pp. 253 - 283.
Of the sources from which the original members of the Commandery derived their membership in the order we can give little account. Thomas S. Webb was the master-spirit of the organization. We find that between the years 1793 and 1797 he lived in Albany, that he there received the Ineffable Grades, and that the order of the Temple was there conferred by an independent body. In favor of the claim that he received the order in Boston, it is to be said that many of his early Templar friends and associates lived in Boston, and that from 1769 to 1794 the order was conferred in that city by the Royal Arch Lodge, now known as St. Andrew's Chapter.
The parchment diploma now in possession of the Commandery shows that Mr. Warner was admitted to the order on the twenty-eighth day of April, 1793, at an assembly, at which presided John Martins de Clarencieux, a French refugee, then living in Warwick, R. I. The signatures of the officers to this diploma show that they were of the Ancient and Accepted Rite. It is also to be noted that the ancient jewel of the Grand Master, as he was then called, of St. John's Commandery, which is still preserved, is the jewel which has for more than a century been used by the members of the order of Rose Croix; and, still further, it may be observed that the order of the Red Crown, which first appeared at or about the time of the organization of this Commandery, and which was probably established by Mr. Webb, is drawn in all its essential parts from two of the grades of the Ancient and Accepted Rite. From all these facts it is, perhaps, reasonable to infer that the French Templar system exercised a controlling influence in the formation of the present American system. The ceremonies, therefore, of the American Knights, and their succession from Jacques de Molay and his associates, are derived through the clearest and least interrupted channel.
The brethren of the order of the Temple appear to have held informal meetings previous to the organization of the Commandery, and from the files of the 'Providence Gazette', it appears that at the public procession on the occasion of the death of George Washington, who was a member of the society of Freemasons, 'four children, sons of a Mason, dressed in white surplices', ... 'bore a small bier', ... 'over which was extended a handsome arch, and the arch was supported by two Knights-Templars, and preceded by the standard of that order.' This standard is now in possession of the Commandery.
The present Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which is the oldest governing body in the rite, was formed in Providence, May 13, 1805, chiefly through the efforts of Mr. Webb, who was the first Grand Master. All the officers except two, were members of St. John's Commandery. On the third day of March, 1806, the Grand Commandery assumed jurisdiction over the whole country, under the name of the 'United States Grand Encampment'. On the 22d of June, 1816, a convention of delegates from that body and from the Grand Encampment of New York, which had been organized in the meantime, established the present Grand Encampment of the United States, of which DeWitt Clinton of New York, was General Grand Master. This convention consisted of Thomas S. Webb and John Snow of Providence, and Henry Fowle of Boston, from the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, then called the United States Grand Encampment, and Thomas Lowndes of New York. The original draft of the constitution of these grand bodies, in the hand-writing of Mr. Webb, together with many other original documents, are in possession of St. John's Commandery, and many of them have been published.
It thus appears that the present American Templar system originated with Mr. Webb, in Providence, and was established in 1802, at the organization of St. John's Commandery. There have been twenty-nine commanders of St. John's Commandery, and six members of the Commandery have held the office of Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery. The details of its history present little of general interest. The assemblies have been held in the same place which have been from time to time occupied by St. John's Lodge, and its proceedings for the most part have been confined to the secret work of the order.
Cavalry Commandery, K. T. The Cavalry Commandery of Knights-Templars, and the appendant orders, was chartered May 22 ,1860, with thirty-four charter members. Its present membership is 225. The frame in which the charter of this society is preserved, was made from wood taken from the sloop-of-war 'Lawrence', Commodore Perry's flag-ship at the battle of Lake Erie.
St. Andrew's Conclave K. of R. C., and K. of H. S., No. 5, was chartered Dec. 12, 1873, with twelve charter members. The first officers were: M. P. S., Henry C. Field; Viceroy, John P. Luther; S. G., Edward L. Freeman; J. G., Clinton D. Sellew; H. P., Charles B. Webster; Treas., J. S. P. Read; Recorder, Henry T. Stone; Prefect, Andrew Hutchinson; Standard Bearer, R. W. Comstock; Herald, Wm. McDonald; Sent., Wm. Huntoon. Present membership, twenty-five.
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry is at present composed of the four following named conclaves and councils, each council being composed of about one hundred members: 'King Solomon Grand Lodge of Perfection', chartered 1849, George O. Olmstead, G. M.; 'Providence Council of Princes of Jerusalem', chartered May 16, 1866, George O. Olmstead, G. M.; 'Providence Sovereign Chapter of Rose Croix', chartered Dec. 15, 1868, Robert E. Dwelley, M.; 'Providence Sovereign Consistory', chartered Dec. 16, 1868, Frederick Miller, Commander-in-Chief. Over these councils, Thomas A. Doyle is Sovereign General, Inspector-General, and Deputy of the Supreme Council for Rhode Island. The councils are in a very flourishing condition.
Friendly Union Lodge, No. 1, I. O. O. F., the oldest lodge of Odd Fellows in Rhode Island, was originally formed from a union of the different lodges of 'Manchester Unity Odd Fellows', which had been previously formed in Providence, R. I., and was the probable result of a desire on the part of the members of these lodges to be better able, by this union, to protect themselves from the persecutions which were about this time bestowed upon the members of all 'Secret Societies'. The original charter of Friendly Union Lodge, is dated June 13, 1829, which was granted by the Grand Lodge of the United States. The charter members were Henry Hobson, Walter McFarlane, John Doran, Francis Chadburn, James Bury, and John Bowcock. The lodge was probably not long a working lodge, and finally succumbed to the pressure of the times. In September, 1841, a petition was presented to the Grand Lodge of the United States, for a renewal of the charter, but not until Aug. 19, 1843, was the lodge re-established. The lodge attained great popularity, being composed of wealthy, influential men, and continued to enjoy the prosperity until April 27, 1865, when its charter was revoked by the Grand Master of Rhode Island, I. O. O. F., for an alleged violation of law, and on the 3d of September, 1868, the lodge voluntarily disbanded. It was again re-organized April 7, 1870, and has been gaining its lost ground, and is at present in a sound condition, numbering one hundred and four members. The meetings have always been, and are still held on Thursday evenings. The lodge now holds its meetings in Rhodes Hall, corner Westminster and Union streets, a neat and cozy room, also occupied by several other lodges of I. O. O. F.
Eagle Lodge, No. 2, I. O. O. F., was instituted April 29, 1843, with six charter members, and the following named gentlemen its first officers: John Hully, N. G.; Joseph Andrew, V. G.; John Harper, R. S.; Roger Eatough, Treas. Present membership, four hundred. It meets Wednesday evenings in Odd Fellows' Hall.
Roger Williams Lodge, No. 3, I. O. O. F., was instituted April 4, 1844, by D. D. G. Sire, Albert Guild. Friendly Union and Eagle Lodges, having kindly tendered the use of their hall for the first regular meeting of the lodge, it met there on the evening of April 16, commencing its career with a firm desire to strictly adhere to the principles it professed. During the first year, the prosperity of the lodge exceeded the most sanguine expectations of its friends, attaining a membership of 90. The lodge (old organization) reached its acme of prosperity in June, 1847, numbering then 150. From this time the tide of success steadily and surely receded, until August, 1857, when its charter was surrendered. The lodge was reorganized in 1868, and is now in a flourishing condition, the number of members being 264. Its meetings are held Tuesday evenings in Odd Fellows' Hall.
Hope Lodge, No. 4, I. O. O. F., was instituted July 31, 1844. First officers were: Nathan Potter, N. G.; J. M. Wheeler, V. G.; N. A. Eddy, R. S.; James A. Smith, Treas. Present membership, 298. Its meetings are held Tuesday evenings in Odd Fellows' Hall.
Canonicus Lodge, No. 9, I. O. O. F., was instituted April 8, 1845, with twenty-three charter members. First officers were: Mark Graves, N. G.; William L. Hopkins, V. G.; B. F. Herrick, R. S.; D. C. Easton, P. S.; William Hicks, Treas. Present membership, 129. Meet Friday evenings in Odd Fellows' Hall.
Swarts Lodge, No. 18, I. O. O. F. The first meeting of petitioners for a new lodge, which resulted in the chartering of Swarts Lodge, was held March 7, 1871. At this meeting, the following officers were unanimously chosen: John T. Hamer, N. G.; Joseph D. Grinnell, V. G.; W. K. Atwood, R. S.; G. S. Boutwell, P. S.; William H. Barker, Treas. The lodge was instituted by G. M., G. T. Swarts, and officers of the grand lodge, March 22, 1871. Present number of contributing members, 171. This lodge, by an unfortunate speculation in real estate, lost its capital to the amount of over $5,000. The lodge, however, at the present time, is again in a flourishing condition, and has, once more, a large amount of money in its treasury. The lodge meets Wednesday evenings in hall corner of Union and Westminster streets.
Pilgrim Lodge, No. 19, I. O. O. F., was instituted November, 1871, and the following officers installed: John Henry Bongarts, N. G.; William B. Hallett, V. G.; Henry Allen, R. S.; William E. Whitney, P. S.; Jesse P. Eddy, Treas. Present number of members, 170. Meet Friday evenings in Eddy's Hall, High Street.
Unity Lodge, No. 20, I. O. O. F., was instituted Dec. 16, 1871. First officers were: James K. Trask, N. G.; John T. Gordon, V. G.; Henry J. Reynolds, R. S.; W. H. Kellers, P. S.; Edward H. Grafton, Treas. Present number of members about 156. Meet Tuesday evenings in Unity Hall, Ocean Street.
Franklin Lodge, No. 23, I. O. O. F., was instituted by the officers of the grand lodge, July 13, 1872. Immediately upon the institution of the lodge, an election of officers was had, resulting in the choice of the following named gentlemen, who were then installed by the grand officers: Thomas W. Hart, N. G.; John E. Ogden, V. G.; Henry W. Allen, S.; F. A. Waldron, Treas. Present membership, 150. Meet Wednesday evenings, in Odd Fellows' Hall.
Crescent Lodge, No. 24, I. O. O. F., was instituted July 19, 1874, by G. M., G. T. Swarts, with sixteen charter members. First officers were: John L. Sprague, N. G.; William Jackson, V. G.; A. M. Bliven, R. S.; W. H. Peckham, P. S.; William A. Sprague, Treas. Present number of members, 163.
North Star Lodge, No. 25, I. O. O. F., was instituted July 1, 1872, with six charter members. First officers were: C. F. Gardiner, N. G.; Mathias N. Colburn, V. G.; Allen P. Young, R. S.; Walter A. Walker, P. S.; M. R. Capron, Treas. Present membership, 146. Meet Monday evenings at North Star Block, Charles Street.
Westminster Lodge, No. 27, I. O. O. F., was instituted Sept. 12, 1872, with seven charter members, by G. C., G. T. Swarts, and the following-named officers were installed: Francis Taft, N. G.; W. H. Young, V., G.; W. H. Cory, R. S.; James P. Stone, P. S.; C. H. Howland, Treas. Present number of members, 176. Its meetings are held Monday evenings at the corner of Union and Westminster streets.
James Woods Lodge, No. 30, I. O. O. F., was instituted with five charter members, April 4, 1873, by G. M., G. T. Swarts, at which time the following-names officers were installed: William Gottschalk, N. G.; R. Sinke, V. G., Nathaniel West, R. S.; Samuel F. Russell, Treas. Present membership, 75. Its meetings are held Wednesday evenings at Benedict Hall, Cranston Street.
Mayflower Lodge, No. 31, I. O. O. F., was instituted May 28, 1873, with eleven charter members. First officers were: John King, N. G.; M. C. Bennett, V. G.; N. B. Nickerson, R. S.; Albert Gardiner, P. S.; John Gardiner, Treas. Present number of members, eighty-three. Meets Thursday evenings, at 546 High Street.
Olive Branch Lodge, No. 37, I. O. O. F., was instituted Jan. 1, 1875, with six charter members. First officers were: Clarence B. Smith, N.G.; S. L. Horton, V. G.; James W. Clarke, R. S.; Charles E. Smith, P. S.; John Hammond, Treas. Present membership, 142. Meets Friday evenings, corner Union and Westminster streets.
Narragansett Encampment, No. 1. The degrees in the patriarchal branch of the order in the jurisdiction were first conferred April 3, 1844, upon all the members of the Friendly Union Lodge, No. 1, who met in Friendly Union Hall, No. 27 Westminster Street, where the degrees were conferred by D. D. Sire, Albert Guild, assisted by the officers and members of Massasoit Encampment, No. 1, of Boston, Mass. The first person upon whom the patriarchal degrees were conferred, was Samuel H. Thomas, the distinguished pioneer, so to speak, of the patriarchal branch of Odd Fellowship in Rhode Island.
A petition was immediately signed and forwarded to M. W. G. Sire Hopkins for an Encampment in this State. April 9th, following, G. Sire Albert Guild instituted Narragansett Encampment, No. 1, and installed its officers, as follows: Wm. E. Rutter, C. P.; James Wood, H. P.; Stephen Phillips, S. W.; H. L. Webster, J. W.; Oliver F. Dutcher, S.; Samuel H. Thomas, Treas.
Moshassuck Encampment, No. 2, was instituted May 13, 1845, by D. D. Sire Albert Guild, and the following officers installed: Robert H. Barstow, C. P.; Asa W. Davis, H. P.; James A. Smith, S. W.; James Annable, J. W.; Wm. H. Rathbun, S., John H. Watson, Treas.
Plymouth Encampment, No. 11, was instituted March 25, 1872, with the following-named officers: Daniel C. Taylor, C. P.; Fred F. Buffum, H. P.; Alexander B. Gladding, S. W.; Alexander McIntoch, J. W.; Ludwig J. Roher, R. S.; Gideon Spencer, P. S.; Jesse Sabin, Treas. Present number of members, fifty. Meets second and fourth Mondays of each month, at Eddy's Hall, on High Street.
Mazeppa Encampment, No. 12, was instituted June 1, 1872, at which time the following-named officers were installed: James K. Trask, C. P.; John T. Gordon, S. W.; M. O. Darling, J. W.; A. P. Luscombe, R. S.; James E. Bilson, P. S. Meets first and third Fridays of each month, in Unity Hall.
Annawam Encampment, No. 13, was instituted Dec. 9, 1872, by Jonathan P. Jenks, G. P., with the following-named officers: John E. Ogden, C. P.; Thomas W. Frye, H. P.; Samuel Goodspeed, S. W.; James G. Brickley, J. W.; J. M. Washburn, S.; N. B. Horton, Treas. Meets second and fourth Mondays of each month, at Earle's Block, South Main Street.
Uncas Encampment, No. 14, was instituted Jan. 3, 1873, by Jonathan P. Jenks, G. P., and the following-named officers were installed: William H. Young, C. P.; Lucius Currier, H. P.; William H. Cory, S. W.; B. F. Himes, J. W.; Charles C. Armstrong, F. S.; J. E. Allen, R. S.; J. P. Stone, Jr., Treas. Its meetings are held the first and third Fridays of each month, corner of Westminster and Union streets.
Minnehaha Encampment, No. 16, was instituted July 6, 1873, by Jonathan P. Jenks, G. P., with the following-named gentlemen as its first officers: M. S. Colburn, C. P.; M. R. Capron, H. P.; W. A. Walling, S. W.; C. A. Brown, J. W.; D. A. Appleby, R. S.; A. Washburn, F. S.; S. P. Peck, Treas. Its meetings are held the first and third Wednesdays of each month at North Star Block, Charles Street.
Between the encampments of Providence there has always been the most perfect harmony, the members visiting each other and performing those mutual acts of kindness and love which have rendered Odd Fellowship everywhere a reality and not a mere dream.
Naomi Lodge, No. 1, D. of R. This degree of Odd Fellowship was first conferred in the different lodges by their officers. Sept. 10, 1863, a lodge was organized by the name of Union Degree Lodge, No. 1, for the purpose of conferring this degree. George W. Ham was Degree Master; Henry B. Winslow, Deputy Degree Master. The Grand Lodge granted a charter to fifteen members of Union Degree Lodge, on the 10th of December, 1868, with George W. Ham as N. G., and Stephen C. Arnold, V. G. April 14, 1870, by permission of the G. M., Henry A. Chace, the name of Union Degree was changed to Naomi Lodge, No. 1. Present membership, 134. Its meetings are held on the evenings of the second and fourth Thursdays of each month, in Encampment Hall, in Odd Fellows's Building.
Dorcas Lodge, No. 7, D. of R., was chartered Nov. 21, 1872, with 19 charter members. First officers were: James K. Trask, N. G.; Mary D. Wickson, V. G; Lydia A. Johnson, R. S.; Fanny M. Trask, P. S.; Martha A. Darling, Treas.; William H. Johnson, W.; Moses O. Darling, C.; Mary S. Luther, Conductress; Thomas C. Hudson, I. G.; Henry F. Copeland, O. G.; Sarah A.Copeland, R. S. N. G.; Almira E. Johnson, L. S. N. G.; Emily E. Hudson, R. S. V. G.; Sarah Campbell, L. S. V. G.; William N. Johnson, Chap. Present membership, 70; brothers, 34; sisters, 36. Time and place of meeting, first and third Thursdays of each month, in Unity Hall, corner Potter's Avenue and Ocean Street, South Providence. On Thursday evening, Jan. 3, 1878, P. G., Thomas R. Potter, D. D., with his board of officers, installed into the chair of N. G. of Dorcas Lodge, Sister Lydia A. Johnson, who was the first lady to hold that office in the United States. This lodge is in a very flourishing condition, holding in its name, both in lodge property and money, $983.39.
Ruth Lodge, No. 8, D. of R., was chartered July 7, 1873, with 26 charter members. First officers wre: Mathias J. Colburn, N. G.; Mrs. E. Brown, V. G.; Mrs. Ruth A. Handy, R. S.; Mrs. M. E. Stone, Treas.; Mrs. H. H. Walling, P. S. Present membership, 79. Time and place of meeting, second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, in Odd Fellows' Hall, North Star Block.
Rose Standish Lodge, No. 9, D. of R., was chartered Jan. 19, 1874, with 64 charter members. The following were its first officers: W. B. W. Hallett, N. G; Mrs. Anna B. Hamer, V. G.; Mrs. Anna P. Grinnell, R. S.; Mrs. Amelia Hallett, Treas.; Mrs. Sarah Richardson, P. S.
Charity Lodge, No. 3, D. of R., was instituted May 10, 1870, with nine charter members. This lodge meets the second and fourth Tuesday evenings in each month, and is now in a flourishing condition.
Union Lodge, No. 3, D. of R., was instituted April 26, 1870, by Supreme Chancellor, Samuel Read of New Jersey, assisted by V. P., John F. Comstock of Connecticut, V. C., C. B. Hines of Connecticut, and others. Number of charter members, 21. The first officers were: James H. Barney, V. P.; Albert L. Harris, W. C.; Edwin Lowe, V. C.; Stockford Wheaton, R. S; Charles L. Ellis, F. S.; Henry Valleau, B.; William B. Stahl, G.; Nathaniel West, I. S.; George S. Dean, O. S. Meets Thursday evenings, in Pythian Hall, No. 56 Westminster Street.
Damon Lodge, No. 3, K. of P., was instituted Jan. 18, 1871. First officers were: C. P. Gardner, V. P.; J. H. Barney, D. G. C.; Edwin Lowe, D. V. C. Stockford Wheaton, D. R. S.; Charles A. Williams, D. F. S.; W. H. Stahl, Charles S. Ellis, D. I. S.; W. W. Bayliss, D. O. S., forming a D. G. L. for the purpose of installing the following officers: G. S. Dean, V. P.; Nathaniel West, W. C.; Ira Foster, W. V. C.; Edward F. Simmons, W. B. C.; George Roome, V. R. S.; James Muspratt, W. F. S.; M. H. Bayliss, W. G.; George H. Bunce, W. I. S.; George A. Burr, W. O. S. Present membership is 75.
St. John's Lodge, No. 6, K. of P., was instituted March 9, 1871, with 50 charter members, by G. C., C. F. Gardner. The first officers were: John Williams, P.; Andrew McKenzie, C. C.; Joseph Jackson, V. C.; David McKay, M. E.; Joshua Stetson, M. F.; Jeremiah McKay, K. of R. S.; James Algier, M. A.; R. White, I. G.; Samuel Wild, O. G. Present membership, 42. Meets Tuesday evenings, at Springer's Hall, High Street.
John Milton Lodge, No. 7, K. of P., was instituted March 6, 1871, with 18 charter members. First officers were: W. G. Comstock, W. C.; S. Smith, V. C.; Edwin Wilbur, F. S.; H. R. Sayles, R. S.; W. A. Fiske, Banker; W. H. Smith, I. S.; S. I. Esten, G.; D. L. Holmes, O. S. G.; W. H. Smith, I. S. G. March 17, 1873, the charter was surrendered, but the lodge was reorganized in May of the same year, and is now one of the finest lodges in the State. Present membership, 50. Meets Thursday evenings, at 56 Westminster Street.
Oriental Lodge, No. 9, K. of P. In July, 1872, forty-three gentlemen petitioned to G. C., C. T. Garner, for a charter of a lodge to be named Oriental Lodge, No. 9, K. of P. The petition was granted, and the lodge was instituted July 31, 1871, by G. C., C. T. Gardner, and officers of the Grand Lodge of K. of P. At a meeting held Aug. 3, 1871, the following officers were elected and installed: John King, C. C.; James B. Paine, V. C.; Stephen C. Arnold, P.; Thomas E. Eddy, K. of R. S.; William E. Arnold, M. of T.; George D. Flagg, M. of E.; Samuel J. Tenney, M. A.; Ephraim A. Barrows, I. G.; John D. Thornton, O. G.
Jan. 22, 1874, the lodge voted to surrender its charter, which, together with the property, was taken charge of by Alex. B. Gladding, C. C., and surrendered to M. R. Tilton, G. K. R. S., Jan. 23, 1874, by order of Hiram L. Howard, G. C. Jan. 28, 1874, Hiram L. Howard, G. C., was petitioned that the charter and property of the old lodge be granted them, and that the lodge be re-instituted. The petition was granted, and the lodge instituted Jan. 29, 1874, by Hiram L. Howard, G. C., and the officers of the Grand Lodge of the State of Rhode Island, and the following officers installed: A. B. Gladding, C. C.; C. H. Tillinghast, V. C.; C. Morgan, P.; T. E. Eddy, K. of R. S.; J. S. Tanner, M. of T.; J. A. Jeffrey, M. of E.; O. S. Aldrich, M. A.; R. O. Butman, I. G.; F. G. Wood, O. G.
St. George Lodge, No. 14, K. of P., was instituted June 19, 1872, under very difficult circumstances, great opposition being brought to bear on the Grand Chancellor at that time. Its first officers were: Lucius Carrier, P. C.; C. H. Bogman, C. C.; William H. Young, V. C.; William A. Crandall, K. of R. and S.; L. E. Curtis, M. of F.; G. W. Howland, M. of E.; W. H. Ward, M. of A.; M. W. Howland, I. G.; G. H. Loring, O. G. This lodge stands to-day in the foremost ranks of the order. There are portions of the work done by them entirely different from any other lodge. To their 'Castle Hall', a large number of visitors always receive a chivalric and knightly welcome. Regular meetings, Wednesday evenings of each week, at NO. 56 Westminster Street.
Herman Lodge, No. 15, K. of P., was instituted by Hiram L. Howard, of the thirteenth day of October, 1873. Number of charter members, seventeen. Its membership, Jan. 1, 1878, was fifty-one. In connection with the organization of the Knights of Pythias, is a society called the 'Endowment Rank', by which each of its members is insured for from one to three thousand dollars.
Knights of Honor. The objects of this corporation are briefly stated to be: First, To unite fraternally all acceptable white men of every profession, business, and occupation. Second, To give all possible and material aid in its power to its members, and those depending on them, by holding moral, instructive, and scientific lectures; by encouraging each other in business, and by assisting each other to obtain employment. Third, To promote benevolence and charity by establishing a Widows and Orphans' Benefit Fund, from which, on the satisfactory evidence of the death of a member of this corporation, who has complied with all its requirements, a sum not exceeding five thousand dollars shall be paid to his family, or as he may direct. Fourth, To provide for creating a fund for the relief of sick and distressed members; and, Fifth, To ameliorate the condition of humanity in every possible manner. It thus takes its position, among other excellent organizations, seeking to carry out the maxim of the divine golden rule, which is its chief foundation stone, 'Do ye unto others, as ye would that others should do unto you.'
The rise and growth of the order, is unparalleled in the world's history of secret societies. To facilitate the objects to be accomplished, the order is divided into three grades of lodges, -- the Supreme Lodge, the Grand Lodge of each State, and the Subordinate Lodges. The first Subordinate Lodge was organized in June, 1873; but it was not given a legal status, by being incorporated by any State, until 1874, when it received its first charter from the State of Kentucky. To-day, over seven hundred lodges exist, with a total membership of over twenty-five thousand. The first benefit fund paid to the family of a deceased brother, was in August, 1874. Since then, over one hundred and fifty members have passed away, and an aggregate of over three hundred thousand dollars have been paid, by the Supreme Treasury, into the hands of the families representing the deceased brothers. We have the same assurance of the perpetuity of this organization that any association can have, which is established for so honorable and beneficent a purpose, and upon such granite foundations. The lodges established in the city of Providence are:
Providence Lodge, No. 182, which was instituted with eleven charter members, Nov. 5, 1875, by D. Wilson of Boston, Past Supreme Dictator, at which time, the following officers were installed: Mark F. Morse, Dictator; Thomas Patterson, First V. D.; F. W. Huntoon, Assistant; Henry King, M. D. Treas.; Henry Cram, F. R.; A. O. Rockwell, R.; W. S. Bliss, C.; F. B. Hayden, Guide; Ira O. Seamans, O. S.; Ira A. Foster, P. D. Present membership, one hundred. Regular meetings, Monday evenings, at 56 Westminster Street.
Excelsior Lodge, No. 633, instituted May,1877, by D. D. G. Dictator F. B. Hayden. Number of charter members, eighteen. The first officers were: Moses R. Allen, P. G. D.; William B. Bennett, D.; J. G. Whitehouse, V. D.; L. S. Andres, Assistant; O. E. Bigelow, Treas.; W. T. Huntington, F. R.; S. S. Howes, R.; Henry Moore, Chaplain; H. W. Whiteman, Guide; William H. Sherman, G.; Amasa Hawkins, S. Present number of members, thirty-nine. Meet Thursday evenings at Valentine Hall, High Street.
Golden Rule Lodge, No. 697, instituted July 23, 1877, with twenty-one charter members, by the Grand Dictator, A. P. Carpenter, assisted by Deputy Grand Dictator F. B. Hayden. The following were the first officers: Rev. Henry W. Rugg, P. D.; William E. Boutelle, D.; Andrew Hutchinson, V. D; Clinton D. Sellew, Assistant; Philip S. Chase, Treas.; John S. Kellogg, F. R.; F. A. Waldron, Jr., Reporter; Henry C. Field, Chaplain, William J. Burton, Guide; E. S. Parmalee, G.; Alonzo Wheeler, Sentinel. Present number of members, forty. Meet the second and fourth Mondays of each month, at 207 Westminster Street.
The Royal Arcanum is a beneficiary secret order, organized in Boston, Mass., June 23, 1877. The first Council established in Providence was the Delphi Council, No. 7, instituted July 25, 1877, with eleven charter members. The following were the first officers: Ira O. Seaman, R.; Ira A. Foster, V. R.; F. P. Havan, O.; Henry King, M. D. Treas.; William E. Boutelle, Sec'y; George Upham, Coll.;' William J. Burton, Guide; A. O. Rockwell, P. R.
Improved Order of Red Men. This order was first established in Rhode Island in the year 1871, Sept. 4th, when King Philip Tribe was instituted at Olneyville, and the following officers installed by the Grand Chief of Records of the U. S., Joshua Maris of Wilmington, Del.: C. L. Shuman, Prophet; Andrew McKenzie, W. S.; John Williams, S. S.; I. S. Shuman, J. S.; E. C. Harris, C. of R.; W. Wright, K. of W. This lodge started under the most flattering auspices, having a fine membership, which has continued steadily to increase to the present time.
Miantonomah Tribe, No. 3, was instituted Aug. 3, 1872, and shortly afterwards, Wamsetta Lodge, No. 7, was instituted. These tribes are in a flourishing condition, and the membership is constantly increasing; founded upon the principles of Americanism, and appealing only to Americans. This organization presents merits unsurpassed in beauty, and unexcelled in order the harmony by any other society in the country. Since its establishment in this State its records have been flattering, the various tribes in the State having now a membership of more than four hundred.
U. O. A. Mechanics. Alph Council, No. 1, was instituted Aug. 13, 1875, with twenty-four charter members, and the following were its first officers: Albert F. Hazard, C.; Charles Whitmore, V. C.; C. W. Booth, R. C.; J. Heath, Treas., and Installing Delegate. The present membership is fifty, and the council meets every Thursday evening at 159 Westminster Street.
Narragansett Council, No. 2, was instituted Oct. 12, 1875, with fifty-two charter members, at which time the following officers were elected: Edwin A. Bagley, C.; Thomas R. Potter, V. C.; E. F. Dustin, R. S.; H. T. Lund, A. R. S.; J. A. Fitchman, F. S.; Fred A. Arnold, Treas; Otis A. Jenckes, Ind.; T. A. McMahon, Ex.; J. R. Smith, I. P.; Wm. R. Smith, O. P.; George M. Grant, Thomas R. Potter, O. T. Crowell, Trustees. The object of these councils is to form a union among the workingmen for the mutual benefit and assistance in time of need, and to protect the rights and privileges of American mechanics.
Sovereigns of Industry. Providence Council, No. 1, was instituted April 15, 1874, with twenty charter members, and the following were its first officers: Daniel T. Warfield, President; George W. Cutting, Sec'y; Thomas Lewis, Treas. The present number of members is two hundred, and the council meets every Friday evening at No. 159 Westminster Street.
Mechanics Council, No. 13, was instituted May 10, 1874, with fifty charter members. The first officers were: Andrew Glover, President; John Booth, Secretary; John Warden, Treasurer. Meet Wednesday evenings, at No. 71 Weybosset Street.
Knights of Grand Legion. Sparton Lodge, No. 1, was instituted in 1872, with twenty members. Its first officers were: J. Pierpont Davis, S. M.; William Tinkham, V. M.; John Gallington, Prelate; Mr. Ballou, Secretary; T. J. Alfreds, Treasurer; William Midgely, Actuary. Meet Thursday evenings in Lodge-room on Washington Street. Its present membership is twenty-five.
Temperance. The first temperance movement in the city of Providence was in April, 1827, at a public meeting of citizens friendly to the promotion of temperance, held at the First Baptist Meeting-house. At this time, several resolutions were passed, which fell far short of total abstinence from intoxicating drinks. This, however, was the commencement of a series of measures which have resulted in a great reformation in society. Since that time, enlightened by experience, great strides have been taken in reclaiming the drunkard, and in preserving the temperate. The temperance societies, probably, number more members than any other association. There are, to-day, in the city of Providence, over thirty different organizations, and, in each of these societies, the members are pledged to total abstinence from everything which intoxicates. The influence of this great body is generally felt. Scattered as they are though all the ranks and gradations of society, they exert a controlling influence over many who have not taken the pledge. All who assist in this great work are leading a life that bathes its summit in the glory of immortality, and takes to itself the dignity, as it will by and by possess itself of, the fruitions of heaven.
The foregoing comprise nearly all of the secret societies now in existence with the city. Those that are not represented, we have been unable to obtain, either through the reticence of their officers, or the negligence of parties agreeing to furnish the information.
Education received but little attention in the early history of Rhode Island. No mention is made of free schools, and no public effort by the town of Providence appears to have been earnestly made for public or free schools until near the year 1800. Private schools were sustained, with varying degrees of success, and the town shared in their support; and it is reasonable to suppose that the people were not indifferent to the education of their children. In May, 1663, the proprietors passed the following order: 'It is agreed, by the present Assembly, that one hundred acres of upland, and six acres of meadow (or lowland to the quantity of eight acres, in lieu of meadow), shall be laid out within the bounds of this town of Providence, the which land shall be reserved for the maintenance of a school in this town; and, that after the said land is laid out, and the bounds thereof set, it shall be recorded in our town records, according unto the bounds fixed, and shall be called by the name of the school lands of Providence.'
This is the earliest reference to a school, or any means of education. The first schoolmaster, of whom we have any record, was William Turpin. This record is dated June 11, 1684, and is an agreement between himself and William Hawkins, and his wife Lidia, in which he covenants to instruct Perigrine Gardner in reading and writing for one year. His compensation, for this service, was to be six pounds; forty shillings of which was to paid in beef and pork, the former at threepence half-penny, and the latter at twopence per pound; twenty shillings in corn, at two shillings per bushel, and the balance in silver money. The next movement in behalf of schools was in January, 1696, when John Dexter, William Hopkins, and others, petitioned the town for land on Dexter's Lane (now Olney Street), or Stamper's Hill, on which to erect a school-house. The petition was granted, but there is no record of the house having been built.
In 1735, Mr. George Taylor had the use of a chamber in the State House to keep a school in; and in 1751, Gideon Comstock, Alexander Frazier, Joseph Potter, Thomas Angell, James Field, Barzillai Richmond, and Nehemiah Sprague had permission to build a school-house on the west side of the river. The location of this house must have been near the public pump on Broad Street. Dec. 8, 1767, at a meeting of the town, it resolved to purchase, or build, three school-houses for small children, and one for youth, and pay the expense from the treasury. A committee was appointed to select locations, to purchase land, and contract for their erection. The reports of this committee, presented January, 1768, were both rejected. Notwithstanding this repulse, the friends of education continued their efforts to organize some plan by which increasing wants could be supplied, and a company of public-spirited men, living in the north part of the town, organized as proprietors, and erected a school-house on the site where the Benefit Street Grammar School-house now stands. The lot was the gift of Captain Joseph Whipple, in honor of whom the house received the name of 'Whipple Hall'. This school was opened November, 1768. Mr. George Taylor, Jr., was the first teacher in the upper grade, and Sally Jackson was teacher in the lower grade. The same year that this school went into operation, another company was organized, and, in conjunction with the town, built the brick school-house still standing on Meeting Street, adjacent to the Friends Meeting-house. The proprietors were chartered in 1770. They owned and occupied the upper story, and the town the lower. Subsequent to this, the town frequently appointed masters to keep school in their part of the house, and passed rules and regulations for the good government of both the schools kept in it. A school committee were also frequently appointed, which visited these schools occasionally, and also the other private schools kept in the town.
In April, 1785, the town appointed a committee to draw up a plan of education for the government of the several schools of the town. This committee, in their report, say: 'They have endeavored to suggest some general outlines for the regulation of schools as they are now supported by individuals, but are of opinion, that no effectual method can be devised for the encouragement of learning and the general diffusion of knowledge and virtue among all classes of children and youth, until the town shall think proper to take a matter of so much importance into their own hands, and provide and support a sufficient number of judicious persons for that purpose.' The town was not willing to adopt the measure proposed. The proprietors of the school-houses had become convinced of the inexpediency of individuals being interested in school-houses for the accommodation of public schools. Those interested in the brick school-house agreed, that if the town would put and keep that building in repair, they should have the use of it for two years, provided they would keep up a school in it for one year. The proprietors of Whipple Hall offered the use of their house to the town, for a public school, for a reasonable rent, the town keeping it in repair. The town accepted the charge of these houses on these terms. From 1773 to 1781, the schools, in these buildings, was suspended, and the buildings were used by the Continental Committee of War for laboratories and magazines. In 1791, some of the citizens petitioned the town to establish free schools. The petition was referred to the school committee, who reported in August, that it is expedient to purchase the proprietors' interest in the brick school-house, and also in Whipple Hall, and build two new houses, one at the south end of the town, and the other on the west side of the river. The reports were accepted, and the town directed the purchase of the buildings. This was not done, however, and the matter was permitted to slumber until 1795, when the town council were again directed to carry into effect the report of 1791. Like all previous movements on this subject, the passage of the resolutions ended the matter.
In 1800, the General Assembly passed their first act in relation to schools, the object and design of which was to establish free schools in every town. The subject was brought before them by a memorial and petition of the Providence Association of Mechanics and Manufacturers, drawn up by John Howland, and presented to the February session, 1799.
On the seventeenth day of October, 1800, the system of instruction drawn up by Mr. Howland was reported and adopted. For convenience, the town was divided into four districts, the lines of which were designated as follows: from the house of the widow Hall (on North Main Street, opposite St. John's Church), eastward up the Church Lane, across Benefit Street; all that part of the town lying northward of said line, to constitute the first district. The second district to include all that part of the town lying between Church Lane and the lane that runs eastward by the house of the late Welcome Arnold, Esq., and to take in a part of the west side of the river, as far as Orange Street. The third district to include all that part of the town lying southward of said lane, by the late Welcome Arnold's. The fourth lying westward of Orange Street. It was directed at the same time that children are to attend the public schools of their respective districts.
The schools were opened on the last Monday of October, 1800, and, on the 23d of December, there were attending the different schools, 998 pupils; viz., first district, Whipple Hall, under Mr. Dexter, 180; second district, brick school-house (Meeting Street), under Moses Noyes, 230; third district, Transit Street house, under Mr. Farnum, 240; fourth district, west side, under Rev. James Wilson, 338. This arrangement continued until 1812. From 1812 to 1818, there were five schools; five masters, at $500 per year, and five ushers at a salary of $200 per year, making the annual expenditure for tuition alone, $3,500. In August, 1818, the salaries of the ushers were increased to $250. In 1819, a school-house was built on the west side of the river, on Pond Street, at which time the fourth district was divided. Thus they remained until 1828. The school law of 1800, under which the schools of Providence were organized, was met in the country by an opposition so strong, that after being in operation three years, it was abolished. In 1819, a stone school-house, one story high, was built on Summer Street, occupying the site of the recently erected primary and intermediate school-buildings. In 1828, at the January session, the General Assembly passed an act establishing public schools throughout the State.
From the passage of the first act, in 1800, the town of Providence has continued to keep up public schools, notwithstanding the repeal of that act in 1803, although the whole expense for their support rested on the town. The general act put the schools under the excellent control of a school committee in each town. In June, 1828, the first election was made under this law, the board consisting of twenty-one persons. A school for colored children was established in 1828, the master of which received $400 per year. This school was opened on Meeting Street. In 1837, another school was opened on Pond Street. In 1865, both schools were abolished, since which time colored children have attended school with the whites.
In 1832, the number of schools in the town was twelve, the average number of scholars about twelve hundred, and the amount paid for tuition, $5,700. After the adoption of the city charter, great improvements were made to the schools, school-houses, and system of public instruction. In 1843, the number of schools was twenty-five, -- sixteen primary, six grammar, one high school, and two schools for colored children. The whole expense for public schools for the year ending in June, 1842, was $16,649, of which $5,057 was received from the State. Number of scholars, 3,805. In 1836, female assistants were for the first time employed in the grammar schools. The first female appointed was Miss Avis W. Lockwood.
From 1740 to 1841 was a period of great interest to the friends of popular education. For more than twelve years a high school had been contemplated by them, as necessary to give completeness to the public school system. The difficulties encountered in establishing this school are matters of recorded history. After surmounting numerous obstacles, the will of the majority of the citizens was expressed by the city government ordering a high-school building to be erected. A site was purchased fronting on Benefit Street, and bounded on the north by Angell Street, and on the south by Waterman Street; and a house, 56 x 76 feet, put immediately under contract. Monday, March 20, 1843, the high school was opened with appropriate services. One hundred and sixty-four pupils were admitted during the year, eighty boys, and eighty-four girls. The first superintendent of public schools chosen was Mr. Matthew Bishop, who had been a tutor in Brown University. Mr. Bishop entered upon the duties of his office, August 1, 1839, which he discharged to the entire satisfaction of the committee, until 1851, when he resigned to accept a similar position in Boston. Mr. Bishop was succeeded by Mr. Samuel S. Greene, who discharged the duties of superintendent for four years, when he resigned, having been appointed to a professorship in Brown University. Upon the resignation of Mr. Greene, the present incumbent, Rev. Daniel Leach, D. D., was elected to the office, and for twenty-three years has performed the services devolved upon him with marked industry and singleness of purpose.
During these years many important changes have been made in the methods of instruction, tending to elevate the character of the schools. Now, it may be said, that the city of Providence ranks second to none in the country in the educational quality of its public schools or in the character of its school buildings and their appointments. They are among the best in the land. Says a recent quarterly report of the superintendent of the public schools: 'We feel well assured that our schools, taken as a whole, will compare favorably with the very best schools of similar grade, public or private, in New England, or elsewhere. Commencing in 1800, with four school-houses, the number increased to fifty-one in 1876. Between 1838 and 1844, Thomas R. Holden, Edward P. Knowles, Joseph Cady, Henry Anthony and Seth Padelford, under authority of the city council, supervised the building of a high-school, six grammar and six primary school-houses, at an aggregate cost of $100,160. Thirty-eight houses have since been built, all of which are fine specimens of school architecture. The annexation of the tenth ward adds nine school-houses to the previous number. Evening schools were commenced in Providence in 1842, to meet a large class of wants not reached by the day-schools. This class of schools attracted public attention, and in 1849 two more were opened by the city, and, with the exception of three winters, have been regularly continued to the present time. In 1856, they were recognized as a part of the public school system.'
Vacation schools were opened in 1871, the pupils of which are mostly of the primary and intermediate grades. These schools, as connected with the public school system, and carried on under the supervision of the public school committee, are peculiar to Providence. Music, as an important branch of learning, was introduced into the public schools of Providence in 1844. The first male teacher was Mr. Jason White. It has been a favorable circumstance in the history of the public schools that the successive chief magistrates of Providence have been their helpful friends. Both in their private and official character they have given them unqualified support, and sanctioned liberal appropriations for their support. His Honor, Mayor Doyle, whose long connection with them as a member of the school committee, has made him familiar with their wants, represented the spirit of his predecessor, no less than his own, when, at the dedication of the Hughes grammar school-house, in 1870, he said: 'Fellow citizens, before we unite in singing the dedication-hymn, let me, as your representative, speaking in your behalf, utter the wish and the hope that the day is far distant when a narrow and contracted policy shall rule the councils of this city in regard to common school education. Be the day far distant when, in the eyes of the city representatives, her highways, her lamps, her other departments, will be of more consequence than the education of her youth. When that day arrives, darkness will have settled upon this city'. Providence can also boast of a number of superior private schools.
The University Grammar School, originally called the Latin School, was established in Warren, R. I., in 1764, and removed to Providence in 1770. It was the design of this school to furnish superior advantages to young men in preparing for Rhode Island College, now Brown University. At present the school affords unsurpassed facilities for those who wish to enter college or engage in business.
Dr. Stockbridge's School for Young Ladies. This school was established by the late Hon. John Kingsbury, LL. D., in 1828, and for thirty years he was its principal. For a short time this school was under the charge of Hon. Amos Perry. Dr. Stockbridge has been its principal since 1867. Not far from one thousand pupils have received their education either in part, or wholly, in this school, since its establishment in 1828.
English and Classical School, No. 44 Snow Street. This is a large and flourishing school, designed to give the best educational facilities for fitting boys for business, scientific schools, or college. It was commenced in the Lyceum building, in 1864. The growth of this school has indeed been a marvel to its friends and supporters. It now numbers fifteen teachers, and about three hundred pupils. About one thousand have been members of this school, over one hundred of whom have graduated and received the school diploma.
Mount Pleasant Academy, Academy Avenue, near Armington Avenue, was established in 1865. In 1872, a new school building was erected, and the course of study was so extended as to include the higher mathematics and French, and the college preparatory classics, and it became the aim of the principal to afford a thorough preparation for ordinary business pursuits, or for admission to college.
Miss J. L. Abbott's School, for the education of young ladies, was formerly known as Miss Shaw's school, by whom it was established, in 1860. It occupies a building of its own, No. 280 Benefit Street.
Schofield's Commercial College was established by the present principal in 1846, and enjoys a liberal patronage.
Warner's Business College was established in 1863, as one of the chain of the Bryant & Stratton commercial colleges. This institution was reorganized Jan. 1, 1867, from which time its success has been unprecedented, having risen more rapidly in popular favor than any other similar department of business education, suggested that the same practical application of means to this end might be employed in all of the industries of life. Following this suggestion, the department of polytechnics, embracing a thorough and extended course in the exact and the natural sciences, and ancient and modern languages, was arranged, and has now been in successful operation for three years. This enterprise was undertaken under a thorough conviction that the public mind was fully prepared for a decided improvement on the old order of things in the department of education. The progress of the age demanded something higher and better. So great has been the success of this plan of instruction that a new, larger, and more commodious building had become necessary.
The Hoppin Homestead Building, which was fitted up expressly for this purpose, is one hundred feet wide by one hundred and fifty feet in length, heated throughout by steam, arranged with an elevator from the first floor, and furnished with all modern conveniences. This institution is under the personal supervision of Mr. W. W. Warner, principal, assisted by Mrs. W. W. Warner, as teacher of English literature and directress in fine arts. Also nine other able teachers in its several departments.
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