Difference between revisions of "Fidelity"

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=== HISTORY ===
=== HISTORY ===
* '''[http://www.masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=MassachusettsYear1956 1956]''' ([http://masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=Wyoming#FIDELITY_LODGE Historical Notes] in Centenary Anniversary of http://masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=Wyoming Wyoming] Lodge, 1956-326)
* '''[http://www.masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=MassachusettsYear1956 1956]''' ([http://masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=Wyoming#FIDELITY_LODGE Historical Notes] in Centenary Anniversary of [http://masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=Wyoming Wyoming] Lodge, 1956-326)
* '''[http://www.masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=MassachusettsYear1969 1969]''' (50th Anniversary History, 1969-77)
* '''[http://www.masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=MassachusettsYear1969 1969]''' (50th Anniversary History, 1969-77)
* '''[http://www.masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=MassachusettsYear1994 1994]''' (75th Anniversary History, 1994-24; see below)
* '''[http://www.masonicgenealogy.com/MediaWiki/index.php?title=MassachusettsYear1994 1994]''' (75th Anniversary History, 1994-24; see below)

Revision as of 17:51, 27 January 2015



Location: Melrose

Chartered By: Leon M. Abbott

Charter Date: 09/10/1919 1919-296

Precedence Date: 10/28/1918

Current Status: Active


  • Charles S. Norris, 1918; Mem
  • Theodore H. Tufts, 1919
  • Merton D. Williams, 1920
  • Julian C. Woodman, 1921; Mem
  • G. Henry Warren, 1922
  • Henry H. Kimball, 1923; N
  • Leon B. Smith, 1924
  • Arthur G. Baker, 1925
  • Eben F. Phillips, 1926
  • Harold D. Mack, 1927
  • Ralph W. Guibord, 1928
  • Harold F. Burgess, 1928
  • Arthur E. Goodwin, 1929
  • Roger G. Rand, 1930
  • Frank O. Legro, Jr., 1931
  • Ernest E. Munn, 1932
  • Carl B. Gerry, 1933
  • Angier L. Goodwin, 1934
  • Hector MacDonald, 1935
  • John T. Bailie, 1936
  • M. Dudley Williams, Jr., 1937
  • Edward W. Raye, 1938
  • Allen W. Overing, 1939
  • Clayton S. Greene, 1940
  • Edward Norris, 1941; N
  • William Hoeckel, 1942
  • Ralph W. Gerry, 1943
  • Harrison S. King, 1944
  • James G. Shaw, 1945
  • John H. Kimball, 1946
  • Claude L. Hanley, 1947
  • Melvin P. Abraham, 1948
  • John D. MacDonald, 1949
  • Blair C. Wilson, 1950
  • Frank C. Greeley, 1951
  • Richard F. Pomeroy, 1952
  • William I. Peterson, 1953
  • George A. Hennigar, 1954
  • Franklin T. Shay, 1955
  • Charles I. Cookson, 1956
  • Carl B. Norris, 1957
  • Robert W. Lufkin, 1958; SN
  • Fredric W. Moody, Jr., 1959
  • Russell B.S. Greene, Jr. 1960
  • Philip A. Stackpole, 1961
  • John C. Sheppard, 1962
  • Russell G. Perry, 1963
  • I. Paul Doane, 1964
  • John A. Weeks, 1965
  • David L. Wilson, II, 1966
  • Robert F. Charlton, 1967
  • William F. Neil, 1968
  • Robert F. Lucas, Sr., 1969; N
  • George A. Egan, 1970
  • Arthur A. Leman, Jr., 1971
  • Philip S. Wilson, 1972
  • Robert M. Nichols, 1973
  • Herbert G. Chaffee, Jr., 1974
  • Robert G. MacCutcheon, 1975
  • Peter W. Stackpole, 1976
  • Donald A. Bates, 1977
  • Elmer N. Stanton, 1978
  • Herbert L. Fletcher, 1979
  • Robert L. Forsey, 1980
  • Peter W. Stackpole, 1981
  • Joseph C. Bowman, 1982
  • William G. Ball, 1983
  • George A. Egan, 1984
  • Raymond P. Shaw, Jr., 1985, 1989, 1999
  • Robert J. Walsh, 1986, 1987, 2000-2002
  • Herbert G. Chaffee, Jr., 1988
  • James E. Barr, 1990
  • William A. Squires, 1991-1992
  • Donald A. Bates, 1993-1994; PDDGM
  • Craig H. Hess, 1995
  • C. Macaulay Ward, Jr., 1996-1998
  • David R. Lucas, 2003
  • Paul M. Carroll, Sr., 2004-2005; PDDGM
  • Gregory J. Potamis, 2006
  • John P. Montanus, 2007
  • Nicholas S. Soter, 2008-2009
  • Sean P. Quinlan, 2010-2012


  • Petition for Dispensation: 1918
  • Petition for Charter: 1919


  • 1969 (50th Anniversary)
  • 1994 (75th Anniversary)



1922 1927 1929 1934 1941 1945 1950 1954 1958 1959 1968 1976 1981 1985 1997 2000 2010 2012



From Proceedings, Page 1994-24:

Presented by Wor. Donald A. Bates.

From the Fiftieth Anniversary history, Wor. M. Dudley Williams (currently our senior Past Master) wrote, "The embryo of Fidelity Lodge was planted in the mind of my father, Merton D. Williams, while I was just a lad in my early teens. My memories were to do with discussions of aprons, rods, jewels, working tools, and other Masonic paraphernalia, many times on the front porch of our home or over the telephone. In later years I came to be much more familiar with those implements and working tools of our profession, and understood their significance much more clearly than in those teenage days. My mother should also have some recognition for her part in the formation of this lodge. She did more than her share of entertaining Lodge officers and sharing her husband with them." There are few who remember the "Old Guard" who labored so zealously in those early days in order that Fidelity Lodge might reach the position in the community and in Freemasonry which it holds today.

Wor. Merton Dudley Williams was unquestionably the "father" of Fidelity Lodge, but the reasons for his forming a new lodge are not clear. Although he lived in Melrose and played the organ for most Masonic bodies in the Melrose area, he never affiliated with Wyoming Lodge. Wyoming Lodge was big (600+ members at the time) and had a two-year line making it difficult for those aspiring to become an officer to do so. His son suggests that it was perhaps that his father felt that a smaller, more intimate lodge was needed in Melrose. In Merton D. Williams' Master's report, he stated, "While it might be said in starting Fidelity Lodge I made office for myself, it is also true that only at the hands of its members have I served as Wor. Master."

Rt. Wor. Charles Sewall Norris, then District Deputy Grand Master of the Seventh Masonic District, the father of our own Past Masters, Edward Norris and Carl B. Norris, was consulted concerning the formation of a new Masonic Lodge in Melrose. He was favorable to it. The first meeting of the petitioners was held in this building on September 17, 1918, and fifty-five signatures were obtained for a petition to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge for a new Masonic lodge in Melrose. At this meeting the following officers were elected:

  • Worshipful Master, Rt. Wor. Charles S. Norris
  • Senior Warden, Wor. Theodore H. Tufts
  • Junior Warden, Merton D. Williams
  • Treasurer, Reuben W. Huntress
  • Secretary, F. Sears Stetson
  • Senior Deacon, Julian C. Woodman
  • Junior Deacon, G. Henry Warren
  • Senior Steward, Henry H. Kimball
  • Junior Steward, J. Edward Beard
  • Inside Sentinel, J. Arthur Fulton
  • Chaplain, Leon B. Smith
  • Marshal, Wor. T. Henry Mayo

The only clue we have as to the selection of the name for the Lodge was the fact that Bro. Williams suggested the name, "Fidelity Lodge" as there was no other Masonic Lodge in Massachusetts by that name and the word "Fidelity" symbolized all the most fundamental principles of Masonry. The selection of the meeting night is a mystery. At the time there were only nine lodges in the 7th District (and no Lodge of Instruction) and even though King Cyrus met on the third Tuesday, Bro. Williams suggested that Fidelity Lodge meet on the Tuesday before the third Wednesday — because there would be no conflict with other lodges in the 7th Masonic District except King Cyrus. He rationalized that at least one month per year the two lodges would meet on different Tuesdays making it possible for the interchange of fraternal visits.

The meeting was closed with a prayer by the Chaplain, Leon B. Smith, "Our Father, we are grateful for the fellowship of this evening, and for the harmony which has been so manifest, and we ask the blessing upon all that has been done and pray that we may show our fidelity to Thee and to each other throughout our lives. Amen."

A petition for the issuance of a dispensation for a new lodge was presented to the Grand Lodge, and in accordance with the Grand Constitution, a petition was also sent to Wyoming Lodge requesting that they recommend that such a dispensation be granted. The petition was read at Wyoming Lodge's meeting on September 25, 1918, and unanimously granted at their meeting on October 23, 1918.

The first regular meeting of Fidelity Lodge was held on Tuesday evening, November 19,1918, at which time the Dispensation from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was presented and Fidelity Lodge was organized "Under Dispensation."

A particular meeting of note was on February 22, 1919, when Wor. Sanford Crandon, presiding Master of Wyoming Lodge, and his officers paid a fraternal visit to Fidelity Lodge for the purpose of wishing them well, and to present the new lodge with the gift of a gavel, truncheons, baton and rods. The gifts were carried by the proper officers of Wyoming Lodge who presented the corresponding officers of Fidelity Lodge with the implements of their office. The friendship and good wishes expressed that evening by Wyoming Lodge have continued since that night to this very day. Although the Deacon's and Steward's rods are no longer used at our regular meetings, they are being used this evening.

A blow which staggered and saddened the Lodge was the untimely death of Rt. Wor. Charles S. Norris, who died on March 26, 1919, the same day that his wife had predeceased him by about six hours. The double funeral was held at the Melrose Highlands Congregational Church where both were very faithful and active. The address was given by its Pastor, Rev. John O. Paisley, a member of Fidelity Lodge and one of its Chaplains. His remarks were most touching and appropriate. The entire address is a part of the records of this Lodge. One most thought-provoking excerpt from it was, "That such virile and public-minded servants of God should have been so suddenly withdrawn from this existence is, indeed, a mystery which mortals cannot uncover."

Brother Norris' friends tried to persuade him not to take on the position of Master of Fidelity Lodge, but he assured them that it would mean the "rounding out of his Masonic career." He had just finished drilling the officers on the third degree when he was stricken with his last illness. Fidelity Lodge brought him in his last days an exceeding amount of joy. Perhaps a quotation from the Lodge records will best describe our first Master. "He was such an ideal character as to leave a lasting impression upon all with whom he came in contact. He was a most lovable man and all lives that had the good fortune of being touched by his life were made richer and nobler thereby. In truth he was the embodiment of the Masonic ideal of friendship, morality, and brotherly love."

The Senior Warden, Wor. Theodore H. Tufts, finished out Bro. Norris' term, and it was expected that he would then be elected Master for a full term of his own. However, he announced that because of health he would not do so. At the tenth regular meeting, the nominating committee brought in the name of Bro. Merton D. Williams as Worshipful Master, Bro. Julian C. Woodman as Senior Warden, Bro. G. Henry Warren as Junior Warden, Bro. F. Sears Stetson as Secretary and Bro. Reuben W. Huntress as Treasurer. These were the officers elected when the Lodge was constituted on October 14, 1919.

The constitution of any lodge brings out the complete line of Grand Officers, all available Grand Masters, and many Masonic dignitaries of lesser degree, as well as the Masters and Wardens from far and near. The signatures of all Grand Lodge officers in attendance forms a part of our lodge records. The list is an impressive one in Masonic traditions of Massachusetts. There were 241 Brethren present that evening (148 visitors and 93 members).

Worshipful Merton Dudley Williams was then installed as Master of Fidelity Lodge by Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master. The Grand Master was most charming and kind in his remarks concerning Fidelity Lodge and its new Master. He prophesied a bright future for both Fidelity Lodge and Brother Williams. The prophecy of a bright future for the Lodge has certainly stood the test of seventy-five years.

There were several presentations of gifts to the dignitaries present with appropriate remarks of thanks. Bro. Ichabod F. Atwood presented the Lodge with a beautiful set of ivory Working Tools patterned after the set used in Converse Lodge of Maiden and so much desired by Rt. Wor. Charles S. Norris. The Master also announced the receipt of some twenty gifts, making special mention of gifts from Wyoming Lodge and from candidates raised in Fidelity Lodge while under dispensation.

In reviewing early Lodge records, several interesting notations and comments were found that I would like to share with you this evening. In the early days there were numerous candidates, and we were visited by several lodges on the same night (most often as guests of the officers) and conferred up to three degrees on the same day (on different candidates). One Master wrote in his annual report ..."The greatest asset of Fidelity Lodge is what is often called the' Fidelity Spirit.' This is an expression of good fellowship and kindly feeling which seems to be in the heart of every member and permeates the atmosphere of all our meetings."

In early days the Annual Meeting was held in December, which usually started with the annual reports of the Secretary, Treasurer and Master. They then recessed for dinner and later reassembled in the Lodge Room for a "Roll Call." A typical December notice contained a note, "We want every member accounted for in person if possible, but surely by letter, postal, cable, or telegram." In 1921 the records stated that "every member was given a paper hat and as his name was called, he approached the East, where a beautiful Christmas tree stood brightly lighted, and received his present from Bro. Sol Hichens as Santa Claus." In 1922, "Bro. W. Bigglestone won the prize given by the Lodge in the shape of a beautifully engraved Masonic ring. After a block of 50 names had been called, a pause and entertainment given by either Merton D. Williams at the organ, Fidelity Quartette, or Bro [could not decipher]. The meeting broke up at 11.00 o'clock everyone having a jolly good time at this our 3rd annual roll call." These roll calls continued through 1924 — records from 1925 and beyond mention entertainment but not a roll call until 1929 when a roll call of all Charter Members was made.

Fidelity Lodge held their installation of officers on New Year's Eve for several years. On December 31, 1925, the installation was followed by New Year's celebration — attendance 411. In 1927 the officers changed their dress from business suits to tuxedos. In Wor. Arthur E. Goodwin's annual report on September 16, 1930, he wrote ..."now a lodge of approximately 500 members, and that we are approaching the time when it will be necessary to give some thought to how much larger we want to grow." In the same report he mentioned that Grand Lodge is looking to the regulation of rapid growth., and also that it was a "lean year" for Fidelity Lodge - very few applications were received. It's interesting to note that membership started to drop off shortly after this because of the Great Depression (we were remitting dues for 13% of the membership). During World War II, membership started to climb again reaching a peak 636 in 1959 — at the start of the 1993-1994 Masonic year, our membership was 203.

At the meeting held on September 14, 1965, the Lodge voted that $200.00 be transferred from the General Fund to the Master's Reserve Fund in hope that some of it can be used for our 75th Anniversary Celebration (it has been).

In the history prepared for the fiftieth anniversary,Wor. M. Dudley Williams, Jr. remembered some of the men who labored so zealously to lay the proper foundations and traditions which inspire us to this day.

To Rt. Wor. Charles S. Norris and Bro. Merton D. Williams must go the greatest credit for the foundation and formation of this Lodge, in its infancy, but lest you misunderstand — there were many others.

Our indefatigable Secretary, F. Sears Stetson, wrote all of the original records in longhand. His attention to duties was meticulous in every detail. He finally had to relinquish this office when he suffered a stroke. When the weather permitted, he was carried up the two long flights of stairs to the Lodge Room to be with us at many of our meetings. His interest in Fidelity Lodge never wavered in spite of the handicap which he suffered.

Bro. Stetson was succeeded by Wor. Leon B. Smith who was the original Chaplain, later appointed into line as Junior Steward and served as Master in 1924. He was a man of sterling character, great capability for any task he undertook, a friend and Christian gentleman one would cherish for all time. He served as Secretary for many years."

All the original elected and appointed line officers at the Constitution of the Lodge advanced through the several stations and subsequently served as Worshipful Master. Fortunately, with the exception of Rt. Wor. Bro. Norris, no other Master has died during his term of office. The original Senior Warden, Rt. Wor. Julian C. Woodman, was the first Past Master to be appointed as District Deputy Grand Master, but was followed a few years later by Rt. Wor. Henry H. Kimball, our original Senior Deacon. In later years we were honored in having Rt. Wor. Edward Norris, Rt. Wor. Robert F. Lufkin, and Rt. Wor. Robert F. Lucas serve in this capacity.

It is quite appropriate that sons of Past Masters should be appointed in Lodge line, and the first to receive that honor was Wor. M. Dudley Williams, Jr. who served as Master in 1937-1938. Wor. Ralph W. Gerry served as Master in 1943-1944. He was the son of Wor. Carl B. Gerry, Master in 1933-1934. Wor. Bro. Carl B. Gerry's son-in-law, Wor. Richard F. Pomeroy, served as Master in 1952-1953. Rt. Wor. Edward Norris, son of our first Master, served as Master in 1941-1942. His brother, Wor. Carl B. Norris, was our Master in 1957-1958. Wor. John H. Kimball, son of Rt. Wor. Henry H. Kimball, served as Master in 1946-1947. Wor. Blair C. Wilson served as Master in 1950-1951. His sons also served as Masters of Fidelity Lodge, Wor. David L. Wilson II in 1966-1967 and Wor. Philip S. Wilson in 1972-1973. Wor. Blair Wilson's brother-in-law, Wor. Philip A. Stackpole, served as Master in 1962-1963, and his son, Wor. Peter W. Stackpole, served as Master in 1976-1977 and again in 1981-1982.

In addition to the Norris brothers who served as Masters, we also had two other brothers, Wor. Hector MacDonald in 1935-1936 and Wor. John D. MacDonald in 1949-1950. Our most senior living Past Master is Wor. M. Dudley Williams, Jr., Master in 1937-1938. Wor. Angier L. Goodwin who served in 1934-1935 was also serving as President of the Massachusetts State Senate during that time.

The Past Master who served in the greatest number of Masonic offices is Rt. Wor. Edward Norris who had the distinction of holding four Masonic jewels indicative as serving as head of four Masonic bodies meeting in this building. His record is an impressive one, having been District Deputy Grand Master, Vice-President of the Order of High Priesthood, Grand Treasurer of the Grand Council, Royal and Select Masters, Past Scribe of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts, Past Patron of the Eastern Star, and Past Prior of the Massachusetts Priory, Knights of the York Cross of Honor, a body consisting only past heads of Lodge, Chapter, Council, and Commandery.

Many of the older members will remember John D. Starratt who was Tyler for us and other Masonic bodies meeting in this building. He tiled for us for many years and died in October, 1945. Our original Tyler was Walter DeHaven Jones, a familiar figure in this building and around the city for many years, as he was also our City Clerk. Wor. Clayton S. Greene, Master in 1940-1941, served as Secretary for several years. Wor. Harrison S. King, Master in 1944-1945, and Wor. James G. Shaw, Master in 1945-1946, served as Treasurers for several years. In recent years we remember Wor. William I. Peterson, Master in 1953-1954, who served as Secretary for more than thirty years, Bro. Willis L. Goldsmith who served as Tyler and Service Committee Chairman for many years, Bro. Cyrus B. H. Locke, our Electrician, and Bro. Rowland M. Blackstone, Organist for Fidelity Lodge and several others in the area (no matter who was marching, he was always in step with the music).

The stars beside the names of the Past Masters are increasing each year, and tributes to our departed members given at almost every Lodge meeting reminds us that "we are traveling upon the level of time to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns." The scythe of time is continually cutting that brittle thread of life. Younger men (when we can find them) are taking the places of those who once so nobly served.

We can garner wisdom, strength, courage, and understanding from the pages of history to assist us in meeting the challenge of the present. The future will reflect much of what has transpired in the past.

Freemasonry is the most respected fraternal group in the free world. The potential for promoting the brotherhood of man is unparalleled in this generation. The precious heritage which has been passed to us from our forebears is now passed to you. Freemasonry will prosper in the same measure that you, its members, want it to succeed. It will accomplish and gain respect because its members want it to continue to be the potent force for good which is its heritage of the past.

Much of the above history was prepared and presented for the fiftieth anniversary by Wor. M. Dudley Williams, Jr., for which we are greatly indebted. Wor. Williams has given his permission to modify and add as necessary to bring it up to date.


  • 1919 (Death of Rt. Wor. Charles Sewell Norris, Past District Deputy Grand Master, and presiding Master of Fidelity Lodge, U.D.; mentioned in Grand Master's Address, 1919-184)



1918: District 7 (Malden)

1927: District 7 (Malden)

2003: District 4


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Massachusetts Lodges