HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS of FELLOWSHIP LODGE, A.F. & A.M.

BRIDGEWATER, MASSACHUSETTS

1797 – 2009

 

Compiled and edited by Worshipful Brother Peter D. Dorr, utilizing the records of the Lodge as kept by our various dedicated Brothers who served as the elected secretary of the Lodge, and the prior works of Right Worshipful Brother Herbert K. Pratt, Worshipful Brother Luther L. Hayden, Jr., and Brother Robert A. Cossaboom.Editor’s Note:In this historical synopsis of our Lodge, I have chosen to include mention of common and usual practices of the time as well as the more notable events in the hopes that they willincrease our knowledge and appreciation for the history and heritage that has been passed on to us.References to meeting places over the years and other buildings may prompt historical research to pin point the location of these structures and identify any that remain.

 

 

The first record of any movement toward the formation of the Lodge bears the date of October 1, 1796.At that time, a group of Masons of the old town of Bridgewater, desirous of having a meeting-place at or near their place of abode, appointed a committee to present a petition to the nearest Lodge.The petition was signed by Brothers Hector Orr, Charles Angier, Josiah Otis, Noah Fearing, Isaac Lazell, Nathan Lazell, and Joseph Lazell.It was presented to Orphan’s Hope Lodge of Weymouth, asking for a recommendation to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts that it grant a charter for a lodge in Bridgewater, to be called Fellowship Lodge.

 

The first meeting of which we have a record was held at the home of Worshipful Brother Dr. Hector Orr, our first Worshipful Master, in the East Parish of Bridgewater, on June 30, 1797.In the language of the day, the Lodge was “opened on the second step on the scale of masonry.”Brother Josiah Otis was examined, Lodge was opened on the third step, and he was raised.The Lodge was then opened on the first step and a petition was received from a man named Ripley setting forth his desire to become a Mason, but not having wherewith to defray the expenses begs to serve the Lodge as Tyler three years for his making, passing and raising.He was voted on, elected, prepared and made, examined and found qualified to receive his second degree.Lodge opened on the second step of Masonry and he was duly prepared and passed to Fellowcraft.The Lodge then opened on the first step and several men were balloted on to be made at the next meeting.Right Worshipful Brother Hector Orr then delivered his discourse upon “The History of Free Masonry and the duties incumbent upon the Craft.”(It was common practice at the time to perform all three degrees on different candidates during the same meeting, or two degrees on the same candidates.Well into the 1820’s, it was possible to be elected to receive the degrees and to receive the first degree on the same night.Ballots were also held to pass and raise a candidate.Until 1856, a Brother did not automatically become a member of the Lodge merely by receiving the degrees in it.He had to ask for membership and be balloted on favorably before he could sign the By-Laws and become a member.In these times also, Lodge was routinely opened and business conducted on the first degree, a practice which returned in the early 2000’s.)

 

The first By-Laws were adopted at a meeting of the Lodge held on August 21, 1797.These By-Laws established a “moon lodge” in that the regular monthly meeting would be held on the Monday next preceding a full moon; that no special meetings would be held except by consent of the Master and six members, and the expense of any special meeting shall be defrayed by the person requesting the same; and that $8.25 would be charged to be “made” in this Lodge ($2.00 pledged in earnest with the application, $1.75 for initiation, $1.25 for passing, and $3.25 for raising).Dues were set at fifty cents per quarter to defray the expenses of the meetings, and visiting brethren would pay fifty cents for each night they attend after the first night, for which nothing would be exacted.

 

On November 3, 1797, officers of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts came to Bridgewater and at that time the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Paul Revere, consecrated and constituted Fellowship Lodge, A.F. & A.M.Officers of the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island were also in attendance.The charter of Fellowship Lodge is dated June 15, 1797, and is worthy of special mention.It is signed by Most Worshipful Brother Paul Revere.During his term of office as Grand Master, twenty-three new lodges were formed, and several of these have their original charter.Fellowship Lodge is one of these.

 

Most who are knowledgeable about American history know of Paul Revere’s ride to warn that the British were coming to Boston, some know he made another ride to New York City to warn the British were coming there, but we of Fellowship Lodge also know that for us he made a third important ride – to Bridgewater to constitute our Lodge.

 

In order to appreciate the period in which Fellowship Lodge was formed, it would be well to note what was happening in our country in 1797.President George Washington had just completed his second term, and in March 1797, John Adams, second president of the United States, had been inaugurated.The cornerstone of the first Capitol building in Washington had just been laid with elaborate Masonic ceremonies in which Brother George Washington took part.The Town of Bridgewater was composed of what are now Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and Brockton.Across the Atlantic, Napoleon was rising to power.

 

In the thirty-eight years following 1797, the Lodge held its meetings at various places in the South, West, and East Parishes of Bridgewater as occasion required, and enjoyed a period of reasonable prosperity.

At a meeting in May, 1798, the Lodge voted to support the petition of visiting Brethren from Taunton and others to be constituted into a Lodge to meet in Taunton.At the regular communication on February 3, 1800, a communication from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was read inviting such of the brethren of Fellowship Lodge as can make it convenient to attend on February 11th and join the procession in paying funeral honors to our late worthy Brother George Washington.Pecuniary aid towards defraying the expense was also requested, and the Lodge voted ten dollars for that purpose.It is not noted in the records if or how many Brethren attended.On September 1, 1800, the Lodge began meeting in the hall of the Bridgewater Academy.Previously, meetings had been held in the homes and private halls of members.At this meeting, the Lodge voted to support the formation of a lodge in Plymouth.On October 27, 1800, the Lodge voted to limit membership to 30.(This vote was reconsidered on November 20, 1809, and the limit removed.)

 

In December 1801, the Grand Lodge established Masonic Districts (in which no lodge shall be more than 40 miles from any other lodge in the district, except within the district of Maine), and the office of District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM).Grand Lodge also established that “the price for Making, Crafting and Raising Masons, throughout this jurisdiction, shall not be less than eighteen dollars” (fifteen at initiation, two of which goes to Grand Lodge, and not less than three dollars at Crafting and Raising).At the regular communication on November 8, 1802, the first visit by a DDGM was conducted.

 

In January of 1805, the Lodge was no longer meeting at the academy building.Meetings were being held in the private halls of members.On February 12, 1812, it was voted to remove the Lodge to the West Parish and meet at Brother Daniel Howard’s hall.In September 1813, the Lodge moved to Captain Pratt’s hall for $20 per year rent.On June 19, 1815, the Lodge voted to erect a hall over the school house in the tenth school district, but then in April 1816, the Lodge removed to the Howard & Willis Hall in the West Parish.In January 1818, the Lodge removed to the Academy Hall in the South Parish for $12 per year.In April 1822, the Lodge began meeting in the store of Keith and Robinson in East Bridgewater.On May 24, 1825, by virtue of a dispensation from the Right Worshipful and Reverend Brother Joseph Richardson, DDGM of the 3rd Masonic District, Lodge was held for the first time at the Academy Hall in East Bridgewater.On October 9, 1826, by a vote of 5 to 3, the meetings of the Lodge were moved to the Academy Hall in Bridgewater.

 

At the meeting in April 1816, it was voted for the Secretary to make up an alphabetical list of members and for members to tile the Lodge in that order, but “if inconvenient he may arrange for another Brother to tile, but if he neglect he shall pay the Brother appointed by the Master to tile 37 cents unless he otherwise satisfy him by tiling for him at his turn.”For several years during this time, the Lodge voted to have a Brother Mason living in Boston to act as its proxy to Grand Lodge.On December 6, 1822, the Lodge voted to support the petition of the Reverend Brother Isaac Kimball and others to form a Lodge in Middleborough and to communicate the same to Grand Lodge.At the regular meeting on May 30, 1825, it was voted to attend as a Lodge by an invitation from the Grand Lodge to assist in laying the cornerstone of the Bunker Hill Monument on June 17th 1825.On September 19, 1925, by dispensation of the DDGM, a candidate was voted to receive his degrees and he, in turn “wishing to receive another degree,” received all three degrees that evening.At a special meeting on October 16, 1826, it was voted to allow the Secretary five dollars for money which he paid to Brother Jose DePanza for his assistance in removing his family to this country, he being driven from his native country in Spain by King Ferdinand on account of his liberal principles.

 

At the regular meeting on November 17, 1828, the Right Worshipful Brother Luther Hamilton, DDGM “addressed the Lodge in an eloquent manner in which the objections now waged against masonry were ably answered and conclusively rejected.”At the regular meeting on May 18, 1829, it was voted that further communications of the Lodge be suspended to the “regular meeting in September next” (it being common in those times to adjourn for June, July and August), and appointed a committee to find some convenient place for future meetings.The next meeting was held on October 12, 1829 at the house of Widow Content Crocker.No meeting was held between May 18, 1831 and January 16, 1832, the record for which indicates that “owing to weather and inattention at the previous meetings the Lodge voted now to proceed to the choice of their officers for the year commenced.”At the next meeting, on June 11, 1832, the Lodge adjourned to “September next” and the furniture of the Lodge was placed in storage.The Lodge next met on May 6, 1833 at Sampson’s Hotel in Bridgewater and “all unsettled accounts were looked to and ballanced (sic), and a settlement made with the treasurer.The fee to the Grand Lodge has not been paid for two years past”….. “No further business appearing the Brethren retired in their usual spirits for the good of the fraternity.”

 

On April 13, 1835, at the height of anti-Masonic feeling in the United States, the Lodge voted to suspend its regular meetings and to remove to the home of Brother Jonathan Ames in West Bridgewater.For the next ten years, occasional meetings were held, but no work was done except conferring the degrees on one member in 1837.The charter, however, was never surrendered and tradition informs us that for much of this time it was concealed in the eaves of Brother Ames’ house on South Street in West Bridgewater.At a regular meeting on February 17, 1840, at Brother Ames’ house, he was chosen to draft and circulate a paper “to see how many of the Brethren willobligate themselves to meet three times a year, unless other duties shall prevent.”At a meeting in March 1844, the Lodge appropriated funds to provide the necessities of life to a needy Brother.

 

On September 8, 1845, somewhat more regular meetings were resumed with the election of Worshipful Brother Jarvis D. Burrell as Master, who served for eight years, followed by Worshipful Brother Lucius W. Lovell who later served the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts as Junior Grand Warden in 1875, and became the first member of Fellowship Lodge to sit in Grand Lodge permanently.A period of lively Masonic activity took place and by 1868, one hundred forty new members had been added to the rolls.At a special meeting in January 1849, Brother Jonathan Ames was chosen as a delegate “to attend a convention with the permanent members of the Grand Lodge at the Masonic Temple in Boston on Wednesday the 7th of February next, for the purpose of determining and adopting a uniform System of Work and Lectures for all the Lodges throughout this Commonwealth.”

 

In 1846 and again in 1851, the DDGM requested the Master to send him the returns due the Grand Lodge, “it being inconvenient for him to make us a visit,” and the Lodge duly complied.At the regular meeting on March 21, 1853, it was voted to choose a committee to talk with (a named Brother) and advise him “to refrain from a purnicious (sic) habit, the indulgence of which will lead to an unpleasant and painful consequences.”In the late 1850’s, the Lodge met mostly at Copeland’s Hall in West Bridgewater.At the regular meeting on May 19, 1856, the By-Laws were amended so that a Brother receiving the degrees in Fellowship Lodge could become a member by signing the By-Laws, without being elected a member by ballot.

 

At various points throughout its history, the Lodge has formed committees to draw up “resolutions” on the deaths of members.These resolutions were spread upon the minutes of the Lodge and copies of some were presented to the family and/or printed in the local paper.Three of the more notable of these were in 1863, upon the death of Brother George H. Trow, Company D, 38th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, in battle in Louisiana; in 1864, upon the death of Brother Eustace Howard, Company D, 58th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, mortally wounded in Virginia and died in hospital in Washington, D.C.; and in 1865, upon the death of Brother William D. Boodry, lost with all hands when the schooner Sophronia went down in a gale off Hyannis.It would not be practical to include these resolutions here, but they have been extracted from the records and can be accessed on the Lodge’s website, along with others.

 

At the stated meeting in February 1864, the Lodge voted to support the petition of Brethren of Middleboro to Grand Lodge for dispensation to work as a lodge, under the name of Mayflower Lodge.In June of 1865 and 1866, the Lodges of the 7th District celebrated St. John’s Day at Myricks.In 1865, 2500 people, and in 1866, 1500 people attended the dinner and dance after the meeting.On June 24, 1867, Fellowship Lodge met at No. 11 Summer Street in Boston for the purpose of participating in the dedication of the Masonic Temple at Boston. It was a grand occasion with the President of the United States in attendance as a guest of the Grand Lodge.An account from the minutes of our Lodge appears on our website.

 

In October of 1867, the Lodge was now in the 16th Masonic District, and at the stated meeting on the 7th, the DDGM made his official visit and complimented the Lodge on the “unity and harmony which it seemed to him was characteristic of the Lodge, and hoped that the Lodge would always maintain its present good reputation in that respect.”The Grand Master, Most Worshipful William D. Coolidge, of Columbian Lodge, Boston, presided and installed the officers for the ensuing year, and in a “brief but earnest speech” charged the newly installed officers “to always maintain the character and dignity which belonged to their several stations ever bearing in mind that the Lodge would be judged in a great degree, by the world outside, by the reputation and deportment of its officers, and reminded them that they were the representatives of a very old Lodge, and should guard with jealous care, its interest and reputation.”

 

On October 12, 1868, resolutions on Brother Jonathan Ames, who died in May, were commissioned and they were accepted and spread on the records on October 26th.They appear on the website.In his report of the Secretary for 1868, Brother L. W. Lovell noted that while Brothers F. A. Sprague and Ezra Goodspeed were in the prime of life when they departed, Worshipful Brother Ames (who died in his 80’s) was “like a sheaf of wheat fully ripened for the harvest.”(In the records, Brother Ames first name appears both as Jonathan and as Johnathan.)

 

In 1869, the Lodge purchased its first permanent home, a wood frame building occupied by T. W. Crocker and located on Central Square in Bridgewater, on the site of the present Temple. Although plagued by several fires, the Lodge met here continuously for the next ninety-seven years.In July 1871, a committee was formed to draw plans and obtain estimates for altering the building. In September, the committee reported an estimate of $1934.50 for adding a third floor with a new hall, and was directed to draw plans and make the necessary repairs required for the coming winter.The report of the Treasurer for the year ending September 1, 1871 contains the following:

Memorandum of Property of Real Estate purchased by Fellowship Lodge:

Store occupied by T. W. Crockercost3125.00

on which was paid at time of purchase1625.00

Note given Plymouth Savings Bank1500.00

Have paid during past year on principal700.00

Have paid during past year on interest76.62

Due on note September 1, 1871

on principal800.00

on interest23.10

 

At a special meeting held on February 12, 1872, Brother Zebulon Pratt was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.There were present at this meeting fourteen officers, forty-seven members, and forty-one visitors, including Brethren from Mayflower, Middleboro; King David, Taunton; Commonwealth, Brooklyn, NY; St. Albans, Foxboro; Ionic, Taunton; Mercer, Trenton, NJ; Orphan’s Hope, Weymouth; Paul Revere, North Bridgewater; John Cutler, Abington; Social Harmony, Wareham; Puritan, South Abington; and Bethesda, Brighton.

 

At the stated meeting on April 22, 1872, it was voted that the Treasurer be authorized to pay Mr. Crocker $100 for a strip of land adjoining the land owned by the Lodge.It was also voted that the building committee be authorized to cause a third story to be built on the building owned by the Lodge and finished substantially according to certain plans adopted by said committee and presented to and approved by the Lodge, the hall in the same to be 48 feet in length.At the stated meeting on August 12, 1872, it was voted that Joshua E. Crane and other trustees under the deed of Francis D. King dated October 27, 1869, be directed and empowered to mortgage the property described in said deed and in the deed of Johnathan Crocker to said trustees, to the Bridgewater Savings Bank for the sum of three thousand dollars for the benefit of the Lodge and that the Treasurer be authorized to pay said sum to the building committee.

 

The Secretary’s report for the year ended August 31, 1872, listed:50 meetings held, average attendance of 27 members, 16 initiated, 16 passed, 15 raised, 17 admitted to membership, 4 demits, membership at 145, 30 applications received, 14 rejected, 3 being admitted on 2nd application.

At a special meeting on November 8, 1872, “The brethren with their ladies assembled in the Lodge room at 6 o’clock and the Lodge was opened without form by the Worshipful Master who appointed a Committee to wait upon the Grand Lodge who then proceeded to dedicate and consecrate the new Hall for Masonic purposes after which the brethren and visitors proceeded to the Town Hall where the Grand Master installed the Officers of Fellowship for the ensuing Masonic year.After the services were over the brethren with their ladies partook of a supper in the lower hall, then adjourning to the upper hall enjoyed a social dance.(It is interesting that while some visitors are named in the minutes, the Grand Master and other Grand Lodge officers are not named.)

 

The practice of electing honorary members, while not occurring often, extends back to February 10, 1873, when The Reverend Brother Joseph Hutchison was so elected.For a Third Degree on December 15, 1873, there were in attendance fourteen officers, sixty-nine members, and eighty-six visitors including seventy-eight from Rural Lodge in Quincy.During this period, the Lodge often adjourned to the Hyland House for refreshments after the meetings.

 

At a meeting on January 26, 1874, it was voted that an invitation be sent to Mt. Hope Lodge, Fall River, to visit this Lodge on Monday evening, February 9th, and that the Secretary “inform them that we furnish no refreshments except crackers, cheese & coffee and accept no other should we visit other Lodges.”Note:thirty-five Brethren from Mt. Hope Lodge did visit on February 9th.

 

At a regular meeting on January 18, 1875, a special election was held, “The Wor. Master Bro. Hosea Kingman having been appointed District Deputy Grand Master thereby leaving the office of W.M. vacant a dispensation has been obtained from the M.W.G.M. for an election to fill this and such other vacancies as may occur in consequence.”On January 25th, a public installation was held of the officers recently elected “and the members ladies to the number of about seventy favored us with their presence.”Wor. Bro. Kingman installed the officers; Rt. Wor. Bro. Lucius Lovell installed Wor. Bro. Kingman as D.D.G.M. for the 16th Masonic District.“The Lodge was closed in harmony and good order all expressing that we had passed a very pleasant evening.”

 

At a meeting on July 12, 1875, the committee appointed to procure a testimonial to be presented to Wor. Bro. J. D. Burrill on the 50th Anniversary of his marriage reported they had procured by subscription from the Brethren the sum of sixty 50/100 dollars and purchased a parlor desk with outfit for Bro. Burrill and the sum of ten dollars in gold for Mrs. Burrill.On April 3, 1876, the Rev. Bro. Joseph Jenks was elected to honorary membership.(His note of thanks can be seen on the website.)At this meeting also, it was voted that the sum of $3.50 be appropriated towards the expense of the exemplification of the work and lectures at the Masonic Temple, Boston on April 15th.On that occasion, the Lodges in the 16th District assembled and Fellowship Lodge was called upon to exemplify the Third Degree.

 

After the installation of officers at the special meeting on September 18, 1876, Rt. Wor. Bro. Lucius W. Lovell, Past Junior Grand Warden, gave an account of the Past Masters of the Lodge;at the regular meeting on May 21, 1877, the Committee on Entertainment made a report; and at the regular meeting on November 19, 1877, a communication was received from Lodge Union No. 332, Glascow, Scotland.Each of these was spread upon the records and is quite interesting, so they have been extracted and can be found on the website.

 

At the regular meeting on January 14, 1878, the Lodge voted to pay the funeral expenses of a departed Brother (for whom the Lodge had also conducted a Masonic burial service) and the sum of fifty dollars for the relief of his family.A special meeting was held on October 20, 1878, to congratulate Wor. Bro. Artimus Hale on having reached his 95th birthday and also his 66th Masonic year.He was received into the Lodge by committee.“In his remarks to the Lodge , Wor. Bro. Hale alluded to his admission to the order in Charity Lodge, Fitzwilliam, NH in October 1812, that he was introduced into Fellowship Lodge by Bro. Crocker (afterward a W.M. of the Lodge), and expressed his heartfelt thanks for their kind remembrance on this occasion.”Wor. Bro. Kingman offered the following sentiment as one offered by Wor. Bro. Hale in Anti-Masonic times:The enemies of Freemasonry, may we say to them as did the Savior to His persecutors, Oh! Lord forgive them for they know not what they do.

 

At a meeting on December 13, 1880, the Lodge voted a recommendation be granted the Brethren of East Bridgewater to form a new Lodge in that town.And, on January 30, 1882, the Lodge voted that such Brothers and members of Fellowship Lodge, residents of East Bridgewater, as are intending to join Satucket Lodge of East Bridgewater, be granted their Demits upon application to the Secretary and payment of their dues.At this meeting also, the Trustees reported they had leased the hall to the Chapter members (Harmony RAC) until April 1st at fifty cents per evening, and the report was accepted.

At the stated meeting on April 3, 1882, a communication was received from Harmony Chapter and action was taken by the Lodge to rent space for the chapter to meet.(A full account of the communication and action appears on the website.)

 

On May 1, 1882, the Lodge voted to take and furnish a part of the second floor as a banquet room for a sum not exceeding $200, and for the Secretary to notify the tenant, Mr. Crocker, he must vacate that portion of the building.On August 28, 1882, it was voted that the Trustees be authorized to sell the building in the rear of the Hall and lease the land for a term not more than five years at a price to be agreed upon by them.On November 6, 1882, the Lodge voted to assume and pay the Grand Lodge capitation tax of June 11, 1879 for all members who have not paid it.(The full wording of this action is on the website.)On January 22, 1883, Wor. Bro. Frederick S. Strong was elected to Honorary membership, as was Wor. Bro. Franklin Leach on February 19, 1883.

 

On January 31, 1883, about fifty members of Fellowship Lodge and adjacent Lodges assembled for a lecture by Wor. Bro. Rob. Morris of LaGrange, KY “embracing some of his researches in the Holy Land, his early experience in Masonry, the influence of Freemasonry during the rebellion and other topics interesting to Masons.”“Bro. Morris was listened to with the most earnest attention by all present and at its close all united in pronouncing the lecture the most interesting and instructive meeting of the season.”(Wor. Bro. Morris was Past Grand Master of Kentucky, the first WM of Royal Solomon Lodge at Jerusalem, and a member of Fortitude Lodge No. 47, LaGrange, KY.)

 

At a special meeting on March 3, 1884, the Third Degree was conferred on two Brothers and there were in attendance fourteen officers, thirty-three members, and one hundred twenty-five visitors (including 81 from King David, Taunton, 7 from Mayflower, Middleboro, 21 fromSatucket, East Bridgewater, and several from Paul Revere, Brockton, and Pioneer, Somerset, and other Lodges).At the meeting on April 7, 1884, it was voted that Bro. Barnes be paid $5 for his labor at the meeting on March 3rd, and in the future for each supper the Lodge might have with 50 Brothers present he be paid $3, if 75 - $4, and if 100 or more, $5.

 

A special meeting on April 28, 1884 “…was called to take some action in regard to repairing the parts of the building that were damaged by fire on the 16th inst.”It was voted that the Trustees make such general repairs as in their judgment be needed excepting in the Lodge room proper (which would be discussed at a future meeting).Also:“The Com. Appointed Apr. 7 to make inquiries regarding improving the front of the store reported that the estimated cost of carrying the whole front of the store flush with the upper stories and adding show windows would be $250.00 and it was voted that the trustees carry out the above the sum to be expended not to exceed $250.00.”The vote was amended at a later meeting to allow greater expenditure for “plate glass” for the show windows.A further vote was taken on August 4, 1884 to refresco and paint the Lodge room and ante rooms.The Trustees reported on September 29, 1884 that the total cost of repairs was $1168.30, and there had been received from insurance $1336.00.

 

On April 27, 1885, Brother Lewis Holmes was voted an honorary member.On January 3, 1887, the Committee on Entertainments made the following report which was accepted and their recommendations adopted,:“We would recommend that a social entertainment be given by the Lodge during the month of Jan. or as soon as possible to consist of a supper of oysters, cold meats, cake & fruit, music by the Bridgewater Orchestra and a quartette of male voices, provided the latter can be had at a reasonable price.The total cost it is thought can be covered by the sum of fifty dollars….’

 

Fourteen officers, forty-seven members, and seven visitors attended a special meeting on June 15, 1887. “This meeting was called on the 90th anniversary of the date of the Charter of the Lodge, and the occasion called together a large number of Past Masters and Brethren than is our (usual) custom to assemble, every P.M. except Wor. Bro. Hosea Kingman, who was called away by his official duties, being present and responding to the call of the Wor. Master.”

 

At a stated meeting on November 4, 1889, it was voted that the Trustees make arrangements for the building to be lighted by electricity, and in 1890, the building was converted to heat by steam, a privy was installed, and the sink connected to a water main.A committee report of August 7, 1891, regarding this work can be found on the website.

 

On February 20, 1891, Fellowship assisted Plymouth Lodge in performing a Masonic service in Bridgewater for one of their late Brothers.An account of this service appears on the website.On January 11, 1892, a letter was received from the family of the late Wor. Bro. Edward Sawyer, and it can be seen on the website with the other documents relating to his passing.

 

At a special meeting on May 11, 1892, a public memorial service was held for Brother Dr. Edward Sawyer, a most respected member of the Lodge, citizen of the town, and attending physician at the “State Farm,” as MCI Bridgewater was then known.Fourteen officers, thirty-five Brethren and their ladies, and four visitors from Satucket Lodge attended.The Lodge record of this service, including the poem “The Beloved Physician” and memorial addresses by members of the Lodge, appears on our website and reflects the Victorian respectability of the time.

 

At a regular meeting on October 31, 1892, the Worshipful Master reported that the Grand Master had refused to grant a dispensation for the Lodge to march in a parade on Columbus Day.(The requirement for a dispensation to participate in a public “non-Masonic” event continues to the present time.)In November and December of 1892, the degrees were exemplified in the Lodge under the direction of the Grand Lecturer, Worshipful Brother Gifford H. G. McGrew.This contrasts with the present day practice of an annual district-wide Lodge of Exemplification.During this time also, the Lodge often voted to form a committee to arrange for a “social” to be held.Little is recorded about these socials, but they obviously were an integral part of the life of the Lodge, as the entry six paragraphs previous illustrates.

 

Further examples of the times:At a meeting on August 21, 1893, a committee, after a three-month study, recommended and the Lodge voted to purchase four dozen chairs for the banquet hall at $10.00 per dozen (the bill was for $40 plus $3.48 freight charge), and lamb skin aprons for the officers at $18 per dozen.On September 25, 1893, a communication was received from the Grand Lodge which announced the death of the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Richard Briggs, and ordered the altar to be draped for three months.The Lodge of course complied, but not without first taking a vote to place the communication on file and “in pursuance with its contents” the altar be draped for three months.At a number of regular and special meetings during this time, the records indicate that a degree was “exemplified in form,” that is, rehearsed in an open Lodge, not in the more informal manner of today, without actually opening a Lodge.There is also more than one instance recorded where the Treasurer was appointed a committee of one to visit a named needy Brother and to draw on the treasury for such sums as he deemed necessary to “supply his needs that he may not suffer for want of anything.”

 

Masonic funerals conducted by the Lodge in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, often involved much more than the rather brief service conducted today, most often at a funeral home.Quite frequently, the Lodge would be opened, proceed to the departed Brother’s home in an organized walk or as noted once, by taking the trolley which once existed on South Street in Bridgewater, conduct the service at the home, or convey the body to a church and participate in a service there.Eventually, either from the home or the church, the Brethren of the Lodge would convey the body to a cemetery and conduct aMasonic committal service.

 

It would appear from the records that during this period, the District Deputy Grand Master was formally received into the Lodge only once per year, on his Official visit, held at a special communication at which a degree, most often the third, was held.The DDGM would be accompanied by a suite of five:the DD Grand Marshal, the DD Senior Grand Warden, the DD Junior Grand Warden, the DD Grand Treasurer, and the DD Grand Secretary. The Lodge room, however, would be full of members and visitors, as the following examples will attest: October 9, 1893: officers 14, members 56, visitors 41; November 5, 1894:officers 14, members 37, visitors 38; October 3, 1898: officers 14, members 58, “visitors from adjoining Lodges” 65; October 29, 1900: officers 14, members 50, visitors “about 125 Brethren from adjoining Lodges” (with a collation in the banquet room and music by the Gerrish Quartette); November 8, 1909: officers 14, members 64, visitors “about 150” (with a banquet after the meeting and music by the “Fellowship Quartette,” including Brother Thomas Carroll who was well known throughout the town for his fine voice and is mentioned elsewhere in this history).

 

At the regular meeting on October 23, 1893, it was voted “that if suitable Brethren could be procured to act as installing officers, to hold a public Installation of Officers.”Apparently “suitable Brethren” were procured as a public installation was held on December 4th with Grand Lecturer, Worshipful Brother Gifford H. G. McGrew, as Installing Master, assisted by the acting Grand Marshal.The Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Harvey N. Shepard, attended, addressed the Brethren, and presented Worshipful Brother H. L. Crane a Past Master’s jewel, a gift of the Lodge.

 

A special meeting of the Lodge was held on June 17, 1895, for the purpose of traveling to Boston for the centennial services at the Joseph Warren Monument.The secretary’s account of this occasion can be seen on the Lodge’s website.

 

On June 15, 1897, the Lodge observed its 100th Anniversary.Apparently the whole town participated, for a newspaper list of decorated buildings includes practically all public and commercial buildings, as well as many homes.The Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Charles G. Hutchinson, and many members of Grand Lodge attended, as well as representatives from the Lodges in the 24th District. After an hour-long parade, an anniversary meeting was held, followed by a banquet at the cattle show grounds on Broad Street.The Reverend Dr. George C. Lorimer, minister of the Tremont Street Temple in Boston, delivered the principal address.One report states that over eight hundred persons attended.The records of this occasion, in the Secretary’s own hand (the formal cursive of the era), are on the Lodge’s website.

 

At the regular meeting on September 26, 1898, it was reported that the trustees had purchased the restrictions on the land in front of the Lodge’s building for $300, and it was voted that the trustees procure plans and estimates to extend the front of the building to the street line.In March of 1899 a committee was divided as to whether or not to repair and add on to the building, and the Lodge voted to construct a new brick building.However, on September 18th, it was reported that the lease of the first floor had expired on September 1st and the present tenant, Brother F. N. Churchill, refused to lease the store further as it then stood, and the Lodge voted to build a two-story addition, so the front is to be on line with the adjacent building of T. W. Crocker.It was also voted that the trustees should mortgage the property of the Lodge to cover the present indebtedness and the cost of the addition, and to construct the addition.The trustees presented their report at the regular meeting on February 12, 1900:

To the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Members of Fellowship Lodge, F. & A.M.

The Trustees have had built the two story addition on the front of the Lodge building as directed

which is completed and we herewith present or report of the cost of the same, viz.

Architects bill$25.

Keith & Haywardcontract950.

Keith & Hayward & othersextras78.49

McNeeland Bros.Grading, etc.6.50

D. H. WilbarConcreting16.80

J. H. FairbanksSteam fitting68.82

Carpenter & FreemanElectric Wiring7.81

Braman Bros.Painting, etc.106.56

$1259.98

We have borrowed $3200 the amount of indebtedness and cost of the addition and have given a

mortgage of the Real Estate of the Lodge for that sum with interest at 5% per annum, as

authorized by vote Sept. 18, 1899.

Respectfully submitted, John G. Braman, Geo. M. Hooper, John H. Fairbanks, Trustees

 

At the regular meeting on May 7, 1906, in response to a communication from Grand Lodge, the Lodge voted $25 from the Charity Fund to be forwarded to the Grand Secretary as relief funds for the San Francisco disaster (e.g., earthquake and fire).At the regular meeting on April 13, 1908, a communica-

tionwas read from DeOgle Lodge, No. 636, Morpeth, England, thanking the Brethren of the Lodgefor “their great kindness in performing the last sad duties,consequent upon the death of our late Bro…., and for their truly Masonic feeling shewn towards a strange Brother in a strange land.”The full text of this communication is available on the website.The secretary’s records for the special meeting held on March 8, 1909, mark the first time the Lodge is identified as “A.F. & A.M.”Previously, “F. & A.M.” had been used.

 

I trust my Brethren will not mind my including the following note:at the regular and annual meeting on January 24, 1910, my great grandfather, Brother John Mayo, concluded his twenty years of service as Secretary of the Lodge, and received its thanks and appreciation.At the regular meeting held on February 26, 1912, it was announced that our late Brother Charles Robbins had bequeathed the Lodge $500.The Lodge voted to use the funds to pay the balance of the mortgage note of the Lodge; and, at the regular meeting on May 27th, voted to procure a headstone for the grave of Brother Robbins as a memorial.

 

The record of the special meeting on October 7, 1912, contains the following:“Owing to an explosion of Acetylene Gas followed by fire which completely demolished a Building just at the rear of the Hall, and seriously damaged other nearby buildings, it was deemed unsafe to admit to the Upper Hall, the large number of Members and visiting Brethren present, thus making it impossible to get the names or number of those in attendance.”The DDGM did, however, make his official visit, but the work of the evening, the Fellowcraft Degree on four candidates was postponed to October 21.“A Banquet having been prepared in the Banquet Hall was served informally to all present.”No mention is made of any actual damage to the Fellowship building, but in any case it was not enough to keep them from eating.

 

In 1914, the Lodge became part of the 29th Masonic District.At the regular meeting on September 24, 1917, the Lodge voted to remit the dues of all members in the service of the United States during the period of war, and an honor roll of all such members was entered upon the records.This Honor Roll – European War can be seen on the website.From 1916 through 1920 anywhere from 23 to 36 meetings were held each year with average attendances in the upper 20’s.On Sunday afternoon, November 24, 1918, a special meeting was held under dispensation from Grand Lodge for the purpose of attending a Memorial Service for Brother Charles P. Willey, Jr. at the Methodist Episcopal Church, Bro. Willey having been recently killed in action.Thirteen officers, eighteen members and “the officers of Harmony RAC as guests” marched from the Lodge to the church and back again after the service.A special was again held under dispensation on April 6, 1919 for the Memorial Service at the Trinity Church for Brother Thomas George McCauley, killed in action October 14, 1918.Ten officers and twenty-eight members marched to and from the church.At the regular meeting on September 8, 1919, the Lodge voted to authorize the officers to decorate the building on “Honor Day,” Saturday, September 13, “in honor of the boys who have returned from the war.”

 

At a regular meeting on May 24, 1920, upon recommendation by the Lodge, Brothers Roland M. Keith, Alexander Dove and James H. Hunter “as members worthy and well qualified to receive a Price Jewel” were presented such by the D.D.G.M.At a regular meeting on December 20, 1920, “After the regular business, exercises were held in the lodge room in observation of the 300th anniversary of the (landing of) the Pilgrims, music was furnished by a quartette, and very able and interesting addresses were delivered by our S.W. Bro. Edw. A. MacMaster and Wor. Bro. Brunelle Hunt and Wor. Bro. Arthur C. Boyden.”

 

At a regular meeting on March 21, 1921, the Lodge voted unanimous approval and cooperation in organizing a chapter of the Order of Eastern Star; voted $25 towards helping the American Legion fund permanent quarters; and voted for the Lodge to make up any shortage in the quota of Fellowship Lodge toward the George Washington Memorial Fund.In June, the Lodge voted permission for Bridgewater Chapter, OES to use the Lodge hall for rent equal to the cost of heat, light and janitor service.In September, the Lodge received a certificate from Grand Lodge for achieving its quota of $1.00 per member for the George Washington Memorial Fund.At the regular meeting on May 16, 1921, resolutions were adopted regarding the admission of a departed Brother’s widow to the Masonic Home.These resolutions, typical of those required for admission to be approved, and made by the Lodge on several other occasions also, can be read on the website.

 

At the regular and annual meeting on January 9, 1922, a communication was read from Pioneer Lodge No. 183, IOOF, offering the use of their lodge room while ours is undergoing repairs caused by fire, “and a rising vote of thanks was extended to them for their kind offer.This vote was unanimous.”The Lodge also voted:that a committee of five be chosen to investigate as to the feasibility of erecting a new building for Fellowship Lodge; that a complimentary supper be tendered the members of the Bridgewater Fire Department and the two night police officers for valiant services rendered at the fire in Masonic Block on Dec. 20, and that the officers of the Lodge be the committee to attend to the arrangements; and, that a committee of five be appointed to arrange for a suitable celebration of the 125th anniversary of Fellowship Lodge which occurs in June.At the regular meeting on March 13, 1922, a unanimous resolution was passed:“That a vote of thanks and appreciation be extended by the lodge to the Board of Trustees, with special mention of the chairman, Bro. William Bassett, for their very efficient services in repairing, remodeling, and beautifying the building and lodge room….”

 

At the regular meeting on May 5, 1922, it was voted that a request, through the proper channels, be made for a Henry Price Medal, to be presented Brother Peregrine White Poole in recognition of his fifty-one years as a Mason, and also of his service in the Civil War.

 

At a special communication held on June 11, 1922, fourteen officers and one hundred eight members attended a church service as the first event in the observance of the 125th Anniversary of the Lodge.“Lines were formed in the lodge room and marched to the First Congregational Unitarian Church, with members of Bridgewater Chapter, OES as guests.The church services were conducted by Rev. Bro. Herbert L. Buzzell, Rev. Bro. Harold S. Conant, and Rev. Bro. James A. Thompson.Rev. Bro. Henry H. Crane of Malden gave a very forceful and pleasing address.After the service the lodge marched back to the lodge room, and closed in form.”On June 13th the lodge held a Ladies Night in Town Hall as part of the 125th Anniversary Observance.An entertainment was furnished by the Lotus Male Quartette, refreshments were served and dancing enjoyed.

 

On June 15th, fourteen officers and ninety members attended a special communication for the purpose of observing the 125th anniversary of the Lodge’s organization.“After opening the lodge repaired to the Banquet Hall where a banquet was served.The lodge was called to order at 8 o’clock.After the reception of the Most Wor. Grand Lodge, Wor. Master Edward A. MacMaster gave an appropriate address of welcome, and response, in behalf of the Grand Lodge, was made by Rt. Wor. Herbert W. Dean, Senior Grand Warden. Rt. Wor. Frederick W. Hamilton, Grand Secretary, told briefly of the history and significance of the Henry Price Medal, and informed the Lodge that he had such a medal to present to Bro. Peregrine White Poole…. As Bro. Poole was unable to attend the meeting on account of illness, the Worshipful Master received the medal in behalf of Bro. Poole.Worshipful Bro. Arthur C. Boyden gave a very interesting and instructive Historical Address, dwelling on the activities of the lodge, from the date of its institution up to the present time.An Address by Rev. Bro. William W. Dorman of Puritan Lodge, Whitman, was much appreciated by the bretheren.Rev. Bro. Dorman spoke of the ideals and responsibilities of Masonry, and his stories and witticisms brought forth great applause.Music was furnished by Bro. Walter Dodd, organist, and Bro. Louis Carroll, soloist.After retirement of the Grand Lodge Delegation, the lodge was closed in form.”Note:the expenses for the three events of the anniversary observance were $805.16; the lodge collected from the sale of tickets $284.00, for a net cost of only $521.16.Different times, indeed!

 

 

The DDGM made his official visit at the regular meeting on October 22, 1922, and presented Brother Arthur Hooper a Henry Price Medal.At various meetings during 1923, the Lodge voted to purchase property owned by Miss Rachael Crocker that adjoined the Lodge’s property and authorized the Trustees to borrow money to do so, but the Brethren were notified at the December 17th meeting that Miss Crocker did not wish to sell the land.

 

At the regular meeting on November 19, 1923, it was voted to use $250 from the Charity Fund to furnish a room in the new Williams Building at the Masonic Home in Charlton.Between 1924 and 1926, Lodge membership grew from 264 to 292 as yearly admissions outpaced deaths and demits, and 30 to 38 meetings were held yearly.It was fairly common in the late 1920’s to attend divine services as a Lodge at local churches at the invitation of the pastor.For example, on May 11, 1924, fourteen officers and fifty members marched to the New Jerusalem Church; on June 23, 1929, the Lodge attended the Central Square Congregational Church, and on October 20, 1929, the Lodge with Bay State Commandery #38 of Brockton as guests, attended the Unitarian Church.

 

At a special meeting on March 23, 1925, Right Worshipful Brenelle Hunt, DDGM, Wor. Walter G. Hastings, DDG Marshal (both Past Masters of the Lodge) and all of the Presiding Masters of the 29th Masonic District were guests of the Lodge and assisted in the Third Degree on three candidates.Fourteen officers, fifty members, and one hundred visitors attended a special meeting on April 19, 1926 at which Brothers Gordon Stanley “Mickie” Cochrane (Bridgewater native and baseball Hall of Famer) and Harold Edgar Goodnough (a baseball executive and personality) were raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason.(An extensive article about Mickie Cochrane “Baseball’s ‘Black Mike,’” appears in the May 1996 (Volume 27, No.2) issue of the Scottish Rite publication “The Northern Light.”At the regular meeting on November 7, 1927, a Past Masters’ Night was held for the Third Degree on three candidates.The program for that evening appears on the website.

 

On April 7, 1930, by invitation of our Lodge, the officers of Paul Dean Lodge, North Easton, attended and conferred the Second Degree on four candidates.At the meeting on August 25, 1930, “The W.M. spoke of the Lodge of Instruction and it’s work; the first meeting to take place in Brockton on Sep. 30th, 1930.”On January 26, 1931, the installation of officers was conducted by the DDGM and Past Masters of the constituent Lodges in the 29th District.It was not uncommon to have installations under the direction of Brother Masons not Past Masters of the Lodge, though the installation on January 25, 1932, was principally by our Past Masters.

 

The following resolution appears in the record of the February 2, 1931 meeting:

“Whereas there has been presented to Fellowship Lodge A.F. & A.M. by Paul Revere of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, a chair which was once the property of and used by Paul Revere, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts in the years 1795 to 1797, and also an original daguerreotype of the said Paul Revere in its original frame, and

Whereas these gifts are of untold historic and Masonic value, and are of particular interest to Fellowship Lodge in that this lodge was instituted in 1797 during the term of office of the said Paul Revere as Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, and

Whereas Fellowship Lodge desires to express as adequately as possible its appreciation of these gifts;

NOW THEREFORE, at a regular communication of Fellowship Lodge A.F. & A.M. held at its Masonic apartments in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on the second day of February A.L. 5931, the following resolution was unanimously adopted

RESOLVED

That Fellowship Lodge accept the gifts of an original daguerreotype of Paul Revere, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts in the years 1795 to 1797 and an original chair owned and used by him, made to it by Paul Revere of Bridgewater, Massachusetts and that this Lodge extend to him its highest appreciation of his generosity in making these gifts.

That these resolutions be made a part of the records of this communication and a copy thereof sent to the donor of these gifts.”

 

Officers of Baalis Sanford Lodge, Brockton, attended the regular meeting of May 25, 1931 and conferred the Second Degree on one candidate.At the special meeting on November 9, 1931, attended by fourteen officers, thirty-three members, and forty visitors, the DDGM made his official visit, the First Degree was conferred, and: “The chair used in the East this evening for the first time in this capacity was the chair given Fellowship Lodge by Paul Revere of this town.”At the regular meeting on May 16, 1932, Wor. Bro. Herbert K. Pratt gave an account of his trip with Wor. Bro. Leo F. Nourse to Alexandria, Virginia to attend the dedication exercises at the George Washington Memorial on May 12th.

 

At a special meeting on November 13, 1933, Right Wor. Herbert K. Pratt, now the DDGM of the 29th District, made an official visit.There were in attendance fourteen officers, sixty-one members, sixty- one visitors, and thirty-six Brethren on his suite.At his official visit on November 12, 1934, that attendance was topped for there were present thirteen officers, nineteen members, thirty-seven visitors and a suite of eighty-four for a total attendance of one hundred fifty-three.Visitors were present from all over the state.The Grand Master, Most Worshipful Curtis Chipman, paid a fraternal visit to the Lodge on April 2, 1934, accompanied by a suite of sixteen, and presided over the Lodge.During the evening, the roll was called of the “honor” members of the Lodge who were Masons for forty or more years.More on this evening appears on the website.At the regular and annual meeting in January 1936, discussion was held on the question of insurance and it was voted to have the Trustees get an appraisal of the property to see if the insurance could be reduced.It is to be noted that some things never change, as a similar review took place again in 2009 with the same purpose.

 

In 1936, in Right Worshipful Brother Herbert K. Pratt’s words, “the Lodge was swept with a wave of dramatic fervor.”The Fellowship Players were organized, and for several years a different play by Worshipful Brother Carl H. Claudy was produced annually.Invitations to perform were received from far and wide, and over the years the Players traveled from Provincetown to Boston, appearing before an estimated ten thousand Masons.During World War II, the Players submerged, but ever since they have, upon request, reenacted their perennial favorite, “A Rose upon the Altar.”

 

At the regular meeting held on October 3, 1938, an impressive Service of Memory for members who had departed since the last regular meeting was conducted by the Reverend Brother M. Walker Coe as Chaplain and assisted by the Past Masters of the Lodge.An account can be seen on the website.At a special meeting on December 12, 1938, one hundred twenty-nine Brethren (14 Officers, 76 members, and 39 visitors) were present as the Past Masters worked the Third Degree on three Brothers.At the regular meeting on March 30, 1942, the Lodge voted to remit the dues of members in the United States Services for the duration of the war.

 

On June 15, 1942, the Lodge celebrated its 145th Anniversary with a lobster dinner attended by one hundred members and guests. In attendance were the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Albert A. Schaefer, and a large suite of Grand Lodge officers, including Fellowship’s R. W. Bro. Joseph W. Keith, DDGM for the Brockton 29th Masonic District.The Grand Master delivered “an inspiring address which was followed with close attention by the brethren.” R.W. Bro. Herbert K. Pratt delivered an historical address entitled “Fellowship Personalities,” (recommended reading for all Lodge members) and the Fellowship Players performed “A Rose Upon the Altar.”

 

At a regular meeting on October 19, 1942, on a motion duly made and seconded, it was voted that a committee be appointed to purchase and forward to those of our Brothers, Sons of Brothers and Blood relatives in the armed forces of the United States, a suitable gift for Christmas, the amount to be expended to be left to the discretion of the committee.At the regular meeting on February 15, 1943, the DDGM presented R.W. Bro. Herbert Keith Pratt a Distinguished Service Medal.At the special meeting on January 17, 1944, the Presiding Master, Wor. Bro. Fred P. Turner, raised his son, Brother Kimball Parker Turner, to Master Mason, and it is noted in the records that this is probably the first time in the history of the Lodge that a presiding Master raised his own son.At the installation held on January 31, 1944, a tribute was paid to our late Brother and Tyler, Charles Winfield Hayes.The tribute may be found on the website.

 

At a special meeting on May 22, 1944, the Lodge hosted a Massachusetts State Guard Night, and Brother Willard Lewis Gage was raised to Master Mason by officers and men of the State Guard who are Brother Masons in various Lodges in the area.An account can be seen on the website.At a special meeting on October 23, 1944, the DDGM made his official visit and “spoke of the recent War Fund campaign and paid especial tribute to R.W. H. K. Pratt who served as chairman for the 27th and 29th districts, R.W. J. W. Keith who was chairman of the special donations committee and Wor. Leo F. Nourse who was local chairman.He also paid a very glowing tribute to Fellowship Lodge for the very generous response of its members.It being the only lodge in the 29th district to exceed its quota.”A citation from Grand Lodge was presented to the Lodge.

 

At the regular meeting on October 30, 1944, it was reported that suitable Christmas gifts had been secured for the servicemen and those gifts going out of the country had been mailed by October 15th. The Trustees made their report on repairs and improvements necessary to put the Paul Revere home in good livable condition – paint, paper, whiten ceilings in all rooms, install bathroom, new heating system, refinish floors, changes in electrical wiring, window shades, work on garage and approach to garage, sewer connection – at a cost of approximately $3,190.The report was accepted and it was voted that the Trustees proceed with the project and be authorized to borrow sums needed to complete the work not to exceed $3500. (An additional $500 was voted at a later meeting.)Brother Henry J. Strann submitted his resignation as Trustee.R.W. Brothers Pratt and Keith lauded his service and his resignation was not accepted.At the next regular meeting R.W. Brothers Pratt and Keith presented Brother Strann with a set of pipes in appreciation of his long service on behalf of the Lodge.“The pipe is an emblem of peace,” said R.W. Brother Pratt and suggested Henry could use these pipes to smoke out those Brothers who appear at the Revere house with unwanted suggestions as how to do the work there.Brother Strann resigned again at the regular meeting on January 14, 1946, but again his resignation was not accepted.This Brother’s long and obviously worthy and much appreciated service to our Lodge was ended only by his departure from this world on June 21, 1946, the Brethren having no way to not accept that “resignation.”

 

On April 14, 1945, twenty-eight members of Fellowship Lodge paid a fraternal visit to St. Martin’s Lodge in Chatham.Our officers worked the Third Degree and the Fellowship Players presented “A Rose Upon the Altar.”On April 23, 1945, a report was given on the work at the Revere house that the cost was exceeding the estimate.It was voted, “That the Trustees of Fellowship Lodge be and hereby are authorized to borrow from the Bridgewater Savings Bank the sum of $5500 giving a mortgage on the Revere property for the same, and are further authorized to sign, seal and deliver any and all papers in connection with said loan.”During the year, letters were sent several times to servicemen and Christmas gifts sent to members and sons and daughters of members in the Armed Services.

 

At a special meeting on January 28, 1946, for the first time in the one hundred forty-nine years of Fellowship Lodge, a son of one of its Past Masters was elected and installed as Master by his father – Wor. Bro. Ivan Frank Nourse installed by Wor. Bro. Leo Frank Nourse, P.M.This phenomenon has since been repeated four times:

in 1950, Wor. Bro. Robert Alton McNeeland by Wor. Bro. Frederick Alton McNeeland, P.M.;

in 1975, Wor. Bro. Stephen Howard Prophett by Wor. Bro. William Carpenter Prophett, P.M.;

in 1982, Wor. Bro. Peter Delmar Dorr by R.W. Bro. John Delmar Dorr, P.M.; and,

in 2000, Wor. Bro. Philip Rodney Chaffee by R.W. Bro. David Ernest Chaffee, P.M.

 

In April 1946, St Martin’s Lodge of Chatham paid Fellowship Lodge a fraternal visit, and Fellowship paid a return fraternal visit to St Martin’s Lodge in November.On May 27, 1946, the Police Square Club attended Fellowship Lodge and raised Bro. James Kenneth Moore to Master Mason.He was the Police Chief in Bridgewater.

 

At the regular meeting on May 13, 1946, a special program was held in tribute to Bro. Harry Whitney Bragdon who had served the Lodge for forty-two years as its Treasurer.R.W. Bro. Herbert K. Pratt served as the Master of Ceremonies; there were selections by the Men’s Choral Society; Bridgewater Savings Bank President, Bro. H. Loring Jenkins spoke on Bro. Bragdon’s long service to the bank; Wor. Bro. Leo F. Nourse, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, spoke on Bro. Bragdon’s long service to the town; and R.W. Bro. Brenelle Hunt spoke on Bro. Bragdon’s long service to the Lodge.The Master, Wor. Bro. Ivan F. Nourse presented Bro. Bragdon with an engrossed resolution (which appears on the website) for his forty-two years of service “without hope of fee or reward.”The Men’s Chorus then led all in singing Ald Lang Syne.”In less than a year, on June 4, 1947, Bro. Bragdon passed away.

 

 

 

On June 15 and 16, 1947, the Lodge celebrated its 150th Anniversary with a church service, a parade, a reception of Grand Lodge officers including Most Worshipful Brother Samuel H. Wragg, and a ladies’ night and banquet at the college’s Albert Gardner Boyden Gymnasium.On the 15th, fourteen officers, ninety-one members, twenty visitors and eighty members of Bay State Commandery #38, K.T. and the Sheddad Grotto Band assembled at the Lodge at 3:30 p.m. and marched around the town to the Unitarian Church for services to begin the anniversary celebration.On the 16th, fourteen officers, eighty members, twenty-five visitors, and twelve Grand Lodge officers assembled to commemorate the anniversary.The Secretary’s record of these events can be found on the website.

 

At the regular meeting on September 29, 1947, R.W. Bro. Herbert K. Pratt reported that the Reverend Bro. M. Walker Coe would return home the coming week (Editor’s Note:I presume from service as a Chaplain in the Armed Forces, about which he would never speak to me as I grew up next door to the parsonage.) and again take up his work at the Central Square Congregational Church.It was moved and secondedthat a printed notice be sent to all members of the Lodge and Chapter urging them to attend divine services Sunday, October 5, 1947, to show our appreciation for all that Walker has done for us all in the past.It was so voted.

 

During the 1940’s, a number of degrees were worked on Brethren by their fellow employees at companies such as Brockton Edison, New England Power Co., Wirthmore Grain and Feed Co., J.. Hammet Co., and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.On April 12, 1948, the Officers of Wampatuck Lodge attended Fellowship Lodge and worked the long form of the Third Degree; and on April 23, the Officers of Fellowship worked the short form at Wampatuck Lodge.At the regular meeting on June 21, 1948, the Reverend Bro. M. Walker Coe was elected to Honorary Membership in recognition of his years of service to the Lodge.At a special meeting on October 18, 1948, a reception, attended by Most Worshipful Roger Keith, was held for R.W. Bro. Joseph W. Keith, Grand Marshal.The Secretary’s record of this reception is on the website.

 

During the 1940’s, 50’s and into the 60’s, Lodges in the Brockton 29th Masonic District often paid fraternal visits to each other to work degrees and it was fairly common in our Lodge to have 30 – 40 members and 15 – 20 visitors for the degrees, in particular the Master Mason Degree.It was also a common practice for our Lodge to hold Past Master nights.A program from a Past Masters’ Night in 1952 appears on the website.

 

In 1950, Right Worshipful Brother Joseph W. Keith served as Senior Grand Warden of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, thereby becoming the second member of Fellowship Lodge to sit permanently in Grand Lodge.On April 17, 1950, Most Worshipful Brother Roger Keith, Grand Master, paid a fraternal visit to the Lodge to honor him, and Right Worshipful Brother Joseph W. Keith presented the Lodge with a baton given him by the District Grand Lodge of the Canal Zone.As of this writing in 2009, this baton is still being utilized as the Marshal’s baton.

 

At the regular communication held on October, 27, 1952, discussion was held on the question of deleting the ancient penalties from the obligations of the several degrees, and the Lodge voted that it is in opposition to any change in the ancient penalties.(The Grand Lodge, under Most Worshipful Arthur C. Melanson, did, however, decree this change several years later.)On November 9, 1952, Fellowship Lodge was joined by other Lodges in the district for a service of worship at the Central Square Congregational Church commemorating the 200th anniversary of Brother George Washington becoming a Mason.The Reverend Brother M. Walker Coe conducted the service.The program for this service appears on the website.

 

At a special meeting on January 12, 1953, the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Thomas S. Roy, paid Fellowship Lodge a fraternal visit to honor our members with 40 or more years of service.At a regular meeting on January 18, 1954, Brothers George Alexander Barrow and Hugh Clarkson Stewart were elected honorary members.At the regular meeting on March 15, 1954, it was announced that the Treasurer had received 75% of the bequest of Right Worshipful Brother Herbert K. Pratt.(His obituary and memoriam appear on the website.)At the regular meeting on May 23, 1955, Brother David M. Briggs of St. George Lodge was elected to honorary membership.

 

At the Brockton 29th Masonic District Church Service, attended by Fellowship Lodge, on May 22, 1955, at the Unitarian Church in Bridgewater, the collection was donated to the church steeple fund (destroyed by Hurricane Carol on August 31, 1954).The bell in the steeple had been cast in 1811 by Most Worshipful Brother Paul Revere and was undamaged.At a special meeting on June 17, 1957, it was voted that the Trustees sell the “Paul Revere House” on Main Street (in 2009, this structure houses the offices of Estabrook and Chamberlain Insurance).This had been the residence of Paul Revere, the great grandson of Most Worshipful Brother Paul Revere, and a benefactor of Fellowship Lodge.He died in 1952, and had bequeathed the house and the Paul Revere chair in our Lodge room to Fellowship Lodge.

 

At a regular communication on May 29, 1961, the Lodge voted to appropriate $750.00 to be used with a like sum from Satucket Lodge to form a Chapter of DeMolay in the Bridgewaters.At the regular meeting on October 19, 1964, the Secretary reported the receipt of $1000 and two whiskey glasses, once the property of Most Worshipful Brother Paul Revere, from the estate of our late Worshipful Brother Charles P. Lewis.At the annual meeting on December 14, 1964, Wor. Bro. George C. Richmond submitted his resignation after twenty-one years as Secretary.His letter of resignation can be found on the website.At that meeting Wor. Bro. (later R.W. Bro.) David E. Chaffee was elected Secretary in which position he served for sixteen years, until November 15, 1980. At a special communication on March 3, 1965, a Masonic Funeral Service was held for our late Junior Warden, Brother Elmer Manton Slaney.Thirteen officers, thirty-three members, and forty-four visitors attended.Brother Slaney had also been the Dad Advisor for the Bridgewater Assembly, Rainbow for Girls.

 

At the February 24, 1964 regular meeting, a committee had been appointed to look into the advisability of either remodeling the Lodge building or erecting a new Temple.Over a number of years, it had become increasingly apparent that extensive repairs would have to be made to the old structure, which had been the home of Fellowship Lodge for nearly one hundred years.The building was structurally weak and the lodge room on the third floor was a potential firetrap.After considerable study by this committee and others that followed, demolition of the old building and erection of a new building on the same site was recommended at the May 2, 1966 regular meeting.The thirteen officers and forty-four members in attendance unanimously voted to proceed with the project and to withdraw $50,000 from the Lodge’s trust funds.

 

At a special meeting on May 23, 1966, the District Deputy Grand Master assisted by the Worshipful Master presented eighteen Brethren with their 40 Year Certificates (25 other eligible Brethren were not able to be present) and three Brethren received 60 Year Certificates – Bro. Thomas Carroll (63 years), Bro. Crawford Ferguson (61 years), and Bro. Lozeah Chadwick (60 years).

 

At the June 6, 1966 regular meeting, the last held in the old building, the thirteen officers and fifty-eight members present confirmed the new building project with a second unanimous vote and initiated a drive for funds with Brother Thomas Carroll, our oldest member, making the first contribution.Arrangements were made for our Lodge to meet in the quarters of Satucket Lodge in East Bridgewater.Late in July, demolition of the old building was begun, and construction proceeded with few interruptions.Right Worshipful Brother David E. Chaffee, Secretary, closed his annual report on December 16, 1966 with these words:“Now comes December, another annual meeting, and the close of a year which will be recorded as one of the greatest in the history of Fellowship Lodge.”By this time, the Building Fund had raised $47,806 in pledges and cash towards its goal of $50,000.

 

It is noted in the records of the regular meeting held on October 24, 1966, that Attorney John Daley of Bridgewater (not a member of the Lodge and future Plymouth County Register of Probate) had represented the Lodge and succeeded in quashing a pending court action brought by an abutter of the Lodge regarding the construction of the new temple and that his fee would be in the form of a receipted bill and it would be his donation to the new Masonic Temple.(Editor’s note:Brethren may recall that in the Masonic play “A Rose Upon the Altar” a Lodge charity is questioned and then defended as worthy, it having been extended to a “good Catholic” not a member of the Lodge.In the above instance, the charity in real life is in the reverse.)

 

At the regular and annual meeting on December 19, 1966, it was voted to authorize the Trustees to borrow $50,000.00 from the Bridgewater Savings Bank and to execute a note therefor for a term of three years then on demand, with 6 per cent interest, payable in quarterly installments; and to execute and deliver a mortgage of the trust property on Central Square, Bridgewater, Mass. to secure the same.

On June 19, 1967, the Lodge met in its temporary quarters at Satucket Lodge for the last time.

 

September 6, 1967 was a “Red Letter Day” in the history of Fellowship Lodge.On that day officers of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts came to Bridgewater.At 4:30 in the afternoon, the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Thomas A. Booth presided over the laying of the cornerstone assisted by our presiding Master, Worshipful Brother Roland C. Garrison, and a suite of Grand Lodge officers.The ceremony was open to the public, and was witnessed by a large number of members, their families, and townspeople.

 

A box was deposited behind the cornerstone into which had been placed the following items:one set of doorknobs from the old building; one book of By-Laws printed in 1953; one book of By-Laws printed in 1966; one Building Fund brochure; one Fellowship Lodge communication dated June 1966; one Fellowship Lodge communication dated September 1967; one Harmony Royal Arch Chapter communication dated September 1967; one Bridgewater Chapter, No. 173, Order of Eastern Star communication dated September 1967; one Bridgewater Assembly No. 75, Order ofRainbow for Girls communication dated September 1967; a list of the members of the Building Committee; the name, Carroll Pike, of the architect; and, the name, T. F. Crowell & Son, of the contractor.This box is to be removed and opened at the Lodge’s 225th Anniversary in 2022.

 

At 7:30 in the evening, the Lodge met in its new quarters for the first time.Masons from near and far taxed the capacity of the lodge room to participate in the traditional Masonic dedication ceremonies.There were in attendance fourteen officers, fifty-five members, thirty-two visitors, and the Grand Master and his suite of nineteen Grand Lodge officers, including five Past Grand Masters.A more detailed account of the ceremony, from the Secretary’s records, can be seen on the website.

 

At the regular meeting on November 13, 1967, the portion of the will of the late Mrs. Eleanor G. Reynolds pertaining to the Lodge was read, revealing a bequest of $2000.00 and the rest of the residue of the estate to be deposited in the Lodge’s Elmer Kimball Fund.Brother Harry H. Brush retired after twenty-one years as Tyler, and it was noted that he had also been a member of the Fellowship Players for thirty-three years, playing the part of the Rev. Bro. Dr. Blair in “A Rose Upon the Altar.”

 

At the regular meeting on April 8, 1968, Right Worshipful Brother John D. Dorr, Chairman of the Building Committee, gave a final report of the construction of the Masonic Temple and moved that the committee turn the building over to the Trustees of Fellowship Lodge and that the committee be discharged.It was so voted.After the regular meeting on September 30, 1968, a guest night was held with ladies and friends gathered in the Lodge room for the dedication of the new Hammond organ to the memory of Mrs. Eleanor G. Reynolds, and a concert by a guest organist.At a special meeting on February 17, 1969, a reception was held by the Lodge for Right Worshipful Brother David E. Chaffee, District Deputy Grand Master of the Brockton 29th Masonic District.

 

On April 3, 1968, a mortgage-burning ceremony proclaimed the Lodge’s freedom from encumbrances.Thus, the hopes and plans of Fellowship Lodge came to fruition, and another page was added to the history of Masonry in Bridgewater.The following took part in the ceremony:Brother Thomas Carroll, the oldest member in years of service (66); Worshipful Brother James R. Donnelly, chairman of the Board of Trustees; Brother Donald H. Bergstrom, the newest Master Mason; Right Worshipful Brother John D. Dorr, chairman of the Building Committee;Worshipful Brother David A. Davis, Presiding Master; Worshipful Brother Edward M. Adams, acting Senior Warden; Worshipful Brother Luther L. Hayden, Jr., Junior Warden; the Reverend Brother James D. MacLauchlin, Chaplain; Brothers Paul H. Lyons and David L. Walker, Trustees; Right Worshipful Brother David E. Chaffee, District Deputy Grand Master; and Worshipful Brother Charles A. MacKinnon, District Deputy Grand Marshal.

 

No account of the building of the new Temple would be complete without credit being given to those whose efforts and contributions made it possible.First, to the Building Committee, which labored so tirelessly for a period of more than two years studying, planning, and finally, supervising the building construction.Second, to all those who subscribed so generously to the drive for funds.Third, to the memory of those whose gifts and bequests were largely responsible for the Lodge being able to build without incurring indebtedness:namely, Brothers Elmer Edson Kimball and John Gardner Braman; Paul Revere, great-grandson of the signer of our charter; Mrs. Flora T. Little, widow of Brother Walter S. Little; and Mrs. Eleanor G. Reynolds, daughter of Brother Harry H. Bragdon, Lodge treasurer for thirty-nine years.To these, and many others, Fellowship Lodge owes an enduring debt of gratitude.

 

At the regular meeting on November 17, 1969, a history of the Lodge’s pool table was given by Right Worshipful Brother David E. Chaffee (it can be seen on the website), and plans were announced to reactivate the Fellowship Players.

 

Several interesting meetings occurred in 1970. In January, the Massachusetts Police Square Club raised Brother Ervin Gardner Lothrop (West Bridgewater Police Department).In April, a fraternal visit our own Right Worshipful Brother David E. Chaffee, was also a surprise fraternal by the D.D.G.M. of the Taunton 28th District and forty-nine officers and members of the Lodges in that district.At a special meeting on June 1, Right Worshipful Brother Chaffee presented Brother Thomas Carroll with a citation for 67 years service, and Brother P. Percival Dorr a citation for 61 years service.Right Worshipful Brother Chaffee and the presiding D.D.G.M.’sfrom thirteen other districts then raised a candidate to Master Mason.

 

On February 22, 1971, the first Annual Gathering of the members of Fellowship Lodge and Bridgewater Council No. 488, Knights of Columbus took place.This sharing of bread and friendship, initiated by Worshipful Brother William C. Prophett,who was again serving as presiding Master, continues to this day with each fraternity alternately serving as host, and now includes our ladies as guests.The Secretary’s report of this first meeting appears on the website.After the regular communication on May 22, 1972, approximately 125 members, ladies and friends enjoyed “the theatrical aptness of the Fellowship Players in their first performance, before a mixed audience, of “A Rose Upon the Altar.”

 

On June 15, 1972, a Special Communication (by dispensation) of Fellowship Lodge was held at Ridder’s Country Club in Whitman for the purpose of celebrating the 175th Anniversary of the Lodge.Approximately three hundred forty-five members, friends, and guests attended, including the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Donald W. Vose and his suite of Grand Lodge officers.Fifteen of the seventeen living Past Masters of Fellowship Lodge were present.Most Worshipful Brother Vose presided, briefly seated in the Paul Revere chair.He commented to the effect that because of his size, he dared not occupy the chair longer lest he be held accountable for damage to it.A proclamation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives honoring the Lodge was read by the presiding Master, Right Worshipful Brother John D. Dorr.(The Secretary’s report of the anniversary celebration appears on the website.)Then on June 18th, the Grand Master again joined members of the Lodge, and fellow Masons from the Brockton 29th Masonic District, for an Anniversary Church Service at the Central Square Congregational Church.The Reverend Brother James D. MacLauchlin, pastor of the church and chaplain of the Lodge, conducted the service.A member of each of the eight lodges in the district served as ushers.

 

In January 1973, the Massachusetts Police Square and Compass Club visited the Lodge to do the Master Mason Degree.At the regular communication on November 5, 1973, the Lodge voted as not in favor of Grand Lodge lowering the age for membership from twenty-one to eighteen.This change, however, was eventually implemented.In June 1974, Worshipful Brother Ivan F. Nourse was presented a 4-gallon Blood Donor pin, and in September, Brother Robert A. Cossaboom received his 4-gallon pin.At the regular meeting on December 23, 1974, the Lodge voted to withdraw $1000.00 from the Charity Fund as the Lodge’s gift to the Masonic Home Expansion Program.(The Masonic Home is in Charlton, MA.)

 

Over the next several years a number of Degree Teams visited our Lodge and Fellowship Lodge visited other Lodges to perform degrees.In April 1975, the Ebb and Flo Club from the South Weymouth Naval Air Station participated in a Third Degree; in June 1975, the Scottish Degree Team “The Kilted Craft” participated in a First Degree; in October 1975, the officers of St. Martin Lodge, Chatham, MA participated in a Third Degree at Fellowship and then our Lodge raised one of our Brothers at St. Martin Lodge in Chatham; in February of 1976 and again in April, the Massachusetts Firefighters Square Club visited to do the Third Degree; also in April, Fellowship Lodge visited Oriental Lodge in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard (an account of this visit is on the website); in June 1976, the Paul Revere Lodge “Colonial Degree Team” did a Third Degree, as did the Kilwinning Scottish Degree Team in October of 1976; and in November 0f 1976, the Lodge held a Past Masters night for a Third Degree.

 

At the time the new Temple was constructed, electricity was reported to be the up-and-coming most economical way to heat a building, so that system was installed.The promise did not pan out however, and the cost of heating the building during the winter months became so burdensome that the Lodge, on September 26, 1977, voted to have all bodies using the building to meet on consecutive nightsduringthe same week of the month to reduce heating costs, and a few years later voted to close the building from December 7, 1981 to March 29, 1982, and maintain the heat at a minimum safe level.Meetings were suspended for that period and, instead, were held during the summer of 1982.

 

On April 5, 1982, the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother J. Philip Berquist, and his suite of Grand Lodge officers paid a fraternal visit to Fellowship Lodge to participate in a reception for Right Worshipful Brother John D. Dorr, who had been elected and installed Junior Grand Warden.Right Worshipful Brother Dorr, a recipient of the Henry Price Medal from the Grand Lodge, thus became the third member of the Lodge to become a permanent member of the Grand Lodge.Most Worshipful Brother Berquist and his suite returned to the Lodge on November 26, 1982, for the installation of officers, and at the conclusion of the ceremonies, presented Worshipful Brother Charles A. MacKinnon with Grand Lodge’s Joseph Warren Distinguished Service Medal.

 

At the regular communication on December 3, 1984, the Lodge voted to have the Pledge of Allegiance at each meeting, immediately after the Lodge was declared open.This action by the Lodge pre-dated, by many years, action by the Grand Lodge to permit the Pledge of Allegiance as part of the opening ceremonies.

 

At the regular communication on October 5, 1987, it was voted to convert the heating system to gas and install the required equipment.A fund drive was initiated and the members responded in such fashion that more than sufficient monies were realized to accomplish the project.

 

On June 5, 1989, the Paul Revere Lodge Colonial Degree Team worked the Third Degree on three Brethren and the Scottish Apron Charge was given by Bro. Leslie Hutchison.It has become the tradition in our Lodge to have the now Wor. Bro. Hutchison give this charge at the conclusion of the Third Degree.At the regular meeting in May 1990, R.W. Bro. Paul Stephen Chase was elected to Honorary Membership in Fellowship Lodge.At the regular meeting on June 4, 1990, R.W. Bro. David E. Chaffee reported on the memorial service conducted in Florida for our departed Brother John Alden Shockley.R.W. Bro. Dave, Wor. Bro. Ivan Nourse, and Bro. Charles Moore performed a final service for our departed Brother by rendering his ashes into the Gulf of Mexico in accordance with his wishes.

 

On October 22, 1990, thirty-three officers and members of the Lodge traveled to Wareham to conduct a Masonic Funeral Service for our departed Junior Deacon, Bro. Philip Thomas Zimmer, who passed away at the age of forty from cancer.Bro. Zimmer was a Deputy Sheriff with the Plymouth County Sheriff’s Office, as were the following members of the Lodge who were present for the service:Wor. Bro. Peter D. Dorr, Wor. Bro. William P Renny, Brothers Walter J. MacDonald, Jr., Robert A. Silva, Glenn E. Pierce, John H. Chisholm, Wayne C. Perkins, Robert E. Gorman, James E. Tripp, Robert J. Bowes, Robert M. Bethoney, Paul A. Greenwood, Jr., and Thomas F. Hunt.

 

The Masonic year September 1, 1990 to August 31, 1991 was a busy one with twenty-three specials in addition to the one annual and twelve regular meetings.The Lodge paid fraternal visits to Benevolent Lodge #7, Milford, NH, and to Pythagorean Lodge #11 in Fryeberg, ME.In February the Ousamequin Chapter, Order of DeMolay from Brockton presented the Mother’s Degree for the Lodge and its guests.During the year, sixteen Brothers were made Entered Apprentices, nineteen were passed to Fellow Craft, and nine were raised to Master Mason.The Secretary noted in his annual report:“All in all, a most active and successful year, marked by enthusiasm, participation, new members, and excellent degree work.”On October 19, 1991, the Lodge sponsored a DeMolay / Rainbow day at the Plymouth County House of Correction and Jail complex.

 

At the regular communication on November 20, 1991, the Lodge voted to designate the chair to the right of the Master’s chair as “the Worshipful Luther L. Hayden, Jr. Past Master’s Chair” to honor our senior Past Master for his long service to the Lodge, he then having been a Past Master for forty-seven years and two days shy of his ninetieth birthday.It was also voted to designate the organ (and any successor organ) as “the Brother Robert Augustus Cossaboom Organ” in honor of his thirty-five years as the Lodge’s organist; and to designate the marshal’s chair as “the Brother Lewis Melbourne Bishop Marshal’s Chair” in honor of his seventeen years as Marshal.This honor was particularly appreciated as it was Brother Bishop’s eighty-seventh birthday.(It should also be noted that at the time of Worshipful Brother Hayden’s passing, he was one hundred years old and had been a Past Master for fifty-eight years; and that when Brother Cossaboom passed away in 2005, he had served as organist for over fifty years.)

 

At the regular communication on October 5, 1992, Worshipful Brother William K. Bowling, P.M., the presiding High Priest of Harmony Royal Arch Chapter, announced that the Chapter was moving to Middleborough and merging with Social Harmony Royal Arch Chapter.He presented a check for $3,400.00 as the Chapter’s parting gift to Fellowship Lodge.

 

The Lodge celebrated its 200th Anniversary on June 14, 1997, with a program, dinner and dance held at the Bridgewater Veterans’ Club.As Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Paul Revere instituted a number of lodges in addition to ours.It was for that reason that the current Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Arthur E. Johnson, could not be with us for our anniversary celebration.He was, in fact, attending the 200th celebration of a lodge one day older than ours in North Attleboro.He was represented by the District Deputy Grand Master of the Brockton 29th Masonic District, Right Worshipful Brother Bruce K. Pratt, a friend of Fellowship Lodge of long standing.Congratulatory proclamations were presented to the Lodge from the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Town of Bridgewater.Among others, music for the occasion was performed by The Chisholm Brothers, John and Charlie, award-winning country singers, natives of Bridgewater, and members of Fellowship Lodge.The dinner was prepared and served by Huntington Chapter, No. 197, Order of Eastern Star.During the program, it was noted that the renovation of the Lodge’s banquet hall was about complete and that it was being named in honor of our senior Past Master, Worshipful Brother Luther L. Hayden, Jr.(The welcoming remarks, invocation, and program are on the website.)

 

At the regular communication on March 20, 2000, Worshipful Brother William K. Bowling was presented the Joseph Warren Medal, and Brother Robert Augustus Cossaboom received the Grand Lodge Distinguished Service Award.

 

On February 26, 2001, a Masonic Funeral Service was conducted for our most senior member, Brother Harold Luther Churbuck, seventy-one years a Mason.At a regular communication on January 13, 2003, a memorial service was held for our late Wor. Bro. Luther L. Hayden, Jr., who when he departed was 100 years old, and 58 years a Past Master of the Lodge.

 

Over the decades from 1970 through 2008, the Lodge experienced a decline in membership of one hundred two members, from two hundred sixty-nine to one hundred sixty-seven.The Lodge was not unique in this as organizations generally in American society were going through the same cycle of decline in membership.There were some bright spots, as between 1989 and 1991 during Worshipful Brother William P. Renny’s tenure as presiding Master, when the Lodge experienced a major resurgence in membership.Sixteen Brethren sponsored a total of thirty-seven candidates and Wor. Bro. Renny sponsored another nineteen.Forty-five Brethren were raised to Master Mason and eleven Brethren became affiliated members of the Lodge.Generally, however, during these decades, the numbers of new candidates were not sufficient to offset losses due to death, demits, and suspensions for non-payment of dues.During this period also, a number of attempts had been made, by establishing funds or enacting small increases in dues and fees, to meet the operating expenses of the Lodge.These, however, did not solve a continuing problem and the income from the invested Fellowship Lodge Fund was used to meet operating expenses.

 

In 2008, two committees were formed to review the finances and By-Laws, respectively, of the Lodge.Following the recommendations of the Investment Committee, the Lodge in October voted to keep the invested funds (“Fellowship Lodge Fund”) with BNY Mellon, to place the quarterly interest payments into an interest-bearing account at a local institution, and further, that these monies are intended to be added at some point(s) to the Fellowship Lodge Fund to grow the fund, and are not to be withdrawn without a majority vote of members present at a regular meeting.The By-Laws Committee completed and recommended adoption of a comprehensive update of the By-Laws which among other things, expanded the number and duties of the Trustees, and most importantly, raised the fees for membership and degrees and the annual dues substantially, to a level which should meet the normal operating expenses of the Lodge and enable the new investment strategy voted by the Lodge to succeed.The amended By-Laws were adopted by an affirmative vote substantially more than the two-thirds required on November 10, 2008, and were approved by the Grand Lodge Committee on Charters and By-Laws on December 10, 2008.

 

As of May 19, 2008, there were one hundred seventy-eight active members of Fellowship Lodge.Over the years since its beginning, the Lodge has had one thousand four hundred thirty-one members (e.g., signers of the By-Laws).The average age of our members was fifty-eight; the oldest member was ninety-four, the youngest was nineteen; the average years a Mason was twenty-four; the senior years a Mason was sixty-five, and the junior, two months.One hundred fifty-six active members were living in Massachusetts, and twenty-two active members were living out of state.The Lodge was two hundred ten years and eleven months old (it is only twenty-two years younger than our country).It has had ninety-eight Masters of record, ten of whom served as District Deputy Grand Masters, and five of whom served in other Grand Lodge offices (some served in more than one office).

 

Now, with this updated history in March of 2009, our Lodge is much revitalized.Over twenty candidates are receiving their degrees, we have more prospects on the horizon, and two Brothers are new affiliates.The finances are, because of the aforementioned investment and By-Laws initiatives, in an improved state, and several areas of the building have been refurbished.There is an active interest among the officers and members to grow and strengthen our beloved institution.It would seem, therefore, entirely appropriate to repeat here the words of some of our distinguished members:

 

Worshipful Brother Arthur C. Boyden, presiding as Master on the occasion of the Lodge’s 145th Anniversary, in presenting our ancient charter to the Grand Master, said:“This charter is signed by the names of brothers who are honored in our national history.It is an old document with no mark of surrender upon it.During the days of prosperity or bitter adversity it has been carefully guarded and honored.In your hands we place it, with feelings of justifiable pride in its history.May its future be as rich in good to the fraternity, as its past has been to Fellowship Lodge.

 

Right Worshipful Brother John D. Dorr, in 1975, the year of our country’s bicentennial, wrote a charge which has since been given at our installations of officers.In the section addressed to the Members, he wrote:“…It is our task to work together, accepting subordination for the good of the majority, suggesting when it is expedient to do so, criticizing only when it is constructive.Above all, we should remember that man in his best estate is subject to frailty and error, and that we should endeavor to cover his faults and foibles with the broad mantle of brotherly love and charity.”

 

With these thoughts in mind, Worshipful Brother Luther L. Hayden, Jr.’s words in closing his 1997 -1972 Historical Highlights have special meaning and poignancy:“For 175 years, Fellowship Lodge has survived through wars, depressions and the anti-Masonic period, and has prospered.It has become a recognized and respected influence for good in the community.As a unit of a great Fraternity, international in its scope, we should like to feel that it has played its part in the promotion of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth to all men ‘where ever dispersed over the face of this earth.’May God grant that its future be as bright as its past.”

 

So mote it be.Our Lodge has now survived for two hundred fourteen years, and our proud heritage as a “Paul Revere lodge” and a “moon lodge” continues.