200TH ANNIVERSARY HISTORY, JUNE 1998
From Proceedings, Page 1998-82:
The Days That Were
R. W. Robert W. Williams, III, Lodge Historian
About a stone’s throw from the intersection of Routes 140 and 123 in the center of the Town of Norton, a stone marker has been placed that tells of that site as the first meeting place of Bristol Lodges that were chartered by Grand Master Paul Revere in 1797. That Lodge and Fellowship Lodge of Bridgewater were the first in the area. In April of 1798, Eastern Star Lodge of Rehoboth received its charter from Grand Master Josiah Bartlett.
At a Quarterly Communication of the Grand Lodge at Concert Hall the 11th of June, 1798, the petition of several Brethren for holding a Lodge at Taunton, in the County of Bristol, by the name of “King David’s Lodge” was granted.
Except for the book that must have contained the names of the first members of the Lodge, we have in our archives almost every recorded word from April 2,1798 when proponents to form the Taunton Lodge met. It would appear that Seth Padelford and Brothers Samuel and William A. Crocker inspired others to form the Lodge.
At a meeting held in Thomas Weatherby’s house on April 2, 1798, Samuel and William Crocker, Enos Williams, Seth Padelford, William Seaver, James Sproat, Abiathar Ingell, Daniel Crossman, and Dr. Job Godfrey were present. The meeting place was actually Weatherby’s Tavern, located at the corner of Main Street and Jockey Lane, now called Weir Street. Seth Padelford was chosen Chairman and Samuel Crocker as Secretary of a committee that included James Sproat to wait upon neighboring Lodges, viz: Bristol of Norton, Eastern Star of Rehoboth (chartered in April of 1798), and Fellowship of Bridgewater for their approbation to draw a petition to Grand Lodge. William Crocker had received his degrees in Bristol Lodge and was a Steward.
The next meeting was held May 23, 1798, at the licensed inn of Captain Josiah Crocker, father of Samuel and William Crocker and the son of the Rev. Josiah Crocker, who came to Taunton to preach at the First Church via Harvard College and the Town of Barnstable. Ten of the seventeen petitioners for the Lodge were members of that church; viz: Seth Padelford, Samuel and William Crocker, Enos Williams, Philip Padelford, James Sproat, Samuel Wilde, Jr., William Carver, William Seaver and Appollos Leonard. Non-members were Benjamin Harris, John W. Smith, Nathaniel Terry, David Vickery, Abiathar Ingell, Thomas Weatherby and Daniel Crossman.
Records of where Brothers Smith, Williams and Wilde received degrees are unknown (not shown in Grand Lodge), but it may be possible they went to Eastern Star Lodge when that Lodge was first chartered in early 1798 and lost in the first of April 1864 when Winthrop House was destroyed. Grand Lodge had purchased the property (where it is today) and erected a resident hotel, using the two top floors for Grand Lodge purposes. The original portrait painting of Paul Revere by Gilbert Stuart in 1813 was also lost in that fire. His daughter, of Newport, has done the work that was the gift of John Revere, Esq., grandson of the patriot. A copy now hangs in the Grand Lodge lobby and one in the Revere Room.
There is no record that Job Godfrey ever petitioned King David Lodge or any Lodge. A Job Godfrey, Jr. was among men who received degrees in our Lodge in August of 1798. William Seaver had received the first two degrees in Union Lodge, Albany, NY, when a Revolutionary War soldier. That Lodge is now known as American Union Lodge of Marietta, Ohio.
Our original charter shows the wear of 200 years and is secure in the Bristol County Savings Bank’s Raynham branch. We use a copy of the original. Signed by Grand Master and Doctor Josiah Bartlett, he was a Revolutionary War physician and received his degrees in Union Lodge, Danbury, CT, in 1780. Three years later, he was a Charter member of King Solomon’s Lodge in Charlestown. He followed M.W. Paul Revere in 1798, resigning after 1799, but returned to the East of Grand Lodge in 1810.
In 1792, the esteemed Seth Padelford and others, who were concerned with providing a better education for town children, procured a charter from Gov. John Hancock to establish a private school in Taunton. Thus, the Bristol Academy was built on Church Green. First meetings of King David Lodge were held on the second floor of the wooden building. The school attracted pupils from area towns that caused a new brick building to be erected which is now the Old Colony Historical Society. In 1851, the wooden building was moved to the rear of St. Mary’s Church. It is numbered 124-128 Washington Street.
October 1799, the Lodge met in Mason’s Hall (where that was, historians have never learned) and in 1802 a new Mason’s Hall on Main Street was leased. The Lodge also leased its quarters to the town’s school committee. In 1807, the Lodge moved to Weir Village to a building just over the bridge. The Lodge paid Bro. John Presbrey one dollar per meeting.
The members felt prosperous and purchased land at Taunton Green at what later was the site of the Bristol County Trust Company. When funds fell short of the cost, the Presbrey brothers drew up a 999-year lease to give the Lodge occupancy and to finish the work. We have a copy of that lease in our archives. The original had been registered in the Registry of Deeds.
The famous Morgan incident at Batavia, NY, turned into what was to be called the anti-Masonic era. William Morgan was a printer and Master Mason and when his application to further his Masonic education was rejected, he prepared to write a book that would reveal the signs, grips and words of the degrees. He was a heavy drinker of alcohol and was often locked up in the town jail. In the dark of night, he disappeared, never to be seen again. Freemasons were blamed; thus the anti-Masonic tag was applied to the Craft.
When some Taunton and other preachers of the Gospel pointed damnation against Freemasonry causing some members to abscond from Masonic meetings King David Lodge sold its building at auction to Crocker and Richmond, who moved the building to the corner of Weir St. and Galligan’s Court (#37 Weir Street.) where it stands now. Furnishings were moved to John Howard’s store on Summer St. where they remained hidden. Bro. Howard was the Worshipful Master from 1832 through 1845 and to him and a few others, we are indebted for their strength and support. King David and Fellowship Lodges never surrendered their charters during the anti-Masonic era.
Bro. Thomas C. Brown, a local merchant, was summoned before a meeting at the Winthrop Street Baptist Church. “Which will it be Mr. Brown, this church or Freemasonry?” He responded: “When I renounce Masonry, I shall renounce my God!” Thomas and his wife left the meeting and became active members of the Broadway Trinitarian Church (now Pilgrim Church). Freemasonry went public with the famous “Declaration of Freemasons of Boston and Vicinity” in 1831, to which 41 members of King David Lodge affixed their signatures, including the Rev. Luther Hamilton of the First Church and your historian’s great-great grandfather, Abiathar Williams.
At a Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge the Rev. Edward Taylor, Grand Chaplain and commonly called Father Taylor as the preacher at Boston’s Seamen’s Bethel, knelt and prayed: “O Lord, bless this glorious Order; bless its friends; yes, bless its enemies, and make their hearts as soft as their heads.”
In 1830-32, a great political contest for Congress was fought between James L. Hodges of King David Lodge and Micah H. Ruggles of Fall River, who was the anti-Masonic Party candidate. “Jacks” and “Bats” were names of reproach applied by anti-Masons to those outside the Fraternity who did not agree with them in their opinions. The Jacks openly defended the Masons. The Bats remained aloof and took no interest in the matter. Bro. Hodges won the seat and a torchlight parade marched through the center of Taunton. The National anti-Masonic Party nominated a candidate for President, and several states produced candidates for local offices. Only the state of Vermont elected the presidential candidate.
When Social Harmony Lodge was chartered in Middleboro several officers from King David Lodge assisted District Deputy Paul Dean. Bro. Pliny Merrick, raised in King David Lodge in 1821 and a young lawyer of great promise, gave an eloquent talk at the installation of officers in August. He afterward renounced Masonry, became a leader of the opposition and was the anti-Masonic party candidate for Governor, but defeated. He later served on the Massachusetts Supreme Court. He was suspended from Freemasonry by King David Lodge.
The Rev. Bro. Luther Hamilton was raised in King David Lodge in 1821. He came to Taunton to preach at the First Congregational Society (First Church) and convinced the members to adopt the new philosophy of Unitarianism. He served as our Chaplain, Junior and Senior Warden, and was appointed District Deputy Grand Master, 1827-30. He had succeeded the Rev. Bro. John Pipon who had been Chaplain of this Lodge and Grand Lodge. Brother Pipon died in 1821. Brother Hamilton left Taunton, demitting in 1837, affiliating with St. John’s Lodge of Boston where he served as Master in 1841. He later affiliated with Washington Lodge of Roxbury (now Lexington) where he was Master in 1848.
Born October 16, 1783, and commencing the practice of law in 1810 – the year he officiated as Register of Probate for the first of seven years – Francis Baylies was raised in King David Lodge November 7, 1810. He was an outstanding orator, writer, produced two volumes of the Plymouth Bay Colony and had handwritten the first history of Taunton that was lost in a printing shop fire that destroyed one side of Main St. in 1838. Lost in the fire at the Court House were early records of births, deaths and marriages that were the property of the First Church and loaned to the town.
He had served a term in Congress and was appointed by President Andrew Jackson and sent to Argentina to settle a fishing dispute with that country and American fisherman. He failed but was summoned by the Grand Master to deliver the eulogy to our Bro. and Gen. Lafayette who had died in 1834. He was given the title of Right Worshipful and in December 1834, was elected Grand Master. When the day for installation of Grand Lodge officers arrived a courier appeared with a note in which Bro. Baylies had given a reason for his refusal to serve. The note was never found but Grand Secretary Charles W. Moore took umbrage to Bro. Baylies and suggested he (Baylies) feared for his political career.
Elected to the House of Representatives of the Massachusetts General Court Bro. Baylies filibustered for two days against a bill at its second reading that had it passed, would have outlawed Freemasonry in the Commonwealth. Nowhere in Grand Lodge records, or in the book Stalwart Builders authored by M. W. Thomas S. Roy, or in the Freemasons’ Magazine that was the work of Bro. Charles Moore, can there be found reference to Bro. Baylies talk that saved Freemasonry. Your historian spent some hot summer days in the below-ground level repositories of the State House to read the Clerk’s book that recorded that talk by Bro. Baylies. My late friend and once fellow newsman, State Senator John F. Parker made it possible. I have those talks in print. Many state legislators who were Masons heard the talks, but they never reached Grand Lodge for publication or acclaim. They were publicly printed in the Columbian Reporter in its weekly papers of April 22 and 29 and May 6 and 13 of 1835 in Taunton.
The stone cottage that fronts our Lodge room was the home of Francis Baylies from 1836, when he purchased it from Joseph L. Lord, who as Taunton’s seventh postmaster had it built in 1831-32. Our Charles R. Vickery was the next appointed postmaster when Taunton had only 6000 inhabitants. Bro. Baylies occupied the stone cottage until his death October 28, 1852. Masons came from great distances to attend his funeral. His daughter, Harriet, lived there a short time until an auction disposed of some of his property. Masons marched through the streets to Plain Cemetery, Broadway for his burial. His grave, in desperate need of care today, is next to that of Samuel Crocker, the last surviving charter member.
At a June 12, 1849, meeting was voted to pay John _____ two dollars for his honesty in returning the lost jewels of the officers. He found them on the bank of the Mill River under the Westminster Street Bridge, now known as Cohannet Street. It is near the Taunton Daily Gazette building that was once the location of the Westminster Hotel. The jewels were tied together and placed among the others in the Lodge archives.
On April 13, 1868, Mrs. Sarah Leonard King, wife of Samuel Bass King and a daughter of Samuel Crocker, presented the jewels now worn by the Lodge officers. She was the lady who established the first home in Taunton for homeless women, the major financial contributor to the First Parish Church and paid for the stone wall that surrounds that church property.
In 1979, Bristol Lodge’s Secretary, and now the Grand Marshal of our Grand Lodge, searched and found papers that proved his Lodge had loaned “some old and unused jewels to Lafayette Lodge of Cumberland, RI.” With assistance from Edith Steblecki of Revere House in Boston and John Hamilton of the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington (Scottish Rite), the old jewels were the original jewels made by Paul Revere for Bristol Lodge in 1797. That story was enough for this historian to check the jewels in King David Lodge tied with string. A check with Bro. Hamilton proved they, too, were made by Paul Revere. No entry in Revere’s books is shown. No mention in King David Lodge records makes note of our first jewels being the work of Bro. Revere. The jewels were first shown to the late R. W. Kenyon Carr, a Hyannis jeweler, who cleaned them and suggested to your historian, “You ought to check them out, they appear to be the work of a rare and talented craftsman.” They are kept in the Lodge archives in the bank and brought before us on this anniversary day. This story was told in the spring 1990 issue of Trowel Magazine.
Meetings were held in Union Hall, Winthrop Street, owned by King Philip Lodge of the Odd Fellows; Washburn Hall, on the top floor of the old railroad depot (now a shopping mall); and in 1880, all Lodges except Alfred Baylies Lodge met in the new N.H. Skinner building at 76 Main Street. Alfred Baylies men were mostly from the Weir and that Lodge met in the Staples Building on West Water Street that was torn down several years ago. Alfred Baylies Lodge had joined us at 76 Main Street long before the demolition of the Staples building.
The Masonic Building at 66 Winthrop Street was purchased in 1960 from Louis Wordell and with pledges paid by Masons and the loan of the permanent and charity funds of King David Lodge, the Lodge room was added on to the rear of the stone cottage. Parking on the property accommodates about one dozen cars and that has been a major problem in an era when the automobile, not the dog, is man’s best friend. Alfred Baylies Lodge was charted in 1866 and named for the faithful King David Lodge secretary, Dr. Alfred Baylies, who served Masonry well. He had been made a Mason in Rising Virtue Lodge in Hamden, ME, in 1807. Born in Dighton, September 16, 1787, he shows he was raised when younger than age 20. He returned to Taunton to practice medicine and on the first day of 1818, was admitted a member of King David Lodge. He died in his 9 Spring Street home July 2, 1873 at age 85. One year after Alfred Baylies Lodge was chartered, several men obtained a charter for Ionic Lodge, choosing to seek their own meeting place and keeping themselves somewhat aloof from the other two Lodges. It met on the top floor of Union Block, Main Street. Bro. Philo Washburn, member of King David Lodge and local embalmer, was a charter member.
George Holbrook Rhodes was raised in King David Lodge in 1870, demitted in 1872, and led another group of men who were granted a charter under the name of Charles H. Titus Lodge in 1873. The Reverend Titus was a native of Maine, was ordained a Methodist preacher and came to Taunton to the Central Methodist Church that was once located opposite the Cohannet School on Cohannet Street. He became a member of King David Lodge December 15,1858, and was Worshipful Master in 1867. He served as Grand Chaplain 1868-70 and Recording Grand Secretary 1871-78. We have a picture of him and his officers of 1867.
Bro. Rhodes was Master of that Lodge, 1877-79, served as Grand Marshal twice, Junior Grand Warden twice, a District Deputy Grand Master and member of Grand Lodge Committee on Education and Charity Trust. He was a member of every York Rite body and in 1897, the Scottish Rite, Northern Jurisdiction, honored him with the Thirty-third degree.
Taunton Masonry grew to a fifth Lodge in 1951, when a group of Masons, who came to the city during World War II joined with some Taunton Masons to institute Ezra Lodge. That Lodge survived until 1995, when it merged with King David Lodge. Wor. Thomas Hughes was the first Master, and he had been Master of King David Lodge 1950-51.
The Brotherly Love and Affection taught in the lessons of Freemasonry were proven true during the Civil War. King David Lodge worked degrees on 125 candidates from 1861 through 1865. Sixty-five members served in the Union Army and Bro. Philo Washburn twice was sent to Confederate country to return the bodies of fallen Taunton boys for burial here. Bro. and Lt. Isaac Dean Paull was killed at Laurel Hill, VA. When Bro. Washburn embalmed the boy, the bullet that killed Paull fell onto the floor. That bullet and the story are to be found in Old Colony Historical Society.
I am a Civil War buff and a member of The Civil War Trust that, through financial gifts, purchases property where battles were fought during the Civil War. If not protected, they would soon be turned into shopping malls that have done much to destroy main street shopping in cities and towns.
About three years ago, the Samuel Crocker Lawrence Library of our Grand Lodge purchased a book with statistics compiled by a Connecticut Brother that lists all Masons who were honored with the Medal of Honor. Not expecting to find a King David member who had fought in America’s war – nor a member of any Taunton Lodge – I was surprised to learn that Brother Lowell Mason Maxham of King David Lodge, Taunton, had been so honored on August 24, 1896. I was aware of his Civil War service because there is a school on Oak Street named for him. A plaque hangs in the first floor of the Taunton City Hall attesting to the presentation. But nowhere in our records was it ever mentioned about the honor.
He was born in Carver, MA, on December 6, 1841 and died in Boston, February 13, 1931 at age 89. Brother Haxham was a member of Company F, Seventh Regiment that was commanded by Taunton’s Colonel Darius Couch. He fought at the Peninsula, Fredericksburg, Anietam, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, Spottsylvania, North Anna River and Cold Harbor. At Fredericksburg, where General Ambrose Burnside proved unqualified to lead an army, Bro. Maxham, though seriously wounded and in the face of deadly fire from the enemy at short range, rushed bravely forward and was among the first to enter the Confederate ranks to reach the crest of Marye’s Heights and helped to plant his regimental colors there. He was wounded a second time and when wounded the next day he was carried from the field. One of 42 candidates when Wor. Jeremiah J. Whitmarsh was Master, Bro. Maxham was raised in King David Lodge June 20, 1864, and was mustered out of military service July 5. My climb to Marye’s Heights in 1982 was easy.
The Lodge celebrated its centennial in style with a service in the First Congregational Society, a dinner at the Weir Street armory that was attended by Grand Master Charles C. Hutchinson, and at the Taunton Theater. Wor. Albert E. Robinson appointed Wor. Edward H. Temple as chairman, Wor. Alfred B. Hodges, Secretary and Wor J. Alfred Messenger, Treasurer. A centennial medal was struck and in 1902, a hardcover book was printed that told the story of the first one hundred years of the Lodge. Wor. Charles A. Reed, Taunton’s attorney, compiled most of the history but died before the book was printed. He was the Master in 1871 and Grand Sword Bearer 1869-70.
Some members proved their worth in stretching forth hands to save a falling Brother. In the Spring of 1818, Dr. Wiley, a newcomer to Taunton, had never been warmly greeted by others practicing medicine. His young patient died and the cry of malpractice was heard in the community. He was captured by a mob on Westeminster Street and taken to a site near the corner of Taunton Green and School Street. There, awaiting him, were the tar and feathers, a treatment given to Tories in the eighteenth century. The Doctor gave the hailing sign of a Mason and seven members of King David Lodge dashed forward, rushed him through Taunton Green to the inn (located where our post office is today), put him in a carriage and he departed from the town never to be seen again. A medal had been struck to commemorate the event, but it was taken from our Lodge possessions the day we carried things from 76 Main Street to 66 Winthrop Street. Who has it? It is pictured in the history of 1798-1898.
Several Rhode Island Lodges visited the Lodge October 14, 1903 and Secretary Alfred Baylies Hodges recorded a total of 345 present. It was not unusual for the Master to receive the District Deputy and a Suite of 100 or more. When R.W. Edward H. Temple was Deputy, 1911-12, he would be accompanied by 150 and more, requiring two and sometimes three sittings at dinner.
At the turn of the century, two men came to Taunton to establish a clothing business at 45 Taunton Green. Three years later Bro. Lewis E. Higgins sold his share to Charles F. Foster and went to Providence. Brother Higgins returned and purchased the Main Street Property of the late Charles Reed, now in the name of Bro. Silas Dean Reed, his son and often the Master of Ceremonies in the Lodge. Brother Silas was a State Senator and postmaster. Brother Higgins opened a successful clothing store at 41 -47 Main Street. He served as Master in 1911 and in 1916 presented the Taunton Masonic Temple Corp. with two stones he had purchased from King Solomon’s quarries when on a visit to the Holy Land. They have served Taunton Freemasonry since that time as our rough and perfect ashlars.
While on a planned motor trip to Michigan with his wife, Brother Higgins was taken ill in Rochester, NY, where he died. When Mrs. Higgins died a few years later the property on Main Street was placed in a trust; two-thirds to Morton Hospital or any hospital that might succeed Morton; and one-third to King David Lodge as long as there is a King David Lodge; otherwise the total funds go to the hospital. The Lewis E. Higgins Trust requires three Trustees; one must be a member of King David Lodge, one to represent Morton Hospital and one appointed by the Judge of Probate Court. R.W. Robert W. Williams, III was appointed by the court in 1980 at the death of Bro. Raymond E. MacCraw.
The Lodge held a membership of 515 when celebrating its 125th year. Wor. Arthur R. Knox appointed Wor. Levi L. Wetherbee as Treasurer. A worship service was held in the Winthrop Street Baptist Church and Rev. Bro. Thomas S. Roy of Brockton delivered the sermon. In 1951, Brother Roy would come back to Taunton to institute Ezra Lodge when he was Grand Master, 1951-53. He was recognized throughout Masonry as one of the most gifted speakers. A meeting was held in Odd Fellows Hall, Court Street and Grand Master Dudley H. Ferrell was received in the Masonic Hall.
In 1936, the Order of DeMolay was introduced to Taunton’s young men and to Masonry. Wor. Earle A. Hopkins was the inspiration in the move and Taunton Chapter was instituted March 11, 1936, when New Bedford Chapter came to the city to work both degrees. Many members of Taunton Chapter have proven to be active in Freemasonry. Active for 16 years, R.W. Robert W. Williams, III was knighted an Active DeMolay Legion of Honor in 1985.
Wor. Henry N. Hopkins, at age 90, sat in the East for a third degree in 1937. He was Taunton’s last survivor of the Grand Army of the Republic. For many years he would recite President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at Mayflower Hill Cemetery on Memorial Day when that day was actually held May 30.
The world was turned upside down again when the Japanese Empire bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and with Germany trying to conquer Europe a second time in a quarter century, World War II touched the lives of every man, woman and child. Brothers Bernard C. Creswick and Ralph L. Hopkins were at Hickam Field and escaped the bombing. Taunton Lodges worked degrees for men at all hours of the day and night. We had a desk at Camp Myles Standish in the north end of the city where servicemen came from every corner of the globe and from other nations. Lodges, working under dispensation, made sure the Master Mason Degree was conferred before a soldier left for the war zones. Myles Standish Camp was a port of embarkation.
In 1938, the Lodge received a gavel sent from Bro. Paul Delmont Bunker who received his degrees in the summer of 1902 before his graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point. He was in the same class as Douglas MacArthur who would be made a Mason at sight by the Grand Lodge of The Philippines. Wherever Bro. MacArthur was in command in the Pacific, he would have Bro. Bunker as his coast artillery leader. The gavel was made of wood from a monastery that was built in The Philippines in 1492. The gavel is used on special occasions such as today. When Fort Corregidor surrendered May 6, 1942, Bro. Bunker tore a piece of the lowered flag on Topside and stuffed it inside his shirt, then destroyed the 14-inch guns that pointed only toward the sea. The piece of the flag is now in the museum at West Point. Bro. Bunker died in a prison camp on the Island of Formosa, March 16, 1943, age 62.(See Trowel Magazine, Spring, 1987. Also, Bunker’s War by Keith Barlow, 1996.)
In 1942-43, Wor. A. Milton French presided at 11 regular and 10 special meetings; Wor. George F. Riley, who was installed by his brother R. W. John Riley of Clinton, conducted 28 meetings in 1943-44; and Wor. Kenneth F. Richardson presided at 25 meetings, one on V-E Day in April 1945, when the war in Europe ended. Wor. Lucius T. Cushman died. He had been Master 1921-22 and Grand Standard Bearer and Grand Sword Bearer. Although blind for many years, he qualified the Masters-elect for the entire 28th Districts.
R.W. Robert W. MacGlashing was the District Deputy 1941-42, and when Wor. Kenneth A. Terwilliger was Master in the same year, he appointed Bro. Robert W. Williams, III on a Masonic journey that has not reached an end. We placed Bro. Ken in the Masonic Home when his wife, Mary, died. He had some happy years at Charlton and died in 1997. He was the last of three guests we had at the Masonic Home. The Lodge participates in the Grand Master’s Country Fair at the Home and shares with other Lodges in the Taunton and Attleboro 28lh Districts in a chicken barbecue at the home in July.
Brother Williams was seated Master in December 1946, the first Taunton Chapter DeMolay member to preside in any Masonic Lodge. He received the Meritorious Certificate in 1975, the Joseph Warren Medal in 1983, the Tenet Award from the Back Bay Square and Compasses Club in 1987. He was the first editor of the Trowel Magazine in 1983, following his retirement as a newspaperman of 47-years. He is a member of the Library and Museum Committee of Grand Lodge and the first member of the Lodge to be appointed a Grand Representative. He is not conversely associated with the Portuguese language but represents the Grand Lodge of Minas Gerais, Brazil, at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Wor. Roland E. Gooch was the first to serve two terms as Master, 1971-73, since R.W. Edward W. Burt in 1915-17. Wor. Stanley Young died in office in 1971 after suffering with cancer and Wor. Herbert A. Anderson died in 1980 when Master.
The Lodge observed its 175th anniversary in 1973. Wor. Gerald M. DeCosta was the chairman and Wor. Toon Wong was on the banquet committee and is the chairman of that committee for this 200th anniversary. He was Master 1968-69. A booklet was printed with the highlights of the 175 years. The next year found Alfred Baylies Lodge merging with King David Lodge. R. W. John L. Waterman was elected Honorary Member. His father and uncles had been King David Lodge members before Eastern Star Lodge was chartered a second time in 1923.
Brother Bernard C. Creswick gave the Lodge a gift of money, his portion of receipts of a Masonic club in Warwick, RI that closed. Bro. Harry Baxter-Green who was born in England and raised in King David Lodge in 1919 died at the age of 100 and a Mason for 62 years. In March your Master attended the graveside service for our Brother Anthony Porter Dean who died in February. He had been a member for 68 years and was 99 years of age.
Wor. James T. Mc Aloney, Jr., died in 1982 after fighting cancer. He was a contributing Mason and gave yeoman service to the Order of DeMolay. His sons, James, III and John, are members of this Lodge. Dad McAloney had been awarded the Meritorious Certificate and the Joseph Warren Medal. The Lodge recognized the many years of service given by R.W. Carleton B. Henry. He had been Master, 1936-37, Treasurer, Trustee, District Deputy Grand Master 1951 -52, and the fellow most responsible for maintaining the Masonic Hall at 76 Main Street.
Worshipfuls James C. Brown, Willard W. Morse, George Bosworth, Merton Young and Robert W. Williams, III have all been recipients of the Senior Past Masters Certificate on their 50,h year.
Several Past Masters have returned for a second year in the East, but Albert C. Watson (1976-77, 1985-86, 1994-95) and Jeffrey J. Jackson (1977-78,1980-81,1995-96) are the first to serve three terms since Taunton’s Mayor Charles F. Johnson was Master from 1868 through 1870. Wor. John Howard had served from 1832 through 1845. R.W. Jonathan Ames of West Bridgewater was the District Deputy for 16 years during the anti-Masonic era and, as a builder in the Taunton area, often sat in King David Lodge. Worshipfuls Emile J. Rouleau, Jr., and his brother Charles E. Rouleau were Masters of Alfred Baylies and King David Lodges. Wor. Neil S. Sweet was Master in 1958-59 and 1984-85, then moved to Harwich to be Master of Pilgrim Lodge and for the past few years as secretary. He also holds the Joseph Warren Medal. When R.W. Charles N. Hackett was presented with the Senior Past Masters Certificate, our Brothers Elwyn Stafford and Kenneth Stafford were in attendance. They were his only candidates in 1934-35. Charlie succeeded R.W. Whitney Stetson Wilde McKenney who died in his first year as District Deputy. Charlie was Deputy 1964-65 and R.W. Newcomb Reid of Ionic Lodge was Deputy of the Attleboro 28th.
When Morton Hospital added a new wing, the Lodge gave $2,500 for a room to be named for Lewis E. Higgins. We contributed $ 1,000 toward the improvement to Taunton Public Library; have given to the Salvation Army, to the food kitchens in the city, to the Masonic Home and the Samuel Crocker Lawrence Library, to DeMolay and Rainbow, Royal Arch Chapter and the Shrine. Brother Bruno Wurzbacher purchased a bank certificate in the name of King David Lodge in the hope that the Lodge will place a wreath with red ribbon at his grave, and that of his wife, at Christmas.
Wor. Richard H. Williams was the third generation of the Williams family to be installed Master in 1987-88. He returned in 1989-90. He wears his grandfather’s Past Master’s jewel and his father’s Past Master’s apron. He served as Secretary for a few years, succeeded by Wor. Keith Rogers, who was followed by our present Secretary, Wor. Jeff Jackson.
Two former Alfred Baylies Lodge members have given loyal service to the Lodge. R. W. Malcolm F. Borden has been Marshal, Chaplain, Ritualist and a Trustee and Wor. Charles E. Rouleau has served many years as Marshal.
Harold Jack Williams received the Entered Apprentice Degree and then learned he had inoperable cancer. Grand Master Albert T. Ames instructed Wor. Andrew G. Forbes to complete the degree in the Williams home. He signed the by-laws and died a week later. The estate of Wor. William H. Stevenson gave the Lodge $1,112.91 to be placed in the Scholarship Fund.
Grand Master Ames attended the stated meeting no. 2000 on December 2, 1987 and returned to Taunton in 1988 to institute Metacomet Daylight Lodge, now one of the several in the state appealing to senior members. Ezra Lodge, the pride of Wor. Henry Kadetz, merged with King David Lodge in 1995. An honorary member of every Taunton and Taunton 28lh District Lodge, Wor. Bro. Kadetz bequeathed a gift of $1,000 to each. He came to America as a boy from Russia and chose to share his business success with the country that took him in. Since the rebellious 1960’s, the result of the unpopular war in Vietnam, the ranks of fraternal organizations have thinned. Authors like Rabbi Harold Kushner have published books like Who Needs God and When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough, Freemasonry? Who needs it? The answer from the not caring is too often “What’s in it for me?”
At the last published figures, Freemasonry, including Grand Lodges, York and Scottish Rites and the General Grand Chapter of the Eastern Star expended seven hundred and fifty million dollars a year (two million a day) for the relief of Masons, their widows and orphans and for society in general. That figure includes the support of Masonic homes, medical centers, medical research, scholarships to educate our youth, support of the buildings we open to the public and the Scottish Rite and the Shrine hospitals for children and the Burns Centers supported by the Shrine. If and when society suffers without the Masonic Philanthropies and its tradition of caring charity.will the uninitiated still ask, “Who cares?”
In the past year, a committee comprised of members from King David, Ionic and Charles H. Titus Lodges met to consider the consolidation of the three Lodges into one. Proposed by-laws, a stated meeting and the decision to use the name of King David Lodge was placed before the members of the three Lodges. The vote to consolidate was made in April, and the result was almost unanimous to approve the proposal. On June 17, 1998, Grand Master Arthur E. Johnson will return to Taunton to conduct the ceremony of consolidation and to install the newly elected and appointed officers. Thus, from one Lodge in 1798, to five in 1951, and back to the single evening Lodge in 1998, this historian, who has given much of his adult life to DeMolay, Rainbow and Freemasonry, asks: “Will this be the last history to be written about a Taunton Masonic Lodge?”