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Foundations of Freemasonry
Mason Human

Freemasonry is an initiatic brotherhood whose origins are found in 16th century Scottish stonemason guilds. Freemasonry, much like its antecedent, is an esoteric society, in that certain aspects of its internal workings are not disclosed to the general public. Ancient manuscripts demonstrate that there was a Masonic tradition dating as far back as to the reign of Athelstan or Æþelstān who ruled England from in the 10th century.

The fraternity’s transition from an operative craft of working stonemasons to a fraternity of speculative accepted gentleman Freemasons began in Scottish lodges during the early 1600's. The earliest record of a lodge accepting a non-operative member is found in the records of the Lodge of Edinburgh, June 8th 1600. It states that John Boswell, the Laird of Aucheinleck, was present at a meeting. Also, contained in the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh is the first record of initiation of a non-operative Mason in 1634. As a speculative craft, Freemasonry was in existence prior to the dawn of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 as there were many speculative Masonic lodges in Ireland, Scotland, and England prior to that time. However, it was only after the founding of this new grand lodge that there was an incredible expansion of the fraternity throughout the world.

The Antients' Grand Lodge - 1751


Grand Lodge of EnglandWhen the Grand Lodge of England was formed there remained a good number of lodges which remained unaffiliated. These unaffiliated Lodges were known as “St. John Lodges” and their members were commonly referred to as “Old Masons” or St. John Masons.”

During the 1730’s and 1740’s relations soured between the Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland. Scottish and Irish Masons living in London felt that the English Grand Lodge had deviated considerably from ancient practices of the craft. There were changes and were actually the result of an exposé. The Grand Lodge of England made changes to prevent outsiders from gaining entrance to meetings. On July 17th 1751, representatives of five unaffiliated lodges gathered at the Turk's Head Tavern, in Greek Street, Soho, and formed a rival grand lodge. They termed this new grand lodge "The Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons." They believed that they practiced a more ancient and therefore purer form of Freemasonry. They then called their grand lodge "The Ancients' Grand Lodge" while at the same time called those affiliated to the Premier Grand Lodge, "the Moderns." The two epithets stuck and the members of the Premier Grand Lodge accepted the terms and even called themselves “Moderns.”

One illustration of how deep the disparity was between the two factions is in the case of Bro. Benjamin Franklin. Bro. Franklin was a member of a “Moderns'” lodge in Philadelphia but by the time he returned from France and died, his lodge had gone over to and received a warrant from the Ancients Grand Lodge. Because of this they would no longer recognize him as one of their own and Ben Franklin Memorial Serviceunceremoniously declined to give perform a Masonic funeral service. On April 17th 2006 the 116th Grand Master of Masons of Pennsylvania, Ronald A. Aungst, Sr., corrected this injustice by holding a Masonic memorial service for Bro. Franklin. In attendance were Grand Lodge officers, lodge officers from around the state, as well as the officers of Lehigh Lodge No. 326 including Worshipful Master Bro. Mark E. Bober, Senior Warden William P. Stoudt, Junior Warden D. David Turner, Secretary Earl C. Schmoyer, Junior Deacon Francis C. Kuebler, and Senior Master of Ceremonies Scott Delong.

Pennsylvania Freemasonry

Tun TavernThe prevalent mode of travel during the 18th century was on horseback or by ship. Keeping this in mind it is a wonder how Freemasonry spread across the globe with such amazing momentum.

Many historians have posited that Freemasonry and its philosophy of tolerance, liberty, and equality was a direct result of the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Naturally those political or religious forces which are intolerant of other views seek to not only undermine Freemasonry but wish to totally eradicate it at all cost.

Ben FranklinMany of the Founding Fathers of the United States were Freemasons. This historical fact cannot be denied. George Washington, Paul Revere, Joseph Warren, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin were all Freemasons. Freemasonry had played an important role in the Revolutionary War, the Constitutional Convention and the essential philosophical ideas which were finally written down as the Bill of Rights. All of them were of differing religious and political sentiments but all believed in the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity.

As a masonic lodge in Pennsylvania, we have a great deal to be proud of. In fact the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania is the oldest Grand Lodge in the United States. It is also the third oldest Grand Lodge in the entire world, having been formed as a Provincial Grand Lodge in 1731, Philadelphia. The Grand Lodge of England was the first Grand Lodge formed in 1717 and followed by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1725, the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in 1733 and the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1736.

LEHIGH LODGE No. 326 CONSTITUTED

On November 26, A. D. 1858 the Grand Lodge F. & A. M. of Pennsylvania met in Trexlertown. Brother William Barger, Right Worshipful Past Grand Master, Acting Right Worshipful Grand Master, with the assistance of the other Grand Officers constituted Lehigh Lodge No. 326, F. & A. M. in a hall located in the former Trexlertown Lodge building. The Warrant of Constitution was read by Acting Grand Secretary, Brother Thomas Houser, after which the Lodge was consecrated and the following

officers installed:
Brother Benjamin Rupp Worshipful Master
Brother John A. Lichtenwalner Senior Warden
Brother John Fogel Junior Warden

Brother William Herbst Secretary
Brother David Schall Treasurer
Brother Herman Rupp Senior Deacon
Brother William Lichtenwalner Junior Deacon

These Brethren had resigned their membership in Porter Lodge No. 284 of Catasauqua , Pa. with exception of David Schall, Treasurer, who originated from Junius Lodge No. 291. Lehigh Lodge No. 326 was sponsored by Porter Lodge No. 284, of Catasauqua , Pa.

FIRST REGULAR MEETING

At its first regular meeting, held after the Grand Lodge closed, it was decided that the regular stated meetings of the Lodge shall be held on Tuesday on or before full moon of every month. It was also decided that the fee for conferring the first three degrees in Freemasonry shall be twenty-six ($26.00) dollars, to be distributed as follows: each petition to be accompanied by sixteen ($16.00) dollars, and the remainder to be paid prior to receiving the two latter degrees, at five ($5.00) dollars each respectively. Eight petitions for membership were received which were referred to a committee for investigation at the-first meeting of the Lodge. For some unexplained reason, the stated meetings in May and June of 1864 were held in the Odd Fellows Hall at FogelsVille.

LEHIGH LODGE #326 BUYS A HALL

At a Sheriff's sale held December 15, 1865, the hall at Trexlertown was bought by Lehigh Lodge, and sold later on April 1, 1872 to William Desch for $2,400. In the meantime, ownership of the hall had been transferred to the Lehigh Masonic Library. Association on February 1, 1868 .

Not being satisfied with their place of meeting, plans were made to build a new hall on the present site, an irregular tract of land purchased from Brother Ervin Weaver, Innkeeper and his wife Sarah for $1,100. Transfer of the deed was not made until June 6, 1872 . Obviously the new hall must have been erected on land owned by Brother Weaver.

CORNER-STONE LAYING

Old LodgeWe quote article in Keystone-Volume V-Philadelphia, Saturday, August 19, 1871 - New Masonic Hall at Trexlertown-On Saturday, July 29, 1871, the ancient craft laid the cornerstone of the New Masonic Hall at Trexlertown , Pa. At 1:30 p.m. the brethren proceeded to the site of the hall in the following order: Miner's Band, Trexlertown, Deputy Grand Master, Thos. S. McNair, Representatives of Barger Lodge, Allentown, Carbon Lodge, Mauch Chunk, Huguenot Lodge, Kutztown, Porter Lodge, Catasauqua, St. John’s, Reading and Lehigh Lodge, No. 326, Trexlertown, all arrayed in full Masonic regalia and bearing the Masonic tools. The opening prayer was then delivered by R.E.G. Chaplain, Rev. A. T. G. Dubbs, of this city, which was followed by singing of a beautiful Masonic hymn by the choir of the Trexlertown Church , under the leadership of Prof. Frank Kuder.

The Acting R. W. D. G. M., Robert H. Fogel, of Lehigh Lodge No. 326, spoke as follows:

“The Lehigh Masonic Library Association of Trexlertown, Lehigh Co., Pa., was organized January 10th, 1868 and having completed their arrangements for building a hall by resolution of JuIy 25th 1871, called upon Lehigh Lodge No. 326, A.Y.M., to take charge of the laying of the corner-stone of the hall, which case was laid before said Lodge at their meeting, July 25th, 1871, and unanimously adopted, when on application being made to R. W. G. M. R. A. Lambeiton, the necessary dispensation was made, and the committee of the Lodge entrusted with, the preparation, and I now have the pleasure to present to you the chairman of the building committee, J. H. Fogel.”

Mr. Fogel then announced that in accordance with the usages and imposing ceremonies of the Ancient Order the laying of the cornerstone would be proceeded with, and which was done. The usual articles were placed in the corner-stone, including a copy of the Keystone.

In conclusion of the ceremonies, Edward Harvey Esq., delivered an eloquent address, embodying much useful information touching the foundation of the Order, and their customs, in all ages, which was intently listened to by all present. This over, the procession was reformed, and after marching back to the old Hall, dismissed.

The new hall is to be a three-storied brick, of beautiful construction, 35 by 60 feet in dimensions. The first floor will be devoted to business rooms, and the third will be occupied by the Fraternity, altogether it will form an ornament to the town of which the citizens may be proud. The building committee consists of Brothers John H. Fogel, Isaac Hummel, Chas. Titlow, James D. Schall, Joel Hartzell, and James Haines.

The corner-stone laying was under the special direction of Lehigh Lodge No. 326 of Trexlertown ,, Pa. , and the following brethren constituted the acting officers of the Grand Lodge upon this occasion:

Brother L. S. McNair R. W. G. M.
Brother Robert H. Fogel R.W. D. G. M.
Brother Jacob S. Dillinger R.W. S. G. W.
Brother H. K. Hartzell R.W. J. G. W.
Brother Wm. B. Fogel R.W. G. Treas.
Brother Jas. B. Schall R.W. G. Sec'y
Brother Rev. A. J. G. Dubbs R.W. Grand Chaplain
Brother A. F. Schick R W. S. G. Deacon
Brother C. Erdman R.W. J. G.
Brother Simon Schmale Grand Steward
Brother Phaon Bear Grand Steward
Brother Thos. Fister Grand Marshall
Brother A. R. Good G. S. Bearer
Brother 0. W. Taast Grand Pursuivant
Brother Frank Schlicker Grand Tyler

Some of the articles deposited in the cornerstone included the following:

Holy Bible
Masonic Registers of:
Ahiman Rezon, Porter Lodge No. 284
List of Lodges in the District, Lehigh Lodge No. 326
Masonic Register of 1871, Barger Lodge No. 333
Silver Set of Lodge Tools, Slatington Lodge No. 440
Newspapers of the County, Carbon Lodge No. 242
Newspaper Keystone Lilly, Chapter No. 181
By-Laws of Lehigh Lodge, Allen Chapter No. 203
Coins of the Country:
Allen Commandery No. 20
Allen Council No. 23
Packer Commandery No. 25
McNair Council No. 29

The first meeting in the new hall was held May 21, 1872. According to the records of the Lodge, ownership of the new building lasted only seven years. During the panic of 1873, Lehigh Lodge found it impossible to meet its financial obligations. At the stated meeting held January 15, 1878, it was on motion ordered that a member be authorized to collect all outstanding dues of the members of the Lodge, to call on them at their residence and for the amount collected he shall receive $5.70.

The next stated meeting held February 12, 1878 , the records show that a total of $19.00 was collected and the member authorized to make the collection earned $.95. However, the efforts put forth were in vain and on December 10, 1878 , the property was deeded to William H. Herbst through foreclosure proceedings on the first mortgage. Thereafter the Lodge paid a rental of $40.00, and later $50.00 per year. This arrangement was in effect until February 1, 1916, when for a consideration of $3,200.00 paid to the estate of Dr. Herbst, Lehigh Lodge regained possession of its hall. Later the building was renovated and redecorated, making a total cost of the property approximately $5,200.00. Economy measures followed in order to pay a remaining indebtedness, including a number of banquet-less years until finally' on January 28, 1921 , the last mortgage was paid in full.

Constituted during a period of national financial and economic depression, and being able to withstand subsequent panic , depressions and recessions; (1873, 1893, 1901 and 1929), we can point with pride to the steady growth and progress of Lehigh Lodge over the past 150 years.

CHARITY AND RELIEF

During the earlier years, there were recorded many acts of charity and relief toward worthy distressed brethren. There are numerous grants of food or cash to members, widows of members and even members of other Lodges applying for assistance such as a brother in Slatedale losing his store in a fire; sufferers in South Carolina, Michigan, etc. On July 8, 1862 , Brother John Syon, a member of Lodge No. 941 of Ireland , visited our Lodge and appealed for help; he had lost his luggage and was in distress. The Lodge voted $3.00 to be paid Brother Syon.

BANQUETS

Suppers, banquets or collections were established as annual affairs at an early date in connection with the annual meeting. Of particular interest is the one planned for on Second Christmas evening, December 26, 1883 at a stipulated cost of $50.00. Brother Edwin Weaver records,”. . . Annual meeting - officers installed, lodge closed at 10:00 o'clock P.M. , when the members and visiting brethren were invited to a banquet prepared on the second floor-to which due justice was done by all present. Everything passed off harmoniously and was an occasion long to be remembered.” Apparently the brethren went overboard with their publicizing of the affair and proceedings of the meeting in the Allentown Daily City Item of December 26, 1883 , for which they were chastised by the Right Worshipful Grand Master.

MEMORIAL SERVICE

It was customary in the earlier days to call a Special Meeting of the Lodge upon the death of a brother to make arrangements to attend the funeral in a body, and to appoint a committee to draw up a resolution of condolence. Generally the lodge room was draped for a period of three months.

JURISDICTIONAL DISPUTE

The matter of claiming jurisdiction regarding petitioners residing approximately midway between two lodges often challenged the initiative and ingenuity of the members. On October 16, 1888, a dispute regarding such jurisdiction was resolved when the committee appointed to make the necessary inquiries reported that they had measured the distance from Kutztown, the place of meeting of Huguenot Lodge to Mertztown, the residence of the petitioner along the nearest road, and found it to be 37,921 feet, and from Mertztown to Trexlertown, 29,750 feet, a distance of 8,171 feet, or a little over a mile and a half in favor of Lehigh Lodge ' whereupon the previous ballot was ordered valid, and the petitioner was entered at the same meeting.

GREENLEAF LODGE No. 561 SPONSORED

In May 1882, nine members resigned for the purpose of becoming members of a new Lodge to be constituted November 10, 1882 to be known as Greenleaf Lodge No. 561.

TWO FAITHFUL SERVANTS

Brother Past Master Phaon H. Stettler was installed as the first Treasurer, a post which he occupied for 22 years. Brother Past Master Augustus F. Shick was installed as the first Secretary, serving in that capacity for 40 years.

THE CERNEAU RITE AND MASONIC CHAIN LETTER CRAZE

The Year 1888 marked the appearance of the Cerneau Rite. The Right Worshipful Grand Master issued an edict declaring this organization clandestine and gave notice to all brethren who may have become members of the Rite to sever all relations or suffer expulsion from the Lodge. A similar edict in 1917 put an end to the Masonic Chain Letter Craze.

On December 1, 1908 , the 50th Anniversary of the constitution of the Lodge was celebrated in the Masonic Hall, Trexlertown. Brother George W. Kolb, Worshipful Master, Brother Horace W. Schantz, Past Master (who was Worshipful Master-elect) was the Toastmaster. The speakers were Brothers F. M. Trexler, Past Master, Henry H. Herbst, Past Master and Edward Harvey, Past Master. After the program the members were to remain for the "afterpiece” including the famous Schnitzelbunk under the direction of Ray James Garfield Ritter.

OUR HONOR ROLL

Whenever there was a call for men to fight for our country, members of Lehigh Lodge answered the call during the War Between the States, the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean Conflict. In November 1917, 15 scrolls furnished by the Grand Lodge were presented to members serving in the armed forces in World War I. On Christmas Day 1917, Brother Charles F. Guldin was elected Worshipful Master. Not many months later he answered the call to arms.

PROMINENT MEMBERS

During its 150 years of existence, Lehigh Lodge has a long list of illustrious and prominent members of the community, serve as Worshipful Master, among which Brother Horace W. Schantz, serving in 1909, became one of our most widely-recognized members throughout the State, as State Senator and President Pro-tem in the State Senate.

UNIQUE CEREMONIES

Brother Frank E. Neumeyer, Past Master, conferred the three degrees on his son:

Brother Bernard W. Neumeyer

Entered November 17, 1942


Passed December 22, 1942


Raised January 19, 1943

Brother John H. R. Guth, Past Master, conferred the three degrees on his son:

Brother Curtis T. Guth

Entered - May 17, 1951
Passed - June 21, 1951
Raised - September 25, 1951

Brother George W. F. Hohe, Past Master, raised his son:
Brother Kenneth M. Hohe Raised - December 22, 1953

There is a minute that is quite interesting and we believe something that rarely happens in the history of a Lodge. Brother Wallace L. Davis, Past Master of Greenleaf Lodge No. 561, conferred the sublime degree of a Master Mason on three generations of the Shankweiler family.

Brother Wilson F. Shankweiler, Sr. - October 15, 1929

Brother Wilson J. Shankweiler, Jr. - June 27, 1939

Brother Henry C. Shankweiler-june 11, 1957

Andrew Woodward
August 25, 2006 1:19 PM