Volume LIXNovember 2012Number 4

Two Lodges Celebrate their Sesquicentennials

Front row, left-right: Brothers Harry E. Hackman, Jr., P.D.D.G.M.; Stephen Gardner, R.W.P.G.M.; Robert J. Bateman, R.W.D.G.M.; Jay W. Smith, R.W.G.M.; S. Eugene Herritt, R.W.J.G.W.; and Alan D. Manning, Jr., W.M. Second row, left- right: Brothers Robert G. Harley, P.M., Substitute Representative to Grand Lodge; Michael E. Franklin, P.M., Pursuivant; J. Anthony Bard, S.W.; David W. Jansen, P.M., S.M.C.; Edward Gomez, J.W.; James S. Landis, P.M., Treasurer; and Scott J. Helm, J.D. Third row, left-right: Brothers Bernardo DeLellis, Secretary; J. Allen Reynolds, J.M.C.; Mark Reynolds, S.D.; and William H. Tennant, Jr., P.M., Chaplain
Skerrett Lodge No. 343

It was an historical day for Skerrett Lodge No. 343, Cochranville, as members celebrated the lodge's 150th year on June 23. (It's actual anniversary was July 10, 2012.)

Bro. Alan D. Manning, Jr., W.M., cordially welcomed R.W. Grand Master Jay W. Smith to the East along with other Grand Lodge officers. After a short meeting, Grand Master Smith congratulated the members of Skerrett Lodge not only on its milestone, but on how the lodge has been transformed since his last visit as a District Deputy Grand Master (1991-1999). More than 120 guests enjoyed a fine dinner and a program titled, "150 years of History as Seen through the Eyes of Skerrett Lodge No. 343," presented by Brothers Craig W. Shaffer, P.M., and John H. Moravitz. The evening was dedicated in memory of Bro. G. Richard McLucas, P.M., Past Grand Tyler.

A Masonic quilt, made by Billie Marlin and Penny Bowser of Cochranville Chapter No. 347, Order of the Eastern Star, was raffled off and won by Josephine Coates.

While the brethren attended lodge, the ladies attended a presentation on antique music boxes by Bro. Chet Ramsay, P.M., Coatesville Lodge No. 564, and his lady, Jean, at the Wyncote Country Club.

Skerrett Lodge hosted an open house for the community on Aug. 11. The current membership meets in the same "Brick Hall" built by members of Hebron Lodge No. 437, I.O.O.F., back in 1861.

A Bit of History...

The petition for the lodge was signed by 11 Master Masons and recommended to the Grand Lodge by members of West Chester Lodge No. 322 on April 28, 1862 and Williamson Lodge No. 309 A.Y.M., Downingtown, on May 9. Grand Lodge issued the warrant on June 16, signed by R.W. Grand Master John Thomson and the other Grand Lodge officers. Skerrett Lodge No. 343 was constituted on July 10. Warrant officers were Brothers Robert L. McClelland as Worshipful Master, John Gilfeltan as Senior Warden and John C. Morgan as Junior Warden. The lodge was named in honor of then-Deputy Grand Master Dr. David Christie Skerrett (1796-1873) who served as Grand Master 1863-1864.

Milford Lodge No. 344

Milford Lodge celebrated its 150th Anniversary celebration on Sept. 15, beginning with a special open house for the public with tours from 1 to 3 p.m. Afterward, members invited the community to join them in celebrating their momentous occasion at the Best Western Inn at Hunt's Landing in Matamoras.

The events also served to pave the way for the lodge's One Day Masonic Journey on Oct. 20.

"I am so proud to be celebrating our 150-year anniversary this year," said Fred W. Cron, W.M. "For anything to last 150 years is incredible, but when people continue to join together in support of fellowship and goodwill to their community, it's all the better. I believe in the work that we do, and this anniversary is a testament to our past members and to supporting their mission into a long, steady future."

With a current membership of 130, Milford Lodge has been involved with various donor programs, youth programs and camps and the Child Identification Program (CHIP). "Bettering our community and doing good for others is what drives us all. The strong bonds and friendships that have grown are icing on the cake," Bro. Cron said.

A Bit of History...

The lodge was founded when seven Master Masons signed a petition requesting a warrant to constitute Milford Lodge in Pike County, which was recommended by Barger Lodge No. 325, Stroudsburg, on Jan. 13, 1862. Grand Lodge issued the warrant on June 24, signed by R.W. Grand Master John Thomson and the other Grand Lodge officers. Milford Lodge No. 344 was constituted by District Deputy Grand Master William L. Stewart on Dec. 18 of that year. Warrant Officers were Brothers David M. Vanauken as Worshipful Master, George P. Heller as Senior Warden and John C. Mott as Junior Warden.

Formed in 1814, Pike County was named for Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779-1813), a General killed in the War of 1812. Logging soon became the chief industry, followed by farming and quarrying.

Also in 1962...

At the time Skerrett and Milford lodges were founded, Bro. Andrew G. Curtin was Governor of Pennsylvania, and Abraham Lincoln was President. Many significant events occurred in 1862: the Civil War was pitting brother against brother just 80 miles away in Gettysburg, President Lincoln signed into law the Pacific Railway Acts authorizing construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad, Liberia and Haiti were the first black nations recognized by the U.S. government, and Bro. Richard J. Gatling patented the Gatling gun. On Sept. 22, President Lincoln made a preliminary announcement of the Emancipation Proclamation and, in his State of the Union Address on Dec. 1, reaffirmed the necessity of ending slavery as ordered 10 weeks earlier.

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