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MERIDIAN SUN LODGE

Location: Brookfield

Chartered By: Paul Revere

Charter Date: 09/13/1797 II-108

Precedence Date: 09/13/1797

Current Status: unknown; last meeting under old charter 1834


NOTES

In Grand Master Heard's address in December 1857 (Page 1857-36 in the original Proceedings), this lodge was described as having "had but a nominal existence for many years." He also noted that "the Charter and records of Meridian Sun Lodge were in possession of Bro. Rufus Dodge, a worthy farmer eighty-four years of age, who cheerfully resigned his charge on learning that it was the request of the Grand Lodge that he should do so. No meeting of M. S. Lodge has been held since 1834."

MEMBER LIST, 1802

From Vocal Companion and Masonic Register, Boston, 1802, Part II, Page 24:

  • R. W. Cheney Reed, M.
  • W. Francis Clark, S. W.
  • W. Seth Field, J. W.
  • Liberty Banister, Sec.
  • John Cutler, Tr.
  • Robert Cutler, S. D.
  • John Field, J. D.
  • Aaron Forbes, Steward.
  • Nevenson Hastings, Steward.
  • Francis O. Clark, Tiler.

No. of Members, 46.

  • L. Baldwin
  • Rufus Hamilton
  • Peter Harwood
  • Daniel Morse
  • Barnabas Brigham
  • Henry Penniman, Jr.
  • Amaza Howe
  • Moses Hastings

INSTALLATION OF OFFICERS, FEBRUARY 1825

Officer list from Masonic Mirror, February 12, 1825, in the Cambridge Masonic Temple collection:

  • Pliny Nye, Worshipful Master
  • Otis Hayden, Senior Warden
  • W. Heman Stebbins, Junior Warden
  • Amos Blanchard, Treasurer
  • Dexter Rice, Secretary
  • Pliny Upham, Senior Deacon
  • David Matthews, Junior Deacon
  • Rufus Dodge, Tyler.

PAST MASTERS

  • Joseph Pierce, 1801
  • Cheney Reed, 1802
  • Otis Hayden, before 1827; SN
  • Francis O. Clark, 1814
  • John Homans, before 1826; SN
  • Pliny Nye, 1825

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Charter: 1797

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

  • 1798 (Bartlett; Constitution of Lodge and installation; see above)

HISTORY

  • 1895 (From Address at Constitution of Meridian Sun Lodge, 1895-24; see below)
  • 1943 (Historical notes at 50th Anniversary of Meridian Sun Lodge, 1943-259; see below)
  • 1963 (Historical notes at centenary of Hayden Lodge, 1963-233)

EXCERPT FROM ADDRESS AT CONSTITUTION OF MERIDIAN SUN LODGE, FEBRUARY 1895

From Proceedings, Page 1895-24:

It may be interesting to those present to know something of the history of Meridian Sun Lodge, which was in existence nearly one hundred years ago.

On Sept. 13, 1797, there was presented to the Grand Lodge "a petition from Cheney Reed and others, praying for a charter to hold a Lodge at Brookfield, by the name of Meridian Sun Lodge, and being properly recommended it was voted that the prayer of the petitioners be granted."

The Lodge was constituted Sept. 12, 1798, and the following account was published in the Worcester Spy of that date, a clipping from which is now in the possession of the Grand Lodge. It reads as follows:

"On the 12th inst. the 'Meridian Sun Lodge,' at Brookfield, was publicly consecrated, and its officers installed by R. W. Isaiah Thomas, Esq. (who has a deputation to visit, instruct, etc., the Lodges in the three western Counties of Massachusetts). A sermon was preached on the occasion by the Chaplain of the Grand Lodge, "on the importance of illustrating our profession by our example", and an instructive and interesting Charge was given by the Grand Master. The whole was performed in the presence of a crowded, respectable, and highly gratified audience. After the public services, the Brethren and guests partook of a noble feast, under a most elegant alcove erected and ornamented for the occasion."

R. W. Isaiah Thomas was the editor and proprietor of the Worcester Spy.

The only other information which we have been able to discover is taken from an Address delivered in Grand Lodge by M. W. John T. Heard, Dec. 28, 1857:

"Meridian Sun Lodge, Brookfield, Harris Lodge, Templeton, Eden Lodge, Ware, and Doric Lodge, Southbridge, have had but a nominal existence for many years. Their names are still on the roll of the Grand Lodge, and their erasure can be done only by your authority. In 1854, R. W. Horace Chenery, D. D. G. M. of the Sixth District, made the following indorsement on his Return for that year, in relation to these Lodges: "Charters lost or returned to Grand Lodge."
Bro. Heard continues: "Ascertaining that neither the charters, records, or any other property, of either of these Lodges was in our archives, and that there was no evidence that either of them had ever surrendered any of its effects to the Grand Lodge, I directed D.D. Grand Master Henry Earl to visit the towns in which the Lodges were located, and by due inquiry to determine whether or not the missing charters could be recovered.

"Through his praiseworthy efforts, I am enabled to report that the charter and records of Meridian Sun Lodge were in possession of Bro. Rufus Dodge, a worthy farmer, 84 years of age, who cheerfully resigned his, charge on learning that it was the request of the Grand Lodge that he should do so. No meeting of Meridian Sun Lodge has been held since 1884."

Unfortunately, neither the ancient charter nor the records of the Lodge are now in existence. They were consumed in the fire which destroyed the Masonic Temple in Boston on the 5th of April, 1864.

Had the Lodge not surrendered its charter, in two years from the present time the Grand Officers would have had the privilege of coming here and joining with you in celebrating your Centennial.

EXCERPT FROM 50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY OF MERIDIAN SUN LODGE, DECEMBER 1943

From Proceedings, Page 1943-259:

"One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1793, the original Charter of the old Meridian Sun Lodge was granted and the Lodge constituted. This Lodge remained in active operation for many years. There developed, however, much opposition to Masonry among outsiders. Finally, after the Morgan Episode, the Charter was surrendered to the Grand Lodge.

"There were many famous members in the original Lodge. Among the best known were General Rufus Putnam, who lived in North Brookfield for about twenty years, on what is known as Putnam Hill; Major Peter Harwood, who was Officer of the Day at the execution of Major Andre; Rufus Dodge, great-grandfather of Past Master Willard Bemis of the present Meridian Sun Lodge; Honorable Bonum Nye, who was for the last two years of his life the oldest living Mason in the United States."

HISTORICAL NOTES IN CENTENARY HISTORY OF HAYDEN LODGE, NOVEMBER 1963

From Proceedings, Page 1963-233:

The records of Grand Lodge Quarterly Communication of September 13, 5797, M. W. Paul Revere, Grand Master, show the following: "A Petition received from Cheney Reed and others, praying for a Charter to hold a Lodge at Brookfield by the name of Meridian Sun; and being properly recommended, it was voted that the petition be granted."

On the 12th inst. the Meridian Sun Lodge at Brookfield was publicly consecrated, and its officers installed by R.W. Isaiah Thomas, Esq. (who has a deputation to visit, instruct, etc. the Lodges in the three western Counties of Massachusetts). A sermon was preached on the occasion by the Chaplain of Grand Lodge on "The Importance of Illustrating our Profession by our Example" and an instructive and interesting charge was given by the officiating Grand Master.

Of this old Lodge, tradition is almost silent. It failed to weather the anti-masonic gales that swept over the country in the early thirties, and it is believed that it never held a meeting after 5834. In 5857 R. W. Henry Earl of Worcester, D. D. G .M. of the http://masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=MADISTRICT6_1849-66 6th Masonic District], reported to M. W. http://masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=GMHeard John T. Heard], Grand Master, in regard to Meridian Sun Lodge at Brookfield: "Agreeable to your instructions, I visited Brookfield and found the Charter and Records of the Lodge in the hands of Bro. Rufus Dodge, a worthy farmer 84 years of age, who was the last Secretary. On showing Bro. Dodge my authority, he very readily placed them in my hands, and I have deposited them in the Office of the Grand Treasurer." Bro. Earle also reported that the District is composed of seven Lodges, four of which have not held a meeting for more than twenty years. The four referred to are: Eden of Ware, Doric of Southbridge, Harris of Templeton, and Meridian Sun of Brookfield.

However, unknown to R. W. Bro. Butterworth, there existed the Treasurer's records of Meridian Sun Lodge, beginning November 27, 5797, kept by Amassa Blanchard, Treasurer, during the existence of said Lodge thru 5833. This Treasurer's record is now in the hands of the descendants of Bro. Blanchard along with two diplomas issued to Dexter Blanchard (1806) and Parlay Blanchard (1824), brothers of Amassa Blanchard. These records are interesting; one entry in the early 20's states, "Expense for St. John's Sunday, $134.00." The Grand Lodge Report of the Quarterly Communication of June 14, 5820 states: "R. W. James F. Robbins of Templeton, D. D. G. M. of the 6th Masonic District, reports that there are ten Lodges in his district, four of which are deserving praise. Among these four, Meridian Sun Lodge is not mentioned, and he goes on to say: "To the others not much credit can justly be awarded. In Meridian Sun Lodge at Brookfield, more attention is paid to refreshments than to the objects of its institution."

R.W. Bro. Butterworth stated that he had heard in regard to the old Lodge here, on ceasing to hold their meetings in 5833, the brethren divided up the furniture and property of the Lodge among themselves. The Master's Chair was for sometime in the old Lewis Mansion in this Town, but not too long ago it disappeared. The Charter and Records were destroyed in the Temple fire of 5864.

OTHER

  • 1820 (Report of delinquency, III-281)
  • 1829 (Committee on property deed, IV-152)
  • 1830 (Committee on property deed, IV-177)

EVENTS

CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, SEPTEMBER 1798

From Proceedings, Page 1895-24, address of the Grand Master at the constitution of Meridian Sun Lodge:

"The Lodge was constituted Sept. 12, 1798, and the following account was published in the Worcester Spy of that date, a clipping from which is now in the possession of the Grand Lodge. It reads as follows:

"On the 12th inst. the 'Meridian Sun Lodge,' at Brookfield, was publicly consecrated, and its officers installed by R.W. Isaiah Thomas, Esq. (who has a deputation to visit, instruct, etc., the Lodges in the three western Counties of Massachusetts). A sermon was preached on the occasion by the Chaplain of the Grand Lodge, 'on the importance of illustrating our profession by our example,' and an instructive and interesting Charge was given by the Grand Master. The whole was performed in the presence of a crowded, respectable, and highly gratified audience. After the public services, the Brethren and guests partook of a noble feast, under a most elegant alcove erected and ornamented for the occasion."

ST. JOHN'S DAY, JUNE 1828

From Amaranth or Masonic Garland, Vol. I, No. 3, June 1828, Page 93:

Leicester and Meridian Sun Lodges, in conjunction, will celebrate the nativity 6f St. John the Baptist, on the 24th inst. at Spencer, 
Mass. An address will be delivered by Br. I. Barton, of Oxford. The pro
cession will form at 11 o'clock, a. m.


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1803: District 6 (Central Mass., Worcester)

1821: District 6


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges