American Union Lodge No. 1

One Hundred Years in
Marietta Marietta Commandery No. 50, Knights Templar

Author, Right Worshipful Brother Earl C. Gifford

CHAPTER 1:
PRE-MASONIC TEMPLE; THE FORMATIVE YEARS

It would be interesting to know the background against which Marietta Commandery, Knights Templar was founded. But as is so often the case, the minutes and records available show only a cryptic account of the actions accomplishing the formation of this Commandery 100 years ago.

The first entry in the minute book is a handwritten copy of the dispensation dated November 4, 1890, over the signatures of Sit Knights William B. Melish of Cincinnati, Grand Commander, and John N. Bell, Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of Ohio, authorizing Marietta Commandery to form, open and operate until the 1891 conclave of the Grand Commandery.

According to this dispensation, the 22 signers in Marietta of the petition requesting this dispensation were Sir Knights Theodore F. Davis, William M. Morse, Theodore Padden, John H. Riley, J. D. Lashley, Robert E. Phillips, H. L. Sibley, James B. Hovey (Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Ohio from 1879-1881), C. R. Stevens, X. D. Watter, John T. Morgan, Henry Hill, J. Hackley, T. J. Deeren, A. W. Tompkins, G. L. Nye, William Reader, J. W. Holden, W. H. Boughner, J. K. Gregory, J. A. McCormick, and H. J. Longfellow.

Named as the Commander under the dispensation was C. R. Stevens, with R. E. Phillips as Generalissimo and John H. Riley as Captain General. The dispensation empowered and authorized the Commandery to “open a Commandery of Knights Templar and the appendant Orders…therein to confer the Orders of Red Cross, Knight Templar and Knight of Malta upon Royal Arch Masons resident in this jurisdiction.”

Little time was wasted by our Sir Knights before taking advantage of this newly granted authority. The first meeting of Marietta Commandery, U.D., was held on November 7, 1890. The top three officers having been specified by the dispensation, other officers were elected as follows:

J. D. Lashley, Prelate William Reader, Senior Warden
William M. Morse, Junior Warden Theodore F. Davis, Treasurer
A. W. Tompkins, Recorder G. S. Nye, Standard Bearer
Joseph W. Holden, Sword Bearer Jacob Hackley, Warden

and appointed:

Thomas Padden, Thomas J. Deeren, and Henry Hill as Guards.

These officers were duly installed by Eminent Commander Stevens, and 9 petitions for Orders were received. The fees for the Orders was set at $40.00.

The first special conclave of the new Commandery was held on November 21 “in the Masonic Hall Front Street” (this must have been the hall of American Union Lodge No. 1), at which time it was reported that paraphernalia had been ordered and would be delivered in 30 days.

The next stated conclave was held December 5 “at 7 ½ o’clock when the sentinel was posted.” The petitions for Orders received at the November conclave were separately balloted upon and elected, and 3 more petitions were received and held over. $55.00 was turned over to the Trustees for use in paying rent for the Hall. On December 19 the Commandery met again and received one more petition.

On December 29 the Commandery met “in the Asylum Putman Street”. Later entries indicate this was in the Davis and Seyler Building at 133-135 Putnam Street. At this meeting the Order of Red Cross was conferred on 7 candidates. A resolution was passed to “express our thanks to Mrs. T. H. Sugden for a beautiful copy of the Holy Bible presented by her for the use of Marietta Commandery No. 50, U.D.”

On December 30 the Commandery again met in the Asylum on Putnam Street and conferred the Order of Red Cross on two more candidates.

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