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Grand Master 1863-1865.


1863 1864 1865




From TROWEL, Winter 1998, Page 11, "Grand Masters of the Civil War":

William Parkman was born on May 9, 1811, and lived for 80 years. He was a graduate of the Eliot School, where he received the Franklin Medal, gift of Benjamin Franklin to scholars of highest rank, and of the English High School. From 1833 to 1880 he was in the hardware store business. Parkman served on the Boston City Council for four years and in other municipal positions. He became a member of the Lodge of St. Andrew in 1844 and was Master from 1857-1860.

During 1863 Parkman issued dispensations to eight Lodges. In April, 1864, he was faced with the destruction of the Grand Lodge building by fire. Losses were great, with many items impossible to replace. Grand Lodge now met in rented quarters. Several plans for a new building were examined at the June, 1864, Quarterly and a vote taken to build a suitable Masonic Temple at the coiner of Boylston and Tremont streets. The ruins of Winthrop House were removed and the cornerstone of the new building laid in October, 1864, with impressive numbers in attendance. Later, at a celebratory dinner at Faneuil Hall, tables were set for 700, all that the building could accommodate.

At his third installation Parkman announced that the jurisdiction now had 130 chartered Lodges, 16 more under dispensation and 11 Army Lodges, with six new Masonic Halls dedicated in 1864. A year later 500 volumes had been obtained to replace those lost in the fire. R. W. Charles C. Dame of Newburyport, Deputy Grand Master for Parkman, was elected Grand Master.

At St. John the Evangelist Day in 1865, Parkman reported 16 Lodges chartered and 12 Masonic Halls dedicated, while the dispensations of Army Lodges #4, 5, and 8 and the United Lodge of Huntington had been returned and the Lodges dissolved. Parkman then proceeded to install his successor.



From Proceedings, Page 1892-19; Presented by Past Grand Master Charles A. Welch.

Once more it becomes our duty to pay the tribute of respect and affection to the memory of one of our Permanent Members.

There are few present who were not more or less familiar with the face and form of him who was lately our Senior Past Grand Master. Until a short time before his death he was able to accompany the Grand Master on his many official visits to the different Lodges throughout the Commonwealth, and he was seldom, if ever, absent from the Quarterly and Annual Communications of this Grand Body. Always cheerful, and, notwithstanding his age, interested in everything pertaining to Masonry; quick to express his kind feelings to each individual Brother, and address, when called upon, the assembled Brethren on public occasions; he was perhaps better known to the Fraternity in general than any other of our members. He also had the good fortune to retain his health and buoyant spirits till a few weeks before his death, and was present, I believe, at the Communication, immediately preceding, of the ancient Lodge, to which he had belonged for nearly fifty years.

He was born May 9, 1811, at the "north end" of Boston, then a very different locality, as far as the character and nationality of its inhabitants are concerned, from what it is now. Boston at that time had not more than 34,000 inhabitants, and over the particular part of the city, which is now the fashionable quarter, the tide regularly ebbed and flowed. Many of the inventions, mechanical or otherwise, which are now as familiar to us as the streets in which we live, which render our houses as comfortable in winter as iu summer, which have changed the various duties and dangers, occupying the care and foresight of the merchant and trader, were then unknown. When he was a youth there was no water drank in Boston but what was drawn from wells, gradually polluted by neighboring nuisances; the houses were heated only by fires in some of the principal rooms; the postage to New York was 18 3/4 cents; it took months to learn the news from China, and sometimes even from Europe; the wharves, where scarcely a merchant having business in foreign parts is now to be found, were covered with the counting-houses and store-houses of importers. A boy, with the highest and brightest prospects, thought himself fortunate in those days to get a place in the business house of one of those merchants, though his most important duty for a year or two might be to sweep out the store, run of errands, and thus commence his business education. The only things which remain unchanged, at least in external form and perhaps in their most essential characteristics, are the public schools of the city, in which our deceased Brother was educated.

R.W. Bro. Parkman was descended from a family that settled in the northern part of Boston in 1668. When a boy he attended the Eliot School, graduating from it at the age of ten years, and receiving one of those medals, the gift of Franklin, which are bestowed upon deserving scholars. Then he went to the English High School, and after finishing his education there, entered into the employment of a gentleman well-known to some now present, became his clerk, and was admitted as a partner in the business in 1833, when he was twenty-two years of age. This partnership continued, with only a slight change, (the admission of his son in 1878), till 1880, when it was dissolved. At that time our Brother retired from active business.

During the administrations of Mr. Seaver and Mr. Rice, afterwards Governor Rice, as Mayors of Boston, Brother Parkman was a member of the City Council, and served, by the appointment of Mayor Rice, as a trustee on the building of the Public Library. It is unnecessary to mention other positions held by him; but allow me to allude to his being a member of the choir of the Unitarian Church, originally on Hanover street, and afterwards located on Freeman place, because most of you must know that he joined not only with heart, but with voice, in the singing of those hymns, with which we so appropriately commence the Communications of this Grand Lodge. Alas! his voice will no longer join with ours; will no longer assist in those invocations to Deity, which have so favorable an effect in disposing our hearts and thoughts to the harmonious consideration and brotherly discussion of those questions, of ten-times of considerable importance, which on such occasions are to be considered, discussed and finally decided.

Our Brother received his Masonic degrees in the Lodge of St. Andrew; was admitted a member December 12, 1844, and was a regular attendant upon its Communications from that date until a few weeks before his death. He was its Worshipful Master from November, 1857, to November, 1860, and quite lately filled for a year or two the position of its Chaplain. April 7, 1847, he was exalted in St. Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter; and May 5, of that year, became a member of that Chapter. He received the Orders of Knighthood in Boston Commandery, February 9, 1848, and became a member April 19 of that year. He was a charter member of DeMolay Commandery, which was an offshoot from Boston Commandery, chartered October 10, 1848, and was its Eminent Commander two years (1859-1861); acting as such on the visit of that Commandery to Richmond, Va., in 1859. Two Masonic Bodies claim the honor of adopting his name as their own William Parkman Lodge, of Winchester, and William Parkman Commandery of Knights Templars, of East Boston.

He was elected Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts December 10, 1862, and was installed on the 30th day of that month. He held that office from the latter date until December 27, 1865, when he was succeeded by R.W. Brother Dame, who fortunately remains with us, to assist and guide his Brethren with his counsel. .It was during the Grand Mastership of Brother Parkman that the Winthrop House, standing where the Masonic Temple, Boston, now stands, and in the fifth and sixth stories of which were the Masonic apartments, was totally destroyed by fire, with much valuable property, some of which can probably never be replaced. On October 14, 1864, as Grand Master, he laid the cornerstone of our present Temple. Some of those present must remember the manner in which the procession of that day was regarded by our citizens, so different from the reception accorded to that on the occasion of the laying of the corner-stone of our former Temple, on the corner of Tremont street and Temple place.

He was an active member of the Supreme Council of the A.A.S. Rite for the N.M.J., and an honorary member of its various subordinate Bodies in this city. In all these organizations Brother Parkman took an active interest, but his thoughts were chiefly occupied, and his heart chiefly interested, in the Lodge, to which he belonged for so many years, and in this Grand Lodge, of which he was the Senior Past Grand Master.

Brother Parkman was especially remarkable for the readiness with which he would respond when called upon to address the Brethren, so as to raise their spirits and cheer their hearts. Although we regret that we shall no longer enjoy his presence among us, we can hardly complain, since he was spared to us to so ripe au age. Providence has allowed us the satisfaction, during many years, of enjoying his presence, and of catching from him some portion of the enthusiasm, which age did not lessen; which none of the misfortunes, to which every man in a long life is to some extent subjected, could extinguish.

We shall miss him at these Quarterly Communications. We shall miss him still more when we meet together at the Feast of St. John. The Grand Master will miss him as, in the discharge of the duties of his office, he visits the various Lodges of this jurisdiction, accompanied by Brethren, hardly any one of whom will be 60 well known to the members of the various Lodges as he was. The older members of this Grand Lodge will feel that another link has been broken from the chain, which connected them with the past; with Grand Masters Lewis, Heard and Gardner; never to be reunited till they also join the vast assemblage who have preceded them.

"The praise of those who sleep in earth,
The pleasant memory of their worth,
The hope to meet when life is past
Shall soothe the saddened mind at last."


From Proceedings of the Massachusetts Council of Deliberation AASR NMJ 1892, Page 51:

Our Illustrious Brother, William Parkman, was born on the 9th of May, 1811, in that part of the town of Boston called the “North End,” which comprises the larger portion of the Boston which makes so grand a figure in our Revolutionary history. He was very proud of his good fortune in being born among the stalwart mechanics of that locality, a near neighbor of Paul Revere, who died in 1818, and to whom he had often doffed his cap, as he boasted. So strong was his attachment to that quarter that in spite of the great changes in the character of its population in point of wealth, nationality, and social standing, it was not until 1859, when he was nearly fifty years of age, that he reluctantly transferred his household gods to the “South End,” the opposite extremity of the city, and to the house where he died on the 26th of December, 1891.

His education was gained in the Eliot Grammar School and the English High School, both of Boston. On leaving the latter, at the age of fourteen, he entered the retail hardware store of Joseph West, then on the corner of South Market Street and Merchants Row, and five years later removed to No. 5 Dock Square, where a whole generation of our Fraternity was afterwards accustomed to seek Masonic light and Masonic charity. So well and so faithfully did the boy serve his master for eight years that in 1833, at the age of twenty-two, he was admitted to a partnership in the business, which continued without interruption until the year 1880, when the firm met with reverses, and both of the venerable partners retired from active business.In the prime of life and in the height of his prosperity "Bro. Parkman sought admission to the Masonic Fraternity. He was initiated in St. Andrew’s Lodge, of Boston, Sept. 12, passed Oct. 10, raised Nov. 14, and admitted to membership Dec. 12, 1844.

He was initiated at the time when our institution began to show the first signs of recovery from the effects of the anti-Masonic excitement. It was in that year that a charter was granted by the Grand Lodge to Star of Bethlehem Lodge, of Chelsea, the first after an interval of nearly eighteen years. St. Andrew’s Lodge was then composed principally of residents of the “North End.” They were the neighbors of Bro. Parkman, and of course knew him well. From the time when he was admitted to membership until his death, he was very regular in his attendance upon the Communications, and very active and efficient in the performance of the work and duties of the Lodge.

He was exalted in St. Andrew’s Royal Arch Chapter, of Boston, on the 7th of April, 1847, and was admitted to membership in the following month. He received the Orders of Knighthood in Boston Encampment Feb. 9, 1848, and became a member April 19 of that year. On the 10th of October following, DeMolay Encampment was chartered, and Sir William Parkman was named in that document as First Captain of the Guards.

He received the degrees of the Ancient Accepted Rite, from the fourth to the thirty-second inclusive, in the respective Bodies opened within the Supreme Council, at its annual Convocation in the city of Boston, on the 9th and 10th of April, 1856. He was received and proclaimed a Sovereign Grand Inspector-General and admitted an active member of the Supreme Council on the 16th of May, 1861.

He was W. Master of St. Andrew’s Lodge from November, 1857, to November, 1860; Eminent Commander of De Molay Commandery from 1859 to 1861; Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts in 1863, 1864, and 1865; Grand Treasurer of the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island from Oct. 8, 1856, until the 31st of October, 1879, when he declined further service. He was Treasurer of the Supreme Council from May 20, 1861, until May 21, 1864, when he resigned. He held many other Masonic offices, too numerous to mention. But a striking fact is brought to our notice in the examination of his record in this particular: and that is the facility with which he seemed to pass, almost from the ranks, to the highest and most responsible positions in the various organizations, rarely filling the subordinate offices. In the Grand Lodge, although for a series of years a member of important committees, such as those of Finance and Charity, and a Trustee of the Charity Fund, the only office he ever held, before he became Grand Master, was that of Director, which he filled only the year before. His experience in this particular would seem to indicate a remarkable adaptability for the highest Masonic offices and a remarkable appreciation of his abilities, and great personal respect and regard, on the part of his Brethren.

He was Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts during the last two years of the late civil war. In that capacity he laid the corner-stone of the Masonic Temple, in which we are now assembled. On retiring from that office he seemed to lose none of the interest with which he had regarded the Grand Lodge or the subordinate Lodges. Indeed, even during the last ten years of his protracted life, he seemed to give himself no rest from attendance upon Lodge, Commandery, and Scottish Rite Bodies; and at each and all of them he always had a cheerful smile and a lively salutation for every individual Brother, as well as an earnest, soul-stirring appeal to the whole assembly, if required.D

During a portion of the period when he was Master of the Lodge of St. Andrew, he was also the Eminent Commander of DeMolay Encampment, of Boston. Of the latter Body he was the Acting Commander during its famous first pilgrimage to Richmond, in May, 1859. On account of the serious illness of the Eminent Commander, Brother Parkman was suddenly called upon to take the lead, and most admirably did he discharge the arduous duty thus unexpectedly devolved upon him. During the whole of that tumultuous week, from start to finish, he was the target for “arrows shot from well-experienced archers”; but those he returned were scarcely less “swift-winged,” and went as straight to the mark.“ Your fathers proved me and saw my works forty years.” This was the sentiment that seemed spontaneously to rise to the lips of our Illustrious Brother Parkman, when of late he was called upon to address an assembly of his Brethren. For more than forty years has he gone in and out before them, often wearing the badge of important official station, and always displaying “the light of a pleasant eye,” “the thrill of a happy voice.” By pearly two generations has he been so often seen, and so often heard at our Masonic meetings, that probably no Brother among us was ever more generally known, and surely none was ever more cordially greeted and welcomed on such occasions.

He was not a profound thinker, a skillful organizer, a successful administrator, or a shrewd financier, although he thought he was all these. But he had remarkable staying qualities, and his heart was in it. He was brimful and running over with enthusiasm on any subject in which he took an interest, and especially on Masonry; and he had a happy faculty of inspiring those about him with the same spirit. He never seemed to aim to utter weighty words, but rather to pour out the “genial current” of his own soul, and to give vent to abundant thanksgiving that it had been his good fortune to be made a Mason at such an auspicious season, when every Brother he met was such a noble specimen of humanity. Thus he always sent us away, after one of his infectious speeches, filled with respect for ourselves and the warmest affection for the orator, who, as all would agree, was a Mason from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot.

Fraternally submitted,
Sereno D. Nickerson, 33°,
Charles C. Dame, 33°,
Samuel H. Gregory, 33°,



From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXII, No. 4, February 1863, Page 107:


Brethren— The arduous duties of the day having been accomplished, and the new officers duly installed this evening, upon assuming the head of this Grand Body allow me to express to you my profound thanks for the confidence you have reposed in me, in electing me to this high position. Be assured I come profoundly impressed with my own responsibilities to the Institution and to you. When I cast my eyes over the Portraits around this Hall, I see the pleasant faces of those distinguished men who have preceded me, and when I reflect that they were men of learning, intellect, high social position, and great Masonic skill, a feeling of fear overshadows my joy ! But when I look further, and see the faces of those who live, and are still with us, and look around upon these dear, friendly, Brotherly companions, with whom I am so intimate, and behold the encouraging smiles of all about me, I feel I cannot fail, but that all the duties of my position will be fulfilled. My heart is filled with gratitude while I think of the many blessings of our beloved Institution, for the last fifteen years. Our prosperity has been without check, and unexampled —unwavering success has crowned our every effort. Rapid growth, great influence in popular esteem, and the addition to our numbers, mostly from those in the higher and best social positions — all these things have been so fully laid before you by the retiring Grand Master, that further reference to them is unnecessary, and I will only express the hope that our prosperity may long continue.

From year to year words of caution have been addressed to you from this place, and never, my Brethren, were they more needed than now. Applicants too easily find admission at our portals, merely on negative recommendations. This ought not to be! Every applicant should have a character unspotted; a clean reputation; a respectable position in society, and means to obtain a living. If he has not these qualifications, you should not hesitate to reject him, for negative good men only swell number without increasing strength or usefulness.

Again, my Brethren, I would caution you against an increasing and dangerous evil — a disposition to alter our old and established ritual, and interpolate with new phrases that which we have received in its purity, from our predecessors. I respectfully call attention of the Masters of Lodges to their declaration upon installation, that it is not in the power of any man or body of men to change the platform of our Institution, and I earnestly exhort all to discourage attempts at change, and enjoin the strictest pertinacity to the ancient land-marks of both work and ritual, as taught by, and exhibited in, Grand Lodge, this day.

I would cheerfully commend to the fraternity the cultivation of Music in the Lodges, and the formation of choirs, whenever convenient, that the opening, initiation, and closing ceremonies, may have the aid of good music; its effect is pleasant upon the Lodge, and while it adds much to the impressive dignity of our ceremonial, it is also a great help to promote social harmony among the members.

From various causes, this Grand Lodge has been, for the last four years, many times before the public, in full regalia, and these displays have occasioned much comment among our older Brethren. My own impression is against public parades; and I most respectfully suggest that we should only appear in public upon great and important occasions of general public interest. Frequent public displays tend to provoke comments from the curious and uninformed. We never ask or seek to proselyte. We ask the public to esteem us only as good citizens. A word for our Charities and I have done. For many years I have had intimate knowledge and connection with all the charities of our Institution, and although the different Orders have given with liberal hands and warm and sympathetic hearts, and done great good, this branch of our Institution has hardly given commensurate with our success. For the purpose of meeting promptly this want, I have added two new members to the Charity Committee, and will, from time to time, call their attention to larger and renewed charities; and I doubt not this Grand Body will cheerfully contribute in the liberal spirit provided by our Constitution upon the subject.

With these few cautions and suggestions, allow me, my Brethren, to ask of you, one and all, a renewed confidence in our beloved Institution, and in each other. Let the most patriotic purposes warm your hearts, and Charity, the central idea of Freemasonry, warm and stimulate us to help the poor and distressed, and comfort the widow and the orphan; and may the All-wise Giver of all good, plenteously endow us with the corn of nourishment, the wine of refreshment, and the oil of joy. So mote it be. — Amen and Amen.


From Original Proceedings, 1864, Page 81:

Brethren — With the ceremonies of Installation just completed, the labors of the present year are closed and another page of history is added to the time honored records of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Through your kind preferences, my Brethren, I have been for the third time called to the highest Masonic honor, and be assured I am deeply impressed with the honor and responsibility, and I most sincerely thank you. Before I shall lay before you the account of my stewardship, I ask you, one and all, individually and collectively, to join with me in aspirations of devout gratitude to Almighty God for the unnumbered blessings we have been permitted to enjoy — while war — terrible, fratricidal, bloody and wicked, has divided our beloved country and shaken its institutions to their very foundations — while our relations North and South have been broken asunder and almost destroyed — while many portions of our land have been suffering from invasion, we have been permitted by the blessings of God to quietly meet undisturbed either by invasion or the horrors of war; we have been allowed to assemble around our altars and pursue the blessed mission of our Institution secure in social peace and free of harm. We have been blessed with a success hitherto unequalled — and an accession of numbers altogether unparalleled in a new, and more especially in an old established jurisdiction like this of ours.

Our accession of numbers has been from the best portions of the community; and all the old Lodges as well as new, have been doing a large, and as I have reason to believe, a safe business. A spirit of harmony pervades our whole jurisdiction and more than ordinary courtesy exists among the country Lodges. The year has been full of history to us! Never since the establishment of our Institution in this country has there been such large accessions to our numbers. Men of all ranks, but more especially from the active business walks and the higher social relations are pressing forward and asking to join our standard—while it becomes us to encourage all truly good men, who have a clear, fair, unblemished reputation and character, by giving them a membership, it also becomes the imperative duty of every earnest and true-hearted Brother, to carefully guard the approaches to our sanctuary — admit no man of a bad or even questionable reputation — for such only seek us for selfish ends; and however worthy or otherwise influential, they are simply notorious, and will always be found to deceive the moment they are admitted to our confidence.

It is my earnest exhortation to you, one and all, to use extreme caution in your admissions; do not for any one in any way lessen the highest possible standard of moral excellence to be demanded of a candidate before passing our portals.

In this connection lot me observe there is existing a misapprehension about rejected candidates — some Brethren think they may have permission from another Lodge. This is not so. No candidate can be proposed to any other Lodge after rejection — unless upon the recommendation of the Master, Wardens and three Brethren of the Lodge where he was rejected. This is an imperative law. Permission cannot be given, it must be a recommendation. During the year, I have been in constant personal intercourse with the officers of most Lodges, and that intercourse has been a source of very great satisfaction; the utmost courtesy and good will — the strongest loyalty to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, and the most earnest desire to pursue the right has been manifest in every Brother who has sought me for advice ; and it has left a deep impression upon my mind as to the sure growth of our principles when the fact appears, that in no single instance during the year, has an unkind or un-Masonic word or sentiment been expressed by those who have sought advice from me as Grand Master.

All the Lodges now under Dispensation arc in a flourishing condition; and every one will be likely to grow, and in due time will no doubt be honored with Charters. Without invidious distinction, I would observe that upon a visit to Amity Lodge, of Danvers, — since constituted, — made during the summer, I was most agreeably surprised at the absolute perfection with which the ritual was given — and the efficiency of every officer. This Lodge during the year of dispensation initiated no less than forty-three in number.

Oct. 11, I made a visit to Wm. Parkman Lodge, of Winchester, — and though under Dispensation, and only a few months old, the Brethren with a most commendable liberality and perseverance have fitted a beautiful hall and ante-room in the most tasteful manner. The work and ritual was beautifully presented, and the accessions brought in are just such ashlars as will tend to beautify our Temple.

A few days since in company with several Grand Officers, we made a visit to Hope Lodge, of Gardner, now under Dispensation; this Lodge's Dispensation is dated February 17, and had but seven petitioners. Since then they have conferred the degrees upon twenty-three candidates, and are doing well. The work exhibited was absolutely the most perfect I have ever seen; all the officers are excellent workmen and skillful lecturers; and no Brother is permitted to be advanced from one degree to another until he can pass a critical examination in presence of the assembled Lodge; a most excellent provision, which is earnestly commended to all Lodges, both old and new, and which will be found to largely advance the interest of every Lodge in which it may be adopted.

Army Lodges, though doing less the past than former years, are all doing work; and what is doing, so far as I can learn, is well performed. These Army Lodges are found to be a source of great Masonic pleasure to those who are permitted to enjoy their Communications.


The great prosperity of our Institution, and the vast numbers seeking admission thereto, has occasioned a call for Dispensations so great, as to cause very deep solicitude and anxiety in the minds of many, as to granting this means of initiation under any circumstances whatever.

It will be observed that although I have in every single case this past year insisted the name should be presented at the regular Communications, yet the large number of one hundred and fifty-six Dispensations has been granted by your Grand Master alone.

This has occasioned me a good deal of solicitude and earnest thought, for I am fully satisfied that such accessions as come to us by Dispensation, are far less valuable than would be the Me number presented in the ordinary way. Few of them become affiliated and contributing members—while most of them go immediately abroad—and at once assume our extended useful connection with men of every sect, country and language; always obtaining what Utile of the Ritual they may, from the body initiating them at a cost of an extra meeting, which, with us in Boston, is quite equal to the whole sum of admission. I would respectfully suggest for consideration some such regulation as this : — From and after date no person shall hereafter receive the three degrees of Freemasonry by Dispensation, except upon payment of ten dollars for the three degrees, if at one time; or the sum of four dollars for each degree so received separately — the above named fee in addition to the regular fees for degrees in the Lodge where proposed; and one half of such extra fee to be paid into the hands of the District Deputy for the use of the M. W. Grand Lodge.


To the District Deputies are due my most sincere thanks for their fidelity, zeal and untiring watchfulness of the important trusts committed to their hands. The duties in every District have been much larger than in any former year; but they have been performed in every case in the most satisfactory manner. Many of the Districts have become by recent additions considerably enlarged, but such is the prompt and efficient action of my excellent co-workers, that with two single exceptions, every Lodge has had the pleasure and honor of an official visit once, and many have twice, and some more often. Among the country Lodges a custom is obtaining of inviting upon visitations, delegations of the Brethren from neighboring Lodges to be present; it is an excellent custom, and productive of great good; and while it always promotes social feelings—the fact that upon these occasions many assemble around the social board and break bread together, warms and stimulates all to higher and more earnest action.

The Reports of the Deputies are all full, explicit and complete; and, where all are so excellent, special mention may be deemed invidious. I have, therefore, submitted them all for your examination, and they will be printed at length in our Annual Proceedings. I trust, my Brethren, you will one and all, feel equally grateful with me to the Deputies when you shall carefully examine those excellent Reports, which will inform you how every Lodge in our jurisdiction is working. I herewith submit for your inspection a detailed report of the work of the year.


In this department our correspondence is very limited. Our relations with all the Grand Lodges arc pleasant, and we are in receipt of the Annual Proceedings of every Grand Lodge in the United Slates. They are placed upon the shelves of our Library, subject to the perusal of any Brother who may desire to inspect them. They are full of information, but mostly of a local character, and I have deemed it wiser to so refer the Brethren than to present extracts therefrom. To our sister Grand Lodge of Maine, we have respectfully referred in another connexion.

Statistics, list of dispensations and visits appended.


From Original Proceedings, 1865, Page 33:

Brethren,— Another year has passed, and with it another page of our Masonic record is to be this day finished. Before we proceed with the important business of the hour let me ask you all to join with me in the expression of the most fervent gratitude to Almighty God for the unnumbered blessings we have enjoyed; for health, for prosperity, for the pleasure of meeting each other once and again within our Masonic home; and, above all, for the return of that blessed peace which now reigns throughout our beloved country.

A short year since, when we were here assembled on the anniversary of St. John's Day, a large portion of our country was the scene of terrible warfare. Brother was armed against brother, section against section, and our beloved land was distracted by a bloody, fearful, fratricidal war. During the last few months our arms and the Union have been successful. Our cause has triumphed. Justice, and civil and religious liberty are again the law. Thanks be to God that the Stars and Stripes of our glorious old flag now proudly float over every State capitol in our land ; and all men, of every color, who claim common citizenship, are Free. Arts and manufactures are again busy throughout our land; the sails of our gallant merchant-ships are again whitening every sea, blessing the nations of the earth with our extended and increasing commerce, which is at once the corn, wine, and oil of the world.

While this fearful war has raged, and while all these tribulations have beset the American people, our beloved Masonic Institution has pursued the even tenor of its way more undisturbed than any other civil organization. During the past year we have enjoyed unexampled prosperity. With the great increase in numbers there has been n most liberal addition to the wealth of our general funds and property. No less than twelve new halls have been dedicated to Masonic uses within Massachusetts alone. Indeed so rapid has been our growth, and so large the accession to . our numbers, that many of our older and more thoughtful brethren express the deepest anxiety lest we should he growing too rapidly for our own good.

I would urge upon all the utmost care in the selection of candidates. Let no man pass the ballot-box who has not a fair, unblemished reputation, not simply of a negative character, — one of which no one speaks ill, — but of a positive good character, embodying the full integrity of a Man. My deep conviction is, that of the large numbers so rapidly being introduced into our institution, few, very few pause to analyze the beautiful allegory to which they have been introduced. The esoteric beauties of Masonry can be attained only by the careful, thoughtful, earnest student, who, while he sees will think, and while he reads will deeply and carefully reflect. Those who progress slowly, observing all as they pass, gain knowledge by degrees, which they enjoy, and thus they realize that "a thing of beauty is a joy forever." I most earnestly exhort all the Lodges to return and firmly adhere to the old landmarks. Let no candidate be advanced unless he is thoroughly familiar with the work and ritual of the degree he has passed. This is our only safeguard for making intelligent and appreciative Masons.

I again call your attention to the vexed subject of Dispensations, to which so many of the annual addresses have alluded. The number granted this year is very large, though less in proportion than the last year. In almost every case where the degrees are so conferred they are more hurried than if given in the regular course, and always with increased cost to the Lodge. In my judgment, the only true remedy for the evil will be found in the firm resolution of all Masters to decline asking for Dispensations, except upon the most urgent necessity.

To the District Deputy Grand Masters I return my sincere thanks for their prompt and unwearied zeal in the discharge of the duty assigned them. All have been active ; and the full and complete Reports for the various Districts will he printed for your perusal, and will give a complete history of the conditiou of all the Lodges in our jurisdiction. Where all have done so well any especial mention would seem invidious, and I can only say to them, one and all, in behalf of the M. W. Grand Lodge, I most sincerely thank you.

I herewith submit a detailed statement of work accomplished by the Grand Master and the District Deputies.

  • The whole number of Lodges Chartered and under Dispensation in the Commonwealth is now: 113
  • Whole number of affiliated brethren: 16,000
  • Whole number of initiates the present year: 2,901
  • Whole number of initiates in 1863: 1,700
  • Whole number of initiates in 1864: 2,500
  • Whole number of initiates in 1865: 2,904
  • TOTAL: 7,104
  • December 8. Renewed the Dispensation of Army Lodge No. 8, for one year from November 18. Located near Petersburg, Virginia.
  • December 14. Dispensation for Mount Hollis Lodge at Holliston. E. F. Whitney, W. M.; W. H. Packer, S. W.; G. T. Daniels, J. W., and ten others.
  • February 11. Dispensation for Golden Fleece Lodge at Lynn. T. G. Senter, W. M.; H. C. Blethen, S. W.; John G. Dudley, J. W., and twenty-six others.
  • February 22. Dispensation for Lodge of Eleusis at Boston. Henry W. Warren, W. M.; Richard Briggs, S. W.; George P. Sanger, J. W., and twenty-one others.
  • May 9. Dispensation for Athelstane Lodge at. Worcester. Henry Goddard, W. M.; H. T. Bigelow, S. W.; E. P. Woodman, J. W., and twenty-eight others.
  • June 12. Dispensation for La Fayette Lodge at Roxbury. Charles J. Danforth, W. M.; John Kneeland, S. W.; William Hobbs, jr., J. W., and twenty-one others.
  • June 15. Dispensation for Konohassett Lodge at Cohasset. George Beal, Jr., W. M.; James H. Bouve, S. W. ; Zaccheus Rich, J. W., and eleven others.
  • August 8. Dispensation for Acacia Lodge at Gloucester. Fitz J. Babson, W. M.; George B. Honnors, S. W. ; William H. Steele, J. W., and seventeen others.
  • September 1. Dispensation for Artisan Lodge at Winchendon. John G. Folsom, W. M. ; Francis W. White, S. W.; Wildes P.
 Clark, J. W., and twenty-six others.
  • September 18. Dispensation for [ James Otis Lodge at Barnstable. James Marston. W. M.; Elijah Lewis, S. W.; Elisha Jenkins, J. W., and six others.
  • June 22. A new Hall and suite of ante-rooms for the William Parkman Lodge, of Winchester. This is one of the most beautiful halls within our jurisdiction, and every apartment, shows the skill of a master workman. The occasion was enlivened with music of a high order, most beautifully performed in the presence of a crowded assembly.
  • July 8. A new Hall for John T. Heard Lodge, Ipswich.
  • July 20. A new Hall and suite of ante-rooms for Star Lodge, Athol; fitted by the brethren at considerable expense, and furnishing them a convenient hall of their own.
  • December 22. A new Hall for Day Spring Lodge, Monson; a very neat and commodious apartment.
  • December 25. A new Hall at Harwich; an exceedingly neat room and apartments, very comfortable, and reflecting great credit upon the liberality of the brethren.
  • January 25. Publicly installed the officers of Bristol Lodge at Attleboro, in presence of a large audience. The Lodge is well organized, and in excellent working condition.
  • April 13. Visited King Hiram Lodge of Provincetown. This Lodge was chartered in 1795, and is full of new and active material. They have upon their roll many very true and excellent old members, whose ardor is still unabated. The visit was one of more than ordinary interest.
  • April 28. Visited Wyoming Lodge at Melrose upon the celebration of the anniversary of the dedication of their very beautiful hall.
  • September 11. Publicly installed the officers of Aurora Lodge at Fitchburg. As a part of the ceremony the audience was favored with some music of a high order, performed by an excellent quartette choir.
  • October 2. Installed the officers of St. Paul's Lodge at Groton. This old Lodge is still vigorous and in good hands. The officers are expert and show the careful training of our untiring Grand Lecturer, Brother Bancroft.
  • October 31. Made an official visit to Old Colony Lodge at Hingham. Condition excellent.
  • November 16. Publicly installed the officers of Rural Lodge at Quincy.
  • November 21. Publicly installed the officers of Montacute Lodge at Worcester, assisted by the W. Grand Marshal and a full delegation. This Lodge has shown uncommon activity, and has furnished almost all the members who have formed Athelstane Lodge at Worcester.
  • December 1. Visited Konohassett Lodge at Cohasset, now under Dispensation. They have fitted a neat Hall, which is well furnished, and they are in good working condition.

In addition to the above-named visits I have accomplished about one visit each week during the whole year.


The subject of Decisions is brought almost daily to the notice of the Grand Master, from the fact that brethren are from time to time called to the office of Master who are not familiar with the duties and prerogatives of the executive officer of I he Lodge. In my opinion these decisions are, most of them, simple directions for the Master in the government of his Lodge, and I have heretofore made no mention of such action upon my part. During the past year an application was made to me which I deem of sufficient importance to bring to your notice. The Gate of the Temple Lodge, located by its Charter in that part of this city known as South Boston, applied to me for permission to remove said Lodge within the limits of the city proper. The reasons were stated to be, insufficient accommodation in the Hall now occupied; their inability to obtain a hall in South Boston suited to their purpose ; and further, if they were removed to the city proper they could obtain more work. I decided that they could not remove. Having been, by their own request, located in South Boston, and that fact being stated in their Charter, it would be unjust to all the Lodges in Boston to permit a large and active Lodge to come into their midst without their consent, and against the express provisions of its Charter. As evidence that there is no lack of Masonic material in South Boston, and that the accommodations are tolerable,! may state that, since this decision,- several brethren, among whom are Past Masters, have applied for and obtained a Dispensation for a new Lodge, to be known as Adelphi Lodge, and located at South Boston. They have commenced their labors, and I am assured with a prospect of ultimate success.


Upon the subject of the New Temple I submit to you the letter of Brother S. K. Hutchinson, who is employed to superintend the building: —


"Dear Sir and Brother, — Agreeably to your request I will give a statement of the commencement of the Masonic building. The contract for quarrying the stone was made as early as May 3d, at Concord, N. H., and by the terms of the contract the stone was all to be delivered on or before November 1st, 1866. But in consequence of the contract not being made for the cutting until the 3d of August, the stone contractor was unable to fulfill big contract, and has now delivered only about seven thousand feet. On the 8th of August the masons commenced the preparation of the foundation. A portion of the walls are now ready for the second floor. On the 9th of August the first stone was delivered to the stone-cutters, since which time they have employed from fifty to sixty men, with a prospect that the stone will be delivered in sufficient quantities to keep that number employed during the winter. The throe base courses are now set, and the foundation is ready for the stone columns. The prospect is that all the stone may be delivered at the building early in July, 1866.

A portion of the lumber for the floorings and roof is now ready, and we have the assurance of the contractor that all shall be delivered early the coming spring.

All which is respectfully submitted.
Fraternally yours,
S. K. Hutchinson.

While upon this subject allow me to express my deep regret at our seeming want of progress. It has been owing to circumstances, many of which were beyond our control. At the close of the war, in May last, we immediately set about our labors. They have been slow, but we have now the assurance from the quarry contractor that the stone shall be ready as early as wanted; and we have the promise of Messrs. Runnels, Clough & Co. that it shall be hammered in sufficient quantity to commence with the earliest spring, and that it shall be finished in the early summer, within the time specified — June 30, 1866.

We express the hope to see this noble edifice completed within the next year. When finished it will be an ornament to our beloved city, and a monument of the taste, public spirit, and liberality of the fraternity. It will be one of the most magnificent buildings in Boston. While some may question our prudence in erecting a structure of so great value at the present high cost of nil material and labor, yet with a Fraternity so largo as ours (now numbering some 15,000), it would seem that we ought to have a Home in the capital of our State, to which all our brethren can point with pride and say, "It was erected by our Fraternity."

It should be disencumbered of all mortgage. I will venture to suggest that by a little effort a plan could be.matured by which, for a Bum paid by each Lodge equal to one dollar a year for each of its members, in the short period of ten years a fund could be obtained sufficient to sweep off every encumbrance, and leave this magnificent property and building as a Home for our Fraternity in all coming time, and located, where it ought to be, in the capital of the State.

No jealousy ought to be felt by our brethren of the country towns in paying the funds for this legitimate object of our institution; for it should be kept constantly in mind that, while the branch of our Fraternity located in Boston has always occupied apartments with the M. W. Grand Lodge, the brethren have ever paid a full rent therefor, and have also expressed the utmost willingness to pay a very liberal rent for the part of the new building they propose to occupy.

Could this or any other plan be adopted by which all encum
brance should be removed from the property, the whole income
 would enable us to increase the charities of our Institution and 
fully carry out what every true-hearted brother will
 admit is a fundamental principle of Freemasonry, the help of the unfortunate. As every Lodge is represented by its three
 votes in the Grand Lodge, the rights of all will be fully protected; and what is planted here in Boston for the benefit of the Fraternity will always be subject to the action of the Grand Lodge when in session. No local influence can be brought to bear unfairly by the Boston branch of the Fraternity, who are simply tenants, and have no more right to vote than the rest of the Lodges.

Earnestly commending this whole subject to you, I express the t may receive your early and careful consideration, and such prompt action, as in a few years will permit us to have a home which shall be devoted to social culture, and the whole income of which shall be expended in charity for the unfortunate in our Institution.


Our charities, through your liberality, have been much larger than ever before. The system adopted by our Committee, has worked well; but it should be kept in mind by every brother that it is a part of his individual duty to find the needs and claims, as far as possible, of those who make application to him personally for Masonic charity. The Committee have found their task quite burdensome in consequence of the great number of applicants whose cases must be investigated before help can be granted. These labors would be much lessened if every brother who sends a case to the Committee would himself investigate as far as possible. I would further suggest that a custom has obtained to very considerable extent with many, to send indiscriminately all who may apply for any help to the Grand Master, saying to them " Go to him and he will help you." This is entirely wrong. The Grand Master is not the head of your Bureau of Charity, and it is not a part of his duty to dispense charity. He is the executive of the Grand Lodge, and in his legitimate field of labor has his full share of work. While I have always cheerfully disbursed the little put in my hands for that, purpose, I have found no day in the last year in which I have not been obliged to look for and obtain help for some applicant for Masonic charity and often for work, when perhaps the brother who sent the applicant had much better opportunity to find either for the petitioner than the Grand Master, who of necessity has his full share of calls from those without our jurisdiction. I trust these plain hints will produce reform.

On the subject of Army Lodges, there has been a great variety of opinions held and expressed. Many of our sister jurisdictions refuse, under any circumstances, to grant such Dispensations. When I entered upon my duties as Grand Master, I found my immediate predecessor had started several of that kind of Lodges on condition that they should confer the degrees only upon members of their own regiments, and natives of Massachusetts. These Lodges have all done some work; some of them a large amount; and among the records are found as well-kept and careful transcripts of proceedings as any Lodge might feel proud to emulate. Some of them have every page covered with golden records of the good done to wounded and distressed brethren, or of money spent in recovering from the field the bodies of those who have fallen in defence of our flag and sending them home to their bereaved friends.

Every dollar earned by these Lodges has been nobly expended in the true Masonic field of charity in its largest sense, and they all deserve our earnest commendation. The returns will be found with the Reports of the District Deputies.

My brethren, I have furnished you with a long record of the work of the year just closing; but it is a mere outline of the amount, of labor performed. Three years since, when your preference placed me at the head of our beloved Institution, I had great distrust of my own ability to accomplish the vast labor that would necessarily devolve upon me; but by the kind help of all my brethren, it has been accomplished, and the increased and still increasing labors have been promptly met, and, as I believe, almost entirely completed, leaving to my successor a clear docket to commence with.

Our financial condition is excellent. While our expenditures have been very heavy, our receipts from the large number of candidates have also been large. All moneys expended for visiting Lodges, either by the Grand Master and suite, or by the District Deputies, I believe to huve been well and profitably spent for the real and permanent good of the Institution.

In my judgment the social principle of Freemasonry is just as much a fundamental element as the duty of charity. The latter cannot long be kepi up and carried out unless the former is from time to time called into action to bring the brethren around the social board. With this view of the nature of our Institution I have, during my administration of affairs, always ordered an entertainment upon the day set apart for the exemplification of the Work and Lectures, at which time all present have been invited to partake of a dinner, provided at the expense of the Grand Lodge. This meeting has proved one of great interest and profit to our whole jurisdiction. As evidence of the interest manifested this year, I may state that over six hundred brethren were present to witness the exhibition of the Work and Lectures, and five hundred and twenty partook of the mid-day feast. It was truly a season of great refreshment. We were also permitted to assemble around the social board upon St. John's Day, after the Installation ceremonies.

Our Institution is in excellent condition. Funds are provided for the vigorous prosecution of the work upon our new Temple at the earliest moment of the opening spring. I trust that the unanimity which has marked your action from the moment of the inception of this vast undertaking will be continued until it shall be completed and every incumbrance upon it fully paid, so that we may point to it as our own home.

Three years since I entered upon the office of Grand Master with a deep conviction, of twenty years growth, of the firm and abiding faith in their principles, and in each other, which has always been manifested during my intercourse with the Fraternity. With the large experience of the past three years my faith has not been disappointed; but to-night, my brethren, with the whole flood of kindnesses that now swell up before my mind, I am more deeply impressed than ever before with the conviction that the divine principles of our glorious old moss-covered allegories are the true principles with which to indoctrinate the human heart, and stimulate it to high and noble purposes.

But, my brethren, I must close. Before doing so, however, allow me to say, that during all my three years of labor I have found my brethren ready at all times to aid me in serving the interests of the Fraternity. I have found with all, helping hands, and ready and willing hearts. Good purposes have been suggested all about me. Be assured I am not unmindful of these favors. While I say to each and every officer, from the highest to the lowest, I thank you ! so to every well-beloved brother now before me, or in the Institution, if he has done anything lo aid me in discharging the duties to which your preference called me, I say, one and all, I thank you!

And may peace, joy, and prosperity be our lot for length of days to come, until the last syllable of recorded time.



Grand Masters