathedral of St. Luke, Ancon.

In 1961 under the guidance of Worshipful Robert F. Boyd, the Lodge prospered and grew. A very successful and ehjoyable dinner dance was held on March 18. The annual Past Masters' Night was held on April 27. An ex-patient of Shriner Hospital and Panamanian National, petitioned the Lodge by Special Dispensation requiring waiver of jurisdiction. A very substantial contribution was made to the George Washington Memorial Endowment Fund.

Worshipful Hilton Hughes guided the Lodge to a very successful and harmonious year in 1962. A Degree Team from Abou Saad Temple Shrine conferred the Entered Apprentice Degree on special dispensated candidates. The Grand Lodge officers of Panama attended this meeting.

Worshipful Mortimer C. Hill was instailed as Master in September 1962. During his term of office he instituted joint meetings of the Lodge with the Order of Rainbow for Girls and the Order of DeMolay. On December 10 Darien Lodge visited the Pacific Lodge in Panama City and exemplified the Master Mason Degree. Past Masters' Night honored Worshipful Walter Schapow who had acted as installing Marshal in Darien Lodge for many years. In the year 1963 Darien Lodge prospered under the leadership of Worshipful M. C. Hill. In 1964 Woodrow DeJernette guided the Lodge to a successful year despite the political unrest and riots in Panama. The tense situation caused the cancellation and curtailment of many social and Masonic events, including a planned visitation of the Most Worshipful Grand Master.

Worshipful George O. Masta presided in 1965 and had a successful year. The Annual Dinner Dance was held. The Lodge was visited by Most Worshipful A. Neill Osgood, Grand Master.

During his term of office in 1966, Worshipful Samuel H. Rowley initiated an "Old Timers' Night", honoring the senior members of the Lodge, with the hope that it will become an annual event. The Lodge held its annual dinner dance on March 12. This was a prosperous year for the Lodge.

Our present Master, Worshipful Henry K. Johnstone, has the distinction of serving during the year of our Fiftieth Anniversary.

At his installation he was presented the gavel, shaped as a setting maul, which was used by his father, Right Worshipful Albert J. Johnstone, exactly fifty years ago when he was Worshipful Master of Joppa Lodge No. 201 in Brooklyn, New York.

Thus we close the records on the first half century of Darien's Masonic progress, an infinite speck in the vast expanse of time. But, as each Craftsman adds his bit to a temporal structure, so Darien Lodge has contributed to the Great Masonic Edifice.




1916: Canal Zone District

1927: Canal Zone District


District Grand Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges