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Ayer was incorporated in February 1871. Lodge charters with "South Groton" in their jurisdiction were relocated to Ayer.




From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXXII, No. 11, November 1873, Page 335:

The new Masonic apartments recently erected at Ayer (formerly a part of Groton) by St. Paul's and Caleb Butler Lodges, were dedicated to Masonic purposes by the M. W. Grand Lodge of this Commonwealth on Monday, the 6th of October. The attendance of members and invited guests was unusually large, and the ceremonies of the occasion were unusually interesting and important to the interests of Masonry in that location. It has, for a long series of years, been the custom of St. Paul's Lodge, dating back as early as 1797, to assemble on the first Monday of October in each year, to hold its anniversary festival and dinner, and that day was appropriately chosen for the dedication of their new apartments, the old hall having been destroyed by fire about a year since. These apartments consist of two large halls and the necessary anterooms, all of which are handsomely furnished, and afford all the accommodation which the two Lodges will be likely to require for many years to come. The officers of St. Paul's Lodge, the oldest of the two, were elected on the morning of the day, and are as follows: E. Dana Bancroft, W. M.; A. H. Caryl, Sen. W.; Frank Leighton, Jun. W.; S. Lawrence, Treas., and R. T. Bartlett, Sec.

The annual dinner or banquet, as usual with this Lodge, was spread, at noon, and before proceeding to the more important business of the day, which in the present case was the dedication of the halls. The W. Master presided at the tables, assisted by his Wardens, and by Col. Daniel Needham, a member of the Lodge, as toast master. On the removal of the cloth, Bro. Needham was handsomely introduced by the W. Master, and briefly opened the ceremonies which were to follow, in one of the most eloquent, appropriate and forcible addresses it has rarely been our good fortune to hear on like occasions. The first sentiment was, very properly, to the Grand Lodge of the State, and was responded to by the M. W. Grand Master, Sereno D. Nickerson. in his usual concise and happy manner. He expressed himself gratified at being able to meet the brethren of the two Lodges on an occasion so interesting to themselves, and congratulated the elder Lodge on its fidelity to the institution during the trying times of anti-Masonry, and especially that it had preserved its charter unsullied and in its original integrity, for more than three-fourths of a century. In the course of his remarks he briefly referred to the new Masonic Temple at Philadelphia recently erected by the brethren of Pennsylvania at a cost of a million and a half of dollars, and truthfully characterized it as the finest structure in the world devoted to Masonry, and closed by congratulating the brethren at Ayer in having been able, at a comparatively small cost, to provide themselves with a home so pleasant and convenient for all their necessary purposes.

The toast master next called up in complimentary terms, R. W. Charles W. Moore, Past Deputy Grand Master, and present Cor. Gr. Sec. of the Grand Lodge. Bro. Moore said, in answer to this call, that he was glad of an opportunity to add his congratulations to the brethren around him, that the recuperative energies of the combined Lodges had been found to be sufficient to erect for themselves, so soon after the direful calamity which recently befell them, a temple such as the early members of the faithful old Lodge in Groton had never anticipated in their fondest dreams of future prosperity.

He referred in particular to the history of that old Lodge, and was happy in being able to say that four of the Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of the State had been chosen from among its members. They were men not only of great moral worth, but of high social and public position. The first in order was the Hon. Timothy Bigelow, one of the ablest lawyers of his time, and for many years a leading member of either branch of the State legislature. The next was the Hon. John Abbot, also a lawyer, and largely distinguished in public life; following whom was Caleb Butler, Esq., of Groton, who through his long life was held in honorable esteem by his fellow-citizens; the last of the four was Augustus Peabody, Esq., also of the legal profession, and in early life one of the ablest members of the Middlesex Bar.

Bro. Moore also named, as among the distinguished initiates and members of the Lodge in its earlier days, the Hon. Samuel Dana, who for many years served the Lodge as its Secretary, and the State as President of {the Senate, and Judge of one of its courts; Dr. Oliver Prescott, likewise one of its Secretaries, and for many years one of the oldest and most distinguished members of the medical profession; Dr. John Walton, an eminent member of the same profession, who at one time served the Lodge as its Secretary; and others of equal note — together presenting a membership-roll of which the best Lodges of our own time might well be proud, but for which, unfortunately, too few of equal size furnish a parallel. In conclusion, Bro. Moore paid a fraternal tribute of respect to the memory of Bro. Luther S. Bancroft of St. Paul's Lodge.

The next speaker called up was Dr. Winslow Lewis, Past Grand Master, who expressed his gratification at being present as a guest, mingling in his expressions of personal pride, several bon mots that called forth repeated plaudits. The Dr. was witty, as he always is, and in closing offered as a sentiment; "May you each and all, at the end of a long and happy life, look back and feel that the greatest social happiness, outside of your families, has been drawn from Masonic institutions."

The next toast, to St. Paul's and Caleb Butler Lodges, was responded to by the presiding Master, W. Bro. E. Dana Bancroft, who, after reading several letters from distinguished brethren who had been invited to be present as guests, read an exceedingly interesting and valuable synopsis of the earlier records of St. Paul's Lodge, and which, we take the liberty to suggest, would be of increased value to .the members of the Lodge individually, and to their successors, if perpetuated in print. The time having now arrived when the more important business of the day should receive attention, the speaking was hurriedly and felicitously closed by Past Grand Masters William D. Coolidge and William Parkman of Boston, and Rt. W. Bro. William F. Salmon of Lowell, Past Senior Grand Warden, when the tables were dismissed with a blessing by the Rt. W. Rev. Charles H. Titus, Grand Secretary, and acting Grand Chaplain. The halls were then dedicated with the customary solemn and impressive ceremonies, and the brethren were dismissed.