2015: A Year in Review

On Tuesday December 8th, 2015 Prince Lodge #231 held it’s last stated meeting for 2015.  Officers for 2016 were elected, and reports were given on some of Prince Lodge’s most recent activities. Larry Sisk who has served so well as Worshipful Master in 2015 was reelected to that position for 2016. WM Larry Sisk also chose to honor Past Master Joe Williams by naming him as the 2015 Mason of the Year.

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PM Joe Williams (left) receiving Mason of the Year award from WM Larry Sisk (right)

Prince Lodge has been increasingly active over the past few years, but 2015 was a year of many firsts. Under the leadership of our Worshipful Master, Prince Lodge has continued some of the projects of his predecessors and added several more. As we wrap up the year, it is a good time to look back on what we have done right.

 

The beginning of Larry’s year as Master started before 2015 began. Prince Lodge hosted Oakland City Lodge #467 for the Feast of St. John the Evangelist in late December 2014.  The planning and coordination of the Feast of St. John was started under the lead of PM Jeff Williams. This has been a traditional observance of Freemason lodges for centuries, but had not been practiced in Gibson County in recent decades.  Later this month Oakland City Lodge will return the favor by hosting Prince Lodge for this annual event that will be hosted alternately by our two Lodges.

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Prince Lodge’s Parade Float in the Princeton Christmas Parade December 5th, 2015

Prince Lodge acquired a parade float in 2014 and participated in two parades that year. This year Prince Lodge expanded that project by participating in the Labor Day parade in Petersburg, IN, the Watermelon Festival Parade in Owensville, IN as well as the Princeton Christmas Parade. These parades surely increase our visibility in the community, but more importantly they are great fun for the Brothers, their wives and children who participate.

 

Involving the families has been one of the primary goals accomplished this year. Prince Lodge always opens it’s doors to the family of Masons at our meals served before each stated meeting, but for Easter, Halloween and Christmas we made it a special point to put the children first.  On all three occasions Prince Lodge was rewarded by the joyous sights and sounds of children laughing and playing in our building.
So as 2015 is drawing to close as a very productive year for our Lodge, we have great hope for the coming year. Prince Lodge has a Master who has proved himself a leader, and he is supported by a great group of Officers, Past Masters, and Masons.

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Edgar A. Guest: a Masonic Poet

Freemasonry encourages it’s votaries to enrich their minds with the study of the liberal arts and sciences. Edgar Guest was one such Mason who contributed to the field of poetry.

Edgar A Guest
Initiated : April 9, 1908
Passed: April 23, 1908
Raised: May 21, 1908
Lifetime Member: August 5, 1948
Fifty Year Membership Award
Ashler Lodge No. 91, Detroit
Honorary Member:
Mount Hermon Lodge No. 24
Lansing Lodge No. 33
Findlater Lodge No. 475
Waterly Lodge No. 527
Four Square Lodge No. 537
Detroit Craft Lodge No. 576

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White Leather Apron

By Edgar A. Guest

It is not ornamental, the cost is not great,

There are other things far more useful, yet truly I state,

Tho of all my possessions, there’s none can compare,

With that white leather apron, which all Masons wear.

As a young lad I wondered just what it all meant,

When Dad hustled around, and so much time was spent

On shaving and dressing and looking just right,

Until Mother would say: “It’s the Masons tonight.”

And some winter nights she said: “What makes you go,

Way up there tonight thru the sleet and the snow,

You see the same things every month of the year.”

Then Dad would reply: “Yes, I know it, my dear.”

Forty years I have seen the same things, it is true.

And though they are old, they always seem new,

For the hands that I clasp, and the friends that I greet,

Seem a little bit closer each time that we meet.”

Years later I stood at that very same door,

With good men and true who had entered before,

I knelt at the alter, and there I was taught

That virtue and honor can never be bought.

That the spotless white lambskin all Masons revere,

If worthily worn grows more precious each year,

That service to others brings blessings untold,

That man may be poor tho surrounded by gold.

I learned that true brotherhood flourishes there,

That enmities fade ‘neath the compass and square,

That wealth and position are all thrust aside,

As there on the level men meet and abide.

So, honor the lambskin, may it always remain

Forever unblemished, and free from all stain,

And when we are called to the Great Father’s love,

May we all take our place in that Lodge up above.

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William Prince (1772-1824)

William Prince

To get us started on the history of Brother William Prince; I was given permission to use an excerpt from the Vincennes Lodge #1 Trestleboard(newsletter) from November of 1991. This short history was written by Neil A. Ward who was serving as Master of Vincennes lodge at that time.

Greetings from the East, Brethren.

The Column this month is dedicated to the 125 men… outstanding men… who have been Worshipful Master of Vincennes Lodge over the last almost 200 years. They were (and are) outstanding and dedicated Masons.

One Such Past Master was a man by the name of William Prince. A native of Ireland, Prince was Master of this lodge in 1809 and 1810. He, along with three other candidates, were initiated March 17, 1809 and later that same day he and fellow candidate Parmenas Beckes, received the Fellowcraft and Master Mason Degrees.

Prince became Secretary of the lodge and was the author of it’s first set of by-laws. His accomplishments were many indeed. He was Sheriff of Knox County, the second Postmaster in Vincennes, appointed in 1804, Captain of the Territorial Militia in 1807, held the rank of Major under General Daviess at the Battle of Tippecanoe, Prosecuting Attorney for Knox County, Judge, and delegate to the convention that framed the constitution admitting Indiana to statehood in 1816. Further, he was a member of the first senate of Indiana, served on the Commission that selected Indianapolis as the state capitol in 1820, and was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1822 until he answered the Final Summons in 1824.

William Prince was not only a man of distinction and accomplishment, he did a lot with his 52 years of life. Princeton, Indiana and Prince lodge no. 231 located there are named for this great public servant.

The Rolls of Vincennes Lodge contain the names of Masons who made outstanding contributions to Indiana in general and Vincennes in particular. They deserve to be remembered.

Prince Lodge currently enjoys strong relationships with many area lodges, and we have an especially close bond with our Brothers of Vincennes Lodge #1.  I would like to thank the Vincennes Lodge Masons for all their help through the years, and specifically thank Neil Ward for allowing me to use his work on our website.

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The Early History of Freemasonry in Indiana

In 1956 the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons published A History of Royal Arch Masonry. Robert A. Woods who was a member of Prince Lodge #231 contributed a chapter in this book outlining not only the history of Royal Arch Masonry, but Blue Lodge Masonry back to its very beginning in the Indiana territory. Many of those first Indiana Freemasons were also the first great leaders of Indiana, and I have excerpted some of the great information that Robert A. Woods originally wrote for the 1956 book, and will certainly reference it again in future writings.

Freemasonry came to Indiana, mainly, by way of the South Gate. All but one of the nine lodges instrumental in forming the (Indiana) grand lodge were creatures of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky.  No sooner had Virginia planted the good seed in Kentucky in 1800, than the latter crossed the Ohio river into Indiana. To Vincennes, the Capital of Indiana territory, went the second dispensation for a lodge of Freemasons (the first went to Kaskaskia, IL) ever issued in the Northwest Territory, which, at that time, comprised the States of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the eastern part of Minnesota. This was in 1807. Then followed dispensations for lodges at Madison, Charlestown, Salem, Lawrenceburg, and Corydon.

We are not drawing upon the imagination when we declare that Freemasonry came into this section of the Northwest Territory hand in hand with the first influential pioneers and territorial officials, or that Freemasons took an important part and leadership in the early struggle for the establishment of good government in the then remote, and wilderness-like, Ohio and Wabash Valleys of Southern Indiana…

The first person raised a Master Mason in Vincennes Lodge (and the Indiana Territory) was Colonel John Gibson, a Fellowcraft belonging to a lodge in Lancaster, PA, which conference occurred the day following the constitution of the Lodge (March 14, 1809). Three Days later, March 17th, 1809, Vincennes lodge initiated four persons: William Prince, Parmenus Beckes, John D. Hay, Hezekiah Bradley, the first two of whom, Prince and Beckes, were passed and raised to the degree of Master Mason that same day. These two, therefore, were the first persons in Indiana territory to petition for, and receive, all the degrees in Freemasonry, while Gibson Was the first person, a Fellowcraft, to receive the Master Mason Degree. 

Colonel John Gibson was not only the first man to be Raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason in the Indiana Territory, but he is also the namesake of Gibson County. Princeton, Indiana is the county seat of Gibson County, and was named for William Prince. Our next blog post will shed more light about William Prince, whose contributions to the Indiana Territory, and State of Indiana can hardly be rivaled.

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Member registry of Vincennes Lodge #1 showing the founding members of Vincennes Lodge as well as the first several Brothers to join Vincennes Lodge.

 

Turnbull, Everett R., and Robert A. Woods. “Indiana.” A History of Royal Arch Masonry. Vol. II. Trenton, MO.: [Royal Arch Masons, General Grand Chapter], 1956. 833-836. Print.

 

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Happy Pi Day!

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March 14th is recognized as Pi day because the first digits of π(PI) are 3.14.  Today is even more significant because the first 5 digits are 3.1415, which would correspond to March, 14th 2015. I contend that Pi Day is a Masonic holiday because Masonry and Geometry were anciently synonymous terms. Pi is arguably the most important mathematical constant, and is absolutely essential to geometry. π is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter.

Even the Holy Bible alludes to π in 1 Kings 7:23 where it describes the altar inside King Solomon’s temple: “And he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim . . . and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about.” These measurements procure the following equation: 333/106 = 3.141509. King Solomon being noted as the first ancient Grand Master of Masons.

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A Brief History of Prince Lodge NO. 231

Freemasonry in Princeton dates from the year 1820 when a number of brethren, members of Vincennes Lodge No. 1, organized the first Lodge under a dispensation issued to Randolph West as Worshipful Master, Wm. B. Dimick as Senior Warden and Walter Wilson as Junior Warden.

The Following year, 1821 the Grand Lodge issued a charter To Warren Lodge, Which was to be renamed Clinton Lodge No. 16, As another Lodge in the Eastern part of the State was already working under the name of Warren Lodge No. 16.  Between 1820 and 1831, 59 members had been initiated, being made to the Grand Lodge since 1831, the Charter was arrested and Clinton Lodge No. 16 was removed from the roll of Lodges in Indiana.  The Masters’ which served Princeton first Lodge during its short and historic reign were, in order of service: Randolph West, Wm. B. Dimick, John I. Neely, Joel F. Cassey, Wm. Jerauld, Holly Crawford, Thomas J. Evans, Wm. Chittenden, Basil Brown and Onastus D. Chaffee, The latter being Junior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge, when disaster overtook Clinton Lodge No. 16.

The History of Princeton Lodge No. 231 began 22 years after Clinton Lodge No. 16 became defunct.  Six former members of Clinton Lodge No. 16 delivered a petition to the Grand Lodge for dispensation to form a new lodge.  They were Samuel Hall, Wm. Jerauld, Holly Crawford, John Neely, John Arbuthnot and Joseph Chambers.

A Dispensation to institute was issued August 23, 1857.  The organization was effected in the Odd Fellows Hall, located one-half block east of the northeast corner of the public square, by deputation from Vincennes Lodge No. 1, under direction of Capt. Dume, a special deputy of the Grand Master.

A charter was granted to Prince Lodge No. 231 F.& A.M. on May 25, 1858.  The name of the Lodge was changed from that in the dispensation which was Princeton Lodge.  The change resulted on the request of the brethren in honor of Judge William Prince, for whom the town(now city) of Princeton was named.  He was also one of the first two persons in Indiana to become a Mason.  Solomon D. Bayless, Grand Master, signed the charter.  It named William Jerauld as Worshipful Master, John I. Neely as Senior Warden and John F. Howard as Junior Warden.

Prince Lodge No. 231 continued to occupy quarters in the Odd Fellows Hall for several months until found permanent quarters Kaufman’s Hall, located in the second story of a brick building near the northeast corner of the east side of the public square.  It was in possession of these quarters when the Civil War began.  Brother J.D. Kaufman’s served as Master during one of the years his Hall was occupied by the Lodge.  From 1862 through 1868, the Lodge occupied the second floor of Hall’s block, on the northeast corner of the public square Brother John M. Ryan began his term of Master in 1868, the last year that site was in use by the Lodge.

Jessup’s block became the next meeting place.  The Lodge used the third floor, rear section of the building that stood on the southeast corner of the public square.  The Lodge remained at that location from 1869 to the close of 1890.  The building was completely destroyed by fire on the night of February 9, 1886.  The Lodge lost everything it possessed including records.  While the building was being rebuild, the Lodge held its meeting in the work shop over Brother Jesse Kimball’s Tin and Stoveware Store.

In 1891, the Lodge moved into the William Pfohl building, located near the center of the east side of the public square.  It remained at this location until January 1, 1895 at which time it moved to the third story of the Devin block at the southwest corner of the intersection of State and hart streets.  The lease on this location expired on January of 1905 and was extended until February of 1905. The Lodge was without a home until May 9, 1905, when our new (and present) home was ready for occupancy.

It was during the year 1901 that necessity of a new Temple was brought before Brother Robert A. Woods, who was Master in that year.  On August 1, 1904, the minutes read as follows: “Brother Robert A. Woods, on behalf of the building committee, reported progress on the new Temple and letting of Contract to J.H. Wagner for a sum of $10,000.00” The bid submitted was in the sum of $12,270.00, but the committee by reason of lack of funds, deemed it wise to cheapen the building by making changes and reduced by #2,700.00 the original bid. 

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On September 5, 1904, the cornerstone was laid in the presence of 100 members of Prince Lodge, many visiting brethren and a large group of citizens.  As before mentioned, the lease on the Lodge Hall in Devin block expired and could not be extended beyond February 15, 1905.  On that date we sold the furniture in those quarters and from that time until May 9, 1905, we were without a home of our own.  Our business meetings were held for the most part in Brothers Kimball’s Tin Shop on the second floor.  For Degree Work we rented the Odd Fellows Hall for one dollar per night.

On May 9, 1905, we met in our new Temple for the first time.  It was by special dispensation from the Most Worshipful Master Geo. E. Grimes.  The Temple was far from being completed, but the upper room was made adaptable and there our work progressed for several months.  The day of dedication was January 11, 1906.  It was performed under the supervision of the Most Worshipful Grand Master Alfred W. Emery.

On December 8, 1987 180 members of Owensville Lodge No. 364 Consolidated with Prince Lodge No. 231

On September 10, 2005 we had 100 Year Rededication of lying of the cornerstone.  It was under the supervision of the Most Worshipful Grand Master Gail N. Kemp.

Prince Lodge would like to dedicate this brief history to the memory of our late brother Robert A. Woods, who laid the cornerstone to our Temple and was a dedicated Mason throughout his life.

 

Excerpted from “Brief history of Prince Lodge No. 231”

Compiled by Brothers Robert A. Woods, Wm. T. Lynn and John Foster (1968)

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Welcome to the new website for Prince Lodge #231

This site is a work in progress  This is just part of an effort by the members of Prince Lodge to increase public awareness of the Great work that Freemasonry does locally and globally.

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Upcoming Events
  • Stated Meeting and Meal December 13, 2017 at 12:00 am – 3:00 am Prince lodge Meal served to Masons and their families at 6:00 PM CST. Lodge opens for business at 7:00 PM.
  • Past Master Degree December 16, 2017 at 12:30 am – 1:30 am
  • 2018 Officer Installation December 16, 2017 at 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
  • EA degree December 20, 2017 at 12:00 am – 3:00 am
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