While cleaning the "Hat Room"
a wall hanging was found that made us very curious.
Here is what has been found to date.
The following is taken from http://www.joycetice.com/jmtindex.htm which has been developed by Joyce Tice chronicling the history of Bradford County PA, Chemung County NY, and Tioga County, PA. This is an excellent source for the early history of this area, and contains a lot of genealogy information.
The original masonic lodge of Tioga, it is believed, was called the "Willardsburg Lodge," and its lodge room was in the second story of Dr. Willard's residence, on the present site of P. S. Tuttle's dwelling. The members of it as now known were Dr. William Willard and his sons William and Henry, Colonel Ambrose Millard and Harris Hotchkiss. James Goodrich was a member of the old Painted Post Lodge, as were Stewart M. Geer, E. A. Smead, Frederick E. Smith, T. L. Baldwin, Colonel H. S. Johnston and one other, at the time of the organization of the present Tioga Lodge. During the exciting times of 1829, following the disappearance of Morgan, the Willardsburg Lodge ceased its regular sessions. Colonel Ambrose Millard, the noble grand, and two others met for some time in the woods, to hold their conferences and keep up the ritual service.
The present Tioga Lodge, No. 373, was chartered by the grand lodge October 16th 1866. Its present officers are: E. A. Smead, W. M.; George W. Hazlett, S. W.; Elias M. Smith, J. W.; Thomas Middaugh, treasurer; John Mack, secretary. Its hall is in the third story of Rev. William Baldwin's brick store, and its meetings are held on alternate Thursday nights. It has had as many as 86 members, but at present has about 30.
The above is from this page: http://www.joycetice.com/1883/tiogahs4.htm
The History of Free Masonry in Tioga County dates back to about 1811, when under a Warrant granted by the R.W. Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Willardsburg Lodge No. 120 was Constituted at Tioga. The Lodge room was located in the second story of Dr. William Willard's residence, and among its Members were Dr. Willard, his sons, William and Henry, Colonel Ambrose Millard, Harris Hotchkiss, and others. Some of the Lodge Members included men from as far away as Liberty, which was about 30 miles away. A trip of thirty miles was considered an average day's journey. The Monthly Meeting was set for the night of the full moon. The moonlight made it easier and safer to make the trip home from the Meetings. In 1824 Wellsboro Cement Lodge No. 189 was Constituted. During the excitement in 1829 and 1830, attendant upon the disappearance of William Morgan, Willardsburg Lodge No 120 went out of existence in 1825 and Wellsboro Lodge No. 189 in 1837. From that time until 1850 there was no Masonic Lodge in Tioga County.
In 1850, Friendship Lodge No. 247 was Constituted at Mansfield and in 1858, Ossea Lodge No. 317 was Constituted at Wellsboro. These are now the two oldest Lodges in Tioga County. In addition to these, Bloss Lodge No. 350 was Constituted at Blossburg in 1865, Cowanesque Lodge No. 351 at Knoxville in 1865, Tioga Lodge No. 373 a t Tioga in 1867, Osceola Lodge No. 421 at Elkland in 1868, and Westfield Lodge No. 477 at Westfield in 1870.
To return to the history of the present Tioga Lodge, as early as 1853 consideration was given by certain residents of Tioga to Petition the R.W. Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for a Warrant to Constitute a Lodge of F.&A.M. at Tioga. In 1854 a Petition was signed by the following Master Masons: Brothers Frederick E. Smith, Thomas B. Baldwin, O.B. Lowell, Henry K. Smith, Thomas J. Berry, W.M. Johnston, E.B. Schieffelin, Stewart M. Geer, H.R. Fish, and Calvin Hammond, who were former Members of Friendship Lodge No. 247 of Pennsylvania Praying that a Warrant of constitution be granted to form a Masonic Lodge at Tioga.
At a Stated Meeting of Friendship Lodge No. 247 held at Mansfield on June 13, 1864, a motion was carried that the above Petition be recommended for favorable consideration of the R. W. Grand Lodge. A Warrant for the Constitution of Tioga Lodge No. 373 was issued by the R.W. Grand Lodge on October 16,1866, and signed by the R.W. Grand Master Lucius H. Scott and the R.W. Deputy Grand Master, John S. Goddard.
It appears that D.D. Grand Master H.T. Beardsley, early in 1867, came to Constitute the Lodge but found that necessary arrangements for a place of Meeting had not been completed. Later, however, on July 11, 1867, D.D. Grand Master H.T. Beardsley assisted by the following Master Masons: William Barber, W.H. Williams, J.S. Snyder, J.J. Biles, Henry Allen, J.T. Ingham, J.P. Taylor, S.M. Bullard, and A. Foley, Constituted Tioga Lodge No. 373. The record says, in addition to the Master Masons mentioned above, there were seven Master Masons from Ossea Lodge, seven from Bloss Lodge, four from Cowanesque Lodge, one from Washington, D.C., and seven from Painted Post, New York.
At the same time of Constitution there were nine Charter Members: Brother H.S. Johnson - Worshipful Master; T.T. Warren - Senior Warden; Calvin Hammond - Junior Warden; J.S. Bush - Treasurer; F.H. Adams, Secretary; Philo Tuller - Senior Deacon; E.G. Schieffelin; O.B. Lowell; and A.B. Meade.
No mention is made in the minutes of the place of meeting until March 20, 1871, when Hathaway Hall is so mentioned. It is assumed that Hathaway Hall had been the place of Meeting since July 11, 1867. Hathaway Hall was located on the second story over a Blacksmith and Carriage Shop at the southeast corner of Park (then called New Street) and Oak Streets. The rent was stated at one hundred dollars per year. Our Lodge paid four tenths of this amount and another fraternity paid the balance.
On July 29,1872, the Lodge moved from Hathaway Hall to a hall on the west end of the third floor of the Wickham building which was l ocated on the southwest corner of Main and Wellsboro Streets. The rent was mentioned as ten dollars per month.
At a Meeting of the Lodge on December 10, 1885, the regular night for each Stated Meeting was changed from the night of the full moon to the third Thursday of each month. This has continued to be our Meeting night from the above date.
On April 18, 1895, the Lodge moved from the Wickham Building to the third floor of the Adams Building. This building was located on the northeast corner of Main and Park Streets. This building continued to be our place of Meeting from the above date until September 1952, a period of fifty seven years. It was at this time, in 1895, that the furniture was purchased from the Mansfield Chair Co. for $309.50. This furniture, by the grace of some repairs, is in use at the present time. Bonds in the amount of ten dollar denominations were bought by Members to pay for this furniture.
We note too, the Aprons and Collars for Officers were purchased in 1900 at the cost of $76.50. We felt that this price was a very reasonable one since in 1951 we replaced the same items with new ones at a cost of $294.
In 1895 six spittoons were purchased from Joe Fish for the sum of $1.69.
In July 1907, three dozen tall silk hats were purchased for $110.
On January 9, 1868, a Ballot Box was purchased for the sum of $3. This was replaced in 1945 by a new box because the Members found it to be so much in need of repair and the floor of the box was so black that they were unable to select the desired ballot.
On January 17, 1907, a banquet was held at the Park Hotel. There were forty-three places served at 75 cents each. The Park Hotel was located on the lot which the Hughes Gasoline Station now occupies (This would be the north-west corner of Main St. and Wellsboro St.). The hotel burned to the ground in February, 1915.
About 1950, it became evident to the Lodge that new quarters would have to be found for our Meetings. Our landlord did not feel inclined to repair the rooms or build a new roof. The rain came through the ceiling causing the wallpaper to be discolored and the plaster to fall away in several places. Even our Bible on the Alter had been almost destroyed by the leaking roof. Besides, the fire escape was in need of much repair and several windows were broken.
We had used these rooms as stated above for fifty-seven years. Since this had become a very unsatisfactory place to meet, the Lodge appointed a committee of Brothers Joseph P. Borden and Edward Treat to explore the possibility of securing new quarters. The committee reported that the Prugh building, located at the corner of Elm and Wellsboro Streets, could be purchased. They recommended that a Corporation of Lodge Members be formed to purchase the building for a permanent home. With the help of Attorney George Linton, a Mason in the Wellsboro Lodge, who gave us his service without any remuneration, a Corporation was formed of Master Masons of the Tioga Lodge.
The charter of the Corporation authorized us to issue bonds up to the amount of $8,200. Bonds were sold to Tioga Lodge Members in the amount of $6,200. The Corporation purchased the building and began the necessary repairs and the alterations. Many Members have given time and labor to get the building in the very best of shape. We shall continue to improve it.
Our first meeting in the new Lodge rooms was held in September, 1952.
On June 17, 1967, Tioga Lodge celebrated its 100th Anniversary, with Right Worshipful Grand Master Robert Deyoe in attendance. An Anniversary banquet was held at the Williamson Jr. - Sr. High School. Brother Donald Treat was Worshipful Master at that time.
We wish that we might have had more time and space to recall the individual history of Members of the Lodge. There are many who through two, three, or four generations have been Members of this Lodge.
Brother Robert B. Nearing has been a Member of Tioga Lodge for 66 years. Brother Nearing was entered on June 17, 1926, Crafted September 16, 1926 and Raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason on October 21, 1926. Brother Nearing is currently our oldest living Past Master. Brother Nearing was Master of Tioga Lodge in the year 1931.
The Lodge was honored on September 26, 1961, when Brother Joseph P. Borden was elected to receive the Honorary Thirty Third Degree of Scottish Rite Masonry by the Supreme Council for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States. On September 26, 1962, Brother Borden was Coronated an Honorary Thirty Third Degree Scottish Rite Mason at Philadelphia.
On December 27, 1977 Brother Joseph R. Borden was Installed as District Deputy Grand Master for the 17th Masonic District. Brother Borden served for five years.
December 27, 1982, Brother Neil A. Baker was Installed as District Deputy Grand Master for the 17th Masonic District. Brother Baker was officially Installed by Grand Master Samuel C. Williamson in March, 1983, at the Williamson High School. A banquet dinner was served following the Installation.
Brother Edward Dye presented the Bible which is presently used by the Lodge.
A new American Flag with a golden Eagle atop the staff was presented in memory of Brother Albert M. White and Neil Niles.
The brass knockers at the outer door of the Lodge room were presented in memory of Brother Ray Fye and Charles Jackson.
The Memorial Board in the outer room was presented in memory of Brother Donald McKinney.
A large framed picture of President George Washington, who was a Master Mason, was presented in memory of Brother Edward Treat.
Tioga Lodge No. 373 has grown from nine Charter Members to 129 Members. There have been many fine Members who have worked hard to live by Masonic principles and ideals. We know that the community, the state, and the nation have been strengthened and enriched by their lives. We pray that the Great Master of all good Masons shall continue to have us in His care.
The above information was extratced from the program celebrating the Lodges 125th year.
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