Williams

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WILLIAMS LODGE

Location: Williamstown

Chartered By: Sereno D. Nickerson

Charter Date: 09/11/1872 1872-143

Precedence Date: 04/03/1871

Current Status: Active


PAST MASTERS

  • George Brown, 1871-1877
  • C. S. Solomon, 1878, 1879
  • M. B. Walley, 1880
  • W. J. Dunton, 1881-1883
  • M. H. Torrey, 1884-1886
  • W. L. Crosier, 1887, 1888
  • E. A. Towne, 1889
  • W. H. Hindley, 1890, 1891
  • A. M. Smith, 1892, 1893
  • A. A. Belding, 1894
  • Prescott W. Eaton, 1895-1897; SN
  • A. L. Simonds, 1898
  • L. S. Fowler, 1899
  • G. M. Hopkins, 1900, 1901
  • I. B. Houghton, 1902-1904
  • E. C. Walden, 1905
  • Charles D. Tefft, 1906, 1907; N
  • R. H. Noyes, 1908
  • R. A. Tracey, 1909
  • Ernest I. Goodrich, 1910, 1911; SN
  • William S. Hamilton, 1912
  • W. E. Stoddard, 1913
  • Brainerd Mears, 1914
  • J. A. Lowe, 1915
  • Ralston Doughty, 1916
  • C. W. Johnson, 1917
  • H. A. Stacey, 1918
  • Edgar Osborne, 1919
  • C. I. Downing, 1920
  • D. C. Kendall, 1921
  • G. A. Byrd, 1922
  • C. M. Farley, 1923
  • J. H. Fergson, 1924
  • G. H. Clayton, 1925
  • N. W. Domin, 1926
  • E. O. Brown, 1927
  • G. W. Schryver, 1928
  • J. McIntyre, 1929
  • G. I. Graham, 1930
  • James Edwin Bullock, 1931; SN
  • Lawrence F. Lindley, 1932, 1945; N
  • Seaver R. Gilcreast, 1933; SN
  • W. J. Barber, 1934
  • E. G. Noble, 1935
  • O. D. Swain, 1936
  • J. M. Potter, 1937
  • E. A. Sauter, 1938
  • F. W. Palmer, 1939
  • R. G. Phelps, 1940
  • H. P. Phelps, 1941
  • F. E. Lamphier, 1942
  • C. B. Christie, 1943
  • G. B. Duncan, 1944
  • E. Haviland, 1946
  • F. A. Staples, 1947
  • Wallace E. Greene, 1948
  • Manley T. Mallard, 1949
  • Lane L. Liddle, 1950, 1972
  • Lloyd S. Blair, 1951, 1953; N
  • George J. Franz, 1952, 1956
  • Carl H. Imhoff, 1954, 1955
  • R. R. Howard, Jr., 1957
  • George T. Wiles, 1958, 1959; N
  • Thomas A. Steward, 1960
  • George A. Putney, 1961; N
  • Franklin E. Brundage, 1962
  • Eddis Kronick, 1963, 1964
  • Robert P. Sylvester, 1965
  • Floyd J. Bennett, 1966
  • Robert M. Adkins, 1967, 1969
  • Everett H. Miller, 1968, 1973
  • Frank L. Wellcome, Jr., 1970, 1971; N
  • Richard F. Daniels, 1974, 2005
  • Douglas H. Blair, Sr., 1975
  • Kevin P. Hamel, 1976; DDGM
  • Francis H. Ogert, 1977-1979
  • Edward W. Hall, 1980, 1983
  • George D. Sylvester, 1981, 1989
  • Robert W. Murdock, 1982; PDDGM
  • Richard H. Johnson, 1984, 1994, 2000, 2002
  • Harry P. Chesbro, 1985, 1986
  • Donald H. Kleiner, 1987, 1988
  • Fred C. Perry, Jr., 1990, 1991
  • Lawrence D. Herron, 1992, 1993
  • Robert Y. Burns, 1995-1998
  • Alan E. Wiles, 1999
  • John R. Manley, Jr., 2001
  • Richard W. Babcock, 2003, 2004
  • Ronald J. Rutstein, 2005, 2006
  • Gary R. Johnson, 2007-2009
  • Craig A. Pedercini, 2010-2012; DDGM

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1871
  • Petition for Charter: 1872

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1946 (75th Anniversary)
  • 1971 (Centenary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1872 1895 1902 1903 1914 1920 1922 1923 1926 1927 1946 1950 1969 1974 1975 1986 1989 1992 2006 2008 2012

HISTORY

  • 1946 (75th Anniversary History, 1946-172)
  • 1971 (Centenary History, 1971-168)

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1946

From Proceedings, Page 1946-172:

By Worshipful Carl W. Johnson.

When I was invited to appear on this program and present an historical account of Williams Lodge during the past thirty years, I asked how much time I would be allowed for the presentation and was told to limit my remarks to ten minutes. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of arithmetic will see at a glance that I have at my disposal exactly twenty seconds for each of the thirty years, or one minute for every three years, in my attempt to cover this assignment. The visiting clergyman who was politely informed that no souls are saved after twenty minutes of preaching was infinitely better off than I am. What used to be done in twenty minutes must now be accomplished in half of that time.

The times have changed. We live in an age of high speed, and even our timepieces are being provided with sweep second hands. Under these circumstance, all that I can do is to take you on a swift flight down through the years. And as we go zooming along on our way, I may be able to point out to you an interesting landmark here and there, or give you a few scattered facts from the history of Williams Lodge.

But before we take off, I should like to express to the officers of the Grand Lodge our great appreciation of their visit to the Berkshires and to Williams Lodge on the occasion of its seventy-fifth anniversary. We are highly honored by your presence here tonight. We welcome you. We are glad to see you, and we trust that you will visit us more often.

Our relations with the Grand Lodge have always been most cordial and pleasant. The other day, while sorting out some old correspondence, I came across some letters which I received, as Master of Williams Lodge in 1917, from the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Leon M. Abbott. Our correspondence led up to an official visit of the Grand Master to Williams Lodge on May 7, 1918. On the occasion of this visit, the Grand Master was accompanied by the Grand Secretary, Right Worshipful Brother Hamilton, the Grand Marshal, Right Worshipful Brother West and Brother Hubbard, Past Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter. The Grand Chaplain, Worshipful Brother Horton, was unable to attend.

Thus twenty-eight years have passed since we had our last official visit by the officers of the Grand Lodge. I repeat that we should like to see you more often.

In the same file of letters, and under the date of 1918, I found that the Grand Lodge had bestowed an honor on Williams Lodge by appointing one of our members to a committee to consider the Report on the Revision of the Grand Constitutions. This Committee, appointed by the Grand Master, was composed of the following:

I was in the Army at the time, and being stationed temporarily in Boston, it was my privilege, as a representative of Williams Lodge, to attend and participate in the important deliberations of this Committee.

Tonight we celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of Williams Lodge, which was organized and granted its charter by the Grand Lodge in the year 1871. But the history of Freemasonry in Williamstown goes back to a much earlier date.

The first Masonic Lodge in Williamstown was known by the name of Friendship Lodge, and was organized 161 years ago. Friendship Lodge was instituted by dispensation, and Israel Jones was appointed Worshipful Master by Massachusetts Grand Lodge July 23, 1785. It is therefore one of the very earliest Lodges in Massachusetts. We are in possession of three Master Mason's diplomas issued by Friendship Lodge in the years 1796, 1805 and 1806 respectively. These are signed by the officers of the Lodge, and among the signatures, appear the names of two of the Trustees of Williams College. These interesting documents are here and available for your inspection. A few extracts copied from the minutes of the Lodge are also in our possession.

The Lodge is frequently mentioned in local histories of the period, but on the whole, we have comparatively little information concerning the activities of Friendship Lodge. Suffice it here to say that after forty-three years of active work, the Lodge surrendered its Charter in the year 1828.. The records of old Friendship Lodge are now to be found in the archives of the Grand Lodge in Boston.

From 1828 to 1870 there were no organized Masonic activities in Williamstown. When the present Masonic Lodge was instituted in 1871, the name was appropriately changed to Williams Lodge. The revival of the Lodge gave a fresh impetus to Masonic interests in our community.

The first Worshipful Master of Williams Lodge was George Brown, who held this office from 1871 to 1877. The complete list of Past Masters of Williams Lodge shows a total of fifty-three names. Thirty-one of these Past Masters are still living. Some of them have attained to high rank in the Masonic Fraternity, and all of them have rendered loyal and faithful service to Williams Lodge, and have been a source of inspiration and strength to the organization.

Among the living Past Masters there are two who have rendered distinguished service to the Order, and particularly to Williams Lodge, through the years—Right Worshipful Brothers Charles D. Tefft and William S. Hamilton, whose interest in Masonry and devotion to the Lodge have been outstanding and are deserving of special mention. We are also indebted to the following Brothers for the valuable contribution they have severally made to the welfare of the Lodge and to the work of the Craft:

  • Wor. Elmer C. Walden
  • Wor. Nelson W. Domin
  • Wor. George H. Clayton
  • R. W. Seaver R. Gilcreast
  • R.W. J. Edwin Bullock

The present home of Williams Lodge is a brick building which is centrally located on Main Street and which we have occupied since 1889. This building is one of the old landmarks of Wil-liamstown. It is now the property of Williams Lodge, having been acquired by purchase in 1912. The exact age of the building is uncertain, but it can be traced in the Registry of Deeds back to 1829. It was presumably erected prior to that date. An extensive renovation of the interior of the building, including the quarters occupied by the Lodge, was completed in 1940.

The financial standing of the Lodge is sound, thanks to the energetic efforts of the Finance Committee and the valuable guidance of the leading bankers of our town, all of whom are active members of Williams Lodge. On our fiftieth anniversary, celebrated in 1922, we burned the mortgage on the building with solemn rites and ceremonies. The recent renovation of the interior, however, unfortunately forced us to assume the burden of another mortgage. This we are now rapidly paying off.

Individual members of the Lodge have always taken a prominent part in the affairs of the town, and as an organization, we have constantly supported every worthy charitable appeal sponsored by the community. We have enjoyed friendly relations with Williams College, and our membership includes many of its faculty, administration, students and employees. Mention should also be made of the helpful cooperation and spiritual guidance of the clergy in our community. We are indebted to Brother Rev. Raymond Blakney, who served as organist of the Lodge for many years, and also to Right Worshipful Rev. Philip Frick, the present Chaplain of our Lodge.

At the present time, Williams Lodge has 144 active members in good standing. There has been but a slight fluctuation in the membership during the past thirty years. The Past Masters have maintained an active interest in the work and other affairs of the Lodge, and all members have cooperated in cultivating the spirit of friendship and brotherly love with the Brethren of neighboring Lodges.

The officers of Williams Lodge have invariably shown a deep and genuine interest in their respective duties, and we are justly proud of the skill with which they have carried on their Masonic work through the years. To them great credit is due for their untiring zeal and successful management of the Lodge. During recent years, three of our members have received the Masonic Veteran's Medal, which is conferred upon those who have completed fifty years of Masonic service. The recipients were:

  • Bro. Allen E. Evans
  • Wor. Elmer C. Walden
  • The late Wor. George M. Hopkins

When the call to arms sounded in 1917 and '18' for service in World War I, many of our members responded. The Lodge made an effort to aid and assist these men to the best of its ability. By special arrangement with the Grand Lodge, we were able to present every member of Williams Lodge who entered service in the Armed Forces with a regulation traveling card. Attached to the traveling card was a printed translation into French and also one into German. Both the traveling card and the attached translations were signed by Right Worshipful Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary, and bore the seal of the Grand Lodge. I mention this merely as a matter of general interest, for I know of no other Lodge that took a similar action. I have with me one of these traveling cards and it gives me pleasure to present it to the Lodge as a souvenir of a by-gone day. Local interest naturally centered about the Williamstown Company of the Massachusetts State Guard, commanded by Worshipful Brother Brainerd Mears. Many of the Brethren who are present here tonight served in this organization under his command. Its personnel included men from every walk of life. When the Company was organized in 1917, our faithful and beloved Marshal, the late Brother Henry Seeley, Caretaker of one of the College buildings, was made a Sergeant of the Company by virtue of a previous hitch served in the Regular Army-Professor Salter, then Director of Music at Williams College, was a Private in the ranks. On a special occasion, the Company, preceded by a brass band, was parading through the main street of the town. Sergeant Seeley, marching on the flank of the column and whose eagle eye nothing seemed to escape, suddenly snarled out of the corner of his mouth: "Private Salter, why the hell can't you keep in step with the music?" The Company rendered valuable service, including the Boston Police strike, and was commanded by Worshipful Brother Mears in World War II, as well as in the first.

Our records pertaining to the second World War show that fourteen members of the Lodge served in the Armed Forces. Many of these became officers of high rank, both in the Army and the Navy. In addition to these, there were twenty-five sons of our members on active service in the Army, Navy and Marine Corps. All honor to these men!

In 1944 Williams Lodge contributed to the Masonic Military Service Activities the sum of $447, which was raised under the chairmanship of Brother Wallace Green.

Williams Lodge also joined with other Lodges of the 15th Masonic District in sending gifts to the Masonic Service Center at Ayer, Massachusetts. This was done under the supervision of Worshipful Frank Lamphier, our Lodge Service Representative. The years that lie behind us have been fraught with trials and tribulations. The world has experienced privation, suffering and sorrow such as it has never known before. Our nation has passed safely through the most difficult and trying period in the history of our country. Great and glorious achievements have been recorded, and great sacrifices have been made. We, as Masons, can render a real service to humanity if we faithfully practice out of the Lodge the great moral duties which are inculcated in it.

Williams Lodge has been fortunate. As we look back over these turbulent years and contemplate what has been done, we can truly say that all is well. We look forward to the future with complete assurance and confidence. And, as we plan our work for the years to come, we shall do well to be ever mindful of the tenets of our profession as Masons, which are Brotherly Love, belief and Truth.

CENTENARY HISTORY, APRIL 1971

From Proceedings, Page 1971-168:

From 1946 to 1971
By Brother Murray Smith

(A detailed history of Williams Lodge for the period from 1871 to 1946 by Wor. Carl W. Johnson may be found in the Proceedings of Grand Lodge for 1946 — pages 172- 177 inclusive.)

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Distinguished Officers of the Grand Lodge, Honored Visitors from other Lodges, Brothers of Williams Lodge: Williams Lodge, celebrating its 100th Anniversary, greets you.

Twenty five years ago a good friend of mine and a good friend of many here to-night, Carl Johnson, Past Master of Williams Lodge, addressed a similar convocation on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of this Lodge. I had known Brother Johnson long before 1946. He and I had started our acquaintance with the United States Army together in Plattsburgh in 1916. Carl had had previous military experience in Sweden before coming to the United States and rose to a colonelcy in the United States Army. He was a man of many attainments, his unfailing courtesy and devotion to this Lodge remains uppermost in my memory.

I can in no way improve on the opening sentences of Brother Johnson's address in which he expressed to the Officers of the Grand Lodge our great appreciation of their visit to Williams-town and Williams Lodge. "We are honored by your presence. We welcome you. We are glad to see you and we hope we may see you more often."

As many of you know, the first Lodge in Williamstown was Friendship Lodge, instituted in 1785. It continued in operation until 1828 and beside Williamstown residents attracted a rather large number of Williams students. We presume, that as these men went out into the world they carried with them the precepts of our order and may have been instrumental in forming new Lodges. From 1828 until 1871 the order had no lodge here. Our present Lodge appropriately took the name "Williams" and has been as faithful and patriotic as was the soldier who gave his name to our town.

In 1946 Brother Carl Johnson's feeling seemed to be that the eleven members and the 25 sons of members who had served in the armed forces during World War II were on the threshold of peace. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Since 1946 thirty-five veterans of World War II have joined this Lodge and nineteen members of the Lodge have answered their country*s call in service in Europe, Korea, the near East, the Far East and Vietnam.

At one time it became advisable to contract a mortgage to accomplish renovations and repairs to the building. A bequest in the will of a former Master, Ralston Doughty, and further contributions enabled us to diminish this mortgage. The current finances of Williams Lodge are good.

Under the leadership of many Masters and Officers the Lodge has progressed. The building has been the home of the town government and the Order of the Eastern Star. More recently, it has become the home of The Council of Aging. Our Lodge rooms have been kept in good order and redecorated a year ago. More important, community activities have been supported by the Fraternity. The Blood Bank, contributed to by many members and their wives, has helped many people, not only those connected with the order, to recovery from serious operations. By their participation, members have assisted and helped make successful community undertakings including the Boys Club, The Community Fund, the North Adams Hospital and similar worthy causes. In 1963 a program was instituted of noting both natural and Masonic birthdays of members.

In a changing world the principles of Freemasonry continue to attract. Under the leadership of several Masters, and particularly during the terms of our present Master, worthy candidates have been raised so that the membership now stands at 134. Brother Johnson commented on the state of the world in 1946. He said, and perhaps with greater foresight than he realized, "There are still many serious problems facing the world. We, as Masons, can render a real service to humanity if we faithfully practice outside of the Lodge the great moral duties which are inculcated in the Lodge. We feel that Williams Lodge has done well and we look forward to the future with confidence. And, as we move from labor to refreshment and from refreshment to labor we shall bring success to the Order as we meet on the level, act on the plumb and part on the square.

OTHER


CONSTITUTION AND HALL DEDICATION, OCTOBER 1872

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXXI, No. 12, October 1872, Page 378:

In the afternoon of the same day (as the North Adams constitution and dedication), Oct. 2nd. the Grand Lodge proceeded to Williamstown, one of the most beautiful of the picturesque villages in this mountainous region, where they dedicated the new Masonic hall and constituted Williams Lodge in the presence of a large number of brethren, and in the evening, were conveyed to "Greylock Hall," a fine spacious hotel pleasantly located among the mountains of this romantic region of our state; in the large public hall of which the Officers were duly installed. At the conclusion of this ceremony the company were escorted to the dining room where they spent a social hour. The remainder of the evening was appropriated by the ladies and younger members of the company to dancing and singing.

The present Lodge is the successor of the old Friendship Lodge located in the same town, which, through the pressure of Anti-Masonry was compelled to surrender its charter and dissolve in the year 1827. The present Lodge is composed of young and intelligent brethren, who we trust may never be subjected to the annoyances and trials their predecessors were called to endure. Their present hall is quite small, but we understand will be enlarged when occasion may require. It has been exceedingly prosperous while working under Dispensation, and it has the best wishes of the Grand Lodge for its future welfare. The officers installed were as follows : —

  • George Brown W. M.
  • Thomas Mole S. W.
  • Robert B. Harvie J. W.

GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1871: District 9 (Pittsfield)

1883: District 14 (North Adams)

1911: District 15 (North Adams)

1927: District 15 (North Adams)

2003: District 30


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges