Mystic

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MYSTIC LODGE

Location: Lanesboro; Pittsfield (1816)

Chartered By: Josiah Bartlett

Charter Date: 06/10/1810 II-440

Precedence Date: 06/10/1810

Current Status: Consolidated with Crescent-Pittsfield Lodge to form New Moon Lodge, 12/01/2015.

ø Charter surrendered 06/11/1834


PAST MASTERS

  • Stoddard Williams, 1810, 1811
  • William Tyler, 1814
  • Jonathan Allen, 1816
  • Records lost 1812-1826; DARK through 1846
  • Franklin Weston, 1847, 1848; SN
  • David Merriam, 1849
  • Merrick Ross, 1850, 1851
  • Lorenzo H. Gamwell, 1852-1858
  • George M. Bristol, 1859
  • Henry Chickering, 1860
  • Josiah Carter, 1861
  • A. N. Allen, 1862
  • Lebbeus Scott, 1863
  • George N. Dutton, 1864
  • George C. Dunham, 1865, 1868, 1869
  • Hezekiah S. Russell, 1866; Mem
  • Frederic S. Parker, 1867
  • Gardner T. Barker, 1870
  • William H. Murray, 1871; SN
  • Irving D. Ferrey, 1872, 1875, 1887; Mem
  • William S. Kirtland, 1872
  • William K. Rice, 1873
  • Charles Hubbard, 1876, 1877
  • W. D. Axtell, 1878
  • Charles H. Tuttle, 1879
  • George C. Hall, 1880
  • Thomas H. Day, 1881, 1882
  • Charles E. Merrill, 1883, 1884
  • James E. Carver, 1885, 1886
  • John P. Merrill, 1888, 1889
  • Henry C. Merrill, 1890, 1891
  • Frank E. Peirson, 1892; N
  • Freeman M. Miller, 1893
  • Joseph W. Lewis, 1894
  • Herbert S. Wollison, 1895, 1896
  • William R. Gardener, 1897
  • Allen H. Bagg, 1898
  • Frank Howard, 1899
  • Jay P. Barnes, 1900; SN
  • Charles R. Foote, 1901
  • Lorenzo H. Gamwell, 1902
  • Irving J. Barnfather, 1903
  • Robert W. Volk, 1904
  • Frank H. Cande, 1905; SN
  • Frank H. Brown, 1906
  • William E. Bagg, 1907
  • Manson R. White, 1908
  • 1909?
  • George B. Sturgis, 1910
  • Harry Shipton, 1911
  • William C. Moulton, 1912
  • Albie W. Sylvester, 1913
  • Robert B. Donaldson, 1914
  • George D. Lapham, 1915
  • Albert Sheppard, 1916
  • McClellan Miller, 1917
  • Charles E. Hutchinson, 1918
  • Robert P. Easland, 1919; N
  • Leverrier S. Lewis, 1920
  • Frank W. Bastow, 1921
  • J. Henry Martin, 1922
  • Nelson A. Foot, 1923
  • David W. Retallick, 1924
  • George A. Curtis, 1925; N
  • Albert W. Patten, 1926
  • Harold L. Gregory, 1927
  • Albert I. Hall, 1928
  • Alston A. Tillou, 1929
  • David R. Dalzell, 1930
  • J. Southworth Nichols, 1931
  • J. Reeves Rue, 1932
  • Charles H. Bastow, 1933
  • Frederick W. Tanner, 1934
  • George S. Rauscher, 1935
  • John J. K. Madden, 1936
  • Frank S. Whitney, 1937
  • Charles B. Muzzy, 1938
  • Kenneth L. Goodrich, 1939
  • Sidney E. Fenton, 1940
  • John M. McClelland, 1941
  • James F. Shipton, 1942
  • Robert W. Willis, 1943
  • Charles B. Riley, 1944
  • Karl D. Henry, 1945; N
  • G. Reynolds S. Root, 1946
  • Harold A. Bufe, 1947
  • Kenneth S. Shepard, 1948
  • Kenneth J. Shepardson, 1949
  • Geoffrey A. Overton, 1950
  • J. Gollan P. Root, 1951
  • W. Harold Silvernail, 1952
  • John A. Kennedy, 1953
  • Walter J. Leemhuis, 1954
  • Stephen G. Wooliver, 1955
  • Walter E. Beebe, 1956
  • Cyril H. Mears, 1957
  • William A. Newman, 1958; N
  • Richard B. Shipton, 1959
  • Gustaf G. Pilblad, Jr., 1960
  • Louis E. Boos, 1961
  • Roy L. Derosia, 1962
  • Howard S. Gleason, 1963
  • John A.E. Sutton, Jr., 1964
  • James C. Francis, 1965
  • Walter E. Lewis, 1966
  • Douglas S. McCormick, 1967
  • Leslie H. Garrett, 1968
  • Norman H. Rees, 1969
  • John O. Bottorf, 1970
  • Richard T. Johnson, 1971
  • Lewis S. Richards, 1972
  • Norman L Wetzel, 1973
  • C. Bernard Page, 1974, 1982
  • Arthur S. Preston, 1975
  • Willis B. Altman, 1976, 1977; PDDGM
  • Kurt K. Haswell, 1978, 1979
  • John L. Groves, 1980, 1981
  • Charles E. Wetherell, 1983
  • Craig B. Coppola, 1984
  • George A. Hadley, 1985, 1998, 1999; PDDGM
  • David E. Carlson, 1986, 1987, 2000
  • Claude T. Crouser, 1988
  • Charles E. Wetherell, 1989
  • James F. St. Lawrence, 1990
  • John J. Anderson, 1991, 2001, 2002
  • Donald J. Dick, 1992
  • Walter E. Jones, 1993, 1996
  • Robert L. Dress, 1994, 1995
  • John A. Cederstrom, 1997
  • Brian D. Rochelo, 2003-2005
  • Stuart S. Kuller, 2006-2008
  • Matthew J. McGurn, 2009
  • William T. Isenhart, 2010
  • Steven B. Jackson, 2011, 2012; PDDGM

REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS

  • Petition for Charter: 1810
  • Petition for Restoration of Charter: 1847

ANNIVERSARIES

  • 1860 (50th Anniversary; not in Proceedings; see below)
  • 1910 (Centenary)
  • 1935 (125th Anniversary)
  • 1960 (150th Anniversary)
  • 1985 (175th Anniversary)
  • 2010 (200th Anniversary)

VISITS BY GRAND MASTER

BY-LAW CHANGES

1869 1874 1876 1877 1887 1902 1917 1927 1931 1933 1941 1942 1952 1954 1956 1960 1962 1968 1975 1976 1980 1984 1996 2003 2009 2012

HISTORY

  • 1906 (Historical Address; from New England Craftsman; see below)
  • 1935 ("The Masonic Predecessors of Mystic Lodge", 1935-102; see below)
  • 1935 (125th Anniversary History, 1935-104; see below)
  • 1960 (150th Anniversary History, 1960-115; see below)

HISTORICAL ADDRESS, FEBRUARY 1906

From New England Craftsman, Vol. I, No. 6, March 1906, Page 207:

Historical Address Before Mystic Lodge, Pittsfield, Mass.
Col. William H. Phillips.

At a recent meeting of Mystic lodge A. F. & A. M. an interesting historical address was delivered by Col. William H. Phillips giving many facts regarding the early history of the lodge and in particular of William Hamilton Tyler the first Worshipful Master of the lodge and the grandfather of the speaker. Mystic Lodge was constituted at Lanesboro in 1812. Its meetings were first held in the old Laker Tavern ballroom in the north part of Lanesboro, a short distance above St. Luke's Episcopal church. This was a celebrated old time tavern which was built by Ezra Hall, father of the late Mrs. Gov. George N. Briggs and who was for quite a number of those earlier years its popular landlord and who kept a large country store in one portion of the building.

At this period the vicinity of Baker's tavern or "Baker's Corners" as it was then called, was the Lenox of Lanesboro and here resided the most of its prominent men, and here town meetings, public gatherings, the general militia trainings and the country balls were held, and here also was the Lanesboro post office. In the last quarter of the past century, this old hostelry, deserted and unoccupied for many years, finally became so weather beaten and dilapidated that it was razed to the earth.

Dr. Tyler was a distinguished physician, not only eminent for his medical and surgical skill, but as a Christian gentleman and citizen. His practice at the summit of his professional career not only took in Lanesboro but Other towns in the county and New York state. At one time so active and arduous were his medical duties that he employed five horses, and was met with fresh relays of steeds and his medical summons by special messengers on his extended trips. This continued until he injured his leg in stepping into a high sulkey, which injury he neglected until it culminated in a fever sore and caused amputation.

Dr. Tyler was the only son of Samuel Page Tyler of New Ashford, the orderly sergeant of the Lanesboro and Cheshire Minute Men in the Revolutionary war. It was his father who awakened up these troops the night before the battle of Bennington and who was fighting beside the first Berkshire soldier killed therein — in front of the Tory breastworks and who hailed from Lanesboro. In the Bunker Hill battle his father was a lieutenant in a company of Berkshire county minute men and was rendered deaf for life by two cannon balls fired at him as the British were passing out to sea down Boston Harbor, after evacuating the city.

Dr. Tyler was elevated to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Franklin Lodge on Stafford's Hill, Cheshire. Dee. 19, 1808. and after an affiliation with the same for about four years, with other Lanesboro members of that first lodge, instituted Mystic Lodge in Lanesboro Dec. 19, 1812 and was selected to give it its name. On the above date he was chosen its first Worshipful Master and his Franklin Lodge Master's diploma. His Worshipful Master's diploma, Master's Jewels, two beautiful satin and lambskin aprons and an old English watch were put in the possession of the speaker by his special request.

The original charter and the records of Mystic Lodge from 1812 to 1826, having been destroyed by fire, all other details of its early officers and doings, except that of the special gift of a diploma issued in 1813 and to be made to this lodge this evening are lost. After practicing in Lanesboro for 34 years Dr. Tyler removed 1, North Adams, where he died in 1868 at the age of 88 years and was buried by Lafayette Lodge with Masonic honors. He was one of the charter members of Lafayette Lodge of North Adams and gave it the name of Lafayette. He faithfully attended its meetings as long as his age would permit, when he was made an honorary member in recognition of his distinguished services to the order.

Dr. Tyler was a member of Row Arch Chapter of New Lebanon 1813, this being the only chapter west of the Connecticut River at that period. When 70 years of age he took the 32nd degree in Masonry at Lebanon Lake, New York, on the shores of Lake Champlain. During the Morgan excitement he continued to secretly meet with the few members of the order who maintained the courage of their convictions and were faithful. When the speaker was made a Maser Mason in Lafayette lodge at North Adams in 1860 he shed tears of joy that one of his descendants had followed thus far in his footsteps. He loved and revered Masonry and rejoiced in its good fellowship. He often remarked in his later years. "Next to God and the church I love the Masonic order."

Col. Phillips appropriately closed his remarks with the following presentation to the lodge of a most treasured relic of old Lanesboro days. The presentation consisted of an old diploma presented to "brother Leander J. Lockwood, who as a true and faithful member of the Masonic family is hereby recommended to the favorable notice and protection of every Free and Accepted Mason on the globe." The diploma is signed,

  • William H. Tyler, M.
  • Stoddard Williams, S. W.
  • J. P. Wheeler, J. W.
  • J. P. Root, Secretary.

April 15, 5813.

This ancient document is a master piece of old time engraving printed up on vellum, or line parchment, which with the names written in upon it is in a very remarkable state of preservation, the text and these names being easily deciphered without the use of lenses.

This most important document in a measure compensates the membership of the second oldest Masonic Blue lodge in Northern and Central Berkshire for the loss of its original charter by fire, consigning its early history to what has in many respects been left to what proves to have been quite meagre, but well authenticated tradition.

THE MASONIC PREDECESSORS OF MYSTIC LODGE, JUNE 1935

By Most Wor. Herbert W. Dean.

I would tonight on this happy occasion bring you greetings from those who would speak to you out of the past. I refer to those sturdy pioneers who formed your Mother Lodge in Cheshire 141 years ago. They were men from the colony of Rhode Island and the Providence plantations, many of them direct descendants from the men who followed Roger Williams to Rhode Island; men who inherited the spirit of personal liberty and free institutions.

In 1767 they purchased a tract of land in a comparative wilderness known as the New Providence purchase and on the crown of a hill which they called New Providence Hill, now known as Stafford Hill, a flourishing little village with taverns, store, church, and dwellings came into being. Cheshire as a town did not exist until 1793 when it was formed from sections of four towns, one of which was New Framingham, now known as Lanesborough.

In June 1794, twelve residents of Stafford Hill headed by Col. Jonathan Remington petitioned to the Grand Lodge for a Dispensation to form a Masonic Lodge with the privilege of meeting six months in Cheshire and six months in Lanesborough. It was voted by Grand Lodge "that they be indulged in the privilege of holding a Lodge in Cheshire to be known as Franklin Lodge and that the other part of the prayer, so far as meeting in Lanesborough is incompatible with the principles which actuate the conduct and mark the proceedings of the Grand Lodge." This was the first Lodge chartered in western Massachusetts after the union in 1792. Previous to this there had been two chartered by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge — Berkshire in Lenox and Stockbridge in March 1777, whose Charter was recalled in 1784 for failure to pay Grand Lodge dues, and Friendship, of Williamstown, chartered in July 1785. Franklin Lodge continued to meet on Stafford Hill until June 1800 when they again applied for permission to meet alternately three months in Cheshire and three months in Lanesborough. This time the request was granted and this procedure undoubtedly did much to increase the number of members from Lanesborough and vicinity.

In 1804 Calvin Hall, a member of Franklin Lodge, built a fine tavern in what is now the village of Cheshire on the main stage road between Boston and Troy. Shortly thereafter Franklin Lodge moved their meeting place to a large room on the south side of this tavern which was elaborately decorated with Masonic emblems painted on the walls by some unknown artist, and now known as the Cheshire Cat Tea Room. After their discovery in 1921 some of them were restored through the generosity of Mystic Lodge.

In 1810 a group of Masons, presumably members living in Lanesborough vicinity, made up to a great extent of members of Franklin Lodge in the Town of Lanesborough, petitioned for a Charter. This begins your own Masonic history which has reached its 125th birthday tonight. As a member of the fraternity from Cheshire, it is perhaps fitting that I should speak for those who were your Masonic forefathers.

Looking at us from out of the past they would probably view with astonishment the size of our institution, our well rendered and uniform ritual, our Home, Hospital, and other charitable works—things undreamed of in those days 141 years ago.

They might remind us that these are only evidences of temporal power, unimportant when compared with those principles which have kept Masonry alive in Massachusetts for over 200 years. We might look back at them and gain inspiration from their sturdy manhood, their courage, their loyalty and love of liberty as evidenced by the important part they played in the Revolutionary War, and above all their faith in the value of Freemasonry as a standard of morality and as a means of drawing together kindred souls.

T think if they could speak to you tonight they would say - "Carry on my Brothers, remembering that in times of changing conditions and standards, you should have the courage to keep the fundamental principles of Masonry unchanged, you should be loyal to those principles which are the foundation of that liberty we gave our blood to gain, you should be true to those ancient regulations which actuate the conduct and mark the proceedings of the Grand Lodge.

We have left you a priceless heritage. See to it that you carry and hold the standard high and unstained, proving yourselves worthy to be our successors in the onward march of Masonry.

125TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, JUNE 1935

By Wor. George B. Sturgis.

Being a native of Lanesborough and a life long resident it is a thought very dear to my heart that Mystic Lodge had its birth in Lanesborough. It is a source of pride to me that the blood of the first Master of the Lodge flows in my veins and that I was privileged to be Master on the 100th Anniversary year. I appreciate the honor of having this privilege of preparing the history for the occasion of the 125th Anniversary Celebration tonight and my interest will continue to follow the affairs of our beloved Lodge so long as life lasts.

Mystic Lodge was instituted in Lanesborough, Massachusetts, in 1810 and in December 1812 held its first meeting in the old Baker Tavern, long since demolished. No record is obtainable as to where meetings were held between those two dates and the only record in existence of the granting of a Charter to Mystic Lodge is in the archives of our Grand Lodge as follows:

"A petition was presented by a number of brethren in the Town of Lanesborough, in the County of Berkshire, for a Warrant of Constitution to hold a meeting in that town by the name of Mystic Lodge and on motion voted to grant the prayer of petition."

The Tavern stood on the road to Greylock nearly opposite the residence of Frank Williams and for a century was a rendezvous for stage coach travellers between Boston, Massachusetts, and Troy, New York. Fortunately a picture of the old building was taken before it was demolished and the negative was in the hands of Worshipful Brother Freeman M. Miller. From this old negative an enlarged print was made, the picture restored to represent the building in its original state, and reproduced to appear in this booklet. {Published by the Lodge}. This was a very important discovery and will preserve for all time the picture of the first home of Mystic Lodge.

Since the historical sketch of 1910 was written various letters relating to Mystic Lodge have been discovered which prove beyond any doubt that Stoddard Williams, of Lanesborough, was the first Master of the Lodge and not William H. Tyler who, at that time, was recognized as the first Master through incomplete information.

Worshipful Brother Williams was born September 4, 1752, and died May 1, 1832. He was the great grandfather of Mrs. William S. Morton, of Pittsfield, wife of Judge W. S. Morton, and of Miss Annie L. Marsh, of Adams, through whose kindness the information contained in these letters of historic interest to Mystic Lodge was obtained, and if I am permitted a personal reference, he was, as mentioned, in the introducton remarks—my great great uncle.

While the Lodge was in Lanesborough it is known that Rev. Daniel Burhans, Bishop of Connecticut, was a member of it. The Masonic Oration delivered before Mystic Lodge at the semi-anniversary festival of St. John the Baptist at Pittsfield, June 24, 1813, by Brother Ahab Jinks, was printed in pamphlet form, a copy being still preserved. Captain Joseph Merrick kept an Inn on the cornerof North and West Streets in 1810, and it is a matter of history that he raised the gambrel roof of his building one story to accommodate the Masonic fraternity and others. In 1820 on St. John's Day, Pittsfield Masons engaged Rev. Dr. Hooper of Albany to address them. It was during a time of religious revival and Rev. Dr. Humphrey undertook to prevent the exercises whereupon the Masons brought Dr. Hooper to Pittsfield by a relay of horses and he made the oration at the date and hour appointed.

From a copy of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of the year 1815, we learn that Mystic Lodge asked permission to be allowed to hold meetings in Pittsfield as well as in Lanesborough which request was refused. At a meeting of the Grand Lodge June 10, 1816, permission was granted Mystic Lodge to move to Pittsfield. It is interesting to note that this permission was granted on the sixth anniversary date of its institution.

B\ the burning of the Masonic Temple at Boston the original records from 1810-1826 were destroyed, which contained the data of Charter members and original officers, and a fire at the old Berkshire Hotel ;it Pittsfield (now the site of the Berkshire Life Insurance Company) in which building the records were kept and the Lodge was supposed to have met, destroyed the Charter and records which accounts for no further data, previous to 1847, than that which is mentioned above.

For several years after the fire which destroyed the records, no regular meetings were held but during 1847 a revival of interest began and on December 16 of that year some of the members met in the Goodrich Block, and elected Major Franklin Weston, of Dalton, as Worshipful Master. The Lodge occupied the rooms in the Goodrich Block three years; the Martin Block three years, and then returned to the Goodrich Block for about ten years after which they moved to rooms in the Berkshire Life Insurance Building where they remained nearly fifty years until 1911, when it was necessary to seek temporary quarters in the Central Block until 1914 when the Temple we now occupy was completed and dedicated.

1847-1910
  • 1847-48. Franklin Weston, W. M. The meetings were held at 6 p.m., adjourned to convenient dates. Some were held in the office of Comfort B. Platt. Two candidates were raised. The Worshipful Master was sent as a delegate to the Grand Lodge in obedience to a summons from that body. His expenses being $13.55.
  • 1849. David Merriam, W. M., Franklin Weston, D. D. G. M. The Grand Lodge loaned collars and jewels. The Lodge was called from labor to refreshment at the end of the work, and was called to labor again at the next meeting, being thus in session constantly. Raised two candidates.
  • 1850-51. Merrick Ross, W. M. Meeting at 7 p. m. at Comfort B. Platt's store. The election of Officers was deferred from time to time. Raised one candidate.
  • 1852-58. Lorenzo H. Gamwell, W. M. Met at Odd Fellows Rooms at rental of $50.00 a year. Bought a square, compasses, pedestals, trunk, lamb skin, trestle board, and a slipper. Declined to take part in the town celebration on July 4th. The dues were $1.00 per year, paid quarterly. Visited by Grand Master Hubbard of Ohio. The fees for joining the Order were $5.00 with the petition, $10.00 for first degree, $3.00 for second, and $2.00 for third. Dues were raised to $2.00 payable quarterly. Lodge published By-Laws and Roster. Bought urn for water and "spittoons." Voted the fee for affiliation $1.00. Bought a bell for outer door. By vote it was made obligatory to learn preceding degrees. Annual meeting July. Regular meetings Tuesday. Raised, 1852, eight; 1853, four; 1854, four; 1855, three; 1856, six; 1857, five; 1858, seven.
  • 1859. George M. Bristol, W. M. Adopted seal. Moved into Goodrich Block March 15th. Voted that business could only be transacted at regular meetings. A candidate raised to the third degree, but no fee taken by special vote. Meetings held at 7.30 p.m. Gilded the "G" on the Master's chair. Voted to let the Royal Arch Chapter use the rooms. Accepted an invitation from Evening Star Lodge to attend Saint John's Day celebration. Raised ten candidates.
  • 1860. Henry Chickering, W. M. Celebrated Saint John's Day June 22nd. Appropriated $1.50 for burnishing jewels. Held a strawberry festival. Bought a clock and elected a relief committee. Brother Churchill gave dramatic readings in rooms. Raised nine.
  • 1861. Josiah Carter, W. M. Presented with a sword by Brother J. S. Brown. Paid $602.64 for furnishing and fitting up rooms. Celebrated Sainr John's Day June 24rh. Raised ten.
  • 1862. A. N. Allen, W. M. Paid $65.00 for melodeon. Visited by the Grand Master, William D. Coolidge. Approved of petition of Members of 49th Regiment to form a Lodge in the field, Raised twelve.
  • 1863. Lebbeus Scott, W. M. Raised six.
  • 1864. George N. Dutton, W. M. Used gas for first time in the rooms. Julv 10th, sent ten members to Boston to represent Lodge at laying of corner-stone of Masonic Temple. October 14th, visited Lafayette Lodge, North Adams, and had Special train. Raised twelve.
  • 1865. George C. Dunham, W. M. Fees changed to $5.00 accompanying petition, Entered Apprentice $10,00, Fellow-Craft $5.00, Master Mason $5.00. Raised twenty.
  • 1866. H. S. Russell, W. M. Paid Secretary Crafts a salary of $25.00 Changed fees. SI5.00 to accompany petition. Fellow-Craft $10.00, Master Mason $10.00. Dimit $5.00. Attended dedication of new hall, Lafayette Lodge, North Adams, June 20th. Raised thirty-one.
  • 1867. Frederick S. Parker, W. M. Committee attended dedication of Masonic Temple of Boston. Corner-stone of the Berkshire Life Insurance Building laid with Masonic ceremonies. Raised seven.
  • 1868. George C. Dunham, W. M. Attended celebration of Springfield Lodges June 24th. Bought a banner which is at present in the Lodge Rooms. Bro. L. H. Gamwell presented the Bible that has been in constant use since that time. Raised twelve.
  • 1869. George C. Dunham, W. M. Grand Lodge dedicated new rooms in Berkshire Life Insurance Building. Visited by Grand Master C. C. Dame. Lodge approved of "Brethren in Hinsdale for dispensation allowing them to organize new Lodge." Presented new Hinsdale Lodge (Globe) with the furniture in the old Lodge rooms. "The banquet room was allowed to be used for velocipede practice for Masons only." Daniel Upton, D. D. G. M. Raised twelve.
  • 1870. Gardner T. Barker, W. M. The Grand Lodge having assessed each member in Massachusetts $13.00 to pay for Masonic Temple notified the Lodge that the assessment could be reduced to $7.00 it paid before July 1st. Granted dimits to those who wished to join Globe Lodge. Bought a bulletin board, and placed if at the foot of the stairs, giving notice of the meetings of the several Masonic Bodies. Raised ten.
  • 1871. W. H. Murray, W. M. Voted to hold not more than five sociables during the year and that "in the future all Masonic Emblems be excluded from the dancing cards." Visited Columbia Lodge No. 98, Chatham, N. Y., April 6th. Henry Chickering presented to the several Masonic Bodies an ivory gavel. Raised ten.
  • 1872. Irving D. Ferry, W. M. Lodge of Instruction under Brother E. Dana, Grand Lecturer. Secured the services of an organist at $20.00 per year. Attended dedication of new Masonic Hall at New Lebanon, N. V. Voted that in the future ballot box be placed on the altar, and Brethren go there to vote. Changed previous vote on balloting so that the system of passing the ballot box should be used. Committee appointed to see if the rooms could be ventilated. Received an invitation to participate in the dedication of the Soldiers' Monument, September 24th. Voted to acknowledge receipt of invitation, and inform the Committee that "the rules of Masonry did not permit a Lodge to appear in public as Masons on such occasions." Raised ten.
  • 1873. W. S. Kirtland, W. M. By special warrant from the Grand Master, Henry Chickering was installed as District Deputy Grand Master. Voted to approve of petition for formation of Crescent Lodge. Ventilators installed. Raised two.
  • 1874. William K. Rice, W. M. By-Laws changed so that annual meetings should be first Tuesday in October. Record book of members first used. Raised nine.
  • 1875. Irving D. Ferrey, W. M. Raised thirteen. Public installation.
  • 1876-77. Charles Hubbard, W. M. Exemplification of work for this district November 14 and 23, by Grand Lecturer Avery. Printed 500 copies of amended By-Laws. Worshipful Master was presented a Past Master's jewel by W. D. Axtell. Bought a lot in the Cemetery. Attended Centennial (of Declaration of Independence) of Grand Lodge. Raised, 1876, six; 1877, three.
  • 1878. W. D. Axtell, W. M. Raised two.
  • 1879-80. C. H. Tuttle, W. M. Bought a Tyler's sword. Presented by Brother Tower a Masonic apron used by a former Master of Mystic Lodge, when in Lanesborough. Entertained Mount Vernon Lodge, Albany, N. Y. Raised nine in 1879 and two in 1880.
  • 1881. George C. Hall, W. M. Visited Mount Vernon Lodge, Albany, N. Y., Jan. 17th. Jan. 18th, exemplification of work by D. D. G. M. Murray. Entertained Mount Vernon Lodge Jan. 22nd, when James E. Allanson, acting as Worshipful Master, and suite conferred the third degree. Procured a crayon portrait of Henry Chickering. Visited by Grand Master Samuel C. Lawrence. Voted to commute as a Lodge (Grand Lodge Assessment). Voted to charge $3.00 for a dimit. Raised ten.
  • 1882-83. Thomas H. Day, W. M. Voted that Mystic Lodge pay any allowance due the Grand Lodge on account of commuting. Entertained Globe Lodge, of Hinsdale. Visited Mount Vernon Lodge, Albany, N. Y., May 21st. Visited Montgomery Lodge, Lakeville, Conn., June 20th. Held a clam bake. Raised six in 1882 and five in 1883.
  • 1884-85. Charles K. Merrill, W. M. Raised twelve, Membership 146. Visited Columbia Lodge, Chatham, N. Y., October 19th. Entertained Columbia Lodge February 5th. Visited by the following Lodges: Getland No. 12 {?}; Unity No. 9; Aquilla No. 700; Hudson No. 7; Hillsdale No. 612; Stissing No. 615; Mount Vernon No. 3, all of New York State. Voted that the ballot box be placed on the altar, and the members repair thereat and cast their votes. Bought new dishes. Presented a diploma issued to Daniel Stearns by Mystic Lodge in 1814. Paid $80.00 for new collars and jewels. Steps taken for amending By-Laws. Bought a box for records to be kept in a vault. Visited by Grand Master A. H. Howland, Jr. Raised eleven in 1884 and five in 1885.
  • 1886. James E. Carver, W. M. Visited Columbia Lodge 
No. 98, Chatham, N. Y. Visited Evening Star Lodge, Lee. James 
Kittle was elected Worshipful Master for year to begin October,
1886, but declined. Special dispensation secured for new elec
tion. Raised four.
  • 1887. Irving D. Ferrey, W. M. Purchased Masonic charts.
Took out a new lease of rooms for ten years at $600.00 per year.
 Raised three.
  • 1888-89. John P. Merrill, W. M. Transferred Lodge-room property to Masonic Trustees. Sent $25.00 to aid Johnstown flood sufferers. Entertained Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3, Albany, N. Y. Approved granting petition for formation of Unity Lodge, Dalton. Raised seven in 1888 and thirteen in 1889.
  • 1890. Henry C. Merrill, W. M. Visited Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3 at Albany, N. Y. Changed By-Laws so that regular meetings were held on first Wednesday of' the month; annual meeting in October. Raised six.
  • 1891. Edwin B. Tyler, W. M. Past Masters celebrated Saint John's Day. Raised nine.
  • 1892. Frank E. Pierson, W. M. Raised fourteen. Membership 174. Celebrated Saint John's Day.
  • 1893. Freeman M. Miller, W. M. Raised nineteen. Membership 194,
  • 1894. Joseph Ward Lewis, W. M. Raised thirteen. Membership 205. Presented with gavel by Chadwick Lodge No. 68, Oregon. Masonic Corporation formed, and property of Lodge transferred to new Corporation.
  • 1895-96. H. S. Wollison, W. M. Raised six. Membership 212. Visited by Grand Lecturer C. E. Peck. Voted to mail notices of meetings to members. Celebrated St. John's Day, 1895. Declined invitation to attend centennial of King Solomon's Lodge, of Charlestown, Mass. Eight) attended centennial celebration of Evening Star Lodge, Lee, Mass., June 17th. Attended laying of corner-stone Masonic Temple at Albany on invitation of Mount Vernon Lodge No. 3 June 24th. Entertained Grand Lodge, and was visited by Grand Master Edward B. Holmes and Suite, |une 5th. Ml Past Masters were presented with jewels. Attended centennial celebration Cincinnatus Lodge, Great Barrington, June 24th, 1896. Bro. W. W. Mead of Detroit Lodge No. 2, Detroit, Michigan, presented Lodge with diploma given In Mystic Lodge to Darius L. Mead, October 31st, 1816.
  • 1897. W. R. Gardener, W. M. Attended constitution of Unity Lodge, Dalton. Attended as a Lodge service at Saint Stephen's Church on invitation of Rev. W. W. Newton. Raised thirteen. Membership 211.
  • 1898. Allen H. Bagg, W. M. Raised fifteen. Membership 225. Lodge of instruction under Grand Lecturer C. E. Peck. Entertained Unity Lodge, Dalton.
  • 1899. Frank Howard, W. M. Raised six. Membership 223. Visited Evening Star Lodge, Lee.
  • 1900. Jay P. Barnes, W. M. Raised fourteen. Membership 239. Presented with a gavel by William H. Chamberlin, procured from the Mother Lodge at Jerusalem.
  • 1901. Charles R. Foote, W. M. Raised thirteen. Membership 238. Entertained Unity and Globe Lodges. Past Master's Association formed. Past Master's night April 10th, public installation. Elected trustees for relief fund.
  • 1902. L. H. Gamwell, W. M. Raised ten. Membership 243. By-Laws amended, making annual dues $3.00.
  • 1903. Irving J. Barnfather, W. M. Raised ten. Membership 250. Entertained Evening Star, Cincinnatus, and Occidental Lodges, when Past Masters worked the third degree. Visited Occidental Lodge, and was presented with hour glass.
  • 1904. Robert W. Volk, W. M. Raised twenty-six. Membership 276. Quartette formed. Fellowcraft team organized. Entertained following Lodges: Evening Star Lodge, Lee; Upton Lodge, Cheshire; Lafayette Lodge, North Adams; Williams Lodge, Williamstown; Greylock Lodge, North Adams; Globe Lodge, Hinsdale; Unity Lodge, Dalton; Wisdom Lodge, West Stockbridge; Occidental Lodge, Stockbridge; Crescent Lodge, Pittsfield; Huntington Lodge, Huntington. On the night of February 17th, Past Masters worked third degree. Attended dedication of new rooms at North Adams. Observed Saint John's Day.
  • 1905. F. H. Cande, W. M. Raised twenty-eight. Membership 291. Past Masters presented the Lodge with a gavel.
  • 1906. Frank H. Brown, W. M. Raised twenty. Membership 303. Lodge presented by W. H. Phillips with diploma given to Leander J. Lockwood by Mystic Lodge in 1813. Contributed to San Francisco sufferers. Past Masters' night March 21st.
  • 1907. William F. Bagg, W. M. Raised twenty-eight. Membership 328. Entertained Greylock Lodge, of North Adams, March 13th. Frank F. Pierson was elected Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden, Grand Lodge.
  • 1908. Manson R. White, W. M. Past Masters' night March 11th. Bro. John F. VanDeusen was presented with a Past Secretary's jewel. Raised twelve. Membership 339.
  • 1909. Charles H. Mattoon. W. M. Raised nineteen. Membership 347. Charles H. Hubbard presented with loving cup in recognition of his long service as Tyler. Worshipful Allen H. Bagg presented Lodge with a gavel, the head of which came from King Solomon's mines, and handle of olive wood from the Garden of Gethsemane. James Kittle resigned as Secretary, and Irving J. Barnfather was elected in his place.
  • 1910. George B. Sturgis, W. M. James Kittle presented the sum of $110.00 in eleven ten dollar gold pieces in recognition of his long service as secretary of Mystic Lodge having served from 1893-1909. Communications 28, Raised 26.
MYSTIC CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

On June 10, 1910, at 2.20 o'clock Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders, Grand Master; Rt. Worshipful Thomas W. Davis, Grand Secretary; Rt. Worshipful C. H. Ramsay, Grand Treasurer; Rt. Worshipful Harry P. Ballard, Grand Marshal; Rt. Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, Past Senior Grand Warden, with their ladies arrived from the east and were met at the station by Worshipful Master George B. Sturgis and many of the officers and Past Masters of the Lodge. The party became the personal guests of the Worshipful Master for the afternoon, being conveyed in automobiles to Lanesborough, the birthplace of Mystic Lodge, the home of its first as well as its present Master.

Here the site of the "Old Baker Tavern," where the first meetings of the Lodge were held, was visited, and a stop was made at the home of Worshipful Brother Sturgis, where refreshments were served. On the return the visitors were driven through the principal streets and shown the places of interest about the city. At eight o'clock the invited guests, the Brethren, and their ladies gathered at the Maplewood Hotel and were greeted by members of the reception committee (who had been requested to bring a glad hand and a pleasant smile with them and did so). While Escher's Orchestra was adding harmony to friendly greeting the guests assembled in the ball room, located in the old First Church edifice, a structure as old as the Lodge, which for some time was used as a chapel by the Maplewood Institute and is now refashioned and used for dancing by the guests of the hotel. At 8.30 the officers of the Grand Lodge, the Worshipful Master, Rt. Worshipful Brother Frank E. Pierson, Past Junior Grand Warden, and Rt. Worshipful Brother Frank H. Cande, the District Deputy Grand Master for the 15th Masonic District, and the presiding officers of the evening were ushered to the platform. At this time something unexpected happened for as soon as the people on the platform were seated Worshipful Brother Frank M. White, of Crescent Lodge, stepped to the front of the platform and on behalf of that Lodge presented to the Worshipful Master a magnificent bouquet of American Beauty roses, and in a few well chosen words voiced the cordial and fraternal feeling of the Brethren of Crescent Lodge toward the Brethren of Mystic Lodge. Worshipful Master Sturgis responded happily expressing his appreciation of the gift and the friendly spirit which prompted it.

Rt. Worshipful Brother Cande opening the formal exercises of the evening informed the assembly that they were not to be wearied with an historical address, and that though Mystic Lodge had had among its membership many men, whose names had become widely known, its pride and glory was in the members, too numerous to be named, plain, simple, brotherly men, whose fame had not been great but whose influence could not be measured.

. . . "men who did with cheerful will
What others talked of while their hands were still."

Most Worshipful Dana J. Flanders, the Grand Master, was then introduced and after expressing the greeting and congratulations of the Grand Lodge, spoke of some of the things for which the Grand Lodge stood and of its relationship to the constituent Lodges.

Rt. Worshipful Brother Melvin M. Johnson then delivered a most scholarly and instructive address yet so replete with wit and humor as to both entertain and inspire his hearers.

Then for a half hour Van Veachton Rogers with the harp and Charles T. Grilley in recitations and character sketches delightfully entertained us, and the formal exercises were closed with another selection by Dr. Clark.

The Grand Officers were then escorted to the parlors where an informal reception was held, and in the meantime the seats were removed and the floor prepared for dancing. Soon the music of the orchestra lured us back to the hall room and until two o'clock dancing was enjoyed.

A buffet lunch prepared and served in true Maplewood style was served during the evening.

An historical booklet prepared by Worshipful Brother Jay P. Barnes and a souvenir badge were presented to each guest.

The committee in charge of the arrangements was Worshipful Frank H. Cande, Worshipful Robert W. Volk, Right Worshipful Frank K. Peirson, Worshipful John P. Merrill, Worshipful Jay P. Barnes together with the officers and a large number oi the members assisting.

1911-1935
  • 1911. Harry Shipton, W. M. In 1911 a special farewell pro
gram was carried out on February 22 being our last meeting in 
the rooms on the top floor of the Berkshire Life Building. First meeting in Central Hall March 1, 1911. Communications 33,
 Raised 31.
  • 1912. William C. Moulton, W. M. Communications 32. 
Raised 31.
  • 1913. Albie W. Sylvester, W. M. Participated in the laying
 of the corner stone of this Temple by the officers of the Grand
 Lodge, Most Worshipful E. C. Benton, Grand Master. Commu
nications 32. Raised 40. During the years 1912 and 1913, the Lodge was hampered by the quarters it occupied and no activities were recorded.
  • 1914. Robert Bruce Donaldson, W. M. The Temple was
dedicated May 4, 1914, with Mystic Lodge acting as host to the
 Grand Lodge and members of the Fraternity. Mystic Lodge held 
its first meeting in the new Temple May 6 and on May 27 new
 regalia consisting of aprons and officers' jewels were presented to 
the Lodge by Mrs. Ellen M. Huntting in memory of her brother
 Thomas H. Day, Master of Mystic Lodge 1882-1883 and on the
 same evening a handsome silk American flag was presented to the 
Lodge by Worshipful Brother Robert Bruce Donaldson who was
 Master at that time. Communications 29. Raised 35.
  • 1915. George D. Lapham, W. M. Communications 27.
 Raised 20.
  • 1916. Albert Sheppard, W. M. Communications 31. Raised
 33. During the war period practically no activity was entered into except regular meetings.
  • 1917. McClellan Miller, W. M. Revised By-Laws accepted.
 Henry Price medal presented to Worshipful Brother Irving D. Ferrey by Leon M. Abbott, Most Worshipful Grand Master, who was paying a fraternal visit to the Lodge. Communications 31. Raised 33.
  • 1918. Charles E. Hutchinson, W. M. Mystic Lodge Service Flag was unfurled by Worshipful Brother Robert B. Dickie. Most Worshipful Leon M. Abbott paid a fraternal visit to the Lodge. Communications 42. Raised 34.
  • 1919. Robert L. Easland, W. M. In 1919 joint visitation of District Deputy Grand Master. On account of the influenza epidemic and suspension for six weeks, during the time of our annual visitations, of all Masonic meetings by orders of the State and local Boards of Health, a "Get-together" meeting composed of the eight Lodges in the 16th Masonic District was held December 16 with eight hundred present, representing eighty different Lodges throughout the country. At this meeting Past Master's Diplomas were presented to the retiring Masters of the District by Right Worshipful L. Harry Brague, District Deputy Grand Master. Communications 40. Raised 51.
  • 1920. Leverrier S. Lewis, W. M. In 1920 a special service was held for the purpose of demobilizing the service flags of both Mystic and Crescent Lodges and the dedication of the Bronze Memorial Tablet in honor of those who from these Lodges served in the World War. Members of Mystic Lodge engaged in the World War were—
  • Ernest H. Anscomb
  • Fred S. Bassett
  • Glenn H. Bond
  • Harry D. Budlong
  • Arthur E. Bugbee
  • Fred A. Carlson
  • Clifton W. Crompton
  • Elliott W. Denault
  • Ralph K. Dicker
  • Dr. Isaac S. F. Dodd
  • John F. Everett
  • Earl E. Ferry
  • Burton S. Francis
  • John E. Francis
  • Marcel C. Ganthier
  • Dr. Harold F. Gregory
  • William J. Haner
  • John Hargreaves
  • Harold M. Harris
  • P. Frank Herbst
  • Ernest Hick
  • Charles H. Hodges
  • Arthur W. Hofmann
  • John H. Hogan
  • Roy F. Hogan
  • Ralph J. Horne
  • Albert L. Howard
  • Arthur M. Howard
  • Charles H. Ingram (KiIIed in action)
  • Benjamin A. Johnson
  • Raymond H. Johnson
  • I. Arthur Kirkland
  • Edward Laschky
  • Harrison L. Lasner
  • George R. LeBart
  • Robert A. Lee
  • R. Elmer Lowe
  • Robert R. Mackenzie
  • Edward B. Malcomson
  • Charles H. Manning
  • Charles L. Marks
  • Leon T. Mattice
  • Floyd W. Mattoon
  • Walter B. McFarland
  • Clarence M. Miller
  • Leonard J. Nicholas
  • Robert G. North
  • Alfred M. Oeser
  • Adolph G. Pohlmann
  • William F. Retallick
  • Chester F. Reynolds
  • Jay C Rosenfeld
  • Tom Ryder
  • Robert R. Schultza
  • Harry D. Sharp
  • Harold A. Shedd
  • Earle D. Sheppard
  • James C. Shimmon
  • Dr. George M. Shipton
  • Frank Vosburg
  • Charles E. Walker
  • Frank R. Wallace
  • Walter E. Warren
  • Clifford E. Whitney
  • Arthur E. Wright

Rt. Worshipful Brother Frank E. Peirson presented a Henry Price medal. Communications 78. Raised 111.

  • 1921. Frank W. Bastow, W. M. Attended "Forefathers Day Service" South Congregational Church in commemoration of the tercentenary of the landing of the Pilgrims. Installation of new organ. Communications 45. Raised 59.
  • 1922. J. Harry Martin, W. M. Public Installation of Officers. Get-together meeting of the officers and members of the fourteen Lodges in the 15th and 16th Masonic Districts. Craft Club composed of Master Masons employed by the Boston and Albany Railroad assisted in the conferring of the Master Mason Degree upon two of their railroad brethren; the work was witnessed by about 500. Past Masters' Night. The program commemorated the 50th anniversary of Worshipful Brother Irving D. Ferrey as Past Master, and the Lodge presented him with a gold headed cane, Rr. Worshipful Frank E. Peirson making the presentation speech. The Past Masters Association presented a basket of fifty roses: the presentation speech was made by Rt. Worshipful Brother Jay P. Barnes. Communications 41. Raised 42.
  • 1923. Nelson A. Foot, W. M. Rev. Brother Payson K. Pierce, a member of Greenbush Lodge of No. 337 of Rensselaer, New York and Pastor of the South Congregational Church was presented with a purse of gold in appreciation of his services to this Lodge and their admiration of the qualities which for fourteen years he had displayed in this community as a Minister, a Mason, and a Man. Rev. Brother Pierce made fitting remarks in response expressing his gratitude for this unusual expression of friendship and approval. Brother Pierce had tendered his resignation as Pastor of the South Congregational Church to accept a call elsewhere. One of the very important events which has developed into an annual occasion was the first joint fraternal communication of the three Pittsfield Lodges on January 31, 1923. Worshipful Brother Nelson A. Foot, Master of Mystic Lodge, Worshipful Brother Arthur Jones, Master of Crescent Lodge, and Worshipful Brother George P. Hunt, Master of Pittsfield Lodge inaugurated what has become one of the most effective ways in which the brotherly spirit among the members of our Lodge has been fostered. Banner was presented to Pittsfield Lodge by James H. Punderson, District Deputy Grand Master for the 16th Masonic District, on behalf of the donors, Mystic and Crescent Lodges. Communications 28. Raised 27.
  • 1924. David W. Retallick, W. M. Communications 33. Raised 28.
  • 1925. George A. Curtis, W. M. Two hundred and fifty dollars appropriated towards a fund for the erection of a memorial on Stafford Hill in the town of Cheshire. On this memorial is a bronze tablet bearing the names of all of the Brethren who were members of Franklin Lodge, among which were those identified with the founding of Mystic Lodge, Col. Stoddard Williams, Dr. William H. Tyler, and others. This refers to the memorial to Franklin Lodge mentioned in early-historical paper. Communications 32. Raised 33.
  • 1926. Albert W. Patten, W. M. Craftsman Club composed of 
Master Masons employed by the Boston and Albany Railroad conferred the Master Mason Degree upon one of their railroad brothers. Communications 34. Raised 38.
  • 1927. Harold L. Gregory, W. M. Past Masters and Veterans Night. Brothers Charles H. Dorr, Abraham J. Newman, and Alfred L. Marshall, members of Mystic Lodge for 50 years, presented with Grand Lodge Veteran Medals by Rt. Worshipful Clarence I. Sweet, District Deputy Grand Master. Brother William F. Hunt presented ninety dollars in gold. Brother Hunt celebrated his 90th birthday on May 24, 1927. He received his degrees in Washington Lodge, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, and on January 28, 1864, dimitted and for fifty-one years was unaffiliated, joining Mystic Lodge by dimit March 3, 1915. Communications 31. Raised 28.
  • 1928. Albert I. Hall, W. M. Worshipful Brother John P. Merrill, retiring as Treasurer, was presented a gold watch and chain in recognition of services as Treasurer for twenty-five years. Newly formed Past Masters Association of the Sixteenth Masonic District conferred the Master Mason Degree upon two candidates. Communications 32. Raised 21.
  • 1929. Alston A. Tillou, W. M. Five hundred dollars appropriated to a fund being raised by Grand Lodge for a Masonic Hospital in Shrewsbury in addition to two hundred and fifty dollars already subscribed as a free will offering from individual members! A special joint communication of Mystic, Crescent, and Pittsfield Lodges was held on January 24 for a reception to Most Worshipful Herbert W. Dean, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. All Lodges in the 16th Masonic District participated in the reception. Total number present 466. On Ma\ 25, Past Masters' Night—a milestone in Masonic History was reached as all living Past Masters, 36 in number, were present and each presented a Past Master's apron inscribed with name and year of service. Group flash light photograph was taken. Worshipful Brother Charles E. Merrill presented a fifty year veteran medal. Communications 35. Raised 29.
  • 1931. J. Southworth Nichols, W. M. Communications 23. Raised 14.
  • 1932. J. Reeves Rue, W. M. Attended Divine Worship at First Methodist Church St. John's Day, December 27, 1931. A District Bicentennial Celebration in memory of George Washington, the Citizen and Mason, was held June 15 at which delegations from all nine Lodges in the District were present together with 40 members from other Lodges, the total number being 301. A very enjoyable and instructive program was carried out. Attended Divine Service June 26 in commemoration of St. John's Day in the old historic stone church, St. Luke's in Lanesboro, founded in 1767 and of winch Lieutenant Stoddard Williams, first Master of Mystic Lodge, was a Warden, Rev. and Worshipful Brother Stanley C. S. Shirt, the Vicar, having extended an invitation to the three Lodges in Pittsfield to attend this service. Communications 24. Raised 14.
  • 1933. Charles H. Bastow, W. M. Fraternal visits were exchanged with Greylock Lodge, of North Adams, and degrees were conferred. Communications 19. Raised 6.
  • 1934. Frederick W. Tanner, W. M. An exchange of fraternal visits was made with Lafayette Lodge, of North Adams, Pacific Lodge, of Amherst, and Hampden Lodge, of Springfield. The Presiding Masters of the several lodges in the 15th and 16th Masonic Districts conferred the third degree upon one candidate. Each Master filling a station with Worshipful Earl D. Getman, of Lafayette Lodge, presiding in the East. Communications 19. Raised 9.

And now in 1935, we are celebrating our 125th Anniversary; that we may assemble in such a suitable place on this occasion should be a source of pride to us all and as future generations look back upon their history they will realize the loyalty and perseverance of the Brothers in building up from so small a beginning in the little village of Lanesborough to the present high standards that are realized by all the Masonic Bodies of Pittsfield.

Long may Mystic Lodge live, prosper, and flourish in noble deeds of brotherly love, relief, and truth, the tenets of our profession.

150TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, MAY 1960

From Proceedings, Page 1960-115; also on Mystic Lodge web site:

By Wor. Richard B. Shipton:

StoddardWilliams.jpg
Stoddard Williams
First Master of Mystic Lodge, established in Lanesboro 1810

Worshipful Brother Williams was born September 4, 1752 and died May 1, 1832. He was the great grandfather of Mrs. William S. Morton, wife of Judge W. S. Morton, and of Miss Annie L. Marsh of Adams. He was also the great great uncle of Wor. George B. Sturgis, Master of Mystic Lodge in 1910.

WilliamTyler.jpg
Dr. William Hamilton Tyler

Dr. William Hamilton Tyler was born of English and Scotch parents on May 18, 1780 in New Ashford, Mass. He worked on his parents' farm until about the age of eighteen years when he started out to win for himself both an education and a profession. He commenced the study of medicine with his mother's brother Dr. Silas Hamilton at Saratoga, N. Y. Returning home after one year's absence he continued his studies in Lanesborough with Dr. Asa Burbank.

Between studies he taught.school in New Ashford. Completing his studies and obtaining a license to practice in the state of New York, Dr. Tyler returned to Lanesborough. He married the daughter of Captain Lyman Hall of Lanesborough and settled down to practice that was to last a full eighty years. As his practice developed to the point of great success, Dr. Tyler became interested in politics and was elected to the Legislature for three terms. He became a charter member of Mystic Lodge in December of 1810 and continued active membership until his death. Dr. William Hamilton Tyler was instrumental in forming many of the new lodges in that time. As a founder of the Baptist Church in Lanesborough he served as Deacon for over twenty years. His active career in the service to others came to a close in North Adams December 13, 1868 and he was buried by Lafayette Lodge of North Adams with Masonic Honors.

On this great and important occasion, it is only fitting that some words spoken and some deeds remembered, become a true and lasting portion of our ceremonies. It is as if the Men of Mystic, from out of the past are with us once again. They come to witness our works, participate in our endeavors, and once again to raise our Standard on high. They are the Silent Guests with us this evening.

We speak of Mystic Lodge and the 150 years since its founding with the awe and respect due from a creature to his Creator. But truly Mystic's History actually begins with those stalwart pioneers from Rhode Island, who traversed many hardships to find new lands north of Pittsfield. They journeyed to this new land in search of better grazing lands and more profitable agricultural pursuits. These pioneers Roger Williams, firmly believed in free men and free institutions. In 1767, they purchased a tract of land which was Mystic's first Masters participated in this battle. Wor. William Hamilton Tyler often related the stories concerning the War as told by his family. It was from this humble beginning that Mystic Lodge has its origin.

In 1794, twelve residents of Stafford's Hill headed by Col. Jonathan Remington petitioned the Grand Lodge for it dispensation to form it Masonic Lodge with the privilege of meeting six months in Cheshire and six months in Lanesborough. It was voted by Grand Lodge "that they be indulged in the privilege of holding a Lodge in Cheshire to be known as Franklin Lodge, but that the other portion of the Prayer was incompatible with the principles which actuate the conduct and mark the proceedings of the Grand Lodge." This was the First Lodge chartered in Western Massachusetts after the Union of 1792. Once again in June 1800 the members of Franklin Lodge applied for permission to meet alternately in Lanesborough and Cheshire, and this time the petition was granted. Cheshire, as a town, came into being in 1793, and when in 1804 Calvin Hall, a member of Franklin Lodge, erected a fine tavern and inn, Franklin Lodge moved their meeting place from Stafford Hill to a large room on the South Side of the Inn. This Inn became known as the Cheshire Cat Tea Room. Through the generosity of Mystic Lodge in 1921, decorations and insignia embellishing the walls of that tavern, done by some unknown artist for Franklin Lodge, were restored. (See Grand Master's Address, 1922).

The membership of Franklin Lodge greatly increased after the petition was approved to meet in both Lanesborough and Cheshire. And so much was this increase due to the more numerous members living in Lanesborough, that in 1810, the prayers to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts were granted instituting Mystic Lodge in the town of Lanesborough. In December of 1812, Mystic Lodge held its first meeting in Baker's Tavern. This tavern has long since faded from existence, but was located on the road north of Lanesborough towards Greylock and relatively near the old stone church-St. Luke's of Lanesborough. Who were those men who founded Mystic? Stoddard Williams, a Lieutenant in the War and also a Warden in the historic stone church St. Luke's in Lanesborough and Dr. William Harrison Tyler, a noted physician and scholar who assisted in the chartering of numerous lodges throughout North Berkshire County were the prime movers.

Little history is known of Mystic Lodge during the period of 1810 to 1815. However, from records and letters we learn that regular meetings did take place and that not June 24, 1813 an oration was delivered on the occasion of St, John's Day by a Rev. Daniel Burhams, Bishop of Connecticut, who was a member of Mystic Lodge. Ili the record: of Grand Lodge, we learn that in 1815 Mystic Lodge asked permission to hold meeting in Pittsfield and on June to, 1816 on the Sixth Anniversary of Mystic's Founding the prayers were granted. Also, as there were several meeting places available in Pittsfield for the use of the Lodge, a spirited competition resulted to see who would have the Lodge as a new tenant. It is a matter of common history in Pittsfield that Captain Joseph Merrick kept an Inn at the corner of North and West Street. However, the fact that he learned of the prospective tenant and with the assistance of Captain Charles Goodrich, an early pioneer of Pittsfield and also a land speculator, raised the Gambrel roof of the Inn to accommodate the Lodge is not of general knowledge. Whether he had any ulterior motive in so doing is left to the imagination. However, history does provide the fact that there was a tavern and inn owned by Captain Merrick that was a congregating place for political and social discussions of the time, which assisted the sale of Captain Merrick's services and wares as an Innkeeper.

Little is known of the period of 1815 to 1847, due to the double tragedy that befell Mystic Lodge during that period. There was a fire in Boston and also one in Pittsfield that destroyed the records and original Charter plus the lists of Officers. Also, of course, the Morgan Incident, which caused the loss of many valuable items of the history that we celebrate this evening. Masonry in this particular area suffered. There were meetings and members participated in the celebration of important events in the Masonic calendar. However, due to the secrecy of the endeavors no clear history or records survive.

In 1847 interest was revived by Major Franklin Weston, the postmaster of Dalton and uncle of Byron Weston, who originated the large paper works in that town. Major Weston and others joined with those remaining members who had participated in Mystic's works prior to the Morgan Incident and throughout the Dark Period, and commenced to hold meetings once again. These meetings were often held in Comfort B. Platt's office and store. Major Weston held the office of Master and in the Records of Mystic, that have been carefully preserved from that time to this, it is recorded that meetings "were held at 6 p. m. and adjourned to convenient dates."

Following this reorganization and revival of interest, Mystic Lodge thrived and increased in numbers. The records provide a clear and concise history of the year by year progress. Through other Histories of Berkshire County and Pittsfield in particular, we glean a few gems to add to this already impressive History.

In 1852 to 1858 Mystic met in the Odd Fellows room at a rent of $50.00 a year. The lease for this agreement is still preserved in the archives of the Lodge. Quarterly payments were called for in order not to place too much of a burden on the finances of the Lodge.

During the Civil War, the Men of Mystic quickly rallied to the cause and such was their feeling for Masonry and such was the attitude of the Southern Masons, that in New Orleans and after the Battle of Baton Rouge in the winter of 1863, the troops being at a lull in the conflict became desirous of meeting as Masons. One of the only surviving Southern Masons in that area hearing of their wishes affirmed that he was the Tiler of a Lodge in the town, and permitted the men the use of the rooms and regalia. The men were appreciative of the offer and they constituted this Lodge by Charter of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and there came into being the Berkshire Camp Army Lodge in Baton Rouge.

1867 proved an interesting year for Mystic. The new Berkshire Life Insurance Co. building was about to be dedicated, and the Masons under the leadership of Wor. Frederick S. Parker participated in laying the cornerstone of that building and the Lodge became one of its tenants. In 1869, the prayers of brethren in Hinsdale were granted and demits were voted for brethren wishing to join the first off-shoot of Mystic Lodge. This lodge in Hinsdale became Globe Lodge. In 1873, Crescent Lodge of Pittsfield was formed out of Mystic members and in 1897 Unity Lodge of Dalton became the Third Lodge to be formed out of the ranks of Mystic men.

In 1892 when Rt. Wor. Frank Peirson was Master, the membership of Mystic stood at 174. Fifteen years later in 1907, when Wor. William E. Bagg was Master, the membership had climbed to 328. The Hundredth Anniversary of Mystic Lodge was celebrated in 1910 with Wor. George B. Sturgis as Master, and recorded in chronological sequence are the events of that festive and joyous occasion. Speeches, dinners, dancing and the playing of harp solos at the Maplewood Institute culminated a long and arduous weekend for Most Wor. Dana J. Flanders of the Grand Lodge and his Officers.

1914 marked the dedication of our present Temple with Wor. Bro. Donaldson acting as Host for the Grand Lodge Officers; since which time Mystic Lodge has occupied these premises. During the First World War years little activity is recorded due in part to the warnings of health officials of Pittsfield against the gatherings of crowds because of the Influenza Epidemic of 1919. This fact ultimately gave rise to a "Get Together," promoted by Mystic and participated in by the lodges of the 16th Masonic District.

Following each war, in the United States and indeed throughout the world the memberships of Masonic Lodges have increased in great numbers. This has been true especially for Mystic. In 1920 when Wor. Bro. Leverrier S. Lewis was Master, there was an example of the effects of the War on the membership of Mystic. In that year 111 new members were raised. Pittsfield Lodge was formed to be the Fourth Lodge that can truthfully be called Mystic, the founding Lodge. In 1923, Wor. Bro. Nelson A. Foot, then Master of Mystic instituted the Annual Joint Communication among Mystic, Crescent and Pittsfield Lodges, since which time this Annual Meeting has been enjoyed and promoted by the three Blue Lodges, to the great satisfaction of all.

1935 marked the 125th Anniversary of Mystic Lodge. Wor. George Rauscher was Master, and Wor. George B. Sturgis prepared a paper on the History of Mystic and presented the same before the assembled guests. It was a busy time for Mystic and there are many here tonight who remember that celebration. Most Wor. Claude LeRoy Allen was present and participated in the work of the evening by presenting Veteran Medals.

The years following the 125th Anniversary were noteworthy with the continuation of the dedication that so truly marks the Men of Mystic. These years also resulted in an increase in actual numbers of members. However, it must be recorded that in Mystic, for the participating Officers and Members, these were indeed solemn days. World conflict such as had never been seen entered and disrupted many homes. It was felt in the annals of our records and must be spoken of tonight. There were many hurried meetings, with exemplifications of the degrees; there were special dispensations granted and duties fulfilled for the men whom we hoped would return, and not traverse the Valley of Death.

Most of them did return and are with us still. Some, however, have joined the Great Architect, and by that all-devouring Scythe of Time been gathered to their Forefathers. The efforts of the Lodge to draw these Service Members still closer to us and our activities, was greatly strengthened by the Service Committee of Mystic Lodge, headed by Brother William C. Root. These Servicemen, members of Mystic, and sons of members received direct letters from the lodge each month concerning the activities on the calendar and enjoyed by that method, the endeavors so dear to us all.

Mystic was further strengthened since immediately after the conflict a return to membership was very evident. And so for the fifteen years following the War, Mystic has f flourished and prospered until the membership now stands at 760.

It is not necessary to recall the activities in chronological sequence of the past few short years in the History of Mystic Lodge. We will all have an opportunity to read the full printed history later in the year. Those on the sidelines, who are our Silent Guests made that History. It is to these Silent Guests that we must make an unswerving pledge, a pledge that. calls for us all, in our various lives, purposes ,and vocations, to continue the practices so richly endowed Which have been bequeathed to us by them.

By the aid of the All-Seeing Eye, and the help of the Perfect Points of our Craft, this will be but the beginning of the greatest period in our growth, not only in members, but also in the application of those principles that actuate our very being. May the multitude who have come before us and the many who follow, look back upon our history with this same awe and respect when they realize the loyalty and perseverance of our brothers in building up from so small a beginning in the little village of Lanesborough, to the high standards that are at present realized and enjoyed by all the Masonic Bodies of Pittsfield.

Long may Mystic live, prosper, and flourish in noble deeds of brotherly love, relief, and truth the tenets of our profession.

OTHER

  • 1815 (Petition to permit alternate meetings in Lanesboro and Pittsfield, II-35; rejected, III-17.)
  • 1816 (Petition to remove to Pittsfield; granted, III-45)
  • 1822 (Report on delinquency, III-422)
  • 1824 (Report on delinquency, III-471)
  • 1826 (Report on delinquency, IV-57)
  • 1827 (Report on delinquency, IV-114)
  • 1828 (Report on delinquency, IV-147)
  • 1829 (Report on delinquency, IV-170)
  • 1896 (Participation in the centennial of Evening Star Lodge, 1895-79)
  • 1896 (Participation in the centennial of Cincinnatus Lodge, 1896-113)
  • 1909 (Grand Lodge Visit, October 1909; not in Proceedings)

EVENTS

OFFICER LIST, JANUARY 1826

From Masonic Mirror and Mechanics' Intelligencer, Vol. II, No. 6, February 1826, Page 41:

At a regular meeting of the members of Mystic Lodge, on the 19th inst. the following were chosen officers for the ensuing year, viz.:

  • Bro. Franklin Weston, W. M.
  • Bro. Levi Bulkley, S. W.
  • Bro. C. J. F. Allen, J. W.
  • Bro. Comfort B. Platt, Treas.
  • Bro. J. A. Forrestall, Sec'ry.
  • Bro. Sheffield J. Lewis, S. D.
  • Bro. T. Warner, J. D.
  • Bros. John K. Bellman and William H. Hurbert, Stewards.

50TH ANNIVERSARY, JUNE 1860

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XIX, No. 8, June 1860, Page 256:

Celebration at Pittsfield — We are desired to give notice that the celebration of St. John's day, advertised to take place on Tuesday the 26th inst. will take place on Friday the 22d — the day having been changed in consequence of the June term off the Superior Court, at that place, commencing on the 26th. The address will be delivered by the Rev. Dr. Randall of this city.

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XIX, No. 9, July 1860, Page 273:

The nativity of St. John the Baptist was celebrated at Pittsfield, in this State, on Friday the 22d June, the occasion being also the 50th anniversary of Mystic Lodge, under whose auspices the celebration took place. Brethren were present from Springfield, Hartford, New Haven, Albany, Troy, and other neighboring towns, including the entire Lodges of Berkshire County. The address was delivered by Rev. Dr. Geo. M. Randall, P. G. M., of this city, and was an able and interesting discourse on the elevating and moral powers of Masonry. The dinner was served in the Berbank's Hall, where speeches were made by Hon. H. L. Dows and others, and a poem delivered by Samuel B. Sumner, Esq., of Great Barrington. The occasion was an agreeable one, and the ceremonies all passed off to the satisfaction of the numerous Brethren and ladies in attendance.

HALL DEDICATION, NOVEMBER 1868

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXVIII, No. 3, January 1869, Page 82:

Our brethren of Mystic Lodge at Pittsfield, in the western part of the State, have recently erected for their own use and that of the other Masonic Bodies in the town, a new hall, which for convenience in arrangement and beauty of finish is surpassed by but few others in the Jurisdiction. It comprises, says the Berkshire Eagle (from which we condense the following description of it), a principal Lodge-room, a Prelate's room, a banqueting hall, and eight smaller apartments used as the Armory of the Knights Templars, Committee-rooms, etc. The Lodge-room is thirty-six feet wide by sixty long, and proportionately high, showing architectural perfection in this respect. The walls are semi-arched and in the curve show the emblems of the Order beautifully frescoed. The emblems of the Chapter appear handsomely painted in the corners of the ceiling. The rich coloring of this, and other frescoing, combines finely with the general delicate tinting of the walls with which the deep crimson of the carpet is also made to harmonize.

The chairs are of rich antique patterns, and the tapers at the east, west, and south, are supported by massive and beautiful gas standards, emblematically decorated. The truncheons of the Senior and Junior Wardens are of dark rosewood mounted with silver, and were presented by Br. Henry Chickering.

The shades of all the gas fixtures are ornamented with masonic emblems, elegantly cut. The Master's chair is richly draped. The decorations of the room are completed by the resplendent banners of the Berkshire Encampment of Knights Templars, and of Mystic Lodge, displayed in the north-east and south-east corners.

The Bible, one of the most cosily forms in which the sacred volume is issued by the Bible Society, was presented by Br. L. H. Gamwell.

In the south-east corner of the building is the prelate's Boom, twenty by thirty feet in size, and in the luxury of its furniture far surpassing the larger hall. The walls, like those of the Lodge.room, are delicately tinted. The distinguishing feature of the room, however, is the profusion of Maltese crosses, the favorite emblem of the Knights Templars, to whose uses it is more especially appropriated. Adjoining the Prelate's room, is the Armory of the Knights Templars, fitted up with neat black-walnut wardrobes for their handsome regalia and arms, which are displayed through glass casings.

Passing through this and other small apartments, we come to the banqueting hall, a finely proportioned room, more simply furnished and decorated than the others, but hardly less pleasing to the eye.

The hall was formally dedicated by the Grand Lodge in November, in presence of a large assemblage of brethren and their ladies.

CENTENNIAL ANNIVERSARY, JUNE 1910

From New England Craftsman, Vol. V, No. 10, July 1910, Page 341:

GeorgeBSturgis.jpg FrankHCande.jpg
George B. Sturgis; Frank H. Cande
Worshipful Master; Chairman

The handsome souvenir program of the centennial celebration of Mystic Lodge, Pittsfield, Mass., June 10th, was in line with the generous provision made in every direction for observing the most notable event in the history of that venerable lodge.

The exercises were held in the historic tavern, "The Maplewood," a portion of which was once the auditorium of the "First Congregational Church," but which probably was i never more joyously occupied than at this time, by the brethren and their ladies as a ballroom. None who was present could feel that the house was less useful than in its former days. It is true its walls reverberated to less solemn notes than the preacher's words calling his hearers into the fold of the accepted, they nevertheless responded to the sounds of good cheer and to voices of brethren who are united in the interests of human reciprocity and fraternal good will.

The program of the celebration was as follows: 3:00 p. m., Arrival of Grand Lodge, Most Wor. Dana J. Flanders and suite. 8.00 p. m., orchestra selection; Address by Grand Master; Bass Solo, Dr. George R. Clark; Address. Rt. Wor. Melvin M. Johnson; Entertainment — monologue and harp, Rogers and Grilly; bass solo and violoncello, Dr. George R. Clark. 10.15 p. m., Reception to grand officers. 10.30 p. m., dancing and whist. Lunch served from 10.30 to 12 o'clock.

Somewhat contrary to the usual custom, there was no historical address. In place of this the annals of the lodge were printed with the program giving a good history of the body, as far as it is known, from its organization until the present time, with the exception of the anti-masonic period, when, like many others, the lodge was dormant for several years. The historical sketches were made interesting by the pictures of a large number of the brethren who have filled the office of master of the lodge.

It is said that the worshippers of li mg ago would hardly have recognized the ancient church could they have stepped into the auditorium, transformed as it was into the semblance of a Masonic lodge room. On each of the classic white pillars was a Masonic emblem. Between the pillars arranged tastefully were trailing vine and white lilies, while suspended from the top between the same pillars were big red "tulips," each lighted with an incandescent. There was an American flag at the rear entrance to the ball room, and suspended over the stage in front was Mystic lodge banner, bearing this inscription : "Mystic lodge 5810—5847, Pittsfield, Mass." On the wall at the right of the stage were aprons that had been presented to the lodge at various times. On and about the stage itself were stately palms.

The program opened shortly after 3 o'clock. On the stage were George B. Sturgis, Master of Mystic lodge; Frank E. Peirson, former Grand Junior Warden; Frank H. Cande, district deputy grand master, who presided, together with the Grand Lodge officers, Dana J. Flanders, Grand Master; Thomas W. Davis, Grand Secretary: C. H. Ramsay, Grand Treasurer; H. P. Ballard, Grand Marshal; Melvin M. Johnson, past Senior Grand Warden.

The first incident of the celebration was a surprise to the members of Mystic lodge, being a presentation of a gorgeous bouquet of 100 American Beauty roses from Crescent Lodge, a child of Mystic Lodge.

The presentation was made by Worshipful Master Frank M. White of Crescent Lodge and accepted by Worshipful Master George B. Sturgis of Mystic lodge. The speeches of both of the brethren were exceedingly graceful and full of sentiments of goodwill and fraternal regard.

Grand Master Dana J. Flanders was introduced to the large assembly by Worshipful Brother Frank II. Cande. chairman of the general committee.

Grand Master Flanders brought the congratulations and greetings of the Grand Lodge, which is now in its 177th year, He stated that he had assisted in the celebration of the 150th anniversary of a .Massachusetts lodge and one 140th anniversary. He went on to speak of organization being so much superior to individual efforts; he said that the prime object of Masonry is to promote brotherly love and charity. He referred to the new Masonic home at Charlton, which he said will probably be dedicated this fall. Mr. Flanders was pleased to see the ladies present, for he liked to feel that they are interested in Masonry, He wished Mystic Lodge the best of success and prosperity for the next 100 years.

Right Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, past Grand Warden, delivered a scholarly and interesting address on Freemasonry, giving three reasons why it is often criticised.

  • 1st — On account of its secrecy.
  • 2nd — Its formality and ritualism.
  • 3rd — Because of its alleged encroachment on the field of the church.

In regard to the first Mr. Johnson said that the early Masons closed the lodge room to keep things out of it. Secrecy he said keeps harmony in the fraternity and bars out rancor and hostility. "The silence of communion." he said "goes with the open door and the greatest emotions of life are the silent emotions."

We are creatures of formality and ritualism. We put on our best clothes for the Sunday service because it is the custom. We tip our hats to the ladies out of respect to them "If then we have a formality for politeness, why not then a formality for reverence."

Those who know the principles ol Masonry know that it does not encroach upon the work and held of the church. It is a philosophy, a concrete, a live philosophy. It is founded on the principle of the unity of God and the brotherhood of man. The musical portion of the program and the entertainment were of a high order. At the end of the entertainment the grand officers marched to the parlors of "The Maplewood" where they held an informal reception. The entertainment was over at 10.30 and from then until 12 o'clock supper was served in the dining room.

Great credit is due to the General Committee for the success of the celebration.

The history of Mystic lodge as printed in the souvenir program is in part, as follows:

Mvstic Lodge was instituted at Lanesborough, Massachusetts, in 1810, and in December. 1812. held its first rneeting in the old Baker Tavern. The only record in existence of the granting of a Charter to Mystic lodge is in the archives of our Grand Lodge as follows:

"A petition was presented by a number of brethren in the Town of Lanesborough, in the County of Berkshire, for a Warrant of Constitution to hold a meeting in that town hv the name of Mystic lodge and on [notion voted to grant the prayer of petition."

WilliamHTyler.jpg
Dr. William H. Tyler

Dr. William Hamilton Tyler was the first Master. He named the lodge and wrote by-laws, which are still preserved in his own handwriting. Dr. William Hamilton Tyler, first master of Mystic lodge, was of English-Scotch descent, born May 18th, 1780. Worked on farm until eighteen rears old. Studied medicine at Saratoga, N. Y. Taught school to earn money for education. Studied in New York, 1805-06 with great determination and fortitude, being hampered by having to win his own way. He became eminently conspicuous as a successful physician. He arose to an enviable position, as both a doctor and citizen. He died in 1868, and was Juried with Masonic honors. He was a great and good man, beloved and revered, and was a credit to mankind and Masonry.

From 1812-1826 the records are lost. The Masonic Temple at Boston burned with the original recorded data of charter members and officers, and a fire destroyed the Old Berkshire Hotel at Pittsfield, where the records and charter were kept.

"How long Mystic lodge held its organization in Lanesborough after 1812. and how long Dr. Tyler held the office of its worshipful master, and who succeeded him as such, seems to be past finding out. While the lodge was in Lanesborough it is known that Rev. Daniel Burhans, Bishop ol Connecticut, was a member of it. The Masonic oration delivered before Mystic lodge at the semi-anniversary festival of St. John the Baptist at Pittsfield, June 24, 1813, by Brother Ahab Jinks, was printed in pamphlet form, a copy being still preserved. Captain Joseph Merrick kept an inn on the corner of North and West streets in 1810, and it is a matter of history that he raised the gambrel roof of his building one story to accommodate the Masonic fraternity and others. In 1820 on St. John's Day, Pittsfield Masons engaged Rev. Dr. Hooper of Albany to address them. It was during a time of religious revival and Rev. Dr. Humphrey undertook to prevent the exercises, whereupon the Masons brought Dr. Hooper to Pittsfield by a relay of horses and he made the oration at the date and hour appointed."

Probably about 1818, Mystic removed to Pittsfield.

There are no available records to be had of the lodge during the Morgan excitement in 1826.

Mystic lodge was revived after this wave of prejudice had died out. and in 1847, began to be active again. December 16, 1847, the old members met in the Goodrich Block, and elected Major Franklin Weston of Dalton, as Worshipful Master. In 1849 this brother was district deputy grand master. At this time the Grand Lodge loaned collars and jewels to Mystic Lodge. In 1852-58 the lodge occupied rooms at a rental of $50 a year. Prosperity is shown by the purchase of considerable furniture and paraphernalia for use in the work. The dues were $1 per year, paid quarterly. The fees for joining were $5 with the petition, $10 for the first degree, $;J for the second degree and $2 for the third degree. Dues were raised to $2 payable quarterly. Bought urn for water and "Spittoons." Bought a hell for the outer door. In 1865 the "G" on the Master's chair was gilded arid in I860, St. John's Day was celebrated, June 22d. The jewels were burnished at an expense of $1.50, a clock was bought and a strawberry festival held. In 1864 gas was first used for lighting the rooms. In 1867 a committee attended the dedication of Masonic Temple. Boston. A banner was bought in 1868 and is still in the lodge room. A Bible was presented by Brother L. H. Gamwell and has been in constant use ever since that time.

In 1869 consented to the establishment of Globe lodge in Hinsdale and presented it the furniture of the old lodge of the old lodge room. The banquet room was allowed to be used for velocipede practice for Masons only.

In 1871 the lodge appears to have reached the climax of social development for it was voted to hold not more than five sociables during the year and that "In the future all Masonic emblems be excluded from the dancing cards."

In 1872 when Irving D. Ferrey was Master a committee was appointed to see if the rooms could be ventilated. Ventilators were installed in 1873 under W. S. Kirkland, W. M., and it was then voted to approve of the petition of formation of Crescent Lodge. In 1870 during the administration of Charles Hubbard a lot was bought in the Pittsfield cemetery.

It is recorded that in 1882 when Thomas H. Day was Worshipful Master the lodge held a clam bake. In 1895 when Herbert S. Wolliston was Master Mystic Lodge attended the July 17th centennial celebration of Evening Star Lodge of Lee and in June 24th, 1896, the centennial of Cincinnatus Lodge in Great Barrington. In 1897, Unity Lodge of Dalton was instituted. William R. Gardener was Master that year.

Since 1847 the lodge has had 18 secretaries. It now has 367 members.

The present officers follow: George H. Sturgis, Worshipful Master; Harry Shipton, Senior Warden; William Moulton, Junior Warden: John P. Merrill, Treasurer; Irving J. Barnfather, Secretary; McClellan Miller, Chaplain; Henry H. Rice, Marshal; Albie W. Sylvester, Senior Deacon; Robert B. Donaldson, Junior Deacon; George D. Lapham, Senior Steward; Albert Sheppard, Junior Steward Robert S. Weymouth, Inside Sentinel; Byron W. Kittle, Organist; William J. McKee, Tyler.

Alter the centennial program of Mystic lodge had been printed the brethren were surprised by the announcement that papers had been discovered which tell a different story of the beginning of the lodge from that heretofore accepted as true. The evidence obtained is said to shatter the traditions held for years that Dr. William H. Tyler was the first master of the lodge. That he was the first master has been only a tradition because all early records of the Mystic lodge were burned including the original charter.

Valuable papers that bring light upon the early history of the lodge were recently discovered in a trunk that has been stored away for years in the attic of the Nathaniel H. Williams homestead on the Williamstown road in Lanesboro now owned by Mrs. Delia C. Marsh of Adams. Nathaniel Williams was Stoddard Williams' son. He was the sort of a man who always saved the first newspaper he ever read, the first cent he earned, the first diary kept and that sort of thing. When Nathaniel Williams died a lot of his belongings passed down to his daughter, Mrs. Marsh.

In conversation one day with George B. Sturgis, present Master of Mystic lodge. Mrs. Marsh stated her belief that Masonic papers of interest to Mystic Lodge could he found in the garret of the old homestead.

The trunk was taken out of the garret, full of dust and cobwebs, and in a bundle of papers was discovered the incontrovertible testimony that places Stoddard Williams and not Dr. Tyler as the first Master of the old lodge that was first instituted in l.anesboro, June 10, 1810.

George B. Sturgis the present Master is a direct descendant of Stoddard Williams and is a resident of Lanesboro where Mystic Lodge was instituted.

WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION, FEBRUARY 1911

From New England Craftsman, Vol. VI, No. 6, March 1911, Page 197:

The Masons of Pittsfield, Mass., are bidding good-bye to their quarters in the Berkshire Life Building, which they have occupied for more than forty-three years. Mystic Lodge, which held its last meeting in the old hall, on the evening of Washington's Birthday, paid especial attention to this important date in its career. More than 350 brethren were in attendance. The work was done by the old Past Masters, who filled the chairs as follows: Irving J. Barnfather, Worshipful Master; W. R. Gardener, Senior Warden; Herbert S. Wollison, Junior Warden; Henry C. Merrill, Secretary; John P. Merrill, Chaplain; Frank E. Pierson, Marshal; Manson K. White and Charles R. Foote, Deacons; Frank Howard and Edwin B. Tyler, Stewards; and Frank W. Cande, Organist.

The lodge room and banquet hall were decorated with flags and flowers and a picture of George Washington was prominent. The banquet was served under the direction of the ladies of Collina Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. Many Masons wondered what on earth they ever did in the days before this fine organization came into being here to look after the men folks and to see to it that, on nights like this, they lacked no essential element of that which gladdens the inner man.

Interesting speeches with stereopticon pictures occupied the time after the banquet. The pictures made a great hit, from the fact that many of them were prepared especially to fit well-known brethren, much to the amusement of the company.

Among those who addressed the brethren were J. Frank Allison, District deputy Grand Master, and Brothers Frank H. Cande and Herbert W. Dean, Past District Deputy Grand Masters. Brother James Kettle, who was secretary many years, gave a historical address of much interest; other speakers were George Shipton and Frank E. Pierson, the latter giving one of his original and highly entertaining talks. By means of "a play on names," he showed how many departments of human activity and employment are represented in the membership of the lodge. It was an exceedingly clever feature and made a big hit. In closing, he recited a poem, "A Friend of Man."

After a quartet number, Frank H. Cande spoke and read a number of bright poems, which were a happy mingling of mirth and philosophy. William R. Gardener entertained with wit, wisdom and eloquence.

A quartet hit was an original song. Afterwards, the words of the chorus were shown on the screen and sung by the entire company.

A letter from Irving D. Ferry, an old member, was read, in which he recorded incidents of the early days of the lodge.

The Masonic lodge of Pittsfield will occupy temporary quarters until their new temple is completed.

Tim- Pittsfield, Mass., Masonic Association have voted to build a Masonic Temple on Union Street, of thai city. There has been a considerable difference of opinion regarding the best location for the temple, the popular vote of tin- evening of February 13, when action was taken, favored another site; hut the stock voie was decidedly in favor of the location selected. Plans for the building arc being considered, regarding which one of the promoters said: "We are using every endeavor to have erected a Masonic Temple pure and simple without stores, and hope that we can have an artistic and distinctively Masonic building."

PRESENTATION, NOVEMBER 1915

From New England Craftsman, Vol. XI, No. 3, December 1915, Page 71:

Presentation of Loving Cup in Mystic Lodge, Pittsfield, Mass.

RobertBurnsDickie.jpg

It is not unusual to find among the members of old lodges brethren who have been members for a period of fifty years. It does not happen as often that we meet brethren who have been Past Masters for so long a time, as a fifty year Past Master would be several years older as a Mason. They have a Past Master in Mystic Lodge, Pittsfield, Mass. who reached his fiftieth anniversary as Past Master, November 23rd, 1915. Captain Robert Burns Dickie, the brother who is distinguished by the record of fifty years as a Past Master was made a master mason in Wisdom Lodge of West Stockbridge in 1863, just after his return from service as a soldier in the Union army during the Civil war. He was made a Past master on November 23, 1865. He demitted to Mystic lodge of Pittsfield, Massachusetts in June, 1871, and later demitted from Mystic lodge to Globe Lodge of Hinsdale. In 1898 when Unity Lodge of Dalton was formed, he became a charter member of that lodge and still holds membership in it. Since coming to Pittsfield to reside, however, he has attended the meetings of Mystic lodge quite frequently and has assisted there and is held in very high regard by the members of that lodge.

In addition to being a member of the blue lodge, Mr. Dickie also has membership in Berkshire Royal Arch Chapter, which he joined in 1866, he and Dr. W. W. Leavitt both taking the degree on the same evening. Mr. Dickie is in his 77th year and is hale and hearty and says he hopes to live and enjoy the fine teachings of Masonry for years to come.

So far as is known, Mr. Dickie, with one exception, holds the record in Berkshire Masonry for length of time as a past master. Charles W. Kniffin of West Stockbridge, a member of Wisdom Lodge of that town, has been a Past Master for 53 or 54 years.

In recognition of Past Master Dickie's long service in behalf of Freemasonry he was presented by the brethren of Mystic Lodge with a silver loving cup at a meeting of the lodge, Wednesday, November 13.

The cup, which is a beautiful silver one of classic design, bears this inscription: "A past master 50 years. A monument to Masonry. Presented to Robert Burns Dickie by Mystic Lodge, November 10, 1915."

The presentation was made by Frank E. Peirson, Past Master of the lodge and also past Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

Brother Peirson's speech was one of the best of its kind in our recollection and well worthy of the praise accorded by Captain Dickie who said of it: "it was one of the most impressive bits of oratory to which it had ever been his privilege to listen," Mr. Peirson said: —

"For 50 years it has been your privilege to occupy a position similar to the one I am occupying tonight — to have before you many men who have been raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. From a ripe experience you have pointed out to them the principles of truth, justice, friendship, morality and brotherly love. You have shown them the road to finest kind of manhood and citizenship. No man can talk continually of these principles without having them exemplified to a greater or less degree in his own life. For many years you have been among us a true and upright Mason, extending the cordial hand of friendship and assisting us in our works. In appreciation of your efforts Mystic lodge has asked me to present to you this nwing cup. As you place it in your home may you from time to time look upon it, not for its intrinsic value, but because it represents to you a continuation of the friendship and affection of all the Masons in Pittsfield, so that:— 'When you come to the end of a perfect day and sit alone with your thoughts; when the chimes ring out with their carol gay, for the good that the day has brought; do you think what the end of a perfect day can mean to a tired heart, when the sun goes down with a (laming ray and dear friends have to part? well, this is the end of a perfect day, near the end of a journey too; and it brings a thought that is big and strong and a wish that is kind and true; for memory hath painted this perfect day in colors that never fade; and you'll find at the end of your perfect day the souls of the friends you have made.' "

The evening was also made interesting by the official presence of Rt. Wor. J. P. Barnes, District Deputy Grand Master and suite. About 400 were in attendance. The suite consisted of Charles E. Bennett, Past Master of Crescent Lodge and past District Deputy; Carl Wurtzbach of Lee, Past Master of Evening Star Lodge and past District Deputy; Herbert W. Dean of Cheshire, Past Maater of Upton Lodge and past District Deputy; James R. Savary, Past Master of Mt. Moriah Lodge of Westfield.

At the conclusion of the degree work, a banquet was enjoyed. Collina chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, catering. Postprandial remarks were made by District Deputy Barnes, E. B. Bowen of Cheshire, Rev. Charles P. MacGregor, Mr. Wurtzbach and Mr. Bennett.

PAST MASTERS' NIGHT, MAY 1917

From New England Craftsman, Vol. XII, No. 9, June 1917, Page 315:

Past Masters' night as observed by Mystic Lodge, Pittsfield, Mass., Wednesday, May 23, will ever be a red letter day in the annals of the lodge. Despite stormy weather, which prevented an attendance of over 100 from out of town, there were present 600 Masons who will remember the occasion as the most notable one in the history of the lodge, formed just 107 years ago.

The third degree was conferred upon one candidate in the presence of M. W. Leon M. Abbott, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and his suite composed of R. W. Moses C. Plummer, Deputy Grand Master; R. W. William M. Farrington, Senior Grand Warden; Edward N. West, Grand Marshal; Lewis H. Brague, District Deputy; Frank E. Peirson, P. J. G. W.; and these past District Deputies: Frank H. Cande, Jay P. Barnes, John P. Merrill, Charles E. Bennett, Robert N. Richmond and Eugene Bower.

The presiding officer was Wor. Irving D. Ferry, who has been thrice elected master of his lodge at different periods, 1872, 1875 and 1887, and who was recently presented a Henry Price Medal, for having been an active Mason for more than fifty years. The work of the evening was splendidly performed, and was completed at just nine o'clock, at which hour 600 formed into line and marched under Travel Captain Frank H. Cande, in a very unusual way, to the banquet hall below, where ample provision had been made for the biggest assemblage in the history of the temple, by Collina Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star.

After the banquet was ended an unusual program of music and entertainment was presented which held the large company until a late hour.

Every Mason was invited to the affair and no admission was charged but at the door were nail kegs labelled: "Mystic Exchequer — Yes, this is a Nail Keg but it will hold money. Listen, to the jingle as it falls. Buttons are not collateral in this free will offering."

The whole affair was entirely different from anything before attempted and apparently met with great favor if the applause accorded the various numbers is any criterion. Mystic Lodge certainly established a record which will be hard to equal in several ways.

175TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, MAY 1985

From TROWEL, Fall 1985, Page 19:

Mystic Lodge Celebrates 175th Anniversary

Bro. Bruce H. Grunow, TROWEL rep. for Mystic Lodge, Pittsfield, MA, informs us that the Lodge celebrated its 175th anniversary on May 11 at the Pittsfield Masonic Temple. In attendance was M. W. David B. Richardson, Grand Master, accompanied by many Masonic dignitaries from the western part of the state.

The General Chairman of the event, R.W. Willis B. Altman, Past D. D. G. M. of the Pittsfield 16th Masonic District and Secretary of the Lodge, had a fine committee working with him: Wor. Karl D. Henry, historian; Bro. Roy L. Derosia, printing and distribution; Bro. Bruce H. Grunow, program and advertising; Bro. Louis Boos, community church service; and Bro. Walter E. Lewis, guests and accommodations. The Honorary Chairman was Wor. David Dalzell, oldest living Past Master, who served in 1930.

The Masonic church service was held on May 19 at Zion Lutheran Church, followed by a brunch at the Masonic Temple.

Mystic Lodge was chartered in Lanesboro in 1810 and moved to Pittsfield in 1816. They have occupied quarters in the present Temple on South Street since its dedication in 1914.

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Pictured in the photo is R. W. Bro. Altman, an active Mason in the Pittsfield area. Among his community activities are: coach and president of Pittsfield South Little League, and District Administrator of MA District 1, Little League Baseball. In business he is a program planner at General Electric Co. Ordnance Systems. (Photo by Shartrand.)

From TROWEL, Winter 1985, Page 30:

Mystic Lodge of Pittsfield's 16th District celebrated its 175th anniversary in May as M. W. David B. Richardson, other Grand Lodge officers, and 300 guests joined in the festivities. The Lodge supports the Jaws of Life, Salvation Army, the Christian Center, Hospice, Special Olympics, and Shriners Hospitals programs and a Babe Ruth League baseball team.

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Wor. George A. Hadley, Master: the Grand Master; R. W. Willis B. Altman, general chairman and Lodge secretary, and R. W. K. Eugene Trostle, D. D. G. M. of the Pittsfield 16th.


GRAND LODGE OFFICERS

OTHER BROTHERS


DISTRICTS

1810: District 8 (Berkshires)

1821: District 8

1849: District 9

1867: District 9 (Pittsfield)

1883: District 15 (Pittsfield)

1911: District 16 (Pittsfield)

1927: District 16 (Pittsfield)

2003: District 31


LINKS

Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges