Oxford Masonic Lodge History

This is an excerpt from a book published in 1892 called "History of the Town of Oxford Massachusetts with Genealogies and Notes on Persons and Estates" By George F. Daniels. Oxford Published by the author with the co-operation of the town 1892. This information is located on pages 248-250 in the book.

Masonic Lodge

The first Masonic Lodge in the town of Oxford was Olive Branch Lodge (now in Millbury). A movement was made for it's formation early in 1797, and on May 1st officers were chosen as follows:-

Jonathan Learned, Master

Daniel Fisk, Sr. Warden

Jonathan Davis, Jr. Warden

Sylvanus Learned, Sec.

Sylvanus Town, Treas.

Jonathan Harris, Sr Deacon

Jeremiah Kingsbury, Jr Deacon

Nathaniel Whitmore, Steward

Peter Butler, Steward

William Robinson, Tyler

A committee was chosen to petition the Grand Lodge for a charter and a vote passed to hold meetings monthly on Mondays at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. A charter was granted the 14th of the following September. The petitioners named were : Jonathan Harris, Allen Hancock, Jonathan Davis, Ebenezer Rich, Samuel Davis, Jeremiah Kingsbury, Reuben Baxter Jr., Daniel Fisk, Jonathan Learned, Peter Butler, William Robinson, Able Morse John Brown, Daniel Hunt, Sylvanus Town, Slyvanus Learned, Nathaniel Whitmore, Amos Kieth, Simeon Waters, Moses Sibley Jr., Ebenezer Dean, Parley Barton, Joseph Howland and Elijah Brown.

Masonic Hall

On September 25th 1797, it was voted that the hall for the use of the lodge, when built, shall be set within three-forths of a mile of the house of Jonathan Davis. This house was the well known Davis homestead, No. 12, and this vote indicates that a large share of the membership was in Sutton. No hall was built in this town, but the house of Mr. Davis was thereafter the regular place of meeting during the continuance of the Lodge in Oxford. Occasionally meetings were held in the tavern hall on the Plain. In November 1797, it was voted to pay Brother Jonathan Davis $24 per year for the use of the hall, furnished and warmed.

On September 13th 1798, the before named officers were duly installed at the "new-meeting-house," Universalist. The members met at Campbell's tavern, whence the procession marched at 12 o'clock to the Meeting-house, where, after a sermon by Thaddeus M. Harris, the ceremony of installation was performed.* The procession returned to the hall and "from thence to a boothe prepared for that purpose and partook of an elegant dinner"

In November 1814, a new hall was projected, and in August 1815, a committee chosen to finish and furnish the same. The new quarters were built at West Sutton and were first occupied February 21st 1816.

Removal

On Septmeber 15th 1815, leave was given to remove the Lodge to Sutton. In March 1845 it was again removed to Wilkinsonville. In December 1856 permission was granted to hold meetings alternately at Sutton and Webster. After September 8th 1858 all the meetings were in Sutton. On December 14th 1859 leave was granted to remove to Millbury. Early in 1860 the removal was made and the Lodge has since continued there.

The Masters while in Oxford were:-

Jonathan Learned, chosen 1797

Jeremiah Kingsbury, chosen 1801

Sumner Barstow of Sutton, chosen 1806

Estes Howe, chosen 1808

Sumner Barstow, chosen 1809

Archibald Campbell of Oxford, chosen 1812

Samuel Harris, chosen 1813

Sumner Barstow of Sutton, chosen 1814

Oxford Lodge

The Second organization was the "Oxford Lodge," instituted December 4th 1825, on petition of John Wetherell and others. The first meeting was in the Butler tavern hall, December 25th. Those in attendance were: Samuel Harris, John Field, Elihu Harwood Jr., Thomas Warner, Stephan Learned, John Wetherell, Stephan Barton, Peter Butler, John Mellish, Richard Olney, Samuel C. Butler, Artemus G. Metcalf, Jonathan A. Pope, Jonathan Harris, Rufus Moore. Samuel Harris was chosen Worthy Master; John Field, Senior Warden; Elihu Harwood Jr, Junior Warden, and Jonathan A. Pope, Secretary.

An installation of officers took place at the old meeting house on September 27th 1826, at which Rev. David Holman of Douglas gave an address. About 20 officials from Grand Lodge and like institutions in towns near Oxford were present, and a dinner was provided by Mr. Samuel C. Butler at his tavern. On October 27th 1828 it was voted to remove the place of meeting to the tavern on the Plain. Regular meetings were kept up until 1831, at which date the records end. An officer of the Massachusetts Grand Lodge at Boston writes: "It [the lodge] probably died of the Anti-Masonic scare about 1831."

Third Lodge

On September 23rd 1859, the following petitioned for the new Lodge under the name of the former: Alexander Dewitt, John Wetherell, Loriston Shumway, Elihu Harwood, John A. McGaw, T.W. Wilmarth, Lovell H. Cleveland, Loren C. Parks, A.W. Fullerton, Wm. A. White, Clovis M. Gates, William Kimball, Daniel Davis, Jonathan Davis, William Sigourney, Archibald Campbell, Dennis S. B. Gates, Leander P. Cobb, Jonas Bacon, and Benjamin Paine. The Lodge was duly instituted at Masonic Hall in the upper part of the shoe shop of Davis & Williams on Sutton Avenue. In 1860 the present hall**, over the store near the Bank, was occupied. On October 5th, a charter having been received, the hall was consecrated, and the officers of the Lodge installed by public services in the Universalist Meeting-house, as follows:

George Mason - Worshipful Master

T.W. Wilmarth - Senior Warden

Loren C. Parks - Junior Warden

Jonas Bacon - Treasurer

William A. White - Secretary

Elihu Harwood - Chaplin

John Wetherell - Marshal

H.L. Shumway - Senior Deacon

Willaim Hughes - Junior Deacon

Pliny M. Harwood - Senior Steward

Eben Walsh - Junior Steward

Henry Boyden - Tyler

The meetings have been kept up at the aforesaid hall to the present day.**

*Rev. Thaddeus M Harris, at this time twenty six years of age, was Unitarian minister at Dorchester for many years
** This book was written in 1892, the current location, as of 2013, of Oxford Lodge is 22 Mt. Pleasant St Oxford MA.

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