- 1 SOLEY LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 OTHER BROTHERS
- 2.9 DISTRICTS
- 2.10 LINKS
Chartered By: Charles A. Welch
Charter Date: 03/10/1880 1880-51
Precedence Date: 04/02/1879
- Horace P. Hemenway, 1879, 1880 (UD)
- John Viall, 1880, 1881
- J. Foster Clark, 1882, 1883
- Charles H. Crane, 1884, 1885; SN
- John F. Cole, 1886, 1887
- Amasa E. Southworth, 1888, 1889
- James F. Beard, 1890, 1891; Memorial
- George W. Perkins, 1892, 1893
- J. Walter Sanborn, 1894, 1895
- William H. Woodbury, 1896, 1897
- Albion H. Libbey, 1898, 1899
- Charles S. Soule, 1900, 1901; Memorial
- Joseph H. Murphy, 1902, 1903
- William H. Cushman, 1904, 1905
- Paul S. Burns, 1906, 1907; Memorial
- Arthur T. Cummings, 1908, 1909
- Elward B. Ladd, 1910, 1911
- Edmund W. Curtis, 1912, 1913
- Clarence A. Russell, 1914, 1915
- John A. Avery, 1916, 1917; Memorial
- Frank E. Porter, 1918, 1919
- Fred L. Moses, 1920, 1921
- Richard F. Churchill, 1922, 1923
- Charles E. Cole, 1924, 1925
- Albet R. Partridge, 1926, 1927
- Charles J. VanCor, 1928, 1929
- Alton A. Linnell, 1930, 1931
- Stephen C. Lang, 1932, 1933
- Charles C. Grimmons, 1934, 1935
- Irving Taylor, 1936, 1937
- Alfred C. Walton, 1938, 1939
- Willis H. Doe, 1940, 1941
- Herbert L. Tuttle, 1942, 1943
- Earle W. Perkins, 1944
- James E. Luke, 1945
- Robert A. Frazier, 1946, 1947
- Charles D. Coyle, 1948, 1949
- Reginald I. Bateman, 1950
- George W. Brigham, 1951
- John E. Eliott, 1952
- John H. Tomfohrde, 1953
- John Pollock, Jr., 1954
- Walter F. Woker, 1955, 1978
- Llewellyn F. Ralston, 1956
- Ralph W. Nogrady, 1957
- James E. Luke, Jr., 1958
- Arthur J. Williams, 1959, 1960
- Alfred C. Walton, 1961
- Joseph J. Yannizze, 1962
- Harold E. Lawson, 1963
- John W. Barber, Jr., 1964
- Thomas E. Bates, 1965
- Harold B. Knowles, Jr., 1966
- Lincoln C. Lawrence, 1967
- Donald L. Dawes, 1968
- Stanley J. Moszka, 1969
- Henry B. Castellon, 1970
- Lorne E. O'Keefe, 1971
- Steven W. Ziegler, 1972, 1977
- Joseph Dodd, 1973, 1974
- Rene E. Arnaud, Sr., 1975
- David L. Geoffrion, 1976
- Lloyd M. Perry, 1979, 1980
- Raymond W. Howe, 1981
- Kenneth J. Ray, 1982
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Dispensation: 1879
- Petition for Charter: 1880
- Consolidation Petition (with Joseph Warren Lodge): 1982
- 1899 (20th Anniversary)
- 1904 (25th Anniversary)
- 1929 (50th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1954 (75th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1979 (Centenary; Special Communication)
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1880 (Welch; Constitution of Lodge and installation; Special Communication; see below)
- 1888 (Endicott; Dedication of Somerville Masonic Hall; Special Communication)
- 1888 (Wells)
- 1898 (Hutchinson)
- 1899 (Hutchinson; 2 visits, including 20th Anniversary)
- 1901 (Gallagher)
- 1904 (Sanford; 25th Anniversary)
- 1908 (Blake; cornerstone laying of Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Somerville)
- 1909 (Flanders; see below)
- 1912 (Benton)
- 1914 (M. Johnson)
- 1916 (M. Johnson)
- 1919 (L. Abbott)
- 1921 (Prince)
- 1927 (Simpson)
- 1928 (Simpson; Veterans' Night)
- 1929 (H. Dean; 50th Anniversary)
- 1937 (Allen; reception for Senior Grand Deacon Charles O. Grimmons)
- 1947 (Wragg)
- 1954 (W. Johnson; 75th Anniversary)
- 1960 (Eaton; dedication of hall in Lincoln)
- 1967 (Booth; at Juniper Hall)
- 1979 (; Centenary and Hall Dedication)
- 1929 (50th Anniversary History, 1929-72; see below)
- 1954 (75th Anniversary History, 1954-61; see below)
- 1960 (Notes on removal to Lincoln, at hall dedication, 1960-213; see below)
- 1979 (Centenary History, 1979-54; see below)
50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, APRIL 1929
From Proceedings, Page 1929-72:
by Wor. Frank E. Porter.
Twenty-five years ago Soley Lodge entered upon a new stage of life, as conventions relative to epochs term it, with a heritage of a glorious past which it was to be the privilege of future officers and members to maintain; and we can almost.hear our Masonic forefathers breathing the message since become immortal when made manifest in words by the great poet of the World War:
"To you falling hands we throw
The torch. Be yours to hold it high!"
and speaking for their successors, I can answer
The torch ye threw to us we caught.
How we have carried it during the past twenty-five years is now a subject of discussion.
And so it is that, with some deprecation of the judgment of those who imposed this duty upon me, I try to continue the story of the achievements of Soley Lodge as a proud and perhaps not too modest member of this imperishable Order.
We know that our founders took the name of a great man and Mason; a Justice of the Peace when it meant more than to be merely a taker of acknowledgments; a successful and opulent merchant; a man of absolute probity and honor, and one who was imbued with a great and lasting interest in the community; a Grand Master, and one who devoted a large part of his life to the service of this ancient Craft. Such was John Soley, Most Worshipful Grand Master in 1826-7-8, one hundred years ago. We are, in a way, celebrating the one hundredth anniversary of the completion of his Grand Mastership as well as the fiftieth of our existence.
We know that Soley Lodge uttered its first official greeting to the world modestly over a stable, redolent with the rich odors of animals, and remained there until the present structure was built for them in 1888. There and here they wrought and prospered, and recently, with other Masonic bodies in Somerville, became joint owners of this Masonic Temple, where they still labor and prosper.
The Twenty-fifth Anniversary was held during the term of Wor. William H. Cushman, of worshipful memory, who was Master in 1903 and 1904. He it was of whom it was said that he wove all he knew of Masonry into every department of his Masonic work. A story of the first twenty-five years, and an account of the celebration of its completion, may still be obtained in limited numbers.
To present to you a history of twenty-five years of the full and eventful life of Soley Lodge is a task appalling to me, and I am sure its recitation would be not less so to you ; and I would arrogate to myself a stellar role of supreme importance, and attribute to you a most sublime patience, were I to undertake it. for one evening is not sufficient. I shall therefore just touch the high spots as I gather them from the records, without much personal comment.
As the writer perused the records showing the applications for and the conferring of the degrees, he was struck by the familiarity of the names, and was forcibly reminded of the rapid flighty of time, for those who were then first receiving light in Masonry are now receiving Life Membership Certificates. For instance, the writer taught the lectures to Bro. Charles L. Underhill in 1901, and recently handed to Bro. Underhill a Life Membership Certificate signed by him as Secretary. There have been many changes of allegiance, and many, many more have taken the hand of the Dark Angel of Death and hied themselves away to the better land, but Soley Lodge has grown and done yeoman's service in ways of charity and helpfulness which may not be detailed.
At the end of the year 1904 the membership of the Lodge was 516, the result of the pros and cons of twenty-five years. Wor. Bro. Cushman presided over its destinies for another year. That year saw the demise of Rt. Wor. Bro. Charles H. Crane, Master in 1883 to 1885, and a Mason with a great love for and wide knowledge of the Craft; and in 1905 Bro. Edward S. Conant departed. He was a Charter Member, and for over twenty-four years Treasurer of the Lodge. Incidentally, Bro. Charles A. Grimmons was elected to his place, and remained in office until he, too, met the Great Reaper in 1920.
Wor. Bro. Cushman was succeeded in 1905 by Wor. Bro. Paul S. Burns (now Rt. Worshipful by virtue of his distinction as District Deputy Grand Master for our District in 1914 and 1915), a man well skilled in Masonic art. At this time, too, appeared a new luminary in the Southeast corner. Bro. Mark Mecham succeeded Bro. Russell T. Chamberlain as Secretary, and began a term of office which ended upon his resignation in September, 1916, eleven years.
In 1906 Rev. Bro. Charles A. Skinner passed away, after serving as Chaplain for twenty-two years; and soon after, Wor. Bro. James F. Beard left us. He was Master in 1889 to 1891. Death loves shining marks.
In 1907, a proposition to erect a new Masonic Temple was broached, but it was too serious a matter and unfavorable action ensued, so we made many and important changes and improvements in these Apartments and stayed where we were.
It was in this year that portraits of Past Masters in various forms and sizes were removed from our walls and a system of uniform portraits adopted.
Also in this year two more of our Charter Members passed away — Bro. Henry F. Bowman, May 16, 1907, and Bro. Charles W. Sawyer, June 21st.
In September, 1907, Bro. Herbert L. Tuttle was selected as permanent Lecturer in place of the constantly-changing junior officers, and it was one of the best jobs we ever did. He still fills the position — and I say "fill" advisedly —a nd many there be who can bear witness to his faithful and efficient teaching of the spirit as well as the letter of Masonry.
Wor. Bro. Burns was succeeded by Wor. Bro. Arthur T. Cumings in 1907. One of his acts, concerning which there are two opinions, was appointing the writer Inside Sentinel.
In 1908, Soley Lodge, with the other Masonic bodies in Somerville, assisted the Grand Lodge in laying the cornerstone of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument on Central Hill. Bro. John M. Woods was Mayor.
In September, 1908, there was received a communication from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Virginia relating to the building of a structure which should be "in memory of our Most Ill. Brother George Washington," by Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4, Fredericksburg, Va. This was, I think, the first intimation of the thought which has since grown into the present great project, which we trust will soon blossom into glorious and complete realization. No record appears that it was taken seriously, although later, in 1911, a very small contribution was made. No one dreamed that it was more than a beautiful but ineffective gesture.
Death, aiming again at our fast-diminishing Charter List, selected Wor. Bro. J. Foster Clark,— Master in 1881 to 1883, ami our second Worshipful Master. For over fifty years he had been an interested, earnest, and enthusiastic Masonic worker.
In this year our Masonic Home al Charlton was dedicated to a precious purpose, and at a later date Soley Lodge furnished a room there.
The writer was impressed with the attendance figures about this time. At one meeting there were 128 members and 62 visitors; at another. 96 members and 70 visitors; at still another. 133 members and 168 visitors — and yet there seemed to be no special amusement provided. Our friends seemed to like to come, and we liked to have them.
Wor. Bro. Cumings was succeeded in 1909 by Wor. Bro. Edward B. Ladd—a good Ladd.
On November 15, 1909, was announced the death of that Grand Old Man of Masonry— Rt. Wor. Sereno D. Nickerson, Grand Secretary, who died November 6. 1909.
In September, 1910, Bro. Charles A. Grimmons presented to the Lodge a solid silver collection plate, and at his own request Wor; Bro. Amasa E. Southworth was permitted to christen it, which he did with a generous contribution, as has been done many times since.
In March, 1911, the American flag which bears Soley Lodge insignia in this room, was presented to us with impressive ceremonies. Its escort was six Grand Army Veterans, and the last, Bro. John H. Dusseault, was laid to rest last January.
In September, the Council reported that few calls for charity had been received, but that the time was approaching when the experience of old Lodges showed that the advancing years would call for more frequent financial assistance, and urged preparation, Never was prophecy more true, and we are happy to say that the wisdom and economy of our Forefathers has enabled us in these later years to respond amply to the calls.
Wor. Bro. Ladd was succeeded in 1911 by Wor. Bro. Edmund W. Curtis, and again wise and capable hands controlled our destiny.
Iii November of that year it was voted that Past Master's aprons be presented to each living Past Master, and that it be an established practice until otherwise ordered, and on September 16, 1912, the ceremony of investiture took place. .Since then Soley Lodge representatives have gone forth apparelled as such ones should be.
At the same meeting Most Worshipful Everett C. Benton, Grand Master, presented personally to the Lodge a gavel which he said was made from wood "felled and prepared in the forests of Lebanon" by Masons, and had never been handled by any other than Masons up to that moment.
Again the Dark Angel threw his shadow over us, and on March 23, 1913, took Bro. Aaron Sargent — a Charter Member and our first Secretary —a most faithful and enthusiastic Mason; and three days later, on the 26th, Wor. Bro. George W. Perkins — Master in 1891 to 1893 — left us to mourn his loss. He, too, was a faithful friend and brother; genial, courteous, dignified, esteemed, and loved by all.
Then, on August 21, 1913, Wor. Bro. Cushman died.
It is apt to be the sad duty of the historian of the second period of life to record the setting of those suns whom the historian of the first period knew as rising suns, but we are happy to say that the sunset was as beautiful as the sunrise, and the days between were days of usefulness and accomplishment.
Wor. Bro. Curtis was succeeded in 1913 by Wor. Bro. Clarence A. Russell, who came into a rich heritage of success and helpfulness from those who had gone before him, and he did not fail tradition.
Another Charter Member, and our Senior Past Master was called home on February 28, 1914 — Wor. Bro. Amasa E. Southworth. He was Master in 1887 to 1889, and it was during his term of office that our present Masonic Apartments were erected.
Wor. Bro. John E. Marden, a Past Master of King Solomon's Lodge, had been Tyler of Soley and other Masonic bodies for many years, and on February 15, 1915, was retired on a pension, but he did not long survive his retirement, and died on January 18, 1916. He had been a good and faithful servant. He was succeeded by Bro. Albertiss M. Caton, who has since guarded our outer door.
Wor. Bro. Russell was succeeded in 1915 by Wor. Bro. John A. Avery (now Rt. Worshipful by virtue of having been District Deputy Grand Master in 1924 and 1925). He had been for many years, and is now, Head Master of the Somerville High School, and a prominent and esteemed citizen.
On November 15, 1915, a stated sum was voted to be paid to the Board of Masonic Relief to make Soley Lodge contributions to the Masonic Home Fund, one hundred (100%) per cent; and it was also voted that "any money recovered from delinquents of the Lodge on this account shall be carried to the Reserve Fund of the Lodge."
Concluding his term of eleven years, Bro. Mark Mecham, on September 18, 1916, resigned as Secretary. He had been a faithful, careful official, and had the respect and confidence of all of his associates. He was unanimously elected to Honorary Membership. Bro. Charles J. Corwin succeeded him. and continued until September, 1925.
Another Charter Member passed away on September 20, 1916 — Bro. Sanford Hanscom. Thus do the leaves fall when winter comes.
On October 16, 1916, we were further reminded of the years that are passing when Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Master, made a fraternal visit and invested with Henry Price medals, Bros. Charles W. Kennard, Albert H. King, John H. Dusseault, William Franklin Hall, Charles W. Burbank, and William Taylor, who had been members of the Fraternity for over fifty years.
In 1917 the shadow of war, which had been threatening, fell upon us, and there was presaged the various contributions and ministrations of all organizations for the purpose of furthering preparedness and of relieving the distress which must follow. Of that, more later.
In addition to contributions, Soley Lodge now began a policy of purchasing Liberty bonds, which was continued with successive issues until a large part of our Reserve Fund was so invested. If the United States were to fail, Soley Lodge was ready and willing to fail with it. A great desire also was evinced among the young men to carry the square and compasses into the Great Adventure which loomed, and the summer vacation was made optional with the Council.
Wor. Bro. Avery was succeeded in 1917 by Wor. Bro. Frank K. Porter, whose duty largely was to bask in the reflected light of those worthy Masters who had gone before. and who had so ably and gracefully worn the mantle which now fell upon him.
Immediately followed action which was to become almost a habit — dispensation after dispensation was asked to work the degrees irregularly, owing to the war. And what a door it opened! Finally practically the only restriction was that 18 hours must elapse between the second and third degrees — otherwise the wishes of the boys must be served. It was not good, but could we refuse? We could not!
War loomed larger, and the clouds grew blacker. The Massachusetts Masonic War Relief Fund was established, and its importance was stressed. The Rainy Day Fund was continued. Sacrifice was necessary, and cheerfully borne. Use of coal was restricted. and only with much begging were we enabled to persuade the Fuel Commissioner to let us have heat on Monday night when the regulations said one night a week, and that Tuesday. The Grand Secretary will remember that he found us desolate one frigid evening.
But we must get on. Things came so fast that much is forgotten, but everybody was doing what and all they could.
In December 1917, another Charter Member responded to the last call — Bro. Hayden Sargent.
On April 15, 1918, the Master announced the death of Bro. Edward Ricker Wilson, who was killed in action in France—the first Somerville soldier to go West. He was not a Master Mason — only a Fellow Craft. He received orders to leave the evening he was to have been made a Master Mason, and was in camp. Appeals for leave of absence even for a little while were in vain to anyone below Governor McCall, and he was beyond reach, but the Lodge was kept open until word came that the troops had departed.
Times were chaotic. Our candidates were receiving their degrees through Masonic courtesy wherever they were stationed, and only in Pennsylvania was that courtesy refused. Bro. David C. Campbell (Dave Campbell, of Harvard Fame), training in tank service in Gettysburg, had to slip over the line to Emmetsburg, Maryland, where Acacia and Tyrian Lodges vied in welcoming the opportunity to serve him and us. Others received their degrees in Kansas City, Mo., Pensacola and St. Petersburg, Florida, and elsewhere.
One of our Brothers, Lieut. (now Captain) Francis Paine Brewer, was an officer on the S. S. President Lincoln when she was torpedoed. Others undoubtedly had adventures, but we have no record.
In all over forty of our members were in the service — Army, Navy, and Air.
On April 16, 1918, Wor. Bro. Joseph H. Murphy died. He was Master in 1901 to 1903. He was a great little man, as straight as a die, and beloved by all his associates.
On April 7,1919, ten years ago, we had a nice little birthday party. Soley Lodge was forty years old, and Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott lent his always gracious presence. We had five of our Charter Members present — Wor. Bro. Selwyn Z. Bowman, Bros. Charles C. Folsom, Charles W. Kennard, William F. Sanborn, and William Taylor — and each was presented with a medal commemorating his Charter Membership; and Wor. Bro. Bowman and Bros. Charles O. Strout and George O. Proctor were presented with Henry Price medals.
Wor. Bro. Porter was succeeded in 1919 by Wor. Bro. Fred L. Moses, and then a deluge, totally unforeseen, descended upon us and overwhelmed us. Lucky were we to have a Moses who should lead us through these parlous times. He started with three applications, and some doubts as to the future. His doubts were soon resolved, and the year ended with 80 candidates initiated, 79 passed and 67 raised, at ten regular and twenty-four special communications. There weren't Monday evenings enough at times, so we used whatever other evenings — any evenings — were available.
On December 15, 1919, we had a service members' evening, with appropriate exercises, and 36 service men were present.
On February 16, 1920, Bro. Charles A Grimmons, our trusted and tried Treasurer since 1905, presented to the Lodge a generous sum of money to be added to our Reserve Fund; and on May 13th was gathered to his fathers, full of honors as a business man. a civic servant and executive, and a true Mason, and one whom we sorely miss. Further sums were received under his will, showing his abiding love and thought for this Lodge. Wor. Bro. Curtis completed the year as Treasurer, and in September, 1920, Bro. George T. Everett was elected as his successor.
The second year of this administration, like the first, was a matter of solid work, with not much time for social amenities. There were 10 regular and 28 special communications, with 67 entered. 73 passed, and 89 raised. It needs no comment.
Nevertheless, one evening the wheels did somehow cease to go around for a moment, and the brethren relaxed to listen to Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince tell about his Canal Zone trip — and then the grind continued.
Wor. Bro. Moses is now Rt. Worshipful by two routes — one by reason of service as District Deputy Grand Master in 1922 and 1923, and one by virtue of his office as Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge in 1927 — the latter making him a permanent member of that body, the only one Soley Lodge ever had. Wor. Bro. Moses was also the first Past Master of Soley Lodge to receive Honorary Membership by the free suffrage of his brethren. Before that. Past Masters became Honorary Members under the bylaws.
He was succeeded by Wor. Bro. Richard P. Churchill, who had done yeoman's service during the preceding arduous years, and richly deserved promotion. His first official act was to present to Rt. Wor. Charles S. Soule and Rt. Wor. Paul S. Burns Past D. D. G. Masters' jewels, in memory of previous service.
In October, Bro. Edwin C. Dolliver, 76 years old, was presented with a Henry Price medal.
In April, 1923, Bro. Everett requested release from his duties as Treasurer, and Rt. Wor. Bro. Burns served as Acting Treasurer until September.
The work of these two years was arduous, but the peak had been passed, and normalcy loomed.
The Annual Report of the Trustees of the Reserve Fund reported $13,281.98 invested in Liberty Loans, and the Treasurer had $1,483.99 in Treasury Notes — a total of United States obligations of $14,765.97.
Bro. Ellwood Smith was elected Treasurer, and has since filled that office in a way to preserve the best traditions of treasury incumbents of Soley Lodge.
Fallowing Wor. Bro. Churchill in 1923 came Wor. Bro. Charles E. Cole, a good man and true, who took up the burden and achieved honor as he bore it.
The following March witnessed a gathering of eight D. D. G. Masters from seven districts, who first witnessed the bestowal upon Rt. Wor. Bro. .Moses of a D. D. G. Master's jewel, and then conducted the work of the evening. It was an inspiration to see those who have sat in the high places of the Craft again take up the gavel, the truncheons and the wands, and exemplify the fundamentals upon which the whole structure of Freemasonry is erected.
About this time the necessities of the Grand Lodge were laid before all the Lodges in the jurisdiction, and it seemed best that the Grand Lodge should be given sufficient funds to assume with dignity its place among its sister Grand Lodges, in its official status, its charities, and its overhead; and the project was almost unanimously endorsed, and this burden generally cheerfully assumed.
On September 17, 1924, two days after the Annual Communication, our Secretary, Bro. Charles J. Corwin, who had borne almost more than his share of the burden of those last few hectic years, suddenly sustained a shock which carried him to the very brink of the grave. He drew back, however, for a time, and hope revived for ultimate recovery, but he never again assumed the burden of this office, and died October 12, 1925. In this emergency your present Secretary was drafted for service as Acting Secretary, and in 1925 was elected Secretary.
The work of the Lodge was gradually assuming a reasonable aspect, and we hope that no such influx will ever again overwhelm the Craft.
Wor. Bro. Cole was succeeded in 1925 by Wor. Bro. Albert R. Partridge, a man with a high sense of duty and of sympathy.
A proposition to purchase the premises now occupied by us was presented to the Craft the latter part of 1925, but in such a form that it could not be considered by the lodges. Later, a body of Masonic-minded brethren had taken steps to save the proposition for future consideration, and in January, 1926, the proposition was overwhelmingly approved, and the purchase was made.
On May 17, 1926, an Old Timers' night was held, of those who had been members of Soley Lodge for 35 years or more, and 36, including 2 Charter Members, were present.
There was received at this time a letter from Wor. Bro. Channing Folsom, a Charter Member of Soley Lodge and then resident in Newmarket, N. H., with a record of continuous membership in one lodge or another since 1869. He was Junior Warden of Soley Lodge when he dimitted in 1882 to go to New Hampshire, was charter member and first Master of Moses Paul Lodge of Dover, N. H., and has had an honorable Masonic career in all the bodies of Masonry. He has attained civic honors as well.
The discovery of a Charter Member of whom we were unaware was a thing to be seriously considered, and after due deliberation and investigation, finding him eminently qualified in all respects, we proceeded to make him an Honorary Member, and so add one to our list of living Charter Members. He is a good many years young —say 81 or so — and is with us to-night.
At this time we were called upon to mourn the death of one who seemed always to be something of a direct contact with the great man from whom came our name—Bro. John Codman Soley, a grandson of John Soley and a member of Soley Lodge, who died August 14, 1926, in New Orleans, La., full of years.
But in February, 1927, we were presented by King Solomon's Lodge the original diploma given by King Solomon's Lodge to John Soley (then Junior), on March 30, 1791, 138 years ago, thus establishing another tie between Soley Lodge and John Soley. This courtesy was greatly appreciated.
Enough has been said about Rt. Wor. Fred L. .Moses to indicate that he is held in very respectable estimation by the Craft, and it is not a matter of the historian's personal feeling, but the record of the Lodge It remained for the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson, on March 14, D27, to cap the climax by presenting him with a Henry Price medal, not for having lived fifty years a Mason, but as a "Distinguished Mason." This immediately followed the bestowal upon Wor. Bro. Moses of a Junior Grand Warden's jewel by joint contribution of Soley and Samuel Crocker Lawrence Lodges, of which latter Lodge he is also Past Master.
Wor. Bro. Partridge was succeeded in 1927 by Wor. Charles J. Van Cor, the present incumbent, and in view of his modesty J will leave it to a future historian to record his virtues, which are many.
On December 19, 1927, and again on December 17, 1928, we were honored by having the vested choir of Grace Baptist Church, under the direction of our Organist, Bro. Frank D. Nuttell, and of the Pastor, Rev. William H. Dyas, come to our Lodge-room and sing their Christmas carols. It was most inspiring to have forty voices raised in worshipful songs of the Christmas time.
On April 16, 1928, Most Wor. Pro. Simpson again made us a fraternal visit, and conferred Veteran's Medals upon five brothers who had been for more than fifty years Masons in good standing: Pros. Charles W. Kennard, John J. P. Scott (who came from Biddeford, Maine, for this occasion), William F. Sanborn, Charles L. Eustis, and John H. Dusseault. At a later date a delegation visited Newmarket, N. H., and in the name of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and in the presence of the Master of Rising Star Lodge of Dover and several visitors, Wor. Bro. Van Cor bestowed upon Wor. Bro. Channing Folsom the Veteran's Medal.
On May 21, 1928, the Master announced that the Great Reaper had garnered in one of our most cherished Past Masters — Wor. Bro. Charles E. Cole. The quartette, some of whom were very close to Wor. Bro. Cole, sang the musical setting of Sam Walter Foss' poem, The House by the Side of the Road, as being particularly applicable to such a man as our departed Worshipful Brother.
On the same date, Rt. Wor. Bro. Crowell, D. D. G. M., was present and bestowed upon Bro. Charles C. Folsom. 88 years old, 58 years a Mason, a Charter Member and flrst Tyler of Soley Lodge, and Bro. Frederick E. Shepard, 80 years old and 55 years a Mason, as a younger to elder Brothers, Veteran's Medals, in the name of the Grand Lodge.
The Masonic year ending September 1, 1928, the present year not being concluded, showed a membership of 884, a gain of 368 in 24 years.
Wor. Bro. Van Cor assumed direction of the Lodge for another year, and it was his first sad duty in October to announce the death, on September 28, 1928, of Wor. Bro. William H. Woodberry, Master in 1895 to 1897. He was a good man and true, and served with honor to himself, to the betterment of the Lodge and to the credit of the Craft. He mIso achieved civic honors, and was a much respected and esteemed public servant. He had been a Mason for 49 years, having been raised in Soley Lodge immediately after its institution.
It was also the Master's duty to announce at the same time the death, on September 30, 1928, of R. W. Bro. Selwyn Z. Bowman, Past Master of John Abbot Lodge and Charter Member No. One of Soley Lodge. Bro. Bowman was District Deputy Grand Master in 1873 and again in 1878. Wor. Bro. Bowman, too, had achieved high honor in this city, in civic and Masonic circles, and his sun set upon a life of usefulness and honor.
We have now 4 Charter Members living: Bros. Channing Folsom, Charles W. Kennard, Wm, F. Sanborn, Charles C. Folsom. Bro. John H. Dusseault, whom we have heard of several times during this recitation, passed away on January 5, 1929. He was one of our Veterans, and was made a Mason in Army Lodge No. 8, in 1864 — 64 years a Mason.
So far in the year, since September 1, 1929, 19 of our Brethren have entered into that bourne whence no traveller returns, but we like to think that they are but
"Knitting severed friendships
Where partings are no more."
And so we conclude our story of this period of the life of Soley Lodge. Many years ago I concluded a day of photographing in Lexington and Concord by a general view of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, and the results were mounted so that it came, as it was taken, last. It was commented upon, but my answer was that it was the natural conclusion. And so, if this story be largely a record of physical death, it is but a natural conclusion. In the beginning, as Entered Apprentices, we struck out full of life and health and hope and promise of success, to achieve knowledge, and gather material for the Temple; then, in manhood, as Fellowcrafts, we have sought to make use of that knowledge, and lay our brick and our stone and our timbers faithfully and honestly, and cemented in true Masonic fashion; and now, as Master Masons, we look back and enjoy the happy reflections that come with age. upon promises fulfilled; of success (perhaps not altogether material) achieved; of joys and sorrows which blend into the lights and shades of the perfect picture. We have striven for worthy principles, and have seen exemplified loyalty and faithfulness unto death—and this is success. We have a longer and a larger history which cannot be written and never will be—of charity in thought and deed, as well as money; of love and sympathy; of care for the wounded in spirit as well as body—all this is success.
And God grant that this spirit shall ever prevail!
75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, APRIL 1954
From Proceedings, Page 1954-61:
By Worshipful Alfred C. Walton.
Seventy-five years ago April 2, 1879, after having completed the necessary petitions and formalities, an application was granted by the Grand Lodge and the first regular communication of the Soley Lodge was held on the third Monday in May, May 19, 1879. Forty-eight Masons were listed as its charter members, and its first Worshipful Master was Dr. Horace P. Hemenway.
In 1879 only one Masonic Lodge existed in Somerville, John Abbot Lodge, situated in Union Square. Although well equipped and doing good work, it could not satisfy in those days of more difficult transportation the growing desire of men living in Winter Hill and East Somerville for more conveniently located Masonic accommodation. Bro. Charles Powers is credited as being the first Mason to suggest to some of his neighbors in East Somerville the possibility of another Lodge, and the preliminary meetings concerning the institution of the Lodge were held in his parlor, which was located at the corner of Mt. Vernon and Pearl Streets. Subsequent meetings were held in Hadley Hall, which was situated on the northeast side of Broadway nearly opposite Mt. Vernon Street.
Such records as we have concerning him reveal that he was a gentleman of ample means and large benevolence and was highly esteemed by his fellow citizens for his many good qualities, a Justice of the Peace in the days when the holder of the office was more than the taker of occasional oaths and acknowledgments. Generally taking an active part in the affairs of the town, no man stood higher in the esteem of his fellows than did John Soley. He was Master of King Solomon's Lodge in the years 1794, 1795 and 1796 and was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in the years 1826, 1827 and 1828. He presided as Grand Master about the time of the so-called Morgan Expose, and his wise judgment did much to keep Massachusetts Masonry on an even keel during those troubled times.
The early meetings of Soley Lodge were held in the apartments on the corner of Broadway and Franklin Street, which were thereafter designated as Franklin Hall. It was a very modest beginning. The apartments were over a stable, which somewhat detracted from the enjoyment of the work on warm evenings; but there the Lodge remained and prospered until the present structure was built in 1888.
A 25th anniversary celebration was held during the term of Wor. William H. Cushman in 1904, and a 50th anniversary was observed during the term of Wor. Charles J. Van Cor on Monday evening, April 8, 1929. On the latter occasion there were still four living charter members, three of whom were present to serve on the committee to receive the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Herbert W. Dean. On each occasion the history of our Lodge was read, and the proceedings of our 25th anniversary were duly printed and distributed to the members.
When Soley Lodge was organized, it became the second Blue Lodge in the territorial jurisdiction of Somerville. Since its organization, a growing population and the shift of population from Charlestown to Somerville has brought to the City our ancient sister Lodge, King Solomon's Lodge, also two younger Lodges, Somerville Lodge and, more lately, Freedom Lodge, have been instituted.
At our 50th anniversary we felt that the great war was well behind us and that we might be looking forward to an era of prosperity. Of all our seventy-five years, the last twenty-five indeed have been lived in a distracted world, for shortly after our 50th anniversary we were to know a great economic depression and still later the world's greatest war.
September 1929, the late and beloved Wor. Alton A. Linnell was installed Master of Soley Lodge, and together with his Wardens, Wor. and Rev. Stephen C. Lang and the late Wor. Charles C. Grimmons, the Lodge began a six-year struggle with an economic depression and its resultant effects on our Lodge. Our Lodge not only had to confront and solve financial problems caused by a diminishing list of applicants, but also meet increasing requests for Masonic charity. Yet during this time attendance remained constant, and there was always some work at each meeting. Increasingly our records during this period show that dues of many members were remitted for fraternal reasons without names' being read. What does not show in our records and what no printed page can convey is the spirit of devotion to principles of Masonic charity which Wor. Bro. Linnell and his Wardens, who later became Masters, displayed throughout these trying years. Calls for assistance of all sorts were answered at all hours of the day and night, and the charity funds of the Lodge were carefully and wisely spent. It seems appropriate to the writer here to record that of his own knowledge on many occasions emergencies were met from the pocket of these Masters, who many times received no reimbursement. The writer especially believes that at this point the records of our Lodge should contain a public acknowledgment of the generosity of Wor. Bro. Grimmons, not only for his gifts to his Brethren and the Lodge during his years of leadership when they were given modestly with a stern insistence that neither the Lodge nor the recipient should know the identity of the donor, but also for the expression of affection manifested in his generous bequest to our Lodge.
Wor. Bro. Grimmons' service to Masonry was not without recognition during his life. On February 15, 1937, we celebrated a "Charlie" Grimmons Night when due acknowledgment was made of the appointment of Wor. Bro. Grimmons as Senior Grand Deacon. On that occasion, we entertained Most Worshipful Claude L. Allen and many of the members of the Grand Lodge.
An idea of our problems and how they were met may be had from the following quotation in the report of the Council of 1932 when Rev. Bro. Stephen C. Lang was Master:
Among the beneficiaries were five sisters all beyond mid-life, two of whom have for years been invalids; in another home is a Mason's widow, who has arthritis, and on her depend a minor child and her mother; another widow with arthritis; an orphaned boy; two aged widows, one an invalid of eighty-six, the other in better health at eighty; a member who is a mechanic had a broken wrist, with a wife and four children dependent upon him for support; we secured Old Age Assistance for a widow of eighty; Christmas cheer to a member with a small pension, who is handicapped with one leg amputated; seven of our members have seen good days but this year have asked for assistance; thrice we were asked to assist when death came; now these are only the major items of relief and we recite them so you may get an idea of what is done in your name.
In 1930, $2,381.94 was spent for charity alone. During these years there were frequent drafts on the reserve and regular funds of our Lodge to meet our charitable requirements. At no time during this period did Soley Locige apply to the Grand Lodge for any assistance.
The beginning of the administration of Wor. Irving Taylor found charitable calls had diminished to a point where the Master thought that regular funds might again be used for regular purposes. Consequently, the next four years saw a period of increased membership, attendance and many novel programs.
We abolished automatic life memberships in 1938 without breaking faith with those Brothers who had anticipated such membership at the time of their joining. In a few years now our Masters will no longer be concerned with the financial cares of carrying on with a membership that at times is not even fifty percent contributing.
April 6, 1943, Wor. Herbert L. Tuttle, who for over twenty-five years had been the Lecturer of Soley Lodge and at the time of his death was its presiding Master, died after concluding some remarks during a visitation at John Abbot Lodge. His loss was keenly felt by the Lodge and as a personal one by most of its members, for at the time of his death he had instructed as candidates most of its members. His talks in Lodges of Instruction and at the Masonic gatherings were noted for their simplicity, information and deep sincerity. Wor. Earl W. Perkins, Senior Warden, assumed the East and the officers of the Lodge closed ranks, and our year was brought to a close under the direction of Wor. Bro. Perkins in a manner which we felt reflected credit on our leader who had gone before.
A few years later sorrow again was experienced in Soley Lodge when Wor. Reginald Irving Bateman, who had served faithfully and with distinction as a line officer and as Senior and Junior Wardens, died January 10, 1950, never having been able to preside in the lodge-room. Again the officers of the Lodge advanced a station, and under the energetic leadership of Wor. George E. Brigham, Soley Lodge continued its work.
During the past twenty-five years there have been many meetings and programs which have been memorable to the members present. These are so numerous that time will not permit to mention all of them, but note might be made here of the evening of March 31, 1947, when Most Worshipful Samuel H. Wragg, then the presiding Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, in a fraternal visit, conferred Veterans' Medals on six of our Brethren and raised Bro. Richard Irving Sherman, son of our member, Hon. Bro. Philip Sherman, a former associate of the Grand Master when both were in the legislature. An enjoyable feature of the evening was the pleasant talk delivered by the Grand Master in his inimitable, genial style. The success of the evening was in no small measure due to the efficient functioning of the Grand Marshal, who at that time was Right Worshipful Whitfield W. Johnson.
Our 25th anniversary historian, Wor. James F. Beard, wrote a history consisting of thirty closely printed pages. Its concluding paragraphs speak with frankness of the success of the Lodge. The historian points with pride and in detail to its rapid growth, its then large and distinguished membership. Among other significant sentences is the following: "The Lodge owes not a little of its success to the fact that the finances have never been any care to the Council." Truly this was youth expanding its chest and flexing its muscles.
Our 50th anniversary history is some twenty-one pages of typewritten material, composed by Wor. Frank E. Porter, who records the events of the preceding twenty-five years with not quite as much detail. Flis history concludes on a note somewhat more subdued than that of Wor. Bro. Beard. He says: "We have striven for worthy principles, and have seen exemplified loyalty and faithfulness unto death, and this is success. We have a longer and a larger history which cannot be written and never will be, of charity in thought and deed, as well as money; of love and sympathy; of care for the wounded in spirit as well as body. All this is success."
It is interesting to note that tonight the historian records seventy-five years on somewhat less than half the pages used by Wor. Bro. Porter. No mention is made herein of specific events during the administrations of Wor. Brother Willis H. Doe, James E. Luke, Robert A. Frazier, Charles D. Coyle, John E. Elliott, and John H. Tomfohrde. This is not that events of significance to the Lodge were not happening during their terms, and certainly it is not that these Worshipful Brothers are not held in equal affection and esteem with all others who have occupied the Oriental Chair in Soley Lodge. The brevity of this history and these omissions are attributable to the busy pace at which we live today. We find that on such an occasion as this we no longer recite the minutiae of our history, but trust that these few highlights will serve our members as a stimulus to recall other significant and pleasant events of the past twenty-five years. Evidence that even Masonically we live at an accelerated pace is found in the fact that for four years now our Masters have served terms of but one year.
As we come to the conclusion of seventy-five years of existence, we are confronted with many factors which our predecessors might have found discouraging. Although we have had and still do have distinguished members, we no longer can say with our first historian that our current membership includes many who have been mayors, senators and other high public officials. It has been many years since a Brother has held the office of mayor and quite a few years since any Mason has received an elective office in this City.
Yet withal, we have met; we have worked; and the quality of our Masonry has been such as to commend itself to sufficient members of the community as to provide us for the most part with work for every meeting. We have furnished fraternal spirit and communion to our members and to visitors within our Lodge, and we have fulfilled without assistance our charitable obligations.
We now look forward to the final quarter of our first century of existence. We do not flex our muscles with the strength and pride of youth, neither do we express our satisfaction in quite the exalted language of twenty-five years ago. Here tonight, at the conclusion of seventy-five years, rather do we believe our history expresses a quiet assurance that our cornerstone was well and truly laid. Although the ebb and flow of economic tides, dislocations of war and rumors of war have passed over us and may pass over us again, yet, withal in this place, we know that the ancient landmarks are firmly planted and clearly visible for those who shall come after us.
NOTES AT HALL DEDICATION, NOVEMBER 1960
From Proceedings, 1960-213:
The removal of Soley Lodge, A.F. & A.M., from the City of Somerville, where it was instituted April 2, 1879, to the Town of Lincoln, is a part of the suburban growth of greater Boston.
Originally organized by Brethren who were members of John Abbot Lodge to meet the need for another Blue Lodge in the then growing City of Somerville, Soley Lodge prospered as did two other Blue Lodges later organized in the same City in more recent years.
The industralization of Somerville and the reduction of its population has resulted in Somerville's having more Lodges than are required to serve the Masons of that City. Some years ago the Past Masters of Soley Lodge began to. cast around in their minds for ideas as to a suitable relocation of the Soley charter.
In the second year of the administration of Wor. Arthur J. Williams, it was learned that certain Brethren of Lincoln were interested in instituting a new Lodge or having a Lodge move to Lincoln. Meetings of interested parties were arranged by Wor. Bro. Williams and a representative group of the Past Masters of Soley Lodge waited upon Most Worshipful Laurence E. Eaton and informed him of the discussions and their desire to move to Lincoln. The suggestions of these Brethren were received sympathetically by the Grand Master and every assistance was a'forded by him and his office in executing the necessary formalities and facilitating the presentation of Soley's request at the June communication of the Grand Lodge this year. A full and frank discussion of all features of the proposed move was had at the May meeting of the Lodge. Although the remarks of the Brethren were tinged with regret at the prospect of leaving the apartments where they had first discovered the beauties of Masonry, the proposal nevertheless was unanimously adopted. The approval of the Grand Lodge followed and the serious and complicated business of moving was upon us. Throughout this entire period the officers were much aided by Bro. Warren D. Russell, who, for so many years has been our Tyler and who graciously volunteered his services for this year of resettlement.
The friendly and cooperative spirit of the Trustees of Farrington Memorial Inc., many of whom are Masons, contributed much to the establishment of the present comfortable, if somewhat snug, quarters. A most important and inspiring feature of the change of location has been the splendid revival of Masonic spirit manifested by our members and the fraternal zeal of our newly-affiliated local members. A remarkable example of the spirit of "who best can work and best agree" has been evoked by a common desire of the Brethren that Masonry as represented by Soley Lodge should be presented in its new location in the best possible light.
CENTENARY HISTORY, APRIL 1979
From Proceedings, Page 1979-54:
History of Soley Lodge, From 1954 to 1979, by Worshipful David L. Geoffrion.
(For the history of Soley Lodge covering the earlier periods, please refer to: 1929 Mass. 72 - 91; 1954 Mass. 61-67.)
The 75th Anniversary celebration was particularly well attended. It was held on Monday evening, April 12, 1954, in Gilman Square apartments and over 200 Masons enjoyed a delicious meal and the festivities of the evening. Soley Lodge was honored to have the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Whitfield W. Johnson, and his distinguished suite of Masons in attendance. Most Worshipful Brother Johnson delivered the keynote address and also presented Veterans' Medats to several of the Brethren, with six being so entitled. Worshipful Alfred C. Walton, the Presiding Master presented a historical sketch, which concluded:
"We now look forward to the final quarter of our first century of existence. We do not flex our muscles with the strength and pride of youth, neither do we express our satisfaction in quite the exalted language of 25 years ago. Here, tonight at the conclusion of 75 years rather do we believe our history expresses a quiet assurance that our cornerstone was well and truly laid . . . "
Thus we passed through our diamond jubilee and pressed forward in our business looking thus toward our centennial.
The diamond jubilee year ended with a membership of 423, after having conferred five degrees and admitted two affiliates. The meetings were consistently attended and continued to be so through the next few years, with an average attendance offrom 40 to 50 at each communication. It is worthy of note that Brethren of Soley Lodge were then active in the expansion of Freemasonry., as well as our Brethren in the last century. Brothers Chester Bradley and Edward Doland of Soley Lodge were Charter Members of Simonds Lodge of Burlington, which was instituted in 1955.
Ar a reminder that the Lodge continues its 75th year, in June 1956 the Lodge held an Old Timers' Night recognizing those who had contributed so much over the past years. Worshipful Brother Alfred C. Walton read the roll of the living Brethren who joined from 1891 to 1931; 290 in all. Many were present at the meeting and gave talks and shared anecdotes ofthe past. The oldest brother present, Brother A.E. Goldsmith, was recognized and presented a Masonic Bible by Worshipful Master Llewellyn Ralston.
1957 saw the installation of Worshipful James Luke, Jr., by his father, Worshipful James E. Luke, Sr., a Past Master of Soley Lodge who served from 1944 to 1945. Worshipful Brother Luke, Sr. remained active in Lodge affairs and was the mastermind and organizer of our annual picnic at the Masonic Nursing Home in Shrewsbury, an affair enjoyed by the Brethren and the residents of the home alike.
In 1958 Brother Arthur J. Williams was installed as Master of Soley Lodge, and presented a gavel crafted from the original timbers of the Old North Bridge in Concord. This was a significant gift for Brother Williams, for he had directed the reconstruction of the bridge.
However, all was not rosy for the Lodge during those times. The financial expenses continued to mount year after year, with rent on the Lodge hall alone running some $1800. per year. This resulted in a continuing depletion of the Reserve Fund to take care of current expenses. Something had to be done and the Brethren were looking for a solution. The Lincoln Square and Cornpass Club was having discussions relative to instituting a new Lodge or having a Lodge move into Lincoln. It appeared that a solution to both parties' problems might be at hand.
Through the efforts of many people, including Worshipful Arthur Williams and Worshipful Harold Lawson, Past Master of Corinthian Lodge and President of the Lincoln Square and Compass Club, the two organizations met a number of times and it was jointly agreed that a move of Soley Lodge to Lincoln would be advantageous.
At the meeting of May 16, 1960, Worshipful Charles Van Cor, our senior Past Master, representing the committee of Past Masters, made a proposal that Soley Lodge petition the Grand Lodge to change the location of its Charter from Somerville to Lincoln. The proposal was approved, and the petition was sent. The Worshipful Master and several Past Masters discussed the move with Most Worshipful Laurence E. Eaton, Grand Master and after presentation to Grand Lodge, the petition was approved.
Much needed to be done. It was agreed that the move would take place in August of 1960, and arrangements were readied for the frrst meeting to be held in Lincoln in September of that year. Worshipful Harold Lawson located a meeting place at the Farrington Memorial Hall in Lincoln, and through the efforts of many people, and through the friendly cooperative spirit of the Farrington, it was arranged. The first meeting was held there September 19, 1960. The room was small and snug, and had to be set up for every meeting, but it served the needs adequately.
The new Lodge room was properly dedicated on November 21, 1960 by Most Worshipful Laurence E. Eaton, Grand Master and the Grand Lodge Officers in a very solemn and impressive ceremony. (1960 Mass. 212-216) To start the Lodge many gifts were presented by Brethren and friends. We were now in our new home, had a membership now of the Lodge from Somerville and the Lincoln Square and Compass Club, and were instilled with a new vigor to go forwaid through the sixties. During that first year, Soley Lodge had five Brethren complete the degrees and had thirteen affiliations, ending the 1961 year with a membership of 373.
January 16, 1961 saw the first candidate raised in Lincoln. Stanley J. Moszka was raised on this particularly auspicious occasion by Worshipful Harold Lawson and a degree team from the old Lincoln Square and Compass Club in recognition of their efforts in making it possible for Soley Lodge to move to Lincoln. Brother Moszka went on to become Master of Soley Lodge during 1968-1969.
As was said earlier, the Farrington was snug. When it became known that the venture was to succeed, a committee was formed in December 1961 to study a way to form a club or association for constructing or otherwise obtaining a building or a Temple for Soley Lodge. This committee consisted of Chairman Worshipful Harold Lawson; Worshipful John Barber, Jr, Secretary; Brother Charles Owen, Treasurer; Worshipful Alfred Walton, Legal; and Worshipful Earle Perkins. The committee went on to become the Builder's Club of Lincoln, Inc.
During 1962 and 1963, many fund raisers were conducted to raise money for the new Temple, including field days, pancake suppers, temple banks, coins and bricks. This was a busy time for the Lodge not only in its building activities, but in its Lodge activities as well. In those two years, the Lodge saw seventeen candidates and eleven affiliates and reinstatements. Meetings were attended by an average of over forty men per meeting.
During this time it became known to Worshipful Brother Lawson that the Town of Lincoln was vacating the oldest school in Lincoln, known as the "Little Red Schoolhouse", which was owned by the Ogden Codman Estate. Negotiations were immediately conducted with the estate and with the help of many Brethren, with Worshipful Henry Warder acting as broker, negotiations were completed on June 28, 1963.
Much work had to be done on the building to ready it for Lodge activities. This was accomplished and on October 21, 1963 the first meeting was held in our new Lodge room in the Little Red Schoolhouse, with Worshipful John Barber, Jr. in the East.
Through that year of 1964, activity was again heavy with six Brethren completing the degrees and with eight affiliations. During this year, more gifts were presented to the Lodge: a six foot square and compass which hangs on the front of our building, constructed and donated by Worshipful Earle Perkins; the Masonic Temple sign on our building was donated by a non-Masonic gentleman from the Town of Lincoln; the Officers' chairs were given by Brother Winston Johnson and the Third Degree emblems were made and presented to the Lodge by Worshipful John Barber, Jr. Brother Barber also presented the travelling aprons for the Officers and pictures to adorn the Lodge.
Over the next three years, the Lodge raised another eight candidates and had five affiliations. Through deaths and other events, the membership had decreased to 308 at the end of 1967.
December 1967 saw the death of another Brother who was a descendant of John Soley. Brother Emerson P. Marsh, Lieutenant of Boston Police, died at the age of 88, a fifty year veteran and life member.
September 1968 saw the gift which added much to the proceedings of future communications. Prior to that time, the music to accompany the floor work and otherwise contribute to the evening, was played on an old upright piano which, according to some, was fickle with respect to tune. Realizing this, and through his generosity, Brother Fred Adams presented Soley Lodge with a beautiful Hammond organ. During the following ten years, our Organist, Brother Joseph Stanley, has made good use of it to the pleasure of all our Brethren.
September 1968 also saw Worshipful Donald Dawes present three nice cases for the traveling aprons of the first three officers. We ended the decade comfortably in our new quarters with an additional four brethren completing the degrees and nine affiliations.
The seventies saw a decline in membership for the Lodge, along with similar declines through organized groups of many types. This decline can be attributed to many causes, most of which are known to you. Migration to the suburbs and the associated longer hours at work attributed to commuting, the quickened pace of everyday life, and the competition of major sporting and theatrical events on television. Nonetheless, the membership that was active during the seventies provided good fellowship, and visitors to Soley Lodge always remarked about the friendship and warm feeling of the Lodge toward them. Many have come back again and again, despite long distances to travel. Even with the general decline, Soley Lodge raised eight Master Masons and voted on affiliations and reinstatements of nine more.
The seventies also saw many improvements in the Lodge building. In 1972, Worshipful Joseph Dodd, during his tenure as Master, was instrumental in having the kitchen relocated from the cold, damp cellar to the first floor adjacent to the dining room. In fact, much of the work was done by his hands. Several other Brethren assisted and this effort was completed entirely by Lodge Brethren. Donations of the refrigerator by Worshipfui Oarrla Geoffriori and the stove by Worshipful Steven Zeigler were made also during that time. In 1975, the Lodge was completely redecorated with paneling, dropped ceiling, chandeliers, and new wiring. The paneling and much of the other work was done by Worshipful Brothers Joseph Dodd, Rene Arnaud, David Geoffrion, and Brother Thomas Norton. Pictures of the George Washington era were donated by Worshipful Henry Warner and now hang in our dining room. These efforts transformed the apartments from a schoolhouse with blackboards and chalk trays still visible to a paneled Lodge room. 1979 saw the laying of a new carpet in the Lodge room and the re-upholstering of the Officers' chairs.
Worshipful Lloyd Perry suggested the carpet and personally did over the chairs. Worshipful Rene Arnaud suggested that the Brethren donate a square of the carpet in the name of a departed Brother and a plaque now hangs in the Lodge commemorating this as the Worshipful John Barber, Jr. Memorial Carpet Plaque. The names of other remembered Brethren are also contained on the plaque.
On June 15, 1975, as part of our country's Bicentennial Celebration, Grand Lodge conducted a parade throughout Charlestown to Bunker Hill. Masons from all over the state participated in this significant event and Soley Lodge was well represented.
In keeping with our country's Bicentennial theme, during the April 1976 fraternal visitation of our District Deputy, Right Worshipful Willis B. Whalen, 200 years from the battle of Lexington and Concord, the Lodge was entertained by the Sudbury Company Militia. There was an overflow crowd at our small country Lodge and a memorable time was had by all. During this evening, also, Right Worshipful Brother Whalen presented a Fifty Year Veterans' Medal to Worshipful Alfred C. Walton, our senior Past Master.
Many of the Brethren, I am sure, will remember the flea market Soley Lodge held in 1977 , as much a social get-together as everything else. This was spearheaded by our Secretary, Brother Elmer Ziegler, and many of the Brethren participated or socialized that day.
Another event that has recently been initiated has been the June, (renamed the June/September) Bar-B-Q. This was going to be an annual June event, but it turned out so well that we now hold it in June and September of each year. The attendance has been growing with each event and the guest list contains people from farther away each time. This looks to be a regular part of Soley Lodge and should continue for a long time to come.
Thus, we have come a long way in this short treatise into the Lodge history to 1979. I trust it has jogged the memories of those who have been with Soley Lodge for some time and has given new Brethren and other interested Masons a glimpse into the first hundred years of Soley Lodge.
- 1922 (Petition to reduce fees to conform to a uniform rate established by the lodges in Somerville; approved.)
- 1952 (Somerville parade to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Washington's initiation)
- 1960 (Petition to remove to Lincoln; granted)
CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, APRIL 1880
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. IV, No. 1, April 1880, Page 31:
The M. W. Grand Master, Charles A. Welch, with officers of the Grand Lodge, visited East Somerville, where Soley Lodge has worked the required time U. D, and constituted it into a regular lodge, with all the rights and privileges it can hold under or by authority of a charter. The brethren of this Lodge have secured convenient apartments, and are in good condition to do the work of the craft, and for this they were complimented by the Grand Master. The rooms on this occasion were tested to their full capacity, the Charter members alone numbering forty-eight. The Master and Wardens are Horace P. Hemenway, John Viall, and H. F. Woods. At the close of the official ceremonies a collation was served, to which all present were invited by the Master of Soley Lodge.
GRAND MASTER VISIT, APRIL 1909
From New England Craftsman, Vol. IV, No. 8, May 1909, Page 300:
Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders, Grand Master of Massachusetts, made a fraternal visit to Soley Lodge, Somerville, Mass., Monday, April 19th. He was attended by a suite of more than 60. Worshipful Master Cummings extended a cordial greeting to the Grand Master and other guests. During the evening Grand Master Flanders embraced the opportunity of presenting the claims of the Masonic Home, saying in part:
"I understand that you are doing your share toward the Masonic home, and that all the lodges in the state are doing what they can for those immediately around them. Bat there have been others who have not thus been reached and it is for us, therefore, to establish a home and endow it. My predecessor created such an interest by his two years of hard work-that the Grand Lodge was able, last December, to purchase a large property.
"Now if I can inspire the Masons of Massachusetts to give an endowment sufficient for its maintenance I shall think I have done something in the line of my duty. I can assure you that the home will be opened as soon as we have $200,000 — less than $5 for each Mason — which is certainly not any great sacrifice, and I believe it will be given speedily.
"Homes in other states have been given from the friends of the Grand and subordinate lodges, but we should build and maintain ours from the free gifts of every one of the 55,000 Masons in the state."
Past Grand Master Blake followed, saying that the main question about the home had been settled, and what remains is the maintenance. The man who gives quickly gives twice, and there is need of quick work.
Before the lodge closed, Past Master John Edward Marden, the Tyler, was summoned inside, and when he had approached the Master, the latter saluted him with a message of love from the lodge and presented him a beautifully engraved Tyler's jewel of solid gold in token of the brotherly ove and esteem of the members.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- John A. Avery, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1925, 1926; Memorial
- James F. Beard, Grand Lodge Auditor; Memorial
- Paul S. Burns, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1915, 1916; Memorial
- Charles H. Crane, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889; SN
- Fred L. Moses, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1923, 1924; Senior Grand Warden 1928
- Charles S. Soule, DDGM, District 6 (Somerville), 1902, 1903; Memorial
- James Franklin Beard, Memorial
- J. Foster Clark, Memorial
- Oliver J. Davis, Memorial
- Leander M. Haskins, Memorial
- Abbott L. Knowles, Memorial
- George W. Perkins, Memorial