Matagorda County Historical Marker

Matagorda

Matagorda Lodge
No. 7  A. F. & A. M.
 

800 Fisher Street               28°41'28.12"N      95°58'5.72"W



 

MATAGORDA LODGE NO. 7. A. F. & A. M.
 

ONE OF THE OLDEST MASONIC LODGES IN TEXAS, THIS LODGE TRACES ITS HISTORY TO THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS. A GROUP OF MASONS MET TOGETHER ON JUNE 24, 1838, AND PETITIONED THE NEWLY CREATED GRAND LODGE OF TEXAS FOR A CHARTER TO FORM A LODGE HERE. MATAGORDA LODGE NO. 7. A. F. & A. M. WAS OFFICIALLY CHARTED ON NOVEMBER 12, 1838, WITH SETH INGRAM AS FIRST MASTER.

FROM ITS BEGINNING, THE MATAGORDA LODGE WAS ACTIVE AND INFLUENTIAL IN THE COMMUNITY’S DEVELOPMENT. THE FIRST SERVICES OF CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH WERE HELD IN THE MASONIC HALL. THE MASONS OPERATED A LENDING LIBRARY FOR THE TOWN’S CITIZENS AND SUPPORTED LOCAL PUBLIC EDUCATION PROJECTS.

IN 1868, DUE TO A SUCCESSION OF FINANCIAL DIFFICULTIES AND THE STRAINS OF THE CIVIL WAR, THE MATAGORDA LODGE WAS DEACTIVATED. THE MEMBERS MAINTAINED INTEREST IN THE LODGE, HOWEVER, AND IT WAS FINALLY RECHARTERED BY THE GRAND LODGE IN 1911 UNDER ITS ORIGINAL NUMBER.

MANY PROMINENT TEXANS HAVE BEEN AFFILIATED WITH THIS LODGE, INCLUDING LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT OFFICALS. THE LODGE HAS COUNTED AMONG ITS MEMBERS VETERANS OF THE WAR OF 1812, THE TEXAS REVOLUTION, MEXICAN WAR, CIVIL WAR, WORLD WAR I, WORLD WAR II, KOREA, AND VIETNAM. (1990)




This painting is believed to be of the first Matagorda Masonic Lodge in the 1850s.
 


Matagorda Masonic Lodge No. 7 A. F. & A. M.

By Mary Belle Ingram, Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pages 450-451
&
Don Winnett, A History of Matagorda Lodge #7 A. F. & A. M. Matagorda, Texas
 

On February 11, 1828, Stephen F. Austin called a meeting of Masons at San Felipe for the purpose of electing officers and petitioning the Grand York Lodge of Mexico for a Charter to form a lodge in Texas. As a result of that meeting, the following were elected: Stephen F. Austin, Master; Ira Ingram, Senior Warden; H. H. League, Junior Warden; Thomas M. Duke, Secretary. Ingram, League and Duke were all from the Matagorda area. The petition was never granted and it became apparent that Mexican leaders regarded Masonic activity in Texas with hostility. The Grand Lodge had been formed on December 20, 1837 at a meeting in which President Sam Houston presided.

On June 24, 1838, a group of Masons met at Matagorda and petitioned the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas for a dispensation and a charter to form a Masonic lodge in Matagorda.

The text of the petition was as follows:

“To: The Worshipful Masters, Wardens, and Brethren of the Grand Lodge of Texas:

This petition of the undersigned beg to state that we are and have been members of regular lodges, and having the prosperity, of the fraternity, at heart, we are willing to exert our best endeavors, to promote and diffuse the genuine principals of Masonry. That for the convenience of our respective residences and for other good reasons, we are desireous of forming a Lodge in the City of Matagorda, to be named Matagorda Lodge No. ___. That in consequence of this desire, we pray for “Letters of Dispensation” or a “Warrant of Constitution” to empower us to assemble, as a “legal Lodge,” to discharge the duties of Masonry in a regular and constitutional manner, according to the original forms of the order, and the regulations of the “Grand Lodge of Texas.” We have nominated and do recommend, Seth Ingram as first Master, Thomas M. Duke as first Senior Warden, and Thomas J. Tone as first Junior Warden of the said Lodge, and if the prayer of this petition should be granted, we promise a strict conformity to all the Constitutional Laws and Regulations of this Grand Lodge.”

The petition was signed by Seth Ingram, Thomas M. Duke, Thomas J. Tone, Charles P. Johnston, James N. Worland, Henry Helmbolt, James Warton, B. M. Clopton, Charles W. Rice, D. Davis D. Baker and Harvey Kendricks.

The Matagorda petition was granted July 18, 1838 by the then Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, Anson Jones, and attested by George Fisher, Grand Secretary, G.L.R.T.

Members of Matagorda Lodge No. 7, A. F. & A. M.
During the Charter Year 1838-1839
 
Seth Ingram
Thomas M. Duke
Thomas J. Tone
A. Hanson
J. M. Morland
B. M. Clopton
J. G. Moody
Henry Helmbolt
D. Davis D. Baker
A. L. P. Johnson
Harvey Kendrick
James Wharton
Dugald McFarland
A. Harrison
A. O’Brian
W. C. McKinstry
J. L. Alford
J. H. Morris
Thomas Harvey
James Norton
John G. C. Henderson
George W. Harper
Thomas Cayce
Thomas Jamison
Thomas R. Erwin
Robert Kell
James M. Cann
John W. McCamley
Hamilton L. Cook
William Haley

D. E. E. Braman
Galen Hodges
James D. Kirkpatrick
Byrd Lawden
C. H. Abbey
Thomas M. Dennis
Joseph Smith
John Martin
W. D. Wallach
Thomas Hanson
Charles W. Moreland
Charles W. Rice
George W. Ward
M. M. Stewart

Records from the archives of the Masonic Lodge indicate Lodge No. 7 had a difficult time existing through the years. In 1845 the District Deputy Grand Master (D.D.G.M.) of the second Masonic District wrote the Grand Lodge telling of the plight of Matagorda Lodge No. 7. It seems they had paid their dues and the Master was surprised when a letter was received from the Grand Lodge notifying the lodge they were suspended for nonpayment of dues. On investigation, it seems that their representative to the Grand Communication had not been able to attend so they were not represented.

The unsettled conditions of the country caused the failure of the Lodge to meet and report in 1846. It was recommended that the members retain the same officers and the original charter and that they waive their dues. By 1849 the lodge continued to have poor attendance, and dues were not paid to the Grand Lodge. The officers in 1849 were the same ones that were installed in 1842. The lodge again requested permission to pay their back dues and be granted good standing.

On October 8, 1855, the D.D.G.M. received word from the committee that Matagorda Lodge No. 7 and all its books, papers, and properties, including the charter, had been destroyed in the September storm. A dispensation was requested and granted immediately. The Grand Lodge recommended that other lodges in the state help the Matagorda Lodge. Dues were remitted because of the destruction of the Lodge building.

Returns of Lodges
Grand Lodge of Texas
1856

Matagorda Lodge, No. 7
Held at Matagorda, County of Matagorda
on the 1st Saturday
 

Officers

E. A. Peareson, W M
W T S Compton, S W
John F. Smith, J W
James H. Cutler, Treasurer
Jas H. Selkirk, Secretary
H. Thorp, Senior Deacon
S. Dietrich, Junior Deacon
J. W. McCamly, Stewart
J. W. Granger, Steward
Donrad Dietrich, Tyler


Past Masters

E. A. Peareson Henry Thorp John F. Smith


Master Masons

D. E. E. Braman
Geo. Burkhart
Thos. H. Forrester
John L. Thorp
Benj. H. Kendrick
John Walnut
George J. Bowie
F. A. Brown
James Denison
John Duncan
William F. Wilson
William L. Sartwell
Albert C. Horton
D. Hardeman
H. B. Mitchell
John D. Newell
J. C. Perry
John Rugeley
Dillon Shepherd
J. C. Wilson
W. F. Davis
Claiborne A. Hill
R. E. Stewart
James Kennell
W. B. Wilson
Matthew Talbot
James Selkirk
W. B. Royall
Isham Thompson
John Plunkett
Dugald McFarlane
Seth Ingram


Fellow Craft

Thomas Jamison

Entered Apprentices

B. A. Passmore Shadrack Cayce


In 1864 the last returns were sent to Grand Chapter.

Members of “Old” # 7, during the Civil War
 

James H. Selkirk
Henry Thorp
William D. Barbour
Isham Thompson
James H. Culver
George Burkhart
John Plunket
John Rugeley
John Duncan
Conrad Deitrich [Dietrich]
E. A. Pierson [Peareson]
D. E. E. Bramin [Braman]
Thomas Bedford
Thomas F. Bates
R. N. Chinn
George R. Cheesman
M. F. Davis
Thomas H. Forrester
Albert C. Horton
C. A. Hill
J. J. Harrison
William Haswell
Benjamin Kendrick
H. B. Mitchell
P. E. Nicholson
W. B. Royal
James Selkirk
F. Schultz
John L. Thorp
Mathew Talbot
Asa W. Thompson
Joseph Theall
P. H. Taylor
J. Walnutt
William F. Wilson
William B. Wilson
J. F. Smith
Thomas Jamison
Thomas Collins
S. W. Hardiman [Hardeman]
J. W. Rugeley
Jacob Smith
John M. Barbour


Deaths
 

Henry B. Mitchell
Dugald McFarlane
John W. McCamley
George W. Rugeley
Ferdinand Schultz

Joseph F. Haiden
James H. Selkirk

By 1868 the Matagorda Lodge’s charter was revoked because of non-payment of dues, and the D.D.G.M. was notified to pick up the charter and property.

Although this early Masonic Lodge No. 7 had to struggle to survive, the members did make worthwhile contributions to their community and to Matagorda County. The Matagorda Bulletin dated February 14, 1839, reports the impressive ceremony of the laying of the cornerstone for the new Masonic building. Appearing on that program were the Reverend C. S. Ives, Samuel Rhoads Fisher (the donor of the site), George M. Collinsworth, Esquire (collector of the port) and Joseph W. W. Wallace, the worshipful master of the Lodge. W. W. Stewart was the architect for the building.

On January 24, 1848, an editorial on the proposed Manhattan Academy appeared in the Matagorda Bulletin. Masons were well represented among the promoters of this academy which was to be near the mouth of Caney Creek. Masons participating in the planning were: M. B. Lamar, Harmony Lodge No. 6; A. C. Horton, Thomas Cayce, John Duncan, Thomas M. Duke, Thomas J. Hardeman, all members of Matagorda Lodge No. 7; Colonel (George Thomas) Howard, Holland Lodge No. 1; and E. R. Wightman who attended a meeting of the Masons at San Felipe in 1829 to discuss the formation of a Masonic Lodge.

The plans for a college or state university at the town of Manhattan (near the head of Matagorda Peninsula) never materialized; however, the Masons of the day attempted to bring good education to Matagorda County.

In later years Matagorda Masonic Lodge No. 7 reassembled and erected a new building.

Names of brethren in “Re-Started” Matagorda Lodge No. 7 A. F. & A. M.
 

R. W. Phillips, Master
A. G. Baer, Senior Warden
W. E. McNabb, Junior Warden
George L. Sargent
J. R. Cookenboo
G. T. Kilbride
A. W. McNabb
W. S. Cookenboo
C. W. Burkhart
Amos Lee
George Serrill
E. E. Scott
R. R. Lewis
E. J. Kilbride
H. G. Baxter
Harry Burkhart
V. H. Doubek
W. B. Greer
J. W. Rugeley
R. O. Middlebrook
O. R. Moberly
E. S. Moberly
W. J. Phillips
J. A. Williams



Officers elected to serve, July 24, 1912
 

A. G. Baer, Worshipful Master
W. E. McNabb, Senior Warden
A. W. McNabb, Junior Warden
G. L. Sargent, Treasurer
 
C. W. Burkhart, Secretary
George Kilbride, Senior Deacon
W. S. Cookenboo, Junior Deacon
B. A. Phillips, Senior Steward
W. J. Phillips, Junior Steward
O. R. Moberley, Tiler

 

Copyright 2011 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

Created
Sep. 10, 2011
Updated
Feb. 19, 2012
   

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