- 1 MAY FLOWER LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 OTHER BROTHERS
- 2.9 DISTRICTS
- 2.10 LINKS
MAY FLOWER LODGE
Chartered By: William Parkman
Charter Date: 03/09/1865 VII-2
Precedence Date: 03/04/1864
Current Status: Active
- John Shaw, Jr., 1864, 1865
- Benjamin F. Tripp, 1866, 1867
- Andrew B. Bosworth, 1868-1871
- Charles H. Carpenter, 1872
- Reland F. Barrows, 1873, 1885
- Francis R. Eaton, 1874, 1875
- Warren H. Southworth, 1876, 1877
- James M. Coombs, Jr., 1878, 1879
- Charles L. Starkey, 1880, 1903
- Charles W. Drake, 1881, 1882
- Otis L. Barden, 1883, 1884
- James H. Weston, 1886, 1887
- Arlon R. Dustin, 1888, 1889; N
- George W. Lovell, 1890, 1891
- Homer R. Caswell, 1892, 1893
- George A. Cox, 1894, 1895; Mem
- Josiah H. Cushing, 1896, 1897
- William R. Mitchell, 1898, 1999
- Wilkes H. F. Pettee, 1900
- Ichabod B. Thomas, 1901, 1902
- George E. White, 1904
- Winsor F. Fryer, 1905, 1906
- Sylvanus L. Brett, 1907, 1908
- George F. Cox, 1909, 1910
- Charles N. Warren, 1911, 1912
- Harold S. Thomas, 1913, 1914
- Theodore N. Wood, 1915, 1916; N
- William W. Brackett, 1917, 1918
- John G. Paun, 1919-1920
- Clarington H. Berry, 1921, 1922
- Albert A. Thomas, 1923, 1924
- Arthur W. Cunningham, 1925, 1926
- Fred F. Churbuck, 1927, 1928
- Mryon L. Hinckley, 1929, 1930
- Ichabod B. Thomas, Jr., 1931, 1932
- Frederick S. Weston, 1933, 1934; N
- Ernest S. Pratt, 1935, 1936
- Dalton L. Penniman, 1937; N
- N. Merill Sampson, 1938
- Robert A. Clark, 1939, 1940
- Frank J. Dow, 1941, 1942
- Clyde S. Thomas, 1943, 1944
- Norman W. Lindsay, 1945, 1946
- Willard A. Dunham, 1947
- Walter R. Norris, 1948
- Roderick G. Matheson, 1949
- Frederic J. Carey, 1950
- G. Ward Stetson, 1951; N
- Lloyd E. Banks, 1952
- Walter J. D. Mcneil, 1953
- Paul Weaver, 1954
- Winthrop K. Winberg, 1955
- Charles R. Carey, 1956
- Adnah H. Harlow, 1957
- Donland A. Martin, 1958
- Arthur A. Hanson, 1959; N
- Edwin O. Wilson, 1960
- Robert L. Cushing, 1961
- Crawford Wright, 1962
- Arthur P. Craig, 1963
- J. Warren Tufts, 1964
- Bruce G. Atwood, 1965
- William R. Holmes, 1966
- Stanley E. Barnicoat, 1967
- H. Alden Sinnott, Jr., 1968
- Norman F. Franz, 1969
- Robert F. Mizaras, 1970
- Preston H. Richmond, 1971
- Oliver Harju, 1972-1973
- Maurice K. Richmond, 1974
- Herbert E. Day, 1975
- William C. Allison, 1976, 1992; PDDGM
- Joseph W. Macallister, 1977
- Herbert E. Thompson, Jr., 1978-1979
- Herbert E. Day, 1980
- Albert J. Hardy, 1981
- Raymond L. Patton, 1982
- Raymond W. Hertz, 1983
- Clifford W. Holman, 1984
- Paul W. Bain, 1985
- Joseph Russo, Jr., 1986; PDDGM
- Richard A. Franz, 1987
- Norman F. Franz, 1988
- James E. Manchester, 1989
- Donald H. Plant, 1990
- Edward J. Broussard, 1991
- Paul M. Whalen, 1993
- Richard S. Nantais, 1994
- Mark C. Donegan, 1995
- Michael A. Fruzzetti, 1996
- Kenneth H. Nantais, 1997
- Michael J. Douglas, 1998; PDDGM
- Louis M. DeMelo, 1999
- Henry E. Goodnow, Jr., 2000
- Benjamin Barker, 2001
- Walter A. Bradford, 2002
- David W. Romer, 2003
- James A. Coffin, Jr., 2004-2005
- C. Steven Blanchard, 2007-2008
- Barry E. Standish, 2006; PDDGM
- David G. Goodfellow, 2009
- Robert C. Asbury, 2010
- Robert A. Hughes, 2011, 2012
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1865 (Parkman; Constitution of Lodge and installation; see below)
- 1882 (Lawrence)
- 1901 (Gallagher; corner stone laying; Special Communication)
- 1914 (M. Johnson; 50th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1939 (Hon. Past Grand Master Frederick Hamilton; 75th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1944 (A. Coolidge; "Ryder Night")
- 1964 (Osgood; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1979 (Melanson; Hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1984 (Richardson; Dedication if new dining hall)
- 1990 (Darling)
- 1999 (Bauer; table lodge)
- 2014 (Acting Grand Master DeNicola; 150th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1914 (* Account of the "early days of the Lodge", 1914-24)
- 1939 (75th Anniversary History, 1939-119; see below)
- 1964 (Centenary History, 1964-95; see below)
- 1979 (Meeting Places of May Flower Lodge, 1979-91; see below)
75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MARCH 1939
From Proceedings, Page 1939-119:
By R. W. Frederick S. Weston.
We are gathered here tonight to celebrate our Seventy-fifth Anniversary and to pay honor to Worshipful John Shaw, Jr. and his valiant little band of Masons who had the necessary initiative to charter and to man the good ship May Flower, and whose enthusiasm, fortitude and untiring labor with eyes ever on the charted course, made it possible for us to enjoy the privileges of Masonry in the town of Middleborough.
Let us take time to turn back the pages of our records and trace the history of May Flower Lodge.
A Masonic Lodge in Middleborough was not an innovation. Records show that a Lodge known as Social Harmony was chartered March 12, 1823 and flourished until anti-masonic times when its Charter was returned to the Grand Lodge. This Charter was returned June 19, 1856, to Brothers Hercules Thomas and Benjamin Leonard of Middleboro and Thomas Savery of Wareham, and is now located in the town of Wareham. Among the local members of that lodge were: Calvin Murdock, George Sturtevant, better known as Dr. George; Rev. Philip Colby of the Congregational Church at North Middleboro, Gamaliel Rounseville, storekeeper and first Secretary of the Lodge, Cephas Thompson, an artist, Benjamin Leonard, Branch Harlow, High Sheriff of Plymouth County, Josiah Tinkham, familiarly known as "Captain Siah", and somewhat of a singer, Earl Sproat, owner of the historic Judge Oliver House, Jason Wilbur, a prominent builder, and Abraham Bryant an iron worker, the last survivor of that Lodge in this town. Of more than passing interest is the fact that Abbie K. T. Carey, ninety-eight years old, a daughter of said Gamaliel Rounseville, still resides in Middleborough, and talks interestingly of the old days. During the anti-masonic times the records of Social Harmony Lodge were concealed in the eaves of the house now standing at No. 41 North Street.
From the historical sketch of Wor. Bro. Warren Homer Southworth given at our Fiftieth Anniversary celebration and duly recorded by our then as now, most efficient Secretary, Wor. Bro. Charles N. Warren, was gleaned the following information concerning events prior to the first recorded meeting. Wor. Bro. Southworth was raised January 17, 1865.
- In 1854 Charles Henry Carpenter came to this town from Middleboro, Vermont, where he had been made a Mason in Union Lodge No. 2 in 1849. He was a watchmaker and jeweler.
- In 1860 John Shaw, Jr., who came to Middleboro about 1852, proprietor of a drug and stationery store, Andrew M. Eaton, a shoe dealer who, during his life served the town as Town Clerk and Treasurer and Representative in the Legislature; Theodore H. Alden, a shoe dealer; and George F. Hartwell, a merchant tailor, received their Masonic degree in Social Harmony Lodge at Wareham. During the years from 1860 to 1R64 the following Masons also settled in Middleboro:
- Stillman B. Pratt, of United Brethren Lodge, of Marlboro, Mass., came here to occupy the position of editor of the Middleboro Gazette which position was then held by his father, Rev. Stillman Pratt, who was the second editor of that publication.
- Russell B. Burnes, of King David Lodge, of Taunton, Mass., a railroad conductor, Albert Alden, of St. Alban's Lodge, of Foxboro, Mass., who established a large manufactory of straw goods; and last, Benjamin F. Tripp, of Star in the East Lodge,
of New Bedford, Mass., who was engaged in that place in the manufacturing of pumps and blocks for whale ships and on coming to Middleboro became a manufacturer of and dealer in confectionery. These Brothers held numerous unofficial meetings mostly in the rear room of Brother Shaw's store.
Brother Tripp at the time of his removal to Middleboro was holding the position of Senior Deacon in Star in the East Lodge and being probably the best posted in Masonry of any of the brothers seemed to possess the necessary enthusiasm for business and a petition for a Dispensation was asked for.
There does not appear to be any recorded meeting of the Masons who prepared the Petition to the Grand Master for a Dispensation to be congregated into a regular Lodge under the name and title of May Flower Lodge, with permission to hold the same in the town of Middleborough; neither are there any records to show how or why the name of the Lodge was chosen.
The first meeting of record was held in a small room in Doan and Shaw's block; this was an unfinished room on the second floor; the second from the front in the south end of the block. For this meeting a few chairs were brought up, an empty packing case and a bag of roofing sand left from alterations on the building served as the altar, a Bible from Bro. Shaw's store and a carpenter's square and compass from the hardware store of Mr. Doane (later a member) were the three great lights. A part of the records of that meeting follows:
Middleboro, Mass., April 5th, 1864.
A meeting of the petitioners for a Masonic Lodge in this town was held in Doan & Shaw's Block. The following Dispensation from the Grand Master authorizing the within named petitioners to form themselves into a Lodge to be known as May Flower Lodge was read by Worshipful John Shaw, Jr., Master:
To all persons to whom these presents may come. Greeting:
Whereas a Petition has been presented to me by sundry Brethren, to wit: John Shaw, Jr., Charles H. Carpenter, Russell B. Humes, George F. Hartwell, Stillman B. Pratt, Benjamin F. Tripp, Andrew M. Eaton, T. H. Alden, and Albert Alden, etc.
The Petition was approved by the District Deputy Grand Master for the Seventh Masonic District and the Petitioners were recommended by Fellowship Lodge of Bridgewater. Brother John Shaw, Jr. was appointed to be the First Master; Brother Charles H. Carpenter to be the First Senior Warden, and Brother Russell B. Burnes to be the First Junior Warden of said lodge.
The Dispensation bears the date of March 4, 1864 and was signed by William Parkman, Grand Master and Charles W. Moore, Grand Secretary.
At this meeting the following officers were appointed:
- George F. Hartwell, Treasurer
- Stillman B. Pratt, Secretary
- Benjamin F. Tripp, Senior Deacon
- Andrew M. Eaton, Junior Deacon
- Theodore H. Alden, Tyler
Also the first petitions, four in number, were received; the first visitor, Peleg Noyes, of Pawcatuck, Stonington, Conn., was recorded; the following Committees were appointed: Finance Committee, Committee to draft rules for the government of the Lodge; a Committee of one to secure a place of meeting for the Lodge; a Committee to tit up a room with all necessary Lodge furniture; and it was voted that the Secretary be instructed to borrow a sum of money not to exceed $400. for the use of the Lodge.
The year the Lodge was working under Dispensation, the same year that General Sherman was making his famous march to the sea, the Officers of May Flower Lodge must have spent tramping up and down the stairs of the Doane and Shaw Building; They certainly were busy men as the records show that during that time they held eleven Regular and twenty-nine Special Communications. They managed to hold no Jess than one Regular and six Special Communications in the short month of February, 1865.
The Entered Apprentice Degree was conferred for the first time upon Henry H. Shaw at a Special Communication, May 17, 1864. The Fellow Craft Degree was conferred for the first time upon Brothers Henry H. Shaw, Arnold B. Sandford, and Lysander Richmond, at the Regular Communication, August 2, 1864; and the Master Masons Degree for the first time upon the above named Brothers at a Special Communication, September 13, 1864, with nineteen visitors recorded from Fall River, New Bedford, Bridgewater, Abington, and Taunton. In all twenty-nine received their first Degree, twenty-three their Second Degree, and twenty-two their Third Degree while the Lodge was working under Dispensation.
The Petitioners for a Charter for May Flower Lodge were John Shaw, Jr., Charles H. Carpenter, George F. Hartwell, Stillman B. Pratt, Benjamin F. Tripp, Andrew M. Eaton, Theodore H. Alden, Lucien Wilbur, Andrew B. Bosworth, Lorenzo R. Swift, Henry H. Shaw, and Southworth Loring. The date of the Charter is March 9, 1865, with Precedence from March 4, 1864, and for the Constitution of the Lodge the following is taken verbatim from the Lodge records:
"On Tuesday evening, March 21st, A. L. 5865 the petitioners for a Charter for May Flower Lodge assembled in Masonic Hall, Middleboro; At which time the Lodge was duly constituted, The hall dedicated and the following Officers installed by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, viz.:
- John Shaw, Jr., W. M.
- C. H. Carpenter, S. W.
- Benj. F. Tripp, J. W.
- Geo. F. Hartwell, Treasurer
- Lucien Wilbur, Secretary
- A. B. Bosworth, S. D.
- A. M. Eaton, J. D.
- Lorenzo R. Swift, S. S.
- H. H. Shaw, J. S.
- Southworth Loring, Tyler.
The Grand Lodge was represented as follows, viz.:
- M. W. William Parkman, G. M.
- R. W. Charles C. Dame, D. G. M.
- R. W. Solon Thornton, as S. G. W.
- R. W. William F. Davis as J. G. W.
- R. W. Edward Stevens as G. Treas.
- R. W. Chas. W. Moore as G. Sec.
- W. and Rev. S. F. Whidden as G. Chap.
- W. William D. Stratton as G. Marshal
- Eben P. Gay, Gr. Tyler
After the Grand Lodge had taken its leave the Lodge was closed in due form by the W. M.
Lucien Wilbur, Secretary."
The first Brother raised under the Chartered Lodge was Henry L. Williams on March 28, 1865. The By-Laws designated the 1st Tuesday as the regular meeting and that has remained unchanged.
The Lodge-rooms were furnished and the furnishings insured at the time the Lodge was Constituted, including carpeting at a cost of $2.87. In those days the District Deputy Grand Masters were instructed to see that every Lodge had a Masters carpet.
Evidently the problem of ventilation was an issue then as in later years, including our present apartments, as at the Regular Communication April 4, 1865, a committee was appointed "to take into consideration ventilation of hall etc.". The Ventilation Committee was instructed to procure one of Grand Marshal Stratton's pictures of the new Masonic building now in process of building in Boston, and to procure a suitable frame for the same. (Possibly this was to be used in the manner of an East Indian Punkah.)
December 4, 1866, voted to hire a musical instrument for the Lodge; February 5, 1867, voted to chose a Committee to procure a Photograph Album; and May 7, 1867 voted to procure white leather aprons for every member of the Lodge, this probably-completed the Lodge furnishings.
June 4, 1867, it was voted to attend the dedication of the Masonic Temple, Boston, June 24th, provided forty members would agree to go and at June 11, special, it was voted to procure the services of the Middlcboro Cornet Band to accompany the Lodge, forty members having agreed to go. It is reported that, tint being satisfied with marching around Boston, they marched all over town on their return home.
Except for the months July, August, and September 1879, when the Lodge occupied the G. A. R. Hall in the Thatcher Building while their new rooms were in process of construction on the third floor of the Doane & Shaw Building, at that time also known as Union Block, Mayflower Lodge occupied rooms in the Doane &: Shaw Building until the present Lodge rooms were fitted up in the Peirce Building. Wor. William R. Mitchell was Chairman of the Building Committee and Wor. Warren Homer Southworth had charge of the construction of the Peirce Building and also designed the scroll-dado in the Lodge Rooms.
On Friday, June 7, 1901, the new Lodge Apartments were dedicated by M.W. Charles T. Gallagher, Grand Master of Masons, and Suite. The Grand Master was received by W. Master Ichabod Bradford Thomas. After dedicating the Hall to Freemasonry, to Virtue, and to Universal Benevolence, in accordance with ancient form and usage and the ritual of the Grand Lodge, M. W. Charles T. Gallagher, who as a boy had spent his summers in the lowlands where Middleboro adjoins Halifax and Bridgewater, pleasingly addressed about two hundred Brethren and ladies assembled for the occasion.
The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lodge was fittingly celebrated March 3, 1914. This celebration took the form of a banquet held in the Y. M. C. A. Hal!. Most Wor. Melvin Maynard Johnson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and suite assisted in making the evening one long to be remembered. Rt. W. Bro. George Alton Cox introduced The Most Wor. Grand Master who was welcomed by Wor. Master Harold S. Thomas and occupied the East. The Brethren then went to the Y. M. C. A. Building and after partaking of a bounteous feast, Wor. Master Thomas acted as toastmaster and introduced the speakers. The speaking was in the form of response to toasts drunk by the Brothers standing. The principal toasts were:
- To May Flower Lodge, responded to by Wor. Brother Warren H. Southworth, the then oldest living member of May Flower Lodge, who gave an interesting history sketch of the beginning of the Lodge.
- To the Memory of John Shaw, First Master of May Flower Lodge, responded to by Bro. George E. Doane.
- To the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, responded to most eloquently by Most Worshipful Melvin Maynard Johnson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and
- To May Flower Lodge of the Future responded to by Wor. William R. Mitchell.
Informal toasts were also responded to by members of the Grand Lodge suite.
An honored guest on that occasion was Rt. Wor. Bro. Albert H. W. Carpenter, brother of Charles H. Carpenter, who while Master of Star in the East Lodge, of New Bedford, acted as Grand Lecturer for May Flower Lodge during the first year of its existence, teaching the Master of the Lodge a large part of the work while visiting here.
During the World War twenty-two members of May Flower Lodge were in the service and a bronze tablet bearing their mimes was unveiled by the Lodge June 2, 1927.
April 5th, 1927, the first Veteran's Medals were presented by Most Wor. Frank L. Simpson, Grand Master, to Wor. Bro. George W. Lovell, Wor. Bro. Otis L. Barden and Brothers Edward Bryant, Everett T. Lincoln, Cornelius H. Leonard, and Albert T. Savery each a Mason for more than fifty years.
May Flower Lodge has had many noted visitors, but none better known than Charles S. Stratton, of St. Johns Lodge No. 3, Bridgeport, Conn., better known to the world as General Tom Thumb, husband of one of Middleboro's famous Lilliputians, Lavinia Warren Bump. Among the cherished possessions of the Lodge is a Masonic apron 206 years old that was presented to Bro. Charles S. Stratton in Canada in 1863. He was a frequent visitor to May Flower Lodge and first recorded as such August 16, 1864. Another cherished memento is the traveling card of our late Bro. John N. Holmes, Master of Whaling Bark Sea Fox, New Bedford, who was killed by an explosion of gun powder on the West Coast of Africa, where it was found in the possession of a native by Mr. Crapo, another whaler who knew Bro. Holmes and returned it to the Lodge.
May Flower Lodge at the end of the first twenty-five years had one hundred and three members. This was increased to two hundred and three at the end of fifty years, climbed to its peak in 1929 with four hundred and six members; and now has three hundred and forty-eight members.
During this period May Flower Lodge has had forty Masters, most of them serving two years, the third Master, Andrew B. Bosworth, serving four years. However, in accordance with the trend of the times, the present fashion seems to be more pay and less hours. Our oldest living Past Master is Wor. Bro. George W. Lovell, who will be eighty-eight years old next April, Master in 1890-91, but outranked by Rt. Wor. Bro. Arlon R. Dustin, Wor. Master in 1888-89 and our first District Deputy Grand Master in the horse and buggy days of 1896 and 1897, otherwise known as the "Gay Nineties."
May Flower Lodge has been assigned to five Masonic Districts, the 7th, 14th, 23rd, District 29 29th, and the District 28 Taunton 28th. Besides Rt. Wor. Bro. Dustin, May Flower Lodge has been honored by having three other District Deputy Grand Masters: Rt. Wor. Bros. Alton A. Cox— 1909-10; Theodore N. Wood— 1929-30 and Frederick S. Weston 1939.
Wor. Bro. John Shaw, Jr., the first Master of the Lodge was born on a farm in Carver, Mass., Dec. 3rd, 1822, and died in Middleborough, Mass., Dec. 10, 1891. His education ended in the district school. He was always of a studious nature and in later years became an unusually well read man and one of Middleborough's best known citizens. He represented the town in the legislature for two years and served as Town Clerk and assistant postmaster. A personal and more intimate picture of Wor. Bro. Shaw was given me by Wor. Bro. Lovell who had an office in the back room of his drug store for a number of years. I quote from his letter, "He was of a kindly disposition, keen wit and a true friend and a loyal Mason. During his last sickness one night when Bro. Geo. Doane was with him, he had a bad coughing spell and when he came out of it he said, 'I didn't know but you were going to lose your patient that time, George;' he was the first Past Master to pass away, twenty seven years after he first stood in the Fast."
Also from Wor. Bro. Lovell's letter comes a picture of the conditions of May Flower in its early years. "When I joined the lodge in 1875 I was the youngest member, twenty-four years old, but soon after that they began to take in new members — young. The Lodge was at a kind of a stand still at that time, and was in debt. We talked the matter over and decided to clear up the debt. We all contributed and no sooner than the debt was paid than our proportion of the Grand Lodge debt was thrust upon us. This looked like a hard task, bur we overcame it and came out clean and clear and the Lodge seemed to take on new life.
"Our entertainments were simple. We would have a leader or speaker and the ladies would bring the refreshments, and we would have a social time. And sometimes after the Lodge closed Bro. Benj. Bump would make an oyster stew and we would have a little social time together."
The part played by John Shaw, Jr. and his little band of Masons and those who followed after him, in preserving and propagating the principles of Masonry through three quarters of a century is our heritage. May we not be found wanting.
"Our Fathers in a wondrous age,
Ere yet the Earth was small,
Ensured to us an heritage,
And doubted not at all
That we, the children of their heart,
Which then did beat so high,
In later time should play like part
For our posterity.
A thousand years they steadfast built,
To 'vantage us and ours,
The Walls that were a world's despair,
The sea-constraining Towers:
Yet in their midmost pride they knew,
And unto Kings made known,
Not all from these their strength they drew,
Their faith from brass or stone.
Youth's passion, manhood's fierce intent,
With age's judgment wise,
They spent, and counted not they spent,
At daily sacrifice.
Not Iambs alone nor purchased doves
Or tithe of Trader's gold—
Their lives most dear, their dearer loves,
They offered up of old.
Refraining e'en from lawful things,
They bowed the neck to bear
The unadorned yoke that brings
Stark toil and sternest care.
Wherefore through them is Freedom sure:
Wherefore through them we stand,
From all but sloth and pride secure,
In a delightsome land.
Then, fretful, murmur not they gave
So great a charge to keep,
Nor dream that awestruck Time shall save
Their labor while we sleep.
Dear-bought and clear, a thousand year.
Our Fathers' title runs.
Make we likewise their sacrifice,
Defrauding not our sons."
CENTENARY HISTORY, APRIL 1964
From Proceedings, Page 1964-95:
by Right Worshipful G. Ward Stetson.
The labor of your Centennial Committee for the History of May Flower Lodge has been made light by the diligence of the Committees who prepared our Fiftieth and Seventy-fifth Anniversary Histories. We are grateful for the assistance given by our present Worshipful Master, by Right Worshipful Frederick S. Weston, by the valuable notes of our late Worshipful Charles N. Warren and by many others in their desire to bring to light Masonic lore which has "lain buried in darkness" for a period of years, and which with events of today may be "laid up with the records in the archives" as a permanent record for future brethren to enjoy.
While organized Freemasonry as such was not prevalent in Middleboro until the year 1823, we do know that men of our town were Masons as early as 1740, just seven years after the institution of our Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. In 1740 Lieut. Governor Andrew Oliver became a member of St. John's Lodge in Boston, and in 1749 his brother, Judge Peter Oliver, the last Chief Justice under the English Crown in America, and a resident of Middleboro, became a member of St. John's Lodge.
Of interest is the knowledge that Col. Ebenezer Sproat, owner of the famous colonial Tavern on Middleboro Green and recorded as one of the founders of the State of Ohio, was made a Mason in that renowned military Lodge, American Union No. 1, on December 8, 1790, in Marietta, Ohio. It is our belief that during the dark and foreboding days prior to and during the War of the Revolution these brethren, realizing the common bond gained through association with men who held similar high ideals, welcomed the fraternity achieved through Freemasonry.
"A number of the brethren of the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, after having had several meetings in Middle-borough, resolved to petition the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts to grant them a Charter of Constitution, whereby they would be empowered to assemble as a legal Lodge and to discharge the duties of Masonry in a regular and constitutional manner according to the forms of the order." "The brethren did, then and there, so petition and the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge favored their prayer by granting unto them a Charter in the words following: (Videlicet — here was inserted a copy of the Charter)."
Gamaliel Rounseville, the first Secretary, was a well known citizen of the town. He held many positions of trust in town and for over fifty years operated a store in Muttock Village at the corner of Plymouth and Nemasket Streets.
Rev. Isaac Kimball was the first Master for the years 1823-1824. He was followed by Attorney Isaac Stevens, who was Master for three years, 1825-1827. Brother Stevens was born in the Town of Wareham in 1792, passed the Bar in 1818 and practiced law here in Middleborough for several years before moving to Athol. He built the house on South Main Street, once known as the Jackson house, where Paul Sullivan now lives. He served in the militia as an Infantry Captain and as a Trustee of Peirce Academy.
As Wor. Bro. Stevens practiced law with my great-great-grandfather, Judge Thomas Weston, for a brief period, I have come into possession of one of his Day Books. Of considerable interest to the Masons of Middleboro at this time is the entry found on the last two pages of this book under date of July 10, 1823. Headed "Isaac Stevens in account with Social H. Lodge" there follows a list of some forty Masons of Middleboro and elsewhere. Among the names are those of Most Worshipful John Dixwell, Grand Master, and Reverend Brother Benjamin Putnam of Randolph, who gave the Discourse at the Installation of the Lodge on August 19, 1823. This is truly a valuable document for our archives.
Among the early members of Social Harmony Lodge in Middleboro were Branch Harlow, High Sheriff of Plymouth County, and, I am told, a collateral ancestor of our present High Sheriff, Worshipful Brother Adnah H. Harlow of our Lodge, also Earl Sproat, who owned the home which Judge Peter Oliver built for his son, Dr. Peter Oliver, Abraham Bryant, an iron worker and last survivor of the Lodge in Middleboro, as well as Cephas Thompson, famous portrait painter, who lived on River Street and painted the first Chief Justice, John Marshall, Parke Curtis, Jefferson, and other celebrities.
In 1824, Thompson painted a beautiful scene on canvas showing Masonic emblems to be used in degree work, which the Lodge purchased. During the anti-Masonic period this canvas, together with a leather-covered Bible (which may be the one referred to in the Stevens Day Book as costing $2.00), six sashes, a plumb, square and twenty-four-inch gage, were hidden in an old trunk in Brother Thomas Savery's salt hay mow. After this period of unrest Brother Savery brought them to light and the large Thompson painting, carefully restored and framed, now hangs upon the wall of Social Harmony Lodge in Wareham.
With these words does Brother Gamaliel Rounseville, the first Secretary of Social Harmony Lodge, record the beginning of organized Freemasonry in the Town of Middleborough. The Charter is dated at Boston, March 12, 1823, and is signed by John Dixwell, Grand Master, and by Thomas Power, Grand Secretary. The Charter members were Isaac Kimball, Calvin Murdock, Alanson Witherell, Jabez Williams, John N. Peirce, Jeremiah Keith, Jr., George Sturtevant, Timothy Drew, Avery Fobes, Philip Bolby and Job Alden, Jr.
Of the local Charter members, I presume that Isaac Kimball was the Reverend Isaac Kimball who served as Pastor of the Third Calvinistic Baptist Church from 1822-1824. He is also recorded as the fourth Principal of Peirce Academy in Middleboro. Calvin Murdock was a son of Lieutenant John Murdock and manufactured bricks at Purchade. He died on October 8, 1857, aged 72 years. Jabez Williams, later Worshipful Master, appears to have resided in Boston in early years, for in the records of March 21, 1826 he is appointed Proxy to Grand Lodge with this entry, "who now resides in Boston." George Sturtevant, a doctor, was the youngest son of Dr. Thomas Sturtevant's eleven children. He lived in the old family homestead on Plymouth Street at the Green and died on February 3, 18S2. He was affectionately called "Doctor George" by his large practice here and in neighboring towns. Concerning Timothy Drew, Middleboro's vital statistics refer to the death of Captain Timothy Drew on November 20, 1828.
Philip Colby was Pastor of the Congregational Church in North Middleboro from 1816-1851, a period of thirty-five years. The Lodge records show that Bro. Colby was the first to ask for a demit, which was granted on August 11, 1829. The record also shows the brethren's affection for Bro. Colby at that time, and indicates that because of his position in the community he felt it necessary to withdraw membership, as the anti-Masonic feeling was in full bloom at the moment. On March 25, 1823 the brethren assembled in Peirce Academy Hall. Many of our members tonight remember this hall as standing where the Post Office is now located. It was built in 1808 by Major Levi Peirce. At this meeting the Lodge was organized with Isaac Kimball as Worshipful Master, Senior Warden Jabez Williams, Junior Warden Alanson Witherell. Three brethren from King David Lodge, Taunton; James W. Crossman, Samuel Caswell, Jr., and John A. Sturtevant, attended to help in setting the Lodge at work. That night the names of Daniel Thomas and Hercules Thomas were proposed for membership. The By-Laws were suspended and these two brethren had the honor of being the first candidates to be made members of the Craft in the Town of Middleborough.
It was largely of the strife resulting from the feeling against Masonry that the work in this Lodge ceased after 1829, to be resumed in Wareham in 1856 when the Social Harmony Charter was returned to the Brethren of that town. There is no record of the surrender of the Charter. All that is known with certainty is that Brother Jonathan Ames of West Bridgewater was empowered to obtain the Charter, which he did, and conveyed it to Grand Lodge in Boston.
The records had been concealed in the eaves of the house at 41 North Street near the north end of Pearl Street, Middleboro, where Reverend William D. Turkington now lives. Fortunately, these valuable records were found many years ago by Worshipful Brother Warren H. Southworth, a carpenter and Past Master of May Flower Lodge, while he was making repairs on the old house.
It is of considerable interest that during the years 1823 through 1829, when Social Harmony had its home in Middleboro, a total of eighty-three meetings were held and during the seven-year period fifty-two men received their Masonic degrees.
Now, in considering the birth of May Flower Lodge, we are faced with a situation common with the origin of many organizations of that early period. It is a fact that early written records were often poorly kept, inadequate, or carelessly lost. Worshipful Charles N. Warren, in an excellent historic paper which he delivered several years ago, said that probably the earliest reference to the origin of our Lodge is held in a letter which was given to him by Brother William G. L. Jacob, who lived in the house at 156 North Main Street, once occupied by Brother Charles Henry Carpenter, a jeweler and Charter member of May Flower Lodge.
The letter is dated September 5, 1854, postmarked Middlebury, Vermont, the home of Brother Carpenter before coming to Middleboro. It was written to Brother Carpenter by his brother in answer to his request for information as to proper procedure in starting a Lodge of Freemasons. It is our belief that the petitioners for the new Lodge had, during their service in the Civil War, come to know the excellence of association with men of the Craft and wished to become a part of it here in Middleboro.
In responding to the toast "To May Flower Lodge" at the Fiftieth Anniversary banquet on March 3, 1914, Worshipful Warren H. Southworth, the oldest living member and the only Mason living who was present at the time the Lodge received its Charter, spoke briefly of the lives of each of the twelve Charter members. He related that John Shaw, Jr., was proprietor of a drug and stationery store; that Andrew Murdock Eaton was a shoe dealer and had been Town Clerk and Treasurer and Representative to the General Court; that Theodore Harris Alden was a shoe dealer, and that George Francis Hartwell was a merchant tailor. These four had all taken their degrees in Social Harmony Lodge in 1860. Stillman Baxter Pratt was raised in United Brethren Lodge in Marlboro and was third editor of the Middleboro Gazette. Benjamin Franklin Tripp had been a member of the Star in the East Lodge, New Bedford, and was a manufacturer and dealer in confectionery. Andrew Bradshaw Bosworth was raised in King David Lodge, Taunton, and was terminal agent for the Middleboro and Taunton Railroad. Charles Henry Carpenter was raised in Union Lodge Number Two, Middlebury, Vermont, working as a watchmaker and jeweler. The four remaining Brothers: Southworth Loring, Henry Hiram Shaw, Lorenzo Swift and Lucien Wilbur, received their degrees while May Flower Lodge was working under dispensation, and are therefore considered original Charter members.
The first meeting of record was held in Doane & Shaw's block on April 5, 1864. Brethren will be interested in knowing that this block is the building on South Main Street where Shurtleff Hardware is now established, though considerably altered from its former appearance. At this meeting the Dispensation which had been recommended by Fellowship Lodge of Bridgewater was read by the first Worshipful Master, John Shaw, Jr. The Dispensation had been previously signed by nine brethren and approved by Most Worshipful Parkman, the Grand Master, and by the District Deputy Grand Master under date of March 4, 1864. Officers appointed were: Master, John Shaw, Jr.; Senior Warden, Charles H. Carpenter; Junior Warden, Russell B. Burnes; Treasurer, George F. Hartwell; Secretary, Stillman B. Pratt; Senior Deacon, Benjamin F. Tripp; Junior Deacon, Andrew M. Eaton; and Tyler, Theodore H. Alden.
Numerous unofficial meetings had been held prior to the date of organization, March 4, 1864, in the rear of Worshipful John Shaw's drug store, which was situated on the first floor of the same building. May Flower's first meeting was held in a small room on the second floor, second room from the front, on the south side of the building. At that meeting a bag of roofing sand from building alterations was used as an Altar. A Bible from Brother Shaw's store (for he also sold books) and a carpenter's square and compass from Doane's Hardware Store downstairs were used as the three great lights. Mr. George E. Doane later became a member of the Lodge.
At this meeting four applications for the degrees were received. In these early days brothers from King David Lodge of Taunton and Fellowship Lodge of Bridgewater were frequent visitors and assisted our officers in the work. However, thanks to our Brother Charles H. Carpenter, May Flower Lodge was fortunate in having the valuable help of his brother, Right Worshipful Albert H. W. Carpenter, Master of Star in The East Lodge of New Bedford in 1864-1866, 1872-1874. He later served as Grand Lecturer and as District Deputy Grand Master of our District. He was particularly helpful in teaching Brother Shaw a large part of his work and duty, thereby getting us started in the proper direction. Right Worshipful Brother Carpenter was an honored guest at our Fiftieth Anniversary.
During this first year, when May Flower was working under Dispensation, the officers must have been very busy. The records show that eleven regular and twenty-nine Special Communications were held. During the short month of February 1865, no less than one regular and six Special Communications were recorded. The Entered Apprentice Degree was conferred for the first time upon Henry H. Shaw at a Special Communication on May 17, 1864. The Fellowcraft Degree was conferred initially upon Brothers Henry H. Shaw, Arnold B. Sanford and Lysander Richmond at a Regular Communication on August 2, 1864, and the Master Masons Degree upon the above-named brethren at a Special Communication on September 13, 1864.
It is of prime interest that from the records of August 16, 1864, when the First Degree was being conferred, we find that Brother Charles S. Stratton (Tom Thumb) of St. John's Lodge No. 3, Bridgeport, Connecticut, was a visitor. He visited us often when in Middleboro, as his wife's brother was a member of May Flower.
In all, twenty-nine received their first degree, twenty-three the second degree and twenty-two the third degree during this first year, working under Dispensation. The date of our Charter is March 9, 1865, with Precedence from March 4, 1864. The Lodge was Constituted on March 21, 1865, at which time Most Worshipful Parkman, Grand Master, and his Grand Lodge officers installed the above-named first officers and dedicated our Masonic Hall.
The first brother raised under the Chartered Lodge was Henry L. Williams on March 28, 1865. The By-Laws designated the first Tuesday as the regular meeting night and this date remains unchanged.
As previously mentioned, the early meetings were held in the small room over the J. & G. E. Doane Hardware store. In August of 1864 rooms were furnished in the building occupied by the Tripp Confectionery store on Center Street. Here, meetings were held until April of 1868, while a hall was being refitted and furnished on the second floor of the Doane & Shaw block.
These quarters were occupied until October 1879, when the third floor of the same building was completed, it having been planned and constructed with special reference to Lodge purposes. These new rooms were used until June 7, 1901, when the Lodge moved to our present location at the corner of North Main and Center Streets in the Peirce Building. The building, and in particular our present apartments, was designed with May Flower Lodge in mind as the occupants. The keys were turned over to Worshipful Ichabod B. Thomas, Sr., on May 7, 1901.
On June 7, 1901 we find that Most Worshipful Charles P. Gallagher, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and his Suite dedicated our new apartments. After dedicating the hall to Freemasonry, Virtue and Universal Benevolence, according to ancient ritual, Most Worshipful Brother Gallagher addressed some two hundred brethren and their ladies, speaking appropriately of Freemasonry's part in our way of life and weaving into his excellent address the fact that Middleboro meant much to him, as his boyhood summers were spent in the "lowlands" where Middleboro adjoins Halifax and Bridgewater.
Worshipful William R. Mitchell had been Chairman of the Building Committee and Worshipful Warren Homer South-worth had directed construction of the Peirce Building and designed the scroll and dado ornamentation in the Lodge Room. Worshipful Brother Charles N. Warren told me a few years ago that he learned his trade as woodworker and cabinet maker from his good friend and neighbor, Worshipful Warren H. Southworth. He added that with Southworth's assistance, he himself had prepared the beautifully designed woodwork in the East, West and South.
The Fiftieth Anniversary of May Flower Lodge was celebrated, most appropriately, on March 3, 1914. It was opened with a brief meeting in the Lodge room, where Right Worshipful Alton Cox presented Grand Master Melvin Maynard Johnson and suite to the Worshipful Master, Harold S. Thomas. The Master welcomed all the dignitaries to May Flower and asked the Most Worshipful Grand Master to occupy the East as a matter of record, which he was most happy to do. The Worshipful Master then closed the Lodge and advised the Brethren to adjourn to the Y.M.C.A. for a bountiful dinner of Cotuit oysters, Bisque of Lobster, Filet of Mignon, Nesselrode Pudding, Assorted Cakes, Roquefort and Neufchatel Cheese and Crackers. Without question our brethren were well fed fifty years ago.
As dinner came to a close, the presiding Master and Toast-master for the evening announced that the speaking would be in the form of Toasts. As earlier stated, the toast "To May Flower Lodge" was given by the oldest member, Worshipful Warren H. Southworth. The brethren thoroughly enjoyed his personal account of early Lodge days. His remarkable memory has given us a great bond with the past. Toasts: "To the Memory of John Shaw, Jr., our First Worshipful Master" responded to by Brother George E. Doane. "To The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts" responded to beautifully and eloquently by Most Worshipful Melvin Maynard Johnson, Grand Master. "To May Flower Lodge of The Future" responded to by Worshipful William R. Mitchell. Other informal Toasts were responded to briefly and well by members of the Grand Master's suite.
May I repeat that an honored guest was Right Worshipful Albert H. W. Carpenter, Past Master of Star in the East Lodge of New Bedford, who had given unselfishly of his time in the formative years that we might launch the good ship "May Flower" in satisfactory manner. Worthy of note also, is the honor of having with us today our good brother Worshipful Ambrose Thomas, who, on the occasion of that anniversary, was serving as Senior Steward. He was Master in 1923, 1924.
The Seventy-fifth Anniversary of May Flower Lodge was held on March 21, 1939. A Deputy Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons was opened in the Lodge room of our Apartments in the Peirce Building in Due Form at twenty-five minutes past six o'clock. Most Worshipful Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary of Masons in Massachusetts, presided in the East as Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Robert J. McKechnie, Deputy Senior Grand Warden, our own Right Worshipful Frederick S. Weston, Deputy Junior Grand Warden and Worshipful Raymond Lang, Deputy Grand Secretary. Attending with these Grand Officers was a large suite of District Deputy Grand Masters. An honored guest of Grand Lodge was Most Worshipful Christie B. Crowell, then residing in Middleboro, who was a Past Grand Master of Masons in the State of Vermont. He was also a Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Vermont.
After the Grand Officers had been properly escorted into the Lodge room, they were presented to Worshipful Robert A. Clark, who welcomed them most fittingly to May Flower Lodge and asked Most Worshipful Brother Hamilton to assume his rightful position in the East. After a brief period, as a matter of record, Grand Lodge was closed in Due Form at six forty-five P.M., certainly a near record for brevity.
The Brethren then adjourned to the vestry of the Central Congregational Church to enjoy the exercises of the evening. Following an excellent anniversary dinner, Worshipful Master Clark, as the Toastmaster, called the assemblage to order. He first presented Brother Arthur H. Tripp, grandson of Worshipful Benjamin F. Tripp, a Charter member and the second Master. Brother Arthur Tripp continued the same confectionery business which his famous grandfather started. However, I doubt that the grandfather operated a street-car waiting-room with his candy business in those early days as did Arthur Tripp.
The Master next asked Right Worshipful Arlon R. Dustin to rise. Brother Dustin was Master in 1888, 1889. He was Secretary of the Lodge in the years 1896-1899, and in 1900-1903. Brother Dustin also had the honor of being the first District Deputy Grand Master from May Flower Lodge in the years 1896 and 1897. A few years before his passing, Right Worshipful Brother Dustin presented me with his large framed Masonic Oriental Guide, in color, which hangs in my home sincerely cherished because of the gift and giver.
Worshipful Harold S. Thomas, Master in 1914 at the time of the Fiftieth Anniversary, was presented and spoke briefly. Worshipful Brother Clark asked those who were present at that Anniversary to rise and nineteen responded. In answer to his request for those who were present at the Twenty-fifth Anniversary, four of our venerable brothers responded. At this point, the Toastmaster introduced the Historian of the evening, Right Worshipful Frederick S. Weston, who delivered an excellently prepared record of the history of our Lodge. This never-to-be-forgotten Anniversary was brought to a memorable climax by an address of Most Worshipful Frederick W. Hamilton in which he fully recognized the part taken by May Flower in Freemasonry in this section during our seventy-five years as a Lodge. Other Grand Lodge officers spoke briefly and well along the same lines.
Now, Brethren, a study of early records presents entries which are at once of great interest and historic value, and a few of which we might mention at this point.
On October 17, 1865, Right Worshipful Churchill Strong made the first visitation of a District Deputy Grand Master to May Flower Lodge.
On January 1, 1867, the Lodge voted to pay #20 for organ rental covering a six-month period. I rather guess that the brethren felt this rent a bit high, for at the meeting of December 10, 1868, it was voted to purchase an organ.
May 21, 1867: Voted-to attend as a Lodge the dedication of the new Masonic Temple in Boston on June 24, 1867, provided that forty members would attend. Carter's Middleboro Cornet Band was engaged for $18.00 to accompany the brethren. Thirty members purchased a Masonic Banner to carry in the parade. The brethren were so enthusiastic as a result of the Boston trip that upon their return the band led them on a parade through the streets of Middleboro.
March 3, 1868: Voted—that the old hall be rented to the Grand Army of the Republic.
November 4, 1879: Voted—that a note of thanks be sent to the Grand Army of the Republic for the use of their Hall. This becomes a bit confusing until a little research brings to light the fact that during alterations of May Flower's quarters, the G.A.R. very graciously permitted our Lodge the use of their hall.
July 18, 1883: On this day Worshipful Otis L. Barden with a large delegation of the Brethren took carriages to the residence of Brother Charles S. Stratton (Tom Thumb) in the Warrentown section. This worthy brother died here on July IS, 1883, and the Lodge escorted his remains to the railroad station, where they were sent to Bridgeport, Conn., for burial.
June 17, 1895: The Lodge attended the Centennial celebration of King Solomon's Lodge of Charlestown in memory of Most Worshipful Grand Master, General Joseph Warren, who was killed at Bunker Hill.
June 5, 1900: Voted—that the old Lodge furniture be sold to I. O. O. F. - M. U. for $400.
July 7, 1903: A subject of mystery. Worshipful Charles N. Warren records in his valuable notes that on this night it was voted that the package found under the stage in the old hall dated 1868, be placed in the hands of the Master. First Query: What was in the package? Second Query: What did Worshipful Charles S. Starkey do with it?
A constant reminder of those members of May Flower Lodge who served in the armed forces in World War I and in World War II are the identical bronze Tablets carrying the names of our brethren. That for World War I has twenty-two names and the tablet for World War II holds twenty-four names. These Rolls of Honor were dedicated with appropriate ceremony and occupy positions of honor upon the walls of the Lodge room.
Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson as Grand Master presented the first Fifty Year Veteran Medals to members of our Lodge on April 5, 1927. The first brother eligible for the honor was Edward Bryant, who became a Mason in 1869. Other recipients that night were Worshipful George W. Lovell, 1875; Worshipful Otis L. Barden, 1877; Everett T. Lincoln, 1872; Cornelius H. Leonard, 1873, and Albert T. Savery, 1876. To date fifty-four Veterans' Medals have been presented to those who have been members of May Flower Lodge for half a century.
It is my belief that a word regarding our membership over the years will not be out of order. At the close of the first twenty-five years our membership totaled one hundred and three. At the time of the Fiftieth Anniversary the number had increased by exactly one hundred, or a total of two hundred three. The peak year appears to be 1929 when the figure grew to four hundred and six. At the Seventy-fifth Anniversary the membership shows as three hundred and forty-eight. Now, on March 4, 1964, the One Hundredth Anniversary of May Flower's institution, the membership totals an even four hundred.
During the one hundred years there have been sixty-one Worshipful Masters. Until the year 1947 most Masters occupied the East for two years. Worshipful Norman W. Lindsay was the last Master to hold the honor for a two-year period. A hurried refresher course in mathematics informs me that my memory is correct in assuming that I can recall the sixth Master, Worshipful Francis R. Eaton, who held the honor in 1874, 1875. Brother Eaton lived until 1925. This same course in arithmetic proves conclusively that, as I was born in 1902, I cannot recall those who went to the Celestial Lodge prior to my birth. My recollection of Brother Eaton is of a kindly, dignified old gentleman with pure white hair and mustache who lived on Rock Street. He attended church regularly and during the summer months came each Sunday morning with a basket on his arm filled with roses he had grown. He delighted in presenting them to the ladies of the church. My memory of Worshipful Otis L. Barden is slight and only as a barber talking with friends and brothers outside of his shop just off Center Street. Earlier I have spoken of my fondness and close association with Right Worshipful Arlon Dustin in recent years in Brockton. Without doubt, I recall Worshipful George Lovell primarily because, in my youth, he was always seen in his carriage riding about town with several of the dogs he loved on the seat beside him. Again in my childhood, I link our next Master, Worshipful Homer Caswell, with my Sunday School as he was the Superintendent for many years, being Master of the Lodge in 1892 and 1893.
Many are the sails which, in common with many of you, I have thoroughly enjoyed on the waters of Buzzards Bay in the good catboat "Ruth", skippered by Right Worshipful George Alton Cox. Also, it has been my good fortune to have known the grandfather of our recent Master, Worshipful Brother Bob Cushing, and I refer, of course, to Worshipful Josiah H. Cush-ing. He was one of our town's most respected citizens. I recall listening to his words of wisdom and marvelous gift of humor in the old days of the Commercial Club. In this same category I would place the father of Worshipful Brother Brad Thomas, for I do well remember Worshipful Ichabod B. Thomas, who served as Master in 1901, 1902. Many here tonight can look back with genuine pleasure to the evenings when Worshipful Brother Doctor Fryer gave the Master's Charge so perfectly in every respect, though the good Doctor was well advanced in years. Worshipful Brother Sylvanus L. Brett I knew very well. Because Worshipful George F. Cox was a railroad man, he had the privilege of knowing so many who used the road in their daily lives and this gave me the opportunity to number him among my acquaintances.
It is because of Worshipful Brother Charles N. Warren's love of Masonry, his accuracy as Secretary for so many years, his knowledge of the early life of our Lodge and his remarkable memory of the membership, that we are largely indebted to him for much of the history of May Flower. As secretary he was the strong right arm for many of the Masters over a period of years.
I well remember when Worshipful Harold S. Thomas conducted a grocery store at the corner of Thatcher's Row and Center Street under the name of Lucas & Thomas. With the recent passing of Right Worshipful Theodore N. Wood, Freemasonry and the town lost a valuable citizen. With him died much of the early historic life of our town, for he was a man of remarkable memory, an orator supreme with a gift of delivery, humor and vitality which won him to all audiences. Worshipful Brother William Brackett lived in the home which I now occupy. Interestingly enough, when I was compelled (and I use the word advisedly) to wear the Master's tall hat, it was my privilege to wear Brother Brackett's which he had worn in 1917 and 1918. Worshipful John Paun came from neighboring Lakeville, a descendant of one of the oldest families of that town. He held prominent offices there for many years, and with his backlog of town history, had often collaborated with Right Worshipful Brother Wood in historical research.
Worshipful Albert A. Thomas, our oldest living Past Master (at least in length of service), is well able to speak for himself. It was during his term in 1923 and 1924 that he, with my colleague of Legislative days, Right Worshipful Theodore Woolfenden of New Bedford, began our exchange Visitations with Quittacus Lodge of New Bedford, which have become a vital part of our Masonic calendar. Worshipful Arthur W. Cunningham succeeded Brother Thomas in the East. As a dentist, I am sure his skill and knowledge was taxed in his attempt to keep me in teeth. It is doubtful that he admonished me to brush after every meal, however.
Time does not permit reference to each and all of the Past Masters. With your permission, I would close these brief reminiscences of the Masters by recalling Worshipful Fred N. Churbuck, the father-in-law of our good Treasurer, Right Worshipful Dalton L. Penniman. It is my recollection that he preceded Dalton in the East by some ten years. Many of us think back to his love of the Craft, his desire and willingness to assist in all Masonic endeavor. An excellent officer, he was admired and respected by all with whom he came in contact.
Though we have not spoken of each officer or Past Master, of one thing we may be assured: that each and every Master has performed his duty well, taking seriously his obligation and doing his level best to uphold and propagate the tenets of our great institution. As our notices carry a complete roster of Masters and terms of service, we shall not list them here. We would recognize with genuine and sincere regret the passing of several Worshipful Masters in recent years, all of whom were close to each brother in this assemblage. Those who have served since the Seventy-fifth Anniversary and who have now laid down their working tools to enter the Celestial Lodge above are Worshipful Brothers Robert Atwood Clark, Clyde S. Thomas, Willard A. Dunham and Roderick G. Matheson.
During the century, May Flower Lodge has been extremely fortunate in its selection of Secretaries and Treasurers. Though we are aware that their duties are arduous, many have miraculously found time to serve the Craft as Masters or even as District Deputy Grand Masters. There have been sixteen Secretaries and twelve Treasurers, and appended to this history is a list with their terms of service.
We have been represented in five Masonic Districts, the 7th, 14th, 23rd, 29th and 28th. In one hundred years we have been honored with six District Deputy Grand Masters: Right Worshipful Brothers Arlon R. Dustin 1896, 1897; Alton A. Cox 1909, 1910; Theodore N. Wood 1929, 1930; Frederick S. Weston 1939, 1940; Dalton L. Penniman 1949, 1950; and George Ward Stetson 1961, 1962.
The Twenty-fifth Lodge of Instruction was instituted October 16, 1928. We have been represented in the East of that body by three Worshipful Masters: Right Worshipful Frederick S. Weston in 1933, 1934; Worshipful N. Merrill Sampson in 1939, 1940 and Right Worshipful George Ward Stetson in 1957, 1958.
Our Lodge is the possessor of many historic items. These treasures have increased in value to a point over the years, where we can no longer afford to neglect the care which they should receive. On May 3, 1898, the Masonic apron which had been presented to Brother Charles S. Stratton (Tom Thumb) in Canada became our possession. This apron was one hundred and thirty years old in 1863 — dating its origin to 1733, and making its age two hundred and thirty-one at this moment.
We have one of the original Discourses delivered by Reverend Brother Benjamin Putnam of Randolph, given on the evening of August 19, 1823, at the installation of Social Harmony Lodge in Middleboro.
Another cherished item is the Masonic Travelling Card of Brother John N. Holmes of our Lodge, and Master of the whaling bark "Sea Fox" out of New Bedford. Brother Holmes was killed by a gunpowder explosion off the west coast of Africa. The card was taken from a native there by another whaler, Mr. Crapo, who knew Brother Holmes and returned it to the Lodge.
We must care for the letter given to Worshipful Charles N. Warren by Brother W. G. L. Jacob written to Brother Charles H. Carpenter by his brother in Vermont, replying to the inquiry about starting a Lodge of Masons in Middleboro.
Under date of November 13, 1888, we find that the Rough and Perfect Ashlars were given to the Lodge by Brother George C. Richards, local market man.
On June 7, 1892 the very valuable pitcher with Masonic emblems was given by Charles E. Mellen. Said to be two hundred years old in 1935, it was once the property of Ebenezer Ellis of this town.
The record of the Secretary for June 4, 1901 shows a report by the Furnishings Committee for the new Hall.
- The reported receipts, $1745.74
- The reported expenditures, 1691.89
- The reported balance of 53.95 was used for the columns.
Finally under date of September 6, 1910 is listed a gift of the hour glass to the Lodge from Brother Nathan Carter. It is our sincere and urgent belief that these and other cherished historic and valuable mementos which we now possess, with others we may acquire, must be suitably marked as to origin with date and carefully preserved and displayed for future brethren to value and enjoy. "The lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance and the devastations of war have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of antiquity."
Now, in reflection, it is our belief that May Flower Lodge has upheld the hopes and wishes of our founding fathers. Through the years we have maintained a reputation for good work and sincerity of purpose. On the material side, much has been done to make the Lodge room and apartments more attractive for both visiting brethren and our officers as they conduct their work. A beautiful organ has added much to the degrees in recent years and a new carpet has filled a much needed void. New Emblems, beautifully painted by Brother Charles Judge, have been set in a carefully and skillfully made cabinet by Worshipful Brother Craig and are the gift of Worshipful Myron L. Hinckley. Brother Craig also made and presented the white bookcase bearing the Square and Compasses.
More recently, under the leadership and able direction of the present Worshipful Master, J. Warren Tufts, our apartments have been thoroughly cleaned and painted, including the banquet hall, kitchen, toilets, ante-rooms and Lodge room itself, all of which has been accomplished through the active participation of the members themselves. The toilets have been
newly equipped and a much needed bubbler placed in the entry hall. The furniture, columns, ashlars, rods and other features necessary for appearance and good degree work have been restored to their original beauty. This has all accomplished a purpose which has been long overdue. The position of Lodge electrician has been created, filling a real need. The organ location was changed to improve the degree work and an amplifying system was given and installed by Brother Richard H. Ward. With the Centennial year in mind, new aprons bearing the date 1864 were purchased for the officers.
Having in mind the future growth of May Flower Lodge and the needs which accompany growth, a large lot on Elm Street was purchased a few years ago and plans for a new Temple are being considered. The Builders Club is working toward this end through dinners, meetings and various other projects from time to time.
In bringing to a close this record of one hundred years of Masonry in May Flower Lodge, I know that we agree ours is a glorious history. It is, in truth, a tremendous heritage. Surely Worshipful John Shaw, Jr., and his eleven Charter members of 1864 would approve our efforts for the Craft over the years. So too, would Worshipful Isaac Kimball and his brethren of Social Harmony Lodge in Middleboro one hundred and forty-one years ago.
As we cheerfully and openheartedly accept this heritage tonight as rightfully ours, we recognize at once that with it we must assume a terrific challenge, the challenge to so conduct our individual lives and the life of our Lodge that we will in no way lower the high standard of Masonry which Worshipful John Shaw, Jr., and his successors have set for us. Rather, we must make every effort to so apply our Working Tools to the Temple upon which we labor, the Temple of Character, that when we lay down these Tools, we will receive a "well done" from the Supreme Architect of the Universe.
Finally, my Brethren, as this association has been formed and perfected in so much unanimity and concord, in which we greatly rejoice, so may it long continue. May we long enjoy every satisfaction and delight which friendship can afford. May kindness and brotherly affection distinguish our conduct as men and as Masons. And may the tenets of our profession be transmitted through May Flower Lodge unimpaired, from generation to generation.
MEETING PLACES OF MAY FLOWER LODGE, MAY 1979
From Proceedings, Page 1979-71:
May Flower Lodge came into existence on March 4, 1864 when twelve Masons of the Middleborough area petitioned Grand Lodge for a charter. The first meetings were held at the Doane & Shaw Block on South Main Street during the period between April, 1864 to August, 1864. The Lodge took up temporary residence in the Tripp Confectionery store in rooms suitably furnished while new quarters were being prepared. The Lodge moved into its newly furnished quarters on the second floor of the Doane & Shaw Block in April, 1868.
These quarters were occupied until October, 1879, when the third floor of the same building was completed, it having been planned and constructed with special reference to Lodge purposes.
These rooms were used until June 7, 1901, when the Lodge moved to the corner of North Main and Centre Streets in the Peirce Building. The building, and in particular the third floor, was designed with May Flower Lodge in mind as the occupants.
This brings us to our present quarters that were occupied for the first time on September 6, 1977. These quarters are being dedicated today, with Most Worshipful Arthur H. Melanson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, officiating.
The origin of this Temple was through a gift of the Barrows family. Fletcher Lawton Barrows willed his home and property to May Flower Lodge through his son, F. Lawton Barrows, Jr., who still resides here with his wife, Betty. Only a few members of the Lodge knew of this, but no action was taken until September 1976 when the Lodge was trying to decide whether or not to refurbish its present (at that time) quarters or build a new Temple.
Under the then presiding Master, Worshipful Joseph W. MacAllister, plans were laid for our new Temple. The Lodge voted to accept the proposal as set forth at the business meeting of October 5, 1977 and the work began.
Hours of labor were necessary before construction of the new Lodge rooms could begin. A section of the house measuring 15' x 32' had to be removed. The Barrows' kitchen, which was on the first floor in the rear section, had to be relocated on the second floor of their newrliving area, and a complete stairway from the basement to the attic had to be constructed.
Construction of the lodge facilities consisted of adding a onestory wood frame building with an 'A'-frame roof, containing a lodge room measuring 35' x 50', and a ramped corridor 70' long leading to the Men's and Ladies' restrooms, kitchen and banquet hall in the rear. This whole structure was connected to the front portion of the Barrows house, and to the garage in the rear, which was converted into a banquet hall measuring 30' x 50'.
The construction of the building was made as close as possible to the existing building in architecture. Doors and windows taken from the section of the house that was removed, were used as much as possible. The lodge room is fitted with the same furniture, rug and ornamental woodwork that was in the old quarters.
This article would not be complete unless some mention was made of the labors that were put into building our new Temple.Many manhours were donated by the brethren of the Lodge, and without their efforts we would not be meeting here today. The building of the Temple gave the members of May Flower Lodge a unity which has not been enjoyed for many years.
This article does not allow room to name all those who either donated time or money, but two names should be mentioned. First, Brother F. Lawton Barrows, Jr., who make it possible for us to have his home at this time for our new Lodge quarters, and Worshipful Joseph W. MacAllister, without whose leadership, persistence, time and devotion, this building would not have been started nor completed.
We are proud to be present today to witness the dedication of this new Masonic Temple in Middleborough. During the 115 years of May Flower Lodge's existence, this is the first Temple that we have owned; may it and the Lodge prosper in years to come.
- 1927 (Participation in corner stone laying, 1927-187)
- 1929 (Participation in corner stone laying, 1929-181)
CONSTITUTION, MARCH 1865
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIV, No. 5, April 1865, p. 190:
MAY FLOWER LODGE. This is the very pretty name of a new Lodge just established at Middleboro in the county of Plymouth. The Charter was granted at the last communication of the Grand Lodge, and the Lodge was constituted by the M. W. Grand Master on the 21st ultimo. It has done a very prosperous business the past year, and being located in a pleasant and thriving village, its prospects for the future are highly encouraging. It has a good roll of able and active officers and members, who are fully competent to manage its affairs in a proper manner, and to insure its success. The officers for the year are as follows:-
- John Shaw, Jr., W. M.
- Charles H. Carpenter, S. W.
- Benjamin F. Tripp, J. W.
- Geo. F. Hartwell, Treas.
- Lucien Wilbur, Sec.
- Andrew B. Bosworth, S. D.
- Andrew M. Eaton, J. D.
- Lorenzo R. Swift, S. S.
- Henry H. Shaw, J. S.
- Southworth Loring, Tyler.
GRAND MASTER VISIT, JUNE 1984
From TROWEL, Winter 1984, Page 19:
Mayflower Lodge of Middleboro, in the Taunton 28th Masonic District, received the Most Worshipful Grand Master, David B. Richardson, when the newly-renovated banquet hall in their building was completed, and celebrated the event with a family style roast beef dinner with all the fixins'. Accompanying the Grand Master were R. W. Robert H. Hartley, D. D. G. M. of the Taunton 28th District, and R. W. Robert E. Godbout, Jr., the Grand Marshal.
The ribbon cutting ceremony took place at 6 p.m. with the Reverend Robert Merritt, pastor of the United Protestant Church of Carver, MA, giving the dedication prayer. The Master of the Lodge, Wor. Clifford Holman, and the Grand Master jointly cut the ribbon, following which everyone present sat down to enjoy the dinner in the new Fellowship Hall.
The brethren were pleased that the Grand Master stayed for a social hour as it gave them a chance to meet him on a one-to-one personal basis, and expressed the hope that he would come back soon for another fraternal visit.
The photo pictures: R.W. Robert H. Hartley; Wor. Clifford Holman; the Grand Master, and his Marshal, R.W. Bro. Godbout.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- William C. Allison, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1994, 1995
- George A. Cox, DDGM, District 23 (Taunton), 1909, 1910; Memorial
- Michael J. Douglas, DDGM, District 16, 2010, 2011
- Arlon R. Dustin, DDGM, District 23 (Taunton), 1896, 1897; N
- Arthur A. Hanson, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1974, 1975; N
- Dalton L. Penniman, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1949, 1950; N
- Joseph Russo, Jr., DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1988, 1989
- Barry E. Standish, DDGM, District 16, 2008, 2009
- G. Ward Stetson, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1961, 1962; N
- Robert O. Thayer, DDGM, District 32 (Provincetown),1983, 1984; Memorial; N
- George C. Upper, DDGM, District 16, 2006, 2007
- Frederick S. Weston, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1939, 1940; N
- Theodore N. Wood, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1929, 1930; N
- Walter T. Beard, Jr., Biography