Mariners

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MARINERS' LODGE

Location: Cotuit

Chartered By: William Sewall Gardner

Charter Date: 12/13/1871 1871-262

Precedence Date: 03/10/1870

Current Status: Active


PAST MASTERS

  • George J. Miller, 1870, 1872
  • John B. Baxter, 1873
  • Thomas Chatfield, 1874, 1891, 1892
  • William Childs, 1875, 1878-1879, 1884
  • John M. Handy, 1876, 1877, 1886
  • Joseph B. Folger, 1880-1881,1885, 1889-1890, 1894, 1898, 1917
  • Alexander Nickerson, 1882-1883, 1887-1888
  • Gustavus Nickerson, 1893, 1895
  • Benjamin F. Crosby, 1896-1897
  • Harry J. Gifford, 1889, 1900
  • J. Hayden Higgins, 1901, 1902; SN
  • Zeno S. Parker, 1903, 1904
  • William T. Makepeace, 1905, 1906
  • A. Ernest Nickerson, 1907, 1908
  • Lorenzo T. Gifford, 1909, 1910
  • Ezra J. Gifford, 1911, 1912, 1915
  • John J. Maloney, 1913
  • Archie D. Handy, 1914
  • Ernest O. Dottridge, 1916
  • Bertram F. Ryder, 1918, 1919; N
  • Peter Campbell, 1920, 1921
  • Edward E. Landers, 1922, 1923
  • Milton H. Crocker, 1924, 1925
  • Herbert L. Snow, 1926, 1927
  • Freeman N. Nickerson, 1928
  • William H. Robbins, 1929, 1930
  • E. Ormand Dottridge, 1931, 1932
  • Alexander N. Bremmer, 1933, 1934
  • Ralph W. Vroom, 1935, 1936, 1948
  • Artemus G. Griffin, 1937
  • I. Louis Campbell, 1938, 1939
  • Bertril Lagergren, 1940
  • Donald E. Higgins, 1941, 1942
  • Delton C. Hall, 1943, 1947
  • Warren P. Clark, 1944
  • Lloyd R. Hadley, 1945
  • Henry C. Churbuck, 1946
  • Willard H. Phillips, 1949, 1950; N
  • Bradford L. Tallman, 1951, 1952
  • Robert G. Bennett, 1953, 1954
  • Robert F. Hayden, 1955
  • Waldo A. Howe, 1956, 1957; N
  • Warren E. Hansen, 1958
  • Elmer S. Whiteley, 1959, 1960
  • Lee H. Burlingame, 1961, 1976; N
  • Ralph L. Davis, 1962
  • Phillip G. Brackett, 1963
  • Stanley F. Alger, 1964
  • Robert F. Harmon, 1965
  • Earle C. Williams, 1966, 1967
  • Nelson B. Nickerson, 1968
  • David A. Nailor, 1969, 2005, 2006; PDDGM
  • Chester L. Vogler, 1970
  • William A. Harmon, 1971, 1975
  • Marcel L. Perry, 1972, 1985
  • Walter S. Creswell, 1973
  • Roger B. Reid, 1974
  • Edward L. Jenkins, 1977, 1978 PDDGM
  • Paul H. Wiggins, 1979
  • Merle A. Davis, 1980, 1981
  • Kendall G. Jones, 1982 N
  • Thomas W. Hadley, 1983, 1984, 2004 PDDGM
  • Harry Erdman, 1986
  • Lewis D. Brock, 1987
  • Bradford Lanoue, 1988
  • Robert W. Bilodeau, 1989
  • Jack Shohayda, 1990
  • Robert F. Erickson, 1991
  • David B. Reid, 1992, 1999
  • Stephen A. MacNally, 1993
  • Michael J. McLaughlin, 1994
  • Ronald L. Jones, 1995
  • John S. Dingess, 1996
  • Dwight C. Bowman, 1997
  • Barry M. Martin, 1998
  • Herbert B. Jackson, 2000, 2001, 2007
  • Robert J. O'Reilly, 2002
  • William G. Fitzgerald, 2003
  • James H. Birch, 2008
  • Christopher A. Jones, 2009
  • Eric C. Nailor, 2010
  • William M. Wahtola, 2011
  • William W. Greer, 2012

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1870
  • Petition for Charter: 1871

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1945 (75th Anniversary)
  • 1997 (125th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1877 1904 1907 1922 1923 1929 1934 1946 1949 1951 1954 1967 1971 1978 1980 1988 1996 2012 2014 2015

HISTORY

  • 1945 (75th Anniversary History, 1945-289; see below)
  • 1997 (125th Anniversary History, 1997-75)

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, SEPTEMBER 1945

From Proceedings, Page 1945-480:

By Brother William E. Adams.

Seventy-five years ago Mariners' Lodge came into existence at a meeting called to order by Brother George J. Miller, by authority of a dispensation granted by the Most Worshipful William Sewall Gardner, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts.

The first meeting was held in the attic room of Freedom Hall on March 16, 1870, with the following petitioners present:

  • George J. Miller, Worshipful Master
  • John B. Baxter, Senior Warden
  • John B. Lovell, Junior Warden
  • Asa F. Bearse, Senior Deacon
  • Simeon L. Ames, Junior Deacon
  • Frank Cammett, Senior Steward
  • Bennett Dottridge, Junior Steward
  • John M. Handy
  • Sylvanus Porter
  • Alonzo L. Phinney
  • Thomas Chatfield
  • Stephen B. Tallman, not present, was elected Tyler

The second Wednesday in the month was fixed as the date for the regular communication, but this date was changed on October 12, 1870, to the first Wednesday, on which day it has been held ever since.

At the communication held on December 6, 1871, the first mention occurs of a possible granting of a charter, and on December 13th, the following twenty-three members signed the application to the Grand Lodge:

  • George J. Miller
  • John B. Baxter
  • John B. Lovell
  • Thomas Chatfield
  • John M. Handy
  • Sylvanus Porter
  • Alonzo L. Phinney
  • Asa F. Bearse
  • Bennett W. Dottridge
  • Jehiel P. Hodges
  • Frank Cammett
  • Stephen B. Tallman
  • Joseph S. Hallett
  • John Coleman
  • George H. Fuller
  • Zenas Crocker, Jr.
  • V. M. Hutchins
  • John W. Linnell
  • H. S. Lovell
  • C. A. Lovell
  • Freeman Lovell
  • Jarvis R. Fisher
  • J. T. Coolidge, Jr.

At least half the present members can trace their ancestry to these charter members.

At a special communication held on December 15, 1871, Brother J. B. Baxter announced that the Charter had been granted.

On December 26, 1871, Mariners' Lodge was constituted a regular Masonic Lodge by R. W. District Deputy Grand Master Joseph K. Baker and the officers of the Grand Lodge, and the lodge-rooms were dedicated. In connection with the ceremony, the officers of the Lodge were installed by the District Deputy Grand Master at a service in Union Church and an address was delivered by R. W. Charles W. Stephens of St. John's Lodge of Boston. After the evening ceremony, the Brethren and their ladies repaired to Freedom Hall, and to quote the old records, "partook of a very nice collation, after which they retired to their homes seemingly satisfied and happy."

The seal of Mariners' Lodge was designed by Brother W. B. Miller in 1872.

As the name implies, practically all the early members of Mariners' Lodge were seafaring men, and as they were away from home for long periods of time, many of the early communications were held with substitutes in all the chairs.

The first election of officers under the Charter was held on January 1, 1873, and Brother J. B. Baxter was elected Worshipful Master. A special communication on January 29, 1874, marked the first Masonic funeral of the Lodge, upon the death of Brother Hansard Hallett.

Though most of the records of meetings throughout the years constitute a bare statement of the usual Lodge activities, occasional interesting and often humorous touches crept in.

An early public installation was followed by an entertainment at which the ladies were present. The Secretary recorded that "tho all present were not Master Masons, yet they were in fellowship with and often warmly embraced by the Fraternity."

An interesting proof that the Brothers in the good old horse-and-buggy days could move fast if necessary was furnished at a special communication held on June 28, 1870. On this date Candidate William S. Childs was reported favorably by the committee, balloted upon and found clear, and received all three degrees in what must have been a rather full evening. The reason given for Brother Child's rapid elevation to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason was that he was about to embark on a three years' sea voyage.

In the early days the care of the lodge-rooms was auctioned off to the lowest bidder. The price sometimes ran as low as 515.00 per year.

At one meeting, a vote to purchase a new mat for the floor was amended by one practical and cautious Brother to include six new cuspidors.

Smoking was permitted during meetings as late as 1928, when the practice was abolished by vote of the Lodge.

The Lodge continued to meet in its birthplace, the attic room over Freedom Hall, for the first fifty years of its existence before increasing membership brought on discussion concerning a new hall. Various properties in the vicinity were proposed as building sites. It is recorded that one generous Brother offered x build a Temple without expense to the Lodge if it would change its name to his. This offer was unanimously rejected.

The old Congregational Church next door, known as the ""White Church" was proposed as a Lodge-hall about 1924 and negotiations for the property were finally concluded in 1929. For the next five years many members of the Lodge worked all their spare time in the reconstruction of the building. The new hall was dedicated on November 23, 1934, by the Grand Master and Suite at a special communication.

The first regular communication in the new hall was held on December 5, 1934. A mortgage of $3000 assumed by the Lodge has been reduced to $1000 by the efforts of the members.

The membership is now 108 and has held up remarkably well throughout the years, in spite of the small area under the jurisdiction of the Lodge. This area has never been actually defined, but appears to include only a few thousand feet from the lodge-hall in all directions. As half of this area is in the Atlantic Ocean, it has been suggested that Mariners' Lodge will be forced to obtain their candidates by shanghaing them from passing vessels.

Although we have had the usual cases of minor disagreements incident to all large families of our advanced years, peace and harmony have always prevailed in the end, and Mariners' Lodge is now sailing foursquare to the wind, with her bow firmly pointed toward a bright and prosperous future.

125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1997

From Proceedings, Page 1997-75:

"A meeting of Freemasons residing in the town of Barnstable was held at 'Freedom Hall', Cotuit Port, for the purpose of forming a "Lodge" to be called 'Mariners Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons'. The meeting was called to order by Bro. George J. Miller who then read a Dispensation for Mariners Lodge granted by Most Wor. William Sewall Gardner, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Massachusetts."

This, the first sentence of the minutes of Mariners Lodge of March 16th, A.D. 1870, A.L. 5870, marks the beginning of our journey to today. On that evening, eleven men from the village of Cotuit Port met in the upper room of the hall next door, and, with the Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses, and empowered by a dispensation from the Grand Master, began the work of building a Masonic Lighthouse for the seafaring Masons of Barnstable. Bro. George Miller, having been appointed Master under Dispensation, along with Bro. John Baxter, appointed Senior Warden, and Bro. John Lovell, appointed Junior Warden, called the meeting to order, read the Dispensation from Grand Lodge, and called the roll of the workmen. Those petitioners responding to their names were:

  • George J. Miller
  • John B. Baxter
  • John B. Lovell
  • John M. Handy
  • Asa F. Bearse
  • Sylvanus Porter
  • Alonzo L. Phinney
  • Thomas Chatfield
  • Frank Cammett
  • Bennett W. Dottridge
  • Simeon L. Ames

The Brothers held elections for the appropriate offices and installed all officers (except the Tyler) in their respective stations, at which time the Worshipful Master declared that Mariners Lodge was regularly organized and opened in Due Form on the Third Degree. Although it is interesting to note that the first order of business for this new Lodge was to call the Craft from Labor to Refreshment (for what purpose we can only speculate), the very first vote of the Lodge on returning to Labor was to form a building committee for the purpose of making a Lodge room in the attic of Freedom Hall, which still has some of the Masonic Symbols on its walls today.

It is important to note the backgrounds of the men assembled that night in March of 1870.

  • George Miller, originally from Liverpool, England, was, at 40 years of age, twice past Master of Fraternal Lodge in the village of Hyannis in 1864 and 1865. He was Raised in Duke of York Lodge, York, England. In 1854, he affiliated with Star of the East Lodge in New Bedford, where he served as Senior Deacon in 1855 and 1856. Bro. Miller served Mariners lodge as Master for the first three years of our existence.
  • John Baxter, a native-born Cape Codder from South Yarmouth, was raised in Fraternal Lodge in Hyannis in 1863. Brother Baxter, at 61 years of age, was the oldest of the petitioners. He was later elected Master of the Lodge in 1873.
  • John Lovell, one of only four petitioners born in Cotuit, was raised in Fraternal Lodge in 1864 at the age of 33. Brother Lovell, at 39, served as Junior Warden under Dispensation, and was elected to that position in 1871, but never served as Master.
  • John Handy, also born in Cotuit, joined Fraternal Lodge in 1866. Brother Handy was 40 years old when he served as our first Secretary, and later served as Master in 1876, 1877, and again in 1886.
  • Asa Bearse, a well known name from Cape Cod history, was born in the village of Waquoit in the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, in 1834, and was raised in Fraternal Lodge in 1867. Bro. Bearse served as our first Senior Deacon.
  • Sylvanus Porter came to us from Nova Scotia, where he was born in 1831. A seaman, Bro Porter was raised in Fraternal Lodge in 1865, over the course of just one week, and served Mariners Lodge as Marshal for four years (when he was available). Apparently away from Cotuit for long periods of time when out to sea, his death was not noted by the lodge until a year after he passed in his home country in 1880.
  • Alonzo Phinney, our third Cotuit Native, was 35 years old when he signed the petition for our Dispensation. He also was raised quickly in Fraternal Lodge, but over the course of a month's time. Bro. Phinney served for our first four years as Chaplain.
  • Thomas Chatfield, another sailor, and also from England, started his Masonic journey in Key West, Florida, at Dade Lodge, where he took his first degree. His travels brought him to Cape Cod, where he completed his Blue Lodge degrees at Fraternal Lodge in one day, August 14,1865. Bro. Chatfield served as our Treasurer for three years, elected to the office of Master in 1874, and later as Master again in 1891 and 1892. It is of note that he was made one of the earliest honorary members of the Lodge in 1903, at the age of 71 (ancient in those days!)
  • Frank Cammett was bom in Cedarville in 1827 and was made a Mason in the same abbreviated class as Sylvanus Porter in Fraternal Lodge on March 8th and 10th, 1865. Brother Cammett served as Junior Steward for three years.
  • Bennett Dottridge, the fourth from Cotuit, came to us from Marine Lodge in Falmouth, where he also was passed and raised on the same day, apparently in advance of a journey which would take him away for some time in 1868. He served as Senior Steward of Mariners Lodge for three years.

Simeon Ames' name appears only in the minutes of that first meeting, and no intelligence of him can be ascertained as to his past or his passing. We note that in the early years of Mariners Lodge, many of the officers were absent for periods of time, and their chairs filled by substitutes or Pro Tern officers. The records indicate enough of a membership by 1874 to warrant the purchase of 100 copies of the By-Laws, a considerable accomplishment considering that the jurisdiction allotted to the Lodge was confined to the village of Cotuit Port.

Our first candidate, William S. Childs was reported favorably by the committee, balloted on, Initiated, Passed, and Raised on June 28th, 1870, by special dispensation of the District Deputy Grand Master, as he was to embark on an extended voyage. Upon his return, he joined the line of officers, serving as Tyler, Senior Deacon, and Senior Warden, then was elected to the Oriental Chair in 1875, and again in 1878, 1879, and 1884.

Mariners Lodge was granted a Charter and Constituted on December 26, 1871, by the Authority of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. The Installation of Officers was held in this very building, known at that time as Union Church, the common meeting house for several of the congregations in the village. After the evening ceremony, the brethren and their ladies repaired to Freedom Hall, and to quote the old records, "partook of a very nice collation, after which they retired to their homes, seemingly satisfied and happy."

In the early years of the Lodge, it seems that it was the custom to have any brothers in disagreement brought before the Lodge to settle things in a peaceful manner, including having them shake hands on the Level. It was also the custom that when a members dues were in arrears, he should be brought before the Lodge to show cause why he should not be suspended.

Though most of the records of meetings throughout the years constitute a bare statement of the usual Lodge activities, occasional interesting and often humorous touches have crept in.

An early Public Installation was followed by an entertainment at which the ladies were present. The Secretary recorded that "tho all present were not Master Masons, yet they were in fellowship with and often warmly embraced by the Fraternity."

At one meeting, a vote of the Lodge to purchase a new mat for the floor was amended by one practical Brother to include the purchase of six new cuspidors. In the early days the care of the Lodge room was auctioned off to the lowest bidder, sometimes as low as $10.00 per year.

The Lodge continued to meet in its birthplace, the attic room over Freedom Hall, for the first fifty years of its existence before increasing membership brought on discussion concerning a new hall. Various properties and solutions were proposed to their welcome dilemma; it is recorded that one generous Brother offered to build a Temple without expense to the Lodge if it would change its name to his. The Lodge unanimously rejected the proposal. The Congregational Church next door, known at that time as the "White Church", was proposed as a Lodge hall about 1924. Negotiations for the Lodge were finally concluded five years later, and work on the new Temple to another five years, with many Brothers working much of their spare time. On November 23rd, 1934 this building, formally known to the original petitioners as Union Church, was dedicated by the Grand Master at a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge. Our first Communication in our new home took place on December the 5th, 1934.

The original mortgage taken on the Lodge for three thousand dollars had been reduced by two thirds in 1945 to one thousand dollars by the efforts of the 108 members by that time.

We note that in 1945, at the end of the Second World War, and the 75th Anniversary of Mariners Lodge, the Lodge historian, Bro. William E. Adams, commented in his history of the Lodge given at a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge, that "the membership has held up remarkably well throughout the years, in spite of the small area under the jurisdiction of the Lodge. This area has never been actually defined, but appears to include only a few thousand feet from the Lodge Hall in all directions. As half of this area is in the Atlantic Ocean, it has been suggested that Mariners Lodge will be forced to obtain their candidates by shanghaiing them from passing vessels."

We also note that at the next quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge, a vote of the brethren of Fraternal Lodge in Hyannis allowed Mariners Lodge of Cotuit joint jurisdiction with Fraternal Lodge over that part of the town of Barnstable known as West Barnstable, Osterville, Marstons Mills, and Santuit. Mariners Lodge today, as always, has members from many parts of the country and operates in full harmony with Fraternal Lodge as well as all of the Lodges in the District.

Some more historical notes:

On March 16th of 1870, Brothers John B. Baxter, Asa F. Bearse and Thomas Chatfield were appointed the first building committee, whose duty was to turn the attic space at Freedom Hall into a Lodge Hall, which they did for a cost of $515.10. These same Brothers were also the drafters of our first Bylaws, which, with a few amendments here and there, are still in effect today.

On February 1st, 1871, it was voted that the Secretary receive no applications for the Degrees that were not accompanied by the sum of $5.00.

On February 4th, 1873, it was voted that all Officers wear white gloves at all key Communications.

On December 2nd, 1874, Wor. George was made the first Honorary Member of the Lodge.

The Seal of the Lodge was designed by Brother W.B. Miller in 1872.

The first Election of Officers under our Charter was held on January 1st, 1873. Brother John B. Baxter was elected Worshipful Master.

January 29th, 1874, a Special Communication was held for the funeral of Brother Hansard Hallett, our first Masonic Funeral.

The Rough and Perfect Ashlars we use in our work today, were donated to the Lodge by Brother Solomon F. Haskins on June 1st, 1910.

Electric lights came to the Lodge Hall, at a cost of $50.00, by a vote of the Brethren on January 6th, 1915.

November 2nd, 1921, the Lodge voted to rent the Lodge rooms to the Order of the Eastern Star for the sum of $50.00 per year. The fact that Mariners Lodge was paying $15.00 per year to Freedom Hall leads one to believe that they were shrewd Yankee businessmen.

On September 28th, 1945, Wor Lloyd R. Hadley presided as Master of Mariners Lodge and Received the Acting Grand Master for the purpose of celebrating our 75th Anniversary. Wor Lloyd Hadley is the father of Wor. Thomas Hadley, an active Past Master of Mariners Lodge who is with us here today.

In May of 1954, the Lodge voted to change its regular meeting night from the first Wednesday to the fourth Tuesday of each month, where it remains today. The first meeting held on the fourth Tuesday was September 28th, 1954.

In the late 1950's, a hurricane blew the steeple off the building. Through the generosity of both the members and the community the steeple was repaired by Brother R. Arthur Williams and his brother Wor. Earl C. Williams (our current Treasurer). The boating enthusiasts of Cotuit wanted the steeple put back up because they like many of our original members used it as a navigational aid, to guide them into Cotuit Port. Our steeple is still used in this manner today.

In the early 1970's with Wor. William A. Harmon (our current Secretary) as Master the interior of the Hall was renovated, the ceiling, which was plaster and falling down, was replaced, along with the benches being sanded and painted. Wor. Harmon notes in his record that he was blessed with a fine group of Masons, among them Wor. Marcel Perry, Wor. Earl Williams, Wor. Osbourne Marney, and Bro. Henry Stout, who as chairman of the Trustees raised the money for the project and had enough left over to turn some money back to the Lodge. It is noted here that this was in preparation for our 100th Anniversary with the Grand Master to be in attendance. But alas, this was not to be and Wor. Harmon had the unfortunate duty of informing the Grand Master that the celebration would not take place.

Wor. Jack Shohayda was Master in 1990 when the Steeple was again the target of the elements as it had been struck by lightning. This time insurance helped, but it turned out the shingles for the rest of the roof would need to be replaced at the expense of the Brethren.

Mariners Lodge was awarded the Grand Masters Award in 1994, with Wor. Michael J. McLaughlin as Master, Bro. Ronald L. Jones as Senior Warden, and Bro. John S. Dingess as Junior Warden.

Mariners Lodge was again awarded the Grand Masters Award in 1995, with Wor. Ronald L. Jones as Master, Bro John S. Dingess as Senior Warden, and Brother Dwight C. Bowman as Junior Warden.

Wor. Dwight C. Bowman assumed the Oriental chair in November of 1996, the 74th man to sit as Master of Mariners Lodge, and like the others before him, he has proven to be an excellent overseer of the Craft. In his capacity as chairman of the Committee to bring the 125th Anniversary of the Lodge to fruition, he has indeed 'set the Craft at work and given them necessary instruction'. We are indebted to him for having the wisdom to contrive today's festivities, the strength to support the entire committee in its efforts, and for providing the beauty which surrounds us here in Mariners Lodge.

To conclude, although a large family such as a Lodge is given to minor disagreements from time to time, peace and harmony have prevailed for the past 125 years, and Mariners Lodge is continuing to sail foursquare to the wind, with her bow firmly pointed towards the next millennium. In the words of Bro. Lawrence Nicholas Greenleaf:

Live on! O Masonry, Live on!
Thy work has scarce begun;
Live on! Nor end, if end there be,
Till earth's last setting sun.
Live on! Thy work in ages past,
Hath but prepared the way;
For every truth thy symbols teach,
There's pressing need today.

OTHER

  • 1872 (Constitution of Lodge by DDGM, 1872-118)
  • 1924 (Petition for jurisdiction, 1924-649; participation in Hyannis cornerstone, 1924-372)
  • 1933 (Petition for jurisdiction, 1933-33)
  • 1945 (Petition for jurisdiction, 1945-480; see below)

GRAND LODGE OFFICERS


DISTRICTS

1870: District 15 (Barnstable)

1883: District 27 (Nantucket)

1911: District 32 (Provincetown)

1927: District 32 (Hyannis)

2003: District 20


LINKS

Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges