History

The following is an article taken from the local newspaper in, what we believe to be, the 1890's. This is a wonderfully written article about a Masonic Festival that leads into the history of our lodge.

The celebration of the anniversary of St. John the Evangelist by Plymouth-Kilwinning Lodge No. 149 F. & A. Masons on Friday evening last, was the grandest affair of the kind ever witnessed in Plymouth. The several committees having the matter in charge left nothing undone to make the occasion a complete success in every particular, and they were not disappointed. Masonic Hall was elaborately draped and festooned with evergreen, and pictures appropriate to the occasion were handsomely displayed upon the walls, as were several oil paintings of merit, the work of home artists. A reception was given at the Hall between seven and eight o'clock and a most delightful hour was spent by the three hundred and twenty-five Mason and invited guests present, the occasion being enlivened by excellent music by Freiburg's Orchestral Band of Chicago. At eight o'clock all repaired to the Opera House where an elaborate banquet had been spread at which three hundred and thirty-six persons participated. The tables were neatly arranged in rows the full length of the hall, and the large number present were seated, and waited upon by the twenty-five young ladies dressed in uniform who had volunteered their services for the occasion, without the least confusion whatever. It was the most elaborate and best managed banquet we have ever had the pleasure of attending in Plymouth.

At the conclusion of the banquet there was music, both vocal and instrumental, and several toasts and responses. The welcoming address was made by Mr. H. G. Thayer.

 

With the advancement of civilization and the increase of population came the necessity for the organization of societies for mutual benefit and social enjoyment. The oldest of all the numerous secret organizations, of which there are scores now in existence, is that known as "Free and Accepted Masons." It being the oldest, and from which all other secret orders have sprung, it is proper to speak of it first in this historical review. The traditions in regard to the history of Masonry are numerous, and, so far as is now known, its origin was in the builders' associations of ancient times, which attained their greatest perfection at the building of King Solomon's temple. Since that time, perhaps about 200 years ago, it was changed into a speculative science, still retaining the working tools of operative masonry, and giving them a symbolic meaning, illustrating the erection of a human temple, complete in all its parts.

Plymouth Lodge No. I49, F. & A. M., was organized under dispensation April 2, 1853, and chartered May 23, 1853 Freemasonry was introduced into Plymouth mainly through the efforts of Rev. John G. Osborn, who died in this place thirty odd years ago. He was a preacher of the gospel, and came to Plymouth as the pastor of the Methodist congregation, occupying the little frame church building which stood on Center street, on the lot second door south of the Lutheran church. This was the second church building in Plymouth, the Presbyterian house of worship having been erected some time previous. At the time the dispensation was asked for there were but seven Masons in the jurisdiction, just enough to form a lodge, and two -of these resided in Bremen, fourteen miles away, namely, George Pomeroy and Jacob Knoblock. The other five petitioners were John G. Osborn, Henry B. Pershing, Y. T. Moore, Greenville P. Cherry and David Steel. The dispensation was granted and the lodge organized on the afternoon and evening of April 15, 1853. The first business transacted after the lodge was organized was the election to membership of the following Masons who had settled in Plymouth after the petition had been forwarded: John Coleman, William J. Burns, John Hall and Wm. D. Moore. The lodge then elected the following officers for the ensuing year: Master, John G. Osborn; senior warden, G. P. Cherry; junior warden, H. B. Pershing; treasurer, George Pomeoy; secretary, Wm. J. Burns; senior deacon, Jacob Knoblock; junior deacon, Y. T. Moore; Tyler, Wm, K. Logan. All these ancient workmen on the spiritual temple have laid down their working tools and gone to their eternal rest. 

June 26, 1860, the lodge had a public installation of officers in a grove near town. After the ceremonies were concluded, Mr. Osborn, master elect, delivered a Masonic address, after which the members of the lodge and visiting brethren from Warsaw; La Porte, Valparaiso and Columbia City were marched to the Edwards House, where a banquet was served; at the conclusion of which the lodge returned to the lodge room. The lodge was chartered May 23, 1853, as Plymouth Lodge No.149, F. & A. M.

In 1871 another lodge was organized called Kilwinning Lodge No.435, F. & A. M., Daniel McDonald being first master. This lodge continued until 1888 when, by mutual agreement, the two lodges were consolidated in the name of Plymouth-Kilwinning Lodge NO.149, and has continued as such to the present time. In 1902 the Masonic lodges of the city erected a Masonic temple at a cost of about $6,000, which they now occupy, on the corner of Michigan and Garro streets.

Each of the lodges above named furnished a grand master, grand high priest and illustrious grand master, viz. : Martin H. Rice and Daniel Mc- Donald. Henry G. Thayer served as grand commander Knights Templar of Indiana, and all three were honored by being elected grand patrons of the Order of the Eastern Star.

The most noted event of a local nature the Masonic fraternity of Plymouth took part in was the laying of the corner stone of the present courthouse, August 25, 1870, a full description of which will be found under the article headed "Public Buildings."  

The appendant order of Masonry are all represented in Plymouth.

Plymouth Chapter, Royal Arch Masons No. 49, was organized February 15, 1864, Abraham Reeves first high priest.

Plymouth Council No.18, Royal and Select Masters, was organized May 22, 1864, Martin H. Rice, first illustrious master. Plymouth Commandery No.26, Knights Templar, was organized under dispensation April 8, 1875, and under charter May 13, 1875, H. G. Thayer , eminent commander; Horace Corbin, generalissimo, and Daniel McDonald, captain general. The commandery now has a membership of 100, and is considered one among the best in the state.

Plymouth Chapter No.26, Order Eastern Star, whose membership is made up of Master Masons, their wives, widows, mothers, sisters and daughters, was organized October 4, 1875, and under charter May 12, 1876. It now has over 200 members, and is the fifth largest chapter in the state.

Bremen Lodge No.414, F. &A. M, was organized under the dispensation Issued by the grand master of Masons in Indiana, March 2, 1869, with the following as the first officers: Lewis Theobold, master; Jacob Schilt, senior warden; Moses Keyser, junior warden. A charter was granted at the May session of the Masonic grand lodge, the number attached to .it being 414. Under this charter it was regularly organized June 16, 1870, by Eli R. Shook of Plymouth lodge, acting as deputy grand master. Since then it has continued to work without interruption; it has a splendid lodge room of its own and a membership of sixty, composed of among the best men in the community.  

Argos Lodge No.399, F. & A. M., was organized at Argos with ten charter members in October, 1869, and was given a charter at the May session of the grand lodge, 1870. It has gone along steadily and now has a splendid membership of about sixty. Within the last few years it has erected a lodge hall of its own, which is furnished with all the necessary comforts and conveniences for Masonic work. It is one of the prominent organizations in that place, and of which the membership are justly proud.  

Bourbon Lodge No. 227, F. & A. M., was organized under a dispensation January 9, 1866. John W. 1-Iagan, who had been master of Goshen lodge and had then recently located in Bourbon in the boot and shoe trade, was the moving spirit in the organization, and was selected to be the first master. Others who assisted were Rev. George H. Thayer, Lucius Caul, Milton M. Galentine, A. C. Matchett, Daniel McDonald and N. E. Manville. At the May meeting of the grand lodge in 1866 a charter was granted and the lodge given the number 227, the number of a lodge whose charter had been surrendered. Since then the grand lodge has ceased to assign the vacant numbers to new lodges. If this rule had been observed when the charter was granted its number would have been about 375. Mr. Hagan, the master during the first year under charter, failed in business, and removed from the town, leaving the lodge without a master . The members, however, went to work with a will, and the lodge moved along satisfactorily.  

In the earlier years of the organization of this lodge several fine entertainments were given. On one occasion, the Rev. A. Merine, then of War- saw, delivered an address which was spoken of in the highest terms of praise. On another occasion Rev. Wm. Lusk, of Plymouth, performed the oratorical part of the program. A glee club furnished the music and the Bourbon band the instrumental music. Two banquets were spread at the American House, then kept by M, C. Henshaw, and one in the Masonic hall. These enjoyable occasions are recollected by all who participated in them with a great deal of pleasure.  

Several years ago the Masonic hall was destroyed by fire, in which the lodge lost most of its furniture and fixtures, which cast a gloom over the members, and for a few years the lodge did but little work. New life and new blood has been infused into the lodge, and during the past few years it has regained its former vigor, and the rapid increase in membership has placed it as one among the most substantial lodges in this section of the state.  

Henry H. Culver Lodge No.617) F. & A. M.-A dispensation for the information of this lodge was issued by the grand master November 10, 1897, in the name of Culver lodge. It worked under that name until the meeting of the grand lodge May 24, 1898, when a charter was granted and the name changed to Henry H. Culver lodge, and as such it was given number 617. The first officers named in the dispensation and also in the charter were as follows: Samuel C. Loring, master; John F. Behmer, senior warden, and Foster Groves, Junior warden. The lodge was instituted under charter, by Daniel McDonald, past grand master, June 8, 1898. The name was given to the lodge in honor of Henry H. Culver, the founder of Culver Military Academy, on the northeast shore of the lake, and for whom the town of Culver had been named, and for the further reason he was a member of the Masonic fraternity. Since its organization the following have served as worshipful masters: Samuel C. Loring, under dispensation, 1897; under charter, 1898 and 1899; Monroe C. McCormick, 1900; Al N. Bogardus, 1901-1904; Foster Groves, 1902; 0. A. Rhea, 1903; George W. Voreis, 1905, 1906, 1907. The lodge has a total membership of fifty, and is in every way in a prosperous condition. 

(The above information is from a book titled, "The History of Marshall County" written in 1907  by Daniel McDonald himself.)

Unfortunately, since Daniel McDonald wrote the book in 1907 most of the lodges have disappeared.  Argos Lodge #399, Henry H. Culver Lodge #617, and Bourbon Lodge #227 have all shut their doors.  However, these lodges did not die.  Their spirit continues to live on within the men of Plymouth-Kilwinning lodge today.  If you are feeling like a "rough ashlar" come to lodge and feel the spirit.   

The remaining lodges in Marshall County are Plymouth-Kilwinning Lodge #149, and Bremen Lodge #414.