- 1 GOOD SAMARITAN LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
GOOD SAMARITAN LODGE
Chartered By: William Sewall Gardner
Charter Date: 09/13/1871 1871-100
Precedence Date: 11/09/1870
Current Status: Active.
King Cyrus Lodge merged here, 05/22/2003.
- Nathan D. Stoodley, 1871
- James Reid, 1872, 1873
- Dan A. Emery, 1874-1876, 1883-1885
- William D. Deadman, 1877, 1878
- John G. Morrill, 1879, 1880
- Stillman J. Putney, 1881, 1882
- J. Fred Parker, 1886, 1887
- William H. Wightman, 1888
- William E. Gray, 1889
- John G. Roberts, 1890
- Frank Parker, 1891
- Walter S. Parker, 1892, 1893; SN
- J. Albert Stott, 1894
- Daniel T. Bickford, 1895, 1896
- Charles A. Loring, 1897, 1898
- Edward B. Eames, 1899, 1900
- George A. Shackford, 1901, 1902
- Richard F. Loring, 1903, 1904
- William S. Kinsley, 1905
- John F. Turner, 1906, 1907
- George H. Clough, 1908
- Harry E. Cook, 1909
- Edward W. Bancroft, 1910
- Edgar O. Dewey, 1911, 1912; Mem
- Warren L. Fletcher, 1913, 1914
- William S. Badger, 1915, 1916
- Henry H. Kinsley, 1917, 1918
- R. Scott Burgess, 1919, 1920
- Edward E. Harnden, 1921
- H. Raymond Johnson, 1922
- George H. Stimpson, 1923
- Lester K. Pratt, 1924
- W. Homer Morrison, 1925
- Charles S. Hasty, 1926
- Arthur W. Bancroft, 1927, 1928
- Preston F. Nichols, 1929
- Donald H. Morse, 1930
- Albert E. Sargent, 1931
- Frederick E. Smith, 1932; N
- Robert M. Brown, 1933
- Herbert S. Richardson, 1934
- Ernest T. Wakefield, 1935
- Ralph W. Smith, 1936
- Ralph G. Babcock, 1937; N
- Ralph S. Kennedy, 1938
- William T. Fairclough, 1939
- Clifton S. Nichols, 1940
- Percy E. Anderson, 1941
- Ernest R. Leavitt, 1942
- Frank C. Graupner, 1943
- Boyd H. Stewart, 1944
- Stanley F. Maxwell, 1945
- Carlton B. McIntyre, 1946
- M. Russell Meikle, 1947
- Clifton H. Turner, 1948
- Milton B. Viall, 1949
- Dudley B. Killam, 1950
- W. Frederick Wilson, 1951
- Walter E. Shultz, 1952
- Roy L. Sherrod, 1953
- G. Burton Long, 1954
- Edwin O. Lundberg, 1955
- Bernard M. Creaser, 1956
- Ernest R. Leavitt, Jr., 1957
- James E. Calvin, 1958
- Robert C. Birdsall, 1959
- Laurence W. Hutchinson, 1960
- Ralph C. Marden, Jr., 1961
- Ernest R. Poor, 1962
- E. Earl Thomas, 1963
- Bernard F. Cann, 1964
- Roy L. Parsons, Jr., 1965
- H. Sterling French, 1966
- C. Ward Roop, 1967
- John W. Merrill, Jr., 1968
- Anthony Catanzano, 1969
- Richard G. Flint, 1970; SN
- C. Russell Hoffman, 1971
- Walter D. Moore, 1972
- George M. Richards, 1973
- Richard H. Curtis, 1974
- Edward A. Webb, 1975
- Thomas W. Wilshere, 1976
- Neil H. Murray, 1977
- Richard W. Burgess, 1978; PDDGM
- George S. Burkholder, 1979
- Raymond D. Stephens, Jr., 1980, 1993, 1994; PDDGM
- Charles R. Prescott, 1981
- Lawrence C. Marr, 1982
- Raoul E. Daigle, 1983
- Willard Z. Margossian, 1984
- Robert K. Burgess, 1985
- Kenneth J. Beech, 1986
- Benjamin R. DeMaria, 1987
- Victor H. Call, 1988
- William H. Cook, Jr., 1989
- David C. Fallman, 1990
- Robert P. White, 1991
- William R. Bogiages, 1992
- William A. Spinney, Jr., 1995, 1996
- James C. Baxter, 1997
- Ralph C. Marden, III, 1998
- Kenneth C. Latham, Jr., 1999
- John B. Douglass, II, 2000
- Douglas F. Kydd, 2001
- Paul F. Bekkenhaus, 2002
- James W. Killiam, III, 2003
- Paul B. Craigie, 2004; DDGM
- Donald L. Scribner, 2005, 2006
- Michael J. Alves, 2007
- Bradford VanMagness, 2008
- W. Gordon Rogerson, 2009, 2010
- David S. Craigie, 2011
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Dispensation: 1870
- Petition for Charter: 1871
- Consolidation Petition (with King Cyrus Lodge): 2003
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1871 (DDGM Henry P. Perkins; Constitution of Lodge and installation)
- 1882 (Lawrence)
- 1883 (Lawrence)
- 1898 (Hutchinson)
- 1903 (Sanford)
- 1909 (Flanders)
- 1919 (L. Abbott)
- 1920 (Prince; 50th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1944 (A. Coolidge; Canopy Club)
- 1945 (Wragg; 75th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1954 (W. Johnson)
- 1964 (Osgood; reception for Deputy Grand Master Maxwell)
- 1970 (Wragg; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1975 (Maxwell; 3 visits: with Knights of Columbus; cornerstone laying; Grand Master's reception)
- 1981 (Berquist)
- 1990 (Darling; Mortgage burning; Special Communication)
- 1992 (Darling)
- 1994 (Lovering)
- 1995 (Lovering)
- 2000 (Bauer; Reception for Deputy Grand Master Richard Burgess)
- 2003 (Hicks; Consolidation with King Cyrus Lodge; Special Communication)
- 2011 (Stewart)
- 1920 (50th Anniversary History, 1920-365; see below)
- 1945 (75th Anniversary History, 1945-377; see bekiw)
- 1970 (Centenary History, 1970-548; see below)
50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1920
From Proceedings, Page 1920-365:
By Bro. Horace G. Wadlin.
We celebrate tonight the Fiftieth Anniversary of Good Samaritan Lodge. Its history has included no very remarkable event, and its really significant happenings can be compressed into few sentences. Nevertheless it seems fitting to recall them.
Of course, you all know that this Lodge did not initiate the Masonic movement in Reading. The first connection of Reading with organized Masonry was the institution of Mount Moriah Lodge, March 14, 1798, when a Charter was granted to Joseph L. Cordis, Dr. John Hart, and a Mr. Harvey. Mr. Cordis was a large landholder on the east of the lake, a man of "intelligence, judgment, and generous impulses, honorable feelings, and very high spirited. He held many important civil offices, and then, late in life, financially broken, and broken in spirit, committed suicide by jumping into the river from Charlestown Bridge, a pathetic ending of an honorable and useful life. Dr. Hart also was one of the leading men of the town, Selectman, School Committee, Justice, patriot, Vice-President of the Society of the Cincinnati.
If you glance from the car window as you go toward Boston, you note on the left an old yellow house, just east of the second group of ice-houses below the gas-house in Wakefield. This, one of the oldest houses left, was then in the old First Parish of Reading and owned by Dr. Hart. In that house, in a room especially fitted up, Mount Moriah Lodge used to meet.
The house was occupied by Harvey, the third charter member, who kept an inn there. It should have an interest for every Mason, being the first home of the Craft in old Reading. Its days are apparently numbered.
The town was divided in 1812. Four years afterward a Charter was granted to Jacob Goodwin, Daniel Flint, and others for a Lodge here, Mount Moriah approving and relinquishing jurisdiction; and the original Good Samaritan Lodge, the second Lodge accredited to Reading in the Grand Lodge record, was instituted June 10, 1816.
Jacob Goodwin I do not know. The Goodwin name is reputable in the town. Daniel Flint, from the North Parish, was one of our foremost citizens, Selectman for thirteen different years, and Representative in the General Court for twelve years — eleven of them consecutive — an office which he held when the Lodge was Constituted. Of its membership or its meetings little is known. The degrees as now worked require more elaborate paraphernalia than was used or would have been available then. But the spirit of Masonry, that spirit which is superior to all ritual or ceremony, however ancient or impressive, was no doubt the same then as now. From the beginning here, as elsewhere, it has attracted men of high standing in the community, leaders in civic affairs, so that Masonry in spirit, if not through the unbroken succession of Masonic, organization, has a respectable antiquity here.
And then came the exciting events and temporary upheaval following the supposed violent death of Morgan in 1826. Morgan's so-called revelations, whatever their importance, never created the storm which followed his disappearance. Comparatively few read them and, as I said a moment ago, Masonry does not rest merely upon ritual or ceremony, nor can it be overthrown by any disclosures such as were put forth in Morgan's name. But the furor worked up over his unexplained disappearance, carefully blown into flame by shrewd and scheming politicians, was a different matter. Parties divided on the issue of Masonry and Anti-Masonry, and somebody's corpse, never proved to be Morgan's, taken out of the Niagara River, was immediately given the Morgan label, in the hope, as Thurlow Weed said, in that immortal phrase ever since used as a symbol of political chicanery, that "it would prove a good enough Morgan until after election."
Reading in the early days took its politics, like its religion, very seriously. When Anti-Masonry became a paramount political to say nothing of a religious issue, Reading could by no means keep out of the fire. And Masonry was branded not only as a civic evil, but a religious evil also. The devil, always lurking just behind the veil to the dwellers in old Reading, was now clearly seen sequestered within the portals of the local Masonic Lodge. Families were divided on the question. A man's fidelity to his church, his standing with his neighbors, his common honesty—these were all tried by the one question, was he or was he not a Mason?
Men saw red, when there was only white or at most pale blue before them. Their very sincerity intensified their prejudices. They wasted a good deal of ingenuity, that might have been better employed, in trying to circumvent the most innocent Masonic operations, which the Masons were equally ingenious in attempting to conceal.
Parson Sanborn, the long-time leader of the flock, stern theologian of the strict Calvinistic School, whose teachings had so impressed the parish in his thirty years' ministry, that, as I was once told, the people of the town could not in a century get out of their mouths the taste of the food he had fed to them, came from his nine years' retirement to give, in 1829, a powerful Anti-Masonic address, still preserved in print, though I doubt if any of you have ever seen it.
Of course, Mr. Sanborn, whose sincerity, whose fidelity to his church, cannot be questioned, had no real experience with Masonry to justify his opinions. But that was the case with many who attacked it at the time, although aided by others who were so wrought upon that they abandoned affiliation with the Order. More than three thousand Lodges surrendered their Charters between 1827 and 1830.
Good Samaritan Lodge (the first) appears in the list of Lodges for the last time in 1840. It was no doubt moribund for some time before that. One at least of its members, Esquire John Weston, one of Reading's strong men, held tenaciously to his Masonic principles, in spite of the criticisms of his neighbors. But the Lodge died and made no sign. Its Charter has disappeared. It was never returned into the Grand Lodge, and no record appears of its formal relinquishment.
Sometime, perhaps, it may be found in some collection of old papers or in some old attic where it may have slept all these years. It is probably not a very striking document upon its face, and would attract little attention from one unacquainted with its history. But it would have a distinct interest for us.
As for Mount Moriah Lodge, it went into what a distinguished man once called "innocuous desuetude." In 1848, just fifty years after it was Instituted, District Deputy Grand Master Ordway found its Charter in the hands of one, whom, being long dead, I will not name, "and who was determined not to give it up. What actuated him I do not know. For his refusal he-was expelled from the Order, as I have found from the Grand Lodge records, and that was the final event in the obsequies of Mount Moriah Lodge. Whether its death or that of Good Samaritan Lodge was the more dignified I leave to you. What the recalcitrant member did with the Charter after that does not appear. His error was vicariously rectified, perhaps, in the person of his son, whose services in behalf of Masonry have been variously recognized, and whose fidelity was finally rewarded by his election as Eminent Commander of Hugh de Payens Commandery.
In 1828 the Anti-Masonic Party cast 33,345 votes out of 276,583 in the country; in 1829, 70,000; and in 1830, 128,000; after which the opposition ceased for a time to be a political issue. The wind of passion died away, and the flame it had kept alive went out as suddenly as it had been kindled. Good citizens who had been unduly disturbed once more slept peacefully o' nights, and the atmosphere gradually cleared itself of smoke.
Thirty years went by after Good Samaritan Lodge the first passed into oblivion. A new generation was in control. The austerities of the old theology had been softened. The single church of the old faith was itself divided. Others, of different tenets, were well established. Religion, politics, social matters, were not, as in the old days, closely confined within certain family lines. A great war had torn the country, and those who had fought side by side and returned were now drawn together by ties of a common experience in the most serious exigencies of life. They were prepared to work together with others to promote matters of mutual interest.
Reading in 1870 had a number of Masons, affiliated elsewhere, but enough to form the nucleus of a Lodge. Who first conceived the idea of bringing them together, I do not know. Thirty-four joined in the petition, of whom thirty-three became charter members, although one of the thirty-three never completed his affiliation with the Lodge. If you want a list of the leading men in the town at the time, you will find most of these names on it. I remember all but one or two personally, although when the Lodge was Instituted I was "less than man though somewhat more than boy."
At the top of the list is the name of the first Worshipful Master, Brother N. D. Stoodley. He was a comparatively newcomer to Reading, but was a "live wire," calculated to transmit a powerful current when put in circuit. Born in New Hampshire, made a Mason like many others at the beginning of the Civil War, he had been Master of the Lodge at Peterborough, where, at Lincoln's first call, he had raised a company of one hundred men, going out as Captain, returning as Major. He was the first Excellent High Priest of Reading Royal Arch Chapter, and always, until advancing years and ill health made it impossible, an active member of the Order.
Running hastily down the line we find N. H. Turner, an operative as well as a speculative Mason; James Reid, long time Selectman and Town Clerk, and otherwise connected with the activities of the town; F. B. Kimball, a leading physician at the time; Hubbard B. Cox, "a mighty hunter," whom everybody knew; D. B. Lovejoy, long Deputy Sheriff of Middlesex; C. W. Cummings; David Kendall; S. H. Dinsmore; George Grouard; Fred Harnden — all more or less connected with our not unimportant industries; Daniel Creesy and David Temple, leading builders; Edgar M. Brown, of the Boston Custom House; George W. Simes, who built "Simes' Block" on Haven Street; Daniel A. Emery, connected with Mr. Beard's watch and jewelry establishment; A. A. Prescott, our leading lawyer, a well known member of the bar in Middlesex; H. L. Cummings, and C. H. Lang, identified with the express business between here and Boston; William H. Wightman, well known citizen; Earl G. Barton, the dentist, and for a time the only dentist in Reading; a few others less prominent, but not less worthy of remembrance; and Col. Carroll D. Wright of state and national prominence, probably the most widely known of the group. Of him nothing more need be said than what was said by Theodore Roosevelt after his death in 1909: He was a public servant of the highest type. I mourn him as such, and I mourn him as a personal friend."
Today not one of the original petitioners or charter members is on our rolls. Death has claimed them all, except Bro. J. B. Lewis, Jr., who never completed affiliation with this Lodge, and who, as you know, still lives in Reading. There was some informality in his case that resulted in his never completing affiliation. Before or during the Civil War, he had, as I understand the matter, belonged to a Lodge in the South, had neglected to take a dimit, and circumstances prevented his establishing his standing. He outlined the case to me recently, but in consideration of his present state of health, I did not press him for details. They are of little importance now. As for the others, their work, so far as it is embodied in this Lodge, lives after them. We enjoy the fruition of what they hoped for.
A meeting to outline an organization was held October 24, 1870, and N. D. Stoodley was by ballot selected for Worshipful Master, and other officers selected as appear upon tonight's programme. It was upon Worshipful Brother Reid's motion at this meeting that the name Good Samaritan Lodge was adopted, that being the name of the old Lodge in the town."
Various other meetings were held to perfect arrangements until a Dispensation was granted by M. W. William Sewall Gardner, one of. the most eminent of our Grand Masters. Under the Dispensation the first regular communication was held December 14, 1870. A Charter was granted by the Grand Lodge dated September 13, 1871, to take precedence from November 9, 1870. The Lodge was duly Instituted thereunder. The pendulum had swung back from 1840, and Good Samaritan Lodge, duly raised, was again in working form.
It was voted that each charter member pay the sum of ten dollars as a free gift to the Lodge. This filled the treasury with more than three hundred dollars, and a lease was taken of Ellsworth Hall, in the brick Bank Building, now known as Brande's Block. The necessary alterations were at once made to fit the hall for work, and the required paraphernalia procured. By-Laws (variously amended since) were adopted at the first regular communication December 14, 1870; and at that meeting Brother J. B. Lewis, Jr., presented the Lodge with a Bible.
At the second communication, January 11, 1871, petitions for degrees were received from H. B. Weston, Rufus B. Wright, and Evarts McQuesten, and they were duly Initiated on the same evening. They were Raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason at a special communication March 16, 1871, and were the first to receive that degree in this Lodge.
At first Wakefield was under our jurisdiction, which thus covered territory virtually identical with that covered by both the old Reading Lodges. Four early Worshipful Masters of our Lodge have come from that town, Worshipful Brother William D. Deadman, the oldest living Past Master and an honorary member of our Lodge, who is with us tonight; Worshipful Brother S. J. Putney, who is also living, and Worshipful Brothers John G. Morrill and J. Fred Parker, who have deceased. To the present time the Lodge has had twenty-eight Masters, of whom Worshipful Brothers Stoodley, Reid, Emery, Morrill, Parker, Wightman, Roberts, and Cook have died.
The question of removing Good Samaritan Lodge to Wakefield came up in 1887, and was settled by a negative vote at the one hundred and seventy-first regular communication, October 12th in that year. On December 14th, Worshipful Brother Wightman being Master, a petition for Instituting a Lodge in Wakefield was approved, and subsequently Golden Rule Lodge was Instituted there, and our jurisdiction terminated. It was temporarily weakening to our Lodge to lose its members from Wakefield, following this action, but it was unquestionably the proper course to pursue. There was a field in each town for independent Lodges, as has been abundantly shown by the results.
The Lodge was Instituted with thirty-two active members. In the first twenty-five years one hundred and seventy-six joined by initiation, and thirty-seven by dimit. Today, counting prospective additions to December 31st we have approximately four hundred and fifty. By the returns of last year, out of two hundred and fifty-five Lodges in the state, only fifty-seven had more than that number of members.
Reading Royal Arch Chapter, with joint jurisdiction over neighboring towns, was chartered November 20, 1872, and has always occupied rooms jointly with this Lodge. In 1893 the initial step was taken that resulted in the formation of a chapter of the Eastern Star.
In 1892 it seemed desirable to seek other and better quarters. The Odd Fellows were then remodeling a recently acquired building, and at the two hundred and thirtieth communication of Good Samaritan Lodge, in December of that year, a suggestion was received from them looking towards the leasing of apartments in their-reconstructed building. Action was deferred and finally did not take that direction, as the erection of the building now occupied by us seemed to offer greater advantages.
July 19, 1893, it was voted to take apartments here, and the first regular communication (the two hundred and forty-third of the Lodge) was held in the new Lodge-room January 10, 1894. Worshipful Brother J. Albert Stott, who completed fifty-three years of Masonry in May of the present year, was installed as Master at that meeting. He was elected Master at the last meeting in the old hail, succeeding Worshipful Walter S. Parker, and Brother W. M. Scott began with him his long period of efficient service as Secretary. Bro. Elbridge D. Smith was Tyler, and he will complete thirty years' faithful service in that office next month, and is approaching his fiftieth Masonic year, being the fifteenth member who joined this Lodge while it was working under Dispensation.
At that first meeting here, in January, 1894, twenty-one members were present besides the sitting officers who were completing their terms, namely: Worshipful Brothers Stoodley and Wightman; Brothers J. W. Webster, W. S. Brown, W. II. Willis, E. B. Eames, J. W. Grimes, 0. B. Buggies, James Hamilton, G. A. Strachan, 0. L. Akerley, W. M. Scott, M. F. Charles, M. C. Skinner, R. F. Loring, M. L. Derrick, J. S. Ellenwood, F. F. Strout, 0. N. Willis, and H. H. Atkinson. And there were four visitors: Brothers Parsons, Blethin, M. Parker, and E. C. Farwell.
Brother Edward F. Brooks, who afterwards lost his life by the sad railway accident on Main Street, applied for degrees at that meeting; and Brother A. E. Winship, the eminent educator, was given a dimit.
The first work in the new room was performed at a special communication on the 16th of January, 1894, when Brothers E. W. Perry and James N. Stimpson were Brothers Arthur D. Gordon, Charles L. Richardson, Percy G. Hayden, and William H. Kingman, were Raised to the sublime degree, first of a long line to be Raised in this room.
The Worshipful Masters who have followed Worshipful Brother Stott are all living, except Worshipful Harry E. Cook, who met with a fatal accident after removing from Reading. They are Worshipful Brothers Bickford, C. A. Loring, Eames, Shackford, R. F. Loring, W. S. Kinsley, Turner, Clough, Bancroft, Dewey, Fletcher, Badger, H. H. Kinsley, and the present Worshipful R. Scott Burgess. To them and to their co-workers the unprecedented growth of the Lodge in recent years, is in no slight measure due. It would be invidious to mention any specially out of that group. You know them, although some are no longer with us. The men who have been responsible for the degree work of the last twenty-five year period, have spared no effort to do that work creditably, and their sacrifice of time and talent in behalf of the Lodge is worthy of the highest praise. Certainly it would be an unpardonable omission to fail to recognize it tonight. And I may at least record anew by way of special mention the obligation the Lodge has felt to one of these Past Masters, Worshipful George A. Shackford, no longer with us, to whom this Lodge was indebted for munificent and appropriate gifts while he was in residence here.
Of the Past Masters of the earlier half of this fifty year period, besides Worshipful Brothers Stoodley and Reid Brothers John G. Roberts and Daniel A. Emery are recalled among those who have passed beyond.
Worshipful Brother Emery held the chair in 1874, 1875, and 1876, and in 1883, 1884, and 1885; a longer period by far than any other Master. "Active and zealous in his work as a Mason, prompt to advance the interests of the Order, wise in counsel, fearless in action, honest, and upright," 1 but repeat the opinion of the Lodge itself, expressed upon the occasion of his death in 1892.
Worshipful Brother Roberts died in 1891. He was always "an active and efficient member, respected and esteemed by all, a citizen who merited and received the approbation of his fellow-townsmen." The Lodge at the time deemed his loss almost irreparable. But, fortunately, no loss, however deplored, is irreparable, when men of good will are united in common purpose. What these men did has been an inspiration to others who have nobly carried on the work they laid down.
As the Lodge grows older, and its members one by one pass across the median line, death touches our Brothers more frequently, and the summons comes that no man can avoid. Since 1902 nearly fifty members have received that summons. We may call the roll, but from them there is no response. It is a roster of men whom not only this Lodge, but Reading has reason to remember with honest pride; whose services to the town in various ways may long stand as their best memorial.
Thirty-six members of Good Samaritan Lodge served in the last great war, and among its honored dead is Chester Gould Hartshorn, who "lies under the sky of France," a genial, lovable young man, who went thus to his reward.
And so I come, at last, to the latest turn in the road. Certain enlargements and improvements were manifestly desirable in the Lodge apartments, which at the end of the second twenty-five years in its history were virtually outgrown. The preliminary investigation of possibilities was entrusted to a committee, which reported in May, at the four hundred and eightieth regular communication of the Lodge. And it was thereupon voted to lease the entire upper floor of this building, and to carry out the alterations in accordance with a plan then submitted. The committee was Worshipful Brother W. S. Kinsley and Brothers H. E. Johnson and Mahlon B. Brande. The result of their work you may see tonight.
From this time Good Samaritan Lodge enters a new cycle of its life. What is past is history. Into the future I have no warrant to peer. Strong, vigorous, and faithful, its members may be trusted to carry its traditions on, to the honor of Masonry and the perpetuation of that spirit of Brotherhood which lies at the heart of our ancient Order.
And of this we may be sure. In these troubled times, when nothing seems secure in a whirling and unsettled world; when upon evenpr side the old landmarks are being removed and the old standards thrown aside,. every Masonic Lodge may be regarded as a bulwark against alien innovations which are opposed to the spirit of our civic institutions or destructive of the principles of American liberty consecrated by the sacrifices of the fathers. Destructive radicalism, either in society, religion, or politics, is not likely to find lodgment in the hearts of men who are sincerely devoted to the principles of American Masonry; nor, on the other hand, are they likely to be deaf to any cry of real injustice, or slow to remedy it, wherever found, under a false conservatism that takes no thought of progress.
I have mentioned Parson Sanborn, and his attitude toward Masonry in the early days in Reading. There was another clergyman here of the same religious communion, but of less austere tenets and far more lovable character, because mellowed by a temperament of broader spirit and a clearer comprehension of what true brotherhood means. He was a man of less intellectual power, perhaps, but of greater affiliation with men outside the charmed -circle of his church. I refer to Rev. Caleb Prentiss, whose pastorate in the old church in the South Parish, before the division of the town, covered, like Sanborn's here, a period of thirty years.
He was, in the truest sense, social, a friend of innocent enjoyment. He liked to go a-fishing; to skate with his sons and with other boys on the pond in winter, and especially he liked a good game of checkers. He was as true to the spirit of real Christianity as he was superior to the literal tenets of his hard and uncompromising faith. Such things were somewhat rare among the usual accomplishments of Calvinistic clergymen of that day, and in consequence everybody loved Prentiss, while I think few really loved Parson Sanborn, although, knowing his rectitude of character, they respected and followed him.
Mr. Prentiss understood the inner spirit of Masonry, not viewing it, like Mr. Sanborn, wholly from the outside through a screen of prejudice. And I cannot close better than by letting him speak to you in the quaint and figurative language full of Masonic symbolism that he employed when at Reading, one hundred and twenty-one years ago, on Saint Johns Day, June 24, 1799, he said in an address before Mount Moriah Lodge (and I am sure he would say the same thing if he were here tonight):
"May the members of this Lodge, in imitation of Solomon, who on Mount Moriah built a temple for God, prove themselves to be good workmen in the service of God, who need not be ashamed. May your works be planned with wisdom and skill and in due proportions. May your foundations be laid firm and strong, on the basis of truth, and righteousness. May your buildings display wisdom, strength, and beauty, and be cemented with love. May they be ornamental, useful, and durable. May you ever act upon the square of equity; keep within the compass of reason; plumb your actions with the weight of conscience; walk perpendicularly upright in the line of duty; and level your passions and affections to the rule of sobriety and virtue. May your social interviews be attended with harmony and improvement. May your social joys be temperate, pure, and refined. May your charities make you rich toward God, and secure your treasures in heaven. May you be built up holy temples to the living God, and show forth his praise. May you finally be introduced to the temple of God above, and be members of that holy society of brethren and friends, where light, love, peace, and joy shall reign in perfection; where your labors shall be your pleasures, and your existence one eternal festival of joy and praise!
75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1945
From Proceedings, Page 1945-377:
By Worshipful Edward E. Harnden.
We, as Masons, define "fortitude" as a "noble and steady purpose of the mind." On this important occasion, the seventy-fifth anniversary of our Good Samaritan Lodge, it seems eminently fitting that we acknowledge and pay tribute to an example of fortitude not excelled, and probably not equalled, by any incident in the recorded history of the Lodge.
Twenty-five years ago, in this same place, we were told in a most scholarly and interesting address delivered by Brother Horace G. Wadlin, how in 1870, thirty-four Masons living in our community gathered themselves into a concerted influence to re-establish here a landmark of social, moral and civic benefit which, through the disastrous effects of a campaign of bigotry and misinformation, had been crushed to extinction during the previous three or four decades.
As present-day Masons, it is difficult for us to comprehend how any such anti-Masonic furore as developed during the years of the so-called "Morgan expose" could have come about, but to these thirty-four men it was a very real thing. Well they knew that an attempt to reorganize Freemasonry by the formation of a new Lodge in Reading might very conceivably bring down upon them a rain of spite and abuse. They—and indeed their families and their friends—might be made to suffer, both socially and otherwise, through the reactions of a still remaining faction of misinformed zealots who continued to nurture nebulous anti-Masonic ideas. However, these thirty-four "founding brethren" of ours, imbued with a fortitude truly Masonic in its nobility of purpose and steadfastness of action, went about this important business of theirs so soundly that as a result we sit here tonight as guests and members of a Lodge of 550 Masons. As a matter of record, and in simple recognition of their work, which is beyond measurable value to us, I wish to name each one of these thirty-four men of great fortitude. They were:
- F. A. Morse
- N. H. Turner
- Charles W. Cummings
- Horace L. Cummings
- C. H. Moulton
- Charles H. Lang
- Carroll D. Wright
- Earl G. Barton
- T. C. Trow
- Daniel Cressey
- George W. Grouard
- Samuel T. Sweetser
- Harris M. Amarseen
- Jacob Graves
- Edgar M. Brown
- Frederick Harnden
- William J. Holden
- N. D. Stoodlev
- James Reid
- Frank B. Kimball
- Hubbard E. Cox
- Daniel B. Lovejoy
- Daniel A. Emery
- William H. Perkins
- William H. Wightman
- B. F. Newell
- David C. Temple
- A. A. Prescott
- George W. Simes
- David H. Kendall
- S. D. Niles
- John B. Lewis, Jr.
- Samuel H. Dinsmore
- A. L. Smith
These were the men whose names were duly inscribed in the first records of our Lodge. In the return of the petition which they submitted, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in granting the requested dispensation under date of November 9, 1870, does not mention the name of Daniel Cressey as a signer, but at the first meeting after Good Samaritan Lodge was duly constituted, on October 11, 1871, the name of Daniel Cressey heads a list of twenty-one Masons making application for membership.
We were told, twenty-five years ago, that not one of these original petitioners was then living. It is a somewhat sobering thought for me that I can recall nine of them very well and that I have more or less recollection of several of the others. There is some consolation for me in the conjecture that there may be member's with us this evening who knew them all.
The delightfully told history of the first fifty years of Good Samaritan Lodge, which Brother Wadlin gave us in 1920 and which is on record for all who wish to read, leaves little to be said upon it by so ordinary a person as myself. I freely confess that in a research of the records covering those years I came across but few items which drew my attention in addition to those already covered in Brother Wadlin's able address. It might be noted, for instance, that in some of the old-time annual communications there were half a dozen ballots taken before a Master or a Warden could be elected. But the Brethren always achieved harmony in the end.
In March of 1871, it becomes evident from the records that plans were in the making for a "sociable," such as we would now call a "family night," with the appointment of committees to arrange the various functions of the event. Behold! therefore, in the duly spread records of the special communication of March 22, 1871, written in a right clerkly hand, this entry: "On motion of Bro. Jas. Reid it was voted that the bill of fare reported by the committee on collation be accepted, with the exception of scalloped oysters."
We start then, in 1870, with a town population of about 3,000; a tax list of $28,000, including a total appropriation for schools of $7,000, and a body of thirty-four resolute Masons.
At the fifty year mark we record a population rising eight thousand and a strong Masonic Lodge of nearly five hundred members.
In this year of 1945 we are able to cite an exact figure of 12,327 for population and our membership as of the end of the fiscal year in August, 1945, was 554. It will be noted that following the mention of $27,000 as the total of town taxes levied in 1870, no further statement concerning taxes in later years has been offered. Some comparisons, when tabulated for sober contemplation, do not make for a pleasant evening.
Taking up the tale from 1920 on, we find ourselves at that time in the throes of a post-war adjustment similar in many respects to conditions which face us at this very moment. I have been told by old-time Masons that the aftermath of war brings with it a heavy influx of applications for the degrees in Freemasonry and this was certainly borne out in those years immediately following the close of World War I. Worshipful R. Scott Burgess, our youngest Past Master in point of Masonic service to be separated from us by death, was in the East during 1919 and 1920. During his first year there was the customary gradual increase in membership. The Secretary's report shows a gain in membership of twelve, from 369 to 381, for the twelve months. Then came the deluge. In Worshipful Brother Burgess" second year, there was a net gain in membership of 73. Notwithstanding the extra efforts of your officers then in line, with full and effective support by every member of the Lodge whenever called upon, the labors of ten regular and thirty-five special communications still left a solid group of thirty men, duly elected to receive the degrees, upon whom no work had been started.
You all know the Masonic way of dividing candidates into classes small enough in number so that each candidate will feel the personal application of the ceremonies of the several degrees. You will therefore immediately sense that the incoming staff of officers faced a panel of work comprising what might be called "six classes of firsts" (and, indeed, it was so termed at the time). During that year of 1921 we enrolled a new membership of 72, at the same time losing 12 by death and dimit, for a net gain of 60.
As might be expected, this surge rapidly tapered off during the next ten years, but not until we had reached what from the records appears to be an all-time high of 590 members, in 1930, did the tide turn the other way. Then, during the lean years of mass unemployment and depression, the incoming trickle of applications became meager indeed. Many members asked for dimits and the Grim Reaper stalked among us as always.
In 1943 we observe for the first time in a long period of years, a net gain in membership. Modest, to be sure—just five. But the following year gives us a gain of 35 and right after that comes our report for the fiscal year ending August 31, 1945, showing a further gain of 38. From present indications, Good Samaritan Lodge may now well be heading for a membership of 600.
The matter of mere numbers in membership, while it makes for the economic stability of any Lodge and is in general a thing to be desired, is not truly the affair of greatest import to us. Rather let us, in reviewing the progress of Good Samaritan Lodge during its seventy-five years of existence, have a feeling of pride and a sense of satisfaction in the knowledge that our Lodge, together with the whole institution of Freemasonry, has gained a place of honor and high regard in our community. And with this pride and satisfaction, we, as members of this Lodge and as Masons individually, must assume responsibility for the continuance of our tenure in this position.
We shall be assisted and strengthened in this undertaking so long as we keep firmly in mind those truths and principles of conduct which have been impressed upon us within these very walls, to the end that, under the favor of Almighty God, we may ever go forward in honorable service.
CENTENARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1970
From Proceedings, Page 1970-548:
By Brother Frank M. Stevens.
November 9, 1970 (A.L. 5970) is the 100th Birthday of Good Samaritan Lodge. It is a century of steady progress from the beginnings of 24 Charter members to our present years of continuing growth and activity. It is this event that brings us together with pride and satisfaction to commemorate this great event.
Reading's first Masonic venture dates from Mt. Moriah Lodge in 1798. It was in the First Parish which became South Reading in 1812 and the Town of Wakefield in 1868. Mt. Moriah Lodge was on the second floor of Dr. Hart's home in a specially furnished Lodge room. Many of you know this today as the Col. Hartshorne House, built in 1681 and located on Church Street in Wakefield.
Dr. Hart was a prominent man. He served Reading as Selectman, School Committee member, and Justice of the Peace. He was a patriot in the Revolutionary War and became Vice-President of the Society of the Cincinnati, a memorial society formed May 13, 1783, by officers of the Continental Army. George Washington was elected its first President in May 1784. Reading was divided in 1812, placing Mt. Moriah in South Reading. Four years later Jacob Goodwin, Daniel Flint and others applied for a charter to establish a new Lodge. Mt. Moriah Lodge approved and also relinquished jurisdiction, but finally ceased to operate about September 1829, and the Mt. Moriah Charter was finally surrendered to The Grand Lodge.
The new Lodge was the original Good Samaritan Lodge and became Reading's second instituted Lodge on June 10, 1816. Backgrounds on two of the petitioners for the Charter are known. Jacob Goodwin was a man of considerable prominence. Daniel Flint was Selectman for 13 years, Representative in the General Court for 12 years, and in other ways a leading citizen. The other Charter members left no record that we can find.
Good Samaritan Lodge continued until 1840, at which time they ceased to report to the Grand Lodge and the Charter was finally lost. The closing was caused by the national events following the "Morgan Incident."
Within the period of 1827 to 1830, many Lodges surrendered their Charters because of pressure caused by the furor. Good Samaritan Lodge linally ceased operations in 1840 as a result of these persecutions.
In 1870, Reading was a town of 2436 population. The Town Report showed a real estate valuation of $992,881 and personal property, $262,336. The school budget was $5,000 and listed the cost per pupil (ages 5-15) at $12.38. In this setting, with some misgivings and a firm determination to succeed, 34 Master Masons from Reading assembled in Ellsworth Hall on Monday evening, October 24, 1870, for the purpose of forming a Masonic Lodge.
Ellsworth Hall was on the third floor of the present Mechanics Savings Bank, Reading Square at the corner of Pleasant Street. It is now a remodeled two-story building.
Thirty-four signed the petition to the Grand Lodge and 24 later signed the Charter. Charter members were: Nathan D. Stoodley, Naaman H. Turner, James Reid, Charles W. Cum-mings, Frank B. Kimball, Daniel B. Lovejoy, Charles H. Lang, Carroll D. Wright, William H. Perkins, William H. Wightman, Earl G. Barton, Thomas C. Trow, David C. Temple, George W. Grouard, Samuel T. Sweetser, George W. Simcs, David H. Kendall, S. D. Niles, Jacob Graves, Samuel H. Dinsmore, William J. Holden, Alonzo L. Smith, Hubbard E. Cox and Daniel A. Emery.
Thirty years had passed since the second Lodge in Reading had closed its doors. The Civil War was over and the serious business of rebuilding the nation was of great importance. Wor. Brother Nathan D. Stoodley, Past Master of a Lodge in Peterborough, N.H., was elected chairman of the meeting. Brother John B. Lewis was elected Secretary. Brother William H. Perkins was appointed by the chair to procure a Dispensation from the Grand Lodge. Brother Naaman H. Turner then moved the election of officers: War. Brother Nathan D. Stoodley, Master; Jacob Graves, Senior Warden; Charles W. Cum-mings, Junior Warden; James Reid, Treasurer; W. J. Holden, Secretary.
Brother James Reid moved to adopt the name. Good Samaritan Lodge, which was the name of an earlier Lodge in Reading. The Charter Members were vouched for by Mt. Horeb Lodge in Woburn.
The Dispensation was granted and signed by Most Worshipful William Sewall Gardner, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and duly attested by Brother Solon Thornton, Grand Secretary, on November 9, 1870.
From early records, we have some idea of the caliber of men who successfully launched our present Lodge on a journey through its first small beginnings. Wor. Bro. Nathan D. Stoodley, Master of a Lodge in Peterborough, N.H., recruited a company of 100 men during the Civil War and was their Captain. He returned to Peterborough as a Major. He later came to Reading and was the moving spirit and leader in forming Good Samaritan Lodge. James Reid served as Town Clerk and Selectman in Reading. F. B. Kimball was a Physician. D. B. Lovejoy was Deputy Sheriff for Middlesex County. George Simes was the builder of Simes Block, located on Haven Street at the corner of Gould Street. Daniel A. Emery was a jeweler. A. A. Prescott was an attorney. H. L. Cummings and C. H. Lang operated an express business between Reading and Boston. E. G. Barton was listed as our only Dentist. C. D. Wright was an Army Colonel of national fame of whom Theodore Roosevelt said, at his death: "He was a public servant of the highest type. I mourn him as such and I mourn him as a personal friend."
At the November 14th meeting, it was voted to draw up a code of By-Laws, secure a Bible, and all other paraphernalia needed to furnish the Lodge. The jewels of the first Good Samaritan Lodge, cast by Paul Revere, were no longer in our possession, for they had been sold to Wyoming Lodge in Melrose. The records show that a draft was drawn by their Secretary payable to Brother Thomas Pratt of the earlier Good Samaritan Lodge for $46. on May 3, 1860. These jewels had previously been loaned to Wyoming Lodge early in 1856 when that Lodge opened.
It was voted that each Charter Member of Good Samaritan Lodge make a gift of $10. to the Lodge. They then voted to hold regular communications on the second Wednesday evening of each month.
To the officers elected, Wor. Stoodley made the following appointments: Brothers D. A. Emery, Senior Deacon; D. C. Temple, Junior Deacon; N. H. Turner, Senior Steward; S. T. Swcetser, Junior Steward; and D. H. Kendall, Marshal. The first regular communication under Dispensation of November 9th was held on December 14th. The By-Laws were read Article by Article and voted on separately. All 13 Articles were adopted.
The Organist and Tyler were to receive such salary as the Lodge decided, for each meeting they attended. In addition, the Tyler was exempt from quarterages, a term referring to the quarterly dues of $4. An initiation fee of $15. accompanied each new application for membership and $20. additional was paid on the night candidates received their First Degree. A Brother who affiliated was charged a $10. fee.
The March 8, 1871 meeting was highlighted by our first applicant from North Reading, Grafton F. Abbott.
The April meeting produced applications from South Reading, later to be named Wakefield, from William D. Dcadman, Samuel H. Gowing and William H. Bridges and one from Wilmington, John G. Morrill.
An appeal by the Grand Lodge for donations to the victims of the Great Chicago fire was read at the November 8, 1871 meeting. A collection was taken up and sent to the Grand Lodge "to use as they saw fit."
An invitation was extended to the Lodge members at the October 1872 meeting to be present for the installation of officers in the recently formed Reading Royal Arch Chapter to be held in the same Lodge room.
In 1873, we find the first application with age and occupation stated in the record by N. D. Stoodley as Secretary. However, he never bothered to number the meetings; this task was assumed by Wor. James Reid when he became Secretary the following year. He went back to the 14th Regular and brought them up to his 24th Regular Communication.
May 13, 1874 must have been a very special occasion. The Secretary reported as present: 12 officers, 22 members and 94 visiting Brothers from all parts of Massachusetts, several Western and Southern States plus one Canadian Lodge.
Brothers Allen M. Ripley, Herbert A. Skinner, John G. Estabrooks and Dudley F. Hunt were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. The Secretary's records say nothing more except to report routine business. All Brothers and their Lodges were listed in his three-page report. We do know that Brother Dudley F, Hunt was well-known from Coast to Coast as an importer. This may explain the large number of visiting Brothers, from as far west as California.
Wor. James Reid (Master 1872-73) was Secretary at this time. He possessed a good sense of humor and was extremely popular. The November 10, 1875 meeting, opening at 7:45 p.m., was held during a very heavy rainstorm. R. W. Theodore N. Fogise, D.D. Grand Master and suite were present for an Official Visitation and received promptly. No candidates showed up and there is no record of Brothers being present. The Lodge closed at 9:15 p.m. Our genial Secretary ended his report with these words: "Lodge closed in form at 9:15 p.m. Peace, harmony and a rain storm prevailing."
On March 16th at a special meeting, the first three applicants from Reading, H. D. Weston, Rufus B. Wright and Evarts McQuesten, were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason.
On August 16, 1871, we received the District Deputy Grand Master, Rt. Wor. Brother Perkins. Three brothers were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason and it was decided to call a special meeting to elect a new slate of officers. The present officers held nine regular and 16 special meetings in the first eleven months. In the early years, there was no nominating committee. Secret balloting was often a long drawn-out task; but in the end, ofiicers were elected. Under this system the following were elected: Wor. Nathan D. Stoodley, Worshipful Master; James Reid, Senior Warden; C. W. Cummings, Junior Warden; George Grouard, Treasurer; and W. J. Holden, Secretary. The Worshipful Master then appointed the officers as follows: E. McQuesten, Senior Deacon; D. G. Temple, Junior Deacon; John McDonald, Senior Steward; S. F. Sweetser, Junior Steward; T. C. Trow, Inside Sentinel; W. S. Richardson, Marshal; T. Richards, Tyler; Rev. Bro. Slack, Chaplain.
On October 11, 1871, the officers of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, under the direction of the District Deputy Grand Master, Rt. Wor. H. P. Perkins, constituted Good Samaritan Lodge in due and ancient form, dedicated the hall and installed its officers according to ancient usages.
After nine regular and 18 special communications, under Dispensation, Good Samaritan Lodge arrived at the first Regular Communication of our present Lodge. The 21 Brothers who had been initiated, crafted and raised under Dispensation applied for membership and were formally accepted as members of the newly constituted Lodge.
The Secretary was voted a salary of $25 and the Tyler was to receive $1 for each meeting he attended. Two hundred copies of the By-Laws as amended in the Spring were printed containing a list of the 24 Charter and other members. An appeal by the Grand Lodge for donations to the victims of the Great Chicago fire was read at the November 8, 1871 meeting. A collection was taken up and sent to the Grand Lodge "to use as they saw fit."
An invitation was extended to the Lodge members at the October 1872 meeting to be present for the installation of officers in the recently formed Reading Royal Arch Chapter to be held in the same Lodge room.
A post-war depression in the nation was being felt here in Reading. Money was tight and several Brothers dcmitted in 1878 and 1879. Dues were reduced from £20 to $10. Unpaid rent from the Royal Arch Chapter was cancelled and the rent for the Knight of Honor and Pilgrim Fathers Lodges reduced to $100.
The first Masonic Funeral recorded was March 27, 1881 with a service in the home and a commital service at the grave for Brother Daniel Cusey.
In June, 1881, the Lodge held a fair netting a profit of $1,813.85. $1,000 was deposited in the National Bank; $300 cancelled a note, and $513.85 was used to pay rent up to the end of August and refurnished the Lodge rooms. In July a committee was appointed to secure Lodge rooms in Lyceum Hall on Haven Street opposite our present quarters. Rent amounted to $250 per year. The new Lodge room was 36' x 50'. Cost of replastering, carpentry, and a $10 wood-burning stove for heating came to $794.61 and our $1,000 bank balance all but disappeared. Just $205.39 remained. Our new Lodge rooms were upstairs in the extension of the building.
Our $205.39 bank balance did not last long. In January, 1882, the committee requested $200 for the following items: settees, $119.25; cuspidors and water cooler, $10.75; other items came to $70. Cash balance now $5.39.
When the Lodge had no initiation of candidates, the Worshipful Master would select one of the lecturers, ask the questions, and quiz the Brothers in turn around the hall to test their proficiency in Masonic knowledge.
From 1884 through 1886 the Lodge continued to operate on a budget of about $400 and cash on hand from $50 to $93.
Reading Royal Arch Chapter was also having trouble and was frequently granted further time to pay their rent. Being a Good Samaritan to the Chapter finally paid off early in 1886 when the Chapter paid in full and made a $50 donation to the Lodge as a means of saying "Thank you." For reasons not explained.
there was serious discussion of moving the Lodge to the recently-incorporated Town of Wakefield. It came to a vote on October 12, 1887 and was defeated. The Wakefield members of our Lodge asked for and got our approval to petition the Grand Lodge for permission to institute a Lodge in Wakefield to be called Wakefield Lodge, now Golden Rule Lodge.
At the November 1890 meeting, our membership of 58 Brothers celebrated the Twentieth Anniversary with proper ceremonies. Cost of this event was $100.
In December, 1890, the Organist was voted a collar and apron with proper insignia of his office on both.
In 1891, we memorialized the death of Wor. Brother Daniel A. Emery, who served six terms as Master of our Lodge. He was the first Past Master and Charter member to pass away in Good Samaritan Lodge.
At a Special Communication on July 19, 1893, we voted to engage apartments in the new building being erected at the corner of Main and Haven Streets where we are now located.
Worshipful J. Albert Stott was elected Master at the December meeting, our last in the old apartment and was installed at the first meeting in the new building on January 10, 1894. The $500 appropriated in October to furnish the new apartments was increased an additional $300 at the January meeting and later upped another $128.64 the following November. The December annual meeting announced our membership as 100.
On June 17, 1895, 28 members and 14 officers went to Charles-town to join in the Centennial of the erection, by King Solomon's Lodge, of the first monument on Bunker Hill.
With 11 new candidates applying for membership and seven waiting degrees, the Lodge worked Specials in July and August 1895. On October 13, 1898, a Special Communication was held to attend the funeral of Bro. John S. Ellenwood. A page in the Secretary's records was set aside in his memory. This is the first such record and a custom wc have continued.
The Order of the Eastern Star, instituted on May 8, 1896, was granted the use of the Masonic Apartments. Rent was $168 annually.
At the January 1900 Communication, the By-Laws were amended to provide for the election of three Trustees to care for the General Funds of Good Samaritan Lodge and its surplus revenue. The funds were to be used by a two-thirds vote of members present and voting.
The Grand Lodge appointed Wor. Walter S. Parker as District Deputy Grand Master of the 7th Masonic District, who in turn named Wor. Daniel T. Bickford as District Deputy Grand Marshal.
An organ was purchased and installed in the Lodge room prior to the December 5, 1900 meeting at a cost of $950. Bro. G. A. Shackford made us a gift of $100 towards payment and later cancelled the $850 note.
A public installation of officers was held on December 27, 1900 in the presence of 250 people. The exercises opened with an organ recital, followed by the installation ceremonies. Dancing completed the evening at midnight.
On June 5, 1901, 27 Wilmington Brothers signed a petition, approved by the District Deputy Grand Master, requesting that Good Samaritan Lodge recommend a Masonic Lodge in Wilmington. We voted to recommend.
On November 5, 1902, we commemorated the fact that it was exactly 150 years ago that George Washington was made a Mason. One month later, Wor. Brother James Reid was voted an Honorary Life Membership for his long and meritorious service to the Lodge. An item in the financial statement of December 3, 1902 — cost of cigars $38.50 — will remind our older Brothers of this custom, when we were called from labor to refreshment. The Junior Deacon stood in the doorway with a smile on his face and an open box of cigars in his hands as the Brothers passed by.
On April 11, 1907, Golden Rule Lodge, Wakefield, held their 194th Regular Communication in the Masonic Apartments, Reading. Their apartments in Odd Fellows Hall, Wakefield, were undergoing repairs.
In May, we learned of the Grand Lodge's plan to establish a Masonic Home.
We celebrated our 40th Anniversary on December 7, 1910. Brother Elbridge D. Smith had completed 20 years of service as Tyler. Members presented him $50 in gold and an Honorary Life Membership.
In 1911, we passed the 300 membership mark. The Lodge wanted to lease the public hall with balcony (our present banquet hall) rather than rent it each month. It was offered to us for $1,200 per year, but this was considered too high a price and we declined.
In May, 1912, a tribute was paid to the Brothers who lost their lives when the Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic. Rt. Wor. Walter S. Parker presented the Lodge a Past Master's diploma bestowed on Wor. John Weston by Mt. Moriah Lodge. Bro. R. S. Burgess presented the Lodge an historic gavel. The head was made from a magnolia tree planted by George Washington and the handle from an apple tree at Woodlawn, the home of Nellie Custis, adopted daughter of George Washington.
Initiation fees were increased to $40 in October, 1912; $5. to be contributed to the Masonic Home Fund.
Wor. Edgar O. Dewey had raised 43 Master Masons during his two years as Master. These Brothers presented him a Past Master's apron.
Membership in December, 1912, was 324; Cash on Hand was $804.73; Trustees Funds of $1,971.63 earned 4%; cigars for Brothers, $131.25.
On October 7, 1914, we amended the By-Laws on Life Membership requirements: "Members who have served as Worshipful Master for one year; members who have paid dues for 30 years or who shall have become age 70 and paid dues for 20 years. They shall be given a certificate to that effect without further action and dues exempt. Anyone shall become a Life Member upon payment of $75." Brother Burton K. Symonds became our first Life Member by paying $75.
June 18, 1916. Rev. Bro. Marion Franklin Ham, Lodge Chaplain and Pastor of the Christian Union Church in Reading Square, opposite our Apartments, invited the Brothers to his service on St. John's Sunday.
On March 7, 1917, Brother Charles B. Beaudry was voted an Honorary Membership. He never was an officer, yet by his faithful attendance at meetings and officers' rehearsals, he was qualified to fill many stations and be of great service in other ways. He was an exceptional and faithful member for many years and as such was properly rewarded.
On September 5, 1917, war had been declared on Germany and her allies the previous spring. We, therefore, "Voted that a Roll of Honor be established and that the names of all members of the Lodge who have or may enter the Military or Naval Service of the United States or her allies be placed thereon and their dues remitted from September, 1917, for the duration of the present war."
On December 4, 1918, we voted that the name of "Good Will Fund" be substituted for the present name, Charity Fund, it being a more fitting name for a fund "established for the purpose of showing our Brotherly Love."
We now had 369 members of whom 27 were in war service. Wor. Bro. John F. Turner, who served us as Associate Member on the Board of Masonic Relief in Grand Lodge, gave us an unusually fine and detailed report on the activities at the Masonic Home. He reported that 2.806 bushels of potatoes and other produce were harvested by the members of the Home.
On April 2, 1919, we voted #25, and with other Lodges in the District, presented a new set of regalia to the newly organized Fidelity Lodge. One month later we appropriated #310 to repair and install an electric motor for our organ.
Wor. Bro. J. Albert Stott received the Henry Price Medal awarded by the Grand Lodge to commemorate his 50 years as a Master Mason. It was actually his 52nd year, as his membership predated Good Samaritan Lodge by three years. The members were entertained by Rev. Bro. Marion Franklin Ham's well-known readings from his "Kinchin Stories."
At the October 17, 1919 meeting, we were honored by a visit from the Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. A banquet followed with the members who served in the World War as our honored guests. Seventeen of the 36 who served were present. They were welcomed by Rt. Wor. Walter S. Parker, a Civil War Veteran. Rev. Bro. M. F. Ham paid a fitting memorial tribute to the one Brother who did not return.
In April, 1920, we secured the exclusive use of the entire third floor for $840 annually. We purchased the piano and seats for $500 additional. We voted the Committee on Alterations a sum not to exceed $4,000 at the May meeting to re-decorate and make any needed alterations. Later this committee informed us that the #4,000 was gone and the work not finished. They said the total cost would be $11,748. After considerable discussion, we voted to finance the project by $10,000 on non-interest bearing notes, issued by the Lodge. We were optimistic in spite of this increase in debt as we had nineteen candidates voted to receive the degrees and eight applications not yet acted upon and our 50th Anniversary a few months away.
On November 9, 1920, we held a Special Communication with 216 members and 33 visitors present to observe our 50th Anniversary. (1920 Mass. 363-382) Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince, Grand Master, was received by Wor, R. Scott Burgess. "After this impressive ceremony we adjourned to the banquet hall where an hour was spent enjoying the bountifully spread tables and the music of the orchestra. After the dinner, all proceeded to the Lodge Room and listened to the scholarly historical address by Bro. Horace G. Wadlen."
The Most Worshipful Grand Master delivered an entertaining and instructive address. He presented Wor. Brother Deadman and Brother E. D. Smith with Henry Price medals emblematical of SO years membership in Masonic Lodges with distinguished service.
The December Annual Meeting was attended by 119 members and eight visitors. The Lodge had raised 88 new members during the year, reported 15 lost by death or demit for a net gain of 73 members, raising our membership to 454.
The Committee on Alterations reported the final cost of alterations totalling $14,141.93, and we had a 20-year lease. The balcony in the Lodge Hall was to provide quarters for a new Commandery that might soon be started in Reading. The report was signed by Brothers William S. Kinsley, Chairman; Henry R. Johnson, Secretary; M. E. Brande, Treasurer. Bro. Walter M. Scott, having served as Secretary for 27 years, declined re-election, and Rt. Wor. Edgar O. Dewey was elected to take his place.
On January 5, 1921, Rt. Wor. Edward Wentworth. District Deputy Grand Master of the 7th Masonic District, paid us a visit and spoke of a fund being raised by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association.
The Town of Reading had a gift of land for a Memorial Park between Salem and Charles Streets and the Lodge sent a delegation of workers dressed in old clothes, carrying picks, shovels and rakes on Community Day, April 19, 1921. The purpose was to put the grounds in order for public use. Pictures of this event still hang in the selectmen's and town clerk's offices in the Town Building. It was a day when all organizations joined in real hard but rewarding work for Reading civic betterment. An epidemic of blisters and aching backs were reported April 20th.
At the May meeting, we voted to increase dues from $4 to $8 and life membership from $75 to $125. Bro. Walter M. Scott was presented with a purse of $100 in gold, also a traveling bag and case as a token of the high esteem in which he was held by the Brothers for his 27 years of faithful service as our Secretary. The newly formed Reading Commandery #50, K.T., purchased from the Lodge $1,000 in Government Bonds at face value rather than have us sell at market value. We thanked them for this generosity. We sent a check of $432 to the Grand Lodge as our contribution to the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Fund.
At the meeting in June, 1921, we stood as Brother John LeRoy Anderson signed the By-Laws as our 500th member.
The 495th regular and annual communication held on Wednesday, December 7, 1921, is worth a note for several reasons. We purchased a half interest in Reading Royal Arch Chapter's new typewriter for $45 and Rt. Wor. Bro. Dewey gave us the first typewritten Secretary's report of communications. It was the first time our assets reached $10,000 and the first year our membership of 514 had exceeded the 500 mark. Several members had made a Pilgrimage to the Charlton Masonic Home and donated a stand of National and State flags to be placed in the Chapel.
Bro. Elbridge D. Smith, Tyler for 31 years, resigned the position and was presented to the East where he was paid a well-deserved tribute for long and faithful service. The following June we presented him a purse of $160 in gold as a material gift of our appreciation.
Bro. Henry R. Johnson presented the Lodge a State flag in honor of the installation of his son, H. Raymond Johnson, as Worshipful Master.
1921-22 was a depression period. Jobs were scarce and we voted to print in our monthly notices an item seeking job opportunities to aid Brothers out of work.
Our Masonic Service Night on March 16, 1923, started with a banquet for 150 members and visitors. We then received Rt. Wor. Sanford Crandon, District Deputy Grand Master of the 7th Masonic District. Following this, we were entertained with a radio concert. This new means of entertainment %vas given to us by Brother James M. Maxwell and one of his sons. In 1924, we assisted in sponsoring Middlesex Chapter, Order of DeMolay.
On January 7, 1925, Wor. Edgar O. Dewey was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the 7th Masonic District. At the March meeting, we voted to reduce the dues from $8 to $7, as of June 1, 1925.
On March 5, we attended the funeral service of Bro. Frederick D. Merrill. It is the first recorded where the whole Masonic service was in the Chapel of a Funeral Home.
On January 5, 1927, we changed our annual communication to September with the Installation at or before the Stated Communication in October.
On April 6, 1927, Fifty-year Veterans' Medals were presented to Wor. Bro. J. Albert Stott, who was raised on May 24, 1867 in Grecian Lodge of Lawrence and Wor. Bro. Stillman J. Putnam who was raised on February 11, 1874 and Bro. Elbridge D. Smith, raised September 11, 1871. The two latter were raised in Good Samaritan Lodge.
On May 2, 1928, we had a Past Masters' Night which was the first recorded where the Past Masters of Good Samaritan Lodge did the work. Other times they were present and recognized. At the September 1928 Annual Meeting, we reported 24 were raised during the year, but death and demits claimed 21 for a net gain of 3 to 571. The Grand Lodge reported progress on the new Juniper Hall, a Masonic Hospital in Shrewsbury, planned for members with incurable diseases or any problem case that could not be accommodated at the Home in Charlton.
Juniper Hall then had 92 patients. In the next year we raised $759 for this work.
In June, 1929, we voted free use of our Lodge Apartments for the Order of Rainbow for Girls, two nights per month and for any other meetings they desired, provided they did not conflict with other organizations using the Apartments.
On New Year's Day, 1930, Good Samaritan Lodge held its 576th Regular Communication. Wor. Donald H. Morse opened at 7:05 p.m. Eleven officers were present; no members or visitors. The Secretary's report was read and approved. The meeting closed at 7:17 p.m., the shortest meeting on record.
Wc voted $50 for a new Altar Cloth to be presented to the Order of Rainbow for Girls when they opened Saturday,
February 15, for their first installation and initiation of candidates. Our Worshipful Master, Donald H. Morse, served on the first Advisory Board.
In October, 1931, Bro. Ralph G. Nichols presented the Lodge with a piece of stone from the quarry where the stones for the building of King Solomon's Temple were quarried. The Past Master's jewel worn by Wor. Daniel A. Emery was given to our Lodge by Mary Louise Chadbourn, a relative.
Rt. Wor. Edgar O. Dewey became an honorary life member in recognition of his long and active labors for Good Samaritan Lodge. A report of the cost of ventilating our Lodge room was presented in four bids at our December 1931 meeting. After some discussion, the subject matter was tabled. We considered a reduction of dues, but needing the money, we did not act on the motion. Unpaid dues were at an all time high, and the Lodge became very lenient on members in arrears.
Our January, 1937 meeting, announced the appointment of Wor. Frederick E. Smith as District Deputy Grand Master of the MAMalden7_1927-2003 Maiden 7th District]. Wor. Albert E. Sargent became District Deputy Grand Marshal and Wor. Arthur W. Bancroft was the District Deputy Grand Secretary. At the April meeting, a framed lithograph representing King Solomon's Temple was presented to the Lodge by Brothers Frank, Thomas and William Webb. It still hangs on the wall in the smoking room. During 1937, Wor. Ralph S. Keneely became the first Master in seven years to show no loss in membership during his term of office. He raised six candidates and lost six members.
On April 30, 1939, 100 members and visitors attended a commemoration service at the Congregational Church of the 150th Anniversary of the first inauguration of Wor. Bro. George Washington as President of the United States. We also assisted the Town of Reading in recognizing the 300th Anniversary of Founder's Day for the settlement of the Town of Reading, which preceded by five years the Incorporation of the Town.
In June, 1939, Wor. William E. Gray received the Distinguished Service Medal from the Grand Lodge for having been a Worshipful Master fifty years ago and now the oldest living Past Master of our Lodge. He was raised on April 14, 1886 and Master of the Lodge in 1889.
The Annual Report in September showed 14 new members and 12 lost by death and demit, a gain of 2 for the year. This was the first gain since 1931.
In 1940, the following received 50-year Veteran's Medals: Brother Martin B. Hartshorn and Wor. Bro. Charles A. Loring, and we voted to designate the Past Master's jewel worn by Wor. Daniel A. Emery as "The Presiding Master's Jewel." It is to be worn each year by the presiding Master and passed on by him to the newly installed Master at the time of his Installation. In accordance with this vote, Wor. Bro. Fairclough invested Wor. Bro. Clifton S. Nichols with this jewel as the first to wear it in his year as Master. A whole page in the Secretary's records was set aside to memorialize the passing of Rt. Wor. Bro. Edgar O. Dewey on June 23, 1940. He served as Master 1911-12, was District Deputy Grand Master in 1925-26, and Secretary of the Lodge for the past 19 years. He was a good citizen, a good soldier, a good public servant as U.S. Postmaster in Reading and a fine Mason.
At the September 1940 meeting, we discussed extensive repairs, to cost over $4,700, reported by Wor. Arthur W. Bancroft, Chairman of Repairs, Replacements and Alterations Committee. We listened to the report, voted to accept the report, spread it on the records, and discharged the committee with thanks for its work. Love's labor lost.
We reported a net loss of 15 members and dropped below the 500 member mark for the first time since the ceremony of signing our 500th member in June of 1921.
Most Wor. Arthur W. Coolidge, member of Zetland Lodge in Boston, with residence on Summer Ave., Reading, became an Honorary Member of our Lodge. He was Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts 1944. He appointed Wor. Ralph G. Babcock, Junior Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge. Wor. Bro. Babcock was Master of our Lodge in 1936-37. While in office, he introduced the custom of presenting a Bible to each new Master Mason. This custom has continued. He was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the 7th Maiden Masonic District, 1945-46. He in turn appointed Wor. Preston F. Nichols District Deputy Grand Marshal and Wor. Clifton S. Nichols District Deputy Grand Secretary.
On November 7, 1945, our Lodge celebrated its 75th Anniversary. (1945 Mass. 374-381) Most Worshipful Samuel H. Wragg, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and a distinguished suite of 23 Grand Officers joined our 173 members and guests for an evening long to be remembered. Worshipful Edward E. Harnden (1921) read an interesting paper entitled "Historical Notes on Good Samaritan Lodge in Reading." M. W. Samuel H. Wragg concluded the ceremony with an appropriate and interesting address. This concluded our celebration which had started the previous Sunday, November 4, with a service of worship at the Methodist Church. Rev. Bro. D. Joseph Imler, Grand Chaplain, delivered the address. He was assisted by our Chaplain, Rev. Bro. Willard C. Arnold.
At the September 1946 meeting, we reported 585 members with residence as follows: 392 in Reading, 41 in North Reading, 109 in other towns and cities in Massachusetts and one in Nova Scotia. Four hundred and eighteen paid dues and 167 were Life Members. This caused us to realize that life membership is too low with 28% on this basis. The following June we voted an initiation fee of #65 and Life Membership was raised to 25 times the annual dues.
In November 1947 the new carpet was laid and the floor work of our officers definitely improved.
Not all of Masonry is form and ceremony. We held a Christmas party in 1949 for 475 Masonic children. It differed somewhat from the Father and Offspring Party of May 1946, but both were declared a howling success.
Our small reference Library was started in late 1950.
In 1951, Bro. Earle L. M. Coolidge was made an Honorary Life Member, not only for his long service as Tyler, but for the many other ways he served unselfishly.
Early in 1953 we considered acquiring the Odd Fellows property on Woburn Street. It had many features we needed, but after careful investigation it proved too costly to renovate and maintain. We therefore spent $960 on new seating for our present Lodge room and abandoned the move.
At the Annual Meeting in 1953 it was reported for the first time that every dues-paying member had paid in full. The new By-Law on suspensions enacted last Spring plus some hard work by our Secretary, Wor. Al Sargent, really got results. While Wor. G. Burton Long was Master, we co-sponsored Middlesex Chapter of the Order of DeMolay with Reading Commandery #50. The Commandery had been the lone sponsor for years.
"York Rite Night" was introduced in November of 1954 and became an annual event to enlighten the Brothers with other bodies as one of two ways to advance in Masonic knowledge. We held a Commemorative ceremony for our late M. W. Brother Arthur W. Coolidge with M .W. Whitfield W. Johnson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts and Suite in attendance. After a roast turkey dinner, Mrs. Coolidge and seven members of her family were escorted into the Lodge where she presented her late husband's Grand Master's Apron to our M. W. Grand Master. He in turn presented it to Wor. Edwin O. Lundberg, who received it in behalf of our Lodge. We set up a card committee to write to those Brothers who were sick at home or in a hospital. More than 275 cards were mailed during 1955. This custom has been continued and much appreciated.
Bro. Harold F. Parker was presented his 50-year Veteran's Medal on December 7, 1955 and in turn presented the Lodge with a Past Master's Jewel worn by his father, R. W. Walter S. Parker, in 1892-93. It is now properly framed at the Apartments.
A framed Masonic Diploma, issued to Bro. William Eaton on April 27, 1824, as a member of the first Good Samaritan Lodge, and found in an attic in North Reading, was presented to us by Brother C. Nelson Bishop at our December 1958 meeting. It was later turned over to our Grand Lodge.
Bro. Wendell Newell presided at the new Conn Electric Organ on April 1, 1959 following a banquet at which Wor. Albert E. Sargent was recognized for his 26 years of continuous desk service to the Lodge, seven as Treasurer and later 19 years as Secretary. From 1942 through 1959, we grew from a membership of 481 to 879, a growth of 398 in 17 years. In 1960, we reported our first loss of 14 bringing the total to 865.
Following the meeting of May 3, 1961, a committee headed by Rt. Wor. Aaron R. Davison, District Deputy Grand Master of the Maiden 7th Masonic District, repaired to the home of Wor. Albert E. Sargent, who was ill, for the purpose of presenting him the Joseph Warren Medal for his long and distinguished service to the Lodge.
Wor. Ralph S. Keneely made application to the Board of Masonic Relief for admission to the Masonic Home at Charlton. His application was approved by the Board in June 1961 and in September 1961 he took up residence there. On several occasions, particularly Past Masters' Nights, Wor. Keneely has returned to Reading for short visits to former associates. As an indication of the continuing interest generated in Masonry by DeMolay, three Past Master Councilors of Middlesex Chapter were raised to the sublime degree on December 12, 1961. They were: Brothers David B. Cann, Richard II. Curtis and Kenneth B. Woodside.
On May 5, 1962, a group of officers and members paid a Fraternal visit to Hibernia Lodge No. 3 of St. John, N.B., Canada. Wor. Ernest R. Poor and his line officers presented the Master Mason Degree as exemplified in the Massachusetts jurisdiction. This visit was a part of their 125th Anniversary year.
Eighteen officers and members of Hibernia Lodge No. 3, under the direction of Wor. C. Hubert McFee, returned the visit on Oct. 6, 1962 and presented the Third Degree according to New Brunswick ritual.
During the term of Wor. Bernard F. Cann, visits were exchanged with Humane Lodge No. 21 of Rochester, N. H., and Deering Lodge No. 183 of Portland, Maine. The sublime degree was exemplified on each occasion.
In January, 1964, Rt. Wor. Stanley F. Maxwell was appointed Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and Wor. Ernest R. Poor was appointed Grand Standard Bearer. On March 14, 1964, a reception was held at the Congregational Church, Reading, in honor of Rt. Wor. Bro. Maxwell, at which time the Grand Master, M. W. A. Neill Osgood, presented him the Henry Price Medal, denoting "special Masonic recognition."
Our first "Table Lodge of Instruction" was held on Jan. 30, 1964 at which 105 Brethren were present. The ceremony of the Seven Toasts was explained and offered in traditional style. Since that time, Table Lodge has become a part of Good S.unaritan Lodge tradition.
Rt. Wor. Stanley F. Maxwell received the coveted Thirty-Third Degree at the annual meeting of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in September 1965. He is the only member of our Lodge to achieve this high Masonic honor. At the November 3, 1965 meeting, the Wor. Master presented Rt. Wor. Brother Maxwell a 33° Lapel Pin in recognition of his services to Masonry and Good Samaritan Lodge.
Perhaps the most unusual meeting of Good Samaritan Lodge in recent years occurred on November 9, 1965, when Wor. H. Sterling French opened the Lodge by candlelight, due to the massive electrical power failure and consequent blackout of the northeastern states. Despite the confusion occasioned by the blackout, nine officers were listed as present. The communication was adjourned to a later date.
Often talked of plans for a joint meeting between Good Samaritan Lodge and the Knights of Columbus in Reading came to fruition in 1967. In April of that year our initial venture in this area of ecumenism occurred when we met with the Knights of Columbus at their quarters on Sanborn Street. The following year, Good Samaritan Lodge was host to the Knights of Columbus at our quarters. Another joint meeting, this time with wives of members of both organizations, was held at Austin Preparatory School in 1970.
We are justly proud of our record of donations to the Masonic Blood program during the past several years. The Grand Lodge has recognized our efforts in this program by presenting plaques during each of the last four years. Our record donation was in 1967 when 150 pints of blood were donated by Good Samaritan Lodge.
In January, 1966, a Committee of three was appointed to study the possibility of obtaining other quarters. At the June 1, 1966 meeting, the Lodge voted to purchase property at 337 Haverhill Street, Reading, at a cost of $26,500 with a view to erecting a new Temple at that location.
Subsequently, the Reading Masonic Building Association was chartered "to raise funds for, construct, erect and maintain a building or buildings for the purpose of the promotion and furtherance of Freemasonry in Reading."
An architect was engaged to prepare sketches and plans of a proposed new Temple, and a variance in Zoning Laws was sought for the erection of our new building. After a hearing, the Reading Board of Appeals denied our application for variance.
Despite this temporary set-back, plans are now being formulated for the purchase of property in an area of town which will not require a zoning variance. Prospects are again bright for the realization of our hope of a new Temple to usher in our second century of Masonic progress in Reading.
- 1883 (Petition, 1883-26)
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Ralph G. Babcock, DDGM, District 7 (Malden), 1945, 1946; N
- Paul B. Craigie, DDGM, District 13, 2017-2019
- Richard W. Burgess, DDGM, District 7 (Malden), 1994, 1995; Deputy Grand Master 2000
- Edgar O. Dewey, DDGM, District 7 (Malden), 1925, 1926; Memorial
- Richard G. Flint, DDGM, District 7 (Malden), 1973, 1974; SN
- Stanley F. Maxwell, DDGM, District 7 (Malden), 1955, 1956; Deputy Grand Master 1964; Grand Master 1975-1977; Grand Treasurer 1989-1990
- Walter S. Parker, DDGM, District 7 (Lynn), 1900, 1901; SN
- Frederick E. Smith, DDGM, District 7 (Malden), 1937, 1938; N
- Raymond D. Stephens, Jr., DDGM, District 7 (Malden), 1984, 1985