Free Masonry of Dodge County, Nebraska

In these modern times one may go to all parts of the globe and whenever civilized man is found, there is found some one of the various civic societies or orders which have for their object the betterment of the brotherhood of man. A century ago it was not popular to have it universally understood that a man belonged to a secret society. Many of the religious bodies would not tolerate its members in becoming active members of lodges. But as time passed, and the people by degrees began to understand something of the benefits of such orders, the prejudices became less, until today Masonry, Odd Fellowship and other lodges have become very popular and are rapidly increasing in number and membership.

There are legions of life insurance beneficiary lodges, some of which are herein noted, while the great, real secret orders are confined chiefly to the Masons, the Odd Fellows and the Knights of Pythias.

Free Masonry

The most ancient of all secret orders is that of Masonry. The first lodge of this high order to be instituted in Dodge County was Fremont Lodge No. 15. Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, organized June 20, 1867, by the following charter members:

S. W. Hayes
J. H. Crabbs
Robert Kittle
E. H. Rogers
Thomas Wilkinson
S. C. Curtis
William G. Bowman
Joseph Lambertson
O. C. Dake
S. W. Hayes

In 1892 the total membership of this lodge was 162. The present. (1920) total membership is 416. Its present elective officers are:

Worshipful Master, Edward G. Bauman
Senior Warden, Charles E. Miller
Junior Warden, Lawrence M. Nichols
Treasurer, Otto H. Schurman
Secretary, Mathew A. Priestley
Senior Deacon, Harold D. Keene
Junior Deacon, David H. Ohlmutz
Senior Steward, Lawrence E. Taylor
Junior Steward, John E. Long
Tyler, Charles A. Morse
Trustees, Fred E. Lee, Fred C. Laird and Henry Wohner

All degrees of Free Masonry are here represented. Signet Chapter, No. 8 was instituted, or worked under dispensation from August 1, 1871, and under its charter from June 17, 1872. The charter membership was:

Lewis M. Keene
H. B. Nicodemus
William H. Munger
Samuel Hayes
Frank W. Hayes
John N. V. Biles
S. Bullock
Henry Fuhrman
E. H. Gray
M. H. Hinman
A. C. Hull
Fred Jenewein
James A. Moe
J. S. Shaw
W. D. Thomas
Ashbury Townsend
E. Van Buren

Mt. Tabor Commandery, Knights Templar, No. 9, at Fremont, was instituted, October 29, 1879, with the following Sir Knights as charter members:

Cornelius Driscoll
William Fried
Samuel G. Glover
E. F. Gray
Joel A. Green
M. H. Hinman
L. M. Keene
William F. Lee
William H. Munger
H. B. Nicodemus
L. D. Richards
L. B. Shephard
William D. Thomas
A. Townsend
E. Van Buren

In 1892 this Commandery enjoyed a membership of 104 and at the present date (summer of 1920) it has a membership much greater.

Emett Lodge of Perfection No. 5 of Scottish Rites, at Fremont, was instituted March 24, 1888. with charter members as follows:

Venerable Master, John Hewett (thirty-second degree)
S. W., L. M. Keene (thirty-second degree)
Aim., L. D. Richards (thirty-second degree)
Secretary, C. M. Williams (fourteenth degree)
Treasurer, Frank Fowler (fourteenth degree)
Nathan H. Brown (thirty-second degree)
Arthur Truesdell (thirty-second degree)
Julius Beckman (fourteenth degree)
William C. Brady (fourteenth degree)
W. S. Hoy (fourteenth degree)
George W. Sellers (thirty-second degree)
Leander B. Smith (thirty-second degree)
James H. Hamilton (fourteenth degree)
Edwin T. How (thirty-second degree)

Arbor Vine Chapter No. 92 of the Eastern Star was organized in 1894 and its present membership is 400.

The Masonic Temple

The present beautiful Masonic Temple at Fremont was erected in 1888. It was built by the Masonic Temple Craft, an incorporated stock company, made up of the Lodge, Chapter and Commandery. Its cost was $26,000, exclusive of the lot on which it stands, and furnishings. The capital stock of this corporation was $36,000. The first officers were; L. M. Keene, president; A. Truesdell, vice-president; Robert Kittle, secretary; W. D. Thomas, treasurer.

The comer stone ceremonies were of a very impressive character. They took place August 23, 1888. Grand Master George B. France had charge of the work. A metal casket or chest was enclosed within the corner stone and overtopped by it. This contained, among other articles of historic interest and future value: Officers of the Fremont Lodge at that date; the "Great Lights of Masonry"; by-laws of Signet Chapter No. 8; charter and names of Mount Tabor Commandery, K. of T. No. 9; names of the Masonic Craft at Fremont; photographic views of the temple to be constructed; municipal records of Fremont; Dr. L. J. Abbott's Centennial History of July 4, 1876; records of Company "E" Nebraska Guards; records of McPherson Post Grand Army of the Republic; records of Women's Christian Temperance Union; copies of the Daily Tribune and Daily Herald of Fremont; an account of the public schools of Dodge County; an account of Odd Fellowship in Fremont.

Masonic Home for Children

In 1916 and 1917 the Masonic Home for Children, under care of the Eastern Star, was completed. The Grand Lodge of the state and the Local Masonic order at Fremont purchased sixty-seven acres of land, just to the north of the city. The cost of the land, the superintendent's home and farm buildings was $37,500. The home for the boys and the home for the girls cost about $28,000. Fremont Masons contributed $10,000 for the purchase of the land and for the homes. The average number of resident children is thirty, half boys and half girls. John W. Sexton is superintendent of the farm and buildings; Mrs. Edna Boorman is matron of boys' home and Mrs. Bess Bauer is matron of the girls' home.

Scribner Lodge No. 132

Ancient Free and Accepted Masonic Lodge at Scribner was organized July 9, 1884. The charter members were as follows:

Jesse A. Nason
Chauncey D. Gardanier
James Booth
J. J. Barge
John Romberg
William B. Gardanier
Gustave A. Diels
Robert Moodie
Robert A. Hasson
Walter A. King
Charles Inches
Carl T. Pulsifer
Joseph L. Baker
John Baker

The present (1920) lodge has a membership of sixty-two. Of the original officers it may be stated the following served as first elective officers:

Worshipful Master, Jesse A. Nason
Senior Warden, Chauncey D. Gardanier
Junior Warden, James Booth
Treasurer, John L. Barker
Secretary, Robert C. Hasson
Senior Deacon, J. J. Barge
Junior Deacon, William B. Gardanier
Tyler, Gustave A. Diels

The present or 1920 elective officers are as follows:

Worshipful Master, Paul L. Keller
Senior Warden, Emanuel A. Bauer
Junior Warden, Harold Christy
Treasurer, John F. Drenguis
Secretary, Clarence Ranslem
Senior Deacon, Peter L. Bauer
Junior Deacon, John Beaver
Tyler, James M. Beaver

This lodge rents a hall at $190 per year: it is situated on the west side of Main Street.

Hooper Lodge No. 72

Hooper Lodge No. 72, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons was organized March 19, 1878. The charter members were as follows;

Abner D. Harwood
Jerry Denslow
William A. G. Cobb
Samuel Kreader
James P. Lamberson
H. C. Craigg
Frank E. Wickwire
James F. Burns
William H. Aldrich
John F. Romberg
Oswald Uehling
James H. Caldwell
Robert M. Peyton
George Briggs
Edward H. Airis
James F. Briggs

The lodge has increased with the passing years until it now has a total of 100 Master Masons.

The first and present elective officers have been as follows:

Title First Officers Present 1920
Worshipful Master James F. Burns Herman R. Meir
Senior Warden H. C. Craigg J. Sherman Zellers
Junior Warden Jerry Denslow Edward H. Schwab
Treasurer Samuel Kreader F. H. Maryott
Secretary Wm. A. G. Cobb Norman E. Shaffer
Senior Deacon Frank E. Wickwire John A. Feinaigle
Junior Deacon James P. Lamberson P. Edward Peppmiller
Tyler William H. Aldrich William O. Anderson

The lodge owns its own lodge room-a two-story brick building with basement, located on lot No. 5, in block No. 2, Hooper. It is valued at $10,000 and has no incumberance against it.

North Bend Lodge No. 119

The Ancient Free and Accepted Masonic Lodge at North Bend, this county, was organized June 24, 1884, with charter members as follows:

James A. Bonner
Thaddeus W. _____
Christopher Cussack
Michael Dowling
George A. Eanos
Peter Gillis
Anson J. Hasting
David A. Hopkins
Wesley Lynch
Joseph E. Newsom
Milton May
Goldsmith H. Norris
Bissell P. Rice
John Y. Smith
Frederick L. Thompson
Chauncy B. Treadwell
W. J. T. Wallace
Hermon F. Wilcox
Charles M. Williams
William H. Yaw

The present (1920) total membership of the lodge is 110. The value of the property now owned by this Masonic Lodge at North Bend is about $10,000. First and present elective officers are these:

Title First Officers 1920 Officers
Worshipful Master M. Dowling John R. Tapster
Senior Warden C. B. Treadwell Harry Cussack
Junior Warden J. A. Bonner R. A. McWhorter
Treasurer P. Gillis Roy J. Cussack
Secretary C. M. Williams Henry J. Newsom
Senior Deacon D. A. Hopkins Leonard B. Woods
Junior Deacon T. J. Chapin Thomas G. Grimes
Tyler  Joseph E. Newsom Joseph E. Newsom

 Order of Eastern Star

This fraternity is an auxiliary of the Masonic Order, and is made up very largely of the ladies whose relatives are Masons. Dodge County has a number of such chapters, as these societies are known. This order has within the last decade become very popular and seems to be of much interest and value to the women who are active members of such auxiliaries to Masonic lodges. Especially is this true in traveling among strangers, as members of the Masonic Order readily recognize and protect those who are known to be members of the Eastern Star. The work of this order, founded on Bible characters, is very impressive and uplifting in its character.

Ruth Chapter No. 119-North Bend

This Chapter was organized September 27, 1897, with charter members as follows:

Rachel Hiett
C. H. Walrath
W. D. Foote
Mae B. Walrath
M. Dowling
Bertha A. High
Susan High
Anna M. Johnson
Florence Main
J. B. Foote
J. E. Newsom
May P. Dowling
Jessie Sherwood
Iva Main
D. M. Strong
Mabel C. Cussack
James H. Johnson
Ralph Main
Gertrude Sherwood
B. D. Sherwood
Mary E. Dowling
Anna M. Kastle.

The total membership in 1920 of this Chapter is 124. The original and present elective officers are as follows:

Title Original Present 1920
Worthy Matron Rachel Hiett Jessie Emerson
Worthy Patron M. Dowling Fred A. Howe
Associate Matron Mrs. M. Dowling Sarah Howe
Secretary Mabel Cussack Maude Raitt
Treasurer Mae Walrath Wealthy Foote
Conductress May Dowling Grace Sidner
Associate Conductress Florence Main  Gertrude Johnson
Warder Wealthy Foote Grace Haverfield
Adah Mary Walker Hortense Lehmer
Ruth Gertrude Sherwood Hazel Armstead
Esther Anna Johnson Cedelea Brownwell
Martha .. Elizabeth Hoff
Electa ... Cora M. Lehmer
Organist   Alma Hatcher
Sentinel J. E. Newsom Laura M. Thorn

 Friendship Chapter No. 122- Hooper

This Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star was organized February 26, 1898. Its charter members were as follows:

Mrs. A. M. Denslow
Mrs. Charlotte Uehling
Mrs. O. Dooley
Mrs. Emma Briggs
Mrs. B. Kreader
Mrs. E. Hibler
Mrs. John Ring
Mrs. Barbara Monnich
Mrs. E. Renkin
Mrs. H. A. Harris
Mrs. P. Kroeger
Mrs. Mary Cushman
Miss Hattie Caldwell
John Ring
Bernard Monnich
Edward Renkin
Theo Kroeger
Charles Cushman
Charles Rogers
O. Dooley

The total membership of this Chapter in June, 1920, was 134. The first and present set of elective officers were:

Title Original Present 1920
Worthy Matron Mrs. Anna Denslow Miss Katherine Rebbee
Worthy Patron Mr. E. Renkin Mr. Edward Rogers
Associate Matron Mrs. Mary Cushman Mrs. Sherman Zellers
Secretary Bernard Monnich Mr. H. Schimmel
Treasurer Charlotte Uehling Mr. Henry Rebbee

 Dodge County | Nebraska AHGP

Source: History of Dodge and Washington Counties, Nebraska, Rev. William H. Buss and Thomas T. Osterman, Volume 1, The American Historical Society, Chicago, 1921.

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