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Location: Worcester

Chartered By: John T. Heard

Charter Date: 06/09/1859 VI-250

Precedence Date: 06/21/1858

Current Status: merged with Athelstan Lodge to form Guiding Lights Lodge, 08/23/2003.


  • William A. Smith, 1858, 1859
  • George W. Bentley, 1860
  • James H. Osgood, 1861
  • J. D. Washburn, 1862
  • Benjamin Lewis, 1863
  • William S. Goodwin, 1864, 1865
  • Albert Walbridge, 1866
  • Emery Wilson, 1867
  • John W. Jordan, 1868
  • Henry C. Willson, 1869, 1870
  • Nelson R. Scott, 1871
  • Charles W. Moody, 1872
  • G. Edward Smith, 1873
  • George M. Taylor, 1874
  • Henry D. Barber, 1875, 1876
  • Reuben J. Tatman, 1877
  • George D. Boyden, 1878
  • Jeremiah Swasey, 1879
  • Thomas Talbot, 1880
  • S. Henry Shattuck, 1881, 1882
  • Quincy A Thomas, 1883
  • Henry C. Willson, 1884
  • George M Rice, II, 1885
  • Frederick W. Southwick, 1886, 1887; SN
  • Joseph H. Dunkerton, 1888, 1889
  • Oliver P. Shattuck, 1890
  • Alexander Foulds, 1891
  • Enoch Earle, 1892, 1893
  • Frank M. Heath, 1894; Mem
  • Robert W. Clifford, DDGM, 1895-1897; SN
  • Forrest E. Barker, 1898, 1899
  • Edward P. Taft, 1900, 1901
  • Parkman H. Stearns, 1902
  • Frank A. Clark, 1903
  • Fred M. Simpson, 1904
  • Charles M. Farnum, 1905
  • Harry A. Childs, 1906
  • Austin A. Heath, DDGM, 1907; Mem
  • William H. DeLong, 1908
  • Melville L. Heath, 1909
  • George H. Mullen, 1910
  • William H. DeLong, 1911
  • Oscar F. Burbank, 1912
  • George H. Jewett, 1913
  • Albert R. Webb, 1914
  • Arthur L. Stone, 1915
  • Frank W. Ward, 1916
  • Clarence R. Goddard, 1917
  • Burt W. Greenwood, 1918; N
  • Leonard W. Howell, 1919
  • Edward M. Woodward, Jr., 1920; N
  • Alfred E. Burbank, 1921
  • Byron A. Bishop, 1922
  • Harry G. Miller, 1923
  • William H. Tuttle, 1924
  • James T. Davidson, 1925
  • Edwin A. Hunt, 1926
  • Dexter C. May, 1927
  • Henry L. Rawson, 1928
  • Dale C. Crosby, 1929
  • G. Willard King, 1930; N
  • Francis D. Hart, 1931
  • Ronald R. Johnson, 1932
  • James W. Woodill, 1933
  • Cyril C. Walton, 1934
  • Allen W. Hixon, 1935
  • Thomas S. Roy, 1936; N
  • Frank Kenneth Sawyer, 1937
  • Victor H. Jennings, 1938
  • Earl E. Fipphen, 1939
  • Walter H. Shales, 1940
  • Averill E. Cook, 1941
  • Earl C. Richards, 1942
  • Averill E. Cook, 1943
  • Thomas Christensen, 1944
  • Baalis Sanford, 1945
  • Robert J. King, 1946
  • Howell G. MacDuff, 1947
  • William H. Nolet, 1948
  • Mark K. Forman, 1949
  • Robert B. Cameron, 1950
  • Frederick J. Shaw, Jr., 1951
  • Paul R. Nelson, 1952
  • Francis B. Page, 1953
  • Robert J. Sherwood, 1954
  • Hugh Miller, 1955, 1956
  • Elmer T. Scott, 1957
  • Wilfred W. Rawson, 1958
  • Guy W. Burr, Jr., 1959, 1960
  • Carl E. MacKay, 1961
  • Curtis Maitland, 1962
  • David Miller, 1963
  • Charles A. Cross, 1964; N
  • James A. Gates, Jr., 1965; N
  • Warren R. Richards, 1966
  • Smith G. Philips, 1967
  • Robert W. Eaton, 1968
  • Gordon V. Danielson, 1969
  • Ralph R. Belezerian, 1970, 1993
  • Leonard E. Anderson, 1971
  • Phillip T. Hall, 1972
  • David H. Moberg, 1973, 1974
  • Stanley G. Nelson, 1975
  • Bruce E. Wells, 1976
  • David T. Roy, 1977, 1986
  • Philip J. Mortimer, 1978, 1979
  • Robert E. McDuffie, 1980; PDDGM
  • Dukagjin Kershalli, 1981, 1982
  • Edward N. Haddad, Jr., 1983
  • Kenneth H. Hart, 1984, 1987
  • Robert A. Olson, Sr., 1985
  • Herbert A. Wheeler, 1987
  • Scott A. Johnson, 1988
  • Louis J. Croft, 1989
  • James K. Tufts, III, 1990, 1997
  • Mark D. High, 1991
  • Gordon V. Danielson, 1992
  • Ralph R. Belezerian, 1993
  • Norman L. MacAskill, Jr., 1994
  • Ralph R. Belezerian, 1995
  • Roger I. Williams, 1996
  • Robert Alan Bloom, 1998, 2003
  • Nicholas W. Prifti, 1999
  • Todd B. Rivernider, 2000, 2001
  • Robert A. Bloom, 2002


  • Petition for Dispensation: 1858
  • Petition for Charter: 1859
  • Consolidation Petition (with Athelstan Lodge): 2003


  • 1992 (125th Anniversary)



1869 1870 1882 1888 1896 1906 1911 1916 1918 1920 1922 1924 1937 1944 1949 1952 1956 1957 1960 1961 1965 1981 1988


  • 1958 (Centenary History, 1958-144; see below)


From Proceedings, Page 1958-144:

By Right Worshipful Edward M. Woodward, Jr.

The Year: 1858. The days of the forty-niners were barely over. Expansion to the far west was on apace. Slavery was the principal issue before the country. The rumblings of the coming conflict between the North and the South were being heard.

Worcester was then a City of about 23,000 people, but it was only ten years since it had given up the town form of government. While the steam railroad was here, even horse-cars for local transportation were still in the future.

Worcester was already a Masonic center, the seat of one Lodge, a Royal Arch Chapter, a Council of Royal and Select Masters, and an Encampment of Knights Templar. All of these bodies had been dormant during the anti-Masonic period. It was only fourteen years since Morning Star Lodge and Worcester County Encampment had been revived, twelve years since Worcester Chapter had resumed work, while Hiram Council had just awakened from its long sleep.

It was in this setting and during this period of reviving interest in Freemasonry that Montacute Lodge was born. On petition of thirty-one members of Morning Star Lodge, a dispensation dated June 21, 1858, was issued by the Grand Master, M. W. John T. Heard, authorizing the formation of a new Lodge in Worcester.

There is no record of any preliminary meetings of the petitioners. All were young in Masonry, as might be expected from the short time since the revival of the Fraternity here. Twenty-one had been raised within the past two and a half years, and the oldest had been a Mason for only eight years.

The petitioners requested that the new Lodge be called Crescent Lodge. However, on the suggestion of the Grand Master, the name was changed to Montacute, commemorative of what was supposed to be the title of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England, Anthony Brown, Viscount Montacute, who, in 1733, deputized Henry Price to be Provincial Grand Master of New England.

This dispensation named Bro. William Addison Smith, thirty-four years of age, as the first Master. While he had been a Mason for less than two years, he had already served a term as Junior Deacon of Morning Star Lodge and was then Senior Warden of that Lodge. He was a lawyer by profession and Assistant Clerk of Courts of Worcester County.

The Senior Warden was to be Bro. George Whitfield Bentley, thirty-six years old, Superintendent of the Worcester & Nashua Railroad Company, a Mason of five years' standing.

The oldest in age, but the youngest in Masonic experience, of rhe first three officers was the Junior Warden, Bro. James Henry Osgood. Although forty-two years old, he had been a Master Mason for less than two months. He was in the express business.

The first meeting of the new Lodge was on Tuesday evening, July 13, 1858, at Waldo Hall in the Waldo Block on the east side of Main Street just north of the Bay State House at the corner of Exchange Street. This was the meeting place of Morning Star Lodge. The first business was to complete the organization of the Lodge. Bro. William H. Eaton, who conducted a business school known as "Eaton's Commercial College, was elected Secretary; Bro. Seth P. Miller, a dentist, Treasurer; and the Master announced his appointments of the remaining officers. This first meeting was held on the second Tuesday of the month and the second Tuesday became the day for the regular communications until 1867.

At the next regular, August 10th, three applicants for the degrees were accepted, and the Entered Apprentice Degree was conferred on two of them on the same evening. The Second Degree was worked for the first time on November 9th and the Third Degree on December 14th. At last the day came to which all were looking forward. On June 28, 1859, Montacute Lodge was constituted by M. W. John T. Heard, after which the officers were installed.

Five of those who petitioned for the dispensation decided not to become charter members. There was one name on the charter which was not included in the dispensation, R. W. Henry Goddard. Brother Goddard was a Past Master of Morning Star Lodge and was Senior Grand Warden in 1858. He was later to become District Deputy Grand Master, and still later, to demit to become a charter member and first Master of Athelstan Lodge. Montacute Lodge began its career as a chartered Lodge with twenty-seven charter members and nine others who had been raised under dispensation, a total of thirty-six.

Montacute Lodge sub-rented Waldo Hall from Morning Star Lodge. The rent, at first $60 per annum, was increased to $75 in April 1859. In June 1861 it was again raised to $100 to be retroactive to April. This raise did not meet with favor in Montacute Lodge and payment was held up. On August 13th a communication was received from Morning Star Lodge stating that unless the $25 due for the quarter ending July 1st be not paid by the next regular communication of Morning Star, the further occupancy of the rooms by Montacute Lodge must be prohibited. It was voted to place the letter on file, and a committee was appointed to procure a suitable place for future meetings.

The committee, under the leadership of the Master, Wor. George W. Bentley, immediately went to work and fitted up a hall in the Bank Block on Foster Street. This building is now occupied in part by the Worcester County Electric Co. The lodge-room, named Montacute Hall, was dedicated by M.W. William D. Coolidge, Grand Master, on the afternoon of November 12, 1861. At the annual meeting of the Lodge, held in the evening, the new officers were installed by the Grand Master. The three York Rite Bodies occupied the hall jointly with Montacute Lodge.

Athelstan Lodge was constituted in 1866 and twenty-four demitted from Montacute to become charter members. Seven of these had been charter members of Montacute Lodge, one was a Past Master (Wor. John D. Washburn), and others had been zealous workers in the Lodge. Montacute Lodge granted them free use of the hall and the Lodge jewels while working under dispensation.

Shortly before the annual communication of 1865, on the motion of Wor. William A. Smith, the Lodge voted to invite the wives and lady friends of the members to witness the ceremonies of the next installation. Accordingly, on November 21st, Montacute Lodge held its first public installation. The Master installed was William S. Goodwin, and the installing officer was the Grand Master, M. W. William Parkman. Following the ceremonies a bountiful repast was provided in the banquet hall. After a few short speeches, the Lodge was closed at low twelve, waiving all ceremony. The wish was expressed by many that a public installation might become an annual recurrence. However, it was not until 1869 that one was attempted again. Public installations have not been popular in Montacute Lodge, for on only one other occasion has one been held. This was in 1941, when Earl C. Richards became Master. The installing officer was the then Worshipful Thomas S. Roy, who was assisted by the Past Masters of the Lodge.

In 1866 (February 13) a committee was appointed, in the words of the records, "to confer with like committees from other Masonic bodies of this city relative to a proposition of certain capitalists to prepare a suite of rooms in a building about to be erected on Pearl Street in this city for use of the various Masonic bodies." There were then seven Masonic bodies in Worcester including Morning Star Lodge, which was still meeting in the Waldo Block. These seven bodies leased for twenty years the third and fourth floors of the new building, which became known as the "Post Office Building" as the Worcester Post Office was located on the street floor.

At three o'clock in the afternoon of June 17, 1867, Montacute Lodge assembled with Morning Star and Athelstan Lodges at Horticultural Hall, then on Front Street, to receive the Grand Master and suite. They were introduced by Bro. James B. Blake, Mayor of Worcester, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Masonic Apartments, and a member of Montacute Lodge. A procession was then formed and, under escort of Worcester County Encampment of Knights Templar, passed through some of the principal streets to the Bay State House, where it was dismissed. In the evening the Brethren reassembled at the new Masonic Apartments, which were dedicated by the Grand Master, M. W. Charles C. Dame.

Apparently some of the Brethren were not satisfied in their minds as to whether Montacute Lodge was properly named. On November 1, 1869, the following action was taken: "On motion of Bro. William A. Smith, it was Voted, that the first three officers of this Lodge memorialize the Grand Lodge that the vexed question whether the name of the lord from whom this Lodge was named was Montacute or Montague be settled." At the next quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge a committee was appointed consisting of Past Grand Masters John T. Heard and Winslow Lewis, and the Master of Montacute Lodge, Henry C. Willson, to

  • 1st. Determine whether the title of Viscount, created in 1554, in favor of Sir Anthony Brown, was Montacute or Montague, and
  • 2nd. Ascertain what were the arms of the family of Anthony Brown.

The committee made a very thorough investigation, examining evidence both Masonic and other than Masonic. A year later, December 14, 1870, they submitted a report covering over one hundred pages in the printed proceedings of the Grand Lodge. The evidence examined was very conflicting. Quoting from the report: "in several cases the same author refers to it (the title of the viscountancy) in one place as Montague or Montagu, and in another as Montacute." The committee quoted one authority as saying: "alluding to both names, * * * they referred to a sharp-hill in Somersetshire, 'from which the illustrious family of Montacute, sometime earls of Salisbury, took their name.'" Anthony Brown was a descendant of the Montacutes, but the name and title had long since lapsed. He was the sixth Viscount and the patent creating his ancestor, the first Viscount, in every instance is given as "Montague."

The report concluded with these recommendations:

  • 1st. That Montacute Lodge have leave, on their petitioning therefore, to change their name to Montague Lodge, and
  • 2nd. That * * * Montacute Lodge be free to continue to use their present seal or to change the devices thereon according to their taste and inclination.

Montacute Lodge never availed itself of the permissions given by the Grand Lodge. Later evidence, both legal and otherwise, tended to indicate that both names had "been used interchangeably for many hundreds of years, and in point of fact, were one and the same." Whatever may have been the correct title of the Viscount, our Lodge has now borne the name Montacute for one hundred years.

In 1871 Montacute Lodge again contributed to the formation of a new Lodge when six of its members demitted to become charter members of Quinsigamond Lodge. Of this group, Bro. Henry C. Wadsworth became the first Master.

For reasons not given, a committee reported it inexpedient to observe the twenty-fifth anniversary of the constitution of the Lodge in 1884. After the Fraternity had occupied the Pearl Street Apartments for nearly thirty years, it is natural that it should be thinking of a Temple of its own. As early as 1885 dissatisfaction with the quarters and the need for enlarged accommodations had been expressed. The rooms had been well managed by an organization called the Directors of the Masonic Fraternity, consisting of three representatives from each of the Masonic bodies. At the regular communication in July, 1895, a resolution was adopted approving organizing and incorporating a Masonic Building Association for the purpose of erecting and maintaining a Masonic Temple in Worcester. Such an organization was formed, and was called "The General Masonic Committee of 33," which was incorporated the next year (1896) as the "Worcester Masonic Charity and Educational Association." For awhile much enthusiasm for the project was shown. Then the interest began to wane. Many felt that the cost of the Temple as planned was too much; others were dissatisfied with the site purchased (the lot on which the present Temple is located). The plan of financing was rejected by Montacute Lodge by a vote of 77 to 1 in 1898. Only two of the bodies adopted the necessary amendments to their By-Laws. And so the project was given up until it was revived eleven years later.

Montacute Lodge was now approaching its fiftieth year. At the regular communication held on the 4th day of March, 1907, upon motion of Wor. George M. Rice, it was voted to celebrate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the organization of the Lodge and that the Worshipful Master, at some future meeting, appoint a committee of five with power to make all necessary arrangements therefor.

In accordance with the plans worked out by the committee, a special communication of Montacute Lodge was opened at ten o'clock in the forenoon of Sunday, June 21, 1908, with the officers and one hundred and ninety-four Brethren present. The Grand Master, M. W. J. Albert Blake, and suite were received. Then it was announced that the Lodge had accepted an invitation from Rev. Bro. Vincent E. Tomlinson to attend divine worship at the First Universalist Church. The Lodge was formed in procession and marched to the church on Pleasant Street, where an "impressive and interesting sermon, especially suited to the occasion" was delivered by Dr. Tomlinson. After the service the Lodge returned to the lodge-room where it was called from labor to refreshment.

On Monday, June 22nd, at three o'clock in the afternoon, the Worshipful Master, for the purpose of continuing the celebration, called the Lodge from refreshment to labor and the Grand Master and suite were received. The exercises consisted of an address by Rev. Bro. R. Perry Bush; the reading of an original poem by Bro. Joseph Jackson, Chaplain of Montacute Lodge; the History of the Lodge (later printed) by Wor. George M. Rice; and selections by an eight-piece orchestral group composed of members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. At 6:30 two hundred and sixty Brethren assembled in Association Hall in the Y. M. C. A. Building on Elm Street where, after a prayer by the Grand Chaplain, a banquet was served. At its conclusion the Master introduced R. W. Forrest E. Barker as Toastmaster. The after-dinner speakers included the Grand Master, M. W. J. Albert Blake, and our first Master, R. W. William A. Smith.

In 1909 interest in building a Masonic Temple was revived. This time the project was carried to a successful conclusion. On Friday, September 12, 1913, the corner-stone was laid by the Deputy Grand Master, R. W. Herbert E. Fletcher. Just previous to the ceremonies, Montacute Lodge participated with the other Worcester Lodges in a parade under escort of Worcester County Commandery from the old apartments on Pearl Street through Chestnut and Harvard Streets to Lincoln Square and thence down Main Street to Ionic Avenue and the site of the Temple.

R. W. William A. Smith, our first Master, then in his ninetieth year, was present at the ceremonies. The Lodge was saddened less than two weeks later by his death. At the time of his passing he was the oldest graduate of Harvard College, the oldest member of the Worcester County Bar, and had been clerk and treasurer of the Worcester County Mechanics Association for forty-three years. A Masonic funeral service was held by Montacute Lodge at Grace Methodist Church, of which he was a member, on September 27, 1913.

A year later, on September 3, 1914, the new Temple was dedicated by M.W. Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Master. Again Montacute Lodge participated in a parade in the forenoon, the ceremony of dedication was in the afternoon, and a banquet was held at the Bancroft Hotel in the evening. In January 1921 another Lodge was constituted in Worcester, Isaiah Thomas. Nine members of Montacute Lodge were among the twenty-seven charter members. Unlike previous instances, they were not required to demit, as plural membership was now permitted. R. W. Matthew J. Whittall and Brother Edward M. Woodward were the first Wardens, and Brothers William W. Brown and Arthur B. Chapin the first Deacons. All were members of Montacute Lodge and all became Masters of Isaiah Thomas.

A special communication was called on April 28, 1924, for the purpose of receiving as guest of the Lodge Bro. Channing H. Cox, Governor of Massachusetts. He was escorted to the west of the Altar and introduced by Wor. Burt W. Greenwood. Bro. James Logan presented him to the Brethren for his address. At its conclusion, R. W. Frederic W. Southwick, in behalf of the Lodge, presented a Masonic apron to our guest, who, in turn, in behalf of the Grand Master, pinned on Brother Southwick's coat a Henry Price Medal, which at that time was awarded for fifty years' membership.

On Thursday evening, June 21, 1928, the seventieth anniversary of the institution of Montacute Lodge was observed. Special seventieth anniversary medals were presented to all who were seventy years old or older, and so living when the Lodge was instituted. There were fifty-three of these (7% of the membership), of whom twenty-three were present. In the record of this communication is the following letter addressed to the Worshipful Master and members at the one hundredth anniversary:

Worcester, Mass., June 21, 1928
To the Worshipful Master (June 1958)

My dear Worshipful Master:

As Worshipful Master, and in behalf of the Officers and Members of Montacute Lodge here assembled at its Seventieth Anniversary Exercises, June 21, 1928, we extend to the Master, Officers, and Members of Montacute Lodge at its One Hundredth Anniversary in 1958, our sincere greetings and fraternal felicitations.

May its life, service and prestige remain on that high plane amongst Masonic Lodges as has been its fortune since its institution.

Fraternally yours,
/s/ H. Lyman Rawson, Master

1933 was another anniversary year, the seventy-fifth. On invitation of Rev. Bro. Thomas S. Roy, Senior Deacon, about seventy members and their families attended the First Baptist Church on Sunday, June 25th, as part of the anniversary observance. At a special communication on Monday evening, an historical talk was given by one of our Past Masters, Wor. Fred M. Sampson.

In September 1934 the Brethren were shocked by the sudden death of our Secretary, Wor. Arthur L. Stone, who had served faithfully in that office for sixteen years. A Masonic funeral service was held in the Egyptian Chamber on the 23rd. He was succeeded by R. W. Edward M. Woodward, Jr., who was transferred from the Treasurer's station and served for the next twenty-three years, until September 1957.

In December 1942 our Past Master, R.W. Thomas S. Roy, was appointed Deputy Grand Master on completion of service for a year as District Deputy Grand Master for the 22nd District. On the eighth day of the following March (1943), Montacute Lodge tendered a reception to him in the Egyptian Chamber. The occasion was graced by the presence of M.W. Albert A. Schaefer and other officers and members of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Master bestowed upon R.W. Brother Roy a Henry Price Medal. Wor. G. Willard King presented him with a Deputy Grand Master's jewel in behalf of Montacute Lodge.

In December 1950 the members of Montacute Lodge were thrilled by the election and installation of Dr. Roy as Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. The Master of Montacute Lodge in 1951 was Wor. Frederick J. Shaw, Jr., who had been sponsored and raised by Brother Roy when he was Deputy Grand Master. Now, through a happy coincidence, Brother Shaw, as Master, had the privilege of receiving Brother Roy as Grand Master in Montacute Lodge at a reception given in the latter's honor on January 29, 1951. After the flow of wit and wisdom from the distinguished guests present, the Master requested that Wor. G. Willard King, who had sponsored Dr. Roy when he applied to Montacute for affiliation and who had given him his first appointment as a line officer of Montacute, be conducted to the East. Brother King then presented a traveling bag to the Grand Master in behalf of the Past Masters of the Lodge. The Lodge was closed in Ample Form. Quoting the closing words of the record of the meeting: "Thus ended a unique incident in the history of Montacute Lodge, the like of which will not occur again for many, many years, if ever."

On June 9, 1953, a devastating tornado struck Worcester. The Master, Wor. Francis B. Page, announced in Lodge that he had personally visited seventy or more of our members in the tornado area. He stated that he found pride paramount among them, and none would admit needing assistance from the Lodge. Later investigation indicated that assistance was needed by several. It was furnished from a fund established by the Grand Lodge in part from its own funds and in part by contributions by some of the local collateral bodies and by individuals.

The remaining occurrences in our history are too recent to be recorded here. From a charter membership of twenty-seven the Lodge steadily grew until there were 334 when it was twenty-five years old, 484 at its fiftieth anniversary, with a maximum membership of 792 in 1928. Then came the depression and ground was lost until 1941 when the membership had dropped to 601. After this the tide turned and our membership is now 722.

The year is now 1958. One hundred years have come and gone. The frontier is not the West, but outer space. The inventive genius of man has produced wonders not even dreamed of when Montacute Lodge was born. But it has not produced peace and harmony among the nations. May the spirit of Freemasonry so enter the hearts of all men that a better world will greet our Brethren of fifty and one hundred years hence.


  • 1869 (Communication with the UGLE regarding the name Montacute, VII-438)
  • 1870 (Communication with the UGLE regarding the name Montacute, 1870-239)
  • 1872 (Note regarding non-payment of dues, 1872-10)
  • 1908 (First Master of the lodge present at Quarterly, 1908-104)
  • 1913 (Participation in Worcester temple dedication, 1913-164)



Bay State House, Worcester

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XVIII, No. 10, August, 1859, p. 295:


This is the name of a new Lodge which was consecrated at Worcester, in this State, on Tuesday, the 28th June last, after having worked one year under Dispensation. It takes its name from Lord Montacute, who, as Grand Master of Masons in England, granted, in 1733, a Commission to Henry Price, to organize the first Grand Lodge in America, which was opened in this city in July of that year. The ceremonies of Consecration and installation of officers were performed by M. W. Grand Master Heard, assisted by the R. W. Charles R. Train, D. G. M.; Wm. D. Coolidge, as S. G. W.; Chas. Robbins, J. G. W.; W. W. Wheildon, as G. Treas.; Chas. W. Moore, G. Sec'y; Rev. E. M. P. Wells, D. D., G. Chaplain ; Wm. S. Gardner, G. Marshal, and other officers of the Grand Lodge. Previous to the commencement of the ceremonies, the Grand Officers, at the invitation of the new Lodge, sat down to one of the most elegant and inviting entertainments it has been our privilege to be a party to for many-a-day, whether regarded in the light of its own tempting excellence or in the manner of serving. In both these particulars it did ample credit to the good taste of the gentlemanly host of the " Bay State."


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIII, No. 3, January, 1864, p. 86:

At the regular communication of Montacute Lodge, held at their Hall, Nov. 10, 1863, the following Brethren were elected officers for the present year, and were duly installed by D. D. G. M. J. W. Dadmun:—

  • Benj. Lewis, W. M.
  • Wm. S. Goodwin, S. W.
  • Albert Walbridge, J. W.
  • T. W. Wellington, Treas
  • Geo. Phelps, Sec
  • Stephen E. Lowe, S. D.
  • John W. Jordan, J. D.
  • J. H. Willis, Chaplain
  • Jonas Heald. Jr., Marshal
  • Henry C. Willson, S. S
  • Emory Wilson, J. S
  • C. F. Mirick, I. Sent.
  • Daniel Seagrave, Tyler.

The Trustees elected at the same meeting were W. Bro. Benj. Lewis, and Brother Henry Goddard and Henry M. Whitten. The Relief Committee are Brothers Chas. B. Whiting, Wm. S. Goodwin and Alfort Wallridge.


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXVI, No. 2, December 1866, Page 62:

The Annual Communication of Montacute Lodge was held at their hall on Tuesday evening, Nov. 13, 1866, and the following brothers were duly elected and installed as officers for the ensuing year, the ceremony of installation being performed by R. W. D. D. G. M. A. A. Burditt.—

  • Albert Walbridge, W. Master.
  • Emory Wilson, S. Warden.
  • John W. Jordan, J. Warden.
  • George F. Wood, Treasurer.
  • George E. Boyden, Secretary.
  • Rev. B. F. Bowles, Chaplain.
  • Henry C. Willson, S. Deacon.
  • Nelson R. Scott, J. Deacon.
  • William Allen, S. Steward.
  • Charles W. Moody, J. Steward.
  • Robert H. Chamberlain, Marshal.
  • Porter Davis, I. Sentine.
  • Daniel Seagrave, Tyler.


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXVII, No. 2, December 1867, Page 64:

Officers of Montacute Lodge, Worcester.—

  • W. M., Br. Emery Wilson
  • S. W., Br. John W. Jordan
  • J. W., Br. Henry Ch. Willson
  • Treasurer, Br. George F. Wood
  • Secy., Br. Geo. E. Boyden
  • S. D., Br. N. B. Scott
  • J. D., Br. Chas. W. Moody
  • Chap. Rev. Br. J. O. Peck
  • S. S., Br. John H. Coes
  • J. S., Br. John Delano
  • I. S., Br. P. Davis
  • M., Br. Chas. S. Chapin.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. III, No. 11, August 1908, Page 412:

WilliamHDeLong.jpg GeorgeMRice.jpg
Wor. William H. Delong, Master; Wor. George M. Rice, Historian

Semi-Centennial of Montacute Lodge, Worcester, Mass.

Montacute A. F. & A. M., of Worcester. Massachusetts, observed the semi-centennial of its organization by a two days' celebration, beginning with a church service on Sunday, June 21, and concluding with literary exercises and a banquet on Monday, June 22d. The celebration on Monday was elaborate and complete in every detail. Many distinguished Masons were present including Most Worshipful J. Albert Blake, Grand Master: Right Worshipful William H. L. Odell, Deputy Grand Master; Right Worshipful William M. Belcher, Senior Grand Warden; Right Worshipful Oliver A. Roberts, Junior Grand Warden; Right Worshipful Sereno D. Nickerson, Grand Secretary; Right Worshipful Everett C. Benton, past Deputy Grand Master; Righl Worshipful Edward M. Woodward, District Deputy Grand Master; Rev. R. Perry Bush, D. D., and Rev. William H. Rider, D. D., and Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Marshal. Other guests were Right Worshipful John McLane, past Grand Master of Xew Hampshire, Worshipful William A. Smith, first Master of the lodge; Hon. James Logan, Mayor of Worcester; lion. Walter C. Wardwell, mayor of Cambridge and others. Right Worshipful Forrest E. Barker was chairman of the committee of arrangements. The musical portion of the program was of especial interest as it was rendered by Gustav Strube and seven other artists from Boston symphony orchestra — all Masons.

The Most Worshipful Grand Master was received with the honors due his office; following this Rev. R. Perry Rush. D. D, delivered a very interesting oration saying in part:

"In 1717 operative Masonry closed. There were no more principals to he named, there have been but few great churches erected since. But in better shape the lodges conduce to human welfare and have no other distinction than who best can serve and best agree.

"It is not possible to think that Freemasonry has reached its highest station nor do I so conceive it. We have a right to rejoice in our Masonic ancestry but we are not yet perfect.

"The fifty years of the lodge in this community has, I am sure, been an advance to the moral capital, to the civic virtue, to the nobler manhood of your great and good city. But not yet have you, nor any other representative of the Craft, reached the highest possible station. And the use we make of the present is to give shape to our fraternity in the days to come. We need to keep before us the ideal. It is no slight honor to be allied with an institution that reaches back into the distant past, and that has embraced within its charmed and sacred circle the brightest of intellects and the most consecrated souls.

"There is no other institution save the church itself, which can claim such a record as ours.

"But we must not live upon our past honors. They are as nothing. If it has no reasons for existence today, it does not recommend a thing to me to tell me it is ancient. It is intrinsic worth alone that counts in my estimation. The gray hairs and the marks of age win from me ever my tribute, but I go into no temple of long ago to find the ideals at whose feet I lay my devoted sacrifice.

"I love an institution for what it is. because it embodies a grander soul, because it holds within it the concept of a more perfect form, because it sets forth even more a higher and a nobler soul. Its aim is nothing, its influence is all. And so with Masonry.

"I love it for what it is not, merely a social gathering, a club, not a political institution, not sectarian in its worship, committed to no special creed, but evermore the handmaid of virtue, the lifter up of the hand of man until it shall clasp the outstretched hand of the infinite architect of the universe and shall walk with him as his faithful and obedient child.

"It is for a later age as presented in our Masonic literature to erect the spiritual building agreeably to the rules and designs laid down by the Supreme Architect of the Universe in the great books of nature and revelation.

"The lambskin that you wear is the emblem of a freewill dedication to manhood. It betokens that we are cemented together in brotherly love, that we are vowed to aid, protect, support each other, that we are dedicated to temperance, prudence, fortitude, justice, that we are consecrated to a wisdom that shall bring out the strength and the beauty of life; that will be guided by the rounds of that ladder of faith, hope and charity to the starry heavens, where God, our creator, presides.

"Brethren. I believe it was intended of heaven that we should be banded together for the aims and purposes that we cherish. Ours is a Grand past; search as you may into the distance and you shall find that the history of the past is the history of civilization. And even with the evolution of higher and nobler and better ideals there is the transformation of our lodges to meet the age in which they find themselves.

"The future depends on the 50 years that shall come and go to bring the centennial of your lodge. May it be mine to pray that the example of the inflexible spirit of our ancestry may ever stand up before you, not simply calling in the name of duty, but calling in the name of privilege to those who have vowed Masonic vows to so live that they shall confer upon the community, upon the state, upon the nation, upon the world, a lasting, permanent help, and that the attentive ear receiving the sound from the instructive tongue that the mysteries of the craft may be safely lodged in the repository of faithful breast, and that you in the Montacute Lodge and in everywhere in our several lodges, may transmit unimpaired to those who shall come after us, the blessed tenets and the inspiration to live that abide this day in the fraternity of Freemasonry.

"For so God's blessing shall surely rest upon us and he will prosper those who are endeavoring to upbuild this country and to speed forward the day when the handclasp of the brotherhood of man shall reach round the globe. And in that work the Montacute lodge ever so participating that the name of its officers and members shall be written in golden letters on the scroll in heaven."

After the oration an original poem was read by brother Joseph Jackson, Chaplain of the lodge.

Worshipful George M. Rice delivered the historical address. It is impossible in a sketch of this kind to do justice to the historian, nothing short of a full report of the address can give an idea of its value or of the time that has been spent in collecting the many facts that made it interesting to the brethren. It was an able production and of great value to the brethren of Montacute Lodge, Brother Rice said of the beginning of the lodge: "During the year 1851 a number of the younger members of Morning Star lodge felt that there was ample field for usefulness and sufficient material available for the formation of a new lodge of Masons in Worcester, and several meetings and consultations were held concerning the advisability of such action by those interested, which finally crystalized in the early part of 1858, in their petitioning the M. W. Grand lodge for a dispensation permitting them to form and open a new lodge of Masons, to be known as Crescent lodge.

"This petition was signed by William A. Smith and thirty others. A few of those who signed the petition did not become charter members.

"It appears that a name for the lodee different from that chosen by the petitioners was suggested, for the following appears in the records: "At a meeting of the petitioners subsequent to the signing of the same, it was voted, that in accordance witli the suggestion of the G. M. and M. W. Grand lodge, the name of the lodge be changed from Crescent to Montacute.

"This petition being acted upon favorably by the M. W. Grand lodge, a dispensation was issued by the then G. M., M. W. GMHeard John T. Heard. and the first communication of the new lodge was held at Masonic Hall. then in Waldo Block, Main Street, just north of the Bay State Hotel, on Tuesday evening July 13, 1858.

"The business of the first meetings of the Lodge related to matters incident to its organization. Officers were elected, the price of the degrees was fixed—ten dollars with the application being considered too high — the price of five dollars with the application and five dollars for each degree was adopted as the right price to charge. It was voted to pay the tyler $1 per night. Jewels Bor the officers and books and stationary were ordered for the secretary and a trunk to contain them. A code of by-laws was also adopted.

"The lodge was constituted June 25, 1859. The officers of the Grand Lodge at that time were: M. W., John T. Heard, G. M.; R. W. MAGLCTrain Charles R. Train, D. G. M.; R. W. William D. Coolidge, S. G. W.; R.W. Charles Robbins, J. G. W.; R. W. W. W. Wheildon, G. T.; R. W. Charles W. Moore, G. S.; R. W. E. M. P. Wells, G. C; R. W. William S. Gardner, G. M.; Eben Gay, G. T., and other subordinate Grand officers.

"These brethren all of whom will be remembered by our older Massachusetts readers, and many others, have passed on to the other side of life, but their names recall some of the most interesting periods of Masonic history in Massachusetts.

"The duties of the evening were preceded by a dinner at the Bay State, at 6 o'clock, for the officers of the Grand lodge, who waiving all ceremony, 'proved all things and held fast to that which was good.'

"At the close of the ceremonies of consecration the elected and appointed officers w^ere installed by the Grand Master as follows: William A. Smith, W. M.; George W. Bently, S. W.; James H. Osgood, J. W.; Seth P. Miller, Treasurer; William H. Eaton, Secretary; E. H. Broad, J. Deacon: James II. Freeland, Marshal; William A. Cary, S. Steward: Lyman Brooks, J. Steward: Daniel Seagrave, Tyler.

"In 1860 Past Grand Master Heard presented the lodge with a gavel made from a pear tree that was transplanted a century before from Cambridge to Townsend by the first Grand Master of America, Henry Price. The gavel was gratefully received and acknowledged by a vote of thanks. It is still in the possession of the lodge. The first seal of the lodge was procured in 1860. The square and compasses were presented to the lodge by Brother James H. Ereeland of Boston in 1861. Brother James H. Wall, Jr. presented the lodge with a banner in 1867. It was made of white satin with the arms of Lord Montacute and the motto Suivez raison, the three great lights and the date of the institution of the lodge. A copy of the holy scriptures was presented to the lodge in 1862 by Brother Henry H. Knapp and an organ by Brother J. Henry Goddard. At the regular Communication, July 1, 1867, Brother W. S. Goodwin presented the lodge a set of rods for the use of the deacons and stewards, made of black walnut and surmounted with silver emblematic ornaments. In 1870 a vote of thanks was given to Brothers J. W. Johnson and Henry Wilson for the beautiful jewels, collars and aprons they had given the lodge.

"The first soldier member of the lodge to die in the Civil War was William Hudson, who passed away at Newbern. N. C. Aug. 7, 1862, but the lodge was called upon frequently to mourn the loss of brethren who gave up their lives in defence of their country.

"Dec, 6, 1880, on motion of Worshipful Brother R. James Tatman, it was voted that the Worshipful Master appoint a committee of three, to procure at the expense of the lodge, two past Masters' jewels at a cost not to exceed $75 each, the same when procured to be presented to Worshipful Brother George D. Boyden and Jeremiah Swasey.

"It has been the custom since to present each retiring W. M. a jewel to be paid fur out of the treasury of the lodge. Previous to this time, they had been procured by subscription among the members.

"Montacute Lodge has had among its members many who have achieved distinction in the highest places of life. Among them are the names of Hon. John Davis Washburn, Hon. Dwight Foster, Hon. Martin Van Buren Jefferson, Hon. James Barnard Blake, Hon. Charles Blake Pratt, Hon. Francis Harrison Kelley, Hon. Samuel Eldrige Hildreth, Hon. Augustus Brown Reed Sprague, Hon. Rufus Brown Dodge, Hon. Edward Foster Fletcher, and Hon. James Logan.

"No less than eight of the 31 mayors of Worcester have been members of Montacute lodge, seven receiving their degrees in the lodge, one, Mayor Kelley, joining by demit.

"Four members have attained a military rank of brigadier general, viz: A. B. R. Sprague, Josiah Pickett, Francis Washburn, Robert H. Chamberlain.

"Of the 27 brethren who were charter members three are still living, viz: Worshipful Brother William A. Smith, Wrorshipful Brother James H. Osgood and Brother Henry M. Witter.

"The total number who have been members since the lodge was chartered, is 990, our present membership is 490.

"The lodge has had 39 Masters, of whom 83 survive.

"The oldest living initiate of the lodge is Charles A. Goddard, who received his degrees and became a member May 31, 1859, and who is still a zealous brother among us."

A feature of the exercises was the following ode by Frank Roe Batchelder:—

We are but thralls of time who serve and pass
Mere counters in the Master's mighty plan,
Motes on the sunbeam, atoms in the grass,
Yet fellows in the brotherhood of man,
With threescore years and ten to sow and reap.

To share the world's uplift and prove our worth.
Not that the few, when we are done, shall weep,
But that there may be greater good on earth,
Long gone is Solomon, the king august,
Hiram of Tyre and the Artificer
Are dust like him, and their great work is dust.

Yet through the ages their achievements stir
The souls of men as though but yesteryear;
They lived in Lebanon and quarried stone,
And we, whom they made craftsmen, still preserve
Their glorious worth whereon we form our own.

There is no mystery in our sacred rite.
Old as the ages, simple as the truth,
Our lodge is tyled, but not from heaven's sight.
Here foot to foot meet hoary age and youth,
Symbol and sign the higher purpose aid,
Leading mankind upon the light to look.

Till the rough ashlar perfect shall be made
Tried by the square and compass on the book.
It is a solemn day that marks the turn
Of fifty vears in noble effort spent
Before the altar, Montacute, we burn
Incense of love and honor and intent
On greater good, our faces to the East.

New plans upon the trestle board wc draft.
This day we give the past: then from the feast
To labor shall the Master call the Craft.

The banquet which concluded the anniversary exercises was an elaborate affair and was attended witk speeches of great interest.

The menu card was bound in white moire boards and comprised 12 pages of printed matter gilded and with deckel edges. It was profusely illustrated with vignets of the first worshipful Master of the lodge and with pictures of the various Masonic homes Montacute has occupied together with a list of the present officers, the past Masters, the guests of the occasion, the committee of arrangements and the coat of arms of Lord Montacute, for whom the lodge was named.

Popular songs helped enlivened the meal, the craft joining in the choruses.

The Worshipful Master William H. De Long, called the company to order, but turned the exercises over to Right Worshipful Forrest E. Barker, the Toastmaster, and he called on the Grand secretary, Sereno D. Nickerson, to make a few remarks, while the brethren were at the tables, as it was necessary for him to take an early train to Boston.

Right Worshipful Barker said: "A half-century is not very long in the history of the world; but it is a long period in the history of a man or in the history of any. social organization. It may not be a long period for Freemasonry, but it is quite a respectable age for a Masonic lodge. There are those that are older but there arc a great many more that are younger. Time is measured not alone by years but by events, and if we were to measure the history of Montacute lodge not by fifty years, but by the events that have marked the progress of society during that time, we will find that it is a remarkable history and one long indeed. It is a little strange to think that Montacute lodge is older than the Atlantic cable; it is older than any of the transcontinental railroad routes; it is older than some of the empires and kingdoms of the old world. It has worked out its labors and during a period which is the most important, perhaps, that the world has ever seen; and we are fairly entitled at this time to note well that we have placed here at the close of the fiftieth year a monument that shall stand as a landmark until 100 years shall have passed."

The first toast was drunk in silence and standing, to "the memory of those of our lodge who have finished their labors, and who have gone forth to enter into their reward."

The first speaker was Most Worshipful J. Albert Blake who extended the felicitations of the Grand lodge to Montacute lodge, and especially to Worshipful William A. Smith, its first Master.

"So far as this lodge is concerned," he said, "while you are today a healthy compact lodge, I want to warn you against ever allowing any internal dissension to creep into your councils. Surely, brethren, you cannot be neglectful or ignorant of the responsibility that rests upon you when you bind yourselves together as a select body of men. You must so conduct yourselves in every way that men who are not Masons will look upon you as they did in the olden days when to be a Mason was regarded with more than ordinary interest."

He was followed by William A. Smith, the first worshipful Master, who was given a great ovation, the members all standing and applauding vigorously.

Mr. Smith spoke briefly, extending his thanks for the privilege of being present and seeing the members of the organization which he launched fifty years ago. He said that the principal reason that induced him to embrace Masonry was the fact that his father was a pronounced anti-Mason. He became so interested through hearing the order denounced that he determined to see for himself if it was as black as it was painted. He had always been glad he joined and he was particularly proud of the small part he had played in launching Montacute lodge.

Rev. R. Perry Bush of Chelsea, who followed, spoke of the ideals of Freemasonry and their effect upon the lives and hearts of men.

He was succeeded by Hon. Walter C. Wardwell of Cambridge, who declared that he knew no honor higher than the honor of being a Master Mason.

In conclusion he ask the brethren not to rest content with the past achievement but to press on to newer and grander accomplishments.

Eloquent remarks were also made by Grand Chaplain Rev. Dr. William H. Rider and by Grand Marshal M. M. Johnson.

After a letter of regret had been read from Arnold Fairbanks of Santa Barbara, Cal., a former member of Montacute, the exercises were brought to a close by Rev. Dr. Vincent E. Tomlinson at whose suggestion a rising vote of thanks was given the committee for the triumph it had achieved.

The committee of arrangements on the anniversary was: William H. DeLong, Worshipful Master; R. W. Forrest E. Barker, Chairman; Worshipful Frank M. Heath, Worshipful Robert W. Clifford, Worshipful Fred M. Sampson, Worshipful Austin A. Heath, William W. Brown, Ephraim H. H. Wilson, Clerk.




1858: District 6

1867: District 11 (Worcester)

1883: District 18 (Worcester)

1911: District 21 (Worcester)

1927: District 21 (Worcester)

1931: District 22 (Worcester)


Massachusetts Lodges