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Location: Marblehead

Chartered By: Jeremy Gridley

Charter Date: 03/25/1760 I-67; note that this page shows the lodge in attendance, but the date of charter is only listed on I-69.

Precedence Date: 03/25/1760

Current Status: Active


Philanthropic Lodge was chartered by St. John‘s Grand Lodge; it was originally named St. John's #1 in Marblehead, and later simply the Lodge at Marblehead.

Benjamin F. Arrington Lodge merged into Wayfarers Lodge, 05/08/1984, which merged here, 10/05/2006.


From Vocal Companion and Masonic Register, Boston, 1802, Part II, Page 29:

  • R. W. Elisha Story, M.
  • W. John Chandler, S. W.
  • W. Wm. Blackler, J. W.
  • John Bond, Sec.
  • Jonathan Orne, Tr.
  • John Drury, S. D.
  • Asa Hooper, J. D.
  • John Brown, Steward.
  • John Hines, Steward.

No. of Members, 30.


  • John Lowell, 1760-1776?
  • Richard Harris, 1778
  • Samuel R. Trevett, 1781
  • Elisha Story, 1782-1797, 1802
  • Ralph H. French, 1809, 1825
  • Ebenezer G. Evans, 1810
  • John Chandler, 1811
  • Charter not in force 1811-1821
  • John Bartlett, 1821-1824, 1845
  • Josiah P. Cressey, 1826, 1827, 1831
  • Samuel S. Trefry, 1825, 1832, 1834, 1846
  • John Traill, 1828, 1830
  • Charter not in force 1834-1846
  • David Blaney, 1847, 1858
  • H.H.F. Whittemore, 1859, 1862
  • Michael J. Doak, 1863, 1866, 1875, 1876, 1880, 1881
  • Jonathan Cole, 1867, 1868
  • Benjamin Pitman, 1869, 1872, 1882
  • William H. Wormstead, 1873, 1874
  • Charter not in force 1876-1880
  • William W. Dodge, 1883
  • Horace Goodwin, 1884, 1885
  • William D.T. Trefry, 1886, 1887
  • Frank Lackey, 1888, 1889
  • Emery Brown, 1890, 1891
  • Stephen W. Power, 1892, 1893
  • Benjamin Cole, Jr., 1894, 1895
  • P. Howard Shirley, 1896, 1897
  • George P. Graves, 1898, 1899
  • Winthrop Brown, 1900, 1901
  • George S. Goss, 1902, 1903
  • Charles Goodwin, 1904, 1905
  • Horace B. Gardner 1906, 1907
  • Edward G. Brown, 1908, 1909; SN
  • Clinton A. Ferguson, 1910, 1911
  • Henry G. Trefry, 1912, 1913,
  • Charles H. King, 1914, 1915
  • Harrie K. Nutting, 1916, 1917
  • Richard T. Cole, 1918, 1919
  • Amos H. Humphrey, 1920, 1921
  • J. Edgar Parker, 1922, 1923
  • Arthur L. Swasey, 1924
  • Ackley R. Slee, 1925
  • Rufus L. Titus, 1926, 1927
  • Arthur M. Humphrey 1928, 1929
  • William L. Nickerson, 1930, 1931
  • Chester M. Damon, 1932, 1933
  • Clarence E. Chapman, 1934, 1935
  • Lewis Doane, 1936, 1937; N
  • Chester C. Parker, 1938, 1939
  • William Chisholm, 1940, 1941
  • Warren E. Horne, 1942, 1943
  • Carl B. Gleason, 1944, 1945
  • G. Jeffrey Nichols, 1946, 1947
  • Harry O. Hiltz, 1948, 1949; N
  • Kenneth H. Martin, 1950, 1951
  • Benjamin F. Martin, 1952, 1953
  • Nilsson S. Bassett, 1954, 1955
  • Robert D. Fallon, 1956, 1957; N
  • Irving B. Oliver, 1958, 1959
  • George S. Lawler, Sr., 1960, 1961
  • Richard M. Seibel, II, 1962, 1963
  • George E. Taylor, Jr, 1964, 1965
  • Donald T. Welch, 1966, 1967
  • George S. Lawler, Jr., 1968
  • Raymond K. Burns, Jr. 1969
  • Robert B. Clark, 1971, 1972
  • Douglas F. Hulsman, 1973, 1974; N
  • John R. Blaney, 1975, 1976; PDDGM
  • Robert P.B. Wright, 1977, 1978
  • Charles H. Briggs, 1979, 1980
  • James T. Martin, Jr., 1981, 1982
  • James C. Full, 1983, 1984
  • Dincer Ulutas, 1985, 1986
  • Kenneth O. Glass, 1987, 1988
  • Peter J. B. Teague, 1989, 1990
  • E. Gordon Lothrop, 1991, 1992
  • Richard C. Smith Jr., 1993, 1994
  • Glover B. Preble, Jr., 1995, 1996
  • G. Dudley Welch, 1997, 1998
  • David N. Riordan, 1999, 2000
  • J. Michael Riordan, 2001, 2002
  • John F. Belanger, 2003, 2004
  • Timothy J. Doane, 2005, 2006
  • William H. Kelley, 2007, 2008
  • Allan J. Martin, 2009, 2010; DDGM
  • Jonathan F. Morley, 2011, 2012

Note: John Lowell (1734-1776) is not Rt. Wor. John Lowell, later Deputy Grand Master; he was a physician in Marblehead. He was Master of the Lodge as late as 1768; see the correspondence with Grand Lodge, Page I-144.


1760->1809 1810


charter restored 03/10/1845

1845 1858 1870 1871

charter surrendered 1876; restored 1880

1880 1882 1886 1888 1889 1900 1905 1906 1908 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914 1920 1921 1922 1926 1928 1930 1934 1935 1937 1939 1960 1962 1963 1965 1968 1970 1977 1983 1985 1989 1993 1994 1995 2001 2004 2006 2007 2010


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. VI, No. 4, February 1847, p. 108:

On the 20th, the officers of Philanthropic Lodge, Marblehead, were publicly installed. Address by Rev. Br. Randall.



From Proceedings, Page 1900-45:

By William D.T. Trefry.


This time one hundred and forty years ago, in the latter part of March, 1760, our Masonic forefathers, who constituted this Lodge, stood between two important historical events — the one just past; the other to come. The victory of General Wolfe on the Heights of Abraham. the year before, gave to England exclusive control of the whole eastern coast of the continent from Canada to Florida, and laid the foundation for American independence. Those of our forefathers who took part in this war were soon to witness another event of equal importance in its influence upon the Colonies. The accession of George III. to the throne of his grandfather in October, 1760, imbued with the desire to be king though men and principle were sacrificed, narrow and stubborn, self-willed and ignorant, hastened that remarkable train of events by which he was quickly shorn of the fairest possession of his crown.

The Navigation Acts, followed by his efforts to enforce the Stamp Act, and taxes upon commodities, soon raised the determined resistance of his subjects in America, and resulted in the final severance of the Colonies from the mother country. Of the celebrated characters who took part in these events, Marblehead furnished her full share. It is no exaggeration to say that, in proportion to her size, no place furnished more men, or gave greater evidence of her patriotic devotion to the cause of liberty. In these and subsequent events the men who formed and sustained this Lodge for the first forty years of its existence were among the foremost heroes of the Revolutionary period.

Midway between these two events a little band of Masons took measures to form a Lodge in Marblehead. They were authorized by the commission of Jeremy Gridley, Provincial Grand Master of North America. This commission, as far as known, is not now in existence, but the Records of the Grand Lodge show in several places that the commission to hold the Lodge at Marblehead was granted to Dr. John Lowell, March 25, 1760. There is no record of the proceedings in the possession of the Lodge from this time till 1778, and it is doubtful if any was kept. The following letter, which has recently come into the possession of the Grand Lodge, throws light upon the proceedings, and discloses the names of the men who were associated with Dr. Lowell in the organization of the Lodge:


Marblehead April 10. 5760.

To the Right Worshipfull Brother
John Leverett, Grand Secretary.

Right Worshipful Brother, I Rec'd the Commission you sent me from the Right Worshipfull Grand Master bearing Date the 25th Ult°. to Act as Master of a Lodge in Marblehead. When I have a Convenient Oppertunity in person I shall Endeavour to Acknowlege the favour in a proper manner to him & the Rest of the Right Worshipfull Officers. I Likewise have Received your Letter of the 2d. Inst: Inviting me & my Wardens by Order of the Right Worshipfull Grand Master to the Grand Lodge or Quarterly Communication. I Am Sorry I cant do myself that Pleasure, My Wife Expecting to Lay in with a Child this month & the Time is so Uncertain that I cant possibly be from home, But our Brothers Glover and Tucker whom I have Appointed my Wardens (Pro Tempore) will wait upon you. Inclosed I have sent you the Names of those whom I found to be Brethren in the Town and whom I have made at two meetings 6ince I opened the Lodge. I have thought fit at present to hold our Lodge in a Chamber of our Brother Tukers House which is at the Entrance of the Town the Largest and Best Situated upon all Accounts we have among us. The Night of our Meeting is the first Thursday in every Month. Our Last Meeting Consisted of Twenty in Number when I mentioned to them the Charity for our poor Brethren. As We have Been at Considerable Expcnce for Things Necessary to furnish our Lodge Genteelly it has taken up all the Money in our Box which we have got by Admitting New Brethren and more, so that we could not send you so much as perhaps this Necessitous time requires, our Lodge being Young & Few. But as a Number of our Brethren have we Collected among us Forty pounds Old Tenor which my Wardens will deliver you & hope the Sum tho' Small will be acceptable.
I am Right Worshipfull
Your Humble Servant & Brother
Jn". Lowell

A List of Brothers before the Opening of a Lodge in Marblehead
and Belonging to the Same Town.

  • Samuel Glover S: W:
  • Andrew Tucker J: W:
  • John Roades Secy.
  • Jonathan Glover Treasurer
  • Henery Saunders
  • Samuel Reed
  • John Glover
  • George Stacey
  • Edward Middlesex Walker.
  • Andrew Tuker Junr.
  • John Peirce
  • John Reed Junr.

A List of Brothers Admitted in the New Lodge at Marblehead
all belonging to Marblehead

  • John Cawley
  • Thomas Lewis
  • Edward Fitterplace
  • John Pulling
  • Thomas King
  • Thomas Dixey
  • Thomas Aden
  • Richard Harris
  • except Edward Draper Holford of St. Kitts.

The superscription on the above letter is as follows: John Leverett Mercht. in Boston.

Brother Tucker's house, mentioned in this letter as the place of the first meetings of the Lodge, stands on Rowland street, now long known as the house owned and occupied by Commodore Samuel Tucker, of Revolutionary fame.

You will notice also the names of Brig.-Gen. John Glover and Col. Jonathan Glover, both celebrated for the distinguished part they took in the War of the Revolution ; and among the others, men of financial standing and commercial enterprise. Until to-day I have not been able clearly to establish Dr. Lowell's identity. He was a practising physician, and it might be inferred from his letter that he had not been long settled in town. The Probate Records at Salem show that he died in Marblehead, and that Thomas Lewis, whose name appears in the foregoing list, was appointed administrator of his estate June 3, 1777. From the fact that this letter was found among the effects of the late Judge Lowell, of Boston, I infer that he was a member of that distinguished family.

There was little communication between the Marblehead Lodge and the Grand Lodge; but the Records of the Grand Lodge disclose that at a Quarterly Communication holden at Boston April 11, 1760, the Marblehead Lodge presented for charity, by Bro. Samuel Glover, S.W., and Bro. Andrew Tucker, J.W., £5 6s. 8d., and at the October Communication " For the Marblehead Lodge, Bro. Thomas Lewis presented 18 shillings." A minute is also to be found in these Records that the Lodge was represented at the meeting held July 10, 1761, and at two Communications in 1762. After this time the Lodge is not mentioned as being represented at the meetings of the Grand Lodge, but an entry is made at every Communication that the Marblehead Lodge is under its jurisdiction up to and including July 23, 1767. In the petition to the Grand Master of England, dated Jan. 25, 1768, praying for the appointment of a Grand Master of Masons in place of Jeremy Gridley, deceased, the Marblehead Lodge is mentioned as being in this government, constituted March 25, 1760.

Oct. 31, 1768, Rt. Wor. John Rowe, Esq., was elected Grand Master, and a circular letter was sent to all the Lodges inviting them to be present at the services of "installment."


Dr John Lowell at Marblehead.

Boston, Octo. 31, 1768.

Sir: The Grand Lodge here having made choice of the Rt. Wor. John Rowe Esq; to be their Grand Master, in the room of the late Rt. Wor. Jeremy Gridley, Esq; deceased, and applied to the Grand Master of England for a Deputation, for the said Bro. Rowe, which deputation, being now arrived, they have appointed Wednesday the 23'1 day of November next for his Installment, and directed me to write to all the Lodges in New England to desire their attendance, with the Jewells and cloathing of their respective Lodges at said ceremony. Whereupon, in obedience to the command of the Grand Lodge, I do invite you, the Officers and Brethren of the Lodge in Marblehead, to attend the Time above mentioned.
,br> As I am uncertain who the present Master of the Lodge at Marblehead may be, do take the liberty to direct to you as you was the first Master of that Lodge. Praying you will communicate this letter to the present Master, Wardens and Brethren of said Lodge, forthwith, and should be glad of a line from the said Master to inform me, how many Brethren may probably attend heife, that provision may he made accordingly.

Your compliance will greatly oblige

Your affectionate Brother and
Humble Servant
ABm. Savage, Gd Secy.

N.B. No answer received to the Above.

Some time after John Rowe had been installed into office, Samuel Glover and others made an application for a charter, which you will find over the signature of the Grand Master on the old charter of our Lodge, but the Brethren not meeting once in twelve months it was forfeited. No further mention is made of the Lodge in the Grand Lodge Records, and there are no Records of the Lodge itself to tell the further story of its existence until 1778.

Up to this time the Lodge had worked under the commission to Dr. Lowell.

A charter bearing date Jan. 14, 1778, was now issued to John Roads, Richard Harris and others. This old document, of which the Lodge is justly proud, is still in its possession and is here to-day. It is a silent witness to the vicissitudes through which the Lodge has passed during the last one hundred and twenty-two years. Upon this instrument are borne the names of five Grand Masters, among others that of Paul Revere, who was probably well acquainted with some of the ardent patriots who were members of this Lodge.

In this charter Richard Harris was named as Master, and occupied that position for three years. He was well known in his day, and enjoyed the respect and confidence of his fellow-citizens. During the exciting days preceding the outbreak of hostilities in 1775, he was one of the committee to approve the men who first enlisted in defence of the town, and to pay them for their service. He was the first Collector of Customs of this district, and as a selectman signed the address of welcome to Washington, when he visited this town in 1789. Harris, I judge, was a man of most punctual and methodical habits; he was seldom absent from a meeting of the Lodge, and after his term as Master had expired was constantly serving on committees. His regular habits and devotion left their impress upon the Lodge; the work was good and many Masons were admitted.

It was not uncommon in those days to receive applications from surrounding towns, and even from other States, and in such cases, "it being an urgent necessity," the candidate was initiated on the night of his election. The order of business and power of the Master were much the same as to-day, showing that we have received, unimpaired, some of the valuable precedents of the Order. All business was done on the first degree, and it is strange to us in these days to read of a candidate just initiated taking part in the business of the Lodge and serving on important committees.

Many an incident attests the determination of the Brethren to preserve harmony in the Lodge. No breach of decorum, inattention to business or strained relations between Brothers were suffered to exist. The membership of the Lodge was composed of well-to-do merchants, sea-captains and men of influence in civil and military affairs. Any breach of the amenities which should exist between the Brethren was to them a blow at authority, and received immediate correction at the hands of the Master or the Lodge. I will give, in the words of the record itself, a few instances of the care with which our Brothers investigated breaches of behavior, and of the strict discipline which they meted out to the offender. On one occasion,

"A committee of five of the Brethren were made choice of to inquire into the character of Bro. J. P., Junior Warden, to see whether the various reports relative to his moral character are such as are commendable, and entitle him to the favor and esteem of his Brethren. The committee are Rt. Wor. Bro. Richard Harris, Bro. Edward Fettyplace, Bro. John Barnard Swett, Bro. Elisha Story and Bro. John Gerry, and make report to the Lodge next Lodge night."

"The committee made choice of last Lodge night to inquire into Bro. J. P.'s character reports that Bro. J. P., in consequence of the vote past last Lodge night respecting himself, has vacated his seat and office, and renounced the jurisdiction of this Lodge," which report was accepted.

"Voted, That a committee be chosen to draft a letter to be sent to the Rt. Wor. John Rowe, Esq., and the Rt. Wor. Joseph Webb, Esq., and all the Lodges in the vicinity, acquainting them of the conduct of J. P., formerly the Junior Warden of this Lodge, and that Brother Trevett, Brother Story and Bro. Samuel R. Gerry be that committee.

"Voted, That Bro. J. P. be expelled this Lodge during pleasure. Voted, That the Rt. Wor. Master Richard Harris sign the letter sent to the Rt. Wor. Master John Rowe, Esq., and to the Rt. Wor. Master Joseph Webb, Esq., and that the Secretary sign the letters sent to all the Lodges in the vicinity per order of the Lodge."

In {Mass.} Grand Lodge, "A letter from Richard Harris, Master of a Lodge at Marblehead, Representing the Mai Conduct of J. P. was read & referred to the Next Lodge Night."

Again, " In consequence of the misbehaviour of Bro. R. H. as steward, Voted unanimously that he be dismissed from the said office, and further voted that forasmuch as Bro. H. has behaved to the Lodge with great disrespect, and has beeu contrary to the duty of a good and faithful Brother that he be publickly reprimanded by the Master as having given a general displeasure."

But a more flagrant case occurred in the course of a few years, which was dealt with in a more summary manner. "Thro the course of the evening Brother I. J.'s conduct towards two of the Brethren was such that destroyed that harmony which should ever exist in a Lodge, when it was ' unanimously voted that the said I. J. hath incurred the just displeasure of this Lodge from his acting unworthy the character of a true Mason and gentleman, and that his name be erased from the By-Laws of this Lodge, considered no longer a member thereof."

An amusing case of disagreement between two Brothers occurred, which is told in the words of the record thus: "And a motion was made by Brother Reed and Brother Ryan that the unhappy dispute between them should be left to three members of the Lodge, and agreeable to their motion Brother Reed made choice of Brother Williams and Brother Ryan of Brother Roads, and the Lodge of Bro. John Gerry; and Brother Ryan wished damnation might seize his soul if he submitted to the report of the committee made choice of, if they allowed Brother Reed the commission on money. But at a special Lodge called on Bro. William Ryan's account, Brother Ryan appeared and acknowledged his fault, and asked the forgiveness of the whole Lodge for his former behavior, and it was voted that he should be received into favor." The Lodge met at first in the house of the Widow King, but having outgrown its accommodations, it made arrangements with Peter Jayne to occupy his assembly rooms, at the rent of sixteen cords of wood per annum. Peter Jayne was a schoolmaster and kept a celebrated school in the old colonial days. This house is on Mugford Street, next but one to Back Street.

In this house the Committee of Safety held its meetings in the exciting days just preceding the Revolution, and as the most prominent members of the committee were Masons, it is easily explained why this house was chosen for a Lodge-room. Here also the Tuesday Evening Club met, and here, in later years, was organized the Methodist church. In this historic spot the Lodge now began to hold its meetings, and it was indeed a notable company of men that gathered here: the gallant Gen. John Glover, Col. Wm. R. Lee, soldier, gentleman and merchant, the bluff and intrepid Capt. Saml. R. Trevett, the active and energetic Dr. Elisha Story, the dauntless hero Robert Wormstead, the learned and celebrated Judge Sewall, afterward chief justice of the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, the patriotic civilian Joshua Orne, and many merchants and sea-captains whose business took them into foreign waters. Indeed, this place would have become historic from the mere fact alone that this Lodge met there. The name of Wormstead deserves especial mention here, for the fearless spirit and the noble and generous heart which make that name illustrious. Robert Wormstead was born in Marblehead in 1755, and was lost at sea in 1782. In a short life of twenty-seven years he distinguished himself as one of the boldest and most adroit heroes of the time.

At an early age he evinced a strong desire to go to sea, and his father, being master of a vessel, took him on one voyage, thinking to cure him of his passion. On his return he was apprenticed to Thomas Grant and learned the trade of a silversmith. In June, 1780, just before the celebration of St. John's day, the Lodge voted "that Bro. Robt. Wormstead make the cross pens for the Secretary and a key for the Treasurer, and that he have an order on the Treasurer for four hard dollars to make the same." These jewels were in the possession of the Lodge until the great conflagration of December, 1888, which swept out of existence all the property of the Lodge, except the Bible presented to the Lodge in 1886 by members of the Grand Lodge, and the historic square and compasses which were taken from the cabin of the powder ship Hope, captured from the British by James Mugford in 1776. No amount of diversion, however, could smother young Wormstead's longing for the sea, and in a seaport town like Marblehead opportunities for satisfying his desire were always at hand.

As a master of fence Wormstead was invincible, and many thrilling stories are told of his encounters. "He is the only pupil I ever had," says his teacher, " with whom I was afraid to contend." At the North Bridge, in Salem, when Leslie's regiment was on its way to Danvers to capture the arms and ammunition concealed there by the patriots, he was attacked by a party of British soldiers, and, though armed with a walking-stick only, he quickly disarmed six of them and the rest took to disordered flight. In 1775, when the British frigate " Lively" lay in the harbor, a party of twelve or more of the sailors, armed with their short swords, were at the old tavern on Front street carousing and boasting about the prowess of the British sailors. One of them said that one British seaman was more than a match for a dozen Yankees. Wormstead was sitting quietly in a corner, but his blood was up in an instant, and seizing a stick he challenged the whole company to instant combat, and disarmed them all so quickly that they fled to the ship in precipitation. He was at the Battle of Bunker Hill with Capt. Saml. R. Trevett, as first sergeant, and received a wound in the shoulder.

But the prowess of this remarkable man was not confined to the land. The early love which he had imbibed for the sea now led him to go privateering, and his exploits would form a most romantic tale. In a trip to Bilboa be was captured, and with one man and a boy left on board the ship, while the others were transferred on board the captor. With the aid of the man and boy he retook the ship and carried her safely to Bilboa. On another occasion he was captured, and with the crew taken on board an English privateer sloop, where they were all handcuffed and thrown into the hold. Wormstead succeeded in freeing his hands, set all the rest at liberty, and, by a concerted movement, captured the sloop, bore down upon the British prize and retook her. This heroic exploit was long the subject of conversation and applause. By deeds like these he distinguished himself, and his example as a patriot and true-hearted Mason will be cherished for many years to come by all patriotic Americans.

A character of altogether a different kind also deserves mention here.

Samuel Sewall was born in Boston in 1757. He was educated at Dummer Academy and Harvard College, and studied law in the office of Chief Justice Dana. He began the practice of his profession in Marblehead, at a time when she was second to Boston alone in commercial importance and activity. He became an authority on commercial and probate law, and his judgment on these branches of the law was relied on by his associates on the bench.

His fellow-citizens honored him with several elections to the General Court of Massachusetts, and while there he distinguished himself for eloquence and convincing argument. He was opposed to innovations in the law, and succeeded in defeating a measure to make perjury in the case of a witness in capital cases punishable with death; and a measure which sought to overthrow the old common law system of special pleading.

In 1797 he was elected to Congress and became at once an influential and valuable member. His rare judgment and knowledge on commercial affairs gained for him the entire confidence of the House, and when he took part in debate "members of all descriptions listened with an expectation of being informed and an assurance that they should not be deceived."

While a member of Congress he was appointed to the bench of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, and for fourteen years held that honorable and responsible position, the last four as Chief Justice. In the formative period of our jurisprudence, Judge Sewall was peculiarly qualified to lend a guiding hand. His life and studies covered the final period of the provincial system as well as the beginning of the new, and much was done by him to adapt the law to the changed conditions of the country.

In private life and manners he was faultless; diffident and reserved in social life, with a deep sense of his responsibility in every station of life. His interest in and devotion to this Lodge was manifested in his frequent appointment on committees, in his service as an officer of the Lodge, and in the ready gift of his eloquence in the celebration of the Feasts of St. John. Whether serving as one of the committee to remove the Lodge to new quarters or as Senior Warden and orator, he was equally to be relied upon. His integrity, learning, sweet and companionable nature endeared him to all classes of his fellow-citizens.

At the election of officers in 1781, Richard Harris was reelected Master, but declined. Col. Win. R. Lee was then elected and declined. He was held by his Brethren in great respect. He twice declined to serve as Master of the Lodge, although he was often on important committees and held minor offices. Colonel Lee had distinguished himself in the war — he entered the service as captain, rose rapidly to the rank of colonel, and was held in such esteem by Washington that he offered him the position of adjutant-general.

On the declination of Colonel Lee, Capt. Saml. Russell Trevett was elected Master. Trevett was a Marbleheader of the old stock. There flowed in his veins a spirit trained through generations of ancestors to wrestle with severe fortune and stern discipline. He was by inheritance a resolute man. When, therefore, in compliance with the resolution of the Continental Congress to restrict commercial intercourse with the mother country, the town voted to appoint a committee to suppress the importation of British goods into the town, and fearless men were needed to enforce the vote, he was immediately recognized as one thoroughly qualified to serve on the committee.

He was one of that intrepid band of young men who in 1775 boarded a prize lying under the protection of the British frigate Lively, and carried away the arms which were on board. These arms were afterwards used in equipping the Marblehead regiment. He commanded a company at the battle of Bunker Hill, and distinguished himself by capturing two cannon, the only ordnance taken in that battle by the Americans. He was one of the incorporators of the Marblehead Academy and the second Collector of Customs of this district.

This bluff hero accepted the position of Master and held the office for a year. Not much was done in the way of work during his term, but the finances of the Lodge were closely scrutinized, and the By-Laws were revised, a piece of work which was always at hand when other business failed, and in which the Brethren took especial interest, if we may judge by the number of times it was done during these forty years. The usual charity was dispensed, funerals attended, and festivals celebrated ; and although there was no work whatever, it is noticeable that almost all the meetings were fully attended.

In 1782 Colonel Lee was elected Master, and again declined the honor. Elisha Story was elected and held the office until 1803.

This sturdy Revolutionary patriot was born in Boston Dec. 3, 1743, educated as a physician, and in 1770 removed to Marblehead to pursue the practice of his profession. He was distinguished for his intense loyalty to the patriot cause, was one of the Sons of Liberty, and in 1773 of the party who with fearless audacity boarded the ships in Boston harbor and poured the contents of three hundred and forty-two chests of tea into the water. He was surgeon in Colonel Little's regiment, and in this capacity engaged at the fight in Concord and Lexington, fighting on foot like the common soldier, until his services as surgeon were required by the wounded soldiers. At the battle of Bunker Hill he fought beside his friend Warren until that hero fell. He was a member of the Committee of Safety and of the Tuesday Evening Club in this town, in close touch with Paul Revere and other prominent Masons, members of the Sons of Liberty. This ardent patriot now became Master of the Lodge.

During the course of the following year a controversy arose with Brother Burdick — at whose house the Lodge was now holding its meetings — over the amount of rent which should be paid for the room. The difference of opinion was evidently hard to settle, and the controversy had become exciting as well as annoying, when a committee of five was appointed "to determine the rent of the present Lodge-room with Brother Burdick," and the following characteristic vote was passed: "Voted, If either of said committee neglect to attend for the above business when called on by the chairman shall pay three dollars as a fund for the Lodge, and if the above committee do not report next Lodge night, that each one of the committee shall pay six shillings as a fund for the Lodge." This vote had the effect of procuring a report of the committee as ordered, but the controversy was not settled. It was soon after voted to remove the jewels, furniture, etc., from Brother Burdick's to Bro. John Gerry's, there to remain until the Lodge shall meet again. The Lodge did not meet from February, 1784, until Dec. 27, 1784, when the members assembled to celebrate the festival of St. John the Evangelist, and at the close of the festivities they voted that the members present form a Lodge.

The affairs of the town were now in a precarious condition. The war had destroyed the foreign trade of the merchants of the town, and many of its inhabitants were suffering for lack of work. Vessels lay idle at the docks, and the coopers' shops, sail lofts and riggers' shops were, for the most part, practically closed. In consequence, very little work was done by the Lodge, and few members admitted. Regular meetings were held, however, until April, 1786; at this point the records stop, and do not open again until Feb. 1, 1797. "Whether the Lodge met during these years there is no evidence. They met at that date to attend the funeral of Gen. John Glover, whose name, you will remember, appears on the list of original members who constituted this Lodge.

Elisha Story is still Master, and holds the office until 1803. The work is good now, and the custom of doing the business of the Lodge on the first degree is discontinued.

The duty of the Lodge towards its deceased members was performed with the utmost delicacy and consideration. They did not attend the funeral of their Brothers as of right. Although the relations of Masons are peculiarly close, they recognized that the family relation was closer, and respected it. They never attended a funeral without first finding out whether it would be agreeable to the family of the deceased, and then everything was conducted with Masonic regularity and solemnity.

On one occasion it was "Voted, William R. Lee, Esq., Bro. Elisha Story and Bro. Joshua Orne, Jr., Esq., be a committee to wait on Mr. Jenkins (brother-in-law of a deceased member), and to inform him that a report made by Bro. Burdick last evening, with respect to the Lodge having a design to bury Bro. A. B., was premature and without proper foundation, and to consult with the widow of the deceased whether it was agreeable to her that the Lodge should attend the funeral of said deceased in procession." Said committee report: "They have waited on Mr. Jenkins and removed the impression made on his mind by said report, and that Mary, the widow of said deceased, refuses the interposition of any of her deceased husband's relatives, and earnestly desires he may be buried by and at the expense of his Brethren of this Lodge." It was immediately "Voted, That the Brother be buried by and at the expense of the Lodge," and a committee of three Brethren was appointed to make the necessary arrangements. The relations between Mary and her deceased husband's family were evidently strained, and she did not propose to be under any obligations to them. During these first years of the Lodge the Brethren never neglected this last tribute of respect to the memory of a deceased Brother; they attend the funeral in goodly numbers, and never forget the collection at their return to the Lodge for the beuefit of the widow and children of the deceased.

The charity of the Lodge was not always confined to its members. It was dispensed with a liberal hand to any Mason in distress or want. At a meeting held Oct. 14, 1778, a committee was appointed to wait upon the agents of the privateer Raven, then in the harbor, to parole Brother Laborn and Brother Hunter, and we find at the next meeting among those present both these Brothers recorded as visiting Brethren, and on the same night the Lodge made a present to Brother Hunter of £48 os., he being in distress. At the next meeting another visiting Brother, being in want, received£11 lis. At the celebration of St. John's day, June 24, 1779, the Brethren made a present to Bro. John Merret for the loss he has sustained, of 8378. Again the Brethren made "a getherin" for Bro. Alexander Ross, and made him a present of $336½, and $497 for Bro. Walter Perkins.

At the celebration of St. John the Baptist's day in 1780, Rev. Edw. Bass was invited to preach a sermon to the Brethren, and at the close of the celebration it was " voted that a collection be now made for the benefit of Brother Bass, and as a testimony of our affection for him," and the sum of Si,200 was accordingly collected.

On another occasion, after attending the funeral of a deceased Brother, the Lodge took up a collection of $1,320 for Bro. Thos. Bartlett, who was laboring under a prolonged and tedious fit of sickness, thereby brought to indigent circumstances. Not long after the Brethren assembled in special session to attend the funeral of Brother Bartlett. At three o'clock P.M. (so says the record) the Brethren walked in procession to the house of Mr. Wm. Boden, adjacent to the dwelling-house of the deceased, and after singing a penitential hymn (suitable to the occasion) they attended the funeral. At their return to the house of Brother Boden another hymn was sung; and also at their return to the Lodge, where a collection was made of 76 paper dollars of the new emission, 2 dollars, 3 pestereens, and 2 shillings in specie for the benefit of the widow of the said Bartlett. The whole was conducted with the utmost decency and decorum. The assistance of the Lodge was not always sought for objects of a purely charitable nature. In one case a petition from Wm. Doyle was presented for the assistance of the Lodge to enable him to settle in this town as a barber, and after consideration was "deferred" to a future meeting. The Brethren, I fancy, were not anxious for the Lodge to engage in commercial pursuits. After considering his case at two subsequent meetings, they appointed him inner tyler, and for his services to be exempt from the expenses of the Lodge. The charity of the Lodge was not dispensed indiscriminately. The Brethren took care to bestow their help on worthy persons and for worthy objects.

The Brethren rarely missed an opportunity of celebrating the Feast of the Saints John in June and December. Obedient to the injunction of their charter that they should "dine together on the festival of St. John the Baptist," as often as the day came round they assembled in goodly numbers to participate in the feast of good things and to mingle in Masonic fellowship. Preparations for the celebration were thorough and ample. Committees were appointed to secure an orator, to provide music both vocal and instrumental, to draw up a bill of fare, to obtain a place in which to dine, which was usually some Brother's house, and to put Masonic regalia in order. Provision was made for the ringing of the first and second bells, and the festival was advertised in some Boston or Salem newspaper. On the day appointed for the celebration the Brethren assembled at the Lodge-room, at the ringing of the church bell, and, after opening the Lodge, walked in procession to the meeting-house where the exercises were to be held. The oration finished, they sang the 133d and 134th Psalms, walked in procession to the Brother's house where the dinner was spread, and returned to the Lodge in the evening.

The records attest the ample provision made for these feasts on more than one occasion. After one of the festivals it is recorded that there were sold to John Gerry 3 dozens of bottles for £6; to Bro. Richard Harris 3 dozens for £2 11 s.; to Bro. Samuel R. Trevett 6 dozens for £4 4s.; and they were paid for on the spot. On another occasion it was voted "that the members present pay Bro. Burdick 3s. a head for dinner, 6d. for each bottle of wine more than the first cost, 2d. for a bowl of punch, and 1d. for a bowl of grogg." I trust no one will accuse our Brothers of an overindulgence in the seductive juices of the grape. While we cannot say that they did not carry their love for imbibing to excess, the sale of so many bottles after the Feast . certainly indicates that they did not go as far as they might. We will not say that a due restraint upon their appetites was not exercised, while the means of satisfying them yet remained so ample. And I am firmly of the persuasion that you will suspend your judgment and acknowledge their moderation, when you learn that the records of the celebration closed with these words: "This festival was celebrated with that concord, brotherly love and harmony that ought always to subsist amongst Brothers and Fellows."

There were other occasions, however, when the Brethren felt like celebrating in a more simple and private way. In 1780 it was "voted that as many of the Brethren as can conveniently attend, celebrate the Festival of St. John the Evangelist, the 27th, at the Lodge and that they have a cold collation in the evening of said day." This apparently was not altogether pleasing to some of the Brethren, for at the next meeting the vote to celebrate St. John's day on a cold collation was recalled, and it was voted that the Brethren dine at the Lodge on said day, and a committee was chosen to provide for the same. At this celebration Bro. Elisha Story gave a short charge to the Brethren present, for which he received the unanimous thanks of the Lodge. After dinner the stewards for the day made up their accounts, which amounted to eighty-five dollars for each Brother present, which was immediately discharged.

Again, it was voted to celebrate the Festival of St. John the Baptist in as private and economical a manner as possible. A subscription paper was passed around, a sufficient number of the Brethren pledged themselves to participate, and after meeting for work the Lodge was closed and the Brethren above mentioned proceeded to the house of Mr. Osgood, in Salem, where they spent the remainder of the day in " social hilarity and mutual enjoyment."

At the time Doctor Lowell received the commission to hold a Lodge in Marblehead there were but two other Lodges in this jurisdiction — St. John's, chartered by Henry Price in 1733, and St. Andrew's, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1756. In 1792 the two existing Grand Lodges united and formed the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, both Lodges retaining their charters as subordinate Lodges. This Lodge had always been known as the Lodge at Marblehead, or the Marblehead Lodge. Aside from an acknowledgment that it held its commission from and acted under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Grand Master for North America there was no close connection between the Lodge at Marblehead and the Grand Lodge. It was therefore voted, on the 26th May, 1797, "that there be a person to wait on the Grand Lodge to represent the situation of this Lodge, and the Right Worthy Brother Story was chosen the committee." Brother Story acted at once, as is shown by the following endorsement on the old charter:

In Grand Lodge, June 12, 1797.

The Brethren of the Lodge in Marblehead having sent the charter with a request that their Lodge may be received under the jurisdiction of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge, and that they would give it a name. Voted the name of the Lodge meeting in Marblehead from henceforth be called the Philanthropic Lodge, and that they hold their precedency in Grand Lodge, agreeable to the date of their charter.

Paul Revere, G. M.
A true copy of record.
Daniel Oliver, Grand Secretary.

Being now fully under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge, they received notice that the Grand Lodge intended to make them a visitation. The Lodge made suitable provision for the reception. A committee was appointed to provide a hot supper, and the Brethren «of the Masonic Fraternity in town not members were invited to join with the Lodge in paying their respect and duty to the Grand Lodge.

Among the officers of the Grand Lodge who were present on this occasion was Paul Revere, who, on account of his former intimacy with several members of the Lodge as a leading member of the Sons of Liberty, especially Elisha Story, must have been particularly welcome to the Brethren. • The Lodge was closed in Ample Form at nine o'clock, and soon after the meeting broke up with hearty congratulations on the success of the first visitation of the Grand Officers. The members of the Grand Lodge present on this occasion were:

  • M. Wpl. Josiah Bartlett, G. M.
  • Rt. Wpl. Saml. Dunn, D. G. M.
  • Rt. Wpl. Joseph Laughton, S. G. W.
  • Rt. Wpl. John Brazer, J.G.W.
  • Bro. John Boyle, G. Treas.
  • Bro. Oliver Holden, G. Sec'y.
  • Bro. Allen Crocker, S. G. D.
  • Bro. Samuel Swan, J. G. D.
  • Bro. John Ramond, S. G. S.
  • Bro. Paul Revere, J. G. S.
  • (Bro. John Wait officiated as Grand Steward.)

At the next meeting the Lodge appointed the Master and Wardens a committee to represent the Lodge at the next Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge.

One other event deserves mention and will bring to a fitting close the first forty years of Masonry in Marblehead.

On the first day of January, 1800, the Lodge held a meeting
for the purpose of adopting some method " to express our grief
 for the death of our illustrious and worthy Brother, General
 George Washington," and it was "voted that the Brethren
wear black crape edged with blue ribbon on the left arm for
thirty days, as a badge of mourning on this solemn and melan
choly occasion."

On the next day they joined a general procession and walked to the new meeting-house, where an elegant and well-adapted eulogy on the life and virtues of our illustrious and beloved Brother, Gen. George Washington, was pronounced by Mr. Joseph Story, the son of the Master of the Lodge. During these forty years Washington had been the central figure in civil and military life. The people of this town regarded him with deep affection and reverence, and the Brethren of this Lodge to-day have reason to revere his character and cherish his memory.

It was a member of this Lodge who, with the Marblehead regiment, met him at Cambridge, and stood close beside him through many a trying time, fraught with difficulty and danger. It was a member of this Lodge who first suggested to him the possibilities of fighting the enemy on the sea; and this suggestion, carried out by many an heroic citizen of this town and member of this Lodge, was the precursor, and indeed the beginning, of the American navy.

It was a member of this Lodge who. with his regiment of Marblehead fishermen, superintended the transportation of troops across the Delaware river on that dark and stormy night in December, 1776, and thus made possible the success at Trenton the next day. It was the same gallant member of this Lodge who, at the evacuation of New York city, and during the subsequent attacks of the enemy, rendered such efficient and courageous service, where many another proved recreant, that he gained the encomiums of the Commander-in-Chief, and from this time until their deaths there existed between them a warm and sincere friendship.

It was a member of this Lodge who, at Bunker Hill, captured from the British the only cannon taken on that memorable day. It was a member of this Lodge who took command at the camp in Cambridge, when disorder was running riot, yet behaved with such humane and thoughtful consideration towards Burgoyne and the other prisoners of war confined there that he won the unqualified praise of his distinguished prisoner. It was he, too, to whom Washington offered the position of adjutant-general of the American army.

Such heroes are only bred in heroic times. When you look back upon events established by generations gone before, it is easy to persuade yourself that, like your ancestors, you would have thrown the weight of your influence in favor of those events, that you would have taken the same measures which they took and avoided the pitfalls which they avoided. The problem is quite a different one when you stand face to face with impending difficulties and are forced to change the established order of things. Revolutions are not always settled upon the best and surest foundations. In all crises it requires men of steady nerve, ripe judgment, strong convictions, men trained under the stress of circumstances, which bring out and develop all the powers and faculties of the mind, to find the light path, and to avoid being led into doubtful and dangerous courses.

Such were the men developed during these forty years, and this old Lodge never bad a more distinguished membership than then. Brethren, this is your heritage. Surely it is well for us to remember these things to-day.


From Proceedings, Page 1960-41:

By Brother Tracy Lewis Sanborn. Copyrighted bv author and here reprinted by his permission.

As a member of Philanthropic Lodge, you are heir to a glorious Masonic heritage. Well may you be proud of this ancient Lodge! It is ranked among the very oldest Masonic bodies in all North America. And the roll of its members boasts a host of names distinguished in the early history of our country. Two hundred years have rolled by since that memorable twenty-fifth of March in 1760 when Dr. John Lowell of Marblehead received from Jeremy Gridley, Grand Master of St. John's Grand Lodge of Boston, his commission as the first Worshipful Master of the new-born Philanthropic Lodge.

What a stirring year it was that saw the birth of Philanthropic! The American Colonies were in the final throes of the French and Indian War. Six months before Dr. Lowell received his Master's commission, Quebec had fallen to Wolfe's army in a desperate battle on the Plains of Abraham, and only six months after our Lodge was instituted, Montreal surrendered to Lord Jeffrey Amherst and French dominion in North America ended forever.

A great pity it is that no records survive of the first eighteen years of Philanthropic's history. Two or three references in the old records of the Grand Lodge, a notation on the old Charter, and a precious letter written April 10, 1760, by Worshipful Master Lowell to Right Worshipful Brother John Leverett, Grand Secretary — this is all we have. The very first reference to Marblehead in the Grand Lodge Records occurs January 31, 1757, when at a meeting in the Royal Exchange Tavern in Boston it is recorded: "Our Right Worshipful G M acquainted the Lodge that the occasion of this Meeting was for to make Capt Harry Charters, Capt Gilbert McAdams, aid de Camp Doctor Richard Huch & Mr John Appy Secy to the Earl of Loudoun with Mr. John Melvill, Masons (who came to town from Marblehead with Bro Lowell on purpose to be made a Mason), which the Lodge unanimously agreed to."


And now comes the letter of Dr. Lowell. This famous document was in the possession of the Lowell family until 1900, when it was presented to the Grand Lodge by a descendant of Dr. Lowell. It is now in the archives of the Grand Lodge in Boston.

The letter is of such outstanding importance as the very first account of our Lodge that I quote it in full:

Marblehead April 10, 5760.

Right Worshipfull Brother

I reed the Commission you sent me from the Right Worshipfull Grand Master bearing Date the 25th Ult: to Act as Master of a Lodge in Marblehead.

When I have a Convenient Oppertunity in person I shall Endeavour to Acknowledge the favour in a proper Manner to him & the Rest of the Right Worshipfull Officers.

I Likewise have Receivd your Letter of the 2d Inst: Inviting me & My Wardens by Order of the Right Worshipfull Grand Master to the Grand Lodge or Quarterly Communication. I Am Sorry I cant do my Self that Pleasure, My Wife Expecting to Lay in with a Child this Month & the Time is so Uncertain I cant possibly be from home, but our Brothers Glover and Tucker whom I have Appointed my Wardens (Pro Tempore) will wait upon you.

Inclosed 1 have sent you the Names of those whom I found to be Brethren in the Town and whom I have made at two Meetings since I Opened the Lodge. I have thought fit at present to hold our Lodge in a Chamber of our Brother Tukers House which is at the Entrance of the Town the Largest and Best Situated upon all Accounts we have among us. The Night of our Meeting is the first Thursday in every Month. Our Last Meeting Consisted of Twenty in Number when I mentioned to them the Charity for our poor Brethren.

As We have Been at Considerable Expence for Things Necessary to furnish our Lodge Genteelly it has taken up all the Money in our Box which we have got by admitting New Brethren and more, so that we could not send you so much as perhaps this Necessitous time requires our Lodge being Young & Few. But as a Number of our Brethren have suffred by Fire we Collected among us Forty pounds Old Tenor which my Wardens will deliver you & hope the Sum tho' Small will be Acceptable.

I Am Right Worshipfull Your Humble Servant & Brother

Jno Lowell

To The Right Worshipfull Brother John Leverett Grand Secretary. A List of Brothers before the Opening of a Lodge in Marblehead and Belonging to the Same Town.

  • Samuel Glover S: W:
  • Andrew Tucker J : W:
  • John Roades Secy
  • Jonathan Glover Treasurer
  • Henery Saunders
  • Samuel Reed
  • John Glover
  • George Stacey
  • Edward Middlesex Walker
  • Andrew Tuker Junr.
  • John Peirce
  • John Reed Junr.

A List of Brothers Admitted in the New Lodge at Marblehead all belonging to Marblehead

  • Thomas King
  • Thomas Dixey
  • Thomas Aden
  • Richard Harris
  • John Cawley
  • Thomas Lewis
  • Edward Fitterplace
  • John Pulling

except Edward Draper Holford of St: Kitts

As we see, many famous old Marblehead names appear in this honor roll of the twenty-two Charter Members of Philanthropic Lodge. Here is the young John Glover, later Colonel of the renowned Marhlehead Regiment and Brigadier General in Washington's army; Edward Fettyplace, member of the Revolutionary Committee of Correspondence and Captain of the Matrose Company; John Pulling, intimate friend of Paul Revere and prominent patriot, who from the belfry of Boston's Old North Church hung the lantern that signalled Revere to begin his immortal ride; and Richard Harris, artilleryman in the Continental Army, town and federal official.

And to the old Commodore Tucker House still standing at No. 70 Prospect Street goes the distinction of sheltering our Lodge's first meetings.


How intensely interesting it would be if we could only know what happened during Doctor Lowell's mastership! But only three records of the Lodge's activities during that period survive. The first is the record of the meeting of St. John's Grand Lodge at Boston April 11, 1760, when it is recorded that Wardens Glover and Tucker faithfully carried out their mission and presented for charity 5 pounds, 6 shillings and 8 pence. The second is the Grand Lodge record of October 10,'1760, reading: "For Marblehead Lodge Bro Thomas Lewis presented 18 shillings. NB the Commission to hold their Lodge dated March 25, 1760 from ye G Master in Boston J. G." The J. G. of course standing for Jeremy Gridley. And the final record is the diploma granted to John Pulling on June 9, 1761.

Philanthropic is also listed on the old Roll of the Grand Lodge of England as "No. 142. Marblehead Lodge, Massachusetts", and in another place in the English records the date of our founding, March 25, 1760, is given.

Some time between 1760 and 1768 our Lodge evidently ceased to function, for an invitation sent to Worshipful Master Lowell by the Grand Secretary on October 31, 1768, asking the Marblehead Lodge to attend the installation of John Rowe as Grand Master received no answer.


Although we have no written testimony, it is not difficult to call up a picture of how a meeting of our ancient Brethren looked in those eventful days. Wax candles in huge, intricately designed candlesticks of brass light the darkly curtained lodge-room. The floor is sanded, a sheet-iron stove crammed with pine wood gives warmth on one side, while across the room a roaring fire of great logs throws dancing lights and shadows on the silver buckles, powdered wigs and snowy lace ruffles of the Brethren. Like the rest, the Master wears knee breeches, but his coat is handsomely embroidered velvet and a splendid cocked hat sits impressively above his beribboned queue. The Oriental Chair is leather-seated and beautifully hand-carved, while the settees for the members lack paint and are hard and uncomfortable. Quaint old prints brought from foreign parts by Marblehead sailor-men decorate the rough walls and the rude timbers of the ceiling are blackened with smoke. Outside in the anteroom the Tiler is busily pouring rum and punch into earthern jugs and laying out strong tobacco, long pipes and flint and steel.

How different from today! And yet there is one familiar note. In the center of the floor, as always down through the ages of Freemasonry, stand the Altar, and the Great and Lesser Lights, linking 1760 fast to 1960.


Although our Lodge records go back no farther than 1778, we have shown definitely that it was founded March 25, 1760. Thus Old Philanthropic is the third oldest Masonic Lodge in this State, the eighth oldest in New England, and ranks nineteenth in the United States. In Massachusetts we yield precedence only to St. John's Lodge of Boston, founded in 1733, and St. Andrew's, also of Boston, dating from 1756.

Soon after John Rowe became Grand Master, in November of 1768, Samuel Glover and other Marblehead Masons applied to him for a charter. Evidently the commission or warrant issued in 1760 had lapsed. Whether a regular charter had been granted our Lodge prior to Glover's application, we do not know for certain. The records mention only the commission given to Dr. Lowell. Grand Master Rowe granted Glover's petition, but this constitution was later forfeited because the Brethren failed to meet at least once in twelve months. Nearly a decade passed with no organized Freemasonry in town, and then on January 14, 1778, Grand Master Rowe issued to John Roads, Richard Harris, William Cole, Henry Saunders, Edward Fettyplace, Jeremiah Proctor, Peter Green, Samuel Reed and Nicholas Gorden the treasured old Charter now reposing in the vaults of the National Grand Bank.


Now we come to our Lodge's first original record. The ink is faded, the ancient paper yellowed with time, yet the beautiful handwriting of Secretary Saunders is as legible today as when he laid down the quill nearly two centuries ago. He writes:

Marblehead January 15th 1778

Agreabell to a New Constitution Granted by our Right Worshipfull Brother John Row Esq Grand Master for all North America Baring Date January the 14th 1778 of masonry 5778 our Right Worshipfull Brother Richard Harris Congregated the Brethren together at the Hous of the whido Kings and Formd them into a Regular Lodg and maid Choyce of Brother Edward Fittyplace for his Sen. Wardin and Brother John Roads for his Jun. Warden and Brother Edward Fittyplace for his Treasurer and Brother Henry Sanders for his Secetery and Brother Nicholas Sivry for his tiler.


  • Brother Richard Harris master
  • Bro. Edward Fittyplace Sr Warden
  • Bro. John Roads Jun. Warden
  • Bro. Nicholas Gording
  • Bro. Jeremiah Procter
  • Bro. William Cole
  • Bro. Peter Green

No Bisness the Lodg was Closd in Due Form.

What exciting topics they must have discussed that January night after Lodge was closed! Washington's ragged army was freezing and starving amid the icy Pennsylvania hills around Valley Forge while Brethren of the Craft on sentry duty were tramping the snow with bleeding feet; discontent, disloyalty and corruption in high places were rife, and it seemed as though the cause of liberty were dying. Vehemently did our ancient founders of Philanthropic argue as they sat before the blazing logs of the lodge-room hearth puffing dense clouds of strong tobacco smoke from their long pipes and quaffing draught after draught of fiery rum punch.


Six days after this first meeting three candidates for the degrees were voted into the Lodge — Captain Nicholas Ogalbe, David Stephenson and Jonathan Proctor. On the next night, January 22, 1778, occurs the first recorded degree work: "and was made Enterd aprinticeis Capt Nicholas Ogelbe, Mr. David Stephenson and Mr. Jonathan Proctor and Paid Brother Fittyplace Twenty One pounds" — showing that seven pounds was our first initiation fee. The first recorded use of the blackball was on February 16, 1778. The first record of the Fellowcraft Degree is dated March 5, 1778, when it was worked on Brothers Benjamin Reed, John Gerry, Samuel Russell Gerry, Samuel Trevett, Edmund Lewis and Swett Hooper, and, records the Secretary, "pipes and tobacker was furnished."

A month later, April 16, 1778, the Mystic Word of the Third Degree was pronounced for the first recorded time in Philanthropic Lodge when a class of eight Fellowcrafts was Raised by Worshipful Master Richard Harris. These were Nicholas Ogelbe, David Stephenson, Benjamin Reed, John Gerry, Edmund Lewis, Samuel Russell Gerry, Samuel Trevett and John Dixey, "and Paid Br Edward Fittyplace Nine Pounds Twelve Shillings". Evidently the fee for Raising was one pound four shillings.


Convivial souls indeed were the old Brethren of Philanthropic. Right merrily flowed the brimming bowl, as the following record indicates: "It was Agreed to pay Bro Burdick 3 shillings ahead for dinner, 6 pence for each Bottle Wine more than the First Cost, 2 shillings for a Bowl Punch and 1 shilling for a Bowl Grogg." Later is mentioned the appointment of certain Brothers as Stewards "for procuring Rum, Sugar, Candles, Bread & Cheese, Pipes & Tobacker."

All the Tiler had to furnish for the meetings was water, and it is hinted that this duty was not exactly burdensome. To fill the office of Tiler, by the way, the Lodge frequently went outside its membership, picked a man who they felt would be satisfactory, and then made him a Mason. Only members were supposed to know of the meetings and usually the only clue outsiders had was an occasional glimpse of the Tiler carrying a pail of water to the Lodge quarters late in the afternoon, or when some early riser saw one or two Brothers going home at sunrise, we will hope steady on their pins.

In those days Entered Apprentices were active in Lodge affairs, serving on committees and taking part in Lodge business, which was transacted on the First Degree. Lodge was opened on the Second or Third Degree only when those degrees were to be worked or applications received. Even after being Raised the Master Mason had to be formally voted into membership. There is no record of any investigating committee at this time, and sometimes if the ballot was clear, the candidate received not only the First, but the Second and Third Degrees the same night, particularly if he had to go to sea on short notice.


Once a little matter of blackballing was handled in a highly original manner. Three times the ballot was not clear. The Lodge chose a committee to see if anything could be done about it (evidently the rejected applicant was popular!). This committee, with the wisdom of our ancient Brother Solomon, pronounced after grave deliberation, "Suspend the rule and admit the candidate." It was done, and then the rule was voted again into effect.

At times the combination of a hot head and hard liquor proved too explosive a compound for even Masonic amity to overcome. Secretary John Roads solemnly records in 1778 that when a somewhat heated dispute arose between two Brethren and they finally agreed to leave the decision to three other members, "Bro Ryan wishd Damnation might Seas his Sole if he Submitted to the Report of the Commity" if judgment favored his opponent.

The first death of a Philanthropic Brother is recorded April 21, 1778, when the Lodge voted to give Masonic burial to Henry Saunders, one of the Charter Members of 1760. As there was no other Lodge in the vicinity (there was none in Salem until 1779), it is not strange that we find mention as early as May 7, 1778, of men from other places joining the Marblehead Lodge. Several from Salem, one from Ipswich, and "Mr. William Obrian of mechias", probably Machias, Maine, are recorded.

On June 25, 1778, was held the first celebration of St. John's Day. A gathering of thirty-nine Brethren, including several visitors and Deputy Grand Master Moses Deshon, "walked from the Lodg in Procession to the Rev William Whitwels meating hous where we had an oration Deliverd by Bro John Barnard Sweatt and after the Singing of the 133 & 134 Psalms we walkd in the above order to Bro Peter Greens and theire Celebrated the Feast and at Seven o Clock Returnd to the Lodg and at Eight o Clock the Bisness being Finishd the Lodg was Closd in Due Form."


Although the Revolution was raging while these first records of our Lodge were being written, we find scarcely any allusion to the struggle in them. The first and about the only reference occurs October 14, 1778, four months after Washington had won the Battle of Monmouth, when "a Committee of three was appointed to Wait upon the agents of the Privetear Raven to Parole Bro Laborn and Bro Hunter."

The square and compasses used in Philanthropic Lodge are of decided Revolutionary interest, however. On May 17, 1776, Capt. James Mugford of Marblehead, cruising in Massachusetts Bay in the armed schooner Franklin, one of Washington's cruisers, overtook and carried by boarding the British munitions ship Hope, laden with powder, muskets and cannon-carriages for the British army. This was like a gift from the gods for the American forces besieging Boston for they were in dire want of weapons and ammunition. James Topham of Marblehead, ship's carpenter of the Franklin, saw a handsome square and compasses in the cabin of the Hope and realizing their usefulness in his official duties, took them from the prize. Would that we could say that Mugford or Topham was a Mason, but so far as we know, not a member of the Franklin 's crew belonged to the Craft. Topham's son, however, who many years later presented the historic square and compasses of the Hope to the Lodge, was raised in Philanthropic in 1861.

These ancient implements, handsomely engraved, are an object of keen interest to all visitors to our Lodge, and were inspected with great curiosity by the twenty-four British Masons from H. M. S. Capetown at their reception in August 1929.

Many are the names illustrious in Revolutionary history appearing in these early records of Philanthropic. To cite but one example, when in February 1781 the Lodge was compelled by the need of larger quarters to move from the Widow King's to the house of Peter Jayne, on the committee in charge of arrangements were Colonel William R. Lee, whose gallant fighting record in Washington's army was famous; Samuel Sewall, later Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court; Captain Samuel R. Trevett, who commanded a Continental company in many bloody actions; and Dr. Elisha Story, the renowned surgeon who distinguished himself at Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill. Another of Washington's officers, Captain Joshua Orne, was also prominent in the affairs of the Lodge as well as in the Provincial Congress. General Glover, Captain Fettyplace, John Pulling and Richard Harris we have already mentioned.

And so we might go on. The membership roster of Philanthropic Lodge in those thrilling days reads like Marblehead's honor roll of eminent patriots and leading citizens.


At the St. John's Day celebration in 1779 the Brethren of the newly-formed Essex Lodge in Salem were guests. An oration was delivered by Brother Elisha Story at Rev. Isaac Story's "meating hous", a banquet was served at Brother Peter Green's, and on the return to the Lodge a present of "378 Dolers" was made to a member in distress.

Evidently the Lodge lived up to the name it was later to receive (the name "Philanthropic" does not appear until 1797), for numerous other instances of charity are recorded. The amounts seem exceedingly generous until one reflects that the donations were usually paper money and it took about a hundred paper dollars to equal a single silver one. The national coinage was in a much confused state, and there are many records of dues paid partly in pounds and shillings, partly in paper, and partly in "hard dolers". The rent paid for the use of Peter Jayne's large upstairs room was twelve pounds in money and sixteen cords of wood per annum.

This early home of our Lodge is still standing. It is the old Prentiss House at No. 37 Mugford Street. It appears to have been difficult to find satisfactory quarters in those years. For a time meetings were held at the house of Brother Burdick, and later at the Widow Payne's.

At the expiration of his third year, in 1781, Worshipful Master Richard Harris, who had not only guided the infant Lodge ably and wisely during its formative period but had also distinguished himself as an artilleryman in Paul Revere's corps, as selectman of the town and its first federal Collector of Customs, refused to accept another term in the East. So great was the prestige of Col. William R. Lee, one of the Lodge's most active members, that although he was not an officer, he was elected Master. But he declined, and Senior Warden Samuel R. Trevett was chosen Philanthropic's third Master in 1781. He was succeeded by Dr. Elisha Story in 1782.

The winter of 1783-84 must have been an unusually rigorous one, for several times it is recorded "No Lodge it being very cold". These old Brethren were deeply interested in the ritual and traditions of the Craft, as is shown by their vote to devote the second Thursday in each quarter to Masonic lecturing. And as many of them were men active in state and town affairs, the social gatherings at the close of the Lodge were open forms for the intelligent discussion of the momentous questions agitating the young nation.


From April 20, 1786, to February 1, 1797, there is a break in the records. If the Lodge met at all during those eleven years, there is no mention of it. Just why meetings were given up is not definitely known. Probably for lack of interest. On June 12, 1797, our Lodge was formally received under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, which voted that "the Name of the Lodge meeting in Marblehead from henceforward be Called the PHILANTHROPIC LODGE." With this annotation upon it, signed by Grand Master Paul Revere and Grand Secretary Daniel Oliver, the ancient Charter issued by Grand Master Rowe in 1778 was returned to our Lodge, which through all the previous thirty-seven years of its existence had been known only as the "Marblehead Lodge".

We must explain here that there were originally two Grand Lodges in Massachusetts — the St. John's Grand Lodge, chartered by the Grand Lodge of England and organized by Henry Price in 1733, and the Massachusetts Provincial Grand Lodge, formed by Joseph Warren in 1769 and chartered by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. These two rival Grand Lodges combined in 1792 to form the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, entirely independent of either the English or Scottish Grand Lodges. Until 1797 our Lodge had been under the jurisdiction of the St. John's Grand Lodge, which had originally granted its Charter.

The first Grand Lodge visitation recorded in Philanthropic records occurred November 23, 1798. Dr. Elisha Story as Master received Grand Master Josiah Bartlett and his suite of nine Grand Lodge officers, one of whom was Paul Revere. A Grand Lodge was formally opened at seven p.m. and closed at nine, but nothing is said as to what transpired.

The dawn of the nineteenth century was marked in Philanthropic by a solemn Masonic service lamenting the death of "our illustrious and beloved Bro. General Geo. Washington", at which Brother Joseph Story, who afterwards won honors as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, delivered "an elegeant and well adapted Eulogy on his Life & Virtues". It was voted "that the Brethren ware black Crape edged with blue Ribbon on the left Arm for thirty days as a Badge of Mourning on this Sorrowful & Melancholy Occasion". St. John's Day was celebrated for the first time out of town on June 24, 1801, when "At high Twelve the Brethren proceeded to the Widow Phillips', Lyn, where they dined together and spent the afternoon in that Social & Friendly manner which ought ever to Subsist among Brothers & Fellows."

Now occurs another unexplained break in the records — from May 4, 1803, to January 10, 1809. Whether the records of these six years have been lost or no records were kept during this period, no one knows. Grand Lodge records show that Philanthropic was represented at the communications of the supreme body in September and December, 1803; March and December, 1804; and December of 1805. So at least our Lodge was not wholly dead during those years.


An unusual incident during the mastership of Ralph H. French, who succeeded Dr. Story in 1809, is worth mention. After receiving application from a candidate, the members argued long and fervently over the propriety of initiating him, for he had lost his right hand. Finally it was agreed to consult the Grand Lodge. The answer was favorable, but the unfortunate candidate was blackballed notwithstanding, whether because of his missing hand or not is not clear.

The worthy Secretary strikes another human note when he records that the committee investigating the charges brought by a certain Brother against another "are of Opinion that the Parties are equally Guilty of Gross Misconduct & Beastly Intoxication and ought to be Suspended from this Lodge", which was promptly done.


Ebenezer G. Evans followed W.. M. French in the East in 1810, and the next year John Candler took the Chair. An echo of the outrages of the Barbary corsairs resounds in our records in 1811, when at a special communication "The R.W. Master informed the Brethren that a Brother from a Foreign Lodge was sent to Crave the Assistance of Lodges in this Country to enable them to raise a sufficient Sum of Money to purchas the Libertys of some Unfortunate Brethren now Prisoners in Algeers." A collection was taken but how much was raised is not stated.

The hated Embargo Act, domestic distress and the impending war with Great Britain were all reflected in loss of interest in the Lodge, and we are not surprised to find that at a meeting on January 23, 1812, attended by only a dozen members it was "Voted that a committee of three be chosen to select such Articles as belong to the Grand Lodge and return them with the Charter." The faithful Tiler was not forgotten, for to him were bequeathed all the candles and liquor left in the Lodge!

Nine years went by — years in which Philanthropic Brethren shed their blood on the decks of Old Ironsides and in countless privateer and frigate actions, or rotted in Dartmoor and the British prison hulks at Portsmouth and Southampton. Then, on April 2, 1821, a little group of twelve met and agreed to reestablish Philanthropic Lodge. A week later they organized with John Bartlett as Master, and on June 13, 1821, Grand Master John Dixwell formally restored our old Charter.


We must smile at something that happened in 1822. At the beginning of a meeting the alarming discovery was made that the records were not in the Lodge. A Brother was dispatched posthaste in pursuit of them and found them at the house of the Secretary, where, alas, they were delivered to the messenger by the fair hands of the Secretary's sister! In consequence of this sad offense, the unfortunate Secretary was forthwith deposed from office, much to the grief of your present historian, who found the next Secretary's penmanship very trying on his eyes.

There used to be an old saying in Marblehead, "It always rains when the Masons walk." And it certainly did, with a vengeance, at the St. John's Day celebration of 1822. Guests had arrived from Essex, Jordan and Mount Carmel Lodges, a bountiful feast was waiting at the Fort, and lo! "the rain poured down in torrents and perfectly spoiled the arrangements of the day." But the good Secretary piously says that as the earth was dry and vegetation suffering, "the Brethren one and all received the disappointment as a Blessing from Heaven, considering the day thus particularly honored". I trust the worthy Brother did not write this with his tongue in his cheek.

The Lodge sometimes acted to settle domestic disputes and private squabbles in those homely days. For instance, it is recorded that "some uneasiness" between two Brethren occasioned by the impolite remarks of one about the other's grand-daughter was ironed out in open Lodge to general satisfaction.

At the laying of the corner-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, June 17, 1825, a delegation from Philanthropic assisted the Grand Lodge officers. General Lafayette was present, and Secretary Isaac Collyer writes that "it was contemplated there was the largest assembly of people that ever met at one time in the United States of America."


Naturally seafaring men had formed a large proportion of our Lodge membership ever since its founding, but with the accession to the Master's Chair in 1825 of Captain Josiah P. Creesey, the famous commander of the world-renowned clipper ship "Flying Cloud", came a procession of noted sea captains to receive the Light of Freemasonry in Philanthropic's halls. Among the veteran mariners Raised in 1826, for example, were Captains John Pitman, William Bartoll and William Hammond —- names known in ports from Liverpool to Calcutta and Shanghai. Worshipful Master Creesey was followed by Samuel S. Trefry in 1828 and John Traill in 1829. By this time we notice signs of lessened interest in the Lodge. The anti-Masonic propaganda which swept the country after the disappearance of William Morgan was having its effect in Marblehead. Attendance at meetings dropped off, regular monthly communications were abandoned, and the funds of the Lodge sank so low that the beautiful chandelier which had adorned the lodge-room for a long time was sold at auction for $50 in the desperate attempt to raise money. Finally, after it was found impossible to agree on reduced rent with the Free School Association, in whose hall the meetings were held, the sixteen members present on May 21, 1834, voted to surrender the Charter, and Philanthropic joined the three thousand other Masonic Lodges forced out of existence by blind and unjust prejudice. We had at that time thirty-four members.

The hall of the Free School Association, by the way, where our Lodge had been meeting for some time, was in the dwelling house still standing at No. 10 Tucker Street, at the head of Mason Street.

Eleven years passed, gradually the feeling against Freemasonry subsided, and on March 12, 1845, Grand Master Augustus Peabody returned the ancient Charter to twenty loyal Craftsmen headed by John Bartlett as Master, the By-Laws were revised, and once more old Philanthropic was at work.

At this time it was the rule to meet on the Monday before the full moon. Public installations of the officers were frequently held, accompanied by an oration and music. In 1847 the leakage of private Masonic matters to the town's street corners caused the Lodge considerable worry, and a committee was appointed to try to discover the source. Although these worthy sleuths made no report to the Lodge, they evidently did not go to sleep on the job, for there were no more leaks. They had worked "with silence and circumspection".


On December 26, 1846, David Blaney ascended the East for a term that was destined to be unique in length among the Masters of Philanthropic Lodge. Not till 1858 was this excellent Worshipful Master allowed to give up the gavel, and the following year he was presented with the first Past Master's Jewel ever bestowed by the Lodge. During his twelve consecutive years in office, the degree work of Philanthropic was so outstanding that we repeatedly exemplified it by request in other Lodges.

It was at this time that the Lodge established a committee of two "to prevent any difficulty or disagreement which may be apprehended or already exist between any Brethren of the Lodge". It is rumored that this little arbitration board had its hands full! Those were the days of fervid and flowery oratory. Witness the example of Brother Huntoon, who, returning to the Lodge after a long illness, pours forth his joy and gratitude at his recovery in an "impressive and butiful address" to his doubtless bored and restless Brethren.

On February 23, 1858, James B. Topham presented to the Lodge through Brother Joseph Goodwin the historic compasses captured by Captain Mugford in 1776 as described earlier in these pages. At that time the square accompanying the compasses had been mislaid, but several years later, after he had joined the Lodge, Brother Topham found the square and gave it to Philanthropic on November 13, 1862. St. John's Day in 1858 was celebrated on the Neck, the members "meeting at Appleton Wharf at Ten o'Clock and there conveyed to land adjoining Brother Darling's, the Keeper of the Light House", where they partook of a goodly collation of meats, fried fish and chowder supplied by Samuel Goodwin.


The 100th Anniversary of Philanthropic was celebrated on Monday evening, March 26, 1860, during the mastership of Dr. H. H. F. Whittemore, who succeeded Worshipful Brother Blaney in 1859. Lodge was opened on the First Degree, there being an Entered Apprentice present, and after the singing of an original ode by a choir of Brethren and the reading of the Charter by W. M. Whittemore, the Craft were called from Labor to Refreshment and sat down to a banquet.

Speeches and toasts enlivened the occasion. Brother M. J. Doak was toastmaster, and the glasses were lifted to Freemasonry, The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Masonic Union, The Day We Celebrate, and last, but we will hope not least, The Ladies. Worshipful Brother Blaney, the only living Past Master of the Lodge, Right Worshipful Brother Huntoon and the officers and members responded to the toasts and joined wholeheartedly in the jovial festivities. In conclusion, the Brethren, joining hands in the ancient English custom, made the rafters ring with "Auld Lang Syne" and then closed Philanthropic Lodge in due form. At that time it had sixty-two members.

Michael J. Doak was elected Master at the close of 1862. Whatever the feelings of the Brethren may have been in regard to liquor drinking, they evidently did not approve of a member's selling it, for the records of 1864 mention the suspension of a Brother for unMasonic conduct in "keeping a place where liquors are sold at retail to the injury of Masonry".


Though the Civil War had been in progress for three years and a large number of Philanthropies Brethren were fighting in the Union forces on sea and land, we find no allusion to the struggle until June 14, 1864, when it was voted "to loan the hall to the Ladies working in aid of the soldiers". Five months later the Lodge met to give Masonic burial to Samuel Goodwin, dead of wounds received in the bloody thickets of the Wilderness; and at a special communication November 11, 1864, it was agreed to remit the dues of the Brothers in the service. These are the only direct references to the Civil War in our records.

Jonathan Cole succeeded Worshipful Brother Doak as Master in 1867, and was followed by Benjamin Pitman in 1868. Then William H. Wormstead assumed the East at the end of 1872, serving the Lodge in the years 1873 and 1874. In 1870 Philanthropic showed her sisterly spirit toward Atlantic Lodge of Odd Fellows by giving the younger fraternity the temporary use of Masonic Hall, and the same year an organ was purchased for use in the work. An unusual incident took place in 1872, when a special meeting was called to honor Brother Peter J. Rodgers, who was celebrating that day not only his 80th birthday, but his 50th anniversary as a Freemason.

At the conclusion of Worshipful Master Wormstead's term in 1875, the Lodge turned for the second time to M. J. Doak for its presiding officer. And now the old Lodge once more passes through one of those periods of inactivity from which it has never failed to come back stronger and more enthusiastic than ever before. For some time prior to 1876, the records clearly indicate that interest is lagging, attendance dropping off, and the Lodge having difficulty in meeting its bills. Many members were badly in arrears, and after struggling along valiantly for many months, a faithful band of nineteen Brethren met under Worshipful Master Doak on October 31, 1876, and sorrowfully voted to again surrender the Charter.


But this interregnum lasted less than four years. On March 10, 1880, at the petition of the Marblehead Brethren, Grand Master Alfred A. Welch signed the order restoring once more our much-travelled Charter. May it never be surrendered again!

The popular Michael Doak was elected Master for the third time on April 20, 1880, and Philanthropic resumed full activities with bustling energy. At the May communication, held in Odd Fellows' Hall, Grand Master Welch, with a large suite, formally returned the Charter while delegations from the Salem and Beverly Lodges looked on with friendly interest. From the very first attendance was good and keen interest shown. In 1881 the Lodge adopted Grand Army Hall as its quarters and the following year voted for the first time to join the other Lodges in the district in the exemplification of the work.

Worshipful Brother Pitman began his second term in the Oriental Chair in 1881, and following him came William W. Dodge in 1882, Horace Goodwin in 1883 and William D. T. Trefry in 1885.


Now we come to the 125th Anniversary of the Lodge. It was celebrated at a special communication on April 2, 1885. Some fifty members were present with their ladies, and the Grand Lodge was represented by Right Worshipful Brothers Israels, Norris and Hill, about two hundred in all attending. Remarks by Worshipful Master Horace Goodwin were followed by selections by a quartet, the reading of a most interesting historical sketch of the Lodge by Secretary Stephen P. Hathaway, more music, the recital of a poem, and then an entertainment of feats of magic. After that the company marched to Rechabite Hall, where they were regaled with an elaborate spread replete with toasts and speech making. Not till after midnight did the festivities end. So prosperous was Philanthropic at this time that at the visitation of the District Deputy Grand Master in 1885 he informed the gathering that our returns to the Grand Lodge were the largest in the district. It was felt that bigger quarters must be had, and on September 21, 1886, the Lodge moved from Grand Army Hall to the new Lefavour Building at the southwest corner of School and Pleasant Streets. A feature of the visitation in 1886 was the presentation by Grand Chaplain Israel, acting on behalf of the Grand Lodge and the Masters of the district, of a handsome Bible for use in the work, while the District Deputy congratulated the Lodge on the excellence of its apartments.

At the public installation of Worshipful Master Frank Lackey in 1888, the St. Helena Ladies' Society through their President, Mrs. James K. Beede, presented the Lodge with a fine new organ, and an entertainment of music, reading and speaking, followed by refreshments, closed a delightful evening.


Not long was the Lodge to enjoy its new home in the Lefavour Building. On Christmas night in 1888 the last of Marblehead's great fires swept through the center of the town and one of the first buildings to go was Masonic Hall. So fierce and swift were the flames that nothing was saved but the Three Great Lights, the precious Charter and the records. To the gallantry of Capt. John Cole, our Treasurer, who dashed through the raging fire at the risk of his life, is due the rescue of the Great Lights. Jewels, furniture and the new organ — all were destroyed, a loss of about $2,000, half covered by insurance.

But even such a calamity as this could not crush our ancient Lodge. Five days after the fire, while the rubbish of the Temple was still smoking, twenty-six Brethren met at the home of Wor. Brother Lackey on Beacon Street and set about repairing the losses and securing a new meeting place. Contributions and expressions of sympathy poured in from all the Masonic bodies in the vicinity. The Brethren took heart and went to work. Soon the Salem Lodges offered the use of their quarters, and after one meeting in the rooms of the Lodge of Templars in the Grader Block, our meetings were transferred to Salem on February 19, 1889. There communications were held until August 6, when the Lodge accepted the brotherly offer of Atlantic Lodge, I. O. O. F., for the use of its hall in Marblehead.


This same year Emery Brown took the Oriental Chair. A rather unique incident happened in 1890. At a special communication formal objections were made by certain members to the Entering of one candidate and the Crafting of another, although both had been favorably balloted upon for the degrees. The objections were found valid by the Lodge and neither candidate received his degree. Shortly afterward it was voted to hire quarters in the Gregory Block — provided the back door could be fixed to lock safely! — and the Lodge moved into that building May 20, 1890. At the July meeting that year, attended by only fourteen Brethren, the Secretary eloquently writes in explanation of the brevity of his record, "Temperature 93".

During the mastership of Stephen W. Power, who took office in 1891, the Lodge several times enjoyed banquets in Hibernian Hall, one hundred and twenty men sitting down at one of these affairs. Secretary Hathaway records that the installation of Benjamin Cole, Jr., in 1893 was "a rare affair", and when we read that the inimitable "Hoddie" Broughton played the star role in the entertainment and banquet, those of us fortunate enough to have known that genius of mimicry and humor can readily grasp the significance of "Steve Put's" comment.

P. Howard Shirley became Master in 1895. When in 1897 a Brother from Jordan Lodge presents Philanthropic with a picture commemorating the 100th Anniversary in 1860, Secretary Hathaway writes that out of six members present at the centennial celebration, five were in the lodge-room at the presentation of this picture thirty-seven years later. Wor. Master Shirley was succeeded by George P. Graves in 1897.


An amusing episode took place at this time. It was decided that for the sake of dressing up the degree work a bit the officers should all wear evening clothes. This had never been done before in our Lodge. Accordingly the officers all appeared resplendent in the glory of "soup-and-fish", three candidates were waiting in the anteroom, and balloting began. Then to the consternation of the dress-suited officers, one after another the candidates were blackballed! There was no work, there was no business — the officers were "all dressed up with no place to go" — and the evening was totally ruined. Rumor hath it that a wag cast the blackballs as a crack at the evening clothes. The rejected candidates were admitted without trouble at the next meeting.

During Worshipful Brother Graves' tenure a committee was appointed to seek new quarters for the Lodge and reported that the best place obtainable was in the new building being erected by Brother George S. Goss at the corner of Pleasant and School Streets. On this committee were Brothers W. D. T. Trefry, Winthrop Brown and Benjamin Cole, Jr.


The first meeting in the Goss building, now owned by F. Morris Osborne, was held on March 20, 1900, with Worshipful Master Brown presiding, and to candidates John G. Broughton and George D. Boles fell the honor of receiving the first degrees conferred there. The new hall was pronounced one of the best-furnished Masonic apartments in the district. Fifteen hundred dollars was spent on its furnishings.

A few days later, on March 27, the new hall was formally dedicated at the 140th Anniversary celebration of Philanthropic Lodge. At four in the afternoon Grand Master Charles T. Gallagher and his suite of Grand Lodge officers began the impressive ceremonies of Masonic dedication, the Harvard Quartet and Salem Cadet Orchestra furnishing the beautiful musical setting to the words of the ritual. When the ringing proclamation of the Grand Marshal closed the ceremony, Past Master W. D. T. Trefry gave an address on the first forty years of Masonry in the Lodge and read the letter of Dr. John Lowell, our first Master, quoted in full at the beginning of this history. With many guests the Lodge then sat down to a fine banquet, and the celebration closed with an entertainment and dancing till Low Twelve.

Evidently social interest was lively among the Brethren at that time, for three months later we find the first record of an attempt to form a Masonic Club, a committee reporting that fifty members wished to join. What resulted is not revealed in the records.

An interesting feature of the public installation of Wor. Master George S. Goss and his officers in 1901 was the presentation to Brother John Cole of a Past Treasurer's Jewel in recognition of his twenty years' service. Charles Goodwin ascended the East in 1903. The next year it was decided to have the old records of the Lodge copied, but work on this seems to have ceased after it had been completed through February 25, 1779.


The first outstanding event of Charles Goodwin's mastership was the 145th Anniversary of Philanthropic, observed on March 24, 1905.

Festivities commenced with a reception to lady friends and other guests in the afternoon. Then a procession was formed, with Brother Thomas T. Lyon as Marshal, and the party entered the banquet hall, where a splendid repast was served. Worshipful Master Goodwin gave a short address on the history of the Lodge and speeches followed by Past Grand Master Gallagher and other Grand Lodge representatives, who united in praise of our ancient Lodge, its finely appointed quarters and prosperous condition. An entertainment was given by Boston talent and dancing to music of the Salem Cadet Orchestra ensued till midnight. One hundred and sixty-two members and guests were present, including Past Masters Goss, Trefry, Winthrop Brown, Benjamin Cole, Jr., and George P. Graves.


Another never-to-be-forgotten event in our history was the laying of the corner-stone of Marblehead's new Federal Building on September 28, 1905.

Worshipful Master Charles Goodwin and his officers received Grand Master Sanford and suite of twenty-four high Masonic dignitaries at two in the afternoon, and headed by the Lynn Cadet Band, the imposing procession of Grand Lodge officers and guests, one hundred and twenty-four Brethren of the Lodge, the Board of Selectmen led by Chairman John N. Osborne, Postmaster B. F. Martin, the architect and Federal Supervisor of Construction, marched from Masonic Hall to the corner of Pleasant and Watson Streets. A box containing interesting souvenirs was deposited and the corner-stone laid by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts with full Masonic ritual. An address was delivered by Worshipful Brother William H. Rider of Gloucester, and then the procession returned to Masonic Hall, where Brethren and guests refreshed themselves with a banquet. Toasts and speeches by federal, town and Masonic officials closed the day.

The writer of this chronicle, then a lad of fifteen, witnessed the laying of this corner-stone, and as it was the first Masonic ceremony he had ever seen, the event made an unforgettable impression upon his memory. Two months later the trowel used in the exercises was presented to our Lodge by Brother Edward W. Doherty.


In 1905 Horace B. Gardner succeeded Worshipful Brother Goodwin. It was during his term of office that Past Master Benjamin Pitman gave the Lodge a gavel of wood from the glorious old frigate "Constitution", on whose decks many Brethren of Philanthropic had fought in the War of 1812. Edward G. Brown took the Master's Chair in 1908. The next year is recorded the working of the Third Degree by a staff of Past Masters composed of Worshipful Brothers Trefry, Emery Brown, Graves, Pitman, Goodwin, Cole, Winthrop Brown and Gardner. A pleasant feature of the annual meeting in 1909 was a reception to Brother Samuel Cox on the occasion of his 60th anniversary as a Mason.

Secretary of the Lodge for nearly half a century, under over a score of Masters, the beloved Stephen P. Hathaway was forced by the weight of advancing years to relinquish the active duties of his office in 1909, and at the November communication he was presented by the Lodge with a handsome Secretary's Jewel and a resolution expressing the love and esteem of his Brethren.


Clinton A. Ferguson became Master in 1909, and at the February communication in 1910, Past Grand Master Edwin B. Holmes presented the Lodge with a framed photograph of the diploma granted by Philanthropic on June 9, 1761, to John Pulling, the distinguished patriot and friend of Paul Revere whose lantern hung in the steeple of the Old North Church in Boston started Revere on his great ride. During the presentation of the diploma, Right Worshipful Brother Holmes spoke most interestingly, lauding the exploits of the many Revolutionary heroes who received the Light of Freemasonry in Philanthropic Lodge and warmly congratulating the ancient Lodge on its splendid record of patriotism in the nation's struggles for liberty. At this memorable meeting, one hundred and eighteen members were present and the guests included Grand Master Dana J. Flanders and his suite.

This same year the Lodge sent fraternal greetings to its namesakes in England, Philanthropic Lodge No. 107 of King's Lynn and Philanthropic Lodge No. 304 of Leeds. In due course the greeting was returned.


The 150th Anniversary was celebrated in ceremonies lasting three days in March, 1910. On Sunday, the 20th, three hundred members and guests, including the Grand Master and suite and Brethren from many neighboring Lodges, attended divine services at the Old North Church, where the sermon was preached by Rev. Bro. George L. Cady, D. D., Pastor of Pilgrim Congregational Church of Dorchester. Music was furnished by the Weber Sextet and Brother Clinton Bessom, Organist, and an anniversary hymn was written for the occasion by Mrs. Edward G. Brown. The following day, Monday, a reception was tendered in Abbot Hall to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and five hundred people sat down to a banquet. Grand Master Flanders and others spoke at the conclusion of the feast, and festivities ended with an entertainment and dancing. On Tuesday, Lodge convened at 7:30 p.m. and one hundred and sixty-one members answered the roll called by the venerable Secretary-Emeritus Hathaway. Letters were read from absent Brethren and an historical address given by Chaplain W. D. T. Trefry, followed by remarks from nine of our Past Masters.

A banquet in the dining hall came next, and then an entertainment of sleight of hand and magic, songs and monologues and piano selections. Not till long after Low Twelve did the Brethren wend their ways homeward. Our Lodge received another honor in 1911, when Past Master Edward G. Brown was appointed the first District Deputy Grand Master of the newly-constituted Eighth Masonic District, comprising, besides Philanthropic, Essex and Starr King Lodges of Salem, Golden Fleece, Mount Carmel and Damascus of Lynn, and Jordan of Peabody.

At the following communication in February resolutions were passed on the death of Past Master Doak, whose eight years in the East are surpassed only by the twelve years of David Blaney. The feature of the annual meeting in 1911 was the highly interesting remarks of Brother Samuel Cox, then our oldest member, Raised in 1849, and Secretary-Emeritus Hathaway. Harry G. Trefry became Master in 1911, followed by Charles H. King in 1914.


Now we come to another milestone in our history — the 155th Anniversary. It was observed March 25, 1915. R. W. Brother W. D. T. Trefry, Past Deputy Grand Master, spoke on the early history of the Lodge, and Grand Master Melvin M. Johnson gave an impressive address on Freemasonry. He then presented our 96-year-old Brother Samuel Cox with the Henry Price Centennial Medal. A fund of $100, raised through the efforts of Brother Edward W. Doherty of Washington, D. C, for the purchase of a cabinet to hold Masonic relics, was presented by Brother Joseph G. Green, and a banquet and minstrel show put on by twenty-two members of the Lodge closed proceedings.

Philanthropic took part in the laying of the corner-stone of the Salem Masonic Temple on June 24, 1915, and was honored in the selection of R.W. Brother W. D. T. Trefry as toastmaster of the banquet held in Cadet Armory.

Harrie K. Nutting was installed Master in 1915, followed by Richard T. Cole in 1917. The annual meeting in 1919 was notable for the presence of twenty members returned from military and naval service in the first World War.

Amos H. Humphrey began his mastership in 1919, followed by J. Edgar Parker in 1921, Arthur L. Swasey in 1923 and Ackley R. Slee in 1924.


In observance of our 165th Anniversary a banquet and entertainment were held at Odd Fellows' Hall on March 24, 1925, and Past Grand Master Arthur D. Prince spoke to the one hundred and eighty-three members and guests present on Freemasonry in the Orient. Rufus L. Titus moved into the Master's seat the same year, and Arthur M. Humphrey succeeded him in 1927.

An unusual incident occurred at the April meeting in 1928, when William H. Wormstead and Joseph S. Wormstead, brothers in blood as well as in Freemasonry, were both presented with the Masonic Veteran's Medal by R.W . Walter L. Williams, District Deputy Grand Master. In the course of remarks during the June 1928 communication, Worshipful Master Arthur Humphrey displayed in the Lodge a flag carried around the world aboard the ship of Brother Captain John Cole, flown at the St. John's Day-festivities of 1860 and over the army tent of Captain Knott V. Martin encamped at Relay House, Maryland, in the stirring days of '61, and also borne by the Lodge at the dedication of the new Federal Building in 1905. This banner bore the Blue Lodge emblem strikingly blazoned on a field of white.


August 26, 1929, was a red-letter day in Philanthropic's history, for it marks the reception given to the Masonic Brethren from His Britannic Majesty's Cruiser Capetown, visiting Marblehead harbor in connection with the 300th anniversary celebration of the town.

In the afternoon refreshments were served the British Brethren in the Lodge dining hall, and they were cordially welcomed and shown the interesting historical relics of the Lodge, including the famous square and compasses captured from H. M. S. Hope in the Revolution. At seven in the evening nearly four hundred members and guests with the twenty-four British Masons feasted together in I. O. O. F. Hall, where Past Grand Master Leon M. Abbott, Soverign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, formally welcomed the Capetown sailors. Brother J. S. Matthias responded for the Britons. The Third Degree was then worked, Past Master Amos H. Humphrey delivering one of his famous charges to the candidate. The British Brethren individually extended the fraternal greetings of their respective Lodges across the sea, and Brother Manning of the Capetown 's crew spoke impressively to the candidate on the meaning of Freemasonry. At the conclusion of the ceremonies Brother Matthias thanked Philanthropic Lodge very gracefully for the courtesies shown his fellow Britons, and presented the Lodge with a framed picture of H.M.S. Capetown bearing the autographs of the visitors. Worshipful Master Humphrey in accepting assured the Englishmen that it would be cherished as a valuable remembrance of their visit.

Before the Lodge closed, R. W. Brother Rufus L. Titus was presented by the Lodge with a District Deputy Grand Master's Jewel, and by Worshipful Master Humphrey and Wor. Brother F. J. Needham with a gavel. Brother Titus was much touched by these expressions of high esteem and responded in his usual happy vein.

William L. Nickerson followed Arthur Humphrey as Master in 1929. During his term the 170th Anniversary was commemorated with a turkey supper on March 18, 1930, at which seventeen Brothers with thirty-five or more years of membership to their credit were guests. At the next communication a committee was appointed to plan for the 175th Anniversary celebration in 1935.


During the January meeting in 1931, Rev. Bro. H. G. Hale, acting on behalf of Brother Jonathan T. Brown, presented the Lodge with a set of dividers and square made over fifty years previously and finished by Brother Brown at the age of eighty-four, when he had completed a half-century of membership.

In 1931, also, Secretary Arthur Humphrey finished the arduous task of compiling the names of all persons appearing on the Lodge records since its founding in 1760. These records showed a grand total of 1,167 members past and present.

Chester M. Damon became Master in 1931. During his occupancy of the East the much-needed redecoration of the lodge-room was completed. An incident unique in our annals occurred in 1932, when for the first time Philanthropic's walls echoed to the majestic words of the ritual uttered in a foreign tongue. At the April meeting, by special invitation, the officers of Germania Lodge of Boston worked the Master Mason's Degree in German on Brother August Amandus Hans Reinecke. The large and deeply interested gathering agreed that it was fine work, most impressively and eloquently done.

Clarence E. Chapman was installed as Master in 1933. Two years later, 1935, was a milestone in the history of Philanthropic Lodge. For that year our Lodge celebrated its 175th Anniversary.


The first event in the program of the anniversary celebration was church services at the First Congregational Church on Sunday afternoon, March 17. A procession was formed at the Lodge apartments composed of 153 members of the Lodge, 14 of its Past Masters, 14 of its officers, 53 guests, and 24 officers of the Grand Lodge headed by Most Worshipful Claude L. Allen, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. This procession marked to the church, where a sermon was delivered by Right Worshipful the Reverend Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge. There were remarks by Worshipful Clarence E. Chapman, an invocation by Rev. Dwight L. Cart, and responsive reading by Brother and Reverend Edward H. Cotton, with prayer by Brother the Reverend Frank W. Merrick. Music was supplied by the Unity Quartet with Miss Frances Foskette. soprano, and Brother Alexander E. Cleary, organist. An annniversary hymn written for the occasion by Mrs. Edward G. Brown was sung to the tune of Federal Street.

On Tuesday evening, March 19, the anniversary was celebrated at the Lodge apartments during the 1350th regular communication of Philanthropic Lodge. A buffet supper was served to 272 Brethren, with extra refreshments supplied by the "Old Timers' Committee". The Most Worshipful Grand Master and a Grand Lodge suite of eighteen distinguished Masons were present, and the guests also included nine presiding Masters of neighboring Lodges, seven Past District Deputy Grand Masters, and twelve Past Masters of other Lodges in the vicinity.

A paper entitled "The Historical Background of Philanthropic Lodge", written by Brother Tracy L. Sanborn, was read by Worshipful Brother Charles Goodwin. This was a resume of the history of the Lodge, also written by Brother Sanborn. Copies of the history were distributed to the Brethren, and a rising vote of thanks and appreciation was extended to the authoi. In a stirring address, Grand Master Allen lauded the splendid record of our ancient Lodge, and referred to the Masonic career of Elbridge Gerry of Marblehead, Vice President of the United States.


Past Grand Master Arthur D. Prince delivered the greetings and congratulations of the Grand Lodge to old Philanthropic, and our Senior Past Master, Worshipful William H. Wormstead, spoke most entertainingly of the work of our Lodge when he was Master in 1873 and 1874. The fine tenor voice of Brother Howard W. Bragdon was heard in several solos.

The meeting concluded with the presentation by Grand Master Allen of Masonic Veterans' Medals to the following Brethren of Philanthropic Lodge: Isaac Atkins, raised in 1884; Horace C. Bessom, raised in 1881; and Emery Brown, raised in 1885. At the conclusion of this ceremony, the Grand Master conferred on Worshipful Brother Wormstead the Joseph Warren Medal for distinguished service to Freemasonry.


The following evening, Wednesday, March 20, the 175th Anniversary Celebration was concluded with a concert, entertainment and dance at Ladies' Night in Abbot Hall. The musical program was most pleasingly rendered by the following artists: The North Shore Society Orchestra, the Schubert Trio, trumpeter Walter M. Smith, violinist Jane Corson, pianist-soprano Alice Gilbert, and cellist-contralto Louisa Wood. Nan Lagerstadt delighted the Brethren and their ladies with clever impersonations and character sketches. Refreshments and general dancing wound up the evening.

Three months later, on June 18, 1935, by unanimous vote of the Lodge, Brother Tracy L. Sanborn was made an Honorary Member of Philanthropic Lodge, for his work in compiling the history of the Lodge. This honor has been rarely awarded to anyone except Past Masters, and was deeply appreciated by Brother Sanborn.


Lewis Doane became Master in October of 1935, and was followed in the East by Chester C. Parker in 1937. During Worshipful Brother Parker's mastership, a framed picture of the famous square and compasses shown and described at the beginning of this booklet was sent with the compliments of the Lodge to the U. S. S. Mugford, a warship named after Marblehead's naval hero of 1776. The commander of the Mugford in thanking the Lodge wrote that the picture had been hung in the ship's wardroom.

In 1939, Right Worshipful Rufus L. Titus, Past Master of our Lodge, received the Henry Price Medal for distinguished Masonic service, and in the same year the long-needed revision of Philanthropic's by-laws was completed and adopted by the Lodge.

William Chisholm succeeded Worshipful Master Parker on October 17, 1939. The many years of honorable service in Freemasonry by Worshipful Brother Charles Goodwin were recognized officially in 1939, when he received the Joseph Warren Medal.

The mastership of William Chisholm was followed by those of Warren E. Home in 1941, Carl B. Gleason in 1943, and G. Jeffrey Nichols in 1945.


When Harry O. Hiltz became Master on October 21, 1947, the long-discussed matter of moving to new quarters came to a head. With the remarkable growth in membership, it was felt that a larger lodge-room and one easier of access was highly desirable. The time was not yet ripe for building or acquiring a Temple of our own, so the Lodge officers and members determined to continue renting a lodge-room for the next few years at least.

After long and careful consideration, satisfactory arrangements were completed with Atlantic Lodge of Odd Fellows for the use of the large and attractive lodge-room on the second floor of their building, opposite the Post Office on Pleasant Street. And here, after 49 years' occupancy of the F. N. Osborne building across from the railroad station, Philanthropic Lodge moved its quarters in the spring of 1949.

Our first meeting in the Odd Fellows Building was held on June 19, 1949, when 70 Brethren assembled there before marching to the Old North Church for St. John's Day services. Two days later, on June 21, our new lodge-room witnessed its first Third Degree, when five men were raised to the Degree of Master Mason.


Worshipful Master Hiltz handed the gavel to Kenneth H. Martin on October 18, 1949. Past Master Hiltz was later honored by the Grand Lodge of Massachussets, serving with distinction and kindly humor as District Deputy Grand Master for the Eighth (Lynn) Masonic District. In Philanthropic's roll of 58 Masters, only five other Brethren have gained that honor.

Our Lodge has continued to grow under the successive masterships of Benjamin F. Martin (elected in 1951), Nilsson S. Bassett (1953), Robert D. Fallon (1955), and Irving B. Oliver (1957).

Since 1935 the membership of Philanthropic has increased eighty-one percent. As of March 25, 1960, we have 710 members. Sixteen hundred and ninety-four Brethren have knelt at Philanthropic's Altar since Dr. John Lowell assembled our twenty-two Charter Members in the old Commodore Tucker House on Prospect Street two centuries ago.

George S. Lawler, our present Master, was installed on October 20, 1959. During his mastership, Philanthropic Lodge has reached a great landmark in its history, its 200th anniversary. Only two other Masonic Lodges in Massachusetts have attained this age. The event was celebrated in a series of distinguished commemorative exercises, and the complete program of the 200th anniversary-celebration is given as an appendix in the booklet.

Worshipful Brother Lawler is proving a worthy successor to the fifty-seven Masters who have preceded him in the Oriental Chair of old Philanthropic Lodge.

We have come to the end of our story. Two centuries of Masonic history have unrolled before us. Surely the chronicle has shown us that we are Brethren of a Lodge whose glorious record in both peace and war is unsurpassed in Masonic annals.

Venerable Philanthropic is a Lodge to be proud of — nay more, a Lodge to love and cherish! If the reading of this history has strengthened your affection for this grand old Institution, as the writing of it has done for your historian, then indeed is my labor well repaid.

May the future of Philanthropic be as glorious as her past!

And in the Temple of Freemasonry throughout the ages, "Sometimes the work goes on in deep darkness, sometimes in blinding light; now under the burden of unutterable anguish — now to the tune of great laughter and heroic shoutings like the cry of thunder. Sometimes, in the silence of the night-time, one may hear the tiny hammerings of the Comrades at work up in the dome — the Comrades that have climbed ahead!"



1803: District 2 (Newburyport and North Shore)

1835: District 2

1849: District 2

1867: District 5 (Salem)

1883: District 8 (Salem)

1911: District 8 (Lynn)

1927: District 8 (Lynn)

2003: District 9


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