The History of Genesee County, MI
Chapter XXIV
Free & Accepted Masons
Part I

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton

 

FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS.

The Masonic fraternity was among the first of the fraternal orders to establish a local organization in Flint and it has ever had a strong hold upon the citizens. For many of the earlier years of its history its lodge rooms were among the social centers of the young city and while the present elaborate means for entertainment were lacking, its social functions were none the less enjoyable. Many of even the younger generation still remember with pleasure the balls and other entertainments given therein. I fact, it was because dancing and card playing in Masonic buildings were prohibited by the regulations of the order that the former temple was not for many years formally dedicated as such. The several organizations being among the earliest established in Michigan, had originally very large jurisdictions, extending toward Port Huron and Detroit on the east and south and indefinitely to the north and west, many of their members being drawn from the Saginaw Valley.

All of the Masonic bodies then organized met in the hall in the building adjoining the First National Bank, near the corner of Saginaw and Kearsley streets, removing thence to the temple in the Bryant House Block.

One of the important events in the history of the fraternity was the purchase of this home. The first action toward this was taken in November, 1867, but it was not until April, 1870, that a committee was appointed with full power to act. Many sites and buildings were considered, resulting in the purchase, from Thayer, Hamilton and Atwood, of the third and fourth stories of what is not the Bryant House block. This was deeded, September 24, 1872, to trustees for Flint Lodge, Washington Chapter and Genesee Valley Commandery, enclosed and roofed, the price being five thousand dollars. The opening ceremony was a grand Knights Templar ball, December 12, 1873, and was occupied by the Masonic body up to the time of the dedication of the present Masonic temple.

During the year 1905 the different lodges of the Masonic order held a number of meetings and decided to build a permanent temple. A number of committees were appointed, with the result that on February 7, 1906, an association known as the Masonic Temple Association of Flint was formed. 

 

The first officers elected were:

President

J. H. Crawford

Vice President

Francis D. Clarke

Secretary

T. J. Allen

Treasurer

L. H. Bridgman

 

On February 8, 1906, the association became an incorporated body, with a board of trustees including two members from each of the Masonic bodies. The present officers of this association are:

President

J. H. Crawford

Vice-President

C. D. Wesson

Treasurer

L. H. Bridgman

Secretary

C. S. H. Chase.

 

In January, 1908, lot 9, block 4, village of Flint river, on the corner of East Fourth and Saginaw streets, was purchased of William H. Edwards, and the erection of the present stately Masonic temple was soon afterward commenced.

The last meeting of Flint Lodge No. 23, Free and Accepted masons, was held in the old temple on march 28, 1911, and the Masonic fraternity at large held a farewell meeting in the old temple on march 30, 1911. G. Roscoe Swift, grand master of the grand lodge of the state of Michigan, and the other grand lodge officers dedicated the temple in the afternoon of May 16, 1911. The building, together with the lot and the furnishings, is estimated to have cost approximately one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. The Masonic temple is one of the finest buildings in the county, if not the finest. The late Judge Charles H. Wisner was made chairman of the building committee and devoted a great deal of time to the details of construction. Judge Wisner's assistance in this direction was invaluable, as was also his assistance at the time of the erection of the county building, as he possessed a wide knowledge of mechanics, and building construction and personally supervised the work. The temple contains, besides the several lodge rooms, a large auditorium for entertainments, club and reading rooms, which are situated in the blue lodge lobby and parlor, and a dining room with appointments for four hundred guests. there is also arranged a ladies' parlor and reception room which is open during the day.

Flint Lodge No. 23, Free and Accepted Masons, was chartered on January 10, 1849, and maintained its existence until December, 1854, at which time its charter was surrendered. No other information regarding it is available, but it seems probable that its members, or a portion of them, organized Flint Lodge No. 23, to which a charter was issued on January 11, 1955, upon the petition of thirty-seven charter members, with John B. Hamilton as worshipful master and ten other officers. None of these offices are now living. This lodge has enjoyed a steady and prosperous growth for years. It was honored in 1858 by the election of William M. Fenton as grand master of the grand lodge of Michigan, Free and Accepted Masons, and also in 1912 by the election of the late Francis D. Clarke to the same high office.

 

Flint Lodge No. 23 has a membership of eight hundred at the present time. Regular communications are held the first Tuesday of each month. The present officers are:

Worshipful Master

Ernest A. Smith

Senior Warden

L. G. Cronk

Junior Warden

Harvey E. Johnson

Treasurer

C. H. Miller

Secretary

C. S. H. Chase

Senior Deacon

John E. Storrer

Junior Deacon

William E. Proper

 

The following have served as worshipful masters of Flint Lodge No. 23;

John B. Hamilton

1855

Benjamin J. Lewis

1856

Chauncey K. Williams

1857

William M. Fenton

1858, 1859, 1860, 1861

E. D. Williams

1862

William Clark

1863

William M. Fenton

1864

Abner Randall

1865, 1866

Samuel C. Randall

1867, 1868, 1869, 1870

James B. F. Curtis

1981, 1872, 1873, 1874,18,75, 1876

Samuel C. Randall

1877, 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881

Charles S. Brown

1882

Charles B. Wallace

1883, 1884, 1885, 1886

Joseph H. Crawford

1887, 1888

John McKercher

1889, 1890, 1891, 1892, 1893

Edward D. Black

1894

John McKercher

1895

Fred J. Ford

1896, 1987, 1898, 1899

W. Lee Church

1900, 1901

Charles H. Miller

1902, 1903

Albert T. Austin

1904

Jason H. Austin

1905

William W. Edgecombe

1906

Francis D. Clarke

1907

Truman S. Cowing

1908

Charles S. H. Chase

1909

John J. Raab

1910

E. Frank Wood

1911

Arthur E. Raab

1912

John H. Neubert

1913

Ralph B. Long

1914

Fred W. Hanneman

1915

Ernest A. Smith

1916

 

Genesee Lodge No. 174, Free and Accepted Masons, was chartered on January 11, 1866, with eight members. Its first worshipful master was John B. Hamilton and the late Judge george H. Durand was the first candidate initiated. This lodge has grown up by the side of its older sister, amicably sharing with it in the labors, costs and rewards of fraternal life, and there is between their members a truly Masonic spirit. Several of the past masters of this lodge have been elected to the chair of grand master of the grand lodge of Michigan, George H. Durand, in 1874, and John J. Carton, in 1895.

 

The following have served as worshipful masters of Genesee Lodge No. 174:

John B. Hamilton

1865

James B. Newton

1866, 1867, 1868, 1869

George H. Durand

1870, 1871, 1872, 1873, 1874, 1877

George M. Bushnell

1875

Thomas W. Dreman

1876

Leroy C. Whitney

1787, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883

Frank E. Palmer

1884

John B. E. Castree

1885

Charles H. Wisner

1886

Charles B. Leland

1887, 1888

Benjamin F. Miller

1889

John J. Carton

1890, 1891

Thomas J. Allen

1892, 1893

Joseph H. Rankin

1894, 1895

Louis G. Willison

1896

Clayton N. Doty

1898, 1899

Colonel O. Swayze

1900, 1901

George Werkheiser

1902, 1903

James s. Parker

1904

John R. MacDonald

1905, 1906

Charles A. Durand

1907

James M. Torrey

1908

Homer J. McBride

1909

Harry V. Blakely

1910

Frank P. Wildman

1911

Arthur C. Crossman

1912

Thomas Carl Millard

1913

Raymond C. Chase

1914

Everett Clapp

1915

Harry R. Nickerson

1916

 

Genesee Lodge No. 174 has a membership of seven hundred and fifty and the meetings are held the first Wednesday in each month. The present officers are:

Worshipful Master

Harry R. Nickerson

Senior Warden

S. A. Shue

Junior Warden

Richard Holt

Treasurer

C. B. Leland

Secretary

Dr. Noah Bates

Senior Deacon

George H. McDonald

Junior Deacon

Frank W. Pike

 

History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions
by Edwin O. Wood, LL.D, President Michigan Historical Commission, 1916

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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