Montgomery County Illinois History

Litchfield Illinois Masonic Temple

Litchfield Illinois Masonic Fraternity

In February, 1857, a petition was granted by J. H. Hibbard, MWGM of the State of Illinois, to a group of Masons to institute a Masonic Lodge in Litchfield to be known as Charter Oak Lodge. The first meeting was held on March 4, 1857, the three principal officers being G. G. Withington, WM; W. S. Palmer, SW; W. H. Cummings, JW. On Oct. 7, 1857, a charter was granted to these men and C. W. Parish, S. W. McDonald, James Thalls, Samuel Boothe, and B. C. Beardsley to form Charter Oak Lodge No. 236. On Oct. 28th, W. S. Palmer was installed WM; W. H. Cummings, SW; D. W. Bagley, JW; together with the other officers of the lodge. The second degree was conferred on Brother E. W. Litchfield (after whose family the town was named) and the third degree on Brothers W. T. Elliott and R. W. O'Bannon.

The meetings were held in a room on the third floor of the yellow-colored frame building known as the "Wigwam" which was located on the southeast corner of Ryder and Madison Streets. The first and second floors were occupied by a carriage factory.

The membership increased to such an extent that in May, 1867, the lodge took temporary quarters in the second story of the Elliott Hall (what is now the south half of Yaegers Clothing Store).

In July, 1867, the Grand Lodge was petitioned to form another lodge of Masons to be known as the Litchfield Lodge. On Oct. 1, 1867, a charter was granted by I. R. Gorin, MWGM, and on Oct. 7 Litchfield Lodge No. 517 was constituted with the following charter members being installed: Geo. M. Raymond, WM; W. E. Bacon, SW; S. J. Kirkpatrick, JW; I. W. Davenport, Treasurer; H. C. Watson, Secretary; Geo. A. Stoddard, SD; Shelby Tyler, JD; C. W. Parish, SS; John B. Hall, JS; C. M. Gilfellen of Charter Oak Lodge as Tyler. Other charter members were Wesley Best and N. C. Alexander. Dr. J. D. Colt was one of the first members to be initiated.

In March, 1868, both lodges moved to the third floor of the brick building located at the northwest corner of State and Kirkham Streets, now occupied by the Odd Fellows.

On May 15, 1913, the Masons purchased the building known as the Opera House located at the northeast corner of Ryder and Madison Streets, the second floor of which was used as a lodge hall. In 1923 this building was destroyed by fire and on Nov. 20, 1924, the present Masonic Temple was dedicated.

On June 7, 1935, a charter was issued consolidating both lodges into Litchfield Lodge No. 236 and on July 23 the following officers were installed: C. A. Hampton, WM; Earl Anderson, SW; W. L. Bishop, JW; A. F. Heath, Treasurer; Clyde Dupree, Secretary; O. J. Stockton, SD; Geo. A. Hall, JD; C. M. Davis, SS; John H. Taylor, JS; A. R. Blankley, Chap.; A. H. Roberts, Mar.; B. J. Ellis, Organist; Danvill Bennett, Tyler.

Present officers are A. N. Barrow, WM; R. Brandt, SW; G, Faris, JW; A. F. Heath, Treasurer; A. G. Kleinbeck, Secretary; D. Symmes, SD; J. Markos, JD; F. Butts, SS; L. Corn, JS; C. D. Case, Chap.; R. N. Angle, Mar.; B. J. Ellis, Organist; A. Handegan, Tyler.

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