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Location: Merrimac

Chartered By: William Sewall Gardner

Charter Date: 12/08/1869 VII-406

Precedence Date: 12/08/1868

Current Status: merged with Saggahew Lodge, 04/18/2015.


  • Morton B. Merrill, 1869-1871; Mem
  • Eldridge C. Sawyer, 1872-1874
  • Frank Wiggin, 1875
  • Alexander Smart, 1876, 1877
  • Ora A. Little, 1878, 1879
  • Ralph H. Smart, 1880, 1881
  • Fred M. Chase, 1882, 1883
  • M. Perry Sargent, 1884, 1885
  • William F. Ward, 1886, 1887
  • John P. Thornell, 1888, 1889
  • Herman W. Kelly, 1890, 1891
  • Daniel J. Poore, 1892-1894; SN
  • Alexander Hanna, 1895, 1896
  • Bion Green, 1897, 1898
  • Zanes Lovell, 1899
  • Fred B. Judkins, 1900, 1901
  • Clifton B. Heath, 1902
  • William L. Smart, 1903, 1904
  • William Jonah, 1905, 1906
  • Oliver Jordan, 1907, 1908
  • John W. Grocut, 1909, 1910
  • Frank E. Pease, 1911, 1912
  • Charles W. Cutts, 1913
  • Frederick E. Grant, 1914, 1915
  • Albert P. Wadleigh, 1916, 1917
  • L. Allen Williams, 1918, 1919
  • Frank F. Philbrick, 1920
  • William H. Franklin, Jr., 1921, 1922; N
  • Carlton C. Witham, 1923
  • George E. Franklin, 1924, 1925
  • George L. Hosford, 1926, 1927
  • G. Willis Cummings, 1928, 1929
  • A. R. Waterhouse, 1930, 1931
  • Howard C. Lovell, 1932, 1933
  • Elmer T. Grant, 1934
  • Willard T. Kelly, 1935, 1936
  • Cecil E. Welch, 1937, 1938; N
  • Alexander Q. Blake, 1939, 1940
  • Edward B. Germain, 1941
  • Malcolm A. Eaton, 1942
  • Chauncey D. McKay, 1943, 1944
  • Alvin F. Heath, 1945
  • Frank M. Hargreaves, 1946, 1947; N
  • Isaiah Chase, 1948
  • Lloyd S. Ray, 1949; N
  • Edgar P. Sargent, 1950
  • Frank J. Russo, 1951, 1952
  • Frederick C. Chase, 1953, 1954
  • John T. Franklin, 1955
  • Gerald M. Hargraves, 1956
  • Edward L. Smith, 1957
  • A. Noel Roy, 1958
  • Arthur E. Sharp, 1959
  • George P. Hardie, 1960
  • Harold M. Daniels, 1961
  • Leonard R. Burrill, 1962
  • Harold M. Waterhouse, Jr., 1963
  • Harry M. Fleet, 1964
  • Wayne W. Williams, Sr., 1965
  • Francis Drenth, 1966
  • Willard C. Gowan, 1967
  • George A. Waterhouse, 1968
  • Merton E. Chute, 1969, 1970; PDDGM
  • Byron S. Reynolds, 1971
  • Richard T. Smith, 1972, 1998
  • Kenneth E. Randall, 1973, 1986
  • Richard N. Kendrick, 1974, 2000
  • Russell M. Poor, 1975
  • Carrol E. Twist, 1976
  • Russell E. Smith, 1977
  • Richard A. Waterhouse, 1978
  • Wayne G. Maglione, 1979
  • Ernest D. Sargent, 1980, 1990
  • Laurence J. Gardella, 1981, 1982; N
  • Walter E. Barker, Jr., 1983
  • R. Thomas Smith, Jr., 1984
  • Joseph R. Burks, 1985
  • Guy R. Williams, 1987
  • Edwin H. Wright, 1988, 1989
  • Carl L. Booth, 1991
  • Richard W. Lacombe, 1992
  • Glenn W. Coffin, 1993, 1995
  • Matthew A. Keiser, 1994, 2002
  • John E. O'Neal, Jr., 1996, 1997, 1999
  • Byron E. McNutt, 2001
  • Charles H. Graber, 2004
  • J. Charles Rutledge, 2005; N
  • Willard C. Walker, Jr., 2006
  • Keith J. Zibolis, 2007, 2008
  • Normand L. Lavoie, 2009
  • Anthony M. Noguiera, 2010-2012
  • Dana A. Wildes, 2013-2015


  • Petition for Dispensation: 1868
  • Petition for Charter: 1869
  • Petition for Consolidation: 2015


  • 1920 (50th Anniversary)
  • 1969 (Centenary)



1878 1881 1887 1892 1902 1904 1913 1921 1939 1957 1958 1970 1971 1972 1988 1992 2009 2013




From Proceedings, Page 1920-3:

Only surviving charter member of Bethany Lodge.

Most Worshipful Grand Master, Officers and Members of the Grand Lodge, Brethren of Bethany Lodge, and all Visiting Members:

It is a great pleasure to me to be able to greet you all at this, our golden anniversary.

I see by the order of exercises that the part assigned to me is reminiscences. I have made a few notes of things which I have remembered of the past. I shall try to go back to the foundation of Bethany.

About fifty-two years ago the two villages of West and South Amesbury were both thriving places. Everybody had work with good wages at that time, and all were satisfied to work and enjoy themselves. There were no labor unions or strikes; any workman who was not satisfied with his job was at liberty to go out and get another. There were pleasant relations between the employer and the employees. We had no electric cars then, no horse cars, or even bicycles. If we wanted to go out of town, we either walked or hired a team from the stables. The nearest Masonic Lodge was Warren Lodge at Amesbury, about four miles away, where most of the Masons took their degrees.

In the latter part of 1867 some of the Brothers proposed that we try to see what could be done about having a Lodge at West Amesbury, and we decided to talk this matter up and see what could be done. We got a list of all the members at this end of the town and found there were twenty or more in the two villages and nearly all were in favor, of going along and seeing what could be done.

A meeting was called and we met at the shop of Bro. George Larkin. There were, I think, fifteen present at that meeting and we decided to go on. We had another meeting and in December, 1867, a meeting was called for organization of the committee. I regret that a copy of the minutes of these meetings was not preserved as I have not been able to find them. As I remember, we chose a committee to go to work at once. There was a committee on membership, a committee on finance, a committee on rooms, and also Brethren selected to learn the Lodge work. as not one of us at that time had ever held any office in a Lodge. A committee was appointed to select some Brother who would take up this work and be prepared to fill the chair as Master of the Lodge. This meeting was adjourned for one week, at which time Bro. Morton B. Merrill was unanimously elected. Brother Merrill, who was not a politician, wished for a little time to think it over. Voted to adjourn for one week at which time Brother Merrill would decide and report. We all promised to stand by him and do anything he might wish to help him. At the next meeting Brother Merrill informed the Brethren that there was another place to be filled as important to the work of the Lodge as the Master, and if he could have Brother Sawyer, your humble servant, with him as Senior Deacon, he would try to do the best he could.

You see, we had all promised to do anything he wished to have the work go along, and there was nothing for me to say but "Brother Merrill, I am with you." The Brethren were very kind and informed us that we would not be called upon to do auything except attend to the duties of organizing.

The members of Warren Lodge were very kind to us and promised to assist us when they could. They elected Brother Merrill to the office of Senior Deacon for the year 1868, and we went to Amesbury during the year every week and sometimes twice weekly to attend the communications which they held every Saturday evening. We also went to Boston and spent some time with the Grand Lecturers who kindly offered to help us. We had many cold nights that winter, going home any time from midnight to two o'clock in the morning. As we were working in the same shop at the time we spent many hours in familiarizing ourselves with the work together. The other committees went along with their parts all right. Cleary and Goodwin were putting up the building which we now occupy as a Lodge-room and offered to put on another story and finish a hall for us if we would take a lease of it. Satisfactory arrangements were made by the committee. The committee on membership found that there were twenty-five Masons, good and true, who were waiting and willing to take the responsibility of forming a Lodge. The following Brethren signed the petition:

  • Joseph W. Sargent
  • John K. Sargent
  • Isaac B. Little
  • Charles W. Sawyer
  • Thomas H. Goodwin
  • Henry J. Cushing
  • J. Austin Lancaster
  • Nelson S. Hoyt
  • Joseph B. Cilley
  • Charles W. Emerson
  • George Adams
  • F. M. Ordway
  • Bailey Sargent
  • Isaac Jones
  • A. A. Sawyer
  • Elbridge C. Sawyer
  • Andrew J. Lovell
  • Horace L. Swain
  • Morton B. Merrill
  • Jona B. Sargent
  • J. S. Nichols
  • A. L. Baxter
  • Wendell B. Whittier
  • Edwin Sargent

  • E. C. Hopkins

This petition we presented to the Grand Lodge and in due time received a Dispensation to commence the eighth day of December, 1868. I think our first meeting as a Lodge under this Dispensation was on January 5, 1869, when we commenced our real work which I shall leave for our worthy Secretary', as Historian, to complete.

Brethren, fifty years ago tonight Bethany Lodge was Dedicated and Consecrated in our present Lodge-room by the officers of the Grand Lodge. As usual in the consecration, the corn, wine, and oil were used. After the ceremony I picked up from the carpet by curiosity a small amount of this corn which had been used. I have preserved it until this time, and now wish to present it to the Master of Bethany Lodge and hope he will see it is deposited in the archives of the Lodge as a memento of that occasion.


From Proceedings, Page 1920-7:

By Wor. Albert P. Wadleigh:

Agreeably to a Dispensation granted by Most Worshipful William Sewall Gardner, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Bethany Lodge of Merrimac, Massachusetts, held its first meeting, according to existing records, January 5, 1869, with Worshipful Morton B. Merrill presiding as Master. At this meeting a code of by-laws was read and accepted.

The original members of Bethany Lodge, upon whose petition presented to the Most Worshipful Grand Master (after Warren Lodge of Amesbury had consented to the prayer of the petitioners and the District Deputy Grand Master for the Sixth Masonic District had approved the petition, at the Annual Communication of the M.W. Grand Lodge held December 8, 1869, at which time a charter was granted, were:

  • Joseph W. Sargent
  • Charles W. Emerson
  • John K. Sargent
  • George Adams
  • Isaac B. Little
  • F. M. Ordway
  • J. Austin Lancaster
  • A. A. Sawyer
  • Nelson S. Hoyt
  • Elbridge C. Sawyer
  • Joseph B. Cilley
  • Andrew J. Lovell
  • Horace L. Swain
  • Charles W. Sawyer
  • E. C. Hopkins
  • Thomas H. Goodwin
  • Bailey Sargent
  • Henry J. Cushing
  • Isaac Jones
  • A. L. Baxter
  • Morton B. Merrill
  • Wendell B. Whittier
  • Jona B. Sargent
  • Edwin Sargent

  • J. S. Nichols

At the first meeting, January 5, 1869 (under Dispensation), six applications were received. All the petitioners in due time were elected and became members, namely:

  • Nathan J. Spofford
  • M. Perry Sargent
  • Otis Sargent
  • John V. Holt
  • Albert Sargent
  • Oscar F. Seavey

On April 6, 1869, Bethany Lodge raised the first candidate on the Third Degree in the person of Bro. Nathan J. Spofford.

Of the twenty-five charter members, today, fifty years afterwards, only one brother, Elbridge C. Sawyer, of Beverly, survives.

During the first year of its existence Bethany Lodge received many beautiful gifts at the hands of several Brethren to be used in the work of the Lodge; viz.:—a beautiful copy of the Holy Bible from William P. Sargent and John P, Whittier, April 3, 1869; Stewards' and Deacons' rods, July 6, 1869, from Bro. Hayden Sargent: May 5, 1869, a set of jewels presented by Bro. James R. Nichols, of Saggahew Lodge of Haverhill, "as a testimonial of his regards": March 2, 1869, Marshal's baton from William H. Blodgett. Various other necessary ornaments and jewels have been presented to the Lodge from time to time.

On the evening of December 30, 1869, in the hall we now occupy (although our present quarters are remodeled), Bethany Lodge was duly Constituted. Most Worshipful Past Grand Master Charles C. Dame of Newburyport Constituted and Consecrated the Lodge and installed its officers. Addresses were made by M. W. Brother Dame and by Brothers Gay, Pike, Stevens, and others.

June 18, 1870. Special Communication, Bethany Lodge proceeded to Haverhill and attended the funeral of Bro. Moses Wingate who, at the time of his death aged one hundred and one years, was said to be the oldest Mason in the United States.

October 9, 1872. Public installation, Joseph Sidney Howe, District Deputy Grand Master, Sixth Masonic District, officiating.

July 1, 1873. A committee was appointed to procure fans (an evident indication of hot weather).

July 27, 1879. Special communication for the purpose of laying the corner-stone of the new town hall of Merrimac by R. W. Wyzeman Marshall as Deputy Grand Master, Bro. Frank E. Jones as Deputy Grand Marshal, Past Master E. C. Sawyer, Bro. Alexander Smart, Deputy Senior Grand Warden, Bro. Warren E. George, Deputy Junior Grand Warden. The Deputy Grand Lodge was escorted by Bethany Lodge to the parade grounds to form a procession consisting of Col. C. R. Mudge Post 114, G. A. R. and officers and citizens of the town of Merrimac, preceded by Goodwin's Cornet Band. Tim procession marched around the square to the site of the new town house where the cornerstone was laid by the Deputy Grand Lodge with appropriate ceremonies in accordance with due and ancient Masonic form, after which speeches were made by William P. Sargent of Boston, Patten Sargent, Esq., and others. Sixty-six Brethren participated.

June 5, 1877, Bro. D. J. Poor presented the Lodge with two jewels, the rough and perfect Ashlers, March 4, 1879, George N. Goodwin was installed as organist, and held the position continuously for nearly forty years. August 5, 1879, George W. "Weymouth was raised. He was afterwards Congressman from the Fitchburg district.

August, 1881, the members and their ladies enjoyed an excursion to the Isles of Shoals on the Startled Pawn. On September 6, 1881, a vote of thanks was extended to the excursion committee, an indication of a successful event.

March 7, 1882, Bro. Benjamin Watkins, of Doric Kilwinning Lodge, Glasgow, Scotland, visited Bethany Lodge, it being an unusual occurrence.

May 2, 1882, a large delegation of Brethren from Star in the East Lodge, of Exeter, N. H., was present. The Third Degree was exemplified after which an excellent repast was served in Mechanics' Hall. After supplying the wants of the inner man, a "feast of reason and a flow of soul" was listened to. Ninety-nine Brethren were present.

November 8, 1882. Most Worshipful Grand Master Samuel C. Lawrence was present and addressed the Lodge.

In 1883, R. W. Morton B. Merrill, a charter member and Past Master of this Lodge, made his official visitation as District Deputy Grand Master with Wor. Bro. Oliver A. Roberts as District Deputy Grand Senior Warden and Wor. Bro. Green Davis as District Deputy Grand Junior Warden. An address was made by Wor. Oliver A. Roberts, Town of Bethany, Holy Land, from which our Lodge was named.

In 1884, R .W. Oliver A. Roberts, of Salisbury, was District Deputy Grand Master. R. W. Brother Roberts, though not a member of Bethany Lodge, was a frequent visitor and it is a pleasure to realize that he is still with us performing faithful service in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

October 10, 1894. Bethany Lodge held a communication for the purpose of dedicating its new hall (into which the Lodge had just moved in the Little and Larkin block). The Lodge had held its meeting in the Cleary or Lovell block for a period of twenty-five years, and in 1918, twenty-four years later, went back to its original, although remodeled abode. At this communication, October 10, 1891, a very elaborate program was carried out. The hall was Dedicated by the following Grand Officers: Acting Grand Master; R. W. Edwin B. Holmes, Deputy Grand Master; R. W. Henry G. Fay, Deputy Senior Grand Warden; R. W. William H. H. Soule, Deputy Junior Grand Warden; R. W. Charles A. Robertson, Grand Treasurer; Wor. Edward A. Fitts, Grand Secretary; M. W. Sereno D. Nickerson, Past Grand Master, Grand Marshal; Wor. Charles Harris, Grand Chaplain; Wor. Rev. George J. Prescott, Grand Tyler; Wor. Charles F. Dame, Grand Steward; Wor. William A. Carrie, Grand Steward; Wor. Charles T. Chase.

In 1897 and 1898 Wor. Bro. Daniel J. Poore, of Bethany Lodge, was honored with the appointment of District Deputy Grand Master, being the only Brother besides Wor. Bro. Morton B. Merrill, who was Bethany's first Master, to hold that distinguished position.

June 15, 1901, R. W. Daniel Jefferson Poore died and on June 18, 1901, Haverhill Commandery and Bethany Lodge performed the burial service.

October 2, 1917, Most Wor. Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, accompanied by R. W. Benjamin B. Gilman, District Deputy Grand Master, R. W. William M. Farrington, Senior Grand Warden, R. W. Edward N. West, Grand Marshal, and R. W. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary, made a fraternal visit to Bethany Lodge.

September, 1918, Bethany Lodge held its Communication (after twenty-four years' absence) in its original, although remodeled Lodge Room.

Such is the record of Bethany Lodge as it may be written. During the passage of its fifty years, over three hundred petitioners have knocked at its portals and have gained admission. The lapse of time, the falling sands of the hour glass as they slowly waste away, and the hand of the reaper have caused many of our Brethren to pass beyond the western horizon, but in immortality they survive. Of one hundred and eleven members twenty-six years ago, thirty-two are on the roll today. We, their successors, one hundred and sixty in number, inspired by their faithful efforts, their high sense of honor and duty, their general application of the rules of conduct in the rectitude of life, will endeavor to carry on.

Milton in his Defense of the People of England said: "1 am not one who has disgraced beauty of sentiment by deformity of conduct, or the maxims of a freeman by the actions of a slave; but, by the grace of God, I have kept my life unsullied."

Hamilton tells us: "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchments or musty records. They are written, as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of the Divinity itself, and can never be erased or obscured by mortal power." (1775)

This is a glimpse of the spirit of true Masonry, of a faith unshaken, a life unsullied, a chain unbroken, the 'perpetuation of a mystic tie. So stands Bethany Lodge with its record clear, firm in its adherence to the ancient landmarks; its spirit aglow for the righteous progress of ma ii kirn I, and as immovable as the massive pyramids or the Sphinx itself to those who would destroy liberty within the law. As a great poet has said:

"There is yet a liberty unsung
By poets and by Senators unpraised,
Which monarchs cannot grant, nor all the powers
Of earth and hell confederate take away.
A liberty which persecution, fraud,
Oppression, prisons, have no power to bind;
Which whoso tastes can be enslaved no more.
'Tis Liberty of heart, derived from Heaven,
Bought with His blood, who gave it to mankind,
And sealed with the same token. It is held
By charter, and that charter sanctioned sure
By the unimpeachable and awful oath
And promise of a God. His other gifts
All bear the royal stamp that speaks them his,
And are august; but this transcends them all.

Officers of Bethany Lodge. 1869-1919.


  • Morton B. Merrill 1869-1872
  • Elbridge C. Sawyer 1872-1875
  • Frank Wiggin 1875-1876
  • Alexander Smart 1876-1878
  • Oro C. Little 1878-1880
  • Ralph H. Sargent 1880-1882
  • Fred M. Chase 1882-1884
  • M. Perry Sargent 1884-1886
  • William F. Ward 1886-1888
  • John H. P. Thornell 1888-1890
  • Herman W. Kelly 1890-1892
  • Daniel T. Poore 1892-1894
  • Alexander Hanna 1894-1896
  • Bion Green 1896-1898
  • Zenas Lovell 1898-1899
  • Frederick B. Judkins 1899-1901
  • Clifton B. Heath 1901-1902
  • William L. Smart 1902-1904
  • William S. Jonah 1904-1906
  • Oliver W. Jordan 1906-1908
  • John W. J. Grocut 1908-1910
  • Frank E. Pease 1910-1912
  • Charles W. Cutts 1912-1913
  • Frederick C. Grant 1913-1915
  • Albert P. Wadleigh 1915-1917
  • J. Allen Williams 1917-1919
  • Frank F. Philbrick 1919-


  • Charles W. Sawyer 1869-1871
  • Elbridge C. Sawyer 1871-1872
  • Frank Wiggin 1872-1875
  • Alexander Smart 1875-1876
  • Oro O. Little 1876-1978
  • Oscar F. Seavey 1878-1879
  • Ralph H. Sargent 1879-1880
  • Herman W. Kelly 1880-1881
  • LeBurton W. Colby 1881-1883
  • C. Fawn Clement 1883-1884
  • William F. Ward 1884-1886
  • John H. P. Thornell 1886-1888
  • Eiehard S. Bailey 1888-1890
  • Daniel J. Poore 1890-1892
  • Alexander Hanna 1892-1894
  • Bion Green 1894-1896
  • Zenas Lovell 1896-1898
  • Frederick B. Judkins 1898-1899
  • Clifton B. Heath 1899-1901
  • William L. Smart 1901-1902
  • William S. Jonah 1902-1904
  • Oliver W. Jordan 1904-1906
  • John W. J. Grocut 1906-1908
  • Frank E. Pease 1908-1910
  • Charles W. Cutts 1910-1912
  • Frederick C. Grant 1912-1913
  • Albert P. Wadleigh 1913-1915
  • J. Allen Williams 1915-1917

  • H. Franklin, Jr. 1917-1918
  • Frank F. Philbrick 1918-1919

  • H. Franklin, Jr. 1919-


  • Andrew J. Lovell 1869-1871
  • Frank Wiggin 1871-1872
  • Abram L. Baxter 1872-1874
  • Alexander Smart 1874-1875
  • Warren E. George 1875-1877
  • Frank E. Little 1877-1878
  • Ralph H. Sargent 1878-1879
  • Herman W. Kelly 1879-1880
  • William F. Ward 1880-1881
  • Fred M. Chase 1881-1882
  • M. Perry Sargent 1882-1884
  • John H. P. Thornell 1884-1886
  • Erhard S. Bailey 1886-1888
  • Herman W, Kelly 1888-1890
  • Alexander Hanna 1890-1892
  • Bion Green 1892-1894
  • Zenas Lovell 1894-1896
  • Fred B. Judkins 1896-1898
  • Clifton B. Heath 1898-1899
  • William L. Smart 1899-1901
  • William 8. Jonah 1901-1902
  • Oliver W. Jordan 1902-1904
  • John W. J. Grocut 1904-1906
  • Frank E. Pease 1906-1908
  • Charles W. Cutts 1908-1910
  • Frederick C. Grant 1910-1912
  • Albert P. Wadleigh 1912-1913
  • J. Allen Williams 1913-1915

  • William H. Franklin, Jr. 1915-1917
  • Carlton C. Witham 1917-


  • Bailey Sargent 1869-1870
  • James T. I.ocke 1870-1871
  • George A. Perry 1871-1890
  • James T. Locke 1890-1897
  • William L. Smart 1897-1899
  • Bion Green 1899-1910
  • John H. P. Thornell 1910-1911
  • Fred W. George 1911-1918
  • Oliver W. Jordan 1918-


  • Wendell B. Whittier 1869-1870
  • M. Perry Sargent 1870-1872
  • Nelson S. Hoyt 1872-1875
  • LeBurton W. Colby 1875-1879
  • Daniel J. Poore 1879-1884
  • Charles A. Wallace 1884-1885
  • Charles D. Buggies 1885-1890
  • William L. Smart 1890-1895
  • William C. Russell 1895-1905
  • Frederick C. Grant 1905-1909
  • Frank F. Philbrick 1909-1918
  • Albert P. Wadleigh 1918-


  • Elisha C. Hopkins 1869-1870
  • John V. Holt 1870-1876
  • John W. Leavitt 1876-1877
  • James F. Griffin 1877-1878
  • George W. Kendrick 1878-1887
  • James L. Wallace 1887-1895
  • Henry Mansung 1895-1896
  • Charles A. Wallace 1896-1901
  • George F. Kendrick 1901-


During the year 1918 A. D., 5918 A. L., a number of the Brethren of Bethany Lodge being anxious to obtain greater information and knowledge relative to the history of Freemasonry, its landmarks, fundamentals, ritualism, jewels, jurisprudence, symbolism, etc., entered into a mutual covenant to extract from Masonic archives as might be properly possible further light as an aid to their Masonic progress. Thus in 1919 A. D., A. L. 5919, the Ashler Masonic Research Club was formed comprising members of Bethany Lodge, about ten or more of whom met regularly once a month in the pursuit of knowledge and light through the medium of studied Masonic research work.


From Proceedings, Page 1969-286:

By Wor. Alvin F. Heath.

Twenty-five years ago we celebrated the Seventy-fifth anniversary of Bethany Lodge, and a careful, accurate, and excellent history of the Lodge was read by Worshipful Brother Edward B. Germain. Now another milestone is reached, and we pause again to review the story of the past, rejoice in our prosperity, and renew our zeal for the future.

We have been taught that Masonry arose in the East and extended to the West. Its beginnings were so ancient they are not definitely known, but it was brought to America in 1733, and St. John's Lodge, in Boston, the first Lodge established in Massachusetts, was founded July 30, 1733.

The real history of Bethany Lodge covering the one hundred years of its existence is found in the books of record kept for that purpose in which are included the minutes of the communications held by the Lodge during that time, so that in a real sense, this is not a history, but merely a brief condensation of some of the important and interesting events which have taken place during that time, together with some statistics. At the close of the Civil War, the two villages of West and South Amesbury were both thriving places. Every one had work, and all were satisfied to work and enjoy themselves. There were pleasant relations between the employer and employees. There were no electric cars then, no busses, or even bicycles. If anyone wanted to go out of town, they either walked or hired a team. The nearest Masonic Lodge was Warren Lodge of Amesbury, about four miles away, where most of the masons from these villages took their degrees.

There being no convenient means of transportation between the villages, many believed that convenience of the members and the interests of Masonry in the town required the formation of a Lodge in what had then become its most rapidly growing village.

There were twenty-five Brethren, who in 1868, one hundred years ago, petitioned the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts to charter a Lodge at West Amesbury. The petition was favorably received and the Dispensation under which this Lodge first worked was granted, on December 8th, 1868.

A report and return of the conduct of the members under the Dispensation granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master was made at the December meeting of the Grand Lodge in 1869, at which time the charter was granted, and shortly thereafter, on December 30, 1869, at their Lodge in West Amesbury, Bethany Lodge was constituted and consecrated in Ample Form. Its first Officers were installed by Right Worshipful Past Grand Master, Charles C. Dame.

I think it would be fitting to pause a brief moment to name the first officers of Bethany Lodge: Brother Morton B. Merrill was appointed Worshipful Master; Brother Charles W. Sawyer was appointed Senior Warden and Brother Andrew J. Lovell was appointed Junior Warden. Bethany Lodge was duly organized by the Worshipful Master appointing the following officers: Brother George Adams to be Chaplain; Brother Wendell B. Whittier to be Secretary; Brother Bailey Sargent to be Treasurer; Brother Elbridge C. Sawyer to be Senior Deacon; Brother Horace L. Swain to be Junior Deacon; Brother Thomas H. Goodwin to be Senior Steward; Brother Joseph B. Cilley to be Junior Steward; Brother Joseph W. Sargent to be Marshal; Brother Elisha E. Hopkins to be Tyler. The Lodge was then opened on the third degree in Free Masonry in due form. Brothers present were: George C. Larkin, Abram L. Baxter, Nelson S. Hoyt, Henry J. Cushing, Edwin Sargent, Frank M. Ordway, Isaac B. Little, James A. Lancaster.

The first work of the Lodge was done with jewels loaned by Warren Lodge of Amesbury, but by July 6th it was voted to return the old jewels and rods loaned us by Warren Lodge, with the thanks of Bethany Lodge for the use of said jewels and rods.

During the first year of its existence, Bethany Lodge received many beautiful gifts by several Brothers. We note on the record book that on March 2nd, Brother William H. Blodgett gave a Baton for the Marshal; on April 6th a beautiful copy of the Holy Bible from William P. Sargent and John P. Whittier; May 5th a set of jewels by Brother James R. Nichols of Saggahew Lodge of Haverhill; July 6th Stewards' and Deacons' rods, by Brother Hayden Sargent; and Brother Wingate P. Sargent presented a clock on August 3rd.

At the first meeting, January 5, 1869, (under Dispensation) six applications were received. All the petitioners in due time were elected and became members. On April 13, 1869, Bethany Lodge raised the first candidate on the Third Degree in the person of Brother Nathan J. Spofford.

In 1870, Worshipful Morton B. Merrill and Brother Addison A. Sawyer presented the Tyler with a sword and belt. This year, the design for the seal of the Lodge was accepted.

The first death to occur in the membership of Bethany Lodge was that of Brother Thomas H. Goodwin, who was one of the petitioners for dispensation. He was buried with Masonic honors on January 29, 1874, the first of a long line of our Brethren who have been called from the labor of life to the refreshment of Heaven. Over many of these the last words have been said in the beautiful language of our burial service, with the spray of evergreen reminding us of the immortality of the soul.

On April 7th it was voted: "That a vote of thanks be extended to Brothers Frank Wiggin and William H. Blodgett for the present of a Masonic Chart."

A Special Communication was held on July 27, 1876 for the purpose of laying the cornerstone of the new Town Hall in the newly incorporated Town of Merrimac, by Right Worshipful Wyzeman Marshall as Deputy Grand Master.

The Deputy Grand Lodge was escorted by Bethany Lodge to the parade grounds on Church Street to form a procession, consisting of Col. Charles R. Mudge Post 114, G. A. R., and officers and citizens of the Town of Merrimac, preceded by Goodwin's Cornet Band. The procession marched around the square to the site of the new town house where the cornerstone was laid by the Deputy Grand Lodge with appropriate ceremonies in accordance with due and ancient form. Speeches were made by William P. Sargent of Boston, the donor of the building; Patten Sargent, Esq., and others. Sixty-six Brethren were present. In 1877, Brother Daniel J. Poore presented the Lodge with the rough and perfect Ashler. An excursion to the Isles of Shoals was held in 1880 but no date was found in the record book.

The Grand Lodge capitation tax was levied on all Lodges in 1879 to get funds for the Grand Lodge whose finances were in need of assistance. According to a report made to the Lodge, the tax on Bethany Lodge was one dollar a member a year for twelve years. The Grand Lodge provided a plan for the Commutation of this tax or rather two plans: one by which individuals could commute their particular share, and the other by which the Lodge could commute the whole tax. The Lodge backed and filled for a few years but finally voted to commute in 1882.

In 1890 a safe was bought, and in 1891 a committee of four was voted to investigate the need of new quarters for the Lodge, and on October 10, 1894 the new hall in the Little and Larkin Block was dedicated by Rt. Wor. Edwin B. Holmes as Deputy Grand Master.

The twenty-fifth anniversary of Bethany Lodge was observed on December 13, 1894. An elaborate program was carried out. Among those present were eight Charter members, including the first Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens. The inventory of the Lodge was made this year, and the valuation of the property amounted to $1,630.99.

Brother John K. Sargent, a charter member of the Lodge, died February 19, 1897. He was made a Mason in 1826, and at the time of his death was the oldest Mason in the United States.

A Past Masters' Night was observed on March 4, 1902, when our first three original officers of the Lodge assumed their stations occupied by them in 1869.

Probably one of the most outstanding events of Bethany Lodge was held in Sargent Hall on December 2nd and 3rd in 1903 for the benefit of the Chanty Fund. The Fair was very successful, netting {51,002; of which $600.00 went to the permanent Fund and $402.00 went to the Charity Fund.

Several years passed without any prominent activities. Brother Nathan J. Spofford, the first member raised to the third degree in Bethany Lodge, died January 27, 1910.

The year 1911 brought to a realization the hopes and desires of many years for the establishment of a Masonic Home in Massachusetts. It was dedicated May 25, 1911 by Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders. To this beneficent work on the beautiful hills of Charlton, the Brethren of Bethany Lodge have admitted four of our Brothers and one of our widows.

  • Brother Charles W. Chapman was admitted April 19, 1922. Died on Apr. 11, 1934.
  • Brother Frank E. Harrington was admitted October 18, 1925. Died Mar. 29, 1926.
  • Brother Edward N. Cummings was admitted June 12, 1939. Died June 8, 1944.
  • Brother Andrew O. G. Nicol was admitted October 23, 1952. Died Sept. 24, 1956.
  • Mrs. Mary W. Hudson was admitted February 26, 1949. Died May 6, 1959.

The hospital at Shrewsbury was dedicated May 30, 1928, by Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson. Frank D. Woodbury, one of our Brothers, died here on February 28, 1931.

On June 6th, 1916, a letter was read from Bethel Chapter No. 71, Order of the Eastern Star, announcing the purchase of a new organ. This was bought by a committee composed of Mrs. Ida Gardner, Mrs. Melissa Witham and Mrs. Ida Jonah. It was used by the Lodge until 19S6 when a new electric Hammond organ was bought.

Bethany Lodge met in Special Communication on June 22, 1918 to attend the funeral of Rt. Wor. Bro. Morton B. Merrill of Amesbury and our first Worshipful Master and also our first District Deputy Grand Master. He left the Lodge a legacy of $1,000.00 to be known as the "Morton B. Merrill Permanent Charity Fund." After twenty-four years absence, Bethany Lodge moved to its original and remodelled Lodge in the Lovell Block, holding its first meeting in September, 1918.

The fiftieth anniversary of the Lodge's Constitution and Consecration took place on December 30, 1919. Most Worshipful Grand Master, Arthur D. Prince, and his suite were present and an elaborate program was presented. A service was held on December 28, at the Pilgrim Congregational Church, by Rt. Wor. Rev. Frederick W. Hamilton, D. D., as minister. Reminiscences by Wor. Elbridge C. Sawyer, the only surviving Charter member, was read and a history of the Lodge was read by Wor. Albert P. Wadleigh.

The years 1919-1920 and 1921 were the busiest years of Bethany Lodge. In 1919 there were twelve Regular and sixteen Special Communications, during which time twenty-two candidates were raised. In 1920, besides the nine Regular Communications, there were ten Special Communications. Eighteen candidates were raised and one member was admitted by affiliation. In 1921, there were ten Regular and eight Special Communications. Nine candidates were raised.

In accordance with the Grand Lodge request, a Special meeting of Bethany Lodge was held on March 24, 1923. Bro. George Pearl Webster gave an interesting address on "Remove not the Ancient Landmarks Which Thy Fathers Have Set." Wor. Bro. Albert P. Wadleigh gave an address on "Monotheism! The Universal Brotherhood."

On February 3, 192S, in behalf of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the Worshipful Master, George E. Franklin, presented Worshipful Brother Herman W. Kelly with a Henry Price medal in recognition of his faithful service over fifty years as a mason. In November of this year, he was made an Honorary member. In looking over the records, I find that Wor. Bro. Kelly is the only one in Bethany Lodge to receive this medal. Wor. Bro. Elbridge C. Sawyer, the last Charter member and the first Senior Deacon, died on April 28, 1926, in Beverly, Massachusetts. A request was received by Bethel Chapter #71, Order of the Eastern Star, for permission to place a State flag in the Lodge room. The request was granted.

Zenas Lovell, having sold the building occupied by the Lodge, in 1930, made it necessary to find new quarters. A committee was appointed to see what arrangements could be made with Riverside Lodge of Odd Fellows in regard to sharing the same Lodge room. Both Lodges were in agreement and on May 6th Bethany Lodge met for the first time in Odd Fellows Hall. Frank M. Hargraves and Frederick H. Hargraves were made Master Masons at this meeting.

On March 6th, 1951, John Greenleaf Whittier Chapter, Order of DeMolay of Haverhill, exemplified their work in Bethany Lodge.

The North Shore Highlanders degree team exemplified the third degree in Grange Hall on April 7th, 1953. Selections were played by the Kilties Band.

On October 14th, 1953, Bethany Lodge was shocked at the death of one of our most beloved Past Masters, Right Worshipful William Henry Franklin, Jr., Worshipful Master in 1921; District Deputy Grand Master in 1926; Master of the Thirty-third Lodge of Instruction in 1937; and Junior Grand Warden in 1931. A man, who by his personality and love of Masonry, and whose great fidelity to duty in office, won the respect of Masons, not only in his Lodge, but in every part of the State where he was known.

The Mother's degree was exemplified on March 2nd, 1954 by the Order of Rainbow Girls of Haverhill. Bethel Chapter #71, Order of the Eastern Star were invited.

An Elliott Addressograph machine for the use of the Secretary was bought in 1955.

On June Sth, 1955, Bethany Lodge and Bethel Chapter #71, Order of the Eastern Star, together with the newly-formed Emeth Lodge of Newburyport, were escorted to the Pilgrim Congregational Church to attend divine services by the Haverhill and Newburyport Commanderies, K. T. Worshipful Frank M. Hargraves of our Lodge was the Commander of the Newburyport Commandery on this occasion. Over 200 Masons were present.

In October, 1959, the Ashler Club of Western Electric Company presented a play: "The Rose Upon the Altar."

The Scottish Hiram degree team from the North Shore exemplified the third degree in Town Hall on May 14th, 1960.

The year 1962 was marked by the sad blow to the Lodge. On April 4th was ended the earthly career of a beloved Brother, Right Worshipful Cecil Edwin Welch, our Secretary for twenty-one years. He was Master of Bethany Lodge in 1937, Master of the Thirty-third Lodge of Instruction in 1940; District Deputy Grand Master of the Newburyport 10th Masonic District in 1942. His deep love for Bethany Lodge and its interests were long recognized and greatly appreciated.


Today we look back to the year 1967 as a poignant and sorrowful period as we lost by death two extremely loyal, dedicated and distinguished members of Bethany Lodge.

On the day of January 21st, 1967, a tear fell among many members of Bethany Lodge, when informed of the sudden death of Wor. Bro. Alvin F. Heath. He was born on February 13th, 1896 and was made a Master Mason on January 1, 1924. He later served as Master during the year 1945.

His interest in Bethany Lodge was one of unusual devotion. He served as Associate member of the Board of Masonic Relief from 1945 to 1967; also as Master of the 33rd Lodge of Instruction during the years 1966-1967.

The honors bestowed him were in recognition of his dedication and true loyalty to the genuine Masonic purposes which he upheld.

He demonstrated his love to Bethany Lodge, when he voluntarily assumed the task of completing the history of the Lodge, which was written in full detail by Wor. Albert P. Wadleigh and read by him at the 50th Anniversary, also by Wor. Edward B. Germain upon the 75th Anniversary.

The time consumed by Wor. Bro. Heath, and the research involved was a stupendous accomplishment, and the evidence of its results are almost beyond one's comprehension.

The writing of the history of Bethany Lodge deserved highest commendation, but Wor. Bro. Heath went far beyond that assignment.

He reached into the archives of Bethany Lodge and entered in the minuteness each detail from the beginning to the present and tabulated under the proper subject, each event as well as the efforts put forth by every individual who contributed towards the well deserved prestige in our community.

Wor. Bro. Heath had looked forward to the day when he would be privileged to read the history of Bethany Lodge at its One Hundredth Anniversary and I quote: "This is a condensed history of Bethany Lodge for One Hundred Years. To complete a record it only remains to set down the events of the evening. Tonight it has been our privilege and pleasure to welcome and be host to the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes and his Suite. It has been a pleasure also to have many friends of Bethany Lodge present and to share this evening with them."

Life's pendulum which had completed its full rhythm in December, the pendulum stops and all that Nature has of energy is latent. It was thus on December 10, 1967 that death removed another devoted, dedicated and distinguished member of Bethany Lodge.

Wor. Bro. Albert Porter Wadleigh was born on November 7, 1886; he was made a Master Mason on March 3rd, 1908. The office of Worshipful Master was held by him during the years 1916-1917. He assumed the office of Secretary from 1918-1921. During his term of office he wrote the History of Bethany Lodge which was read by him at the Fiftieth Anniversary.

Worshipful Brother Wadleigh also served as Proxy to the Grand Lodge from 1918 to 1925, and again from 1955 to 1967. He also held membership in all of the Masonic Bodies, which included the Scottish and York Rite, the Bethel Chapter, O. E. S., Aleppo Temple A. A. O. N. M. S. and the Canopy Club of Boston. Worshipful Brother Wadleigh served as State Representative during the years 1918-1919 and State Senator from 1921-1924. He also served as Selectman of the Town of Merrimac from 1925 to 1941. He also held several other offices which included: Town Auditor, Trustee of the Merrimac Public Library, Chairman of the Republican Town Committee.

Not only was his devotion deep to Bethany Lodge, but he loved his home town which was evidenced by the many generous gifts and bequests which he bestowed to them so lavishly.

The year begins with snow and ends with snow. It seems as if destiny played a vital part in taking from us within the same year, two such dedicated historians; who gave so much of their time, thought and energy to put into the words, the true and accurate records of the history of Bethany Lodge.

The year 1968 came in with a much more cheerful approach. The March meeting was held and honored by a Fraternal Visit by the Right Worshipful Samuel Zetland, District Deputy Grand Master and his Suite of distinguished Masons. It was his first visit to Bethany Lodge in that capacity and he was received by a large attendance. His remarks were very appropriate and were of extreme interest, which were appreciated by all of the Brethren.

On May 7th the Regular Meeting was held at the new apartments at 100 East Main Street with a large and enthusiastic membership in attendance.

At long last, one hundred years of Masonry will be observed by the members in their own Masonic Temple. The regular June meeting was held on the 4th which was also the Annual Election of Officers for the ensuing year.

"Old Timers Night" was an added attraction; it being the first one ever devoted to this purpose, with thirty-three Masons, holding the distinguished record of over thirty-five years a Master Mason. Eleven members of Bethany Lodge, so honored with this observance were entered on the records for future posterity. They are:

  • Bro. John W. Bailey, 39 years
  • Bro. Harry Blotner (M. D.), 45 years
  • Wor. Elmer T. Grant, 45 years
  • Bro. William S. Grocut, 48 years
  • R. W. Frank M. Hargraves, 38 years
  • Wor. Willard T. Kelley, 48 years
  • Bro. Raymond P. Morrill, 53 years (Medal)
  • Bro. Moses C. Pattee, 49 years
  • Bro. C. Howard Phillips, 62 years (Medal)
  • Wor. A. Raymond Waterhouse, 52 years (Medal)
  • Bro. Harold M. Waterhouse, 47 years

Bethany Lodge has been assigned to three Masonic Districts:

The Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts had honored Bethany Lodge by the appointment of our Past Masters as District Deputy Grand Masters as follows:

  • R. W. Morton B. Merrill, 1883-1884
  • R. W. Daniel J. Poore, 1898-1899
  • R. W. William H. Franklin, Jr., 1926-1927
  • R. W. Cecil E. Welch, 1942-1943
  • R. W. Frank M. Hargraves, 1956-1957

It is especially fitting and pleasing to note that one of our Brothers, Right Worshipful Morton B. Merrill, was appointed by the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts in 1883 to be the District Deputy Grand Master of the Newburyport Ninth Masonic District. He was the first Master of our Lodge and the first District Deputy Grand Master to be appointed from this Lodge.

The Lodge has been honored with Fraternal Visitations by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts on three occasions, namely: Most Worshipful Samuel Crocker Lawrence on November 8th, 1882; Most Worshipful Leon W. Abbott on October 2nd, 1917; Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince on December 30th, 1919.

The Grand Lodge has been represented on two other occasions: Right Worshipful Wyzeman Marshall, Past District Deputy Grand Master, who on July 27, 1876 laid the cornerstone of our Town Hall. On October 10, 1894, the new apartments in the Little and Larkin Block were dedicated by Right Worshipful Edwin B. Holmes, Deputy Grand Master.

The Lodge has had sixty-three Past Masters (one of which was under dispensation) of which twenty-six are still living.

There have been twelve Treasurers and twenty Secretaries.

In the one hundred years, five hundred forty-three members have signed our By-Laws. The present number of members is one hundred sixty-three.

One of our Brothers, Rt. Wor. William H. Franklin, Jr. was elected to the Grand Lodge as Junior Grand Warden for the year 1931.

The Thirty-third Lodge of Instruction has seen six of our Past Masters as Masters of this Lodge. They are:

  • R. W. William H. Franklin, Jr., 1937-1938
  • R. W. Cecil E. Welch, 1940-1941
  • R. W. Frank M. Hargraves, 1949-1950
  • Wor. Frederick C. Chase, 1955-1956
  • Wor. John T. Franklin, 1956-1957
  • Wor. Alvin F. Heath, 1966-1967

I believe at this time attention should be called to the length of service given by several of our Brethren in Bethany Lodge. They are:

Right Worshipful William H. Franklin, Jr., who was an active member of the Board of Masonic Relief for twenty-five years. He also served Bethany Lodge as Treasurer for twenty years. Right Worshipful Cecil E. Welch served as Secretary of Bethany Lodge for twenty-one years. Worshipful Edward B. Germain served as Proxy to the Grand Lodge for thirteen years. Worshipful Heman W. Kelly served as Associate member of the Board of Masonic Relief for sixteen years. Worshipful I. Allen Williams served as Associate member of the Board of Masonic Relief for fifteen years. Worshipful Alvin F. Heath has served as Associate member of the Board of Masonic Relief since 1945. Worshipful Lloyd S. Ray has served as Treasurer since 1953. Brother Albert E. Ellis served as Tyler for twenty years. Brother Everett W. Knight served as Organist for thirty-five years. Brother George N. Goodwin served as Organist for thirty-three years.


From Proceedings, Page 1995-56:

given by Wor. Bro. Merton E. Chute.

At the close of the Civil War, the two villages of West and South Amesbury were both thriving communities. There were no electric cars, no busses or bicycles. If anyone wanted to go out of town, they either walked or hired a team.

The nearest Masonic Lodge was Warren Lodge in Amesbury, about four miles away. The means of transportation being what it was in those days, many believed that for the convenience of the members and interest in Masonry in the town required the formation of a lodge in what had then become the most rapid growing village in Amesbury. Twenty-five Brothers in 1868 petitioned the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts to charter a Lodge in West Amesbury. The petition was favorably received, and a dispensation under which this Lodge first worked was granted on December 8, 1868. The petition was signed by Most Worshipful Charles C. Dame, Grand Master.

At the December meeting of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the Charter of Bethany Lodge was granted and signed by Most Worshipful William Sewall Gardner, Grand Master.

On December 30th at Bethany Lodge in West Amesbury, Bethany Lodge was Constituted and consecrated in Ample Form. Its first officers were installed by Most Worshipful Charles C. Dame, Past Grand Master.

The first Master of Bethany Lodge was R.W. Morton B. Merrill. R.W. Bro. Merrill was born at Amesbury, Massachusetts, August 12, 1840. His family, which had long been settled here, was of considerable prominence in this vicinity. His great-grandfather, Col. Isaac Merrill, had commanded a regiment of Minutemen at the battle of Bunker Hill, and his father, Joseph Merrill, was Town Clerk of Amesbury for 36 years and the author of Merrill's History of Amesbury.

Bro. Merrill was by occupation a carriage trimmer, and for many years he was the superintendent of that department in one of the Amesbury carriage factories. He received his first Degree in Warren Lodge in 1863 and was Senior Warden, when in 1868 and 1869, he was one of the leaders in the organization of Bethany Lodge of Merrimac. He demitted from Warren Lodge in 1869 and became the first Master of the new Lodge and served three years. He was District Deputy Grand Master for the old Ninth Masonic District in 1883.

He received the Capitular Degrees in Northampton Royal Arch Chapter, Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1871, and affiliated with Trinity Chapter, Amesbury, in 1873. In 1878, 1879 and 1880, he was High Priest of Trinity Chapter. He joined Haverhill Council of Royal and Select Masters in 1871, was active in organizing Amesbury Council in 1889, and was its Thrice Illustrious Master in 1891.

In 1871, he joined Haverhill Commandery, Knights Templars, and demit-ted to join Newburyport Commandery in 1906. He held all of the Scottish Rite Degrees up to the 32, which he received in 1884 in Massachusetts Consistory.

He rejoined Warren Lodge on March 9, 1892, and was elected an Honorary Member.

Brother Merrill was a quiet, moderate man in appearance, but possessed a rugged strength of character which made him a landmark in every under-taking in which he engaged. A few, well-considered words from him settled any dispute or argument. In all of the Bodies in which he held membership, he was a faithful and interested attendant, keeping a careful eye on all that occurred and exercising a potent influence in shaping opinions and policies. He died June 19, 1918, respected, and loved, and loyal to the last. He bequeathed one thousand dollars to the Grand Lodge Charities.

On April 6th, 1869, a Bible was given to the Lodge by Brothers William Sargent and John P. Whittier, and that Bible is on the altar tonight.

In 1870 the seal of Bethany Lodge was accepted.

On July 27th, 1876, a Special Communication was held for the purpose of laying the cornerstone for the new Town Hall in the newly incorporated Town of Merrimac, by R. W. Wyzeman Marshall as Deputy Grand Master.

In 1877, the rough and perfect ashler were donated by R. W. Daniel Poore, P. D. D. G. M.

The first meetings were held on the 3rd floor of the John Cleary Block, now the parking lot for the Richdale store.

The Lodge moved to the Little and Larkin Block in 1894 which is the building housing the Towne Market today.

In 1930, the Lodge moved to the Poyen Block, now the Merrimac Savings Bank Building.

In 1968, the Lodge moved again to the present quarters.

The 25th Anniversary was observed on the 13th of December, 1884.

A Special Communication was held on June 22, 1918, to attend the funeral of R. W. Morton B. Merrill P. D. D. G. M., our first Worshipful Master and our first District Deputy Grand Master. R. W. Merrill left one thousand dollars to Bethany Lodge to be known as the Morton B. Merrill Permanent Charity Fund. Only the interest can be used.

The 50th Anniversary was held on the 28th of December, 1919. Most Worshipful Grand Master Arthur D. Prince and his suite were present.

The 75th Anniversary was held in December, 1944. The records note that a 75th committee was appointed and in January, 1945. R. W. Cecil Welch thanked the committee for doing an outstanding job but never said where, when or whatever.

The 100th Anniversary was held in Newburyport Masonic Temple on the 5th of December, 1969. Most Worshipful Herbert H. Jaynes, Grand Master, and his suite were present.

Bethany Lodge has been honored in its 125 years with the appointment of seven of its Past Masters to the position of District Deputy Grand Master.

The real highlight of the last 25 years is in the accomplishment of our temple and facilities. A lot of time and effort has been given by a few to accomplish what we have today. We have been holding public bean suppers monthly for over 20 years, to raise money to pay the mortgage. A few Brothers have donated money monthly to help the cause; some have given a sizable one time donation. Most people arent able to make a contribution like Bro. Franklin did, but large or small, they are all appreciated and we thank all those who have helped.

The Building Association is 30 years old this year, and at least two members have been on the Committee for over 25 years, giving of their time and finances. They cry for retirement. The last 25 years have been good years for Bethany Lodge. We didn't take in as many candidates as we would have liked to, but we are a small friendly Lodge, caring for our people and ready to help Masonry move into the next century.


  • 1876 (Cornerstone laying, Merrimack Town Hall)



1868: District 6 (Newburyport)

1883: District 9 (Newburyport)

1911: District 10 (Newburyport)

1927: District 10 (Newburyport)

2003: District 11


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