Charleston Lodge 35

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CHARLESTON LODGE No. 35 
A. F. & A. M. 
One Hundred Fifty Years of Freemasonry in Charleston, Illinois 
1845-1995 
©2002
 

GRAND LODGE OF ILLINOIS - 1995

John R. Louden, Jr. - Most Worshipful Grand Master 
Benny L. Grisham - R.W. Deputy Grand Master
J. Garrie Burr - R.W. Senior Grand Warden 
James E. Durbin - R.W. Junior Grand Warden 
Roy E. Wyckoff - R.W. Grand Treasurer
Robert Kalb - R.W. Grand Secretary 
James O. Kenagy, Jr. - R.W. Grand Chaplain 
George H. Ryan - R.W. Grand Orator 
Eugene F. Baker - W. Deputy Grand Secretary 
Michael B. Myers - W. Grand Pursuivant
Milton D. Dirst - W. Grand Marshal 
Tom Chumley - W. Grand Standard Bearer 
Joseph L. Casson - W. Grand Sword Bearer 
Clifford E. Shafer - W. Senior Grand Deacon 
John R. Louden, III - W. Junior Grand Deacon 
Michael J. Mealey - W. Grand Steward 
Kevin J. Beals - W. Grand Steward 
Allen L. Lester - W. Grand Steward 
Wilmer R. Birk - W. Grand Steward 
Charles W. Hartman, Jr. - Bro. Grand Tyler 
James E. Humphreys - Bro Asst. Grand Tyler 
Jay Sade - Grand Historian 
Robert E. Ausbury - Grand Organist 
Jackson D. Cline - Asst. Grand Organist
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CHARLESTON LODGE OFFICERS - 1995 

Jon A. Cole - Worshipful Master 
Robert P. Wright* - Senior Warden [Died January 15, 1995] 
William J. Warmoth - Senior Warden 
Tom Daugherty - Junior Warden 
Ivan Weaver - Treasurer 
Allen Byrd - Secretary 
Raymond Catron - Chaplain 
Charles E. Cox - Senior Deacon 
William A. Harrison - Junior Deacon 
B. Stephen Daugherty - Senior steward 
Donald Spence - Junior Steward 
James Hacker - Marshall 
Charles F. Tucker - Tyler 
Ben Blessing - Organist

SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION PLANNING COMMITTEE 
Jon Cole, Chairman 
Mac Beason 
Ben Blessing 
Allen Byrd 
Raymond Catron 
Steve Daugherty 
Tom Daugherty 
Bill Harrison 
Dan Thornburgh 
Charles Tucker 
Bill Warmoth 
Ivan Weaver* [Served on the Centennial Committee in 1945] 
Bob Wright 
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SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION EVENTS 
Kickoff Breakfast - February 11 - The official kickoff event of the Sesquicentennial year. Following the catered breakfast, a graphic slide presentation was used to point out some of the high and low points of the Lodge's history. The Sesquicentennial activities planned for the year were also discussed. 
Veteran's Memorial Day Ceremony - May 27 - The Lodge honored the men, who as members of Charleston Lodge, served their country in the Mexican War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam Wars. Masonic flags were available for family members to place on graves of the men being honored. 
Sesquicentennial Historical Symposium - June 24 - This is a joint meeting between Charleston Lodge, the Illinois Lodge of Research and the Coles County Historical Society. Plans include a historical presentation on the history of the city of Charleston, Charleston Lodge and some of the individual Lodge members. 
EIU Cornerstone Rededication - September 7 - The Centennial Celebration Committee at Eastern Illinois University has asked Charleston Lodge to organize a rededication of the cornerstone laying of the Old Main Building which took place May 26, 1896. 
Master Mason Degree - October 14 - The work will be put on by the Scottish Rite Ancient Craft Degree Team of the Valley of Danville who will perform in tuxedos and by candlelight. 
Lodge Rededication - October 14 - The Masonic Temple, built and dedicated in 1963, will be rededicated by the officers of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. 
Anniversary Dinner - October 14 - The 150th Anniversary Dinner will be in the Grand Ballroom at Eastern Illinois University. The program will consist of a keynote speaker and a presentation about Charleston Lodge and the benefits of Freemasonry. 
Open House - October 15 - The Lodge will host an open house a at the Masonic Temple and feature exhibits pertaining to the Lodge.

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EARLY FREEMASONRY IN ILLINOIS 
As the early American pioneers began to move westward from the Eastern colonies, they crossed what is now Indiana and Illinois. When they reached the Mississippi River, they discovered an old Indian camp which we now call Kaskaskia. Soon a Jesuit missionary station began there and the settlement became an important French trading post. Trappers and traders came in increasing numbers and frontier villages replaced the old trading posts. The British captured the town in 1763, and nine years later, Kaskaskia became the British military headquarters for the Northwest Territory. 
As Americans continued to move west, Masons took a prominent part in the exploration and settlings of the new lands. The outbreak of the Revolution had little effects on Illinois until July 1778, when Major George Rogers Clark, a Mason, and his small band of Kentucky volunteers captured Kaskaskia and the nearby settlements. This gave America control of the huge Northwest Territory for the rest of the war. 
The history of organized Freemasonry in Illinois started on May 7, 1804; fourteen years before Illinois would be ratified for statehood. On that day, Brother James Edgar, of Kaskaskia, wrote to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania asking for a Dispensation to form Western Star Lodge located in Kaskaskia. The Dispensation was granted September 24, 1805, making Western Star Lodge #107 the first Masonic Lodge in the Indiana Territory. 
The newly formed Lodge held their first meeting in a two-story brick building in Kaskaskia. The building would later be rented to the State of Illinois to serve as the first State Capital. 
By 1816, several Masonic Lodges were operating in the Indiana Territory. They had been granted Charters by the Grand Lodges of Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Indiana. However, the great distances to, and the methods of travel, made it almost impossible to communicate or attend the Grand Lodge affairs. As a result, these Lodges in the territory were largely left upon their own for work. 
FIRST GRAND LODGE OF ILLINOIS
A Masonic Convention on December 9, 1822 was held in the State Capital building at Vandalia. Several Lodges in the territory who had been granted Charters by Grand Lodges of other states decided that since the territory had become a state in 1818, to meet and form their own Grand Lodge. Two days later, they proceeded to organize and nominate officers. The nominations were then presented to the Lodges, approved and duly elected. The first elected Grand Master of Illinois was Shadrach Bond, who only a few days earlier had completed his term as the first governor of the State of Illinois. 
The Grand Lodge of Illinois met in stated communication one year later. Several of the Lodges in Illinois, holding Charters from Grand Lodges of other states, squared themselves and received Charters from the Grand Lodge of Illinois. However, not all Lodges affiliated with the new Grand Lodge at that time. From 1805 to 1827, eighteen Lodges were formed in Illinois, sixteen of which affiliated with the new Grand Lodge. 
For about four years after the organization of the Grand Lodge, Masonry in Illinois thrived. But in 1826, an anti-Masonic wave began in New York, following the disappearance and supposed murder of William Morgan, author of a book exposing the secrets of Masonry. When Masons in the New York court system seemed to be obstructing efforts to bring Morgan's alleged murderers to justice, a wave of anti-Masonic sentiment swept across New York and many other states. An Anti-Masonic political party was formed and an attempt was made to elect their presidential candidate in the 1832 election. Popular feeling was so strong against Masonry that many Masons terminated their membership, Lodges gave up their Charters and some Grand Lodges ceased to function. The effect of the anti-Masonic hysteria was disastrous in Illinois. The first Grand Lodge did not meet again after January 1827. From that date to 1835, a period of six years, organized Masonry in Illinois was non-existent. 
PRESENT GRAND LODGE OF ILLINOIS 
By 1840, there were six Masonic Lodges working in Illinois. Delegates from the six Lodges met in the town of Jacksonville on January 20 of that year. It was resolved to ask the cooperation and assistance of the Lodges in the state for the purpose of organizing a Grand Lodge of Illinois. 
On April 6, 1840, the delegates met again. Representatives from Harmony Lodge #24, Springfield Lodge #26, Columbus Lodge #20, Bodley Lodge #29, Far West Lodge #26 and Equality Lodge #102 by its proxy, proceeded to form and adopt the Constitution and By-Laws and elect the Grand Lodge Officers. Three weeks later, on April 28, the delegates met a third time and elected Abraham Jonas of Columbus Lodge #20 as Grand Master of the present Grand Lodge of Illinois. The next day, the Grand Lodge was called to labor again and Charters were granted to Bodley Lodge #1 at Quincy, Equality Lodge #2 at Equality, Harmony Lodge #3 at Jacksonville, Springfield Lodge #4 at Springfield, Far West Lodge #5 at Galena and Columbus Lodge #6 at Columbus. The Grand Lodge then closed in due form and harmony. 
Masonry in Illinois reached its peak in 1954, with over 250,000 members. However, membership has been on a steady decline since then. According to information presented at the Grand Lodge of Illinois Session in October 1994, there are presently 665 Masonic Lodges working in the State of Illinois. Total membership is 102,465. 
PROCEEDINGS OF MASON LODGE #8 
When the Grand Lodge of Illinois met in 1841, a Charter was granted to Masons in Decatur, known as Macon Lodge #8. In the summer of 1845, Masons living in Charleston petitioned Macon Lodge, praying for a Dispensation to have a Masonic Lodge in Charleston and to be known as Morning Star. 
The minutes of Mason Lodge show this on its record: 
Special Communication - August 2nd A.D. 1845, A.L. 5845.
On motion of Brother Post, the following Preamble and Resolution was adopted to wit; Whereas the petition of sundry Masons of Coles County, Illinois, to the Grand Lodge of said state is signed by only six Masons when it is necessary to have seven. Therefore, resolve that the Secretary be requested to write to said Brethren in Coles requesting them to get the signature of one other Mason and request them also to send a representative to this Lodge, when this Lodge will take great pleasure in recommending or doing any other thing which will be right and proper in the premises and consistent with Masonry. The Lodge was closed in harmony until our next regular communication. J.R. Gorin, Sec.
Special communication August 11th A.D. 1845, A.L. 5845. 
The Lodge was opened in the Master Mason degree for the dispatch of business. On motion, Resolved that from our knowledge of the fact that some of the signers of the petition here enclosed are Masons and their voucher that the others are such, that we take pleasure in recommending to the Grand Lodge of Illinois said petitioners and request that the prayers of said petitioners may be granted by said Grand Lodge. The Lodge was closed in harmony until our next regular communication. J.R. Gorin, Sec. 

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GRAND LODGE OF ILLINOIS
Held in the Town of Jacksonville 1845

It was during the Grand Lodge meeting which was held on Wednesday morning, October 8, 1845, that the Committee on Returns and Work of Lodges Under Dispensation beg leave to report: That they have examined the returns of Morning Star Lodge, Under Dispensation, in Coles County, and have been happy to find them correct. The dues of the Lodge are paid and a Charter is prayed for. 
The Committee would recommend a change in the name of the Lodge, there being another Lodge of the name it now bears within the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge, with the adoption of the following resolutions: 
Resolved, that a Charter be granted to Morning Star Lodge, as Charleston Lodge #35, its by-laws being corrected in the particulars noticed; and that Brother E. Roach, Senior Warden of the same, be and is hereby invited to take his seat as a member of this Grand Lodge. The Committee report was accepted by Most Worshipful Levi Lusk, Grand Master.
NAMES ON THE ORIGINAL CHARTER OF CHARLESTON LODGE #35 
OCTOBER 8, 1845
William D. Gage - Worshipful Master 
Edmund Roach - Senior Warden 
Adam Mitchell - Junior Warden 
Green G. Guthrie - Senior Deacon 
Henry Eckles - Junior Deacon 
James Watson - Secretary 
Jacob Linder - Treasurer and Tyler 
The name of Henry Eckles, an Entered Apprentice, was corrected by the Grand Lodge of Illinois in October 1847. 
OTHER LODGE CHARTERS 
NAMES ON THE CORRECTED CHARTER 
William D. Gage - Worshipful Master 
Edmund Roach - Senior Warden 
Adam Mitchell - Junior Warden 
Green 0. Guthrie - Senior Deacon 
Thomas C. Moore - Junior Deacon 
James Watson - Secretary 
Jacob Linder - Treasurer and Tyler 
This corrected Charter was lost in the fire of October 3, 1864.
NAMES ON THE SUBSTITUTE CHARTER OCTOBER 5, 1864 
Samuel Levinson - Worshipful Master 
Joseph Gage - Senior Warden 
James T. Braddock - Junior Warden 
George Tucker - Treasurer 
Jacob E. Taylor - Secretary 
Samuel C. Humphrey - Chaplain 
Eliphalet B. Gage - Senior Deacon 
William A. Boyd - Junior Deacon 
Arthur G. Mitchell - Tyler 
This Charter was lost in the fire of December 19, 1962.
NAMES ON THE SUBSTITUTE CHARTER OCTOBER 24, 1964 
William D. Gage - Worshipful Master 
Edmund Roach - Senior Warden 
Adam Mitchell - Junior Warden 
James R. Guthrie - Senior Deacon 
Thomas C. Moore - Junior Deacon 
James Watson - Secretary 
Jacob Linder - Treasurer and Tyler 
This Charter is now in the Lodge Room.
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HISTORY OF CHARLESTON LODGE #35 
Charleston Lodge had its inception back in 1845. There were a number of Masons, members of Lodges in other cities, who felt this community should have a Masonic Lodge of its own. They wanted a Lodge near their own home. A Lodge they could more easily attend. They desired the opportunity of more frequent communion with their Brethren. Several of them decided they were sufficient enough in number to ask for a Dispensation to start their own Masonic Lodge.
On August 2, 1845, a petition with the names of six Masons, William Gage, Edmund Roach, Adam Mitchell, Green Guthrie, James Watson and Jacob Linder, was presented to Macon Lodge #8 at Decatur because it was the closest Lodge to Charleston. The petition asked for a recommendation for a Lodge at Charleston to be called "Morning Star". However, Macon Lodge declined to act because the petition contained only six names when it was necessary to have seven. On August 11, the seventh name, that of Henry Eckles, was added to the petition and Macon Lodge #8 recommended to the Grand Lodge of Illinois that Morning Star Lodge be granted a Dispensation to start a Masonic Lodge in Charleston.
The first meeting of Morning Star Lodge, Under Dispensation, was held on August 27, 1845. Present at that first meeting were:
William D. Gage - Worshipful Master 
Edmund Roach - Senior Warden 
Adam Mitchell - Junior Warden 
James Watson - Secretary & Treasurer
Gage was a Methodist minister and an enthusiastic Mason. Roach was a hatter by trade. Watson was also a minister and a man of the Legislature. At this first meeting, a petition for degrees was received from Mr. John A. Mitchell. On motion, the By-Laws were taken up and adopted by sections. There being no further business, the Lodge closed in due form.
The second meeting was held one week later. Present were the same men as before and Jacob Linder, who acted as Tyler. At this meeting, a petition for degrees was received from Mr. James L. Carothers.
The third meeting was held four days later, on September 7. At this meeting, Brother James L. Carothers became the first Entered Apprentice initiated by the new Lodge. Present were the same men who had been at the second meeting. At the next meeting, held on September 30, Brother John A. Mitchell was initiated as an Entered Apprentice.
There is no record in the Lodge minutes as to where the early Lodge meetings were held. However, in other notes and records, it appears they were held in the thick and dense "Hazel Thickets", which at that time were south of the Charleston Town Branch between Sixth and Seventh Streets. The Lodge held its regular communication on the Tuesday next after the full moon in each month.
The population of Charleston was thought to be between two and three hundred people at that time. There were about three to four grocery store in town and about the same number of other stores. 
First home of Charleston Masonic Lodge #35 
On October 6, 1845, Most Worshipful Grand Master Levi Lusk reported to the Grand Lodge in Jacksonville, that he had during the year, granted a Dispensation for a Lodge in Charleston by the name of "Morning Star". Two days later, the Committee on Lodges Under Dispensation reported in favor of granting a Charter to Morning Star Lodge at Charleston by the name of Charleston Lodge #35.
The reason given by the Committee for this change of name being that Lodge #30 at Canton already bore the name of Morning Star. As it was prior in number, it was presumed to have first right to the name. The Committee report was accepted and Brother Edmund Roach, Senior Warden of the newly chartered Lodge was invited to take his seat as a member of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. This newly chartered Lodge, now known as Charleston Lodge #35, was originally known as Morning Star Lodge from August to October 1845.
The names on the original Charter of Charleston Lodge #35, dated October 8, 1845, were:
William D. Gage - Worshipful Master
Edmund Roach - Senior Warden 
Adam Mitchell - Junior Warden 
Green G. Guthrie - Senior Deacon 
Henry Eckles - Junior Deacon 
James Watson - Secretary 
Jacob Linder - Treasurer & Tyler
It was not until two years later that the name of Brother Henry Eckles was corrected by the Grand Lodge. Brother Eckles was an Entered Apprentice at the time the Charter was granted. For that reason, the name of Brother Thomas C. Moore was inserted in the corrected Charter as Junior Deacon.
In November, the Lodge received its first visitor, Brother William B. Mills, a member of Temple Lodge #47 in Indiana. The following month, Brother Mills was elected a member of Charleston Lodge and was duly elected Worshipful Master for the ensuing year. At this same meeting, the minutes provided the first evidence that the Lodge was meeting indoors. Brother James Watson was ordered to furnish the Lodge with a sheet iron stove, at the rate of twenty cents per pound, and all of the other necessary furniture. It is likely that they were meeting in a log cabin, for the weather by then was too cold to meet outdoors in the Hazel Thickets. 
Soon after the Charter was granted to Charleston Lodge #35, petitions for membership were received from as far away as Shelbyville, Paris, Marshall, Greenup, Paradise, Oakland and Tuscola. The new Masonic Lodge began to flourish.

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On St. John's Day, December 27, 1845, Brother John A. Mitchell, the first petitioner of the Lodge, and Brother James L. Carothers, the first initiate, were both passed to the degree of Fellowcraft. The Lodge again welcomed visitors to the Lodge on January 28, 1846. Brother Thomas P. Albertson and a Brother Day, both of York Lodge in Indiana, were in attendance. Brother Albertson filled in as Worshipful Master for the raising to a Master Mason of both Brother Carothers and Brother Mitchell; the first candidates raised by the Lodge. 
A total of thirteen Master Masons were raised the first year. The early members of the Lodge were anxious to receive Further Light in Masonry. As early as April 7, 1846, the Lodge subscribed to the Masonic Magazine from Boston, Massachusetts, and the Masonic Mirror, published in Covington, Kentucky. As with any new Lodge, sometimes the proceedings of a meeting were irregular. One such example occurred on February 3, 1846, when Brother John Mills was initiated, passed and raised at the same meeting. This particular incident was reported at the Grand Lodge meeting in October of that year. The Committee on Chartered Lodges reported that the work and returns of Charleston Lodge had been examined and they found the Lodge doing its work rather hastily. The initiating, passing and raising of Brother John Mills at the same meeting was discussed. However, in consideration of the fact that Brother Mills was about to join the army for the Mexican War, the committee decided it was a clear case of emergency and so reported favorably on the work of the Lodge.
Another example occurred when Brother William Heyden was passed and raised and Brother Edward Eavey was initiated, passed and raised at the same meeting. This was all done without a Dispensation from the Grand Lodge. According to the minutes of that meeting, in a letter to the Grand Master, it was explained that the reason for such hasty work was inclement weather and the candidates having to travel 34 miles to attend Lodge. Many Lodge members traveled great distances, often in bad weather, to attend Lodge meetings. The mode of travel was either on foot, horseback or by stagecoach.
It is hard to realize the great difficulties and the amount of time taken in traveling at that time. For the roads, if any, were poor, and there were no bridges across the streams which had to be forded at the most shallow and safest places. One of the main roads which was traveled by stagecoach came from Terre Haute, through Paris, to Charleston, and onto Shelbyville. If the member could get to this, he could ride in the swaying and rocking stagecoach which would have been drawn by four or six horses. In bad weather, it would sometimes be drawn by eight.
They traveled at break-neck speed and the coach was often filled with as many passengers as could get inside and on its top. When the traveler reached his destination, he was usually covered with dust or mud and badly shaken from the rough terrain. This method of travel continued until the winter of 1855, when the first railroad came through Charleston. This method of travel may look very hard, but no matter how difficult and rough the way, there were many that traveled several miles for their Masonic knowledge and fellowship.
On August 10, 1846, a rather unusual incident occured. Worshipful Master Edmund Roach submitted his resignation and applied for a demit. No explanation was recorded in the minutes. At that same meeting, it was voted that the first Worshipful Master of the Lodge, William D. Gage, be exempted from the payment of dues as long as he remained a member of the Lodge. 
At a stated meeting in December 1846, the Lodge decided to present each member with a pair of white gloves when he completed his Masonic work and was raised to a Master Mason.
It was also when the Lodge agreed to take an old sword from Brother Simon Lundry in exchange for his fees for the Fellowcraft and Master Mason Degrees. Brother Lundry reportedly had little money and the Lodge needed a sword for the Tyler. 
It was about this time that the members wanted a Lodge home. As a result, a committee was appointed and they soon rented the northwest and southwest upper rooms in the Courthouse for SO cents per month for the term of one year. This lease was later renewed until December 27, 1849.
On December 28, 1846, the members moved in a procession around the public square to the new Lodge Hall in the Courthouse where Brother Alexander P. Dunbar gave an address. They then celebrated St. John the Evangelist Day by going to Gilman's Hotel where they and their ladies partook of refreshments prepared for the occasion.

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The election and installation of officers generally took place on, or close to, either St. John the Baptist Pay (June 24) or St. John the Evangelist Day (December 27). The first Worshipful Master served from August to December, 1845. The second served from December 1845 to June 1846. Then the election of officers was held every June until 1859, when it was changed to December, as it has remained ever since. 
If a member missed any two consecutive regular meetings without a satisfactory excuse, he was fined twenty-five cents. The fee for each degree was $5 with dues at twenty-five cents per month. The fee to affiliate from another Lodge was $1. In these times, the Lodge used wood for fuel to heat the Lodge Hall. The light was from candles, with the members seated on benches around the room.
In late 1849, the Lodge moved upstairs of the Stephan Miller merchantile and hardware building on the east side of the square at the north end of the block (the Jackie Bennett Dance Studio is presently located there). The rent was $40 per year. The Lodge purchased 45 yards of carpet at $1 per yard from Brother Byrd Monroe's merchantile store and one Air Tight parlor stove for $10 from Stephen Miller's merchantile store. One member was ordered to get drawers, sperm candles and eight spittoons for the Lodge. A committee was ordered to have song ballads printed for the use of the brethren during each degree. Thus, the Lodge began to build in membership and in the furnishing of their Masonic Hall.
It was not long before the Lodge was renting from Brother John F. Parcels. Brother Parcels had married Mr. Miller's daughter and become a partner in the business. Mr. Miller then retired and Brother Parcels took over the store completely, renting the hall to the Lodge until June 24, 1857.
Some of the brethren stayed in Charleston to continue to build and strengthen Charleston Lodge. Others helped to build Masonry in other area towns. Brothers William D. Gage, Edward Eavey, William Heyden, Alexander P. Dunbar and James Watson, demitted for the purpose of establishing a new Lodge at Shelbyville. Still others traveled to Paris to assist in starting Prairie Lodge #77 and to Etna to assist in chartering Wabash Lodge #179.
On November 11, 1856, the Lodge agreed to take two shares in Brother John R. Jeffries new building at $25 each, in accordance with a written contract which appears on record in the Circuit Clerk's office. The new building, located in the middle of the block on the west side of the square, was soon ready. The Lodge met on June 24, 1857, and opened in the Odd Fellows Hall. They then formed a procession and marched around the square to the new Lodge, where in the presence of many brethren and citizens, the new Lodge Hall was publicly dedicated. The procession then marched to a grove east of town where St. John the Baptist Day was celebrated with speeches and refreshments.
A little later in the year, the Lodge appointed a committee to investigate what it would cost to use coal oil lamps instead of candles. The committee was directed to obtain the lamps if they thought best for the Lodge.
The membership, listed in the Annual Returns of the Lodge for 1859, was 48 Master Masons, three Fellowcrafts and five Entered Apprentices. The dues for each member were seventy-five cents.
During the Civil War years of 1861 to 1865, the Lodge had several members in the service. Their names are listed elsewhere in this book. As a result, the Grand Master authorized many candidates to be given their degree work without regard to time. Misfortune came to the Lodge on October 3, 1864, when the Jeffries Building on the west side of the square burned. Brother Jeffries lost his saddle, harness, wagon and carriage stock and the Lodge lost its Charter and all of the Lodge furnishings. The Grand Master granted a substitute Charter and the Grand Lodge dues were remitted for the year 1864. 


As a result of the fire, the Lodge was without a home. No communication was held in October, but in November, the Lodge held their meeting in the Odd Fellows Hall. They soon had their committee to work on finding another Lodge Hall.


On April 14, 1865, tragedy struck the nation when President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. When word was received that the President had been shot, the Lodge supported a statewide Masonic resolution denouncing the assassination and the assassin. The Lodge honored the befalled President for "his honesty in all his public relations". A $25 donation was made to what was known as the Lincoln National Monument Fund.


The Lodge committee assigned to finding a new Lodge Hall reported on July 4, 1865, that they had leased the third story of the Parcels Building at the west end of the south side of the square (where the law offices of Brainard, Bower and Kramer are presently located). The floor had been rented for five years at a cost of $75 per year.

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At a meeting on October 31, 1865, the Lodge was honored to have Brother Henry Peiham Holmes Bromwell in attendance. At the Grand Lodge session, held a couple of weeks earlier, Brother Bromwell, Past Master of Charleston Lodge, had been elected Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Illinois.The Lodge soon arranged for a photograph of Grand Master Bromwell to be presented to the Grand Lodge of Illinois. 
The good brotherhood feeling for the help of the needy was often shown by the money the Lodge sent to their own distressed brothers and families. After the Civil War years, money was often sent to those in need who lived in the southern states and had suffered losses as a result of the war.
In October 1869, a letter was received from the Board of Education of the Charleston Union School District, asking the assistance of the Lodge in solemnizing the occasion of laying the cornerstone of the new school building. Most Worshipful Brother Bromwell, Past Grand Master and Past Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Illinois was requested to make an oration on the occasion. Plans were made and in the Spring of 1870, Most Worshipful Grand Master Harmon G. Reynolds, with the assistance of the craft, laid the cornerstone of the Central District School. The school, when finished, was said to be of a fine brick edifice of modern architecture, with a estimated cost of nearly $50,000.
On November 8, 1870, Brother Bromwell bade farewell to his Lodge brethren, for he was about to leave for Colorado. Brother Bromwell had served as Worshipful Master of Charleston Lodge for four years and had held several Grand Lodge offices. The Lodge regretted losing their Brother, for he had been a strong pillar in the Masonic fraternity, as well as, an orator, lecturer and philosopher. The Lodge adopted a resolution honoring Brother Bromwell for his years of service to the Lodge. 
The good brotherhood feeling of charity was previlent in October 1871. The Lodge members, well aware of the fire that had befallen the city of Chicago, called an informal meeting in order to take steps towards rendering immediate assistance to the distress of worthy Brother Masons, their widows and orphans. The Worshipful Master was directed to draw $50 on the treasury of the Lodge to assist the victims of the fire.
The years went by, each with pleasures, as with the celebration of St. John's Day and the election of officers. There was also the sadness whenever there was the loss of a Brother Mason. At these times, committees were appointed to have charge of the funeral arrangements. Others were appointed to see that a report of the loss was placed in the newspapers. Committees were also assigned to arrange for transportation and music. It was then the custom to have a brass band at the funeral play solemn dirges and to act as an escort to the final resting place of the deceased brother.
After a number of years in the Parcels Building, the Lodge again rented the Jeffries Building, which had been rebuilt and was owned by Mr. McCrory in 1875. However, the building was soon purchased by Brother John Monroe in 1876. Some new furniture was bought and a committee appointed to see about removing the straw under the carpet and putting carpet paper down in lieu thereof. The Lodge continued to rent this building until 1897.
In 1885, a petition asking the Lodge for their consent in starting a new Masonic Lodge in Charleston was read and granted. For a few years, there apparently had been jealously and wrangling among some of the brethren in the carrying out of the work. Thus, it brought about the forming of the a Lodge, Omega Lodge #775. The two Lodges worked together and helped each other in many ways. For most of the members were interested in the good of Masonry; not in selfish motives.
On October 6, 1887, the Sopha C Chapter of Eastern Star was Chartered. Miss Missouri Sefton was the first Worthy Matron and Brother R. B. Curd served as the first Worthy Patron. Charter members included Brother William E. Ginther and Brother George M. Sefton, both Past Masters of Charleston Lodge. (The Chapter is still meeting in the Charleston Masonic Temple.) The membership of the Lodge in 1888, was 67 members. The Lodge was growing every year, as was the city of Charleston. The town now boasted a population of almost 3,000 people.
After a few years, Omega Lodge #775 asked permission to join with Charleston Lodge #35. The consolidation was agreed to. On the evening of January 10, 1890, a large number of brethren of neighboring Lodges and other invited guests and members, met at the Masonic Hall to witness the ceremonies of constituting and consecrating the Lodge. The officers' were also to be installed at an Occasional Grand Communication to be convened by the Most Worshipful Grand Master John M. Pearson. The Occasional Grand Lodge convened in an adjoining room and opened in ample form with Grand Officers present. Upon being duly notified by the officers and brethren of the new Lodge that all was in readiness, the Grand Lodge moved in procession to the Hall and were received with the Grand Honors of Masonry. Once the officers had taken their proper stations, Charleston Lodge #35 was duly constituted and consecrated, according to the ancient usages and customs of the fraternity.

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The officers of Charleston Lodge for the following year were installed, with Brother George M. Sefton, Worshipful Master. After the closing ceremonies, Grand Marshal William E. Ginther, Past Master of both Charleston Lodge and Omega Lodge, under direction of the Grand Master, formed a procession, when the Grand Honors were given and the Grand Lodge returned to the adjoining room and the Lodge was closed in ample form.

Everyone present then repaired to the banquet at City Hall and partook of a bountiful feast prepared for the occasion by the ladies of Sopha C Chapter of Eastern Star. The evening was closed by toasts and responses.

Later that fall, the Lodge was in need of better lights. A committee on electric lights was requested to inquire and report to the Lodge. They reported that nine lights could be obtained for $1.50 per month. The report was accepted. Charleston Lodge had always planned for a home of their own. Finally, in the Spring of 1892, a committee on real estate bought Lot 11, Block 3, in the Original Town of Charleston, for the sum of $2,200. The property was purchased with the idea of erecting a building to be used as a Masonic Lodge. That fall, the committee bought the north lot of the Lodge property.

On October 21, of that year, the Lodge held a special meeting for the purpose of attending the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. The Lodge formed in procession and joined the school children, citizens and other orders of the city. After the line of march was completed, everyone repaired to the Charleston High School grounds, where all were entertained by Brother H. W. Davis, orator of the day.

At the meeting on April 24, 1896, plans were made by the Lodge and a committee appointed on entertainment of visitors for the laying of the cornerstone of the Eastern Illinois Normal School. On Wednesday, May 27, 1896, the parade members assembled around the square and on the several adjacent streets. The different orders and assemblies wore badges of different colors. The Masons wore a color of blue. The Masons made a fine showing in the procession as they marched on Sixth Street out to the college. There were over 500 Masons alone in the line of march. Delegations were present from Pana, Sullivan, Shelbyville, Gays, Mattoon, Windsor, Arcola, Tuscola, Hume, Newman, Ridge Farm, Oakland, Hindsboro, Paris, Kansas, Danville, Ashmore, Diona, Casey, Martinsville, Greenup, Neoga, Effingham, Toledo, Lerna, Marshall and a few others. At this time, the population of Charleston was about 5,000. With the arrival of special trains and other means of travel, the population reached nearly 15,000 people more. The city was more than overcrowded.

Brother Henry A. Neal, Mayor of Charleston, delivered the Address of Welcome. The Masonic ceremonies of laying the cornerstone were in charge of Most Worshipful Grand Master Owen Scott, who, with the assistance of the other Grand Lodge Officers, laid the cornerstone at exactly 4:28 o'clock pm, with all the rites and ceremonies of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Past Master William E. Ginther served as Junior Grand Warden for the occasion. The speaker of the day was Governor John P. Altgeld.

The rest of the summer and fall was spent by the officers and members of the Lodge moving into and opening the new Masonic Hall. The new hail was located in the Miller Building on the east side of Sixth Street between Madison and Monroe Avenues (the location is presently a city parking lot). The Hall was formally dedicated on March 25, 1897, by Most Worshipful Grand Master Owen Scott, assisted by the other Grand Lodge Officers. Afterwards, the members and their ladies enjoyed a dinner of roast chicken, sugar cured ham, bread and butter sandwiches, fruit jellies, cucumber pickles, cake and vanilla ice cream.

A short time after this, the Lodge voted to change the meeting night from once a month to that of twice of month. The evenings of the first and third Tuesdays of each month were chosen. These same meeting nights are still being observed. It is recorded with great sorrow, that on July 3, 1900, during the conferring of the Master Mason degree, Brother S. M. Tooke, Marshal of the Lodge, was overcome with heat. Brother Tooke had participated in the conferring of the degree, and although attended to on the spot by Brother Dr. C. C. Webb, passed to that country from which no traveler returns. In sorrow, the Lodge was closed in form.

Charleston Lodge had gradually continued to grow in membership over the years. At numerous times the Lodge was honored by having members representing the surrounding Masonic Lodges present for Schools of Instruction.

In 1917, the Lodge had many members serving their country in World War I. Their names are listed elsewhere in this book. Late that Summer, the Lodge was requested, on behalf of the United States government, to have the Grand Master of Illinois lay the cornerstone of the Charleston Post Office. The Lodge committee made and completed the plans so that on Tuesday, September 18, 1917, the imposing Masonic ceremonies were completed. The event was attended by many visiting members of the surrounding Lodges. There were about 700 Masons in the procession which marched over several of the principal streets to the building where everything was in readiness and a large crowd was in waiting.

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On arriving at the building, the Grand Lodge of Illinois took charge. Acting Grand Master Austin H. Scrogin, with the assistance of the Grand Lodge Officers, conducted a most dignified and impressive ceremony. The cornerstone was a large block of Minnesota red sandstone and among the items placed inside was the roll of officers and members of Charleston Lodge. After the stone had been slowly lowered and set in place, it was tried by the square, level and plumb and it was found that the craft had performed its duty. After this imposing ceremony, corn, wine and oil were poured over the stone, emblematic of plenty, joy and peace. The Grand Marshal then declared by proclamation that the cornerstone had been laid according to the ancient usages and customs of Masonry. 
No Lodge meetings were held from October 1 to November 11, 1918, by order of the State Board of Health on account of a statewide outbreak of Spanish Influenza.
The increase of membership in the Lodge in the following years clearly indicated the need of a larger Masonic Hall. A committee consulted with an architect in regard to a room to the north of the hall. The raising of the ceiling and repairing the property rooms was agreed to and the task was carried out.
Thus, on October 3, 1932, the new Lodge Hall was dedicated by Most Worshipful Grand Master 0. Haven Stephens. He made a very interesting address to the assembled Masonic brethren who packed the Lodge Hall. At the close of the evening, the Lodge repaired to the dining hall for refreshments and a social hour. 
In 1941, the world was again at war. Many members of the Lodge served their country in World War II and their names are listed elsewhere in this book.
On February 12, 1925, Charleston Lodge was honored by the presence of the Washington Memorial Traveling Bible. The gavel used for the evening was made of wood from the Thomas Lincoln farm and was to accompany the Bible to the Memorial. Over 200 members and visitors were present for the meeting. That same year, the Lodge appointed a committee to prepare and make ready all of the necessary arrangements for the celebration of 100 years of growth and progress. The date of the anniversary would be October 8, 1945, but owing to the conflicting date with the Grand Lodge of Illinois, it was postponed until October 18, 1945. 
At 1:00 pm on that date, Brother Harry Keith White, a Fellowcraft, was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason by the Grand Lecturer's Club. Following the degree, Most Worshipful Grand Master William Tinsley and the other Grand Lodge Officers were officially received. A turkey dinner was served at the Presbyterian Church at 6:30 pm to about 250 Masons.
At 8:00 pm, the Lodge was called from refreshment to labor on the Third Degree of Masonry where the following program was presented: Brother Floyd Tolly welcomed the visitors and brethren to the Centennial Celebration; Brother Benjamin Patton, Senior Grand Warden made a short talk; Grand Master Tinsley gave a talk on the history of the Masonic Lodge; Brother Fred G. Hudson, the oldest living Past Master of Charleston Lodge, gave a talk on the history of Charleston Lodge and the Charleston community; Brother Dr. Charles R. Monroe gave a history of the Lodge, telling the unusual happenings and showing a number of pictures of the early Lodge and early Charleston; Rev. A. L. Honn, the principal speaker, then gave an address. Lodge was closed in regular form at 10:15 pm by the Grand Master.
Tragedy struck a second time at a meeting on October 24, 1949. Mr. Charles D. Stites was prepared, introduced and work on the Entered Apprentice Degree had started. Having been brought to light, the Three Great Lights in Masonry were explained to the candidate. At this point, Brother E. 0. Paxson, who was serving as Worshipful Master, collapsed and died of a heart attack. The candidate was returned to the preparation room and dismissed until a later date. Following examination by Dr. Dudley, Dr. Hollowell and the coroner, the body was removed. No action was taken to close the Lodge and, according to information from the Most Worshipful Grand Master Benjamin Patton, the Lodge therefore remained open.
The Lodge continued to grow in membership and finally reached its peak in 1955, with 412 members.
In the early 1950's, the country sent military troops to Korea. The names of those members are listed elsewhere in this book. At a stated meeting on July 20, 1954, a sum of $200 was set apart as a Building Fund. This initial sum was to be used to build on in order for the Lodge to eventually build a new and modern Masonic Lodge. 

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On June 7, 1955, Worshipful Master John B. Stoner brought up that he had been approached by a group who were interested in the organization of an Order of Job's Daughters. The Lodge voted that the group could have use of the Lodge Hall if they did organize. Bethel #90 of the Order of Job's Daughters was Chartered on April 16, 1956. (The Bethel was disbanded in 1994.)

The Lodge continued meeting in the Miller Building. However, the Lodge began searching for new sites due to the inability to satisfactorily maintain the building. The age of the structure and the city building safety codes were making it difficult. The Lodge sold their part of the Miller Building to the city of Charleston on September 30, 1960. The building would soon be demolished by the city to make room for a parking lot. Arrangements were made to meet in the rooms used by Rebekah Lodge #66 in the Rardin Building on the southwest corner of the square (Charleston City Hall is presently located on the site).

Through the efforts of a building committee, a number of sites were submitted to the Lodge. By a vote of the members, the present site at 651 W. Lincoln was approved and purchased on August 11, 1961. At that time, the location was considered to be on the west edge of town; nearly outside the city limits.

An all-out drive for funds was initiated at a dinner, held in the University Union at Eastern Illinois University, on March 8, 1962.

Actual construction was begun on April 10, 1963, with Brothers Walt Warmoth, Robert Rupel and John Rice as the Building Committee. The new Masonic Temple had not been fully completed when a fire broke out on the first floor and completely destroyed the Rardin Building on December 19, 1963. The Lodge lost everything that was in the building, including the Lodge Charter. However, the photos of the Past Masters, much of the furniture and several other items had been stored away from the building and were spared. A large safe containing all of the Lodge records had already been moved to the new location. As a result, almost all of the irreplaceable items and records were not destroyed.

Construction moved rapidly on the building and the first stated meeting was held in the new Masonic Temple on January 7, 1964. A Dedication Celebration to dedicate the new building was held on July 12, 1964. Most Worshipful Grand Master Clarence P. Schwarz, assisted by the other Grand Lodge Officers, conducted the ceremony.

Soon after moving to the new Temple, it was decided to invite Rebekah Lodge #66 to hold their meetings their. The Rebekah Lodge had been kind enough to allow Charleston Lodge to use their Lodge Hall when the Miller Building was sold. It only seemed fitting to allow them to hold their meetings in the new Masonic Temple as their home had been destroyed by fire. (The Rebekahs have been meeting in the Masonic Temple ever since.) As the Lodge members were settling into their new Masonic Temple, the city of Charleston was expanding and growing around them. The area in close proximity to the Temple soon developed into a strong commercial zone.

In the early 1970's, American troops were being sent to Vietnam. The names of those members of Charleston Lodge who went to serve are listed elsewhere in this book.

The financial position of the Lodge began to decline with the onset of inflation. The usual operating expenses increased but the income for dues were not enough to cover those increasing expenses. As a result, the Lodge started a variety of annual fundraisers as a source of additional income. Among them were breakfasts, hog roasts, ham and bean dinners and soup suppers.

In an attempt to create a fund which would be tailored toward future maintenance and upkeep of the Temple, Brother Maurice Scott suggested the creation of an Endowment Fund. Monies placed in the Endowment Fund would not be subject to withdrawal except in extreme emergencies and then only upon the recommendation of the Fund Managers and a three-fourths vote of the members present at a stated meeting of the Lodge. Thus, on May 6, 1980, the Endowment Fund of Charleston Lodge #35 was established. Brothers William J. Warmoth, Albert Prince and Charles Tucker were named as the Fund Managers. A list of contributors to the Endowment Fund are listed elsewhere in this book.

In 1984, the assessed value of the Masonic Temple property was increased nearly 150%; even after a meeting with the Coles County Board of Review. This resulted in an increase in the Lodge's property taxes. Coupled with the increasing utility costs, the Lodge was showing a loss from operations for the second consecutive year.

Page 11

At a meeting on September 4, 1984, Brother J. Leeds Bower, presented a resolution to cause action to be taken to help alleviate the real estate tax situation. The resolution was to donate 2.5 of the three acres of Lodge property to the Charleston Township Park District. In return, the Park District would maintain the driveway and parking facilities and mow the grass. A motion was made by Brother Tony Warner and seconded by Brother Hubert Davis to adopt the resolution. The motion carried.

The Lodge Builder Award was first presented in 1984. This award is presented annually to a member of the Lodge for his outstanding service to the Lodge. The first recipient of the award was Brother Maurice Scott. The following year, the Lodge awarded the first Community Builders Award to Bob Beavers. This award was established to recognize non-Masons in the community who have served others with no expectation of return. A list of award winners for both awards is included elsewhere in this book.

In 1987, Charleston Lodge received the first District Honor Lodge Award. This award is given annually by the District Deputy Grand Master to the Lodge with the most participation in the District Schools of Instruction and other various activities. In September 1991, the Lodge received a bequest from the estate of Brother Doyle Wright. With the money, the Lodge established the Doyle Wright Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded annually. Jeff Daugherty of Charleston was the first recipient of the scholarship in 1994.

As a way of helping to meet expenses, the Lodge purchased a concession stand at the Coles County Fairgrounds in June 1994. The stand, located adjacent to the grandstands, is expected to pay for itself in less than three years.

Masonic charity still rings true as evidenced by the Lodge's donations to those in need across the country. The Lodge sent donations to the victims of the Mississippi River flood of 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing of April 1995.

The year 1995 marks the 150th anniversary of Charleston Lodge #35. One hundred fifty years since William Gage, Edmund Roach, Adam Mitchell, Green Guthrie, James Watson and Jacob Linder signed their names to a petition to start a Masonic Lodge in their area. It is almost certain that these men could not imagine what would lie ahead for their Masonic Lodge. One hundred fifty years later, Charleston Lodge #35 looks back in appreciation of their desire for Masonic knowledge, fellowship and brotherhood.

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Past Masters of Charleston Lodge
Pictures and short biographies

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Deaths of Masters in Office

Jacob E. Taylor - installed as Master on December 27, 1867; Died June 19, 1868
Robert L. Reat - Installed as Master on December 23, 1890; Died January 27, 1891. Held office for one state meeting.
Marquis A. Patton - Installed as Master on January 12, 1937; Died June 11, 1937
Danny Cobble - Installed as Master on December 18, 1976; Died January 25, 1977. Held office for three stated meetings.
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MILITARY ROLL OF HONOR

Mexican War:
George McDaniel
John Mills
Nathaniel Parker

Civil War:
Horace R. Allen
John Apperson
Samuel Beckons
John Brown
William M. Chambers
Augustus H. Chapman
Willis H. Clark
James A. Connelly
John C. Devore*
Alexander Dunbar
John M. Eastin
James D. Gardner
John C. Gray
John M. Gray
Frank P. Hill
W.L. Johnson
John Kennedy
John McDonald
John L. McGee
Alexander C. Mitchell
Greenville Mitchell
John A. Mitchell
James E. Moore
George W. Parker
John A. Ricketts
Daniel Sayers
John P. St. John
James M. Waddick
Samuel Wright

Page 12

World War I
Leonard Glen Baker
William Hugh Barnfield
Harlan Floyd Breedlove
Emery Wilber Brooks
Clement Parrot Brown
Lee Andrew Brown
Charles Andrew Case
Herman Lloyd Cooper
George Adley Crispin
Thurman Wallace Doty
Gerry Brown Dudley
Harry D. Fildes
Hubert Johnston Jenkins
Ben F. Kelly
Oberlin Bailey Kinzel
Frank Atkinson Lindhorst
Harry Leroy Linn
Charles Elsworth Long, Jr.
Verne Russell Mcdougle
George Leonard Mcnutt
Charles Benjamin McVey
Lewis Albert Moore
Thomas Turner Moore
Harry Folson Neal
John Henry Newell
Charles Emerson Poollard
Oscar Howard Rennels
Henry Alvin Shaffer
Howard Shelby
John Earl Shoemaker
Muriel Winkleblack
Ralph Carlos Winkleblack*

World War II
James Alexander
Dean Ambrose
Lowell Bagott
Rino Bianchi
John G. Blagg
Clark Cooper
Charles Foreman
Robert Fulton
William Leland Hall
James Hallowell
Lloyd Hudson
Jack Ingram*
Marion Mathas
John Pauley, Jr.
Leonard Prather
John Rardin
Gerald A. Reed, Jr.
Charles Rogers
Kenneth Alvin Shoot
Thomas Shoot
Arlar Earl Sims
Harold Snyder
William Steagall
L.W. Stevenson
Charles Stewart
John B. Stoner
Albert Summers
William Thissell
Eugene Waffle
Frederick Western
Paul Elsberry Wheeler
Leonard Quay Wilkinson
Ralph Witmer

Korean War
John Richard Adams
Max Biglar Claar
Kenneth Wayne Freeland
Reginald Lee Replogle
Richard Neal Reynolds
Donald Eugene Ryan
Robert Anthony Shoot*
Joseph Clyde Snyder

Vietnam War
Michael H. Ashby
Larry Edwards Brooks
George Dale Moody *Died in Service

Page 13

HISTORY OF OMEGA LODGE #775 
On December 12, 1884, twenty-two Brethren, whose names appeared on a Petition for Dispensation to the Most Worshipful Grand Master, met in the Lodge Room of Charleston Lodge #35. 
The meeting was for the purpose of organizing a second Masonic Lodge in the city of Charleston. Brother A.N. Bain was elected Chairman and Brother William E. Ginther was elected Secretary. 
Officers for the new Lodge were elected as follows: 
James F. McCann - Worshipful Master 
John Paul Jones - Senior Warden 
A.N. Link - Junior Warden 
"Omega" was unanimously adopted as the name of the new Lodge, with "Electra" as a substitute, should the first be already in use by another Lodge in the state. It was unanimously agreed that Monday on or before the full moon in each month should be the stated communication of the new Lodge. 
On January 24, 1885, at the regular communication of Ashmore Lodge #390 and Hutton Lodge #398, consent to the formation of the proposed new Lodge at Charleston was voted unanimously in each. In like manner, Charleston Lodge #35 voted consent on January 27. 
Brother Joseph E. Evans, Assistant Grand Lodge Lecturer, arrived on February 14, 1885. Brother James F. McCann, having been recently engaged as Pastor of Salem Church, was released form his office of Worshipful master and Brother William E. Ginther was substituted in his place, all by unanimous consent of the Brethren. 
A Dispensation for the new Lodge was issued to Omega Lodge on February 16, 1884, by acting Grand Master Alex T. Darrah. Two days later, Brother D.M. Weider, District Deputy Grand Master, bearing the Grand Master's proxy, opened an Occasional Grand Lodge of Illinois and duly instituted Omega Lodge, U.D., and installed the officers accordingly. 
Omega Lodge, Under Dispensation, held its first meeting on March 30, 1885. At that meeting, Mr. George T. McNutt and Mr. Allison M. Mitchell became the first initiates of the Lodge. It was also agreed to rent the Lodge room from Charleston Lodge for one year at a cost of $25. 
On May 5, 1885, Brother McNutt became the first candidate raised to a Master Mason by Omega Lodge. A total of 74 persons were present. 
Dues for the new Lodge were $2.75 per year. Per capita of seventy-five cents went to the Grand Lodge with the remainder staying with the Lodge. 
On November 2, 1885, Brother D.M. Wider, District Deputy Grand Master, again acting as special proxy for Most Worshipful Grand Master A.T. Darrah, regularly constituted and installed the officers of Omega Lodge #775 according tot he ancient usages of the Craft. The Lodge was constituted by Special Dispensation from the Grand Master authorizing the Lodge to be constituted in the absence of the Charter. 
The Lodge soon moved from renting the Lodge room of Charleston Lodge to renting the Odd Fellows Hall. The Hall was rented for three years at $75 per year. 
On May 21, 1889, a petition from the brethren of Lerna was read requesting consent for a new Lodge to be located in the town of Lerna. The vote was unanimous in favor of the petition. 
At the conclusion of the three year lease at the Odd Fellows Hall, Omega Lodge again rented the Lodge Hall from Charleston Lodge. 
At the state meeting on October 7, 1889, a committee consisting of Brothers William E. Ginther, G.E. Mason and George W. Rosebraugh was appointed to confer with Charleston Lodge in regards to consolidating the two Lodges. At the next state meeting, it was voted that the resident members of the Lodge be notified that at the December 2, 1889 stated meeting, there would be a vote taken on the question of consolidating Omega Lodge #775 and Charleston Lodge #35 under the name of Charleston Lodge #35. 
At the December 2 meeting, it was unanimously approved to consolidate Omega Lodge #775 with Charleston Lodge #35. Thus, on Friday January 10, 1890, Most Worshipful Grand Master John M. Pearson convened an Occasional Grand Lodge and duly constituted and consecrated the new Lodge according to the ancient usages and customs of the Fraternity. 
OMEGA LODGE #775 Names on the Charter 
October 6, 1885 
Wm. E. Ginther - Worshipful Master 
J.P. Jones, Senior Warden 
A.N. Link - Junior Warden 
Charter Members: William E. Ginther, John Paul Jones, A.N. Link, Joseph Griffith, J.F. McCann, R.S. Curd, A.N. Bain, Riley Rennels, S.S. Wilcox, W.T. Level, William R. Rennels, James Ratcliffe, George N. gage, Joseph Gage, Basil Baker,Jj.H. Watkins, G.M. Mitchell, Jesse B. Grey, B.F. And