JohnAbbot

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JOHN ABBOT LODGE

Location: Somerville

Chartered By: John T. Heard

Charter Date: 09/08/1858 VI-190

Precedence Date: 10/21/1857

Current Status: in Grand Lodge Vault; merged with Samuel Crocker Lawrence Lodge to form John Abbot-Samuel Crocker Lawrence Lodge, 10/02/2001.


PAST MASTERS

  • Francis L. Raymond, 1858
  • John K. Hall, 1859, 1860; SN
  • James B. Bugbee, 1861, 1862
  • Thomas H. Lord, 1863, 1864
  • Philip R. Ridgeway, 1865, 1866
  • William E. Robinson, 1867
  • Henry F. Woods, 1868
  • Charles H. Delano, 1869
  • Thomas H. Lord, 1870
  • Selwin Z. Bowman, 1871, 1872; Mem
  • Frank S. Hartshorn, 1873-1875
  • Charles H. Taylor, 1876
  • George H. Allen, 1877, 1878
  • Charles J. Richardson, 1879, 1880
  • Robert Laycock, 1881, 1882
  • John B. Viall, 1883, 1884
  • T. Gilman Smith, 1885, 1886
  • Edward T. Flanagan, 1887
  • Charles A. Cushman, 1888, 1889
  • Thomas M. Durrell, 1890, 1891; SN
  • Frank W. Kaan, 1892, 1893; N
  • Horace L. Eaton, 1894, 1895
  • Frank W. Mead, 1896, 1897
  • Elmer E. Cousens, 1898, 1899
  • Orrin C. Hubbard, 1900
  • Nathaniel W. Lillie, 1901, 1902
  • John H. MacAlmon, 1903, 1904
  • Frederic E. Wood, 1905; N
  • John A.F. Trueman, 1906, 1907
  • Albert C. Ashton, 1908, 1909
  • Edwin C. Pearson, 1910, 1911
  • Charles W. Spear, 1912, 1913
  • Frank L. Morse, 1914, 1915
  • Joseph S. Pike, 1916, 1917
  • Eben F. Hersey, 1918, 1919
  • Harry H. Ashton, 1920, 1921
  • Clarence I. Horton, 1922, 1923
  • Francis W. K. Smith, 1924, 1925
  • Jesse A. Ayles, 1926, 1927
  • Lester P. Leathers, 1928, 1929
  • Chester W. MacNeil, 1930
  • Frank L. Pearson, 1931
  • Harvey L. Ames, 1932, 1933
  • Gordon Hall, 1934
  • Harry L. Chandler, 1935
  • Eugene B. Hamilton, 1936, 1937; N
  • George A. Bowers, 1938
  • Seward E. Nichols, 1939; N
  • Earl E. Bolton, 1940
  • Donald H. Hatheway, 1941
  • Clarence F. Johnson, 1942
  • Arland A. Dirlam, 1943
  • Robert W. Young, 1944; N
  • Louis J. MacKay, 1945
  • Howard S. Tochterman, 1946
  • Cecil W. Pride, 1947
  • Harry W. Bowl, 1948
  • Ralph B. MacCutcheon, 1949
  • Charles G. Daniels, 1950
  • W. Russell Brundage, 1951
  • Charles W. Larsen, 1952
  • Lewis A. Pratt, 1953
  • William J. Trace, 1954
  • Charles W. Shepherd, Jr, 1955; SN
  • Walter A. Burdett, 1956
  • John L. MacGregor, 1957
  • Elmer W. Keane, 1958
  • Francis W. K. Smith, 1959
  • A. Everett Sherburne, 1960
  • John W. Barber, 1961
  • William Cloudman, 1962
  • Charles R. L. Rice, 1963, 1964
  • Leo Canto, 1965
  • Edward DeMone, 1966
  • Ronald K. Holman, 1967
  • Richard S. Bird, 1968
  • William A. Foster, 1969
  • Gordon F. Parry, 1970
  • Sydney F. Towle, 1971
  • Donald W. Carriger, 1972
  • Donald B. Feltch, 1973, 1981
  • Alden S. Jack, 1974
  • Irving E. Johansen, 1975, 1976; N
  • Lewis A. Pratt, 1977
  • George E. Kenney, 1978-1980
  • William E. Rogers, 1982, 1983, 1985
  • John M. Saulnier, 1984
  • Samuel E. Gagliardi, 1986
  • Donald W. Carriger, Jr., 1987; PDDGM
  • Joseph A. Clements, 1988
  • Curtice H. Brown, 1989, 1999
  • Richard J. Crosby Jr., 1990, 1991
  • Michael S. Podymaitis, 1992, 1993, 2000-2001; PDDGM
  • Donald A. Coutoumas, 1994
  • Douglas B. Carriger, 1995, 1996
  • Joseph Touchette, 1997, 1998

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1907 (50th Anniversary)
  • 1932 (75th Anniversary)
  • 1957 (Centenary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1872 1880 1887 1888 1896 1897 1905 1909 1910 1911 1912 1919 1920 1921 1924 1926 1932 1938 1940 1947 1950 1963 1966 1970 1971 1972 1987

HISTORY

  • 1888 (Historical address at hall dedication, 1888-230)
  • 1932 (75th Anniversary History, 1932-179; see below)
  • 1957 (Centenary History, 1957-139; see below)

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1932

From Proceedings, Page 1932-179; also appears in New England Craftsman, Vol. XXIX, No. 6, December 1933, Page 103:

By Bro. Leon M. Conwell.

On the corner of Somerville Avenue and Beech Street stands a wooden tenement house touched by the hand of time, but still erect and substantial. Nothing about it compels a second glance, but it holds a deep interest for us, for it is the birthplace of John Abbot Lodge. Seventy-five years ago, Somerville Avenue was a narrow country road named Milk Row, and Beech Street was Oak Street. I stood for a few minutes on the opposite side of Somerville Avenue to conjure up in my imagination, if I could, the conditions and circumstances under which thirteen Master Masons gathered in that building on September 22, 1857, to plan for the first Masonic Lodge in Somerville. Trolley cars rolled by, as I stood there. A constant stream of automobiles moved in either direction, and occasionally a monster truck piled high with merchandise thundered by on its way to Cambridge or Arlington. From open windows came the blare and twang of radios. All of this has developed since John Abbot Lodge was born. No street cars, automobiles, or radios then—no electric lights, no telephones. All transportation was by steam train, more or less crude, by hourly busses drawn by horses, or by private teams. A year later horse drawn street-cars made their way out to Somerville. The population of Somerville was above five thousand and rising fast, and the valuation of the entire town was about five million dollars. People were neighborly then, they lived in considerable settlements in East Somerville, and on the slopes of Winter Hill and Spring Hill, and around Union Square. West of Central Street were farms and pastures. Somerville now has a population of over one hundred and three thousand people, living in twenty-two thousand homes, and the total valuation of the city is one hundred and twenty-three million dollars. The contrast of the times shown in these figures is not greater than the contrast between that little meeting on September 22, 1857, and John Abbot Lodge as it is tonight, with more than twelve hundred members, meeting in apartments comfortable, spacious, and well equipped.

We cannot tell for how long the thought of a Masonic Lodge in Somerville had been under consideration, but we do know that thirteen Master Masons met in Union Hall — then the second story of the Somerville Avenue building — and every Brother present was enthusiastic in his desire to establish a Lodge. A week later, on September 29, they met again, and this time took the definite step of appointing a committee of seven to apply for a Dispensation from the Grand Master, prepare a Lodge-room, furnish regalia, and do all necessary things appertaining to the institution of a Lodge. There was some discussion over a name, but it was decided to take the name of John Abbot, who died in 1854, a prominent attorney of Westford, Massachusetts, and Grand Master in 1824-25-26, taking part with Marquis De Lafayette in laying the corner stone of Bunker Hill Monument in 1825. Again in 1834, John Abbot was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, and perhaps it was because of his conspicuous courage and patience in the administration of that office during the great Anti-Masonic movement of that time that made the little band of Somerville Brothers anxious to honor him.

The founders of John Abbot Lodge were prominent citizens of Somerville, which had been established as a town only fifteen years before. Francis L. Raymond, James R. Bugbee, Reuben E. Demmon, Thomas J. Leland, Enoch Robinson, James M. Shute, and Joel F. Thayer comprised the committee of seven to arrange the details of establishing the new Lodge. On October 16, by-laws were accepted and officers elected. King Solomon's Lodge, of Charlestown, freely gave assent, and a Dispensation having been obtained, the first Lodge in Somerville of Free and Accepted Masons was opened October 23, 1857. An attic room above Union Hall was fitted up for a Lodge-room. Nineteen Master Masons signed the petition for the Charter, and a careful canvass of the town revealed only twenty-two residents who were Masons. Every one of the Charter members has passed away. In addition to the committee of seven previously named, the Charter members included Charles E. Gilman, George O. Brastow, Benjamin Woodward, John K. Hall, Thomas H. Lord, Isaac F. Shepard, Gardner T. Ring, A. B. Cleary, William F. White, Francis W. Wade, George A. Guild, and Chester Guild.

Francis L. Raymond was the first Master of John Abbot Lodge, and he had had experience as Master of King Solomon's Lodge in 1842-43. The members were most faithful, but it was necessary to be economical. Yet they made of the little attic room a cosy and attractive Lodge hall, and the members individually presented articles needed until all wants were met. Can we imagine tonight the exciting and important occasion on September 14, 1858, when John Abbot Lodge was consecrated and the hall dedicated by the Grand Lodge? The attic room was crowded to capacity. Thirty-six members and thirty-two visiting Brothers were present.

At the close of the year under Dispensation, Worshipful Master Francis L. Raymond retired. He was the first honorary member of the Lodge, and continued his active interest until his death in 1873. John K. Hall succeeded him as first master under the Charter.

In 1858 John Abbot Lodge was out of debt and growing in numbers, and the hall below the attic was taken for the Lodge-room, and the attic used as a banquet hall. Ten years from the opening of the Lodge it was necessary to find other quarters, and a proposition was made to a group of men contemplating building fft Union Square for a ten-year lease of a commodious and proper Lodge-room. In 1868 the Masonic rooms in Union Square were used, and the hall was dedicated March 18, 1869. This building, long known as the Masonic Building, was completely destroyed by fire last spring.

Somerville was growing rapidly and the location in Union Square was not convenient for all the members of the Lodge, and with the consent of John Abbot Lodge a new Lodge was formed in East Somerville — Soley Lodge was thus formed in 1879. Nearly ten years later there were movements for two other Lodges in Somerville, due largely to the inconvenience of attending the meetings, and it was proposed to erect a Masonic building in the most convenient location, to be used by the two Lodges and Somerville Royal Arch Chapter. While this offer was under consideration, Rufus B. Stickney offered to erect a building in Gilman Square, which would be suitable in every way for Masonic uses. The offer was accepted, and the present Masonic apartments were dedicated October 4, 1888. King Solomon's Lodge moved up from Charlestown in 1899. Two trustees from each Masonic body were elected to control the apartments. Soon after the World War the heirs of Rufus Stickney sold the building, and the new owners again desiring to sell, the three Masonic Lodges, John Abbot, Soley, and King Solomon's, and Somerville Royal Arch Chapter, forming a corporation under the title of Somerville Masonic Building Association, Inc., purchased the Stickney building on May 7, 1926.

In the negotiations for the purchase it was necessary to move quickly, faster than might be possible for four organizations, but individual Masons combined to meet the situation. Twenty-four members, of whom nine were from John Abbot Lodge, subscribed the sum of fifteen thousand four hundred dollars to purchase the building and hold it if necessary until united Masonic action was secured. This proved to be unnecessary, but all who appreciate and enjoy the comforts and conveniences of these apartments, now secure under Masonic ownership, may well rejoice at the earnest efforts of the Brothers who were ready to meet the emergency. The late Worshipful Brother Francis W. K. Smith, the late Brother George A. Berry, Inside Sentinel for fifteen years, and Brother Charles M. Berry, one of the trustees of the apartments, were specially zealous in advancing the purchase, and the other six from John Abbot Lodge were: Worshipful Brothers Frank L. Morse, Joseph S. Pike, and Clarence I. Horton, and Brothers William H. Wallis, Frederic D. Hall, and Herbert G. Hight.

In 1912 a fourth Masonic Lodge was instituted in Somerville, Somerville Lodge, which is flourishing and meeting in comfortable quarters in the Lewis Building, Davis Square.

During all these seventy-five years John Abbot Lodge has been true to the principles of Masonry, the members dwelling together in harmony, patriotic, and deeply interested in public spirited enterprises. Among its members have been many who were conspicuous in the government and life of Somerville. They have served their state and nation faithfully. During the Civil War, which broke out just a few years after John Abbot Lodge was founded, its members were represented in the Union Army, and by special dispensation Captain Willard C. Kinsley and Colonel Fred R. Kinsley joined John Abbot Lodge, receiving all the degrees on the same day. In the war with Spain, John Abbot Lodge was represented, and during the World War sixty-six members of John Abbot Lodge were enrolled in the United States forces, and three lost their lives in that terrible conflict. These were Brothers Paul R. Lund, Harry J. Quennell, and Ernest A. Ware. In all the movements at home in support of those in the army and navy, John Abbot members were unceasingly active.

The fiftieth anniversary was a memorable and enthusiastic occasion, honored as this one is by the presence of the Grand Master, then Most Worshipful John Albert Blake, and his suite. Reminiscence has a touch of sadness, because so many prominent in those exercises have passed away. Albert C. Ashton, Worshipful Master, Brother George L. Baxter, and Right Worshipful Frank W. Kaan comprised the committee of arrangements, and only Brother Kaan survives. Worshipful Thomas H. Lord, a Charter member of John Abbot and a Past Master, was at that time Senior Past Master, and had the post of honor which Past Master John B. Viall holds tonight. Worshipful Brother Viall was Master in 1882 to 1884, and Worshipful Brother Kaan in 1891 to 1893. These two are the only surviving Masters whose terms were in the nineteenth century. The golden anniversary poem was written and read by Robert Luce, now a distinguished member of Congress, and then just starting on his public career. May I quote one verse from his poem?

"Though the past with precious memories
Fills our minds and hearts tonight,
Let us not forget tomorrow
With its message clear and bright
Calling for yet more achievement
In the battle for the right."

There were speeches bv the Grand Master and all the Grand Officers, Recording Grand Secretary Sereno D. Nickerson answering to the toast in memory of John Abbot.

Our Lodge has had forty-one Past Masters, of whom sixteen are living. Three, the late Selwyn Z. Bowman, the late Thomas M. Durell, and Frederic E. Wood, have served as District Deputy Grand Masters, and two, Frank W. Kaan and the late Frank W. Mead, have served as Grand Wardens of the Grand Lodge.

Since our fiftieth anniversary death has claimed fourteen of our Past Masters, and our beloved brother, Alfred M. Sibley, Inside Sentinel for forty-two years, passed away December 21, 1911. His service extended from 1869 to 1911.

So many incidents of interest to Masonry have occurred within the seventy-five years, so many officers have served with great ability and self-sacrifice, that time will not permit even the most routine mention. We honor them all, as we honor tonight the eight brothers, Martin L. King, Arthur T. Kidder, John B. Viall, Dr. Alphonso H. Carvill, Charles H. Bishop, George H. Perkins, George B. Pitcher, and Belvin T. Williston, who have been in Masonry for more than fifty years. Brother King has been sixty-three years a Mason, having joined John Abbot Lodge in 1869.

Preparation of this history, inadequate as it is, would not have been possible without the records of the late George L. Baxter, Secretary for nineteen years, and who gave the historical address at the fiftieth anniversary of the Lodge in 1907; and the kind co-operation of our present genial and efficient Secretary, Eli T. Dillon, who is now in his thirtieth year in that office.

The real history of John Abbot Lodge does not consist only of dates, facts, or statistics. It is written deep on the hearts of our members. Allegiance to the principles of our order and association with the Brethren have strengthened the character and ennobled the lives of all who have been under this mighty and glorious influence. If Masonry could speak of the courage, capacity for sacrifices and noble achievement it has brought into a countless host of lives, there would be history indeed!

CENTENARY HISTORY, OCTOBER 1957

From Proceedings, Page 1957-136:

By Right Worshipful Eugene B. Hamilton.

Twenty-five years ago John Abbot Lodge observed its Seventy-fifth Anniversary. Several of the Brethren who attended that celebration are here tonight. Many others have since passed to the Celestial Lodge above. Among those was our Brother Leon M. Conwell, who, at that time prepared and delivered the historical address. In observing our One Hundredth Anniversary tonight, our emotions are many and varied. One of our deep regrets is that Brother Conwell could not have lived to complete the history for this hundred year period. However, such changes and additions as seemed appropriate have now been made here in an effort to leave with you a brief but comprehensive report on the high-lights of this Lodge during its first century of existence. Another of our deep regrets is that the dean of our Past Master, Right Worshipful Frank W. Kaan, is unable to be with us this evening.

During these one hundred years, this Lodge has had sixty-six Worshipful Masters. Twenty-eight of these are still living. R. W. Frank W. Kaan was our Worshipful Master in 1891 to 1893. On September 11, 1957, Brother Kaan became ninety-six years of age. Therefore, this Lodge was but four years old when he was born. He is the oldest living Permanent Member of our Grand Lodge (by eleven years), he having served as Senior Grand Warden in 1898. Although he is unable to be with us tonight, he is thinking of us as we all think of him.

Six of our Past Masters have served as District Deputy Grand Masters, two as Senior Grand Wardens of the Grand Lodge, and one as Deputy Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. Many members of John Abbot Lodge have stood high in the councils of city, state and nation. At the present time two of our members have been honored by the Henry Price Medal; they are R.W. Frank W. Kaan and R.W. Eugene B. Hamilton.

None of our members are holders of the Distinguished Service Medal. R. W. Brother Kaan is our only Honorary Member.

On September 22, 1857, thirteen Master Masons met in Union Hall, which was located at the corner of Somerville Avenue and Beech Street. Each of those assembled was inspired by the thought that Somerville, then a town of over five thousand inhabitants, should have a Masonic Lodge. One week later a committee of seven was appointed to apply to the Grand Lodge for a dispensation. There was some discussion over the selection of a name for the new Lodge. It was finally decided to honor John Abbot, a man who had been Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts in 1824, 25 and 26. And in 1834, he again held that high office. His administration was marked by conspicuous courage, patience and tact in those dark days of anti-Masonic agitation. It is worthy of note that as Grand Master, John Abbot assisted the Marquis de Lafayette in laying the corner-stone of Bunker Hill Monument in 1825.

Only twenty-two Masons were found to be residing in Somerville one hundred years ago. The dispensation from the Grand Lodge was readily obtained, King Solomon's Lodge of Charlestown gladly giving assent. As a result, the first Masonic Lodge in Somerville was opened October 23, 1957. Our first century actually closes tonight. We start on our second tomorrow. Our Charter records the names of nineteen members. They were: Francis L. Raymond, Joel F. Thayer, James R. Bugbee, Thomas J. Leland, Charles E. Gilman, George O. Brastow, Reuben E. Demmon, Francis W. Wade, Benjamin Woodward, John K. Hall, Thomas H. Lord, Enoch Robinson, James M. Shute, Isaac F. Shepard, Gardner T. Ring, A. B. Cleary, William F. White, George A. Guild, and Chester Guild. All of these men were prominent citizens of Somerville. George Q. Brastow was elected the first mayor when Somerville became a City in 1872. Twenty candidates were raised to the Degree of Master Mason while the Lodge was working under dispensation. The first candidate was Benjamin Randall.

On September 14, 1858, John Abbot Lodge was Constituted. The lodge-room was filled to capacity by the presence of thirty-six members and thirty-two visitors. The annual dues were fixed at two dollars, raised to three dollars in 1865, and to five dollars in 1869. Our current annual dues are ten dollars. Brother Francis L. Raymond was the Master Under Dispensation. Wor. Brother Raymond had been Master of King Solomon's Lodge in 1842 and 1843. He retired as Master at the close of that year Under Dispensation. He then became the first Honorary Member of this Lodge. He continued his active interest until his death in 1873. Brother John K. Hall was the first Master under our Charter. In that first year John Abbot Lodge was free of debt and increasing in membership. The original quarters were soon outgrown, and eleven years later, in 1868, Masonic Apartments were occupied in Union Square. The dedication was observed March 18, 1869. That structure, long known as the Masonic Building was totally destroyed by fire in 1932.

After the close of the Civil War, Somerville grew very rapidly. Soley Lodge was established in 1879, with the assent of John Abbot Lodge. In 1888 our present Masonic Apartments located in Gilman Square, and erected by Rufus B. Stickney, were dedicated. Somerville Royal Arch Chapter was Constituted in 1871. Orient Council of Royal and Select Masters was Constituted in 1889. This meant that the new Apartments were occupied by John Abbot Lodge, Soley Lodge, Somerville Royal Arch Chapter and Orient Council. In 1889, King Solomon's Lodge moved to Somerville from Charlestown, and took up its quarters with the above-named four Masonic Bodies. These three Lodges and the Chapter formed a corporation under the title of Somerville Masonic Building Association, Inc., and purchased the building in 1926. Twenty-four members subscribed the sum of $15,400.00 to pay for the property. Nine of those subscribers were members of John Abbot Lodge.

In 1912 Somerville Lodge was instituted and is now located in attractive apartments in the Hobbs Building in Davis Square.

In 1947 Freedom Lodge was instituted. Our own R.W. Seward E. Nichols was its first Master. Our own R. W. Robert W. Young was its third Master. Freedom Lodge shares these apartments with us.

Three years after John Abbot Lodge was Constituted, the Civil War broke out. The Masons of Somerville were wholly-loyal in support of the Union and were well represented in our Armed Forces. Willard C. Kinsley, Captain of the Somerville Company, and Colonel Fred R. Kinsley both joined John Abbot Lodge, and by special dispensation of the Grand Master, each received all three Degrees in one day. Again in the Spanish-American War John Abbot Lodge was represented in our Army and Navy. We are proud and happy that our present membership includes Brother Ernest Sawyer who is a veteran of that war fought in 1898. In fact, during the past one hundred years, John Abbot Lodge has contributed generously of its manhood in each war in which the United States has been involved. In World War One, sixty-six of our members enrolled in our Armed Forces. In that conflict three of our Brethren made the supreme sacrifice. They were Francis R. Lund, Harry J. Quennell and Ernest A. Ware. In World War Two, ninety-five of our members served as follows: fifty-six in the Army, thirty-one in the Navy, three in the Canadian Army and five in the Maritime Service. Two of our members lost their lives in that conflict, Rev. Bro. William H. Turner, Chaplain, and Bro. Alton A. Cousins. In the Korean War, this Lodge continued its patriotic record.

Mention should be made here of services rendered John Abbot Lodge by some of its past officers. Bro. Eli T. Dillon served as Secretary for forty-one years, from 1903 to 1944. R.W. Seward E. Nichols has served as Secretary from 1944 to the present time. Bro. Alfred M. Sibley served as Inside Sentinel for forty-two years, from 1869 to the time of his death in 1911. Bro. George W. Durell served as Chaplain from 1869 to the time of his death in 1896. Wor. Joseph S. Pike served as Treasurer from 1919 to 1933. Bro. Howard E. Wemyss served as Treasurer from 1933 to the time of his death in 1949. Wor. Ralph B. MacCutcheon has been our Treasurer since 1949.

At the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of John Abbot Lodge we were honored by the presence of the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Curtis Chipman. He was accompanied by R.W. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary. Both spoke eloquently. Wor. Harvey L. Ames was the presiding Master. The history was prepared and read by Bro. Leon M. Conwell. There was a large attendance and much enthusiasm.

The following is quoted from the history written twenty-five years ago by Brother Conwell:

"All this has developed since John Abbot Lodge was born. No street cars then, no automobiles nor radios then, no electric lights, no telephones. All transportation was by steam trains, more or less crude, by horse-drawn busses, or by private teams. A year later horse-drawn street cars made their way out to Somerville. The population of Somerville one hundred years ago was just above five thousand, and increasing rapidly. The assessed value of the real estate was about five million dollars, and the tax rate was $7.20 per $1,000. By comparison, in 1957 the population of the city of Somerville is listed as 97,032; the assessed value of its real estate is listed as $125,139,100.00; and the present tax rate is $71.20 per $1,000.00. Pausing for a moment longer to note some United States Treasury statistics, we find that in 1857 the public debt was $28,701,373.00, or a per capita debt of 99 cents. In 1957 the public debt amounts to $270,527,171,896.00, which means that as each new baby is born today he starts life in the red in the sum of $1580.72. This also may be of equal interest: In 1836, just twenty-one years before this Lodge was formed, there was a national surplus of thirty-seven million dollars, of which twenty-eight millions were distributed among the states on a per capita basis."

The following bequests have been received by John Abbot Lodge, and have been set up as Special Funds:

  • Charles M. Berry Fund, December 3, 1935
  • Frank R. Dunklee Fund, March 3, 1936
  • George R. J. Walker Fund, June 7, 1938
  • Nathaniel W. Lillie Fund, November 7, 1944
  • Frank W. Kaan Fund, June 4, 1946
  • Theodore E. Heron Fund, September 7, 1948
  • Eli T. Dillon Fund, September 2, 1952

On July 6, 1954, our Bro. Charles B. Klingemann passed away. He had been a member of John Abbot Lodge since 1900. This Lodge now receives quarterly dividends from a trust fund established by the will of Bro. Klingemann. At the termination of the trust, John Abbot is to share in the distribution of the assets then held in the trust.

The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lodge was a memorable occasion, honored by the presence of the Grand Master, Most Worshipful John Albert Blake, and his suite. R. W. Brother Kaan was a member of the committee in charge of that event. Bro. Albert C. Ashton was the Worshipful Master. Bro. George L. Baxter was the historian for the occasion. The Golden Anniversary Poem was written and read by Bro. Robert Luce, then just starting on his distinguished career which, in due time, enrolled him as a Member of Congress. One stanza from his poem is quoted:

"Though the past with precious memories
Fills our minds and hearts tonight,
Let us not forget tomorrow
With its message clear and bright
Calling for yet more achievement
In the battle for the right."

There were addresses by the Grand Master and other Grand Lodge Officers, including, and I quote from their printed program of the evening: "W. Frederic L. Putnam, Grand Lecturer, and W. Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Marshal." Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson is now our oldest living Past Grand Master. R. W. Frederic L. Putnam is a Past Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge.

Following is a list of our living members who have received the Fifty Year Veteran's Medal:

  • Frank W. Kaan
  • John A. Jones
  • Harry F. Bucknam
  • Fred E. Brown
  • Bartlett T. Nicholson
  • Charles Wood
  • Edward Stevens
  • Walter F. Colby
  • John E. Kauler
  • Edward L. Hall
  • Karl T. Small
  • John W. Grover
  • Frank C. Fowler
  • Charles E. Lord
  • Carl N. Sanborn
  • Robert B. Steele
  • George E. Marden
  • Clarence W. Thomas
  • Paul R. Wild
  • Robert E. Fuller
  • David Houston
  • Harry L. Hyde
  • Archibald G. C. Loveys
  • Leon F. Wheeler
  • Richard O. Clark
  • Willard W. Whittaker
  • Hiram Turner
  • Ralph L. R. Collins
  • James H. Hurter


The following is quoted from the history written fifty years ago:

"In fitting up the hall and in procuring regalia they were much handicapped through want of funds. Members, however, presented one article, another another article until all wants were met. In only one instance was outside aid received. A handsome, appropriate Bible was much desired. It was, therefore, suggested to Ezra B. Robinson that he present one to the Lodge. He received the suggestion gladly, and on March 2, 1858, gave an excellent copy which was suitably marked and same has been used by John Abbot Lodge down to the present day. Mr. Robinson, the donor, never became a Mason."

The attention of all the Brethren present here tonight is called to this interesting fact that the Great Light in Masonry which now lies open upon our altar is that same volume which was donated on March 2, 1858, and upon whose sacred pages many, many hundreds of our members have taken their obligations.

In 1802 there were sixty-five Lodges under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. It was at that time that a system of Masonic Districts was established. As the number of Lodges increased, so also did the number of Districts increase.

On September 13, 1858, the Eleventh Masonic District was constituted. It comprised the following Lodges: King Solomon's, Mount Hermon, Hiram, Star of Bethlehem, Mount Vernon, Mount Horeb, Wyoming, Putnam and John Abbot.

Changes were made from time to time so that in 1927 the Sixth Masonic District, composed of fourteen Lodges, was separated into the Somerville Sixth Masonic District and the Arlington Sixth Masonic District. To these there have since been three more Lodges added so that at the present time they are as follows:

  • Somerville Sixth District
    • King Solomon's, 1783
    • Mount Hermon, 1854
    • Simon W. Robinson, 1870
    • Soley, 1879
    • Friendship, 1901
    • Mystic Valley, 1920
    • Russell, 1923
    • Simonds, 1955
    • Frank W. Thompson, 1955
  • Arlington Sixth District
    • Hiram, 1797
    • Mount Horeb, 1855
    • John Abbot, 1857
    • William Parkman, 1864
    • Somerville, 1912
    • Sagamore, 1914
    • Samuel Crocker Lawrence, 1920
    • Freedom, 1947

The District Deputy Grand Master for that original Eleventh Masonic District in 1858 was R. W. Charles B. Rogers, a Past Master of King Solomon's Lodge. R. W. Warner R. Crowell was the first District Deputy Grand Master of the newly formed Somerville Sixth Masonic District. R. W. William W. Wade was the first District Deputy Grand Master of the newly-formed Arlington Sixth Masonic District.

Past Masters of John Abbot Lodge who have served Grand Lodge are:

  • District Deputy Grand Masters
    • Selwyn Z. Bowman, 1878
    • Thomas M. Durrell, 1893-94
    • Frederick E. Wood, 1906
    • Eugene B. Hamilton, 1939-40
    • Seward E. Nichols, 1943-44
    • Robert W. Young, 1949-50
  • Senior Grand Wardens
  • Deputy Grand Master
    • Eugene B. Hamilton, 1948

The Thirteenth Lodge of Instruction is composed of the seventeen Lodges which also make up the Sixth Masonic District. Following is a list of Past Masters of John Abbot Lodge who have served as Masters of the Thirteenth Lodge of Instruction:

  • Harvey L. Ames 1936-1937
  • Eugene B. Hamilton 1939-1940
  • Seward E. Nichols 1944-1945

The Past Masters' Association of the Sixth Masonic District has been served by Past Masters of John Abbot Lodge in the following manner:

  • Frank W. Kaan, First Vice President, 1908-9-10
  • Albert C. Ashton, President, 1912-13
  • Nathaniel W. Lillie, President, 1915
  • Seward E. Nichols, Secretary-Treasurer, 1942-3-4-5
  • Eugene B. Hamilton, President, 1946

: Deceased

Earlier in this narrative it has been stated that only twenty-two Masons were found to be residing in Somerville one hundred years ago. Following are the latest membership figures available as this goes to press. These figures are applicable to the five Masonic Lodges now located in Somerville:

  • King Solomon's, 611
  • John Abbot, 693
  • Soley, 404
  • Somerville, 618
  • Freedom, 499
  • Total, 2825

Seldom does any individual attain the age of one hundred years. Yet, in the life of a Masonic Lodge a century is but the beginning. Freemasonry, notwithstanding, will survive the ages. In the mind of the Supreme Architect, a thousand years is but as yesterday when it is passed, and as a watch in the night. We are of one accord, that John Abbot Lodge is not old. It has just begun to walk. We are confident, also, that nine hundred years from tonight, men, and probably their ladies, will gather to observe the One Thousandth Anniversary, the Millennium, of John Abbot Lodge. The means by which those men and their ladies may travel, how they may appear, what they may wear, we, in this year 1957, are unable to even imagine. But, underneath it all, the human heart will remain unchanged, filled then as now with Brotherly Love and Affection. Then, as now, cherishing that desire to live and to die with the satisfaction that because we lived we contributed our portion that builds a broader and firmer foundation for the countless generations that shall follow after us. Thus, a Mason lives his life encouraged by the full and happy realization that it is not a cup to be drained, but a measure to be filled. So mote it be.

OTHER

  • 1886 (Appeal from ruling by Master; 1886-57; 1886-103)
  • 1887 (Appeal by lodge; 1887-27)
  • 1888 (Dedication of hall, 1888-228)
  • 1908 (Dedication of monument, 1908-50)

EVENTS

MASONIC LEVEE, APRIL 1858

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVII, No. 7, Page 200:

Somerville, April 16th, 1858.

R. W. Bro. Moore, — On Tuesday, the 13th inst., the members of John Abbot Lodge, and those about connecting themselves with the Order through this Lodge, had, with their families, a social gathering in the Hall immediately under their Lodge-room, which was tastefully decorated for the occasion by flags of different nations, to denote the universality of Freemasonry, and embellished by portraits of eminent Masons—conspicuous among which was that of M. W. G. M. John Abbot, in honor of whom the Lodge is called John Abbot Lodge. A promenade to the music of a fine band, while the guests were collecting, served to introduce those not previously acquainted with each other; and after enjoying themselves for an hour or more in dancing, the company adjourned to the Lodge-room and listened to an address upon the origin, character and design of Freemasonry, by Brother John K. Hall, a member of the Lodge, which was intended as a familiar conversation, in a family gathering, upon the interest which the female portion should take in the work in which the Brethren are engaged; and the undivided attention which they gave throughout, must have convinced the lecturer that his remarks were duly appreciated, or that his audience had an uncommon share of politeness, which induced them to remain so quiet for three quarters of an hour, apparently deeply interested, rather than exhibit the least sign of impatience.

After the lecture, the company again repaired to the lower Hall, where a very bountiful display of refreshments, prepared by Brother F. L. Raymond, attracted their attention for some time, when the dancing was again resumed.

At the conclusion, the party separated, highly pleased with the evening's entertainment. It was, in fact, a very beautiful feature of our Institution, and one which should oftener be carried into effect, that of bringing the families of the Brethren together in this, social and familiar manner, and thus extend those principles of our Order, Brotherly Love and Union; for as our Masonic Fathers purchased by their blood the glorious privileges enjoyed by the sons, let them by the cement of Brotherly Love, preserve and perpetuate them; and woman's smile illumining the recesses of our Lodge-rooms, calls our weary workmen from labor to refreshment. Somerville Lodge, though the youngest among her Masonic sisters, shows her appreciation of the old landmarks of the Order by selecting the name of John Abbot, who was one of the brightest ornaments of our Order; and may their Temple of Freemasonry, erected upon his name for their corner-stone, be as imperishable as the Monument on Bunker Hill whose corner-stone he laid while Grand Master of Massachusetts.

CONSTITUTION, SEPTEMBER 1858

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVII, No. 12, Page 357:

This new and flourishing Lodge, which, during the past year, has been working under a Dispensation, having obtained a Charter at the recent meeting of the Grand Lodge, was constituted in due form, at Somerville, on Tuesday evening, September 13th, by the M. W. Grand Master; after which the officers were installed and the hall, which is a very neat and convenient one, dedicated according to ancient usage. The ceremonies were of an interesting character, and were witnessed by a large number of visiting Brethren. The excellent Odes sung on the occasion were written at short notice by the new W. Master, Brother John K. Hall. They were sung in a superior manner, and gave the highest satisfaction to all present. We give the principal ones,—reserving the other two for a more convenient occasion :—

CONSECRATION ODE. Tune—" America."

To him who dwells above,
Relying on his love,
Our prayers we'll raise;
Bless this, our work to-night,
Guide us in paths aright,
And let us all unite,
To hymn thy praise.

Us with thy presence cheer,
And to our hearts draw near,
When here we meet;
Let Faith our footsteps guide,
And Hope in us abide:
May Charity reside
With willing feet.

Corn, Wine and Oil combine
To consecrate the shrine,
We raise to thee;
May this, our Temple stand,
Till Brothers hand in hand,
Unite our glorious land,
From sea to sea.

Then let John Abbot's name,
Kindle a worthy flame
Within our breasts;
His memory cherished there,
May we his virtues share,
And for that Lodge prepare,
Where now he rests.

INSTALLATION ODE. Tune.—"Bonnie Doon"

Great God I to-night within this hall,
We consecrate our Lodge to thee;
And may thy blessings on them fall,
Who at our Altar bend the knee;
May Wisdom from-our Last e'er flow,
And Strength sustain it in the West;
The South with radiant Beauty glow,
And animate each Brother's breast.

O may our union here be blest,
While by the Plumb we walk upright,
Still mindful of that high behest,
To guide a Brother's steps aright;
And though his actions by the Square
Imperfect prove, where none are true,
Let Charity his frailties spare,
But hold his virtues up to view.

The Bible always for our guide,
We ne'er shall err, or go astray;
If by its precepts we abide,
On us shall dawn that perfect day;
And when like him, whose name we bear,
Our task well finished here on earth,
May we with Abbot glory share,
In that Grand Lodge of heavenly birth.

The officers installed were Brothers John K. Hall, W. M.; Joel F. Thayer, S. W.; James R. Bugbee, J. W.; Thomas J. Leland, Treasurer, and Charles E. Gilman, Secretary.

PRESENTATION, MAY 1859

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XVIII, No. 8, June 1859, Page 229:

Somerville, May 12th 1859.

R. W. Bro. Moore — As you take pleasure in recording any little event which evinces a true Masonic feeling, and in which our beautiful principles of brotherly love and affection are manifested, I send yon an account of a one which took place at the Howard Theatre, in Boston, on the evening of the sixth inst. The occasion was the benefit of Brother Joseph Proctor, previous to bis departure for Europe. Bro. Proctor is well known and appreciated as an artist in his profession, and by his upright and exemplary character in private life, has won the esteem and regard of his fellow-citizens, who availed themselves of this opportunity to publicly express their approbation by presenting to him a very beautiful and costly silver Pitcher, — and to Mrs. Proctor, whom they also highly esteem, a valuable Bracelet.

John Abbot Lodge, of Somerville, of which Brother Proctor is a worthy member, was very fully represented on this occasion; and on the presentation of the Pitcher, to which they had individually contributed, they presented him with a very beautiful Bouquet, to which was attached the following lines, written by W. Brother John K. Hall, Master of the Lodge:—

TO BROTHER JOSEPH PROCTOR:

Though you to foreign lands will hie,
Pursuing fortune's slidd'ry be',
Your Brethren of the mystic tie
Will mind you still tho' far awa'.

And as we meet in that loved spot,
Where we so oft have met before,
Thy memory ne'er will be forgot,
But cherish'd still tho' far awa'.

These flowers will fade, whose tints now please;
But yet the heart shall hold in store
Their fragrance, which the passing breeze,
Shall waft to thee, when far awa'.

And when in some far clime you roam,
Let mem'ry from her sacred store,
Bring thoughts of those you 've left at home,
And of your Lodge that's far awa'.

HALL DEDICATION, DECEMBER 1868

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, December 1868, Page 229:

The members of the John Abbot Lodge of Freemasons met for the first time In their new hall In Union Square, on the evening of the 27th nit, when the annual visitation of R. W. Henry Endicott, District Deputy Grand Master, and accompanying suite, took place. There was a very lull attendance, and many visiting brethren from other lodges were present. The convenience and elegance of the new hall were much admired, especially the beautiful frescoes executed by Messrs. Wallburg and Sherry, of this city, the perspectives and scroll work exhibiting admirable skill. The new hall will be dedicated, and the officers for the ensuing year installed on the evening of December 15.

GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1857: District 11

1867: District 2 (Charlestown)

1883: District 6 (Somerville)

1911: District 6 (Somerville)

1927: District 6 (Arlington)


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges


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