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Location: Middleboro; Wareham (1828)

Chartered By: John Dixwell

Charter Date: 03/12/1823 III-437

Precedence Date: 03/12/1823

Current Status: Active


  • Note: Another lodge, Agawam, received a dispensation to meet, but this was returned when Social Harmony's charter was restored.


  • Isaac Kimball, 1823, 1824
  • Isaac Steven, 1825-1827
  • Jabez Williams, 1828
  • Eliphalet W. Harvey, 1829-1834
  • DARK 1834-1855
  • Henry Boyd, 1856-1860
  • William H. Borden, 1861, 1862
  • James G. Sproat, 1863-1865
  • Nicholas James Sherman, 1866-1868
  • Edward A. Gammons, 1869, 1870
  • George F. Wing, 1871-1873
  • John M. Besse, 1874, 1875
  • Joseph Jessup, 1876-1879
  • John Huxtable, 1880, 1881, 1890, 1891, 1896, 1897; Memorial
  • Frank W. Kingman, 1882, 1883
  • Gifford H.G. McGrew, 1884, 1885; SN
  • George H. Griffen, 1886
  • George W. Warr, 1887
  • George H. Earl, 1888, 1889
  • Robert T. Delano, 1892-1894
  • Benjamin Waters, 1895
  • Lysander Gibbs, 1898
  • Joseph Jessup, 1899
  • Charles S. Hathaway, 1900, 1901
  • William T. Kirkby, 1902, 1903
  • Louis C. LeBaron, 1904, 1905
  • Fred H. Jessup, 1906, 1907
  • Ezra R. Bumpus, 1908, 1909
  • John C. Makepeace, 1910, 1911; N
  • William G. Woodruff, 1912, 1913
  • Charles A. Anderson, 1914, 1915
  • Benjamin P. Waters, 1916, 1917
  • H. Fred Proctor, 1918
  • Edward L. Bartholomew, 1919
  • Ruel S. Gibbs, 1920
  • Henry D. Freeman, 1921; SN
  • Coleman H. Gould, 1922
  • Frank M. Robbins, 1923
  • Alonzo T. Stringer, 1924
  • Homer L. Gibbs, 1925
  • LeRoy L. Eldredge, 1926; SN
  • Charles L. Francis, 1927
  • William E. C. Perry, 1928
  • Ralph T. Stringer, 1929
  • Milton R. Thompson, 1930
  • George L. Brigham, 1931
  • Joseph F. Hanley, 1932
  • Francis P. Reed, 1933
  • Sayward H. Gilbert, 1934
  • Elmer W. Maxim, 1935
  • Charles S. Gurney, Jr., 1936
  • Edwin L. Morse, 1937; N
  • Otto E. Kumpunen, 1938
  • Lester W. Fisher, 1939
  • Harold L. Eldridge, 1940, 1941
  • Thomas E. Ferris, 1942
  • C. Hammett Cowell, 1943, 1944
  • Benjamin O. Perry, 1945
  • James N. Allaire, 1946
  • Otto A.S. MacKinnon, 1947; N
  • Ellsworth R. Doll, 1948
  • Walter I. Lyle, 1949
  • Eugene K. Baker, 1950
  • Clifford R. Wallace, 1951
  • Robert B. Macomber, 1952
  • Leslie P. Cross, 1953
  • Robert L. Sanford, 1954
  • James S. Salfas, 1955
  • Fred W. Braun, 1956
  • Kenneth J. Bruce, 1957; SN
  • Elmer P. Tribou, 1958
  • Charles W. Huff, 1959
  • Leon Davidson, 1960; N
  • Newton I. B. Crocker, 1961
  • Channing W. Howard, 1962
  • Ronald J. Wood, 1963
  • Dana C. Keyes, Sr., 1964
  • Winston H. Cushman, 1965
  • Edwin A. Trench, 1966
  • Robert W. Weller, 1967
  • Phillip M. Strawn, 1968
  • Arthur H. Hillier, 1969
  • Richard DeBoer, Jr., 1970
  • Cedric O. Mader, 1971
  • John P. Reese, 1972, 1973
  • George J. Shaw, 1974
  • Gardner S. McWilliams, 1975; N
  • Leon J. Johnston, Jr., 1976, 1979
  • Raymond L. Pattee, 1977, 1978
  • Cedric O. Mader, 1980
  • Peter G. Richter, 1981; Biography; N
  • Curtis M. Connor, 1982, 1993
  • Richard J. Resendes, 1983
  • Stephen E. Reams, 1984
  • Robert B. Mitchell, 1985
  • Phillip B. Marcosa, 1986
  • Gerald W. Fihlman, 1987
  • William E. Fihlman, 1988
  • Donald O. Hartson, 1989, 2011; PDDGM
  • Harold J. Gerard, Jr., 1990; PDDGM
  • David L. Maxim, Sr., 1991; PDDGM
  • William W. Elliot, 1992
  • Richard F. Murphy, 1994
  • Wally C. Therrien, 1995, 1996; DDGM
  • Richard B. Pierce, 1997, 2000
  • Keith L. Amorin, 1998
  • Christian W. Butler, 1999
  • Mark R. Lindsay, 2001, 2002, 2005
  • John T. Lobo, 2003, 2004
  • William C. Munson, 2006
  • Michael A. Resendes, 2007, 2008
  • Mark E. Hartshorn, 2009, 2010
  • Samuel S. Hartson, 2012


  • Petition for Charter: 1823
  • Petition for Restoration of Charter: 1858


  • 1923 (Centenary)
  • 1948 (125th Anniversary)
  • 1998 (175th Anniversary)



1858 1870 1873 1875 1908 1916 1921 1922 1925 1931 1949 1955 1965 1976 1981 1997 2000 2001 2004 2007


  • 1948 (125th Anniversary History, 1948-33; see below)
  • 1964 (Notes on early history, in centenary history of May Flower Lodge, 1964-95; see below)
  • 1973 (150th Anniversary History, 1973-73; see below)


From Proceedings, Page 1948-33:

By Right Worshipful John C. Makepeace.

On March 12, 1823, one hundred twenty-five years ago this day, the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts did constitute Isaac Kimball, Calvin Murdock, Alanson Witherell, Jabez Williams, John N. Pierce, Jeremiah Keith, Jr., George Sturtevant, Timothy Drew, Avery Forbes, Philip Colby and Job Allen, Jr., a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons under the title and designation of Social Harmony Lodge within the Town of Middleborough to perform the work of the craft; to receive and collect funds for the relief of poor and distressed Brethren and widows or children and in general to transact all matters relating to Masonry which may to them appear to be for the good of the craft, according to the ancient usages and customs of Masons. The charter was signed by John Dixwell, Grand Master, and attested by the Wardens and Secretary. In commemoration of that event we gather tonight, and we do well by ourselves, the Grand Lodge and the Craft, to honor it and observe it with appropriate ceremonies.

Then, in 1828, the Lodge moved to Wareham. The motivating factors and the preliminaries attending this move are somewhat obscure, but some interesting memoranda have come down to us which I will quote in abstract.

The petition to the Grand Lodge was adopted by unanimous vote of the Lodge and sets forth,

  • That said Town of Middleborough contains no village of any considerable size but its population is pretty evenly scattered over its whole territory.
  • That at the time the charter was granted there were a number of active and spirited Masons living here and who flattered themselves too much, as the event has proved, with the prospect of the success of Masonry in this place, and that most of those who have taken the degrees have resided from three to five miles from the place of its meetings.
  • That a large proportion of its members now reside in the Town of Wareham of whom the present Master (Jabez Williams) is one.
  • That the Town of Wareham contains a commercial and manufacturing village which is flourishing and whose population is rapidly increasing and the best interests of the institution would be greatly promoted by removing said Lodge to that place.

The prayer of the petitioners was granted, and in his endorsement of the petition, the Past District Deputy Grand Master added this line: "The Middleborough Lodge has little prospect of increase and I think much of extinction, whereas the translation of the name and duties of this Lodge to Wareham would give it fresh and gradually increasing vigor and effect."

At this time Isaac Colby, who appears to have been a minister in Middleborough and Secretary of the Lodge, asked for dimission from the Lodge and gave as his reasons "that a great excitement has been produced, aided by the press, and other active exertions of anti-Masons is widespread; that the order of society is disturbed and the harmony of churches affected, and ministers of the gospel belonging to the fraternity are involved in perplexing difficulties."

While the Craft was apparently prospering, but because it did not and never had published its entire ritual, there arose a feeling that there must be something sinister in its teachings and practices which should be suppressed, and properly fanned on both sides of the controversy, worked itself into a frenzy to the extent that it affected churches and politics and elections in several eastern states. Thus we had the legendary anti-Masonic era. The agitation may have had something to do with the moving of the Lodge to Wareham.

Nor did affairs move too smoothly in Wareham. In December, 1829, it was voted to settle with the Widow Tobey for the use of her hall and to agree with Thomas Savery for the use of his hall and to move the furniture. I assume that was a notice of quitting — a year after leaving Middleborough. The finesse in this vote will be appreciated only when it is understood that Thomas Savery had no hall and that the furniture and paraphernalia and records were moved to his barn in East Wareham for storage.

The record ceases for a period of twenty-five years. The charter was surrendered, but we may surmise that the members continued to meet informally and to maintain their familiarity with the rites and ceremonies and to perform their Masonic duties as one to another.

In May, 1855, Agawam Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons met in Odd Fellows Hall in Wareham and organized under dispensation granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts issued in January of that year. The officers were listed as John M. Kinney, Henry Boyd, William A. Caswell, C. W. Harris, Thomas Savery, Simeon Perkins, James F. Lincoln and N. W. Shedd. These are mostly names of families well-known in Wareham at that time. The records of Agawam Lodge ceased on June 18, 1856. On the following day, June 19, 1856, a meeting of old members of Social Harmony Lodge was held in Town Hall, Middleborough (note the return to Middleborough, if only for a day). Brother Henry Boyd was admitted a member and was chosen Master. Other Brothers admitted to the meeting as members were William A. Caswell, Nathan W. Shedd, Charles W. Harris, William H. Borden, Samuel T. Sherman, James F. Lincoln, William T. Leach, Lewis D. Perry, Rufus Lincoln II (all members of Agawam Lodge). It was voted to adjourn to meet at Odd Fellows Hall in Wareham on Wednesday, June 26, 1856. The original charter of Social Harmony Lodge was presented and the Lodge resumed its career which has been uninterrupted to this date.

The intervening ninety-two years seem to me to be quite routine. The most notable recorded event is the observance of its centennial in 1923 under the guidance of Brother Frank M. Robbins as Worshipful Master. On March 12th, the 100th anniversary of the charter, we were favored with a visit by the Most Worshipful Dudley H. Ferrell, our beloved Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, accompanied by Right Worshipful Brother Frank H. Hilton, Grand Marshal. The Grand Master delivered an inspiring address which was enthusiastically received and appreciated by all. On August 19 and 20, marking the 100th anniversary of the constitution of the Lodge, there was a parade of four hundred Masons led by the Sutton Commandery Band. The parade ended at Warr Theater where the anniversary address was delivered by Worshipful Brother R. Perry Bush of happy memory, and a history of the Lodge prepared and delivered by Worshipful Brother George W. Sutcliff. On the following evening there was a social gathering at Bournehurst, at which it is estimated that there were present four thousand members and guests.

During the anniversary year a successful campaign was conducted for the purchase of a lot for a Masonic Temple. The Temple was not built and the lot was sold and the proceeds invested. The lot is at present occupied by the Wareham post office.

Such in brief is the chronological story of your Lodge during its one hundred twenty-five years.

What of the times through which it passed?

In its early days the Lodge must many times have carried on both in Middleborough and in Wareham with as few as a dozen members, and we cannot but admire their tenacity. (I have frequently remarked that a Lodge in the country should have at least one hundred members to draw from and to function effectively.)

What kind of a town was Wareham in the 1820s? It was an iron manufacturing town and that may be called its principal activity. Glen Charlie and Agawam were operating, Tihonet Rolling Mill was new, as was Washington Furnace (later known as Tremont); Parker Mills and the mill at the Poles (South Wareham) were busy. Franconia came later. Even previous to this, seventy-five years previous if you will, bog ore was mined, smelted with good charcoal from our forests and sea shells for flux, from which a very creditable product was made. Every little stream had its water wheel (Mosquito Dam had two, Rose Brook and all the rest), to run the blast to heat the iron for hand-hammered nails, such as may now be found bright and tough after 150 years in our oldest buildings.

Products from the iron mills (mostly nails) had to be transported to market and, there being no railroad, this gave rise to a considerable commerce carried on in sailing vessels. There was not only no railroad; there was no bridge at the Narrows. The Tremont dock, the Ellis and Tobey dock, the Agawam dock, the Parker Mills dock, the Franconia dock were busy unloading ore and coal, grain and lumber and departing loaded with products of our mills and forests. An old resident has told me of seeing schooners so thick that it was possible to walk across their decks from one shore of the river to the other while they were waiting for favorable sailing weather.

Water power was all important. The owner of the town grist mill was an important personage and his prerogatives were so highly regarded that in his lease in 1827 to I. & J. Pratt, Benjamin Fearing stipulated that no grist was to be ground there by the lessees. Where there is grist, there must be corn and rye to grind, so we had a farming population with oxen and sheep and other elements of self-sufficiency.

Our forests were good and the sound of the woodman's ax rang out in the preparation of timber and charcoal and household fuel. (Those of you who travel the woods north of Tihonet and Agawam and into the Miles Standish Forest know the frequency with which you come upon the site of wood choppers' cabins and charcoal pits.)

Life was rugged, frequently solitary and travel not easy. When the members of our Lodge gathered with their fellows around the hearth and later the air-tight stove, we may rest assured that there was genuine fraternity and fellowship; Lodge night was an experience to be looked forward to and en-Joyed, and enjoyment must last a long time.

In my own early association with my elder Brothers, I learned much of Masonry in a recital over the dying embers of a wood fire and cherish the memory. Where did the Lodge meet? It first met in Academy Hall in Middleborough. At its first meeting in Wareham the Lodge voted to pay Widow T. Tobey the sum of $30. for use of her hall for the term of one year, she to furnish fire when wanted and one light. This location was what is now called The Tavern at South Wareham.

Agawam Lodge met in Odd Fellows Hall in Wareham, as did Social Harmony Lodge when it resumed activities under its charter in 1856. I assume this location to have been the I. & J. Pratt Store, an imposing building on the site of what is now known as the old town office at Parker Mills. The building had in its day housed a company store, the town high school and the lodge rooms. The building burned flat in October 1889.

Temporary Lodge quarters were established in the rooms of Wareham Social Club. The present (perhaps I should say former) Odd Fellows Hall was built in 1894 and there Social Harmony Lodge established itself and it was there that I was initiated. At its February meeting, 1909, the Lodge met in its present quarters, which it has occupied continuously since that time.

There is one piece of your furniture which I admire and is worthy of note. I refer to the historic oil painting hanging over the chair of the Junior Warden. It is dimmed with grime and age. I haven't been able to find on it all of the symbols of the three degrees, but most of them are there and I find more every time I examine it. I would like to know the name of the competent artist. Legend has it that it went under ground during the anti-Masonic excitement and that the tear in the lower right corner was made by the inadvertent stroke of a pitch fork when it rested in a hay mow. It is an interesting and valuable relic and I hope it may be always with you.

The impact of war on Masonry is worthy of note. There seems to be much greater interest and activity just previous to or during or immediately following an active war. To me this signifies the inner craving for companionship, fraternity, sympathy and support of his fellowmen in times of great stress and danger. After persistent but not noteworthy existence during the 1850s and early 1860s, the Lodge must have been startled to receive a class of fourteen in a couple of meetings.

World War I and World War II each brought its notable influx greater than that of the 1860s. The list of Lodge members who served in World War II is as follows:

  • Clyde Francis Akins, Jr., Navy
  • Harrison Ellis Bailey, Army
  • Sherod Leroy Bourne, Navy
  • Ernest Philip Butler, Army
  • Ellsworth R. Doll, Navy
  • Horace E. Dunkle, Jr., Army
  • Howard Raymond Eldridge, Army
  • Carleton Duroy Hudson, Navy
  • Lorenzo Charles Judge, Army
  • Preston S. Lincoln, Navy
  • Donald J. Macomber, Army
  • Joseph Leonard Macomber, Navy
  • Robert Bradford Macomber, Navy
  • Channing H. Morse, Army
  • Edwin Lewis Morse, Navy
  • Earl Leslie Parker, Navy
  • Lawrence Laken Richardson, Navy

Reading our records objectively over the lapse of time is interesting, instructive, amusing and time consuming. There are lapses. Occasionally a man crops up as a member, but the records seem not to disclose how he got there. Membership has been what I call a selective cross section of the older town. Beginning with the 1850s, we find family names which are familiar, and the familiarity increases as we approach the present time. Spittoons were introduced, presumably used, and finally removed.

I must mention a few names of Brothers whose activities seem to me to have contributed substantially to our history. I like to feel that their names will be continued. When the Lodge celebrates future anniversaries, perhaps someone else Will pick up where I am leaving off.

  • Henry Boyd was instrumental in the restoration of the charter and was Master for four years when the Lodge resumed its meetings in Wareham.
  • William A. Caswell was Treasurer from 1857 until his death in 1890.
  • Edward A. Gammons, just back from war in 1864, was immediately given important work. He rose through regular stages to the office of Master and thereafter did yeoman service in the arduous, persistent and somewhat thankless job of Secretary for more than thirty years. His hand writing appears on the records for more than forty years, and the changes that took place in the writing during that time are interesting and notable. The records were written and read before the close of every meeting.
  • John M. Besse, Master in 1874 and 1875, was a long time member. I think he must have been janitor in the old Pratt building because of the regularity of refreshment bills presented. In my early days he was in the sidelines, regular in attendance, a good mentor, ever alert for a misplaced word or mispronounced syllable.
  • John Huxtable, thrice Master, and District Deputy Grand Master, was letter perfect in the ritual. He was always ready to prompt and to help, his charge was impressive, and he installed more officers here and hereabouts than any I know of.
  • Robert T. Delano and Charles Sumner Hathaway were always patient and helpful.
  • Fred H. Jessup gave me my first steps.
  • Louis C. LeBaron, our present senior member, was Worshipful Master when I joined.

At one time the Lodge had five brothers who were members. It seems to me that this is worthy of note. They were in the order of joining — Walton Crocker, Samuel Crocker, Harvey Crocker, Zenas Crocker and George Crocker. Zenas was a seafaring man and became a member by affiliation. The others were raised here.

By-laws, according to the record, have frequently been the source of annoyance — they were adopted, approved, amended, repealed, printed, called back, all in meetings quite close together and all in an effort to be accurate and keep up-to-date — a good sign.

The subject of refreshments occupies much space and apparently fluctuates with the state of the treasury. I entered upon a diet of crackers and cheese and that was mandate. In an effort to stimulate interest, once while occupying the chair in the South I brought a half dozen loaves of hot, thick, shiny gingerbread, served with strong coffee and thick cream. It was relished and disposed of, but I was sternly reminded that it was not according to the book.

It appears embellished upon the imperishable records of this institution that following a public installation there was presented to the Lodge, overflow or surplus of the cash as it were, the munificent sum of eighty cents — by the Narrator of this evening duly named.

On this March 12, 1948, for the observance of our 125th Anniversary, we had a reception for guests at the lodge-room in the afternoon and adjourned to the Town Hall for supper, speeches and entertainment, with 170 members and guests.

As the commentators say, that's the story of our first one hundred twenty-five years. A historian should not be a prophet, but I can do little about what has gone before. Those of us who are here today can do much about the future. Times change and habits change with them, but the lessons of Speculative Masonry, the cardinal virtues of Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice remain imperishable; the simple tenets of your profession, brotherly love, relief, truth, are everlasting. The need for their practice in human relations is enduring. Their cultivation and practice is e-njoined upon you. There can be no lessening of these teachings.

To you youngsters — we pass the torch. Carry it. Don't let it flicker. Keep its flame bright as a beacon. Hold it proudly and high. You need strength and character and loyalty. Select and practice strength and character and loyalty. Be able and ready to give as well as to receive succor.


From Proceedings, Page 1964-95:

"A number of the brethren of the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons, after having had several meetings in Middle-borough, resolved to petition the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts to grant them a Charter of Constitution, whereby they would be empowered to assemble as a legal Lodge and to discharge the duties of Masonry in a regular and constitutional manner according to the forms of the order." "The brethren did, then and there, so petition and the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge favored their prayer by granting unto them a Charter in the words following: (Videlicet — here was inserted a copy of the Charter)."

Gamaliel Rounseville, the first Secretary, was a well known citizen of the town. He held many positions of trust in town and for over fifty years operated a store in Muttock Village at the corner of Plymouth and Nemasket Streets. Rev. Isaac Kimball was the first Master for the years 1823-1824. He was followed by Attorney Isaac Stevens, who was Master for three years, 1825-1827. Brother Stevens was born in the Town of Wareham in 1792, passed the Bar in 1818 and practiced law here in Middleborough for several years before moving to Athol. He built the house on South Main Street, once known as the Jackson house, where Paul Sullivan now lives. He served in the militia as an Infantry Captain and as a Trustee of Peirce Academy.

As Wor. Bro. Stevens practiced law with my great-great-grandfather, Judge Thomas Weston, for a brief period, I have come into possession of one of his Day Books. Of considerable interest to the Masons of Middleboro at this time is the entry found on the last two pages of this book under date of July 10, 1823. Headed "Isaac Stevens in account with Social H. Lodge" there follows a list of some forty Masons of Middleboro and elsewhere. Among the names are those of Most Worshipful John Dixwell, Grand Master, and Reverend Brother Benjamin Putnam of Randolph, who gave the Discourse at the Installation of the Lodge on August 19, 1823. This is truly a valuable document for our archives.

Among the early members of Social Harmony Lodge in Middleboro were Branch Harlow, High Sheriff of Plymouth County, and, I am told, a collateral ancestor of our present High Sheriff, Worshipful Brother Adnah H. Harlow of our Lodge, also Earl Sproat, who owned the home which Judge Peter Oliver built for his son, Dr. Peter Oliver, Abraham Bryant, an iron worker and last survivor of the Lodge in Middleboro, as well as Cephas Thompson, famous portrait painter, who lived on River Street and painted the first Chief Justice, John Marshall, Parke Curtis, Jefferson, and other celebrities.

In 1824, Thompson painted a beautiful scene on canvas showing Masonic emblems to be used in degree work, which the Lodge purchased. During the anti-Masonic period this canvas, together with a leather-covered Bible (which may be the one referred to in the Stevens Day Book as costing $2.00), six sashes, a plumb, square and twenty-four-inch gage, were hidden in an old trunk in Brother Thomas Savery's salt hay mow. After this period of unrest Brother Savery brought them to light and the large Thompson painting, carefully restored and framed, now hangs upon the wall of Social Harmony Lodge in Wareham.

With these words does Brother Gamaliel Rounseville, the first Secretary of Social Harmony Lodge, record the beginning of organized Freemasonry in the Town of Middleborough. The Charter is dated at Boston, March 12, 1823, and is signed by John Dixwell, Grand Master, and by Thomas Power, Grand Secretary. The Charter members were Isaac Kimball, Calvin Murdock, Alanson Witherell, Jabez Williams, John N. Peirce, Jeremiah Keith, Jr., George Sturtevant, Timothy Drew, Avery Fobes, Philip Bolby and Job Alden, Jr.

Of the local Charter members, I presume that Isaac Kimball was the Reverend Isaac Kimball who served as Pastor of the Third Calvinistic Baptist Church from 1822-1824. He is also recorded as the fourth Principal of Peirce Academy in Middleboro. Calvin Murdock was a son of Lieutenant John Murdock and manufactured bricks at Purchade. He died on October 8, 1857, aged 72 years. Jabez Williams, later Worshipful Master, appears to have resided in Boston in early years, for in the records of March 21, 1826 he is appointed Proxy to Grand Lodge with this entry, "who now resides in Boston." George Sturtevant, a doctor, was the youngest son of Dr. Thomas Sturtevant's eleven children. He lived in the old family homestead on Plymouth Street at the Green and died on February 3, 18S2. He was affectionately called "Doctor George" by his large practice here and in neighboring towns. Concerning Timothy Drew, Middleboro's vital statistics refer to the death of Captain Timothy Drew on November 20, 1828.

Philip Colby was Pastor of the Congregational Church in North Middleboro from 1816-1851, a period of thirty-five years. The Lodge records show that Bro. Colby was the first to ask for a demit, which was granted on August 11, 1829. The record also shows the brethren's affection for Bro. Colby at that time, and indicates that because of his position in the community he felt it necessary to withdraw membership, as the anti-Masonic feeling was in full bloom at the moment.

On March 25, 1823 the brethren assembled in Peirce Academy Hall. Many of our members tonight remember this hall as standing where the Post Office is now located. It was built in 1808 by Major Levi Peirce. At this meeting the Lodge was organized with Isaac Kimball as Worshipful Master, Senior Warden Jabez Williams, Junior Warden Alanson Witherell. Three brethren from King David Lodge, Taunton; James W. Crossman, Samuel Caswell, Jr., and John A. Sturtevant, attended to help in setting the Lodge at work. That night the names of Daniel Thomas and Hercules Thomas were proposed for membership. The By-Laws were suspended and these two brethren had the honor of being the first candidates to be made members of the Craft in the Town of Middleborough.

It was largely of the strife resulting from the feeling against Masonry that the work in this Lodge ceased after 1829, to be resumed in Wareham in 1856 when the Social Harmony Charter was returned to the Brethren of that town. There is no record of the surrender of the Charter. All that is known with certainty is that Brother Jonathan Ames of West Bridgewater was empowered to obtain the Charter, which he did, and conveyed it to Grand Lodge in Boston.

The records had been concealed in the eaves of the house at 41 North Street near the north end of Pearl Street, Middleboro, where Reverend William D. Turkington now lives. Fortunately, these valuable records were found many years ago by Worshipful Brother Warren H. Southworth, a carpenter and Past Master of May Flower Lodge, while he was making repairs on the old house.

It is of considerable interest that during the years 1823 through 1829, when Social Harmony had its home in Middleboro, a total of eighty-three meetings were held and during the seven-year period fifty-two men received their Masonic degrees.


From Proceedings, Page 1973-73:

By Worshipful Winston H. Cushman.

(A history of Social Harmony Lodge for the earlier period by Right Worshipful John C. Makepeace may be found in the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge for 1948 — pages 33-41, inclusive.)

Since the beginning of time, Man has searched for a way of life, founded on Brotherly Love, Divine Guidance, Knowledge and Truth. During the Middle Ages, such a way of life emerged as Freemasonry was born, and during the ensuing centuries, men have sought the enlightenment, through the fellowship of others of mutual feeling and desire.

Thus it was in 1823 that a group of Masons in Middleborough resolved to petition the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and subsequently, on March 12, 1823, the charter of Social Harmony Lodge was signed by the Grand Master and other Grand Officers, and the Lodge came into being with 11 charter members.

Social Harmony Lodge was constituted on August 19, 1823, during which the first public display of the Lodge was held as its members, and a contingent from Grand Lodge marched from the Academy Hall, where meetings were being held in Middleborough, to the Town House, where the constitution ceremony took place, and then back to the Lodge Hall.

The Lodge, according to all available records, appeared to enjoy a steady and healthy growth until 1828. At this time, a wave of anti-Masonic feeling, which had been increasing for some years, was prevalent throughout the United States, and especially in New England.

Attendance at Lodge meetings began to wane, and many members left the Order. However, a lively interest in Masonry was maintained by some faithful members in Middleboro, and in Wareham. "There were some so bold as to petition the Grand Lodge for a charter for a new Lodge, at a meeting in August of 1828" the records show. This was not deemed expedient, however, but on September 6, 1828, as a result of a mutual favorable opinion, the Most Wor
shipful Grand Lodge was petitioned for approval of moving
 Social Harmony Lodge to Wareham.

Although the approval was not immediately forthcoming, this "memorial" was subsequently favored by Grand Lodge and the move made. Records show that the next meeting of Social Harmony Lodge was held in Widow T. Tobey's Hall in South Wareham, in January of 1829. At the next regular meeting recorded, on September 8, 1829, was performed the last degree work until re-organization of the Lodge 27 years later in 1856. Apparently at this time, the decision was made to suspend active operation, and on December 2, 1829, it was voted to move Social Harmony Lodge to Thomas
 Savery's in Agawam (East Wareham).

All that is known of the Lodge during the period from December 2, 1829, to 1855, is that a Bro. Jonathan Ames of West Bridgewater, later appointed a District Deputy Grand Master, in 1833 was empowered to receive the charter and records of Social Harmony Lodge; "and did, after putting up his horse and carriage, cross the Narrows by ferry, wend his way on foot to the house of Thomas Savery, and procure the desired articles, which he afterwards conveyed secretly to Boston".

Strangely, for whatever the reason, it was 1854 before the name of Social Harmony Lodge was dropped from the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge; and in 1856, it re-appears.

In early 1855, a desire was felt by a number of Masons in Wareham, whose interest in Masonry had never flagged, to have a Lodge nearer than in New Bedford where they then had to travel to attend meetings. Grand Lodge was petitioned and granted a dispensation for a new Lodge, and the first meeting of Agawam Lodge was held on May 30, 1855.

The Lodge continued under dispensation until March of 1856.

It was then learned that if enough members of Social Harmony Lodge could be found, the charter of that Lodge would be restored. Enough were found, and a petition presented at the Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge on March 12, 1856, exactly 33 years to the day from the date of the signing of the charter.

The dispensation was renewed until June 11, 1856, when the petition of eight Brothers from Wareham and Middleborough was granted and the charter and records returned. On June 19, 1856, a Master Mason's Lodge was opened, by three of the signers of the petition, in Middleboro, the names of 10 Brethren proposed for membership and admitted, and the meeting adjourned to Odd Fellows Hall in Wareham, on June 26, 1856.

It is recorded that on the restoration of the charter, Bro. Thomas Savery brought forth from under the salt hay in his barn hay mow, an old trunk, six sashes, a wooden square, plumb, 24-inch gauge, and a leather-covered Bible.

From the same hiding place was also taken an oil painting, the work of a Bro. Thompson in Middleborough, picturing most of the emblems of the 3rd Degree. It was believed to have been purchased by Social Harmony Lodge on March 9, 1824. When removed it was considerable damaged, but restoration has brought back most of its original beauty and distinction.

This painting, which now adorns the wall of the Social Harmony Lodge Masonic Temple, has a tear in the lower half of the work. Lodge legend has it that the hole was caused by the thrust of a pitchfork into the salt hay in the mow of Bro. Savery.

We may assume that during the ensuing period, Social Harmony Lodge has enjoyed an uninterrupted period of fellowship and growth, based on Brotherly Love and Affection among its members, and a desire for light among men that can only be acquired by initiation into Masonry and progression through its degrees.

Several other historical events and observances have been experienced during the intervening period, since the Lodge was the recipient of its charter for the second time in 1856 and the present day.

A significant landmark was reached in 1923 when Social Harmony Lodge observed its 100th Anniversary. On March 12 of that year, the date on which the charter was signed 100 years previously, the Grand Master and other Grand Officers visited Social Harmony Lodge, and the importance of the occasion was fittingly observed in speech and ceremony.

On August 19 (date of receiving the Constitution 100 years before), and August 20, 1923, special events and observances held commemorating the anniversary of the Constituting of the Lodge, drew wide public attention, and many Masons to Ware-ham. On the 19th there was a public parade of some 400 Masons, led by the Sutton Commandery Band, through the center of Wareham to the Warr Theatre where anniversary addresses and other events of significance to the Lodge were held.

The following evening, August 20, a Social gathering was held at Bournehurst-on-the-Canal. It was estimated that some 4,000 members of the Fraternity and their guests were present on this memorable occasion.

It was also during the 100th Anniversary year that the first step was taken toward the ultimate erection of a Temple by members of Social Harmony Lodge, with the purchase of a lot of land an Main Street. Although the Temple was not erected on this site, the later sale of the property began the building fund which was to eventually result in the fruition of the goal of our Brethren of that era — the building of a new Temple.

In 1948 special observances were held marking the 125th Anniversary of Social Harmony Lodge. Again Grand Officers were in attendance for a Special Communication, and members of the Lodge and the distinguished guests and other members and visitors recessed to reconvene at the Wareham Memorial Town Hall for the anniversary banquet and special exercises and entertainment provided for the occasion. (1948 Mass. 30-41) The date of this observance again coincided with the original day of signing of the charter, March 12.

Social Harmony Lodge continued to enjoy a steady growth, and also began to direct more and more effort toward the necessary activities that would ultimately result in the building of the new Temple. Monies were diverted to the building fund whenever possible, special projects were held to increase the fund, the members responded to pledge appeals, and a dream grew into a reality, when on September 10, 1965, the gavel was rapped officially for the first time in the magnificent Temple, designed by a Mason, Wor. Stanley F. Alger, Jr., and built by a Mason, Wor. Kendall G. Jones, with the added help of the Lodge members contributing to the labors of building the Temple.

Dedication of the new edifice was held on April 30, 1966, by Most Worshipful Thomas A. Booth, presiding Grand Master, and the Grand Officers, with the officers of Social Harmony Lodge, led by Wor. Edwin A. Trench, the architect, and others participating in the meaningful ceremony. (1966 Mass. 106-108)

In 1967 Social Harmony Lodge joined with our neighboring Lodges, Pythagorean Lodge in Marion, and DeWitt Clinton Lodge in Sandwich, in sponsoring and making possible the formation of Unity Chapter, Order of DeMolay, which meets in the Temple of Social Harmony Lodge. The Temple is also the home of Wareham Royal Arch Chapter; Agawam Chapter, No. 121, Order of the Eastern Star; and Wareham Assembly, No. 56, International Order of the Rainbow for Girls.

From its beginning in 1823, with 11 charter members, Social Harmony Lodge, surviving the period of inactivity from 1829 to 1855, enjoyed a steady growth, and on the occasion of its 100th Anniversary had a membership of 169. Growth continued until the peak year of 1966 when there were 397 members. At the start of the present Masonic year, September 1, 1972, the number was 372.

During the early years, the membership roster was filled with names familiar as belonging to families who helped settle our country. Today, there are still many of those names, but added to them are the names of those who have come to us from faraway places. Among those initiated and affiliated, we find literal representation from all parts of our country and the world — truly demonstrating the Universality of Freemasonry.

Throughout the years, Brethren of Social Harmony Lodge have upheld the dignity and high importance of Masonry. At the 100th Anniversary in 1923, it was reported that the Lodge had had the honor of having appointed from its membership four District Deputy Grand Masters and a Grand Lecturer. Of these, records show the names of Rt. Wor. John Huxtable, and Rt. Wor. John C. Makepeace.

Since 1923 many more distinguished Masons of Social Harmony Lodge have seen their dedicated efforts in the interest of the Fraternity rewarded by appointment or election to Grand Lodge position. Among the foremost is our Lodge Secretary, Rt. Wor. Otto A. S. MacKinnon, who has served as Junior Grand Warden, District Deputy Grand Master, Master of his Lodge, Secretary of his Lodge continuously for 26 years, and has held many other honored positions. He is also the recipient of one of Masonry's highest honors, awarded for distinguished service by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, the Henry Price Medal.

Others include: Rt. Wor. LeRoy L. Eldredge, D. D. G. M.; Rt. Wor. Edwin L. Morse, D. D. G. M.; Wor. Robert B. Macomber, Grand Pursuivant; Rt. Wor. Kenneth J. Bruce, D .D. G. M.; and Rt. Wor. Leon Davidson, D. D. G. M. and Junior Grand Steward.

As many more have served untiringly and unselfishly for Social Harmony Lodge and for Masonry, although not receiving or aspiring to higher honors. Their efforts and those of members of a past era have made possible the successes of the past and present; and to those who will be the workers in the Temple in the future, take due notice and govern yourselves accordingly.

And may the tenets of our profession be transmitted to future generations, and the brethren of this noble Lodge continue to live and work together in Social Harmony.


  • 1823 (Constitution of lodge, III-477)
  • 1828 (Petition to remove to Wareham, IV-138)
  • 1896 (Jurisdictional dispute, 1896-111)



From Masonic Mirror and Mechanics' Intelligencer, Vol. III, No. 3, January 1827, Page 18:’’

Officers of Social Harmony Lodge, Middleborough, Mass., chosen Dec. 12, 5826:

  • Bro. Isaac Steeves, M.
  • Bro. Daniel Thomas, S. W.
  • Bro. Gideon Perkins, Jnr., J. W.
  • Bro. Jeremiah Keith, Treasurer.
  • Bro. Abiel Rounseville, Secretary.
  • Bro. Geo. Sturdifant, S. D.
  • Bro. Eben Vaughan, J. D.
  • Bro. John Clark, S. S.
  • Bro. Earl Sprout, J. S.
  • Bro. Timothy Leonard, Tyler.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XVIII, No. 12, September 1923, Page 369:

The second day of the 100th anniversary of Social Harmony Lodge, A. F. & A. M., was carried out August 20th, at Bournehurst, Wareham. with a large attendance. The Sutton Commandery Band of New Bedford gave a concert in the early evening, which was followed by a drill by the commandery drill squad.

The principal address of the evening was delivered by M. W. Dudley H. Ferrell, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. Special entertainment numbers were presented and refreshments were served. Dancing followed and a moving picture show presented.

The guests of honor included Grand Master Dudley H. Ferrell, Deputy Grand Master Charles B. Burleigh. Senior Grand Warden Frank W. Dobson, Junior Grand Warden John A. Sullivan, Grand Treas. Charles H. Ramsey. Grand Secretary Frederick W. Hamilton and Grand Marshal Frank H. Hilton.

Other invited guests were Gov. Channing Cox, Hon. Charles L. Gifford, James G. Owers. Commander of Sutton Commandery of New Bedford: Frederick L. Putnam, Arthur A. Braman, Charles T. C. Whitcomb, Lewis J. Whitney, Albert G. Brock, Asa L. Pattee, William J. Look, Ulysses F. Mayhew, Stephen C. Luce, Jr., Randolph M. Swain, Arthur B. Hillman, Frederick K. Snow, Carl E. Perry, Sidney W. Lawrence. Viggo V. Peterson, Albert A. Thomas, Howard P. Nash and George R. Holt.

The following committees were active in the arrangements: B. Burleigh Sisson, Thomas N. Crocker, J. Warren Whitcomb, transportation; George W. Sutcliffe, Coleman H. Gould, William H. Thomas, decorating; Lemuel C. Hall, John C. Makepeace, Henry D. Freeman, printing.




1823: District 3

1827: District 13

1835: District 7

1856: District 5

1867: District 14 (New Bedford)

1870: District 15 (Barnstable)

1871: District 14 (New Bedford)

1883: District 27 (Nantucket)

1911: District 31 (Nantucket)

1927: District 31 (Nantucket)

2003: District 16

2011: District 19


Massachusetts Lodges