- 1 MARTHA'S VINEYARD LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.4.1 HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY ON MARTHA'S VINEYARD, JUNE 1959
- 2.4.2 HISTORY AT CONSOLIDATION, JANUARY 1994
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 DISTRICTS
- 2.9 LINKS
MARTHA'S VINEYARD LODGE
Chartered By: Winslow Lewis
Charter Date: 09/12/1860 VI-323
Precedence Date: 08/10/1859
need list of living PMs
- Joseph T. James, 1860-1862
- Benjamin Clough, 1863, 1864
- Henry Bradley, 1865, 1866
- William Leach, 1867, 1869, 1876
- J. Weldon Holmes, 1868
- Stephen A. Thomas, 1870-1872
- Henry Beetle, 1873-1875
- William Hillman, 1877, 1878
- Matthew L. Smith, 1879, 1880
- Gilbert L. Smith, 1881-1887, 1893, 1898, 1899; SN
- Cyrus H. Pease, 1888-1890
- John H. Cowell, 1891
- Charles F. Chadwick, 1892
- William W. Niefert, 1894, 1895
- William D. Harding, 1896, 1897
- Herbert N. Hinckley, 1900, 1901
- William J. Look, 1904-1907; Mem
- Alvin Cleveland, 1908, 1909
- Abbot L. Baker, 1910, 1911
- Ulysses E. Mayhew, 1912, 1913; SN
- Norman Johnson, 1914, 1915
- Lester H. Bumpus, 1916
- Dana C. Swift, 1917, 1918
- Alton C. Tuckerman, 1919
- Stephen Carey Luce, Jr.; N
- Fred K. Snow, 1922, 1923
- George G. Churchill, 1924, 1925
- Winthrop C. Rheno, 1926
- Erwin C. Burleigh, 1927, 1928
- Charles B. Dunbar, 1929, 1930
- Hariph C. Hancock, 1931, 1932
- Walter E. Flanders, 1933, 1934
- Walter S. Booker, 1935, 1936
- William A. Colby, 1937
- Curtis S. Athearn, 1938
- Joseph C. Allen, 1939
- Elijah W. Crowell, 1940
- John E. Palmeira, 1941-1944; 'N
- Arthur A. Mayhew, 1940; N
- Theodore C. Howes, 1945, 1946
- James F. Morris, 1947
- James A. Boyle, 1949
- S. David Cronig, 1949, 1950; PDDGM
- Lawrence W. Winterbottom, 1951, 1952; SN
- E. Everett Howell, 1953, 1954
- Louis M. Greene, 1955, 1956
- William E. Adams, 1957
- Philip V. Cole, 1958, 1959
- Robert B. Boren, 1960
- B. Crume Lamb, 1961, 1962
- David L. Welch, 1963, 1983; N
- A. Douglas Stewart, 1964-1966, 1969, 1985; N
- Charles V. Maida, 1967, 1968, 1976
- R. Donald Bermudes, 1970, 1971
- Ronald H. Tolin, 1972
- Sidney G. White, Jr., 1973, 1977
- David R. Guay, 1974, 1975
- Clayton Taylor, Jr., 1978, 1979
- Richard R. Mello, 1980, 1984
- Kenneth Ward, 1981
- James M. Beckman, 1982, 1990
- Arthur J. Bailow, 1986, 1987
- Christopher Keniston, 1988, 1989
- Alfred H. Hopp, 1991
- Nathan Hunt, 1992
- Leonard P. Reid, 1993, 1994
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Dispensation: 1859
- Petition for Charter: 1860
- Consolidation Petition (with Oriental Lodge): 1993
- 1959 (Centenary)
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1860 (Lewis; Constitution of Lodge and installation)
- 1884 (Howland; Hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1895 (Holmes; Hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1917 (L. Abbott; exemplification; see below)
- 1959 (A. Jenkins; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1964 (Osgood)
- 1965 (Osgood; Sojourners' Night)
- 1966 (Osgood; Sojourners' Night)
- 1967 (Booth; Sojourners' Night)
- 1982 (Berquist; Oak Bluffs Hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1988 (Ames)
- 1959 ("History of Freemasonry on Martha's Vineyard", 1959-111; see below)
- 1994 (Historical essay at consolidation, 1994-14)
HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY ON MARTHA'S VINEYARD, JUNE 1959
Martha's Vineyard Lodge celebrated its Centenary in June 1959, and an extensive history of Freemasonry on the island was prepared by Rt. Wor. Dwight L. Robb, PDDGM, for the occasion. It includes notes on earlier lodges, the material for which appears on those lodges' pages.
Martha's Vineyard Masonic Lodges: Past and Present
The original intent, when this paper was started, was to write a history of Martha's Vineyard Lodge of Tisbury, preceded by a few paragraphs about several older lodges, that were either proposed or constituted on Martha's Vineyard, an island of about one hundred square miles in extent, off the southern coast of Massachusetts. However the information available or obtained by correspondence dealing with the older lodges, caused a change in the arrangement of this paper. Therefore, in the first part following this introduction, only a few paragraphs are devoted to Martha's Vineyard Lodge. This treatment or slight on the writer's part is rectified in the second part, by devoting it entirely to the history of the Lodge that prompted the writing of this treatise.
A perusal of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts discloses that, probably, from 1791 there have been at least seven Masonic Lodges either proposed or erected on Martha's Vineyard. The first Lodge listed below presents so many probabilities as from what higher authority it received its Charter, that more space will be devoted to it. It appears that it was granted a Rite of Perfection charter (referred to as a Scottish Rite Lodge in this paper), whereas the second Lodge listed was actually continuing the Masonic labors of the older Lodge, but under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
The Masonic Lodges that once were, or now are located on Martha's Vineyard, to be considered, some at length, others but briefly, are:
- 1st — King Solomon Lodge of Perfection, 1791 to 1797.
- 2nd — King Solomon Lodge in Perfection, 1797 to 1822.
- 3rd — Royal Arch King Solomon Lodge, 1787.
- 4th — Seven Stars Lodge of Edgartown, 1820 to 1824.
- 5th — Martha's Vineyard Lodge of Tisbury, organized in 1859.
- 6th — Oriental Lodge of Edgartown, organized in 1866.
- 7th — Ocean Isle Lodge, Oak Bluffs, proposed 1878.
While we are considering the first two Lodges listed above, whose names are so similar, and to make clear which Lodge is referred to, the first Lodge will have the word "of" italicized to distinguish it from the second Lodge that will have the word "in" italicized.
MARTHAS VINEYARD LODGE OF TISBURY
Organized — August 10, 1859
With the passing of Seven Stars Lodge of Edgartown in 1824, there is no record in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, of a Blue Lodge being located on Martha's Vineyard until 1859, a period of thirty-five years, when on August 10th of that year, M.W. John T. Heard, Grand Master, granted to Joseph T. James and others, a dispensation to erect Martha's Vineyard Lodge of Tisbury at Holmes' Hole.
On September 18, 1860 the Lodge was duly constituted, by M.W. Winslow Lewis, Grand Master, and the other officers of the Grand Lodge.
Unfortunately, on August 11, 1883, fire destroyed the business section of the village and with it went the building where the Lodge Room was located, including the Secretary's records prior to October 20, 1868. The only property of the Lodge that was saved, was the Holy Bible and the regalia. This Holy Bible is still being used by the Lodge and it bears the date of 1859 on the flyleaf.
In 1895 the Lodge acquired their present well appointed Masonic Hall, that has been free of debt since 1915. Through the years the Lodge has prospered and now has a membership of over 170.
ORIENTAL LODGE OF EDGARTOWN
Organized — July 16, 1866
Oriental Lodge of Edgartown was organized in 1866 and is now in a healthy condition, with a membership of about 200, having a fine Masonic Hall and they will soon be able to celebrate their own first centennial.
OCEAN ISLE LODGE, OAK BLUFFS
Of Ocean Isle Lodge, Oak Bluffs, there are two minutes in the Secretary's records of Martha's Vineyard Lodge, dealing with the proposed erection of this Lodge, and none at all in the files of the Grand Lodge, until an inquiry was sent them. The first motion put before the members of Martha's Vineyard Lodge for their approval of the erection of this new Lodge was voted down. However, at the next Communication on July 2, 1878, the following vote was passed:
A petition was received from Howes Norris and others for permission of the Lodge to form a new Lodge at Oak Bluffs under the name of Ocean Isle Lodge.
Petition granted by a vote of five in the affirmative to one in the negative.
One other Masonic organization on Martha's Vineyard that derives its membership from members of Blue Lodges is the Vineyard Royal Arch Chapter, organized in 1918. They held their meeting in the quarters of Martha's Vineyard Lodge until the first of 1950, when they moved to Edgartown by permission of the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts. Their membership now being over 125.
HISTORY OF MARTHA' S VINEYARD LODGE OF TISBURY
Among the gifts given to Martha's Vineyard Lodge at the time it was constituted on September 18, 1860, that was rescued from the fire that destroyed or damaged several structures in the business section of Holmes' Hole in 1883 and rebound in 1951, is our Holy Bible, that has been in continuous use by the Lodge at every communication since it was first received. On the fly leaf of this Volume of the Sacred Law, will be found the following notation:
MARTHA' S VINEYARD LODGE
by the Undersigned
Visitors & Friends
August 7th, 1860
WM. D. COOLIDGE, WM. K. JONES, ISAAC CAREY, JOHN T. GARDNER, JOHN M. CLARK, JOHN SEAVER, OTIS RICH, J. PUTNAM BRADLEE, ESQ.
The story as to what prompted the above gentlemen to give such a fine gift to this new Masonic Lodge, follows, as it was reported in the September 28, 1860 issue of the Vineyard Gazette:
"At the close of the public services reported last week, the following remarks were made. They will sufficiently explain the circumstances that called them out. Mr. William D. Coolidge of Boston having a splendid copy of the Bible in his hand, arose and addressed the presiding officer as follows:
"Worshipful Master: It will be remembered by you that a few weeks since a party of gentlemen from Boston, seeking health and pleasure, found here a safe harbor for their yacht, and a most genial reception for themselves from their brethren of this place.
"Your cordial greetings and kindness on that occasion met with a ready response in the hearts of all that company of eight, seven of whom were brethren of the Masonic fraternity of Boston. Impressed with a sense of the great value of our institution and feeling as we should a deep interest in the welfare and prosperity of the new Lodge about to be established, on our return it was resolved that we would testify that interest in you, by the presentation of that great light in Masonry which is the rule and guide of our lives, the Holy Bible. And now, sir, in the name and in behalf of the gentlemen who have united in this gift, and whose names you will find inscribed upon one of its pages, present you this beautiful edition of the Bible — asking for it a place upon your altar. And may those who look upon it, and all who may hereafter place their hands upon it, be guided by its precepts, strengthened by its promises, and brought at last, by obeying those precepts and trusting in those promises, to the rewards of the faithful in the Celestial Lodge above where the supreme Architect of the Universe presides forever.
"As you look upon your beautiful harbor, with her arms extended as if to invite the tempest tost mariner to a safe and peaceful anchorage, as you daily look upon this beautiful scene, a daily lesson to open your arms and your hearts to receive and comfort the way-worn brother, and to afford him the safety and assistance he may need, so that he may go on his way rejoicing. And may you be assured of that promise from the Great Master that as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done unto me'."
(Brother Coolidge was at that time Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge, later Grand Master, 1861 and 1862.)
The Worshipful Master on receiving the Holy Bible, placed it in the hands of the Chaplain, Rev. L. D. Davis, who responded in part as follows:
"In behalf of the Master, Wardens, and brethren of Martha's Vineyard Lodge, I accept this Book and return the thanks of those receiving it. You will allow me to say that in welcoming you and your associates to the hospitality of Masonry in this place, on the occasion to which you refer, our brethren are conscious of having done no more than a simple duty. If they conferred a pleasure on you, they received a pleasure as well; and it may be doubted whether they or you are the debtors. But, leaving for the present this question unsettled, you will believe me when I say that the offering now made in th presentation of this Bible is received with unfeigned satisfaction. Nothing could be more appropriate to the circumstances connected with the occasion."
The first Master of Martha s Vineyard Lodge, Wor. Joseph T. James arrived in Holmes' Hole, in July 1852 and finding no Masonic Lodge in any of the towns of the island, went in search for those who were or had been members of the Fraternity and he found but three old men, who could not be persuaded to give their names as petitioners for a Lodge. In answer to a request for instructions from the Grand Lodge at Boston, was told to use his best judgment as to those who would be good timber for the erection of a Masonic Lodge and for them to apply to the nearest Lodge. By 1859 he had persuaded the following Brothers to apply to Marine Lodge of Falmouth for the degrees: —
- HENRY BRADLEY
- ALEXANDER W. SMITH
- BENJAMIN CLOUGH
- DANIEL F. WORTH
- WILLIAM LEACH
- ALEXANDER NEWCOMB
and by the following June they had been duly made Masons in Marine Lodge of Falmouth and it is presumed that they joined Bro. James in petitioning the Grand Master, M.W. John T. Heard for a dispensation to commence their Masonic labors on Martha's Vineyard, as the records of the Grand Lodge simply states, Dispensation granted — Martha's Vineyard Lodge, Tisbury to Joseph T. James, et al., August 10, 1859 (Page VI-285)
Before a Charter was granted by the Grand Lodge, Bros. Worth and Newcomb had left the Island and Bros. Jared Crowell and Henry Beetle were substituted as Charter members, together with the remaining new Masons listed above.
On September 18, 1860 Martha's Vineyard Lodge of Tisbury was duly "Dedicated and constituted" by M. W. Winslow Lewis, Grand Master and his suite, according to the Vineyard Gazette of September 21, 1860 and the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge. (Page VI-323)
The Grand Lodge records show that Bro. Crowell was made a Mason in Martha s Vineyard Lodge while the Lodge was working under dispensation and of the other Charter Members, it is not known in what Lodges Bro. James and Bro. Beetle were made Masons.
As the Secretary's records prior to 1868 were destroyed in the fire of 1883, we must rely on various other sources as to what transpired when the Lodge was constituted on September 18, 1860. Happily there are still copies of the Vineyard Gazette in their files that give some idea of what happened on the memorable occasion. Also in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1875, there are copies of several addresses given by M.W. Winslow Lewis on various occasions and it would appear that one of them must have been delivered at the time Martha's Vineyard Lodge was constituted, as in the last paragraph of that address, he stated,
"Yours is the second Island Lodge which has ever been formed in this State, the first being Union Lodge of Nantucket, the Charter of which dates back now nearly ninety years." (Page 1875-260)
In Wor. Bro. James' letter of October 1895, previously referred to, he stated that the Lodge first obtained suitable quarters for a lodge room, over a paint shop on Main Street and ther commenced their Masonic labors and that during the time he was Master, sixty one members were added. He also said, that it cost about $1,000 for the "fitting of the hall", with jewels, furniture and other regalia, but he adds, by the end of his first term as Master, "we paid off this debt and had a $1,000 in the charity fund." Bro. James served as Master for about three and one half years, including the time the Lodge was working under dispensation.
The earliest records saved from the fire of 1883, commences in 1868 and shows that F. H. Jenkins was the landlord, and up to 1883 when the Lodge moved to another location, still on Main Street, the yearly rental was $40. As the landlord in 1878 increased the rent for the use of the hall to $60. per annum, a committee was appointed to look for other quarters, that were found and moved into during the summer of 1883. There they remained but a short time and a portion of the records of December 3, 1883 explains fully the circumstances that caused the Lodge to move to its third location, follows: —
At a regular communication of M. V. Lodge, Dec. 4th, (1883) the following entry was ordered on the page preceding the records of the communication of the above date.
"Since the date of our last communication, on the 11th of August a terrible conflagration visited our community, sweeping off all the business portion of the village, among which was Luce Bros. Store over which was our Lodge room, which had been fitted up and had been occupied but three times; demolishing all of the contents including our Charter (by which no legal meeting could be holden), the Holy Bible and Regalia being all that were saved. Tne new Charter was obtained from the Grand Lodge on the [...] day of Nov. 1883."
The Grand Lodge on hearing of the Lodge's great loss, immediately sent funds, to which the D.D.G.M. of the 27th Masonic District, R.W. Joseph S. Barney of Nantucket added his contribution for the use of the Lodge, or for the Brethren who had suffered loss by the fire, as the Lodge may decide. In the minutes of the meeting on December 4, 1883, the grateful thanks of the Lodge was conveyed to the Grand Lodge and to R.W. Barney, by a resolution being sent to each.
According to the Cottage City Star, of August 15, 1883 the Lodge suffered a loss of $500 that was insured for $300. Again the Lodge obtained another location, over Swift Brothers store, where they remained until they acquired their present hall in 1895, on Church Street, just a short distance from Main Street. This building was originally built for the Methodist Church in 1833, which they occupied until 1845. From the later date until it was purchased by the Lodge, it was known by the name of Capawock Hall and used for many purposes, such as for the showing of plays, dances and for typical New England town meetings. Several times during the intervening years the Lodge also used it for special occasions.
On October 25, 1895, M.W. Edwin B. Holmes, Grand Master and his suite were present to "solemnly dedicate the Hall to Freemasonry, to Virtue and to Universal Benevolence, in accordance with ancient form, and usage and the ritual of the Grand Lodge, interspersed with music by the quartette." etc. Many activities were held subsequent to the time this property was acquired to raise money to pay off the mortgage, in which they were assisted by the Ladies and finally in 1913, it was paid in full. The burning of the mortgage occurred on March 9, 1916, to which were invited the Ladies and members of Celestia Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. At this meeting, historical papers about the formation of the Lodge, and about former Lodges located in this village, were read by Gilbert L. Smith and Bro. Stephen C. Luce (Sr.).
For the rest of this history of the lodge, the writer relies on the Secretary's records, that have been through the years, so carefully and faithfully kept by the several Brothers who nave held this important office, and they show that Bro. Alexander W. Smith, was the first to fill this station and his services, except for a period of about ten years, continued up to 1896.
The records that survived the fire of 1883, commence with the minutes of October 20, 1868, and below are several of the more interesting ones.
Up to 1900, it was the custom of each Secretary, when dating the minutes of each meeting, to use the Anno Lucis (Year of Masonry) date, instead of the Anno Domini (In the Year of our Lord) dating, that is so common today.
From May 6, 1883 to June 1, 1903, the various Secretaries kept the records in duplicate, that is to say, they were copied from one book into another. Which book can now be considered as the original record is hard to determine.
On January 5, 1875, it was voted, "That the records of each communication be approved on the evening of each meeting respectively." This practice was discontinued in 1896.
According to the records, in 1894, began the practice of examining each candidate in open Lodge prior to their advancement to the next degree and the records state, "which lecture reflected great credit to both the instructor and the candidate."
One of the early minutes recorded in 1869, tells of a special communication being held to attend a Masonic Funeral in Eastville, about two miles distance from where the Lodge room was located. To get there, they hired the Steamer Monohansett and eighteen brothers attended, for which fares totaling $5.00 were paid. Today Eastville is reached from Vineyard Haven by crossing a bridge; however, in 1869 it was a journey of about seven miles around the Lagoon, by horse drawn vehicles.
At another communication in 1869, after it had been reported "that there had not been any calls for assistance", by the Charity Committee, a letter was read from the widow of a deceased member, asking for an appropriation from the Lodge, for the building of a monument for her family. In this case the Secretary was instructed to explain to her, that the Lodge had no funds for a monument, but to tender to her $25.00 for her relief. And again in 1870, the Lodge voted to instruct the Charity Committee, to confer with another widow and purchase for her a sewing machine.
In 1871, it was voted to change the phraseology of one of the By-laws, with reference to dues for the support of the Lodge, as follows: — Voted — There shall be paid by each member of the Lodge, quarterage at the rate of Two Dollars per annum to defray the expenses of the Lodge. However, in the following year, another change was made in the By-laws, by increasing the quarterage to $3.00 per annum and at the same time, by vote, placed the following added duty on the Secretary. This vote required the Secretary to notify each member with the September notice of the amount of dues to be paid, and should no payment be received before the following January, the member shall be suspended, however, if payment is received at a later date, then the delinquent member shall be reinstated in such a way that the records do not show such suspension. How this reinstatement was to be accomplished is not stated in the records.
Apparently in 1873 the Lodge was still having trouble collecting dues, as in that year a Committee of one was appointed "to make exertions collecting from delinquent members, for his services he shall be paid ten per cent of all collected." This method was again resorted to in 1874, with two on the Committee, they were to receive a commission of ten percent. However, in June 1948 Lodge Secretary made the following unusual entry in the Lodge records, "that all dues for 1947 had been paid."
At the October 1877 communication, it was voted — To present the three corner hat belonging to the Lodge to Daniel W. Stevens, who thanked the Lodge for this generous gift. This item indicates that the Master of the Lodge, in the early days probably wore a tricorn hat when occupying the East, similar to the one now worn by the Grand Master when he is presiding over a Lodge or Grand Lodge.
In the records there is recorded, several instances, during the days when the pursuit of whales, supplied the livelihood for so many Vineyarders, that permission was obtained from the Grand Master, "to confer the second and third degrees at one time, or in less than one month."
At the February 1885 and again at the March 1886 communications, invitations were read, asking the Lodge to participate in the exemplification of the degree work and each time the invitations were declined. However, at the June 1886 meeting, the Lodge decided to cooperate, with the following limitations as indicated by the following vote: Voted that the part which this Lodge will take in the proposed exemplification of the work in the 27th Masonic District meeting be left to the discretion of the Worshipful Master.
At the February 1900 communication, Bro. Walter H. Renear "presented an application from some Ladies of the Town wishing to form a so-called Eastern Star Chapter." Whereupon it was voted they could hold their first meeting in the Lodge room without charge, later the question of rent to be paid by them, was set at a nominal amount. In exchange for this courtesy, Celestia Chapter, O. E. S. has allowed the Lodge full use of their dishes. Similar courtesies have since been extended to Vineyard Royal Arch Chapter, and the Martha's Vineyard Rainbow Assembly for Girls, while they were being organized. In Lodges, as in other organizations, town meetings and such, discussions have a way ofcommencing and continuing, and Martha's Vineyard Lodge is no exception.
The question of having "better lighting" in the present Lodge building, commenced in 1906 and ended in 1909, according to the Secretary s records. Many propositions were brought forth and debated. The records show that this subject was many times taken from the table, discussed in open Lodge and by vote returned to the table again. Finally at the April meeting in 1909, the following vote was passed: — Voted — That the following committee consider the matter of the better lighting of the Hall and report at the next meeting. Bros. Ernest L. Briggs, Stephen C. Luce (Sr.) and Alvin H. Cleveland. This committee made their report as ordered by the above vote, which was accepted, but they were continued "in service with instructions to obtain further information."
At the June communication following, the above instructions were rescinded and the Committee reported, that the Martha's Vineyard Electric Company, would wire the building and install the fixtures at the Lodge's expense and the electric company, would "receipt all electric bills until they had furnished free an amount of electricity equal in value to the construction charges." This generous offer was accepted and the project of having "better lighting" was finally realized. However, in 1958, with very little discussion, the Lodge room was rewired and the present lighting fixtures installed.
In February 1922, the piano now in the Lodge room was purchased from Bro. Lodge records West, following 1934 wished to have written in the Lodge records the following history of it: —
Bro. West had originally purchased this instrument for his family use, but discovered that its construction was so heavy and strong that none but a vigorous person could play it.
This piano was among the effects of Count Ivan Ivanoski, who spent considerable time on the Vineyard some years ago, maintaining a summer home and studio at Lamberts Cove. Count Ivanoski was a portrait painter of international distinction, and had made portraits of various members of the royal families of Europe during his career. He was a close friend of Ignace Jan Paderewski, the famed Polish musician, who later became President of Poland. Paderewski had this piano especially built for his friend, Ivanoski, and, both being musicians, ordered that the tension on the keys be made suitable for the playing by strong men like themselves. (The lodge paid $160 for this instrument.)
During the preparation of this paper, a member inquired of the Secretary about his grandfather, Bro. N. Loring Cannon, who was made a mason while the Lodge was working under dispensation in 1859, being raised on October 2nd, of that year. On his return to the Vineyard in 1864, he signed the By-laws. Most of the time between the above two dates, he was detained in a Confederate Army Prison.
At different times since the Lodge was organized there have been calls for its members to take part in the defense and preservation of our country and during the first World War fifteen members were called to join the armed forces. During the second World War twenty five members responded.
At the Regular Communication of February 4th, 1941, Bro. Francis A. Foster, presented, with appropriate remarks, the two flags seen in the East of the Lodge. The one on the left as you face the East being the flag of the United States, the other to the right being the Massachusetts state flag. On seven occasions, the then Grand Master, has honored the Lodge, by appointing from its membership, Past Masters to that higher office of District Deputy Grand Master and the following have served in that capacity: —
- R. W. Gilbert L. Smith 1895-1896
- R. W. William J. Look 1908-1909
- R. W. Ulysses E. Mayhew 1918-1919
- R. W. Stephen C. Luce, Jr. 1921-1922
- R. W. John E. Palmeira 1945-1946
- R. W. Arthur A. Mayhew 1953
- R. W. Dwight W. Robb 1953_1954
Not only has R. W. Bro. Luce served as District Deputy Grand Master for the 31st Nantucket Masonic District, he was elected Senior Grand Warden of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge in 1924 and since that time has served on various important Grand Lodge Committees, and is now a member of the Board of Trustees of the Masonic Education and Charity Trust. At the Regular Communication of the Lodge on June 1, 1954, Bro. Luce was given a testimonial dinner on his election as Deputy Grand Inspector General of the 33d and last degree in Freemasonry and at that time his 33d degree jewel was presented to him.
R. W. Bro. Palmeira has also served on Grand Lodge committees and is now the Grand Representative to the Massachusetts Grand Lodge for the Grand Lodge of Rio de Janeiro (D. F.) Brazil.
R. W. Bro. Robb, Past Master of Sagamore Lodge of Medford, Massachusetts, was appointed to complete the unexpired term of R.W. Bro. Arthur A. Mayhew, who passed away on February 10, 1953 while on his way to make a Fraternal Visitation on Pythagorean Lodge of Marion.
Over the years, many gifts have been given the Lodge, including several Past Masters' jewels and the members debated for many months thereafter, as to whether or not a cabinet should be erected on the west wall of the Lodge room to properly display them. This discussion commenced in 1935 and continued up to September 2, 1947, when Wor. William H. Place was appointed their custodian, with authority to have a case built to contain them. At the November 1947 communication, Bro. Place made his first of many reports of "progress" or of "definite progress" being made. However, his report of November 1947, according to the Secretary's records, was the last one to be made for five and one half years, when at the February 1953 meeting, he again stated he was making progress. Still the cabinet had not been erected and at the following September communication, the Secretary did record the following item in his record book, in which he wrote:–
"A discussion on the old subject of the building of a cabinet for Past Masters' Jewels followed. Report: No Progress. At this meeting the one who was to build the cabinet, arose and remarked, "Let us not be too hasty in this matter." Later Wor. Joseph C. Allen commented, "That progress in this matter appeared to be something akin to a traffic jam, and was wearing thin."
However, at the following November communication, Wor. Bro. Place's assistant, Wor. Lawrence W. Winterbottom, reported that the cabinet had finally been completed and was then hanging in the place reserved for it. Also at this meeting it was voted to invite Celestia Chapter, O. E. S. to share the cabinet with the Lodge for the display of any jewels, they may have, of their past officers.
Since the Lodge was organized in 1859, there have been fifteen Brothers who have held the office of Secretary, two of whom have served for a total of fifty-six years, including the period prior to receiving the charter. They are Bro. Alexander W. Smith and Bro. Roy W. Norton, each of whom served for periods of twenty-eight years. Wor. Walter S. Booker is next in line for length of service, he having held that office since 1946.
Finally it has been a pleasant and interesting task compiling the necessary data for the writing of the history of the Lodge. It is practically impossible to cover all the events that have occurred during the last one hundred years or to mention the names of all those who have contributed to the success of the Lodge. My thanks are extended to Wor. Walter S. Booker for allowing me access to the existing records. Thanks are also extended to Bro. Sydney N. Riggs and Bro. Place for supplying certain additional material included.
Lastly, I wish the Lodge continued success and may the new members who have recently joined the Lodge and those yet to join our ancient institution, carry on and improve on the foundation that has been built during the last century.
Lists of Past District Deputies, Past Masters, and other officers follow.
HISTORY AT CONSOLIDATION, JANUARY 1994
From Proceedings, Page 1994-14:
Martha's Vineyard Lodge, A. F. & A. M. Tisbury 1860-1964
The history of a Lodge can prove to be a rather dull and monotonous listing of names, dates and events, Accounts of the past of Martha's Vineyard Lodge have already been written, the first on the occasion of the burning of the mortgage of the hall on Church Street, March 9th, 1916, and the second for the hundredth anniversary on June 6th, 1959. Several interesting items included here have been selected from those histories. The rest is rambling memories of an old Past Master who was Junior Steward for the hundredth anniversary celebration.
There seem to have been a number of early Lodges on our island. King Solomon Lodge of Perfection is listed as lasting from 1791 to 1797, although it might have been instituted as early as 1783. This was followed from 1797 to 1822 by King Solomon Lodge in Perfection, all very confusing. A diploma is also said to exist dated 1787 presented to Brother Arthur Fenner by a Royal Arch King Solomon Lodge held in Edgartown, attesting to his receiving the Third Degree. In 1820, Seven Star Lodge of Edgartown was organized but surrendered its charter four years later.
The present Martha's Vineyard Lodge of Tisbury was organized in 1859 and instituted 1860. Of interest to our present Grand Master may be the fact that Marine Lodge of Falmouth conferred the degrees on six brethren so that there might be a sufficient number to form the new Lodge.
Oriental Lodge of Edgartown, with which we are now merging, organized in 1866, and an Ocean Isle Lodge, Oak Bluffs, was proposed in 1878. If one wonders why, on such a small island, three Lodges should exist or be proposed in towns but several miles apart, remember the transportation and communication difficulties of a century and more ago. Automobiles and paved roads were a long way off, and horse and wagon, stage coach, or perhaps sail boat were the alternatives. Attendance at Grand Lodge was seldom possible and Island Lodges appointed proxies from the Boston area.
Among the treasures of Martha's Vineyard Lodge is the Holy Bible displayed on its altar since August 7th, 1860. It seems that a group of eight gentlemen from Boston visited the harbor on their yacht and were entertained by brethren of the new Lodge. Seven of the visitors were members of the Craft. In gratitude for the kindness shown them they purchased the handsome leatherbound volume and presented it to the Lodge at a public ceremony. Their committee chairman was Right Worshipful William D. Coolidge, then Junior Grand Warden. He later served as Grand Master, 1861 and 1862. The Bible's Fly-leaf contains the names of these generous gentlemen.
The Lodge's first quarters were on Main Street, over a paint store, where they met, paying $40.00 a year rent, until 1878 when the rent was increased to $60.00. this was apparently too much and a move was made in the summer of 1883 to new apartments, still on Main Street, over Luce Bros. Store. Only three meetings were held there when the Great Fire of Eighty-three swept the town. All the contents were lost including the Charter. The Holy Bible and Regalia being all that was saved. A new Charter was obtained from Grand Lodge in November of the same year. Grand Lodge, and the District Deputy Grand Master of the 27th District, to which the Lodge belonged, contributed funds to the brethren. Insurance of $300.00 did not cover the loss of $500.00.
Another move was made to over Swift Brothers Store, where meetings were held until property was purchased around the corner on Church Street. This building was originally built for the Methodist Church in 1833, which it occupied until 1845. from the latter date until it was bought by the Lodge, it was known by the name of Capawock Hall and used for many purposes, including the showing of plays, dances, and for Town Meetings. This was the building in use when the Lodge celebrated its Hundredth Anniversary in 1959 and where many of the present brethren were raised. It is once more serving as a theatre for plays.
One more move was to come. By the late seventies both Island Lodges were having difficulties in maintaining their respective Halls and paying rising insurance premiums. Both buildings were put on the market and steps taken to purchase land in Oak Bluffs midway between the two towns. Edgartown sold their Hall first, and for over a year, held their meetings in Vineyard Haven. This proved to be the start of real Masonic Unity on Martha's Vineyard.
In due course, the present all steel Temple was completed and solemnly dedicated to Freemasonry in ancient form by Most Worshipful J. Philip Berquist in November of 1982. During the past several years, many members of one Lodge have affiliated with, or become honorary members of, the other, and some have been officers in both. Thus, the two Lodges have worked hand in hand for fifteen years or more. Each Lodge has gone through lean years followed by prosperous ones; usually, when one was up, the other was down. As a result, the idea of a merger was raised for at least the second time.
During the early sixties, what with much improved roads and more automobiles, committees were formed to see about a possible merger. A number of old-timers being strongly against the idea, and Grand Lodge showing little enthusiasm, plans died aborning.
Now, after months of discussion, negotiation, and voting, the merger is a fact. The brethren of Martha's Vineyard Lodge must view this with very mixed emotions of sadness and joy, sadness at seeing their Charter surrendered after 134 years, joy as they look forward to a brighter Masonic future.
Over the years, Martha's Vineyard Lodge has been ably served by sixty-six Worshipful Masters. Right Worshipful Gilbert L. Smith, a retired Whaling Captain, holds the record with thirteen years over a nineteen year period. Right Worshipful A. Douglas Stewart, a distant relative, is next with five terms in the Chair. The Lodge can also boast of eleven members chosen to serve as District Deputy Grand Masters, and another, Right Worshipful Steven Carey Luce, Jr., elected as a Senior Grand Warden. Brother Luce also wore a Gold Plated Henry Price Medal, and it is believed Brother Gilbert Smith had a similar medal which he purchased in 1888 when it was offered for sale to raise moneys for needs of Grand Lodge.
Since 1930, when it was first authorized, four Distinguished Service Medals have also been awarded. They are generally known as the Joseph Warren Medal, and were presented to Right Worshipful John E. Palmeira, Worshipful Joseph C. Allen, Right Worshipful S. David Cronig and Right Worshipful A. Douglas Stewart. Brother Joe Allen was known throughout New England as "The Oracle" in Yankee Magazine and also wrote "The Wheel-house Loafer" column in our local weekly paper.
There are at present seventeen living Past Masters, with Right Worshipful S. David Cronig being the senior, having served in the East in 1949-50. He is one of six now living off-island. We still feel the loss of Worshipful Clayton Taylor, Jr., who not only served as Master in our Lodge but also in Abraham H. Howland Jr. Lodge in New Bedford, lie greatly enlivened our rehearsals with his antics. A Grand Lecturer once remarked that there were three kinds of ritual: Grand Lodge, Blue Lodge and "Red" Taylor.
In spite of the solemnity of our degree work there have been many hilarious incidents. We can remember the time the Junior Warden informed the candidate that he had been caused to kneel on his naked left breast; the time a Past Master, acting as Senior Deacon in giving raps with his rod, brought it down on his toe and broke it; and when two candidates, each well over two hundred pounds, had their feet placed in proper position and, when told to advance to the altar, each proceeded to hop with their feet still in position! The entire building trembled.
We remember also the old-timers telling us that that wasn't the way they had done it and that our lectures had been pretty good, BUT, we had said "this" when it should have been "that". We remember when Grand Lodge had to give us a dispensation when a candidate from Oak Bluffs applied to our Lodge because that was in Oriental's jurisdiction. One old-timer recalled learning his lectures "mouth to ear" seated on the box with the stage coach driver in the days before cyphers. Now many of us are the ones who sit on the side lines and ask, "Why does Grand Lodge have to keep changing things?"
We fervently hope that those who have gone before us, those who have labored so hard and for so many years for Island Masonry are here with us in spirit and are pleased at this merging of our two Lodges. They, too, must be having mixed emotions at the surrendering of the old Charter. But then, what is a Charter but a piece of paper when compared to Masonic unity? May the Supreme Architect of the Universe bless, prosper, and cause his face to shine upon "Oriental-Martha's Vineyard Lodge".
"We met upon the level Near our harbor's sandy shore. Now I'm just an old Past Master Of a Lodge that is no more."
- Joseph T. James†, 1860, 61, 62
- Benjamin Clough†, 1863, 64
- Henry Bradley†, 1865, 66
- William Leach†, 1867, 69, 76
- J. Weldon Holmes†, 1868
- Stephen A. Thomas†, 1870, 71, 72
- Henry Beetle†, 1873, 74, 75
- Andrew Hillman†, 1877, 78
- Matthew L. Smith†, 1879, 80
- R. W. Gilbert L. Smith†, 1881-90, 93, 98, 99
- John H. Crowell†, 1891
- Charles F. Chadwick†, 1892
- William F. Neifert†, 1894, 95
- William D. Harding†, 1896, 97
- Herbert N. Hickley†, 1900, 01
- Henry W. McLellen†, 1902, 1903
- R. W. William J. Look†, 1904, 05, 06, 07
- Alvin H. Cleveland†, 1908, 09
- Abbot L. Baker†, 1910, 11, 21
- R. W. Ulysses E. Mayhew†, 1912, 13
- Norman Johnson†, 1914, 15
- Lester H. Bumpus†, 1916
- Dana C. Swift†, 1917, 18
- Alton C. Tuckerman†, 1919
- R. W. Stephen C. Luce, Jr. ★†, 1920
- Fred K. Snow†, 1922, 23
- George C. Churchill†, 1924, 25
- Winthrop C. Rheno†, 1926
- Erwin C. Burleigh†, 1927, 28
- Charles B. Dunbar†, 1929, 30
- Hariph C.Hancock†, 1931, 32
- Walter C. Flanders†, 1933, 34
- Walter S. Booker†, 1935, 36
- William A. Colby†, 1937
- Curtis S. Athearn†, 1938
- Joseph C. Allen†, 1939
- Elijah W. Crowell†, 1940
- R. W. John E. Palmeira†, 1941, 42
- R. W. Arthur A. Mayhew†, 1943, 44
- Theodore C. Howes†, 1945, 46
- James F. Morrice†, 1947
- James A. Boyle†, 1948
- R. W. S. David Cronig, 1949, 50
- R. W. Lawrence W. Winterbottom†, 1951, 52
- E. Everett Howell†, 1953, 54
- Louis M. Greene†, 1955, 56
- William E. Adams†, 1957
- Philip V Cole†, 1958, 59
- Robert B. Boren, 1960
- B. Crume Lamb, 1961,62
- R. W. David L. Welch, 1963,83
- R. W. A. Douglas Stewart, 1964, 65, 66, 69, 85
- Charles V. Maida, 1967, 68, 76
- R. Donald Bermudes, 1970, 71
- Ronald H. Tolin, 1972
- Sidney G. White, Jr.†, 1973, 77
- David R.Guay, 1974, 75
- Clayton Taylor, Jr.†, 1978, 79
- Richard R. Mello, 1980, 84
- Kenneth Ward, 1981
- James M. Beckman, 1982, 90
- Arthur J. Bailow, 1986, 87
- Christopher Keniston, 1988, 89
- Alfred H. Hop, 1991
- Nathan Hunt, 1992
- Leonard P. Reid, 1993
† = Deceased
★ = Past Senior Grand Warden
- 1921 (Informal visit by Grand Master during 150th Anniversary celebration of Union Lodge, Nantucket; 1921-227)
HALL DEDICATION, SEPTEMBER 1860
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XIX, No. 12, October 1860, Page 358:
This is a new Lodge, located at Tisbury, (Holmes' Hole,) one of the two principal villages on the island of Martha's Vineyard. It is the second Lodge at that place, and the third in the island, there having been one at Edgartown in 1797, under the name of "King Solomon in Perfection." It was constituted during the administration of M. W. Moses Michael Hays, and is said to have been invested with powers which are not usually recognized in Craft Lodges. It was discontinued after a few years. This was the first Lodge on the island. The second, as above intimated, was at Tisbury, or Holmes' Hole. It was established in 1820, under the name of the "Seven Stars," and was discontinued some thirty years ago. The third has been established under highly encouraging circumstances and with every promise of a long and prosperous existence. It is located in a pleasant village and in the midst of an intelligent, moral and industrious people.
The Brethren have fitted up for their use a commodious hall, and have furnished it in a plain but neat and substantial manner, and with everything that the necessities of the Lodge require. It was dedicated by the M. W. Grand Master on the afternoon of the 18th September, and in the evening the Lodge was duly constituted and the officers were installed,—the ceremony of constitution being performed by the Grand Master, Dr. Lewis, and that of installation by the Junior Grand Warden, R. W. Bro. Coolidge. At the conclusion of the latter ceremony, Brother Coolidge, in behalf of himself and other Brethren, who had recently, (while on a pleasure excursion round the cape, being driven by stress of weather into the harbor,) paid the Lodge an informal and unexpected visit, rose and in an appropriate and feeling address, presented to the Lodge a rich and elegant quarto Bible, suitably inscribed with the names of the donors. The acknowledgment was made by the Rev. Bro. Davis, acting Chaplain of the Lodge. The incident, which was wholly unexpected, was an exceedingly interesting one, and will be long remembered by all who were present, among whom were a large number of ladies.
At the conclusion of these ceremonies the M. W. Grand Master Lewis delivered one of those brief piquant and telling addresses for which he is unrivaled. The visitors were then dismissed and the Grand Lodge retired.
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 1, November 1860, Page 7:
PRESENTATION OF A BIBLE. In noticing last month the establishment of the new Lodge at Tisbury, we briefly referred to the presentation to the Lodge ot a very beautiful copy of the Bible, by R. W. Brother Wm. D. Coolidge, J. G. Warden, in behalf of himself and seven other Brethren and friends. The addresses made on the occasion we find published in the Vineyard Gazette, and with pleasure transfer them to our pages, as follows :—
"Worshipful Master, — It will be remembered by you, that a few weeks since, a party of gentlemen from Boston, seeking health and pleasure, found here a safe harbor for their yacht, and a most genial reception for themselves, from their Brethren of this place. Your cordial greetings and kindness on that occasion met with a ready response in the hearts of all of that company of eight, seven of whom were Brethren of the Masonic fraternity of Boston. Impressed with a sense of the great value of our institution, and feeling as we should a deep interest in the welfare and prosperity of the new Lodge about to be established here, on our return it was resolved that we would testify that interest in you, by the presentation of that great light in Masonry which is the rule and guide of our lives, the Holy Bible : and I now, sir, in the name and in behalf of the gentlemen who have united in this gift, and whose names you will find inscribed upon one of its pages, present you this beautiful edition of the Bible, asking for it a place upon your altar. And may those who look upon it, and all who may hereafter place their hands upon it, be guided by its precepts, strengthened by its promises, and brought at last, by obeying those precepts and trusting in those promises, to the rewards of the faithful in the Celestial Lodge above, where the Supreme Architect of the Universe presides forever.
"As you look out upon your beautiful harbor, with her arms extended as if to invite the tempest-tost mariner to a safe and peaceful anchorage, may it be to you as yon daily look upon this beautiful scene, a daily lesson to open your arms and your hearts to receive and comfort the way-worn Brother, and to afford him the safety and assistance he may need, so that he may go on his way rejoicing. And may you be assured of that promise from the Great Master that as ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
The Worshipful Master on receiving the Bible, placed it into the hands of the Chaplain, Rev. L. D. Davis, who responded as follows:—
"In behalf of the Master, Wardens, and Brethren of Martha's Vineyard Lodge, I accept this book and return the thanks of those receiving it. You will allow me to say that in welcoming you and your associates to the hospitalities of Masonry in this place, on the occasion to which you refer, our Brethren are conscious of having done no more than a simple duty. If they conferred a pleasure on you, they received a pleasure as well; and it may be doubted whether they or you are the debtors. But, leaving for the present this question unsettled, you will believe me when I say that the offering now made in the presentation of this Bible, is received with unfeigned satisfaction. Nothing could be more appropriate to the circumstances connected with this occasion. We were taught in taking the first step in Masonry that the Bible was one of the great lights of the institution, and that it was to be in our Masonic, as in our daily walk, the rule and guide for our faith and practice. And as we have proceeded, we have found that the Order itself was based upon the lessons in history and morality which are herein contained. We have never met but with its open page before us; and sir, this beautiful copy shall henceforth lie upon that altar in testimony of our allegiance to the God who inspired its promises, and of out regard to the Brethren who have placed it into our hands.
"And, sir, I trust this incident may be, in a measure at least, emblematic of that which is to come :—that when the voyage of life is ended, you and your companions may find safe anchorage in the harbor of rest where storms never blow and tempests never rage. There, we are assured, all who heed the sayings of this holy book, shall be gathered in unbroken assembly and enjoy uninterrupted communion. If faithful to its counsels, we shall soon be raised from the humble position of craftsmen on earth to become master workmen in the temple of the skies. May you who give, and we who receive, be exalted in that auspicious day to the sublime honors of our great Master on high. "Again we ask you to accept our thanks for this token of friendship. And should you, or any of your company find it convenient to meet with us here again, we shall be glad to welcome you as Brethren, bound with us by the mystic ties of our . ancient and honorable Order. It is to be hoped that we shall be allowed that privilege, at least occasionally, during the time to come."
The names of the gentlemen associated with Bro. Coolidge in the presentation are — Isaac Cary, Jolin M. Clark, Otis Rich, Wm. R. Jones, John T. Gardner, John Seaver, J. P. Bradlee.
OFFICERS OF THE LODGE.
- Joseph T. James, W. M.
- Benj. Clough, S. W.
- Henry Bradlee, J. W.
- John Pierce, Treas.
- Alex. W. Smith, Sec'y.
- Jared W. Crowell, S. D.
- J. Whelden Holmes, J. D.
- William Leach, S. S.
- Perez Horton, J. S.
- James B. Robinson, Marshal.
- Henry W. Beetle, Tyler.
VISIT BY MIZPAH LODGE, JULY 1913
GRAND MASTER VISIT AND EXEMPLIFICATION, JUNE 1917
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XII, No. 10, July 1917, Page 339:
Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod District Contributed
There is a Song Everywhere
Ovid declares 'that April is Venus month,' and we love red April because 'April showers bring forth May flowers.' The flowers laugh, the tears of the sky are welcomed by the parched land, and the frog's 'croak' has music in it. The flags in the swamp, with cowslips in the meadow, have voices whispering to man of the beauties peering from every point.
"Whether we look or whether we listen
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten."
But, declares the poet— 'There's nought so rare as a day in June' — and this was the unanimous testimony of the brothers of the Thirty-First Masonic District, and more especially of the brothers of Martha's Vineyard Lodge, on June 23d, for it was "The Red Letter Day" in the history of Martha's Vineyard Lodge.
It was the day for Exemplification of Work, and Lecture of our Ritual. The Martha's Vineyard Lodge had as guests:
- Union Lodge of Nantucket.
- Pythagorian Lodge, Marion.
- Marine Lodge, Falmouth.
- Social Harmony Lodge, Wareham.
- Oriental Lodge, Edgartown.
- DeWitt Clinton Lodge, Sandwich.
The morning was propitious, for in the East the god of day rose in all his golden splendor, and brothers came full of expectation, for not only were brothers of many years of Masonic [service and friendship to meet, but Rt. Wor. William A. Andrews, District Deputy grand Master; Wor. John Allanach, District Deputy Grand Marshal, and Wor. Frederick L. Putnam, Grand Lecturer, were to be present.
At eleven thirty o'clock District Deputy Grand Master Andrews read the warrant for the exemplification by the lodges of the 31st District and announced that M. W. Grand Master Leon M. Abbott would be present to witness the exemplification. The lodge was opened in due form with brethren present from every lodge in the 31st Masonic District. W. M. Cyril S. Carriveau of Union Lodge, Nantucket, occupied the chair and proceeded with the exemplification, opening on the Third Degree. The lodge was changed and the work of the First Degree commenced. This was continued by DeWitt Clinton Lodge of Sandwich, Wor. Master Lewis J. Whitney presiding.
The lodge was opened on the Second Degree. The work was exemplified by Pythagorian Lodge, Marion, Wor. Master Bismark Ladner and Social Harmony Lodge, Wareham, Wor. Master George W. Sutcliffe, presiding.
The lodge was opened on the Third degree. Oriental Lodge of Edgartown, Wor. Master Manuel Swartz presented the first section of the degree when the lodge was called from labor to refreshment. Work was resumed at 2 o'clock. Martha's Vineyard Lodge, Wor. Master Dana Swift, and Marine Lodge of Falmouth, Wor. Master Howard L. Pierce, completing the work and lecture of the degree.
Wor. John Allenach, deputy grand marshal, announced the presence of Wor. Herbert M. Chase, Junior Grand Steward, acting as Grand Marshal, who informed the lodge that M. W. Leon M. Abbott, grand master, was present in an adjoining apartment for the purpose of paying a visit to Martha's Vineyard Lodge. A committee of Past Masters was appointed and the Grand Master escorted into the lodge.
The Most Worshipful Grand Master was received by Worshipful Master Dana Swift, who invited him to occupy the oriental chair, and witness rn exemplification of work - which was done by Marine Lodge of Falmouth.
Grand Lecturer Putnam addressed the brethren on the importance of strict attention to the ritual, an avoidance of slip-shod ways of pronouncing words which, if wrongly emphasized or mispronounced, might give a false impression to the candidate for degrees, and first impressions were most lasting, and generally gave the new member his idea of what Masonry meant. There should never be levity, nor inattention during work, and never overacting, for that made serious things appear ridiculous.
At seven o'clock the Lodge was called from labor to refreshment.
Dinner was served in the banquet hall; the Most Worshipful Grand Master and suite honoring the occasion with their presence.
At eight o'clock all brethren were invited to the lodge room for a "feast of reason, and a flow of soul" — and no brother went away disappointed, for never were men or masons happier in listening to wisdom, wit and eloquence.
W. M. Dana Swift welcomed the Most Worshipful Grand Master and suite to the post prandial exercises, declaring it was the greatest day Martha's Vineyard Lodge had ever enjoyed, and would go down to history as the red letter day of the lodge.
There were many eloquent visiting brethren present, but before calling upon them to speak the worshipful master requested the marshal to place Right Worshipful Gilbert Smith, and Bro. James B. Robinson in the East. The Most Worshipful Grand Master then addressed these brothers congratulating them on their many years of honorable active service in and for Masonry. He then presented each with the Henry Price Medal, given only to such Masons as have served Masonry honorably for fifty years, or for meritorious service.
Brothers Smith and Robinson replied in the most happy manner — Brother Smith speaking of his being thirteen times Worshipful Master of Martha's Vineyard Lodge; and Bro. Robinson of having been charter member of two lodges in California.
It was a time of great rejoicing for the Masons of Martha's Vineyard Lodge, for it is very rare that two brothers of the same lodge receive this much valued, and wished-for honor, at the hands of the Most Worshipful Grand Master.
The speakers of the evening were M. W. Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master; Rt. Wor. Moses C. Plummer, Deputy Grand Master; Rt. Wor. William M. Farrington, Senior Grand Warden; Rt. Wor. Edward L. Chase, Junior Grand Warden; Rt. Wor. Charles H. Ramsay, Grand Treasurer; Wor. Frederic L. Putnam, grand lecturer; Rt. Wor. William A. Andrews, Rt. Wor. Bro. Huxtable, and Bro. Groezinger. Each was heartily welcomed, holding the attention of the brethren by their wise and interesting remarks. Grand Master Abbott was the last speaker of the evening, the Wor. Master saying in his introduction "Thou has kept the best wine until the last" which was the kindly commendation of the Master at the happy wedding feast of Canaan of Gallilee.
So it proved with us — were I a trembling prisoner at the bar, I'd have him plead for me —did I need aid as "one poor indeed," who had fallen upon hard times, I'd wish his gentle pleadings to move the multitude to charity, then I'd be rich, I'd be happy; for who could fail to be both with this man as his friend?
"When I confess there is, who sought not fame, but has it—" "And melts to goodness," need I Abbott name?
His dignity, his democratic mien, his affable greeting and winning eloquence, won the heart of every Mason of the 31st District.
What though Sunday's summer dawn began to press the midnight hour, one young brother of ninety summers thought "the speech so short, it might have gone on for another hour."
It was eloquent with Masonic principles, "which ought to pervade and inlluence all acts of all mankind throughout the world."
The fraternal heart-talk of the Most Worshipful Grand Master was indeed eloquent with pleadings for real Masonry and real life, that all men may feel the true fraternalism expressed in Masonry toward all humanity; and that love, hope, fear and faith in Elohiem—the strong one may extend; for these are signs, notes, and the character of true Masonry. There was only one regrettable moment in all the day's work, and that was when the Most Worshipful Master spoke his last word to us.
Memory will hold a bright spot whenever she recalls June 23, 1917, the exemplification, and the visitation of the Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master of Masons of Massachusetts, to Martha's Vineyard Lodge.
There were visitors present from every Masonic lodge of the 31st district.
The next day the Most Worshipful Grand Master and suite were invited to visit the beauties of Martha's Vineyard in the autos of brother Masons. They paid a visit to the delightful colonial home of Worshipful Brother Isaac Chase, then to the famous Wesley House and dined with Brother Herbert M. Chase, who is always the happy host; thence across the island to the famous and wonderful cliffs of Gay Head and home again.
Regretfully we said good-bye and we hope ere many moons have passed to change it to welcome again to our island home.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- S(idney). David Cronig, DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1971, 1972
- William J. Look, DDGM, District 27 (Nantucket), 1908, 1909; Memorial
- Stephen Carey Luce, Jr., DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1921, 1922; Senior Grand Warden 1924; N
- Arthur A. Mayhew, DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1953; N (died in office)
- Ulysses E. Mayhew, DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1918, 1919; SN
- John E. Palmeira, DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1945, 1946; N
- Dwight W. Robb, DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1953, 1954; SN
- Gilbert L. Smith, DDGM, District 27 (Nantucket), 1895, 1896; SN
- A. Douglas Stewart, DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1981, 1982; N
- David L. Welch, DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1987, 1988; N
- Lawrence W. Winterbottom, DDGM, District 31 (Nantucket), 1961, 1962; SN