Chartered By: Dudley M. Ferrell
Charter Date: 12/10/1924 1924-647
Precedence Date: 02/29/1924
Current Status: in Grand Lodge Vault; granted right to merge into Eastern Star Lodge, 09/04/1995; merger 04/27/1996.
- Dwight E. Cone, 1925; Mem
- Walter E. Marcy, 1926
- Cyrus M. Wheaton, 1927
- Hiram E. Chaffee, 1928
- Harry H. Thurlow, 1929; N
- Joseph Butterworth, 1930
- Oliver Hopkins, 1931
- Charles E. Buffinton, 1932
- John Dietsch, 1933; N
- Fred S. Maker, 1934
- Harold W. Appleby, 1935
- Alfred W. Purnell, 1936
- Robert B. Christie, 1937
- Elric Acker, 1938
- William J. Schwartz, 1939
- Walter N. Marx, 1940
- James D. Johnston, 1941; N
- Leslie E. Carpenter, 1942
- Edwin S. Burnley, 1943
- Bert S. Smith, 1944
- Carl R. A. Daley, 1945
- Harvey T. Tracey, 1946
- H. Russell Hill, 1947
- Charles T. Lindell, Jr., 1948
- Kenneth R. Gardiner, 1949
- Arden R. Carson, 1950
- Walter E. Lindberg, 1951
- Ernest H. Prescott, 1952
- Melvin T. Marcy, 1953
- J. Wesley Peck, 1954
- Norman E. Erhardt, 1955
- Earle R. McLean, 1956
- Clarence E. Macrae, 1957, 1983
- Arnold B. Shaw, 1958, 1984; N
- Warren S. Carpenter, 1959
- John Stallard, 1960
- Robert E. Bliss, 1961
- Robert L. Allen, 1962
- Donald F. Freeberg, 1963
- Herbert R. Luther, 1964
- Edward F. Newman, 1965; N
- Ernest J. Murby, Jr., 1966, 1995
- Robert J. Stallard, 1967
- Herbert C. Johnson, 1968
- Alan A. Bryson, Sr., 1969, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1995
- Peter Megrdichian, 1970
- Zackary C. Terzian, 1971
- William H. Saunders, 1972
- Richard A. Salve, 1973
- Robert N. Jordan, 1974, 1975
- George H. Duranleau, 1976
- George M. Doonan, 1977
- Edward J. Collins, 1978
- Mark S. Brown, 1979
- Harry Thomas, 1980
- Perry S. Agronick, 1981
- Theodore C. Dufresne, 1982
- Robert M. Chase, 1985, 1993
- Michael C. Lawton, 1986, 1987
- William H. Lawton, 1988
- Scott W. Pray, 1989, 1990
- Edward I. Waldman, 1994, 1996
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1924' (Ferrell; Constitution of Lodge and installation; also referenced in 1925)
- 1949 (Keith; 25th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1974 (Vose; 50th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1949 (25th Anniversary History, 1949-4; see below)
- 1974 (50th Anniversary History, 1974-83; see below)
25TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MARCH 1949
From Proceedings, Page 1949-4:
By Worshipful Cyrus M. Wheaton and Worshipful Harold W. Appleby.
Throughout the past twenty-five years the basic teachings and tenets of Freemasonry, brotherly love and affection have been practiced and exemplified in Netop Lodge, where Brothers of various creeds, sects and opinions have dwelt together in peace and harmony. Thus, with a full measure of God's blessing, the Lodge has attained its Silver Anniversary. As we gather to celebrate this occasion, it is natural that we should look back over the years to view the circumstances that brought our Lodge into existence and to evaluate, if we can, the achievements of the past.
The Town of Seekonk borders the State of Rhode Island, being two miles from the City of Providence. Massachusetts Masonic Lodges in 1923 were a considerable distance from the center of Seekonk when Brother Walter E. Marcy conceived the idea of a local Lodge. There were a goodly number of Masons living here — a few were members of Massachusetts Lodges, the majority had joined in cities and towns of our neighboring State. There were many who were desirous of becoming Masons, but hesitated because there was no local Lodge available.
Brother Marcy, well aware of these conditions, was firmly convinced of the need for a Masonic Lodge in Seekonk. Throughout the summer of 1923, aided by Brother Cyrus M. Wheaton, the numerous details incident to organization were carefully studied. Contact with the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was established, and a well-laid foundation accomplished. The potential contribution of Masonic influence upon the life of the town appeared certain to justify this undertaking.
A group of Brethren met in Association Hall, Seekonk, on November 23, 1923, for the purpose of discussing the details of organization and of selecting a name. "Netop," the Indian name for friend, was considered appropriate. Subsequent meetings were held on January 15 and February 23, 1924, which conferences resulted in the decision that meetings of the new Lodge should be held in Association Hall. The necessary dues and fees to successfully function as a Lodge were also decided upon; a tentative slate of officers was selected.
In the interim, permission was obtained from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to hold, on March 19, 1924, the first communication of Netop Lodge, U. D., with R. W. Dwight E. Cone presiding. At this time the dispensation was formally received from R. W. Gad Robinson, District Deputy Grand Master of the Taunton 28th Masonic District. The District Deputy and a distinguished suite of Masons installed the first officers of the Lodge, whose names appear on a separate page of this booklet. The names of the Charter members, forty-four in number, also appear on a separate page.
On December 17, 1924, Most Worshipful Grand Master Dudley H. Ferrell opened the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in an adjoining apartment. Then Worshipful Master Dwight E. Cone, Senior Warden Walter E. Marcy and Junior Warden Cyrus M. Wheaton retired to the Grand Lodge and notified the Grand Master that the Brethren of Netop Lodge, U. D., to whom the Grand Lodge had seen fit to grant a Charter, were convened for the purpose of being constituted into a regular body. The Grand Master thereupon entered the lodge-room, and in ample and ancient form, duly constituted Netop Lodge and installed its first officers.
During the first year, ten regular and eleven special meetings were held; thirty-three petitions for membership were received, and nineteen members raised. Many gifts of equipment were received from individuals and some from other Lodges. Outstanding was a gift of $2500.00 from Mrs. Isadore Forbes, Past Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star of Massachusetts, and a former resident of Seekonk. This gift formed the nucleus of our building fund. The Lodge by this time was a well-established and growing organization, due in no small measure to the efforts of R.W. Dwight E. Cone. At great personal sacrifice, he gave- generously of his time in perfecting the ritualistic work of our Lodge, and instilling the high ideals of Freemasonry. On August 31, 1927, he was called to "that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns."
On Saturday afternoon, June 25, 1927, Netop Lodge, with forty-nine members in attendance, participated in the ceremonies incident to the laying of the cornerstone of Bristol Lodge Temple in North Attleboro, Massachusetts.
During the early part of 1928, some of the members became very much interested in a new Lodge building. As a result, a joint meeting was held with Seekonk Chapter No. 209, Order of the Eastern Star, when committees were appointed to make further study of costs. The committees reported to their respective organizations, and it was finally decided that our ambitions were rather premature and should be tabled for a time.
A special communication was held on Saturday, October 26, 1929, for the purpose of participating in the ceremonies pertaining to the laying of the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple being erected by Ezekiel Bates Lodge in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
In December of 1929, the Lodge considered the possibility of purchasing Association Hall. Many were of the opinion that we could improve the building and confine it to Lodge use only, thereby adapting it to our needs more completely than was possible under existing arrangements. This, however, did not materialize at once.
On January 22, 1930, Worshipful Brother Walter E. Marcy, the first Master of Netop Lodge under constitution, was called to the "Celestial Lodge" above. His excellent judgment and faithful devotion to Netop Lodge and Masonic principles will always be remembered by those who knew him.
In December, 1932, the Lodge was honored by the appointment of Worshipful Harry H. Thurlow as District Deputy Grand Master of the Taunton 28th Masonic District. Worshipful Cyrus M. Wheaton served as District Deputy Grand Marshal and Worshipful Charles E. Buffinton as District Deputy Grand Secretary for the first year. Worshipful Joseph Butterworth served as District Deputy Grand Marshal and Worshipful Charles E. Buffinton as District Deputy Grand Secretary for the second year. Our meeting on November 13, 1933, found the District Deputy Grand Master making his first official visitation to Netop Lodge. On this occasion R.W. Edward W. Burt presented R. W. Harry H. Thurlow with a District Deputy's jewel in behalf of the Lodges in the Taunton 28th District.
The disastrous hurricane of 1938 occurred on Wednesday, September 21, the date of our annual meeting, and this meeting was accordingly postponed until September 27.
We were informed in January of 1941 that Association Hall, then owned by the Seekonk Fire and Library Association, was for sale. Brother Leslie E. Carpenter, Brother H. Russell Hill and Worshipful Brother Harold W. Appleby were appointed a committee to investigate the advisability, as well as the possibility, of purchasing the building. It required several months to compile the necessary information. R. W. Harry H. Thurlow aided the committee on legal matters, and discovered that of the original organizers of the Luthers Corners Fire and Library Association, several members had an equity. In some case title had passed on to their heirs.
In June of 1941, the Lodge voted to buy the building jointly with Seekonk Chapter No. 209, Order of the Eastern Star, provided a clear title could be obtained. R. W. Harry H. Thurlow, after a great amount of legal work, succeeded in clearing the title, and in November 1941, the building was purchased. The property was deeded to the joint Trustees of Netop Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and Seekonk Chapter No. 209, O.E.S., and their successors. A trust agreement for the operation of the building was then ratified by both bodies, and the name of the building was changed from Association Hall to Masonic Hall.
During the summer of 1942, under the capable direction of Brother H. Russell Hill, our building was transformed from an ordinary hall into a very comfortable and pleasing Masonic Temple. The street floor now offers a coat room; the kitchen is reconditioned with added equipment; the dining hall enlarged and the floor re-surfaced. The second floor is completely redesigned — there are two fine anterooms, and the lodge-room itself is so improved that it affords greater convenience for the officers. New seats and seating arrangements provide comfort for members and visitors. The change in appearance is unbelievable. New carpeting for the lodge-room was given by Mrs. Walter E. Marcy in memory of her husband, Worshipful Walter E. Marcy, for the benefit of both the Lodge and Star. The labor of reconstruction was supplied by members, and credit is hereby given and our appreciation expressed. Later a complete new heating system was installed under the direction of Brother Benjamin A. Reynolds, whose faithful stewardship of our building has contributed so materially to our welfare. It is quite possible that this is the only Masonic hall in the State owned jointly by a Masonic Lodge and a Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. The arrangement has worked very satisfactorily.
Our Lodge was again honored when in December, 1942, Worshipful James D. Johnston was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the Taunton 28th Masonic District. Worshipful William J. Schwartz served as District Deputy Grand Marshal and Worshipful Leslie E. Carpenter as District Deputy Grand Secretary for one year. Worshipful Jesse Borge served as District Deputy Grand Marshal and Worshipful Walter N. Marx as District Deputy Grand Secretary during the second year.
On January 14, 1949, R.W. James D. Johnston, who had served Masonry so well, departed for "that undiscovered country." He was the seventeenth Worshipful Master of Netop Lodge. His courteous and kindly manner endeared him to all of his Brethren.
We have twice been honored in the Lodge of Instruction by the election of Worshipful Brother John Dietsch to serve as Master.
On September 24, 1948, Worshipful Jesse Borge presented the Lodge with new aprons for our officers, replacing the well-worn ones which had been used so long. Thus we are well-equipped to begin another twenty-five years.
This history would be incomplete without reference to our relationships with neighboring Lodges. While under dispensation we received much encouragement and cooperation from the officers and members of Narragansett Lodge of Fall River. After our constitution, we were cordially welcomed by the Lodges in the 28th Masonic District and officers and members alike gave us their valued fellowship and assistance. We give special mention here to the Lodges in Taunton, who by their encouragement and aid helped us so materially in the formative days of our existence.
During the past twenty years Netop Lodge and Eastern Star Lodge of Rehoboth have exchanged work once each year. This has brought about most congenial relations between these Lodges and all indications forecast a continuation of this fine spirit of cooperation. In addition, we exchanged work in 1936 with Narragansett Lodge of Fall River, and in 1940, with Blackstone River Lodge of Blackstone.
We have enjoyed very pleasant associations with Rhode Island Masonry. Work has been exchanged with Orpheus Lodge, and fraternal visits exchanged with What Cheer Lodge, both of Providence, to our mutual benefit and satisfaction.
Thus we conclude the first twenty-five years of our Masonic existence in the spirit of friendliness signified by our name, "Netop."
50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1974
From Proceedings, Page 1974-83:
(A detailed history of Netop Lodge for the period from 1924 to 1949 by Wor. Cyrus M. Wheaton and Wor. Harold W. Appleby may be found in the Proceedings of Grand Lodge for 1949, pages 4-9, inclusive.)
At our 25th Anniversary, Most Worshipful Grand Master Roger Keith presented the Lodge with a Silver Dollar "that Netop Lodge might never be destitute." This Silver Dollar has passed along to each succeeding Master in accordance with the tradition established then.
Honor came to Netop in December 1952 when Wor. John Dietsch, a Charter member, was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the Taunton 28th Masonic District.
Rt. Wor. John, Master of Netop in 1932 has served as Chaplain since 1933. He is one of the most active Masons in both the Attleboro 28th and Taunton 28th Masonic Districts. From 1934 to 1936 he served as Master of the 25th Lodge of Instruction but he is best known in both Districts for his promotion of the Annual Chicken Barbecue at the Masonic Home in Charlton.
Also in 1952 Wor. Charles T. Lindell, Jr., was installed as Master of the 25th Lodge of Instruction.
Wor. Cyrus M. Wheaton was presented a 50 year Grand Lodge Medal on January 15, 1964, giving him the distinction of being the first member of Netop Lodge to be so honored.
Netop was again honored in 1970 when Wor. Arnold B. Shaw, Master of the Lodge in 1957-58, was named District Deputy Grand Master for the Taunton 28th Masonic District. Rt. Wor. Arn also had the distinction of serving as Master of the 25th Lodge of Instruction 1962-63. Wor. Edward F. Newman held this office in 1971-72 thus bringing the honor to Netop Lodge a fourth time.
Our March 1974 meeting was a happy occasion as Wor. Bob Jordan presented three of our Past Masters with suitably inscribed plaques in appreciation for their long and meritorious service to Netop and Masonry. Honored were: Rt. Wor. John Dietsch; Wor. Edwin S. Burnley, Master in 1942-43 and Tyler from 1944 until, it is sadly recorded, April 11, 1974, when departed for "that undiscovered country." The third was presented to Wor. Kenneth R. Gardiner, Master 1948-49, and Secretary from 1956 until 1972 when he retired his pen.
This brief history of our Lodge would be incomplete without reference to our relationship with neighboring Lodges. Much encouragement and cooperation was received from Narragansett Lodge of Fall River while we were functioning under dispensation. After our constitution, Lodges in the 28th Masonic District, through their officers and members, gave us invaluable assistance. We particularly owe a debt of gratitude to the Taunton Lodges for the encouragement and aid which helped so materially during our formative years.
For the past 45 years, Netop and Eastern Star Lodge, Rehoboth, have exchanged work. This tradition has resulted in a close knit relationship and spirit of cooperation which is appreciated in both Lodges.
Netop has always enjoyed a pleasant association with Rhode Island Lodges and has exchanged work with several of them, most notably Orpheus, Cranston, What Cheer, Providence, Mt. Vernon, Cranston and Granite, Harrisville, to our mutual benefit and satisfaction.
While a great number of our Master Masons "have laid down the working tools of the Craft to seek admission to the Celestial Lodge above," Netop continues to grow, teaching the basic principles and tenets of Freemasonry. For 50 years, brotherly love and affection have been practiced and exemplified, a fitting tribute to the men who had the foresight to establish a Lodge in Seekonk, and justification for their choice of the name NETOP.
Rt. Wor. John Dietsch
Wor. John Stallard
Wor. Kenneth R. Gardiner
- 1927 (Participation in cornerstone laying in North Attleboro)
- 1929 (Participation in cornerstone laying in North Attleboro)
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Dwight E. Cone, DDGM, District 26 (Fall River), 1905, 1906; Memorial
- John Dietsch, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1953, 1954; N
- James D. Johnston, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1943, 1944; N
- Edward F. Newman, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1980, 1981; N
- Arnold B. Shaw, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1966, 1967; N
- Harry H. Thurlow, DDGM, District 28 (Taunton), 1933, 1934; N