DaySpring

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DAY SPRING LODGE

Location: Monson

Chartered By: William Parkman

Charter Date: 03/11/1863 VI-449

Precedence Date: 03/13/1862

Current Status: Active


PAST MASTERS

  • Joseph L. Reynolds, 1863
  • Edward C. Robinson, 1864
  • Elisha W. Sholes, 1865
  • Joel B. Williams, 1866
  • Edward F. Morris, 1867
  • E. E. Towne, 1868
  • K. Thayer, 1869
  • G. O. Henry, 1870, 1871
  • Alvin A. Gage, 1872-1875, 1878-1880, 1891, 1892; SN
  • J. M. Phipps, 1876, 1877, 1881
  • Carlos M. Gage, 1882, 1883, 1889; SN
  • G. E. Fuller, 1884-1886
  • D. W. Letter, 1887
  • C. R. Buffington, 1888
  • R. F. Bradway, 1890, 1893-1895
  • A. H. Shaw, 1896-1898
  • H. G. Wentworth, 1899, 1900
  • H. Roehm, 1901
  • G. E. Wills, 1902, 1903
  • W. L. Ricketts, 1904, 1905
  • G. H. Seymour, 1906, 1907
  • F. L. Bliss, 1908, 1909
  • P. W. Soule, 1910, 1911
  • Norman P. Dempsey, 1912, 1913; SN
  • E. R. Sisson, 1914
  • E. R. Cooke, 1915
  • R. E. Shaw, 1916
  • A. R. Brown, 1917
  • F. G. Maguire, 1918
  • F. J. Blakeborough, 1919
  • W. S, Morse, 1920
  • C. L. Ricketts, 1921
  • Ralph T. Entwistle, 1922; N
  • F. R. Rees, 1923
  • W. Kimber, 1924
  • J. O. Murray, 1925
  • J. Kemp, 1926
  • J. M. Carlin, 1927
  • L. K. Hale, 1928
  • C. W. Albro, 1929
  • H. A. Folkins, 1930
  • Henry O. Holley, 1931; N
  • R. E. Crofton, 1932
  • C. C. Williams, 1933
  • Raymond C. Orcutt, 1934; N
  • H. J. Bennett, 1935
  • O. E. Bradway, 1936
  • R. N. Aldrich, 1937
  • H. A. Snow, 1938
  • K. A. Grindell, 1939
  • C. F. Moulton, 1940
  • S. D'Agostino, 1941
  • W. H. Letter, 1942
  • C. W. Bailey, 1943
  • J. F. McConchie, 1944
  • S. L. Young, 1945
  • C. W. Lunden, 1946
  • H. C. Sanderson, 1947
  • L. P. Meacham, 1948
  • W. F. Kenerson, 1949
  • W. A. Heintz, 1950
  • R. E. Bruce, 1951
  • K. F. Hunter, 1952
  • Herman E. Hasenjager, 1953; N
  • E. C. Harrington, 1954
  • D. J. Loux, 1955
  • R. J. Guertin, 1956
  • L. T. Moores, 1957
  • A. H. Galas, 1958
  • G. W. Meacham, 1959
  • C. L. Brown, Jr., 1960
  • R. R. Thomas, 1961
  • W. J. Holley, 1962
  • R. H. Long, 1963
  • H. G. Wheaton, 1964
  • L. A. Blethen, Jr., 1965
  • R. C. Allen, 1966
  • W R. Lombard, 1967
  • R. A. Shorette, 1968
  • G. P. Letter, 1969
  • W. J. Anair, 1970
  • S. E. Johnson, 1971
  • R. L. Hodge, 1972
  • Kenneth J. Petras, 1973; N
  • R. I. Hermanson, 1974
  • R. B. Smith, 1975, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002
  • R. E. Tower, 1976
  • B. W. Tower', 1977
  • D. J. Mott, 1978
  • H. S. Smith, Jr., 1979
  • D. H. Paine, 1980
  • R. Dupras, Jr., 1981, 1987
  • G. L. Marketos, 1982
  • P. M. Dempbowski, 1983, 1984
  • A. Marketos, 1985, 1986
  • P. G. Bazinet, 1988
  • R. R. Marketos, 1989
  • D. W. Prew, Sr., 1990, 1991
  • G. W. Shumway, 1992, 1993
  • R. A. Whipple, 1994, 1995
  • P. A. Marktos, 1996
  • R. Dodson, 1997, 1998, 2001
  • R. R. Weldon, 2003
  • R. J. Weldon, Jr., 2004-2009
  • D. S. Johnson, 2010
  • E. F. Miodowski, 2011, 2012
  • Ryan Wheaton, 2013-2014
  • William R. Dart, 2015
  • Jesse Beaudoin, 2016
  • Douglas Battige, 2017, 2020, 2021
  • Edward F. Miodowski, 2018
  • Ryan A. Maslak, 2019 (PDDGM District 25)

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Dispensation: 1862
  • Petition for Charter: 1863

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1938 (75th Anniversary)
  • 1962 (Centenary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1869 1870 1874 1887 1892 1900 1901 1912 1927 1937 1939 1949 1959 1960 1966 1981 1982 2009 2010

HISTORY

  • 1938 (75th Anniversary History, 1938-109; see below)
  • 1962 (History of Masonry in Monson, 1962-115; see below)

CHARTER MEMBERS OF DAY SPRING LODGE

  • E. C. Robinson
  • D. D Moody
  • Jacob Thompson
  • Otis Bradford
  • Joel Tucker
  • D. B. Hannum
  • J. B. Williams
  • N. F. Rogers
  • Sherman Converse
  • H. F. Miller
  • E. W. Sholes
  • E. B. Miles
  • Jos. L. Reynolds

75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1938

From Proceedings, Page 1938-109:

by Wor. Charles Ricketts.

While today we celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of Day Spring Lodge it seems fitting that we enlarge the subject to Masonry in Monson, as at the time of the establishing of a Lodge here it not only served Monson, Brimfield, and Wales, as we do today, but also Palmer and even disregarded the State boundary and included Stafford, Connecticut.

At the time Samuel Guthrie, David Young, Peter Walbridge, Hezekiah Fisk, Ephriam Allen, Elisha Woodward, Amasa Stowell, John Moore, David Peck, Zebediah Butler, Jesse Converse, and Isaiah Blood, Jr., twelve Freemasons of Monson and vicinity, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for the establishment of a Lodge of Freemasons. In 1796 there were but twenty Lodges in the state and but four recently established West of Worcester. These twelve Masons presumably came from the eastern part of the state.

This petition was acted upon favorably and on December 13, 1796, a Charter was granted under the name of Thomas Lodge, giving them and their successors full power and authority to convene as Masons within the town of Monson, to receive and enter apprentices, pass fellowcrafts, and raise Master Masons.

This Charter is remarkable and priceless as it bears the signature of Paul Revere as Most Worshipful Grand Master. An outstanding Mason and patriot immortalized in Longfellow's "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere."

The document also has the signature as Grand Senior Warden of another patriot, Isaiah Thomas, for whom the Lodge was named, who gracefully acknowledged the honor conferred upon him by the gift of a valuable set of jewels. He later bequeathed the sum of one hundred dollars to the Lodge.

The meeting place was on the second floor of the new tavern known as the Century Hotel and was used continuously until the closing of the Lodge in 1835.

Active work began March 7, 1797, but left no record of its proceedings for nearly two years. Dr. Samuel Guthrie was the first Master. The Lodge is fortunate in having in its possession a certificate of membership signed by him in 1801. At first notes were accepted from initiates, but the practice was discontinued after two years and only cash payments accepted.

The following years were prosperous. Of special note was the raising of four clergymen in 1819 whose names will ever be honored by the Fraternity. All of them later received the merited degree of Doctor of Divinity. These gentlemen were;

  • Dr. Simeon Colton, a Yale graduate, settled over the church in Palmer, then principal of Monson Academy for some years and later President of Clinton College, Miss. A man of scholarly attainments.
  • Dr. Benjamin M. Hill, a graduate of Brown, Pastor of the Baptist Church in Stafford, later moving to New Haven. Instrumental in establishing the Commandery in New Haven.
  • Dr. Hosea Ballou 2nd, first settled pastor of the Universalist Church at Stafford; a profound scholar who later became the first President of Tufts College which he served until his death.
  • Dr. Alfred Ely, a man of marked ability and strength of character, settled as minister of the Congregational Church in Monson for sixty years, of whom it has been said, "No man has ever exerted a greater influence for good in this community." A great believer in Masonry.

As many members of the Lodge lived a long distance away it was customary to open the Lodge at 9 A.M. and close at 7 P.M.

About 1830 the Lodge voted to dispense with the use of spirituous liquors in the Lodge.

It was customary to charge visiting Brethren twenty-five cents each meeting.

As extreme care was exercised in selecting new members, the Lodge enjoyed an enviable reputation. Many leading citizens in the several towns were among its members. Notwithstanding this the anti-masonic feeling, so strong in the early thirties in New York State, spread to this locality and was very intense and bitter; described by one of former days as "fearful times, families, churches and communities were separated by what appeared as irreparable breaches." Dr. Ely and seventeen influential members of his church, Masons, were violently opposed by others of the congregation. The Doctor was urged to publicly denounce the order and its principles. This he refused to do but offered to remain away from the meetings.

Under such circumstances it seemed wise for the Lodge to close until times should be more favorable, so on January 14, 1835 thirty members met for the last time. The bible was given to Dr. Ely and the jewels were to remain in the custody of those who last wore them. Joseph L. Reynolds was Master at the time.

In view of subsequent events it is reasonable to suppose that at sundry times and in divers places members of the craft must have met together for after a period of twenty-one years, in 1856, the feeling against the Fraternity having subsided, a few former members of the Lodge petitioned the M. W. Grand Lodge that the Lodge be reorganized and located in Palmer. Accordingly the charter was restored to the petitioners, Brothers Elias Turner, Joseph L. Reynolds, S. F. Newton, Jacob Thompson, J. R. Flynt, Alfred Ely, J. Nichols, D. B. Hannum, Otis Bradford, and Joel Tucker, on September 10, 1856 and on October 11th the Lodge opened with the same officers in the East and West.

In 1862 the Masons residing in Monson petitioned the M. W. Grand Lodge for a Charter for a new Lodge in Monson. This petition, signed by every Mason in Monson, was destroyed in the fire in the Grand Lodge apartments in 1864. It bore the names of Dr. Alfred Ely, Pastor; Hon. Joseph L. Reynolds, manufacturer; Captain Joel Tucker, farmer; David B. Hannum, blacksmith; Cyrus W. Holmes, manufacturer; Captain Lucius F. Newton, builder; Jacob Thompson, a country squire; Timothy Packard, merchant and postmaster; Joel B. Williams, bookkeeper; Otis Bradford, wool sorter; Daniel D. Moody, manufacturer of spectacles; Sherman Converse, farmer; Nelson F. Rogers, manufacturer of Shaker bonnets; Elisha W. Sholes, manufacturer; Edward C. Robinson, bank cashier; Elmer B. Miles, merchant; John Thayer, stone cutter, and Henry F. Miller, merchant tailor.

A Dispensation was granted March 12, 1862. Joseph L. Reynolds was the first Master. He thereby enjoyed the unusual distinction of serving three Lodges as Master. There can be no question of his love for Masonry. His son Theodore also showed his love for the Fraternity in a substantial manner.

The full Charter of Day Spring was conferred by the Grand Lodge March 11, 1863 and the Lodge Constituted by the grand officers March 17th. At this time W.M. Joseph Reynolds on being asked by the M.W. Grand Master why he chose the name Day Spring replied, "It was in remembrance of words spoken by the prophet Zacharias—Luke 1—78-79." "Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the Day Spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace."

Edward F. Morris, who served the local National Bank for years, and had long entertained a favorable impression of Masonry through intimate association with the members of the Craft, was the first initiate. We prize a letter to the Lodge which he left at the call of the Supreme Architect.

The first meeting place was in the original Barton's Block on Main Street, called Union Hall, which stood on land now occupied by dwellings owned by Worshipful Brother P. W. Soule. The building, together with the Lodge records, was destroyed by fire in 1865. The second story of a new block on the same site was for many years the Lodge home. It also occupied for a time a room fitted for the purpose on the second floor of a storehouse of Brother Reynolds on a private way off Bliss Street, owned at present time by Brother George Field. It also used the Vestry, so-called, on Fountain Street, which was later removed. After several years spent in Central Block on the site of the present postoffice the Lodge in 1893 moved to its present quarters in the Bank Building.

During all these years good will and harmony have prevailed.

Our history since then is more properly a record of peaceable, law abiding citizens who have practiced out of the Lodge its great moral duties.

HISTORY OF MASONRY IN MONSON, MAY 1962

From Proceedings, Page 1962-115:

by R. W. Henry O. Holley and Bro. Milton W. Makepeace.

Day Spring Lodge of Masons celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 1962. The history of Masonry in Monson, however, goes back 166 years to 1796. In that year there were only twenty Lodges in the State, four of which had recently been established west of Worcester. Samuel Guthrie, David Young, Peter Walbridge, Hezekiah Fisk, Ephraim Allen, Elisha Woodward, Amasa Stowell, John Moore, David Peck, Zebediah Butler, Jesse Converse and Isaiah Blood, Jr., all Freemasons of Monson and vicinity, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for the establishment of a Lodge of Freemasons.

On December 13, 1796, a charter was granted under the name, of Thomas Lodge. This charter was signed by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Paul Revere, and by the Grand Senior Warden, Isaiah Thomas, for whom the Lodge was named. This Lodge served not only Monson but Brimfield, Wales, Palmer, and even crossed the state border to include Stafford, Connecticut. Meetings were held on the second floor of the Century Hotel until 1835, when Thomas Lodge surrendered its Charter to the Grand Lodge.

Dr. Samuel Guthrie served as the first Master of Thomas Lodge. At first, notes were accepted from initiates, but after two years, the practice was discontinued and only cash payments were accepted. As many members of the Lodge lived at some distance, it was customary to open Lodge at 9 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Visiting Brethren were charged twenty-five cents per meeting. About 1830, the Lodge voted to dispense with the use of spiritous liquors in the Lodge.

Brother Edward F. Morris describes the next years as follows:

"The years 1826 to 1832 were memorable for what was termed the anti-Masonic excitement. It had been supposed, whether truly or not has never been determined, that a member of the Masonic society, one William Morgan, a thriftless tailor, of Batavia, N. Y., who had pretended to unlawfully divulge the secrets of Free Masonry, had been forcibly taken by night to a place of concealment, and later drowned in Lake Ontario. It appears that no evidence supported this story beyond the fact that he did mysteriously disappear. It proved, however, to be the occasion of widespread prejudice and opposition to the society of Freemasons, which quickly spread wherever Masons had lodges or resided. It was the means of dividing families, churches and communities, the people being separated into three classes, to wit: Masons, Anti-Masons, and Jacks. The latter were those who took no decided position with either the Masons or Anti's, and it was said that the Anti's felt more bitterly to the Jacks than to the Masons themselves. People of the present generation have very little conception of the depth, intensity and bitterness of feeling against members of this society which pervaded our community, and many others in the eastern and middle states."

Seventeen members of the Congregational Church, including the Pastor, Rev. Alfred Ely, were Masons. Because of this, in the year 1830, it was anticipated that Dr. Ely would be obliged, in the interests of peace, to give up his charge, and that the church would be divided. It was proposed, therefore, to erect a conference house. Three hundred shares of stock at $5.00 each were sold, nearly all the stock being taken by Masons. The lot between the present houses of George Letter and Ralph Miller on Fountain Street was purchased and a building known for years as the "Vestry" was erected in 1831-32.

Due to the Anti-Masonic Times, the Lodge Brethren deemed it wise to close until times should be more favorable, so on January 14, 1835, thirty members, with Joseph L. Reynolds as Master, met for the last time. The Bible was given to Dr. Ely and the jewels were to remain in the custody of those who last wore them.

It is reasonable to suppose that at sundry times and in diverse places members of the Craft must have met, for in 1856, the feeling against the Fraternity having subsided, a few former members petitioned the Grand Lodge to reorganize Thomas Lodge in Palmer. Accordingly, the charter was restored to the petitioners, Brothers Elias Turner, Joseph L. Reynolds, S. F. Newton, Jacob Thompson, J. R. Flynt, Alfred Ely, J. Nichols, D. B. Hannum, Otis Bradford and Joel Tucker on September 10, 1856, and on October 11th, the Lodge opened in Palmer with the same officers in the East and West as had held these stations in Monson.

Six years later, those Masons residing in Monson petitioned for a new Lodge to be formed in Monson. The petition was destroyed in the fire in the Grand Lodge apartment in Boston April 5, 1864. However, Edward F. Morris, the first man to be initiated under the dispensation granted March 12, 1862, has recorded the petitioners as follows: Rev. Alfred Ely, senior pastor; Hon. Joseph L. Reynolds, manufacturer; Capt. Joel Tucker, farmer on East Hill; David B. Hannum, blacksmith at the quarry; Cyrus W. Holmes, manufacturer; Captain Lucius F. Newton, builder; Jacob Thompson, a country squire; Timothy Packard, farmer, merchant and postmaster; Joel B. Williams, bookkeeper for Merrick Fay & Co.; Otis Bradford, formerly wool sorter for the Monson Woolen Manufacturing Company; Daniel D. Moody, manufacturer of spectacles; Sherman Converse, farmer; Nelson F. Rogers, manufacturer of Shaker bonnets; Elisha W. Sholes, manufacturer at the North Village, who formerly practiced dentistry; Edward C. Robinson, cashier of the local bank from 1859 to 1864; Elmer B. Miles, merchant; Henry F. Miller, merchant tailor; and John Thayer, stone cutter.

Joseph L. Reynolds was the first Master of Day Spring Lodge, thereby enjoying the unusual distinction of having served three Lodges as Master. The full charter was conferred by the Grand Lodge on March 11, 1863, and the Lodge constituted by the Grand Officers on March 17th. When Brother Reynolds was asked by the M.W. Grand Master why he chose the name Day Spring, he replied: "It was in remembrance of words spoken by the prophet Zacharias, Luke 1:78 and 79: 'Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace."

Meetings were first held in the Barton Block, which stood a little south of the present bowling alley. The building burned in the spring of 1865, destroying all the first year's records. It was rebuilt and meetings continued to be held on the second floor for many years. The Lodge also occupied for a time a room fitted for the purpose on the second floor of a storehouse of Brother Reynolds on a private way off Bliss Street, owned at the present time by Mrs. George Field. Later, for five years, it occupied the Vestry on Fountain Street, built during the "Anti-Masonic Times". From there it moved to the Central Block, and from 1893 to 1956, Day Spring Lodge made its headquarters on the third floor of the bank block.

The seventy-fifth anniversary of Day Spring Lodge was observed with appropriate ceremonies on May 10, 1938. {corrected from original text} Two hundred members attended the banquet in the vestry of the Methodist Church. M.W. Joseph Earl Perry, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, was guest of the evening.

The twenty-five years since our seventy-fifth anniversary have witnessed a normal healthy growth. Two observations are worthy of note. The large majority of our present membership has been admitted to our Lodge during these years. Some of these Brethren affiliated from Bethel Lodge of Enfield at the time that it relinquished its charter, but the greater number had their degrees conferred upon them by Day Spring Lodge. Our older members have thinned out and new blood has taken their places. We owe much to these former pillars of our Lodge, but are thankful for their replacements. It is interesting to note that the memberships of just two of our Brethren could span the entire century of Day Spring Lodge's existence. Some of our present members can recall the contributions of the early founders of this Lodge.

The other factor that has contributed much to our success during the past quarter of a century is the continuity in tenure of the three key posts of Treasurer, Secretary and Tyler. In each case these officers have been faithfully served by one Brother for the greater part of the time. In this manner the old has been nicely blended with the new and tended to healthful growth.

Day Spring Lodge has adjusted very well to this period of change. We survived the throes of the second World War and made our contributions to our country's cause. One of our members, Lt. Gilbert Wayne Stansfield, died in action in France November 24, 1944. A stone was dedicated in his memory and will be placed at the Cathedral of the Pines in New Hampshire.

In 1955 the Grand Lodge saw fit to recognize the Palmer 19th Masonic District by electing R.W. Henry O. Holley to the office of Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

In the spring of 1956 the Brethren were stunned with the announcement that our lodge-rooms were no longer to be available, due to renovations at the bank building. This misfortune proved a blessing in disguise, however, since immediately thoughts of new quarters were thrust upon us. We were granted the use of Holmes Gymnasium September 11, 1956, and the officers for the next few years deserve much credit for carrying on under trying conditions. Again these difficulties proved a boon since the Building Fund, inaugurated in 1954, assumed greater importance.

Wor. Brother Donald Loux was the moving spirit in this matter and in May 1957, he sponsored a third degree with the Police Square Club at Tantasqua High School that resulted in $1200 for the new building fund. For the balance of his life, Wor. Bro. Loux continued to be active on this committee. His work was augmented by Wor. Bro. Frank Maguire's interest and, due to his generous cooperation, and the support of the members, our new Temple was dedicated on May 20, 1961.

Thus we stand on the threshold of our second century of existence in a situation we may well be proud of. We have a glorious history, ideal quarters, an enthusiastic membership, and capable leadership. If we can all cooperate, we can look forward with anticipation to the years to come and hope for the day when we may complete the task so ably inaugurated in the past few years.


LETTER TO DAY SPRING LODGE FROM WOR. EDWARD F. MORRIS, 1906

c.1906 (His inheritors were instructed to deliver this message to the Lodge following Wor. Morris' passing)

To the Worshipful Master, Wardens & Members of Day Spring Lodge, F. & A.M., Monson, Massachusetts.

Dear Brothers:

As, from time to time the members of our fraternity have met that hour, which, soon or late, is to all inevitable, and have passed on before us. I have reflected how gratifying it would have been if they could have left to their survivors, some word of parting, which might serve as a memento of them, ever fresh in our memory.

Such a memorial, however, should be prepared in health, that it may be deliberately spoken; not in the weakness of illness, or under the stress of life's final hours. With these considerations in mind, and in view of the fact that during recent years my attendance at your meetings has been more infrequent, I have prepared this communication, to be delivered to you after my decease. Whether it shall be for your use only, or be made known to others, I leave to the determination of the Lodge.

Not only because of my ancestors, paternal and maternal, belonged to the Masonic Order, but because of the high character of others who I understood were members of the institution, I early formed a favorable opinion of it. Any human association will take on its character largely from that of the persons who compose it. Only good men can make a good society, and every society must be judged by its service to the brotherhood of man. As to the members of our order known to me, with few exceptions, I have esteemed them as good men, good citizens, good brothers. They have exhibited faults and defects of character which I am inclined to overlook. Their virtues have been to me a constant inspiration, and grateful remembrance.

Before the organization of Day Spring Lodge in 1862, all its charter members had been long and favorably known to me. Many of them had experienced that trying ordeal known as the anti-Masonic excitement, in the early part of the last century. Those were fearful times: families, churches and communities were separated by what appeared to be irreparable breaches. Of what was at the time the only church in Monson, the pastor, Rev. Alfred Ely, D.D., and about seventeen of its most influential male members, belonged to the Masonic Order, to which other church members were violently and unalterably opposed.

The community was divided into three parties, Masons, anti-Masons, and 'jacks', the latter being those who maintained a neutral position. The late Deacon Andrew W. Porter once told me that he was called a 'jack', and that the anti's hated the 'jacks' more heartily then they did the Masons. I do not suppose that Deacon Porter sympathized with the order, but he told me that he considered that Dr. Ely, who was specially the mark for attack by the anti's, conducted himself with great wisdom and good sense during the time of that grievous trial. Doctor Ely, for sixty years the active and senior pastor of the church, was a man of unusual ability, marked personality, and strength of character; a learned man for his generation, who in my judgement, by reason of his position, gifts, and prolonged residence, exerted the greatness individual formative influence for good, our town has yet enjoyed. His biographer, Doctor Hammond, says: "He was in his own orbit a burning and shining light, in which the people of two generations were willing to rejoice." Doctor Ely had been criticized among other particulars, for showing more attention to Masons and their families than to others. In his address before a church conference, held in Monson, April 15, 1829, quite a number of printed copies of which exist in town, he said: "I am not sensible, my brethren, that my affection for you is partial, unless it be to love those most who exhibit most of the image of Christ."

It is not my purpose to make at this time extended allusion to the persecutions of the order, for less than such they cannot be called.

The Masonic society here was named "Thomas Lodge" having been founded in 1796, and its convocations for about thirty years were held in the second story of the building now known as the Century Hotel. Reference for other facts may be had to the history of Thomas Lodge already published, also to sketch of the Vestry, formerly one of our public buildings, which I prepared, and which was published in the Monson Register, in its issue of December 4, 1897. The ultimate result of the troubles was the surrender of the charter of Thomas Lodge to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, January 14, 1834, and for twenty-five years thereafter, Masonry in Monson existed only in memory. This willingness to forego Masonic gatherings and other Lodge privileges, was at that time claimed to be in imitation of Pauline example, he having declared that "if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth."

On the fourteenth day of January, 1863, I was taking Dr. & Mrs. Ely out for a drive. Among other subjects discussed, alluding to the trouble he had experienced because of his connection with the order, "Mr. Ely, if you were to live your life over again, you would not join the Masons?" to which he promptly replied: "I certainly should, if I was to travel much."

About twenty-seven years after the surrender of the charter of Thomas Lodge, which had then been revived and reissued to the Palmer brethren, most of the former opponents having passed away, and a considerable number of residents of Monson having received Masonic degrees at Palmer, the Masons residing here (in Monson) petitioned the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge for a charter for a new Lodge to be convened in Monson. This petition, signed by all the Masons in town, was destroyed by fire in the Grand Lodge Masonic apartments in Boston, April 5, 1864. The names of the Masons residing here at that time, so far as my memory serves me, were as follows:

  • Rev. Alfred Ely, Senior Pastor
  • Hon. Joseph L. Reynolds, manufacturer
  • Capt. Joel Tucker, farmer of the east hill
  • David B. Hannum, blacksmith at the quarry
  • Cyrus W. Holmes, manufacturer
  • Capt. Lucius F. Newton, builder
  • Jacob Thompson, a country squire
  • Timothy Packard, farmer, merchant and postmaster
  • Joel B. Williams, bookkeeper for Merrick Fay & Co.
  • Otis Bradford, formerly wool sorter for the Monson Woolen Manufacturing Company
  • Daniel D. Moody, manufacturer of spectacles
  • Sherman Converse, farmer
  • Nelson F. Rogers, manufacturer of Shaker bonnets
  • Elisha W. Sholes, manufacturer at the North Village, who formerly practiced dentistry
  • Edward C. Robinson, cashier of the local bank from 1859 to 1864
  • Elmer B. Miles, merchant
  • Henry F. Miller, merchant tailor
  • John Thayer, stone cutter

The petition for the new charter was presented to Doctor Ely for his signature by Brother Nelson F. Rogers. Both Dr. and Mrs. Ely were in advanced age, and each attributed to the other some loss of mental faculties. Mrs. Ely, perceiving that her husband was desired to sign a document, said: "Mr. Ely, what is that paper you are about to sign?" to which her husband, with his great natural dignity, replied "Mrs. Ely, you will know is due time."

As you are aware, Masonic usage is, in the case of proposed new Lodges, that they work the first year, under a dispensation. This was granted for Day Spring Lodge, March 13, 1862, Worshipful Brother, Joseph L. Reynolds, who gave this Lodge its beautiful name, being Worshipful Master. The records for the first year were probably destroyed at the burning of the Barton Block, which contained the Masonic rooms, in the Spring of 1865.

My application for the three degrees in Masonry was the first received under the dispensation, and I was the first man to be initiated, passed and raised thereunder.

The full charter of Day Spring Lodge was conferred by the Grand Lodge, March 11, 1863, and the Lodge was constituted by the Grand Officers, March 17.

I remember that on that occasion the Most Worshipful Grand Master, publicly requested of Worshipful Brother Reynolds his reasons for selecting for the Lodge its particular name. His reply, in words deliberate and impressive, was about as follows: "It was in remembrance of words spoken by the prophet Zacharias, Luke chap. 1 verse 78 & 79: 'Through the tender mercy of our God, where by the Day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace".

The first Barton Block, which stood south-easterly from the Congregational church on land now owned by Dr. P. W. Soule, and occupied by dwellings and market, destroyed as before stated, was owned by Nehemiah P. Barton, tinsmith, who occupied a shop therein. The first story had formerly been used for offices. For a considerable time before its occupancy by the Lodge, the second story was used for rooms for students in the Academy, and was styled Union House, or Union Hal. After the destruction of this building, a new and commodious block 40' x 80' was erected on the same site, by Henry P. Barton, of Hartford, Connecticut, son of the owner of the first building. The second story of this building was fitted up for the Lodge which occupied for a time the hall in the storehouse of Worshipful Brother Reynolds, also for five years the upper vestry, which had been fitted up for that purpose. From thence it removed to the Central Block, and in 1893 to its present quarters, in the Bank Block.

My associations with my Masonic brethren have been uniformly agreeable and profitable. I have visited lodges in various localities in our own country, and as far East as Jerusalem. With my brethren at home, I am in sympathy and charity. I am grateful for your consideration and kindness uniformly exhibited. I regret that I have not been able to extend more efficient service to you, as it may have been needed. Our Society, like others human, has been, and will continue to be, subject to variations, according to the advance of civilization and the needs of humanity. We will expect that in future it will help, and assist those in any kind of need, even more efficiently than it has done in the past.

It ought especially to promote the spirit of fraternity, peace and good will, not only among its members, but throughout a universal human brotherhood.

My brothers, farewell, may one resultant of our associations be our near and strong relationship to the "Day Spring" from on high, who is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The everlasting son of the Father. He is the world's Orient, its glad sun-rising. United to Him in faith and love, let all appropriate his gracious promise, " Because I live, ye shall live also." May a double portion of His spirit rest upon you, and abide with you, enabling you to erect in your hearts a temple, wherein you shall forever adore him. At length, may we be permitted to behold His face in righteousness.

Fraternally yours,

(Signed) Edward F. Morris

Monson, Massachusetts

OTHER

  • 1865 (Report of fire at hall)
  • 1866 (Jurisdictional dispute)

EVENTS

BUILDING DEDICATION, JANUARY 1866

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXV, No. 4, February 1866, p. 128:

The M. W. Grand Master dedicated a new hall for Day Spring Lodge at Monson on the 22d, and another for Mt. Horeb Lodge at West Harwich on the 25th ult. Both halls, we understand, are neat and convenient structures, and well adapted to the purposes for which they are designed.

ST. JOHN'S DAY IN SPRINGFIELD, JUNE 1868


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

DISTRICTS

1862: District 9

1867: District 10 (Springfield)

1873: District 18 (Palmer)

1883: District 17 (Palmer)

1911: District 19 (Palmer)

1927: District 19 (Palmer)

2003: District 28


LINKS

Massachusetts Lodges