History Of LaFayette Lodge No. 83

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History of La Fayette Lodge No. 83, A. F. & A. M.

Jacksonville, North Carolina


  It is evident that sometime in the year 1824, plans were made to form a Masonic Lodge in Onslow County. It is not known just when the brethren began making plans, but considering the mode of transportation and the communications of the day, they would have had to make plans and preparations several months prior to the first meeting. The First meeting was held in the county court house, located in what was then the town of " Onslow Court House, " later to become Jacksonville, North Carolina. The lodge was opened by Colonel Thomas A. Pasteur, Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge on February 8, 1825. They also held a communication the following day.

  The lodge continued to work under dispensation for the remainder of the year until   November 7,1825, when a resolution was adopted to send Edward Ward as a delegate to the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge, which met in December, and was to lay before the Grand Lodge, the minutes of the lodge, to surrender the dispensation under which they had been working, and to request a charter in lieu thereof for LaFayette Lodge. The proceedings of the Grand Lodge show that a charter was granted to LaFayette l\Lodge No. 83 on December 6, 1825. The records show that there were 12 charter members of the lodge. We have no minutes of the lodge for the next twenty- five years, but the Grand Lodge proceedings carry LaFayette Lodge No. 83 on their list of lodges from 1825 through 1839.

  It appears that the lodge was dormant from 1840 to 1850, when another organizational meeting was held in May 1850, According to the minutes of May 3, 1825 a request for permission to cut a door between the Grand Jury room and the Petit Jury room was granted in order to facilitate the use of the building as a lodge hall.

  In May 1850, the Grand Master granted a dispensation to reorganize LaFayette Lodge No 83, and appointed Edward W. Montiford as Master, Edward W. Fonville as Senior Warden, and C.D. Foy Junior Warden. The lodge appears to have been quite busy for the next several years.

  At a meeting on May 18, 1850 a committee was appointed to examine and report to the lodge, the feasibility of purchasing a building in Jacksonville known as the Ferrand Store and to determine if this building would make a suitable meeting place for the lodge. This committee reported on June 1, 1850 in favor of purchasing the building, and a committee was appointed to sell off surplus building and to use the proceeds to refit the building to be used as a church and lodge hall. In the deed which transferred the above mentioned property to LaFayette Lodge No. 83, there is a stipulation which states that the lower story would be used as a "Free Church that is to say any Christian denomination shall have right to preach as long as said house shall last". The deed is dated June 24, 1851.cient form on the third Sunday in March ,

  A notation was made in the minutes that the new LaFayette Lodge Hall was dedicated in ancient form on the third Sunday in March 1851, and that Brother Reid delivered the address suitable to the occasion. This first property was located on what was then called Main Street, but is now New Bridge Street. The building was used for many community activities and was rented by Odd Fellows for their meeting place. The county used the building to hold Spring Court in 1875 for some reason.

  There are no records of any meetings during the Civil War. The last meeting before the Civil War was held in May 1865. In a meeting shortly after the Civil War had ended, a resolution was passed that all candidates who had paid their Entered Apprentice or Fellowcraft fee in Confederate money would have to pay the fees in the current my, and that the Confederate money would be refunded to them.

  The lodge held its meetings at this location on Main Street for sixty years, when 1911, they sold the property to Dr. Earnst L. Cox for $1,000 and purchased what was called "the schoolhouse block" from the Onslow County Board of Education for $1,600. This property was the entire block, in the shape of a triangle, bounded by Mill Avenue, Third Street, and Williams Street (now named College Street). The lodge building was facing Third Street, just across the street from what is now the Senior Citizens Center, (which was completed in 1986). This property was in use during World War I, and we have recorded in the minutes that J. Marcy Liberman, who was home on furlough, was initiated, passed, and raised on February 4, 1918. During this period, the lodge provided all members of the Armed Forces a aterproff certificate of membership, printed in English, French, and German.

  This lodge was rented to the Woodman of the World for $50 a year to hold their meetings. It was sold in 1919, and the lodge building was moved across College Street and attached to the Riverview Hotel, where it remained until it was torn down in the early 1940's.

  In 1919, the lodge formed a corporation know as the Jacksonville Masonic Temple Corporation. The corporation sold bonds and purchased a lot between the Heritage building ant the Bank of Onslow and built a three story building on the lot. The lodge, which had purchased bonds with the proceeds from selling their property, paid rent to the corporation as did all other organizations using the facilities. The upper story was used as a lodge hall and the two lower floors were used as rental units. This policy continued until 1941, when the Jacksonville Masonic Temple Corporation got into financial difficulties and defaulted in payment of its debts. The property of the Jacksonville Masonic Temple Corporation was sold at public auction and was purchased by Graham Johnson, Who used the ground floor as a drug store and rented LaFayette Lodge the upper store as a lodge hall until the present LaFayette Lodge Masonic Temple was built. The first meeting in the three story building on Old Bridge Street was held on April 21, 1920. Brother Fred W. Harget, Past Master, was extended the honor of presiding at this meeting. The last meeting was held at this location on may 17, 1955.

  In 1950, LaFayette Lodge purchased the lot where the present temple is located on Chaney Avenue from Trinity Methodist Church. The members of the lodge provided most of the labor for the erection of this temple. Grady W. Gillenwater, a local contractor and member of the lodge, directed the construction of the building. Eastern Star Chapter No 224, gave much assistance to the brethren in the building of the temple. The cornerstone of the temple was laid on April 15, 1955 by Grand Master Robert L. Pugh. The first meeting in our present temple was held on May 24, 1955, with Brother Zeph Marshall, Master presiding. The temple was dedicated on March 31, 1962 by Grand Master James W. Brewer.

  It is not known where the Masons who formed LaFayette Lodge in 1825 received their degrees, but most likely, they would have received them from Wilmington, New Bern or Kenansville. We do know that members of LaFayette Lodge went to other areas in the county and formed other lodges. Seaside Lodge No. 429 was formed in 1890 by members of LaFayette Lodge, since then Richlands Lodge No 564, Semper Fidelis Lodge No 680, Stump Sound Lodge No 733 and New river Lodge No 736 have been formed by members from LaFayette Lodge No 83.


Compiled by Morris E. Jones, P.M.

September 1986