- 1 STAR LODGE
- 2 REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- 2.1 ANNIVERSARIES
- 2.2 VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 2.3 BY-LAW CHANGES
- 2.4 HISTORY
- 2.5 OTHER
- 2.6 EVENTS
- 2.7 GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- 2.8 DISTRICTS
- 2.9 LINKS
Chartered By: William Parkman
Charter Date: 06/14/1865 VII-13
Precedence Date: 07/04/1864
- Andrew Atwood, 1864-1866
- Daniel W. Houghton, 1867
- Washington H. Amsden, 1868, 1869
- Charles W. Bannon, 1870, 1871
- Erastus Smith, 1872
- Vernon O. Taylor, 1873, 1874
- Harding R. Barber, 1875, 1880
- William H. Heustis, 1876
- Frank Hutchinson, 1877, 1878
- Luther B. Palmer, 1879
- Albert Ellsworth, 1881
- George W. Bishop, 1882, 1883
- George F. Lord, 1884
- Edgar V. Wilson, 1885-1887
- George H. Foye, 1888, 1889; Mem
- Edmund C. Shepardson, 1890, 1891
- Frank L. Tourtelott, 1892, 1893
- John E. French, 1894
- Frank M. Foss, 1895, 1896
- Henrie C. Fay, 1897, 1898; Mem
- George S. Allen, 1899
- Albert Nelson Ellis, 1900, 1901; SN
- Everard B. Hanson, 1902, 1903
- Frank E. Wing, 1904; Mem
- Parke B. Swift, 1905
- W. Scott Ward, 1906, 1907; Mem
- Ernest E. Farr, 1908
- Louis H. Perley, 1909, 1910
- James G. Sisson, 1911, 1912
- Clarence E. Pierce, 1913, 1914; Mem
- Dwight W. Coburn, 1915, 1916
- Ernest C. Thatcher, 1917, 1918
- Percy F. Spancer, 1919
- Arthur S. Bisbee, 1921
- Jared P. McClumpha, 1922
- James H. McIntosh, 1923
- Richard G. Roth, 1924
- Oscar A. Towne, 1925
- Frank E. Weaver, 1926
- James G. Buckman, 1927
- J. Harold MacDonald, 1928
- Carroll S. Balcom, 1929
- John E. Webster, 1930
- Charles E. Brown, 1931
- Wesley E. Coburn, 1932
- Roy E. Peckham, 1933
- Howard A. Bemis, 1934
- Harry J. St. Cyr, 1935
- Fred E. Prario, 1936
- Roy E. Comstock, 1937; N
- Arthur E. Williams, 1938, 1939; N
- Joseph H. Graham, 1939
- Earle W. Foster, 1940
- Donald W. French, 1941
- William J. McKay, 1942
- Alton F. Moulton, 1943
- George V. Lake, 1944
- Ronald C. Pryor, 1945
- Burton W. Coburn, 1946
- William B. Taylor, 1947
- Edward E. Baker, 1948
- D. Bruce Findley, 1949
- Richard B. Wallwork, 1950
- Francis A. Buckley, 1951; N
- Richard T. Smith, 1952
- Daniel E. Shepardson, 1953, 1973, 1980
- Gale P. Abbott, 1954
- Anthony T. Tie, 1955; N
- Percy E. Chace, 1956
- Donald W. Hubbard, 1957
- Roland V. Cole, 1958
- Lawrence B. Glover, 1959
- Anthony Dubar, 1960
- Floyd C. Shaffer, 1961
- Earl E. Barrett, 1962
- Raymond L. Hall, 1963
- R. Blair Bremner, 1964
- Francis Manning, 1965
- Philip F. Harris, 1966
- Donald G. Gray, 1967
- Francis W. Foster, 1968
- LeRoy E. Carley, Jr., 1969
- Thomas W. Nix, 1970
- Bryan E. Ward, 1971, 1977; N
- Oren A. Jones, 1972
- Nelson A. Davidson, 1974, 1976
- David R. Gates, 1975
- Charles I. Montalbano, 1978, 1979; PDDGM
- Charles F. Whitaker, 1981, 1982, 1993-1997
- James J. Rich, Jr., 1983
- Albert H. Whitaker, 1984
- Gordon A. Tallman, 1985, 1986
- Oren A. Jones, 1987, 1988
- Alan G. Myer, 1989, 1990
- Carl W. Tikka, 1991, 1992
REFERENCES IN GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS
- Petition for Dispensation: 1864
- Petition for Charter: 1865
- Consolidation Petition (with Athol Lodge): 1997
VISITS BY GRAND MASTER
- 1865 (Parkman; Constitution of Lodge and installation; hall dedication; Special Communication; see below)
- 1874 (Acting Deputy Grand Master William Parkman; Hall dedication)
- 1883 (Lawrence)
- 1892 (Wells; Hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1910 (Flanders)
- 1914 (M. Johnson; 50th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1917 (L. Abbott)
- 1939 (Perry; 75th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1964 (Osgood; Centenary; Special Communication)
- 1969 (Jaynes; Hall dedication; Special Communication)
- 1983 (Berquist)
- 1990 (Darling; 125th Anniversary; Special Communication)
- 1997 (A. Johnson; Consolidation; Special Communication)
- 1914 (Historical Address, 1914-190) not in Proceedings
- 1939 (75th Anniversary History, 1939-348; see below)
- 1964 (Centenary History, 1964-249)
- 1969 (History of the Masonic Temple in Athol, 1969-283)
75TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, OCTOBER 1939
From Proceedings, Page 1939-348:
Three quarters of a century is an honorable age, well worth commemorating. In that period the population of Athol has quadrupled from 2800 in 1864 to over 11,000 today and its material wealth as expressed in the assessors' figures has grown from $1,014,311 to $9,427,615. Seventy-five years comprises the life of this Lodge but does not include all the Masonic activity here.
Before that birthday of Athol, September 17, 1735, when five pioneer families struggled east over the "Hatfield Road" (then little more than a trail through the forest) and established a settlement here, Masonic Lodges were meeting to the seaboard towns. A Charter had come over the seas from the Grand Master of England and St. John's Grand Lodge had been formed in Boston but 60 years of Athol's life elapsed before anyone here is known to have sought enlightenment at a Masonic altar.
It is likely that some few of the more than 200 soldiers from Athol who served in the Revolution at least knew of the Army Lodges formed during that long struggle but we have no record of any Athol soldier who sought affiliation in them.
As the 18th century drew to a close a season of prosperity was enjoyed throughout the new nation. Industry developed, highways were opened, canals projected, post offices established, and more commodious homes built.
Coincident with this prosperity came the spread of Masonry into the hinterland. The first Lodge to be organized in the western area was Morning Star Lodge in Worcester in 1793. In this Lodge the local Deputy Sheriff, Joseph Pierce, and our Justice of the Peace, who was by virtue of his office one of the "Sessions," the county commissioner of that time, sought admission in 1793. They were speedily followed by the outstanding military citizen, Gen. James Humphrey, his brother John and the local doctor Samuel Rice. In all, eight Athol men were proposed in Morning Star Lodge. All were accepted, three raised, and one, Joseph Pierce, took the fourth step and became a member of the Lodge.
In 1796 Harmony Lodge was opened at Northfield and, being some fifteen miles nearer our town, our Masonically-minded citizens soon sought affiliation there.
In the next five years 13 Athol men were proposed in that Lodge, two of them having started their Masonic career at Worcester. So in all we know of 19 Athol men who had Masonic connections and frequently attended meetings from 19 to 35 miles away over roads improved since the pioneer days but still hardly useable except on horseback. Recognizing the zeal of these far distant Brothers, Harmony Lodge celebrated the Feast of St. John the Baptist at Crosby's tavern in Athol, June 24, 1801. Mt. Zion Lodge, then of Hardwick, and Republican Lodge, of Greenfield, joined in this celebration. The Brethren gathered at Crosby's tavern, 834 Pleasant Street, and preceded by a "band of musick" marched to the meeting house on the upper common where Rev. Bro. Ezekiel L. Bascom, of Gerry (Phillipston), delivered the oration. This paved the way for a Masonic Lodge here.
Morning Star, Mt. Zion, and Republican Lodges assented to the proposal which was favorably considered by Grand Lodge and a Charter issued to Harris Lodge of Athol, September 12, 1802. The Lodge was duly constituted October 13, 1803, 136 years ago last Friday, by Isaiah Thomas, Grand Master. The records of this Lodge were taken to Boston in 1857, deposited in the Grand Lodge and burned when the Masonic Temple was destroyed in 1864, but the Treasurer's book is still extant and still in use as a part of the financial records of the town of Templeton. Hence we have only scant information about this Lodge.
We know that it met at Crosby's tavern (834 Pleasant Street) until 1807 when it moved to Brother Thomas Lord's tavern near the upper common. Late in 1811 it moved to Gould's tavern in Gerry (the large house still standing at the northwest corner of Phillipston common). December 30, 1813 it moved to French's tavern in Templeton where it continued until it disbanded following the Morgan excitement.
Rev. E. L. Bascom was its first Master and the second was Rev. James Thompson, of Barre. In all we know of some 24 Athol men who were members of this Lodge, a majority of these having previously joined either the Worcester or Northfield Lodges.
In 1815 Golden Rule Lodge was chartered, in 1826 Orange Lodge at North Orange, and in 1828 Mt. Ararat Lodge at Petersham. Of the 28 men who constituted Orange Lodge (No. 1) eight were residents of Athol and six of Royalston, and at least one of the Mr. Ararat membership, Olney Scott, resided in our town. All these, Harris, Golden Rule, Orange, and Mt. Ararat Lodges, succumbed to the anti-Masonic whirlwind beginning in 1828.
In fact, this section seems to have been particularly hard hit by that unreasonable antagonism. Morning Star, Mt. Zion, Harmony, Republican, and Pacific Lodges survived, but Harris, Golden Rule, Orange, and Mt. Ararat, all within a radius of ten miles of Athol, disbanded.
The Grand Lodge, although apprehensive that it must eventually disband, continued to function and after a quarter of a century took a new lease of lite, and was in a position to reestablish Masonry in the abandoned areas. The pioneer in this it-establishment in this area was Orange Lodge (No. 2), Chartered September, 1859. Previous to this Caleb A. Cook, of Royalston, and Addison M. Sawyer, John M. King, and Oscar T. Brooks, of Athol, had been raised in Republican Lodge, bringing a sharp protest from Mt. Zion Lodge which claimed this as a part of its jurisdiction.
In the nearly five years that elapsed after Orange Lodge (No. 2) was formed 10 from Athol kneeled at its altar. But transportation facilities were not good between the towns and the Athol Brothers members of Orange Lodge soon began to discuss a new Lodge here. Perhaps the greatest agitator for this was a young pastor of the local Baptist church, Rev. George L. Hunt, who came here from the Barre church on April 1, 1864, and who had been raised to Mr. Zion Lodge less than a year before.
Hardly had Rev. Mr. Hunt become acquainted in his new field when he and 24 other Master Masons petitioned the Grand Lodge for a Dispensation for Star Lodge. On July 4, 1864, Grand Master William Parkman granted this request and our Lodge takes precedence from that day.
I feel that I should give you the names of these the founders of our Lodge:
- Charles H. Adams, Bootmaker and later a merchant
- Hiram B. Adams, Boot manufacturer
- Andrew Atwood, Boot manufacturer
- Samuel Atwood Bemis, Blacksmith and later a merchant
- George W. Black, Tailor
- Oscar T. Brooks, Merchant
- Amos Cheney, Clerk, raised in Harris Lodge
- Ebenezer Cheney, Carriage manufacturer (82 years old)
- Andrew S. Chubb, Woodworker
- Caleb A. Cook, Jeweler
- Orsamus M. Drury, Traveling boot salesman
- Horace Hapgood, Carpenter
- Daniel W. Houghton, Foundryman
- Rev. George L. Hunt, Baptist clergyman
- John M. King, Jobber
- Oliver C. Knox, Photographer
- William M. Leonard, Boot manufacturer
- Enoch T. Lewis, Dealer in grave stones
- Franklin G. Lord, Boot manufacturer
- Addison M. Sawyer, Inventor
- Eri Shepardson, Farmer in Royalston
- Erastus Smith, Bootmaker
- Pitts C. Tyler, Merchant
- Joseph H. Whitney, Farmer in Phillipston
- Daniel F. Ward, Farmer
This was truly a cosmopolitan group symbolical of the tenets of our Craft where men of all stations in life meet on a common level. These men laid foundations that have endured for 75 years, but whatever may have been their vision about building for their children and children's children they actually built for others rather than for their own posterity, for only three of them are represented in the membership of Star Lodge today. I have asked that these three Brothers might be accorded some recognition tonight and I am pleased to find two of them here: Brother Ernest Warren Tyler, grandson of Bro. Caleb A. Cook is not here but Brother George Frank Lord, grandson of Brother Franklin Goddard Lord has come over the hills from Great Barrington to sit again in this Lodge which his grandfather helped to found.
Brother Franklin G. Lord was the last survivor in the Lodge of the entire Charter list, having been a continuous member until his death January 18, 1918. He and Brother Lucien Lord were the sole survivors of the Lodge at our 50th Anniversary and were both decorated with the Henry Price jewel by the Grand Master at that celebration. Brother Oscar T. Brooks lived until February 14, 1920 but he had long since severed his Lodge connections. The other member representing a founder is Brother Carl H. Shepardson, grandson of Brother Eri Shepardson, treasurer of the Lodge 1864-1869 and 1872-1891 nearly a quarter of a century.
The Town of Athol of that long ago day bore little resemblance to the present municipality. There were some woodworking plants, two or three match shops, a small iron foundry, and a cotton mill; but the great industry of the town was bootmaking. Athol ranked with Lynn, Haverhill, and Brockton in the production of men's footwear. Few of the farms cleared in the pioneer days had been abandoned but to supplement the farm income a small boot shop stood near the dwelling where the men and boys bottomed boots in their spare time. No sidewalks bordered the thoroughfares and no street lights guided the traveler by night. About 25 families were served by Mt. Pleasant Water Company, but otherwise each home depended upon a well in the dooryard.
The outcome of the war was still uncertain and a hundred or more Athol men were then in the army. Gold was at a premium and paper money not too plenty.
These were the conditions when the 25 petitioners asked for our Charter.
Alvin Houghton had, 18 years before, acquired the mercantile building on the north side of the turnpike next east of Phillips tavern and had in 1854 developed the second floor of the east end of his building where the horse sheds once stood into a public hall. This hall was engaged by the Masonic Brethren and here the Lodge met while under Dispensation.
But the larger and more influential part of the town was around the common on the hill and a majority of the members were up there, so naturally they desired the Lodge-room there. In 1859 A. V. & A. F. Fletcher had built the front part of the building where Brother Waterman's Highland Hardware now is, and soon after had built the annex in the rear where there was ample room for a Masonic hall; and when it became apparent that Star Lodge might move there, it was prepared for them. On June 26, 1865, the original petitioners met (excluding all who had become members since the Dispensation was granted) and by a vote of 15 yeas, 4 nays, and 6 absent decreed that the Lodge furniture should be removed to the new hall in the upper village.
There the Grand Lodge met on July 20, 1865, constituted the Lodge and dedicated its apartments. In the evening the Brothers and friends assembled in the Unitarian church (now Athol Woman's Club) where the officers of the new Lodge were installed. The address of the evening was by Rev. Mr. St. John, of Worcester.
For six years Star Lodge worked under four Masters in comparative harmony. Eighty or more Brothers were raised, fraternal visits to other Lodges were frequent and well attended, and it seemed that the Lodge might prosper for many years. But local strife and jealousies outweighed fraternal principles. For thirty years following the Civil War, there was constant friction that at times amounted to active hostility between the old business center on the hill and the rapidly growing Depot Village in the valley. There was conflict over the purchase of a lire engine and almost open warfare over the change of name of the post offices. For five years uptown fought unceasingly to retain the title "Athol" before she finally went down to defeat in 1876 when Athol became Athol Center and Athol Depot became Athol. Musicians could not harmonize so two bands struggled for existence. The war veterans could not peaceably meet together, hence the "Village" comrades withdrew from Parker Post and organized H. V. Smith Post. Nor could the Liberal Christians worship together in peace, so a Second Unitarian Church was formed at "the Village." Uptown was not even willing to use the ample banking facilities of Millers River National Bank but secured a charter for Athol National Bank where it could keep its funds at home.
With this short summary of those troublesome years I hardly think I need to elaborate on the internal troubles of Star Lodge. As its membership was about equally divided between "uptowners" and "downtowners" when Erastus Smith, an "uptowner," was installed Master November 27, 1871, and with him eight partisans of the old center and only three champions of the cause of the Village, it is small wonder that not a single man was initiated, passed, and raised until the break came. Neither side proposed to let the other strengthen its voting strength.
At length, on March 25, 1872, Brother Eri Shepardson, of Royalston (seemingly on neutral ground), proposed that Star Lodge remove to Houghton's hall where Union Royal Arch Chapter had met since it was organized in 1866. The Master called a special meeting for May 6, 1872, to act on this removal, of which meeting every member had a special notice. Rt. Wor. Edward J. Sawyer, of Gardner, D. D. G. M. was present to control any un-Masonic action. The vote for removal was 28 to 21 voting to remain uptown. The Master forthwith appealed to the Grand Lodge but later withdrew his appeal.
A Committee of 12 Brothers, six from each side of the controversy, considered the matter and on August 19, 1872, recommended that Star Lodge should be divided, whereupon a petition for a new Lodge was drafted and signed by the Master of Star Lodge and forty-nine of the Brethren, and Star Lodge promptly gave the petition its approbation. A Dispensation was speedily granted and Erastus Smith named as Master. Thus Brother Smith was Master of two Lodges at one time and remained in this dual capacity several months although I do not understand that he actually sat in Star Lodge after the removal.
On September 23, 1872, the Lodge met for the first time since receiving its Charter in Houghton's Hall.
A division of the furniture, paraphernalia, and other assets of the Lodge was effected by a committee of four, two from each Lodge, and no word has ever been uttered to my knowledge in criticism of this division. Likewise Star Lodge purchased by a similar arrangement a half interest in the furniture of Union Chapter in Houghton's Hall.
The "Village" folk rallied to the support of the Lodge when it returned to their midst and in the next two years 34 applications were accepted. Prosperity engendered pride and within a year the Lodge and Chapter were seeking more sumptuous quarters.
Brother Lucien Lord made a proposition to erect a new business block and provide Masonic quarters in its third story at an annual rental of ?300. As a Commandery was being projected this made the rent $100. each for the three bodies.
The new quarters were dedicated in the afternoon of January 23, 1874, and Athol Commandery constituted in Starr Hall on the evening of the same day.
For almost sixteen years the Lodge, Chapter, and Commandery occupied these spacious quarters in the outstanding business block of the town. Some of these years were comparatively peaceful and prosperous and some were decidedly hectic. The Master, Vernon O. Taylor, resigned his position on June I, 1874, he having suddenly removed from town, and his position was assumed by the Senior Warden, Harding R. Barber, who at the next annual meeting was elected Master.
A financial panic gripped the land and Star Lodge did not escape its effects. The treasury was empty and bills unpaid, although a substantial reduction was made in the rent. Officers were discouraged and shunned the Lodge meetings. The Master elected in November, 1878, did not sit in the East after May 12, 1878, and the Senior Warden was seriously hampered by financial difficulties.
At the annual November 3, 1879 meeting there was a general reorganization. Harding R. Barber (Master 1874-1875) was drafted to preside over the Lodge another year and with him a corps of young men as officers, including George W. Bishop as Junior Warden. Many in arrears were induced to pay their dues and the persistent delinquents were suspended.
The Grand Lodge tax, levied before Star Lodge existed, to build the Masonic Temple in Boston, was a vexatious problem. Finally on Oct. 10, 1882, M. W. Samuel Crocker Lawrence came here and effected an adjustment whereby the money was borrowed and an assessment of a dollar a year for fifteen years levied on the membership.
The twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Lodge was recognized by a public meeting at the skating rink at the corner of Exchange and South Streets. Brother E. V. Wilson delivered the address. The Masonic quarters were remodelled and renovated in 1888 following the purchase of the property by Mr. Elisha Webb and a new lease executed.
On Sunday, December 21, 1890, Masonic Hall was burned and Star Lodge lost practically all its equipment.
The January regular meeting was held in the apartments of Athol Lodge uptown and the February meeting in Tyler's Hall, South Street. Brother Charles F. Richardson proposed to the Brothers that he would build a block on his mother's orchard spot on Main Street, and provide adequate Masonic quarters in that building. A bargain was made with this Brother and the block was built. Star Lodge met there for the first time April 26, 1892, and the Apartments were dedicated by the Grand Lodge May 5, 1892. Although the cost to the Lodge of equipping and dedicating this hall exceeded a thousand dollars yet the Lodge was not impoverished and had cash assets of nearly a thousand dollars alter the bills were paid.
The twenty-two years during which Star Lodge, together with Chapter, Commandery, and Eastern Star occupied the upper rooms in Richardson Block were years of prosperity and progress. It numbered one hundred and fifty Brothers when it left Tyler's Hall and had over three hundred names on its list when it went into the Starrett Block. Its net assets had also more than doubled, but at length the membership became dissatisfied with their situation and murmured suggestions for a change were heard.
L. S. Starrett had acquired the old Nathaniel Richardson homestead, and proposing to build a block there was looking for tenants. A committee of the Lodge after long conferences, was able to submit a proposition which Chapter, Commandery, and Eastern Star as well as Star Lodge approved. Athol Lodge, forgetting that it was intended to be an uptown institution, accepted an invitation to become a tenant and on April 27, 1914 Star Lodge met for the first time in the Starrett Block, where some $8000. had been expended by the various bodies in equipping the new Apartments.
The outstanding event of our whole history was June 29, 1914, when the fiftieth anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated, and the Apartments in Starrett Hall dedicated. On Sunday, June 28, escorted by Athol Commandery, the Lodge marched to the First Baptist Church where an anniversary sermon was preached by Rev. F. W. Merrick, of Springfield, one of the Grand Chaplains of Massachusetts.
On Mondav, June 29, the Grand Lodge convened here and dedicated the new Apartments. The Grand Master of Connecticut was one of the many guests present. Clarence C. Pierce was our Master at the time and I think he counted the occasion the great event of his long Masonic career. There was a historical address by Brother Frank E. Wing and an unsolicited and lengthy poem by Brother Wilson.
Two Charter members of the Lodge, Brothers Franklin G. Lord and Lucien Lord were present and appropriately honored. Fully 300 Brothers participated in those exercises, which continued from 3 p. m. to after 12.
For ten years after the Apartments in Starrett Block were dedicated Star Lodge prospered in many ways. The meetings were well attended, applications were numerous and acceptable, and the financial condition of the Lodge improved. The membership touched an all time high of 450 in 1926.
The experience of Star Lodge during the past fifteen years has been no different from that of most fraternities. Attendance has decreased, applications have been far fewer, and membership rolls have shrunk nearly or quite a third. Star Lodge has recently attempted to stem this tide by departing from the ancient precepts of fraternity and establishing a semi-social club in its Apartments. What the effect of this will be remains to be seen.
Fifty-four Brothers have been elected to preside in the East during these seventy-five years, one was recalled after five years, twenty served two continuous terms, and one, Brother Wilson, three years in succession. Seven have attained the title of Right Worshipful, and one, Brother Bishop, became a permanent voting member of the Grand Lodge.
CENTENARY HISTORY, OCTOBER 1964
From Proceedings, Page 1964-239:
By Worshipful Francis A. Buckley.
The history of a nation does not begin with the day of its actual establishment; neither does that of a Lodge commence with the date of its charter. The events which lead up to the installation of a government or society are of vital importance, and are often as fully interesting as any subsequent happenings. The history of Star Lodge began many years prior to the fourth of July 1864. It is not my purpose to go into the history of Free Masonry. No one knows when or how Masonry began to be. It was ancient when the first Grand Lodge was formed in England in 1717. It is not how old we are but what we are that counts, and the antiquity of Masonry is impressive chiefly in that it shows that the principles of the institution and the character of the men who have maintained it are such as to make it stand the test of time and survive the onslaughts of ignorance, to be amiable in the esteem of its members and respectable in the opinion of mankind.
It is indeed possible that Star Lodge might have been formed and have become what it is today even if it had not back of it the lives of men who were Masons here when the town and nation were young; but the zeal and fidelity of these early Brethren who brought the spark of Masonry to this little hamlet in the wilderness and nourished it into vigorous flame with attendance at Lodge Communications was a matter of much time, great hardship, and even danger, and of those later Brethren who kept alive the hidden embers in the dark score years following 1826, during the anti-Masonic time. These constitute a heritage from the past which should never be permitted to be lost in oblivion, but should be cherished as a source of inspiration to the fraternity in the years to come. About 1837 the anti-Masonic fanaticism began to subside, but it was not until many years later in 1864 that the petition for the charter of Star Lodge was signed by twenty-five Brethren. We do not know why the name Star was chosen for the new Lodge. A dispensation was granted July 4, 1864.
During the first year, under dispensation, fifteen Masons were raised. At the end of the year of probation a charter was granted to Star Lodge, bearing the date of precedence, July 4, 1864.
Meetings were held in Houghton's Hall during the first year. The feeling of jealousy between the "up town" and "down town" people was very strong at this time and naturally was not wholly absent from the Lodge. The "up town" members were in the majority, and on June 26, 186S, the original petitioners for the dispensation met and voted to move the furniture of the Lodge to the new hall in the upper village. The new hall referred to was the one over Samuel Lee's hardware store, now used by The Village Hardware and the Uptown Post Office. The Lodge continued to meet in the hall in the upper village for seven years.
On the 6th of May in 1872 it was voted that Star Lodge be removed from its present location to a hall in Depot Village. Some of the Brethren were upset by this action, and it was voted that Star Lodge be divided, that the Lodge recommend the petition for a new Lodge, and that the property be equally divided between Star Lodge and the petitioners for a new Lodge. Athol Lodge soon received its charter. The two Lodges have lived together in fraternal harmony and mutual helpfulness, and on the 7th day of May 1914 Athol Lodge was removed to the formally hated Depot Village and held its first meeting in these apartments.
Star Lodge remained in Houghton's block only a short time. In June 1873 it voted to lease rooms in a building which Lucien Lord was about to erect. The first meeting in Brother Lord's new 'Masonic Block' was January 23, 1874, when the hall was dedicated to Freemasonry by Most Worshipful William Parkman, Acting Grand Master. The Lodge continued to meet in this hall for sixteen years, the last meeting being held December 1, 1890.
On Sunday December 21, 1890, the block burned and all the furniture and paraphernalia of Star Lodge, Union Chapter and Athol Commandery were lost. The records and charters were in the safe and were not injured. Temporary quarters were obtained in Tyler's Hall opposite the Railroad Station, until the completion of the new block at 503 Main Street, built by Brother C. F. Richardson. On January 6, 1913, a committee reported plans for new apartments in a building to be erected by Mr. L. S. Starrett on Main Street. The plans were approved by the Brethren February 3, 1913. The last meeting in the Richardson Block was held April 20, 1914, and the first meeting in the new apartments was held the 27th of April 1914.
On Monday June 29, 1914 Star Lodge celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary at the dedication of these apartments. Among the many distinguished guests were Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Most Worshipful Edgar H. Parkman, Grand Master of Masons in Connecticut, and Most Worshipful Charles H. Darling, Grand Master of Masons in Vermont.
The dedication ceremonies began at three o'clock with the opening of Star Lodge. At three-thirty o'clock the Grand Officers were received, escorted by many of the Past Masters of Star Lodge. At four o'clock the apartments were dedicated by the Grand Officers in ancient form. A forceful and inspiring address was given by the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson. A bountiful buffet luncheon was served at six o'clock.
Star Lodge reconvened at seven-thirty o'clock for the 50th anniversary celebration. The address of welcome was given by Worshipful Clarence C. Pierce. An original poem was written and read by Worshipful E. V. Wilson, touching on the history of Star Lodge. I recently read the poem; it has one hundred sixty-eight four line verses and tells of Masonry in Athol from the beginning until the 50th anniversary.
On June 4, 1917 Star Lodge was honored by an official visitation by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Leon M. Abbott. In January 1918 heatless Mondays were decreed as a war measure and the Lodge was authorized by Grand Lodge to change its meetings to Saturday night. At the time of the regular meeting in October 1918 an epidemic of influenza was raging in Athol and no public gathering could be held, but by the November meeting the ban was lifted.
Star Lodge reached a high in membership November 5, 1926 with 449 members.
On February 22, 1932 came the 200th anniversary of the birth of Brother George Washington. Star and Athol Lodges united in celebrating this event at The Starrett Memorial Church on Sunday evening February 21, 1932. There were addresses by Right Worshipful Frank B. Crandall, Rev. Brother Daniel I. Gross and Brother Winfield H. Brock.
Worshipful Wesley D. Coburn, Master of Star Lodge from November 7, 1932 to November 6, 1933, was the first son of a Past Master of Star Lodge to be seated in the East of Star Lodge.
On March 4, 1933 all the banking Institutions of Athol were closed and our two commercial institutions never reopened. This tied up funds of both the lodge and its members and constituted a real crisis.
On June 7, 1933 four craftsmen were raised, the entire degree work being done by Past Masters who were employed by The L. S. Starrett Company.
The matter of Masonic Quarters was a topic of great discussion during the last two months of 1938 and early in 1939. Star Lodge voted to move to the bank block at the December meeting and at the next meeting in January 1939 voted to rescind that vote.
A special communication of Star Lodge was opened on Wednesday October 18, 1939 to observe its 75th anniversary. The banquet was served by Brother Harry Kendall of Fitch-burg in Liberty Hall Memorial Building.
At eight-thirty Star Lodge assembled in the Masonic apartments, and Most Worshipful Joseph Earl Perry, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and suite were received and welcomed by Worshipful Arthur E. Williams. The Most Worshipful Grand Master gave a very interesting talk on his recent trip to The Grand Lodge of England.
During World War II many members of Star Lodge served their country.
A special communication of Star Lodge was held in Memorial Hall October 20, 1945 for the purpose of entertaining Hartford Lodge #88 of Hartford, Connecticut. This evening was designated as Pratt & Whitney night. The third degree in Connecticut ritual was exemplified in a very fine manner.
A special communication of Star Lodge was held Monday, May 21, 1956 to present pins to eighty Brothers who had been members of Star Lodge for twenty-five years or more. Many of the Brethren present came from quite a distance. This was one of the best meetings Star Lodge had held in many years, just like old home day as many of the Brethren had not been to Lodge for some time.
A special communication of Star Lodge was opened Monday January 27, 1958. This was veterans' night and a fifty-year veteran's medal was presented to Brother Walter Mayhew by Right Worshipful Cyril Brubaker. A special framed diploma was presented to Worshipful Brother Ernest C. Thatcher by R.W. Cyril Brubaker. The diploma was beautifully executed in old English by Brother Philip Thayer, and read as follows:
STAR LODGE, A. F. & A. M.
In token of appreciation to Worshipful Brother Ernest Chester Thatcher
For his record of service to Freemasonry, which is without parallel in the annals of the craft, and which shall last till time shall be no more.
Perfect attendance for fifty-seven years as
an officer of Star Lodge.
Fifty years Secretary of Star Lodge.
Thirty-four years secretary of Union Chapter.
Fourteen years Recorder of Harris Council.
Fourteen years Recorder of Athol Commandery. </blockquote> There were thirty-one charter members of Star Lodge. Ten years later the membership was seventy-four; it is three hundred and thirty-three today. There have been seventy-nine Masters of Star Lodge. Under their guidance Star Lodge has maintained an honorable position among the Lodges of the Commonwealth. There have been ten Secretaries; one of whom served fifty years. Star Lodge has had one Permanent Member of Grand Lodge, Right Worshipful George W. Bishop, Past Senior Grand Warden. Star Lodge has had ten District Deputy Grand Masters including Right Worshipful Anthony T. Tie, the present District Deputy Grand Master of the Barre 13th Masonic District. The real history of Star Lodge can never be written between the covers of record books, or told in any historical address. It is written in the lives of its members; in the comradeship of men to which wealth cannot buy admittance. May this century milestone mark but the passage of the infancy of Star Lodge. May it remain for centuries an honored and helpful part of the institution of Masonry.
- 1872 (Petition regarding removal; dismissed, 1872-48)
CONSTITUTION OF LODGE, JULY 1865
From Moore's Freemason's Magazine, Vol. XXIV, No. 10, August 1865, p. 313:
The village of Athol is situated in the extreme north-west part of Worcester County, and is one among the many beautiful and thriving towns in the western part of Massachusetts. It is divided into what may be properly called an upper and lower village, of about equal size,— though the population probably ponderates in favor of the upper or older part of the town, the lower, or depot village having the more immediate advantage of being located on the Vermont and Massachusetts Railroad. Miller's river runs through the town, affording water privileges that are invaluable to its business prosperity. It is surrounded by lofty hills, from the tops of which is presented one of those fine and picturesque panoramic views that are rarely to be met with out of New England. It has a population of about 3,000 inhabitants. The new Lodge had been working during its year of probation in the lower village, but not being so well accommodated, nor, as a majority of the Brethren thought, so centrally situated for the convenience of all parties as was desirable, it was early determined that, should the Grand Lodge see fit to grant it a permanent Charter, its future meetings should be held in the upper village. This was doubtless a wise determination, and perhaps as satisfactory as the case would admit of. The question of location having been settled, the Brethren next turned their attention to a proper place in which to hold their future meetings; and in this they have been eminently successful. Their new hall is well located near the "Summit House,"—is of convenient size, finely frescoed and decorated, and richly and appropriately furnished. It adds another to the many tasty Masonic Halls for which Massachusetts stands pre-eminent among her sister States.
The Proceedings of the Lodge for the past year having met with the approval of the Grand Lodge, that Body, at its Quarterly Communication in June, granted it a permanent Charter; and on Thursday the 20th of July, the Grand Master with his Officers, visiied Athol for the purpose of giving to it a permanent organization. The occasion was one of public as well as of Masonic interest. It was a sort of gala day, in which the town united with the Brethren in giving to the strangers a warm and cordial reception. Extra trains of cars were run in different directions, and there were present large delegations of Brethren from Aurora Lodge, of Fitchburg, Hope Lodge, of Gardner, Republican Lodge, of Greenfield, and Harmony Lodge, of Northfield; and smaller delegations from other more distant Lodges. It is estimated there could not have been less than 250 or 300 Masons in attendance. The ceremony of Consecration took place at 12 o'clock, and in presence of as large a number of Brethren as the Hall and its ante.rooms could be made to hold. At the conclusion of this ceremony, M. W. Grand Master Parkman addressed the Brethren of the new Lodge, on the importance of the responsibilities they had assumed; the necessity of harmony and united co-operation in the duties that would in future devolve upon them, and their obligations to each other and to the Fraternity at large,—reminding them that the jealous eye of the community would be upon them, and that their future destiny, for good or evil, was in their own hands. He occupied about forty minutes, and urged his points with great force and eloquence. The address throughout was listened to with profound attention and received with the highest satisfaction.
Summit House, Athol (in 1858)
The Lodge then took a recess until 2 o'clock, P. M., when the Ladies were admitted, and the Hall was Dedicated with the usual ceremonies. At.the conclusion of which, a procession was formed by the Grand Marshal, and the company were conducted into the large hall of the "Summit House," to dinner. Tables wore here spread for between 300 and 400 guests, and every seat was occupied. The dinner was a good one for the season of the year, and in view of the large number to be provided for. As usual on such occasions, this part of the exercises of the day was concluded by brief speeches by the Grand Master, by R. W. Wendell T. Davis, of Greenfield, (S. G. W.,) by Rev. Mr. St. John, of Worcester, and by several other Brethren whose names have escaped us,—the whole being appropriately interspersed with singing, by an excellent Quartette Choir.
At half-past 6 o'clock in the evening, the company, with as many of the ladies and gentlemen of the village as could find space to sit or stand in, were assembled in the Unitarian Church, for the Installation of the Officers of the new Lodge. The number of persons present could not have been much less than 500. The ceremonies of Installation were performed by the M. W. G. Master in his usual clear and impressive manner.
An address was then delivered by the Rev. Mr. St. John, of Worcester, on the Ideal, the Religion, and the Politics of Masonry. These several points were logically and philosophically stated, and argued in a clear and forcible manner, but owing to the lateness of the hour, and the confusion occasioned by many of the Brethren being under the necessity of leaving to take the cars, the speaker was hurried in his delivery and subjected to the disagreeable necessity of omitting so much of his argument as to mar and detract from its completeness. It was, however, an able performance, and was well received by the still large audience remaining.
Thus closed a very agreeable day of duty and festive enjoyment. The Brethren of the new Lodge were unremitting in their efforts to promote the comfort and pleasure of their guests, and the Officers of the Grand Lodge are especially indebted to them for many kind personal attentions.
We availed ourself of the opportunity afforded by our trip as above described, to spend a day with our esteemed Bro. E. D. Bancroft, Grand Lecturer, at the old town of Groton, and to visit the scenes of our early childhood, and to renew the acquaintance of some near and dear friends and relatives whom we had not seen for half a life time. But alas! we were too soon reminded of the words of Charles Lamb—
"I have had playmates, I have had companions.
In my days of childhood, in my joyful schooldays:
All, all are gone, the old familiar faces."
Few indeed were left among the living, and they had long since reached that period of life when, it is written, " the almond tree shall flourish and the grasshopper bo a burden." There were, however, reminiscences remaining, which, for us, possessed a peculiar, though mournful interest. The " old farm house," where our ancestors once lived, and where we, in our youth, passed two or three joyous and hopeful years, still remains: the spot once covered with thick woods, where, led by the guiding hand of a loving relative, we used to ramble and gather berries and flowers: the old " well," with its" oaken bucket,"—the familiar barn,—the pleasant meadow,—the favorite apple tree, the first to ripen its fruit, and beneath which we once lost a penny,—a loss more calamitous and longer remembered than thousands of pennies since lost,—the little "old school house," or rather the spot where it once stood, now covered with one of different material,—where we first learned to lisp the letters of the alphabet,—the old " grist mill," in the adjoining town, where the yellow corn of the home farm was converted into golden meal,—the river, where we first saw the hideous fish called the lamprey eel :—these and many other equally interesting spots, all reminded us that we were once a boy.
We also had the pleasure of calling upon our zealous and beloved Brother Luther S. Bancroft, of Pepperell, and making a sort of Pilgrimage to the beautiful eminence which, in his Masonic zeal and love, he designates as Mt. Lebanon, and where he has for many years, either alone or surrounded by his Brethren, celebrated the nativity of the Mason's patron Saint, John the Baptist. It is a beautiful eminence, and while standing upon its summit and viewing the rich and varied landscape spread out before us, we could not but sympathize with our good Brother in the desire of his heart, that he might live to see rising from its top a public literary, or eleemosynary institution, into which the Masonic element should enter. But we are exceeding our limits. The whole excursion was one of marked interest,—a green spot about which the memory will long love to linger.
The following is a list of the officers installed :—
- Andrew Atwood, W. M
- D. W. Houghton, S. W
- O. C. Knox, J. W.
- G. W. Black, S. D
- E. Smith, J. D
- John H. Williams, Sec
- E. Sheppardson, Treas
- H. B. Adams, S. S.
- A. S. Chubb, J. S
- E. L. Hunt, Chaplain
- Amos Cheney, Tyler
- E. T. Lewis, Marshal.
50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, JUNE 1914
From New England Craftsman, Vol. IX, No. 10, July 1914, Page 329:
If Freemasonry needed any champion to proclaim its right of existence it would be found in its ability to withstand the changing exactions of unlimited years. No other institution has so successfully passed over the roadway of the centuries. Science and religion, politics and fashion nave been ever turning kaleidoscopic changes and the bright expectations of today become the somber hues of a disappointed tomorrow; Freemasonry's foundation, however, is unchanged and everlasting; its principles will survive and its bodies continue while man has faith in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man.
These thoughts are realized with renewed emphasis as the birthdays of lodges reach the milestones of important Pates in their career. Even a half century is a notable date although much short of others which, even in our own country, carry us back to the early days of the eighteenth century.
Among Massachusetts lodges that have recently observed their fiftieth anniversary is Star Lodge of Athol which celebrated the important event during the last month with the assistance of the Grand Master and other officers of the Grand Lodge.
The anniversary exercises of Star Lodge included the dedication of the Masonic apartments where its meetings are held. The first ceremony was a church service in the Baptist church on Sunday, June 28. A special communication of the lodge was opened in Masonic Hall at 6 p. m. The brethren of the lodge marched to the church under escort of Athol Commandery K. T. The exercises at the church were conducted by Rev. Brothers F. W. Peakes, W. D. Wilkie and Frank W. Merrick, D. D., the last, one of the Chaplains of the Grand Lodge, preaching the sermon. Music was furnished by an excellent choir and the church was beautifully decorated with flowering laurel.
The exercises immediately connected with the dedication of the Masonic Apartments and the anniversary of the lodge took place Monday, June 29. Star Lodge was opened at 3 o'clock in the afternoon when the officers of the Grand Lodge were received by a committee of past masters of Star lodge with whom other past masters present were invited to join.
Officers of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts present were: Melvin M. Johnson, Grand Master; George W. Bishop, acting Deputy Grand Master; Chauncy E. Peck, Senior Grand Warden; Charles S. Proctor, Junior Grand Warden; Henry J. Mills, acting Grand Treasurer; Thomas W. Davis, Recording Grand Secretary; Albert N. Ellis, district deputy grand master of the 13th District; Rev. Frank W. Merrick, D. D., grand chaplain; William M. Farrington, Grand Marshal; Charles H. Littlefield and C. Willis Bennett, acting Grand Deacons and B. Wesley Brown, acting Grand Marshal.
Clarence C. Pierce; Frank E. Wing
The Grand Master and his suite were cordially received by Worshipful Master Clarence C. Pierce. The impressive ceremony of dedicating the apartments to Masonic use was next conducted by the Most Worshipful Grand Master and officers of the Grand Lodge assisted by the Corinthian Quartet. A luncheon was served at 6.30 p. m., during which music was furnished by an orchestra. At 7.30 p. m. the lodge was reconvened. An address of welcome was made by Worshipful Master Clarence C. Pierce, an historical address delivered by Past Master Frank E. Wing, a poem read by Wor. Brother Edgar Y. Wilson, addresses by Grand Master Melvin M. Johnson and others and music by the Corinthian Quartet.
Among those present were Franklin B. Lord and Lucien B. Lord, the only two surviving charter members of Star Lodge.
In consideration of their devotion and long connection with Masonry, the Grand Master, after a special address directed to them, presented to each a Henry Price Medal, struck by the Grand Lodge Massachusetts in honor of the Mason who was the founder of regularly constituted Masonry on the Western continent. Special homage was also paid to the veterans by members of the fraternity.
Franklin B. Lord is 86 years old. Lucien B. Lord is 73. He is the present town treasurer. About 30 years ago he built a Masonic Temple for Star Lodge, which was used until it was destroyed by fire. He has served Athol Commandery K. T. as commander and treasurer, and Star Lodge as Organist.
The principal address of Grand Master Melvin M. Johnson was made at th conclusion of his recognition of the veteran brethren and was listened to with marked attention by the brethren. Other speakers were: Edgar H. Parkman, Grand Master of Masons in Connecticut, Senior Grand Warden Peck, Junior Grand Warden Proctor and Grand Chaplain Merrick of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. No feature of the anniversary exercises was more important in its lasting interest than the valuable historical address of Past Master Frank E. Wing. After quoting some of the words used bv Rev. Festus Foster at Orange upon the festival of St. John the Baptist, June 24, 1803, as appropriate to the occasion he spoke in part as follows:
"The history of a nation does not begin with the day of its actual establishment, neither docs that of a lodge commence with the date of its charter. The events which lead up to the installation of a government or society are of vital importance, and are often of fully as great interest as any happenings of their subsequent existence. The history of the United Slates began long before the Fourth of July, IGii. and that of Star lodge mam years prior to the Fourth of July, 1864.
"But is not my purpose to go into the history of Free Masonry. No one knows when or how Masonry began to be. It was ancient when Festus Foster, minister of the Gospel in Petersham, preached to the brethren in 1803; and it was ancient when the first Grand Lodge was formed, in England, in 1717. It is not how old we are, but what we are, that counts; and the antiquity of Masonry is impressive chiefly in that it shows that the principles of the institution and the character of the men who have maintained it, are such as to make it stand the test of time, and survive the onslaughts of ignorance and fanaticism; to be, in the quaint language of the Petersham minister, 'amiable in the esteem of its members, and respectable in the opinion of mankind.'
"It is indeed possible that Star lodge might have been formed and have become what it is today if il had not back of it the lives of the men who were Masons here when the town and nation were young; but the zeal and fidelity of those early brethren who brought the spark of Masonry to this little hamlet in the wilderness and nourished it into vigorous flame with attendance at lodge communications was a matter of much time, great hardship and even danger, and of those later brethren who kept alive the hidden embers in the dark score of years following 1886—these constitute a heritage from the past which should never be permitted to be lost in oblivion, but should be cherished as a source of inspiration to the fraternity in the years to come."
"About 1800, the brethren of Athol, and the neighboring towns of Orange, Royalston, Templeton and Gerry began to get together and discuss the idea of having a lodge in this vicinity. Athol was finally selected as the most convenient location and in the minutes of the quarterly communication of the grand lodge held in Boston, June 11, 1802, it is stated, 'Right Worshipful Whiting preferred a petition from a number of brethren in Athol, County of Worcester, for a charter to hold a lodge in that town.' A dispensation was granted Sept. 13, 1802 for the new lodge in Athol, to be known as Harris lodge. Harris lodge was constituted and its officers installed Oct. 13th, 1803. There were then in Athol less than 1000 people, and it is quite probable that practically the entire population gazed at the imposing spectacle of the arrival of the Grand Master and suite in his magnificent coach. The oral tradition of the great event has been handed down to their children's children. It is interesting to note that the father of Bro. Henry M. Humphrey of Athol Lodge, then a lad of eight years, witnessed the arrival of the coach and its two black horses, also the procession of Masons from the lodge room in Crosby's tavern on Pleasant Street to the church on the common in the upper village. Harris Lodge continued here for eight years.
In 1811 it removed to Gerry, now Phillipston, which place although of 800 population had more active Masons than Athol. Its stay in Gerry was short, and in 1813, it was removed to Templeton. Meetings of the lodge were discontinued in 1834, and in 1857 Harris lodge surrendered its charter, records and jewels to the Grand Lodge and was dropped by that body from the roll of lodges.
"About 1837 the Anti-masonic fanaticism began to subside, but it was not until 20 years later that steps were taken to organize another lodge in this vicinity. The present Orange lodge was chartered in 1859 and many from Athol joined it. In this lodge was raised Bro. Franklin G. Lord, the only survivor of those who in 1864 petitioned Grand Lodge for a charter for Star Lodge and became charter member of it.
The petition for the charter was signed by twenty-five brethren. We do not know why the name Star was chosen for the new lodge. A dispensation was granted July 4, 1864. The first meeting under dispensation was held July 25, 1864 in a building where City Hotel now stands. C. W. Bannon was the first Master Mason raised, November 14, 1864.
Lucien B. Lord was raised Nov. 18, and was the first of the brethren now living to receive the degrees in Star Lodge.
During the first year, under dispensation, fifteen Masons were raised. At the end of the year of probation a charter was granted to Star lodge, bearing the date of precedence, July 4, 1864.
Meetings were held in Houghton's Hall during the first year. The feeling of jealousy between the 'up town' and 'down town' people was very strong at this time, and naturally was not wholly absent from the lodge. The 'up town' members were in the majority, and on June 26, 1865, the original petitioners for the dispensation met and voted to move the furniture of the lodge to the new hall in the Upper village. The ne\v hall referred to was the one over Samuel Lee's hardware store, now used by the G. A. R.
The lodge continued to meet in the hall in the upper village for seven years.
On the 6th of May in 1872 it was voted that Star lodge be removed from its present location to a hall in Depot village. Some of the brethren were aggrieved by the action, and it was voted that Star Lodge be divided, that the lodge recommend the petition for a new lodge and that the property be equally divided between Star lodge and the petitioners for a new lodge. Athol Lodge soon received its charter. The two lodges have lived together in fraternal harmony and in mutual helpfulness, and on the 7th day of May of this year, Athol Lodge was removed to the formerly hated Depot Village and held its first meeting in these apartments.
"The lodge remained in Houghton's Block only a short time. In June, 1873, it voted to lease of Lucien Lord rooms in a building he was about to erect. Tl e first meeting in Bro. Lucien Lord's new 'Masonic block' where Longley & Oliver's store is now, was Jan. 23, 1871, when the hall was dedicated to Freemasonry by Past Grand Master William Parkman, acting grand master. The lodge continued to meet in this hall for sixteen years, the last meeting being held December 1, 1890.
On Sunday, Dec. 21, 1890, the block was burned, and all the furniture and paraphernalia of lodge, chapter and commandery were lost. The records and charters were in the safe and were not injured.
Temporary quarters were obtained Tyler's Hall, opposite the railroad station, until the completion of the new block in 503 Main street built by Bro. C. F. Richardson. On Jan. 6, 1913, a committee reported plans for new apartments in a building to be erected by L. Starrett on Main Street. The plans were approved by the brethren Feb. 3. The last meeting in the Richardson block was held April 20, 1914, and the first meeting in the Starrett Building was held the 27th of the same month."
There were thirty-one charter members of Star Lodge. Ten years later the membership was seventy-four, it is three hundred and twenty-seven today of whom ninety-three live outside of Athol. There have been thirty Masters of Star Lodge. Under their guidance the Lodge has steadily increased in membership, has kept quietly and earnestly about its business of making better men, better citizens and better Masons, and has maintained an honorable position among the Lodges of the Commonwealth. There have been eight secretaries, one of whom, W. H. Heustis, served seventeen years in two terms of eleven and six years respectively. The present secretary, E. C. Thatcher, has already held the office for thirteen years which is the longest continuous term of service. We pass over many interesting incidents in the address of Brother Wing and conclude our quotation with his closing words as follows:
"But these records, important as they are and valuable as we hold them to be, are not the history of Star lodge. Its real history can never be written between the covers of record books, or told in any historical address. It is written in the lives of its members; in the comradeship of men where politics has no pull and to which wealth cannot buy admittance; in religious zeal made not less fervent but more tolerant; in higher and nobler citizenship; in frail, very human character with some searching for goodness, some longing for the light, which Masonry has helped make better; in imperfect manhood made more strong and sweet; in tearing away the frills and husks and non-essentials of religious belief and laying bare and shining in the sunlight the great unchanging foundation stones of the highest religious and social life, the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man.
"May this half century milestone mark but the passage of the infancy of Star Lodge. May it remain for years and centuries an honored and helpful part of the institution of Masonry, which stands like a mountain, its strong foundations hidden from the eyes of man, its sides bright with living verdure obliterating the scars of spent fires of malice, its adamantine frame unshaken by the storms of persecution or the tempests of war, its pinnacle piercing through the clouds into glorious sunshine, pointing to God, erect, beautiful, magnificent."
FLAG PRESENTATION, MARCH 1916
From New England Craftsman, Vol. XI, No. 7, April 1916, Page 221:
Presentation of a Flag to Star Lodge Athol, Mass.
At a special communication of Star Lodge of Masons Monday evening, March 30, the officers' stations were filled by the following Past Masters who worked the degree: Worshipful Master, A. N. Ellis; Senior Warden, F. E. Wing; Junior Warden, Albert Ellsworth; Treasurer, P. B. Swift; Secretary, G. F. Lord; Chaplain, W. S. Hinman; Marshal, H. C. Fay; Senior Deacon, Prof. W. Scott Ward; Junior Deacon, J. G. Sisson; Senior Steward, L. H. Perley; Junior Steward, E. E. Farr; Sentinel, F. M. Foss; other officers, G. W. Bishop, C. C. Pierce, G. S. Allen. The charge was delivered by Prof. W. Scott Ward. A supper was served by Mrs. Alice E. Barber. At the close of the work the lodge was presented with a large silk American flag. It was presented by Past Master F. E. Wing on behalf of the Past Masters, and accepted by Worshipful Master D. W. Coburn. During the banquet music was furnished by an orchestra composed of E. W. Clapp, Fred Hause, Frank Weaver, Frank Gorton, J. E. Barrus and H. F. Preston.
Wor. Frank E. Wing
In presenting the flag Wor. Bro. Wing spoke as follows:
On behalf of the Past Masters of Star Lodge I present to the Lodge this flag of our country. I believe it entirely proper and eminently fitting that the flag of a Mason's country should be displayed in his lodge room.
We speak with pride of the universality of Free Masonry, embracing as it does men of every country, sect and opinion. Ours is indeed a universal brotherhood, yet it recognizes the conventional divisions of society, the broader ones as well as those more restricted. It recognizes that man is a gregarious animal, that he has peculiar feelings of regard for those near to him by the circumstance of birth, and has peculiar duties and obligations connected with such relationships. It recognizes that men are justly bound together by the ties of country,—that they owe allegiance and service and love to the government under the protection of which they live,— that they must give their labor, their ability and their money to its support, and if called upon yield up their lives in its defense.
The duty of a Mason to his country is thus explicitly recognized in our ritual. This flag is an emblem of that duty, and as such has its proper place in the Lodge, beside the open Bible reminding us of our duty to God, and the square and compasses symbolic of our duty to our neighbor and ourselves.
The flag of the United States, the Stars and Stripes, is among the oldest flags in the world. It was ordained and established 14, June, 1777, by resolution of the Congress of the United States of North America, and officially proclaimed 3, Sept. 1777, by the Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thompson.
In its present form the flag of Denmark is probably the oldest in the world and that of Muscovy (Russia) second in age. Our flag is older than all except these two. The present national flags of the larger countries date from the following years: Spain, 1785; France, 1789; England, 1801; Italy, 1848; Japan, 1859; Austro-Hungary, 1867; Germany, 1871; Portugal, 1911; and China, the oldest nation has the youngest flag, it dating from 1912.
Masonry freely acknowledges the superior claims of three organizations and these only, to greater service for the flag and closer identity with it — the Navy, the Army and the honored band of veterans of either service; but it yields to no organization or body of men whatever in respect or love for it.
The flag is itself a Masonic emblem: its blue represents the clouded canopy or starry decked heaven and is the emblematic color of the Lodge; its red reflects that fervency and zeal which should actuate all true Masons, and is the emblematic color of the Chapter; its white is the white of the lambskin, the white of purity, of life and conduct taught alike by Masonry and religion.
Its colors are dear to every patriot but doubly and peculiarly precious to us, because of the Masons who have given their lives of service to it, from Washington, Hancock, Franklin, Lafayette, John Paul Jones on whose ship the U. S. S. Ranger the flag was first saluted by a foreign power, 14, Feb. 1778, in Quiberon Bay, France, and of whom it was said "He hath made the Flagg of America respectable among the Flaggs of other Nations," as well as hundreds of other Brethren of those early days, down through the years to the thousands who are today an honor to both Masonry and the Country, in the naval, military, civil or diplomatic service.
The lessons of Masonry, like those of the church, are taught largely by the use of emblems and symbols. They are constantly used in an infinite number of ways in business, professional and social life. This "mere piece of textile fabric," whether of the costliest silk or of the cheapest cotton, when it has its appropriate colors properly disposed, becomes something vital, inspiring! In the sight of it, in the proud sunlight snapping sharply in the breeze or dimly discerned through the fogs of ocean or the smoke and murk of battle, there is that which changes our common clay into something fine and grand and noble — which supplies fortitude for the greatest hardships, which will not admit that any obstacle is unsuv-mountable. It brings a lump in the throat and moisture to the eyes of thi traveller in foreign countries who, thousands of miles from home, sees it floating over the office of some consul or ambassador, making that place a little bit of the old U. S. A.!
It is the emblem of the United States — all that the nation has been, all that it is, all that it hopes to be! It is the visible symbol of the history, the power, the aims of the Republic!
It is the emblem of that bravery, that sublime endurance, that absolute unthinkableness of anything but final triumph, which has made this nation the ultimate victor in every war in which it has been engaged, in spite of the lack of anything like a consistent military policy on the pari of the government, in spite of the stupidity, the short-sightedness and the criminal neglect of Congresses from the first one which refused to enlist men for more than three months at a time, in utter disregard of Washington's fervent appeals, to the present one which has just voted an increase in our standing army from 100,000 to 140,000 men, when 400,000 are absolutely needed.
Talk about the cost of preparedness! We know nothing about the cost of preparedness — we have never been prepared — but we do know something about the cost of unpreparedness. We have had many bitter lessons in the stern school of experience. Fnpreparedness allowed the British to enter New York with practically no opposition; unpreparedness gave them the capital of the nation, Philadelphia, while our men shivered and starved in Valley Forge; through unpreparedness 5,400 men could not even make a stand against 1,500 British regulars at Bladensburg in 1814, and Washington was burned and sacked; unpreparedness was responsible for Bull Run and for two thirds of the length of the Spanish war. The same state of affairs has brought upon us the sorrow and insult and shame of the Lusitania. Unpreparedness has cost this nation millions of money, untold anguish, rivers of blood and oceans of tears!
We rightly glory in the proud memories of Yorktown and Lake Erie and New Orleans and Gettysburg and Appomatox and Manila Bay, but it is dangerous to forget that there have been also Long Island and Camden and Queenstown and Bladensburg and Bull Run.
May God soon bring the day when this nation will awake to a realization of its responsibilities and its dangers; when it will arise in its might and demand that its government take proper measures to adequately defend its citizens from slaughter, its shores from invasion, its flag from insult!
May this banner on which the sun never sets always remain the emblem of freedom, of justice, of strength, of courage, of opportunity, of progress, of enlightenment, of hope, of humanity!
May the brightness of its colors never be dimmed by indifference, clouded by distrust or smirched by disloyalty or shame! May they always remain unsullied in our hearts and the hearts of our children's children—the Blue of our country's peerless lakes and heaven piercing mountains, of its summer seas and skies; the White of the mantle of purity with which winter covers its hills and plains; the Red of the red blood of courage and faith which courses through the veins of her sons, which ever has been and always will be ready to be freely poured out in her defense!
Let us anew "pledge allegiance to our Flag, and to the Country for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
INSTALLATION, OCTOBER 1984
On October 20, 1984, Wor. Charles F. Whitaker, Master of Athol Lodge, A. F. & A. M., installed Bro. Albert H. Whitaker as Master of Star Lodge, A. F. & A. M., of Athol; both men are now serving as Masters of their respective Lodges in the Barre 13th District.
The usual format is for the father to be installing the son, but in this case it was the son installing the father. 'Junior' is also Master of the 30th Lodge of Instruction in that area. 'Senior' had been raised in 1948 in James Mair Lodge No. 729, Mars, PA.
Assisting in the installation were R.W. Edward T. Thompson as Installing Marshal and Wor. Frank Rota as Installing Chaplain. A special charge was delivered by R. W. Francis A. Buckley.
GRAND LODGE OFFICERS
- George W. Bishop, DDGM, District 12 (Fitchburg), 1886, 1887; Senior Grand Warden 1894
- Francis A. Buckley, DDGM, District 13 (Barre), 1976, 1977; N
- Roy E. Comstock, DDGM, District 13 (Barre), 1940, 1941; N
- Albert Nelson Ellis, DDGM, District 13 (Fitchburg), 1913, 1914; SN
- George H. Foye, DDGM, District 12 (Fitchburg), 1892, 1893, 1894; Memorial
- Henrie C. Fay, DDGM, District 12 (Fitchburg), 1902, 1903; Memorial
- Henry M. Humphrey, DDGM, District 8 (Greenfield), 1877, 1878, 1879; Memorial
- Charles I. Montalbano, DDGM, District 13 (Barre), 2002
- Clarence E. Pierce, DDGM, District 13 (Barre), 1929, 1930; Memorial
- Anthony T. Tie, DDGM, District 13 (Barre), 1964, 1965; N
- Bryan E. Ward, DDGM, District 13 (Barre), 1990, 1991; N
- W. Scott Ward, DDGM, District 13 (Fitchburg), 1925, 1926; Memorial
- Arthur E. Williams, DDGM, District 13 (Barre), 1952, 1953; N
- Frank E. Wing, DDGM, District 13 (Fitchburg), 1917, 1918; Memorial