Grecian

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GRECIAN LODGE

Location: Methuen; Lawrence (1856)

Chartered By: John Abbot

Charter Date: 12/14/1825 III-562

Precedence Date: 12/14/1825

Current Status: merged with Tuscan-Phoenician Lodge to form Lawrence United Lodge, 12/10/1986.

MA_Grecian.jpg


PAST MASTERS

Need living PMs

  • Alvah Josselyn, 1825, 1826
  • Charles O. Kimball, 1827, 1828
  • Thomas Thaxter, 1829
  • Steven Huse, 1830-1834, 1848, 1850, 1854, 1855
  • DARK 1835-1847?
  • Benjamin Bordman, 1849, 1856, 1857
  • Leonard Stoddard, 1851, 1852
  • Thomas Wright, 1853
  • Quimby W. Lovering, 1858
  • Nathaniel P. H. Melvin, 1859, 1860
  • Nathan W. Harmon, 1861
  • James R. Simpson, 1862-1864
  • James H. Kidder, 1865, 1866
  • John Haigh, 1867-1869
  • George W. Chandler, 1870, 1871
  • Salmon W. North, 1872, 1873
  • Charles H. Littlefield, 1874; Mem
  • Merrill N. Howe, 1875, 1876
  • Samuel R. Davis, 1877
  • Marcus M. Chandler, 1878, 1879
  • John A. Brackett, 1880, 1881
  • J. Wilbur Stott, 1882, 1883
  • Aaron M. Stahl, 1884, 1885
  • Harry M. Eames, 1886, 1887
  • John D. Morrison, 1888, 1889
  • William Wilkinson, 1890
  • John Smith, 1891, 1892
  • Edward F. Hartwell, 1893, 1894
  • William R. Sawyer, 1895, 1896
  • Alexander A. Davis, 1897, 1898
  • Eugene E. Gilman, 1899, 1900
  • Arthur D. Marble, 1901, 1902; Mem
  • Henry D. McGregor, 1903, 1904
  • Fred R. Warren, 1905, 1906
  • Andrew W. Campbell, 1907, 1908
  • Thomas Bredbury, 1909, 1910
  • Christopher T. Dover, 1911, 1912
  • Fred S. Hibbard, 1913, 1914
  • Charles A. Stone, 1915, 1916; Mem
  • Gustav A. Stachelhaus, 1917, 1918; Mem
  • Frank S. DeBertram, 1919, 1920
  • Carl P. Griffin, 1921, 1922
  • John E. McCrillis, Jr., 1923, 1924
  • James G. Newall, 1925, 1926
  • Leon G. Flint, 1927, 1928
  • Walter Butler, 1929, 1930
  • Andrew Haldane, 1931, 1932
  • Arthur A. Minzner, 1933, 1934
  • Frederick G. Caspar, 1935, 1936; N
  • Marshall A. Ryder, 1937, 1938
  • Clemens B. Emmert, 1939
  • Paul A. Morgan, 1940, 1941
  • Sydney Haldane, 1942, 1943
  • Gustav A. Stachelhaus, Jr., 1944
  • Charles R. Vose, Jr., 1945, 1946
  • Charles D. Hodgson, 1947, 1948
  • Donald F. A. Begg, 1949, 1950
  • Henry D. Ramm, 1951, 1952; N
  • Walter H. Mann, 1953, 1954
  • Clinton P. Vose, 1955, 1956
  • Philip K. Ryder, 1957, 1958
  • Thomas S. Marjerison, Jr., 1959
  • Eugene G. Oldfield, 1960, 1961, 1982; N
  • James G. Johnstone, 1962, 1963
  • John Begg, 1964, 1965
  • Niall O. Fleming, 1966
  • Michael P. Pappas, 1967
  • Charles A. Paris, 1968
  • Bruno A. Pietuchoff, 1969
  • Sidney L. Weinberg, 1970
  • Julius W. Emmert, 1971, 1976
  • John R. Hays, 1972; 'N
  • Ernest L. Parsons, 1973
  • Raymond Hammer, Jr., 1974
  • William R. Hayward, 1975
  • Nathan A. Hayward, Jr., 1977, 1981
  • G. Robert Edgecomb, 1978
  • Thomas A. Connors, Jr., 1979
  • Vernon L. Sewade, 1980
  • Paul G. Lund, 1983, 1984
  • William N. Hovanasian, 1985
  • Willard H. Patterson, 1986

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1925 (Centenary)
  • 1950 (125th Anniversary)
  • 1975 (150th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1870 1875 1880 1881 1894 1898 1902 1904 1909 1912 1913 1916 1920 1931 1933 1934 1948 1952 1957 1958 1960 1961 1962 1965 1970 1975 1981 1982

HISTORY

  • 1925 (Centenary History, 1925-419)
  • 1935 (Notes on anti-Masonic period in 75th Anniversary History of John Hancock Lodge, 1935-161)
  • 1950 (125th Anniversary History, 1950-251; see below)
  • 1960 (Notes on early history in Centenary History of John Hancock Lodge, 1960-181)
  • 1975 (150th Anniversary History, 1975-179; see below)

125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, DECEMBER 1950

From Proceedings, Page 1950-251:

By Worshipful Andrew W. Campbell.

Grecian Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, was chartered in Methuen, Massachusetts, on December 14, 1825, and tonight, December 14, 1950, we are celebrating our one hundred and twenty-fifth birthday.

Grecian Lodge might well be called an old Lodge, but when we speak of its age, we fail to comprehend its significance. Let us review our history and we will recall some important facts.

Our illustrious Worshipful Brother, George Washington, the first President of these United States, died only twenty-six years before our Charter was issued, and John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, the second, third, fourth and fifth Presidents, respectively, were still alive and John Quincy Adams had been inaugurated as President only a few months prior to the granting of our Charter. Yes, Grecian Lodge is an old Lodge.

The histories of Grecian Lodge for the fiftieth and seventy-fifth anniversaries, were compiled by Right Worshipful Charles H. Littlefield and Right Worshipful Arthur D. Marble performed the same task for our one hundredth celebration. Their rendition is so complete that the history presented at this time is a condensed statement of their very successful painstaking labors. In 1825, the boundary of the Town of Methuen was the Merrimack River on the South and the Town of Andover extended to the Merrimack River on the North; North Andover was also included in the Andover township and was known as the North Parish.

Saint Matthew's Lodge of Andover was chartered in 1822 and had jurisdiction over Andover and Methuen. During the earlier years of Lawrence, Saint Matthew's Lodge claimed equal jurisdiction with Grecian Lodge over South Lawrence.

In 1855, a resident of South Lawrence applied to Grecian Lodge for membership and was rejected. Later he applied for membership in Saint Matthew's Lodge and was accepted. The matter was brought to the attention of the Grand Lodge, and Grecian Lodge was given exclusive jurisdiction over the whole of Lawrence.

As the membership of Saint Matthew's Lodge included some of the citizens of the Town of Methuen, and in order to accommodate the Brethren living there, some of its meetings were held in that part of Andover which is now known as South Lawrence.

The first recorded meeting within the limits of Lawrence was held by Saint Matthew's Lodge of Andover in the Parker or Towne Tavern on January 25, 1823. This tavern, now a dwelling house, is located on the northeast corner of Parker and Andover Streets.

The first meetings of Grecian Lodge were held in the hall of the Literary Society in Methuen, located on Broadway near Park Street. This hall was probably selected on the suggestion of Rev. Brother Charles O. Kimball, the first Pastor of the Baptist Church in Methuen, and President of the recently formed Literary Society. The rent of this hall was twenty dollars per year, and in addition to the charge for the rent, the Lodge provided its own heat and light at a cost of between four and five dollars per year, and with these arrangements, the Lodge was allowed the use of the hall two nights a month.

In December 1847, Grecian Lodge procured the use of a hall in Merchants' Row at 373 Essex Street, a short distance west of Amesbury Street, and on the north side of the street. In 1852, we moved to new and larger quarters in the City Block at 283 Essex Street, east of Lawrence Street.

When Tuscan Lodge was organized in 1862, it secured and fitted up a hall at the northeast corner of Essex and Jackson Streets. The other Masonic bodies also held their meetings there, Grecian Lodge moving there in 1864.

In September 1872, all the Masonic bodies in Lawrence moved to new quarters in the Saunders block, at the southwest corner of Appleton and Essex Streets, where the Bay State Merchants National Bank. Building is located, and occupied these apartments for over fifty years.

In 1923, the new Masonic Temple at 43 Jackson Street was completed, and on April 16, 1923, Grecian Lodge convened in special session to participate in the dedicatory exercises of the Temple. The exercises were conducted by the Grand Lodge officers, with Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell of Lynn, Grand Master, and the officers of Grecian Lodge occupied the officers stations. On the following day, Tuesday, April 17, 1923, a special meeting was held in the new temple and the Master Mason Degree was conferred on John Ellis Home, Joseph McDonald Rinehart, William John Callard, Harold Thomas Anderson and John Richard Fielding. The first regular meeting was held on Friday, April 27, 1923. Worshipful John E. McCrillis presided at all the above stated meetings.

Within a year after Grecian Lodge had received its Charter, the disappearance of a man named William Morgan in Western New York was charged to the Masonic fraternity. Although no proof was ever offered to substantiate this charge, an ugly feeling against Masonry was created and extended over all the eastern states. Some of the members withdrew from the fraternity, applications for membership were not forthcoming and some of the members, out of fear of bodily harm, isolated themselves from the Lodge. In 1832, the Anti-Masonic feeling was so desperate that meetings were seldom held, and then only in the utmost secrecy. The Lodge was occasionally represented at the Grand Lodge meetings by its Master and was maintained upon the roll of Lodges until 1838, when it was deemed advisable to surrender the Charter, and the last recorded meeting was held on January 24, 1834.

In 1845, work was started to build the City of Lawrence and many of the workmen were members of the Masonic fraternity. They had an ardent desire to attend some Masonic meetings and enjoy the friendship and brotherly love of their fellow workers. Saint Matthew's Lodge in Andover was too far away. Grecian Lodge had surrendered its Charter and could not hold meetings.

A meeting of Masons was held and the enthusiasm of those in attendance convinced Dr. Huse and seven of the original members of Grecian Lodge that application for the restoration of the Charter should be made.

A petition to restore the Charter was presented to the Grand Lodge, and at its regular quarterly meeting held on December 27, 1847, favorable action was taken on the petition and it was voted to return the Charter "for the Lodge to be holden in Lawrence," and on January 30, 1848, Grecian Lodge was again functioning with twelve of the former members in attendance. Right Worshipful Stephen Huse presided at the meeting.

The Most Worshipful Grand Master has honored Grecian Lodge on five different occasions by selecting as his District Deputy R. W. Charles H. Littlefield, R. W. Arthur D. Marble, R. W. Charles A. Stone, R. W. Gustav A. Stachelhaus and R. W. Frederick G. Caspar, all Past Masters of our Lodge.

Fifty-seven of our members have been honored by our Lodge in having been elected its Master. There are twenty-one living Past Masters and thirty-six have passed on to the Celestial Lodge above.

As I study the list of our Past Masters, I am very much impressed and thrilled by the unmistakable devotion to our Lodge by Wor. Dr. Stephen Huse and R. W. Charles H. Littlefield. On nine different occasions, Wor. Brother Huse was elected Master and filled that office for a period of nine years. His first term was in 1830 and his last in 1855. He also served as Master of John Hancock Lodge in Methuen in 1860.

R. W. Charles H. Littlefield was Master in 1874, serving for one year. He also was Secretary for forty-eight years, refusing re-election because of ill health.

Grecian Lodge will always honor Brothers Huse and Littlefield and cherish their memory.

World War I started in 1914, but the United States did not enter until 1917, and sixty of our members served in the Armed Forces. Three of our members, Alfred William Banan, Herbert Frank Stiegler and David Cound Morgan, gave their lives that we might live to enjoy liberty and Freemasonry.

On December 7, 1941, an unwarranted and unjustifiable attack was made by the air corps of the Japanese Empire on our Navy at Pearl Harbor, in the Hawaiian Islands, and the next day we were engaged in World War II. Thirty-four members of our Lodge served in this War, fighting to avenge an insult and an injury caused by a cowardly act of aggression. One of our members, Albert Ferguson Campbell, was captured by the Japanese and made a prisoner of war. He died in a concentration camp on June 11, 1943.

"Soldier, rest: thy warfare o'er,
Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking;
Dream of fighting fields no more,
Days of danger, nights of waking.
Soldier, rest."

When the Charter was surrendered to the Grand Lodge in 1834, we had sixty-three members. The Charter was returned to eight of the original members in 1847. In 1850 we had fifty-four members. In 1875, the membership was 248, which constituted a normal growth. In 1900 our membership was 337. This small increase was due to a depression in 1893 and the lean years that followed. In 1925 we had 868 members — an increase of 531. This abnormal increase can be attributed to the prosperous condition of our country following World War I, but in 1929, and a few years thereafter, another depression had befallen our country and our membership was greatly reduced. As of September, 1950, our membership stands at 584. We have thirteen members who have had continuous membership for fifty years or more. They are:

  • Edward W. France
  • George W. Marsden
  • Alexander W. Sheriff
  • James T. Bower
  • William O. Warden
  • Andrew W. Campbell
  • John W. Sheriff
  • Fred H. Sargent
  • J. William Marjerison
  • Joseph N. Greenwood
  • John O. McDavitt
  • Joseph A. Edmond
  • James W. Smith

They have all received their Veteran's Medals. Brother Edward W. France was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on September 1, 1882. He is the oldest as well as the senior member of our lodge.

The social side of Freemasonry has neither been forgotten nor overlooked. Grecian Lodge instituted the children's Christmas party for the children and grandchildren of members of our Lodge. The first party was held on December 19, 1925, and a party has been held annually since then.

The strawberry festival and Past Masters' Nights have become annual events.

On June 25, 1937, a reception for Most Worshipful Claude L. Allen, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, was held.

On May 31, 1940, the officers of Spicket Lodge No.85 of Salem, New Hampshire, conferred the third degree according to New Hampshire ritual.

On two occasions the past District Deputy Grand Masters have occupied the officers' stations and conferred the third degree. On November 21, 1947, an entertainment was given by the Button Busters, and on May 26, 1950, a play entitled "A Rose on the Altar" was presented by the players from Charles A. Welch Lodge of Maynard, Massachusetts.

On different occasions, degree teams from the Boston Police Department, Charlestown Navy Yard, Davis and Furber Machine Company, Wood Worsted Mills, Pacific Mills and the American Woolen Company have conferred the Master Mason Degree on candidates in whom they were especially interested.

On October 27, 1950, our officers were installed by Wor. Charles D. Hodgson, assisted by R. W. Frederick G. Caspar, District Deputy Grand Master, at a public installation.

As we examine the fruits of our labors since the hundredth celebration, we have reason to be proud of our accomplishments. What shall we do during the next twenty-five years to advance the principles and teachings of Masonry? Tonight, let us re-dedicate our Fraternity to the principles of friendship, morality and brotherly love. Let us consecrate our everyday lives to a complete fulfillment of those principles and then each individual member will live respected and die regretted, and our ancient, beloved Fraternity will live in glory and honor and never die.

NOTES IN CENTENARY HISTORY OF JOHN HANCOCK LODGE, OCTOBER 1960

From Proceedings, Page 1960-180:

The history of Masonry in Methuen does not begin with John Hancock Lodge. Early in the 1800's many residents of the town who were members of the Fraternity were affiliated with Merrimack Lodge of Haverhill and Saint Matthew's Lodge of Andover. The first record of any action in the town toward the forming of a Lodge and obtaining a charter from Grand Lodge is embodied in an address by Bro. Charles H. Littlefield of Lawrence on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Grecian Lodge. This anniversary took place on December 14, 1900. Bro. Littlefield collected many facts and data which he gave in his address. Much of the data is contained in an address by Wor. Joseph S. Howe, P. D. D. G. M., on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of John Hancock Lodge, October 1910.

The first action toward forming a Masonic Lodge in the town took place as follows:

Methuen, under date of August 22, 1825,

A number of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons being anxious to form a Lodge and take steps to obtain a charter, met at the house of Bro. Charles O. Kimball to discuss the matter. Rev. Bro. Kimball was chosen moderator and Bro. John Davis scribe for the meeting. At this meeting a name was selected for the Lodge, and committees were appointed to obtain a charter for the formation of a Lodge in Methuen with the approval of the neighboring Lodges at Haverhill and Andover as well as that of the District Deputy Grand Master. The officers for the first year were also selected.

On December 14th, the Grand Lodge voted its approval of the charter and issued it accordingly. There were twenty-five charter members of Grecian Lodge, which included a number of very prominent citizens, among them the pastors of the Baptist and Congregational churches, Rev. Charles O. Kimball and Rev. Jacob Weed Eastman. Rev. Bro. Kimball afterwards became Worshipful Master of Grecian Lodge for three years and Rev.Bro. Eastman, the first name on the charter, was Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge during the years 1830-1833. The meeting place was in a building owned by the "Literary Society," situated on the east side of Broadway, where Grecian Lodge continued to hold meetings while in Methuen. The ceremonies attending the constitution of the Lodge took place May 10, 1826, and were conducted by a deputation from the Grand Lodge over which R. W. John Bartlett presided. The events were published in a Masonic paper in Boston.

Before the Lodge had been in existence a year, a cloud appeared on the horizon which was destined to overwhelm a great many Masonic Lodges, including Grecian Lodge. This was the Morgan incident in 1826, at which time one William Morgan disappeared, and this disappearance was charged to Masonry. No legitimate proof was ever offered to substantiate this, but for a long time many believed he had been spirited away for revealing Masonic secrets. Excitement raged all through the Eastern States. More than 140 anti-Masonic newspapers appeared in the country, and even an anti-Masonic political party was formed which took part in the 1832 national campaign and succeeded in carrying one state for its presidential electors.

The feeling and excitement was so bitter in Methuen that Lodge work languished. Applications ceased to come in, and a great many members withdrew. The last application was received from Ebenezer Sawyer, who was initiated June 8, 1832, and raised to the Third Degree September 7, 1832. The Lodge ceased to hold regular meetings, although a few loyal members met occasionally and once a year elected officers until 1834. The Lodge was carried on the roll of Lodges and was occasionally represented at the Grand Lodge. In 1838 it was deemed best to surrender the charter for a time. During the period that the Lodge existed in Methuen, it initiated twenty-five members. It had thirteen affiliates from other Lodges who, together with the charter members, make a total of sixty-three Brethren who were connected with the Lodge in Methuen.

150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, DECEMBER 1975

From Proceedings, Page 1975-277:

By Right Worshipful Henry D. Ramm.

Look backward; how much has been won,
Look around, how much is yet to win.
The vigils of the old day are done,
The labors of the new day begin.

Proudly, this evening, we mark a century and one-half of service by Grecian Lodge to the community and the Craft.

The Lodge is older than the City of Lawrence and very likely was the first fraternal organization in the city. On its rolls can be found the names of many leaders in the spiritual, economic, professional, and political life of the community, as well as those of common laborers in every field of endeavor. Truly, it has adhered to the tenet, that Masonry regards no man for his worldly wealth or outward appearance. It was the last of three Lodges instituted in 1825. Not until 1843 was another Lodge formed. Consequently, there will not be another 150th Anniversary observance in this jurisdiction until 1993.

A formal celebration has been held each twenty-five years since the Golden Anniversary in December of 1875. The entire programs of the 75th and 100th Anniversaries have been preserved in book form. The account of the 125th Anniversary may be found in the Grand Lodge Proceedings of 1950. A formal booklet, containing the record of the evening's proceedings, will be published at a later date for distribution to our members. Right Worshipful Charles H. Littlefield was the historian for the 50th and 75th Anniversaries. He was selected to write that of the Centennial, but failing health precluded this. Right Worshipful Arthur D. Marble was chosen in his stead. Worshipful Andrew W. Campbell, the Senior Past Master at the time, presented the historical sketch in 1950.

It has been said if one uses the material of another writer, it is plagiarism. However, when material is gathered from more than one source, it becomes research. In this presentation, claim is made on research. Much of the following, dealing with the first 125 years is necessarily a collection of highlights from the addresses of my eminent predecessors, interspersed with items of interest discovered in researching the records.

In 1825 the City of Lawrence was non-existant. The Merrimack River flowed unhampered to the sea, and had not yet been harnessed to turn the wheels of industry. Methuen included that part of the present city north of the river, and everything south of the river was a part of Andover.

Saint Matthew's Lodge, chartered in 1822, held its meetings in the North Parish, now known as North Andover. To accommodate brethren living in Methuen, the Lodge occasionally met at the Parker or Towne Tavern, which building still stands at the northeast corner of Parker and Andover Streets, South Lawrence.

In 1825, the growing number of Masons residing in Methuen, and the travel required to attend Lodge, suggested the desirability of having a Lodge of their own. Accordingly, on August 22, 1825, the first organizational meeting was held at the home of Brother Charles O. Kimball. The record of this meeting has been reproduced, from the original, on a tile selected as the 150th Anniversary souvenir. It is also being reproduced during the current Masonic year as the cover of the Lodge Communication.

The petition for Charter was presented to the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge in September and was granted at the Annual Communication, December 14, 1825, signed by Most Worshipful John Abbot.

It was not until May 10, 1826, due probably to the inclemency of weather and the travel involved, that the formal Constitution Ceremony took place. Following the ceremony, presided over by Right Worshipful John Bartlett, District Deputy Grand Master, those present proceeded to the Baptist Meeting House for religious services. The sermon, delivered by Worshipful and Reverend James Sabine, was based on Matthew 7:24-27, the parable of the house built on a rock. Today, 150 years later, it is evident that the founders of our Lodge heeded his advice. A public installation of officers followed and the day's festivities closed with a dinner at which about 200, including ladies, were seated. One item on the menu is said to have been seven roasted pigs, whose beauty was "sadly marred at the close of the feast." Significantly, "when the cloth was removed" toasts were drunk to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts; all subordinate Lodges; Ancient Greece; Masonry; the Daughters of Columbia; and our Honored Guests.

Of the twenty-five Charter Members, the Lodge records indicate seven received the degrees in Merrimack Lodge, and one in Saint Matthew's. Thomas Thaxter, Master in 1829, was raised in Old Colony Lodge in 1793. The Reverend Jacob Weld Eastman, also a Charter Member, was Pastor of the Congregational Church in Methuen for many years and served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge from 1830 to 1833.

Rental for the original quarters in Methuen was $20.00 per year, two nights in four weeks, finding our own wood and light.

The first applicant was accepted January 20, 1826. With the receipt of several more applications, the outlook for the new Lodge appeared very bright. Before it had completed its first year of existence, however, the cloud of the Morgan incident overshadowed the land. The impact on the Lodge is evident from the results. The work languished, applications ceased, and members withdrew. The last applicant received the Master Mason Degree on September 7, 1832, but did not sign the By-Laws until January 24, 1834. The Lodge ceased to hold regular meetings, but a few loyal members met occasionally and annually elected officers until 1834. Represented occasionally at Grand Lodge by its Master, the Lodge remained on the Roll of Lodges until 1838 when it was deemed best to surrender the Charter for a time.

During this trying time, Dr. Stephen Huse, Worshipful Master from 1830-1834, did more to preserve the Lodge and to reinvigorate it after its awakening in Lawrence than any other member. He received the degrees in Merrimack Lodge and affiliated with Grecian Lodge in 1826. He was destined to serve the Lodge as Master again in 1848, 1850, 1854, 1855 and became the first Master of John Hancock Lodge in 1860-1861.

The work of building the City of Lawrence began in 1845 and a number of Craftsmen were among those who settled in the area. They were naturally drawn together and began to look about for an opportunity to attend Lodge meetings. Saint Matthew's Lodge was too far away and Grecian Lodge could not hold meetings. Eight brethren who had been members of Grecian Lodge were found and they petitioned for restoration of the Charter, which was granted at the Grand Lodge Communication of December 27, 1847.

The first-meeting under the restored Charter was held January 30, 1848, with Right Worshipful Stephen Huse in the chair. He was duly elected Master; John Davis was elected Senior Warden and Thomas McKay, Junior Warden. It was voted that the Lodge meet at Masonic Hall, Merchant's Row on Essex Street, near Amesbury Street. Thus the Lodge took up the work laid down years before. John McGregor was the first applicant in Lawrence, applying on March 24, 1848.

In 1852, the Lodge moved to larger quarters at 283 Essex Street, remaining there until 1864.

During the early years in Lawrence, Grecian Lodge held concurrent jurisdiction with Saint Matthew's Lodge over South Lawrence. In 1855, exclusive jurisdiction over the whole of Lawrence was given to Grecian Lodge.

In 1860 and 1862, John Hancock and Tuscan Lodges were instituted and a number of Grecian Lodge members demitted to become Charter members. Thus, Grecian Lodge contributed to the Masonic growth of the community.

At the regular meeting on January 29, 1864, a committee was appointed to explore the availability of a suitable lot on which to build a Masonic Temple, and the probable cost of erecting the same. Three months later the committee reported that a corner lot on Essex and Lawrence Streets could be obtained at the usual price of $1.00 per foot for the first 25 feet front and 75 cents for all over. Indicative of the inflationary impact of the Civil War, it was noted the cost of building would be about 40% more than it would have been three years before. The report was accepted, and no evidence appears that the matter was further pursued.

Nothing in the records indicates how many of the Lodge members may have been actively engaged in the Civil War. That there were members in the Union Army is evident from the records of 1864 which relate the attendance of the Lodge at the funerals of two Brothers who died in the Service. On June 18, 1864 a convocation of the Lodge was called at 9:00 P.M. to arrange a funeral procession for the following day, "to extend the usual honors" for Capt. Albert A. Davis, Co. 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery, who died from wounds received "while leading his company on that eventful night in the memorable Battle of the Wilderness." On November 24, 1864, resolutions were passed extolling the heroism of Capt. Joseph W. Kimball, Co. F 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery, killed before the defenses of Petersburg on June 22. Quote "who, while enjoying the rank of Captain, wore his sword as the badge of his office, and fell with his face to the foe, in the very front of battle, with the more effective weapon of the private soldier in his hand." In 1872, Grecian Lodge together with Tuscan and Phoenician Lodges, the Chapter, Council and Commandery occupied newly acquired quarters in the Saunders Block where they were to remain until the erection of this structure in 1923.

A newspaper account of the meeting of October 12, 1866 is quite interesting. The visit of the District Deputy Grand Master was reported as well as presentations of a Past Master's Jewel to Worshipful James H. Kidder. At the close of the meeting, "The Lodge then proceeded to Col. Drew's saloon where an excellent collation was prepared for them and where an hour was spent in hearty social enjoyment, enhanced by several speeches from visiting guests and others.

In October of 1864, after unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a reduced fare from the B & M Railroad, the brethren met and marched to the Depot and departed for Boston to attend the corner stone laying of the Boston Temple.

Records of the 50th Anniversary celebration contain little relating to the event. We do know it was in the form of a "sociable" or Ladies' Night and receipts exceeded expenditures by $1.74. From the Lodge records and the Grand Lodge Proceedings of 1875, apparently no Grand Lodge officers were present as it was presumably a private Lodge affair. The highlights of the evening were the historical sketch by Right Worshipful Brother Littlefield and the singing of a hymn written especially for the occasion by Mrs. Caroline M. Fay, wife of Brother Augustus M. Fay.

The 75th Anniversary was held December 14, 1900. Tickets were limited to 350 and the price was seventy-five cents. A reception was tendered to Most Worshipful Charles T. Gallagher, Grand Master. The Anniversary Hymn was again sung.

The Lodge grew steadily as it moved towards 100 years of existence. 1917 saw America's entrance into World War One and sixty members of the Lodge entered the Service. Three made the supreme sacrifice.

On December 19, 1919, the Lodge received the Fraternal visit of Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master, on the occasion of welcoming home the returned veterans. Forty of the sixty men who served were present. Six of that group survive and three are present this evening.

The return of the servicemen and the prosperity of the post war era gave new impetus to the Lodge. Its work increased dramatically. In 1921 one hundred and eight brethren received the Master Mason Degree. The Lodge toiled each week, and on occasions, twice a week, for a full year to maintain pace. As many as twenty applications were read at a regular meeting.

The corner stone of this building was laid April 29, 1922. (1922 Mass. 105-111) Again, Grecian Lodge had the honor of receiving a Grand Master, Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince. On April 16, 1923, the building was dedicated by Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell, and while the Grand Lodge officers were conducting the ceremony, the chairs were occupied by the officers of Grecian Lodge. (1923 Mass. 101-122)

Most Worshipful Brother Ferrell as again received by the Lodge on December 14, 1925, for the celebration of the Centennial. (1925 Mass. 417-432) On this occasion he presented Worshipful William R. Sawyer with the Henry Price Medal. Our Senior Past Master, Worshipful John E. McCrillis, Jr. and Right Worshipful Frederick G. Caspar, who was Senior Steward in 1925, are the only living members of the Committee on Arrangements for that momentous milestone in the life of the Lodge. Several of the Brethren present this evening were at the Lodge fifty years ago.

The Lodge moved into its second century. Membership reached its peak in 1926 when 892 members were reported on the Annual Return. The onslaught of the depression began to be felt in 1932. Membership had receded from the high of 892 to 794. It continued to fall until 1944 when 545 members were on the rolls.

World War II saw thirty-four members answer the country's call. One was captured by the Japanese and died in a P. O. W. camp in 1943. The end of that conflict brought an awakened interest in the Craft. Slowly the membership began to increase. By 1952, it had reached 602. During the next five years, with a small fluctuation, it hovered close to this number and 602 members were reported in 1957. Indicative of the future and the increasing age of the Lodge members is the fact that in the same five year period, sixty-seven of our brethren entered the Celestial Lodge.

On December 14, 1950, the Lodge observed its 125th Anniversary. Again the Lodge was honored by a visit of a Grand Master. Most Worshipful Roger Keith was received and was accompanied by Most Worshipful Thomas S. Roy, who had been elected Grand Master the previous Wednesday. (1950 Mass. 248-256)

The quarter century since, has seen many changes as the Lodge has grown older, the membership has dwindled. The scythe of time has taken a fearful toll. Since 1950, 378 of our members have passed the Eastern Portal.

The hymn dedicated at our 50th Anniversary is most appropriate at this point:

Now let us join in grateful praise,
As we this happy hour prolong;
And heart and voice united raise,
Fraternal love our theme and song.

Together bound by closest tie,
Though joy shall bless or woe betide,
Brothers we live, brothers we die,
Though seas and mountains us divide.

The rolling years have quickly sped,
And time and change their work have done;
While to the mansions of the dead
We've borne our brothers, one by one.

Tonight we miss them from our band
But firm in faith and strong in love
We hope to clasp again their hand
In our eternal home above.

Thou God of Ages, deign to hear
We thank thee for they blessings past
In all our future be thou near
And guide our feet while life shall last.

Vain is each union, bond or plan,
Unless thy blessing on it rest;
Be love to God, and love to man
According to thy high behest.

The exodus from urban to suburban communities has materially reduced the number of applicants and the Lodge has been unable to offset the loss by death. From the modern high of 602 members in 1952, the membership has steadily declined. Today our membership stands at 321, about the same as it was seventy-five years ago.

Thirteen members were holders of the Veteran's Medal in 1950. Today it is held by forty-four.

In April 1951, a Scotch Night was observed with the Kilwinning Club performing the work. The degree was witnessed by 450 brethren, representing Lodges from Tokyo to Aberdeen.

The Annual Strawberry Festival that year featured lobster salad, sliced turkey, strawberries and ice cream. Tickets were $1.75 and the Lodge did not lose money.

Most Worshipful Thomas S. Roy honored the Lodge with a visit in May of 1952. He presented 50 Year Medals to four brethren and 25 Year Pins to 211 of 313 eligible brethren. Attendance at this meeting exceeded 330.

The first German Night was held in 1955 and has become an annual Grecian Lodge social.

In June of 1961, Brother Kenneth A. Ryder, who had served the Lodge for thirty years as Secretary, tendered his resignation, which was accepted with deep regret by the members of the Lodge. At the Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge in December 1962, Right Worshipful Frederick G. Caspar was elected to the office of Junior Grand Warden. He was the first member of the Lodge in its 137 years of existence to achieve the status of permanent member.

In March of 1963, Most Worshipful A. Neill Osgood was received, accompanied by a suite of Grand Lodge Officers and Permanent members, and presided at the reception to Right Worshipful Brother Caspar, to whom he presented the Henry Price Medal.

Seven years later, the Lodge was again honored by the election of Right Worshipful Henry D. Ramm as Senior Grand Warden, who joined Right Worshipful Brother Caspar in the ranks of the Permanent members.

Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes, accompanied by the Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge, visited the Lodge in March of 1971 on the occasion of the reception tendered Right Worshipful Brother Ramm, who also was presented with the coveted Henry Price Medal.

In the twelve months from December 1972 to December 1973, Right Worshipful Brother Ramm, Worshipful Ernest L. Parsons and Right Worshipful Eugene G. Oldfield each enjoyed the ultimate Masonic experience of raising their sons to the Sublime Degree. Certainly this was the first such occurrence in Grecian Lodge and it is doubtful that a similar situation has taken place in many Lodges.

A span of 105 years of continuous membership by a father and his four sons came to a close in September 1975. Worshipful William R. Sawyer, who was raised in July of 1870, served the Lodge as Master in 1895 and 1896. In June of 1915, he raised his four sons to the Sublime Degree. Brother Samuel Stevens Sawyer entered the Celestial Lodge in July of 1975 and was followed by the last surviving Sawyer, Brother Lewis Francis Sawyer, in September. That such a span of membership by a father and his sons occurs in many Lodges is unlikely.

While the Lodge is not fortunate enough to have its original Charter, certain pieces of our regalia and furnishings have been in use since the original formation of the Lodge. The ballot box has been in continuous use and many of the officers' jewels are the originals.

In 1866, Worshipful James H. Kidder presented ebony truncheons to the Lodge. These were in continuous use for 100 years until retired in June of 1967 and replaced by truncheons which were the gift of Brother Robert Zeiner of Tuscan Lodge.

Seventy-four brethren have served the Lodge as Worshipful Master. Twenty-six are living.

Three of our Past Masters have been presented 50 Year Past Master's Certificates by the Grand Lodge: Worshipful Andrew W. Campbell, Worshipful Christopher Dover, and Worshipful John E. McCrillis, Jr.

Three of our members, Right Worshipful Eugene G. Oldfield, Worshipful Julius W. Emmert, and Brother Francis E. Jones are holders of the Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal.

Seven of our Past Masters have been honored by the appointment to the office of District Deputy Grand Master.

Worshipful John E. McCrillis, Jr. is our oldest member, both in age and years of membership. He is presently 93 years, 7 months, and has been a Mason 64 years, 6 months, having been raised on June 16, 1911. He served as Master in 1923 and 1924, and received the Veteran's Medal on November 1, 1961. On his last visit to the Lodge, October 19, 1973, he was presented a 50 Year Past Master's Certificate.

The youngest member is our present Senior Deacon, Brother Vernon L. Sewade. He is 22 years old and received the Master Mason Decree on February 27, 1975.

A review of the list of Lodges reveals that presently Grecian Lodge is sixty-third in precedence.

In September 1975, Worshipful Julius W. Emmert was installed as Master for the second time having served previously in 1971. He is the first to serve non-consecutive terms since 1850 and only the third Past Master in the history of the Lodge to do so.

History teaches us to use the experience of the past, to plan in the present, for the problems of the future. Tonight Grecian Lodge looks forward to the future, not with trepidation but with resolution to build Square and Plumb. Those who follow us will, in later years, judge our efforts and contribution to the furtherance of Masonic Philosophy by the same rule and line by which we recall the merits of our forebears.

If we will but apply the lessons taught, through the experience of a century and one-half to the problems which now surround us, how can we do other than lay a firm foundation for those who 25 years hence will again meet in an anniversary celebration. There is no finer thought for the future than the following words of John Ruskin:

"Therefore, when we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight, nor for the present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for and let us think as we lay stone on stone, that the time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say as thev look upon the labor and wrought substance of them. See what our fathers did for us."

OTHER

  • 1856 (Report on jurisdictional dispute, VI-37)

EVENTS

CONSECRATION, MAY 1826

From Masonic Mirror and Mechanics' Intelligencer, Vol. II, No. 20, May 1826, Page 159:

Grecian Lodge at Methuen was consecrated on the 20th inst. in due and ancient form by a deputation from the Grand Lodge. R. W. Br. Bartlett, of Marblehead, presided. The public ceremonies were opened by a Sermon, from R. W. Br. Sabine, of Boston; his discourse was founded on the wise and foolish builders, (Matt. 7) compared by our Lord and Master, in his sermon on the Mount. The day was pleasant, and the services were conducted much to the satisfaction of the numerous audience that attended. Grecian Lodge promises to be a valuable acquisition to the fraternity.

From Masonic Mirror and Mechanics' Intelligencer, Vol. II, No. 24, June 1826, Page 186:

Consecration and Installation. Grecian Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons was consecrated and its Officers installed at Methuen, 20th ult. The new Lodge with several neighboring Lodges assembled at the Literary Hall (erected a few months since to accommodate a Literary Society and Grecian Lodge) in the village and formed a procession. A very respectable Deputation from the Grand Lodge was present, over which the R. W. John Bartlett presided. The procession, accompanied by an excellent band of music, moved to the Baptist Meeting House. The services commenced with an ode performed in handsome style by a select choir. Prayer by Rev. and W. Charles O. Kimball, Pastor of the church, and Chaplain elect of the Grecian Lodge. Sermon by Rev. and W. James Sabine, of Boston, and Chaplain of the Delegation, from Matt. vii 24-27. The prayer and sermon were both appropriate and interesting, the latter of which will be printed.

The Lodge was then consecrated and its officers installed in due and ancient form, by R. W. Br. Bartless and Rev. and W. Br. Sabine, assisted by the other officers of the D. G. Lodge.

The address of the Grand Master for the day was eloquent and truly Masonick and did honor to the fraternity. The procession was again formed and moved to a commodious tent, and sat down to a repast furnished by Br. W. Richardson in a becoming and elegant manner. The number at table amounted to about two hundred, including the ladies, whose taste and ingenuity were strikingly exhibited in the beautiful trimmings and decorations by which the meeting-house was adorned. After the cloth was removed, the following toasts were drunk.

  1. Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
  2. All subordinate Lodges. - May they be porches through which their numbers may gain admission to the celestial Lodge above.
  3. Ancient Greece. - Her wisdom in contriving, her strength in supporting and her beauty in adorning her every undertakin, have been without a parallel in all succeeding ages.
  4. Masonry. - May the despotic governments that opposed it be raised to the level of republicanism, and like the sun in his strength, may its beams eradiate every part of the habitable globe.
  5. The daughters of Columbia. - Emblematical of the indented tessel and among the most distinguished of the manifold blessings and comforts which surround us, may they always keep their hearts securely tyled by virtue.
  6. Our Female Guests. - The brightest jewels of the Craft.

Officers of Grecian Lodge.

  • R. M. Alvah Josselyn, M.
  • W. Timothy Claxton, S. W.
  • W. Thomas Thursten, J. W.
  • Bro. William Huse, T.
  • Bro. John Davis, Sec.
  • Rev. Bro. C. O. Kimball, Ch.
  • Bro. D. Merrill, 2d., Mar.
  • Bro. J. K. Pecker, S. D.
  • Bro. Benja. Pettengill, J. D.
  • Bro. Jona. Swan, S. S.
  • Bro. Jona. Merrill, 3d., J. S.
  • Bro. Huzon Bodwell, Tyler.

INSTALLATION, JANUARY 1827

From Masonic Mirror and Mechanics' Intelligencer, Vol. III, No. 11, March 1827, Page 87:’’

Officers of Grecian Lodge, at Methuen, Mass. were installed on Friday, January 12, 5827, and address delivered on the occasion by Br. Samuel Phillips, Esq. The address was highly appropriate and truly masonic. The officers for the ensuing year are:

  • Rev. and R. W. C. O. Kimball, Master.
  • Wor. Thomas Thurston, S. W.
  • Wor. Stephen Huse, J. W.
  • Bro. Moses Merrill, Treasurer.
  • Bro. John Davis, Secretary.
  • Bro. Samuel Dinsmore, S. D.
  • Bro. Benjamin Pettingill, J. D.
  • Bro. Lewis Gage, S. S.
  • Bro. Charles Gleason, J. S.
  • Bro. John I. Sargent, Tyler.

OFFICER LIST, DECEMBER 1829

From Masonic Mirror, New Series, Vol. I, No. 34, February 1830, Page 267:

  • Bro. Stephen Huse, R. W. M.
  • Bro. John Davis, S. W.
  • Bro. Asa Woodbury, J. W.
  • Bro. Isaac Senter, T.
  • Bro. Asa Gage, Sec.
  • Bro. S. B. Pettingill, S. D.
  • Bro. Abram Whitney, J. D.
  • Bro. Charles O. Kimball, Chap.
  • Bro. Charles Gleason, S. S.
  • Bro. Thomas Mackee, J. S.
  • Bro. Daniel Balch, Mar.
  • Bro. Thomas Marr, Tyler.

INSTALLATION, JANUARY 1849

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. VIII, No. 4, February 1849, p. 137:

GRECIAN LODGE, LAWRENCE.

The officers of the above Lodge were publicly installed at the Lecture Room of the Congregational Society, in Lawrence, on Tuesday evening, Jan. 6. St. Matthew's Lodge, from Andover, and Pentucket Lodge, from Lowell, were present. The ceremonies of Installation devolved upon R. W. Br. G. G. Smith, of Boston. The following are the Officers:—

  • Benjamin Boardman, W. M.
  • Leonard Stoddard, S. W.
  • John B. Atkinson, J. W.
  • Fairfield White, Trees.
  • David Dana, Sec
  • Thomas Wright, S. D.
  • John McGregor, J. D.
  • Rev. George H. Clark, Chaplain
  • George A. Lloyd, S. S.
  • Andrew J. Anderson, J. S.
  • Bartlett D. Crockett, Tyler.

The ceremonies of Installation having been concluded, (says the Lawrence Courier,) the audience, comprising about six hundred persons, listened attentively for about three-fourths of an hour, to an address by R. W. Rev. Geo. M. Randall, Deputy Grand Master, of Boston. At the conclusion of the services at the church, the Masons, with their wives and families, and a large number of invited guests, repaired to Masonic Hall, where a collation had been provided. The tables were spread in good taste, and the remains at the conclusion of the repast gave ample proof that they proffered plenty as well as hospitality. The company was large, and if conviviality and pleas ant countenances can be taken as an index to the general gratification of the assembly, it would be difficult to find a happier company than the one here congregated. The company broke up about half-past ten o'clock.

FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, JUNE 1856

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XV, No. 10, August 1856, p. 309:

Grecian Lodge, at Lawrence Mass. celebrated the 24th, on its own account, and in a very commendable manner; for the following particulars of which, we are indebted to the Lawrence Sentinel: —

Tuesday the 24th, being the festival of St. John the Baptist, to whom all Masonic Lodges are dedicated, was observed by the craft of this city in a peculiar manner. It is customary, in Masonic observations of this day, to have a public address, an ode, &c; but the craft connected with Grecian Lodge in this city, preferred a pleasant and social excursion. Arrangements were accordingly made for a general mustering of the Order, residing here and at Andover and Methuen, with their wives, daughters and sweet-hearts, and some of the good fellows in town, with the same attaches, among whom were the editors of the Courier and the Sentinel, and were successful.

At an early hour in the A. M., of the 24th, the company assembled at the Lodge room, where a procession was formed, which, preceded by the Lawrence Brass Band, marched up Essex Street to the Depot, where they took the cars for Salem. Arrived at Salem, the company embarked upon the steamer Argo, Capt. Bracy, which, after a short but pleasant sail, landed at Lowell Island, where they spent the day in quiet luxury. The company numbered over an hundred and fifty, full one half of whom were ladies. The sports and pleasures of the day were as varied as the tastes of so large a company must necessarily be; some danced, some sang, some bathed, some played at bagatelle, others at billiards, while many rambled over the rocks and shores of the Island ; all were happy and everywhere the cheering smile and sparkling eye told how deep the enjoyment was.

It would be folly to crack on a dinner, which Larrabee gets up. Every one knows the character and reputation of his table, which, on this occasion was fully appreciated and had ample justice done to it.

At six o'clock, P. M., we bade adieu to the Island and its landlord, and embarked on board our cosy craft again. We steamed out into the bay and partook of old Ocean's genuine breath, then heading about passed on the opposite side of the light house, on our way up. We found the train waiting for us at the wharf, which soon started with us for home. We arrived at Lawrence, soon after eight. Thus terminated one of the most pleasant and agreeable jaunts, which we ever enjoyed. No accident or untoward circumstance occurred to mar the general pleasures. The whole company are loud in their praises of the arrangement,.the Band, the ride, the boat, the Island, and all that conduced to the general enjoyment and happiness.

OFFICIAL VISIT, OCTOBER 1856

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVI, No. 2, November 1856, Page 59:

From the Lawrence Sentinel of October 25th:

Grecian Lodge, in this city, received the annual visitation of D. D. G. M. Hon. Peter Lawson, with his suite, on the evening of Friday, the 17th inst. The usual exercises were conducted at their Lodge room, where a large number of the Craft were in attendance; after which, the company repaired to the Franklin House, and sat down to an excellent supper, provided by Capt. Decker. At the supper the Ladies of the Brethren appeared and enlivened the occasion with their presence.

The following toasts were read and responded to by Bros. Lawson, Edson, Gardner, and Pulman, of Lowell, Davis, of Boston; Abbott and Sanborn, of Andover; Boardman, Wright, Stoddard, and Sargent, of Lawrence:

  • The R. W. Grand Lodge of Massachusetts — The blazing star in the centre of our trestle-board; as it was the earliest, so may it be the steadiest and purest star, in the constellation of American Freemasonry.
  • The R. W. Peter Lawson, D. D. G. M. — Eminent for Masonic knowledge. Whether representing this district in an honorable and responsible office, or in his private capacity as an observant traveller among foreign Masonic bodies; everywhere the friend and the pride of this Masonic district.
  • Merrimack Lodge, Haverhill — May our fraternal intercourse last as long as the beautiful stream, from which she takes her name, runs past our respective jurisdictions.
  • St. Matthew's Lodge, Andover — She meets on a high hill, we in a low vale; she, at the seat of learning, we, at that of labor; our fraternal intercourse is an evidence of that intimate connection, which Masonry recognizes between education and employment.
  • Pentucket Lodge, Lowell — An older laborer in a manufacturing city, than we; when our work equals hers, we shall be content.
  • Ancient York Lodge, Lowell — A brilliant example of the Masonic demands of the present day; as a lodge of strict observance, we look up to her.
  • The memory of Washington, Warren, Franklin, and other Masonic worthies — May we emulate their virtues, as we follow their work.
  • Our worthy Past-Masters — Our present condition shows how truly they worked, and kept their "hieroglyphic bright."
  • Woman —While she is excluded from our Lodge-room, she reigns, uncontrolled, in our hearts. We welcome her to our festive board.

The present occasion—May this not be the last j may the good time which has come to-night, be always coming.


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1825: District 2

1856: District 3

1867: District 6 (Newburyport)

1883: District 10 (Lawrence)

1911: District 11 (Lawrence)

1927: District 11 (Lawrence)


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges