- 1 STAR OF BETHLEHEM 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
STAR OF BETHLEHEM LODGE
Location: Chelsea; Wakefield (1978)
Chartered By: Augustus Peabody
Charter Date: 06/11/1845 IV-740
Precedence Date: 12/08/1843
Current Status: Active. Note that this was the first lodge to petition for a charter following the anti-Masonic period and was the beginning of the renewed growth of the Masonic fraternity in Massachusetts.
- Horace G. Barrus, 1843-1846
- William Knapp, 1847-1850; Mem
- John Low, 1851, 1852
- Eben W. Lothrop, 1853-1857, 1859
- John F. Fellows, 1858
- Tracy P. Cheever, 1860 RW
- William A. Williams, 1861
- Henry W. Bowen, 1862
- John Walter, 1863
- Charles F. Haynes, 1864-1866
- Charles T. Gay, 1867, 1868
- George W. Vose, 1869, 1870
- James Tent, 1871
- William D. Seely, 1872, 1873
- Philip G. Ilsley, 1874, 1875
- Charles S. Beatley, 1876, 1877
- Frederick L. Cutting, 1878, 1879
- Eugene E. Endicott, 1880, 1881; Mem
- John P. Payson, 1882
- Alonzo R. James, 1883
- Sylvester R. Adams, 1884-1886
- W. Frederick Kimball, 1887, 1888
- Calvin W. Sawyer, 1889
- Edward G. Tutein, 1890, 1891
- Henry Spavin, 1892, 1893; SN
- T. Henry Mayo, 1894, 1895
- Charles J. Foye, 1896, 1897
- Charles B. Burleigh, 1898, 1899
- F. Warren Kimball, 1900, 1901
- Herbert C. Ilsley, 1902, 1903
- James Gould, 1904, 1905 RW
- Algernon H. Magune, 1906, 1907
- George H. Eaton, 1908, 1909
- Allen H. Legg, 1910, 1911
- Alfred W. Martin, 1912, 1913
- Charles W. Gould, 1914, 1915; SN
- Frank E. DeLano, 1916, 1917
- Allison W. Stone, 1918
- Charles H. Grantman, 1919, 1920
- George H. McIntire, 1921, 1922; N
- Ralph K. Hope, 1923, 1924; Mem
- Silas P. Gates, 1925
- Arthur H. Reed, 1926, 1927; N
- John Guy, 1928, 1929
- George L.P. Cromwell, 1930, 1931
- Harry W. Dingwell, 1932, 1933
- Seymour H. Fracker, 1934, 1935
- George O. Lake, 1936
- Jesse Gould, 1937
- Walter A. Wipperman, 1938, 1939
- Bertram G. Clarke, 1940, 1941
- Edgar H. Patterson, Jr., 1942
- Stewart P. Sloane, 1943, 1944; SN
- Reginald F. Goldsworthy, 1945, 1946; N
- Walter C. Lake, 1947, 1948
- C. Maxwell French, 1949, 1950
- Charles W. Holzwarth, 1951, 1952
- Charles W. Pearson, 1953, 1954
- Ernest H. Becker, 1955, 1956
- William C. Smith, 1957, 1958
- George V. Bartlett, 1959
- Frank E. Milley, 1960, 1961
- Paul N. Howell, 1962
- James LeGrow, 1963; SN
- John D. Manning, 1964, 1965
- Kenneth M. Smith, 1966, 1967
- William A. Trickett, 1968, 1969
- Edmund J. Carafa, 1970
- Robert D. Howard, 1971, 1972
- Paul H. Podlesny, 1973, 1974
- James A. Carabineris, 1975, 1976
- Andrew T. Fish, 1977, 1978
- George R. Fallstich, Jr., 1979, 1980; 1985; 1989; N
- John H. Carabineris, 1981, 1982
- Hugh Vaughey, 1983
- John A. Manning, 1984; N
- Robert E. Stephenson, 1986, 1987, 1993
- Joseph C. Fuchs, 1988
- Raymond A. Dembkoski, 1990-1992, 1998, 2000-2001, 2004; PDDGM
- George W. Izzett, 1994, 1995
- Ernest L. Foss, 1995
- Maurice R. Granville, 1996, 1997
- Kevin G. Misuraca, 1999
- Eben Hutchinson, Jr., 2002, 2003
- John E. Kelley, Jr., 2005, 2006; PDDGM
- William G. Ball, 2007
- Paul E. Kelley, 2008, 2009, 2012
- Sergio M. Jaramillo, 2010, 2011,
- John S. Brownell, Jr, 2012-2014, 2022
- Michael C. Morris, Jr, 2015-2016
- Richard M. Otte, 2017-2018
- Alan D. Gray, 2019-2020
- Craig S. Foland, 2021
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Dispensation: 1843
- Petition for Charter: 1845
- Consolidation Petition (with Winthrop Lodge): 1995
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1847 (Robinson; Constitution of Lodge and installation; see below)
- 1874 (Nickerson; Hall dedication; Special Communication; see below)
- 1879 (Welch)
- 1882 (Lawrence)
- 1885 (Howland)
- 1891 (Wells)
- 1893 (Acting Grand Master Shepard; 50th Anniversary, Hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1903 (Sanford; 60th Anniversary)
- 1943 (Schaefer; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1968 (Booth; 125th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1989 (Ames)
- 1993 (Senior Grand Warden John W. Hanson; 150th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1995 (Lovering; Consolidation; Special Communication)
1869 1870 1882 1883 1891 1894 1907 1913 1922 1925 1927 1940 1958 1976 1979 1980 2006
- 1893 (50th Anniversary History, 1893-97; see below)
- 1943 (Centenary History, 1943-148; see below)
- 1968 (125th Anniversary History, 1968-258; see below)
- 1993 (150th Anniversary History, 1993-98; see below)
50TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1893
Address by Rev. Bro. R. Perry Bush
From Proceedings, Page 1893-97:
WORSHIPFUL MASTER AND BRETHREN: It is with an earnest sense of the honor you confer upon me, that I appear to-night as the historian of this Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons. It is an event most worthy of sacred commemoration, when an institution which has sustained the part which this Lodge has performed in public affairs and private life has reached its semi-centennial. My regard for the Masonic Fraternity throughout the world; my interest in the advance of truth and virtue; my close friendship with so many of you who listen to my voice; all tend to impress upon me the deep significance of this occasion; for of all the angels who attend the path of man, none is more radiant with beauty than Memory! It is she who keeps the tapers always burning on the altars of love. It is she who preserves for us the faces long since hidden from earthly eyes and the voices hushed in silence while we yet were young. It is she who guides our footsteps over all the old familiar ways, where time and change have removed the landmarks. It is she who makes the future bright with anticipation, as beneath her magic touch we picture to-morrow as completing in grandeur the work of the fathers which we are striving to advance. Blessed, thrice blessed is Memory! And blessed be this hour which we dedicate to a review of the past and the inspiration of those upon whose shoulders has fallen the mantle of worthy sires.
I count it a privilege that I am permitted to share your celebration, and I bring you my prayer that it may. redound to the glory oof Freemasonry and the furthering of those exalted principles for which you stand. If I be not as conversant as I might with the details of your history, I am certainly appreciative of the work that you have done, and at one with you in your present efforts and intent. To me the cause you represent is most exalted and the name you bear typical of the purposes you cherish.
The Star of Bethlehem of old guided the wise men of the East to the manger of the Christ; and through all the ages since, it has lent its gleaming to direct humanity along the avenues of the highest civilization and divinest character. This Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons may well cherish with pride that lofty appellation, for it has ever lent its aid to the best life and the chiefest interests of this community. It stands here in this goodly city of Chelsea for all that is worthiest in man's nature and possibility. Within the circle of its fellowship all the graces of truest character are cultivated; and example and inspiration are afforded to him who would rightly fulfill his obligations to his Creator and his fellows. It is good, therefore, that we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the institution of this Lodge with such ceremonies as shall lead us to a recognition of the influence it has exerted and the objects to which as Masons our lives are dedicated.
To you, Brethren of the Star of Bethlehem, belongs an honor in which you may rejoice with exceeding great joy; for yours was the first Masonic Charter which was granted posterior to that war against our Fraternity which for two decades followed the year 1825. They whom you hold in veneration as the founders of your Lodge were the first to light again the fires of Freemasonry, after those stormy days in which such fires had been everywhere quenched by injustice and inappreciation. We learn from records yellow with age that on the 15th of September, 1843, at the house of Bro. H. G. Barrus, the first organized meeting was held, and the seed was planted from which a most abundant fruitage has come.
Little do we realize, Brethren, what mighty forces the most insignificant instruments may set in motion. The best and the worst of issues have sprung from what would have seemed to the casual observer to be altogether unimportant transactions or events. I remember a word from Sir Archibald Alison, which may not be out of place in this connection: "A fit of passion," he says, "in Mrs. Masham arrested the course of Marlborough's victory and preserved the tottering kingdom of France; a charge of a few squadron of horse under Kellermann, at Marengo, fixed Napoleon on the Consular throne, and another, with no greater force, against the flank of the old guard at Waterloo, chained him to the rock of St. Helena." I learn from the pages of Motley that the chance divulging of the secret policy of King Philip the Second, of Spain, gave birth to the patriotism of William of Orange, and the spirit which sustained the Dutch through eighty years of conflict. The American Republic grew out of the determination of a few Pilgrims to maintain their rights of worship; and the greatness and glory of the Christian church had its rise in the Master of Galilee and his twelve humble disciples.
I presume that that meeting of six Masonic Brethren fifty years ago was unnoticed by the community about them, but from the vantage point of this present day we can see that it was marvellously significant. The people at large had little sympathy, if indeed they had any knowledge of what was being done. The lambskin was not then as now a badge of supremest honor, and that little coterie of brave and devoted souls could not realize the grandeur of the temple that would one day be erected upon the foundation which then they laid, for the opposition to their efforts was deep and influential. It is a study calculated to increase our courage and fidelity in this more enlightened age to review the account of their struggles and their persistence in the face of the obstacles which confronted them.
On the 26th of October, 1843, it was reported to the members of our Fraternity present at a meeting held that day, that King Solomon's Lodge, of Charlestown, had given consent to. the establishment of a Lodge in Chelsea, and that a Dispensation for that purpose had been granted. Accordingly an election was held and the first regular officers of Star of Bethlehem were installed. With devout acknowledgment of our obligation to these worthy men, and a solemn vow to keep ever green their memory, I recall for you their names: Horace G. Barrus, Worshipful Master; William Knapp, Senior Warden; David Granger, Junior Warden; John Bridge, Treasurer; Anthony Blackett, Secretary; David W. Smith, Senior Deacon; Rufus R. Cook, Junior Deacon; William S. Merriam and Nathan Brown, Stewards; and Abel Bowen, Tyler. All these, if I am rightly informed, have since been raised to the sublime glory of the Celestial Lodge above; but their work shall continue to bless the world till time shall be no more. They labored valiantly and well, and they have entered into their reward. Ages shall not dim the lustre of their deeds, and generations of Masons yet unborn shall rise up and call them blessed. Their successors, so long as this Lodge shall endure, shall on each of it& great anniversaries pay to them appropriate and merited tribute of fraternal regard, for their steadfastness is something worthy of the emulation of all true and faithful Masons.
Slow was their growth, and yet some among them never wavered. Friends rose up in sister Lodges and gave their gifts of paraphernalia. Generous-hearted souls assisted them in providing a suitable Temple for their meetings. They participated in ceremonies which will always have a place in American history; and when the booming of cannon at Fort Sumter roused the North to the freeing of the slave and the preservation of the Union, they went forth in goodly number to don their suits of blue and fight the battles of the Rebellion. When sweet Peace once again spread her white wings over our land, they exchanged the music of strife for that better music which guided them to the consecration of our Masonic building in Boston; and when on the 31st of March, 1874, the combined Fraternity of our city united in the dedication of this Temple in which we now meet, Star of Bethlehem participated in the ceremonies and rejoiced in the end. accomplished.
It were surely a profitable use of the time allotted me, should I employ it all in reminiscences like these which are so full of inspiration ; and it were a pleasant task as well to paint the picture of the stalwart and honored men who have in turn presided over your deliberations.
Many a form I doubt not passes in fancy before your eyes as you sit within this presence, and your minds travel backward along the years. It were easy to imagine that the alarm hath been given; that the warder hath answered; and that once again Brothers Knapp, and Lothrop, and Cheever, and Shillaber, and a host of others, loved of yore, have taken their seats among us; and if there w*ere need of a Marshal to escort them to the East, such might be appropriately found in him who for a quarter of a century has faithfully served this Lodge in official capacity, and who, with each passing year, has strengthened the tie of respect and love by which he is bound to us all, our worthy Brother Frederick L. Cutting.
But I must not permit myself too long to linger with the days gone by, for I have the conviction that what has been is most profitable to us, as it is applied in helpfulness to the needs of to-day and the promise which makes us eager for to-morrow. Fifty years this Lodge hath exercised its beneficent influence in this community! Fifty years it has striven, together with all the other means which God has appointed for such end, to transform the rough ashler of human life into that perfect product which it was meant to be! Fifty years it has done its part in the ennobling of our race! Fifty years it has gathered about its altar upright and manly men cemented together by brotherly love and affection! Fifty years it has bound its members to aid, support and protect each other! Fifty years, it has inculcated temperance, fortitude, prudence, and justice! Fifty years it has consecrated those who sought its shrine, to the following of that wisdom which shall beget the strength and beauty of character! Fifty years it has guided by the rounds of faith, hope, and charity to that starry decked heaven where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides!
You who are enrolled within its ranks have reason to exult in the record which you preserve in your archives; and in that grander record which is inscribed upon the hearts of those who have been blessed by its ministrations. Part of that wondrous Institution whose beginning no man can avail to discover, whose roots lie hidden in the most distant past, but whose fruitage rejoices the hearts of all who love the good and the true, you may not be ashamed of your lineage and you may point with pride to what you have been enabled to accomplish. An earnest student of Freemasonr}7, I mark this Lodge as a representative of a mighty body of men who through the ages have helped to broaden the thought and deepen the sympathies of humanity, and who, though sometimes cast down, have yet in all the years contributed to the establishment of the kingdom of righteousness.
Here within our sacred borders hand grasps hand in friendship, and like those who gathered about the board of Arthur the king, we share our social joys. Here tolerance holds its seat and power, and meeting upon the level we part upon the square. Here liberty and equality are our watchwords and each may confide in those about him, and find help and encouragement in the midst of misfortune and sorrow. Here faith in all that is high and holy is abundantly encouraged and we are taught to pray. Here the Holy Bible is opened before us and we are admonished to make it the rule and guide of life. Here by square and compasses, we are warned to govern our actions and keep our passions within due bounds. Here we learn that when the embers of mortality are feebly glimmering in the socket of existence we need not mourn as those who have no hope, but our eyes are directed in confidence to the opening scenes of eternity. Here symbols and ritual are evoked to call forth all that is best within us, and build us up into the stature of the perfect.
Who can measure the influence which has radiated from such an organization during the time since it began its course? Who can tell how much it has been to those who have been privileged to share its fellowship and participate in its beneficent work? Who can tell the greater good it has accomplished in ways that cannot be numbered, but that are seen only by the eye of the Omniscient? It is a glorious heritage, my Brothers of this Masonic Fraternity, which has fallen to your lot, and heartily I congratulate you upon the prosperity which has waited upon your efforts, and the respect and position which you command to-day!
Growing with the growth of this our city, you are no longer subject to the scorn and derision which were visited upon those early pioneers, who so long ago planted in this community that standard about which you rally tonight. The better known, the better loved, you are free to-day to work your work of brotherly regard and to further your noble purposes. The future before you is arched with the shining bow of wondrous promise. Always the good God will need your help in His efforts to develop humanity, and to make clear the paths in which His children are to tread. Standing this little moment with you upon the threshold of your second half century, I pledge for you the memory of your founders and of all those along your course who have helped to make you what you are.
Rejoicing with you in the gladness of this your anniversary, I bid you God speed upon your way, pointing you to that bright orb whose name you bear, and bidding you each, as members of this grand Fraternity, to withhold not. your endeavor until this Star of Bethlehem shall have led you to the Christ and made you faithful disciples of the Lord of lords and King of kings.
CENTENARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1943
From Proceedings, Page 1943-148:
By Brother Winthrop F. Butler.
"The scenes which charmed and soothed me young, No longer young,
I find yet have the power
To charm and sooth me still."
It is said that he who has no reverence for the past will never build a future which can command reverence. We owe it not only to those who have gone before, but to ourselves, to pause from time to time to review the labors and achievements of those who have laid the foundations of so much that we now enjoy. How true it is that "other men have labored and we have entered into their labors." All that has been ours of friendly social intercourse, of mutual help and of inspiration in the years since first we became members of Star of Bethlehem Lodge, we owe primarily to those men who, in a time when Masonry was but just emerging from under a cloud of misunderstanding and distrust, dared to venture here in Chelsea, to re-establish a branch of an institution that in times that to them were the past had done so much to foster the progress of our country when it was taking its first hesitant steps towards independence and self-government.
One hundred years is a brief time in total history; it is a long time in terms of human life. Yet, in spite of the marvelous material advance that has been made, not alone in one hundred years, but even since we celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of this Lodge, a celebration which some among us remember, we are a great deal nearer in feeling and understanding to the men whom we honor tonight as the "Founders" than were they to the men, mighty in Masonry, one hundred years before their time. In spite of all the changes that have taken place, we rejoice that the spirit of Masonry remains the same.
How interesting it would be if we could visualize to ourselves the Chelsea of 1843! There are some here who can in a measure do so. One hundred years ago Chelsea was still little more than a country town, but in area it was much larger than at present, including as it did what became in 184S the City of Revere as we now know it, though it was not to attain the status of a city for many years to come. Chelsea itself was not to be incorporated as a city till 1857. It was of course but three miles to Boston; but three miles was a long way on cold winter evenings in horse-drawn vehicles or on foot. This, perhaps, in a measure was a contributing cause in the minds of our Brethren who felt the need of a Lodge within a comfortable distance of their homes.
In those days, Chelsea Square formed the center of population and the streets leading into it were largely streets of homes. Beyond what is now Bellingham Square, population grew thin and beyond the present line of the Boston and Maine Railroad was open country where, even so lately as the early seventies, people went for picnic parties. One of our former Brothers, now passed away, told the writer not many years ago that as a boy he used each morning to lead a neighbor's cow to Powder-horn Hill to pasture, bringing it back again at night. Along Broadway were shade trees and the "Ornamental Tree Association" was doing, or was soon to do, much for the beautification of the town by planting the elm trees along the other streets; trees that proved increasingly things of beauty till they fell victims to the fire of 1908. Many Broadway homes, too, stood well back from the road and looked across wide lawns to the highway. "Captains' Row" on Marginal Street was one of the sights of the town and the old Marine Hospital, later to be the Shurtleff School, was an important feature in the landscape. Ninety years ago Chelsea was being advertised in The Boston Transcript as a delightful place for tired business men to spend the summer and later on the "Highland Park Hotel," afterwards the first building of what is now the Soldiers' Home, was erected as a summer resort.
It was a simple life that people led in a quiet and simple community and they turned for social interest to one another rather than seeking it at a distance.
The first meeting of Free Masons in Chelsea was held on September 15, 1843 (in Masonic chronology 5843) at the home of Brother and Reverend Dr. Horace G. Barrus on Winnisimmet Street. At this meeting were present in addition to Dr. Barrus, Brothers William Knapp, Abel Bowen, Anthony Brackett, David W. Smith and Rufus R. Cook, all Master Masons in good standing, though of what particular Lodge or Lodges we have found no record. It may be noted in passing that Brother Barrus was a distinguished Mason serving, or having served, as Grand Lecturer in Grand Lodge and at exemplifications, when under the old system, these were put on by Grand Lodge itself instead of by the subordinate Lodges as at present. It may be interesting to insert here the preamble transcribed in the handwriting of Brother Barrus in the first record book of the Lodge:
"Whereas several brethren, members of the fraternity of FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS, resident in the town of CHELSEA, having the good of the fraternity at heart, and believing that the INSTITUTION of a LODGE of ANCIENT FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS, would conduce to their own happiness and usefulness, and be serviceable to the CRAFT at large, therefore we are resolved upon calling a meeting for the purpose of taking the subject into serious consideration."
The original projectors of this undertaking represented a variety of occupations and were a fair cross-section of the community. As we have stated above, Brother Barrus, to whom more than to any other individual we are indebted for our existence, and who labored untiringly in the interests of the Lodge, first as its Master and later as Secretary through a period of years, was a clergyman. Brother Knapp was a clerk; Brother Bowen a printer; Brother Brackett a broker, though whether of bonds or potatoes we are not told; Brother Smith a wharfinger and Brother Cook a painter, though here again we are in the dark as to whether of pictures or houses—we presume the latter.
Following the preliminary meeting, four others were held, all of them at the homes of the founders and three of the four at that of Brother Barrus. At the fifth of these a dispensation was received from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge and organization was effected with
- Rt. Wor. Horace G. Barrus as Master
- Rt. Wor. William Knapp as Senior Warden
- Wor. David Granger as Junior Warden
- Bro. John Bridge as Treasurer
- Bro. Anthony Brackett as Secretary
- Bro. David W. Smith, as Senior Deacon
- Bro. Rufus R. Cook as Junior Deacon
- Bros. William S. Merriam and Nathan Brown as Stewards
- Bro. Abel Bowen as Tyler
The meeting at which the above organization took place was held on October 26, 1843, at which time these officers were severally installed; the Master by R.W. Brother Knapp under authority from the Grand Master and the other officers by the newly installed Master of Star of Bethlehem Lodge himself. At this time various committees were appointed to secure regalia and make needful arrangements for carrying on the work. The first candidate for the degrees was proposed. Mr. George C. Stearns enjoyed this honor and heads a list which through the passage of time now comprises literally hundreds of names.
It should be gratefully remembered that King Solomon's Lodge, then of Charlestown, loaned us our first suit of regalia; Pentucket Lodge of Chelmsford a complete set of collars and jewels; Mount Lebanon Lodge of Boston provided three brazen candlesticks; a gift of sashes was made by Columbian Lodge of Boston and The Great Light was presented us by our own Brother, Abel Bowen.
It was of course obvious that meetings for the conduct of regular Masonic work could not continue to be held in private residences and at this, the first meeting under dispensation, a committee consisting of Brothers David W. Smith, John Bridge and Rufus R. Cook was named to confer with Brother Nathan Haskell as to securing his hall as the regular meeting place of the Lodge.
On November 22, occurred the first regular and legal communication under warrant, once more at the home of Brother Barrus, and after attending to a number of matters essential to the commencement of so important an undertaking, the name of Mr. Erastus Rugg was proposed as the second candidate for the degrees. From this time on applicants not only for the degrees, but for membership (in those old days membership was not involved in receiving the degrees alone, but must be voted on separately) was healthy and continuous.
The first regular communication in quarters of its own was held on December 28, 1843, in a room that is quaintly described in the records as being "over the bake house." Just why this close proximity to the good things of life is anybody's guess. Perhaps the Brethren rejoiced in the prospect of refreshments later, though during the early years of our existence their delights seem to have been more moral than material and it was only by special arrangement that refreshments were to be had.
On the 28th of February, 1844, the first meeting was held in what Brother Brackett, the Secretary, emphasizes as MASONIC HALL in Haskell's Building on Winnisimmet Street, this being the first real, though temporary, home of the Lodge. In the following November the Lodge removed to the then new building known as Gerrish's Block, still standing at the junction of Pearl and Winnisimmet Streets, where they shared the quarters of the Odd Fellows and which they describe as "more commodious" than those which they left. So far as we know, this is the only building aside from the present Temple, ever occupied by Star of Bethlehem that remains standing. Interesting as it must be to us as Masons from its early association, it possesses even more historic appeal since it was there that Abraham Lincoln once made an address at the time of what we believe was his first visit to Boston and certainly his only one to Chelsea. Up to June, 1845, the Lodge functioned under "dispensation."
On June eleventh of that year the Grand Lodge granted us a Charter signed by Augustus Peabody, Grand Master; Robert Keith, Senior Grand Warden; John Hews, Junior Grand Warden and Charles W. Moore, Grand Secretary. On the nineteenth of the following December, by permission of the Grand Master, the Lodge held a special communication at the Masonic Temple in Boston, at which in the presence of a large number of visiting Brothers, Star of Bethlehem Lodge, A. F. and A. M. was formally constituted by the Grand Master under the new Charter.
In 1848 the Lodge removed to "Silloway's Building" on the corner of Broadway and what was then Maiden Street, now Everett Avenue. Here it remained until December, 1854, when it became the tenant of Brother Worshipful John Low on the same spot for a period of twenty years, at which time the need of still more "commodious" quarters caused it to remove to the corner of Broadway and Third Street, continuing there until the destruction of the building and most of its contents in the great fire of Palm Sunday, April 12, 1908. Some of us were "raised" in that building and to such, no other Masonic building or temple, however splendid, can ever have the same appeal. Here many of our most loyal and devoted Brothers foregathered during more than three decades and doubtless much that became history in Chelsea during that period was first discussed informally within those walls. Of the erection and occupancy of the present building we speak later.
For the early history of our Lodge, we are largely indebted to Right Worshipful Brother Tracy P. Cheever, who from the time he was "raised" here and became a member till he withdrew in 1867 to help organize Robert Lash Lodge, was an active and valued worker, as well as having served as Worshipful Master in 1860. On the evening of March 1, 1874, at the dedication of the new hall just across the street from our present home and on the corner of Third Street, he delivered an address summing up the outstanding events recorded in the official records from the beginning up to that date. This, together with an account of the rise of the other four Masonic bodies in Chelsea, The Royal Arch Chapter of the Shekinah, Palestine Commandery, Robert Lash Lodge and Naphtali Council, were subsequently brought together by Brother Lyman M. Miller, for more than thirty years Secretary of Star of Bethlehem, dying in office in 1907, and published in a brochure, a copy of which is to be found in our library.
The true history of this Lodge is to be found not alone in the faithful record of its strictly "Masonic" work, a record which, due to the conscientious labors of a long line of loyal secretaries we possess in its entirety, but in the many events in which our Brethren have shares as representatives of our Order. Some of the more outstanding of these are recorded here.
On January 20, 1847, a fraternal letter was voted to Brothers Joseph Noyes, William C. Wright and James Turnbull, they being in the "Gulph of Mexico" in their country's service. This, of course, refers to the Mexican War. Thus we have evidence that from its very beginning members of Star of Bethlehem have stood ready to spring to the defense of the nation.
October 25, 1848, the Lodge opened at 9:00 A.M. to attend ceremonies in Boston in connection with the introduction of water from Lake Cochituate. The first public installation of officers took place in the presence of members and their ladies only, and with the District Deputy Grand Master in attendance, on February 4, 1857.
June 17th of the same year the Lodge, in compliance with the expressed wish of the Grand Master, participated in the dedication of the memorial to Most Worshipful Brother and General Joseph Warren at Bunker Hill Monument, Charles-town, at which time a beautiful silken banner, designed and executed by Brother John Low, was borne for the first time. How greatly we should prize this banner had it been preserved to the present day! At a special meeting on December 22, 1858, in response to a communication from the Grand Master, it was voted that a committee be appointed to solicit a contribution from each of the Brethren of $1.00 to aid in purchasing Mount Vernon, "the Tomb of Washington."
It is noted in the records of a special communication held April 19, 1861, that Worshipful Brother William A. Williams "being a man and a patriot and a soldier" was absent on "matters pertaining to our country's good" in connection with the assault made that day by the Rebels in Baltimore and the Lodge was adjourned without doing any work under the authority of the Senior Warden, Brother Henry W. Bowen. At another special communication on the twenty-first of the same month, under dispensation from the Grand Lodge, Albert S. Austin, Charles H. Carruth and Edward L. Jones were admitted to all three degrees and the customary initiation fees were remitted, they being about to depart with the Chelsea Volunteer Company for the seat of war. These three Brothers, while not yet admitted to membership, appear to have been our first representatives, so far as recorded, to enter active service in the Union Army. On November 20, 1861, the following members were listed as being in the service: Worshipful Brother Lieutenant Colonel John F. Fellows, Brothers George A. Gerrish and Sumner Carruth, each as a Captain, and Brother George H. Rice in the Navy. At a later date, Brother Clifton A. Blanchard, our then Secretary, enlisted and served with the rank of Captain. These are but a few names in the roll of those who represented us under the Stars and Stripes during the greatest of wars that the world to that day had ever known. In January, 1865, the records state that "many of our members have been and are engaged, either as officers or soldiers in the armies or navy of the United States"—whereupon it was voted to remit their dues during their period of service; and subsequent to the war a number who had been soldiers became members of the Lodge. On October 14, 1864, Star of Bethlehem, under escort of Palestine Commandery, assisted in the laying of the corner stone of the new Masonic Temple in Boston.
November 15 of this same year, the Lodge celebrated its twenty-first anniversary at a service in the Universalist Church,
the address being delivered by our own Reverend Brother Charles H. Leonard, the pastor, and a poem was read by Brother Benjamin Penhallow Shillaber (Mrs. Partington). These exercises being completed, the Lodge and its ladies were entertained at a banquet served in the Hawthorne Street Armory. Do any of us present remember that old building?
Eighteen hundred and sixty-seven witnessed the completion of the Temple in Boston and again we were permitted to assist in the ceremonies of dedication, as we had already done at the laying of its corner stone.
That same fall, November 20th, we accepted an invitation to share in a celebration on the following day of the introduction of water into our own city. It appears that regardless of their personal view, the Brethren laid great stress on water in those times, but of course in an era when all were dependent on private sources of supply, a public water service was a matter of momentous interest. Though no further mention of the event is on record, it seems fair to assume that we were represented, at least informally, at this glad event. On this same November 20th it was voted to assist in the erection of a soldiers' monument here. This monument is the one now standing before the City Hall in Bassett Square.
December 18, 1867, was a momentous day in Chelsea Masonry — twenty-two of our number requested their dimits for the purpose of forming a new Lodge in this city. The growth of the town and the feeling that Star was becoming too large to permit of that close acquaintanceship and personal friendliness which is one of the ends of Masonry led some of our most valued Brothers to take a step which, at the time, must have been done with regret. It was with a sense of real loss that we sent out from among us such loyal supporters as Lothrop, Fellows, John Low, Cheever, Edmunds, Shillaber and Williams. The loss of these Brothers would be a serious one but the need of a second Lodge seemed actual and they were dismissed with our blessing. The splendid work accomplished through seventy-five years by Robert Lash Lodge, whose three-quarter century has just been celebrated, has fully justified the judgment which led to its establishment and the mutual harmony and prosperity that has existed these many years has reconciled us to what in the year of separation seemed a hard blow.
The years rolled by. In 1872, we were called upon to pass resolutions on the loss by death of Brother Jesse Gould, the elder, in which he was spoken of as the first initiate of Star of Bethlehem. In our earliest records Mr. George C. Stearns is named as our first candidate. Apparently he did not become a member but merely received the degrees.
In November of this year, Brother Lyman M. Miller was elected Secretary of the Lodge, an office he continued to hold till his death in 1907, he being then in his thirty-fifth consecutive year, a longer period of service than has as yet been attained by any of our secretaries, though Worshipful Brother Allen H. Legg is on the way to equal or exceed this record.
During the summer of 1873, the Lodge took under consideration the securing of new quarters in Campbell's Block then in process of erection at the corner of Broadway and Third Street. This was to become our home for more than thirty years, until the great fire in 1908 rendered us homeless. At the time of their first occupancy these apartments, finer and more spacious than any we had yet known, were dedicated to Masonic purposes by the then Most Worshipful Sereno D. Nickerson at a special communication held jointly by Star of Bethlehem and Robert Lash Lodges. At this time Right Worshipful Brother Tracy P. Cheever delivered the historic address to which allusion has been made.
On August 3, 1879, Brother William Sanborn Merriam, the first to serve as Senior Steward of the Lodge, died and was at his death, our senior surviving charter member still retaining membership.
February 25 of this year a special communication in mem-oriam was held in honor of our late Worshipful Master Eben W. Lothrop, who had been an untiring worker not only in the interests of Star of Bethlehem, but for Masonry as an institution. At that time his service was honored by the attendance of the presiding Grand Master, Most Worshipful Charles A. Welch, with a suite of Grand Officers which included two Past Grand Masters. Worshipful Frederick L. Cutting presided as Master of Star of Bethlehem.
Four years later, June 29, 1883, resolutions were adopted on the passing of our founder and first Master, Worshipful Horace G. Barrus, who died on the seventh of April of that year, forty years after the institution of the Lodge. A graduate of Harvard, of Worcester Medical College and a clergyman as well it is evident that he was a man of parts. He served as Master for four years and subsequently as Secretary. Our original book of records is largely in his handwriting and is a testimonial to the love and labor he gave in our earliest years.
On June 18, 1889, our first surviving charter member, as well as first Senior Deacon, died at the great age of eighty-four years, six months and one day.
November 15, 1893, marked an outstanding landmark—the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary. The Lodge was opened at six o'clock and after the recommendation of a number of candidates and the transaction of the customary business at an annual meeting, was called from labor to refreshment at 7:15 and from refreshment to labor again at 7:45, with Worshipful Brother Henry Spavin in the East, Brother Henry T. Mayo in the West, Brother Charles T. Foye in the South and the regular line of subordinate officers in their respective stations. There were present seven Past Masters of this Lodge and one hundred and sixty-two members, all of whom appear by name on the record as having replied to the roll-call. We were honored as well by the presence of Most Worshipful Harvey N. Shepherd, accompanied by nine subordinate officers of the Grand Lodge and a suite of thirty-six Brethren.
In connection with written greetings from a number unable to be present, the most interesting to our own members was one from Worshipful Brother John Low, our oldest living Past Master, who that day was celebrating his eighty-fifth birthday (he passed on within the coming year), who explained to us that it was only his great age that prevented his being with us. Brother Low was then the only living member whose memory went back to the beginning of our fifty years, during nearly all of which he has been a member and for a number of them our most generous benefactor.
The historical address on this occasion was given by Reverend Brother R. Perry Bush, Pastor of the Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea and a life-long and ardent Mason, greatly beloved by all of his Brethren in this city. Through the courtesy of Worshipful Brother Arthur B. Champlin of Robert Lash Lodge, at that time publisher of the Chelsea Gazette, this address was later printed and is inserted in that form in the records of the Lodge. Brother Bush was followed by the Grand Master, whose remarks also appear on the record, as transcribed by Brother Miller, our Secretary. The formal exercises were followed by the customary banquet.
At the communication on February 17, 1897, Nestell Lodge, No. 37, of Providence, Rhode Island, made us the recipients of a solid silver alms basin "of Original and beautiful" design.
On the following October 19, Star of Bethlehem assisted the Most Worshipful Grand Master in laying the corner stone of the new Town Hall in Revere in conjunction with Robert Lash Lodge and under the escort of Palestine Commandery.
The following day, in recognition of his twenty-five years service, an engrossed and framed testimonial was presented to Brother Miller, our Secretary. On June 17, 1898, Most Worshipful Charles C. Hutchinson, Grand Master, with representatives of the Grand Lodge, laid the corner stone of our present Court House in Chelsea Square, in which exercises Star of Bethlehem and Robert Lash Lodges, under escort of one hundred and three Sir Knights of Palestine Commandery, took part.
We insert here a letter dated December 17, 1902, from our then oldest living member, Reverend Brother Charles H. Leonard, D.D., who in addition to having served as Grand Chaplain, acted in the same capacity in this Lodge for sixteen consecutive years. This letter is a testimonial to the place the Lodge filled in the affections of its members in earlier days.
Divinity School Tufts College, Massachusetts
December 17, 1902.
To Mr. Lyman M. Miller
Dear Sir and Brother:
My impulse is to thank you for sending me the notice of Past Worshipful Master Henry Spavin's death. It is pathetic to me, who have known and loved Star of Bethlehem Lodge so long, that the honored members are dropping off one by one. My memory goes back to the days when Eben W. Lothrop, John Low, Elijah Endicott, Benjamin P. Shillaber, Tracy P. Cheever, were active for our great cause of brotherhood, and doing noble things to make Masonry a power in the Town and City. And may I say that during the ten years that I sat in the Senior Chaplain's Chair in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts I had reason to be proud of the brothers in office then, who were born Masons in my own "Star of Bethlehem," when I too, was young and interested in all that was going on in Lodge and City.
Kindly feel that I add honor and affection for the men who sit and stand together in Star of Bethlehem Lodge; and I send special greeting to you who have so long served the Lodge and the "Sublime Brotherhood."
My grateful and affectionate remembrance to any who ask after me.
Faithfully and fraternally,
Charles H. Leonard
P.S.. A glance at the list of officers at present active in the Lodge brings back many dear faces of men who bore the same names — Illsley, Gould, Eaton, Martin, Legg, Snow, possibly sons or grandsons of men I knew.
These names remind me of a deeper and lovelier succession in the Spirit of our great Order; and still to go on I believe.
In this connection, he was "raised" in June of 1853 and was for sixty-five years a Mason, dying at the great age of ninety-six.
On November 18, 1903, under the Mastership of Worshipful Brother Herbert C. Illsley, we celebrated our sixtieth anniversary in the presence of Most Worshipful Baalis Sanford. At this time Brother Leonard was present and his remarks as our oldest member proved of particular interest to all in attendance. On Palm Sunday, April 12, 1908, Masonic Hall was destroyed by the great fire that devastated the city. This was our first major calamity. Happily, through the foresight and courage of certain of our Brethren, the original Charter, together with all of our records, were removed to safety before the building went down.
The regular communication which fell on April 15 was held at Masonic Hall, East Boston, by the generous invitation of the directors of the Masonic apartments and the several bodies meeting there. This offer included the use of the necessary paraphernalia and by permission of Most Worshipful John Albert Blake, we continued tenants until it was possible to return to Chelsea.
July 24th of the following year witnessed the laying of the corner stone of our present Temple. Under a special dispensation from Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders, and once more under escort of Palestine Commandery, we were permitted to participate in this interesting ceremony.
Two and one-half years later, January 18, 1912, came the dedication of the newly-completed and beautiful building. Worshipful Alfred W. Martin was then serving as Master. Most Worshipful Everett C. Benton and Grand Officers were escorted into the lodge room by a joint committee from the two Chelsea Lodges, where they were welcomed by Worshipful Brother Martin. The architect, Brother Edward W. Wilson, submitted to the Grand Master the working tools entrusted to his care and the Deputy Grand Master and Grand Wardens inspected the apartments and reported favorably on the work of the craftsmen, whereupon the Grand Officers assembled about the altar and offered the customary libations of corn, wine and oil to the Grand Master, who declared the temple dedicated to Freemasonry, virtue and universal benevolence.
On our seventy-fifth anniversary no celebration was held. In 1918 the nation was just emerging from under the shadow of World War I and the time was not fitting for festivity of such a nature.
In paying this brief tribute to the past, we have of necessity dealt largely with the names of individuals. While doing so, we realize that we have honored but a few of the many, who through the century have played a part in keeping Star of Bethlehem high among the honored names in Massachusetts Masonry. Not only those among us who have been entrusted with high office, but scores of others have acted important parts in maintaining our record of zeal and good works.
Of the more recent years of our history, it is not for us to speak. We are too near to the events of yesterday, all of which we have seen and a part of which we have been, to judge justly. We are not as yet far enough away to have gained the proper perspective. Of these the historian of our one hundred and fiftieth year must speak. Changing conditions in our city have had their effect on our own activities and our leaders of today play a less prominent part in the affairs of the city as a whole than have those of the past.' But we still have a part to perform and through the lives and loyalties to Masonic principles of each of our Brethren, in his degree, the life of the community is leavened and improved.
Our late Brother William E. Gilman has put it on record that Star of Bethlehem was so named because, in a day dark for the Fraternity, it was the earliest to shed a ray of light through the breaking clouds. It was a happy omen!
In all these hundred years Star of Bethlehem Lodge has played its honorable part in many events of local and national moment in which opportunity has been given it to serve. In each of our nation's wars since its institution some of its members have served on land, on the sea and now in the air as well. Our Brethren have at one time or another represented us in every part of the habitable earth. At home they have shared in governmental offices, both Federal and State, and locally a number of them have filled the position of mayor of this city or as members of governing boards and committees. Always we have stood for those ideals of freedom and service so splendidly exemplified by our patriot brothers of the early days of America, and even of those among us to whom no conspicuous role has been accorded it may be truly said that
"They also serve who simply stand and wait."
While preparing this account of a century of effort, as we have turned the pages of these old books containing the record of an honorable past, there has risen before us a vision of the men whose names are written there, many, even the earliest of them, familiar through local tradition or personal memory and we have been again and again impressed by the earnestness with which they pursued their Masonic ideals and the loyalty with which they served this Lodge; with the hours of patient, painstaking effort devoted to the recording of their doings and the sacrifice of time and effort involved in making Star of Bethlehem a power for good in the community. We remember, too, how much of happiness has inured to literally hundreds within the walls of our several Masonic homes and, looking forward to those unknown years that lie before us, it is our earnest hope that through many it may yet be said
"How far that little candle throws his beams."
125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1968
From Proceedings, Page 1968-256:
By Worshipful Harry W. Dingwell.
There is a Legend which tells of a Rabbi passing through a field when he saw a very old man planting a tree. The Rabbi asked, "Why are you planting that oak tree? Surely you do not expect to live long enough to see it grow up." To which the old man replied, "Ah, if my ancestors had not planted trees, we should not now enjoy their shade or their fruit. What my ancestors did for me, I will do for future generations."
An examination of the records and miscellaneous papers of our Lodge for the past one hundred and twenty-five years, proves beyond doubt how well its founders planted the tree, and how many lives have been enriched and adorned with the fruits of its tenets and its charity, both of heart and hand.
When Star of Bethlehem Lodge was organized in 1843, Chelsea was a thriving, self-governing community of about 3500. Its business area was centered on Winnisimmet Street, in Chelsea Square, and on Broadway between Chelsea and Bellingham Squares. Wharves and shipyards reached around the waterfront, and pleasant streets of homes extended from both sides of Broadway and stretched into the outskirts of what is now known as Prattville and North Revere.
It had been about fifteen years since the anti-Masonic period, which started in 1826 and extended throughout the country, had slowly exhausted itself. People began to realize that a cruel injustice had been heaped upon the Fraternity, and changed the former bitter hatred to respect and high esteem. An era of Masonic prosperity began and men were anxious to join the order.
Believing that Chelsea was a fertile field for further Masonic endeavor, six prominent citizens held a meeting on September 15, 1843, at the house of Brother Horace G. Barrus, to take immediate and effective measures for the establishment of a Masonic Lodge in Chelsea. On October 20, 1843, a second meeting was held for the purpose of preparing a petition to the Grand Lodge for a charter for a new Lodge, to be called "Star of Bethlehem Lodge" because of the dark days of the Fraternity; it was one of the earliest to shed a ray of light through the breaking clouds.
At the first meeting, held on October 26, 1843, the dispensation having been accepted, the first organization was effected by the election of the following officers:
- R. W. Horace G. Barrus, Master
- R. W. William Knapp, Senior Warden
- Wor. David Granger, Junior Warden
- Bro. John Bridge, Treasurer
- Bro. Anthony Brackett, Secretary
- Bro. David W. Smith, Senior Deacon
- Bro. Rufus R. Cook, Junior Deacon
and the Master appointed:
- Bro. William S. Merriam, Steward
- Bro. Nathan Brown, Steward
- Bro. Abel Bowen, Tyler
The meetings of the Lodge were held at the houses of the Brethren until December 28, 1843, when a room over the bakehouse in Haskell's Building on Winnisimmet Street was secured. This room was occupied for nearly a year. The next few months were spent in furnishing the quarters. Furniture was purchased and other necessary furnishings, such as the Great Lights, presented by Brother Abel Bowen; the loan of Regalia, by King Solomon's Lodge; a valuable gift of sashes from Columbian Lodge, and Mt. Lebanon Lodge for the loan of brazen candlesticks.
But in October, 1844, a committee, to whom was referred the matter of obtaining a more commodious place of meeting, reported that, by conferring with the Winnisimmet Lodge, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, they had ascertained that we could obtain their hall at a rent of $60 per year, with the privilege of occupying it two evenings each week, fuel and light included. Thenceforward this hall of the Odd Fellows, which was in the Gerrish Building in Chelsea Square (the building is still standing), became the abiding place of Star of Bethlehem Lodge. In 1848, the Odd Fellows, having removed from the Gerrish Building to the Silloway Building on the corner of Broadway and Maiden Street (now called Everett Avenue), Star of Bethlehem Lodge migrated with them to the latter edifice, securing apartments at the highly conservative rent of $40 per year, including light and fuel. These apartments served the purposes of the Brethren until December 20, 1854, when quarters far more sumptuous and spacious than they had before known, were secured in the brick building of Wor. Bro. John Low, and which was the abiding-place of Star of Bethlehem Lodge and its Sister Masonic institutions for nearly twenty years.
Our next move was to the new Masonic Hall in the Campbell Block at the corner of Broadway and Third Street, which was dedicated in a most elaborate manner. The great Chelsea fire on Palm Sunday, April 12, 1908, destroyed this edifice and left us homeless. Happily, through the foresight and courage of certain of our Brethren, the original charter, together with all of our books of records, were saved. For a period of two years our East Boston Brethren invited us to use their Temple.
On January 18, 1912, our present beautiful building was dedicated. There have been Temples erected since which are more modern and better equipped, but none more beautiful. Worshipful Alfred W. Martin was then serving as Master and Most Worshipful Everett C. Benton, Grand Master. Rt. Wor. Josiah H. Benton, son of the Grand Master, was a member of this Lodge.
Going back to the early days of the Lodge, the dispensation, which had been granted, was continued from time to time until June 11, 1845, when a charter was issued by the Grand Lodge, bearing the names of:
- Augustus Peabody, Grand Master
- Robert Keith, Senior Grand Warden
- John Hews, Junior Grand Warden
- Charles W. Moore, Grand Secretary
On the 19th day of December, 1845, a Special Communication of Star of Bethlehem Lodge was held by the consent of the Grand Master, at the Masonic Temple, Boston, at which time the Lodge was constituted. The work of the Lodge languished in 1848 through 1850, during which time there was only one application for the degrees, and the Lodge had so suffered in its various interests, that it was almost contemplated to surrender the charter and abandon the work which had been so auspiciously begun and so well executed in its first years. But there were two brave hearts, at least, in the ranks of the Brethren, who were firmly resolved against the disgrace of such a consummation, and to these two, Wor. Bros. John Low and Eben W. Lothrop, should be remembered as the SECOND founders of Star of Bethlehem Lodge. The work of the Lodge which had so long languished, now began to revive, applicants for the degrees began to multiply, leading citizens became interested in the institution, and the ranks of Star of Bethlehem Lodge were recruited from the best members of the community.
In the autumn of 1866, so great had been the increase in the membership of Star of Bethlehem Lodge, which then bore upon its roll the names of more than two hundred Brethren, that a few of its members took initiatory steps towards the formation of a new Lodge. Thus our Sister Lodge, Robert Lash Lodge, was born. There were two other Masonic Bodies in Chelsea: Royal Arch Chapter of the Shekinah and Palestine Command-cry, Knights Templar.
With its history extending through the period of the greatest development of our country, the Lodge has weathered five wars and several depressions. It has seen the transition from hand to machine labor, from lumbering wheels on dirt roads to pneumatic tires on superhighways, from wood-burning locomotives to jet-propelled aircraft, from pot-bellied stoves to air conditioning, and even attempts to conquer space.
There was hardly a year in which the Lodge has failed to add new members to its rolls. Sometimes, during depression years, only a few candidates were initiated. On the other hand, there have been years of great growth. This was especially true at the close of the wars, when returning service men applied for membership in large numbers.
We have been honored many times by visits of presiding Grand Masters and other prominent Masons from our own and other Grand Jurisdictions.
We have been proud hosts to our wives and lady friends at formal or informal ladies' nights, and have enjoyed the happy laughter of children at our children's parties.
Sixty-six Brethren have been honored by election to the office of Worshipful Master, and they have responded zealously in service to the Lodge. There are sixteen still living. Several of our Masters have been further honored by Grand Lodge election or appointment: Rt. Wor. Horace G. Barrus, who was Master under dispensation, served as District Deputy Grand Master, as did the following: Right Worshipful Brothers William Knapp, Tracy P. Chccver, Eugene E. Endicott, Henry Spavin, Charles B. Burleigh, James Gould, George H. Mclntire, Ralph K. Hope, Arthur H. Reed, Stewart P. Sloane and Reginald F. Goldsworthy.
Our several books of records bear evidence of the many instances of service and assistance the Lodge has rendered to Brethren in need of some kind of help, of advice and assistance to a deceased member's family. In addition to unsolicited aid. or prompt response to calls for help, our generosity has extended beyond our Masonic family.
The Lodge has supported cheerfully the enterprises of the Grand Lodge, the Masonic Home at Charlton, our Hospital at Shrewsbury, the George Washington National Masonic Memorial at Alexandria, Virginia. Because of the untiring efforts of the Blood Donor Committee, we participate in the Blood Bank Program.
In all these one hundred twenty-five years, Star of Bethlehem Lodge has played its honorable part in many events of local and National interest. A few are listed for the record:
October 25, 1848. At 9 o'clock, A.M., "the brethren proceeded to attend the celebration in honor of the introduction of Lake Cochituate water into Boston."
July 26, 1854. Voted, that a committee of five be appointed, with full powers to furnish "Low's Hall" at an expense of $325.
June 17, 1857. At 8 1-2 A.M., the Lodge proceeded to Boston to participate in the ceremonies in honor of Inauguration of the Statue of General Warren.
April 21, 1861. Degrees were conferred upon three officers of the Chelsea Volunteers, hourly expecting to be ordered to the seat of war.
October 14, 1864. At 7 1-2 o'clock, A.M., under escort of Palestine Encampment, K.T., the members proceeded via Charlestown to Boston on the occasion of the laying of the Cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple.
November 15, 1864. The Lodge celebrated its Twenty-first Anniversary by marching to the Universalist Church, where they listened to music by the choir, devotional exercises and a very able and eloquent address by Rev. Bro. Charles H. Leonard.
June 24, 1867. By invitation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, Star of Bethlehem Lodge, one hundred-fifteen in number, attended the celebration of the Dedication and Consecration of the new Masonic Temple ill Boston. The ceremonies and procession were of a most imposing character, surpassing, it is believed, in numbers, appearance and display, any previous Masonic celebration in the world. Among the distinguished guests of the Grand Lodge was the President of the United States, Bro. Andrew Johnson.
November 20, 1867. By invitation of the City Government of Chelsea, the Lodge attended the celebration of the introduction of water from Mystic Lake. On the same day, it was voted to assist in the erection of a soldiers' monument, the one now standing before the City Hall in Bassett Square.
November 15, 1893, marked the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lodge. There were present seven Past Masters of the Lodge and one hundred and sixty-two members. The historical address was given by Rev. Bro. R. Perry Bush, Pastor of the Church of the Redeemer in Chelsea and a life-long and ardent Mason, greatly loved by all the Brethren in this city, and remembered now by only a few still living.
February 17, 1897. Nestell Lodge, No. 37, of Providence, Rhode Island, presented the Lodge with a solid silver and mosaic alms basin "of original and beautiful design." Seventy years later a cordial relationship still exists and the officers and members exchange visits.
October 19, 1897. The Lodge assisted in the laying of the corner-stone of the new Town Hall in Revere.
June 17, 1898. Most Worshipful Charles C. Hutchinson, Grand Master, laid the corner-stone of our present Court House in Chelsea Square, in which exercises Star of Bethlehem Lodge took part.
April 12, 1908. A devastating fire destroyed our Temple as well as churches, schools, businesses and homes which left 17,000 persons homeless.
November 1918. No celebration was held to commemorate our Seventy-fifth Anniversary, as we were just emerging from World War I, and the time was not fitting for festivity of such nature.
November 8, 1943, marked the one hundredth anniversary of the Lodge. There were seven Past Masters and one hundred thirty-six members, including ten fifty-year members, although only one, our then Tyler, Albert E. McBride, was the only one present at our Fiftieth Anniversary. Rt. Wor. Stewart P. Sloane was serving as Master and Most Worshipful Albert A. Schaefer, Grand Master. The historical address was given by Bro. Winthrop F. Butler.
Changing conditions in our City have had their effect on our activities, and our leaders of today play a far less prominent part in the affairs of the City than in the past.
We have been recipients, too, of the generosity of our members. Brothers Elwin C. Foster, John E. Sewall, Curtis Tewksbury, Allen H. Legg, George L. Knowles, Charles G. Littlefield, James Gould, George H. Mclntire, Josiah B. Shurdeff and Herbert F, Sawyer, most of them now just names, have all left sums of money to the Lodge in their memory.
ft is, of course, impossible to list all those members of the Lodge who have rendered conspicuous service throughout its history. Nor is it proper to do so, for any service, large or small, has been, and always will be, valuable and rewarding. But, as we have turned the pages of these old books while preparing this account of our history, there has risen before us a vision of the men whose names are familiar through local tradition or personal memory, however, for interest only, a few are mentioned:
We are greatly indebted to Rt. Wor. Horace G. Barrus, Master under dispensation and our first Master after constitution, for his devoted and capable leadership. A graduate of Harvard, of Worcester Medical College and a Clergyman as well. Our original book of records is largely in his handwriting.
Wor. Brothers John Low and Eben W. Lothrop, for their personal labors and enthusiasm which kept the Lodge going during the early difficult years of the new Lodge.
Wor. Brother Eugene F. Endicott, the first native-born Mayor of our City.
Bro. Lyman M. Miller was elected Secretary of the Lodge in November, 1872, an office he condnued to hold until his death in 1907, a period of thirty-five years.
Rev. Brother R. Perry Bush, a Clergyman and an Orator, who delivered many historical charges to the candidates.
Bro. Martin J. Pleschinger, whose untiring efforts were instrumental in finding employment for many of the Brethren during the depression years of 1929-1932.
Wor. Allen H. Legg was forty-eight years a member, thirty-six years a Past Master and Secretary from 1914 until his death in 1946.
Rt. Wor. George H. Mclntire, or "George" as he was affectionately known and preferred to be called by his contemporaries and those of us who still remember him, for many years Marshal for the Lodge, installing Master and Instructor in the ritual. Our ante-rooms are dedicated to his memory.
Rt. Wor. Arthur H. Reed spent many years as Instructor of candidates, a job which is often unappreciated and requiring both knowledge and patience.
Wor. Alton B. Atwood, better known as "A. B."' Although a Past Master of Robert Lash Lodge, he is a regular attendant of this Lodge and had the rare distinction of having attained his one hundredth birthday this past September and is here tonight to help us celebrate.
In paying tribute to the past, we have honored but a few of the many who have played a part in keeping Star of Bethlehem Lodge high among the honored names in Massachusetts Masonry.
It is not for us to speak of the more recent years of our history; that we will leave for our historian of our one hundred and fiftieth year.
We end our one hundred and twenty-five years, then, with thanks to the Great Architect for the heritage that is ours, and with a prayer that we may pass it on to those who will follow us, to be continued by other Brethren who can show themselves capable of appreciating the virtues of Masonry.
150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, NOVEMBER 1993
From Proceedings, Page 1993-98:
For the history of the first 100 years please refer to page 138 of the 1943 Proceedings of Grand Lodge.
For the history of the first 125 years please refer to page 256 of the 1968 Proceedings of Grand Lodge.
Thank you Bro. Stephenson, Grand Master, and distinguished guests. To begin with on a personal note before proceeding with the history of the past twenty-five years — I recently observed being a member of our Lodge for forty years and have lived in Chelsea for almost that long.
I will confine my presentation to from the mid-sixties to the present; the history of the previous 125 years before this period has been well documented earlier in this booklet. These years, while we were still located at 307 Broadway, saw the gradual decline of Chelsea by conflagration and a loss of population to more desirable places to live, which in turn reduced our fraternal membership to the point that the steering committees felt that it was not feasible to keep financing the larger part of the Masonic Temple and, therefore, it would be wiser to relocate. After careful consideration of several sites, it was voted to move to the Wakefield Masonic Temple and become tenants at will. Since 1977, we have moved forward in harmony with other fraternal groups here.
We will now continue our travels through time. In January of 1965 we were pleased by the appointment of R. W. Stewart P. Sloane as District Deputy Grand Master of the Chelsea 3rd Masonic District. He was served by Wor. James LeGrow as District Deputy Grand Marshal and Wor. Ralph S. Cohen as District Deputy Grand Secretary.
September 1965 was the occasion of a Fraternal Visit by Nestell Lodge No. 37 of Providence, RI. During the visit, M.W. Donald F. Culton, a Past Grand Master of RI, presented a gold life membership card to R.W. Stewart P. Sloane.
May 20, 1967. One of the earliest Teen-Age Nites was held with the musical group "What" supplying the rock and roll sounds, popular during that era.
November 1968. The One Hundred and Twenty-fifth Anniversary of our Lodge was celebrated with great solemnity. M. W. Thomas A. Booth and his distinguished Suite joined us on that festive occasion.
March 7, 1969. Wor. Alton B. Atwood passed away. He was a staunch friend of our Lodge.
June 16, 1969. The Lodge suffered a great loss by the sudden passing of R. W. Reginald F. Goldsworthy. We will greatly miss his pleasant demeanor and wise counsel.
October 13, 1970. We lost another devoted member, our Treasurer, Wor. Ernest H. Becker.
January 15, 1975. The Chelsea Masonic Association was dissolved and reorganized as the Chelsea Masonic Association Trust (a Charitable) for tax purposes.
October 20, 1976. By a vote of the Lodge, the annual dues were increased to $12.00 per year.
September 1, 1976. The Grand Lodge dues were increased from $5.00 to $8.00 per member.
April 20, 1977. By a unanimous vote of the Lodge, it was decided to relocate to the Wakefield Masonic Temple.
June 15, 1977. Permission was granted by Grand Lodge to move to Wakefield.
September 21, 1977. First meeting was held in Wakefield Masonic Temple.
January 17, 1979. R.W. James LeGrow was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the Chelsea 3rd Masonic District.
January 1985. Wor. John D. Manning was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the Chelsea 3rd Masonic District.
August 15, 1986. Wor. Harry W. Dingwell entered the Celestial Lodge, another of our stalwart members. He was our senior Past Master and was a Mason for over 60 years.
January 1987. Wor. George R. Fallstich was appointed District Deputy Grand Master of the Chelsea 3rd Masonic District.
March 15, 1989. M. W. Albert Timothy Ames made a Fraternal Visit to our Lodge to raise Bro. John Jankowski to the Master Mason Degree.
May 1989. R.W. George R. Fallstich was presented the Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal.
May 24, 1992. R.W. James LeGrow entered the Celestial Lodge.
December 31, 1992. R.W. Stewart Price Sloane entered the Celestial Lodge. He was one of our most devoted members and Secretary for 38 years.
In closing, after looking backward for the past twenty-five years, it should be remembered that we have enjoyed financial prosperity with special thanks to those whose wisdom guided our lodge in such matters. At the same time many of our most ardent members have gone on.
We must always give thanks to the Great Architect for our past blessings and hope that He will continue to guide us ever upward to enjoy many more years of Masonic Brotherhood.
- 1843 (Mention of a dispensation for a lodge in Chelsea in GM's Address, IV-668)
- 1844 (Extension of dispensation, IV-740)
- 1845 (Petition for the loan of jewels granted, V-35; petition to be constituted in Boston granted, V-45)
- 1897 (Participation in Revere corner stone laying, 1897-241)
- 1898 (Participation in Chelsea corner stone laying, 1898-102)
- 1909 (Participation in Chelsea corner stone laying, 1909-73)
- 1912 (Participation in Chelsea Masonic Hall dedication, 1912-1)
- 1978 (Amendment of charter to remove to Wakefield, 1978-131)
INSTALLATION, JANUARY 1847
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. VI, No. 5, March 1847, page 133:
STAR OF BETHLEHEM LODGE, CHELSEA. The officers of the above Lodge were publicly installed by the Grand Master, assisted by his Wardens, on the 27th January, in the presence of a large and very respectable audience of ladies and gentlemen,—among whom were Brethren of all the different Orders of Masonry, with their appropriate regalia,—presenting a rich and varied display. The introductory prayer by the Rev. Br. McLeish, Chaplain of the Lodge, was appropriate and fervent. This was followed by the beautiful Chant from Br. Power's "Masonic Melodies," beginning—
" Rejoice, all ye that are assembled in the Lord."
And we were pleased to see that the committee of arrangements were regardful enough of the author's rights, to give him credit for it All committees are not equally careful in this respect.
After the ceremonies of installation, the following Ode, written for the occasion by W. Br. Horace G. Barrus, was sung by an excellent choir:
Oh, how delightful is the work,
To bring the poor relief;
To comfort them 'mid scenes of woe,
And mitigate their grief!
To dry the mourning widow's tear,
And soothe her troubled heart;
To cause a ray of cheering hope
Across the soul to dart.
To make the cheerless orphans feel,
Wlule all around is drear,
That there is sympathy tor them,
And succor ever near.
These are the duties that we teach;
In which we take delight;
And to this work we consecrate
Ourselves anew this night.
Receive the offering, O God,
Which on thine altar lies ;
With gratitude we place it there:
Accept the sacrifice.
This was followed by an interesting address by W. Br. Geo. G. Smith. The closing prayer was by Rev. Br. Francis, one of the Chaplains of the Lodge. The following Ode, written for the occasion by Br. Win. E. P. Haskell, was then sung:
Author of light and life! Supreme
Grand Architect above !
Wilt thou our Star of Bethlehem deem
An object of thy love.
Though altars where our fathers bowed,
With them have passed away,
Yet still we trust thy hallowed cloud
Will guide us on our way.
Let Wisdom. Strength and Beauty, too—
The Sacred Three—unite,
To raise a temple firm and true,
And lovely in thy sight.
A glorious temple of the soul,
Framed by the Master's art,
Whose noble, beauteous, compact whole,
May show each perfect part.
A temple where the widow's prayer
May find a listening ear—
The orphan seek a father's care,
And meek distress appear.
Then grant us. Lord, unwavering Faith,
Weil grounded Hope in Thee;
And on our hearts impress, till death,
Long suffering Charity.
A benediction by the venerable and Rev. Br. Dr. Asa Eaton, closed the ceremonies. The arrangements were all well made, and admirably executed. The following are the officers for the current year:—
- William Knapp, W. M.
- David W. Smith, S. W.
- John Low, J. W.
- John Bridge, Treas.
- Horace G. Barrus, Sec'ry
- David U. Pratt, S. D.
- Stephen D. Massey, J. D.
- John H. Pierce, S. S.
- Gilman Sargent, J. S.
- Rev. J. M'Leish, Rev. Eben Francis, Chaplains
- Wm. D. Peters, I. Sent
- Wm. E. P. Haskell, Marshal.
OFFICER LIST, MARCH 1861
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 5, March 1861, page 160:
Officers of Star of Bethlehem Lodge, Chelsea, Mass., for 1861 —
- William A. Williams, W. M.
- Henry W. Bowen, S. W.
- John Walter, J. W.;
- John B. Dufur, Treas.
- Clifton A. Blanchard, Sec'y.
- Charles F. Haynes, S. D.
- James H. Whitaker, J. D.
- George A. Gerrish, S S.
- Phillip Guelpa, J. S.
- Rev. Charles H. Leonard, Chap.
- Henry G Fay, M.
- Charles T. Gay, I. S.
- John F. Fellows, C. C.
- A. Blanchard, O.
- Charles Howard, Tyler.
- Henry L. Bailey, Assistant Tyler.
HALL DEDICATION, MARCH 1874
INSTALLATION, NOVEMBER 1878
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. II, No. 9, December 1878, Page 286:
The following officers were elected last evening, Nov. 20th, and duly installed in the Star of Bethlehem Lodge, F. and A. M. W. Brother James Tent conducted the Installation service: Wor. Master, Frederick L. Cutting; Senior Warden, Eugene F. Endicott; Junior Warden, John P. Payson; Treasurer, John Andrew; Secretary, Lyman E. Miller; Trustees, Frederick E. Cutting, Eugene E. Endicott, John Andrew.
Officers Appointed — Chaplain, Henry Noyes; Marshal, Charles S. Beatley; Senior Deacon, Alonzo R. James; Junior Deacon, Adoniram J. Twiss; Senior Steward, Sylvester R. Adams: Junior Steward, John F. Austin; Inside Sentinel, John R. Gilman; Tyler, Geo. H. Rice.
SOCIAL EVENING, JUNE 1879
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. III, No. 5, August 1879, Page 154:
Star of Bethlehem Lodge held a strawberry festival and literary and musical entertainment at their spacious rooms. Masonic Building, Thursday evening, June 19th, to which the brethren with wives, families, and friends assembled to the number of some four hundred. It was a most social occasion, and one and all enjoyed it greatly.
The musical and literary portion of the entertainment was sustained by Mr. Haywood, who favored the company with comic and sentimental songs to the amusement of all, receiving rapturous encores, to which he gracefully responded; violin solo by Master Charles Higgins, a lad of 13 years, was greatly enjoyed and spontaneously encored; piano solo by Miss Higgins was executed with a proficiency and masterly touch which marked her a thorough musician; song by Miss Geraldine Ulmar was warmly applauded, calling for a repetition, which was smilingly accorded; Miss Bessie Ball favored the company with a dramatic recitation which was most finely rendered, and which for force, strict rendering, clear enunciation and elocution we have rarely seen surpassed; the recitation by Miss Edith Rich was extremely well done, and won for her rounds of applause. The Masonic Quartette, composed of Messrs. Roberts, Atwood, Blake and Richardson favored the company with some fine singing, which came in for a full share of the appreciation. The good things for the inner man were served in the banquet hall by some of the brethren who made most efficient waiters, and with the assistance of a bevy of young Misses, did full justice to their newly assumed calling, and served the bill of fare to the satisfaction of all.
The older portion of the company departed upon the playing of Higgins' Ninth Regimental Orchestra Home, Sweet Home, about o'clock, while the younger portion joined in the merry dance to the wee small hours. It was a grand good time, and reflected credit upon that honorable body, as well as upon the following Committee of arrangements: Frederick L. Cutting; James Tent; Sylvester R. Adams; Chas. S. Beatley; Alonzo R. James.
GRAND MASTER VISIT AT CONSOLIDATION, JUNE 1995
From TROWEL, Winter 1995, Page 22:
On Monday, June 26. 1995, M. W. David W. Lovering, Grand Master attended the meeting of Star of Bethlehem Lodge of Wakefield for the purpose of officiating at the merging of Winthrop Lodge with Star of Bethlehem Lodge. After a delicious roast beef dinner the Grand Master and a distinguished Suite were escorted into the Lodge by a committee of Past and Presiding Masters. They were greeted in the East by Wor. Gerald Izzett. Master of Star of Bethlehem Lodge and Wor. Donald Tabbut, Master of Winthrop Lodge. The Grand Master then presided over the merger.
Wor. Donald L. Tabbut; M. W. David W. Lovering, Grand Master; and Wor. Gerald W. Izzett.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- Charles M. Avery, Senior Grand Warden 1883
- Charles B. Burleigh, DDGM, District 7 (Malden), 1915, 1916; Deputy Grand Master 1923
- Tracy P. Cheever, 1868, 1869, 1870; Junior Grand Warden, 1872; Grand Secretary, 1878-1881
- Raymond A. Dembkoski, DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 1997, 1998
- Eugene F. Endicott, DDGM, District 3 (East Boston), 1902, 1903; Memorial
- George R. Fallstich, Jr., DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 1987, 1988; N
- Reginald F. Goldsworthy, DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 1952, 1953; N
- James Gould, DDGM, District 3 (East Boston), 1908, 1909; Biography
- Ralph K. Hope, DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 1928, 1929; Memorial
- John E. Kelley, Jr., Grand Standard Bearer 2015, Grand Sword Bearer 2017-2019, Grand Marshal 2020-2022, Senior Grand Warden 2023; DDGM, District 13, 2016
- James LeGrow, DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 1979, 1980; SN
- Charles Hall Leonard, Grand Chaplain 1882-1889
- John D. Manning, DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 1985, 1986; N
- George H. McIntyre, DDGM, District 3 (East Boston) , 1926; District 3 (Chelsea), 1927; N
- Paul J. McMahon, Jr., DDGM, District 13, 2022
- Ivory H. Pope, Junior Grand Warden 1869
- Arthur H. Reed, DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 1940, 1941; N
- Henry Spavin, DDGM, District 3 (East Boston), 1896, 1897; SN
- Stewart P. Sloane, DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 1965, 1966; SN
- Donald F. Tabbut, DDGM, District 3 (Chelsea), 2001, 2002; N
- Clifton A. Blanchard, Memorial
- Charles H. Colby, Memorial
- Arthur H. Curtis, Biography
- Charles A. Davis, Memorial
- Philander J. Forristal, Memorial
- Joshua Foster, Memorial
- William Goodwin, Memorial
- John E. Hesseltine, Jr., Memorial
- William Knapp, Memorial
- Eben W. Lothrop, Memorial
- Harlan P. Sanborn, Memorial
- George C. Stearns, Memorial
- Isaac Weaver, Memorial
- William A. Williams, Memorial
- Artemas B. Wyman, Memorial
1867: District 2 (Charlestown)
1883: District 3 (East Boston)
1911: District 3 (East Boston)