Two hundred years ago Lord Chesterfield denominated history as “only a heap of confused facts.” He was right, of course, if confusion and facts are all that are offered the student.
Emerson saw more truly “There is no history, only biography,” he stated.
Masonic history has greatly suffered from the amateur historian who has been meticulous in gathering his “confused heap of facts” and forgetting that the heart of history is men: men’s thoughts, philosophies, morals, beliefs, and acts. The Masonic Service Association in a recent bulletin published the above lines. As an amateur historian we find much food for thought therein.
On the first day of January 1857, the MW Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, Alfred Greeley, issued a dispensation to a group of 27 members of Lafayette Lodge No. 41 to organize a second Lodge in the City of Manchester, under the name of Washington Lodge No. 61.
This was not the first Lodge in New Hampshire to bear the name of the “Father of his Country.” A charter was issued but a few months after Washington’s death to organize a Lodge in Exeter under the name of Washington Lodge No. 13. It apparently had an uphill passage, for it surrendered its charter after about 24 years.
The following names appear on the dispensation: John S. Kidder, Isaac C. Flanders, Edward W. Harrington, Samuel G. Langley, Samuel W. Jones, Ebenezer H. Davis, Charles Moore, Caleb Duxbury, Walter Gray, William H. Hill, James S. Cheney, Edson E. George, James S. Cogswell, David B. Kibby, George W. Morrison, Charles H. Adams, D. L. Robinson, Nathaniel W. Cumner, Daniel C. Gould, Andrew W. Thompson, George B. Chandler, Samuel H. Edgerly, Ira Bliss, James F. Angell, Ira Stone, Samuel B. Kidder, and Daniel W. Fling.
The dispensation stipulated that only the Entered Apprentice degree could be conferred, and that the officers appointed by the Grand Master, or their proxies, must attend the next annual communication of the Grand Lodge.
This session convened on the 9th of June 1857 and was a session long to be remembered.
Prominent among its guests was the celebrated Masonic Lecturer and Traveler Robert Morris, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky and founder of the Order of the Eastern Star.
An invitation from the MW Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was accepted to take part on the 17th of June in the dedication of a monument at Charlestown erected to the memory of Past Most Worshipful Grand Master General Joseph Warren. Carrying Out the terms of the dispensation. Brothers George W. Morrison and William H. Hill, representatives, returned the dispensation and with it the bylaws and records of the Lodge, and also a petition for a charter which was referred to the Committee on Lodges, who recommended that the request be granted, whereupon the Grand Lodge voted that a charter be granted to Washington Lodge No. 61.
A charter was then issued dated June 9, 1857. On June 12th George H. Hubbard, having been elected Grand Master, issued a second dispensation continuing the Lodge in full force until organized in regular form, under the charter, and designated the 17th day of June for the election of all necessary officers and that said meeting act upon the application for the Fellow Craft degree of all Brothers initiated under the initial dispensation.
On Thursday evening June 25th, 1857, a Lodge of Master Masons was opened, Most Worshipful George H. Hubbard presiding. The other stations were filled by Henry I. Mowatt as Senior Grand Warden, John Mosley as Junior Grand Warden, Asabel A. Balch as Grand Secretary, Isaac M. Haynes as Grand Marshal, and James S. Cogswell as Grand Chaplain.
The Grand Master duly consecrated the Lodge and installed the Officers elected on June 17th as follows: Edward W. Harrington, Worshipful Master, Samuel G. Langley, Senior Warden, Samuel W. Jones, Junior Warden, James S. Cheney, Treasurer, George Byron Chandler, Secretary, Caleb Duxbury, Senior Deacon, Nathaniel W. Cumner, Junior Deacon.
Washington Lodge No. 61 was now duly organized. In the first dispensation Grand Master Greeley appointed John S. Kidder, Worshipful Master, Isaac C. Flanders, Senior Warden and Edward W. Harrington, Junior Warden.
Lafayette Lodge No. 41 left its birthplace in Bedford and located in the Duncklee Block on Elm Street opposite Mechanic Street in September 1845. In 1856 it moved to larger and more pretentious quarters at 27 Hanover Street, which was thereafter known as the “Masonic Temple.” These apartments were dedicated on December 6, 1856, and here Washington Lodge No. 61 was invited to share and there remained undisturbed until July 7, 1870, when a fire destroyed the entire section from Nutfield Lane to Chestnut Street. So quickly restored was the “Masonic Temple” that on the 26th of December 1870 it was rededicated. Past Master Joseph S. Kidder gave the dedicatory address and Brother John P. Newell furnished the historical address, both members of Washington Lodge.
Twenty years later these two Lodges felt the need of more room and leased the fifth floor of the Pembroke Building and a portion of the fourth floor for fifteen hundred dollars per year. The dedication took place on October 15, 1890, by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, Frank Dana Woodbury Most Worshipful Grand Master presiding.
Past Grand Master Henry E. Burnham, a member of Washington Lodge gave the address. Here the two Lodges, together with other branches of the Order, flourished until 1927, when they moved into the present Temple.
We have no exact date of the migration but associate the event with the week of Brother Charles Lindbergh’s lone flight over the Atlantic, when he left New York, being May 20. 1927.
On St. John’s Day June 24, 1925, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge convened in the Masonic Hall, Pembroke Block, for the purpose of laying the cornerstone of the new Temple. Lafayette and Washington Lodges escorted the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge to the site of the new structure where under the direction of Most Worshipful Bela Kingman the stone was placed in position.
The following officers of Washington Lodge were present: Elmer D. Goodwin, Worshipful Master Charles E. Perkins, Senior Warden, Philip English, Junior Warden, John C. Bickford, Treasurer, James E. Dodge, Secretary, George E. Wilcomb, Senior Deacon, Hiram B. Haskell, Junior Deacon, George A. Lang, Senior Stewart, George H. Bailey, Junior Stewart, Thomas F. Dalton, Marshal, Harry B. Cilley, Chaplain, John A. Hoffman, Tyler.
May 12, 1933 was the date of dedication. A Lodge of Master Masons being opened the M.W. Grand Master Allan M. Wilson declared a “Lodge of emergency” open and consecrated the Temple in due form. On this occasion Mr. Frank P. Carpenter, an honored citizen and public benefactor, was made a Mason at sight. This was the first time a Grand Master, in New Hampshire, had exercised this prerogative in 70 years. Brother Carpenter became a member of Washington Lodge No. 61 September 28, 1933.
On October 16, 1936, a second ceremony of dedication came to pass from the fact that in the Main Lodge room a complete refurnishing and redecorating had taken place through the generosity of Mrs. George Hosser in memory of her late husband, Brother George Hosser, a member of a Lodge in N. B.
The organ, a gift from Brother Henry A. Stevens, a member of Washington Lodge, in memory of his wife Sarah C. Stevens, was included in the ceremony of dedication. M.W. Allan M. Wilson presided at the ceremony, assisted by officers of Lafayette and Washington Lodges.
November 10, 1925, being the 173rd Anniversary of George Washington’s initiation into Masonry, Washington Lodge No. 61 celebrated the event. Brother Percy Thomas, a member of William North Lodge of Lowell, Massachusetts, gave an appropriate address.
During its one hundred years the Lodge has assisted at many dedications.
On July 4th, 1867, in conjunction with Lafayette Lodge No. 41 it assisted the M.W. Grand Lodge in laying the cornerstone of the Hillsborough County Court House.
The Hon. George W. Morrison, a Past Master of Washington Lodge, delivered the oration.
Again, in company with Lafayette Lodge No. 41 Washington Lodge assisted the M.W. Grand Lodge in the dedication of the Soldiers Monument on Merrimack Common, September 11, 1879.
The speaker on this occasion was also Hon. George W. Morrison, member of Congress.
September 6, 1897 the two Lodges assisted the M.W. Grand Lodge in the dedication of the Weston Observatory, which was a gift to the City of Manchester by Governor James A. Weston, a member of Lafayette Lodge No. 41. The oration was delivered on this occasion by Edwin F. Jones, a member of Washington Lodge and Most Worshipful Grand Master in 1910.
The laying of the cornerstone at the Masonic Home took place on July 8, 1902, and the dedication of the building occurred on May 11, 1903. On both occasions the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was escorted by Lafayette and Washington Lodges. The lot was purchased of the Amoskeag Corporation and was a gift from Lafayette and Washington Lodges. The purchase price at 4 cents per foot was $2,270.48.
The Semi-Centennial of Washington Lodge was celebrated June 25, 1907. 1:30 PM a Lodge of Master Masons was opened with the following Officers at their stations:
Frank L. Way, Worshipful Master
Halbert N. Bond, Senior Warden
Frank W. Batchelder, Junior Warden
John C. Bickford, Treasurer
James E. Dodge, Secretary
Walter G. Africa, Senior Deacon
Waldo Marston, Junior Deacon
Thomas Chalmers, Chaplain
Edward W. Fogg, Marshal
Frank L. Blair, Senior Steward
Charles R. Dustin, Junior Steward
John Gillis, Tyler
A procession was formed and the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was escorted to the First Congregational Church by Lafayette Lodge No. 41 and Washington Lodge No. 61 where the following program was presented:
Organ prelude by Walter Lewis
Invocation by Right Worshipful Joseph E. Bobbins, Grand Chaplain
Address of welcome, Frank L. Way, Worshipful Master
Address: Most Worshipful Grand Master William A Plummer
History, James E. Dodge, Secretary
Schubert Quartette (Lost Chord)
Oration by Henry W. Rugg, Dep. Grand Master of the Grand Encampment KT
Presentation of a gavel by Worshipful Master Minot T. Phelps of Lafayette Lodge No. 41.
Poem by Brother Edward E. Parker of Nashua
Schubert Quartette (Evening Song)
Benediction Rev. Thomas Chalmers
Returning to the Hall a musical entertainment was furnished by the Schubert Quartette, Brother Lewis, organist.
Refreshments were served.
On the 22nd of February 1932, again the two Lodges joined hands and celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of George Washington’s birth; in fact, Lodges all over the United States celebrated the event.
After an address of welcome by Most Worshipful Brother Allan M. Wilson, a pageant was presented under the direction of our late Brother Edwin A. Norton. This pageant depicted George and Martha Washington at their home in Mount Vernon. Representing General Washington was Brother David Bissett and Martha, was represented by Mrs. C. D. Steele. Sixteen others were in the cast.
A fine address was given by the Hon. George H. Moses, US Senator from New Hampshire, at the conclusion of which he presented a bust of Washington, as well as a copy of Stuart’s unfinished painting of our first President. A local artist (Adelbert Foster) painted a standing portrait of General Washington that now adorns the wall of the lower hall. Preceding the program a banquet was served under the sponsorship of the ladies of St. James M. E. Church, to which 654 people rendered justice.
On Sunday, September 12th, 1948, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was escorted by Lafayette and Washington Lodges to Stark Park, where under the direction of Most Worshipful Grand Master Harold O. Cady an equestrian statue erected to the memory of Brother John Stark was dedicated in due form.
Brother Sherman Adams, a member of Parker Lodge No. 99 and ex-Governor of New Hampshire, delivered the oration.
The statue was a gift to the city of Manchester by the will of our late Brother Charles H. Bartlett, a Past Master of Washington Lodge and a former Mayor of the city.
On Sunday, August 28th, 1955, in compliance with a request from his Honor Josaphat T. Benoit, Mayor of Manchester, the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was escorted to Derryfield Park by Lafayette and Washington Lodges where under the direction of Most Worshipful Grand Master Leslie F. Murch a drinking fountain was dedicated in due form.
This fountain was a gift to the City of Manchester by the late Emma Varney in memory of her father, Hon. David B. Varney, one of our first Mayors as well as the first candidate in Washington Lodge No. 61 in 1857. The Reverend Brother Mark B. Strickland, pastor of the First Congregational Church, delivered the oration.
By special dispensation Washington Lodge No. 61 opened a Lodge of Fellowcrafts at the Tip-Top House on Mt. Washington June 23, 1932.
Brother Frank Barndollar Worshipful Master was assisted by the following officers: L. Ashton Thorp, Senior Warden, David C. Lamprey, Junior Warden, Thomas J. Fellows, Treasurer, Arthur M. Ward, Secretary, Herman C. Christophe, Chaplain, Alfred B. March, Senior Deacon, George H. Bailey, Junior Deacon, H. H. Rouse, Marshal, Everett E. Austin, pianist, Charles D. Barnard, Senior Stewart, Charles H. Barnard, Junior Stewart, John A. Hoffman, Tyler.
Brother Herbert Leach was passed to the degree of Fellowcraft. Many Lodges were represented.
On Sunday, September 10, 1933, under special dispensation, Washington Lodge No. 61 and Morning Star Lodge No. 15 of Wolfeboro assembled on Black Island, Lake Winnipesaukee, in the town of Tuftonboro, a Lodge of Master Masons being opened by Washington Lodge No. 61, Brother Richard Byron Steams was made a Master Mason. The following officers were present: L. Ashton Thorp, Worshipful Master, Right Worshipful Edwin H. Matson, Most Worshipful Grand Master Orville E. Caine and Past Most Worshipful Allan M. Wilson. Music was furnished by Ashlar Quartette of Manchester, Everett E. Austin, organist.
Having noted some of the activities of the Lodge during its first century, some of which might be classed with the trivial, let us turn to the “heart of history,” namely: men.
Beginning its 100 years existence with the 27 charter members, we find 918 names on the roster January 1, 1957.
Our membership has been made up of many of Manchester’s leading citizens, clergymen, doctors, lawyers, teachers, merchants, in fact, from every walk in life. Some of our number have been governors, several have been justices of the Supreme Court, several have been judges of the Probate and Municipal Courts. Nine have served the city as mayor. We have been represented at the Nation’s Capital several times as well as in our state legislature by members of Washington Lodge.
One hundred and nine of our Brothers have occupied the Oriental chair. Time would fail us to pay them tribute individually; however, we may be forgiven in calling attention to our first Worshipful Master Edward Weatherbee Harrington, born of Irish parents in Acton, Mass. In 1816 came to Manchester at the behest of a brother who was an operative Mason laying brick on the then rising mills of this City, arriving January 1st, 1839. He opened a restaurant on the east side of Elm Street and later moved across the way to the corner of Market Street, now the property of the Manchester Savings Bank.
Upon the organization of the City National Bank he became its first cashier and continued in the banking business the remainder of his life. Treasurer of the Manchester and Lawrence as well as the Suncook Valley Railroad for many years, Mayor several terms, Water and Eire Commissioner, and Captain of the first Hook and Ladder Company.
Serving as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in July 1876 that nominated Tilden for President at St. Louis, he journeyed on to Hot Springs, Ark., where he died on the eleventh of July.
He was made a Mason in Lafayette Lodge No. 41 and became a charter member of Washington Lodge, District Deputy Grand Master in 1858-59 and Grand High Priest of the Grand RA Chapter in 1862.
Eminent Commander of Trinity Commandery in 1863-64. He was the first Mason in Manchester to receive the 33-degree.
The first funeral attended by Washington Lodge, and there have been many, was that of Ira Bliss, one of the petitioners. He died in February 1857.
David B. Varney was the first candidate under the dispensation.
George A. Cults was the first candidate initiated in the new Temple September 1927.
Two members of Washington Lodge produced our State Song, “Old New Hampshire,”. The words by the late John Franklin Holmes, M.D. and the music by Maurice Hoffmann, Jr.
We started with 27 members, our membership now is about 950. (in 2001 353)
The dues originally were one dollar a year payable quarterly. ($49.00 in 2001)
Our first District Deputy Master was Edward W. Harrington and our last George H. Bailey.
The Samuel P. Hunt foundation is a gift from a member of Washington Lodge.
In the beginning of this compilation of “confused facts” we had little trouble but much trouble in coming to an end, for like the widow’s meal barrel recorded in the Scripture, there is plenty more in the barrel.
Worshipful Masters (* Deceased)
Edward W. Harrington* 1857 Samuel G. Langley* 1858-1859 John S. Kidder* 1860-1861 Nathaniel W. Cumner* 1862-1863 Charles Bunton* 1864 Lewis W. Clark* 1865 Daniel F. Straw* 1866 Clinton W. Stanley* 1867 Isaac W. Smith* 1868 Joseph Kidder* 1869 Andrew Bunton* 1870-1871 Charles H. Barrett* 1872-1873 Daniel A. Clifford* 1874-1875 Henry E. Burnham* 1876-1877 George A. Bailey* 1878-1879 George E. Thompson* 1880-1881 Edward P. Sherbume* 1882 Charles C. Hayes* 1883-1884 John P. Bartlett* 1885-1886 George I. McAllister* 1887-1888 Edward L. Kimball* 1889-1890 Edwin F. Jones* 1891 Fred C. Baldwin* 1892 Frank S. Sutcliffe* 1893-1894 George B. True* 1895-1896 Charles W. Knowlton* 1897-1898 Arthur S. Bunton* 1899 Charles W. Bickford* 1900-1901 George B. Rogers 1902-1903 Albert E. Blanchard* 1904-1905 Frank L. Way* 1906-1907 Halbert N. Bond* 1908 Frank H. Batchelder* 1909-1910 Walter G. Africa* 1911-1912 Frank L. Blair* 1913-1914 George A. Campbell* 1915-1916 Allan M. Wilson* 1917-1918 Edward H. Fogg* 1919-1920 Arthur W. Phinney* 1921-1922 Vaughn D. Griffin* 1923 John C. Hayes* 1924 Elmer D. Goodwin* 1925-1926 Charles E. Perkins* 1927 Philip English* 1928 Hiram B. Haskell* 1929 George H. Bailey* 1930-1931 Frank Barndollar* 1932 L. Ashton Thorpe* 1933-1934 David C. Lamprey* 1935 Alfred B. Marsh* 1936 Robinson C. Frost* 1937 Herman Christophe* 1938 Harry Watkins* 1939 Eugene W. Moore* 1940 Harold C. McAllister* 1941 J. Walker Wiggin* 1942-1943 Henry G. Massey* 1944 Walter S. Little* 1945 Ralph L. Sloan* 1946 Charles H. Barnard* 1947 Edwin D. Tebbetts* 1948 Alfred B. Penniman* 1949 Hugo V. Hallstrom* 1950 Howard W. George* 1951 Ralph C. Locke* 1952 Alfred W. Baines* 1953 Jonathan B. Pollard* 1954 A. Graham Yuill* 1955 Walter B. George* 1956 Harry W. Bennert* 1957 Harry G. Merrill* 1958 Sidney A. Peyton 1959 Stanley F. Dydo* 1960 John F. Thompson* 1961 Norman S. Ewing* 1962 Alfred J. Clark* 1963 Marin Lipski 1964 Joseph M. Martino 1965 Robert DeVore 1966 Alan J. Pollard 1967 Nicholas G. Skaperdas 1968 Walter H. Page* 1969 Thomas K. Lalos 1970 Robert W. Sinclare 1971 Sidney Baines Jr. 1972 Raymond N. Decorse 1973 Robert H. Bishop 1974 Karl H. Bickford III 1975 Robert E. Mclean* 1976 Mark Northridge 1977 Carlton Ekdaul 1978 John E. Williams 1979-80-81 Charles S. Munn* 1982 Mortimer C. Simon 1983-84 Roger L. Tellier 1985 Robert W. Blymire 1986 M. Stephen Zogopoulos 1987 Vernon L. Townsend 1988 Wayne D. Flood 1989 George M. Shepherd 1990 Thomas X Tsirimokos 1991 James T. Benoit 1992 R. Bradley Alderfer 1993 Robert E. Gadoury 1994 Dean A. Demarre 1995 Ralph W. Austin 1996 Theodore H. Smith Jr. 1997-98 George C. Skaperdas 1999-2000 John B. Clark 2001 M. Stephen Zogopoulos 2002 Frank P. Kenney 2003-2004 Steven Gendron 2005 Dan Alexander 2006 Grant Cumming 2007 Patrick O’Sullivan 2008 Patrick Van Rooyen 2009 Tim Scully 2010-2011 Steven Baroody 2012 Dylan Cruess 2013 Shane Carter 2014 Russ Bell 2015 Paul Mansur 2016 Paul Rousseau 2017 - Present
Grand Masters from our Lodge
Nathaniel W. Cumner 1872-1874
Andrew Bunton 1880
Henry E. Burnham 1885
Charles C. Hayes 1894-18955
George I. McAllister 1900
Edwin F. Jones 1910
Walter G. Africa 1921-1922
Allan M. Wilson 1931-1932
Harold C. McAllister 1951-1952
Ralph L. Sloan 1969
33rd degree recipients
Edward W. Harrington May 2, 1863
Joseph W. Fellows Aug 20,1874
Nathaniel W. Cumner Sep 19,1882
Andrew Bunton Sep 17,1885
Nathan P. Hunt Sep 20,1892
Charles C. Hayes Sep 21,1897
George I. McAllister Sep 18,1900
Henry E. Bumham Sep 21, 1904
J. Brodie Smith Sep 19, 1905
Walter G. Africa Sep 16, 1913
Elmer D. Goodwin Sep 21,1920
Halbert N. Bond Sep 18,1922
Frank C. Livingston Sep 16,1924
Allan M. Wilson Sep 20,1927
H. C. McAllister Sep 24,1947
George H. Bailey Sep 24,1947
Wallace S. Webb Sep 26,1956
Robert H. Bishop Sep 28, 1983
Karl H. Bickford, III Aug 30, 2011
James S. Cheney 1857-1860
Isaac C. Flanders 1860-1864
N. W. Cumner 1864-1881
B. G. Cumner 1881-1888
John C. Bickford 1888-1931
Thomas J. Fellows 1931-1950
Walter S. Little 1950-1952
Ralph L. Sloan 1952-1969
Walter H. Page 1970-1995
Thomas X. Tsirimokos 1995-2004
Frank Kenney 2004-2006
R. Brad Alderfer 2006-2012
Norman Tanguay 2013 - Present
George Byron Chandler 1857-1859
Charles F. Livingston 1859-1866
Hiram Forsaith 1866-1868
Charles G. Blake 1868-1875
Jonathan Smith 1875-1879
E. P. Sherburne 1879-1880
James E. Dodge 1880-1926
Arthur M. Ward 1926-1954
Edwin D. Tebbetts 1954-1980
Karl C. Bickford III 1980-1983
John E. Williams 1984-1991
Thomas X. Tsirimokos 1991-1995
Dean A. Demarre 1996-1997
Nathaniel C. Foss Jr. 1998-2006
Steven Gendron 2006-2012
Tim Scully 2012-2013
Martin Koechel 2014 - 2018
Rory Morse 2018 - Present
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