The orders of Odd Fellows, Masons, and others somewhat similar in character, have always been well represented in this county, and the different lodges now embrace many of the leading citizens; this is especially true of those ancient and honorable orders, the Free and Accepted Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
The first Masonic Lodge in Cortland county (then Onondaga) was known as Homer Lodge No. 137, which was chartered by the Grand Lodge of the State of New York to brethren residing in the county and vicinity on the 9th day of May, 1806. Under this charter the lodge worked until June 6th, 1833, when the warrant was forfeited.
The old records of this lodge are still preserved by the present lodge in Homer and the charter was deposited in the archives of the Grand Lodge but a few years ago, by L. E. Barker,1 of Homer village. Hung in the lodge rooms at Homer are also the old warrant of Washington Chapter No. 29 Royal Arch Masons; also the warrant of the old Preble Lodge.
The next lodge in the county was instituted at Preble, its charter bearing the date of No. 10th, 1814; it was called Hesper Lodge No. 237 and was suspended June 5th, 1834.
On the 8th of January, 1821, a warrant was issued to Miles Dunbar, as master; Alanson Coats, senior warden; Arnold Hicock, junior warden, and other brethren, to hold a lodge in Truxton, to be called Truxton Lodge No. 333. The warrant was surrendered June 8th 1832.
A warrant was issued to Benjamin S. Campbell, master; Jabez B. Phelps, senior warden; Nathan Dayton, Junior warden, and other brethren, on the 6th of June, 1823, to hold a lodge at Cortland (then in the town of Homer) by the name of Cortland Lodge No. 371. This lodge held its meetings at Port Watson, and the warrant was surrendered June 8th, 1832.
In June, 1825, a warrant was issued to Jacob Hemingway, master; Caleb Sherman, senior warden; Wm. Lincoln, junior warden, and other brethren, to hold a lodge in Virgil, to be called La Fayette Lodge No. 409. This lodge forfeited its charter June 8th, 1832.
A warrant was issued to Malicah Church, master; John Davis, senior warden; Barnabas Hastings, junior warden and others, June 1st, 1825, to hold a lodge at Harrison (now Marathon) by the name of Western Union Lodge No. 417. The warrant was surrendered and work discontinued June 5th, 1835.
During the Anti-Masonic Political crusade the order in this county, as in most other sections, remained dormant and so continued from about the date last mentioned during a period of more than twenty years. But in June, 1859, Cortlandville Lodge No. 470 was chartered. The following brethren were charter members: Joseph Reynolds, Horace Dibble, C. S. Mattison, R. H. Duell, S. R. Hunter, Franklin Goodyear, Horace L. Green, C. B. Chittenden, A. P. Smith, J. A. Schermerhorn, S. L. Thompson, O. V. Eldredge, B. Bulman and Josiah Hart, jr. This lodge has had a membership of over four hundred. The present officers are: S. S. Knox, W. M.; Fitz Boynton, S. W.; C. L. Kinney, J. W.; E. M. Keator, treasurer; Wm. F. Burdick, secretary; H. J Harrington, S. D.; H. T. Hollister, J. D.; P. Van Bergen, tiler; J. J. Taggart, organist.
On the 20th of Sepetmber (sic), 1854, Homer Lodge No. 352 was instituted under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, Joseph D. Evans, grand master, with the following charter members: Ashbel Patterson, M. D.; Cornelius B. Gould, Lyman Reynolds, E. E. Reed, Stephen Knapp, H. D. Patterson, Wm. R. Smith, Elijah Button, Elijah, Baker, Josiah Patterson, Frank Richardson, M. F. Walpole, Elnathan W. Vanderlyn. On the 31st day of August 1855, the lodge was duly constituted under a warrant and the following officers were installed by Geo. N. Williams, deputy grand master: Ashbel Patterson, master; Ella R. Stephens, senior warden; Hammil Thompson, junior warden; Wm. L. Sherman, treasurer; Josiah Patterson, secretary; A. W. Kingsbury, senior deacon; E. W. Vanderlyn, junior deacon; Jas. McNiel, tiler.
The present officers of the lodge are: Chas. E. Wills, W. master; R. A. Goodell, senior warden; Philo Jones, junior warden; John J. Murray, treasurer; Robert J. Watson, secretary: F. D. Carpenter, senior deacon; L. L. Rood, junior deacon; Isaac Smith, tiler. Geo. Murray, jr., C. H. Gillett and B. H. Griffin are the trustees. This lodge is incorporated.
Royal Arch Masonry. --- The first Royal Arch Masonry of which we have any record in this county was in 1809, when a dispensation was granted to comps. George Rice, Hooker Ballard, Samuel Hoar, jr., and others to hold a lodge at Homer, by the name of Centre Mark Lodge No. 50. On the 7th of February, 1810, a warrant was issued to Geo. Rice, high priest; Asahel Minor, king; Reuben Washburn, scribe, and others, to hold a chapter of Royal Arch Masons in Homer by the name of Washington Chapter No. 29. This chapter was represented in the Grand Chapter by companion George Rice, Joshua Ballard, Joseph Crofoot, Jabez B. Phelps, Nathan Gillett, Luther Nicols, Benjamin Enos, Edward C. Reed, William Andrews, Benjamin Chamberlain and Orin Stimpson. The chapter could not withstand the Anti-Masonic prejudice and forfeited its charter, until the year 1865, when a dispensation was granted and the chapter revived.
On the 8th of February, 1866, a charter was granted to Roswell K. Bourne, high priest; S. Adams, king; Geo. L. Warren, scribe, and companions John W. Osgood, W. H. Crane, G. W. Davenport, R. W. Bourne and Horace Dibble, to hold a chapter of Royal Arch Mason in Cortland, to be called Cortland Chapter No. 194. There have been on the rolls of this chapter 102 members and the chapter is now in a flourishing condition. Following are the present officers: Geo. L. Warren, H. P.; A. Sager, K.; O. Hitchcock, S.; Fitz Boynton, treas.; W. F. Burdick, sec'y; C. E. Selover, C. of H.; W. D. Tisdale, R. A. C.; H. T. Dana, P. S.; Fitz Boynton, M. 3d V.; C. E. Ingalls, M. 2d V.; T. T. Bates, M. 1st V.; P. Van Bergen, tiler; J. J. Taggart, organist.
Knights Templar. --- The first and only Commandery of Knights Templar ever organized in the county is Cortland Commandery No. 50, Knights Templar, which was chartered in October, 1871, to the following name Sir Knights: W. H. Crane, Geo. L. Warren, A. Sager, J. D. Benton, Wm. F. Burdick, M. A. Rice, R. E. Hill, E. M. Seacord, A. B. Wooster, P. Van Bergen, Wm. S. Copeland, C. W. Kinne, M. J. Robinson, Seth Hobart. All these Dir Knights except two received the order of knighthood in St. Augustin Commandery 38, at Ithaca. The present officers are: Wm. F. Burdick, E. C.; R. C. Shattuck, general; Geo. L. Warren, capt. general; A. Sager, treas.; E. M. Seacord, sec'y; H. T. Dana, prel.; M. A. Rice, senior warden; D. C. Smith, junior warden; C, F.Thompson, st. br.; O. Hitchcock, sw. br.; Fitz Boynton, warder; C. F. Baldwin, C. E. Ingalls and Geo. W. Loomis, guards; P. Van Bergen, captain of the guard.
The first lodge of this order in Cortland county was instituted February 16th, 1847. The charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of the State of New York on January 19th, 1847, to Tioughnioga Lodge, No. 263. The charter members were Lyman Reynolds, Isaac Fairchild, Horace P. Goodrich, John H. Ferguson and Wm. P. Randall. When the State was subsequently divided into the Northern and Southern Jurisdiction, or Grand Lodges, the number of this old lodge was changed to 50 of Northern New York. This all the information we have been able to obtain relative to the first lodge of Odd fellows in this county.
Homer Lodge No. 280 I. O. O. F., was instituted on the 30th of March, 1847, by R. F. Russell, D. D. G. M. of Cayuga District. The petitioners for the charter were D. H. Strickland, German Thompson, Wm. Dalrymple, Samuel Wallace and H. I. Bowen. The lodge proved very prosperous, increasing largely in numbers and in wealth, under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Northern New York. In August, 1866, the union of Northern and Southern New York was made; P. G. H. W. Blashfield was representative of Homer Lodge at that session, held in New York city. Subsequently it became necessary to renumber the lodges, which was done, Homer being changed to No. 99. On the 1st of March, 1875, lodge rooms were destroyed by fire with al their contents, causing a loss of one thousand dollars to the lodge, yet not one meeting was lost, for at the regular night of meeting the lodge took rooms in the Masonic Hall and continued to occupy them while the block was being rebuilt and a new fall fitted. Fortunately the lodge had a surplus fund to meet the emergency, so the new hall was furnished, and a balance of several hundred dollars left in the treasury.
The lodge still continues in a healthy condition. The present elective officers are C. F. Williams, N. G.; E. E. Warfield, V. G.; George S. Gilbert, secretary; S. P. Miller, treasurer.
Marathon Lodge No. 415 I. O. O. F., under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Northern New York, was instituted January 2d, 1852, and its first officers were Nelson Roe, N. G.; Israel W. Taft, V. G.; Henry W. Burlingame, secretary. The lodge was run with uniform success until August 7th, 1877, when its lodge room and property were destroyed by fire, entailing a lost upon the institution of several hundred dollars. It was reorganized under a duplicate charter November 14th of the same year, but has never entirely regained its former prosperity.
When the Grand Lodges of Northern and Southern New York were consolidated, the number of the lodge was changed to 167, which it retains.
The present officers of the lodge are: Fred. S. Dellow, N. G.; Isaac Stevens, V. G.; Lewis A. Burgess, secretary.
Vesta Lodge No. 555, was instituted in Cortland, December 15th, 1870. The lodge meets Monday evenings in Odd Fellows' Hall. The present officers are: Charles B. Roethig, N. G.; I. Whiteson, V. G.; A. M. Delavan, secretary; D. C. Johnson, treasurer.
Elon Encampment meets also in Odd Fellows' Hall on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Its officers are: H. W. Blashfield, C. P.; Arthur Nelson, H. P.; S. N. Gooding, S. W.; F. G. Kinney, scribe; C. E. Ingalls, treasurer. The Encampment was instituted in 1871.
There are lodges of Odd Fellows now in existence in Cortland village, Marathon, Homer and Preble. There have also been several other lodges of the order, which have also since been suspended of which we have no definite data.
1885 History of Cortland County
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