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Masonic History Of Rock Island County

Source: Historic Rock Island County
published by Kramer & Company,
Rock Island, Illinois, 1908

The first organization of Masonic lodges in this vicinity was a dispensation granted by the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois in 1847 to Cambridge Lodge at Cambridge, Illinois. The nearest lodges being St. Johns Lodge No. 13 at Peru, LaSalle County; Henderson Lodge No. 26, Knox County; and Monmouth Lodge No. 37, Warren County. A charter was granted October 4, 1847 to Cambridge Lodge No. 49, meetings to be held at Cambridge and Rock Island alternately. On January 26, 1848 in compliance with the unanimous request of Cambridge Lodge, a dispensation was granted to meet regularly at Rock Island. The distance between Cambridge and Rock Island, being thirty miles, and by team, it was quite arduous and tiresome.

Trio Lodge No. 57, A. F. & A. M., Rock Island, Illinois
Steps were taken May 18, 1848 to form a new lodge at Rock Island for Rock Island County. When the name was considered, there was a diversity of opinion. Among the names proposed were Mississippi, Rock Island, Barrett, Buford, Illinois and Larely; none commanding a majority. Doctor James W. Brackett proposed the name of Trio in honor of Rock Island, Moline and Camden Mills (now Milan) and the name of Trio was adopted. June 1, 1848 a dispensation was granted to Trio Lodge, Rock Island, Illinois and on October 3, 1848 was chartered as Trio Lodge No. 57.

May 3, 1855 Fort Armstrong Lodge No. 186 was organized by members from Trio Lodge, but on March 12, 1863 surrendered its charter and consolidated with Trio Lodge. In June and July, 1870 twenty brethren withdrew from Trio Lodge to organize Rock Island Lodge No. 658. Trio Lodge at its organization had seventeen members. It now (1908) has a membership of two hundred and fifty four.

Eureka Lodge No. 69, A. F. & A. M., Milan, Illinois
A Charter was issued to Eureka Lodge No. 69, on petition of brethren, on the fourth day of October, 1849, as follows: John Gilmore, William Ferias, J. M. Plumb, F. B. Gilmore, Louis Kinyon, James Dickson, William Kelly, James M. Gilmore and N. D. Bradley.

After the lodge had done business for eight or ten years a state of lethargy appeared and the charter was suspended and returned to the Grand Lodge. Finally the members of Eureka Lodge reorganized for work, consisting of brethren William Feris, Riley Hayford, D. C. Roundy, John B. Davidson, William Wallace, N. D. Bradley, Frank IL Harris, George M. Dickson, James Dickson, Alexander Owens, William Dickson and John Dickson; and the first communication was held on the fourth day of October 1866, when Eureka Lodge started anew.

The next trouble confronting Eureka was fire. The next year, 1867, fire consumed most of the business district of the village of Milan (then Camden Mills), and Eureka Lodge's paraphernalia was all consumed; the charter however, was saved.

Doric Lodge No. 319, A. F. & A. M., Moline, Illinois
Doric Lodge No. 319, A. F. & A. M., was organized at Moline, Illinois, May 11, 1859, by the following charter members : Horatio G. Dillon, Luke E. Nourse, DeWitt C. Hemenway, Robert H. Marshall, Benjamin R. Graham, William G. Towndrow; John B. Boswell, Amos Gould and Charles A. Brenan,

A charter was granted October 5, 1859. The membership at present is two hundred and fifty-four.

Philo Lodge No. 436, A. F. & A. M., Port Byron, Illinois
Charter was issued October 4, 1865. The charter members were: E. M. Hickox, Samuel R. Allen, D. G. Comstock, W. J. Sheppard, Henry Saddoris, T. D. Temple, James B. Temple, H. B. Young, George P. Gates, H. W. Guest, E. H. Johnston and Wilson Fleming.

Henry Saddoris is still a member--eighty-nine years old. He was made a Master Mason, in 1839, in Ohio. Have seventy-nine members at present.

Andalusia Lodge No. 516, A. F. & A. M., Andalusia, Illinois
Date of dispensation, August 24, 1866; date of charter, October 1, 1867. Charter members: B. F. Eby, F. M. Boney, S. B. Buffum, I. T. Walker, John Buffum, A. P. Roberts, F. A. Cobb, J. W. Ballard, Rinnah Wells, G. T. Connor, M. V. Spencer, James Cozad.

The first Worshipful Master under dispensation was B. F. Eby; Senior Warden, J. W. Ballard; and Junior Warden, F. A. Cobb. Stated communications are held Tuesday on or before full moon. The present membership is thirty-seven.

Cordova Lodge No. 543, A. F. & A. M., Cordova, Illinois
A dispensation was granted January 29, 1867 and a charter October 1, 1867. The charter members were D. H. Mattice, John K. Glasscock, Orville N. Whitford, Thomas Karr, J. L. Perkins, George Bryan, George Ege, Leonard Pyle, Jesse S. Dailey, B. F. Simpson, D. Zimmerman, A. R. Sill, R. K. McCormack, T. F. Abbott, J. E. Abbott, D. Nicewanger and Abraham Bolinger. The present membership is twenty-nine.

Valley Lodge No. 547, A. F. & A. M., Coal Valley, Illinois
Can not give the date of their dispensation, as some of their records were destroyed by fire. The date of the charter is October 1, 1867. The charter members were: James R. Rosenberry, William Wayne, William Meanor, B. R. Blackfan, Robert Lee, Frederick Weyerhaeuser, L. H. Trego, S. Blackfan. The number of members at present is sixty-six. Stated communications are  Friday on or before the full moon.  *(Webmaster's note:  Valley Lodge consolidated with Eureka Lodge on October 17, 2013.)

Rock Island Lodge No. 658, A. F. & A. M., Rock Island, Illinois
This lodge was organized and a dispensation was issued June 29, 1870 and was chartered October 6, 1870. The first officers were: Morris Rosenfield, Worshipful Master; Charles A. Benser, Senior Warden: Milton G. Mills, Junior Warden; II. H. Mayo, Treasurer; George P. Frysinger, Secretary; J. W. Whitmarsh, Senior Deacon; Henry C. Frysinger, Junior Deacon; J. S. Drake, Senior Steward; James F. Copp, Junior Steward; and Thomas Thornton, Tyler. The lodge had twenty-six charter members, eleven of which are still alive. The lodge now has two hundred and sixteen active members and two honorary members.  *(Webmaster's note:  Rock Island Lodge consolidated with Trio Lodge on June 20, 2007.)

Silvis Lodge No. 898, A. F. & A. M., Silvis, Illinois
Silvis Lodge was granted a dispensation May 18, 1907, and their charter November 1, 1908 at which time they had a large class in the Master Mason's degree, working from nine o'clock in the morning until ten o'clock at night.

The ladies of the Baptist Church served the three meals in a good homemade way; substantial, bountiful and varied, with fried chicken each time. In the lodge work, Rock Island and Moline brethren assisted. They had twenty-seven charter members. Their present membership is thirty-one.

Rock Island Chapter No. 269, Order Of Eastern Star, Rock Island, IL
Rock Island Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, was instituted at Masonic Temple, April 13, 1894. Mrs. Eva M. Conover, the organizer, was chosen Worthy Matron; G. F. Kramer, Worthy Patron; and Mrs. Maria B. Kinyon, Associate Matron.

The first corps of officers were: Secretary, Lillie K. Williams; Treasurer, Meta DeSoland; Conductress, Zetta Gilman; Associate Conductress, Anna Harrington ; Adah, Vashti Bollman; Ruth, Myra Arnold; Esther, Clara Woltmann; Martha, Ada Huntoon; Electa, Kate A. Tuller; Chaplain, Sarah Campbell; Warder, Mary Rhodenbaugh; Organist, Elizabeth Volk; and Sentinel, L. W. Mitchell.

In August of the same year the Secretary removed from the city, her place being filled by Vashti Bollman. In October the charter was granted; the chapter numbered two hundred and sixty-nine.

The first corps of officers elected after the chapter was chartered was: Worthy Matron, Eva M. Conover; Worthy Patron, G. F. Kramer; Associate Matron, Maria B. Kinyon; Secretary, Vashti Bollman; Treasurer, Martha Hyde; Conductress, Myra Arnold; Associate Conductress, Henrietta Kramer; Adah, Mary Pratt; Ruth, Zetta Gil-man; Esther, Jennie Johnston; Martha, Ada Huntoon; Electa, Kate Tuller; Marshal, Sarah Green; Chaplain, Addie Elliott; Warder, Mary Rhodenbaugh; Organist, Elizabeth Volk; and Sentinel, N. J. Sandstrom

The following is a brief history of Eureka lodge No. 69 as compiled by Worshipful Brother Dick Hynes for our 100th anniversary celebration on the 28th day of October, 1949.


Eureka Lodge received it's charter from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons on the 4th day of October, 1849. Two years previous to this at Cambridge, Illinois, a lodge (Cambridge Lodge No. 49) was formed of men from Cambridge, Rock Island, and Camden Mills (which later became Milan). Because of the sparsely settled condition of the country at this date, it was necessary to take in that much territory to secure enough brethren sufficiently interested to perform the labors attendant on forming a lodge.

However, as travel was difficult and as interest in the fraternity grew, it was found expedient to charter a lodge at Rock Island (Trio Lodge No. 57) in 1848 and at Camden Mills , Eureka Lodge No. 69 in 1849.

The records previous to November 30, 1866 are lost, but it is known that they were doing business as a lodge as late as August 10, 1854. On that date a certificate was issued to Brother William Sanderson as a Master Mason and was signed by C. Routzong, W. M., N. D. Bradley, S. W., and Wm. Farris, Secretary.

We have in the archives a rare petition hand written on letter paper. This is the petition for degrees of William Dack, recommended by Jacob V. Sutton and vouched for by Wm. Sanderson. There was no date on the petition and no record of action taken, but upon inquiry, our own friend and brother, Harry Dack, gave us the information that William Dack was a relative of his who was voted to receive the degrees but had, in the meantime, gone to Texas and was killed at the Alamo.*

About this time, 1854 or 1855, Dr. Joseph Huyett, remembers having taken the first degree, but is unable to give the exact date or how long the lodge was in operation after this; nor can it be ascertained what disposition was made of the property or records; nor who was to have the credit of having saved the Charter to be handed down to the present generation. It is safe to assume that from about 1855 until, November, 1866, a period of eleven years, Eureka Lodge No. 69 held no meetings and had no representation at the grand lodge.


*(Webmaster's note:  The "Battle of the Alamo" was fought from February 23 to March 6, 1836. 
Eureka Lodge wasn't chartered until October 4, 1849.  Therefore, William Dack [above]
may have died at the Alamo, but he could not have died at the Battle of the Alamo.)


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