Reflections on the Master Mason Seminar Held Yesterday in Nashua

14753245_1144292265649938_4224914160183795063_oYesterday was the Master Masons Seminar, put on by The Grand Lodge of NH, for newly raised Masons or Masons that just wanted to attend the seminar. The seminar was quite interesting and many topics were covered. Topics ranged from the First Mason noted in history to current day Masons and their practices.

The first lecture dealt with the start of the Fraternity in 1717 when Anthony Sayer (1672-1741) was made the first Grand Master on John the Baptist Day, June 24th, of the same year. The talk was given by Bro. Malcolm A. Wooff, District Education Officer for District No. 2. Of mention we were in the Masonic Building in Nashua, NH, which is home to the Rising Sun Lodge which is part of District No. 2.

This talk was quite interesting but, as any newly raised Mason knows, as well of those that have been in the Fraternity for a while, nothing is straight forward in masonry. A good example of this is that not long after reviewing the detail mentioned above Bro. Wooff then discussed Elias Ashmole (1617-1692) who is the first recorded English Mason, raised in the year 1646, In Warrington by nine Brothers – none of whom were Operative Masons.

A moment for a bit of clarification – “Operative” is referring to the stone masons that built the Temple of King Solomon and the Great Cathedrals of Europe and “Speculative” is referring to the masons that embraced the principles of these masons but were not “Operative” stone masons. This distinction is very important in looking closely at what Bro. Wooff said. Remember it is stated that Elias Ashmole was raised (made a Mason) in 1646 by people whom none were Operative Masons rather they were practicing Speculative Freemasonry. But wait, didn’t Masonry start in 1717?  There you have a large part of the seminar, understanding that not all answers regarding Freemasonry are to be seen as black and white.

A bit of housecleaning: For more information on Operative versus Speculative Freemasonry please see page 7 in the Public Domain book, Introduction to Freemasonry, which is recommended reading by the New Hampshire Grand Lodge. Please note that all writing on Freemasonry may not be complete or entirely accurate, that is why when you have a question regarding Freemasonry it is best to Ask a Mason, or if none are available you can always refer to the Grand Lodge Website and look for a list of recommended reading.

After Bro. Wooff’s lectures we had discussions from other Grand Lodge Officers including Deputy Grand Master, Bro. John E. Lobdell. Brother Lobdell gave several lectures on expectations and on lodge practices and before lunch we moved down to the Lodge Room where District Deputy Grand Lecturer, Bro. Paul S. Gross (District No. 4) gave an excellent lecture on protocol in the lodge, including the proper way, both where and how, to give the Due-Guard and sign when entering and leaving the lodge as well as tips on how to enter a meeting after it has been started. There was also discussion on the use of smart phones in the Lodge during a meeting as to whether it was appropriate. This topic was brought up by a Brother who had come from a lodge in Texas and was commenting throughout the day related to the differences, NH vs TX, in the lodge practices.

Another topic of conversation that was covered was how one Mason should address another outside of the lodge.  This topic was addressed by the Senior Grand Warden Bro. Kenneth A. Clay Jr.  Bro. Clay said that outside of the Lodge he was “OK” with having a brother just call him Ken, there was no need to bring the title of the lodge outside of the lodge and address him as R.W. Brother Clay or Just R.W. For me, this is something that was good to hear and there was lots of good discussion around this topic. After this we broke for lunch.

Lunch, which consisted of cold cuts, chips and a nice warm chicken soup prepared and served by our Junior Grand Warden Bro. David S. Collins. One thing I like in Masonry is that everyone is willing to pitch in and help, from setting up a room to serving soup, during lunch I had the opportunity to meet many new brothers as well as Chat with brothers that I already knew. An example is a brother from Horace Chase Lodge (Bro Tom – I did not get his last name) was present, I first met Tom when I had attended his Fellowcraft Degree at Horace Chase the day after I  received my own Fellow Craft degree at Harris Lodge. I also had the chance to speak again with the District Deputy Grand Master (District No. 2) Bro. Joe Beaumont, who I had last seen on a Deep Sea fishing trip with the Rising Sun Lodge Members and Family this summer, I was quite sea sick during most the fishing trip but recalled our conversation at the end of the trip. To the best of my Knowledge Bro. Beaumont was the first 33rd Degree Mason that I had met. I learned that Bro. Beaumont was also a private pilot and we discussed the different types of planes that we flew in the past (I am a pilot as well).

After Lunch we went back to the Lodge room where the District Education Officer (District No. 8) Bro. John A. Loven discussed more lodge protocols including how to verify a visiting mason is a Mason. Bro, Loven’s talk was quite good and it convinced me that I need to keep fresh with all my degrees for seeing other lodges in other areas of the world! When the talk was over we went back up to the room set up adjacent to the dining area where more talks took place. Our Junior Grand Warden Bro. David S. Collins gave great discussions on the Grand Lodge constitution and more. At this point, many of the conversations included all the NH Grand Lodge officers that had come to present at the Seminar.

There was one part where the question asked the Seminar attendees related to what did the degrees mean to individuals. I had spoken up that I felt that the third degree was a big responsibility that I taken onto myself and that it made me stop and think, because the commitment was clear and I took it seriously.

In closing, there is no way that I covered every conversation that I had or every lecture that was given at the seminar. However, I do hope that if you have not been to a Master Mason Seminar that is put on by Grand Lodge that you will go next year. I know that I will go back.

Additionally, for those on the Harris Lodge mailing list I will be sending a link in email later that will allow you to download the material that was handed out on the thumb drive yesterday. Including:


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Petition our Lodge

You can download the petition to Become a Mason with Harris Lodge No. 91  as your Lodge or to affiliate with us online:

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Harris Lodge Door Installation

Our Lodge Historian, Brother Fred W. Courser, III, and our Senior Deacon, Brother David M. MacAllen Installing a new door this morning when the Lodge was open for our Open Houseimg_8237-2 img_8242-2 img_8256-2 img_8257-2 img_8260-2 img_8263-2 img_8264-2


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Harris Lodge e-mail subscriptions

You can now sign up for Harris Lodge e-mail updates;
Trestleboard, Website Updates, Events, or General news online. Just click on the below link and then complete the subscription form. If you are not a Harris Lodge Member or Affiliate please indicate your lodge name in the Other Field, if not a Mason please select “Web Site Follower, not a Mason”

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Parade at the Warner Fall Foliage Festival​ today.

Harris Lodge’s Marshall Bro. Ronald F. Piroso  marching in the Parade at the Warner Fall Foliage Festival today.  Bro. Piroso is on the far right


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A Visitor from the netherlands

A Visitor from the Netherlands came in during the Warner Fall Foliage Festival and talked to our Senior Warden Bro. Edwin J. Geffken to discuss the Differences between Masonry in the USA versus his home in the Netherlands!


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First Full Day of the WFFF

The Warner Fall Foliage Festival is in full swing. Please feel free to stop by our Lodge and talk to some of our members, get a water and see the inside of our building, all are welcome. Also please do stop by for our Open House next week.

We hope you have a great time at the WFF – That barbecue behind our lodge looks real good!

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Setup: Warner Fall Foliage Festival

They are starting to set up for the Warner Fall Foliage Festival ( ) around our lodge

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In the beginning: The first two years of Harris Lodge No. 91

img_8132In this, our first document on the history of our lodge, we will cover our Charter to our first full year of existence. The information will come completely from written documents that are used as part of the investigation conducted to compile this history. These documents include the records of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the state of New Hampshire, specifically the printed annual communication record.  Additionally, the reference material includes the “The History of Warner, New Hampshire, for One Hundred and Forty-four Years, from 1735 to 1879”, an eBook that is freely available from the internet. This book has to be used so that the history of Masonry in Warner can be described properly.

For reference, and accuracy it is important to point out that sometimes there is more than one lodge in a city and sometimes there were lodges in existence but they are gone now. In the case of Harris Lodge No. 91, the only Lodge in Warner, it was preceded by the Warner Lodge No. 35. This Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons was organized in 1819, and much of its history was lost to us because of a fire in 1849.

As its hall, furniture, records, &C[SIC]., were destroyed by fire in May, 1849, and the lodge thereafter soon ceased to exist, but little is known of its history or its work. [1]

Masonry in Warner then ceased to exist until it was reconstituted in Warner, on September 30, 1875. With its first WM being Gilman C. George, there is a photo of him at the beginning of this article.

The following are the names of those installed as officers of Harris Lodge [1] :
• Gilman C. George, Master.
• Wesley K. Leversee, Senior Warden.
• Philip C. Wheeler, Junior Warden.
• Alonzo C. Carroll, Treasurer.
• James G. Ela, Secretary.
• Augustus R. Pitman, Senior Deacon.
• John R. Cogswell, Junior Warden.
• Rev. Lemuel Willis, Chaplain.
• Frank W. Graves, Marshal.
• Samuel Davis, Senior Steward.
• Stephen W. Davis, Junior Steward.
• Wm. W. Davis, Tyler.

Fast forward to 1876, we can find the report to the M.W. Grand Lodge regarding the Harris Lodge No. 91 in Warner. In the Annual communication it discusses the visitation of the District Deputy Grand Master and the Grand Secretary to Harris Lodge No. 91 on March 15th. The report was but two paragraphs, and it mentioned that the attendance was rather small but those present were “Zealous in the success of their enterprise.” If you consider that this lodge was just chartered at the 1875 Annual Communication this was a resounding endorsement. The report went on to say that our W. Master George was “thoroughly qualified for his position and I doubt not the Lodge will prosper while under his care.” It is clear that W. Master George did get us off to a good start. During the visitation two candidates were raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Emphasis is placed on the lodge accommodations, as the report states that in our first year we commenced our career with “Good and Appropriate furniture and Jewels, and free from debt.”

Our next lodge history post will cover 1877-1890. But you do not have to wait that long to learn more about Masonry in Warner. Why not stop by our Lodge on October 15th (9 am-3 pm) and visit us during our Open House. If you are not from Warner look to your particular town because this is a state and New England (USA) Wide Masonic Open House.

For more information regarding the Open House please view this web page:

You can also find more ways to contact our lodge by:
• Visiting our “contact us” page:
• Visiting our Twitter page:
• Visiting our Facebook page:

1. The History of Warner, New Hampshire, for One Hundred and Forty-four Years, from 1735 to 1879 p.312 (Published 1 January 1879) Republican Press association

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Dining Hall: new Window Install

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