History of Harford Lodge No. 445 F. &. A. M.

* retyped from the 100 Year Celebration of Harford Lodge No. 445, Saturday September 6th 1969 A.L. 5969  

Freemasonry in Harford dates back to Lodge No. 65, which was warranted April 11, 1795 in Willingsbourough (now Great Bend), whose warrant was returned, with its jewels, to the Grand Lodge of Penna., March, 1809.  The Lodge being in arrears for approximately $200.  

It must be remembered that these old Lodges moved from place to place as different men came in control of them.  

On October 27, 1810, a petition was received from a number of the members of Lodge No. 65 praying for a petition to be granted for holding a Lodge in the town of Clifford.  The prayer of this petition was granted and North Star Lodge No.119 was constituted January 24, 1811.  Actually this Lodge was not constituted in the now known town of Clifford, but in Clifford township which then took in Gibson, Jackson and Herrick townships.  The Lodge met in Borrows Hollow, now Gibson or in Harford township whose line extended to Gibson.  

The previous histories concerning North Star Lodge written in Backmans, Stacker and Harford History are incorrect.  This Lodge was warranted by the Grand Lodge of Penna. and was one of the 40 Lodges outside of Philadelphia that existed through the Anti-Masonic Period.  

North Star Lodge No.119 met into the 1840's then surrendered its warrant (ceased March 15, 1841).  

Freedom Lodge No. 328 was warranted September 6, 1858 and constituted May 5, 1859 in Harford.  In 1860, this Lodge moved to Gibson, then to Jackson and now meets in Thompson.  

Some members of this Lodge, together with other residents of Harford, had joined the Warren Lodge of Montrose.  However, wishing to have a Lodge of their own in Harford, they petitioned the R. W. Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and were granted the right to institute Harford Lodge No. 445 on June 3, 1869 and was duly constituted on December 29, 1869.  

Charter members of the Lodge were: from Warren Lodge No. 240 of Montrose - Brothers Charles C. Edwards, Winslow B. Guile, Abram A. Eaton, James C. Edwards, George L. Payne and Levi R. Peck;  from Freedom Lodge No. 328 of Jackson - Brothers Charles H. Miller, Alfred G Barnard, E. S. Porter Hine, Gardiner J. Babcock, and Franklin H. Tiffany.  

The first officers of Harford Lodge were:

Worshipful Master        C. C. Edwards
Senior Warden             W. B. Guile
Junior Warden              A. A. Eaton
Secretary                      J. C. Edwards
Treasurer                     A. G. Barnard
Senior Deacon             C. H. Miller
Junior Deacon              F. S. P. Hine
Senior Master of Ceremonies                F. H. Tiffany
Junior Master of Ceremonies                L. R. Peck  

Previously the meeting had been held in the homes of members, but now Harford Lodge met twice a month in the hall of  Live Oak Lodge of  IOOF, paying an annual rent of $38.10.  The depression of 1875 took its toll of members and meetings were reduced to one per month.  After 1876 few meetings were held, and by 1885, the charter was returned to Grand Lodge.  

The spirit of Freemasonry remained in the hearts and minds of the faithful few, and on April 25, 1894 a stated meeting of Harford Lodge No. 445 F.&A.M. was ordered by District Deputy Grand Master D. C. Ainey, for the purpose of reinstating Harford Lodge at Hop Bottom.  Officers were elected and Brother Sumner J. Adams,  who had before been an officer, was elected Master, serving for two terms.  Harford Lodge was again off to a good start, being favored with eight petitions for membership at the first meeting.  After meeting for a time in the P.O.S. of A. Hall, and later in the Borough Building, in September of 1908 they moved in to their present home.  With extensive repairs and redecorating, this building has served the needs of the Lodge adequately.  

In 1902, Brother E. M. Tiffany was elected to represent Harford Lodge at the George Washington Sesquicentennial, and in 1931, Brother William S. Tiffany was the Lodge's delegate to the Grand Lodge Bicentennial.  

On December 24, 1931 Harford Lodge ceased to be a Moon Lodge and changed its meeting night to the second Thursday of each month.  The flag salute was adopted as part of the opening ceremony in April, 1942.  On January 9, 1942, Brother Morton W. Stephens presented the Lodge with an Alter Bible.  Since 1950, each candidate has been presented with a Bible.  

Harford Lodge No. 445 has always strived to maintain a high standard of work among the craft.  The real proof of this is written in the hearts and lives of the members and much credit is due to the older members.  As one is called to the Grand Lodge above, new members have been added to our fraternity who have endeavored to uphold the high principles of Masonry.  This is borne out by the fact that many of the members who were initiated into Harford Lodge, but have moved to other locations, have retained their membership in Harford Lodge.  

Since the reinstatement of the Lodge at Hop Bottom, the following have served as District Deputy Grand Master:  Brother David C. Ainey of  New Milford Lodge;  Brother William Day of Great Bend Lodge;  Brother Homer Spencer of Canawacta Lodge, Susquehanna;  Brother George C. Bartholmay of Forest City Lodge, who served for more than a quarter century.  The only member of Harford Lodge to hold this position was Brother H. Donald Major, P.M.  Brother Clark Howell of the New Milford Lodge now holds this office.  

In 1915, Harford Lodge presented its first Past Master jewel, a custom which has since been followed.  Brother Robert B. Powers, P.M., the son of a Past Master was the recipient of the fiftieth jewel.  

Fifty year members of Harford Lodge are:  Brothers Dean Bertholf, P.M.; Myron Craver, P.M..; Stanley WM. Williams, P.M.; and Glenn M. Wilmarth, P.M.  

For research material for this brief history, we are indebted to Brother James A. Tracy, Worshipful Master.