The History of the Formation of Ancient York Lodge
On the occasion of the 143rd anniversary of the chartering of Ancient York Lodge No. 89, here is some historic background on that process that actually started 13 years earlier in 1858. Enjoy!
From “Symbolic Freemasonry in New Hampshire”
By M.W. Harry Morrison Cheney, 1934
ANCIENT YORK LODGE, No. 89
THERE are so many papers, as to this Lodge, in our possession, many of them without any date, that it is difficult to fix their facts, surely, in compiling this sketch.
On June 8, 1858, the Grand Master, in his address, said:
“On the 12th day of April I granted a Dispensation to Bro. Samuel M. Wilcox and others, to form and open a Lodge at Nashua, to be known as Ancient York Lodge, No. 66. They will return the Dispensation at this time, which a record of their work, which will show that they have made three Masons, and will ask that a Charter may be granted them.”
The petition for this dispensation is not dated. It has twenty-two signatures. It also two signatures. It also carries the consent, thereon, given by Master and two Wardens of Rising Sun Lodge, dated April 10, 1858. The Lodge itself had not consented.
A dispensation was issued, dated April 12. 1858, granting the prayer of the petition, thus starting the Lodge. We have the original document in our possession.
Dated June 1, 1858, we have an official document, signed by the Secretary of Rising Sun Lodge. It is a protest against a charter being issued to Ancient York Lodge. Rising Sun had adopted three resolutions, on May 16, 1858, the full text of which is in this document. The first said that the Grand Lodge ought to protect the chartered rights of Rising Sun Lodge; the second instructed the representatives of Rising Sun Lodge, at the Grand Lodge, to oppose the granting of a charter to Ancient York; the third directed the sending of a certified copy of the action of Rising Sun Lodge to the Grand Lodge.
Now comes a long letter, written at Dover, on June 15, 1858 by Moses Paul, who was Deputy Grand Master. He discusses the situation, at Nashua, at great length. ending his letter thus:
“We ought to direct Rising Sun Lodge to rescind the Resolution of May 25, 1858, and that will restore all the members of Anct. York Lodge (while under Dispensation) to full membership with Rising Sun Lodge as they originally were.”
Dated “Nashua, N. H., May 1858,” is a petition, asking: for a charter, signed by twenty-three men. . . .
Dated “Nashua, June 5,1858,” is another petition, asking: for a charter, signed by six other men.
Dated “Nashua, June, 1858,” is another petition asking that a charter be granted. It is signed by sixteen other men.
All of these papers, before the Grand Lodge. were referred to the Committee on Lodges. On pages 133 and 134, in our printed proceedings for 1858, may be found the report of the committee.
There is a page and a half devoted to the facts and the findings of the committee – all of it is intensely interesting reading. Some constitutional objections were found, by the committee, against granting the charter. “Your Committee, therefore, very gladly avail themselves of this constitutional objection to the prayer of the petitioners,” etc. The committee could not unanimously agree upon anything but this. Their report was accepted and adopted, and by this action the attempt to place Ancient York Lodge, No. 66, upon our roll of Lodges, was a failure.
It is now that we have reached the effort to establish Ancient York Lodge. No. 89.
We have a petition. signed by ten men, praying that a dispensation be granted. to do so. The petition, itself, has no dating. It has endorsements, giving consent that the Lodge bc established, rightly made by Rising Sun Lodge, of Nashua, and by Benevolent Lodge. of Milford. These are dated in April and
May 18. 1870, the record of the Grand Lodge has this;
“A petition for a new Lodge at Nashua was presented and referred to the Committee on Lodges. M.W. Israel Hunt, of Nashua, presented a remonstrance (def: A forcefully reproachful protest) against the same, but subsequently withdrew it.”
This remonstrance is one of our possessions. It is signed by ninety-three Master Masons, residing in Nashua.” Presumably, they were members of Rising Sun.
A little later, in the session, it was voted that the petition for this new Lodge be taken from the Committee on Lodges and referred to a special committee. Their report, thereon, has only six lines. Two of them, in the form of a resolution, “that the prayer of said petitioners should be granted,” being adopted ended, as the petitioners desired, this interesting movement for a second Lodge in Nashua.
The session of the Grand Lodge, in 1870. was for two days. On May 19, John R. Holbrook was elected Grand Master, and under that date, possibly the first act of his administration, he issued his dispensation, thus permitting Ancient York to begin its career.
We have a petition, dated May I5, 1871, signed by twenty-five men, asking that a charter be granted.
This petition was presented to the Grand Lodge, on May 17, 1871. It was referred to the Committee on Lodges. A favorable report came from the Committee, and the Grand Lodge “Resolved, That the prayer of said petitioners be granted.”
On May 15, 1872. the Grand Master told the Grand Lodge this:
“On the ’20th of June, the Grand Lodge was convened at Nashua, and Ancient York Lodge, No. 89, was regularly constituted, solemnly consecrated, and its officers duly installed. Since that time I have heard a good report of this Lodge.”
For the first time, among our old documents, we find a certificate, signed by a Grand Lecturer, stating that he had examined the men named in the dispensation to be Master and Wardens, finding them to be ” well skilled in the entire work.”
The date of the charter is May 18, 1871.
The petitioners for the charter were Edward Parker, O. D. Murray, M. A.Taylor. Dana Sargent. George H. Holt, Benjamin Fletcher. Jr., Martin V. B. Greene. Augustus Wilber, Frank M. Crane, Herman F. Dane, Quincy A. Woodward, A. T. Laton, B.F. Sargent, A. P. Barker, John Cross, Elbndge N. Fletcher, W.H. Cook, George W. Moore, Stephen N. Barker, Hardin C. Rogers, William F. York, L. C. Farwell, Samuel P. Williams,
Charles Holman, A. H. Saunders.