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Location: Groton; Ayer (1871); Ashby () Gardner (2012)

Chartered By: Paul Revere

Charter Date: 01/26/1797 tbd

Precedence Date: 01/26/1797

Current Status: Active



From Vocal Companion and Masonic Register, Boston, 1802, Part II, Page 21:

  • R. W. Oliver Prescott, M.
  • W. Timothy Bigelow, S. W.
  • W. James Prescott, J. W.
  • Thomas Gardiner, Tr.
  • John Walton, Sec.
  • David Lawrence, S. D.
  • Sampson Woods, J. D.
  • Jonathan Loring, Steward.
  • Joseph S. Emerson, Steward.
  • John Williams, Tiler.

No. of Members, 42.

  • Wallis Little, P. M.
  • Oliver Prescott, Jr.
  • James Brahen
  • Robert Dawes
  • Abel Boynton
  • B. W. Parker
  • Isaiah Leighton
  • James Levi, Jr.
  • John Cummings
  • Martin Jennison
  • Thomas Gardner
  • Jonathan A. Newell
  • Joseph F. Hill
  • Jacob Welsh
  • John Raymond


  • James Brazer, 1797-1799
  • Oliver Prescott, 1800, 1801, 1807
  • Timothy Bigelow, 1802
  • John Loring, 1803
  • James Prescott, 1804, 1805
  • John Walton, 1806-1808; Mem
  • John Abbot, 1809, 1810, 1816
  • Caleb Butler, 1811, 1812, 1834-1836
  • James Lewis, Jr., 1813
  • Abel Tarbell, 1814, 1815
  • Benjamin Moors, 1817-1819, 1823, 1824, 1826, 1847
  • Thomas Farnsworth, 1820-1822
  • Samuel Tenney, 1825
  • Jeremiah Kilburn, 1827-1829, 1844-1846, 1848, 1849; SN
  • William Buttrick, 1830, 1837-1839
  • Daniel Shattuck, 1831-1833, 1850
  • James Lakin, 1840
  • Luther S. Bancroft, 1841-1843, 1854-1856
  • Albert Shattuck, 1851, 1852
  • Frederick C. Swain, 1853
  • Ebenezer Sawtell, 1857-1859
  • E. Dana Bancroft, 1860-1862, 1873, 1874
  • Silas Nutting, 1863
  • Mowry Laphen, 1864, 1876-1878
  • Hibbard P. Ross, 1865
  • Albert Fessenden, 1866-16
  • Alfred Adams, 1869-1871
  • Horace W. Eldridge, 1872, 1896, 1897
  • Alexander H. Caryl, 1875
  • Rector T. Bartlett, 1879-1881
  • Charles W. Mason, 1882, 1902, 1903
  • Edward J. Sartelle, 1883, 1884; Mem
  • Frank C. Howe, 1885
  • David Cram, 1886
  • James M. Woolford, 1887
  • George G. Tarbell, 1888
  • Clark Asa Batchelder, 1889
  • Edwin A. Spaulding, 1890, 1891
  • David R. Steere, 1892
  • John C. Fraser, 1893
  • Albert J. Atwood, 1894, 1895
  • George A. Wilder, 1898-1900
  • Edward G. Whitney, 1901
  • Fairfield Whitney, 1904, 1905
  • Luther G. Robbins, 1906-1908
  • Richard S. Ely, 1909, 1910
  • Daniel W. Mason, 1911
  • Laurence Morgan, 1912, 1920
  • Timothy E. Flarity, 1913
  • Jacob G. Willey, 1914
  • Albert H. Gilbert, 1915
  • Walter H. Drury, 1916
  • Albert F. Parker, 1917
  • Neil G. McWilliams, 1918
  • Daniel C. Parsons, 1919
  • Clarence A. Cook, 1921
  • Eneas C. Morgan, 1922
  • Harry H. Lynch, 1923
  • Frank F. Marston, 1924
  • Harry P. Wright, 1925
  • Edward H. Ham, 1926
  • Frank B. Crandall, 1927
  • Louis P. Shattuck, 1928
  • Ralph H. Wylie, 1929
  • Leon J. Winch, 1930; N
  • Howard M. Beverly, 1931
  • George W. Wyatt, 1932
  • John J. Piper, 1933, 1934
  • William S. Green, 1935
  • Frederick S. Recker, 1936
  • William H. Millington, 1937
  • Albert H. Stratton, 1938, 1939
  • Leroy A. Shattuck, 1940
  • Raymond H. Handfield, 1941, 1943
  • George H. DuPaw, 1942
  • Duane P. McDuffee, 1944, 1945
  • Harry B. Walmsley, 1946-1948
  • Franklin E. Morrison, 1949; SN
  • Charles E. Fagan, 1950
  • Rouy M. Cowdrey, 1951
  • Franklin E. Morrison, 1952
  • Erving M. Marshall, 1953
  • James L. Reid, 1954
  • Ralph H. Wylie, Jr., 1955
  • Harry P. Whitney, 1956, 1957
  • Wesley Young, 1958, 1959
  • John R. Thompson, 1960
  • Bertrand E. Cote, Sr., 1961
  • Frederick J. Butler, 1962
  • Harold R. Jones, 1963
  • Charles O. Palmer, 1964
  • Raymond E. Waterman, 1965
  • George C. Saul, 1966
  • Oscar Wilder, Jr., 1967
  • Alf B. Montgomery, 1968
  • George C. Saul, 1969
  • Edward J. Kelly, 1970
  • Lindell Jeptha Cain, 1971-1974
  • Alan P. Thayer, 1975
  • Henry A. M. Schmidt, 1976
  • Eldon Morton Strickland, Jr., 1977, 1978
  • Anthony R. M. Caprio, 1979, 1986
  • John Robert Oliverson, 1980
  • John R. Oliverson, 1981
  • Joseph Henry Gonynor, 1982, 1990, 1996, 1997
  • Gary Robert Gonynor, 1983, 1988
  • Timothy Gilbert Bemis, 1984, 1985
  • Robert Donald Gonynor, 1987
  • Colin Roy Butler, 1989
  • Chester Ray Perdue, 1991
  • Raymond Emerson Glover, Jr., 1992
  • Robert Arthur Peete, 1993
  • Edward Arthur Berg, 1994, 1995
  • Kenneth B. Johnson, 1998, 2001; PDDGM
  • Leonce Joseph Michaud, 1999
  • Roger E. Winchester, 2000; PDDGM
  • Robert Young, 2003, 2004
  • Richard A. McAllister, 2005, 2012; PDDGM
  • Raymond J. Gagne, 2006, 2007
  • Paul V. Mosher, 2008, 2009, 2010
  • TBD, 2011
  • John B. O’Connell, 2012
  • Jonathan P. Gleason, 2013
  • Richard R. Graves, 2014, 2015
  • 'Christopher Garcia, 2016
  • Kevin D. Flynn, 2017, 2018
  • Russell A. Smith, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Seumas M. Lizotte, 2023


  • Petition for Charter: 1797 not in Proceedings


  • 1897 (Centenary)
  • 1947 (150th Anniversary)
  • 1972 (175th Anniversary)



1872 1900 1913 1922 1930 1957 1959 1977 1984 1989 2000 2007 2012 2013


  • 1897 (Centenary History, 1897-10; see below)
  • 1947 (150th Anniversary History, 1947-4; see below)
  • 1972 (175th Anniversary History, 1972-220; see below)


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol XXV, No. 9, July, 1866, p. 273:

PEPPERELL, May 14, 1866.

Br. Moore, — I send you the following which I hope will be interesting to your numerous readers: —

The first clergyman who received the three degrees in St. Paul's Lodge, Groton, Mass., was the Rev. Laban Ainsworth of Jaffrey, N.H. On the "Third Monday of November, A.L. 5797, the Lodge voted to remit the initiating fees of the Rev. Br. Laban Ainsworth, and that Br. S. W. inform him thereof." "June 24th, A.L. 6800, St. Paul's Lodge assembled in ample form, proceeded to the Meeting House; where was delivered by the Rev. Br. Ainsworth, an excellent discourse, calculated to produce masonic virtues. After the ceremonies, the Lodge returned to a bower erected for entertainment and hilarity; and the brethren, estranged from the secular concerns of life, passed a social hour in all the joys of fraternal affection."

I find by the Records that the Rev. Br. Laban Ainsworth is the only clergyman who has received the degrees of Freemasonry for sixty-nine years in St. Paul's Lodge, until last January, February, and March, when the three degrees were conferred upon the Rev. Burtis Judd, of Townsend; and the Lodge voted to remit his fees, with the exception of the fee to the M. W. Grand Lodge. You see by the above statement that the clergy in this section are indifferent. We wish them well, and hope their eyes will be opened in this or the spirit-world to the holy and sublime teachings of Freemasonry! The next W. Master of St. Paul's Lodge (after Br. James Brazer), was Dr. Oliver Prescott, Jr., who was chosen by a unanimous vote, Dec. 16, A.L. 5799. He held the office two years. On the 27th of December, AL. 5802, he was again elected W. Master, and held the office until the 29th of August, 5803. He was the first High Priest of St. John's Royal Arch Chapter in Groton, which no longer exists. He was the oldest son of Dr. Oliver Prescott of Groton, a distinguished physician of those days. Born April 4, 1762. He was prepared for Harvard College under the tuition of the celebrated Master Moody, at Dummer's School in Byfield, and entered in 1779. He studied medicine with his father, and with Dr. Lloyd of Boston; settled in his native town, and had an extensive practice in his profession in that and other towns in the vicinity. In 1811 he, with his family, removed to Newburyport, where he died, Sept. 26, 1827. His companion, both in preparatory studies and in College, says of him, "His natural parts were good. He had a quick mind, retentive memory, and sound understanding."

"Soon after the battle of Bunker Hill, he was at Pepperell, and his uncle, Col. William Prescott, showed him the banyan and waistcoat, and the rents or holes made in them by the British bayonets." "Col. Prescott was among the last that left the redoubt, and before leaving it was surrounded by the enemy, and had several bayonets pushed at his body, which he parried with his sword; they pierced his banyan and waistcoat, but ho was not wounded." "In his person he was tall, his frame large and muscular, his features strong and intelligent, with an eagle eye." "About nine o'clock on the morning of June 17, 1775, it became apparent that the British were preparing to cross the river and attack them. The officers then urged Col. Prescott to send a messenger to head-quarters, and request the commander, Gen. Ward, to relieve them according to his engagement, as they had brought on no provisions for a longer time, and had worked all night. This he refused, saying the works should be defended by those who built them; their honor required it, and they could do it successfully; but he would send for reinforcements and refreshments." The action began between two and three o'clock, p m. Do you hear the word of command from that "darling child" of New England ? "Don't you fire until yon see the whites of their eyes." The word is given in "thunder tones!" The British ranks are swept down, as the mower sweeps the grass. Those who remain retreat to the water's edge and form again for the second charge. The enemy were suffered to come within a few rods, when this "Spartan band of heroes " opened their deadly fire. Their ranks are again broken, and they retreat to the place of their landing. The third charge was made in the form of a triangle. The British officers were obliged to make great exertions to bring up their men this time. The redoubt was entered on the south-eastern side, and at the same time the enemy advanced between the breastwork and the rail fence to the rear of the redoubt. A few men were shot down as they mounted the breastwork, among others Major Pitcairn, by Joseph Spaulding, of Chelmsford (who belonged to Captain John Ford's company of minutemen). "The ammunition of the Americans was exhausted; a cartridge of one of the field-pieces furnished powder to load the last muskets that were discharged. They had few bayonets and were obliged to use the butts of their guns." "Col. Prescott was always confident he could have maintained his position with the handful of men under his command, if he had been supplied with ammunition. The British staggered before they entered the redoubt, and he thought would not have rallied if they had been again repulsed. This battle made a lasting impression on Gen. Howe's mind, and rendered him in over-cautions commander during the remainder of his command." When Washington heard of the result of the battle of Bunker's Hill, he exclaimed, "We shall conquer! " It was the great battle of the American Revolution. It severed forever the connecting link between Great Britain and the colonies.

"Your Committee hail with pleasure this determination of the petitioners to return to the palmy days of our fathers, when intimate friendly social intercourse was one of the chief objects of Masonry."

The Constitutions of the Grand Lodge were amended by increasing the minimum fee for initiation from twenty to twenty-five dollars; and the annual dues of Lodges to the Grand Lodge from six to ten dollars. The dues to the Grand Lodge,on initiates were also raised from three to five dollars.

The bodies of eight soldiers from Pepperell who were killed in that battle, slumber near that Monument, of which Daniel Webster exclaimed in earthquake voice on the 17th of June, 1826 (when the corner-stone was laid by the M. W. G. Master of Massachusetts, John Abbot of Westford), " May it rise until it meet the sun in his coming; may the earliest light of the morning gild its top, and parting day linger and play upon its summit." Eight soldiers from Pepperell were wounded in that battle. Seventy-five men from this small town were with Col. Prescott's "forlorn hope." I obtained more information about that battle when I was young, by talking with those who were there than I ever did by reading the different accounts of the action. Col. Prescott died at his residence in Pepperell, Oct. 18, 1795, aged 69. His remains were transferred to the house of silence under the honors of war, Col. Jonathan Bancroft of Pepperell commanding the battallion. His monument, eternity!

"Pepperell was the birth-place, though not the constant residence of the Hon. William Prescott, the only offspring of Col. William and Abigail Prescott." He was a man of inflexible integrity, hospitable and courteous, beloved by all who knew him. He presented two beautiful stands of colors to a company of light infantry in this town, bearing the name of Prescott Guards, in honor of his intrepid father. What pleasure it gave the company, on the anniversary of the 17th of June, to march to bis place of residence in Pepperell, and partake of his hospitality! His wife, the late Madam Prescott of Boston, was a mother in Israel, a Josephine. Ask the poor, the sick, the orphans, in this town, or in the city of Boston, and they would say she was a ministering angel. What lover of history does not admire the writings of the scientific historian, the late William H. Prescott of Boston, their son? — His history of Ferdinand and Isabella; his history of the Conquest of Peru under Pizarro; his Conquest of Mexico under Cortez; his miscellanies, biographical and critical works ? Unborn generations will call his' name blessed! When he died, history lost one of its noblest champions. We all ask how those immense blocks of stone, thirty-eight feet long, eighteen feet wide, and six feet thick were fashioned into shape, and conveyed from their native bed from four to fifteen leagues, and adjusted with the nicest accuracy, so that it was impossible to introduce even the blade of a knife between them ? This waa done by a race ignorant of the use of iron. They had the knowledge of tempering copper better than our smiths have of tempering steel. And these immense blocks were conveyed without beasts of burden. They had a mechanical power superior to any now in use. Their magnificent Temple of the Son ! Who would not wish to gaze upon it ? Their bridges, roads, and aqueducts are viewed with admiration by all travellers. Their agricultural knowledge far surpassed that of the white race which are upon the earth. No person in Peru was poor; all had enough. What industry, what economy, was practiced by the Peruvians under the Incas! Those blocks of stone were but a trifle smaller than those used in the building of Solomon's Temple, some of them forty-three feet nine inches long, twenty-nine feet wide, and fourteen feet thick! What Freemason can tell me with what machinery they were raised?

Let us go with Prescott to Mexico, and read about the Toltecs, Aztecs, &c. What advances they had made in astronomy, architecture ! — their immense calendar stone! How we should like to see the beautiful city of Mexico, as Cortex saw it, —their floating gardens, temples, bridges, &c What would the historian have given for those manuscripts of the Aztecs which were destroyed by the soldiers of Cortez! —a disgrace to the Spaniards! "We may well doubt," says the historian, " which has the strongest claims to civilization, the victors or the vanquished." "They fixed the true length of the tropical year with a precision unknown to the great philosophers of antiquity." The great French astronomer, La Place, supposed it was original with the Aztecs. We ask in vain of the antiquarian, who built Otolum, in Guatemala, in North America, eighteen degrees north of the equator. There are the ruins of a city seventy-five miles in circumference, thirty-two miles long, and twelve miles wide! How sad it is to think whole nations of our race have experienced such terrible revolutions! Pestilence, wars, and the convulsions of the globe have destroyed the proudest works, and rendered vain the finest efforts of human genius! Where is the finite mind that can write their history ? Alas! buried in the ocean of time 1 We read in the Holy Bible of only one season before the Deluge. If the earth then moved in a complete circle round the sun, there would be but one. But after the Deluge we read of the four seasons. From the Almighty Architect of the universe comes the declaration, " There shall be seed time and harvest, summer and winter, as long as the earth remains." We view with delight the beautiful arch in the cloud after a shower, the rainbow, " the token of the covenant between God and all flesh, that the earth shall never be destroyed again by a Deluge." The seasons are occasioned by the earth's axis being inclined to the plane of the earth's orbit 25° 30' nearly, always in one direction, in its circuit round the sun. Ask not the astronomer when this inclination took place. Astronomers have been for ages watching the sun (or the earth) in the ecliptic, and never have they seen it a single second short of or beyond the tropics. There is no science which ever entered the human mind so sublime as the science of astronomy. We discover by it the wisdom, power, goodness, and magnificence of the all-wise Creator.

Yours fraternally, Luther S. Bancroft.



An apology is a poor historical preface, but it is one that I must be permitted to offer at this time, not only in justice to a decent sense of personal modesty, but as a tribute to one whose position I am forced to occupy, without pretending to fill. This task was originally assigned to a beloved and honored Brother, whose long and devoted life was almost dedicated to the cause of our organization, the tenets of which lay close to his heart and were ever uppermost in his affections. For nearly forty years he was identified with this Lodge more closely than would be necessarily implied from the word "membership."

While he may have, at times, been remiss in his religious devotions, which I doubt, he will never be accused of having neglected his duties here. His acquaintance with all that pertains to Masonry was equalled by few and perhaps surpassed by none. To the work of this Historical Address he was, therefore, fitted by a life peculiarly favorable for observation and study, and we, his associates, had understood that he had given much time and attention to the compilation of important and necessary data.

I feel, therefore, that I shall not appeal in vain for charity, when you appreciate that his sudden, unexpected demise thrust upon me, ill-equipped by experience, with small opportunity for observation, and at a period when my time and attention were more than usually engrossed by multitudinous business cares and responsibilities, the task of attempting what he would have so much more completely and admirably performed. It is to be regretted that, excepting some brief results of our joint efforts in 1890, not a scrap of Worshipful Brother Bancroft's labors in this work are to be found, notwithstanding that repeated and diligent search and inquiry have been had.

I regret not to know the identity of the author of our name, for to his memory I should like to pay a special tribute for the selection so peculiarly appropriate. The work, history and mission of our Order are, and have been singularly parallel with those of the great Apostle whose conversion came as he "saw the light" on his memorable journey to Damascus. Unpopularity, misunderstandings and persecutions served only to keep him more steadfast. He never rested from his labors, and his disciples will persevere in them until his mission of the brotherhood of man shall be limited only by the ends of the earth.

We are without data as to the circumstances that led to the application for our Charter. Our genesis is that on the date, the centennial anniversary of which we are now observing, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts granted a Charter to the following-named twenty-four Brethren: Leonard Whiting, of Hollis, N.H.; Thomas Harrington, residence not given, but presumably of Groton; Thomas Whitney, of Shirley; Abraham Skinner, residence not given; David Barnard, of Acton; Ai Fitch, of Groton; John Williams, of Groton; Oliver Prescott, Jr., of Groton; Jeremiah Getchell, of Pepperell; John Hosley, of Pepperell; Jonathan Loring, of Groton; Thomas Gardner, of Groton; Eleazer Hamlin, of Westford; James Brazier, of Groton; William Tuttle, of Littleton; Daniel Davis, of Groton; Samuel Tuttle, of Littleton; Jonas Farnsworth, of Groton; John Loring, of Groton ; John Leighton Tuttle, of Concord; Joel Abbot, of Westford; Joseph Sewell Emerson, of Pepperell; David Moors, of Groton; Francis Champney, of Groton.

The Charter bears the signatures of the following-named Grand Officers: Paul Revere, Grand Master; Samuel Dunn, Deputy Grand Master; Isaiah Thomas, Senior Grand Warden; Joseph Laughton, Junior Grand Warden; Daniel Oliver, Grand Secretary.

The association in our Charter of the names of Paul Revere, Leonard Whiting and Oliver Prescott, Jr., suggests a possible romance growing from an historical incident, that will excuse a passing mention. The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere to

"spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm,"

reached the loyal minute-men of Pepperell on the afternoon of the day of the engagement at Concord, and, under the command of Col. William Prescott, they immediately responded to the call, leaving to their wives and daughters, not only the performance of their domestic duties, but, as subsequent events showed, the more important duty of home guard. Disguising themselves in the clothing of their husbands and sons, they patrolled the highways of the town, and near Jewett's Bridge on the Nashua River, where a stone tablet now commemorates their valor and judgment, they intercepted Capt. Leonard Whiting, of Hollis, N.H., a well-known Tory, upon whose person was found correspondence from the British commanders in Canada to General Gage at Boston. He was sent a prisoner to Oliver Prescott, at Groton, a brother of Col. William Prescott, whose name with that of Revere and Warren, as soldiers, stands by the side of Hancock and Adams as statesmen; whose memories, so long as history gives a page to patriotism, will grow in human gratitude, and arouse the emotions of all who believe in the equal rights of man.

We can believe that this forced visit of Captain Whiting to the home of Oliver Prescott might not have been an unpleasant one. It is possible that from it there sprang the acquaintance between the two families that resulted in the marriage. of Oliver Prescott, Jr., to Capt. Leonard Whiting's daughter Nancy. I have seen some evidence from which to surmise that Captain Whiting may have been the promoter to whose influence we are indebted for the inception of this Lodge.

The first regular Communication of St. Paul Lodge was held Feb. 13, 1797, at which time the following officers were elected:

  • James Brazier, Master
  • Oliver Prescott, Jr., Senior Warden
  • Thomas Whitney, Junior Warden
  • William Tuttle, Treasurer
  • John Leighton Tuttle, Secretary
  • John Loring, Senior Deacon
  • Jonas Farnsworth, Junior Deacon
  • Jonathan Loring, Senior Steward
  • Joseph Sewell Emerson, Junior Steward
  • John Williams, Tyler

Subsequently Thomas Gardner was chosen Marshal. The growth in membership was rapid during the spring and summer months, and at the time of installation, which was fixed for August 9, it had been increased to fifty-seven.

We regret that we are not better informed as to the details of the memorable day of consecration and dedication. The newspaper, as we know it, was almost unknown, and the. ubiquitous reporter, who succeeds in purloining your best ideas and in anticipating your choicest periods, utterly so. Great preparations were made; the use of the church was secured for the exercises, and a booth — the character and location of it we are not informed — was erected for the dinner. John Walton was chosen a committee "to procure a number of bands of music from Boston to attend and perform on the day of installation, provided the expense do not exceed sixty dollars."

I wish I knew more about Brother Walton. I imagine that he was a rollicking good fellow; he surely was a good Mason. His name was proposed at the Lodge's first Communication. He was a doctor, residing in Pepperell, and was subsequently a member of the Grand Lodge. He was sixth Master of St. Paul, and took a prominent part in all its deliberations. He has earned a warm place in our memory by the presentation of yonder pitcher, the original use of which I am glad to say has passed into "innocuous desuetude," and to my mind it serves a better purpose as historic bric-a-brac, than to fill the bumpers for the Masonic toasts that the Records tell us were frequently drank as the Lodge "closed in great harmony."

The exercises of consecration and installation were held in the First Parish Meeting House, (now the Unitarian Meeting House), in Groton, where, according to the Records, "an elegant and ingenious discourse" was delivered by Thaddeus Mason Harris, Grand Chaplain. This Address, by a vote of the Lodge, was printed in pamphlet form. Two copies, at least, are extant, one in the possession of the Grand Lodge and one in the possession of the Massachusetts Historical Society. That it is an excellent, logical and eloquent theological discourse I cannot gainsay; but, as a seeker for historical data, I felt a pang of regret not to find in its pages a scrap of fact that might make it invaluable as an historical archive as well as an ancient typographical curiosity.

Now that we are on the point of Addresses, permit me to note two other pamphlets, also in the possession of. the Massachusetts Historical Society, and directly connected with our history:

  • An oration delivered at Groton at the celebration of the nativity of St. John the Baptist, June 25, A.L. 5821, before St. John's R. A. Chapter, Trinity, St. Paul, Social and Aurora Lodges, by James Carter," and
  • An address delivered before St. Paul Lodge, Groton, Mass., at its fifty-fifth annual communication, Oct. 25, A.L. 5852, by Lewis Smith, of Nashua, N.H.

The last, to me, in my particular quest, was the most valued because it contained a footnote, which stated that there were present at that time Brothers Walton and Bancroft, of Pepperell, and Lakin, of Groton, the first two of whom participated at the installation and consecration Aug. 9, 1797, and the other became a member a little later.

After the exercises at the church, the Lodge and the visiting Brethren repaired to the booth, where we are again told in the quaint language of the Records "a sumptuous dinner was provided." Of this dinner I have been able to discover one souvenir, a ticket to dine, bearing the name of St. Paul Lodge, Aug. 9, 1797, and printed on the back of one-half of a playing card, which was not unusual in those days of scarcity and expensiveness of Bristol-board. This ticket is the property of Hon. Samuel Abbott Green, of Boston, and I wish that it might be procured and preserved with the historic pitcher and sacred carpet, as mementos of the birth of this Lodge. Its genuineness is attested by the autograph of Samuel, afterwards Judge, Dana, who at that time was Secretary of the Lodge, and who afterwards held many important and responsible positions in public life.

From the time of its institution to and ending with the regular Communication held Jan. 12, 1846, the Lodge, with few exceptions, held its regular Communications in a Hall in the second story of what is now the Central House, then Isaiah Hall's Tavern on the Main Street of Groton. The uninitiated seekers for the curious are shown in this quaint old hostelry a pit some ten feet deep, with a strong ring for attaching a tackle above it, and are told by their guide that the combination is presumed to have played an important part in the ancient and sacred rites of "Goat Riding."

On Jan. 12, 1846, the Lodge removed its quarters from Hall's Tavern to a Hall on the upper or third floor of a building still standing at the southwest corner of Main Street and Broad Meadow Road in Groton; which quarters it thenceforth occupied jointly with Lodge No. 71 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Here the Lodge remained until 1870, holding there its last regular Communication on the fourteenth day of March in that year. The Lodge at that time voted to hold its next regular Communication in Caleb Butler Lodge-room, in the village of Groton Junction, now Ayer, and, agreeably to said vote, began its meetings in the latter rooms April 18, 1870. The new quarters were on the third floor of the Phelps & Harlow building, on the northwest corner of Main and West Streets in this village. The great fire of April, 1872, laid waste all the business portion of Ayer, and as a part of it, the Phelps & Harlow building. It seems that at that time the second book of the Records, covering the period between 1801 and 1827, was lost, but whether it was left behind in the building, or lost after being taken therefrom, I do not know.

Between the time of this fire and the completion of the rooms now occupied, the Lodge shared with the Irish Benevolent Society the upper or third floor of what is now known as the Cushing building, situated on the south side of Main Street, opposite this Hall, until Oct. 17, 1872, and from that time with Caleb Butler Lodge in "Masons' Hall" on the third floor of the frame building of Harvey A. Woods, situated on the north side of Main Street, just west of the Town Hall. This building was destroyed by fire in July, 1879. July 7, 1873, the Lodge held its first Communication in its present quarters, which it occupies jointly with Caleb Butler Lodge.

The following Past Masters of St. Paul Lodge have held elective offices in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts:

  • Timothy Bigelow, Junior Grand Warden in 1803, Senior Grand Warden in 1804-1805, and Grand Master in 1806-1807-1808, and also in 1811-1812-1813. He was Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives eleven years.
  • John Abbot was Junior Grand Warden in 1813, Senior Grand Warden in 1814, Deputy Grand Master in 1821-1822-1823, Grand Master in 1824-1825-1826, and 1834. On the 17th of June, 1825, as Grand Master, he laid the Corner-stone of Bunker Hill Monument.
  • Caleb Butler, historian of the town of Groton, and in whose memory and honor our partner tenant was named, was Senior Grand Warden in 1818-1819, Deputy Grand Master in 1824-1825-1826, and Grand Master in 1841-1842.
  • Augustus Peabody, whose name appears upon the rolls of St. Paul Lodge as Asa Peabody, was Grand Master in 1843-1844-1845.

We do well to pause a moment and celebrate this dividing line, marking in our history the close of one century and the birth of another. To the individual, whose average memory scarcely spans half a century, one hundred years seems a cycle, but when compared to the age of the universe, it is almost too insignificant to contemplate. The circle in which those who founded this Lodge moved seems to us to have been narrow, cramped and inconvenient, but it is more than likely that they were nearer to our condition than we shall be to those who will stand here a century hence. But whatever may be the achievements of our successors, we can rest assured that nothing they will do, dare or endure can surpass the fortitude, courage and devotion of our predecessors, who stood by their principles and beliefs, unmindful of the storms of persecution and fanaticism that broke above their heads, and upon whose Records there does not appear a suggestion of surrendering their beloved Charter.

The world is being revolutionized along the lines of our Order; the inexorable laws of commerce demand a universal brotherhood of all races; and that men shall ever meet, act and part in the observance of those principles which we hold sacred and which will make man's injustice to man impossible.


From Proceedings, Page 1947-4:

By Right Worshipful and Reverend [Frank B. Crandall
Past Master, Caleb Butler and Saint Paul Lodges
Past District Deputy Grand Master, 13th (Fitchburg) District
Grand Chaplain, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts

DEDICATION To the Memory of Worshipful Brothers Albert J. Atwood and Timothy Flarity
Past Masters of Saint Paul Lodge,
Gentlemen of the old school, eminent examples of Masonic character — I dedicate this little history as a tribute of deepest respect and affection.

Freemasonry, like the Christian Church or any other world religion, is a universal community of memory and hope. On this present occasion, our concern is with the history, that is, the memories of a century and a half of Freemasonry as revealed in the life in this locality of a justly famous Lodge. Saint Paul Lodge has the distinction of being the oldest day-light Lodge in the New World. So far as valid evidence to the contrary appears, it may claim to be the oldest day-light Lodge in the whole world. Saint Paul Lodge has also the distinction of having given four eminent Grand Masters to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Saint Paul Lodge has the further and notable distinction of having stood fast in the great crisis of the period of the Masonic persecutions. At the centennial of the Lodge in 1897, Most Worshipful Charles C. Hutchinson said: "St. Paul Lodge never surrendered its charter; its altar light was never extinguished; its loyalty to the Grand Lodge was never weak or uncertain."

The biographer is wont to say that the story of a human life really begins before the birth of the individual. To know something of his parents, grandparents, and ancestors is better to understand the subject of the biographer himself. Saint Paul Lodge, like all other regular Lodges, stands in the ancient succession of guilds of the Middle Ages, the Roman Collegia, the Ancient Mysteries, and the prehistoric institution of the Men's House. Knowing something of these antecedents of this Lodge and others like it, we know something of its birthright and what went into its beginning.

Before 1795, the first year of the administration of Most Worshipful Paul Revere as Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, the roster of Lodges was small. Of all the Lodges now under our jurisdiction, only 21 are older than Saint Paul. There were five directions or centers in which Freemasonry had spread or sprung up. Of our present roster, there were only seven in Boston and the metropolitan district, St. John's, The Lodge of St. Andrew, TheMassachusetts, and Columbian, all of Boston, and Union of Dorchester, Washington of Roxbury, and King Solomon's of Somerville. There were four on the North Shore, Philanthropic of Marblehead, Essex of Salem, The Tyrian of Gloucester, and Saint John's of Newburyport. On the South Shore there was Old Colony of Hingham. On the Cape there was King Hiram's of Provincetown, and offshore, there was Union of Nantucket. There were three Lodges on the road to Springfield — Middlesex of Framingham, Morning Star of Worcester and Thomas of Palmer. In the western part of the Commonwealth, there were four — Republican of Greenfield, Harmony of Northfield, Evening Star of Lee, and Cincinnatus of Great Barrington. To this number Most Worshipful Paul Revere added nine in 1797, the last year of his administration, and 17 in his three years in office, of the Lodges on our present roster.

One hundred and fifty years ago this month the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts granted a charter to the following twenty-four Master Masons: Leonard Whiting of Hollis, New Hampshire, Thomas Harrington, residence not given, Thomas Whitney of Shirley, Abraham Skinner, residence not given, David Barnard of Acton, Ai Fitch of Groton, John Williams of Groton, Oliver Prescott, Jr., of Groton, Jeremiah Getchell of Pepperell, John Hosley of Pepperell, Jonathan Loring of Groton, Thomas Gardner of Groton, Eleazer Hamlin of Westford, James Brazier of Groton, William Tuttle of Littleton, Daniel Davis of Groton, Samuel Tuttle of Littleton, Jonas Farnsworth of Groton, John Loring of Groton, John Leighton Tuttle of Concord, Joel Abbott of Westford, Joseph Sewell Emerson of Pepperell, Davis Moors of Groton and Francis Champney of Groton.

How these Brethren came to choose the name of Saint Paul, the great Apostle to the Gentiles, as the name of their Lodge is nowhere in any records explained. That the name is singularly appropriate is evident. The Apostle's career began, significantly, when he "saw the light" on the road to Damascus. He arose, followed his new guide, and thereafter feared no danger. He led the first great Reformation in the Christian Church. A "Pharisee of the Pharisees," as he called himself, he contended against those who wished the Church to remain an exclusive Jewish sect. He led the way to make the Church interracial, international universal, as Freemasonry has always been. The name was also prophetic. Like St. Paul, who faced bitter hatred and cruel enemies and endured hardships and persecution, Saint Paul Lodge in the time of the Masonic persecutions faced the hatred and hostility of the traditional enemies of human liberty and justice and as the record shows^ "fought the good fight and kept the faith."

How these Brethren came to choose the central device of the ancient seal of the Lodge, still in use, is another mystery. Although there was not as yet in America any Supreme Council of the Ancient, Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, here is the symbol of the pelican feeding her young with the blood from her own breast. There must have been some of the charter members who were familiar with the particular Masonic connection of this symbol with the 18 of the Chapter of Rose Croix in the Scottish Rite, known as "Perfect Prince Freemason of H. R. D. M. and Knight of the Eagle and Pelican under the title of Rose Croix." Ponder this mystery and consider what manner of learned Masons made up the charter list of Saint Paul Lodge in 1797.

Saint Paul started as a day-light Lodge because circumstances demanded a meeting during the afternoon. It was not, of course, like St. Cecile's in the City of New York and other daylight Lodges elsewhere, made up of actors and musicians whose labors are of the evening. It served a large territory, west beyond Leominster, east beyond Concord, north to Pepperell, and south toward Worcester. The members could travel these many miles from early dawn, dine at high twelve, in Groton, work in the afternoon, and have the evening and night hours to travel home again by the light of the full moon. The Lodge has always been free, however, whether for the accommodation of military candidates, or for other need, to meet, like other Lodges, in the evening.

The first regular communication of Saint Paul Lodge was held on February 13, 1797. At that meeting, the following officers were chosen:

  • James Brazier, Worshipful Master
  • Oliver Prescott, Jr., Senior Warden
  • Thomas Whitney, Junior Warden
  • William Tuttle, Treasurer
  • John Leighton Tuttle, Secretary
  • John Loring, Senior Deacon
  • Jonas Farnsworth Junior Deacon
  • Jonathan Loring, Senior Steward
  • Joseph Sewell Emerson, Junior Steward
  • John Williams, Tyler

Later Thomas Gardner was chosen Marshal. During the subsequent spring and summer months, thirty-three new members were added to the original twenty-four.

August 9, 1797, was a great and memorable day in the life of Saint Paul Lodge. On that day the Grand Lodge journeyed from Boston for the consecration and installation of the Lodge. Dr. John Walton of Pepperell had been made a committee "to procure a number of bands of music from Boston to attend and perform on the day of installation." He was empowered to expend to that end the then generous amount of sixty dollars. A "booth" was erected at which a sumptuous dinner was served. The ceremonies were held in the First Parish Church (Unitarian), Groton's original religious foundation. The Reverend Thaddeus Mason Harris, D.D., the first Grand Chaplain, delivered on this occasion what the records say was "an elegant and ingenious discourse" and which, later, by vote of the Lodge, was printed in pamphlet form.

Saint Paul Lodge has had several meeting places. Like many another ancient Lodge, it began its life in a tavern, Isaiah Hall's Tavern, the historic Groton Inn. A pit used to be shown, ten feet deep, beneath one of the rooms which tradition said had some connection with the mystic rites of the Lodge. The records of Grand Lodge show that on September 18, 1804, a new hall was set apart for the meetings of the Lodge with a "eulogium by R.W Bro. Prescott and an oration by Bro. Peabody." From January 12, 1846, to April 18, 1870, the Lodge met in a hall on the upper or third floor of a building located at the southwest corner of Main Street and Broad Meadow Road in Groton. From that time to the day of the great fire in April, 1872, in Ayer, the Lodge met in the apartments with Caleb Butler Lodge in the Phelps and Harlow building on the northwest corner of Main and West Streets in Ayer. The next meeting place of these Lodges was in Mason's Hall on the third floor of the Harvey A. Woods building on the north side of Main Street just west of the Town Hall. According to records of Grand Lodge, Most Worshipful Sereno D. Nickerson dedicated the new Masonic Hall in the Page Block on October 6, 1873. According to the records, the Acting Grand Master, R. W. Albert L. Harwood, laid the corner stone of this building on May 7, 1898.

On April 19, 1899, Most Worshipful Charles C. Hutchinson dedicated these apartments with impressive rites. A building fund, started during the administration of the present historian as Master of Caleb Butler Lodge, may afford some years hence the ready money for the erection of a larger and better meeting place for the Masonic bodies of this town.

A report of Most Worshipful Francis J. Oliver on the condition of the various Lodges indicates, according to Grand Lodge records, that Saint Paul Lodge, then in the Fifth District, had in its first quarter century given a good account of itself. He says, "St. Paul's at Groton continues to maintain that truly Masonic character for which it has been long eminently distinguished." That seems to sum up the record of the Lodge for its first century.

The centennial on January 26, 1897, was another great and memorable day in the life of Saint Paul Lodge. Most Worshipful Charles C. Hutchinson and officers of the Grand Lodge made an official visit and took, part in the celebration. There were 200 at dinner. Worshipful Horace W. Eldredge was presiding Master of the Lodge. In the exercises, the Chaplain of the Lodge, the Reverend Charles W. Chase, was not given such scope as to enable him to deliver "an elegant and ingenious discourse" but did offer a prayer well suited for the occasion. Worshipful Edward J. Sartelle, later a District Deputy Grand Master, welcomed the Grand Master. Worshipful Albert J. Atwood, M.D., read the charter. Hon. George J. Burns gave the historical address. A quartet, as usual, furnished that indispensable interlude between august addresses and ceremonial acts. Worshipful George G. Tarbell gave the centennial poem. The Reverend Charles H. Rowley was the orator of the day, but the Grand Lodge records do not admit the fact if his discourse was elegant and ingenious.

The membership of Saint Paul Lodge has included through the years six Masons of outstanding dignity and eminence.

  • Oliver Prescott, Jr., was a graduate of Harvard and the scion of a notable family, a nephew of Col. William Prescott. He was an eminent physician and was a surgeon in General Lincoln's army, accompanying him on his expedition in Shay's Rebellion.
  • Timothy Bigelow, also a graduate of Harvard, Class of 1786, was a distinguished lawyer and a member of both branches of the Great and General Court. He was a Junior Grand Warden and a Senior Grand Warden. He was Grand Master 1806-1808 and again 1811-1813.
  • John Abbot, Harvard, Class of 1798, was a District Deputy Grand Master, Junior Grand Warden, Senior Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master, and Grand Master 1824-1826 and again in 1834. On June 17, 1825, in company with our Brother, General Lafayette, he laid the corner stone of the Bunker Hill monument.
  • Caleb Butler was graduated at Dartmouth, Class of 1800, and was a famous civil engineer and later a lawyer and the historian of Groton. He was a District Deputy Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master, and Grand Master 1841-1842.
  • Augustus Peabody was also a Dartmouth graduate, Class of 1803, and was a District Deputy Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden, and Grand Master 1843-1845.
  • E. Dana Bancroft was for many years Senior Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge. During a period of years he had been Master of Saint Paul and four other Lodges. He was Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar of Massachusetts and Rhode Island and was crowned a 33° Mason and Honorary Member of the Supreme Council.

The list of the 76 Past Masters of the Lodge and its roster of members through the years contains the names of many old and prominent families of the towns of Groton, Townsend, Pep-perell, Shirley, and Littleton. Among the Past Masters there were two Prescotts, two Whitneys, two Morgans, two Masons, and four Shattucks. Military men have been numerous in the list from the beginning. In the past twenty years four of us, including the present Master, have been commissioned officers in the United States Army. In World War I, fourteen members of the Lodge served in the Armed Forces and in World War II, fifty-seven members served. Far from being a wealthy Lodge, Saint Paul Lodge, like its sister Lodge, Caleb Butler, does have some unique and notable treasures which are proudly exhibited on this occasion. There are the pair of authentic, sterling punch ladles by the silversmith, Most Worshipful Paul Revere, appraised by a competent authority on antique silver as worth $5000. There is the Wedgwood queensware Masonic pitcher. Both of these items were the gift of Worshipful John Walter, M. D., of Pepperell. There is the authentic Master's carpet and the old dagger with the inscribed blade. Jointly with Caleb Butler Lodge, the Lodge owns the first Bible owned by the United Society of Believers, or Shakers, of Harvard, presented to the Lodge on the occasion of the first installation of the present historian as Master by Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell in 1925.

It was quite by accident during the administration of the present historian that certain other valuable relics came to light. He had repaired to the storeroom loft over these apartments in search of some missing piece of our property. Over in a dark corner under the eaves he discovered an ancient sea chest, an old satchel, and other dust-laden containers, marked "Saint Paul Lodge," all probably moved around unopened as the Lodge had moved from one meeting place to another. In these containers he found the original gavel of the first Master, the ancient leather aprons of the first Wardens, the old-time collars of the various officers and lost lists of members and old records of the Treasurer in the first years of the Lodge, together with other lesser antiquities of the early days. The receipted bills for beverages indicated that when the Lodge called from labor to refreshment the choicest imports were provided and that it was refreshment indeed.

Among the receipts of the Treasurer was a notable find and a bit of evidence that Most Worshipful Brother Ferrell declared was "most eloquent" and one that with its few words "spoke volumes." It read, "Groton, June 24, 1811. For damage to boards used at the celebration, $2.00." You can picture the situation. Boards were laid on trestles or horses to make improvised banquet tables. You can almost hear the dim echo of the toasts and the crash of the heavy-bottomed firing glasses as they hit the tables. Even good Yankee pine could not withstand the strain of such spirited ceremonies.

There had come down through the many years a tradition that St. Paul Lodge, like Lodges in Old England and on the Continent in France, had in the early years of the Republic held a table-lodge on the occasion of the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist. There was among us, armed with this confirmation of the tradition, an impulse to revive the old custom.

On hearing of this confirmation and impulse, Most Worshipful Brother Hamilton provided the present historian with an old French ritual for a table-lodge, a treasured volume from the Lawrence collection. It was an easy task for the historian, to whom the French language was almost like a mother-tongue, to translate and adapt this beautiful ritual for the use of Saint Paul Lodge. Thus came about the revived custom of this Lodge of holding a table-lodge at a stated communication on St. John's Day in June. The Grand Lodge has generally been represented. Among those attending have been R.W. Otis C. White, R.W. Rutherford E. Smith, M. W.Herbert W. Dean, and others representing the Grand Master. Interest in this most impressive and beautiful ceremony has spread across the country and Lodges in other jurisdictions have instituted the custom for the benefit of their own members.

We now look down the vista of the next fifty years to the bicentennial of the Lodge in 1997. These years are for the hopes, the realization of the noble aims of this Lodge and of this Fraternity of which it is a part. Together we continue to be builders, building men for God, for Country, and for Humanity. We of this Lodge are intensely proud of the noble aims already accomplished and so we are intensely proud of this Lodge. The story of the Lodge may well give the whole Fraternity cause to join with us in our pride in this record of accomplishment. Surely we do join in our common hopes of this fellowship, this community of memory and hope.


From Northern Light, April 1972, Page 16:


Origin of Pelican Emblem Is Still a Mystery
By Harold V. B. Voorhis, 33°

The Pelican Seal used by Saint Paul Lodge, A. F. & A. M., chartered by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, holden in Groton (now in Ayer) on January 26, 1797, is unique in both its origin and its symbolism. This Lodge was one of, if not the first of the "daylight" lodges and was chartered during the last year in which Paul Revere served as Grand Master in Massachusetts.

The origin of this seal, which reads "St. Paul's Lodge—Groton" on the upper half and "Constituted A. L. 5797" on the lower half, is a mystery. It is unique because it is the only pelican representation as a Masonic symbol, to my knowledge, which shows the bird sideways and with only three offspring. I believe this is the earliest use of the pelican as a Masonic symbol, and the seal is still in use by the Lodge.

The Rev. Frank B. Crandall, a Past Master of Saint Paul and a Past Grand Chaplain of Massachusetts, wrote in his "History of the Lodge" for its 150th anniversary in 1947:

"How these Brethren came to choose the central devise of the ancient seal of the Lodge is a mystery. Although there was not as yet in America any Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, here is the symbol of the pelican feeding her young with the blood from her own breast. There must have been some of the charter members who were familiar with the particular masonic connection of this symbol with the Eighteenth Degree of the Chapter of Rose Croix in the Scottish Rite, known as 'Perfect Prince Freemason of H. R. D. M. and Knight of the Eagle and Pelican under the title of Rose Croix.' Ponder this mystery and consider what manner of learned Masons made up the charter list of Saint Paul Lodge in 1797."

Just when the pelican symbol was adopted for the Rose Croix is a question not answered with any degree of satisfaction. In the early years of the Scottish Rite, previous to the time of Albert Pike, the rituals used were fragmentary and had no set symbols. When Pike published his Morals and Dogma in 1871, he embellished it with symbols. The one used for the Rose Croix degree was the pelican feeding its young.

Pike, in writing about the pelican symbolism, said, "It is an emblem of the large and beautiful beneficence of Nature, of the Redeemer of fallen man, and of that humanity and charity that ought to distinguish a Knight of the Degree."

The mystery remains as to how or from whence the charter members of Saint Paul Lodge "came by" the pelican symbol. It certainly never came from the British Isles. I never have seen the pelican symbol on any Masonic jewel or document from that part of Europe, and I have seen many hundreds of such items. The Scottish Rite was not carried to that country until nearly 50 years after Saint Paul Lodge was founded. Maybe someone will find a pelican symbol on a Masonic item on the Continent issued before 1797, but I have never seen one.


From Proceedings, Page 1972-220:

By Worshipful Edward J. Kelly.

St. Paul Lodge suffered several fires in the early days with a loss of all the records and a detailed history is not available. However, with the records of Grand Lodge and several historical documents preserved by the Massachusetts Historical Society, we can reconstruct enough to briefly touch on the highlights.

On January 26, 1897 St. Paul Lodge observed its centennial in Ayer and the Grand Master's address at that time put on record many of the events of the first one hundred years. (1897 Mass. 1-21)

The date of the Charter was January 26, 1797 being the thirty-third Charter issued in the Commonwealth. The Charter authorized a daylight Lodge to be held in Groton, Massachusetts, and was signed by our well-known patriot, Paul Revere, who was then Grand Master of Masons for the Commonwealth.

The first regular communication was held on February 13, 1797 and the first slate of officers elected were: James Brazier, Master; Oliver Prescott, Jr., Senior Warden; Thomas Whitney, Junior Warden; William Tuttle, Secretary; John Leighton Tuttle, Treasurer; John Loring, Senior Deacon; Jonas Farnsworth, Junior Deacon; Jonathon Loring, Senior Steward; Joseph Sewall Emerson, Junior Steward; and John Williams, Tyler. At a later date, Thomas Gardner was appointed Marshal.

The first installation was scheduled for August 9th at which time the membership had increased to 57. When we consider the times and that Groton was a small rural community, this speaks well for the organizational ability and zeal of our founding fathers.

On Wednesday, August 9, 1797 the Lodge assembled at Richardson's Tavern. After a procession to the Groton Meeting House (later the Unitarian Church) the Lodge was consecrated and its officers installed by the Right Worshipful Samuel Dunn, Deputy Grand Master. The assemblage then repaired to an Arbour where a feast was served. It was one of the social highlights of the era. The local ladies formed a brilliant and beautiful part. All the clergy of the vicinity were invited and those who came were gratified to have participated in such a festive occasion. A Brother John Walton was chosen a committee of one to procure a number of bands from Boston to perform on that day. He was given almost an unlimited budget as the Lodge authorized him to spend a sum not to exceed $60. Brother Walton was a Doctor from Pepperell, proposed for membership at the very first meeting, who later became our sixth Worshipful Master.

St. Paul Lodge owns a historical "bric-a-brac" in the form of a huge ceramic pitcher which Dr. Walton gave to the Lodge. We feel that it serves better as a souvenir of those bygone days than its original use of filling the bumpers for the toasts that records tell us were frequently drank as St. Paul Lodge "closed in great harmony."

The records of Grand Lodge show that St. Paul Lodge was represented in Grand Lodge with commendable regularity except during 1 832 to 1840, the trying period in which so many Lodges were closed. Oliver Prescott, our first Senior Warden, became Grand Master. In 1802, at the December Quarterly Meeting, Wor. Timothy Bigelow was elected Junior Grand Warden and later became Grand Master. Records of this event reflect that at this time he paid the Grand Lodge all fees owed by St. Paul Lodge, which amounted to $24.50.

On September 18, 1804 the Grand Lodge again came to Groton to consecrate a new Masonic Hall.

On June 25, 1821 the Festival of St. John the Baptist was celebrated in the Town of Groton under the auspices of St. Paul Lodge. Trinity, Social and Aurora Lodges, with St. John's Royal Arch Chapter, joined in the event which ended with an oration by Companion James Carter and also a banquet. (The address is in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society.)

On March 13, 1872 a petition signed by nineteen members of St. Paul Lodge was presented in Grand Lodge by Wor. Brother E. Dana Bancroft asking for the removal of the Lodge from Groton to Ayer where we would share accommodations with Caleb Butler Lodge. This request was granted and the arrangements exist to this very day from its first meeting on April 18, 1870. Caleb Butler was historian of the Town of Groton, a member of St. Paul Lodge, and Grand Master in 1841 and 1842. It is in his honor and memory that our partner-host named their Lodge. No record exists as to where our name came from. St. Paul is characterized in Christian history as a zealous, tireless, enthusiastic promoter of Christianity or any other cause he pursued. He overshadows in his history all the other workers of the early church. And as the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Charles C. Hutchinson, stated 15 years ago at a similar celebration: "The selection of his name implies on the part of the founding fathers of this Lodge, a recognition of the value of fidelity, zeal, and courage in the discharge of duties which devolve upon us."

In 175 years, St. Paul Lodge has never surrendered its charter, its altar light has never been extinguished and its loyalty to the nation, commonwealth, community or its neighbors was never weak or uncertain. It has pressed on through over a century and three quarters, faithful to our order, courageous in meeting difficulties and sometimes opposition of misguided men. Let us hope that 175 years hence a group of men like ourselves of all sizes and description can meet as we do today and give thanks to our founding fathers.

From the organization until January 12, 1846 the Lodge met in a hall on the second floor of what was known as Hall's Tavern or Central House on Main Street of Groton. On January 12, 1846 the Lodge moved its quarters from Hall's Tavern to the third floor of a building on the Southwest corner of Main Street and Broadmeadow Road. Here the Lodge remained until 1870 when it joined our congenial partners from Caleb Butler Lodge in Ayer. The new quarters were on the third floor of the Phelps & Harlow Building on the Northwest corner of Main and West Street in Ayer. The great fire of April 1872 laid waste to the whole business district and our Lodge apartments with all the records. The Lodge then shared apartments with the "Irish Benevolent Society" on the third floor of the "Cushing Building" on the South side of Main Street opposite the present building. On October 17, 1872 we moved with Caleb Butler Lodge into "Masons' Hall" on the third floor of the Harvey A. Woods Building on the North side of Main Street west of the Town Hall. Again, this building was burned in July of 1879.

Since July 7, 1879 the Lodge has met with Caleb Butler Lodge in our present apartments in the Bank Building in Ayer.

Of the original founding fathers, Timothy Bigelow, John Abbot, Caleb Butler and Augustus Peabody became Grand Masters. Most Worshipful Brother Abbot had the distinct honor of laying the corner-stone of the great Bunker Hill Monument.

There are twenty-five living Past Masters of St. Paul Lodge. Unfortunately, due to sickness, our Senior Past Master cannot be with us tonight. I refer to Worshipful J. Gardiner Wiley. This man was Worshipful Master of St. Paul Lodge in 1914 and is still an active officer presently holding the office of Chaplain. He is loved by all who know him and has been a true inspiration to all the Past Masters as they came along the line. The Lodge supplied Grand Lodge with a Grand Chaplain for many years, another of our Past Masters, Rt. Worshipful Frank B. Crandall, (also Saint Paul Lodge Historian for the Sesquicentennial observance — 1947 Mass. pages 4-12) We have with us tonight two Past District Deputy Grand Masters, Leon J. Winch and Franklin E. Morrison and four Past Masters who have also been Masters of Caleb Butler Lodge, namely, Brothers Ralph H. Wylie, Jr., Bertrand E. Cote, Sr., George C. Saul and Alf B. Montgomery.

This about brings us up to date and I'll close with the hope that St. Paul Lodge continues to do good and thrives for many more centuries.


  • 1804 (Consecration and installation, II-251)
  • 1811 (Petition to Grand Lodge, II-500)
  • 1851 (Complaint against lodge, V-337)
  • 1871 (Revision of charter location, 1871-284)
  • 1872 (Permission to remove to Ayer granted, 1872-7)
  • 1898 (Participation in Ayer corner stone laying, 1898-25)



From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol XXV, No. 6, March, 1866, p. 166:

Pepperell, March 18, 1866.

Bro. C. W. Moore, — I have been delving among the Records of St. Paul's Lodge, and send you the following:—

At a special meeting of the members of St. Paul's Lodge, held at their hall in Groton on the ninth day of August, Anno Lucis 5797, for the consecration thereof, - present, all the members of said Lodge, and a large concourse of visiting brethren, — the Lodge is opened on the first step of Masonry, after which they proceed to the First Parish Meeting-house in Groton, where an elegant and ingenious discourse is delivered by Br. Thaddeus Mason Harris, and the officers of this Lodge are duly installed, and the Lodge is consecrated in form; after which a charge is delivered by the R. W. Br. Isaiah Thomas, and the Lodge return in procession to their hall, and in company with the Grand Lodge partake of a sumptuous dinner. The usual ceremonies having been gone through with, after much gratulation, joy, and festivity, the Lodge is closed. Attest, Samuel Dana, Secretary.

At a meeting of the members of St. Paul's Lodge, assembled at their hall in Groton on the third Monday of August, Anno Lucis 5797, Voted, That Br. Walton be a committee to obtain from the Rev. Br. Harris a copy of his discourse, delivered at the consecration of this Lodge, and that he procure three hundred copies thereof, to be printed for the use of this Lodge. The Lodge being cheered by songs, and Masonic toasts being drank, the same is closed at the usual hour in great harmony. Attest, Samuel Dana, Secretary.

At a meeting of St. Paul's Lodge, at their hall in Groton, on Monday, the third day of February, Anno Lucis 5800, Voted, To choose a committee to make all necessary arrangements on 22d February, instant, and chose R. W. M. Oliver Prescott, R. W. P. M. James Brazer, and Br. Treasurer, Thomas Gardner. Voted, That the brethren, after the exercises of the day of the 22d of February, meet at Captain I. Richardson's for refreshment. Voted, That if any brother belonging to the militia, being called upon by his officer, and fined for non-appearance, that this Lodge discharge the fine, provided they attend in Masonic order.

St. Paul's Lodge met according to agreement on the 22d February, at ten o'clock, a.m., A.L. 5800, at their hall in Groton, to attend the solemnities occasioned by the late decease of our Worthy Br. George Washington, which some time since were recommended by the united government of this country, at which time an oration was delivered by Br. Samuel Dana, who was appointed by a joint committee of the town of Groton and St. Paul's Lodge. A true copy. Attest, John Walton, Secretary.

R. W. M. James Brazer was the first Master of St. Paul's Lodge, and held the office three years. He was a blacksmith by trade, and formerly lived in Pepperell, where he carried on the business. Relinquishing that, he opened a West India goods store in that town for several years, to the satisfaction of all who traded with him, as being an honest trader. He then moved to Groton, where he continued in trade for a number of years. He built an elegant house on the Main street (which now belongs to the corporation of the Lawrence Academy). He was a justice of the peace for a number of years, and became wealthy by being economical and industrious. He possessed a noble mind, and an iron-bound memory. At the return of the annual Thanksgiving, the poor and needy of that town received from his store a certain amount of the "good things of this world," to make their hearts glad, "without fee or reward." He lived to a good old age before he was "gathered to the land where our fathers have gone before us."

Yours fraternally, Luther S. Bancroft.

P. S. — I have never been able to obtain the oration delivered by Br. Samuel Dana, February 22, A.L. 5800. It would be a treat to read it.


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XII, No. 2, December 1852, p. 61:

MASONIC FESTIVAL AT GROTON, MASS. The members of St Paul's Lodge, at Groton, held a public installation of their officers, on the 25th October last, and from the following, account of the proceedings, given in the Groton Telegraph, seem to have had a very pleasant time:—

The choice of officers of the Lodge, took, place this forenoon. Of this part of the ceremony we were not permitted to be a spectator. At about 11 o'clock, a procession was formed at the hall, under the direction of Col. Bancroft, of Pepperell, as Chief Marshal, assisted by Col. Dane, of Groton, and others. The music was done by a detachment from Hall's Lowell Band, and well done of course, for Hall was there himself with that gold bugle. The delegation of Knights Templars from Worcester, followed by St Paul's Lodge, with large delegations from Worcester, Lowell, Nashua, Nashville, &c.—they were followed by ladies, and the ladies of the " outsiders," who had been invited. The procession proceeded to Liberty Hall, where, after prayer by Rev. Mr. Clark, of West Townsend, and a Masonic hymn, the Senior Deacon collected the "jewels," which consisted of the usual Masonic devices. The officers of the Lodge, who had been elected, were then installed in due form. F. C. Swain, of Nashua, was installed as Master of the Lodge. Some very excellent pledges were required of him before being invested with that authority. The Bible, the square and compass, the charter, the constitution and by-laws were then handed over to him. Luther S. Bancroft was then installed as Senior Warden, and invested with the Level, and exhorted to "look well to the West" Lorenzo P. Blood was installed as Junior Warden, invested with the Plumb, and admonished to " look well to the South." The other points of the compass seem to have been entirely overlooked. Jeremiah Kilburn, as Treasurer; Dexter Blanchard, as Secretary; Abel Lawrence, Senior Deacon; L. A. Winch, Junior Deacon; Alpheus Eastman, Senior Steward; Samuel Merrill, Junior Steward; Nathan Dane, Marshal; Moses Gill, Tyler, were then severally installed. During these ceremonies, the officiating officer kept his hat on. We suppose it was all right.

Then came another Masonic hymn, or song to the tune " Here's a health to all good leaves." Lewis Smith, of Nashua, was then announced as the orator of the occasion. (We find our notes of the address quite copious, and we might be obliged to curtail them for want of room, if we had not learned that it was to be published, which makes a report less desirable.] He alluded to the fact that several members of the Lodge, instituted more than half a century ago, were present The address was of a historical nature, and developed the Masonic system. He traced the Institution down from its earliest existence, through all its forms, and all its wanderings; recounted its trials and its triumphs, its persecutions and its encouragements—its members sometimes courted and encouraged, and sometimes denounced and hunted down like wild beasts, almost. The address was listened to with attention and interest.

After another song or two, the procession was again formed, and proceeded to the table, where a most bountiful and excellent dinner was provided by the liberality of the Groton Masons for their brethren and invited guests. The head of the table was graced with an enormous pitcher, covered with Masonic devices— the gift to the Iodge of the venerable Dr. Walton, of Pepperell, one of the original members, imported from England by him. The Doctor was present, and enjoyed the occasion highly.

Gen. Hunt of Nashua, was called upon, and referred in very appropriate terms to the founders of the Lodge, and the many distinguished men who had been enrolled as its members. He also spoke of the claims of the Institution as the nursery of all that is good, and alluded to the changes that had taken place since its organization. He closed with an appropriate sentiment.

Mr. Smith rose to respond to the sentiment complimentary to the orator. He spoke of the old members whom he met, and of Dr. Walton in particular, and expressed the hope of meeting him again and often upon similar occasions. He complimented the ladies, who added so much to the interest of the occasion by their presence. He said he had been complained of for not revealing some of the secrets, and explained that matter to them—whether satisfactorily, we are a little inclined to doubt

Mr. F. A. Sawyer, of Nashua, was called upon. He alluded to the sleep that had fallen upon the Institution in years past, and its present bright and promising prospects. He spoke in high commendation of it No matter what outsiders, who knew nothing about it, might say, its tendencies were and must be good. No man had ever been made any worse by it, but many had been made better. He referred to its history, and the great and good men who had belonged to it as an evidence of its worthiness—to Washington, in particular. He assured the ladies that the secrets were nothing which affected their principles, hut were only such as were necessary to protect them from imposition. He spoke very warmly of the ladies and gave—

The memory of the distinguished Grand Master, whose faithfulness cost him his life—may we hope that those influences that Freemasonry ever strives to throw around her votaries, may cause his virtues to be reproduced in our hearts, as beautiful and fresh as the cassia over his grave."

Dr. Walton made a few remarks and gave a sentiment.

Rev. Mr. Clark, of West Townsend, made a few remarks commending the Institution in the highest terms. It was not very common for gentlemen of his profession to belong to the Order, but he was proud to acknowledge himself a member.

Mr. North, Master of Pentucket Lodge, of Lowell, alluded to the charities of the Institution, and made an effective speech, alluding to its usefulness among strangers in a strange land.

Major Bagley, of Nashville, gave a sentiment complimentary to the liberality of St Paul's Lodge.

Regular Toasts.

  • The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Its present Grand and Past Grand Masters.
  • The Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts—Bro. Charles W. Moore—His name and fame, as a Freemason, need no eulogy.
  • Solomon, the Luminary of the East—Washington, the glory of the West.
  • The Knights Templars of Worcester County Encampment—Our welcome guests They are ever ready at the call of danger, to guard the Threshhold of our Holy Temple from the approach of cowans and eavesdroppers.
  • The Orator of the Day—For his logical address—We the members of St Paul's Lodge return him our heartfelt thanks—We look upon him as a burning and shining light in the Masonic Temple.
  • The Ladies—They are with us, with heart and hand, we look upon them as the flowers that deck the Garden of Columbia—Although the rules of our Order exclude you from our mysteries yet you are not the less rapturously remembered by us, than by every one, who has a heart within him that throbs at God's most perfect work.
  • The Great Masonic Hive—May there be fewer drones than there has been for the last twentyfive years, less buzzing, and more pure honey.
  • The liberal hospitalities of St. Paul's Lodge—As brilliant as has been the rays of our glorious sun upon this day.


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXIX, No. 1, November 1869, Page 19:

This fine old Lodge celebrated its seventy-second anniversary on Monday, the 18th of October, when, — having elected its officers, and transacted its ordinary business in the forenoon, — it was honored by the presence of a delegation from the M.W. Grand Lodge, consisting of the R.W. Henry Perkins, District Deputy Grand Master for the Seventh District; R.W. Brs. Salmon, Dudley, and Norcross, of Lowell; and the R.W. Brs. Parkman and Moore, of Boston. There was a very general attendance of the members of the Lodge, as is usual on these interesting occasions; many of them coming from a distance of eight or ten miles for the purpose. As already stated, the Lodge is usually opened about ten o'clock in the morning, when the regular business is transacted, and, at about, one o'clock, the members with their guests, partake of their annual dinner together, at the old public house in the village. He who understands the composition and character of an old-fashioned New-England dinner, its variety and cookery, its roast (not baked) turkeys, and their savory dressings; its pumpkin-pies and baked puddings, with all the et cetera which go to make up a " great spread," can alone, appreciate the excellence of these "St. Paul" annual feasts. They make no pretensions to style, though they embody a vast deal of personal comfort and social enjoyment. And our Brethren look forward to their annual return, as when boys they anticipated an approaching national anniversary or county muster, and when their ideas of a "good time" were to be realized.'

After-dinner speeches, as usual on such occasions, constitute a concomitant part of the table-ceremonial. At the late meeting this duty was performed by Brs. Perkins, District Deputy G.M. ; Parkman, Moore, Salmon, Dudley, of the Delegation; Needham, Judd, E.D., and L. S. Bancroft, and others. The speakers were well received, and occupied about an hour or an hour and a half, when the tables were dismissed, and the Brethren repaired to the Lodge-room, where the District Deputy and his officers performed the duties of their appointment, inspecting the books and work of the Lodge, for the past, and installing the officers for the current year, as follows:

  • A. M. Adams, W. M.
  • Mowry Lapham, S. W.
  • H. W. Eldredge, J. W.
  • Andrew Spaulding, Treas.
  • A. S. Lawrence, Sec.
  • L. S. Bancroft, Chap.
  • David Cram, S. D.
  • Wra. F. Patch, J. D.
  • S. L. Sheple, S. S.
  • Geo. Parkhurst, J. S.
  • A.S. Lawton, M.
  • Moses Gill, Tyler.

It may not be out of place to add, in conclusion, that no Lodge in this jurisdiction has had the honor of initiating a larger number of the strong and able men of the State, or can present a more interesting history; which latter should be written up for the benefit of others than the members of the Lodge.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XII, No. 2, November 1916, Page 50:

St. Paul Lodge, Ayer, Mass., has the unique distinction of being a daylight lodge and holds its meetings in the afternoon. Its Annual Communication is an occasion of especial interest and always well attended by the brethren. Its last annual meeting, held Monday, October 16th, was preceded by a banquet. The principal business of the meeting was the installation of officers for the ensuing year. The installation was public and was conducted by Worshipful Albert J. Atwood, assisted by Worshipful Lawrence Morgan as Marshal, both being Past Masters of St. Paul Lodge.

The following are officers for 1916-1917: Walter H. Drury, Worshipful Master; Albert F. Parker, Senior Warden; Neil G. McWilliam, Junior Warden; Daniel W. Fletcher, Treasurer; Daniel C. Parsons, Secretary; Rev. George M. Howe, Chaplain; J. Gardner Willey (P. M.), marshal; Charles W. Moore, and E. C. Morgan, Deacons; William Hanna and Joseph A. Donnelly, Stewards; Frederic H. Parker, Inside Sentinel; Lawrence Morgan (P. M.), Organist; George E. Tarbell (P. M.), Tyler.

Following the installation the Weber Male Quartet sang several selections and remarks were made by Fred L. Putnam, grand lecturer, Rev. R. W. Drawbridge of Belmont, and Wor. Bro. Barnes of Corinthian Lodge, Wor. Albert J. Atwood and Wor. Bro. Lawrence Morgan of St. Paul Lodge, Wor. Austin R. Paul of St. John's Lodge of Maine, Rev. Frank Crandall of Ayer, Mass., and Rev. George H. Howe of Groton.

The retiring Master, Albert H. Gilbert was presented with a Past Master's Jewel by the new Worshipful Master, Walter H. Drury.


From TROWEL, Spring 1987, Page 18:

Grand Master Installs Wor. Ralph Sheldon As Master


The photo pictures M. W. David B. Richardson, Grand Master, as he invests Wor. Ralph Sheldon, whom he had installed as Master of Saint Paul Lodge, Ayer, with the gavel of office. A group of Grand Lodge officers assisted in the installation during the communication of the Lodge in October.

Wor. Sheldon is better known as the one who heads the Supply Room on the second floor of the Grand Lodge.


From TROWEL, Spring 1987, Page 31:

Grand Lodge Dedicates Grave Marker in Lunenburg


Grand Master David B. Richardson, Grand Lodge officers, and the officers and members of Saint Paul Lodge, Ayer, joined in the dedication of a grave marker in Lunenburg Cemetery on Nov. 25, 1986. The marker was placed in memory of M. W. Ernest A. Reed, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey in 1921.

Saint Paul Lodge was opened and Wor. Ralph M. Sheldon received M. W. Richardson and his suite. Included on the suite was M. W. Thomas R. Dougherty, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey and Director of Hospital Visitation, the Masonic Service Association of the U. S. The delegation then returned to Ayer where the Grand Master closed Grand Lodge and Saint Paul Lodge. The host Lodge served a collation.

Bro. Reed was a native of Townsend, attended Lawrence Academy at Groton and Harvard U. He was employed in the New York and New Jersey areas and resided in Orange, NJ, where he died in 1949. He had been Raised in Ashlar Lodge No. 76 of Trenton and affiliated with Northern Lodge No. 25 (now Nutley No. 25) where he served as Worshipful Master in 1912. He was coroneted a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, A. A. S. R., in 1922.




1803: District 5 (Framingham, West and North)

1821: District 5

1835: District 3

1849: District 3

1867: District 7 (Lowell)

1883: District 11 (Lowell)

1911: District 12 (Lowell)

1927: District 13 (Fitchburg)

2003: District 14


Massachusetts Lodges