Volume LVNovember 2008Number 4


Left-right: William R. Fielding, D.D.G.M., 23rd District, and his lady, Sandy; First Lady Pat Gardner; Bro. Stephen Gardner, R.W. Grand Master; and Bro. & Mrs. Clyde E. Baker, Jr. W.M., Myrtle Lodge No. 316; participate in the 150th Anniversary Parade for Myrtle Lodge No. 316, Franklin, on Aug. 16.


In 1858, Pennsylvania native President Bro. James Buchanan and Vice President Bro. John C. Breckinridge led the United States. After the November election, Bro. William Fisher Packer was named Governor of Pennsylvania. This year saw the advancement of many inventions, including the ornamented soda fountain and the first shoe manufacturing machine. Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace announced their theory of evolution.

Cumberland Valley Lodge No. 315, Shippensburg

Through the recommendation of Orrstown Lodge No. 262, Cumberland Valley Lodge No. 315 was constituted on Feb. 18, 1858. It was formed after several members of the fraternity decided not to revive Silensia Lodge No. 198. Member Jeffrey W. Coy, P.M., serves as R.W. Grand Treasurer and member Thomas W. Jackson is R.W. Past Grand Secretary.

Lodge members held a 150th anniversary banquet on Sept. 5, including keynote speaker, Bro. Stephen Gardner, R.W. Grand Master. A commemorative afghan was given to each couple.

Shippensburg was named for Edward Shippen, who founded and laid out the town on land obtained in a patent from the heirs of William Penn in 1730. Shippen served as Mayor of Philadelphia in 1744 and was one of the founders of the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) and the Pennsylvania Hospital. Shippensburg was incorporated as a borough in 1819 and was home to furniture factories, engine and pump works and other industries. The fertile soil and good water supply of the county led to prosperous farms and early industrial power.

Myrtle Lodge No. 316, Franklin

Through the recommendations of Lodge No. 234, Meadville, Myrtle Lodge No. 316 was constituted on Feb. 22, 1858, President and Bro. George Washington's 126th birthday. The name Myrtle may have been chosen in commemoration of the legend that Adam took a sprig of myrtle on his way out of the Garden of Eden.

On Feb. 22, lodge members gathered for a banquet with entertainment to commemorate their anniversary. On August 15, members participated in vesper services and a walking parade through a local park, followed by Masonic veteran's "A Tribute to America." The following day, Grand Master Gardner visited the lodge, and the day included an open house, Masonic parade, a program at a local park and fireworks.

Venango County was formed in 1800 in northwestern Pennsylvania, home to many Native Americans. Much of western Pennsylvania was in the center of the conflict between the French and the English and in 1749, the French built a fort at the site despite warnings from young Bro. George Washington. After the French fled, in 1787, the Americans constructed Fort Franklin, named for Bro. Benjamin Franklin. Lumbering, farming and iron furnaces were the main industries in the area, until oil was discovered and speculators and entrepreneurs worldwide rushed to the town.

Ossea Lodge No. 317, Wellsboro

Through recommendations from Friendship Lodge No. 247, Ossea Lodge No. 317 was constituted on Feb. 24, 1858. Wellknown members of the lodge include Bro. George William Alexis Stone, Governor of Pennsylvania (1899-1903); Henry W. Williams, Supreme Court Justice and Grand Master for just 29 days, due to his death; and George Linton, Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army during World War II.

In 1976, the home of Ossea Lodge since 1919 was destroyed in a fire. The Lodge Warrant was salvaged and restored as closely as possible to its original condition. In 1978, the cornerstone was laid for the new temple.

Lodge members celebrated their 150th anniversary on March 15. Grand Master Gardner attended the anniversary banquet which included "The Big Gavel" presentation and Bro. Timothy McConnell, D.D.G.M. of District 17, receiving the Lewis Jewel from his father, Bro. Harry McConnell.

Benjamin Wistar Morris laid out Wellsboro in 1806 and named it in honor of his wife, Mary Wells Morris, whose family was among its earliest settlers. The chief industries include tourism, as the home of the "Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania;" glassware; Christmas decorations and wood products.

Tioga County was formed from Luzerne County in 1804; however, county administration was not organized until 1813 when Bro. Hon. John Bannister Gibson, R.W.P.G.M. (1824), Chief Justice of Pennsylvania, presided at the county's first term of court. The land was rich in semi-bituminous coal, forests, iron ore and salt, and the surrounding railroads led to a booming population.

Bedford Lodge No. 320, Bedford

Through the recommendation of Lodge No. 282, Hollidaysburg, Bedford Lodge No. 320 was constituted on May 27, 1858. The first lodge in Bedford, No. 48, was warranted in 1789 but went dark in 1806. Bedford-Bath Lodge No. 137, warranted in 1813, last paid dues in April 1817. Records of these early lodges were burned in the Chestnut Street Hall (Grand Lodge) fire of 1819.

At Bedford Lodge No. 320's 150th Anniversary Banquet, R.W. Grand Master Gardner congratulated members who were 50-Year Service Emblem recipients and all the attendees at the banquet who had served more than 50 years.

Lodge members held their anniversary banquet on Sept. 7 at the local Bedford Springs Resort, the same location of their 100th anniversary celebration. Grand Master Gardner attended the dinner, and 50-Year Service Awards were presented.

The town of Bedford was incorporated as a borough in 1795. An important military post during the French and Indian War, the area's namesake comes from 1759, when "the fort at Raystown" was re-named Fort Bedford in honor of John Russell, the fourth Duke of Bedford.

Bedford County, created in 1771, became one of the richest iron counties in the state, while agriculture, timber lands and wool and planing mills also flourished. President and Bro. James Buchanan spent summers here while serving as President and received the first trans-Atlantic telegram from England's Queen Victoria.

West Chester Lodge No. 322, West Chester

West Chester Lodge No. 322 was constituted on July 20, 1858. Members of the lodge celebrated their anniversary with a banquet held on Oct. 18. Grand Master Gardner was in attendance.

Chester County was one of the first three original counties William Penn designated, named for the city in England where one of his closest friends was born. The diverse geology of the region includes copper, lead, iron, kaolin, corundum and sand, and led to the rise of quarrying as the area's major industry. The abundance of streams made agriculture a mainstay. Downtown West Chester has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Barger Lodge No. 325, Stroudsburg

Barger Lodge No. 325 was constituted on Oct. 6, 1858. Its anniversary banquet was held on Oct. 5 with a special meeting on Oct. 7 to receive Grand Master Gardner.

Stroudsburg was named after the owner of about 4,000 acres in the area, Revolutionary Col. Jacob Stroud. It was incorporated as a borough in 1815. It is the seat of Monroe County, which was formed in 1836 and named for President and Bro. James Monroe, (1817-1825). The railroad came to the county in 1856, increasing commerce and tourism. Industries include Christmas trees, berries, nuts, maple syrup, mineral water, beer and milk. The Pocono Mountains and Pocono Raceway make this area a popular recreation and vacation destination.

Lehigh Lodge No. 326, Macungie

Through the recommendation of Lodge No. 284 in Catasauqua, Lehigh Lodge No. 326 was constituted on Nov. 26, 1858. Lodge members celebrated their 150th anniversary with a banquet in April. Grand Master Gardner visited, bringing with him the Unity Gavel and Box.

Trexlertown, the home of Lehigh Lodge No. 326, is considered to be the oldest village in Lehigh County, part of Macungie Township. It was named for the Trexler family, although there is dispute as to whether it was to honor John, Peter or Jeremiah Trexler.

Lehigh County was bountiful in soil and springs and creeks used to power a few hundred mills. It was also a producer of iron and steel and the area's zinc, slate, limestone and sandstone provided much of the industry.

Union Lodge No. 324, Mifflintown

Through the recommendation of Lodge No. 203, Lewistown, Union Lodge No. 324 was constituted on Dec. 2, 1858. Warranted in 1796, the first lodge in Mifflin County (now Juniata) was Lodge No. 68 and was held in Mifflin (now Mifflintown). The second lodge was established in 1825 and named Jackson Lodge. It was removed to Lewistown, where it is the current Lewistown Lodge No. 203.

A lodge anniversary banquet was held on Sept. 13. Grand Master Gardner presented members with 50-Year Service Awards and received the lodge's donations for his charities.

Mifflintown was named in honor of Governor Thomas Mifflin and incorporated as a borough in 1833. Empire Kosher Poultry, the nation's largest processor of kosher poultry, calls Mifflintown home. In 1870, one-half of Mifflintown was destroyed by a fire, including the lodge room, its Masonic library and lodge minutes. After the fire, lodge members were able to obtain a copy of their destroyed Warrant from the Grand Lodge.

Juniata County was erected from Mifflin County in 1831. Lumbering was an early industry, followed by iron furnaces. The river provided an excellent transportation system, but was later eclipsed by the railroad and then interstate highways. The waterway still provides ample recreational opportunities.

Isaac Hiester Lodge No. 660, Reading

Through the recommendation of Lodge No. 62, Reading, Chandler Lodge No. 227 and Huguenot Lodge No. 377, Isaac Hiester Lodge No. 660 was constituted on Oct. 17, 1908. The lodge was named for Isaac Hiester, a member of Lodge No. 62 and the first District Deputy Grand Master (1826-1828) from Berks County, who served what was then District 6.

The lodge held its 100th anniversary celebration on Sept. 27, which included a visit from Grand Master Gardner and a family picnic at the Rajah Shrine Complex.

Reading was located along a canal system with the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad connecting it to distant markets. It was the center of the iron industry, including W.E. Remppis, which cast the newel posts and possibly the steps and banister for the lower level of the rear staircase in the Masonic Temple.

Berks County was established by Conrad Weiser, the chief negotiator for every major treaty between the colonial settlers in Pennsylvania and the Iroquois Nations from 1731-1758. The county was also home to the families of President Abraham Lincoln, whose great-great-grandfather, great-grandfather and grandfather are buried there. Daniel Boone was born and lived in Berks County until he was 16; his birthplace still stands as a historic site.


In 1958, Bro. George M. Leader was Governor of Pennsylvania. In the same year, Sputnik I, the first man-made satellite, fell from its orbit and the U.S. launched its first satellite. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was also established and the first scheduled jet plane, Pan American, crossed the Atlantic Ocean in six hours and 12 minutes.

Forbes Trail Lodge No. 783, Export

Through the recommendation of Jeannette Lodge No. 750, Forbes Trail Lodge No. 783 was constituted on Jan. 16, 1958. That year, Gen. John Forbes and his soldiers cut through wilderness along the older Traders' Route, in Uniontown, to save time and avoid swollen streams and obstacles. The route was dubbed Forbes Trail and the lodge was established in its name nearly two centuries later.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the lodge held its anniversary banquet on Aug. 15 with guests including Grand Master Gardner. Throughout the meal, photos of the lodge's history were shared.

Export, also home to the Forbes Trail, was incorporated in 1911. This was the first town in the region to mine coal, transported via Pittsburgh, for international markets.

Created in 1773, Westmoreland County was named for the County of Westmoreland in England. For much of the 19th century, agriculture served as the county's economic base, with mining and metals growing after the Civil War. Many manufacturing and mining jobs were lost through the 1970s and 1980s. Sony then moved into the county, along with special machine shops, fabrication and electronics.

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