Pioneer

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PIONEER LODGE

Location: Somerset

Chartered By: William Parkman

Charter Date: 03/09/1864 VI-496

Precedence Date: 03/09/1863

Current Status: Active


PAST MASTERS

  • Charles A. Holmes, 1863
  • Eldridge G. Paull, 1864, 1865
  • Nathan S. Davis, 1866, 1867
  • Lorenzo Shurtleff, 1868
  • George H. Allen, 1869
  • John G. Tinkham, 1870-1872, 1875, 1876; Mem
  • William M. Bartlett, 1873
  • James T. Orford, 1874
  • David Marble, 1877, 1881
  • Edward A. Courtney, 1878-1880
  • Franklin B. Parker, 1882, 1883
  • Andrew Moran, 1884-1886
  • Lothrop W. Benson, 1887, 1888
  • Oscar W. Hillard, 1889, 1890
  • William E. Deane, 1891, 1892
  • Walter T. Deane, 1893, 1894
  • William H. Tallman, 1895, 1896
  • William T. Bowers, 1897, 1898
  • Earnest A. Thrasher, 1899, 1900
  • James F. Garginer, 1901, 1902
  • James McAll, 1903-1905
  • Dwight F. Lane, 1906, 1907
  • Walter Hampton, 1908
  • David M. Callis, 1909
  • Clarence C. Andrews, 1910
  • Harry S. Bridgeford, 1911
  • Harry A. Skinner, 1912
  • Charles P. King, 1913
  • Fredrick R. H. Linley, 1914
  • George H. Phillips, 1915
  • Fred I. Walker, 1916; Memorial
  • James Taylor, 1917
  • Fredrick G. Bogle, 1918
  • Lewis E. Moulton, 1919
  • Frank B. Place, 1920
  • George H. Tompkins, 1921
  • Philip K. Bowden, 1922
  • Frederick T. Doxcy, 1923
  • Russell M. Deane, 1924
  • Herbert E. Goff, 1925
  • Thomas Pomfret, 1926
  • Arthur R. Derbyshire, 1927
  • Elmer S. Sears, 1928
  • Frank B. Hood, 1929
  • George E. A. Gray, 1930
  • George A. Brown, 1931
  • James J. Brown, Jr., 1932
  • Leland F. Bullard, 1933; SN
  • Herbert Austin, 1934, 1935; N
  • Thomas W. Smith, 1936
  • Charles E. Walkden, 1937
  • Hugh W. Kenworthy, 1938
  • Jesse Borge, 1939
  • George C. Sutcliffe, 1940
  • Edward A. Chatterton, Sr., 1941
  • Francis R. Sears, 1942
  • John Loftus, 1943
  • George E. Metcalf, 1944
  • William H. Neville, 1945
  • Parker H. Carr, 1946
  • Edward P. Mullen, 1947
  • J. Leo Guimond, 1948
  • Lincoln W. Hutchinson, 1949
  • Howard E. Pierce, 1950
  • Benjamin W. Barlow, 1951
  • Milton E. Durfee, 1952
  • Gabriel B. More, 1953
  • Gerald F. Stone, 1954
  • John Bower, 1955
  • Donald H. Gray, 1956
  • John H. Packer, 1957
  • Dale S. Rothwell, 1958
  • James H. Douglass, 1959, 1978, 1981; N
  • Sheldon E. Davis, 1960
  • Douglas C. Small, 1961; SN;
  • Harold Shannon, 1962
  • Robert L. Wood, 1963
  • Earl S. King, 1964
  • C. Frank Gifford, 1965
  • Daciano W. Stone, 1966
  • Clinton R. Harvey, 1967
  • Lincoln K. Simcock, 1968
  • George L. Gesner, 1969
  • Stanley Sherlog, 1970
  • William S. Hathaway, Jr., 1971; PDDGM
  • Casmir M. Ciba, 1972
  • Arthur Medeiros, 1973; PDDGM
  • Paul R. Rousseau, 1974, 1979
  • James P. Tolin, 1975
  • Silvery A. Rezendes, 1976
  • Charles A. Medeiros, 1977
  • Clyde H. Harrington, Jr., 1980
  • George J. Padrenoss, 1982
  • Jay R. O'Neil, 1983, 1987, 1994
  • Curtis A. Fisher, Jr., 1984
  • P. Nelson Douthwright, 1985, 2006
  • Michael S. Massa, Jr., 1986, 1991, 2002
  • Henry J. DeMarco, 1988
  • John C. Mello, Jr., 1989
  • Manuel Ferreira, III, 1990, 2003-2005
  • Robert A. Dennis, Sr., 1992
  • Gabriel J. Milonni, 1993-1995
  • Jack C. Bowden, Jr., 1996, 1997, 2009, 2010
  • Lawrence F. Correia, 1998
  • Roland Carbonneau, 1999
  • Dennis Medeiros, 2000
  • Charles F. Rowe, Jr., 2001
  • Thomas Gallucci, 2007, 2008, 2015-2017
  • Paul Michaud, 2011, 2012
  • Joseph E. Souza, 2013-2014

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1863
  • Petition for Charter: 1864

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1938 (75th Anniversary)
  • 1953 (90th Anniversary)
  • 1963 (Centenary)
  • 2009 (150th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

  • 1864 (Parkman; Constitution of Lodge and installation; hall dedication; Special Communication; see below)
  • 1875 (Deputy Grand Master Howland; Hall dedication)
  • 1906 (Blake; Hall dedication; Special Communication)
  • 1911 (Flanders)
  • 1912 (Benton)
  • 1938 (Perry; 75th Anniversary; Special Communication)
  • 1953 (Roy; 90th Anniversary; Special Communication)
  • 1961 (Eaton; rededication and mortgage burning; Special Communication)
  • 1963 (Osgood; Centenary; Special Communication)
  • 1973 (Vose; 50th Anniversary of the Building of the Temple)

BY-LAW CHANGES

1873 1876 1878 1880 1881 1892 1897 1910 1912 1919 1920 1923 1930 1931 1933 1938 1941 1952 1962 1963 1966 1972 1983 2011 2015

HISTORY

  • 1938 (75th Anniversary History, 1938-23; see below)
  • 1953 (90th Anniversary History, 1953-3; see below)
  • 1963 (Centenary History, 1963-24)

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MARCH 1938

From Proceedings, Page 1938-23:

by Wor. David M. Callis

As Pioneer Lodge of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons celebrates the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of its birth, let us tarry a moment — let us pause in retrospection — and look back through the golden years to see whence came the pages on which its history has been so indelibly inscribed. Let us not lose sight of the many sacrifices which our dear Brethren—many of them now departed—have made; let us realize that the archives of the past hold out for us the inspiration to uphold and enhance Masonic purposes with renewed vigor and courage. Faith in the principles of our ancient institution and faith in us, their successors, to maintain those principles produced the accomplishment of things herein recorded and many others not mentioned but which nevertheless have built up a sacred band of friends and brothers which otherwise would not have been possible. The future lies with us.

And, most important of all, that in subsequent records it may be apparent that we of today proved ourselves their worthy successors.

Pioneer Lodge, Somerset, Mass., was originally an offspring from Mount Hope Lodge, Fall River, Mass., and they may justly claim us as one of their children, but how well we merit their esteem and protection I will not attempt to say. The original petitioners to form Pioneer Lodge, were sixteen in number — viz., Brothers Charles A. Holmes, J. S. Porter, N. S. Davis, Cyrus D. Hunt, George W. Bond, William W. Moore, John A. Sayles, John W. Conroy, Ildefonse Swasey, Seth W. Wheaton, Thomas Crowley, Baylis Davis, Jr., Frederick Winslow, Seth W. Brown, George B. Norris, and Edward Thomas.

Several preliminary meetings were held at the homes of different Brethren, as a result of which a petition for a Dispensation was drawn up and signed by the Brethren above named. The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge saw fit to approve that petition and accordingly on the 23rd day of March, 1863, Pioneer Lodge was organized in what was known as "Central Hall," located at that time on Main Street.

The Lodge Officers named in the Dispensation were as follows:

  • Worshipful Master: Charles A. Holmes
  • Senior Warden: J. S. Porter
  • Junior Warden: Nathan S. Davis

The Lodge was further organized by the Worshipful Master making the following appointments:

  • Senior Deacon: Cyrus D. Hunt
  • Junior Deacon : George W. Bond
  • Treasurer: William W. Moore
  • Secretary: John A. Sayles
  • Senior Steward: John W. Conroy
  • Junior Steward: Ildefonse Swasey
  • Marshal: Seth Wheaton
  • Chaplain: Thomas Crowley
  • Tyler: Baylis Davis, Jr.

At the first meeting little was done except to organize and hear reports from the various Committees appointed at the preliminary meetings. The by-laws then adopted provided that the regular meetings were to be held on the Monday before the Full of the Moon in each month.

At the first Regular Communication ten petitions for Masonic degrees were presented — a very respectable number for a country town, but it must be borne in mind that the Institution of Pioneer Lodge, though a new movement, had been anticipated would come into being, so that it is probable that at least some of the men who made these petitions withheld application until Pioneer Lodge was actually organized.

The Lodge continued to prosper until the end of the year in which the Dispensation was made returnable to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, by which time I find that there had been received a total of forty-six petitions which had been disposed as follows: Thirty-eight had been elected, three rejected and five were pending action of the Lodge because the year of Dispensation had ended and, under the Constitution of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, they could not be acted on until after Pioneer Lodge had been consecrated as a regular Lodge.

On the 9th of February, 1864, the year of probation having nearly expired, a Special Communication was held for the election of members to apply for a Charter. Those elected at that time were as follows:

  • Charles A. Holmes
  • John S. Porter
  • Nathan S. Davis
  • William W. Moore
  • Thomas Crowley
  • Baylis Davis, Jr.
  • John A. Sayles
  • Cyrus D. Hunt
  • Edward Thomas
  • George B. Norris
  • Seth Wheaton
  • George W. Bond
  • Ildefonse Swasey
  • Frederick Winslow
  • Seth W. Brown
  • Eldridge G. Paul
  • Edwin Stowell
  • William P. Hood

The final meeting under Dispensation was held February 29, 1864, from which time until March 21, 1864, the Lodge held no meetings, the explanation of which seems to be that during the year of the Lodge working under Dispensation, Lodge meetings had been held in the homes of various Brethren and yet during that year of probation, and evidently in anticipation of being Chartered and consecrated as a regular Lodge, arrangements had been made for securing a hall as a Lodge-room for Masonic purposes because I find that during the year of the Lodge workjng under Dispensation arrangements were entered into with Bro. William P. Hood whereby a building was erected on Main Street and fitted up in a beautiful and adequate manner for Masonic purposes. That Hall was later destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt. That Hall was evidently ready for occupancy someone in February, 1864, because I find from the records that the Lodge voted not to hold any meetings in the new Hall before its consecration and dedication, which ceremonies were conducted on the evening of March 21st, 1864, by M. W. William Parkman, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, accompanied by the rest of the Grand Lodge Officers, at which time the officers elected to serve Pioneer Lodge during the ensuing year were installed in the presence of a large audience — the latter ceremony being performed in public and being held in the Baptist Church of this town of Somerset in order to better accommodate the large number of persons which were expected to be present. The Officers of Pioneer Lodge then installed were as follows:

  • Worshipful Master: Wor. E. G. Paul
  • Senior Warden: N. S. Davis
  • Junior Warden: Edwin Stowell

From the records it is evident that the Brethren had arranged for the annual Communication to be in November of the year because the records state that "the term of these Officers, being short and lasting only from March to November in which latter month the first election under the Charter took place, the same Brethren were re-elected and served throughout the following year to the satisfaction of the Lodge."

At the second annual Communication on November 2, 1865, the Lodge made choice of the following Officers:

  • Worshipful Master: Wor. N. S. Davis
  • Senior Warden: Thomas Crannage
  • Junior Warden: H. T. Wilde

At the Third Annual Communication, November 19, 1866, the same Officers were elected with the exception of Bro. Lorenzo Shurtleff as Senior Warden in place of Bro. Crannage.

At the Fourth Annual Communication held November 4, 1867, Bro. Lorenzo Shurtleff was elected Worshipful Master with Brothers George Allen, Senior Warden and F. O. Smith, Junior Warden, respectively, but due to the absence of the Worshipful Master during a large part of the year the duties of the Master's office were performed by the Senior Warden and subsequently at the Fifth Annual Communication, held November 23, 1868, Bro. George H. Allen was elected Worshipful Master with Bro. F. O. Smith, Senior Warden and Bro. Benjamin L. Phillips, Junior Warden.

At the Sixth Annual Communication, held November 13, 1869, Wor. Bro. George H. Allen was re-elected Worshipful Master, Wor. Lorenzo Shurtleff, Senior Warden, and J. W. Nickerson, Junior Warden.

In its early years the members of Pioneer Lodge seem to have been gathered from men whose occupation took them away to sea — Somerset at that time was a large ship-building center — and as a consequence it became necessary for those who were at home to be regular and punctual in their attendance in order Bo keep up the organization as a Lodge. The records show that daring certain times the membership of Pioneer Lodge was so much scattered — particularly during the summer seasons — that its members visited many towns and cities in a number of the States of the Union, besides the Canadas, and I find that several ti the Brethren who were elected and installed into office, before their term of office expired took up residence in other places, which made it necessary for their office to be temporarily filled by some other Brother.

During the Civil War Pioneer Lodge was called upon to conduct the Masonic burial service of Bro. Charles B. Randall, who was a member of a Lodge in Syracuse, N. Y. Bro. Randall was Colonel of his regiment and was killed in battle at Atlanta, Ga., while gallantly leading his regiment in defense of the Union. His wife, being a native of Somerset, his remains were brought here for interment and the Masonic burial service was evidently requested because the records state that "it became the duty of Pioneer Lodge to volunteer its services and conduct the service in due and ancient form." Pioneer Lodge was first called upon to mourn the loss of one of as own Brothers by the death of Bro. David W. Marble, who lifted February 28, 1867. Bro. Ildefonse Swasey, one of our Charter members, was taken from us January 5th, 1868.

During the year 1870 the Lodge was called upon to conduct due Masonic burial service for Bro. Isa Dean on February 5, and for Bro. David C. Thrasher on May 26.

On Monday evening, March 9, 1874, at thirty minutes past seven, Pioneer Lodge celebrated the Tenth Anniversary of its Constitution. It was in the form of a social for its members and their immediate families.

On the evening of February 27, 1875, the records further state that the Lodge-room was destroyed by fire at eleven thirty-five. The furniture, three great lights, and jewels were destroyed, but fortunately the records and original Charter were preserved. There then being no other place in which to hold Masonic meetings, a special Dispensation was granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge to hold meetings at the home of Wor. Bro. John G. Tinkham. That building still stands today just north of the present Post Office on Main Street, Somerset. Regular and special meetings were held at the home of Wor. Bro. John G. Tinkham, including the initiating, crafting, and raising of candidates from March 15, 1875, to September 13, 1875. During that intervening period a new Lodge-room, located on Main Street, on the second floor over Eagan's Store, had been secured and made suitable for Masonic purposes and on the date of September 13, 1875, this new Hall was dedicated in the presence of invited guests and Masons and their families numbering in all upwards of two hundred. The records state that the Hall was beautifully decorated with flowers and the National colors and the dedication services were performed by Rt. Wor. Bro. Abraham H. Howland, Jr., D. D. G. M. for the Fourteenth Masonic District — Pioneer Lodge being at that time in that District. R. W. Bro. Abraham H. Howland, Jr., was assisted in the dedication ceremonies by the following acting Grand Lodge Officers:

  • George H. Taber, Deputy Grand Master
  • Wanton F. Drew, Grand Senior Warden
  • John A. Lee, Grand Junior Warden
  • Rev. Bro. O. A. Roberts, Grand Chaplain
  • A. H. W. Carpenter, Grand Marshal
  • H. E. Jones, Grand Tyler

The Masonic quartet, of New Bedford, were present and rendered musical selections.

At the close of the dedication ceremonies the District Deputy Grand Master delivered a very appropriate Masonic address, after which the Grand Officers returned to their apartments and the Lodge was closed by the Officers of Pioneer Lodge. The records state that the assembled company who had taken part in the dedication ceremonies then adjourned to a banquet served in a room over Bro. Benjamin F. Reed's store, and, in the language of the records "after an invocation by the Grand Chaplain, Rev. Bro. O. A. Roberts, the company were invited to partake of refreshments which were good for the inner man." After the repast, remarks were made by several of the Grand Lodge Officers and the company retired to their homes at about midnight.

During the years from September 13, 1875, to February 11, 1887, nothing out of the ordinary seems to have occurred. The Lodge prospered and on February 11, 1887, the Master announced that the Lodge was in a healthy condition.

On March 18, 1887, the Lodge celebrated its Twenty-fifth Anniversary. There is nothing on record as to the nature of this celebration, but it is stated that invitations were limited to two persons outside of the members' families.

On June 14, 1905, the Lodge-room of Pioneer Lodge was again destroyed by fire and again this Lodge was fortunate in saving its records and original Charter. A communication was shortly afterwards received from Elysian Lodge No. 73, I. O. O. F., Somerset, Mass., tendering Pioneer Lodge, A. F. & A. M., the use of their hall until new quarters were obtained. Pioneer Lodge voted to accept that kind offer and that the thanks of this Lodge be extended to Elysian Lodge No. 73, 1. O. O. F., for their kindness and courtesy. Accordingly, by virtue of a Dispensation issued by M. W. Baalis Sanford, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Pioneer Lodge conducted its meetings in the rooms of Elysian Lodge from June 26, 1905, up to and including December 4, 1905.

At a special regular Communication held June 26, 1905, a Committee of five Brethren, consisting of Wor. Bro. James McCall, Wor. John G. Tinkham, Dwight F. Lane, W. W. Simms, and Frank H. Cole, was chosen to consider and arrange for a new location for a place for Lodge meetings and report at the next Regular Communication if possible. At the Regular Communication held July 10, 1905, the committee reported that they had conferred with the officials of the Old Colony Street Railway regarding a hall over their car barn on High Street and that it could be secured for $150.00 per annum on a lease of ten years. The committee also reported that they had conferred with Bro. A. H. Hood, representing the property which had been destroyed by fire, and that he offered to rebuild the same for a rental of $150.00 per annum on a lease of ten years. The Lodge finally voted that the Old Colony Street Railway Hall, over the car barn on High Street, was the more desirable on account of its location and it was voted that Pioneer Lodge should hire the same at a rental of $150.00 per annum on a ten-year lease. The first meeting held in the new hall was on January 8, 1906.

On March 28, 1906, a special Communication was held in this new hall on High Street for the purpose of dedicating the same for Masonic purposes. A number of visitors were present from Lodges in Taunton, Fall River, New Bedford, Westport, Warren, and Providence. At 6:00 P.M. the Lodge was called from labor to refreshment, after which the members of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge and their ladies who had accompanied them, partook of a supper which had been prepared for them in the banquet room. After the conclusion of the repast those who had partaken of it returned to the Lodge-room which they found was fast filling up by members and their friends who had been invited to witness the ceremonies of dedication. The following Grand Lodge Officers were in attendance and conducted the dedication ceremonies:

The Grand Lodge Officers above named were welcomed by Wot. Bro. Dwight F. Lane, who at that time was Master of Pioneer Lodge. The Grand Master assumed the East and the remaining Grand Lodge Officers occupied their respective stances and the ceremonies of dedication proceeded. After the ceremonies of dedication the M. W. Grand Master addressed the gathering, taking as his text the words from Psalm 32, 8th verse: I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way thou shalt go. During his address the M. W. Grand Master gave a very vivid description of the antiquity of Free Masonry, commencing with the desire of David, King of Israel, to build a temple to the most high God, of his inability to do that on account of his being a man of war, of God's promise to him that his son, King Solomon, should be allowed to accomplish his desire, and of the able assistance rendered him by Hiram, King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff. He also clearly explained that the foundation of Masonry is based on the Holy Bible and the assistence of a true and righteous God, the father of the Universe. His address was delivered in an exceedingly clear tone and the records state that everyone present felt it was good that he had been there.

On March 21, 1914, Pioneer Lodge celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary of its Constitution. Six members from the Grand lodge came from Boston and were met at Taunton by the Worshipful Master Frederick H. Linley and Senior Warden George H. Phillips and conveyed to Dighton, at which town they arrived at about 5:30 P.M. There they were met at Memorial Hall by some thirty Officers and Past Masters of Pioneer Lodge together with invited guests. After an interchange of greetings the company, numbering forty, sat down to a supper prepared by the ladies of that place to which ample justice was done. After that our friends from Boston proceeded in their autos, and the remainder of the company by means of an electric car chartered specially for the purpose, to Pioneer Lodge-room, where they were met by a goodly crowd of upwards of one hundred persons. At 7:00 P.M. the Lodge was opened on the Third Degree, Wor. Bro. F. R. H. Linley presiding.

After the opening of the Lodge the Secretary, Rt. Wor. Bro. John G. Tinkham, read a short history of the Lodge from its formation in 1863. Remarks were made by R. W. William Ridings, D. D. G. M., 30th Masonic District, who was the presiding Grand Lodge Officer on this occasion. Pioneer Lodge was congratulated on their past fifty years record and the hope expressed that the next fifty years would be as prosperous. After the speeches, the Lodge was closed and at the conclusion of those ceremonies the Company were very pleasantly entertained by orchestral music and also by Professor Clarke of Boston, entertainer and impersonator, who gave many local hits in various ways. Following that a buffet lunch was served. At 10:00 P.M. our Boston friends left for their homes but the remainder tarried for an hour or more. Each, on leaving, expressed the hope that they would have an invitation to the Centennial assuring us they would come if we had one. Some of those friends are present this evening and so are fulfilling that promise up to date. A very pleasant part of the ceremonies was the presentation of Past Masters' jewels by Rt. Wor. R. W. Soule on behalf of Pioneer Lodge to the following Past Masters:

  • Wor. Bro. George H. Allen
  • Wor. Bro. W. E. Deane
  • Wor. Bro. Walter T. Deane
  • Wor. Bro. William L. Bowers
  • Wor. Bro. E. A. Thrasher

We all recognize that one of our duties as Master Masons is to support and uphold the interests of the community and country in which we live. The following brethren served in the Allied forces during the World War:

  • Thomas Adamson
  • Albert B. Almy
  • Israel T. Almy
  • Frederick. E. Babbitt
  • Frank A. D. Bullard
  • Thomas Cartman
  • Edward Chatterton, Sr.
  • Norman Holmes Deane
  • Lloyd P. Eddy
  • Russell M. Deane
  • Gardiner Luther Fassett
  • Frank J. Gillilan
  • Herbert Grime
  • Herbert W. Hayes
  • James Holt
  • James Mercer
  • Olaf M. Olson
  • John Richard Packer
  • James E. Ratcliffe
  • Theodore H. Ratcliffe
  • Alfred H. James Seavor
  • Ralph B. Simmons
  • Harry A. Skinner
  • Roger Tattersall
  • Elliott Freeman Walker
  • Nathan Henry Walker

On December 17,1917, Rt. Wor. N. McLane, D. D. G. M. for the 30th Masonic District, made a fraternal visit to Pioneer Lodge and presented Bros. Alexander E. Bragg and William T. Blake with the Henry Price medal as a token of their fifty years continuous membership in Pioneer Lodge. In later years a "Veterans" medal was substituted for fifty years membership aasd the Henry Price medal awarded only for distinguished Masonic service.

At a regular meeting held October 25, 1920, a Committee was appointed by the Worshipful Master called "Building Committee," giving them power to purchase the building then occupied m alternatively to purchase a suitable piece of land on which a mew building might be erected if they deemed the alternative aurrisable. The committee appointed was as follows:

  • Wor. Bro. F. R. H. Linley
  • Wor. Bro. F. I. Walker
  • Wor. Bro. George H. Tompkins
  • Wor. Bro. Lewis E. Moulton
  • Bro. Thomas Pomfret

Another Committee was appointed with full power to act and arrange for a Members' Night, which Committee was as follows:

  • Wor. F. T. Doxcy, Chairman
  • Wor. F. G. Bogle
  • Wor. C. P. King
  • Wor. D. M. Callis
  • Wor. Frank B. Place
  • Wor. Philip K. Bowden
  • Bro. W. C. Gardner
  • Bro. Richard Trainor
  • Bro. E. C. Kellogg
  • Bro. L. E. Simmons

The Members' Night was held on February 18, 1921, and met at the Parish House. The number of members present was approximately two hundred. Remarks were made by the Building Committee as well as by the Members' Night Committee. Wor. F. I. Walker addressed the members and informed them that the purpose of the meeting was to secure pledges in the amount of $100.00 from each member so that a new Lodge-room could be built. A very substantial amount was immediately pledged, which, together with other pledges which were expected to be made by other members who were not then present as well as those who would later become members in future years, seemed sufficient to justify the undertaking of building the beautiful Temple in which this meeting is now taking place. Pioneer Hall Association was subsequently formed for the purpose of taking care of the arrangements for the building program. The Association will still be pleased to receive any similar pledges, or gifts, that members may feel disposed to make towards the Association's expenses for maintenance of this building.

At 2:30 P.M., January 6, 1923, a special Communication of Pioneer Lodge was held for the purpose of laying the corner stone of this temple. At the Lodge rooms preliminary exercises were conducted by Wor. Bro. Frederick T. Doxcy, who at that time was Worshipful Master, assisted by Rev. Bro. J. Wynne Jones, after which a procession was formed by the Lodge Marshal, Bro. Elmer S. Sears, and proceeded to the site of the new Temple. On arrival at the site Wor. Bro. Fred I. Walker, President of Pioneer Hall Association, called upon the Lodge Chaplain, Rev. J. Wynne Jones, to invoke the Divine Blessing. The Worshipful Master was then called upon to lay the corner stone in accordance with the regular form of our Ancient and Honorable Institution. A list of the contents of the box to be placed in the corner stone was read by Wor. Bro. Charles P. King, Treasurer of Pioneer Hall Association, Inc., after which he placed the box in the corner stone and the cement was spread by the following:

  • Wor. Frederick T. Doxcy, Worshipful Master of Pioneer Lodge
  • Wor. Fred I. Walker, President of Pioneer Hall Association
  • Wor. Charles P. King, Treasurer of Pioneer Hall Association
  • Bro. Russell M. Deane, Senior Warden
  • Bro. H. E. Goff, Junior Warden

Building Committee

  • Wor. F. R. H. Linley
  • Wor. George H. Tompkins
  • Bro. Israel T. Almy
  • Bro. Elmer S. Sears
  • Bro. John Parsons

Past Masters of Pioneer Lodge

  • Wor. Bro. Walter Hampton
  • 
Wor. Bro. David M. Callis
  • Wor. Bro. Lewis E. Moulton
  • Wor. Bro. Philip K. Bowden

The ceremonies being thus concluded, the procession was retained and the members returned to the Lodge room.

List of contents in box American flag

  • Holy Bible, Square and Compasses
  • By-Laws of Pioneer Lodge
  • By-Laws of Pioneer Hall Association, Inc.
  • Names of members of Pioneer Lodge
  • Names of Members and Officers of Pioneer Hall Association, Inc.
  • Picture of Building Committee
  • Organization of Pioneer Lodge 1922
  • Organization of Pioneer Lodge 1923
  • Fall River Evening News, December 5th, 1922
  • Fall River Evening News, January 6th, 1923
  • Fall River Daily Globe, January 6th, 1923
  • Fall River Evening Herald, January 6th, 1923
  • Minutes of Meetings of Pioneer Hall Association, Inc., up to and including January 6th, 1923.

A special Communication was held at 2:00 P.M., October 20, 1923, for the purpose of dedicating the new Temple. The Most Worshipful Grand Master and Officers of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge were introduced by Wor. Bro. Fred I. Walker. The Most Worshipful Grand Master, Dudley H. Ferrell, and Officers of the Grand Lodge occupied the officers Chairs and the ceremonies of the Grand Lodge were then carried out and the new Temple dedicated in due and ancient form.

From 4:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. the Temple was open for inspection, at which time the Azab Grotto Band, of Fall River, entertained with musical selections. From 8:00 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. the entire building was open for inspection by members of Pioneer Lodge and their ladies and Star of Bethlehem Chapter No. 151, Order of the Eastern Star. During that time a social time with dancing was taking place in the social hall. By the time that members and their friends returned to their homes all were satisfied that it was the end of a perfect day and one which will go down in Pioneer Lodge's history as one of the greatest times in our memory.

The first regular meeting in the new Temple was held on October 22, 1923, Wor. Bro. Frederick T. Doxcy presiding.

The first Brother raised in the new Temple was Bro. Clarence Willard Reed, Wor. Fred I. Walker presiding in the East by invitation of the Worshipful Master.

On June 13, 1927, Rt. Wor. Walter E. Dow, D.D.G.M., for the 30th Fall River Masonic District, accompanied by Wor. Charles W. Borden, D.D.G. Marshal, paid Pioneer Lodge an official visit for the purpose of presenting the "Masonic Veteran's Medal" to the following Brethren who have been members of Pioneer Lodge for over fifty years.

  • Wor. James F. Gardner
  • Bro. Cornelius A. Davis
  • Bro. George B. Cudworth

Owing to illness of Bro. George B. Cudworth, the presentation was made at his home at a later date by Rt. Wor. Walter E. Dow.

Pioneer Lodge and its members have on nine occasions been honored by receiving appointments by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge as follows:

On October 17, 1932, R. W. James H. Wilson, D.D.G.M. for the 30th (Fall River) Masonic District, presented Bro. Frank Annington Morrill with the "Masonic Veteran's Medal," he having held continuous membership in Pioneer Lodge for fifty years.

The Seventieth Anniversary of the Institution of Pioneer Lodge was held in Pioneer Hall, Somerset, on Tuesday evening, March 7, 1933. Members and their immediate families were present — numbering 230. The celebration was opened by a brief welcome by the presiding Worshipful Master, Leland F. Bullard. A brief history of the Lodge, from its formation, was prepared and read by Wor. David M. Callis. Musical selections were rendered under the able direction of die Lodge organist, Bro. Harry Jackson. Refreshments of home-made apple pie, ice cream, and coffee were served during the intermission as part of the social program. Dancing followed until a late hour, which completed a very happy celebration.

On March 13, 1933, R. W. Adrial W. Hathaway, D.D.G.M. ix the 30th (Fall River) Masonic District, presented Bro. Edward Eugene Whittaker the Masonic Veteran's Medal, he laving held continuous membership in Pioneer Lodge for fifty years.

On March 5, 1934, Pioneer Lodge held a Regular Communication and the Seventieth Anniversary of its constitution. At this Anniversary we were honored by a fraternal visit from Rt. Wor. Albert A. Schaefer of Boston, Mass., Deputy Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts and special representative of M. W. Wor. Grand Master, Curtis Chipman.

On June 4, 1934, R. W. Adrial W. Hathaway, D.D.G.M. for the 30th (Fall River) Masonic District, presented Wor. Bro. William E. Deane the Masonic Veteran's Medal, he having held continuous membership in Pioneer Lodge for fifty years.

On Oct. 15, 1934, R. W. Adrial W. Hathaway, D.D.G.M. for the 30th Fall River Masonic District, presented Bro. Thomas L. Bartlett the Masonic Veteran's Medal, he having held continuous membership in Pioneer Lodge for fifty years.

Early in May, 1936, M. W. Claude L. Allen, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, awarded the Masonic Veteran's Medal to Bro. William L. Manchester, he having held continuous membership in Pioneer Lodge for fifty years. As Bro. Manchester was then residing in Gainesville, Fla., M.W. Grand Master, Claude L. Allen, made the necessary arrangements through the Grand Secretary's office in the state of Florida, for presentation of the medal, which was made on May 12, 1936, by Rt. Wor. N. C. Schaffer, D.D.G.M. of Gainesville Lodge No. 41, at Gainesville, Fla., on behalf of M. W. Claude L. Allen, Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. The Worshipful Master of Pioneer Lodge, Thomas W. Smith, at that time sent a telegram to Gainesville Lodge, Florida, as follows:

"Pioneer Lodge extends many thanks and greetings to Gainesville Lodge No. 41, Gainesville, Florida. Greetings and best wishes to Brother William L. Manchester, who has been an honor to the Craft for fifty consecutive years. May he live as many more years to enjoy wearing the medal of honor conferred upon him."

The Secretary of Pioneer Lodge, at the next regular Communication of the Lodge, held June 1, 1936, reported the sending of this telegram and the receipt of a letter from Bro. Manchester recording his thanks for the honor that had been conferred upon him and outlining how tactfully Rt. Wor. District Deputy Grand Master Niles C. Schaffer, as well as the Masonic Brethren and Officers of the Gainesville Lodge, had conducted the ceremonies of presentation. Bro. Manchester's letter also stated his appreciation of the telegram received from Pioneer Lodge through Wor. Bro. Thomas Smith, and stated that the same came as a genuine surprise to him and made it evident to him that though separated by many miles of distance the Brethren had him in remembrance.

On June 19, 1937, at a special Communication of Pioneer Lodge, a semi-public reception was held in honor of Rt. Wor. Bro. Herbert Austin, who had recently been appointed D.D.G.M. for the 30th (Fall River) Masonic District by Most Wor. Claude L. Allen, G. M. of Masons in Massachusetts. It had been found that June 19, 1937, was the fortieth anniversary of the marriage of Mrs. and Rt. Wor. Bro. Austin, which explains the reason for selecting that particular date for this reception and for making rt semi-public in nature.

Active D. D. G. Masters from the Attleboro, Brockton, Nantucket, New Bedford, and Taunton districts as well as past D. D. G. Masters from the Fall River district were present and took part in the proceedings. At 6:30 P.M. an enjoyable dinner was served to the assembled company numbering about 200 and at the close of the dinner Rt. Wor. Bro. John Thorpe, of Fall River, presented to Rt. Wor, Bro. Austin a D. D. G. M. jewel and to Mrs. Austin a beautiful gold ring and bracelet, each mounted with a ruby as a memento of the occasion and the fortieth anniversary of their marriage. These gifts were made possible by means of generous response by members of Pioneer Lodge, who unanimously voted to thus show their appreciation of the services which Rt. Wor. Bro. Austin had rendered to Pioneer Lodge. In recognition of the gifts to them both responded in a suitable manner and stated the occasion would be a happy memory for them both. Rt. Wor. Bro. and Mrs. Austin then held a formal reception in the Lodge-room, after which a social time with entertainment and dancing took place in the social hall.

But, Brethren, while treasuring these memories of the past, let us not think that we have already attained the summit of our aims and desires. Our work is, happily, not yet complete and we shall be able to press on to further heights if we keep before us the tenets of our profession as Master Masons, particularly that of Charity in the original meaning of the word—that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of friends and brothers—Charity to one another and Charity to all mankind. It is in that way that Masonry makes itself evident and that we fulfill the injunction continued in the Great Light, "Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father which is in heaven."

In conclusion, may the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular Masons. May brotherly love prevail and every moral and social virtue cement us. Amen.

90TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MARCH 1953

From Proceedings, Page 1953-3:

by Worshipful Gabriel B. More.

When I first realized that Pioneer Lodge would have a ninetieth birthday this year, and decided to observe it, I arranged this meeting for tonight as being exactly on our birthday, because our monthly notice says, "Instituted March 6, 1863." Since then, however, I have been wondering when our birthday really is, for our Charter says we take precedence "as of March 9, 1863," and our first formal meeting was held on March 23, 1863. And just to make it more confusing, our Lodge seal says, "Instituted March 21, 1864," which is really the date of our constitution.

It reminds me of a friend who was born in Fall River and later moved to Canada. When she wanted to come back to the States, she needed a birth certificate, and I tried to get it for her. I found a record of her being registered as a voter, her marriage, and the birth of her children, but no record of her birth. Still, there she was, and here we are!

The first thing to do in arranging an affair of this nature is to get a "Big Name," and since there is no bigger name in Masonry than that of the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, I was happy to receive a letter dated February 25, 1952, signed by Thomas S. Roy, Grand Master, accepting my invitation to take part in tonight's celebration. The next thing is to get the support and cooperation of the Lodge, and this was enthusiastically and willingly given, and at this time, I want to say "Thank you" to the officers and Brethren who have worked with me to make this a successful occasion. At the risk and the almost positive knowledge that I will omit many who should be named, I want to mention particularly my Junior Warden, John Bower; my Deacons, Donald Gray and Elton Bell, and my Senior Steward, Robert Cowgill, who did the work on the social affairs from which we obtained the money to cover tonight's expenses; my Chaplain, Wor. Jesse Borge, who took over the job of getting the Past Masters out tonight; and particularly my wife, who has more or less patiently listened for the past six months while I talked about it.

A Past Master of another Lodge seemed to think it unusual for us to observe a ninetieth anniversary, apparently feeling that such celebrations should be held only every twenty-five years. However, any person or organization which reaches its ninetieth birthday is entitled to celebrate, but since it is an off year, perhaps it should not be quite as formal as it might otherwise be.

With that thought in mind, it is not my intention to read a history of Pioneer Lodge, because that was capably done by our Worshipful Brother David M. Callis at the observance of the 75th anniversary of the Lodge on March 7, 1938, and I could only repeat what he wrote. However, I would advise the Brethren of Pioneer Lodge to read that history, which will be found in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for 1938.

I have spent a lot of time in the past three months reading the Secretaries' records of the meetings of Pioneer Lodge from 1863 up to the present, and have pretty well worn out my glasses on some of the old hand-written pages on which the ink is beginning to fade. Some of the penmanship is beautiful and easy to read, and some of it is no better than mine. In this reading I have come across what I think are some interesting entries, and I hope you will find them interesting also. Some of it is statistical, of course, but the rest I class as "human interest."

Wor. Brother Callis' history says, "Several preliminary meetings were held at the homes of different Brethren, as a result of which a petition for a Dispensation was drawn up and signed by the Brethren above-named." There is no written record of these meetings, the first thing I have found being in the records of Mount Hope Lodge, Fall River. Under date of February 27, 5863, (hereafter I shall use the year Anno Domini as being more clearly understood than Anno Lucis) their records state:

Petition to form a Lodge in Somerset was received and read, when on motion VOTED that this Lodge recommend that the prayer of the petitioners be granted. On March 20, 1863, Mount Hope records show:

Master-elect of Pioneer Lodge of Somerset, Mass. asked the loan of the jewels of this Lodge for next Monday evening, when on motion VOTED that the request be granted.

The first written record of Pioneer Lodge is of a Special Communication on March 23, 1863, with

  • Charles A. Holmes, Worshipful Master
  • J. S. Porter, Senior Warden
  • Nathan S. Davis, Junior Warden

The Worshipful Master appointed other officers, "and organized the Lodge." The rent of the hall is specified as $1.50 per meeting, and a committee was appointed to hire $250.00 for the use of the Lodge, with instructions to hire it from a Master Mason if convenient.

The Lodge passed a vote of thanks to Mount Hope Lodge for starting us off, and we tonight can repeat those thanks to Mount Hope for launching us on a career which has now lasted ninety years and shows every indication of continuing for ninety more. Like many others, we may not be rich financially, but we have enough to get by, and we are rich in tradition and brotherly love.

So far as I can determine, Pioneer Lodge has held 1034 regular communications, and tonight's is the 1577 special communication. This is the fifth occasion on which the Lodge has had the pleasure and honor of welcoming the Grand Master in its rooms. The other occasions were:

Charles W. Holmes was Worshipful Master of Pioneer Lodge for one year until the constitution of the Lodge on March 21, 1864, and it is interesting to note that he was afterwards Wor
shipful Master of Mount Hope Lodge in 1864 and 1865.

The second recorded meeting of Pioneer Lodge was the first regular communication, held on March 30, 1863, at which time it was reported that $>150.00 had been hired, bills totaling $119.68 were presented, and the Treasurer was bonded for $100.00. Ten petitions were presented, one of them from Eldridge G. Paull, who became Worshipful Master the following year. One of these petitions was rejected, but later records show that this man was a visitor from Yew Tree Lodge, Williamsburg, New York, on July 11, 1864, elected to membership April 3, 1865, acting Tyler (later appointed) October 7, 1865, elected Secretary 1870, demitted November 19, 1877.
 The early records listed the names of all officers, Brethren and visitors at each meeting.

During the first four months the records were read at every communication, regular and special, but, like all historians, I find many entries which, while probably perfectly clear to the Brethren at the time, leave the later reader wondering what is actually meant, and what is behind the entry. In the first four years the Lodge met practically every week, and at each meeting either conferred a degree or exemplified the work.

The first year was a busy one, there being forty-three petitions, of which four were rejected. In those twelve months the Entered Apprentice Degree was conferred on thirty-five candidates, the Fellow Craft Degree on twenty-six, and the Master Mason Degree on twenty-one. Our ancient Brethren were evidently gluttons for work, as these figures testify. I find that they frequently worked two degrees in one night. On January 2, 1864, they had a dispensation "to act upon the petition of Lemuel D. Adams this evening" (at a special communication two weeks after the petition was received), also "to confer the three degrees upon one and the same evening." The applicant was elected, but was reported "as sick with a fever" and not able to be present. He apparently recovered, and on January 4 received the three degrees.

Membership

Even as a young Lodge just getting started, they did not accept any and every applicant who came along. As I mentioned before, they rejected one of their first group of applicants, and four in their first year. On June 22, 1874, they "voted to procure some black balls," and I think it might be because they had worn out the first set. It is apparent that the balloting was not just a perfunctory chore, for on June 16, 1913, an investigating committee reported one favorable and two unfavorable, and the applicant was elected. At that same meeting, another committee reported unanimously favorable, but the applicant was rejected.

The low points in the growth of the Lodge seem to have been in 1890, when only one petition was received, and that was rejected, and in 1898 when no petitions were received at all. But in 1920 and 1921 there were received fifty-four and fifty petitions. In 1895-96 they had a persistent applicant who finally made it on his fourth try.

Even after taking in members, they were not backward about putting them out again, usually for non-payment of dues, the first being in 1873. And hear this one! On May 8, 1865, a committee was appointed "to wait upon Brother and persuade him if possible to change the course he is now pursuing." In November the Brother paid up his dues and requested a demit, and the committee made a report, but the records do not say what it was. The report was recommitted
 to the same committee and they were requested to report the 
next month. Next month the committee was discharged. On
 January 29, 1866, "The following charge was preferred against 
Brother ______, viz., with being guilty of unmasonic conduct;

  • 1st: In behaving in a manner disgraceful to Masonry.
  • 2nd: In replying to our Worshipful Master and the brethren in an insulting manner when written and spoken to in regard to the matter.
  • 3rd: In still persisting in his conduct after being duly admonished by the Brethren.

The time fixed for the hearing on the above charge was
 Saturday evening, February 24th next. On February 24 the 
record states "Object of the Special Communication the investigation of the Charges preferred against Bro. ____ which resulted after a patient hearing in his being adjudged guilty of the use of language unbecoming a Mason, for which indiscretion it was voted that he be suspended from membership." So you see even in those days you couldn't tell the Master where to go.

Meetings

The number of meetings held naturally fluctuated with the amount of work to be done, and go from a low of twelve (regulars and specials) in 1898, and thirteen in 1890 and 1893, to a high of fifty-four in 1864. At the beginning, the Lodge always opened on the third degree until December 26,1864, when it was opened on the first, and thereafter, was opened on the particular degree being worked. On December 10, 1866, a special communication is recorded; the officers are listed; the Lodge opened on the third degree, but no business is recorded nor is the record signed.

June 3, 1867. Special, opened on first. "After the transaction of business not intended for record, Lodge closed in due form." I am very curious to know what it was all about.

November, 1884. Regular was to be Monday before full moon, but there was no full moon that month. (I thought the moon changed every twenty-eight days.) They had a dispensation to hold the Annual on November 17, but actually held it November 10. In spite of the fact, there was no full moon that month; they held fourteen regulars that year. This lack of a full moon occurred again in 1911 and 1917.

September 22, 1890. Held regular with only four officers and apparently no other Brethren present.

December 26, 1898. Regular. "As there were no members present, Lodge was not opened."

April 30, 1903. Special to attend funeral. "The Worshipful Master declared the Lodge closed without form." An added note: "A doubt having arisen in regard to the propriety of the above closing, this Lodge was closed in form May 4, 5903."

November 23, 1914. Annual. They heard all reports and elected officers. There is this note at the end: "This meeting having been called one week too early it is declared void on information received from the R.W.D.D.G. Master." So on November 30 they went through the whole procedure again.

March 1, 1920. Regular not held account of severe storm, members unable to get to Lodge room.

September 11,1950. Regular and Annual. "This Lodge meeting was held under difficulties as there was no electric power, and temporary lights were furnished by the Worshipful Master and another Brother." They used large battery lanterns.

November 25, 1950. The degree was worked by candlelight, because of a severe rain and wind storm.

Funerals

In ninety years, many of our members have passed to the Celestial Lodge above, and our Brethren have laid many to rest with Masonic honors. On February 1, 1864, it was "Voted that as many of the Brethren of this Lodge attend the funeral at Taunton as can," but no name is given. I feel that this was not a Brother in Pioneer Lodge since they placed on file a communication from King David Lodge, Taunton.

The first funeral service conducted by Pioneer Lodge was on August 4, 1864, for Brother Col. Charles B. Randall, a member of a Lodge in Syracuse, New York, whose wife was from Somerset. "After the usual preliminary exercises a procession was formed under the direction of the Marshal, preceded by the Mount Hope Brass Band, and proceeded to the late residence of the deceased and from thence to the place of interment via the First Baptist Church. Services at the place of interment were performed according to the Ancient Custom by E. G. Paull, Worshipful Master. After which returned to the Lodge room via the house of the deceased." The resolution which they passed says that he died "while in the discharge of a soldier's duty at the battle of Atlanta," and the resolution was ordered printed in the Fall River News and a paper printed in Syracuse, New York.

The first funeral service conducted for a Lodge Brother was for Bro. David W. Marble on February 28, 1867, and the most recent was on December 14,1952. Our first Worshipful Master, Charles W. Holmes, passed away in March 1878.

January 20, 1877. Committee appointed to "Procure teams to convey the brethren to the place of funeral service."

May 13, 1899. The Lodge had attended a Brother's funeral "and escorted the body to the Railroad Station." Voted to pay the Worshipful Master's "Bill on the body of our deceased brother, $22.21."

April 12, 1895. This communication to attend a funeral is called "A Lodge of Sorrow."

Worshipful Masters

Charles W. Holmes was the first Master of Pioneer Lodge, and sixty-six others have occupied that position including the present incumbent. The passage of time has taken forty of them from our midst, leaving twenty-six of us still alive:

  • Ernest A. Thrasher 1899, 1900
  • Dwight F. Lane, 1906, 1907
  • David M. Callis, 1909
  • Charles P. King, 1913
  • Frank B. Place, 1920
  • Frederick T. Doxcy, 1923
  • Herbert E. Goff, 1925
  • Arthur R. Derbyshire, 1927
  • George E. A. Gray, 1930
  • James J. Brown, Jr., 1932
  • R. W. Leland F. Bullard, 1933
  • Charles E. Walkden, 1937
  • Hugh W. Kenworthy, 1938
  • Jesse Borge, 1939
  • George C. Sutcliffe, 1940
  • Edward A. Chatterton, Sr., 1941
  • Francis R. Sears, 1942
  • George E. Metcalf, 1944
  • William H. Neville, 1945
  • Parker H. Carr, 1946
  • Edward P. Mullen, 1947
  • J. Leo Guimond, 1948
  • Lincoln W. Hutchinson, 1949
  • Howard E. Pierce, 1950
  • Benjamin W. Barlow, 1951
  • Milton E. Durfee, 1952
  • Gabriel B. More, Present Master

John G. Tinkham served five terms, three served for three years, fourteen for two years, and the other forty-nine for one year each.

I think that John G. Tinkham's record is an interesting one. He applied on June 29, 1863, and was elected to receive the degrees on July 27, 1863. On August 3 he was initiated an Entered Apprentice, and on August 31 was passed to Fellow Craft. He was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on September 28, and on April 11, 1864 (after the Lodge was Constituted), it was voted that he might sign the by-laws. He filled in as Junior Warden two weeks after he was raised, at the conferring of the first degree on October 12, 1863. He substituted in other offices from time to time, but his attendance record was not too good. In November 1869 he was elected Worshipful Master, although he had never previously been elected to any office. He served five terms as Master, 1870-1-2-5-6. After his first three years he served as Secretary for two years, and thirty years later he was again elected Secretary and served for twelve years. He was appointed District Deputy Grand Master in 1910 and 1911, was Proxy to the Grand Lodge, and Chairman of practically every important committee until his death in December 1915. Wor. Brother Callis, who knew him, gives him credit for holding the Lodge together in the 1870's when Masonry was not too popular. In writing his records as Secretary, R.W. Bro. Tinkham listed the officers in designs: diamonds, squares, diagonals, etc.

Four of our Past Masters have been honored by appointment as District Deputy Grand Master: John G. Tinkham, Fred I. Walker, Herbert Austin and Leland F. Bullard, and three have served as Master of the 27th Lodge of Instruction: David M. Callis, Edward Chatterton, Sr., and John Loftus.

Relief

Pioneer Lodge, through the years, has done what it could to relieve the distress of its Brethren, their widows and orphans. The first occasion is in the records of February 27, 1865, and the most recent was last Christmas. You may be interested in the May, 1865, case: There was a request for care of the child of a Mason reported missing from his vessel, "no doubt existing but that her father had departed this life by some means unknown." Also for a widow "supposed to be in very destitute circumstances, being old and infirm." A committee was appointed to investigate the cases "and the rumors as to their having deposits in the Savings Banks." They reported that the child had$400.00 and the widow $150.00, and that neither needed pecuniary assistance, but the Brothers "were admonished to keep an eye on (the child's) welfare and aid her by advice and otherwise, agreeable to our obligation."

On April 23, 1866, the Lodge voted the sum of $10.00 be paid the widow of a deceased member of Mount Hope Lodge, and request Mount Hope to repay it. On December 17, 1866, they sent a petition to Mount Hope Lodge relative to her needy condition. I have found nothing in "our records to indicate that Mount Hope ever reimbursed Pioneer for the $10.00, so if Mount Hope cannot produce a receipt, maybe we should get after them again. With interest since 1866, it ought to be worth well over $50.00 by this time.

Meeting Places

Pioneer Lodge meetings have been held in a number of different places during the years, and three of the moves have been necessary because the previous meeting place was destroyed by fire. Preliminary meetings were held in the homes of various Brethren. After organizing, the Lodge met

  • 1863 Central Hall, Main Street.
  • 1864 Building on Main Street built for use of the Lodge.
  • 
1875 Home of John G. Tinkham, Main Street, (after fire)
 Over Eagan's Store, Main Street.
  • 1875 Elysian Lodge, I.O.O.F. (after fire) Over Street Railway car barn, High Street.
  • 1923 This Temple built. (Destroyed by fire and rebuilt.)
Other Interesting Entries
  • July 27, 1863 Voted to pay the Tyler 50¢ per evening for tyling the Lodge, and performing such other duties as belong to him to perform.
  • Dec. 12, 1864 Voted to instruct the Master and Wardens to vote for a change of Grand Officers. Why? Didn't they like those they had?
  • June 6, 1864 Voted that the Worshipful Master should attend Grand Lodge, and the Lodge pay his expenses. This same vote appears several times, but I have been told "We never did that before."
  • Aug. 12, 1867 Parker H. Carr elected to receive the degrees. This was the grandfather of our present Secretary.
  • May 11, 1868 Candidate appeared for first degree; "not acknowledging a belief in Deity, he was reconducted to the anteroom."
  • June 1, 1868 Communication received from this candidate; "Voted that he be notified to appear to receive the several degrees in F.M. if found worthy." Either he did not appear or was not found worthy, for his name is not on later records.
  • May 4, 1868 Committee appointed to make enquiries about report that Assonet Brethren were making Masons in a clandestine manner. We would like to know what they found out, but there is no further reference to the matter.
  • Feb. 14, 1869; March 14, 1869; June 25, 1923. On three occasions the Lodge refused to endorse petitions to form new Lodges, as they would cut into Pioneer Lodge's jurisdiction. But on Aug. 20, 1888, voted to endorse the petition of Mount Horeb Lodge, West Harwich.
  • Dec. 26, 1887 Voted to procure a boot box or blacking case. Did the Master come to Lodge with dirty shoes?
  • Apr. 13, 1908 Appointed a committee to see about getting an electric fan, but that seems to have put the cart before the horse, because on Apr. 18, 1910, a committee was appointed to see the owners about getting electricity in the building.
  • Dec. 20, 1909 "A communication was received from Mrs. J. A. Levitt of New York inviting this Lodge to be present at the betrothal of her daughter, Jennie Rosenthal, to Worshipful David M. Callis on Dec. 25, 1909. Voted that we accept the invitation and attend in a body." In passing, it should be mentioned that December 25th is also Dave's birthday.
  • Jan. 5, 1925 Resolved to support the organization of a DeMolay Chapter. This led to the formation of Pioneer Chapter, Order of DeMolay, which originally met in this room but later moved to Fall River, where they are still active. We had the pleasure of witnessing their work at the close of our regular communication last month.
  • Oct. 26, 1931 Being a Scotsman, born in Glasgow, I resent the Secretary putting that City in England.
  • Mar. 7,1932 A picture of George Washington which still hangs in the South, was presented to Pioneer Lodge by Congressman Joe Martin.
  • Nov. 3, 1941 The Secretary apparently got tired of making routine entries in his records, and let himself go in the following flowery language: "At this point the Worshipful Master interrupted the meeting to ascertain the source and character of certain obnoxious gases irritating the olfactories and apparently emanating from the culinary regions below. Upon investigation by the Inside Sentinel, it was found that certain hydrocarbons were pouring from incompletely closed jets. The correction of the condition was immediate; no damage was done; no one indicted for dereliction of duty, and the deliberations resumed." The item is headed "Gas Leak."
  • 1942 During the rationing period, several Brothers contributed sugar from time to time. The Lodge "overlooked the source and all involved questions of patriotism." The Lodge later obtained its own sugar ration papers.
  • The first thing anyone does on receiving a new telephone book or city directory is to look up his own name. That is what I did with Pioneer Lodge records, and sure enough, I find that on January 7, 1945, I received the Master Mason Degree, but my name is wrongly spelled.

These, then, are some of the things which are recorded in the records of Pioneer Lodge during the past ninety years. And how better can I close than by again quoting from Wor. Brother Callis' history: "But, Brethren, while treasuring these memories of the past, let us not think that we have already attained the summit of our aims and desires. Our work is, happily, not yet complete and we shall be able to press on to further heights if we keep before us the tenets of our profession as Master Masons. . . . May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular Masons. May brotherly love prevail and every moral and social virtue cement us. Amen."


CENTENARY HISTORY, MARCH 1963

From Proceedings, Page 1963-24:

by R. W. Leland F. Bullard, Wor. Parker H. Carr, Wor. Gabriel B. More.

In January and February of 1863, a number of meetings were held in the homes of men in Somerset who were members of Masonic Lodges, with the idea of forming a Lodge in this Town. To do this they had to have permission of Mount Hope Lodge, which was then the only Lodge in Fall River, and this permission was given on February 27, 1863, as their record states:

"Petition to form a Lodge in Somerset was received and read, when on motion VOTED that this Lodge recommend that the prayer of the petitioners be granted."

Grand Lodge also viewed the petition favorably and issued a dispensation dated March 9, 1863, so that today we are officially one hundred years old.

On March 20, 1863, Mount Hope Lodge record shows:

"Master-elect of Pioneer Lodge of Somerset, Mass. asked the loan of the jewels of this Lodge for next Monday evening, when on motion VOTED that the request be granted."

The first written record of Pioneer Lodge is of a Special Communication on March 23, 1863, with: Charles A. Holmes, Worshipful Master; J. S. Porter, Senior Warden; Nathan S. Davis, Junior Warden. The Worshipful Master appointed other officers, "and organized the Lodge." The Lodge passed a vote of thanks to Mount Hope Lodge for starting us off, and tonight we can repeat those thanks as we round out those hardest first hundred years with every prospect of continuing for one hundred more.

Charles A. Holmes was Worshipful Master of Pioneer for one year until the Constitution of the Lodge on March 21, 1864, and it is interesting to note that he was afterwards Worshipful Master in Mount Hope Lodge in 1864 and 1865.

The second recorded meeting of Pioneer Lodge was the first Regular Communication held on March 30, 1863, at which time it mas reported that $150.00 "had been hired," bills totaling $119.68 woe presented, and the Treasurer was bonded for $100.00. Ten petitions were received, including one from Eldridge G. Paull, who became Worshipful Master the following year.

The first year was a busy one, there being forty-three petitions, of which four were rejected. In those twelve months the Entered Apprentice degree was conferred on 35 candidates, the Fellowcraft degree on 26, and the Master Mason degree on 21, and they frequently worked two degrees in one night.

On February 9, 1864, the year of probation having nearly expired, a Special Communication was held at which 18 members were elected to apply for a Charter which Charter was granted on March 9, 1864.

On March 21, 1864, in a building erected for Masonic purposes by Brother William P. Hood, the Masonic Hall was consecrated and dedicated and the Lodge constituted by Most Worshipful William Parkman and the Grand Lodge Officers.

Pioneer Lodge meetings have been held in a number of different places during the years, and three of the moves have been necessary because the previous meeting-place was destroyed by fire. Preliminary meetings were held in the homes of various brethren. After organizing, the Lodge met as follows:

  • 1863, Central Hall, Main Street
  • 1864, Building on Main Street built for use of the Lodge, destroyed by fire and rebuilt
  • 1875, Home of John C. Tinkham, Main Street (after fire)
  • 1875, Over Eagan's Store, Main Street
  • 1905, Elysian Lodge, I.,O. O. F. (by invitation after fire)
  • 1906, Over Street Railway carbarn, High Street
  • 1923 Present Temple built, Pleasant Street

In its early years the members of Pioneer Lodge seem to have been gathered from men whose occupation took them away to sea. Somerset at that time was a large shipbuilding center, and as a consequence it was necessary for those who were at home to be regular and punctual in their attendance in order to keep up that organization as a Lodge. The records show that during certain times the membership of the Lodge was so scattered, particularly during the summer seasons, that its members visited many places throughout the States and Canada; and several who were elected and installed into office moved away from the town so that their offices had to be filled by some other brothers.

On October 25, 1920, the Worshipful Master appointed a Building Committee with power to purchase the building then used by the Lodge or to purchase a suitable piece of land on which a new building might be erected. The latter course was decided upon, and Pioneer Hall Association, Inc. was organized to build the new Temple and have charge of its maintenance. Contributions of $100.00 each were solicited from the members, and enough money was received and pledged to justify the undertaking. Consequently, on January 6, 1923, the cornerstone was laid by Wor. Frederick T. Doxcy, Worshipful Master, assisted by the officers and Past Masters, "in accordance with the regular form of our Ancient and Honorable Institution." A box was placed in the cornerstone containing the following:

  • American Flag
  • Three Great Lights
  • By-laws of Pioneer Lodge
  • By-laws of Pioneer Hall Association, Inc.
  • Names of members of Pioneer Lodge
  • Names of members of Pioneer Hall Association, Inc.
  • Picture of Building Committee
  • Organization of Pioneer Lodge, 1922 and 1923
  • Fall River Evening News, December 5, 1922
  • Fall River Evening News, January 6, 1923
  • Fall River Daily Globe, January 6, 1923
  • Fall River Evening Herald, January 6, 1923
  • Minutes of meetings of Pioneer Hall Association, Inc. to and including January 6, 1923.

The new Temple was consecrated and dedicated on October 20, 1923, by Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell and the Officers of Grand Lodge, and the first regular meeting held therein on October 22, 1923. One of the happiest dates in the history of this Temple was September 26, 1961, when the ceremony of "burning the mortgage" was held and the Temple rededicated and reconsecrated by Most Worshipful Laurence E. Eaton and his Grand Lodge Officers.

Like all organizations, Pioneer Lodge has fluctuated in membership but now has a healthy total of 395, and is in good financial condition with an adequate building. The low points in the growth of the Lodge were in 1898 when no petitions were received, and in 1890 when we received one petition and rejected that one. In 1920 and 1921 there were 54 and 50 petitions received. During the past twenty years we have raised from 15 to 20 Master Masons each year. The number of meetings held go from twelve in 1898 to a high of 54 in 1864.

Masonry may be compared with a family. We are only today's representatives of our families, but there were many before us of the same name, and we hope many will follow us. The same with Freemasonry. Pioneer Lodge is now one hundred years old, but its present members are only the children of the American branch of the Masonic family which was founded about 233 years ago. There are at least several sets of brothers, cousins, uncles and nephews, etc. Ninety-six years ago in 1867, a man named Parker H. Carr joined this Lodge, and his grandson of the same name is our present Secretary.

In 1925 this Lodge sponsored and formed Pioneer Chapter, Order of DeMolay, which originally met in our Temple, and later moved to the Fall River Temple, where they are still active and growing in membership and in their service to the young men of the community.

The first funeral service conducted by Pioneer Lodge was on August 4, 1864, for Brother Col. Charles E. Randall, a member of a Lodge in Syracuse, N.Y., whose wife was from Somerset. The first funeral service conducted for a Brother of Pioneer Lodge was for Brother David W. Marble on February 28, 1867. Unfortunately this is a duty which we will be called to perform on many occasions since there is no escaping the Scythe of Time.

Charles A. Holmes was our first Worshipful Master and 76 others have occupied that position including our present Master. The passage of time has taken 47 of them from our midst, leaving 28 still alive. Needless to say, none of these 28 is looking forward to being "the oldest living." John G. Tinkham served five terms, three served for three years, fourteen for two years, and the others one year each. Five of them have been honord by appointment as District Deputy Grand Master: John G. Tinkham, Fred I. Walker, Herbert Austin, Leland F. Bullard, Douglas C. Small.

Five have served as Master of the 27th Lodge of Instruction: David M. Callis, Edward Chatterton, Sr., John Loftus, Gabriel B. More, James H. Douglass.

Pioneer Lodge has been served by 22 Secretaries and 14 Treasurers, of whom the present incumbents have served the longest terms, our present Secretary now being in his 15th term and our Treasurer in his 29th.

The record of John G. Tinkham is interesting. He applied on June 29, 1863, and passed the ballot on July 27. On August 3 he became an Entered Apprentice, Passed on August 31 and Raised on September 28. He substituted as Junior Warden two weeks later, and in other offices from time to time, but his attendance record was not too good. On April 11, 1864 (after the Lodge was constituted) it was voted that he might sign the bylaws. In November 1869 he was elected Worshipful Master, although he had never previously been elected or appointed to any office, and served three years, then two years as Secretary, and then two more years as Master. Thirty years later he was again elected Secretary and served for 12 years. He was appointed District Deputy Grand Master in 1910 and 1911, was proxy to the Grand Lodge, and chairman of practically every important Lodge committee until his death in December, 1915. The Lodge met in .his home in 1875, and those who knew him give him credit for holding the Lodge together in the 1870's when Masonry was not too popular.

Through the years, Pioneer Lodge has done what it could to relieve the distress of its brethren, their widows and orphans. The first occasion is in the records at February 27, 1865, and the most recent was January 4, 1962.

Pioneer Lodge has held 1134 Regular Communications, and about 1700 Special Communications, and on seven of these has had the pleasure and honor of receiving the Most Worshipful Grand Master:

A paper of this nature can obtain only those items which its writer considers to be the highlights, but the Brethren are referred to the proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1938 and 1953 both of which contain histories written for earlier anniversaries. The officers of the Lodge are urged to read the complete records of the Lodge as written by our secretaries, where they will find much interesting and valuable information of our history and traditions which will inspire them in their leadership of Pioneer Lodge and in their own Masonry.

Our earlier histories concluded with these words — "These, then, are some of the things which appear in the records of Pioneer Lodge during these past years. But, Brethren, while treasuring these memories of the past, let us not think that we have already attained the summit of our aims and desires. Our work is, happily, not yet complete, and we shall be able to press on to further heights if we keep before us the tenets of our profession as Master Masons, and fulfill the injunction in the Great Light, 'Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father which is in heaven'."

May the blessing of Heaven rest upon us and all regular Masons. May Brotherly Love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us. Amen.

SO MOTE IT BE.

EVENTS

CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, MARCH 1864

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIII, No. 6, April, 1864, Page 177:

This is the name of a new Lodge, which for the past year has been working under a Dispensation, at the pleasant little village of Somerset, in Bristol County. A Charter having been granted by the Grand Lodge in December, the Brethren composing it were constituted and formed into a regular Lodge by the M. W. Grand Master and his officers, on the 15th of March. The ceremonies of Consecration and Dedication took place in the Hall, in the early part of the evening, and the Installation ceremonies, at a later hour, in the Baptist church, the use of which had been kindly granted for the purpose. The attendance of Brethren from the neighboring Lodges, and of visitors, was unusually large, the church being filled to its greatest capacity, and the services were witnessed by the audience with the interest, stimulated perhaps by curiosity, which they seldom fail to excite when performed in public. On this occasion they were aided by a fine choir, to whom all present were much indebted for the pleasing manner in which the services passed off. The Charge to the officers and members of the Lodge was given by the Grand Master in his usual clear and impressive manner, and was well received by the audience.

At the conclusion of the services in the church, the Brethren, with the ladies, formed in procession and marched to the principal hall in the village, where a bountiful supper had been provided for them, and where they spent a very pleasant and sociable hour.

The Lodge, the past year, has been doing a very large business, and its prospects for the future are highly encouraging. It is well officered by Brethren competent to the duties required of them, and has about fifty members. The Lodge room is new, convenient, and handsomely fitted up. The attention paid to the Grand Officers, and the ample provision made by our Brother, the Treasurer of the Lodge, and his excellent lady, for their comfort and accommodation, rendered their visit a very pleasant one.

125TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, MARCH 1988

From TROWEL, Fall 1988, Page 27:

Pioneer Lodge, Somerset, observed its 125th anniversary on March 5, with appropriate ceremonies and dinner at the Towne Room in Somerset. Grand Master Albert T. Ames and a suite of Grand Lodge officers attended with their ladies. Music for dancing and listening pleasure followed. The Lodge attended worship service the next day at the Church of the Saviour, Somerset, to climax the anniversary.

Bro. Clyde H. Harrington, Jr., Historian, authored a detailed history of Pioneer Lodge that was printed and distributed to those in attendance.

Pioneer125_1988.jpg
The picture shows the participants with the lady of each, seated in front:
R. W. Lowell U. Hammett, Grand Marshal, with Jean; R. W. Antone J. Bettencourt, D. D. G. M., Fall River 30th District, with Thelma; M. W. Albert T. Ames, Grand Master, with Nancy; Wor. Henry J. DeMarco, Lodge Master, with Eva; R. W. Lynwood P. Harriman, D. D. G. M., New Bedford 30th District, with Donna; and R. W. James H. Douglass, anniversary committee chairman, with Ada. (Photo by Joann Imbriglio.)


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS


DISTRICTS

1863: District 5

1867: District 14 (New Bedford)

1883: District 23 (Taunton)

1911: District 30 (Fall River)

1927: District 30 (Fall River)

2003: District 16


LINKS

Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges