History of Athens Masonic Lodge Dates Back To 1854 Charter Granted January 24, 1856
This story was in the Athens Daily Review, Historical and Home-coming Edition, May, 1941.
Athens Lodge, No. 165, A.F. & A.M., was organized in the early part of 1854, about nineteen years after the first subordinate lodge in the Republic of Texas was organized.
The first two years of its life the lodge worked under a dispensation. John P. Walton was its first Worshipful Master and in 1855 Lewis W. Moore served as Worshipful Master.
On January 24, 1865, the Grand Lodge of Texas granted Athens lodge its charter and the three principal officers were elected and their names appear on the charter. These names are: Lewis W. Moore, Worshipful Master; D. M. Mabray, Senior Warden and Tandy Howeth, Junior Warden. I am sorry that I cannot give all of the names of the charter members, for the brethren who blazed the trail for this lodge deserve a lot of credit. This information was not available in Athens.
The first Masonic lodge building was located where the home of Mrs. W. T. Carroll now stands at 221 South Palestine Street. It was later moved to the lot north of where the Athens Hotel now stands. Later when the present brick building was erected that not houses the Liberty Theater the lodge moved back into that building. Still later the lodge purchased its present brick building and is now renting the ground floor to the A. & P. Grocery. Thanks to brother T. P. Faulk for information concerning various locations of our lodge.
I give below the Past Masters of Athens Lodge. No. 165, and the years in which they served: John P. Walton, 1854; Lewis W. Moore, 1855-59; D. W. Broughton, 1856-57; D. M. Mabray, 1858-64-68; A. S. Tannehill, 1860; T. F. Murchison, 1861-62-63-67-79; George D. Manion 1865; W. B. Stirman 1866-72; W. C. Larkin, 1869; John M. McDonald, 1870.
John W. Ballow, 1871, W. D. Walker, 1873-74-75-76-77-78-81-82-83-; Joab McManus, 1880; G. M. Wofford, 1884; J. H. Jarrell, 1885; C. T. Scott, 1886; W. T. Eustace, 1887; A. B. Watkins, 1888; Paul Jones, 1889; W. R. Dickerson, 1890; Joe A. McDonald, 1891; John S. Jones, 1892-95; W. L. Faulk, 1893; H. C. Scott, 1895; Dr. J. C. Hodge, 1896; Charles H. Hart, 1897-98; Charles H. Coleman, 1899; A. C. Hart, 1900; Walter Scott, 1901; J. W. Murchison, 1902-03; W. H. Coleman, 1904-05-06-10-11-12-13; J. R. Blades, 1907; T. P. Faulk, 1908; Dr. D. R. Coker, 1909; Elam Henderson, 1914-15-16.
Sam Holland, 1917; Dr. J. K. Wester, 1918-19; W. B. Stirman, 1920; Ben C. Ackerman, 1921; Dr. R. H. Hodge, 1922-37; T. F. Murchison, Jr. 1923; A. M. Newbill, 1924; Paul Gauntt, 1925; A. S. Ford, 1926-28; W. A. Walker, 1927; S. L. R. Cartlidge, 1929; Dr. J. H. Burtis, 1930; F. F. Cartlidge, 1931; Hobson Gree, 1932.
D. C. Prince, 1933; Jack Owen, 1934; S. B. Jeffrey, 1935; William F. Hodge, 1936; Jole H. Lusk, 1938; Joe H. Owen, 1939; A. R. Cox, 1940-41.
The Present officers of the lodge are: A. R. Cox, Worshipful Master; Dr. N. D. Geddie, Senior Warden; Clark Murrell, Junior Warden; W. A. Walker, Secretary; W. H. Coleman, Treasure; G. L. Smith, Sr. Senior Deacon; Jackson Owen, Junior Deacon; Tarlton Loughridge, Senior Steward; Weldon Hamil, Junior Steward; Wiley Johnson, Tiler.
Our Present finance committee is composed of T. P. Faulk, chairman; W. A. Walker and Joe Glandon.
The Athens lodge has had the distinction of producing one of the Grand Masters for the Grand Lodge of Texas, he being Judge A. B. Watkins, who was Grand Master in 1897. If we were selfish we could claim another, Thomas M. Matthews, Sr., who was Grand Master in 1882, who was a member of another lodge at the time although he had been a member of the Athens lodge.
Considering the fact that Masonry is only 106 years old in Texas and that there has only been one hundred Grand Masters, including the present, Sam B. Cantey of Ft. Worth, we naturally feel proud that we can lay claim to one of those patriots who no person denies played a great part in the early history of this great state. At one time three Past Grand Masters. Judge A. B. Watkins, T. M. Matthews, Sr., and Rev. Gus Garrison, were residents of Athens.
I am indebted to the following brethren for information contained in this article: T. P. Faulk, W. A. Walker, C. H. Coleman and Jack Owen.
Had I had more time I could probably, give more interesting history on our good lodge but I did all that I could within the short time allotted me and have enjoyed it. And in closing I wish to say to all the good members of the Athens lodge, and I believe that they are all good Masons; May God guide, guard and protect you through life and endow you with such a competency of Divine wisdom that you may be an honor to the great and noble Order of Free Masons, and an inspiration to your fellowmen.
A. R. Cox Worshipful Master. Athens Lodge, No. 165 (1941)
Transcribed by Bunny Shumate Freeman
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