The following history of Farmers Lodge No. 153 was prepared by Bros. G. E. Smith P.M., W. L. Pierpont P.M., and W. B. Hoskinson P.M., and read at the Centennial Celebration on September 21, 1947.

Through the courtesy of Bro. Hoskinson, P.M., and present Secretary, we are presenting it for our readers as well as a record of this historic Lodge.

The Village of Fredonia was laid out by S. Arnold, a member of a Masonic Lodge in the State of New York. His burial is in the old cemetery just west of the village, and the marker on his grave has all the Masonic emblems of the first Three Degrees. We are informed that he was the Great Grandfather of our Brother F. A. Carpenter P.M., on his Mother’s side of the family.

The following is the first Minutes of the organization’s proceedings:

“At a meeting of Master Masons this day appointed at Fredonia, Ohio; a Dispensation from R.W. Bro. Wm. B. Thrall, G.M. of the Grand Lodge, was presented and read, constituting and establishing a Lodge of Master Masons at this place under the name of Farmer’s Lodge and there upon a Lodge of M.M. was opened in due form. Present were Syene Hale, W.M., T. McClelland, S.W., S. Williard, J.W., and other Brethern not here named.

The secretary presented and read the Petitions of the following named persons asking to be admitted into the Lodge: B. G. Carroll, E. Hurst, S. Carver, A. G. Dowe, and F. Horton.

On motion ordered that Bro. L. Friener be appointed a committee of one to examine into the character of the said petitioners and report at our next meeting. On motion ordered that Bros. S Hale and Pascal Devinney be appointed a committee to draft a code of By-laws for the government of the Lodge and that they be requested to report at our next meeting.

On motion ordered that when this Lodge adjourns it will meet one week from this day. No further business appearing the Lodge was closed with harmony.”
List of Charter Members

  • S. Hale - a Doctor of Medicine
  • S. Cooper
  • C. Devinney - who at the time owned Brooks Corners Farm, south of village at cross roads
  • T. McClelland - carpenter and builder of original Lodge Hall
  • D. Eaton - local resident
  • B. Thornhill - local resident
  • C. Rosecrans - father of General Rosecrans
  • T. Spellman - farmer living southwest of village, a son of T. Spellman, a charter member of Center Star Lodge, Granville
  • S. Williard - grandfather of our late Brother G. W. Williard
  • S. Runnels - who lived on what is now known as Wheatcraft Farms and built the original brick house which is said to have had secret rooms in the basement which were used by negro slaves for hiding from officers, and being part of the famous underground railway of Civil War times.
  • J. P. Devinney - son of C. Devinney, aforementioned, they being breeders of short horned cattle, among first in the county
  • P. Inscape - local resident
  • L. Frienier - harness and shoe maker


Charter Officers 1847

  • S. Hale - Worshipful Master
  • T. McClellend - Senior Warden
  • S. Williard - Junior Warden

First Elected Officers for 1848

  • S. Hale - Worshipful Master
  • T. McClellend - Senior Warden
  • J. P. Devinney - Junior Warden
  • S. Williard - Secretary

The first few meetings of the Lodge were held in the dwelling which is still standing on the original location, on North and South Road (Ohio State 661) on the west side, the third house south of East and West Road (County Road #16) also the dwelling on road 661, the second on west side, north of road #16, until the completion of the original Hall in the latter part of 1848. The aforesaid original Hall was built by Bro. T. McClelland, charter member, and the lumber and saw bills were donated by Bro. F. Preston, grandfather of our present Bro. C. M. Preston, P.M.

Copy of First Grand Lodge Report, October 3, 1848

The first years initiates were thirty-two as follows:

W. Parsons

W. A. Aram

A.G. Dowe

Rev. L. Hillery

W. F. Jaggers

J. P. Woodberry

J. H. Jones

W. F. Preston

L. Frenier

T. Horton

A. Forsyth

M. Inscho

G. Long

I. S. Barlow

C. J. Eaton

J. B. Penn

C. M. Cunningham

J. L. Kinkead

G. McFarlan

A. Warthen

J. I. Stevens

W. A. Bellus

W. Bryant

A. Houck

F. Helphry

R. Huhns

C. H. Coe

H. Ashley

A. Philbrick

W. Carroll

N. Hatch

J. Ramey

Our Charter date September 22, 1848, was signed by the following Grand Lodge Officers, R.W. M.J. Krieder, G.M.; R.W. J. Battier, Dept. G.M.; R.W. I.N. Burr, G.S.W.; R.W. K. Jarvis, G.J.W.; and B.F. Smith, G. Secy.; in their own hand writing.

How Our Name Originated

The Charter of a Lodge at Belpre named Farmers #20 was surrendered. Belpre being near Marietta, the number was assigned to Magnolia Lodge, Columbus, and the name of Farmers was assigned to our Lodge with the number 153. (It being the custom of the Grand Lodge at that time to transfer names and numbers).

Bro. A. W. Dennis presented to the Lodge on September 19, 1848, the Square and Compasses which we are still using. It is presumed that he made them by hand. (Bro. Dennis served Newark Lodge #97 as Master in 1850- to -3-66).

Bro. M. Critchott made and presented the original Trowel and Twelve Bells Clock which are also still in use. Bro. Critchott was a blacksmith and discovered a method of welding iron and steel similar to modern methods, but did not tell anyone his secret.

On October 7, 1847, an E.A. Degree was conferred on Bros. B. G. Carroll, E. Hunt, S. Courier, and P. Horton; this being the first work done in the Lodge.

Unusual and Peculiar Meetings

Our records show that on February 12, 1850, Bro. F. Spellman was passed and raised on this date, listed as an emergency. On March 28, 1853, Rev. G. W. Shaffer received all Three Degrees and a Dimit was granted after the work completed, also emergency listing.

Bro. S. O. Preston served as Secretary for a number of years and made our present Record of Membership which required a vast amount of time and work, as the information had to be sorted out of the Minute Books.

Purchase of present Lodge Property.

A motion on November 2, 1937, by Bro. A. C. Keckley that the Trustees of the Lodge use their own judgement regarding the purchase of the Fredonia School property was duly recorded and carried.

On December 7, 1937, the Trustees of the Lodge recommended that the Fredonia School building and lot be purchased for $227.50. A motion by Bro. F. L. Galbraith, that our Trustees purchase Fredonia School building and lot as recommended by the Trustees was duly recorded by Bro. C. R. Hoar and the vote was unanimous. The final purchase price was $232.50.

  • Our Lodge has a completed set of records from the beginning and Grand Lodge proceedings from 1808.
  • We have a gavel made from timber from the Forest of Lebanon.
  • There have been 460 who have received the M.M. Degree, 15 who have received the E.A. Degree and quit, and 8 who have received the F.C. Degree and quit.
  • Our Local Chapter Order of the Eastern Star Charter was dated October 24, 1912.
  • Bro. G. E. Smith is at present our oldest member and also the oldest P.M.

The Last 25 Years (records from 1973)

The first 100 years saw 40 members become Worshipful Master. During the last 25 years, we have had 21 Worshipful Masters, including our present Worshipful Master, Bro. R. W. Hutchinson.

The first Celebration was held on September 21, 1947. The Date of our Charter is September 22, 1848, including the year 1847 to September 22, 1848. Actually Farmers Lodge has been in existence 126 years. The first year of operation under dispensation, and 125 years as a Charted Lodge.