Page 12 - MFM March 2016
P. 12

Sesquicentennial Minute

                          1866 - 1916

                    The first informal Meeting  was from Minnesota, Cornelius Hedges
                    of Masons in Montana Bro.   brought his dimit from Independence No. 87,
                    N. P. Langford related the  Iowa. Lander Frary hailed from Colorado,
first meeting as:
   “It was a clear September twilight when we     The first two lodges were located at
camped on the western side of the Range of the  Bannack and Nevada City, respectively, but
Rocky Mountains, where they are crossed by      these did not long survive. No work was
the Mullan Road. The labors of the day over,    done in the lodge at Bannack and the first
three of our number, Brother Charlton and       ritualistic work occurred in Idaho Lodge U.
Gere, and myself (all members of Minnesota      D. at Nevada City, referred to hereafter. This,
Lodges), the only three Master Masons in        however, is not the same lodge as Nevada
the company, impressed with the grandeur        No. 4, which was later given Charter by the
of the mountain scenery and the mild beauty     Grand Lodge of Montana in 1866.
of the evening, ascended the mountains to its
summit, and there in imitation of our ancient   The following is a chronological order in
brethren, opened and closed an informal         which early lodges were organized:
Lodge of Master Masons. I had listened to the
solemn ritual of Masonry a hundred times,         Bannack Lodge U. D. - Dispensation
but never when it impressed me so seriously     for this lodge was granted by Grand Master
as upon as upon this occasion; such also was    George Armstrong of Nebraska on April 27,
the experience of my companions. Our long       1863, to N. P. Langford as W. M; James Dyke,
journey and its undeviating round of daily      S. W.; and John Morrison, J. W., located at
employments, had, until this occasion been      Bannack City, then in Idaho Territory, in what
wholly unalleviated by any circumstances        is now Montana. Brother Langford, who was
calculated to soften or mellow the feelings     Grand Master of our Grand Lodge in 1870,
subjected to such discipline. We felt relief    states that the lodge never met under this
to know each other in the light of Masonry.     authority, as the brethren had dispersed to
Never was the fraternal clasp more cordial      other mining camps when the Dispensation
than when in the glory of that beautiful        arrived.
autumnal evening, we opened and closed the
first lodge ever assembled in Montana.”           Brother Morrison, mentioned above, made
                                                the first furniture of Helena Lodge.
   It will be noted that the authority for the
organization of Masonic Lodges in Montana         Idaho Lodge U. D. - On November
came from Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado,        17, 1863, Grand Master D. H. Wheeler of
but the individuals who were instrumental in    Nebraska, granted a Dispensation to Mark A.
organizing these pioneer lodges came from       Moore, W. M., Samuel W. Stanley, S. W.; Levi
almost every part of the United States.         J. Russell, J. W., and thirteen other brethren
                                                to open Idaho Lodge U. D. at Nevada City,
   Some of the dimits these early members       then in Idaho Territory, now Montana. This
are still among our Grand Lodge records.        Lodge met with the above named officers and
Our first Grand Master, Brother J. J. Hull,     held their first meeting on January 9, 1864.
received his Masonic degrees in Pittsburg,
Pennsylvania; Colonel Sanders was from            The First Raising in Montana - In the
Akron Lodge No. 83, Ohio; N. P. Langford        course of its existence it raised five or six
                                                brothers, the first of whom was Jeremiah G.
Page 12                                         Smith, on April 23,, 1864, who was the first
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