Mason, It rang in good times and bad.

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by Bigmel, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. Bigmel

    Bigmel Premium Member Premium Member

    This was printed in our local paper. I thought it was a very nice read.

    It rang in good times and bad, at sunrise and sunset. And if its metal could talk, it would recall the beginnings of Fort Worth and the settlers who forged what would become the city and county seat on a bluff facing the Trinity River.
    No one really knows exactly how the 16-inch bell that was cast in London in 1782 made its way to North Texas, but its caretaker, Fort Worth Masonic Lodge No. 148, has kept it safe and an active part of the community since the 1850s.
    Local historians believe that the bell, which is kept at the Masonic Temple on Henderson Street, is one of the oldest historic treasures left in Fort Worth.
    “It has a clean history,†said Clara Ruddell, who works for the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau and is a local historian and member of the Tarrant County Historical Commission. “(Pioneer) J.C. Terrell wrote about the bell and who brought it here, and we have the bell itself. He (the bell) can't come with a better provenance.â€
    Its name is Mason
    In early days, bells were used to alert residents of the newly formed settlements in the West. Historic documents say the bell was central to the growing community and served many purposes: It announced the stagecoach; it ushered out the old year and welcomed the new; it was the fire alarm, it called people to eat, rang for weddings, urged students to school, and tolled for deaths and funerals.
    Back then, the newly formed Fort Worth had no other bell than the one that belonged to Lawrence Steel, part of the group of 10 men who organized the first Blue Lodge, which became Lodge No. 148, the first Masonic Lodge chartered in Fort Worth in 1855. They met in a room above a tavern and hotel run by Steel at the northwest corner of what was then the public square. That area is on the bluff near the 1895 Tarrant County Courthouse, at Belknap and Main streets.
    Those early settlers and organizers included Julian Feild, Capt. J.C. Terrell, Capt. E.M. Daggett, John Peter Smith and Col. Middleton Tate Johnson, according to Reminiscences of the Early Days of Fort Worth, by Terrell.
    Steel kept the bell at his hotel until 1871, when it was purchased by the Lodge and its school. The bell eventually became known as the Masonic Bell, and today the fraternity affectionately refers to it as Mason.
    “The brotherhood helps keep the memory alive,†said Robert P. “Bob†Holmes, a master Mason and curator of the Masonic Temple Library & Museum.
    Still being used
    In keeping with its rich tradition, officials included the bell in the dedication of the Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial on June 5, said Kevin Foster, research director for the memorial. Mayor Mike Moncrief opened the ceremony by ringing the bell to announce the names of the firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty. Their names are etched on the granite structure in Trinity Park.
    Foster spent hours researching histories for the memorial. His mission became clearer when he discovered how the bell was used in the death of Deputy City Marshal Columbus C. Fitzgerald on Aug. 25, 1877. He was shot and “mortally wounded†when he “tried to quell a disturbance near the Cold Springs Race Track on the city's north side,†according to historic accounts. He died the next day.
    “At the time of his death, the fire bell began tolling the news. A lynch mob formed, and 12 men were made special officers to guard the jail,†historic accounts indicate.
    “Knowing what I knew (about the history), it became a goal to get that bell for our dedication,†said Foster, who is also historian for the Fort Worth Police Department and secretary of the Police Officers Association.
    Since then, Mason has been invited to various events throughout Tarrant County and has been used at several weddings held in the cathedral at the Masonic Temple.
  2. Bill Lins

    Bill Lins Moderating Staff Staff Member

    It also ran in the Victoria Advocate today. Great PR!
  3. Blake Bowden

    Blake Bowden Administrator Staff Member

    Great stuff!

Share My Freemasonry