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