Rural Lodge A.F. & A.M.
Rural Lodge A.F. & A.M.

175TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, JUNE 1976

From Proceedings, Page 1976-206:

By Right Worshipful Henry S. C. Cummings

What a fascinating task confronts a historian charged with the review of the events, developments, words and deeds of a Lodge whose existence stretches back 175 years as with Rural Lodge. So much in this interval has transpired. Reading page after page in the records one inevitably observes, for instance, the attitude of commitment, the willingness of individuals to explore, heed and practice the ideals of Freemasonry — and thus, giving one the perspective to evaluate the early days as compared with the present; the durability and usefulness of Masonic teachings; and, more important, to attempt to assess the broad ecological movements of society.

Masonry has endeavored, as most of us know, to get men to aspire, to serve and build good clean lives. It has enriched literally millions of lives and has left its imprint on the structures of government as well as offering mankind a "Way of Life" in which morality, social responsibility, integrity and faith are the pillars of its edifice. When Rural Lodge received its Charter in 1801 our country was seeking sovereignty through independence. It was championing the principle of Democracy, Religious Freedom and Justice under law. An industrial revolution was evolving during these two centuries that was destined to make our country the mightiest among the industrial nations of the world. The Masonry we know came into being in 1717 in England and when it was introduced by Henry Price to Massachusetts in 1733 and St. John's Lodge in Boston was organized it became the oldest Grand Lodge on the North American continent. The real growth of Masonry in our jurisdiction, however, developed from 1792 after the union of Saint John's Provincial Grand Lodge, established July 30, 1733 and Massachusetts Provincial Grand Lodge, established December 27, 1769, and Massachusetts Independent Grand Lodge, established March 8, 1777, became the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on March 19, 1792.

Rural Lodge was among only thirty-four Lodges in existence in the jurisdiction of Massachusetts when it received its Charter dated June 8, 1801. Chartered the same year were: Fraternal Lodge, Hyannis; Mount Lebanon Lodge, Boston; Pacific Lodge, Amherst; Aurora Lodge, Fitchburg; and Corner Stone Lodge, Duxbury.

Today there are 346 Lodges, making it evident that Rural Lodge was, indeed, among the earliest to recognize the value of the teachings of the Craft. It is also of historical interest to note that Rural Lodge became identified with the City of Quincy only nine years after that City came into being. Quincy originally was a part of the Town of Braintree which was incorporated in 1640 — composed then of three villages identified as North (North Quincy), Middle (Braintree), and South (Randolph). The Randolph village separated in 1792. During the first two years (1801-1802) Rural Lodge met in Randolph and its first Master was Worshipful William P. Whiting.

Almost immediately differences arose over locating the place of meeting which led to a petition being made to transfer to the richly rural area of Quincy, which petition was granted December 26, 1803. This was the community in which Christ Church was located, among whose parishioners were such distinguished citizens as the Honorable John Adams and the Honorable John Quincy Adams, who later followed the beloved George Washington in the office of President of the United States. Most WorshipfulIsaiah Thomas was the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, with other Grand Lodge officers, who participated on September 19, 1804, in the formal consecration ceremonies which were held in Dexter Hall. This occasion was preceded by a procession. The records referred to the fact that John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Thomas B. Adams, Cotton Tufts of Weymouth; the Selectmen and Deacons of Quincy participated. The charter of Rural Lodge bears the signature of Most Worshipful Samuel Dunn, the Grand Master 1800-1802, only the fourth to serve in this exalted office.

Because it was Masonry's concern for building manhood, character and faith, it is easy to understand why it has attracted into its constituency, as nowhere else in the world educators, philosophers, builders, idealists and political leaders. Its business was not exalting people so much as principles. Times may change violently, but ideals effecting virtue, integrity and faith, we have observed, have relevance in all generations. Masonry's search for Truth through nature, science, philosophy; its interest in humanity and the spiritual side of life; and its universal conception of fraternity, brotherhood and philanthropy — certainly has offered a broad and refreshing guideline for mankind in a day so fraught with unpredictable complications.

In spite of Masonry's quest for making a "better world" for all, contentions never seemed to go away. In 1830, for instance, there were four anti-Masonic papers being published casting a shadow on the Masonic Fraternity lasting nineteen years, over what was known as the Morgan episode. This led to some 54 Lodges of the 107 Lodges in the jurisdiction between 1825-1844 actually ceasing to function. The Massachusetts Legislature notified our Grand Lodge to appear and show cause why the Act of Incorporation granted in 1817 should not be repealed. Some months later the Grand Lodge placed all its property in the hands of trustees, and then in formal and legal manner surrendered the Act of Incorporation to the Legislature with a "Memorial" setting forth their action surrendering their charter. Fortunately, by the middle of the fourth decade, the force of the attack had been spent and in 1850 the Grand Lodge was again incorporated and from that time Masonry has made steady forward progress.

As a result of this upheaval, Rural Lodge surrendered the Charter (November 18, 1834). Its funds were dispersed among its members and Lodge equipment was taken over by the Grand Lodge. There were perhaps a half dozen Rural members who joined in 1831 with some eighteen hundred brethren living in 54 different townships in Massachusetts and signed a document, drafted by Charles W. Moore, the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge, offering for the Fraternity a formal defense.

This document became known as the Boston Declaration and did much to restore a crusading spirit of confidence in the mission of Freemasonry. The signers belonging to Rural Lodge included Worshipful Brothers Samuel Savill, Josiah Bass, Elisha Marsh, Lemuel Brackett, and Jonathan Marsh. Grand Lodge in time returned to Rural Lodge its Charter (September 15, 1853). The Lodge was reorganized and the first meeting was held on September 29, 1853, in Abercrombie Hall.

It was in October 1866 that the question of needing a larger meeting place arose. This resulted in the Lodge moving its quarters to the Greenleaf Building, located on the corner of Hancock and Granite Streets. However, disaster cast its gloom over the community when on the morning of September 1, 1875, a fire destroyed the Lodge room, including all the furniture and regalia. The fire practically wrecked the building. All that was saved was the Charter, books of account and later records. The building was subsequently restored and dedicated on November 23, 1876. This episode left "missing links" in the history of Rural Lodge, for lost were the records for the period 1801-1862, needed, naturally, for the observance of later anniversaries. However, Rural Lodge soon became known as the "old Lodge with the young spirit". It had vitality and spirit and an unquenchable determination to rise again however challenged by the superficials of circumstance. The faith to be overwhelmed and yet live; the hope to restore the sacred altar for those "seeking light"; and join again in the mission of bringing the spirit of love, brotherhood and fraternity into the lives of others. These, you see, made disasters rallying posts for the more important goals in life — providing, as it were, a spiritual force within, not to be cut down in the midst of the opportunity for usefulness!

Undaunted by a frequency of moves, loss of a Charter and its restoration, and the fire that destroyed the meeting place and records — events moved so swiftly, especially with respect to its phenomenal growth that the question of the acquisition of a new Temple could not be avoided. At once the Lodge had to bring into reality its dream of such a structure on Hancock Street in Quincy. The corner stone laying took place on October 31, 1926, and the formal dedication on November 21, 1927 brought together 832 members of the Craft. The ceremonies were conducted by Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson, the Grand Master, and other Grand Lodge officers, in all its fulness of beauty, dignity and significance. It was easily the largest and most memorable occasion in the history of Rural Lodge; the culmination of literally years of devoted fraternalism and inspired leadership.

The new Temple provided superbly furnished quarters. It was at once the center of Craft endeavor, a hospitable rendezvous for enlightenment purposes unequalled anywhere else in the State. However, a circumstance developed in 1941 that required once more a transfer of the meeting place from Quincy to Braintree. The story unfolds: It was on Sunday, December 7, 1941, when the nation of Japan treacherously and without warning conducted an intensive and disastrous bombing of the United States possessions in the Pacific (Pearl Harbor) causing much loss of life among the military and the civilian population, which caused tremendous property damage. These raids occurred at a time when the Ambassador and Special Envoys of the Japanese Government in Washington were supposedly attempting to negotiate with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Secretary of State Cordell Hull for a peaceful settlement of differences existing between the two nations.

As a result of this unhappy situation which found Japan, Germany and Italy declaring war against the United States, the United States Army was required to take immediate action to protect vital points of production along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Accordingly, a large number of troops and anti-aircraft guns and other equipment came to Quincy from Camp Edwards in Falmouth and took possession of every available space in which to house their forces, and this included the Quincy Masonic Temple, which officially occurred on December 9, 1941. This required that Rural Lodge hold its communications elsewhere for the indefinite period of the war. A dispensation by Grand Lodge authorized meetings to be held during the crisis in Braintree. By good fortune events moved swiftly. It was on February 4, 1942, that the United States Army advised Rural Lodge that it would no longer need to avail itself of the "right of occupancy" of the Quincy Masonic Temple. The Lodge voted March 5, 1942, to resume space in the Temple, which it did on April 1, 1942.

The records not long after indicated severe economic conditions were prevailing that caused serious financial difficulties in the 1950's. It became obvious that if the Lodges using the Temple in Quincy wanted to continue to use their magnificient building it would have to take steps to redeem its defaulted obligations. Therefore, a "Temple Fund" was started on February 21, 1952, to re-acquire the Temple. Authority was voted on February 5, 1953, to convey to the Trustees of the Quincy Masonic Trust, all real estate and personal property owned, including release to the Trustees of all liability under said Trust. Papers passed March 6, 1953, at which time ownership was regained following the assignment of seven mortgates from the Quincy Savings Bank for the consideration of $150,000. This provided a sufficient and satisfactory record title. Much of the credit for raising the sum of $169,575.98 reflected on the expertise and leadership of Right Worshipful Raymond C. Warmington, Worshipful Carroll L. Cheverie, and Worshipful Kendall F. Mills in stimulating this remarkable response of many in the membership of the Craft.

As one examines the records of Rural Lodge, several observations underline the extent of the prestige of the Lodge in its fraternal relationships. We noted, for instance, between 1804-1966 that no less than twelve "presiding" Grand Masters have made formal visits to Rural Lodge. This must be some sort of a jurisdictional record of having been visited by Grand Masters during their terms of office; suggesting, we would like to think, the pre-eminence of this Lodge as a stronghold in the affairs of the Craft. Visits are recorded of Isaiah Thomas, 1804; Percival L. Everett, 1876; Charles T. Gallagher, 1901; Baalis Sanford, 1904; Frank L. Simpson, 1927; Herbert W. Dean, 1930Joseph E. Perry, 1938; Arthur W. Coolidge, 1944; Samuel H. Wragg, 1947;Thomas S. Roy, 1951; Whitfield W. Johnson, 1956; Thomas A. Booth, 1966 and in addition Arthur D. Prince, 1941 as a Past Grand Master; W. C. Melley, Grand Master of Ohio and Hugh Reid, Past Grand Master of Virginia, 1956. This observation is further underlined by the unusual activity and productivity of Rural Lodge as measured by a statistical review of its membership growth and meeting attendance. Because so few Lodges in Massachusetts have had membership topping the thousand mark, special note should be made of those years when it peaked beyond that arbitrary and elusive goal. It was in 1927 that the membership reached 1015 and totalled 1065 in 1932. Another surge forward into the one thousand member circle occurred in 1955 when the gain of 35 members in that year brought the roll up to 1027 before accounting for demits and deaths. This total membership continued for eight years until 1963 and was excelled by only two other Lodges in all of Massachusetts — Athelstan, Worcester, whose membership at one time reached 1100, and Morning Star, Worcester, which reached 1065. The phenomenon of retraction in membership commenced in 1957 in almost every Lodge in the Jurisdiction, and Rural's membership in 1974 has declined to 772. Impressive also has been the attendance at meetings in general which has exceeded 500, showing the working together for good spirit dominated the rank and file of the membership during most of the period into the 1950's. Actually, few other Lodges in the State have never equalled the 832 who attended the dedication of the present Masonic Temple in Quincy on November 21, 1927.

As Masonry gathered into its membership leaders in civic, community and church life, it rapidly exceeded, as you can see, its capacity to keep up with those seeking admission. Following World War I (1920-1926) some 9,958 flocked into the Fraternity in Massachusetts. Rural Lodge in 1923 initiated 56 into its membership, necessitated the holding of thirty special meetings beyond the twelve regular meetings. This led to the formation of other Lodges in the immediate vicinity coming into existence, includingTheodore Roosevelt Lodge and Wollaston Lodge in 1919; Atlantic and Wessaguset Lodges in 1920, and Manet Lodge in 1921. Thus, over the years, with the exception of the Worcester 22nd Masonic District, the Quincy 26th District has topped all of the Districts in Massachusetts. Of course, there were many circumstances that helped to bring this superiority of performance and in addition to the causes it supported, we cannot escape the contributions of individuals, whose dedication, motivation and commitment provided that solid support, which today we recognize as the "spirit" that has made Rural Lodge the satellite among the Lodges in the Commonwealth.

Before we attempt to review the services and achievements of many deeply dedicated members, we want to call attention to several observations of your historian, which added to the image of the Craft and Rural Lodge in particular. It was the great number of Masons who were active in community affairs. From the membership of Rural Lodge alone, Emery L. Crane held the responsible position of City Clerk of Quincy for over 40 years. He was Master of Rural Lodge 1890-1891 and was the recipient of the Joseph Warren Medal for Distinguished Service in 1940 and a 50 Year Veteran's Medal in 1934. Brother William A. Bradford, recipient of the 50 Year Veteran's Medal in 1953, and Brother Thomas S. Burgin, a similar award in 1973, both served the City of Quincy as Mayor. Brothers Ernest H. Bishop and Henry Peterson were Chief of Police there.

It was during the administration of Worshipful William A. Stetson, Jr., in 1923 that Worshipful Charles Sampson and Worshipful Frank A. Reed were appointed a Committee to look into the Order of DeMolay, a boy's organization founded by Frank S. Land in 1919 and introduced into Massachusetts in 1922 by Most Worshipful Melvin M. Johnson. They reported favorably back to Rural Lodge whereupon $250.00 was voted to assist in providing the necessary organization expenses of Old Colony Chapter which was instituted March 1, 1924. This DeMolay Chapter in 1974 observed its Fiftieth Anniversary. Over these past years it has produced many solid citizens and good Masonic material, more than justifying the judgement of confidence in the usefulness of this Order, now recognized by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, in character training for the concerns of life that youth must inevitably face. Initiated into its ranks throughout the country and elsewhere more than three million have benefited by its profound teachings as have the Lodges where these boys have later joined. There were only six other DeMolay Chapters organized in Massachusetts in 1922-1923 and only eleven instituted in 1924; and today there is an active enrollment of some 9,000 boys between the ages of 14-18 years of age in one or another of ninety Chapters in the State. The support given by Right Worshipful Irvin B. Gifford and Right Worshipful Raymond C. Warmington added conspicuously to the achievements of this program.

Rural Lodge has been one of the leading donors of blood to the Masonic Blood Bank since its inception by Grand Lodge in 1940. Designed to make blood available to any member of the Fraternity and his family in times of emergency, it has developed into the highest expression of stretching forth a lifting hand to one's Brother. In 1967 it was reported that 21,570 pints of blood were donated, which exceeded the combined gifts from all other sources in Massachusetts. Rural Lodge has been among those to have provided close to 100 pints annually, with 235 pints collected in 1966 being the best showing. This was achieved under the chairmanship of Worshipful William J. Souden. Gallon pin recognition by the Grand Lodge paid tribute to Brother Arthur Curtis, 5 gallons; Brother Thurston Hartford, 5 gallons; Worshipful Douglas S. Gordon, 4 gallons; Brother John Nisbet, 2 gallons; Brother Carl H. Salin, 2 gallons; Brother Robert A. McAndrews, Brother Arthur E. Ahola, Worshipful C. Murray Pendleton, and Worshipful Sulo W. Tuori, one gallon each.

There have been a number of residents of the Masonic Home in Charlton and the Nursing Home in Shrewsbury from Rural Lodge. These facilities in Charlton were established in 1910 by the Grand Lodge, while the Nursing Home, known as Juniper Hall in Shrewsbury, gift of Mrs. Gertrude Whittall, the widow of Right Worshipful Matthew J. Whittall, became available to residents in 1928. The functions of these two institutions, offering "shelter and loving care" for the needy and elderly in our ranks, as well as providing provision for the terminally ill, has been one of the grandest charities of our beloved Fraternity. The records of Rural Lodge are replete with fraternal activities, generous concern for community affairs and cooperation in the affairs of the Craft. It was among the first to recognize and support Lodges of Instruction when they were organized in 1927 in Massachusetts. It was in 1928 that the 22nd Lodge of Instruction was formally instituted. Among its Past Masters have been Worshipful Charles A. Johnson, Jr., 1934 ; Right Worshipful Irvin B. Gifford, 1948 ; Worshipful Toivo Tyori, 1953 ; Right Worshipful Frank E. Nelson, 1966; Worshipful Roderick D. Morrison, Jr., 1968; and Worshipful William J. Souden, 1975. This educational program has done much to make the teachings and symbolism of Freemasonry articulate and meaningful. It introduces candidates beyond the boundaries of their own Lodge to the existence of Masons in other Lodges, in other Districts and other countries. It offers to Past Masters, as in Rural Lodge, the opportunity to further serve, and attempts, most successfully, to provide a uniform and informative base for the broadening of the Craft's knowledge of Freemasonry.

Another way to judge the membership of a Lodge is to be reminded how Grand Lodge has honored those in its ranks. We find the Henry Price Medal, for instance, was presented to Right Worshipful George E. White, Past Senior Grand Warden, in 1939; to Right Worshipful Raymond C. Warmington, Deputy Grand Master in 1943. The Joseph Warren Medal for Distinguished Service has been presented to Right Worshipful Roy Prout, 1939; Worshipful Albert E. Sargent, 1941 ; Worshipful Emery L. Crane, 1940; Right Worshipful James S. Collins, 1944; Worshipful Walter E. Simmons, 1945 ; Right Worshipful Irvin B. Gifford, 1952, showing how many different ones succeeded in doing for Masonry and his Lodge beyond the usual contributions. These rtceived the special honors, or decorations, but the list of others is formidable and in some respects even more deserving of our praise as we turn back the pages and discover their love and devotion to the Fraternity.

We have in mind, for instance, the services of Brother Francis A. Massey, 1860-1898, when for these 38 years he was Marshal of Rural Lodge; Brother Clarence M. Lewis, 1884-1965, was Tyler and made an Honorary Member in 1962; Brother Walter E. Simmons, 1885-1925, for 40 years as Secretary. Then there was Brother William Patterson, 1912-1925, who served 14 years as Sentinel. The records showed this Brother as being one of the oldest and most faithful members.

We would also include Reverend Samuel L. Kelley, 1869-1883, who served Rural Lodge as its Chaplain for 13 years. The records indicated a thousand attended his last rites. Serving also as Chaplain from 1924-1936 was Reverend Charles A. Johnson, a spiritual center in the membership. He has been remembered for having "lived the strong sweet simple life God meant". Reverend Chester A. Porteus affiliated in 1944, served as Chaplain for 23 years from 1951 to the time of his retirement in 1974. Also in this grouping, Reverend Joseph Bass served as Marshal for 21 years (1808-1816 and again 1821-1834). The Grand Lodge has another way of recognizing individuals in the Craft who have added strength to the high purposes of Freemasonry, and this is by making such individuals Grand Representatives to Jurisdictions with which the Jurisdiction of Massachusetts is in friendly relationship. Among members from Rural Lodge have been Right Worshipful Samuel T. MacQuarrie to the Grand Lodge of the Philippines, 1939-1952; Right Worshipful Philip C. McMurdie to Unida Mexicana, Mexico, 1945-1962; Right Worshipful Frank E. Nelson to Maranhao, Brazil, 1972; and Right Worshipful Irvin B. Gifford to South Australia since 1963.

It comes a bit as a surprise to find that there have been twenty-two Secretaries of Rural Lodge. We think primarily of the service of Brother Walter E. Simmons who served 42 years between 1884 and 1925 and of Right Worshipful Irvin B. Gifford, who has served with unusual faithfulness since 1944, more than 30 years and still has a rugged expectation of further service. However, for the record, the office of Secretary of Rural Lodge has been occupied by the following members:

  • Thomas French, 1801
  • Eleazer Beal, Jr., 1802
  • Renslee Jones, 1803
  • Simeon Alden, 1803
  • Jonathan Derby, 1804
  • Elisha Marsh, 1805
  • Benjamin Vinton, 1808
  • Lemuel Brackett, 1810
  • Jacob Allen, 1823
  • Thomas Phipps, 1826
  • Elisha Marsh, 1831
  • William W. Dean, 1853
  • George L. Gill, 1855
  • Charles A. Cummings, 1858
  • Stephen Morse, Jr., 1860
  • Seth Deming, Jr., 1864
  • Charles H. Porter, 1871
  • Walter E. Simmons, 1884
  • Edward P. Smith, 1926
  • Roy Prout, 1927
  • Gordon S. Troupe, 1943
  • Irvin B. Gifford, 1944

The records have many references to the exchange of visits with other Lodges, as well as visits to other jurisdictions. In particular, there has been a thirty-year tradition of visits with Delta Lodge in Braintree. Degrees have been exemplified at Union Lodge of Nantucket (June 1, 1935) and Deering Lodge in Portland, Maine (May 5, 1938). Worshipful Aldo Cugini, with his officers, had a memorable trip to Alexandria, Virginia (May 10, 1969) to exemplify the Fellow Craft Degree for Lancaster Lodge No. 22, and to visit the George Washington National Masonic Memorial. On May 21, 1971, Worshipful C. Murray Pendleton and his officers visited Asylum Lodge No. 57 of Stonington, Connecticut, where Rural Lodge had the pleasure of witnessing the Fellow Craft Degree as presented by Connecticut ritual. Perhaps the most outstanding of these fraternal visits occurred on April 22, 1972 when Worshipful Robert A. Gentry of Rural Lodge accompanied by Right Worshipful Walter J. Hanson, District Deputy Grand Master oi the Quincy 26th Masonic District, and twenty officers and members were guests of Azure Lodge No. 129 of Cranford, New Jersey, Worshipful Robert L. Dennis, Master. This was the exact date of the one hundredth anniversary of the constituting of this Lodge. Right Worshipful Donald M. Marshall, District Deputy Grand Master of the New Jersey 13th Masonic District, with Past Grand Marshal Right Worshipful Russell P. Tyndall, were received, welcoming the visiting brethren from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey Lodges for an evening of fraternal brotherhood. Worshipful Robert A. Gentry read a dispensation from Most Worshipful Donald W. Vose, Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, authorizing Rural Lodge to raise candidates Herbert W. Jordan and Hubbard E. Jordan to the degree of Master Mason. The work was followed by a charge by Right Worshipful William A. Ring, Sr., (New Jersey) considered by all a wonderful fraternal visit.

Sparked by the leadership of Worshipful Toivo Tuori and Worshipful Sulo W. Tuori, many happy occasions were planned for those of Finnish origin, which now for many years has become an annual affair with an increasing attendance from around Massachusetts of Finnish Freemasons. One of the best musical programs ever given in the Quincy Masonic Temple took place on January 10, 1935, with Brother Alfred Erickson reading a paper on "Masonry in Finland" which was received with much attention and interest. Of great significance was the relationship that developed with Luoni Loosi No. 1 Lodge in Helsinki, Finland, among whose membership was their Honorary Member, Composer Jean Sibelius, an active Mason. On April 1, 1948, a copy of the Sibelius ritual music was received by Rural Lodge, personally autographed by this great composer, identifying the music as for Finnish Masons and as his composition. This has become a priceless possession which Rural Lodge not only cherishes but hopes to carefully preserve and often use for the delight of the Brethren. We have alluded earlier to the considerable number of father-son relationships in Rural Lodge. Historically unusual was an occasion (April 25, 1946) when with Worshipful Walter E. Simmons in the East to raise Brother Albert Littlewood, Jr. to the Degree of Master Mason. He was assisted by the candidate's father, Brother Albert Littlewood, Sr., serving as Marshal and the candidate's five brothers, Joseph as Senior Deacon, William as Junior Deacon, David as South Gate, George as West Gate and Robert at the East Gate. Most of this family also had been raised previously by Worshipful Walter E. Simmons. On another occasion (November 17, 1966), Most Worshipful Thomas A. Booth, the Grand Master, was present in Rural Lodge when Worshipful H. Paul Vickers was presiding and raised four candidates to the degree of Master Mason, three of these candidates were his own three sons; John, Paul and William Vickers. Such a situation while serving as Master of one's Lodge must indeed be a very special thrill to a father, especially in the presence for the evening of a Grand Master of the Craft. Sons have been raised by Toivo Tuori in 1948; Philip H. Martin in 1955; Arthur S. Hall in 1957; Abbott Johnson in 1961; O. Wendell Rogers in 1966; Carroll L. Cheverie in 1974 and Irvin B. Gifford in 1960.

There are many Past Masters who live to a considerable old age, but rare are those who attain the distinction of having been a Past Master for 50 years or longer. Worshipful Emery L. Crane (1890-1940) and Worshipful Joseph P. Prout (1904-1954) have been the only ones in Rural Lodge to have had this experience. The Lodge has had a large roster of fifty-year members, even in this group a few have earned special mention for being Masons more than sixty years. We refer to Brother Elisha T. Spear (1873-1937) He was born March 19, 1881, received as an Entered Apprentice, February 20, 1873, and died February 21, 1937; a Mason for 64 years. The records said: "He was active in many functions of the Lodge up to the time of his last illness and was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Charity Fund at the time of his death. His cheerful smile and hearty hand clasp will be missed by many members who frequently met him in Lodge." Brother Charles N. Chase (1896-1936) a 60-year Mason, and Brother Clarence R. Bestick, who received his degrees in 1899 and accompanied Right Worshipful Walter J. Hanson, District Deputy Grand Master of the Quincy 26th Masonic District on his suite on May 6, 1971, who introduced him as having been a member of the Craft for seventy-two years. He was reported on the 38th annual list of oldest living Freemasons in point of membership in 1972 as having been a Mason for 70 years. In another category the name of Brother Leggee appeared in the records of Rural Lodge in 1930, indicating his age to be 106, the oldest living Mason on record.

Prior to the presentation of this history by Right Worshipful Henry S. C. Cummings in 1976 commemorating the 175th anniversary of the Chartering of Rural Lodge (June 8, 1801) similar efforts have been prepared by E. Webster Underwood in 1861, Walter E. Simmons in 1901, Elihu T. Spear in 1931, Charles Sampson in 1936 and Irvin B. Gifford in 1951. Today's historian has invested many hours in turning over the pages containing the records of the past, that such as has been presented herein might remain on perpetual records as a monument to the contributions of the leadership and supporting membership of this great Lodge.

An unusual evening (October 16, 1969) centered around the presentation of 50 Year Veteran Medals to Brothers C. Morton Beattie, James E. Smith, John W. Murray and Elmer W. Moffatt by Right Worshipful Clifford R. Phoenix, District Deputy Grand Master of the Quincy 26th Masonic District, for these four brethren received their Master Mason Degree on the same evening of October 9, 1919, fifty years ago. Presiding in the East on this evening was Worshipful William J. Souden. One of our Rural Lodge members who received his degrees in 1921 is believed to have presided over Kane Lodge in Preston, Cuba. His name was Brother Charles P. French. He died on June 6, 1935.

Serving with the District Deputy Grand Master in each District are his appointments, during his term of office, of a District Deputy Grand Marshal and a District Deputy Grand Secretary. Their service is always an honor and provides the opportunity for a Past Master to further serve the Craft. Several of the Past Masters of Rural Lodge have been the recipients of this recognition, including the appointment of Clarence P. Hobson by Right Worshipful Charles G. Jordan in 1953-1954; Irvin B. Gifford by Right Worshipful Roland D. Seger in 1948-1949; Raymond C. Warmington by Right Worshipful James S. Collins in 1939-1940; Walter E. Simmons by Right Worshipful Warren J. Schworm in 1942-1943, and Philip H. Martin by Right Worshipful Raymond C. Warmington in 1944-1945, all as District Deputy Grand Secretaries in the 26th Masonic District.

A resolution prepared by Worshipful C. Abbott Johnson indicated the saddness in which was noted the untimely passing of Brother Clarence Wyman Loud, Senior Deacon of Rural Lodge, on September 22, 1931. A loving tribute to this Brother occurred on November 21, 1935, with the altar beautifully and profusely decorated with a display of white roses in his memory, a remembrance of the fact that had he lived until this year, he would have been the retiring Master.

It was on December 8, 1960 that Worshipful William Rowe, acting as Senior Deacon, approached the northeast corner of the Lodge for the explanation of the working tools, suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to the hospital where he passed on to the Grand Lodge Above; a stern reminder of life's swift changes; how within a twinkling, who knows when, our lives join the caravan to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns, a lesson in our degrees we so vividly try to portray.

Another incident appeared in the records that it was the last wish of Brother Carl R. Clouser, who died December 1, 1966, that his ashes be "scattered to the four winds", which was solemnly and respectfully honored.

Over the years many valuable and useful gifts have been presented to Rural Lodge, each treasured and remembered. We can allude to but a few. When Rural Lodge moved to the Greenleaf building at the corner of Hancock and Granite Streets in Quincy, at that time a cabinet organ, valued at $7,000, was presented (December 16, 1869) by the Quincy Chapter, Order of Eastern Star; Sterling Court, Order of Amaranth gave the altar, as well as other furnishings, and the Bethany White Shrine presented several other articles of value. These gifts, unfortunately, were destroyed on August 26, 1875, when the temple was destroyed by fire. The Deacon brothers presented new ashlars to Rural Lodge on June 16, 1932; an hour glass in memory of Worshipful Charles W. Moreton, who served as Master 1934-1935, and remembered as a "kind soft-spoken man" was presented on April 13, 1961. A beautiful handmade trestle board was donated on May 4, 1972 by the Past Masters of Rural Lodge in memory of Worshipful John E. Walsh and Worshipful Gordon S. Troupe. The Senior Deacon's tool was fashioned by Brother Frederick Parris and presented to the Lodge on April 22, 1948, an exquisite jewel of craftsmanship. In 1921 Manet Lodge presented the three great lights to Rural Lodge.

Mention must also be made of the Senior Warden's jewel and the forty-seventh problem of Euclid jewel which were presented to the Lodge by Right Worshipful Irvin B. Gifford, he having hand-crafted them from solid brass and bakelite.

Other presentations include a beautifully hand-crafted sterling silver water pitcher, by Brother Parris, on which are engraved the names of the officers of the Lodge at the time of presentation. A still further presentation of a solid mahogany cabinet containing the Master Mason Degree emblems, electrically lighted by an operator, was made by the Past Masters of Rural Lodge.

There have been many noteworthy occasions, meaningful to Rural Lodge. One such occasion was on April 4, 1935 when a remarkable number of "Old Timers" responded to the call of their names and were presented a carnation. Each of the fifty-eight had the opportunity to reminisce before the assembly. On May 6, 1937 considerable nostalgia centered around Brother Frederick H. Bishop as he was greeted as the last surviving G. A. R. member of the Paul J. Revere Post No. 88 in Quincy. He was a Past Department Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic Post. The Old Timers and the G.A.R. were an annual feature around whom the membership found delight in honoring for their loyalty and patriotism. On the 50th anniversary of Delta Lodge in Braintree (January 7, 1958), Rural Lodge presented the great lights to commemorate their thirty years of close fraternal relationship in which these Lodges have uninterruptedly exchanged annual visits. On November 4, 1940 Rural Lodge was host to Brother Henry M. Bowen, known as Chief White Eagle, Head Chief of the American Indians, who spoke on "The Evolution of the Real American, from the Tepee to the Happy Hunting Grounds". Speaking from the Master's chair, he made a very impressive spectacle in full Indian Regalia. His address was most interesting and instructive and was given close attention by every member present.

Rural Lodge brought together a distinguished group of Scottish Rite Masons on December 2, 1941, when among some 225 members and 95 visitors, and in the presence of Right Worshipful J. Frederick Price, District Deputy Grand Master of the Quincy 26th Masonic District, was host to Arthur Dow Prince, Deputy for Scottish Rite in the jurisdiction of Massachusetts, and the Grand Master of Masons in 1920-1922. He was accompanied by 111. Samuel H. Baynard, Jr., 33°, Grand Secretary General of the Supreme Council 33°, A. A. S. R., who gave a historical outline of Ancient Masonry. On the suite were thirty Scottish Rite guests. It has been a source of pride to Rural Lodge members that Worshipful Arthur S. Hall, who presided over Rural Lodge in 1957-1958, was Commander-in-Chief of Massacnusetts Consistory in 1964-1967 and became a 33° Mason in 1966.

A memorable evening on March 4, 1971 took place when Rural Lodge was host to Right Eminent Emmett B. Baker, the presiding Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts when the officers of St. Stephen's Royal Arch Chapter, Quincy, participated in the work of the evening. In this group were Worshipful John H. Grant, Worshipful Roderick D. Morrison, Jr., Worshipful Toivo Tuori, and Right Worshipful Frank E. Nelson. The importance of being the host to such collateral bodies in the Craft is the attraction that they have been beyond the quarries of the Blue Lodge. At one time (1957) there were over 130,000 Masons in our jurisdiction, from which membership in each 17,000 have been members of the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, and the Shrine. Each of these groups have contributed notably to the strengthening of fraternalism, the widening of benevolence and the "grand aims" of building character, aspiration, and faith.

There remain a few further fascinating footnotes deserving a place in this history of Rural Lodge which we will endeavor to sharply condense. It is of interest that in 1920 it was necessary to hold sixty-six special communications to handle the one hundred forty-nine candidates added in that year to Rural Lodge. The number of life members shown in 1926 as numbering fifty-eight reached a peak of 315 in 1960, which represented approximately 30% of the membership. Following World War I a great influx occurred in the membership. The records indicated that while Worshipful Walter E. Piper was Master in 1918-1920 there were 263 candidates raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Many in this group are among our 50-year veteran's today who have distinct memories of what attracted them to Freemasonry and have held their loyalty over the tempestuous years of new expectancies arrived at today. Among those made Honorary Members in Rural Lodge we should have included our long-time Chaplain, the Reverend Charles Herbert Johnson (November 3, 1927) and the last surviving G. A. R. Veteran of the Civil War, Brother Frederick H. Bishop (March 7, 1935). In 1944 Grand Lodge succeeded in raising $285,000 in the jurisdiction for the Grand Lodge Military Service Fund, to which Rural Lodge contributed $2,000. and in 1937 Rural Lodge purchased Life Membership in the George Washington National Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. To a considerable extent the close proximity to the Fore River Shipbuilding enterprise has played a conspicuous part in contributing to the membership rolls of Rural Lodge.

A tribute was paid to the ritualistic work of Brother John H. Grant, Senior Deacon, in 1959, by Right Worshipful Norman D. Loud, District Deputy Grand Master of the 26th Masonic District, when he claimed on September 24, 1959, "This is stated without any hesitation; I have never heard the ritual of the Fellow Craft Degree given any better than I have seen or heard it here this evening. I know it is common practice in Rural Lodge and it therefore goes without saying as a standard procedure. The work was excellent and it should be so noted."

We mention this because this Brother was a member of the Order of the DeMolay before becoming a Mason, and in rendering ritual and in his service in 1961 as Master, is adding a new dimension to the Craft as many Lodges are discovering in the use of DeMolay trained leadership in our Fraternity. Trundling down the pages of time has reminded us of the dramatic changes that occurred. What, for instance, has happened to simple living, the neighborhood concept, respect for home, the school and church? What has happened to our sense of patriotism, our pride in public service and citizenship, our sense of thrift and mutual concern for others? We cannot deny the benefits of industry, the developments of science, the improvements in communication and the evolution in gadgetries. As important as computers, rockets and electronics have been, these have, in fact, contributed to schizophrenia in our society, a drought in the nourishments of man's spiritual life. The result: Apathy, a Godless society, utterly selfish aspirations and unhappily moral deterioration. The teaching of Masonry, notwithstanding and to its great credit has remained an organized force in seeking and developing a spiritual awareness; a need in life for values, character, faith, love and the spirit of God. It ever has shown mankind the way to excellence, betterment in living, exactitude in conduct and a way of life that recognizes virtue, humanness and love — needed in life in all generations.

In this spirit the members of Rural Lodge hope to stretch tall within their hearts continuing to labor for the betterment of the human spirit, the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God. The past has given us direction. The present has shown us the need. The future awaits our example and vision and leadership. Rural Lodge hopes to keep on adding to its proud past in the promotion of Freemasonry, and tranquility to the world.

 

 

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Please call us at: +1 781 534-9554+1 781 534-9554 or Ambassador@RuralLodge.org

 

Rural Lodge A.F. & A.M.

610 Broad St.

Weymouth, MA 02189

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