San Gabriel Lodge #89 A.F. & A. M. History
John M. Sharpe
at the Request of The Lodge
1950 Recompenses: Love of Freemasonry
Transcribed by: Truitt L. Bradly
The history of the Masonic Lodge in Texas is perhaps more nearly the history of the State and its sub-divisions than any other organization extant. Masonry has been the trail maker of civilization and stands out pre-eminently as the organization always marching hand in hand with those ideals necessary for the laying of the foundation and mud-sills of good government and civilizations which have risen to bless the human race.
We frequently hear it said that “Masonry during the formative period of our country was a great force, binding together the men of good intent in solid phalanx to combat the forces of evil and discontent which refused to submit to the onward march of orderly arrangement in the affairs of men, that it is not so important today as then.”
This is a mistaken idea. Masonry throughout the ages has furnished the nucleus around which has been builded the forces which have gone out to settle the issues threatening disorder; even threatening civilization. This statement is sustained in history, inspired and profane—there has never been a crises that Masonry has not played a leading role and there will never be a crisis that Masonry will not project its well-grounded basis for settlement and on the most humanitarian ideals. It has been true since before the day of the great profit Moses, and will continue true until time shall be no more.
Its history comes up through the darkness and privation through which the Children of Israel passed when their country, dispoiled, were carried away to Babylon, and for seventy years remained captives and slaves to Nebuchaneesar, and his successors; and like a life-line on a storm-tossed sea, it led descendants of that mighty race back “through great tribulation” to the home of their fathers and directed the raising of still another Temple “to the worship of the “ONE AND ONLY GOD.”
And there, on that holy ground, was raised from the ashes the Tabernacle by Masons, dedicated to Him to whom they prayed as the engaged in their work.
We worship not the sun at noon,
The wondering stars, the changing moon, The wind, the flood, the flame;
We will not bend the votive knee
To wisdom, virtue, liberty;
There is no god but God for us,
Jehovah is His name.
Created Under Dispensation
San Gabriel Lodge No. 89, A.F.& A.M. (Ancient Free and Accepted Masons) was organized at Georgetown, Williamson County, Texas, May 22, 1851, three years after the county was created by act of the State Legislature. Georgetown being one of the very few cities in this state being thus created.
Eight Master Masons were present when the action establishing the Lodge was taken. The eight named as attending this momentous meeting included: J.T. Cox, E.T. Story, C.C. Arnet, James Roberts, Sam Mather, W.H. Cushney.
The organization was perfected under dispensation issued by Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master A. Neil.
The Lodge continued work under the above mentioned dispensation until January, 1852, when it was granted a Charter, the instrument, which is still in possession of the Lodge, being dated the 23rd of the month (January 23, 1852.)
The Grand Lodge granting the Charter met in the city of Austin and was presided over by Joseph Sayles as Grand Master.
The officers named in the Charter included: John T. Cox, W.M.; James Armstrong, S.W.; and E. T. Story, J.W. These with the following constituted the officers of the Lodge as shown by the record, Feb. 20, 1852: I.K. Branch, treasurer; N.B. Johnson, secretary; Sam Mather, S.D.; Joe Ruberth, J.D.; Ir. Fleming, Tiler.
San Gabriel Lodge having been operating under a Special Dispensation issued May 22, 1851, sent representation to the session of the Grand Lodge held in Austin, Texas, in January, 1852.
These representatives were seated by the Grand Lodge after the Committee on Work and Returns from Lodges recommending same had been adopted. The representatives included: James Armstrong, J.T. Cox and Samuel Mather.
The above facts are shown in the printed proceedings “Grand Lodge of Texas, A.F. & A.M., 1850-1853, pages 46 and 47, on file in the library of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Masonic Building, Waco, Texas, and were graciously by Hon. George H. Belew, Grand Secretary, said record not being available in the Library of San Gabriel Lodge.
The record shows that Bros. J. C. Harrison was chairman of the Committee on Work and Returns at the session and he signs the report of the committee recommending that Charter be granted San Gabriel Lodge.
Volume 1 of the records of San Gabriel Lodge discloses that the Lodge was not idle from the date of the Dispensation creating it was granted on May 22, 1851, until Charter bringing the Lodge into full fellowship was received January 23, 1852, eight months later.
Rather, the record show the Lodge was busy at each regular meeting and on the occasion of may special sessions initiating, passing and raising citizens residing in a wide area, then the jurisdiction of the Lodge and conferring degrees for other lodges requesting same on behalf of their candidates who were in course of becoming Master Masons and were sojourning or had moved to the jurisdiction of this body.
Not only do these records disclose the above facts but also give a singular insight into the times in which recorded. For instance, there were sojourners in their midst, even members of the Lodge here who were departing for California, indicating that, although the gold fever in California was a fever heat in 1849, there was yet remaining plenty of men who had ideas of “striking it rich” “in them thar hills.”
A case in point was presented to the Lodge at its regular meeting on the evening of the 2nd of March, 1852, which is typical: “Bro. A. Beardsley being on his way to California, prayed for a demit which was granted him.”
The records also disclose that styles repeat themselves for as become current during the Second World War the style of placing the date before the month, and which (1950) is still in vogue by many, the minutes that style as: “Lodge Room 2nd March, 1852.” That style continued through the meeting of the 17th of December, 1853.
The First Historic Meeting
Under the date “Georgetown, 22nd May, 1851,” was held an historic Masonic meeting in Georgetown, Texas. The record of the first meeting discloses the following interesting proceedings:
Agreeable to a dispensation granted by the R.W. Deputy Grand Master, A. Neil, the following brothers assembled on the 22nd of May, A.L. 5851, at the Lodge Room of San Gabriel Lodge: J.T. Cox, E.F. Story, C.C. Arnett, C.C. Cook, Jas. Ruberth, Sam’l. Mather, A.H. Raines, and W.H. Cushney.
Whereupon Bro. W.H. Cushney, by the authority of the R.W. Deputy Grand Master proceeded to install the officers of San Gabriel Lodge:
Brother J.T. Cox was installed as the first Master Brother Jas. Armstrong as the first Senior Warden Brother E.F. Story as the first Junior Warden
The Lodge was then opened in due form in the Master’s Degree and duly consecrated. The petition of N.B. Johnson was read and referred to a committee consisting of Bros. C.C. Cook, C.C. Arnett and Jas Ruberth. The petition of Dred R. White was read and referred to the same committee.
No further business appearing the Lodge was called from labor to refreshments until the sound of the Gavel in the east.
The minutes are signed by John T. Cox, W.M. and C.C. Cook, Sec.
Following this first historic meeting the Lodge began an active campaign of growth. The development is indicated by the following notes from the meetings:
May 22, 1851. Petitions received: N. B. Johnson, Dred R. Hile and James H. Addison.
June 21, 1851: Elected to take the first degree in Masonry were: N B. Johnson, Dred R. Hile and James Addison. Petition of James W. Brauch, an E.A. Mason of Clinton Lodge No 23, and referred to a committee, consisting of Bros. Mather, Cox and Ruberth, as were the petitions of J.S. Mercer, A.J. McKay.
June 21, 1851. M.B. Johnson, Fred H. Hills and James H. Addison were initiated into the First Degree.
July 19, 1851. G. Brauch, M.B. Johnson and James Addison were examined as to their proficiency in open Lodge. Examinations declared satisfactory and the three passed for the Second Degree.
July 19, 1851. Petitions of T.D. Allen, James W. Crop, Jno. W. Flemming, N. Beardsley, F.F. Miller and W.H. Fishmell were received and referred to a committee consisting of Bros. Story, Mather and Ruberth.
And so the record goes with increasing applications and degrees conferred for months and months.
Despite the fact the Lodge was growing in membership and work, the record indicates the officers of the Lodge of that early day encountered the same handicaps and disappointments that officers today encounter, the lack of full cooperation, indisposition to serve, absenteeism, resignations from offices and non-attendance of officers.
Notwithstanding all handicaps, the faithful pressed on with increasing loyal membership and greater ambitions. At the regular meeting held on October 18, 1851, “Bros. Mather, Mercer, Armstrong and Cox were appointed to Contract with Johnson & Story to build a Lodge Room on their rock house, to purchase lumber for said building, and also to contract with some suitable workman to complete said work.”
And, on the 15th of November, 1851, it is recorded that on motion a committee consisting of Bros. E.F. Story, Jesse Mercer and J.B. Burch was appointed “to attend to, and have a suitable dinner prepared for the accommodation of the Fraternity and their families on the 27th of Dec. Bro. Richard Sansom was appointed Marshal of the Day and Bros. Miller and Patterson Stewards of the Day.”
Previous to the dinner arranged for the 27th of December, 1851, the Lodge was opened in due form with the following officers and members present:
Bro. J.T. Cox, W.M. ” D.C. Cowen, S.W. ” E.F. Story, J.W.
” T.R. Burch, Treas
” N.B. Johnson, Sec.
” Jos. Ruberth, S.D.
” Samuel Mather, S.D.
” Jno. W. Flemming, Tyler. ” James Miller and
” R. Garves, Stewards.
” J.B. Harrell,
” Jas. Branch,
” J.P. Patterson,
” Jesse Mercer, and
” C.C. Cook
” A.K. Vansickle,
” E.M. Daggett,
” James Truitt,
” James Lewis, and
” I. Kerns.
Apparently the celebration with dinner was observed beginning at 12, noon, with dinner followed by speaking, as the minutes show “At 4 o’clock the Lodge was called to labor. No further business appearing Lodge was closed in due and ancient form.”
This indicates that our pioneer Brethren were not too engrossed in the affairs of life to give half a day to the observance of a Lodge holiday with their families and adjourn in time for visiting brethren to travel to their several homes by slow passage.
An interesting session of San Gabriel Lodge was held on the 27th of March, 1852, when by special dispensation of the D.D. Grand Master, four Fellow Craft degrees and six Masters degrees were conferred on the candidates: F.C.: W.G. Hubbard, John Miller, N. McChristian, and John Barton; M.M.: R.L. Matthews, Jno. Miller, John Barton, W.G. Hubbard, Jno. H. Matthews and Nosh McChristian.
At the regular of San Gabriel Lodge held on the 17th day of January, 1852, “The committee of Bros. Mather, Story and Armstrong reported a code of By-Laws which was read by sections and unanimously adopted.”
The following is a copy of their work as shown in the first volume of the records of the Lodge: BY-LAWS
San Gabriel Lodge, No. 89, A.F. & A.M. PREAMBLE
To promote the benevolent purposes for which our society was first formed and is still continued; to preserve inviolate its ancient landmarks; to promote love, charity and the practice of morality; to preserve the dignity and harmony of the Lodge, and the more firmly to maintain the duties which the Bonds of Masonic Union and Brotherly Love prescribe, we, the members of San Gabriel Lodge, No. 89, for the government of ourselves and our successors, have adopted the following
BY – LAWS Article One
This Lodge shall be known and designated by the name of San Gabriel Lodge Number eighty- nine, subordinate to, and under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
The regular meetings of this Lodge shall be held on the third Saturday of each and every month, and on the anniversaries of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist. Special meetings may be called at any time by the presiding officer.
Election of Officers and Voting
The regular election of officers shall take place annually, at the regular meeting in December, and they shall be installed on the anniversary of St. John the Evangelist, or as soon thereafter as practicable.
Sec. 1. The officers of the Lodge shall consist of a W. Master, S. and J. Wardens, Secretary, S. and J. Deacons, s Steward and a Tyler, (both of which last officers may be held by the same person). All the elective officers shall be chosen annually, by ballot, at the regular meeting next preceding the festival of St, John the Evangelist, and every Master Mason, who is a member and not prohibited by any subsequent article, shall be entitled to vote: and a majority of all the votes given shall be necessary to a choice.
Sec. 2.—No member who shall be in arrears for six months, shall be entitled to hold any office, or vote on any question; and it shall be the duty of the Master to cause the Secretary to read over the list of delinquents at the meeting immediately preceding any election.
The Duties of Officers
Sec. 1. It shall be the duty of the W. Master to preside at all meetings; to see that the laws and regulations of the Lodge and those of the Grand Lodge are regularly obeyed and enforced, not suffering any of the ancient landmarks to be removed; also, to have charge of the Charter, and not to entrust it to unworthy hands; and to cause these by-laws, or a portion of them, to be read in open lodge at the regular meetings in January, April, July, and October; and to appoint all committees not otherwise provided for.
Sec. 2. In the absence of the W. Master, it shall be the duty of the S. Warden to preside—if the S. Warden shall also be absent, the J. Warden may take the chair; but either of the Wardens may waive their right in favor of a Past Master.
Sec. 3. It shall be the duty of the Secretary to receive all moneys due the Lodge, and pay them immediately to the Treasurer, taking his receipt for the same; to open a regular account with each member, to keep minutes of the proceedings of the Lodge; to make out all reports required by the Lodge; to keep a register of all delinquents, suspensions and expulsions, and fill up diplomas, when directed by the Lodge, keeping a register of the same; and exhibit a statement of the account of each delinquent member at the stated meeting in December. He shall also transmit to the Grand Lodge a just and true account of the degrees conferred by, and members belonging to, this Lodge; and communicate to the neighboring Lodges and the Grand Secretary of the State the names and descriptions of all suspended, expelled or rejected persons; and shall keep the records neatly and properly filed, and the record book of the minutes up to last meeting; he shall also keep the seal of the Lodge in his possession, and not suffer it to be taken from the Lodge room, except by consent of the Lodge, and f a special purpose; and, as a compensation for his services, he shall be exempt from monthly dues, and shall receive the sum of twelve dollars per annum, and be allowed original cost for stationery furnished the Lodge.
Sec. 4. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer to receive all moneys from the Secretary, and pay them out by order of the W. Master, with the consent of the members present; to keep a true account of his receipts and disbursements, and make report of the same at each regular meeting next preceding the festival of St. John the Evangelist, and oftener, if required by the Lodge.
Sec. 5. It shall be the duty of the Steward to provide all refreshments ordered by the Lodge; procure such furniture as the Lodge may direct, and take charge of the same during the recess of the Lodge, and see that the room is properly swept and lighted; and for his services he shall be exempt from Lodge dues.
Sec. 6. The Tyler shall be exempt from Lodge dues; he shall summon the Lodge at the stated and called meetings thereof; he shall pay particular attention to visiting brothers; strictly guard the door during the sitting of the Lodge, according to ancient usage’s; and, for the performance of his duty, he shall be allowed twenty dollars per annum.
ARTICLE VI Standing Committees
The W. Master, and S. and J. Wardens shall be a standing committee, to attend every concern of the Lodge, whether specified or not in these By-Laws; they shall have power to relieve distressed brothers, their widows and orphans. It shall be their duty to examine the Secretary’s and Treasurer’s books, and make report of their condition to the Lodge at each regular meeting previous to the annual installation of officers, of all receipts and disbursements, of all debts due the Lodge, and the amount of funds on hand; also, it shall be their duty to see that proper returns are made to the Grand Lodge.
Initiations and Advancements
Sec. 1. Any person wishing to be made a Mason in this Lodge, must petition on a regular night of meeting, in manner and form as laid down in the Chart.
Sec. 2. There shall be appointed a special committee, consisting not less than three Master Masons, on each petition, who shall make due inquiry into the petitioner’s character, and report in writing at the next regular meeting. After the report shall have been read, the presiding officer shall order a balloting, when, if no rejection vote appear, the candidate may be admitted; but if one negative vote appear, the presiding officer shall order a second balloting, and if one or more negative votes appear, the petitioner shall be rejected, and the money accompanying the petition shall be returned to the applicant; and should any candidate that has been duly elected and notified of his election, refuse or neglect to come forward to be initiated for three months, he shall be then barred, without he shows good cause why he did not—the Lodge to be the judge.
Sec. 3. All balloting for initiation or advancement in Masonry, shall take place in a lodge of Master Masons.
Sec. 4. The fee for each degree shall be ten dollars, and for affiliation the fee shall be three dollars—in all cases, the money to accompany the petition. The dues shall be seventy-five cents per quarter for each member, payable at the regular meetings in March, June, September and December.
Sec. 5. No brother shall exercise the right of membership unless he be a Master Mason, and has signed the By-Laws.
ARTICLE VIII Admission
Sec. 1. An Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft or Master Mason, not a member of this Lodge, wishing to become a member, shall proceed as is directed to those petitioning for initiation.
Sec. 2. No application shall be received from a Mason to be come a member, until he shall have produced a certificate of having discharged his dues in the Lodge to which he formerly belonged, or unless satisfactory reasons shall be given by him and approved by the Lodge, why such certificate should not be produced.
ARTICLE IX Disorderly Masons
Sec. 1. Any brother appearing in the Lodge intoxicated, shall be considered guilty of immoral, ungentlemanly and unmasonic conduct, and may be so charged and tried, agreeable to the provisions of the By-Laws and no spirituous liquor or intoxicating drinks will in any case be allowed in the Lodge room.
Sec. 2. No brother shall leave the Lodge while as work or at refreshment, without permission from the W. master.
Sec. 3. Every Master Mason within the jurisdiction of this Lodge, from whatever Lodge he may hail, who shall conduct himself in an immoral, unmasonic and disorderly manner, or be guilty of an ignominious crime, shall be amenable to this Lodge, and the Lodge shall take cognizance of the reproach, and inflict due punishment upon the guilty; such offenders shall be summoned by the W. Master to appear before the Lodge, convened for that purpose, when they shall proceed to examine the case, hear the defense, suspend, reprove, admonish or acquit, as the case may in justice require: PROVIDED ALWAYS, that in no case shall the judgment be made public, unless the crime of which the brother stands convicted has been public or inimical, inglorious and dishonorable to the name and character of our ancient institution.
Sec. 4. To suspend or expel a brother, shall require a vote of two-thirds of the members present; and to restore a suspended brother to the privileges of Masonry, shall require a like vote.
Sec. 5. Any member of this Lodge can be charged, tried, suspended or expelled, for a violation of any of these By-Laws, for refusing to pay quarterly or other dues for an unreasonable time, for informing rejected petitioners who voted for or against them, or for communicating any of the secrecy, of for any other offense that detracts from the character of a gentleman, or that may dishonor our profession; and all charges for improper conduct shall be presented in writing, with the name of the informer, at regular meetings.
ARTICLE X Dismissions and Diplomas
Any member wishing to demit from this Lodge, on giving notice at a regular meeting of the same, and producing the Secretary’s receipt of his having paid all Lodge dues; yet, as the liberal principles of Freemasonry, Charity, invite and require of us a liberal return for the talent received, this Lodge highly recommends to every worthy brother a participation in the erection of the Masonic edifice; and if he or they should wish a diploma or recommendation, they must apply for the same at a regular meeting of the Lodge, when his petition may be granted by a vote of two-thirds of the members present, he paying the Secretary the sum of two dollars and seventy-five cents.
The Worshipful Master and Senior and Junior Wardens shall be a standing committee on the conduct of the brethren out of the Lodge; and, should any difficulty arise between any of the brethren, and a reconciliation can not be effected by the committee, that shall report the same to the next regular meeting of the Lodge for its action; and, in all charges brought against a brother for a violation of any of these By-Laws, the brother preferring the charge shall be barred from the privilege of voting, or likewise when he is personally or particularly interested.
All amendments to these By-Laws, or repeals of the same, shall be presented in writing at a regular meeting, and shall lie over until the next regular meeting, when the same may be acted upon and adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.
RULES OF ORDER
1. When the W. Master takes the chair, the brethren shall repair to their respective stations, and, on proper notice, shall observe profound silence.
2. When the Lodge has been duly opened, the minutes of the previous meeting shall be read; and, if approved by the Lodge, they shall be signed by the Master and countersigned by the Secretary.
3. The unfinished business shall be taken up.
4. The reports of committees.
5. Petitions shall be received.
6. Motions and resolutions shall be in order.
7. No brother shall leave his work, or move from his place, except in performance of his duty, unless by permission of the W. Master.
8. Any brother wishing to speak, shall arise and respectfully address the Worshipful Master; and no brother shall speak more than once on any one question without consent of the W. Master, unless to explain; and no digression from the subject under discussion shall be allowed, and no angry passions or expressions shall be indulged.
9. The W. Master shall decide all questions of order, subject to appeal to the Lodge; and on all questions the sense of the Lodge shall be ascertained by yeas and nays, by holding up of hands, or by ballot—and a majority shall govern when not otherwise provided.
10. No visiting brother shall be entitled to make any remarks upon any subject that may come before the Lodge, without permission from the W. master.
11. When a question is put, every brother shall vote thereon, unless, for special reasons, he shall be excused by the Lodge.
Adopted, January 17, A.D. 1852, A.L. 5852John T. Cox, W.M. N. B. Johnson, Secretary.
Ratified by the Grand Lodge, in Grand Annual Communication, in the City of Austin, the twenty-third day of January, A.D. 1852, A.L. 5852.
In testimony whereof, I have set my hand and affixed the seal of the Grand Lodge, day and date as above.
A.S. Ruthven, Gr. Sec. G.L. Tex.
January 17, A.D. 1852, A.L. 5852.
We, the undersigned committee, appointed to draft a code of By-Laws for the government of San Gabriel Lodge No. 89, respectfully submit the foregoing.
Samuel Mather )
E. F. Story ) Committee James Armstrong )
To resume the chronological development of San Gabriel Lodge which the record indicates came upward and onward through great tribulation, even as the children of Israel through difficulties, including inability to serve among the officers due to great distances from the Lodge and for other reasons we find that when the first meeting preceding, and for the purpose of organization, was held there were eight M.M. present: Namely, J.T. Cox, E.F. Story, C.C. Arnet, C.C. Cook, Jas. Ruberth, Samuel Mather (later to be G.M. of the State), A.H. Baines and W.H. Cushney.
Following organization, May 22, 1851, we find the Lodge grew with increasing momentum. A short illustration of this growth is furnished by the statistics:—
June 21, 1851: 2 E.A. degrees conferred.
July 18, 1851: 1 E.A. and 3 F.C. degrees conferred.
Aug. 16, 1851: 4 E.A., 2 F.C., 1 M.M. degrees conferred.
Sept. 20, 1851: 4 E.A., 2 F.C., 2 M.M. degrees conferred and 1 rejected.
The growth of Masonry continued in volume through the year for San Gabriel Lodge, and we find at the end of Volume 1, of its history, Sept. 19, 1857, the following appear as members on its roster:
1. John T. Cox 20. Grevious Ray
2. E.F. Story 21. Winslow Turner
3. C.C. Arnett 22. C.A. Russell
4. James Armstrong 23. I. B. Harrell 5. Joseph Ruberth 24. T.H. Robertson 6. Samuel Mather 25. Evan Williams 7. N.B. Johnson 26. William Patterson
8. James H. Addison 27. Joseph Allen 9. James W. Branch 28. A.I. Strickland 10. J.B. Burch 29. Sidney Seymour
11. J.H. Miller 30. James M. Davis
12. W.H. Tichnell 31. Thomas Cormack 13. Jas. V. Patterson 32. A.S. Walker
14. J.F. Fleming 33. J.S. Adams
15. W. Gilliland 34. Wm. E. Bouchelle
16, Nicholas Branch 35. W.C. Dalrymple 17. Thos. F. Hurdleson 36. R.J. Tankersley 18. D.C. Cowen 37. James W. Burry
19. Wisley Kurkpatric
END OF FORMATIVE PERIOD
Volume 1 of the record of San Gabriel Lodge, covering the first seven years, may reasonably be referred to as the record of the formative period of Masonry in this area.
Reading this record of a Lodge on the fringe of the frontier—May 22, 1851 – Sept. 19, 1857— one is raised in spirit to the highest and most sublime heights to which human emotion may rise only to be cast into the wilderness of despair by the problems faced by our pioneer brothers who drew their membership from the rank and file—generally the just—and frequently, by error, the unjust.
We find that during those first seven years San Gabriel Lodge built and furnished a Lodge home, that it conferred degrees by the dozen on its own account and on sojourners for Lodges all over this area and for Lodges in distant states. Most of these degrees by courtesy were for Lodges in South and East Texas however.
The record discloses also that it had occasion to try at least then members. Some called before the bar of the Lodge were repeaters—one three times and another twice before expulsion. This, we think, shows the even temperament of our early brothers—as well as their tolerance.
At the meeting on August 20, 1853, the record discloses that San Gabriel Lodge, by unanimous vote, recommended that dispensation be granted for the forming of Masonic Lodges at Round Rock and Gabriel Mills, territory then within the jurisdiction of San Gabriel Lodge. Thus Round Rock and Mount Horeb Lodges were formed.
A side note worth of mention is that Round Rock was represented by two delegations—one from Old Round Rock and one from New Round Rock. Our San Gabriel Lodge brethren neatly sidestepped this issue by “recommending a dispensation be granted for the forming of a Lodge by these worthy brethren.”
September 17, 1853, San Gabriel Lodge voted $10.00 “be sent to the Masonic Board of Relief, New Orleans, La.,) to aid in that organization’s work during “the yellow fever epidemics.”
On an early anniversary of the following of San Gabriel Lodge, the second or third, our authority is not certain, Samuel Mather, a Charter member, and later Grand Master of Masons in Texas, delivered a “Masonic Address.”
There is nothing peculiar about that fact, however, we will presently show a point that is peculiar.
In the course of his remarks Brother Mather said, among other things, according to our informant:
“In the earliest ages, particularly in the time of Solomon, it was the custom to decorate public buildings with ornaments possessing a symbolic reference to facts desirable to perpetuate. The Temple, therefore, was decorated in gorgeous colors; the cherubim’s, the golden and silver vessels, the rich vestments and its paraphernalia were gorgeous, the inner walls, posts, doors, beams, floors and ceilings were of cedar wood, olive and fir, overlaid with burnished gold, richly enchased with beautiful designs and adorned with various colored gems, dispersed in the most exquisite manner. The golden nails which fastened the plates had their heads inchased with remarkable designs of artistry. On the doors were the delineated Cherubim’s, interspersed with flower works in gold. The Angels were here represented as attending the majesty of God to execute His will.
Various and precious stones were used in abundance to increase the beauty and splendor of the Temple. These precious stones were imported from Tyre.
The floors, we are told, were composed of Mosaic work and decorated with elegant patterns of costly material; the windows were of agate, the gates carbuncle and the borders of rare stones.
In addition to the great quantity of precious metal which was used in construction, the wages of 200,000 workmen of all classes, in construction of the Temple, appear extravagant, even in this day. However, when it is remembered that in addition the edifice also consumed more gold and silver than at present exists in the world, an idea of its grandeur may be imagined; David, alone, is said to have bequeathed treasure exceeding all the riches in the world, 100,000,000 talents in gold, and 1,000,000 is silver. Modern estimates of David’s gift alone is 547 million, 500 thousand, and 342 millions pounds in gold, or collectively 900,000,000 pounds, sterling, as recorded today.
Notwithstanding all the treasure enumerated above used in the construction of the Temple—a vast sum of gold and silver remained in the Treasure after the Temple was completed.
There are many additional evidences of sufficiency existing in the realm subject to the call of King Solomon when the Temple was completed, but those enumerated provide a glimpse of the sufficiency of coin, devotion and manpower to accomplish a design of the Almighty.
Strange as the facts here given may seem, the same as given by our worthy brother Samuel Mather in 1853, appeal with some additional detail in the Universal Masonic Library, Vol. XII, 1858.
A LOOK AT SOME EVENTS OF 1857
Although this event of history my not be germane to a history of San Gabriel Lodge, per se, during its early existence, it relates to a member of the Lodge, a man who had much to do with the development of a large section of Texas by reason of his services in leading and protecting the settlers, Mr. W. C. Dalrymple, in whose honor the pioneer heads of our city government named a street, but in recent years that honor was withdrawn and the street renamed, perhaps in the opinion of the powers that were, the more euphoric name—”Forest.”
Dalrymple had served Texas long before Williamson County and Georgetown were created as a Ranger and as a Scout, including a time for the armies of General Sam Houston. Following the revolution and independence, he had penetrated, long before the county and town were created in which he elected to cast his lot, to and beyond Devil’s river, and had climbed the Cap Rock to the Staked Plains.
Dalrymple knew Texas and its broad expanses better perhaps than any other pioneer and led forays against the Indians following depredations in Central Texas on many occasions; participating in the bloody fights side by side with the settlers, many of whom he had never known before. One particularly furious encounter in which several lost their lives—”The Battle of Packsaddle Mountain.” Thence he led the pioneers and frontiersmen on that memorable campaign to Devil’s river in pursuit of the savages, turning back only because he was overruled and supplies had been exhausted.
In the fall of 1846 Dalrymple, who was possessed of considerable ability as an engineer, went to Austin and procured from the land office maps and plats of vacant land, which his services as an officer and scout had impressed him as possessing value. The land was located in that portion of the State of Texas known as the “Pacific Reserve.”
The plats and maps were purchased by Dalrymple with a view of locating certificates upon the land for himself and some of his friends. Soon after he went out on the frontier alone, exposing himself to great danger, with a view of examining more thoroughly the quality of the lands and returned to his home in Georgetown after having found a region of vast and rich vacant territory in the “Pacific Reserve,” and on a part of which he had determined to locate his Certificate, Dalrymple confided to a fellow-citizen (meaning a resident of Georgetown, Texas) the object for which he had gone out on the frontier, and, following several conferences, agreed that his fellow- townsman would accompany him when he returned to survey the lands, with the expressed understanding, however, that he (Dalrymple) would locate his Certificates upon the land he had already selected, agreeing at the same time that he would render his fellow-townsman all possible assistance, including a true survey, in locating his certificates.
Accordingly, in February, 1857, Dalrymple returned to the same region of country, equipped for surveying and accompanied by his new found friend and other fellow-citizens. While in the field all had access to the charts and maps, procured and paid for by Dalrymple.
After being on the frontier several days the friend of the old Scout feigned dissatisfaction and left the party, asserting that he was returning home.
The departure of his friend was noted with regret in the diary of Dalrymple, who recorded also his wishes for a safe return home—to Georgetown.
His mission completed the old Scout returned home and immediately called upon his friend who he found to be absent. A few days later he journed to Austin with the purpose of settling his
Certificates on the land scouted, located and surveyed. Imagine his surprised when, on visiting the Land Office, he found that a man from another county, at the instance and with the assistance of his erstwhile and trusted friend, had located Certificates upon most of the identical land a few days before.
In this “modern age” the “frontiers” are no longer in “free lands”, awarded for valor in defense of our country, but in “striving for better things and better living.” No doubt we still have pioneers and scouts in the world of today whose needs must be on guard against those who would thwart the rewards of others who have “endured the heat and burden of the day” and appropriate them to their own gain, benefit and use.
A chronological record of San Gabriel Lodge would require the recording of the initiation, passing and raising of Dudley H. Snyder, one of the leading citizens of Georgetown and Central Texas. Col. Snyder, as he was known from the Civil War to his death, was a remarkable man of vision, personal strength and aggressive. He was made an EA Jan. 12, 1858, and completed his Masonic experience with the MM Degree in March of the same year. He was a cattleman of rare attainments. As an example of this acumen, he at one time operated with headquarters at Georgetown from the Gulf to the Pacific and the Canadian Border. His headquarters were separated by a day of less travel from one to the other from Georgetown to the Pacific, on the West, and the Canadian border on the Northwest. All of the so-called Bad Lands of the Dakotas were in his spread as were most of the region referred to as the “Black Hills” of the Dakotas even to this day.
ROUND ROCK Lodge Endorsed
A special meeting of San Gabriel Lodge was called to be held the evening of May 29, 1858, to consider desires of certain Master Masons to establish the Round Rock Lodge at Round Rock, Texas.
The action came on the request of the Round Rock Brethren, members of San Gabriel Lodge, who requested an endorsement of their desires since Round Rock was separated by about ten miles average from Georgetown Lodge.”
The request was granted and San Gabriel Lodge requested that the Round Rock Lodge be created and further, that a dispensation be granted under which the brethren might work until the “next meeting of the Grand Lodge.”
The following were nominated by the Round Rock contingent and recommended as officers for the new Lodge: Joch C. Black, W.M.; F.C. Oatts, S.W.; J.L. Peay, J.W.
At the same meeting the committee appointed previously “to dispose of the Lodge Room and make arrangements for the purchase or the building of another, recommended the Lodge retain their old quarters for the present but at the same time purchase for $1,000 the property which is owned by Dr. D.F. Knight on the east side of the public square.” The recommendation of the committee was approved and the three principle officers were directed to instruct their workmen to “take anything necessary from the present Lodge to the new to make repairs of to use therein.”
“Toot The Horn”
A motion made by one of our early Brethren, August 20, 1859, was recorded as follows under that date:
“On motion it was resolved “that the Tyler be instructed to ‘toot the horn’ one hour after sunset on each evening of stated meeting and that the Brethren immediately repair to the Lodge room after said summons.”
At the meeting of Feb. 18, 1850, the Lodge gave consideration to its indebtedness in regard to the purchase of the building from Dr. D.F. Knight when it found its treasury unable to pay the total due at once, the conclusion being that a note should be given to Dr. Knight, signed by each member of the Lodge, “each signer binding himself personally to pay his pro-rata part.” Apparently some members refused to so bind themselves on the note and the Lodge passed a resolution providing, “that any member who refrains from signing the note shall also be bound should the lodge burn down or any other loss happen.”
At the meeting Feb. 18, 1860, the Lodge requested that “members of the Lodge visiting in Austin be requested to inquire concerning whether of not any person of firm would insure the Lodge building, and, if so, what the cost would be.”
CIVIL WAR YEARS
Although no references are made to the threat of war between the states in the record of the Lodge in early 1861, and in fact at no time during the struggle, except to announce the death of members in the war, the shadows were casting themselves before as early as January of that year. Applicants for the Masonic degrees were increasing in great numbers, so many in fact, that in March, 1861, it was voted that a called meeting be held each first Saturday night in each month for the conferring of degrees.
June 15, 1861, a motion prevailed providing that the Lodge “rent the lower floor of the building to the county for the use of the grand jury for 14 days at a rental of $1 per day—total $14.”
Ed H. (Later Gen.) Von Treas
Ed H. Von Treas, a citizen of Georgetown, having completed his F.C. degree in late October, 1861, immediately applied for the M.M. Degree in order “that he might proceed to Kentucky (Louisville). No reference is made to the fact but it is obvious that military duty was the objective. Consequently, the Lodge requested a dispensation “to confer the degree out of time.” the request was granted and Von Treas received the Third Degree, departing immediately thereafter for Kentucky. We hear nothing more in the Masonic records concerning him except indirectly, although history is replete with his exploits, until some time later, however we believe the unfolding events will better record the Masonic and war incidents and the end than profane history does, although in less detail.
The minutes of December, 1861, refer to the use of the Lodge room as a public school “in co- operation with the school board at a rental of $5 per month for the time that said Lodge is used for said school.”
At the same meeting “Bro. Thos. P. Hughes was instructed to draw a deed for the sale of THE OLD LODGE ROOM to Mr. McKaughen.
A public installation of officers for the ensuing year (1862) was ordered to be held at the church on the 27th inst.—”St, John’s Day.” Brother R. Sansom was appointed to deliver an oration on that occasion.
On Dec. 27, 1861, the Lodge repaired to the church where an address was delivered by Bro. Thos. P. Hughes, and the officers installed.
Confederate Money Approved
At the meeting held on Dec. 21, 1861, the secretary of San Gabriel Lodge was instructed to accept Treasury Warrants issued by the State of Texas, Confederate Money, Louisiana Bank Bills and Gold or Silver for whatever amount the different members may be owing the Lodge.
At the May meeting, 1862, a motion prevailed in which it was resolved, “that all members of this Lodge two years or more in arrears for dues and have not gone to the ‘wars’ be and are hereby suspended until their dues are paid, except Bro. D.B. McDaniel.”
Killed By Indians San Gabriel Lodge Room, Dec. 20, 1862.
“Whereas, we have been informed of the death of Bro. James H. Tankersley, who was killed by the Indians on a date unknown in July, 1862—
And, whereas it is proper for this Lodge composed of the friends of the deceased to take some action in the memory of their departed Brother,
Therefore, Resolved, (1st) That this Lodge feels that they have lost in the death of Bro. James H. Tankersley one of their most faithful and efficient Master Workmen, firm and true in his friendships, active and disinterested in his course as a Mason, ardent and self-sacrificing as a patriot.
2nd. That we tender the family of deceased our warmest sympathy in their bereavement—and claiming for ourselves the right to share with them their grief for their great loss.
Death Strikes Thrice Died, in the Confederate Services:
Whereas, our Brother George W. Counts, who, for a number of years, was a Master Mason of this Lodge and whilst such held high and responsible office with credit to himself and satisfaction to the Lodge, and who, on the 26th of March, last, being on his way to Arkansas to serve his country, in this great struggle—in Dallas County, Texas, joined and became a member of Capt. Von Treas’ Company that afterward constituted a part of Morgan’s Squadron—died at his post at Little Rock, Arkansas—his country, his wife and his God engrossing his last thoughts.
Therefore, Be it Resolved: (1st) That in his death his country has lost a brave soldier and a self-sacrificing patriot, his wife a tender and loving husband, and this Lodge one of its most zealous working members.
2nd. That this Lodge condole with his affectionate wife in this, her time of affliction, and promise to her Masonic relief in time of need.
Let this narrative diverge a moment for the tragedies of war to register this piece of local color action: At a meeting held on Dec. 20, 1862, the Lodge ordered thirteen members delinquent for dues and not in the services of the Confederate States of the State of Texas be suspended for non- payment of dues.
Also on Dec. 20, 1862, San Gabriel Lodge requested Brother James Elliott, District Deputy Grand Master, grant a dispensation for the conferring of the MM. Degree our of time on Brother Louis Ogle, a F.C. Mason, in view of the fact that an emergency exists of a nature too urgent to await the usual time, because before our next regular meeting our said Brother will have left the State and joined our Army in Arkansas and wishes the protecting shield of Free Masonry to assist him in passing many a fiery ordeal through which he will pass before returning to our midst.
No meeting of the Lodge was held in April or May, 1864, presumably due to the exegesis of war, the pell of which may be felt in the reading of the Lodge’s record of that time especially the last two years of the conflict.
Specie Demanded As Exchange
At the regular meeting held October 15, 1884, a motion was adopted providing: “That this Lodge return to the ‘Specie Basis’ in their fiscal matters and that the resolution to take Confederate Money at par be repealed.”
At the meeting held on the evening of April 15, 1865, a committee composed of A.S. Walker, Sidney Seymour and John Compton was appointed to draft resolutions expressive of esteem of the merits of their deceased Brother, F.C. Von Treas, C.C. Ake and S.A. Boyce, and reported on June 17, 1865 as follows:
Whereas, it has pleased the Almighty Disposer of Events to remove from our number our worthy brother, Steven A. Boyce, who dies of wounds received in battle, therefore, Resolved,
1st. That in his death our Lodge has met with a serious loss of a good a true Mason, the community an excellent citizen and the country generally a true patriot.
Whereas, the death of Brother C.C. Ake killed in battle has been announced to this Lodge, Therefore,
1st. Be it resolved that in the death of Brother Ake this Lodge has lost a worthy Mason, the country a patriot and his family a kind husband and father.
Confederate General Killed By Lightening
Whereas, it has pleased Almighty God to remove from our companionship by death by lightening our worthy brother, E.H. Von Treas, therefore to manifest our sense of his loss, be it
1st. That in the death of Brother Von Treas this Lodge has sustained the loss of a Mason good and true; the country a worthy citizen, the Army a great officer, the bar a faithful lawyer, and his family a fine husband and father.
The Lodge ordered and a committee was appointed to complete arrangements for the preaching of a sermon on the death of Brothers Boyce, Ake and Von Treas. The memorial services were held at the Presbyterian church July 16th, 1865, when the oration was delivered by the Rev. Bro. J.W. Ledbetter.
On October 21, 1865, the secretary of the Lodge, ex-officio custodian of the Lodge Building, was instructed NOT to lease the lower floor of the building for less than ten dollars per month.
Dec. 15, 1866, it was ordered that a committee of five be appointed whose duty it shall be to sell, if practicable to do so, this Lodge building at a practicable appraisement value, and, upon negotiating said sale, said committee are authorized to subscribe for shares in the Georgetown Male and Female Academy building—stipulating with the Board of Trustees of said institution for a suitable upper room in said building for a permanent Lodge Room. Later, on Jan 19, 1867, the committee reported the impracticability of the sale of said property and recommended the renting of the same for $15.00 in currency of its equivalent in specie. The recommendation was adopted and the committee discharged.
EASTERN STAR GIVEN PERMISSION
July 16, 1867, a resolution was passed permitting the Eastern Star Chapter to occupy the Lodge Room and to change same to suit Chapter purposes.
Nov, 21, 1868, one E.A. Bretheren, who had been initiated “In the Army” was present and was passed to the degree of F.C., and Brother Jabob Kein, initiated in the Army was received and elected to the second degree.
Jan. 16, 1869, on motion the Lodge Room was allowed the Sons of Temperance until otherwise directed, and the secretary was directed to correspond with the Grand Master as to the legality of the action.
Masonry Reflects Trends In Life Of The People
That Masonry reflects trends and developments in the life of the people generation after generation is clearly indicated in the written record of San Gabriel Lodge covering a century.
In the early years of its existence, which were co-incident with the settlement of the frontier, settlement after settlement developed into communities and towns.
In those communities, fifteen, twenty or even forty miles distant, lived many devout Masons, members of San Gabriel Lodge who thought little of traveling the distance, to attend a meeting of the Lodge.
It was natural that these Masons came at last to desire a home Lodge for themselves and their neighbors who were Masons or would like to become Masons, but, being uninitiated and unaware of the importance of Masonry in their daily lives, hesitated to apply for membership in a
lodge to attend which would require a half day or more travel each way in the days of horsedrawn vehicles or on horseback.
For the benefit of the members so traveling, including those in the nearby country, San Gabriel Lodge built, first “a secure lot” east of the hall, later a shed for the animals of their members and visitors.
This later developed into a livery stable when citizens began to establish those places and operate them for the convenience of the public. These very stables accepted horses for a fee for their feed and keep and, instead of quartering their horse and buggy, wagon or hack in the “secure lot” of the Lodge they put them in the public stable. Men operating livery stables were good men and good citizens. They loved horses and all animals placed in their care received good treatment and plenty of good feed and water.
As the communities developed and interest increased in the third and fourth quarters of the 19th century, many applied to San Gabriel Lodge which had jurisdiction over them, for the approval of their applications for Charters for presentation to the Grand Lodge of Texas.
So far as we discovered from the written record of San Gabriel Lodge, not a single request of this kind was ever refused however, the record does show that the officers and members of that day journeyed to the location of these new lodges and assisted in instituting them, leaving with the assurance that the Lodge stood ready to render any further assistance at any time.
Soon after the close of the 19th century all of the communities surrounding San Gabriel Lodge, desiring a lodge, had one of their own and her jurisdiction had been reduced by at least seventy- five percent compared with miles and acres in its original form.
Then came, in the first decade of the twentieth century, the development of the automobile and transportation speed increased year by year—and with each new development of the internal combustion engine.
This changed again the American way of life. The livery and board stable disappeared and, instead of driving to lodge in a buggy or on horseback and placing their horses in stables for rest, feed and care Masons parked their cars at the street curb.
Following the development of the automobile and fast transportation the routine of the average American changed greatly and habits perceptibly. Many Lodges with small membership but amply able under the former life of the community to keep the organization prosperous, began to decline and, about 1925-1935 saw them finally surrender the charters their forefathers had striven to secure. The members, many of them descendants of the pioneers, joined by transfer from a “demised” Lodge San Gabriel Lodge from which many of their fathers and grandfathers had demitted to form their own home lodge.
This movement was practically completed in the decade, 1925-1935, the last mass movement being in 1930—although many who did not transfer when their charter was surrendered, came in one or two at a time later.
In this transition San Gabriel Lodge today—after a century of work and good will—finds her jurisdiction in the neighborhood of fifty per cent as large as it was at the beginning, in 1851.
Feb. 20, 1869, District Deputy Grand Master Norton Moses was ordered to be paid $10 for his services as lecturer.
Apr. 17, 1869, J.C.S. Morrow, J.R. Peay and J.J. Stubblefield were appointed a committee “to find out what could be attained for the purpose of erecting a building for a Lodge, School and Church purposes.
May 15, 1869, “The committee on the building of a hall for the Lodge and Chapter was allowed further time to complete their report, and Thos. P. Hughes and Sam’l Mankins were added to said committee.”
June 19, 1869, “Committee on Lodge building granted further time to report at the same time was ordered to put out subscription lists for the same.”
Nov. 30, 1869, “On motion W.J. Montgomery was retained as financial agent of this Lodge and requested to rent the store room of the Lodge on the best terms that can be arranged.”
April 16, 1870, An order from D.F. Knight for $15 specie dollars in favor of A.S. Walker was presented and ordered to be paid in U.S. Currency a face value.
July 4, 1870, A special meeting was called for the purpose of making arrangements for laying the corner stone of the Georgetown College on the 11th of July, inst.
It was ordered by the Lodge that the Steward purchase: Forty new aprons,
Forty pair of white gloves,
A frame to carry the Bible on, New Jewels for the Lodge, and The necessary ribbons.
Bro. J.A. Clark, W.K. Makemson and A.S. Walker were appointed a committee to procure a roll of members and all the necessary materials to be used on the occasion. It was also ordered that the Secretary send invitations to Mt, Horab, Post Oak Island, Salado and Austin Lodges requesting them to attend and bring their regalia.
July 16, 1870, The Lodge met for the purpose of laying the cornerstone of Georgetown College, the following officers in charge:
R.W. Norton Moses, D.D.G.M., W.M., W.G. Westfall, S.W.,
W.J. Montgomery, J.W.,
J.E. Walker, Secretary,
J.W. Posey, S.D., J.M. Denson, J.D.
J.J. Stubblefield, Tiler.
The W.M. explained the object of the meeting was to lay the cornerstone of the College with Masonic honors, under a dispensation granted him by the M.W.G.M., Grand Lodge of Texas.
The Lodge then, including its officers, members and visitors, repaired to the location of the building site and laid the cornerstone of Georgetown College with solemn ceremonies.
Feb. 18, 1871, Near the close of the meeting of San Gabriel Lodge held on above date, “the members repaired to the Alamo Hotel and partook of an elegant repast prepared for the occasion.”
Mar. 19, 1871, A committee appointed to negotiate with E.H. Napier in regard to old Lodge room rents etc., were authorized to make such disposition as they see proper.
Dec. 21, 1872, A finance committee was authorized to rent a suitable Lodge room.
Oct. 18, 1873, A committee consisting of J.C.S. Morrow, C.M. Lesueur and Sam Mankins was appointed to sell the old Lodge building and to make the best term possible—the lot upon which the same stands, not to be included in the sale of the building.
Feb. 21, 1874, A committee of the sale of the Lodge building reported they had sold same for $300, $100 cash, balance duly secured. Upon motion report of committee was accepted.
Mar. 6, 1875, The Secretary was instructed to notify all members of San Gabriel Lodge to be present at the next regular meeting at which time the Lodge is to take action in regard to the erection of a Lodge Building.
On motion of committee of two consisting of J.W. Posey and F.L. Price was appointed to meet any committee from I.O.O.F Lodge and confer with them concerning their views and wishes in regard to putting up a building in conjunction with the Masonic Fraternity.
On motion a committee composed of W.H. Henderson, W.K. Makenson and J.E. Walker was appointed to confer with Bro. T.P. Hughes and ask him to reduce to writing a release on any lien that he may have acquired upon the building sold by this Lodge to Bro. Albright. On further motion it was resolved to release the widow of Bro. Albright, who died on March 3, 1875, from all interest that may have accrued upon his note to the Lodge up to the time of his death.
“The account of Rucker & Hodges for digging grave of Bro. Albright in the sum of $5, and the account presented by Bro. Quillen for lumber and making coffin by himself, Bro. Carr and Mr. Payne, in sum of $11.50 was ordered paid.”
Mar. 20, 1875, A committee consisting R. Sansom, J.C.S. Morrow and R. Hal Montgomery was appointed to meet and confer with I.O.O.F. and Grangers in regard to building a hall upon a joint stock plan and to solicit subscriptions. “The Tiler was authorized to purchase a box of candles.”
Apr. 3, 1875, A committee appointed to confer with I.O.O.F. and Grangers made their report and were discharged. The same committee was then appointed to solicit subscriptions for building.
A Masonic address was read to the Lodge on the project for founding a Masonic Agricultural and Mechanical College and requesting that local Lodges vote on the question as to whether they are
willing to be taxed for that purpose. . . . On motion was taken and San Gabriel Lodge voted unanimously in the affirmative.
It was ordered that the Secretary write each Lodge in the county and request them to send one or more delegates to meet with this Lodge the first Saturday in May for the purpose of devising ways and means to secure the location of the Masonic College in this county, also to request them to appoint a committee to solicit donations of money and lands for that purpose.
June 5, 1875, Report of committee to confer with Bro. J.C.S. Morrow in regard to renting the second story of his store for a Lodge room, reported in writing. The report was read and on motion was received, committee discharged.
Notice was received from Bro. J.C.S. Morrow advising the Lodge that he would require this hall for his own use after the expiration of 30 days. On motion a committee consisting of C.M. Lesueur, J. W. Hodges, R.H. Montgomery was appointed to secure a hall and consult with the Odd Fellows so as to secure a hall in connection with them if possible.
Jul. 3, 1875, A committee appointed to rent a suitable hall for the Lodge reported that had rented the upper story of J.C.S. Morrow’s store at the rate of $10 currency.
Nov. 6, 1875, J.C.S. Morrow, F.L. Price and R.H. Montgomery were appointed a committee to rent another hall for meetings of this Lodge with authority to confer with a like committee from the INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS from this place, and act in conjunction with them in procuring a hall jointly.
Jan. 1, 1876, The three principle officers, on behalf of the Lodge, were instructed to sign contract for rent of hall as drawn up by W.K. Makemson between Mr. D. Love, the Odd Fellows and the Lodge.
Mar, 4, 1876, A motion prevailed in the Lodge at this meeting providing that Bro. F.L. Price be appointed a committee to act in conjunction with a committee from the Odd Fellows Lodge in regard to raising means for the purchase of Land for a grave yard.
April 15, 1876, It was ordered that a board of three trustees be appointed by the Lodge who will hold office for one Masonic year, said board of trustees to act in concert with a similar board of trustees to be appointed by the Georgetown I.O.O.F. with regard to purchase of a half interest in a cemetery and to draw up and present to the Lodge a Charter for the same. The three principle officers of the Lodge were elected to the board of trustees.
Jan. 5, 1877, J.L. Rucker, C.M. Lesueuer were appointed a committee to meet a committee from the I.O.O.F. and a committee from the Southern Presbyterian Church to consider ways and means to build a hall. On motion D.S. Chessher and F.L. Price were added to the committee on building.
Jan. 5, 1878, It was announced that the Albright house had been sold to Dr. F.A. Wood (then president of Southwestern University) for $364.55; $101.30 of which was due Mrs. Albright and the balance was placed in “a building fund, to be used for no other purpose without further order from the Lodge. On Nov. 2, 1878, committee reported they had made contract for building a Lodge room.
Sept. 7, 1878, $10.00 was appropriated and ordered sent to the yellow fever sufferers at Memphis, Tenn, and a committee named to solicit further funds.
Nov. 2, 1878, committee reported they had made contract for building a Lodge room.
Dec. 7, 1878, Building committee reported it would be necessary to raise some additional funds for purchase of Lodge room. Committee continued and ordered to secure additional money on best terms possible.
Dec. 21, 1878, The Lodge received an appeal from Iradell Lodge, No. 405, Texas, asking aid in the building of a Lodge. On motion San Gabriel Lodge deferred action until “this Lodge could finish paying for its own Lodge building now in process of construction.”
Jan. 4, 1879, The building committee submitted “a bill for extras” from contractors building Lodge building. A committee was appointed to ascertain what “extras” had been included and a fair value thereof.
Jan. 18, 1879, The special committee recommended the Lodge pay Contractor $40 “for extras on the building under construction.”
The three principle officers were instructed to execute a note secured by deed of trust on Lodge building to raise money to pay balance due on Lodge building.
Feb. 1, 1879, Committee named to “see about fixtures in store room on lower floor of Lodge room.”
Feb. 15, 1879, Committee reported verbally and was continued “until work is accomplished.”
In passing it might be pertinent to record that at one meeting visitors were reported from Chapman Lodge No 11, Wyoming; Ft Washington 202, Ohio; Oregon No 151; a non-affiliate, Wisconsin; and many other from nearby lodges: Florence, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Lockhart and others, also Baxter Lodge No 11, Kansas.
At the meeting on March 1, 1879, the following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, that the Secretary be instructed to issue a draft in favor of the Finance Committee whenever as much as twenty-five dollars shall accumulate in the Treasury, and that the Finance Committee be instructed to invest all funds that may come into their hands at 12% per annum, the same to be payable one day before the note of the Lodge to Mr. Chapman (who had loaned his brethren money at 1.5% per month to finish the Lodge building) becomes due, or sooner, the Finance Committee to take undoubted security not only for the payment of the money, but for the prompt payment of the same.
Following the above resolution proceeded to “turn on the heat,” in continued:
“resolved, further, that the Secretary be instructed to make out the accounts of all Brethren of the Lodge for dues up to the 24th day of June, 1879, and that he collect all dues which the Brethren may be willing to pay up to that time, and that at all events he collect all dues up to and including the 27th day of December, 1878,, and also that he collect up the rents due this Lodge.
Resolved further, that the Secretary be instructed to notify all Brethren who may be two or more years in arrears for dues to pay the same over before the third Saturday in May, 1879 or the
Lodge will take action in their cases, and that the Secretary report to the Lodge at the next regular meeting all members who may be six months or more in arrears for dues.
“Resolved, that the Building Committee be instructed to report at the next regular meeting: 1. All moneys received from the Chapter.
1. All moneys received from the Blue Lodge. 1. All moneys received from Brethren.
1. All moneys donated and by whom.
1. All moneys loaned and by whom.
1. All moneys paid out and to whom.
1. All moneys in the Charity Fund is hereby appropriated to be paid on the Lodge building.
It is interesting to note that the report of the Building Committee received March 15, 1879, showed an excess of expenses above receipts, and revealed “lost vouchers” however the Committee Secretary “absorbed by paying the difference” and thus forced a balance in the account.”
Dec. 9, 1879, A special committee on Lodge debt reported they had discharged the loan at 1.5% per month by funds from the Lodge and an additional $600 borrowed from another source—a lady at a lower interest, 1% per month and said loan at 1.5% per month had been liquidated.
Feb. 21, 1880, An account of Bro. J.A. McDougle for candles and oil furnished the Lodge amounting to $9.32 was, on motion, allowed and draft ordered issued.
May 1, 1880, The Secretary was instructed to procure for the Lodge one Setting Mall, one Hoodwink, one Cabletoe and one Lambskin Apron.
May 9, 1881, The report of a special committee appointed to examine the Lodge Building was received. They recommended that the floor needs the support of columns and recommended that three columns and two half columns be placed in the lower story, and that these columns support a beam, running the entire length of the building, and that some other minor repairs be made. Final report of the committee stating that repairs had been made a received June 15, 1881. The total cost ordered paid to Bro. George Irvine, contractor, for the repairs was $13.78.
Aug. 6, 1881, On motion it was ordered that the Junior Warden prefer charges against all members of the Lodge who have been suspended for over two years for non-payment of dues.
June 1, 1882, The Treasurer and Secretary were appointed to a committee to insure the Lodge Building and reported that they had “taken out a policy for one thousand dollars” for which they paid a premium of $50.00.
Feb. 18, 1882, Bros. D.S. Chessher, B.E. Chreitzberg and A.S. Howren were appointed as a committee to confer with the lessee of the Lower story of the Lodge building and make
arrangements to cut off a part of the lot of the Lodge, and to have a secure fence, gate and lock put around same in order that members having to ride to the Lodge may have a secure place in which to put their horses on Lodge nights. The same committee was instructed to consider and report on the matter of putting metal spit-boxes in the Lodge.
Mar. 4, 1882, The committee appointed to consider the matter of supplying the Lodge room with spit-boxes, reported that earthenware spittoons could be obtained in Austin at from $5 to $8 per dozen, the committee was discharged. Bro. George W. Glasscock was then requested to purchase the larger size, as many as may be necessary, to supply the Lodge room.
Nov. 18, 1882, A petition of several Brethren for a new Lodge at Corn Hill, Williamson County, Texas, was presented and duly considered. The Brethren nominated for the three principle officers, being examined in open Lodge, were found fully competent to confer the degrees of Symbolic Masonry in due and ancient form according to the teachings of the Grand Lodge of Texas; and having inquired into and having ascertained the security with reference to the work of Masonry of the hall in which said Lodge proposes to meet, and that it is more than ten miles (and at least 12 miles) from this the nearest Lodge thereto and it being shown that the petitioners, Thomas M. Dunn, H. Brooks, W.T. Foster, M.L. Marrs, B.J. Beck, S.F. Story, John McCarty and J. M. Bristol, are members of San Gabriel Lodge, No. 89, and T.N. Carmack was a member of Magnolia Lodge, No.___, Tyler County, Texas, and J.H. Biles is a member of Salado Lodge, No. 296, and J. A. Rainey is a member of Parsons Lodge, No. 222, and John W. Whitten is a member of Fish Creek Lodge, No. 345, and N.R. Land is a member of Salado Lodge, No. 296, and D.B. Belk is a member of Bexar Lodge, No. 230, Alabama, and that R. Frank, T.H. Lee, J.E. King and A.R. Bowen are demitted, whose demits are now on file in this Lodge, all of whom are Master Masons in Good Standing, it was therefore, on motion, unanimously recommended that the prayer of the petitioners be granted.
May 5, 1883, On motion the account against the Lodge of Bro. T.W. Marrs for $8.25 for a box of candles was allowed and draft ordered issued.
Sept. 15, 1883, San Gabriel Lodge Committee named to consider “appeal from Round Rock Lodge for assistance” reported they had conferred with the Round Rock Brethren and recommended that San Gabriel Lodge donate all old furniture that we do not now use, and also the sum of $25 on condition that said sum be used for said lodge for the purpose of buying or building a room in which to meet.” (page 269, Vol. 5)
OUR FIRST CARPET
The first carpet placed on the Lodge Room floor (the old building) was ordered and presented on the floor by the committee Sept. 15, 1883. (Vol. 5, page 270). The carpet cost $78.40 and Mrs. St. W. Clark was allowed $5 for work done on carpet.
In the 1880’s it seemed to be a fad “or a racket” for Lodges in Distant places to appeal” for aid for this or that”. Our wise San Gabriel pioneers answered these calls, after investigation, of nearby Lodges, and, on motion tabled most of them.
Jan. 19, 1884, Bro. R.W. Vining made a motion which was duly second, to prohibit smoking while the Lodge was at labor. Bro. W.L. Mann moved to amend the motion by prohibiting chewing also. The amendment was adopted. Then, on reverting to the original motion, it was also adopted.
Then the Brethren, smokers and chewers, became serious, and, on motion of Bro. W.M. Key (later Judge Key) the entire procedure was postponed and reopened for further consideration at a later date. Meantime the Brethren continued their smoking and chewing. The motion was finally tabled Feb. 2, 1884.
CORNERSTONE OF STATE CAPITAL LAID
Feb. 7, 1885, On motion the joint invitation of the Austin and Hill City Lodges of Austin, Texas, of San Gabriel Lodge to assist at the laying of the cornerstone of the new state capital at Austin, Texas, “on the 2nd promise o,” was accepted and the Secretary instructed to notify said Lodges of same.
Nov. 25, 1885, Secretary was instructed to draw draft on Treasurer for $25, and send same to Galveston for the relief of Brethren who were suffering from the loss of a disastrous fire.
Feb. 19, 1887, The account of San Gabriel Water Works Co., which corporation had recently connected this Lodge with running water, for $2.60 was, on motion, allowed and draft ordered issued.
April 2, 1887, At this meeting it is interesting to note that petitions were received for the first degree from three later distinguished Texans:
Robert A. John, who later became chief assistant attorney General of Texas, and an outstanding lawyer, who began his career as county attorney of Williamson County. Many years prior to his death he was chief attorney of Texas, Co.
R.E. Brooks, who later became Judge of the 26th Judicial District, resigned from that position to enter into the organization of the Hogg-Swayne Syndicate, a corporation to develop oil properties at Spindletop, the first great oil field discovered in Texas, near Beaumont. The Syndicate laid the ground work for the Texas Co.
W.Y. Penn, an outstanding Texan, jeweler and bookseller in Georgetown for many years, mayor for several terms and later a real estate dealer with wide operations in San Antonio, Texas.
A communication from the Grand Master granting dispensation for this Lodge to lay the cornerstone of the Young Ladies Annex of Southwestern University was read. On motion the matter of entertainment of visitor Thursday, the 22nd inst., was referred to the three principle officers of the Lodge in connection with the Stewards. Notice from D.D.G.M. Norton Moses that he would visit this Lodge of the night of the 22nd was read.
Sept. 22, 1887, W.M. stated that the meeting had been called for the purpose of attending the preliminaries of the laying of the cornerstone of the Young Ladies’ Annex of Southwestern University. . . . On motion Bros. W.M. Key, R.A. John and S.S. Sansom were appointed as committee on arrangements; Bros. D.S. Chessher, J.L. Brittain, J.W. Hodges, W.L. Mann, S.J. Rucker and Hugh Casey were appointed a reception committee.
1:00 o’clock p.m., September 22, 1887:
D.D.G.M. Norton Moses, acting for Grand Master of Texas, stated that the meeting had been called for the purpose of complying with request of
Southwestern University to lay the cornerstone of the Young Ladies’ Annex. The Grand Marshal then took charge and the Lodge marched in grand procession to the Building where the cornerstone was laid in due and ancient Masonic form, after which procession returned to the Lodge Room for disbursement.
8:00 o’clock PM., September 22, 1887:
The Lodge met for the purpose of receiving the official visit of our D.D.G.M. Norton Moses who was placed in charge of the Lodge, giving an interesting and lengthy lecture on Masonry.
AN ANCIENT OPINION OF MASONIC LAW
Dec. 3, 1887, A communication from Corn Hill Lodge, No. 567, asking the consent of this Lodge to reduce their dues to $2.00 per annum was read: The matter was referred to the next regular meeting. . . . December 17, 1887: The petition of the Corn Hill Lodge was tabled, and the Secretary was instructed to write said Lodge that this Lodge claimed no rights in the matter, or if, it had, they waived those rights.
On motion the sum of $44 for putting down pavement in from of the Lodge Hall was allowed and draft ordered issued to pay for same.
It appears from the record of July 4, 1885, to June 24, 193 (sic), which embraces a volume of the Masonic Record, that it was an era of aid seekers, for, scarcely a meeting between the beginning and the ending of the volume passed without one or more requests for aid were presented from Lodges inside and outside the Jurisdiction of Texas. To most of these San Gabriel Lodge succumbed and made contributions, the total of which ran into hundreds of dollars, although the Lodge itself was suffering for the need of improvements and the lack of funds.
MASONIC LIBRARY PRESENTED
Mar. 12, 1892, The committee to draft suitable resolutions to Bro. T.B. Cochran for his presentation to the Lodge of his Masonic Library, submitted the following:
“To the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren, San Gabriel Lodge, No. 89, A.F.& A.M., Whereas, Bro. T.B. Cochran has presented San Gabriel Lodge No. 89, his Masonic Library, of fifty volumes.
“Therefore, be it resolved, that this Lodge return to Bro. Cochran our thanks and appreciation for this most valuable and handsome gift, and to perpetuate the same, order that these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of the Lodge.
“D.S. Chessher and R.A. John, Committee.”
Nov. 24, 1894, The three principle officers of the Lodge were instructed to make rental contract with the tenant of the Lodge building and put in electric lights.
The City Council of the City of Georgetown having invited the Lodge to lay the cornerstones of the Free School Building of the City, the secretary was instructed to write the Grand Master inviting him to take charge of the ceremony and to grant a dispensation for said purpose, and in case he cannot attend to deputize P.G.M. Thomas P. Cochran to act in his place and, further, that
secretary invite all Master Masons of the various lodges in the county to attend and assist in this ceremony.
Dec. 8, 1894, The W.M. announced the following named officers to conduct the ceremonies of the laying of the cornerstone of the Free School Building: T.B. Cochran, GM, G.W. Foster, DDGM; J.M. Strayhorn GSW; T.N. Bryson, GJW; J. Hodges G Treas.; EA Strickland, G Sec.; M.C. Hutton, G. Chaplain; D.S. Chessher, G. Marshal; S.K. Brown, assistant Marshal. The following were named as a reception committee: S K Brown, R H Montgomery and G Rader.
Bro. GW Foster as a representatives of the Grand Lodge, made a Masonic address on the accomplishments of the Grand Lodge which was well received.
MW DDGM Thos. P. Cochran announced that San Gabriel Lodge, under a dispensation granted by Grand Master B F Frymire would proceed to lay the cornerstone of the Public Free School Building as requested by the City of Georgetown, Texas. The Grand Officers, pro tem, members of the Lodge and visiting Brethren, then formed a procession and marched to the Public Free School Building. In said procession was the Mayor and City Council, the teachers and pupils of the Public Free Schools, the Regent and teachers and students of the Southwestern University, and many prominent citizens.
The address of welcome was delivered by the mayor, F.W. Carothers. The cornerstone was laid in due and ancient Masonic Form. Addresses were made by Prof. F.P. Leverett, Supt. of the city public schools; J.D. Hudson, Supt of Public instruction, Williamson county; Dr. J.H. McLean, Regent of Southwestern University. Bert McDonald was architect, and Francis Fisher, contractor.
January 12, 1895, The W.M. reported that it would cost $49.50 to equip the Lodge Building, including the ground floor, with sewerage facilities. The proposal was accepted and draft was ordered issued after installation, Feb. 9, 1895.
NEW LODGE BUILDING DISCUSSED
March 9, 1895, Lodge discussed at length the advisability of a new Lodge Building and, on motion, a Building Committee of five was appointed to act in connection with five additional members from the Chapter and to proceed at one to look into and report cost building, means on hand, and available resources. Committee named was: W.T. Starnes, A.L. Sharpe, L.F. Chapman, L.B. Walters, and D.H. Snyder.
Bros. G.W. Foster, E.A. Strickland and T.W. Marrs were appointed a soliciting committee for the Lodge Building.
The Chapter Building Committee named included George Irvine, Chairman, G.W. Glasscock, D.S. Chessher, Sr., J.W. Hodges and J.M. Daniel to cooperate with the committee from San Gabriel Lodge.
The committee named was fully authorized and empowered to proceed as they, in their best judgment, may think, to draft plans and specifications, and make contact with reference to said building.
April 13, 1895, Gus Garrision, Grand Master of the MW Grand Lodge of Texas, under date, Sulphur Springs, Texas, April 11, 1895, authorized San Gabriel Lodge to sell the Lodge Room and to mortgage the lot to secure loan to be used in the erection of a new building.
Aug. 24, 1895, An offer of $600.00 for the Lodge Building was received and discussed. On motion the offer was referred to the Building Committee with instructions to sell building, and secure rent of building for Lodge room when sold until Lodge can be rebuilded.
Oct. 12, 1895, The Building Committee reported that a proposition of Chessher & Eidman to exchange lot on S.E. corner of square for Hodges property which was discussed at length. It was also stated that Mr. C.A.D. Clamp had made a proposition to buy the lodge hall for $500, also a proposition was made by Bro. Glasscock that he would buy the building. By motion the committee was authorized to sell at the best security they could for $500 with the future intent of building on the property.
Aug. 27, 1898, A motion was made to appoint a committee to take steps toward building an addition to the Lodge Hall. A substitute motion was then made to appoint a committee of three to secure a new building. The matter was then discussed and final action postponed for one month.
Sept. 24, 1898, R.A. John, J.M. Daniel and G.W. Foster were appointed an investigating committee with instructions to report at the next stated meeting as to the propriety of erecting a new Lodge Building, and the secretary was instructed to summon all members to be present at the next regular meeting for consideration thereof.
The committee appointed to investigate the feasibility of building a new Lodge Hall made the following report which was, on motion, adopted and ordered spread upon the minutes:
“Georgetown, Texas, October 5, 1898:—
To the Master and Wardens of San Gabriel Lodge No. 89, A.F. & A.M., of Georgetown, Texas:—
The undersigned of the committee to ascertain the financial condition of this Lodge and investigate the feasibility of exchanging the present Masonic Building and site for other Lodge Room or property, and also, to inquire into the advisability of erecting a new stone building upon the present site, beg leave to submit the following report.
1. We find the finances of the Blue Lodge in the Following condition:
o Money Loaned upon notes with personal security, which is deemed by the committee good at this time, . . . . 1,865.46
o Hodges dues, past due and accruing which the committee deems guilt edge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 308.90
o Offer made for the present Lodge Building . . . . . 500.00
o We find the finances of the Chapter in the following condition:
Money loaned on good notes and cash on hand. .. 450.00
Dues, good and collectable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 400.00
Tract of land owned by Chapter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200.00
Grand total of both Lodge & Chapter assets . . . . . 3,724.36
We report adversely to any proposition looking to the exchange of this present building and site for the upstairs room of what is known as the Dimmitt Building. Our reason for so doing is, it is better to retrain our own building, as it now stands, bringing us a revenue of money, than to simply exchange the same for a non- revenue bearing lodge room, beneath which, tenant might become objectionable to the membership of the Order. Our Lodge should own its own domicile from the center to the circumference of the earth.
We report adversely to the purchase of the Brookshire property because we believe the present building site most desirable, and because we cannot exchange for same the property we now own.
We deem the only practical solution of unanimous desire and almost necessity of securing a more comfortable Lodge room, accompanied with a dining and reception room is in the erection of a new building on the present site owned by the Fraternity and we so report.
In our opinion a limestone iron front 2-story building may be erected upon the present site, to be 110-feet long by 29-feet wide, the wall of the story to be about 16-feet high, of the second story 15-feet high, for the sum of $5,000.
We recommend that the Lodge assume as to the resources above itemized can be converted into cash or its equivalent, do construct a two-story limestone building upon the present site.
We recommend the creation of the following committee for the purpose of accomplishing the completion of said building:
o A finance committee consisting of three members. o A building committee consisting of three members. o Instruct the Finance Committee to proceed at once
to convert all assets of the Lodge and Chapter into cash; to collect all notes outstanding or sell such security without recourse.
o Instruct the Secretary and Treasurer of both Lodge and Chapter to turn over all securities to said committee.
o The Building Committee to proceed forthwith to secure plans and specifications for the new Lodge Building and upon the adoption of the plans and specifications by the Lodge said committee shall proceed to receive bids for the construction of said building, providing, that the Chapter and Blue Lodge agree to cooperate in all provisions, that the Finance Committee has reported there is on deposit in the First National Bank, of Georgetown, Texas, the sum of $2,500.00 in cash, and that said committee has secured a contract with a responsible Loan Co., or individual to supply the residue of money necessary to complete said building at a rate of interest not to exceed 9% per annum.
The committee named to carry out the purposes of the Lodge enumerated above and other duties in connection with the building program included:
Building Committee: L.B. Walters, J.W. Daniel, W.E. Chapman,
Finance Committee: W.L. Mann, R.A. John, C.C. Hamilton.
Dec. 10, 1898, On motion the following committee was appointed to investigate the feasibility of putting gas lights in the Lodge Hall, and to confer with the Chapter in reference to same: E.M. Thomas, J.M. Daniel and M.S. Hewitt.
Mar. 11, 1899, The Committee on lights reported favorably on acetylene gas lights, by adversely on putting in new lights at this time.
On motion the W.M. was instructed to get up an abstract on Lodge property, or have it done immediately, and present bill of costs for same.
Sept. 9, 1899, A building committee was instructed to close the sale of the Lodge Building for $500.00, and given full power to act in the best interests of the Lodge.
Dec. 9, 1899, The building Committee was authorized to secure another house for the post office, move the fixtures for same into said house and move them back into the new building when completed.
The committee on By-laws revision were instructed to have 250 copies of the By-laws printed for the Lodge.
Jan. 13, 1900, The Building Committee was authorized to buy new furniture for the post office in the new building if they believed it to the best interests of the Lodge to do so.
The three principle officers were instructed to make conveyance of Lodge property whenever the Building Committee closed the trade with the K.P. Lodge in accordance with proposition reported to the Lodge when approved.
Feb. 10, 1900, The Lodge, having determined to build a new semi-fire-proof Temple, gave the Building Committee final instructions as to construction, admonishing the committee “to have plans drawn for a two-story building, with all the length possible on the lot, leaving an alleyway of sufficient width on the east end for egress and ingress of vehicles.”
Feb. 24, 1900, Sale of the old Lodge building reported completed by the committee and the report was approved. In this connection it is recalled by the committee that Bro. L.B. Walters, a member of the Building Committee and Superintendent of construction on the new building, had received instruction from the committee to sell the building, and as principle officer of the Knights of Pythias Lodge, had been delegated to purchase a building to move to their lot for a Pythian Hall. He made a survey of the old Masonic Building arriving at what he considered a fair value, secured approval of the Masonic Building committee and submitted the price to the Knights of Pythias Lodge and they approved. Thus the legend was created designating Mr. Walters as “the man who sold a building to himself,” and his friends never tired of calling attention to the fact as long as he lived here.
Mar. 24, 1900, Bro. R.D. Byrom was, on motion, at this meeting added to and made a member of the Building Committee.
April 14, 1900, Committee appointed to ascertain value of one-half interest of the wall of the J.W. Hodges Building, adjoining the new Masonic Temple lot on the South, fixed the value of half-interest in the one story-wall at $301.25. The value so fixed being satisfactory to the Lodge and the owner, draft was ordered issued to J.W. Hodges to pay for the same.
April 28, 1900, Building Committee reported that bids had been opened for construction of the new Masonic Temple and contract awarded to the Belford Lumber Co., that firm being the lowest and best bidder with a price of $8,100.00, building to be completed within five months from the date of contract. Bro. L.B. Walters was elected superintendent of construction with full power to act.
Monday afternoon, July 6, 1900, the cornerstone of the present Masonic Temple was laid in full ceremony in due and ancient form. Past Grand Master Thomas P. Cochran, a member of the Lodge, acting under dispensation granted by MW GM R.M. Lusk as MW DDGM. Bro. Cochran appointed the following pro-tem Grand Officers, who assisted him:
S M Strayhorn, DDGM. Robert A. John, GSW. Dan S. Chessher, GJW. G W Foster, G Treasurer. P C Harty, G Secretary. C I Harris, GSD.
W J Flanagan, GJD.
M C Dutton, G. Chaplain.
W J Wayman, G Tyler.
Dec. 8, 1900, Building committee reported that the new building had been completed, inspected, accepted, and the contractors, Belford Lumber Co., had been paid contract price, $8,100.00, plus $400.00 additional special contract, making $8,500.00 in all, and contractor’s receipts for said amount was presented to the Lodge.
TEMPLE WALLS WITHSTOOD STORM
It is recalled that the four sheer walls of the Masonic Temple had been completed when the great storm of Sept. 8, 1900, struck and there was fear among the members of the Lodge that damage to the walls would result, however it was found after the hurricane had passed that no damage whatever had occurred. This was the storm that destroyed Galveston entailing the loss of more than 30,000 lives and beat this entire section of Texas with a mighty fury.
Following the completion of the new Masonic Temple, San Gabriel Lodge experienced a great upsurge in Masonry in this community and during the year 1902 and immediately following degrees were conferred in great number. So many, in fact, that each meeting night exemplified the work to the number of four degrees and called meetings “for work” were of almost weekly occurrence. It seemed that following the completion of the Temple a great celebration and supper was planned, but the Brethren more interested in growing Masonry than in supplying the longing of the inner man for refreshment, never got around to the banquet.
The minutes of San Gabriel Lodge, No. 89, from July 1, 1901, to June 30, 1909, mark the period as an era of considerable worry for the brethren on account of debt incident to the completion of the Temple in 1900.
The conclusion, however, is recorded when all debts were paid and days of less worry ensued. The Lodge of today and for years to come owe and will owe the brethren of that generation a debt of appreciation for, through their vision and fidelity the present organization is enabled to enjoy the comforts and conveniences of a modern and secure Masonic home.
We should maintain it adequately as a memorial to their forthrightness.
Nov. 23, 1901, the delegate to the Grand Lodge was instructed to cast the vote of San Gabriel Lodge for Waco as the site for the permanent home of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
June 24, 1904, San Gabriel Lodge held a public installation of officers, the ceremonies being held in the Williamson County Court House and were attended by the members, their families and visiting Masons from most of the Lodges in this region, to the number of several hundred.
The week beginning June 26, 1906 San Gabriel Lodge entertained the Masonic Committee on Work and sessions were held afternoons and night during the duration and visiting Masons were present from all the surrounding counties. The mornings were devoted to classes studying different phases of Masonic work, procedure and lectures.
Sept. 10, 1909, Telephone ordered placed in Lodge room.
COURT HOUSE CORNERSTONE
Sept. 9, 1910, The special committee on preliminary arrangements for laying the cornerstone of the Williamson County Court House reported that October 6, 1910, had been set as the date for the ceremony.
The committee suggested that dispensation be requested of the Grand Master to lay the cornerstone and, in case the Grand Master be unable to attend in person, Bro. Walter Acker of Waxahacie, be appointed to represent him.
All the Masonic Lodges of the county were invited to attend and participate in the ceremonies, also all Lodges were requested to furnish a list of their officers and members to be placed in the cornerstone.
The following committees were named for the services incident to laying the cornerstone of the Williamson County Court House:
Reception: R H Montogomery, E H Stone, W P Fleming, M C Hutton, and Wm R Mood.
Arrangements: G W Foster, W H Moses, J M Daniel, D W Wilcox, Thomas H Flinn.
Invitation: John M Sharpe, John D Hudson, S S Sansom, George Irvine, and R L Galloway.
Finance: W J Flanagan, C R Starnes, W H Hanna, C S Griffith, and D F Snyder.
Oct. 6, 1910, A representation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas was called at Georgetown, Texas on October 6, 1910 by Deputy Grand Master Walter Acker, acting under a dispensation from the Grand Master, T.C. Yantis.
The Grand Master stated that this representation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas was called and opened for the purpose of laying the cornerstone of the new court house of Williamson County at Georgetown.
The representation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas was then called from labor in the Lodge Room and called to labor at the site of the Courthouse for the purpose of laying the cornerstone.
The cornerstone was laid in due form after which an excellent address was delivered by Acting Grand Master Walter Acker.
Officers assisting Acting Grand Master Acker including: J S Jones, Taylor, DGM
O B Atkinson, Florence, GSW J C Anderson, Granger, GJW
J V Morris, Bartlett, G Marshal
C R Starnes, G Secretary
Dr G W Foster, Georgetown, G Treasurer
Dr. M C Hutton, D D, G Chaplain
T B Cochran, Austin PGM, and S B Wright Round Rock, Grand Stewards
Wayman Wells, Leander, and Earle Bryson, Austin, G Deacons R F McLaurin, Taylor and John McDowell, Florence, G Stewards
Master of Oldest Lodge with Book of Constitution, Dr. G W Foster, Georgetown.
Bearers of Golden Vessels, A Gerschbach, Bartlett and W O Wilson, Florence.
Architect, Will Ford, Georgetown
Jack Jordan, Round Rock and W K Humble, Liberty Hill, Stewards John Foster, Corn Hill, G Tyler.
Jan. 27, 1911, S S Sansom, R H Montgomery and George Irvine were, on motion, appointed as a committee to use every effort possible to get the pictures of all Past Masters of San Gabriel Lodge and to see that the same were put up in the Lodgeroom.
Dec. 13, 1912, On motion the Lodge voted to add Bro. E H Eanes to the committee composed of Bros. S S Sansom, George Irvine and R H Montgomery to use their efforts to get all Past Masters of the Lodge to have their pictures enlarged and placed in the Lodgeroom.
Jan. 28, 1916, A committee consisting of Bros. W J Flanagan, D H Davis and A C Truehardt was appointed to investigate the advisability of buying a fire-proof safe for the use of the Lodge in which to store the records of the Lodge and the Chapter, said safe to be fire-proof.
June 9, 1916, Secretary was instructed to invite the Lodges of the County to be present of June 17, 1916, and assist in laying the cornerstone of the Williamson County Science Hall at Southwestern University.
The representation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas was called at Georgetown on June 17, 1916, by W H Hanna, W M of San Gabriel Lodge, acting under special dispensation granted by Dan S McMillan, G M of Texas. The representation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was opened in due form. The acting Grand Master stated that the Lodge had been called and opened for the purpose of laying the cornerstone of the Williamson County Science Building in course of construction at Southwestern University. Adjourning to the site of the building the cornerstone was laid in due and ancient form, after which an excellent address was delivered by Bro. Clyde A Sweeton, Grand Orator of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas.
The Grand Officers designate include:
W H Hanna, MW GM
James A Glendenning, GSW Warren Bryson, GJW
G W Foster, Grand Treasurer John M Sharpe, Grand Secretary Clyde A Sweeton, Grand Orator, W K Humble, Grand SD
C S Griffith, Grand J D
D H Davis, Grand S S
E R Styles, Grand J S
R C Eubank, Grand Tyler.
Jan. 25, 1918, Upon motion of Dr. M C Hutton, D D, seconded by Dr. W H Moses, M D, a donation of $100.00 was made to the Kings Daughters Sanitarium and requested that the amount be used to furnish a room in the Sanitarium.
Dr. M C Hutton, D D, presented the Lodge a handsome scarf made by Mrs. Hutton for a table in the Lodgeroom. Upon motion Dr. Hutton was requested to convey to Mrs. Hutton the sincere appreciation of the Lodge for the beautiful piece.
WORLD WAR I
Due to the exegeses of war the Lodge had an upsurge of applications for the benefit of Masonry. Only one Mason lost his life in the struggle of World War I and that is duly recorded in the brief history. However, there were many calls all of which were answered in the usual Masonic fidelity as were the appeals to buy Government Bonds by whatever name, by the Lodge and individual members.
Feb. 9, 1917, Petition of W Angie Smith, a student of S U, later a Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, was referred to a committee composed of W H Hanna, W F Wright and E M Cooke.
March 22, 1918, Petition of Sgt. Lott B Rogers for the Masonic Degrees was reported favorable and he was duly elected.
March 29, 1918, John S Gillettt, a member of the U S Army, elected March 22, to take the Masonic Degrees, now about to be called to active service, requested that he be given the degrees at once. The Secretary was instructed to ask for dispensation, waving the usual time of 30 days between degrees in the case of Mr. Gillett.
May 24, 1918, Dispensation, waving the statutory time in the case of E J Bobo having been granted, applicant received the degrees in ancient form. At the same meeting, San Antonio Lodge was requested to confer the Masonic degrees on Sgt, Lott B. Rogers, for whom dispensation granted, was received by his home lodge too late for action before the Sgt. entered service.
Others receiving degrees out of time due to the emergencies of war were: Bro. Marshall K Richardson
Bro. William Weisser
Bro. Junius Lester Richardson Bro. Harmon Flanagen
Bro. Bert McKeithan
Nov. 8, 1918, Bro. John Sharpe, on behalf of Bro. J S Thorp and Mrs. Thorp, presented the Lodge with a Service Flag with 17 stars representing the known brethren who were in the service of their country in World War I:
E M Cooke, M K Richardson, J L Richardson, E J Redard, Dan E Root, John S Gillette, H J Swenson, Will Ford, Nolan Queen, Robert T. Mann, W B McMillian, W F Wright, Dan Weisser, W F Weissen, M H Starnes, A C Shell, and Olen Arnold.
BURIAL OF A SOLDIER
The meeting of San Gabriel Lodge was called February 18, 1918, for the purpose of conducting the last sad funeral rites over the remains of Bro. D W Queen, a deceased member of Mitchell Lodge No. 563, Colorado City, Texas, who dies in Queenstown, Ireland, November 19, 1917, from the effects of an illness superinduced by exposure from the sinking of his ship, the USS S Cassen, by a German Submarine. Public funeral services were held in the Williamson County Courthouse and the body of the soldier was laid to rest in the IOOF Cemetery, Georgetown. Bro. Queen was the medical officer of the Ship, Cassen.
Sept. 26, 1919, In response to an appeal from Most Worshipful Grand Master Ross in behalf of the Gulf Coast Storm Sufferers San Gabriel Lodge voted to send a donation of $1.00 per capita to the Masonic Relief Fund.
April 8, 1921, Bros. George Irvine, E G Gillett and D H Davis were appointed a committee to act in conjunction with a like committee from Georgetown Chapter No. 90 to purchase a fire-proof safe for the records of the Lodge and Chapter and report back to the Lodge.
July 8, 1921, Committee instructed to close trade with Fort Worth Firm for fire-proof safe for Lodge and Chapter records.
Aug. 12, 1921, Committee named to secure new covering for Lodge Room floor, also to have curtains removed from windows and windows frosted. The committee was composed of Bros. D
H Davis, J S Gillett and D A Peaslee. Committee was instructed to close deal for safe at a price of $464.90.
October 11, 1921, After reading the minutes of this (San Gabriel) Lodge covering a period of one hundred years we are convinced that the summoned meeting held October 11, 1921, was one if not the most important in its history. Ninety members and eight visitors were present.
Lodge was opened in the Third Degree in due form, the following officers were present: E E Henderson WM
John S Gillett SW
W W Jenkins JW
E H Eanes Treasurer John M Sharpe Secretary C T Chumney SD
K W Stone JD
L N Richardson Tyler
WM announced the meeting had been called for the purpose of presenting communications from the MW GM of Texas, Andrew L Randell, directing the secretary to read the same.
1. This message dealt with plans of the George Washington Memorial Association for the erection of a memorial to George Washington, The Mason. The Lodge directed the secretary to draw draft on the treasurer for $1 per capita of the membership for the benefit of this fund and forward same to the proper authorities.
2. The second communication dealt with the aspects of the Ku Klux Klan, “an alleged fraternal organization with headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, which organization had used propaganda leading the thoughtless to believe that said organization was in some way a part of or was fostered by the Masonic Lodge.” Following the reading of this message, which made a deep impression upon the large number of members and visitors present, inspiring, plain spoken, yet dispassionate talks, teeming with Masonic advice and good will were heard from the lips of many worthy Masons and the stand taken by Grand Master Randell denouncing any and all allegations of the Ku Klux Klan, or its representatives, to the effect that the Masonic Fraternity fostered or endorsed it or its program or actions, was unanimously endorsed by a rising vote of the Lodge.
Strong resolutions expressing the sentiments of the Lodge upon the Ku Klux Klan matter were adopted and ordered spread upon the minutes of the Lodge.
Resolutions Adopted by San Gabriel Lodge No. 89, October 11, 1921, unanimously:
(See last flat opening volume of the Lodge Record, pages 4,5 and 6)
Nov. 7, 1921, WM stated the object of the special meeting held on the above date was to observe the 169th anniversary of George Washington having been made a Mason, Bro. E H Eanes acted as master of ceremonies. Bro. Thomas E Lee spoke on the subject, “Washington, the Mason and Citizen.” Bro. J C Godbey on “Washington in World History.” Bro. H N Graves, Jr., on the “influence of Masonry in the Formation of the Government.” Bro. W W Jenkins on “Austin District Masonic Service Association.” Other talks were made by Bros. Wm G Bell, Austin, Cooper Sansom, John D Hudson, D W Wilcox, E G Gillett, George Irvine and others.
The Lodge then joined in singing “America” Bro. D A Peaslee at the piano, and repaired to the dining room where a sumptuous repast, prepared by the Stewards, was served.
Nov. 11, 1921, Building Committee reported bids received for painting platform, chairs, for repapering Lodge Room, for floor covering and for painting woodwork, including new construction in front of store building on first floor, for placing four indirect lights and for separate switches for the Lodge Room, Ante-room, Dining room, and a triangular light with switch on the left side of the altar. All bids were accepted.
The cost of the linen carpet which is still on the floor (May 1, 1950) was $630.90.
Mar 26, 1922, WM E E Henderson was instructed to loan picture of Past Grand Master Thomas P Cochran, a member of San Gabriel Lodge, to Grand Lodge officials to make copy for Grand Lodge Room in the Grand Masonic Temple at Waco.
April 11, 1924, The Secretary was instructed to pay the last note on the Masonic Temple which was erected in 1900, the total amount of the note and interest being $650.00. As a result of this order the Lodge found itself out of debt for the first time in a quarter of a century.
Sept. 9, 1927, At this meeting San Gabriel Lodge gave a noble example of its humanitarian purposes when it voted unanimously to assess each member $1.00 per annum when needed for the relief of members of the Lodge of members of their families afflicted with tuberculosis or other malignant or incurable disease.
May 27, 1936, On motion San Gabriel Lodge presented to the Grand Lodge of Texas the Lambskin Apron of its Past Master (1881) Thomas B Cochran, their distinguished member having later served as Grand Master of Texas Masons. The apron was desired by the Grand Lodge to be placed in the Museum of the Temple of the Grand Lodge of Texas.
Death of Woman Evokes Resolutions By Lodge
San Gabriel Lodge has a distinction that is perhaps not equaled in the annals of any other Masonic Lodge in Texas in that at one time during the second quarter of the 20th century it adopted resolutions dedicated to the life of a woman.
The proposal to pass a resolution expressing the sympathy of the Lodge to a survivor, a member of the Lodge, but when adopted as it is recorded the instrument is actually resolutions dedicated to the life, work and influence of the good woman.
Home for Aged Masons, Widows of Masons and Orphans Finally Come Into Own
The Home for Aged Masons and Widows of Masons and Orphans which had struggled for sustenance, if not existance, came into their own in the decade 1930-40 and all developed into an arm of importance in the Fraternity in Texas.
Delegates from the Grand Lodge of 1940 thrilled their home Lodges with reports of the condition of these institutions and brought all Masons to an understanding of their importance.
In addition to the reports of the local delegates to the Grand Convocation, Past Grand Master and Past Grand High Priest George G White, of Mount Horab Lodge (Post Office, Bertram, Texas) and Past Grand Master Dr. O B Atkinson, of Florence, and other high present and past officers, added their voices to these local delegates with reports of the success of the undertaking and the happiness occasioned by that success emphasized by the inmates of the Fraternity’s great and good work.
1940 marked the end of doubt and opened an era of confidence for the future well-being of our wards which guaranteed their security against want through the efforts of their great benefactor—the Masonic Fraternity.
It Took 98 Years In Our America
In passing it might be well to note that, according to the records of San Gabriel Lodge, all duties assigned members of the Craft in connection with the Lodge and “for the good of the order” were performed without hope of fee or award, however, in the 98th year of our order we find an order stipulating that certain Brethren are to be paid for their extracurricular work for the Lodge.
We do not know, perhaps King Solomon was paid a princely sum for his labor; maybe Hiram, King of Tyre, was paid a princely sum, we do not know; but Hiram Abiff, the widows son, seemed to go on and on without pay, doing perhaps the greatest work performed on the Temple—even to his death without fee or hope of reward. May we ultimately get back to the fundamentals of Masonry and be engaged “where we can best work and best agree” without reference to how much “corn, wine and oil” we are to receive for doing the bidding of our Grand Master.
As Masons we will be capable of completing and occupying another Temple in grandeur surpassing that of our early brethren only if we forget self-service and self enrichment. It is only through service to mankind that we may hope to complete the tabernacle “richer than King Soloman’s which contained in its adornment more gold, silver and precious stones than exist in the world today.”