Masonic growth has not been reckoned in terms of numbers of lodges or members. Masonry has always believed in the selection of its numbers and of moving slowly in the establishment of lodges. Its growth has been reckoned in terms of quality rather than numbers and of excellence in the performance of Masonic duties. Its emphases are upon qualities of mind and of spirit which were within the reach of those who would qualify for admission. This does not mean that Masonry demands any distinctive achievement on the part of its members. There is a genuine concern for individual differences and it is not expected that all Masons would be alike. The Masonic belief is that there will be diversity among its members but that all of them will be striving for the highest degree of excellence in Masonry. When growth is mentioned in Masonry it is in terms of these types of developments which honor highest attachments in the institution and scorns shoddiness in any of its areas of work.
It was in this spirit that Grand Master John D Logan made his report to the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Ohio and jurisdiction in its Seventy-second Annual Communication in Youngstown, Ohio, August 16-17, 1921. He reported that the Grand Lodge stood ''upon the pinnacle of a year's accomplishments,'' and he stated that they had come together ''from all sections of this Jurisdiction to review the past and to take action for the future.'' It was with pride and pleasure that he announced that "our beneficent institution is distinguished for its prosperity in every section of this Jurisdiction." He said that Masonry had assumed an elevated position in the state and that the Fraternity had greatly increased and with few exceptions he could assure them that there had been united with them "men of moral and intellectual worth." This was the kind of growth which the Grand Lodge wanted.
However, there were new lodges reported to have been organized in the State which also showed an aspect of growth.
It was reported that a petition from a Masonic club had been received to establish a lodge at Barberton, Ohio, and on September 25-26, the Queen of Sheba Lodge was created. Grand Master Logan reported that this Lodge had a membership that they were proud of and their report to the Grand Lodge would merit their reception. A second petition was received from a Masonic Club of Cleveland, Ohio, which sought to form a new lodge. After the proper procedure had been followed on February 19-20, 1921 the Robert Scott Lodge was created in Cleveland with the cooperation of the William T. Boyd, the Excelsior and the Orega Lodges.
A third Masonic Club was organized at Wooster, Ohio, and on April 30, 1921, the Dunbar Lodge was created in Cleveland, Ohio. A fourth Masonic club at Middletown was created on April 30th, and was known as the Tried-Stone Lodge. This lodge was finally chartered on August 17, 1921, as Tried-Stone Lodge No. 83. The officers of this lodge were: B. A. Mitchell, Worshipful Master; Elbert Banks, Senior Warden; Eugene Wilson, Junior Warden. It was reported that Pride of Ohio Lodge No. 80 of Mansfield, Ohio was organized as a result of the Grand Lodge action in 1919. The charter was issued on August 18, 1920. The officers were William L. Ford, Worshipful Master; Joy Hugh Cook, Senior Warden; J. O. Smith, Junior Warden: John Smith, Treasurer and Edward Stevens, Secretary. The Dunbar Lodge No. 84, Wooster, Ohio received its charter from the Grand Lodge in action in Youngstown, Ohio on August 17, 1922. The Officers of this lodge were; Joseph Follis, Worshipful Master; P. W. Wooks, Senior Warden; William Fletcher, Junior Warden R. L. Morrison, Sr., Treasurer, and Evat Pringle, Secretary.
There was also the resumption of activity on the part of some lodges which had not been in operation. On March 6, 1921, a group of Masons met at Bellefontaine who were members of LaBelle Lodge. This lodge had ceased its labors for twelve years. It was reinstalled, officers were elected and it was reported at this Grand Lodge that the lodge had resumed its former position among the lodges of the state. The St. Luke's Lodge, Washington Courthouse, had not been holding its meetings, although it had continued to retain its charter. It had revived its interest, added members, and was making progress.
The St. John's Day Observance were widely celebrated in fitting manner and while all lodges were not engaged, the Grand Master reported that he hoped to see the day when every lodge in the Jurisdiction would devote its attention to the observance of St. John's Day. In connection with a statement concerning clandestine Masonry, the Grand Master reported that the best weapon and the most formidable one that could he used to combat the growth of clandestine Masonry was "for every member of the craft to put into practice those principles upon which our order is founded, and our institution will draw all men unto it." This was a concept of Masonic growth, that it should be not only through the increase of members but mainly through the practice of principles by the members of the subordinate lodges and the Grand Lodge.
The Ideal Masonic Mutual Benefit Association reported that it was making rapid strides forward in moving out of its infancy. The Grand Lodge was urged to watch the growth of the Ideal Masonic Mutual Benefit Association and then be prepared to come and join its work. Recommendations were made that the Grand Lodge should adopt a uniform system of bookkeeping to be used in all subordinate lodges and that the secretaries of these lodges meet at some convenient place to confer on the best methods to be used. It was also recommended that three District Deputy Grand Lecturers be appointed for four districts within the State to assist the Grand Lecturer in developing the ritualistic work. This too, would be a contribution to Masonic growth.
Grand Master Logan recommended that the Grand Lodge make provision whereby a complete file of Grand Lodge proceedings front the year 1904, be put in the custody of the Grand Historian and that a copy of each succeeding year should be sent. He also requested that the expenses of the office be taken care of by the Grand Lodge. This report was referred to the Committee on Grand Officer's Reports which was adopted by the committee and the Grand Lodge. This action was a step forward in the development of materials for a Masonic history in the State of Ohio. If it had been followed the records wood have been in better condition than previous years. The Board of Trustees reported that there had been "a rapid growth and vast improvement in many of the departments of the Grand Lodge over that of years past."
The William T. Boyd Library came up for consideration in the report of the Board of Trustees. In 1868, Brother Boyd had begun collecting the printed proceedings of the several Grand Lodges of our system which had been executed continuously by him. He collected pamphlets of this and other countries of Grand Lodges, Grand Orients and Supreme Councils, numbering over three thousand, and it is said that he had the best library and the most complete collection of Masonic documents of any colored Mason in the country. The cataloging of this library had been undertaking by Brother George A. Weaver, Columbus, Ohio and this catalogue was brought to the convention. There were 2,728 volumes catalogued in this library. The Grand Lodge proceedings of the different states and jurisdictions were arranges alphabetically and books of miscellaneous nature were marked as exhibits. It was reported that the catalogue seemed to be perfect and a suitable compensation was recommended for the work.
It was also recommended that when missing numbers of the proceedings were secured that the catalogue of the library should be printed and that not less than three collies should be sent to each subordinate lodge.
Brother John H. Bowles as Chairman of the Committee on Correspondence presented a report which indicated that this work had been going forward as effectively as it had been under the former Chairman, Brother W. T. Boyd. The Grand Treasurer's Report showed total cash receipts for the year, ending July 30, 1921, of $8,576.26 and of this amount $2,000.00 were in United States Liberty Bonds.
The elected officers were : Charles L. Porter, Dayton, Grand Master; Robert J. Evans Cincinnati, Deputy Grand Master George W. Holland, Springfield, Senior Grand Warden; Haze B. Skaton, Youngstown, Junior Grand Warden; Otis G. Fields, Toledo, Grand Treasurer, and Joseph J. Lee Columbus, Grand Secretary.
During the early part of 1922, the final disposition of the lawsuit in the Court of Common Pleas, Franklin County, Case No. 21,594, was had and the concluding statements and published findings were available. The case had been known as the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons of the United States of North America, a corporation not for profit, George M. Hagan, John W. Childers, Henry W. Rennick, J. W. Alstock, and John S. Johnson, Trustees of the same, Plaintiffs, versus The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio of Free and Accepted Masons, Colored, a voluntary association, and Cory Adams as Most Worshipful Grand Master J. J. Lee as Grand Secretary, Otis G. Fields, as Grand Treasurer and J. H. Bowles, as Treasurer of the voluntary association, Defendants.
The Court's findings were entered in its decree on January 6, 1922, with Judge Duncan presiding as follows:
As to the National Grand Lodge:
1. Plaintiff and Defendant Lodges are incorporated
under the laws of the State of Ohio, not for profit.
2. That each is flourishing through various subordinate lodges and have large property holdings.
3. The National Grand Lodge was organized in 1847, by certain lodge's of Free and Accepted Masons arid that said National organization was also known as "the National Compact."
4. That there is a divergence of evidence as to whether the original National organization adjourned sine die 1877?
5. That it is shown by preponderance of the evidence that there is a hiatus of 11 or 12 years in the operation and functioning of the said National Grand Lodge.
6. That in 1859, the Plaintiff organization appeared claiming the rights and privileges of the original organization.
7 That for the reason that the said Plaintiff National organization has existed since 1889 and governed all bodies within its Jurisdiction without legal objection of the Defendant Grand to due it is not now necessary to determine whether or not the Plaintiff National Grand Lodge of 1889 is the original Grand Lodge of 1847.
8. That for this reason the Plaintiff National Grand Lodge is permitted to continue.
As to the Defendant Grand Lodge:
9. That the Defendant was organized in the year 1849, by certain subordinate lodges of Free and Accepted Masons.
10. That the Masonic lineage of the Defendant Grand Lodge is clearly traced to the original Masonic warrant for colored Masons.
11. That there was a fraternal affiliation between the National Grand Lodge of 1847 and the Defendant Grand Lodge.
12. That the Defendant Grand Lodge withdrew from the Nation Grand Lodge or "National Compact" and ceased its affiliation with the Notional Organization of 1847.
13. That this withdrawal and cessation of affiliation took place in 1868 and was because the Defendant Grand Lodge and other state Grand Lodges denied the regular Masonic existence of the National Grand Lodge and its jurisdiction over state Grand Lodges.
14. That the Defendant Grand Lodge had a right to withdraw from said Compact and from the jurisdiction of the National Grand Lodge and that said withdrawal terminated all Jurisdiction of the national Grand Lodge of 1847 and of Plaintiff National Grand Lodge over this Defendant.
The outstanding fact featuring this decree for the defendant and Lodge was found to be a pure Masonic lineage; that it had acted within its rights when it terminated it affiliation with the national Grand Lodge and that it owed no allegiance to the National Organization of 1847 or the National Organization of 1889. On the other hand, the National Grand Lodge was given no regular Masonic status and it's only right to exist was because it had been permitted to continue without legal objections on the part of the Defendant Grand Lodge.
The Court also found in its decree that each of the parties were entitled to continue peaceably "it existence, operations, and functions as Masonic lodges and the practice of the rights and ceremonies of Free and Accepted Masons and the exercise of the rights of lodges and Grand Lodges, that each is entitled to the use of the word 'Masons' and to the use in its affiliation to the words 'Free and Accepted Masons'."
It was then ordered that each party was enjoined from interfering in any manner with the lodges or members of the other or the properly of the other. An injunction was denied to either party and the costs of court were to be borne and paid equally by each party.
The above degrees were the final ones in the case which had started in 1916, with Attorneys Wilbur King of Columbus and L. Howard Jones of Findlay, members of the Masonic fraternity serving the Grand Lodge. It had taken six years to gain this partial victory and it was a rewarding one for Negro Masons of the State of Ohio, although it was disappointing to many who wanted the National Compact to cease its functions as Masonic organization.
Past Grand Master Adams concluded the Report of the Grand Trustees in 1922, with the presentation of the decision with this challenge. "If the Grand Lodge of Ohio will now take advantage of her opportunity and give the Jurisdiction generally and her sister Jurisdictions a complete understanding of the scope and effect of this case, there will be little chance for these usurpers of a sacred title to exist and their further imposition on an unsuspecting public put to all end."
The second lawsuit of interest to Masons in Ohio was a decree issued against John A. Bell, one of the clandestine Masons who had been attempting to operate in the State of Michigan. The decree was issued on August 8, 1922, in the Circuit Court of Washtenaw, Ann Arbor, Michigan. The case was John A. Bell, The Most Worshipful John A. Bell Sovereign Grand Lodge, et al, Plaintiffs, versus The Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge, et al Defendants, No. 180. The Court heard the testimony and the arguments of the attorneys. The Court decreed that John A. Bell had been lawfully expelled from the regularly constituted lodges of Colored Masons for the State of Michigan and not having been restored to Masonry, he was not and could never be a regular Mason in any organization whatsoever until he had been so restored.
The Court also found than any organization that he appeared to head was "Fraudulent" and fraudulently organized. The Court then "permanently restrained" him and any associated with him "from holding themselves out as Masons; or from wearing the badge, buttons, emblems, decorations, or insignias of a Mason; that each of them is permanently enjoined from adopting or using the name of Masons in association with any other name or any derivative thereof and from claiming to be a member of any benevolent or charitable organization or incorporation that uses the name of Masons that may deceive persons not members of the Masonic Order." This Court decision was of great interest to Masons in Ohio because in previous years, John A. Bell had been
COPY OF DECREE SIGNED BY JUDGE GEORGE W. SAMPLE
STATE OF MICHIGAN - In thee Circuit Court for Washtenaw County - In Chancery.
JOHN A. BELL, THE MOST WORSHJPFUL JOHN A. BELL SOVEREIGN GRAND LODGE, ET AL.
TUE MOST WORSHIPFUL UNION GRAND LODGE, FT AL.,
At a session of the circuit court for the County of Washtenaw held in the city An Arbor on Tuesday, the 8th day of August, A. D. 1922.
Present, the Honorable George W. Sample, Circuit Judge.
But the said plaintiff, John A. Bell, having been law-fully expelled from their regular constituted Lodge of colored Masons who the State of Michigan and said John A. Bell never having been restored to Masonry by the authority which expelled him, that he is not, and can never be, regular Mason in any organization whatsoever until he has been some restored.
And the court further finds that any organization that he appears to be the head of its fraudulent and fraudulently organized.
Now, therefore, the Court doth order, Adjudge and decree that the simply plaintiffs, John A. Bell the Most Worshipful John A. Bell sovereign Grand launch and any and all persons acting under him, of his organizations or by their authority be, and the same are, each permanently restrained, holding themselves out as Masons or wearing the badge, buttons, emblems, decorations or insignias of a mason; that each of them is further permanently enjoined from adopting or using the name of Masons in association with any other name or any derivation thereof and from claiming to be members of any other name or any charitable organization or incorporation that uses the name of masons that may deceive persons not members of the Masonic Order.
GEORGE W. HAMPLE
Circuit Judge for the County of Washtenaw.
Barnes & Stowers, Attorneys for Defendants and Cross-Plaintiffs, business address, 911 Gratiot Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.
operating, within the State of Ohio. The decision was received with great satisfaction by, the Grand Lodge.
Grand Lodge Masonic leadership among Ngroes in the State of Ohio continued to manifest itself when the Seventy-third Animal Communication of the Grand Lodge of Ohio met it Troy, Ohio, August: 15-16, 1922, with Grand Master Charles L. Porter Presiding and Charles J. Lee as Secretary and Otis G. Fields, as Grand Treasurer. The Grand Lodge was opened in ample form Followed by devotions and the appointment of committees. The Grand Master in his address stated that the craft was in prosperous condition and that there has been "a steady but note phenomenal increase in numbers," with peace and harmony reigning. He said that in such cities as Cincinnnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo, there were preparations being made to build Masonic Temple, and that he thought that soon there would he plans for the laying of cornerstones in the future.
Attention was called at the outset to the passing, of brother John H. Bowels, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence. He had held positions which were filled with credit and honor to himself outside of the fraternity and was beloved in it. He had served as Deputy Grand Master, Grand Senior Warden, Grand Lecturer, Grand Eminent Commander, Seecretary and Treasurer of the Ideal Masonic Mutual Benefit Association and as Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Correspondence. It was said that in all positions he had served with dignity and devotion. He had departed this life on June 24, 1922.
The Grand Master reported that spondence three new lodges had been created. One of these was at Sandusky, Ohio which was created on November 26, with the assistance of Central Star Lodge No. 73, An application had been received from Hillsboro, Ohio, a slang for a dispensation to form a new lodge, the old one having long since given up its Charter. With the recommendation from Cedar Grove Lodge, the new lodge, Perfection Lodge, was created on April 23. A petition was also received from a Masonic club at Warren, Ohio, for dispensation to form a new lodge and on May 19, King Solomon Lodge was created. Progress Lodge No. 85 had been organized on November 21, 1921, and the warrant was issued at this Grand Lodge Communication of 192e. Its first Worshipful Master was S. D. Matthews. The officers in Tried-Stone Lodge No. 83 in 1921-22 were: D. A. Mitchell, Worshipful Master; Elbert Banks, Senior Warden; E. O. Wilson, Junior Warden; Matthew Russell, Treasurer; John Harden and Andrew Silecus, Secretaries. Pride of Ohio lodge No. 80 had as its elected officers in 1919, W. L. Ford, Worshipful Master; J. H. Cook, Senior Warden; G. O. Smith, Junior Warden; John Smith, Treasurer and Edward Stevens, Secretary.
The Ritual Committee was reported by the Grand Master as having done a splendid work of disposing of the Ritual and securing, its use. The report was further verified by the reports of the Grand Lecturers. There were four Grand Lecturers, Brothers Ray F. Hughes, E. J. Gatliff, A. A. Curtis, and John A. Ranks. Their reports showed that they had visited forty lodges and distributed 115 Rituals. Their report was that the lodges were performing work of a high order and were reflecting great credit upon the Grand Lodge. Their books were said to he in good condition. These reports showed the continuous growth of Masonry in Ohio.
The Grand Trustees gave a large part of their report to the lawsuit with the National Compact and they were of the decided opinion that this decision was going to be of value to Masonry not only in Ohio but elsewhere. The report urged that a copy be distributed to the several States and placed in the hands of each Brother in Ohio so that "they would be able to understand and explain their legal status, submitted as evidence in this case and acknowledged by the Court to be a lineage pure and unbroken in its descent front the original charter issued to Prince Hall and his Brethren."
The material growth of the Grand lodge was revealed by the report of the Grand Treasurer, Otis G. Fields, which showed that the Grand Lodge had received, with a balance brought forward, a total of $10,409.76 and that the Grand Lodge had to its credit, including United Mates Liberty Bonds, Fourth Series, of $2,000.00, a total of $8,652.27. The Ideal Masonic Mutual Benefit Association had been able to create a reserve fund which amounted to $2,725.09. This organization had been able to meet thrteen death claims of $200.00 each without any assessment upon the membership.
The elected and appointed Grand Officers were as follows: Clarles L. Porter, Dayton, Grand Master; Robert J. Evans, Cincinnati, Deputy Grand Master; George W. Holland, Springfield, Senior Grand Warden; Daze D. Skaton, Youngstown Junior Grand Warden; Otis G. Fields, Toledo, Grand Treasurer; and Joseph J. Lee, Columbus, Grand Secretary.
The minutes of this Grand Lodge contained a reprint of a news note in the Masonic bulletin of Cleveland sent in by Brother Harry E. Davis who was then a member of the Ohio General Assembly. This note described the funeral services of Egbert Austin Williams known as best Williams, the Comedian. His funeral services were held in the Masonic Temple, New York City on March 8, 1922, in a crowded lodge room. It was reported that scores of his former associates, officers of the lodge and Negro Masons were present and accompaned the body to the Woodlawn Cemetetery. Williams was described as a member of Waverly Lodge 597 of Scotland, England. It was the request by cable of the Grand Lodge of Scotland that, his funeral services he held at St. Cecile's which was known as the Daylight Theatrical Lodge of New York City. The Masonic Lambskin Apron of Williams was received front the Lodge in Scotland and placed on his coffin. An orchestra from a Broadway musical show played the funeral march. Soloists were from some of the exclusive churches of New York City. The news note was headed, "God our Father - Man our brother." This was a further recognition of the Negro in Masonry and coating from England it also showed that there had been continued growth there of the esteem of Masonry among colored Americans.
One of the important actions of the rear 1923, was the purchase of a home for Masons of the Ohio jurisdiction. In response to a resolution at previous Grand Lodge sessions, the Trustees began to look for a suitable place. There were several proposals submitted from several parts of the state, two at Canton, one at Cadiz, one at Wilberforce, one at Hamilton, one at Steubenville and two at Columbus, Ohio. After looking over the several proposals and having in mind that the resolution had stated that the home should be centrally located, the property at Urbana which was to be sold at Sheriff"s Sale came under consideration. The trustee, decided to bid on this property which was to be sold January 6, and the bid decided upon was $10,000.00, and it was appraised at $12,500.00 and could not be sold for less than two thirds of this appraisement. This sale was completed. The building was, found to be in need of repairs, circular letters were sent out asking the lodges for voluntary contribution to pay for the repairs. It consisted of a modern house, lots of fruit and shade trees and twenty-five acre, of good soil. This was an unusual project and was regarded as a definite contrabution to the development of Masonry in Ohio.
It was with a sense of pride, therefore, that the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge for the state of Ohio and Jurisdiction asseembled in its Seventy-fourth Annual Communication, August 14-15, 1923, at Dayton. After devotional services, a lodge of Master Masons was declared open in due form with the Grand Master's reception, the appointment of committees and the roll call of Grand Officer. Grand Master Charles L. Porter delivered his annual address which was described as "a more masterful effort on the part of the Grand Master, to give an account of their stewardship that has never been witnessed by the representatives of the several lodges comprising this great Jurisdiction." He said that as an evidence of appreciation there was long and hearty applause mingled with tears of gratitude for such a leader.
Before the representatives of fifty-six lodges the Grand Master gave his address describing the influence for good which this group of Masons who were good and true could exert. After referring to necrology and fraternal relations, he described the condition of Masonry in Ohio and the lodges as being better than ever before. He said that there was "more interest and cure given to the material admitted, while there is more general knowledge of the standard work adopted by the Grand Lodge and the degrees are more impressively conferred." He said that the report of the Grand Secretary undoubtedly would show a larger increase in membership than in previous years and that the Grand Lecturers had a right to feel proud of the condition of the Jurisdiction.
However, the Grand Master also reported that there had been evils which had crept in among the membership of the lodges and among these were intemperance and profanity. He urged that these be eliminated and that the time was now to cry aloud and spare none, for these evils threatened the peace and prosperity and even the perpetuity of Masonry. He gave this warning and denounced drunkenness and debauchery.
There had been a considerable migration of Negroes from the southern states into Ohio and other states of the North. He referred to these numbers as being a challenge to the Jurisdiction. As a matter of fact, from 1916 to 1919, there had been between 200,000 and 400,000 Negroes who came North, and between 1921 and 1921 over 500,000 moved North. The reasons for this shift were the increasing difficulty of maintaining an adequate standard of living, the lower wages in the South and the better industrial job opportunities of the North and the West. War industry had attracted some. The bad farming conditions of the South were also at fault.
The Grand Master reported that he had received letters from Grand Masters of several jurisdictions in the southern states asking drat these brethren who were migrating from the South be cordially received. He stated that at times there had been now and chilly reception received in some of our localities," and that this had clone great, harm. This matter was called to the attention of the Grand Lodge with the hope that some corrective action would be taken. He described the laying of cornerstones and then turned attention to the arrest of the charter of St. Mark's Lodge in Columbus. It was reported that, this lodge had gone into the Courts of Franklin County and obtained an injunction against the Grand Master and others to prevent the Grand Master from issuing a dispensation for the establishment of a new lodge.
Accordingly, he suspended the functions of the lodge on April 21. Two days later he arrested the jewel of the Grand Secretary mainly because the minutes had not been received. The Grand Lodge had already passed a resolution that if the Grand Secretary did not have the minutes out within ninety days after the close of the Grand Body he should forfeit one-third of his salary. The Grand Secretary had been urged to get out the minutes. When he did not do so his jewel was taken up on April 23. Past Grand Master H. T. Greer was appointed to act as Grand Secretary until the meeting of the Grand Lodge.
New lodges were set up at Loveland, Ohio on the recomendation of Pride of Solomon Lodge No. 60, located at Milford. He also received a petition from a number of Masons to set up a lodge at Elyria, Ohio, with a recommendation from Buckeye Lodge No. 68. These two lodges were started to work.
The recommendations included the appointing
of a printing committee of the Grand Lodge, the dedication of
the Home on the first Monday in September and the election of
a Board of Trustees for the Home. Foreign correspondence, was
presented and among the letters was one from Rubicon Lodge No.
27, Warsaw, Kentucky, asking for a transfer to the State of Kentucky.
Then, the Worshipful Master C. V. Brown arose and declared there
was not nor had there been a desire to transfer to the Kentucky
Jurisdiction. He said that there was a mistake somewhere. These
brethren at Warsaw were assured by the speeches of the representatives
of the Grand Lodge that if they desired to remain in Ohio after
having been in the Jurisdiction for many years, there was no desire
to force them to go elsewhere. This was very heartily received
by the representatives from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. The Gand
Lecturers reported numerous visits, the adoption
and distribution of, Rituals, and the study of the principles of the fraternity which were being carried forward with a great measure of success.
The report of the Masonic Home was made by the Board of Trustees. It was stated that the site purchased was located in Urbana on Main Street., the principal thoroughfare of the city. It was regarded as a most desirable piece of property, situated about fifty feet from the street, surrounded by splendid orchards and it was said to be "a soil that is capable of production to maintain the Home and a surplus for the markets." The Trustees had met on August 12, 1923, at the Masonic Home. Two resolutions were recommended. The first was that each subordinate lodge within the Jurisdiction collect from each member ten cents per month for operation of the home. This fund was to be kept separate and forwarded to the Secretary of the Home Trustees at the end of each quarter. The second resolution provided for permission to the Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, to furnish the Masonic Home with linen and eventually to erect a building as a dormitory, if this would be in line with their future program. A total expense of $280.90 for repairs was reported. Another resolution called for the appointment of a committee by the Grand Master to work with a local committee in Cleveland to prepare a program in celebration of the Seventy-fifth anniversary, the Diamond jubilee of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ohio and its Jurisdiction. This was adopted. When the report of the Committee on Jurisprudence was offered and reference was had to the arrest of the charter of St. Mark's Lodge, the Worshipful Master Brother John T. Bowles requested the privilege to explain St. Mark's side to the Grand Lodge. This was granted and Brother Ray E. Hughes was introduced to address the lodge. It was said of this address, "a great many facts were brought forth by the asking and answering of questions during this period." However, the Grand Lodge voted to sustain the Grand Master and a satisfactory adjustment had been made between him and St. Mark's Lodge by the restoration of its charter in June.
The report of the Ideal Masonic Mutual Benefit Association showed that there had been growth and the remarkable fact was that eight claims were paid of $1,600.00 without levying any assessment, the sum being drawn from the reserve fund. This left about the same amount in this fund as was in the reserve fund last year, of $2,566.59. The Grand Treasurer Otis G. Fields rendered his report showing total receipts to June 20, 1923, of $13,696.81. Total disbursements during the year were $12,484.61. Cash balance in the treasury was $1,212.20.
The following officers were elected, appointed, and installed: Charles L. Porter, Dayton, Grand Master; George W. Holland, Springfield, Deputy Grand Master; Everett J. Gatliff, Toledo, Senior Grand Warden; Harrison L. Adams, Urbana, Junior Grand Warden; Otis G. Fields, Toledo, Grand Treasurer and Howard T. Greer, Cincinnati, Grand Secretary.
One of the significant events of the Grand Lodge history was the Diamond Jubilee Anniversary and the Seventy-fifth Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge for the State of Ohio and Jurisdiction which was held at Cleveland, Ohio, August 12-13, 1924, with Grand Master Charles H. Porter presiding, Howard T. Greer as Grand Secretary and Otis U. Fields as Grand Treasurer.
Past Grand Master Greer, serving as Grand Secretary, was a member of the Diamond Jubilee Committee. He regarded this session as one of the great milestones of Grand Lodge history. The Grand Lodge should look backward, he said, and then forward, for, "from the year 1849, when Ohio became the first of the Grand Lodges which were instituted west of the Allegheny Mountains, until the year 1924, when it met in Cleveland, Ohio, to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee Anniversary, no Grand Jurisdiction can boast of a greater history.'' He was proud he said, when he realized that ''all the brilliant men who compose the Grand Lodges south of the Ohio River and west of the Ohio State line must necessarily call Ohio Mother and Grand Mother."
The Grand Lodge assembled in Royal Hall on Woodland Avenue and was opened in due form. After the appointment of committees and roll call, Grand Master Charles H. Porter delivered his address. It was said that this address was not only true to his leadership but it "characterized the virtues, exemplified the principles, and placed on record before the world the future program of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge F. & A. M. of Ohio and its jurisdiction."
He reported that it was most gratifying at the end of his term to be able to announce that the fraternity was in a more flourishing condition than in any previous time in history. The membership in the lodges had steadily increased, the treasury had been in good health, they had been able to aid those in distress, and the property value had increased from nothing to $23,000.00 in 1924. It was his confident opinion that this was a step forward. He had issued dispensation for a new lodge at Columbus known as Gloria Lodge; another at St. Clairsville to be known as Acasia Lodge; the third to be known as Rising Sun Lodge at Youngstown; a fourth to be known as John Washington Lodge at East Liverpool and a fifth, Sidonia Lodge at Elyria. They were all reported to be in good condition. Considerable tune was spent by him in going into the law and the constitution with reference to the powers of a Grand Master. This was regarded as one of the finest studies of jurisprudence that had been presented to the Grand Lodge.
The Boyd Library was again referred to and the Grand Master stated that the Grand Lodge had paid Brother George Weaver of Columbus, $48.00 for storage of this library and he recommended that it be moved to the Home at Urbana where they could save on the yearly rental. After examining the library he found many duplicate copies of minutes which took up lots of room, he said. He also stated that he was informed that the lodges in Cleveland would like to take over this guardianship of the library. The recommendation was made that if these lodges wished to house the library at their own expense that the Grand Lodge would release it to them.
A meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Home was called to consider the matter of furnishing the Home, as undertaken by Miss Ida Williams Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star present. This committee purchased all furniture for the home and said the Grand Master, "The order of the Eastern Star is due much praise for their wonderful cooperation. They have purchased $250.00 worth of the best linens, blankets, and so forth, and have appointed a visiting committee that will see that the house is neat and clean at all times.''
Since the Grand Lodge had recommended the creation of the Juvenile Department under the supervision of the Grand Lodge, it was reported that no action had been taken in the matter and the suggestion was made that a committee be appointed to organize a Juvenile Department.
The dedication of the Home was held on September third when there was a large gathering of reasons from all parts of the State. The oration was delivered by the Grand Orator. The Grand Master said of this event that this project was worthy of the consideration of every member of the craft and added, "may the day never come when the Masons of the Great State of Ohio shall allow the interest of Ohio Masonic Home to languish for want of means to meet its pecuniary obligations.'' He announced also that there was no Code on hand and that it was necessary to print another edition before the convening of the next Grand Lodge. He recommended that there should be added to the list of Grand officers at Grand Attorney.
One of the sections of this address dealt with Fraternal Insurance. He said that there had been constant demand upon him to see if something could not be done in the way of providing real insurance protection for the membership on some other basis than assessments. There had been devoted him a great deal of time and study to the matter and he had looked back into history to understand and explain the situation for Fraternal Insurance. Attention was called by the Grand Master to the movement for the building of insurance companies and the science known as ''Actuarial Science'' which had been developed. It was added, ''history and actual experience have proved the system of assessment as the fatal weakness of Fraternal Insurance and that they had been also told that adequate reserves and expertly calculated insurance principles were absolutely necessary in any form of safe and sound insurance. He added that the child, which is the modern insurance company, is outstripping the parent, which is the Fraternity."
Grand Master Porter reported that the system of assessments was becoming more burdensome year by year, particularly among the younger members who were doing it for the older ones. He wanted the members of the Grand Lodge to realize that they were living in a new day, that they were not living in horse and buggy days but that they were speeding by in the automobile. He also refer red to the fact that all over the country the state governments were waking up to this situation and demanding that the orders which government insurance business must be governed by insurance laws and that he had traveled from one end of the state to the other and with one accord there was a request for the removal of the burden of assessments and that this Grand Lodge should take action on he subject so that they would go down in history as a real epoch in Masonry.
Quite naturally the report of the Grand Historiographer, J. R. Arnold, was one of the highlights of the Grand Lodge because this was the Diamond Jubilee. Again and again he referred to the fine record which Ohio had made. He said, "Ohio has a brilliant record in Masonic history among men of color." From 1849, when T. W. Stringer presided in the Grand Fast to 1924, a total of seventy-five years, Charles L. Porter who was finishing his years of activity, stated that the Grand Lodge had looked with favor upon all who have been chosen to direct, together with those who have been selected to assist. The names of Parham, Clark, Boyd, Blackburn, Brown and Easton who live in Masonic History were called by Brother Arnold.
Among this number was also Grand Master Charles L. Porter who was born in the city of Cincinnati, and attended the public schools there. His Masonic endeavors began with Ancient Square Lodge No. 40 in Dayton, where he became Worshipful Master. He had the distinction also of serving as Grand High Priest of Royal Arch Masonry, Grand Lecturer for the Grand Lodge, 1911-1912 and Junior Grand Warden, 1913-1914 and Deputy Grand Master, 1918-1921. His work as Grand Master stood out among the achievements of the Jurisdiction. Said the Historiographer, "his name will live among the bright galaxy of stars which has adorned the Masonic firmament of this Grand Jurisdiction."
The report of the Ideal Masonic Mutual Benefit Association showed the fragile foundation upon which its insurance was being conducted. This report stated that "any excessive number of deaths in any one year will continue to be paid from our reserve as we fully realize that the bulk of our membership would lose interest and drop away from the association the moment the assessments become burdensome. The Grand Treasurer's Report showed total receipts of $7,335.08 and total disbursements of $5,559.94, leaving a balance for the year ending June 30, 1924 of $1,775.14.
The election resulted in the following: George W. Holland, Springfield, Grand Master; Everett J. Gatliff, Toledo, Deputy Grand Master; Harrison L. Adams, Urbana, Senior Grand Warden; Addison B. Reed, Steubenville, Junior Grand War den; Otis G. Fields, Toledo, Grand Treasurer, and Howard T. Greer, Cincinnati, Grand Secretary.
This Grand Communication was significant because of its history. Two orations stand out in the records of this Grand Lodge session. One of these was known as "Literary Report of the Grand Secretary'' presented by Past Grand Master Howard T. Greer. He referred to the history of the Grand Lodge and that there had been great men who had helped to create the Grand Lodge. During its existence, many Masons had written as well as spoken. No Mason, he said, can lay claim to such wonderful contributions to Masonic literature as the titles, ''Negro Mason in Equity'' and The History of Free and Accepted Masonry for the State of Ohio,'' the former by Samuel Wilcox Clark and the latter by William Hartwell Parham and Jere Brown. The crowning events he added, were the opening and dedication of the Masonic Home in Urbana and the celebration of the Seventy-fifth anniversary. The finances and membership had been increasing and the ''moral and intellectual standard was being constantly raised.''
The second was an address by the Grand Master, Arthur J. Riggs. It was reported as having lived long in the minds of those privileged to listen to it and it was authorized that it by published in the minutes and afterward placed in pamphlet form. He dealt with Ancient Masonry, its advent in Ohio among colored Americans. He said, "the American Negro is in its infancy, a youth at school, learning his trade, yet the white race fears him today as a competitor more than any other race beneath the broad canopy of Heaven." in asking where the men were who built the Masonic Temple 75 years ago he answered that they had gone but "the memory of their lives and labors yet abides as a heritage and a holy Twist to their successors."
One of the resolutions presented by Brother Harry E. Davis, and adopted by the Grand Lodge was one of the mile stones in its history. This resolution declared that "hereafter the Name Prince Hall shall appear after the constitutional corporate name of this Grand Lodge on all stationery and literature issued by it." Ceremonial days were proposed and adopted: March 6, to commemorate the initiation of Prince Hall and the other fourteen colored men in Boston; May 2, to commemorate the issuance of the warrant to African Lodge No. 459 by the Grand Lodge of England; June 24, the establishment of African Grand Lodge as the first Grand Lodge among colored Americans and May 3, the establishment of the Ohio Grand Lodge.
The Grand Lodge had continuously grown through the years and as it reached its 75th Anniversary its growth had not ceased. It was to continue to advance and to spread its influence among its members as well as among others who were to enter the subordinate lodges and from there move into the Grand Lodge. These Masons had grown as they undertook the leadership, studied their laws, their Constitution, their ritual, and endeavored to build solidly both in Masonic history and the Masonic faith.
This growth was continued in Masonry in Ohio under the leadership of the Grand Master elected at the Grand Lodge of 1924, George W. Holland with Howard T. Greer, Grand Secretary and Otis G. Fields, Grand Treasurer and four active Grand Lecturers, Haze Skaton, J. A. Willis, Charles Clay and William F. Johnson, through the activities of these individuals in their travels and contacts. The subordinate lodges were reached actively by them.
Grand Master Holland had served as Junior Grand Warden, Senior Grand Warden, Deputy Grand Master and now Grand Master. He was born at Ruddles Mills, Kentucky in 1874. He became a school teacher in Kentucky. In 1895, he moved to Ohio and began permanent employment in Springfield as a Postal Clerk. Later he became foreman of the Postal Mailing Division of the Crowell Publishing Company, and was President of the Colored Men's Council, a civic organization of Springfield.
Grand Master Holland declared at the close of the year in making his report to the Grand Lodge of 1925, that the Grand Lecturers had rendered an efficient service although they were handicapped on account of the restrictions placed upon them for travel. In order that this work may he carried out, Grand Lecturer Skaton divided the state into four 4istricts by running a line through the center from the north to the south. He found that this gave him an almost equal distribution of lodges. He recommended to the Grand Lodge that their districts be made permanent and the District Grand Lecturers he chosen from the district in which they were to serve which would lessen the expenses on the Grand Lodge and save the time of the lecturers.
The Grand Lodge assembled in its 76th Annual Communication, August 18-19, 1915 in Canton, Ohio at Eagle's Hall. After devotional services, a lodge of Master Masons was opened in due form, committees were appointed, roll call followed and then a Grand Lodge was opened in ample form. At an early opportunity, the Grand Lodge gave its attention to the Grand Master's Address which was reported to be "a splendidly and carefully prepared report of his year's stewardship, eliciting liberal applause.'' His emphasis was upon fellowship and upon the principles of Masonry. He defined them again and again and stated that his own acts had been based upon fellowship, character and duty.
Dispensations were issued for the establishment of new lodges at Glendale, Ohio where Pride of the Valley Lodge was to be established; a second to a new Lodge at Youngstown to be known as Jerusalem Lodge and a third to Cleveland for a new lodge known as Palestine Lodge. This report indicated that the Masonic Home was becoming more serviceable and was receiving the assistance of Masons. The superintendent and matron, Mr. & Mrs. Earl Stewart were doing good work at the Home. This statement was approved and implemented later by the board of Trustees of the Home.
There was a division created in the lodge when the announcement was made that the Grand Master had revoked the charter of Gloria Lodge No. 89. A motion was made to sustain this action, an amendment to the motion was offered and seconded to repudiate the Grand Master's action. A motion to call the lodge from labor to refreshment prevented the continuance of the discussion. When the Lodge reassembled the motion was made that the vote upon the amendment to repudiate the action be made by ballot. The ballot showed a total of 272 votes, whereas the poll of the Grand Lodge by the Committee on Credentials showed 246 votes present. The Grand Master then ruled that the vote taken was illegal and ordered a new ballot taken. The second ballot was taken and resulted in 159 voting in favor of repudiating the action of the Grand Master and 107 voting against repudiating this action. As a result of this vote, the charter was then and there restored to Gloria Lodge No. 89. This was one of the very few actions in the history of the Grand Lodge when a Grand Master's action was repudiated.
The District Grand Lecturer Haze Skaton urged the members of the lodge to give consideration to the fundamentals of Masonry. He said tat the Grand Orient of France had eliminated all references to the Grand Architect of the Universe from their Ritual and that the Bible was not used in the lodge room. This violated two of the most cherished landmarks of the Order. He then asked whether this jurisdiction could hold Masonic communication with or recognize the members of this Grand Orient. The Committee on Jurisprudence when requested by resolution to seek information on the position of the Grand Orient of France on God and Religion, stated that it would report at the next annual communication in 1926, and make recommendations concerning the attitude of the Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio.
An action of the Grand Lodge which was history making was the resolution that an invitation be extended to the Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star of the State of Ohio to hold its annual Grand Convocations at the same time and in the same city in which the Grand Lodge convened. This resolution was submitted by Brothers Goodrich, Giles, and Joseph J. Lee and was adopted. Many of the members of the Order of the Eastern Star had attended the cities with their husbands during the Grand Lodge sessions and this seemed to be a desirable development. The resolution therefore became historic and prophetic in its trend. A second resolution provided for a Board of Trustees of five members to manage the Masonic Home, each trustee was to be a Past Master and an active member of the Grand Lodge to be elected one each year for a period of five years and to render a report at the Grand Lodge sessions.
The attendance at this Grand Lodge included eighteen Past Grand Masters, seventy Past Masters, and representatives of sixty-one lodges. Charters were granted to Jerusalem Lodge at Youngstown, Pride of the Valley Lodge at Glendale and Palestine Lodge at Cleveland. Five hundred copies of the constitution and code were ordered to printed and distributed throughout the Jurisdiction. The Diamond Jubilee Oration of Grand Orator Arthur J. Riggs delivered at the 75th Anniversary Convention was ordered to be printed to the extent of 4,000 copies for distribution and sale through the secretary's office at ten cents each.
The elected officers were as follows: Frank A. B. Hall, Cincinnati, Grand Master; Everett J. Catliff, Toledo, Deputy Grand Master; Harrison L. Adams, Cleveland, Senior Grand Warden; Addison B, Reed, Steubenville, Junior Grand Warden; Otis G. Fields, Toledo, Grand Treasurer, and Howard T. Greer, Cincinnati Grand Secretary.
It was evident that the Grand Lodge had
developed with considerable growth in its internal life and in
the expansion if the concepts of Masonry and it seemed that a
new era of development was about to begin in the history of the
Grand Lodge of colored Masons in Ohio.
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