Oriental

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ORIENTAL LODGE

Location: Edgartown

Chartered By: Charles C. Dame

Charter Date: 06/12/1867 VII-160

Precedence Date: 07/16/1866

Current Status: merged with Martha's Vineyard Lodge to form Oriental-Martha's Vineyard Lodge, 01/29/1994.


PAST MASTERS

  • John Pierce, 1866-1869
  • Jeremiah Pease, 1870-1878
  • Zenas D. Linton, 1879-1881
  • Jason L. Dexter, 1882-1884, 1895, 1896, 1901
  • Joseph W. Donaldson, 1885-1890
  • David J. Barney, 1891-1894
  • Richard D. Shute, 1897, 1898
  • Francis P. Vincent, 1899, 1900
  • James C. Sandsbury, 1902-1904, 1914
  • John E. White, 1905
  • Elmer E. Landers, 1906, 1907
  • Thomas A. Dexter, 1908, 1909, 1915
  • Joseph K. Sylvia, 1910, 1911, 1918
  • Charles B. Osborn, 1912, 1913
  • Herbert C. Pease, 1916
  • Manuel Swartz Roberts, 1917
  • Frank Norton, Jr., 1919
  • Alfred A. Averill, 1920
  • LeRoy W. Vose, 1921, 1922
  • Arthur B. Hillman, 1923
  • Arthur W. Davis, 1924
  • John R. Look, 1925
  • Clarence P. Hayden, 1926, 1927; N
  • Ernest A. Nickel, 1928, 1929
  • Roy A. Bunker, 1930, 1931
  • Arthur F. Baird, 1932
  • Harold B. Batcheller, 1933, 1934
  • Clyde E. MacNeill, 1935, 1936
  • Ludwig Knorr, 1937, 1938; N
  • G. Stanley Garland, 1939, 1940
  • Preston H. Morris, 1941, 1942
  • Percy D. West, 1943, 1944
  • Arthur E. Rogers, 1945
  • George A. Silva, 1946; N
  • Albert R. Clements, 1947
  • Charles Leighton, 1948
  • Cyprien P. R. Dube, 1949
  • Walter E. Bernard, 1950
  • Lauress Fisher, 1951
  • Alfred K. Wilde, 1952
  • Ralph E. Grant, 1953, 1957
  • Mansfield D. Grant, 1954
  • Trueman A. Place, 1955
  • Preston W. Averill, 1956
  • Robert E. Cumming, 1958; N
  • Preston R. Luce, 1959
  • E. Thomas Smith, 1960
  • Eugene G. Belisle, 1961
  • William Hanna, 1962
  • Robert S. Frasier, 1963
  • Leo P. Convery, 1964
  • Paul M. Chase, 1965; PDDGM
  • Frank C. Madeiras, 1966
  • Charles M. Lima, 1967
  • James E. Tripp, 1968, 1969
  • Kenneth W. Deitz, 1970, 1973; N
  • Peter O. Bettencoury, 1971, 1972
  • James R. Brown, 1974
  • Forrest F. Felt, 1975
  • George R. Luce, 1976
  • Thomas A. Durawa, 1977
  • Russell U. Grant, 1978, 1982
  • Preston W. Averill, Jr., 1979, 1983
  • Richard P. DeRoche, 1980, 1981
  • Joseph B. Robichau, III, 1984
  • Robert C. Corr, 1985
  • Alishan Haigazian, 1986
  • Michael H. Corr, 1987
  • Harold G. Stanley, 1988
  • Jeffrey C. Corr, 1989, 1990
  • George G. Martin, Jr., 1991; N
  • Raymond E. Skladzie, 1992
  • Mark C. Luce, 1993, 1994

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

ANNIVERSARIES

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1874 1901 1910 1912 1914 1916 1918 1920 1939 1942 1948 1955 1956 1959 1967 1972 1973 1983 1988

HISTORY

CENTENARY HISTORY, JUNE 1966

From Proceedings, Page 1966-209:

By Worshipful Paul M. Chase.

Oriental Lodge first came into being by virtue of a special dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts dated July 16, 1866.

The following Edgartown men presented the petition for this dispensation to the Grand Lodge: John Pierce, Grafton N. Collins, James Madison Coombs, Jr., Charles M. Teller, John 0. Norton, Josiah C. Pease, Tristam R. Holley, William S. Lewis, Joseph W. Donaldson, Frederick J. Foreman, Enoch C. Cornell, Jeremiah Pease, S. W. Crosby, Thomas M. Peakes, Shubal H. Norton, Leroy S. Lewis, Ichabod Norton, David J. Chadwick, Samuel H. Andrews and C. W. Pease.

These men were recommended as Master Masons in good standing by the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Martha's Vineyard Lodge of Tisbury, and the petition was countersigned and approved by the District Deputy Grand Master of the Seventh Masonic District. This dispensation, according to the phrasing of the times, authorized and empowered our trusty and well beloved brethren to form and open a lodge after the manner of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons and therein to admit and make Freemasons according to the ancient custom and not otherwise.

This dispensation was to continue in full force until the regular quarterly communication of Grand Lodge to be held in the City of Boston in the month of June in the year 1867.

The Most Worshipful Charles C. Dame, Grand Master, appointed Brother John Pierce to be the first Master of Oriental Lodge.

John Pierce was a doctor and a man of high standing in the community. He held several offices in the Massachusetts medical society and was for eight years in charge of the Marine Hospital on Martha's Vineyard. He was an active member and officer in the Edgartown Methodist Church, a man well qualified to be the first Master of Oriental Lodge.

In this same dispensation Brother Grafton N. Collins was appointed the first Senior Warden of Oriental Lodge. Brother Collins was a former sea-captain and was once master of the whale ship Walter Scott. History tells us he was short of stature and stout, a wealthy man and a power in the community. The Junior Warden appointed by this dispensation was Brother James Madison Coombs, Jr. Brother Coombs was Editor and Proprietor of the Vineyard Gazette, the Island newspaper. The first lodge room of Oriental Lodge was over the store of a Mr. Frederick E. Terrill on North Water Street. The hall was dedicated on July 8, 1867, and the officers of Oriental were installed on that same date by the Grand Master and other members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. The following members of Grand Lodge were present for the purpose of installing the officers of Oriental Lodge:

Members of Martha's Vineyard Lodge of Tisbury were present by invitation.

The following account of the ceremonies is from the pages of the Vineyard Gazette of July 12, 1867:

"After the dedication of the hall, the members of the several lodges, decorated with the badges of the order, formed a procession and marched to the Methodist Meeting House. A large crowd of people stood outside the building patiently awaiting the arrival of the procession.

"When at last the wished-for time arrived a rush was made for seats and the house was filled in a very few minutes.

"The Grand Chaplain opened the exercises with an appropriate prayer after which a song was sung by the Fraternity to the tune of Auld Lang Syne."

The following officers were installed by the Grand Master in due form:

  • Master, John Pierce
  • Senior Warden, Grafton N. Collins
  • Junior Warden, James M. Coombs, Jr.
  • Treasurer, S. W. Crosby
  • Secretary, William S. Lewis
  • Deacons, Jerimiah Pease and Joseph W. Donaldson

  • Stewards, T. R. Holley and Thomas M. Peakes

  • Tyler, Enoch C. Cornell

The members of the several lodges by invitation of Oriental Lodge then marched to the Town Hall to partake, in company of many invited ladies and other friends, of a splendid collation. After satisfying the inner man (and woman, too) several speeches were made.

The Vineyard Gazette of that day concludes with the following paragraph:

"It was a day long to be remembered by the people of our usually quiet village and which will tend to make them regard Masonry with increased respect and esteem."

This then was the beginning of Oriental Lodge. Since that day, fifty-four men have followed in the footsteps of John Pierce as Master of Oriental Lodge: lawyers, farmers, bankers, carpenters, clerks, workmen, judges, sea-captains, men of all walks of life.

All have followed the tenets of their profession as Masons in their own way and this lodge has grown from the room over Mr. Terrill's store to the beautiful lodge room we meet in today.

And now one hundred years later we are grateful for the vision of those twenty masons who signed that original petition and hope that the people of our town will continue to regard Masonry as the Gazette of a century ago reported: "with increased respect and esteem."

HISTORY AT CONSOLIDATION, JANUARY 1994

From Proceedings, Page 1994-19:

The following are some highlights of Oriental Lodge from the extant records subsequent to the 100th Anniversary Celebration held June 11, 1966, when the 100 year history was given.

April 23, 1973 - Most Worshipful Donald Warren Vose, presiding Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, made a visit to Oriental Lodge accompanied by his Grand Marshal, Right Worshipful Arthur L. Rockwell. The Lodge is proud to count Bro. Vose still a member.

September 24, 1973 - Trustees reported that because the School Street Temple was in a residential zone, the fund raising attempt, whereby a movie company was to show old-time movies during the summer, had to be canceled. The loss of needed revenue was accompanied by much wailing and gnashing of teeth by the Treasurer.

October 25, 1976 - The Trustees had finally become enabled to authorize a Mortgage Burning activity. This was performed by the perennial Marshal, Wor. Percey Daniels West, accompanied by the Lodge Brethren and in the presence of Right Worshipful Linwood Proctor, D. D. G. M. of the Nantucket 31st - he having made his Official Visit that evening.

May 27, 1977 - The Trustees presented a report entitled "Should We Sell the Temple?", after a series of letters and meetings with Baptist Society for permission to sell building.

August 13, 1977 - A Sojourners Night was held with Most Worshipful Stanley Fielding Maxwell, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, and Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose, Junior Past Grand Master, present.

October 24,1977 - Trustees Report by Worshipful Preston W. Averill, Sr., gave estimates received for painting the exterior of the building of $4,000.00 and for refurbishing the heating plant, $2,000.00. The programs were not put into effect.

January 23, 1978 - During the business meeting discussion, the fire insurance on the building was canceled in order to try and balance the budget.

September 25,1978 - The Building Committee report stated that interested Masons from both Martha's Vineyard Lodge and Oriental Lodge had submitted a bid for purchase of a section of land. The action by this group of Masons was not binding upon either Lodge. A report was further made of progress in the sale of the School Street Temple. During the next two years, both Martha's Vineyard Lodge and Oriental Lodge had voted to accept the gift of land and jointly build a new Temple, using the total proceeds of the sale of each then present properties.

February 25, 1980 - Worshipful Richard Mello, Master of Martha's Vineyard Lodge, offered their facilities for Oriental Lodge use until the new building was available.

October 27, 1980 - The Trustees gave a report accounting the sale process and proceeds. Legal work was donated by Brother Martin V. Tomassian, Jr., with Trustees Worshipful Preston W. Averill, Sr., Worshipful Kenneth W. Deitz, and Worshipful Leo P. Convery, Chairman, officiating.

March 24, 1981 - At this regular meeting held in the Lodge room of Martha's Vineyard Lodge, a dispensation by Most Worshipful J. Philip Berquist, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, was read granting Oriental Lodge permission to meet at Martha's Vineyard Lodge from June of 1980 until other quarters were available.

September 27, 1982 - This meeting was held in the new building. After proper dispensation was read and during new business, Worshipful Ralph E. Grant presented the Lodge with a Masonic Emblem clock. A closed Installation of Officers was then held for the second term in office of Worshipful Russell U. Grant.

October 25,1982 - Again, by dispensation, Oriental Lodge held its regular meeting, and an Official Visit was made by Right Worshipful A. Douglas Stewart, District Deputy Grand Master of the Nantucket 31st.

November 27, 1982 - A Dedication Ceremony of the Lodge building was held with great solemnity, humor, dignity, and pleasure under the direction of Most Worshipful J. Philip Berquist and attendant Grand Officers of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts.

December 20, 1982 - At this regular meeting, it was voted to change the By-Laws to read as meeting in Oak Bluffs.

January 24, 1983 - Worshipful Frank Patterson of Union Lodge, Nantucket, presented Worshipful Preston W. Averill, Jr., and Worshipful David L. Welch a new lighted "G" for the East of the Lodge room.

In 1988, the Shrine Burns Institute of Boston presented Oriental Lodge with a plaque listing the Lodge in its Gold Book. This was in response to the donation of money which had been proposed for use by the long defunct DeMolay Chapter.

January 28, 1991 - The position of, and process, of a merger between Martha's Vineyard Lodge and Oriental Lodge was instituted. February 24, 1992 - Oriental Lodge voted not to merge with Martha's Vineyard Lodge.

May 30, 1993 - At this regular meeting, a motion was made and voted to make a petition welcoming Martha's Vineyard Lodge to join Oriental Lodge.

June 28, 1993 - At this regular meeting, a motion was carried to name the joined Lodges, "Oriental-Martha's Vineyard Lodge" by a unanimous vote.


EVENTS

CONSECRATION, JUNE 1867

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXVI, No. 10, August 1867, Page 318:

This new Lodge was constituted, its hall dedicated, and its officers were publicly installed, at Edgartown, by the M. W. Grand Lodge, on the evening of the 8th July last. The ceremonies of installation took place in the Methodist church, which, though unusually large, was crowded to its utmost capacity. It seemed to us that about all the ladies in the town were present, and by their beauty imparted an increased interest to the occasion. At the conclusion of the ceremonies the members of the new Lodge and of Martha's Vineyard Lodge with the ladies and guests, repaired to the Town Hall where an elegant and bountiful entertainment was spread for their refreshment.

The Lodge is in excellent condition and its prospects for the future are most encouraging. The following is a list of its officers : —

  • John Pierce, W. M.
  • Grafton N. Collins, S. W.
  • James M. Cooms, Jr., J. W.
  • T. W. Crosby, Treas.
  • W. S. Lewis, Secy.
  • Jeremiah Pease, S. D.
  • Jas. W. Donaldson, J. D.
  • T. R. Holly, S. S.
  • Thos. M. Peakes, J. S.
  • ____, Mar..
  • E. C. Cornell, Tyler.

GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

DISTRICTS

1867: District 14 (New Bedford)

1883: District 27 (Nantucket)

1911: District 31 (Nantucket)

1927: District 31 (Nantucket)


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges