Wilmington #52 F. & A. M.
Prepared by Harold E. Thompson, March 1992
Amended by David W. Holmes, February 2002
In 1817, the Lebanon Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons recommended to the Grand Lodge of Ohio that a dispensation be granted to Wilmington to hold a Masonic Lodge. The dispensation was granted and the Lodge was designated Aurora Lodge No. 52. The following were appointed officers of the Lodge by the dispensation: Arnold Treusdell, Worshipful Master; Reuben Adams, Senior Warden; John Baptist Demond, Junior Warden; and Nathaniel Harris, Secretary. The transactions of this Lodge were regular and harmonious for about three years and the number of members increased gradually to sixteen, who were as follows: Stephen Bosworth, William R. Cole, James How, Charles Paist, William Brooks, Thomas Bellows, James Williams, Henry Vandeburg, Maj. Samuel Cox, J. N. Reynolds, Dr. Magee, James Birdsall, Robert Way and the four officers named above.
The Lodge was held in an upper room of Samuel H. Hale’s hotel, located on the north side of Main Street near the Court House. The Lodge continued its sessions until some time in 1820 when Treusdell left Wilmington and became a student at Ohio University in Athens. John Baptist Demond returned to his friends in New York. The Lodge, before their departure, had adjourned and the dispensation charter was given up. After this, no meetings of the Masons were held until 1842. In 1842 a new charter was obtained from the Grand Lodge of Ohio in session at Lancaster and the lodge was reorganized as Wilmington Lodge No. 52.
The charter states that, “permission to hold Lodge meetings was granted to Bebee Treusdell, Benjamin Hinkson, Levi Gustin, George E. Hibben, J. S. Wright, Jabez Harlan and others who have heretofore assembled under a dispensation from the Grand Master. The Lodge shall be known as No. 52, and its rank and precedence shall date from the 18th of October, 1842.” The officers appointed were: Levi Gustin, Worshipful Master; J. S. Wright, Senior Warden; and Jabez Harlan, Junior Warden. The reorganized Lodge first met in a room on the second floor of the Old White House building which was located at the southwest corner of Main and South Streets, where the Darbyshire building is currently located. Sometime later they moved to a room on the second floor of a building on the west side of South Street, on the south corner of the alley north of Main Street, across the alley from the present City Hall.
The next move of the Lodge was to a room on the third floor of the Clinton Hall building located on the corner of South and Locust Streets which was the Fizer building, which was torn down in the summer of 1991, and where the present City Hall is located. The Lodge remained at that location until 1880 when quarters were acquired on the second floor of the Carothers building on South Street (where the Uptowne Shop and Ka-Ran’s Florist is now). The Lodge had about 75 members at this time. The Lodge remained there until 1913.
At some undiscovered and unknown date in 1906 or 1907 various representatives from the three Masonic bodies in Wilmington, Blue Lodge, Chapter and Commandery, met and discussed the possibility of owning their own quarters and a committee was appointed. This committee apparently had considerable authority, although nothing can be found on the minutes of any of these three bodies relative thereto. Neither can records be found with names of committee members. However, as a result of the action of the committee, A I. Bailey and C. R. Fisher, acting for the Masonic bodies, purchased from O. F. Peddicord the property known as the West House. The price paid was $9500.00, with assumption of taxes due in June, 1908 amounting to $76.50. A mortgage which, with interest, amounted to $5,091.67, was assumed, leaving a cash balance due of $4,408.33. A deed for this property was given on July 29, 1907. The first definite statement found concerning the transaction is in the minutes of Wilmington Lodge #52 dated August 27, 1907 where by resolutions of the Trustees, the Lodge paid $1,700.00, Chapter $1,500 and the Commandery $1,200.00. This was the $4,400.00 in cash needed to complete the transaction for the acquisition of the property.
On December 6, 1907, A I. Bailey and C. R. Fisher, still acting as representatives of the three Masonic Bodies, gave a note to the Clinton County National Bank for $4,943.20. It has been impossible to discover from what sources money was derived to pay interest, taxes, insurance and principal payments on this note. However, we find that on April 1, 1912, this note had been paid down to the sum of $3500.00. It is understood that payment of this money was raised by subscriptions among the various members of the Masonic Bodies, but there have been no records found to indicate who contributed monies or in what amounts.
The Commandery minutes of January 26, 1909, indicate that the building committee was instructed to proceed to remodel the West House or to erect a new building. The plans were ratified by the other bodies, although not carried in the minutes. We find that the several bodies ratified the plans and confirmed the report of the committee in Blue Lodge on February 7, 1911, in Chapter on February 14, 1911 and in Commandery on February 28, 1911. The minutes of the various bodies indicate that the Blue Lodge on September 5, 1911, Chapter on September 12, 1911, and Commandery on September 26, 1911, authorized that this real estate be transferred to the Masonic Temple Company by A. I. Bailey and C. R. Fisher. This transfer was accomplished on September 27, 1911.
On April 1, 1911 a loan was taken out in the amount of $3000.00 from the First National Bank of Wilmington. Three hundred days after that date “we or either of us promise to pay to the Bank that amount with interest at 6 per cent from date till paid” with the following signatures:
C.R. Fisher, C.W. Swaim, S.D. Chancellor, A.I. Bailey, W. H. Rannells, C.A. Rannells, D.J. Foland, L.A. Wysong, E. E. Terrell, Wm. Taylor, S. (Simon) Goodman, W.W. Starbuck, T.N. Bales, Carl S. Bangham, J.M. Fisher, C.D. Bailey, E.D. Trickers, H.G. Cartwright, L.M. Hazard, C.L. Conger, J. V. Metzger, E.J. Rose, W.C. McNemar, Granville Wallace, C.B. Vanniman, M.J. Spinks, E.C. Briggs, J.N. Lean, E.R. Bales, C.M. Hinman, J.S. Thomas, E._. Scott?), Frank Z. Gallup, C.E. Harrison, U.G. Munell, Robt L. Owens, J.E. Hart, Allen C. Conger, Chas. C. Hart, C. E. Kinzel, Jon T. Doan, Frank A. Peelle, C.B. Cartwright, Charles Cast, Lyman Watkins, J.L. Trenary, L.W. Dewey, R.E. Andrew, Wm. Kulp, W.E. Hawk, T.M. Gregory.
On July 20, 1911 a similar loan of $3000.00 was obtained from the Clinton County National Bank of Wilmington for a period of 6 months at six per cent interest from the date with the following signatures:
C.R. Fisher, C.W. Swaim, S.D. Chancellor, A.I. Bailey, W.H. Rannells, D. G. Foland, C.A. Rannells, E.E. Terrell, L.A. Wysong, S. Goodman, Wm. Taylor, T.N. Bales, W.B. Starbuck, Carl S. Bangham, C.D. Bailey, J.M. Fisher, H.G. Cartwright, E.D. Trickers, L.M. Hazard, C.L. Conger, J.V. Metzger, W.C. McNemar, E.J. Rose, Granville Wallace, P.B. Vanniman, M.J. Spinks, E.C. Briggs, J.V. Lean, E.R. Bales, C.M. Hinman, J.S. Thomas, E. __ Scott(?), Frank Z. Gallup, C. E. Harrison, U.G. Munell, Robt L. Owens, J. E. Hart, Allen C. Conger, Chas. C. Hart, C.E. Kinzel, Jon T. Doan, Frank A. Peelle, C.B. Cartwright, Charles Cast, Lyman Watkins, J.L.Trenary, L.W. Dewey, R.E. Andrew, Wm. Kulp, W. E. Hawk, T.N. Gregory.
On August 16, 1911 another loan of $3000.00 was obtained from the Citizens National Bank of Wilmington for a period of 5 months at six per cent interest from the date with the following signatures:
C.R. Fisher, C. W. Swaim, S.D. Chancellor, A.G. Bailey, W. H. Rannells, D.J. Foland, C.A. Rannells, E.E. Terrell, L.A. Wysong, Wm. Taylor, S. Goodman, T.N. Bales, J.W. Starbuck, Carl S. Bangham, J. W. Fisher, C.D. Bailey, H. G. Cartwright, E. D. Trickers, L.M. Hazard, C.L. Conger, W.C. McNemar, E.J. Rose, J.V. Metzger, Granville Wallace, C.B. Vanniman, M.J. Spinks, E.C. Briggs, J.N. Lean, E.R. Bales, C.M. Hinman, J.S. Thomas, E __ Scott(?), Frank Z. Gallup, C.E. Harrison, U.G. Munell, Robt L. Owens, J.E. Hart, Allen C. Conger, Chas C. Hart, C.E. Kinzel, Jon T Doan, Frank A. Peelle, C.B. Cartwright, Charles Cast, Lyman Watkins, J. L. Trenary, L.W. Dewey, R.E. Andrew, Wm. Kulp, W.E. Hawk, T.M. Gregory.
The Masonic Temple Company was organized with a capital stock of $4,500.00 and the certificate was filed with the Secretary of State of Ohio on August 29, 1911. The capital stock was 300 shares of preferred stock with a par value of $100.00 each, and 150 shares of common stock of $100.00 each. The articles of incorporation stated that the holders of the preferred stock should have no voting power, and that voting power rested in the holders of the common stock only. Under resolutions of September 7, 1911, each Masonic Body sold its interest in the West House Property to the Masonic Temple Company for $5,000.00 each, taking common stock for the same so that the entire common stock rested in the three Masonic Bodies. The resolution also provided for two trustees from each body to serve on the Masonic Temple Board of Trustees. The six trustees, therefore, have the entire voting power and jurisdiction over the property. That arrangement has been carried down to the present time.
The first trustees of the Temple Board Company were: S. D. Chancellor and C. R. Fisher for the Blue Lodge, W. H. Rannells and C. W. Swaim for the Chapter, and A. I. Bailey and J. M. Fisher for the Commandery.
The cost of the building was approximately $51,000.00 to which must be added $9,500.00, the original cost of the West House, -- a total cost of about $60,500.00. By today’s standards that was a real bargain. It must be remembered that at that time labor was $1.50 a day with brick masons getting 40 cents an hour. The building was started about April 11, 1911, as nearly as can be determined, and Watt & Patterson, the tenant on the ground floor, moved into the building on September 1, 1912. The Masonic bodies moved into their quarters about January 1, 1913.
The Lodge rooms were dedicated for Masonic purposes on June 27, 1913. At that time the membership was one hundred and forty-two with the following officers: Thomas M. Bales, Worshipful Master; Harold C. Hiatt, Senior Warden; Martin J. Spinks, Junior Warden; C. A. Rannells, Secretary; W. H. Rannells, Treasurer; R. L. Compton, Senior Deacon; Chester D. Swaim, Junior Deacon; and William McNemar, Tyler.
Wilmington Lodge has had 121 Worshipful Masters serving the lodge since its inception.
The following members served the Grand Lodge of Ohio as District Lecturers: Right Worshipful Brother Martin J. Spinks (1922-1923 and 1924), and Right Worshipful Brother Harry A. Metzger (1928, 1929-1930 and 1931). The following members served the Grand Lodge as District Deputy Grand Masters: Right Worshipful Brother L. L. Lundy (1952-1953 and 1954) and Right Worshipful Brother Don P. Locke (1990, 1991 and 1992).
The membership of Wilmington Lodge increased from the initial number of about 4 to 78 in 1909 to the peak membership in the 1950's. In 1992 there were 252 members. On October 10, 2001 Martinsville Lodge #391 consolidated with Wilmington; the membership is 257.
Martinsville Lodge No. 391
Martinsville Lodge No. 391, Free and Accepted Masons, was organized on May 20, 1867, with the following charter members: A.S. Amberg, A. Frank Taft, H.F. Walker, E.K. Ferd, D.W. Dannsbery, Jacob Reller, John R. Moon, William W. Hunt, and D.H. Moon. The first officers included A.S. Amberg, Worshipful Master; A. Frank Taft, Senior Warden; and H.F. Walker, Junior Warden.
In May, 1902, the Lodge completed a frame building of its own, at a cost of four thousand dollars. The lower part was rented for commercial purposes and the Lodge rooms occupied the upper stories. In 1915 Martinsville Lodge No. 391 had 65 members