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OXFORD LODGE

Location: Oxford

Chartered By: Winslow Lewis

Charter Date: 09/12/1860 VI-323

Precedence Date: 09/17/1859

Current Status: Active


PAST MASTERS

  • John A. McGraw, 1859
  • George Mason, 1860, 1861
  • Theophilus W. Wilmarth, 1862
  • Loren C. Parks, 1863-1866
  • Charles A. Bacon, 1867-1870
  • George H. Dodge, 1871
  • Edward W. Bardwell, 1872-1878
  • Lester H. Cudworth, 1879, 1880, 1882, 1890; SN
  • Cornelius Putnam, 1881
  • Nelson G. Dodge, 1883, 1884
  • John A. Taft, 1885, 1886
  • Walter D. Tyler, 1887-1889
  • George A. Tanner, 1891-1893
  • Charles H. Hawes, 1894, 1895
  • George A. Tanner, 1896
  • Byron Stone, 1897, 1898
  • Andrew P. Howarth, 1899, 1900; SN
  • Charles Cooper, 1901, 1902
  • Homer S. Joslin, 1903, 1904; Memorial
  • Thomas M. Harrington, 1905, 1906
  • Flourith H. Darling, 1907, 1908
  • Alfred F. Putnam, 1909, 1910
  • Stephen B. Stafford, 1911, 1912
  • Hall A. Siddall, 1913
  • Ira G. Ellis, 1914, 1915
  • Roy H. Newton, 1916, 1917
  • Walter R. Nye, 1918, 1919
  • Warren S. Illingworth, 1920
  • Guy W. Olney, 1921, 1922
  • Merton A. Rich, 1923, 1924
  • William L. Stokes, 1925, 1926; N
  • George O. Crosby, Jr., 1927
  • Ernest F. Low, 1928, 1929
  • Willard B. Cady, 1930
  • Walter F. Tibbetts, 1931, 1932
  • Charles C. Sibley, 1933-1935
  • Harry E. Howard, 1936
  • William W. Taft, Jr., 1937, 1938
  • Fred H. Smith, 1939, 1940
  • Herbert B. Langer, 1941
  • Raymond A. Warden, 1942-1944; N
  • George A. Merriam, 1945
  • Hjalmar T. Johnson, 1946
  • Harlan P. Moore, 1947
  • Shaw Taylor, 1948
  • Charles L. Norcross, 1949
  • Warren H. Chaffee, 1950
  • George A. Emanuelson, 1951
  • Rodney N. Fiske, 1952
  • Harold E. Dimock, 1953
  • Lorne B. Strader, 1954; N
  • Laurence R. Bedard, 1955
  • Clarence E. Knight, 1956
  • Charles G. Fyfe, 1957
  • Richard K. Merrell, 1958
  • Charles W. Farr, 1959
  • Joseph Grandone, 1960
  • Edward W. Ricketts, 1961
  • Arthur W. Hill, 1962; N
  • Volkert E. Smith, 1963
  • Herbert C. Werme, 1964
  • Normand J. Therrien, 1965
  • Ernest E. Wessell, Sr., 1966
  • Gordon E. Dimock, 1967
  • Edward H. Stockman, 1968
  • Everett H. Carey, 1969
  • Donald G. Eames, 1970
  • John M. Strader, 1971
  • Harry E. Meehan, 1972
  • Norman L. Briggs, 1973
  • Harold E. Russell, 1974
  • L. Sargent Clifford, 1975; N
  • Robert G. Edmonds, 1976
  • Charles E. Stone, 1977
  • James H. Cooper, 1978
  • James A. Cooper, 1979, 1980
  • Edward W. Ricketts, 1981
  • Charles G. Fegreus, Sr., 1982, 1983; N
  • Oliver J. Chapdelaine, Jr., 1984, 1985; PDDGM
  • Albert M. Adams, 1986; N
  • Robert W. Davis, 1987
  • William A. Stevens, 1988, 1991
  • William F. Flagg, 1989
  • Clifford W. Briggs, 1990, 2001
  • Allan D. Braught, 1992
  • Kenneth E. Partridge, 1993
  • William G. Davidson, Jr., 1994
  • Christopher V. Johnson, 1995
  • Charles E. Corriveau, 1996-1999
  • Thomas H. Garr, 2000, 2003
  • Donald E. Alstrom, 2002
  • John J. Kelley, 2004
  • Gary S. Clifford, 2005, 2008
  • Erik B. Sampson, 2006
  • Robert C. Schremser, 2007; PDDGM
  • James P. Robbins, 2009
  • Douglas J. Ellis, 2010-2012; DDGM

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1859
  • Petition for Charter: 1860

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1909 (50th Anniversary)
  • 1959 (Centenary)
  • 2010 (150th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1882 1889 1911 1925 1929 1949 1956 1957 1958 1963 1966 1967 1968 1983 1989 1991 1996 2006 2008 2010 2012 2013 2014

HISTORY

  • 1909 (50th Anniversary History, 1909-115)
  • 1959 (Centenary History, 1959-222; see below)

CENTENARY HISTORY, SEPTEMBER 1959

From Proceedings, Page 1959-222:

By Wor. Guy W. Olney and Wor. Roy Newton

THE FIRST LODGE IN OXFORD

Before we take up one hundred years of Oxford Lodge, we should briefly mention two former Masonic Lodges in Oxford.

The first Masonic organization in the Town was Olive Branch Lodge. A movement was made for its formation early in 1797, and on the first of May, officers were chosen as follows:

  • Jonathan Learned, Master
  • Daniel Fisk, Senior Warden
  • Jonathan Davis, Junior Warden
  • Sylvanus Town, Treasurer
  • Sylvanus Learned, Secretary
  • Jonathan Harris, Senior Deacon
  • Jeremiah Kingsbury, Junior Deacon
  • 
Nathaniel Whitmore, Peter Butler, Stewards
  • William Robinson, Tyler

A committee was chosen to petition the Grand Lodge for a Charter, and a vote passed to hold meetings monthly on Mondays at two o'clock in the afternoon. A Charter was granted the 14th of the following September

The petitioners named were: Jonathan Harris, Allen Hancock, Jonathan Davis, Ebenezer Rich, Samuel Davis, Jeremiah Kingsbury, Reuben Baxter, Jr., William Robinson, Abel Morse, Daniel Fisk, Jonathan Learned, Peter Butler, John Brown, Daniel Hunt, Sylvanus Town, Sylvanus Learned, Nathaniel Whitmore, Amos Keith, Simeon Waters, Moses Sibley, Jr., Ebenezer Deane, Parley Barton, Joseph Howland and Elijah Brown.

On the 27th of September 1797, it was voted that the hall for the use of the Lodge, when built, shall be set within three-fourths of a mile of the house of Jonathan Davis. The house was the well-known Davis Homestead No. 12, and this vote indicated that a large share of the membership was in Sutton. No hall was built in this town, but the house of Davis was thereafter the regular place of meeting during the continuance of the Lodge in Oxford. Occasionally meetings were held in the Town Hall on the Plain.

In November 1797, it was voted to pay Brother Jonathan Davis $24 a year for the use of the hall furnished and warmed.

On the 13th of September the before-named officers were duly installed at the Universalist Church (the new meeting house). The members met at Campbell's Tavern, whence the procession marched at 12 o'clock to the meeting-house, where, after a sermon by Thaddeus M. Harris, the ceremony of installation was performed. The procession returned to the hall and thence to a booth prepared for that purpose and partook of an elegant dinner.

In November 1814 a new hall was projected and, in August 1815, a committee chosen to finish and furnish the same.

The new quarters were built at West Sutton and were first occupied the 21st of February 1816.

On the 15th of September 1815, leave was given to remove the Lodge to Sutton. In March 1845 it was again removed to Wilkinsonville. In December 1856 permission was granted to hold meetings alternately at Sutton and Webster. After the 8th of September 1858, all the meetings were held in Sutton. On the 14th of December 1859 leave was granted to remove to Millbury. Early in 1860 the removal was made and the Lodge has since continued there.

I have heard it said that Paul Revere came up from Boston to institute and constitute Olive Branch Lodge.

The Masters while in Oxford were:

  • Jonathan Learned of Oxford
  • Jeremiah Kingsbury of Oxford
  • Sumner Barstow of Sutton
  • Estes Howe of Sutton
  • Archibald Campbell of Oxford
  • Samuel Harris of Oxford
THE SECOND LODGE — "OXFORD LODGE"

The second organization was the "Oxford Lodge," instituted the 4th of December 1825, on petition of John Wetherell and others. The first meeting was in the Butler Tavern, held the 25th of December 1825. This said Tavern will be razed to make room for the new Methodist Church. Those present:

  • Samuel Harris
  • Stephen Barton
  • Richard Olney
  • Jonathan A. Pope
  • John Field
  • Peter Butler
  • Samuel C. Butler
  • Jonathan Harris
  • John Wetherell
  • John Melish
  • Artemas G. Metcalf
  • Rufus Moore

Samuel Harris was chosen Worshipful Master, John Field, Senior Warden, Elihu Harwood, Jr., Junior Warden and Jonathan Pope, Secretary. An installation of officers took place in the old meeting house on the 27th of September 1826, at which the Rev. David Holman of Douglas gave an address. About 20 officials from the Grand Lodge and from towns near Oxford were present, and a dinner was provided by Samuel C. Butler at his Tavern. On the 27th of October 1828 it was voted to remove the place of meeting to the Tavern on the Plain.

Regular meetings were kept up to 1831, at which date the records end. One officer of the Grand Lodge of Boston writes: It (the Lodge) probably died of the anti-Masonic scare about 1831. Besides Samuel Harris, the Worshipful Masters were Alexander DeWitt, Ira Barton and Sumner Barstow, the last one elected but not installed.

THIRD LODGE

On the 23rd of September 1859, the following petitioned for a new Lodge under the name of the former, Alexander DeWitt, John Wetherell, Loriston Shumway, Elihu Harwood, John A. McGaw, T. W. Wilmarth, Lovell H. Cleveland, Loren C. Parks, A. W. Fullerton, William A. White, Jonathan Davis, William Sigourney, Archibald Campbell, Dennis S. B. Gates, Leander B. Cobb, Jonas Bacon, Clovis M. Gates, William Kimball, Daniel David, Benjamin Paine. The Lodge was duly instituted at Masonic Hall in the upper part of the Shoe Shop of Davis and Williams on Sutton Avenue. In 1860 the present hall, over the store near the bank, was occupied. On the 5th of October, a Charter having been received, the hall was consecrated and the officers of the Lodge installed by public services in the Universalist Meeting House, as follows:

  • George Mason, Worshipful Master
  • T. W. Wilmarth, Senior Warden
  • Loren C. Parks, Junior Warden
  • Jonas Bacon, Treasurer
  • William A. White, Secretary
  • Elihu Harwood, Chaplain
  • John Wetherell, Marshal
  • H. L. Shumway, Senior Deacon
  • William Hughes, Junior Deacon
  • Pliny M. Harwood, Senior Steward
  • Eben Walsh, Junior Steward
  • Henry Boyden, Tyler

The meetings were kept up at the aforesaid hall until 1894.

Voted that a committee be appointed to confer with parties relating to procuring a new Hall on February 19, 1894. The Hall Committee conferred with the Clark Bros., who would build on the third floor of their new building a Masonic Hall as the committee saw fit. The committee reported that the furnishings would not use all the Lodge funds. This building is now owned by Worshipful William W. Taft.

March 19, 1894, the Lodge voted that the present committee be empowered to have charge of building the Hall and furnishing it. November 19, 1894, a committee was appointed by the Worshipful Master as follows: H. A. Moffitt and L. H. Cudworth, for the purpose of dedicating the new Masonic Hall.

January 19, 1895, Oxford Lodge had a public dedication for resident Masons and their families. At the appointed time, seven o'clock p.m., everything was in readiness for the ceremonies. First came Oxford Lodge in procession and assumed its official place.

The Worshipful Master appointed a committee to announce to the Grand Lodge (they being in waiting in the ante-room) that all was ready and to conduct them to the Hall. The Grand Officers then entered in procession in magnificent regalia bearing the symbolical lights and the golden chalices of corn, wine and oil, which were placed upon the carpet of emblems.

The introduction of the Grand Officers followed as they assumed their official places, and the ceremonies of dedication began by singing, then the prayer by the Grand Chaplain, followed by a report of the architect, Brother L. H. Cudworth, and the request for dedication by Worshipful Master Charles H. Hawes.

The hall was then tried by the square, level and plumb by the Grand Wardens, and the report was that the builders had done their duty. A procession was then formed, which moved to the emblematic carpet where the Most Worshipful Grand Master dedicated the Hall to Freemasonry by a libation of corn to virtue, by a libation of wine to Universal Benevolence, by a libation of oil, each act accompanied with singing and responsive reading from the scriptures.

The prayer of dedication followed. Then came an address by the Grand Master. A closing hymn and the retirement of the Grand Lodge Officers, singing and the benediction, brought to a close the ceremonies, following which, the Lodge, Grand Officers and guests repaired to the banquet room, where a collation had been prepared by the committee, Mrs. W. B. Cushman having charge of the arrangements. There were 187 present. Worshipful Master Charles H. Hawes was Master of Ceremonies, Brother Rev. Tyler, our Chaplain, gave a brief history of the Lodge, and there were remarks by the Grand Officers.

A NEW LOCATION

November 14, 1921, the Worshipful Master appointed Brothers Roger B. Chaffee, Andrew P. Howarth, David N. Taft, Ira G. Ellis and E. S. Carleton as a committee to look into the matter of a new location for Oxford Lodge, and report at the next meeting.

On January 9, 1922, Roger B. Chaffee, Chairman of the Building Committee, made the report. A motion was made and passed that the Building Committee be authorized to secure a lease of the so-called Red Men's Hall for a term of years with the privilege of renewal for such times as they think for the best interest of the Masonic Fraternity, and with the privilege of purchasing the property at such times during the lease for such sum as may be agreed upon.

October 2, 1922, after some discussion with reference to the dedication of the new lodge-rooms, it was decided that such dedication should not be held until after a new rug had been secured.

The Worshipful Master, Guy W. Olney, then appointed a committee to arrange for the dedication of the lodge-rooms, Brothers H. S. Joslin, Roy H. Newton, William L. Stokes, William E. Wheelock, E. F. Barnes and Dr. Frank R. Barnard. It was voted that the Worshipful Master should serve as Chairman of the committee.

The committee on a new carpet for the lodge-room reported that said carpet would cost $700. A motion was made and seconded that we tax each member $2.00. The Worshipful Master said that perhaps he was exceeding his authority in not allowing the motion to come to a vote for that would not be enough to pay for the carpet. A number of members came to the Master's defense. He then said he had a check in his hand for $25 toward a new carpet, and there were others who could give $25 and some $20, some $15, some $10 and others $5; and with their permission, he was going to take up a collection. He collected about $600 and the members from Rochdale said those who were not present from Rochdale would make up the difference, which they did.

December 26, 1922, a special communication was held for the purpose of dedicating our new quarters after supper was served in the banquet room. Most Worshipful Grand Master, Arthur D. Prince, and his Suite of Grand Lodge Officers, dedicated the new Masonic Hall in ancient form and ceremony. The Grand Master gave an interesting talk on his recent trip to China.

The Lodge has continued to meet in these quarters up to the present time, 1959.

EVENTS OF INTEREST

Your Calendar tells you who have been our Masters since 1859 and I will try to point out to you some of the events I found of interest in reading over the records.

December 21, 1859: A Committee was appointed to make arrangements with Col. DeWitt for a room in a dwelling house of his for a Masonic Hall and the rent not to exceed $15.00 a year.

May 2, 1860: The Reverend Albert Tyler of Granby, Connecticut, was present at the meeting. He afterward became a member of Oxford Lodge and a very active one. A Committee was appointed to have a reunion with Webster Lodge and to invite Southbridge and Olive Branch of Millbury, and hoped for a good attendance. I mention this because in the early records there were a number of Masons from nearby Lodges in attendance at all our meetings.

October 18, 1861: A Committee was appointed to look up a shawl left in the Hall by Bro. D. Holman, and if not found, to settle for same. The following meeting the Committee asked for more time and about three years later it again came up in the meeting, and whether it was ever found, I do not know.

July 19, 1861: George Hodges was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason, and October 18th was installed as Junior Warden, and afterwards was Treasurer for a number of years. George Hodges was a liberal contributor to the Lodge. I mention this because the Hodges Dam is named for him, he paid for the building of the Episcopal Church, and had three watering troughs installed for horses and dogs in various parts of the town.

Back in the early days, the Brethren were reprimanded for un-Masonic conduct.

Some of our former Secretaries had wonderful ability in penmanship.

The rough and perfect ashlers were given by J. L. Woodbury.

At one time Athelstan Lodge claimed the jurisdiction of Rochdale. Herbert Chaffee was appointed a committee of one to measure the distance between Oxford Lodge and Rochdale, and the distance between Rochdale and Athelstan Lodge, Worcester. At the next meeting he reported Oxford Lodge was 1 1/4 miles nearer than Athelstan. The second and third generation of Herbert Chaffee are now members of this Lodge.

Henry Moffitt on August 5, 1889, was raised a Master Mason. October 7, 1889, he was installed as Secretary and continued in that office for thirty years.

September 28, 1891, Deacon Howe was installed a Senior Deacon and, when I came into the Lodge, he was still preparing and serving the collation.

December 18, 1893 : A vote was taken requesting District Deputy Grand Master Right Worshipful Cudworth to communicate with the Past Masters and state to them that the Lodge was desirous of obtaining their portraits. I personally feel that Lester Cudworth was an outstanding Mason.

The laying of the corner-stone of the Charles Learned Memorial Library was not only a great day for the Grand Lodge, but for Oxford Lodge as well. There were 120 Masons in the line of march.

November 16, 1903: A large number of Masons gathered together and presented the Rev. Tyler with a purse on his eightieth birthday. Oxford Masons have contributed to a great many worthy causes — the Galveston, the Charleston and the Johnstown floods, also the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and others.

When Andrew Howarth was District Deputy Grand Master his suite, made up of Oxford members, had the honor of instituting and constituting the Masonic Lodge at West Brookfield. In subsequent years Oxford Lodge was honored by appointment of Wor. Homer Joslin, Wor. Flourith Darling, Wor. William Stokes, Wor. Raymond Warden and Wor. Lorne B. Strader as District Deputies.

I should mention the generous gift of Mrs. Catherine Taft given in memory of her husband, Brother David Taft, a very regular attendant at the meetings. This was the former home of Irving Johnson who served as Treasurer of Oxford Lodge for forty-two years.

The Hour Glass Club has been formed in the past few years and it should be commended for its great activities toward a new Masonic Hall. Our present Secretary, Alfred B. Chaffee, will have served his Lodge for twenty-five years in January 1960.

OTHER

  • 1933 (Action against lodge, 1933-19)

EVENTS

CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, OCTOBER 1860

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 1, November 1860, Page 4:

OXFORD LODGE. A new Lodge under this name was constituted by the Grand Lodge on Friday, Oct. 5th, at the pleasant town of Oxford, on the line of the Norwich and Worcester railroad. The Grand Master with a delegation of Grand Officers was present and performed the ceremonies. The installation service took place in the church of the village in the evening, and was performed by the Junior Grand Warden, in the presence of a large assemblage of ladies and citizens; at the conclusion of which appropriate addresses were made by the Grand Master and others.

OFFICER LIST, DECEMBER 1863

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXIII, No. 2, December 1863, Page 64:

Officers of Oxford Lodge, Oxford, Mass., for 1863-4.

  • Loren C. Parks, W. M.
  • E. W. Whiting, S. W.
  • E. W. Bardwell, J. W.
  • Jonas Bacon, Treas.
  • Henry L. Shumway, Sec.
  • John Harwood, S. D.
  • L. C. Cady, J. D.
  • E. Harwood, Chaplain.
  • George Hodges, Marshal.
  • H. J. Whiting, S. S.
  • Thos. D. Shumway, J. S.
  • H. Hoyden, Tyler.

OFFICER LIST, FEBRUARY 1873

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXIII, No. 2, February 1873, Page 63:

OFFICERS OF OXFORD LODGE, OXFORD, MASS., 1872-3.

  • E. W. Bardwell, W. M.
  • A. W. Long, S. W.
  • H. W. Putman, J. W.
  • D. Rich, Treas.
  • G. H. Baker, Sec.
  • C. P. Dodge, S. D.
  • C. Putnam, J. D.
  • R. G. Huling, Chap.
  • J. Dart, Mar.
  • A. Young, S. S.
  • H. S. Brady, J. S.
  • B. D. 
Allen, Tyler.
  • L. H. Cudworth, Organist and Musical Director.

150TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, MAY 2010

From TROWEL, Fall 2010, Page 3:

Oxford Lodge Celebrates its 150th Anniversary

On Saturday May 15, Grand Master Roger W. Pageau attended the 150th Anniversary of Oxford Lodge. A re-dedication ceremony was performed by the Grand Lodge officers and was followed by a pig roast.

The first lodge in Oxford was chartered in September of 1797 by Paul Revere. It met at various homes and taverns in and around Oxford, but moved to Sutton in 1821. That lodge is today's Olive Branch Lodge in Millbury.

The second Oxford lodge was chartered in 1825 shortly after the first lodge moved. The timing was not good however. The Morgan Affair in 1826 caused the subsequent Anti-Masonic period and the lodge was dissolved by 1831.

The third and current charter for Oxford Lodge was issued in 1859 (but recorded by Grand Lodge in 1860) and has been held ever since. The brothers of Oxford Lodge are proud of their heritage
and look forward to embarking on the next 150 years of
Freemasonry in Oxford.

— Wor. Doug Ellis


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1859: District 4

1867: District 11 (Worcester)

1870: District 12 (Milford)

1871: District 11 (Worcester)

1883: District 19 (Southbridge)

1911: District 20 (Southbridge)

1927: District 20 (Southbridge)

1931: District 20 (Blackstone)

2003: District 24


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges