Gonzales Masonic Lodge No. 30

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Blake Bowden, Jul 19, 2009.

  1. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    Dating back to 1846, the local Masonic Lodge holds the distinction of being one of the fourteen oldest Masonic bodies in Texas. Another distinction of Lodge No. 30 in 1923 was furnishing more Grandmasters to the Grand Lodge of Texas than any other Lodge in Texas. These Grandmasters included the late James F. Miller, Judge B.R. Abernethy, Chief Justice W.S. Fly, and Hon. W.M. Fly. The last two remaining the most distinguished in Masonic circles of Texas for some time. Chief Justice Fly, the last Grandmaster from Gonzales Lodge, never missed attending any of the Texas Grand Lodge meetings for 57 consecutive years. Until his death on June 24, 1944 he reigned as the chairman of the Board of the Texas State Masonic Home in Arlington for 25 years. It is said that no member in this country held more honors in the Masonic Lodge than did W.S. Fly. According to J.H. Daniel, secretary of the Lodge in 1923, who wrote the last history of the Lodge, "writing a history of the Gonzales Lodge No. 30 would almost be a history of Texas." From its beginning it played a prominent part in Masonry, having outstanding men on its membership rolls. These men in their time made history, had great vision, and aided greatly to make Texas the state she is today. Gonzales Lodge No. 30 A.F. & A.M. was organized August 8, 1846, under the dispensation granted June 12, 1846 by W.M., A.S. Ruthven, Grand Master of Texas. At a meeting of the Grand Lodge in December, 1947, the local Lodge No. 30 was granted a charter dated January 18, 1848. In February of 1856, a second Lodge Chapter, the Royal Arch Masons No. 51 was organized under dispensation from Companion James L. Green, deputy grand high priest of Texas. It's first meetings were held on the Friday preceding the full moon, and later, likely caused by a misunderstanding of when the moon was full, Hosteter's Almanac was made the standard for the stated meetings.
    Mail service didn't move as fast in those days, but this hardship was compensated by the low prices. The Royal Arch Masons received their charter July 9 which was dated June 24; a time lapse of nearly one month. Comparing quite unfavorably with the present day $40 price for a coat is the $2 that was paid for the R.W.M. coat. Oh, for the good old days! From the beginning of the No. 51 Lodge, there was a strong yearning for a home. In 1871, a lot opposite Monroe's corner was purchased for the purpose of erecting Masonic Hall. This lot was later sold when the chapter helped build a church and hall in which to hold their meetings. Although they now had a permanent meeting place, the R.A.M. still had no home of their own. .Hopes of a home continued to glow in the members until 1913 when it burst into a small flame with the chapter again being bit by the real estate bug. Their home, the present Masonic Building, over the old Peck and Fly Building, was not built until after 1923. Dues in the early days swayed between the two to four dollar range. During the war between the states the dues were paid with one-half in species and one-half in Confederate money. In 1872, the Masons and Odd Fellows started a movement to build a college here. The college was organized but the finances evidently did not hold out, and it went out of existence in 1874. Money must have been much harder to get in 1873 than it is today. For in that time the Chapter loaned its funds for 15 percent. Records show that the R.A.M. was a leader in almost every type of improvement. This chapter with the other local Masonic bodies built a school house costing $2,500. The Masonic Lodges' history uncovers the fact that this
    organization took great interest in education. The R.A.M. Chapter paid college tuition for the sons of three of the Companions. This same Chapter took in charge some orphans and donated money to furnish a room at the Home for Aged Masons at Arlington. A third Chapter, the Gonzales Commandry No. 11, K.T. was organized November 13, 1875, by virtue of a warrant issued to the Sir Knights. The charter is dated February 3, 1876. On April 14 of the same year, the Sir Knights formed a line, preceded by the members of Gonzales Lodge No. 30 led by Gonzales brass band, and marched through the main streets to the Presbyterian church for the installation of officers. one of its knighted members, Sir Knight Elijah Dudley became a Mason in County Cork, Ireland, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Great Britain. He held the position of sentinal in the local lodge for 25 years until his death in 1911. This lodge, which was outstanding in church work, sent $75 to New Orleans for yellow fever sufferers. It sent the Galveston flood sufferers $50 in 1900. In 1901, the Commandery acted as an escort for Lodge No. 30 in laying the cornerstone for the cotton mill. An action which resulted
    in a stipulation of the class of buildings for which the Lodge could conduct ceremonies.
    The organization sent ~100 to the sufferers in San Francisco in 1906. It placed a memorial window in the Auditorium, Home and School at Fort Worth. These local Masonic Chapters have grown in membership to around 225 members. The Gonzales Lodge is the mother to a number of lodges in this section of Texas, among which is the San Antonio Lodge. Past officer.; of the Masonic Lodge were Roger Dreyer, worshipful
    master; Bill DuBose, senior warden; Dr. Eugene Lauraine, junior warden; P.L. Crockett, treasurer; William E. Beall, secretary; J.L. Marrow, librarian. The local lodge has its own cemetery, which dates back many years, and in 1923 it was termed "one of the most beautiful burying grounds in Texas." As J.H. Daniel wrote, "Here sleep all that is mortal of the fine old pioneers in the Masonry of Gonzales who were called from labor to rest years ago." The Grand Lodge of Texas was organized in January, 1838. There are only thirteen other lodges in Texas older than the local one. of those who have gone out from Lodge No. 30 to help build Texas it can be said, according to Daniel, that these men were--
    "God-given men; nen of strong minds,
    Men whom the lLi,-~. of office does not kill;
    Men whom the spoias of office cannot buy;
    Men who possess opinions and a will;
    Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
    Men who can stand before a demagogue,
    And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
    Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
    In public dut~ and in private thinking."

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