MORNING SUN LODGE
Chartered By: William Sewall Gardner
Charter Date: 06/08/1870 1870-123
Precedence Date: 03/30/1869
Current Status: in Grand Lodge Vault.
This charter was surrendered in 1993, some time before September 1, as the recapitulation shows its membership reduced to 0. According to the Grand Master's Address, Page 1993-129: "Two Lodges during the past year have found it impossible to continue either by merging or by operating as a daylight Lodge." (The other lodge was Robert Lash of Chelsea.)
- Charles Parsons, 1869-1871, 1881; SN
- John Sprague, 1872, 1873
- Henry W. Billings, 1876, 1877
- Arthur M. Cook, 1879, 1880
- Alexander Sinclair, 1882
- Henry W. Hopkins, 1883-1885
- Charles C. Burdett, 1886, 1887
- Richard H. Cook, 1888-1890
- Charles P. Elmer, 1891, 1892
- Frederick C. Batchelder, 1893, 1894
- Arthur P. Delabarre, 1895-1897; SN
- Charles L. Cook, 1898, 1899
- Charles L. Parsons, 1900, 1901
- Charles L. Hassell, 1902, 1903
- Edwin T. Cook, 1904, 1905
- Alvan Cross Boice, 1906, 1907
- Edward Affhauser, 1909, 1910
- Joseph H. Antes, 1911
- Fred A. Delabarre, 1912, 1913
- Fred W. Bardwell, 1914
- Edgar Jones, 1915
- George D. Allis, 1916, 1917
- William G. Strippe, 1918
- William R. Bailey, 1919, 1920
- Alonzo S. Graves, 1921
- Wayne E. Roberts, 1922, 1923
- John H. Parker, 1924, 1925
- Earl N. Farrar, 1926, 1927
- Nelson D. Graves, 1928
- Arthur R. Strippe, 1929
- F. Newton Allen, 1930
- Millard C. Moore, 1931
- Harris J. Sterling, 1932
- William T. Graves, 1933
- Floyd A. Clark, 1934
- Hugh E. Ralston, 1935
- Lyman W. Graves, 1936
- Donald W. Clark, 1937
- Harland W. Clark, 1938
- Harry S. Cousins, 1939
- G(eorge). Gilbert Henry, 1940, 1941
- Gardner G. Boyden, 1942
- James A. Graves, 1943, 1944
- Walter E. Buck, 1945
- George F. Campl 1946
- Earle F. Squires, 1947; N
- Merton K. Batchelder, 1948, 1980
- Murray E. Lawrence, 1949
- Wallace E. Graves, 1950, 1973; N
- Harold R. Waite, 1951
- Kenneth B. Graves, 1952
- Albert Polhemus, 1953, 1954
- Donald D. Craft, 1955, 1956
- Wayne B. Eaton, 1957
- Kenneth E. Daniels, 1958
- Merrill H. Antes, 1959
- Sydney E. St. Peters, 1960
- David J. Laskey, 1961, 1970
- Alva C. Stacy, 1962, 1974; PDDGM
- Harry E. Packard, Sr., 1963
- Willard O. Allis, 1964
- Malcolm R. Ware, 1965, 1966
- William H. Leno, 1967
- Donald S. Robinson, 1968, 1971, 1972
- John L. Parker, 1969
- A. Frederick Hall, Jr., 1975
- Ralph F. Eldridge, 1976, 1977
- Malcolm K. Ware, 1978, 1984, 1985
- Lawrence R. Pecore, 1979
- Harold M. Potter, 1981, 1982
- Ralph S. Pease, 1983
- William K. Batchelder, 1986
- Howard R. Boyden, 1987, 1988
- Charles E. Stacy, 1989
- Edward D. Batchelder, 1990-1993
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 1969 (Centenary)
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1870 (Gardner; Constitution of Lodge and installation; Special Communication)
- 1969 (Jaynes; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1976 (Maxwell; Wilderness degree)
- 1978 (Melanson; Wilderness degree)
- 1981 (Berquist; Wilderness degree)
- 1986 (Richardson; Wilderness degree)
- 1989 (Ames; Wilderness degree)
- 1992 (Darling)
- 1969 (Centenary History, 1969-154)
CENTENARY HISTORY, MAY 1969
From Proceedings, Page 1969-154:
By Worshipful Hugh E. Ralston.
At the request of the Worshipful Master, I will try to present a short history of Morning Sun Lodge, compiled from the records as well as some personal recollections. I find that Morning Sun Lodge was first organized in Ashfield in 1826, (this information being taken from the 1917 Edition of the Conway Town History) with Rev. Ora Martin, Pastor of the Baptist Church of South Ashfield as Master, with Horace Childs of Conway as Senior Warden. The Lodge was moved to Conway in 1830. It prospered a few years, but surrendered its Charter about 1840, which as I recollect was around the time of the Morgan affair.
On April 26, 1869, Morning Sun Lodge held its first recorded meeting and I will quote the records:
"The first regular communication of Morning Sun Lodge was holden at Masonic Hall this evening at 7% o'clock opened on 3rd Degree. The following appointments were made by the Wor. Master:
- Treasurer, Chelsea Cook
- Secretary, George H. Smith
- Senior Deacon, H. W. Billings
- Junior Deacon, L. T. Brown
- Chaplain, Rev. Earle Guilford
- Marshal, W. T. Clapp
- Senior Steward, Harvey Townsend
- Junior Steward, J. S. Bowes
- Inside Sentinel, T. S. Dickinson
- Tyler, J. C. Newhall
- Auditing: H. W. Billings, T. S. Dickinson, L. T. Brown
- Masonic Relief: C. Cook, J. C. Newhall, T. S. Sherwin
- Unmasonic Conduct: H. Townsend, W. T. Clapp, Earle Guilford
Applications received from Carlos Batchelder, William Pease, George C. Kaulback, William W. Orcutt, C. George Wells, Alexander Sinclair and R. M. Tucker, enclosing the requisite fee of $5.00 each. The following committee was appointed on above applications:
- W. T. Clapp
- H. W. Billings
- Chelsea Cook
No further business coming before this Lodge of Master Masons, it was closed in due form .
George H. Smith, Secretary".
The records show that they were eager beavers in those days as a special communication was holden on April 29th, 1869, at iy-2 o'clock, opened on the 3rd Degree, closed on the 3rd, and opened on the first for instruction, waiving part of the usual ceremonies. A few notes from some of the early meetings indicate at one meeting one blackball was cast and on the next meeting the same man's name was voted on again and he was elected. For the first few meetings, the fees were $5.00 for application, $5.00 for first, and $10.00 for second and third degrees — it is now $6.00 for application and $15.00 for each degree, which I believe makes the fees of Morning Sun Lodge among the lowest in the Commonwealth. At the regular communication, April 11, 1870, a committee was appointed to petition Grand Lodge for a charter, and on the regular communication of May 9th, 1870, it was voted to send Wor. Charles Parsons, Jr., to the quarterly meeting of Grand Lodge. By order of the Most Worshipful Grand Master, a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge was held at Conway on July 27, 1870, at which time the Grand Master and suite constituted Morning Sun Lodge in ample form with the following officers:
- Worshipful Master, Charles Parsons, Jr.
- Senior Warden, Thomas Sherwin
- Junior Warden, John Sprague
- Treasurer, Chelsea Cook
- Secretary, Richard Tucker
- Senior Deacon, H. W. Billings
- Junior Deacon, L. T. Brown
- Chaplain, Harvey Townsend
and at this time Morning Sun Lodge was launched on its way to its 100th year. In reading the records and from what I have been told, there have been three meeting places. First, at so-called Bigelow's Hall, which was in the building on the site now occupied by Florence's Luncheonette in Conway: second, in a hall located in the rear of the Conway Inn; and third, our present building which was dedicated July 2, 1896. The present building is owned by the Conway Masonic Building Association. In reading the records, I find the building was financed by selling shares of stock at #10.00 per share and that 6% interest was paid at one time on the stock.
In reading through the early records, I found them very brief so I will have to confine my remarks to a few things. One of the first that came to my attention was the name of Henry W. Billings appearing as Secretary on December 5, 1870, and continuing until November 12, 1894, nearly 25 years. I find in the old Conway History that he was elected Town Clerk in 1861, and Town Treasurer in 1864, and was continued in these offices for the rest of his life, completing 54 years as Town Clerk and 51 years as Town Treasurer. Our next longest Secretary was Herman Hale, who served from July 30, 1923 to April 5, 1949, 26 years. You might say Masters come and go, but Secretaries go on as long as they live or will take the job. It is one of the most important jobs in a Lodge. Another long term office holder is our present Treasurer, Bro. Clarence W. Boyden, who has held his office from November 7, 1939, until the present time, completing 30 years this November.
I have not been able to find out from dates of meetings in the early records what night of the week meetings were on, but assume they were the same, being the Monday nearest to the full moon, until we changed to our present night of the first Tuesday. The Monday nearest to the full moon was so that they could have at least a chance of riding to Lodge meetings in their open wagons by the light of the full moon, and as this Lodge gets its members from several towns, covering a rather large area, the traveling time was a big item.
To the Lodges that have the payment of dues problems, 1 find at our Annual Meeting in 1893, out of 98 members, 45 were in arrears in their dues from one to nine years to the tune of $240.00.
For several years, an outstanding event of the Masonic year was the annual clambake which was attended by Masons and friends from far and near and was a gourmet's delight. Another Masonic event was the Official Visitation which came in the fall. The meeting came first, after which a banquet (not refreshments) was held lasting until midnight. How those tables groaned with chicken pie, etc., followed by after dinner speaking with free cigars by the host Lodge. Imagine 100 to 150 (and that was the attendance in those days) cigars going in the small banquet halls—I have heard my wife say "Phew" many a time when I got home. I challenge any one of you to come out to a gathering like that and see if you don't feel better afterwards than you would if you sat home in front of TV all evening.
We should not forget the effect on our Masonic Lodges by the forming of Evening Star Chapter 193, O. E. S., which was formed around 1923, and the help we have had from the sisters.
In 1965 and 1966, Wor. Malcolm R. Ware instituted the idea of Morning Sun Lodge having a "Wilderness Degree". Permission was granted to hold our first annual "Wilderness Degree" in June, 1966. Due to the Town's Bi-Centennial celebration in 1967, Wor. William H. Leno deferred our second annual "Wilderness Degree" until 1968, as most of our local brothers were heavily committed to Bi-Centennial Committees, established five or more years previous. The "Wilderness Degree" is conferred in a covered pavilion decorated with actual pine, hemlock, laurel, potted flowers, oil lamps and stone altar giving the full effect of the outdoors. I would further state the "Wilderness Degree" has been preceded by a succulent Beef Barbeque, prepared by Wor. Merton K. Batchelder. It is an experience all Master Masons have found most refreshing and enjoyable.
Time does not permit mentioning all things, so I will close with two more comments. First, let us have the record indicate Morning Sun Lodge has had 72 Masters of whom 32 are living. Membership at our last Annual Meeting was 13S. We have also had three District Deputy Grand Masters, as follows:
- Rt. Wor. Arthur P. Delabarre — Deceased
- Rt. Wor. Earle F. Squires
- Rt. Wor. Wallace E. Graves
Second, I want to quote the minutes of a recent communication to show the great change from the age of brief paper work to the modern age.
"Conway, Mass.— March 4, A.L. 5969 — A Regular Communication of Morning Sun Lodge was held in Masonic Hall. Lodge opened on the 3rd Degree by Wor. John L. Parker. Other officers present were:
- Acting Senior Warden, Wor. Malcolm R. Ware
- Junior Warden, Bro. William Reeves
- Treasurer, Bro. Clarence W. Boyden
- Acting Secretary, Wor. Kenneth B. Graves
- Acting Chaplain, Wor. Hugh E. Ralston
- Senior Deacon, Wor. David J. Laskey
- Acting Junior Deacon, Bro. Greydon B. Held
- Marshal, Rt. Wor. Earle F. Squires
- Organist, Wor. Albert Polhemus
- Tyler, Wor. Harry E. Packard, Sr.
The Master welcomed those present and gave a greeting to Bro. John Warger who has been ill this winter. The minutes of the last Regular and Special meetings were read and approved. The Treasurer's report was read. The following bills were referred to the Finance Committee to be paid, if found correct.
- Deerfield Printing, May Notices: $11.85
- Harry Packard, Sr., Janitor: 30.00
- Bonding—Treasurer: 12.00
- John L. Parker, Postcards for Special Meeting: 7.50
- Annual Assessment for Lodge of Instruction: 5.00
The Master announced that the Annual Lodge of Exemplification would be at Republican Lodge, April 12th, and would consist of degree work and Lecture of the 3rd Degree. Also that the 12th Lodge of Instruction at Harmony Lodge, Northfield, with Right Wor. George E. Clapp speaking on the form of Receiving Grand Lodge Officers. Some of the members and officers had a meeting with the District Deputy Monroe E. Smith and Right Worshipful George Clapp to discuss the proper manner of receiving and entertaining the Grand Master on his visit to Morning Sun on May 3rd, for the 100th Anniversary of the Lodge. A banquet was proposed to be put on by a caterer. Wor. David Laskey said the O.E.S. had expected to put on the supper with expectations of making a profit. It was felt if the Star would do it, we would have a better meal. Wor. Bro. Hugh Ralston brought greetings from Bro. George Morton (Age 95) and Bro. Charles Roberts of Zephyr Hills, Florida.
Lodge closed in form at 9:10 P.M., and refreshments were served in the Banquet Hall.
—By: Wor. Kenneth B. Graves, Sr., Acting Secretary".
And, I close with this Prayer:
May the Power, Wisdom and Goodness of the Grand Artificer of the Universe grant us to continue to meet upon the Level, act upon the Plumb and part upon the Square, as we commence the next hundred years. Amen.
HALL DEDICATION, JANUARY 1879
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. II, No. 11, February 1879, Page 349; Proceedings, Page 1878-134:
The new Hall of Morning Sun Lodge. Conway, was dedicated on the 29th of January, in due form, by W. C. Robinson, D. D. G. M. of the Tenth Masonic District, as Proxy for the M. W. Grand Master. The occasion was a very pleasant and interesting one, officers and members of several adjacent Lodges were present. The new Lodge room is neatly and tastefully fitted up, and is centrally located. The Tenth District holds its own as one of the most active and successful in the jurisdiction.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Arthur P. Delabarre, DDGM, District 14 (Greenfield), 1913, 1914; SN
- Wallace E. Graves, DDGM, District 14 (Greenfield), 1962, 1963; N
- Charles Parsons, DDGM, District 14 (North Adams), 1890, 1891, 1892; SN
- Earle F. Squires, DDGM, District 14 (Greenfield), 1948, 1949; N
- Alva C. Stacy, DDGM, District 14 (Greenfield), 1976, 1977