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: http://www.harrislodge.com/open%20house.htm

You can also find more ways to contact our lodge by:
• Visiting our “contact us” page: http://www.harrislodge.com/contact.html
• Visiting our Twitter page: https://twitter.com/HarrisLodge91
• Visiting our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HarrisLodge91/

References
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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