Chartered By: Charles C. Dame
Charter Date: 06/12/1867 VII-162
Precedence Date: 06/14/1866
Current Status: Active
- George Forbes, 1866, 1867
- George O. Brigham, 1868, 1869
- James Brainerd Putnam, 1870, 1871
- Warren Porter, 1873
- Charles E. Long, 1874
- Henry Jackson, 1877
- George L. Smith, 1878-1881
- Samuel O. Staples, 1882
- Frank F. Denfield, 1883, 1884
- Silas H. Brigham, 1885
- George J. Jackson, 1886, 1887
- Adams Franklin Brown, 1888; SN
- Charles R. Harrington, 1889
- John P. Brown, 1890
- Edmund L. Brigham, 1891, 1892
- Samuel A. Tyler, 1893
- Forrest R. Kingsbury, 1894, 1895
- Thomas J. Hastie, 1896
- George G. Genthner, 1897
- Ira M. Beaman, 1898
- William E. Ball, 1899, 1900
- Edmund Barker, 1901
- Edwin A. Cowan, 1902
- Edward F. Brigham, 1903, 1904
- Frank W. Winter, 1905, 1906
- Oscar L. Marshall, 1907
- Arthur E. Fairbanks, 1908; N
- Willie E. Whitney, 1909, 1910
- Dexter Leland, 1911, 1912
- Richard E. Daniels, 1913
- Harry W. Kimball, 1914; Mem
- William E. Johnson, 1915, 1916
- Josiah C. Kent, 1917, 1918
- James S. Hunter, 1919, 1920
- James S. Hunter, 1921
- Lewis F. Pratt, 1922
- Burt Trook, 1923
- Irving E. Walker, 1924, 1925
- Bertice A. Burgess, 1926
- Frank C. Crocker, 1927
- Arthur H. Lasselle, 1928
- Elmer W. Bennett, 1929, 1930; N
- Nathan E. Andrews, 1931
- Robert R. Hunter, 1932
- Ralph S. Tyler, 1933
- Elwood N. Hennessy, 1934
- Joseph B. Mason, 1935
- Edwin P. Fairbanks, 1936
- Roger W. Beaman, 1937
- Philip J. Butterfield, 1938
- Irving W. Harper, 1939
- E. Irving Hulbert, 1940
- Willard A. Beaman, 1941
- Harold L. Perry, 1942, 1943
- Francis W. Lappe, 1944
- Edward L. Uhlman, 1945
- Hugh K. Tufts, 1946
- Chester S. Ricker, 1947
- Wilfred J. Cochrane, 1948
- Irving W. West, 1949
- LeRoy W. Fairbanks, 1950
- John S. Uhlman, 1951
- Robie L. Palmer, 1952, 1957; N
- Harold F. Burhoe, 1953
- Charles M. Waddell, 1954
- Arthur M. Cheney, Jr., 1955
- Harry A. Dow, Jr., 1956
- Baron H. Crowell, Jr., 1958
- Parker D. Carney, 1959
- Stanley A. Manning, 1960
- Robert W. Troll, 1961
- Harry A. Yeaton, 1962
- Norman H. Bennett, 1963
- Herbert Barclay, 1964
- Harold W. Bullen, 1965
- Ronald G. Fraser, 1966
- Donald K. Mossman, 1967
- Charles A. Flood, 1968
- William G. MacMillan, Jr., 1969
- Graydon M. Hickey, 1970
- William S. Brower, Jr., 1971
- Christoper L. Yates, 1972
- Philip A. Edwards, 1973
- Howard B. Frantz, 1974
- Earl C. Ackley, 1975
- David S. MacPherson, 1976
- Russell G. Braman, Jr., 1977
- Charles B. Gannon, Jr., 1978
- Peter W. Proctor, 1979
- John L. Ellis, Jr., 1980
- Mark H. Smith, 1981, 2010; PDDGM
- Robert F. McGlory, 1982
- Richard E. Dingley, 1983
- Stuart G. Schoenly, 1984
- Carmen D. Borgia, 1985; PDDGM
- Harold L. Hickox, 1986
- David L. Nourse, 1987
- Steven A. Harvey, 1988
- Glenn R. Parker, 1989
- Richard I. Nichols, 1990
- Douglas H. Harvey, 1991
- James M. Price, 1992, 1993
- Robert N. Uhlman, 1994
- Steven G. Davis, 1995
- Douglas L. Pollard, 1996
- John A. Perkins, Jr., 1997, 2009
- Ronald C. MacKendrick, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007
- Marcus D. Borgia, 2000
- Douglas Nichols, 2001
- Stephen C. Daukas, 2002
- Leonard E. Anderson, 2003, 2008
- William A. Weir, 2004, 2005
- Stephen (Pat) Emery, 2011, 2012; PDDGM
- John L. Carlson, 2013; DDGM
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1867 (Dame; constitution and hall dedication; not in Proceedings; see below)
- 1881 (Lawrence)
- 1917 (L. Abbott; 50th Anniversary)
- 1966 (Booth; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1970 (Jaynes; Hall Dedication; Special Communication)
- 1975 (Maxwell; table lodge)
- 1992 (Darling)
- 2008 (Hodgdon)
- 2011 (Stewart)
- 1966 (Centenary History, 1966-158)
CENTENARY HISTORY, JUNE 1966
From Proceedings, Page 1966-158:
By Worshipful Nathan E. Andrews.
One hundred years have elapsed since Siloam Lodge came into existence. History can be a very fascinating subject. However, in order to make it fascinating it seems to your historians that it should be in chronological order and we hope by using this means to make this history interesting to the reader.
It is of interest to know that during the one hundred years of Siloam Lodge, it has had only two homes. The first was in what was known as the Union Block, which was located on South Street, about where the Telegram-Gazette office is now located. After three years in that location, the Lodge quarters moved to what was then known as the Post Office Block, its present location, where it has been for ninety-seven years.
In reading the records of the various secretaries, we have been particularly blessed by the fact that all of them have been excellent penmen. The records of Siloam Lodge begin with the following introduction, unsigned but probably written by the first Secretary, W. R. Gould.
"In the Spring of 1864 there were but three or four Free Masons living in Westboro (Mass.), and but one, or two, of those immediately connected with any Lodge in this vicinity. In the spring and summer of the same year, several persons in the place, having formed a favorable opinion of the Institution and wishing, if found worthy, to become Masons, sought and obtained recommendations from members of John Warren Lodge, Hopkinton, it being the nearest Lodge to Westboro.
"During the years of 1864 and '65 the winter and spring of 1866, about twenty went from this place, and were initiated in the John Warren Lodge.
In May 1866 a few Free Masons held an informal meeting and discussed the propriety of organizing a Lodge in Westboro, agreeing to invite all members of the Order residing here to unite with us.
At an adjourned meeting, a committee of five was chosen and instructed to procure and furnish a place suitable for a Lodge room. Also, a committee of three was chosen to draft a petition, procure signers and the necessary recommendations to present to the Grand Master for a Dispensation.
The Committee for procuring a place &c, leased a room in Union Block for three years, with the privilege of five, and fitted it up at an expense of about $800. Also, the committee on the Petition for Dispensations &c procured twenty-two names with the necessary recommendations, which were presented to the Master of the Grand Lodge.
On the 14th day of June 1866 we received a Dispensation and held our first regular communication under it on the 25th of the same month."
The records show that the Petitioners for the Dispensation were: George Forbes, W. K. Gould, George O. Brigham, C. A. Harrington, W. C. Norcross, J. W. Tucker, C. R. Brigham, Jonathan Gleason, P. H. Odell, John A. Thayer, C. Whitney, James B. Putnam, Josiah Jackson, Sherman Convers, D. B. Faulkner, Willaid Comey, Frank A. Spear, Francis A. Brigham, J. E. Parker, O. K. Hutchinson, J. W. Brigham and Edward Brigham.
In the Dispensation the Grand Master appointed Bro. George Forbes to be the first Master, Bro. George Brigham, the first Senior Warden and Bro. Sherman Convers, the first Junior Warden.
The original By-Laws consisted of ten Articles which were adopted "en Masse" unanimously after slight changes were made under Articles VI and X and the first regular communication working under its Dispensation was held on Monday, June 25. 1866 at 7*A o'clock at Masonic Hall with Bro. George Forbes in the chair, the Lodge being opened in due form on the Third Degree in Masonry. The Worshipful Master announced the names of those appointed to fill the remaining offices as follows: Bro. C. Whitney, Treasurer; Bro. W. K. Gould, Secretary; Bro. James B. Putnam, Senior Deacon; Bro. W. C. Norcross, Junior Deacon; Bro. D. B. Faulkner, Marshal; Bro. George Brigham, Chaplain; Bro. C. A. Harrington, Senior Steward; Bro. F. A. Brig-ham, Junior Steward; and Bro. Jonathan Gleason, Tyler.
The first business taken up was the matter of procuring Fire Insurance and purchasing necessary books for use by the Secretary and Treasurer. Two applications for the degrees were received and referred to committees and special communications called for July 2, 9 and 16, after which the Lodge closed in Due Form.
During the first year there were twenty-eight Special Communications held, some for rehearsals.
We find nothing in the records to show the reason for naming the Lodge "Siloam." The definition given in the Bible is "Sent." It is also a celebrated pool at Jerusalem, originally part of the water supply. The writer likes to think of it as a pool or fountain where men can come to refresh themselves and gain knowledge of the finer and meaningful things in life which tend to make him of more value to his fellow-man and to society as a whole.
Very early in our Masonic experience we learn about the relief of distress, particularly of those with whom we profess to be linked by indissoluble ties of sincere affection. Our records from the very beginning indicate that this has never been lost sight of. Again and again throughout the records the matter of relief and the problem of raising funds for the distressed is in the forefront. The original By-Laws state the time of regular meetings as "the Monday on or before the full of the moon of each month." The reason for this, we understand, was to take advantage of the natural light for night traveling. The hour of meeting was "7 1/2 o'clock p.m. from the first of April to the 30th of September and from the first of October to the 31st of March at 7 o'clock" and the annual communication in November. The annual dues were $1.00 a year and Life Membership $10.00.
During the first year there were 29 applications for the degrees and 21 brothers were raised.
On January 14, 1867 there were 6 visitors from United Brethren Lodge of Marlboro. Considering transportation and season they must have been hardy souls.
In April of 1867, a communication was received from the Grand Secretary regarding the payment of dues by the subordinate lodges toward the payment of the cost of the new Masonic Temple in Boston and in May, notice was received regarding the dedication of the new Temple to be held June 24, 1867.
At the May meeting there was a change in By-Laws to cover an increase in dues to $2.00 and Life Membership dues to $20.00. A Committee was appointed to petition for a Charter, the first year under Dispensation about to end; $125.00 was paid to the Grand Lodge for dues under dispensation. Our Charter was granted on June 14, 1867 and was signed by Charles C. Dame, Grand Master; Samuel P. Oliver, Senior Grand Warden; Henry Mulliken, Junior Grand Warden and Charles W. Moore, Grand Secretary.
On June 24, 1867 members of Siloam Lodge journeyed to Boston to take part in the dedication of the New Masonic Temple and we find in the records of John Warren Lodge of Hopkinton the following information regarding this dedication:
"On the 24th of June, 1867, a special and very exciting communication was held prior to traveling to Boston to witness the dedication of the Masonic Temple. Some forty-six members were on hand and marched from the Hall on Church Street through Main Street escorted by the Hopkinton Band. At Cedar Street carriages were waiting to convey the members and the band to Cordaville where they entrained for Boston together with members of the Lodge from Westboro.
On arriving in Boston the procession was again formed and all marched to the American House where the Lodge had engaged rooms for the occasion. A colorful description of the historical event is taken from the minutes:
"After spending a short time renovating the inner and outer man the procession was formed and marched to the Common where we took our place in the Twelfth Division of the Grand Procession which was composed as follows: 354 Masons in carriages, many of them being aged and infirm, and their venerable appearance made them a center of great interest and attraction. On foot there were some 8,545. There were forty-nine bands of music numbering in the aggregate 958 men, making a grand total in the procession of nearly 10,000 men. As the procession passed from the Common it was reviewed by Andrew Johnson, President of the United States, and a member of the order. The streets through which the procession passed were one solid mass of humanity. The windows were filled to capacity by the ladies who, by their smiles and hearty recognition of the order, added to the pleasure and beauty of the occasion. After passing through various streets, many of them beautifully decorated, the procession returned to the Common, following which we returned to the American House where we partook of a bounteous dinner much to the pleasure and gratification of all.
"After satisfying the inner man the procession again formed and marched to the depot — all being full satisfied with the glory, dust, and heat of the day, and happy to set their faces homeward where we arrived at the Hall in safe condition at eleven o'clock P.M. "
On July 16, 1867 the Constitution and Consecration exercises were held with the Grand Officers and Representatives of Lodges from adjoining towns in attendance. Most Worshipful Charles C. Dame, Grand Master, opened the Lodge at 7 1/2 o'clock P.M. on the third degree and proceeded to Constitute and Consecrate Siloam Lodge and installed the Master, Wardens, Treasurer and Secretary and ordered the Worshipful Master to install the remaining officers. This was followed by an address by the Grand Chaplain and we read that after closing, all repaired to the Hotel for refreshments.
In September of 1867, it was voted that "all Masons raised in this Lodge who have not become members may do so by signing the By-Laws and paying the usual fee", provided they do so within one month; otherwise they would have to be voted on again.
In October of 1867, a committee of three was appointed to exchange, to as good advantage as possible, the large stove in the main hall, for one much smaller and later we found the stove was sold for $40.00.
In November of 1867 there was the customary election of officers and at a special communication later the same month the Worshipful Master read the list of officers elected and asked the brothers if they still adhered to their choice and since no one objected, he installed them.
One odd item we discovered was about a demitted Brother from a Worcester Lodge being rejected and the same evening reproposed by the Worshipful Master and accepted at the next meeting.
In April of 1868 we find a note to the effect that the Secretary and Treasurer were appointed to procure a looking glass and comb for the anteroom. A collection of $7.35 was taken, the surplus, if any, to be paid into the Lodge treasury.
On June 14, 1868 one of the charter members, Edward Brig-ham, died and a committee was appointed to draw up resolutions. At the thirteenth regular communication a committee was appointed to confer with Messrs. Fayerweather, Burnap and Brigham, who were erecting a block on Main Street on leasing a Hall and a suite of anterooms and on the fourteenth communication a favorable verbal report was received and unanimously adopted. This is the block we have occupied ever since and was called Post Office Block.
In January of 1869 another committee was appointed to secure additional anterooms and take charge of finishing the rooms, and at the twenty-first regular communication on March 22, 1869 it was voted to add the Worshipful Master and Wardens and one other to the committee to finish the new hall. They were authorized to procure new furniture and take charge of removing the property from the old hall to the new.
We read that at the installation of officers in December of 1868 there were about 25 officers from Franklin Lodge in Grafton present and Brothers Gilbert Cummings and George Slocum of that Lodge were the Installing Officers.
On June 24, 1869 the records state that a strawberry festival was held with every Mason in town attending with his lady. In looking over some of the bills in those early days we find that the Lodge paid $58.75 for three months rent. Oil and lamp chimneys from April 3, 1868 to October 1869 were $3.23.
In the annual report of November 15, 1869, the report of the committee having to do with the disposal of old furnishings of the quarters in the old Union Block and purchase of materials for the new quarters in the Post Office Block concerning the subscriptions made by certain brothers, whose names are given, makes very interesting reading and might profitably be brought to the attention of our present membership by the committee in charge of equipping our new Temple.
In January of 1871 at the raising of Bro. John W. Fairbanks, the Secretary records 40 visitors from Ashland and inserted a note in the record as follows: "How our visitors got home has not yet been ascertained."
On January 22, 1872 the records show that a Brother from John Warren Lodge of Hopkinton presented Siloam Lodge with some beautiful ornaments. These ornaments we are told consisted of a set of knockers for the tiled door.
The records indicate from time to time the difficulty the Secretary had in collecting dues and in June of 1872 there was an assessment of $12.00 to each member. In October of 1872 out-of-town members were notified of their duty to help pay Lodge debts.
We were surprised to learn that Siloam Lodge at one time in its early history held a Masonic Trial. The defendant was reprimanded by the Worshipful Master in open lodge as the result of the Trial and two years later we find that this Brother took a demit.
Lodge quarters were leased to the I. O. O. F. for $200.00 a year and later the two lodges combined to purchase an organ. In 1876 the Lodge voted to pay the Secretary $25.00 a year. This vote was rescinded in 1879 because the Secretary refused to take the money.
The first public installation of which we find record occurred in December 1877.
Westboro, in the latter part of the 19th century, was a town of many industries and it has been very interesting to read the occupations of the applicants who joined Siloam Lodge. Among others, we find: sleigh makers, bleachers, wheelwrights, leather cutters and straw workers. In the history of Westboro by DeForest and Bates, we find in Chapter 7, which covers the period of 1860 to 1890, that "In the annual report of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor for 1880, where careful attention was given to the social condition of the various towns of the Commonwealth, Westborough, sharing the distinction with Milford, stood first in regard to social advantages among the towns of Worcester County; and among 253 towns and cities of the State which sent returns, it stood among the fifteen assigned to the first rank as 'excellent.' " In the same chapter is noted "Siloam Lodge Free and accepted Masons was instituted in 1866 and for two years their rooms were in the old Union Block but since 1869 it has occupied half of the third story of the Post Office Block. It has 113 members."
An effort was made in 1880 to have the rent reduced and also to get permission to use a room next to the banquet hall at no extra cost. The best the owners would do was to rent the additional space for an additional cost of $40.00 a month. A committee was appointed to look for rooms elsewhere. A new building was under construction on Summer Street and the committee reported quarters could be had there on completion for $300.00 a year for the entire upper floor and one-half of the second. Nothing came of this and the final outcome was that our landlord would rent the entire upper floor with the exception of one room for the Janitor, or reduce the rent of the present quarters to $200.00 a year.
In October of 1880 the Odd Fellows were given the use of our quarters with no charge until their new hall was ready for use. Another committee was appointed to "cause suitable repairs to be made in and about the several apartments of our Temple." This committee later reported that "their labors were complete" and named several Brothers who had generously contributed "men and materials besides superintending the work." In December of the same year the landlord supplied eleven inside blinds and Lodge members installed and finished them.
The following year an entertainment committee was appointed and Bros. Frank F. Denfeld, William Scott and George Forbes were assigned to furnish entertainment at the next meeting. On February 14, 1881 the records show: "The Entertainment Committee provided for us Musical and Literary exercises after which remarks for the good of Masonry were offered, each Brother present participating." About this time another committee was appointed "with authority to loan our crockery and such other property as proper to loan, the proceeds to constitute a Crockery Fund." In the next annual report, this committee reported receipt of $3.87 with a note that one plate was not returned for which no charge was made. This "Crockery Fund" appears in the annual financial reports for many years thereafter.
On March 14, 1881 it was voted to allow the Royal Arcanum the use of our quarters, "warmed and lighted" at #2.00 per night, they to pay our Tyler.
Another change in our By-Laws was adopted on May 9, 1881 when the dues were raised to $3.00.
At a special communication on June 13, 1881, occurred the annual visitation of the then District Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Arba C. Slater. He was accompanied by Most Worshipful Samuel C. Lawrence, Grand Master. They were received by Worshipful Master Samuel O. Staples. The Grand Master addressed the Lodge at some length on the subject of commutation of our Grand Lodge Tax, and it was recorded that "his remarks were listened to with deserved attention." Present at this meeting were Brothers from Franklin Lodge of Grafton, John Warren Lodge of Hopkinton, and other lodges not named. As the result of this meeting it was voted that at the next regular meeting a committee of 7, 9, or more be appointed to consider the commutation of the Grand Lodge Tax. This committee reported in August that they did not feel that it was in the best interest of the Lodge to commute the Grand Lodge Tax and voted that the manner of paying this tax be discussed at the next regular meeting. In September it was voted to pay the Tax from the Lodge treasury.
In April of 1882 Bethany Chapter Order of Eastern Star rented the Lodge quarters for $50.00 a year, the Lodge to furnish heat and light.
In the same year, the matter of Capitation Tax on June 11, 1879, came to a head and it was voted that Siloam Lodge assume and pay it for all its members and authorized the Treasurer to borrow money sufficient for that purpose and give a note or notes of the Lodge therefor at a rate of interest not to exceed 6% per year. By December 11, 1882, $257.00 had been borrowed to pay the balance of the Capitation Tax. In the meantime, Bro. Adams Franklin Brown, who later became District Deputy Grand Master, was appointed as Collector of this Tax and he reported in December that he had collected from forty-two members. In February 1883 the Capitation Tax committee recommended that all brothers who had not paid be given until April and interest charged thereafter, but the Secretary was instructed to make the bills for dues for the ensuing year $3.00 and credit each brother who had paid the tax with $1.00.
In 1885 the rent was raised and the idea of building a Temple was voiced. This matter has had consideration many times during the years that followed and at one time a Building and Furnishing fund was established with the idea in mind of sometime owning a Temple. Now eighty-one years after this idea was first considered, we have our Temple.
Several organizations have rented Siloam Lodge quarters during the years; among them being the Grange, Royal Arcanum and Eastern Star and also an organization known as the Young Men's Debating Society.
Brotherly love and relief go hand in hand and the records have many references to their practical application. In January 1884 a special relief fund was started to be used for payment of those referred to as "Watchers." These were Brothers who watched during the night by the bedside of a sick Brother when there was no one to take care of him. Efforts were made from time to time to augment this fund and one of the later means was the setting aside of a certain percentage of Lodge gross receipts. For instance, it was voted in December, 188S, that the Relief Fund be allowed to accumulate to $300.00 and then that 5% of the gross receipts be placed in that Fund. Prior to then the finance committee reported that the rents received from Royal Arcanum, Bethany Chapter and the Grange in the amount of $135.26 had been added to the Relief Fund and there was at the same time a note to the effect that during the past two years about $400.00 had been contributed but no record of the disbursement since it was paid for relief as fast as received. In April of 1884, the entertainment committee announced that in order to raise money for the Relief Fund there would be a Literary entertainment in the Lodge hall on April 15 at 8 o'clock, consisting of readings by Bro. Wyzeman Marshall of Boston, assisted by a lady reader, tickets of admission to be 20 cents. At the May meeting the committee reported a profit of $5.26 which was added to the Relief Fund.
It would appear that by 1884, our quarters were becoming somewhat cramped and it was voted to lease the entire upper floor provided the quarters could be rented to the Young Men's Debating Society for their meetings, but apparently this did not set well with the landlord. He said he did not intend that the Lodge sub-let to so many organizations, but they might sub-let to the Debating Society if they were willing to have the rent increased to #225.00 a year. Complications were encountered and this was not done.
In August of the year 1884, we were notified by the Grand Lodge that by an Act of the General Court the "Masonic Education and Charity Trust" had been established and incorporated.
The first public installation noted was by Right Worshipful Edwin Wright, Past District Deputy Grand Master, on October 28, 1884.
In 1886 at the January meeting three questions were raised:
- Would it be of interest to the Lodge to form a benefit association?
- Would it be well for the Lodge to open the anterooms or banquet hall one or more evenings a week for smoking or reading rooms?
- Would it be advisable for the Lodge to encourage the formation of a Dramatic Club for the purpose of entertainment during the winter months?
Question 3 was discussed first and it was voted that the Lodge have a Dramatic entertainment committee and Brothers A. F. Brown, L. E. Denfeld and S. H. Brigham were appointed on that committee. Incidentally, L. E. Denfeld was the father of our Bro. Admiral Louis E. Denfeld. It was also voted to open the anterooms and banquet hall every Monday evening and that the janitor be instructed to build a fire. Question 1 was left in the hands of a committee and one month later it was voted not to carry out the suggestion.
In February, 1886, the Northboro Brothers sought approval and recommendation for an application to the Grand Master for a Dispensation to form a Lodge in Northboro and the vote was unanimously in favor.
By the annual meeting in October 1886, the records show the Lodge assets exceeded liabilities by $1,162.05. A new Bible was purchased in November 1887. In January 1888 the Worshipful Master reported for the Hall committee that he had had a conference with the Electric Light Company, which company had presented three propositions:
- The Lodge to install fixtures, estimate $20.00 for wiring, $2.15 for light bulbs of sixteen candlepower and pay t% cents per hour when in use.
- That the Company install wires and the Lodge to pay 2 cents per hour for each light when in use.
- That the Company would put in the wires and fixtures and charge $5.00 per year for each light, providing fourteen lights were installed; the Company to put in two lights in the banquet hall free of charge.
It was voted to refer the propositions back to the Hall committee and on April 9, 1888 they recommended the hall to be lighted by electricity in accordance with the third proposition; Bethany Chapter to pay $10.00 per year and Royal Arcanum $6.00.
In February 1888, Bro. Adams Franklin Brown presented an eight-day Hall clock on which the Lodge had inscribed "Presented to Siloam Lodge A. F. & A. M. by Worshipful Bro. Adams Franklin Brown" on the door of the clock.
In March 1888 a full set of fourteen silver-plated chain collars for the officers and solid silver jewels for the organist and inside sentinel were purchased.
On June 11. 1888, it was voted to hold a Lodge of Instruction in Westboro at which time the Right Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master was to be invited.
In August 1888 Bro. Charles A. Brigham presented us with a Rough Ashlar and a Perfect Ashlar.
Again during the late 80's and early 90's the matter of relief had further attention. There is a note in 1889 that "Relief is becoming a burden" and it was proposed to raise the dues to $5.00 but a compromise was made and the dues were raised to $4.00. By reason of the fact that there was no money in the Relief Fund, money was taken from the General Fund for relief purposes.
A Lodge of Instruction was held in Westboro on September 25, 1889 with the District Deputy Grand Officers opening on the E. A. degree. Herbert W. Lull was D.D.G.M. and Gifford H. G. McGiven, Grand Lecturer; Siloam Lodge exemplified the First Degree. Members were present from Franklin, Charles River, John Warren and Montgomery Lodges. The Secretary notes that the Grand Lecturer complimented them on their work.
In June 1890 a paper was circulated to purchase a new carpet, furniture, and fixtures and in September 1891 we learn the cost of the same was $256.70.
In April 1891 a committee was appointed to prepare for the 25th anniversary celebration of the Institution, with Right Worshipful Adams Franklin Brown as Chairman. On the Reception Committee were Worshipful C. L. Harrington, Brothers Thomas J. Hastie, Frank Sibley, F. W. Bullard, C. H. Brigham, and Forrest R. Kingsbury.
The celebration was held at a Special Communication on June 14, 1891 with the following officers: Worshipful Master, E. L. Brigham; Senior Warden, L. M. Harriman; Junior Warden, S. A. Tyler; Treasurer, Harding Allen; Secretary, F. W. Bullard; Chaplain, Right Worshipful Adams Franklin Brown; Acting as Marshal, Thomas J. Hastie; Senior Deacon, F. R. Kingsbury; Junior Deacon, W. B. Blackwood; Acting Senior Steward, J. F. Hill; Junior Steward, E. L. Rice; Inside Sentinel, J. D. Welts; Organist, C. L. Harrington; Tyler, W. C. Norcross. A special dispensation for this meeting was read. The attendance is not recorded, except that the Worshipful Master remarked that he was happy to see so many present. Our own District Deputy Grand Master, Adams Franklin Brown, was called on for remarks. We have noticed in our anterooms, pictures of several of our Past Masters, and at this meeting the Worshipful Master announced that the pictures of Bros. Jairus W. Smith, George L. Smith and Ralph B. Smith, were those of father, son and grandson, three generations, all Masters of Siloam Lodge, and had been presented to the Lodge by Wor. Bro. Smith (which one, not mentioned). The picture of R. W. Adams Franklin Brown, District Deputy of the 20th Masonic District, was presented by the Right Worshipful Brother Brown. Also noted in the record, R. W. Adams Frank lin Brown presented in behalf of Bro. George O. Brigham, a finely bound volume entitled "____" following which is a blank space, to the Lodge. Apparently we will never know the name of the finely bound volume as the Secretary failed to state it. The gift was accepted by the Worshipful Master who called upon Bro. George L. Smith for remarks recognizing the generosity of our Worshipful Brother, the donor. Our Secretary noted "Worshipful Brother Smith responded in his usual happy manner thanking Worshipful Brother Brigham for his kindness in this remembrance to the Lodge and gave some very pleasant reminiscences of his (Wor. Bro. Smith's) connection with the Lodge.
The brethren then formed a procession and marched to the Evangelical Church where public services were rendered in accordance with a program, a copy of which appears in the Lodge records. The address was made by Rev. Bro. J. F. Lovering of Boston and was titled "A Ribband of Blue."
Again in 1892 there was a discussion of building a new Temple and another committee appointed, on which, among others, was Bro. Frank F. Denfeld, uncle of our Bro. Louis Denfeld, but on November 12, 1894 the committee reported that "owing to hard times" nothing had been done during the year.
We find that the Lodge purchased a safe, appropriating $120.00 for the same, but the freight and cartage brought the cost to $123.67. However, it appears the agent for the Company was a Brother and paid the difference.
In 1893 a Tyler's sword was purchased.
In October 1894 ten per cent of the Lodge dues was applied to the Relief Fund.
In May of 1895 an invitation was received from King Solomon's Lodge in Charlestown, to participate in the centennial celebration of their erection of a monument in memory of their Loved and Honored Grand Master, Joseph Warren, and those who fell with him at the Battle of Bunker Hill. This invitation was accepted and the Committee appointed consisted of: A. F. Brown, J. D. Weltz and George G. Genthner. Under a special dispensation on June 17, 1895 the Lodge was opened and the members went in procession to the Boston and Albany Station taking the 8:18 train to Boston from whence they went to Charlestown, participated in the celebration and were back in Westboro at 6:15 and the Lodge closed in form. Bro. F. R. Kingsbury was then Worshipful Master. The records do not disclose the number of members who participated.
Another three-generation Masonic family presented pictures to the Lodge in 1896. They were Brothers Edwin L., Arthur L. and Oscar L. Marshall. Another interesting item in 1896 was the purchase by the Lodge of an ice water tank.
In 1897 it was voted to rent the hall to the Daughters of Liberty and that all Orders, except the Eastern Star, pay not less than $3.00 a night. We read in the records that on April 12, 1897 the Lodge voted to pay $25.00 a month for the use of the so-called library room next to our banquet hall and allow the use of the water closet in the Historical Society rooms where mixed companies used the Masonic Hall.
Other items of interest are that the Light Company presented an estimate of $34.60 to light the pedestals, also a committee on alterations with Wor. Ira Beaman, Chairman, reported plans to enlarge the kitchen and install a sink with water and sewer connections, to replace the old cast iron sink. They also proposed larger facilities for hat and coat storage when the Hall was crowded and for "Better storage of bicycles." These recommended propositions were carried out by June of that same year. Other occasions certainly occurred, but the first report of a "collation" at a meeting appears on February 21, 1898. Monthly bills show items of food, cigars, etc. Another interesting item in the records is reference to a letter read from Bro. Everett S. Grant of Stoney Brook, Connecticut, dated March 4, 1898. The Secretary reported the reason for this letter was because he, Bro. Grant, had presented the Lodge with a half barrel of oysters in the shell, to which full justice was done at the last special meeting, and from the Brothers partaking, nothing but praise was heard of their quality and flavor. A vote of thanks was extended to Bro. Grant for his generosity and good wishes. In December of 1898 the Lodge was presented with an automatic "Low 12 Gong."
Many of you will remember Right Worshipful Arthur E. Fairbanks and Brother William M. Buxton. Both were elected on February 13, 1899 and received the E. A. Degree on February 27, the Fellow Craft on March 27 and the Master Mason on April 24, 1899. Sixty-two visitors and forty members were present at the raising. Bro. Thomas Hastie, Secretary, reported that on the occasion of the F. C. Degree, Wor. Bro. F. R. Kingsbury lectured the candidates on the E. A. Degree and great proficiency was displayed. There may have been other occasions, but the first record of the Lodge attending Church in a body that your historian finds, except for the 25th anniversary, was on February 12, 1899. when, under special dispensation, service was attended at the Methodist Church. Now sixty-seven years later, we find ourselves taking possession of this Church for our own Temple. The preacher at that service was Rev. Bro. Fayette Nichols whose subject was "The Fundamental Principles of Free Masonry."
In March of the year 1899 the Lodge entertainment committee sponsored a lecture in the Town Hall by Bro. George Lorimer on "Masonry and Patriotism." 334 tickets were sold for $117.25, the expenses were $102.55 and the surplus of $14.70 was put in the Relief Fund.
The middle period of our Lodge was one of growth and activity and there does not appear to have been the problem of relief that was experienced in the earlier years. In 1926 a bequest of $2,000 was received under the will of Bro. Theodore B. Smart. Subsequently, a gift of $3,000 was received in 1927 from Mrs. Isadore Forbes in memory of her brother Theodore B. Smart. These amounts are set up under their respective names as Relief Funds.
By the end of 1899, the membership had grown to 151 and in 1900 the matter of new quarters again had consideration. Apparently no opportunity to save money was lost for in January of 1901 the quarters were rented to the organization known as the Red Men and also the New England Order of Protection Lodge #361 for $3.00 per meeting. However, the janitor's salary was not to exceed 20 cents per hour. Attention was again given to paying the Secretary and $25 a year was voted and in 1923 it was raised to $100.
In 1904 consideration was given to building a platform for the rear row of seats which would have cost $50. This was voted down, but was carried out in later years.
December of 1912 again brought up the question of more room and a committee recommended in March renting the entire upper floor for $325 a year for five years with the privilege of renewal of the agreement at the end of that time for another five years.
Early in 1912 a committee was appointed to consider the matter of forming a Masonic Club for social and literary purposes to be self-supporting with no expense to the Lodge, but under its control, and five years later, it was voted to hire the former Savings Bank rooms on the second floor for use of the Club.
During the summer of 1921, five members of Siloam Lodge acquired a controlling interest in the block. They were known as The Masonic Associates, Inc. On July 11, 1921, they asked the Lodge to pay $50 a month for the upper floor and $20 a month for the Club rooms on the second floor. The matter was left in the hands of the Hall Committee and the bills presented at the September meeting contained one for $70 for rent. This arrangement continued for many years until the Associates sold the Block and since then we have had two landlords.
We will now take up again the events of the early 1900's.
In June of 1907, we find the Lodge voting in favor of the proposal of establishing a Masonic Home in Charlton and paying its share of the expenses and in March of 1908 voluntary pledges for this purpose were commenced. By October of 1908, $960 had been pledged and $213 paid. From then on the Finance Committee in its annual report showed this account as a part of its record.
The matter of Relief came to the fore again and about this time it was voted that 5% of the gross receipts be set aside for relief and 5% for the Building and Furnishing Fund.
A communication was received from the Grand Lodge regarding raising funds to maintain the Home in Charlton which was to be known as the "Rainy Day Fund" and on May 11, 1914 Siloam Lodge started such a fund with $25.
The following account appears in the record of the meeting of April 4, 1914 which is intriguing but for which we have been unable to find a reason. "On motion it was voted that a committee of seven be appointed to arrange for the conferring of the Mount Moriah degree, the same to be held in the Town Hall at an early date in the Fall, proceeds to go toward the Building and Furnishing Fund." The committee appointed consisted of Worshipful Brothers George G. Genthner, Richard E. Daniels, Willie E. Whitney and Brothers William E. Johnson, John T. Johnson, Fred E. Thompson and Charles W. Wilson. The records for several months following this meeting have been searched, but no further mention of it is made.
Many will remember our late brother Noah Nason, who, with his father before him, had been a prominent merchant and also President of The Westboro Savings Bank. The record of the meeting of March 8, 1915 tells of his being escorted into the Lodge room by a committee for the purpose of presenting to the Lodge in behalf of his mother, Mrs. J. S. Nason, a beautiful U. S. flag and a standard appropriately inscribed. The National Anthem and America were sung by a quartet and Bro. Rev. Thomas C. Richards, Chaplain, made an address of acceptance and extended, on behalf of the Lodge, a vote of thanks to Mrs. Nason.
The observance of the 50th anniversary was noted at a special communication, June 27, 1917. A vote was passed on September 14, 1920 to increase the dues to $5 and the initiation fee to $50; also that Life Membership might be obtained for $100, but when the By-Laws were changed in October, the Life Membership figure was changed to $75.
The Eastern Star rent was raised to $160 per year in 1921.
The By-Laws were changed in 1922 dispensing with regular meetings in July and August.
In May of 1923 a committee was appointed to consider sponsoring an Order of DeMolay. The fruit of their labor will appear later in this history.
On May 21, 1923 there is a most pleasant report that the Master Mason degree was conferred on five candidates by officers and Past Masters of Meridian Lodge of Natick. There were one hundred and fifty brothers present. Wor. Master Burt Trook, who was recently called to the Celestial Lodge above, announced our officers would pay a return visit to Meridian on June 20.
Our Secretaries have done excellent work through the years in their recordings, but once in a while something appears that makes us wish it might have been elaborated upon. For instance, on May 14, 1923, a communication is recorded from Dresden Lodge No. 103 of Dresden Mills, Maine, offering for sale a gavel made from Maine wood at whatever price we wished to pay and it was proposed that at the next meeting a collection would be taken to purchase this gavel. However, at the June meeting Wor. Master Bro. Trook stated he would purchase the gavel and present it to the Lodge and a vote of thanks was extended to him. It would be interesting to know what prompted this action by the Maine Lodge.
The salary of the Secretary was raised to $100 in October 1923 and the membership then was 305. In March of 1924, it was proposed to raise the dues from $5 to $8 and the Life Membership fee from $75 to $120, but in April by amendment the dues were raised to $7 plus Grand Lodge dues, and Life Membership to $105 on the basis of 15 times the annual dues. For the next few years the membership fluctuated somewhat. In 1923 it was 305; in 1924, 308; in 1928 it was back to 303; in 1931 it was 304; in 1933 it had fallen to 283; in 1935 it was 269.
As a practical example of relief work, our present elder statesman among the Past Masters recalls that in the middle 20's and probably when the late Irving E. Walker was Master, a Brother who had moved to Ashburnham was stricken both physically and financially while he was attempting to make a home for his wife and young daughter. A group of Brothers went to Ashburnham two weekends in a row and made the place liveable. As a matter of fact, Worshipful Brother Laselle recalls the occasion very well because he and our late Brother, Burt Trook, had the assignment to build the chimney. After the recipient of this relief died, a group of us from the Lodge drove to Ashburnham at Christmas time for several years to help to brighten the season for his widow and daughter.
In June of 1926 a letter was read from U. S. Representative George R. Stobbs stating that he had sent to Siloam Lodge a photostatic copy from the original record book of the Masonic Lodge in Fredericksburg, Virginia, showing the dates that George Washington received his Fellow Craft and Master Mason degrees and the payment of his dues in connection with the same.
Release of jurisdiction was tendered on June 11, 1928 to the Shrewsbury Brothers in order that they might form a new Lodge to be known as the Matthew John Whittall Lodge.
On November 12, 1928, Siloam Lodge donated $200 to the Grand Lodge to be used in connection with Juniper Hall, the Masonic Hospital in Shrewsbury.
Our late Brother, Wor. Irving Everett Walker, on October 31, 1932, presented the Lodge with a gavel made from stone from the quarry under the City of Jerusalem where we are told the stone from King Solomon's Temple was hewn.
The year of 1938 started off on a somber note with the passing of our Junior Deacon, Bro. James K. Tufts, Jr., followed by a period of mourning for the remainder of the Masonic year.
In February of that year, the question arose whether or not to join the 38th Lodge of Instruction. A committee was appointed and it was decided to stay with the 39th.
In March, our Master was elected to serve on the Advisory Board of the Marlboro DeMolay Council as Westboro boys were served by that district.
Membership in August, 1938 was 242.
1938 was uneventful, but it was noted that banquets and collations were often provided by the Kendall Hotel or Holman Caterers, long since a part of history.
In November of 1940, it was voted that the matter of Thanksgiving for the needy members be left in the hands of the Junior Warden. In the same month, an onyx desk set was presented to Wor. Bro. Fred Thompson by Siloam Lodge in appreciation of 30 years of loyal service as Secretary.
At the installation of officers for 1941-1942, Wor. Bro. Roger W. Beaman presented his brother, Wor. Willard A. Beaman, the Past Master's jewel, it being the third jewel in the family.
At the onset of World War II, several interesting items were noted in the records. Donations were made to the Red Cross with the approval of the Grand Master. It was also voted that we offer the use of our quarters to the Air Raid Wardens if occasion required. It was also moved that the Trustees be authorized to take $3,500 from the relief fund and invest in Defense Bonds.
We were indeed proud to have Wor. Elmer W. Bennett appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the Natick 23rd Masonic District. A gala evening ensued on his first Fraternal visit to Siloam Lodge. He was presented with a Past District Deputy Grand Master's jewel by his uncle, R. W. Arthur Fairbanks, who had raised him to the Master Mason Degree and also had raised his father when the R. W. was the Senior Deacon. He also had the honor of installing the R. W. as Master of Siloam Lodge on two occasions.
In March of 1942, the question of our 75th Anniversary was discussed and it was decided to postpone any plans for the duration of the war.
In May of 1942, a Third Degree was conferred on three candidates. The work was well given and much enjoyed. However, it was interrupted by a blackout which lasted one-half hour.
Many members of Siloam Lodge served in the Armed Forces, as well as sons and relatives of members. Many returned in uniform to relate experiences and travels to the Brethren. Because of the war and the manpower shortage, Wor. Harold Perry was Master for two years, 1942 and 1943.
In June of 1944, the Master Mason Degree was conferred on three brothers all of the same family: Howard B. Uhlman. Ray P. Uhlman and John S. Uhlman; all raised by Senior Warden Edward L. Uhlman. The Past D. D. G. M., R. W. Thomas S. Roy of Worcester, delivered the charge. R.W. Bro. Roy later became Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts.
1945 and 1946 were uneventful.
In January 1947, the D. D. G. M. was present on a Fraternal visit to present a 50-year medal to Wor. Edward Brigham and it was noted "Oldest Pastmasters were present and pictures were taken." In April, Wor. Frank W. Winter was presented the Veteran's Medal and Bro. Robert Bramhall gave the charge to eighteen new Master Masons.
In February 1948, a Third Degree was performed on four candidates and there were 182 present at the banquet. Knowing our banquet hall, they must have shared each other's plate and silverware.
A note in April from the Masonic Associates reads, '"Owing to increased costs, we find it necessary to raise the rent for the quarters occupied by the Lodge to $100 as of May, 1948." No action was taken. In May, two changes in the By-Laws were proposed: Article VI, Life Membership #105, amended to read #200. Article VII, Annual Lodge dues $7 amended to read $8.
Also in May, the D. D. G. M. paid a Fraternal visit to present 50-year Veteran's medals to R.W. Arthur Fairbanks, William M. Buxton and Fred J. Proctor. R. W. Bro. Fairbanks and Bro. Buxton were both raised on the same night, April 24, 1899, as noted earlier in this history.
In November a motion was made and passed to appoint a committee to look into the purchase of the Keating Block and report back at the next meeting.
November also brought about the election of a new Secretary, Wor. Irving W. West. March 9, 1950 marked the passing of our Secretary Emeritus, Wor. Fred Thompson, who was 84 at his retirement as Secretary of Siloam Lodge.
In April of 1950, there was a Father and Son Night. Wor. Norman H. Bennett was raised by his father, R. W. Elmer W. Bennett, and assisted by his granduncle, R. W. Arthur Fairbanks. Bro. Paul B. Mason was raised by his father, Wor. J. Baron Mason.
On June 12, 1950, the Hiram Associates of Worcester, in costume, worked the Third Degree on one of our Scotch brothers and it was reported that the hall was so crowded some of the brothers were concerned regarding the strength of the floor construction.
In July, 1950, after much deliberation, it was voted to vacate the second floor club rooms by August due to increasing costs for rent and upkeep.
In September, a motion was made to destroy two moose-heads which were given the Lodge by Wor. Irving Walker, but was postponed till next meeting in hope that more members would be present to decide this important issue.
In February, 1953, a committee was appointed to investigate possible sites for Lodge quarters, Bro. Rev. Arthur Hanson, Chairman. Buildings and sites investigated were found unfavorable. It was suggested a corporation or association of Masons be established to develop plans for financing such a venture when something suitable could be found.
In June of 1953, a Third Degree was conducted, but the lobster supper scheduled for the evening was canceled due to the destruction caused by the June 9th tornado.
In May of 1954, Bro. Norman J. Stone was presented his 50-year Veteran's Medal from the hands of the Master who raised him 50 years before, Wor. Edward F. Brigham. Wor. Bro. Brigham died the following day.
On July 26, 1956, our Treasurer, Wor. James S. Hunter, was called by the Supreme Architect after serving his Lodge well.
During 1957, the Hall committee had the carpet repaired and worn spots replaced, tile placed in the anterooms and a new stove installed in the kitchen.
In January, 1958, Siloam was again honored by having Wor. Robie L. Palmer appointed D. D. G. M. of the Natick 23rd District and R. W. Elmer W. Bennett served as his Marshal.
In March of 1959, the Organ Fund goal having been reached, a committee consisting of Wor. Nathan Andrews, Wor. Wilfred Cochrane, Bro. Howard Achorn and Wor. Harold Perry, was appointed to purchase, equip and install an organ in the apartments of Siloam Lodge. This was done and presented on May 11, 1959.
In June, the Wor. Master appointed a committee to look into the possibility of forming a DeMolay Chapter in Westboro headed by R. W. Elmer Bennett and Bros. John Van Dam, Ray Gilbert, Jr., Walt Hardy and Kendrick Claflin. In February of 1961, the committee moved and it was voted to sponsor a chapter jointly with Franklin Lodge in Grafton and on March 13, 1961, Forbes-Rawson Chapter, Order of DeMolay was instituted and installation scheduled. R.W. Bro. Bennett was given a standing vote of thanks for the success of the project.
In April of 1961, discussions were once again started on the feasibility of new quarters for Siloam Lodge and the possibility of a joint Temple with Grafton and Shrewsbury. Early workers in this endeavor were Wor. Elwood Hennessey, Wor. Baron Crowell, Jr. and Wor. Herbert Barclay. This plan did not prove feasible.
In March of 1962, the sum of $250 was appropriated to retain an architect to study the present facilities and draw a sketch for complete renovation with estimated costs and finally in May a committee was appointed with our present Wor. Master as Chairman to set up an organization to buy a piece of land and proceed with the building of a Temple to house Siloam Lodge. In June, Siloam Masonic Association was incorporated. Membership in September 1962 was 397.
On January 12, 1964, R. W. Elmer W. Bennett was called to the Celestial Lodge above after a full and faithful Masonic life.
In 1966, we have seen the culmination of many years' efforts in the formulation of a working corporation and the fruits of these efforts in the purchase of new quarters for Siloam Lodge. The building was purchased from the Methodists and work began almost immediately to transform a church into the fruition of our dreams.
Our membership stands today at 411. There have been 77 Masters of whom 26 are still living. There have been five District Deputy Grand Masters, none of whom are living.
Siloam Lodge has had a successful, happy, stable and beneficial place in the Town of Westboro. Spared the ravages of time, Siloam Lodge will continue to travel into a memorable future guided by a history of stability, brotherhood, charity and service to the community and Masonry in general. Thus may we ever meet, act and part.
CONSECRATION AND HALL DEDICATION, JULY 1867
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXVI, No. 10, August 1867, Page 318:
At Westboro, Worcester County, this State, was duly constituted and its officers installed on Tuesday the 16th of July last, by the M.W. Grand Lodge. The hall was also dedicated. The ceremonies were private, and at the conclusion of them the Brethren sat down to an entertainment provided by the Lodge, and spent a pleasant hour in a social way.
The Lodge has been prosperous the past year, and has encouraging prospects before it. It is in good and competent hands and has the best wishes of the Grand Lodge for its future prosperity.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Elmer W. Bennett, DDGM, District 23 (Natick), 1942, 1943; N
- Carmen D. Borgia, DDGM, District 23 (Natick), 1998, 1999; Biography
- Adams Franklin Brown, DDGM, District 20 (Milford), 1891, 1892; SN
- John L. Carlson, DDGM, District 15 (South), 2021
- Stephen (Pat) Emery, DDGM, District 15 (South), 2017, 2018
- Arthur E. Fairbanks, DDGM, District 20 (Milford), 1910; District 23 (Milford), 1911; N
- Harry W. Kimball, DDGM, District 23 (Milford), 1926; District 23 (Natick), 1927; Memorial
- Robie L. Palmer, DDGM, District 23 (Natick), 1958, 1959; N
- Mark H. Smith, DDGM, District 23 (Natick), 1988, 1989