- 1 EDEN LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.5 CHARTER MEMBERS OF EDEN LODGE A.F. & A.M.
- 2.6 OTHER
- 2.7 EVENTS
- 2.8 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.9 DISTRICTS
- 2.10 LINKS
Chartered By: William Parkman
Charter Date: 06/08/1864 III-506
Precedence Date: 06/11/1863
Current Status: Active.
Bethel Lodge merged into this Lodge, 10/27/1939.
- George Robinson, 1864-1867; SN
- John W. Robinson, 1868-1872
- William O. Gould, 1873-1875
- Henry F. Barnes, 1876, 1877
- George S. Marsh, 1878, 1879, 1882, 1888, 1889; SN
- Jerome Gates, 1880
- Walter P. Sutliff, 1881, 1885
- Charles F. Merrill, 1883
- Elgin R. Foster, 1884, 1890
- Jasper L. Fairbanks, 1886
- Henry C. Davis, 1891
- William A. Newcomb, 1892, 1893
- Alfred A. Green, 1894, 1895
- Hubert M. Coney, 1896-1899; SN; Biography
- John D. Smith, 1900, 1901
- Arthur B. Howard, 1902, 1903
- Herbert W. Sibley, 1904
- Paul R. Bridgman, 1905; Mem
- Minot C. Wood, 1906
- Charles B. Wetherby, 1907
- James E. Allen, 1908, 1909
- Guy A. Cummings, 1910
- David Wooley, 1912
- Waldo C. Lincoln, 1913
- John H. Schoonmaker, 1914; N
- George W. Dunham, 1915
- Bernard Southworth, 1916
- Willie A. Green, 1917
- Charles M. Lindsey, 1918
- Philip W. Robinson, 1919
- Herbert H. Ward, 1920
- Robert S. Greenwood, 1921
- Herbert W. Bryan, 1922
- D. Thomson Hastings, 1923, 1933; N
- Carl E. Williams, 1924
- Robert A. Stanford, 1925
- Arthur Besser, 1926
- Merrill S. Howard, 1927
- Myron E. Richardson, 1928; N
- Howard S. Neff, 1929
- Roger B. Estey, 1930
- J. Cutler Paige, 1931
- George W. Cox, 1932
- Donald Wood, 1934
- W. Howard Sibley, 1935
- Richard R. Bradbury, 1936
- Fred S. Conkey, 1937
- George G. Petrie, 1938; N
- Donald Dinsmore, 1939
- Leonard B. Campbell, 1940; N
- George Goodwin, 1941
- A. Richmond Walker, 1942
- Walter G. Irving, 1943, 1944
- Austin H. Carroll, 1945
- Thomas D. Bruce, 1946
- Charles L. Aldrich, 1947
- Gardner Davis, 1948
- Franz E. Baker, 1949
- William A. Towlson, 1950
- Arthur Farr, 1951
- John W. Davis, 1952
- Wilmer F. Kallock, 1953
- Walter V. Dunham, 1954
- Thomas H. Kulke, 1955
- Ralph E. Turner, 1956
- Horatio Bisbee, 1957; N
- Kenneth R. Dorman, 1958
- Joseph E. Rabschnook, 1959
- Richard A. Winslow, 1960
- William E. Gould, 1961
- Harlon W. Fulton, 1962
- Constant Southworth, 1963
- Edwin H. Belcher, 1964
- William M. Verbeck, 1965
- Edward J. Kress, 1966; N
- Matthew Kierys, 1967
- Merle G. Brigham, 1968
- Maurice A. Renaud, 1969
- Wayne G. Goddard, 1970
- Donald M. Giguere, 1971
- Robert G. Goodfield, 1972, 1981; PDDGM
- John L. Dowell, 1973
- Kenneth F. Simmons, 1974
- Edward D. DellaPenna, 1975
- Neil A. Noble, 1976, 1979; PDDGM
- John H. Campbell, 1977
- Richard A. Walker, 1978, 1980; N
- Robert L. Greenwood, 1982
- Robert J. Bready, 1983
- Arthur G. Rossi, 1984, 1985
- William M. Verbeck, 1986
- David A. Deschamps, 1987, 1988
- John L. Dowell, 1989, 1991
- David A. Stebbins, 1990
- Brian M. St. Onge, 1992, 1993
- Douglas J. Fry, 1994; N
- Peter B. Markert, 1995; PDDGM
- Richard S. Zebrowski, 1996
- Charles L. Lowell, 1997, 2002
- Erik W. Erikson, 1998
- Richard H. Maynard, 1999
- Wayne A. Lobley, 2000
- John W. Drawec, 2001
- James D. Hodgen, 2003
- Edward F. Bock, 2005, 2006
- Thomas E. Cooke, 2007
- Scott R. Rae, 2008
- Scott J. Chapman, 2009, 2010
- Michael J. Beaupre, 2011
- Jeffery A. Haughey, 2012
- Nathan W. Shattuck, 2013
- John F. Raymer, 2014
- Ryan A. Maslak,2015, 2016; DDGM 25
- Christopher M. LaPointe, 2017, 2018
- Matthew A. Fickett, 2019
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Dispensation: 1863
- Petition for Charter: 1864
- Consolidation Petition (with Bethel Lodge): 1939
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1882 (Lawrence)
- 1911 (Flanders)
- 1923 (Ferrell)
- 1927 (Simpson; Veterans' Night)
- 1929 (H. Dean; presentations; not in Proceedings)
- 1938 (Perry; 75th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1939 (Perry; consolidation with Bethel Lodge; Special Communication)
- 1964 (Osgood; Centenary and hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1979 (Melanson)
- 1980 (Melanson; reception for Deputy Grand Master Horatio Bisbee)
- 1982 (Berquist; installation)
- 1984 (Richardson; 2 visits; mortgage burning, Special Communication; and installation)
- 1987 (Ames; installation)
- 1988 (Ames; 125th Anniversary and rededication; Special Communication)
- 1990 (Darling; installation)
- 1993 (Lovering; installation)
- 1995 (Lovering; installation)
- 2014 (150th Anniversary; Special Communication)
CHARTER MEMBERS OF EDEN LODGE A.F. & A.M.
George Robinson, Samuel H. Phelps, Franklin D. Richards, Ezra Dyer Winslow, Wallace C. Sheldon, David Worthington Miner M.D., Henry S. Parsons
75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1938
From Proceedings, Page 1938-425:
History of Eden Lodge, By Rev. Bro. K. A. Handanian
On this occasion of the 75th anniversary of Eden Lodge, all records and available data have been consulted for a history of the Lodge from the beginning.
In June 1863, according to the late Right Worshipful Hubert M. Coney, several Brethren, members of Quaboag Lodge, of Warren, met at the office of Brother F. D. Richards, of Ware, to consider the advisability of organizing a Masonic Lodge in Ware. Following this conference, a Dispensation was requested of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, and, having been granted, the first regular meeting of Eden Lodge was held in the Lodge-room in the old Sanford Block, then standing on the site of our present hall. The first Master was Brother George Robinson.
On June 20, 1864, within a year of the organization of the Lodge, the old Sanford Block was destroyed by fire, and the Lodge suffered serious loss. After the fire, meetings were held in quarters on the second floor of the John W. Robinson building. It was there that on June 20, 1864, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts visited Eden Lodge. After due examination of the records and work, he presented Eden Lodge with its Charter. The following officers were then elected and installed by the Most Worshipful Grand Master:
- Worshipful Master: George Robinson
- Senior Warden: S. H. Phelps
- Junior Warden:
- Treasurer: D. W. Miner
- Secretary: E. E. Parker
- Senior Deacon: H. S. Parsons
- Junior Deacon: C. S. Robinson
- Chaplain: Ezra Dyer Winslow
While this is the story of Eden Lodge organized under its present Charter, there was another Lodge by the same name that preceded it under a Charter, and which functioned under that Charter until 1848. That Lodge had its beginnings in 1824, and its first meeting was held in the "school house in Ware Factory Village." The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts issued a Charter to the then Eden Lodge on September 20, 1824. The first Master of that Lodge was Anthony Olney. During the first four years of its active existence, as many as 60 joined the Lodge and signed its By-Laws. The meetings were continued in the same school house, and then a year later the members met in the "hall of Samuel Newhall's Building."
The Lodge ran into financial difficulties, so that in January 1826, it had a sizable debt amounting to $250. After strenuous efforts, the members raised the money and paid the debt in full. But after November 1827, for reasons not available, the Lodge ceased to function.
There was then a lapse of twenty-one years. On January 18, 1848, Eden Lodge convened once more, holding its first meeting in Odd Fellow's Hall. Unable to continue its meetings there, the members secured the "Attic" of a building called "The Arcade" which they furnished as a Lodge-room, and for which they paid an annual rental of $25. There were about fifteen members in this newly revived Lodge. Within a year, however, fire destroyed the building where they were meeting. And so, in November 1848, two months after the fire, the Brethren met sadly, reviewed the situation, assessed the members three dollars each to discharge the debts of the Lodge, and apparently the Lodge ceased to function.
It was fifteen years after that, in 1863, that a third attempt was made, this time successfully, to organize Masonry in Ware, and Eden Lodge has continued actively ever since. Eden Lodge held its meetings for a short time in the Robinson Building following the fire in the old Sanford Block. Then the Lodge moved from the Robinson Building to quarters on the third floor of the Guild Block. It held meetings there until 1870. In that year, the Lodge moved to its present quarters in the rebuilt Sanford Block.
The dedication of the new Lodge Rooms was an elaborate event; it took place on St. John's Sunday, June 24, 1870. Brethren from the lodges in Palmer, Monson, Belchertown, andAmherst came to Ware in a special train. Other Brethren came from Barre and Enfield. They were met at the railroad station by Eden Lodge members, and the entire company formed a procession. Palmer Brethren came with a brass band. Under the escort of the Palmer Brass Band and the Ware Cornet Band, the Brethren marched to the new Lodge-room where dedicatory exercises were held. Then followed a service in the East Congregational Church, and later a dinner in the Unitarian Church to which the ladies had been invited.
During the next thirty-five years, the Lodge-room was furnished and refurnished as necessity required. The introduction of gas, elecricity, and steam heat was each marked with elaborate discussions at Lodge meetings.
The most significant change in the appearance and furnishings of the Lodge-room occured in 1908 while Worshipful Brother James E. Allen was Master of Eden Lodge. Under the direction of a committee of three Brethren, Bro. H. O. Robinson, Wor. Minot C. Wood, and the late Wor. H. W. Sibley, the Lodge expended about $1,500 for the redecoration and furnishings of the Hall as we now have it. In addition, gifts were presented as follows:
- Three solid mahogany gavels by Meekins, Packard and Wheat Co. of Springfield.
- The Worshipful Master's chair by the Past Masters of Eden Lodge.
- Three station draperies, three emblems, and letter "G" by Bro. H. O. Robinson, Bro. H. W. Sibley, Wor. C. B. Wetherby, Wor. M. C. Wood.
- The two middle chamber pillars by the then officers of Eden Lodge.
- The front row of settees by Wor. C. B. Wetherby and Wor. Minot C. Wood.
Several years later, in 1972, Mr. A. H. Dowling presented and installed the Masonic elecric sign on the exterior of the Hall. ln 1924, the Lodge added the Grand Army Hall to its rented quarters.
I am not able to find out how many members were in the Lodge in its early days, but it is certain that the Lodge enjoyed a steady growth for fully seventy years. In 1894, the membership was 132; in 1917, it had increased to 289. From 1917 to 1925, the growth was rapid, and the membership figures reached a peak of 350 in the year 1925. It maintained that figure for two years from 1925 to 1927. ln 1927, the membership figures began dropping to the present figure of 263. In numbers, we are back to the membership figures in 1915.
The distinction of being the oldest member of Eden Lodge, in age, but not membership, belongs to Bro. Antoine Moise Morin, born 94 years ago in 1844. About ten years ago, Bro. Morin presented the Lodge with a beautiful tapestry that hangs on the wall in the Lodge-room in the North. The distinction of being the youngest member in age belongs at present to Bro. Charles Leroy McCormick, born 22 years ago in 1916. The average age of our members is 56.
The distinction of being the oldest member of Eden Lodge, - oldest in point of membership, but not of age - belongs to two Brethren who joined Eden Lodge at the same time. They are Bro. Joseph A. Sanford and Bro. Henry O. Robinson, who both joined in November 1881. Others in immediate succession are Bro. Herbert W. Reed, Bro. James Leitch, Bro. Charles W. Howard, Bro. George H. Milner, and Rt. Worshipful John H. Schoonmaker. All of these Brethren joined Eden Lodge in 1890 or before. We have several other Brethren, members of our Lodge, who have been Masons for an equally long period of years, although they began their membership in other Lodges. The first in that list are Bro. Joseph H. Walker and Bro. John W. Sherbrooks, both of whom became Masons in 1880. The others in succession are Bro. James Brennan and Wor. George W. Cox.
During the seventy-five years of its history forty-seven Brethren have served as Masters of the Lodge. One brother, Wor. George S. Marsh served eight terms as Master; Right Wor. Hubert M. Coney served four termsl eight Brethren have served two terms each.
It is worthy of note, also, to mention the Brethren who have served the Lodge over many years in a single office.
- Bro. D. W. Ainsworth was Treasurer of the Lodge nineteen years, 1883-1902.
- Bro. William Kennedy was Chaplain of the Lodge thirty years, 1874-1904.
- Rt. Wor. John H. Schoonmaker was Secretary for twenty years, 1895-1913.
- Wor. David Woolley was Treasurer 1903-1907, and again assumed office in 1928, and continues to the present time.
- Wor. George W. Cox served as Chaplain for twenty-four years, from 1905-1929.
- Bro. Lyman Taylor was Tyler ten years; 1876-1886.
- Bro. D. O. Holden was Tyler thirty years, 1892-1922.
- Bro. Willard A. Conkey sixteen years, from 1922-1938, although he was Tyler three or four years longer when he substituted for Bro. Holden.
- Bro. Willard A. Conkey holds the distinction of having served the Lodge in some chair or office continuously for thirty-eight years, since 1900, and only recently retired.
- The oldest living Past Master now is Worshipful John D. Smith. The others in succession are Wor. Minot C. Wood, Wor. Charles B. Wetherby, Wor. James E. Allen, Wor. Guy Cummings, and Wor. David Woolley.
Financially, the Lodge has had an interesting history. In its early days, it met its obligations, but had only small balances in the treasury. One year, the balance was as low as $6.43, but even that was better than the previous year when there was a deficit of $30. In those days, it was a common practice to "pass the hat" to collect funds to meet the needs of a distressed Brother. After a few years, the finances of the Lodge improved, and progress was being registered with slowly growing balances when suddenly the Lodge ran into financial difficulties due to the carelessness of the financial officers of the Lodge. The situation was quite embarrassing, since there was no money to pay Grand Lodge dues. But the members were equal to the situation. They redoubled their efforts, borrowed money to pay the Grand Lodge dues, assumed assessments of $13 each to pay the loan, and, finally saved the Lodge from its embarrassment. Every obligation, however, was honorably discharged. Within a few years, the treasury again showed a modest balance, and the situation has been normal ever since.
The Lodge has spent relatively large sums for charity and relief. A rough estimate of the relief figures indicates that the Lodge has spent during its history a sum in excess of $9000 for relief, and its contributions to charities of other kinds make up an additional large amount. In the early years, the requirements for relief were modest, being as low as $5 in some years. But in more recent times, the requirements have been larger, and on several occasions have exceeded a thousand dollars a year.
The Lodge has been honored on several occasions by the selection of its members as District Deputy Grand Masters. The first so appointed was Right Wor. George Robinson in 1878. The second was the late R.W. George A. Marsh. The third was the late R.W. Hubert M. Coney, 1900. The fourth was the late R.W. Paul R. Bridgman, 1911. The fifth was R.W. John H. Schoonmaker, 1915; and the sixth was R.W. D. Thomson Hastings, 1928.
During its seventy-five years of history fully 600 men have been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Eden Lodge. The distinction of raising the largest number in a single term goes to R.W. D. Thomson Hastings who raised nineteen Master Masons in one of the two years he was Master. The second largest number was raised by Wor. Philip W. Robinson who is credited with eighteen. Other figures are as follows:
- R.W. George A. Marsh raised thirty-three in eight years
- R.W. Hubert M. Coney raised thirty-six in four years
- Wor. Guy Cummings raised twenty-seven in two years
- Wor. James E. Allen raised twenty-two in two years
- Wor. Bros. C. B. Wetherby and R. A. Greenwood raised thirteen each in their single terms
- Wor. Bros. W. A. Green and Carl Williams raised twelve each in their single terms
- Rt. Wor. Paul R. Bridgman, Wor. Herbert Byam, and Wor. H. H. Ward raised eleven each in their single terms.
The last visit of a Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was the visit of the Most Worshipful Herbert W. Dean on May 15, 1929, at which time he presented the Veteran's Medal to three Brethren. Two years before that, the Most Worshipful Grand Master Frank L. Simpson of the Grand Lodge visited us, and in an elaborate ceremony presented Veteran's Medals to eight Brethren whose membership in Masonry added up to 444 years.
During the years, the Lodge has promoted fellowship among the Brethren in various ways, notably through sociables, outings, Field Days, and Balls. The first reference to a Masonic Ball is found in the records of the year 1889 when Bro. H. O. Robinson "brought up the subject of a Masonic Ball asking the opinion of the members of the Lodge." Consequently a Ball was held with expenses amounting to $189. But there was a deficit on that occasion amounting to $40 which the committee members generously offered to pay personally. But the Lodge relieved the Brethren of the burden, and assumed the deficit itself. For several years nothing is recorded about Masonic Balls, but later it appears again, and several such events were held, though not regularly. But in 1909, the Masonic Ball was made an annual social function, and continued untll 1929 with the exception of the two war years. Since 1929, no Masonic Balls have been held.
The social life of the members of Eden Lodge also found expression through the Ware Masonic Club, an organization entirely dissociated from the Lodge, but whose membership was restricted to Master Masons. The Ware Masonic Club was organized on May 5, 1896, with separate By-Laws and a separate list of officers. Its purpose was "to establish and maintain a library, a reading, and assembly rooms, and to promote social intercourse among its members." The Club met in rooms on the second floor of the Sanford Block, and was well equipped with chairs, couches, pool and billiard tables, card tables, a library, and a piano. The first President of the organization was the late Bro. Andrew Bryson, who continued his active interest in the Club for more than thirty-five years, serving much of the time as a Director and Librarian.
The Masonic Club rendered valuable service to the Lodge by promoting fellowship among Master Masons who congregated there every day of the week in large numbers. Through this organization, many men were brought to a favorable understanding and appreciation of the Spirit of Masonry, with the result that the Lodge benefited by ever-increasing membership. The Masonic Club promoted special events such as Pool and Billiard Tournaments, Whist Parties, Minstrel Shows, Election Night Parties, Balls, Suppers, and the like. Financially, it was a self-supporting institution.
In 1924, however, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge disapproved the use of the name "Masonic" in connection with social clubs of this type, and therefore, on April 23, 1924, the name was changed to "The Ware Doric Club," a name that was proposed by Bro. Andrew Bryson. The new club continued, at the same place, with the same membership and equipment. But a few years later, interest waned with the changing of the name and as a result of the action of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge. The membership list shrank, and the financial burden bore heavily on the organization. In 1934, the Ware Doric Club voted to disband, after provision had been made by generous members to discharge the financial debts of the Club. The equipment and furnishings of the Club were sold and otherwise disposed. And finally, the rooms used as a social center for the Masons of Ware for thirty-eight years were vacated.
The tradition of attending divine services in churches on St. John's Sunday dates back many years. The first of the continuous series of such services was held on St. John's Sunday in June 1912 in the East Congregational Church, and was attended by one hundred and forty-two Master Masons of Eden Lodge and twenty Master Masons from Bethel Lodge, of Enfield. The Church, apparently, was beautifully decorated by Bro. Fred Zeissig, as it was done by him on subsequent occasions. The Secretary, in writing about the service, says: "The front of the altar was profuse with magnificent roses, the perfume from which wafted their fragrance to the members, gratifying the sense of smell, while at the same time the Masonic spirit of each Brother was being watered and nourished by the appropriate words of the minister," etc. Editorially, I cannot resist the comment that I am surprised that a Secretary in a profession as prosaic as the law, could rise to such heights of poetical eloquence. But we all know that our Brother Right Worshipful John H. Schoonmaker has brilliant talents both in legal and poetical utterance.
There are many other matters one might speak about in such a history, but the final reference will be to the Lodge's relations to the Masonic Home in Charlton. The Lodge has had a keen interest in the home from its inception. At least five Masons of Eden Lodge, or their widows, have found shelter in that home. Eden Lodge made substantial contributions to the Home from Lodge funds when the Home was organized, and later a contribution of $1,285 was made by the members in one dollar payments per member over a period of five years. Within a year, one of our members, Bro. Andrew Bryson, left the sum of $3,000 to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in his will, and directed its use for the benefit of the Home.
The Masons of Eden Lodge appreciate with profound gratitude. the interest of all our visiting Brethren who have come here this evening to celebrate our Seventy-Fifth anniversary, and especially do they appreciate the presence of the Most Worshipful Grand Master and the Grand officers.
We cannot keep out of our thoughts to-night the moral degradation that is sweeping through other countries. that are ruled by dictators who have lifted their hands against God and their fellows, and who have compelled such organizations as ours to disband. Against such a powerful tide of nationalism and class hatred that is pushing its way through the world, Masons in America stand as a resisting bulwark. Masonry believes that respect for God and human personality is the hope of a continuing and prosperous civilization. The hope of the future does not rest in dictators but in free institutions that place human personalty above physical and military power. In this spirit we would instruct and encourage one another. For the plans of the Great Architect of the Universe provide service for men who have in their hearts not hatred but love, not cruelty but charity, not pride but humility, not paganism but religion and faith in God.
We cherish America because she exalts such ideals, and we cherish Masonry because it promotes and celebrates these ideals.
On this seventy-fifth anniversary, the Masons of Eden Lodge greet their Brethren with a confident hope of a glorious and victorious future.
CENTENARY HISTORY, JUNE 1964
From Proceedings, Page 1964-186:
By Brother K. Adrian Handanian.
June 20, 1964 marks the 100th Anniversary of Eden Lodge in Ware, Massachusetts. While Masonry has had a long and honorable history in America, dating back to George Washington and Paul Revere and other illustrious Masons of Colonial days, it encountered severe opposition in the early 19th century. Vicious rumors, blind prejudice and unfortunate misunderstandings became obstacles that had to be overcome.
This was the problem in Ware also. Several attempts to organize and maintain a Masonic Lodge here in the early 1800's met with failure. But the spirit of Masonry was nourished and kept alive by dedicated and stalwart men, so that by the middle of the 19th century, when the climate of distrust and prejudice changed, Masonry was revitalized, and Masonic Lodges were established again in our communities, both large and small. Such was the case in Ware.
In June 1863, several brethren, members of Quaboag Lodge of Warren, met in the office of Brother F. D. Richards of Ware to consider the advisability of again organizing a Masonic Lodge in Ware. Following this conference, a Dispensation was requested of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, and, this having been granted, the first regular meeting of Eden Lodge was held in the Lodge room in the old Sanford Block on Main Street. The first Master was Brother George Robinson.
Within a year of the organization of the Lodge, the old Sanford Block was destroyed by fire. After the fire, meetings were held in quarters on the second floor of the John W. Robinson building. It was there that on June 20, 1864, the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts visited Eden Lodge. After due examination of the records and work, he presented Eden Lodge with its Charter, and Brother George Robinson was formally installed as its first Master.
Previous to 1864, two other attempts had been made to establish a Lodge in Ware. The first one was in 1824. Meetings were held in "the school house in Ware Factory Village", now known as the Town of Ware. Theretofore, the business of the Town had been carried on at Ware Center. With the coming of larger manufacturing interests to the eastern part of the township, a new village had been started and became known as "Ware Factory Village". This eastward movement of the village suggested the name "Eden", which was derived from Genesis 2:8: "God planted a garden eastward, in Eden". Thus, "Eden" was chosen by the brethren in 1824 as the name of the Lodge, and it has survived through these many years.
The first Eden Lodge functioned under a Charter duly issued by the Grand Lodge on September 20, 1824. It continued for approximately four years. As many as sixty brethren joined the Lodge and signed its By-Laws.
The Lodge, however, ran into financial difficulties, and was burdened with a sizeable debt of about $250. Community prejudices and opposition added to the burden. After strenuous efforts, the members raised the money and paid the debt in full. In November 1827, the Lodge ceased to function.
Twenty-one years later, on January 18, 1848, Eden Lodge convened once more in Odd Fellows Hall. Later, the members secured the "attic" of a building in Ware called "The Arcade" which they furnished as a Lodge-room, and for which they paid an annual rental of $25. There were fifteen members in this second and newly revived Lodge. Within a year, however, fire destroyed the building. Therefore, in November 1848, two months after the fire, the Brethren met sadly, discussed their problems, and decided it was unwise to continue. They assessed the members three dollars each to discharge the debts of the Lodge. Thereafter, the Lodge ceased to function.
It was fifteen years later, in 1863, that a third attempt was made, this time successfully, to organize Masonry in Ware. It has continued its activities with undiminished interest to this day.
The Lodge held its meetings for a short time in the Robinson Block after the fire that destroyed the Sanford Block. Later, the Lodge moved to quarters on the third floor of the Guild Block. In 1870, when the Sanford Block had been restored, the Lodge returned to its former rooms, and continued there without interruption from 1870 to 1962, when it moved to its newly built Lodge rooms on Pleasant Street.
The dedication of the restored Lodge-room in the Sanford Block was an elaborate event; it took place on St. John's Sunday, June 24, 1870. Brethren from the Lodges in Palmer, Monson, Belchertown and Amherst came to Ware in a special train. Other Brethren came from Barre and Enfield. They were met at the railroad station by Eden Lodge Members. The Palmer Brethren came with a Brass Band. Together with the Ware Cornet Band, the Brethren marched to the new Lodge-room where dedicatory exercises were held. Then, they attended a service in the East Congregational Church, and later they gathered in the Unitarian Church for dinner, to which the ladies had been invited.
During the following 35 years, the Lodge-room was furnished and refurnished as necessity required. The introduction of gas, electricity and steam heat was each marked with extended discussions at the meetings.
In 1908, while Wor. James E. Allen presided, significant changes were made in the furnishings of the Lodge. Under the direction of a committee of three Brethren, Bro. H. 0. Robinson, Wor. Minot C. Wood, and Wor. Herbert W. Sibley, the Lodge expended about $1500 for the substantial and attractive furniture of the Hall. All of this furniture is still in use in our new Temple. In addition to their purchases, gifts were made as follows: The Worshipful Master's chair by the Past Masters of Eden Lodge; three station draperies, three emblems, and the letter "G" by Brothers H. O. Robinson, H. W. Sibley, C. B. Wetherby and M. C. Wood; the two middle chamber pillars by the then officers of Eden Lodge; the settees by Wor. C. B. Wetherby and Minot C. Wood. In 1912, a brother presented and installed the Masonic electric sign on the exterior of the Hall. In later years, gifts were made of the Holy Bible by R.W. Myron E. Richardson in memory of his father; and the beautiful tapestry that now hangs on one of the walls by Bro. Antoine M. Morin. It was woven in France.
For seventy years, the Lodge enjoyed a steady growth. In 1894, the membership was 132; in 1917, it had increased to 289; in 1925, the membership figures reached a peak of 350. Our present membership is 277.
Financially, the Lodge has had an interesting history. It has always met its obligations, even though on a few occasions it has had to face some deficits. Once, the Lodge ran into financial difficulties due to the carelessness of the financial officers of the Lodge. The situation was quite embarrassing, since there was no money to pay the Grand Lodge dues. But the members rose to the challenge, redoubled their efforts, borrowed money to pay the Grand Lodge, assumed assessments of $13 each to repay the loan, and thus saved the Lodge from its embarrassment. Thereafter, the treasury began to show modest balances, reserves were set up, and the situation has been normal ever since.
Eden Lodge has spent relatively large sums for charity and relief. During its history, it has spent in excess of $9000 for relief. The Lodge has always displayed a keen interest in the Masonic Home in Charlton and the Hospital in Shrewsbury. At least ten Masons of Eden Lodge, or their widows, have found shelter in the Home and the Hospital. The Lodge made substantial contribution to the Home when it was established, and later, a contribution of $1285 was made by the members in one dollar payments over a period of five years. More recently, Bro. Andrew Bryson left the sum of #3000 to the Grand Lodge in his will, and directed its use for the benefit of the Home.
During the years, the Lodge has promoted fellowship among the Brethren in several ways, notably through socials, banquets, outings, Field Days, and Balls. The first reference to a Masonic Ball is found in the records of the year 1889. It was a successful event, but it suffered a deficit of #40 which was assumed and paid by the Lodge. In 1909, the Masonic Ball was made an annual event, and continued until 1929 with the exception of the two war years. Since 1929, however, no Masonic Balls have been held. The social life of the members of Eden Lodge also found expression through the "Ware Masonic Club", an organization entirely dissociated from the Lodge, but whose membership was restricted to Master Masons. It was established on May 5, 1896, "for the purpose of maintaining a library, reading and assembly rooms, and to promote social intercourse among its members". The Club functioned in rooms on the second floor of the Sanford Block, and was well equipped with chairs, couches, pool and billiard tables, card tables, a library and a piano.
The Masonic Club was a valuable and successful enterprise, and continued as such until 1924. In that year, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge disapproved the use of the name "Masonic" in connection with clubs of this nature. Therefore, on April 23, 1924, the name was changed to "The Ware Doric Club". For various reasons, including the change of the Club's name, interest waned, the membership list shrank, and the financial burden bore heavily on the organization. In 1934, the Doric Club voted to disband. The equipment and furnishings were sold. The rooms used as a social center for the Masons of Ware for thirty-eight years were vacated.
Beginning about 1930, the State of Massachusetts began the huge project of the building of the Quabbin Reservoir. The reservoir area was then occupied by several towns which had to be vacated. One such town was Enfield, which for many years had a flourishing Masonic Lodge called Bethel Lodge. The membership was made up not only of Brethren who were residents of Enfield, but of other towns in the Valley which also were to be inundated. Eden Lodge extended its hospitality to the members of Bethel Lodge to use our Lodge Rooms during the upheaval. In 1938, Bethel Lodge voted to affiliate with us, and on May 1, 1939, a petition, requesting such affiliation, was sent to the Grand Lodge for its approval. Approval was granted. On October 27, 1939, both Lodges met for the formal Affiliation. The meeting was held in the Unitarian Church, and was attended by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Joseph Earl Perry, and his suite. Worshipful Donald S. Dinsmore was Master of our Lodge, and Worshipful O. Russell Snow was Master of Bethel Lodge. About 200 Masons were in attendance. Bethel Lodge surrendered its charter to the Grand Master for preservation and transferred its records and funds to Eden Lodge. Seventhy-six Bethren of Bethel Lodge were brought into our fellowship and care.
On June 4, 1962, the Lodge voted favorably on a motion to authorize "the Building Committee" consisting of George G. Petrie, A. Richmond Walker, Harlan Fulton, Constant South-worth, W. Edwin Gould, Joseph E. Greenwood, Joseph E. Rabschnuk, and Horatio Bisbee to acquire property and land on Pleasant Street in Ware for the purpose of new Lodge Rooms and facilities. It also authorized the formation of a non-profit corporation to carry out the financial and building aspects of this important program.
For many years, the Lodge members had anticipated and planned for such a building program. In 1892, the Lodge received rentals from other organizations that were using its facilities. As these rentals accumulated, it was decided in 1895 to place all such receipts into a Permanent Fund which could be used either for building or acquiring a home at some future time. In 1962, the Permanent Fund, deposits and interest, had accumulated to an amount in excess of $13,000. During the intervening years, several committees were appointed to study and recommend a building program, but each time the program was deferred. In 1961, however, the new Building Committee, with Rt. Wor. George G. Petrie as Chairman, was able to persuade the Brethren to proceed and bring to realization their dream of a permanent Temple.
The Committee began, with the approval of the Lodge, by purchasing the home of the late George D. Storrs on Pleasant Street, together with about three acres of surrounding land. The house was remodeled for fraternal and social uses, including kitchen, dining room, and meeting rooms. For a period of about a year, the Lodge held meetings in temporary Lodge rooms in the house. In December 1963, the contract was signed for the construction of the Temple adjacent to the house. This building will serve the Lodge for its fraternal work and business. Members subscribed to the building program with three-year pledges, and are anticipating the fulfillment of their financial obligations with complete confidence. The first meeting in the new Temple was held on April 6, 1964.
Through the years, we have been blessed with the services of Brethren who have given of their time, talent and energy for the welfare of the Fraternity. During the century nine of our members have served the Grand Lodge and our District as District Deputy Grand Masters, each for two years. We record their names as a token of our high regard and appreciation: Rt. Wor. George Robinson, 1880; Rt. Wor. George A. Marsh, 1890; Rt. Wor. Hubert M. Coney, 1900; Rt. Wor. Paul R. Bridgman, 1910; Rt. Wor. John H. Schoonmaker, 191S; Rt. Wor. D. Thomson Hastings, 1928; Rt. Wor. Myron E. Richardson, 1940; Rt. Wor. Leonard B. Campbell, 1950; Rt. Wor. George G. Petrie, 1960.
We also pay tribute and gratitude to the many members who have loyally and faithfully served the Lodge in all of its several stations. We pay a special tribute to the seventy-seven Brethren who during the century ascended the East, and directed the affairs of the Lodge honorably and successfully as Worshipful Masters of Eden Lodge.
During the century fully 800 Brethren have been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Eden Lodge. The distinction of raising the largest number in a single term goes to Rt. Wor. D. Thomson Hastings, who raised nineteen Master Masons in one of the two years that he was Master. The second largest was raised by Wor. Philip W. Robinson, who is credited with eighteen. As Masons, we are the heirs of a great moral, social and spiritual tradition which is woven into the very fabric of our Republic. Today, we are confronted with moral and social unrest in our country, and with ideological confusion throughout the world. Against powerful tides of nationalism and class conflict we must uphold the high Masonic principles of Justice, Truth and Righteousness. As Masons we have an opportunity, especially now, to practice the arts of brotherhood and reconciliation. Masonry believes that respect for God and human personality is the hope of a continuing and prosperous civilization. The hope of the future does not rest in dictators or Utopian schemes of clever minds. Masonry believes in free institutions that place human personality above physical and military coercion. We believe that the future belongs to those who cherish in their hearts not hatred, but love; not cruelty, but charity; not pride, but humility; not paganism, but religion and faith in God.
On this 100th anniversary, the Masons of Eden Lodge greet their Brethren everywhere with a confident hope of a glorious and victorious future.
- 1864 (In charter petition report, information on a disastrous fire in 1863; VI-503)
- 1881 (Election declared invalid; 1881-165)
- 1979 (Presentation of a 75-year member award, 1979-143)
CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, JUNE 1864
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXIII, No. 9, July 1864, Page 288:
Eden Lodge, at Ware, in the County of Hampshire, was constituted by the M. W. Grand Lodge on the 20th of June, in due Masonic form. This Lodge has been working a year under Dispensation, and has met with good success. It had the misfortune to lose its Hall by fire a few months since, but we are happy to learn that it is in contemplation to erect another especially designed - for its accommodation. Ware is a thriving manufacturing village, and the future success of the Lodge, under proper and efficient management, cannot be doubted.
INSTALLATION, JANUARY 1952
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XLVII, No. 2, February 1952, Page 29:
Gardner Davis, Past Master of Eden Lodge of Ware, Mass., installed his son John W. Davis as master of the lodge at a semi-public ceremony recently at Masonic Hall and in the assisting group were the Master-elect's brother, Gardner Davis, Jr., and his uncle, Freeman J. Davis of Worcester, this being the first time three close relatives have taken part in such a ceremony for Eden Lodge.
Others of the installing suite were Robert A. Sanford, Marshal; George G. Petrie, A. Richmond Walker and Myron E. Richardson.
Other officers seated: Wilmer F. Kallock, Senior Warden; Walter V. Dunham, Junior Warden; Leonard B. Campbell, Treasurer; Gardner Davis, Secretary.
Also these appointed officers: Dr. H. G. Ripley, Chaplain; Charles L. Aldrich, Marshal; Thomas H. Kulke, Senior Deacon; Ralph E. Turner, Junior Deacon; Horatio Bisbee, Senior Steward; Kenneth R. Dorman, Junior Steward; Kenneth F. Simmons, Organist; Merrill S. Howard, Auditor.
The ceremony at 8 o'clock was followed by a collation.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- William R. Barnett, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1998, 1999; Biography; N
- Horatio Bisbee, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1966, 1967; Deputy Grand Master 1980; N
- Paul R. Bridgman, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1911, 1912; Memorial
- Leonard B. Campbell, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1950, 1951; N
- Hubert M. Coney, DDGM, District 17 (Palmer), 1900, 1901, 1902; SN; Biography
- Douglas J. Fry, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1996, 1997; N
- Robert G. Goodfield, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1992, 1993
- D. Thomson Hastings, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1928, 1929; N
- Edward J. Kress, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1972, 1973; N
- Peter B. Markert, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 2002; District 25, 2003, 2004
- George S. Marsh, DDGM, District 17 (Palmer), 1891, 1892; SN
- Ryan A. Maslak, DDGM, District 25, 2019
- Paul A. Moore, DDGM, Pittsfield 16, 1995, 1996; N
- Neil A. Noble, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1982, 1983
- George G. Petrie, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1960, 1961; N
- Myron E. Richardson, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1940, 1941; N
- George Robinson, DDGM, District 18 (Palmer), 1879-1880; SN
- John H. Schoonmaker, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1915, 1916; N
- Richard A. Walker, DDGM, District 19 (Palmer), 1986, 1987; N