Chapter 1

Sometime in the spring of 1884 the Mammouth Springs Lodge in the 19th Masonic district loaned Brother A.D. Witherspoon fifteen dollars to apply for a charter for a new Masonic Lodge in Midlothian, Texas.

There were several Master Masons in the Midlothian area. Brothers W.A. Brundage, John Bolt, B.F. Witherspoon, T.W. Boyett, G.S. Berry, J.L. Cater, F.S. Clark, A.W. Crawford, D.B. Coglan, B.F. Coglan, J.D. Custer, A.H. Elder, J.W. Francis, W.M. Finley, W.H. Patterson, W.H. Hale, E.P. Killebrew, Walter Knight, T.W. Lowe, J.G. Vinson, W.J. Rhodes, C.S. Smith, and F.O. Smith were charter members.There were twenty-four of the pioneer brothers.

These men were allowed to use the Odd Fellows Hall, a two story wooden building where our present City Hall now stands. They used this hall free several months in 1884 while planning and obtaining a charter 12 December 1884. The first Stated Meeting of Midlothian Lodge No. 584 was held 31 January 1885, when they elected officers, collected dues and organized.

The dues being $2.60 per year, most members paid $1.30 then and $1.30 by 24 June 1885. Several members paid sixty-five cents at each quarter, only one or two paid all at first.

District Deputy Grand Master of the 19th Masonic District J.C. Loggins proceeded to institute Midlothian Lodge No. 584 A.F. & A.M. in due form with the following officers installed.

  • Brother A.D. Witherspoon Worshipful Master
  • Brother J.L. Cater Senior Warden
  • Brother B.F. Witherspoon Junior Warden
  • Brother J.C. Vinson Treasurer
  • Brother William Finley Secretary
  • Brother John Bolt Senior Deacon
  • Brother W.A. Patterson Junior Deacon
  • Brother F.T. Smith Tiler

There were three brethren present, other than the officers, Brother W.A. Brundage, A.W. Crawford and Brother T.W. Lowe. After the installation of the officers, Right Worshipful J.C. Loggins gave a lecture on the duties of a Master Mason. After the lecture, Worshipful Master A.D. Witherspoon appointed Brothers J.C. Vincent, J.L. Cates ,and W.A. Brundage as a committee to procure aprons and such jewels as they thought proper. There were twenty-four charter members.

The second meeting of the Midlothian Lodge was 14 February. The lodge received their first petition for initiation from Mr. B.F. Milton. It was received and a committee was appointed, consisting of W.A. Brundage, J.C. Vinson and W.H. Patterson. The special committee reported they had procured the aprons and asked for more time to procure the jewels, request granted. Brother Brundage had hand made a wooden plumb, square and level, now on display in the glass display in the foyer.

Stated Meeting of 28 February was opened as they had two Stated Meetings a month, the second and last Saturday of each month. The special committee on procuring the jewels asked for more time and it was granted. It was moved and seconded to appoint a committee to procure a Sentenal for their hall and to contact the Odd Fellows Lodge for an O.K. as they shared a Lodge Hall and divided the rent.

Lodge met 28 March for the Stated Meeting with the eight officers present and B.F. Coglan, member, they also had Brother W.L Kizziar from Mammouth Springs Lodge No. 478.

The committee on the petition of Mr. B.F. Milton reported favorable, committee discharged, and ballot was clear. It was moved and seconded that a committee be appointed to contact Brother Clark in regard to building a hall for the lodge soon, estimate the cost of same, and report at next meeting. Brothers B.F. Witherspoon, A.H. Elder, and W.A. Brundage were appointed to the committee.

Lodge met 25 April 1885 in Stated Meeting with all eight officers present. The committee on the Lodge Hall reported they needed more time and it was granted. It was moved and seconded that we propose to rent a hall from Brother W.H. Hale in connection with the Odd Fellows. Motion sustained. Brother Brundage asked to be removed from the committee on the new hall. Request granted. It was moved that the lodge procure a writing desk, sustained. An Entered Apprentice Lodge was opened and the First degree in Masonry was conferred upon Mr. B.F. Milton. This was the Midlothian Lodge's first degree and candidate.

Mrs. Lillie Raines is 101 years old in Pleasant Manor Nursing Home and is a granddaughter of B.F. Milton.

The Milton farm was purchased from the Milton heirs, who still lived on the land, by Gifford Hill Co. in 1965 for the cement plant. R.K. Milton a son, and John Milton a grandson were members in later years.

Stated Meeting 10 May 1885 with all officers present. The committee on procuring the jewels reported they had located a set of jewels for $10.35. They were instructed to purchase the jewels and report next meeting.

It is very interesting to look in the glass display of ours and see the wooden, handmade jewelry they were using that Saturday, then look further and see the $10.35 set of jewels they purchased. The Holy Bible they had on the alter is also still with us with the original square and compass. There are some candle holders used for light in the first Lodge Hall. Bible copyright 1883.

The committee on furniture reported they had purchased a secretary and desk for the lodge from Sears for eight dollars. The Lodge voted to give W.A. Brundage credit for eight dollars, almost three years of dues for his paying for the secretary and desk. Someone made a motion that the lodge build a hall over T.A. Morgan's store that was located on the block where Dee Tee's now is. T.A. Morgan had the first mercantile store in Old Lebanon near the spring southeast of our cemetery. When the railroad came in 1883 and plotted the Midlothian town site, he purchased the lot and built the first store in Midlothian. This motion failed and a new motion was made that it be laid on the table. This motion was sustained. A motion was made and seconded that they have a public installation of the officers. Motion lost. Some interesting spelling in the minutes were two spelled too, public - publlick, dues - dewes, report - eeport, jewels - jewls, Waxahachie could not be spelled at all, minutes - minuts, treasurer - tresur.

Stated Meeting 23 May 1885 had a motion and second that they defer reading of the last minutes until the next meeting, sustained. All officers present except secretary.

Stated Meeting 13 June 1885, bill presented for jewels $10.35 and June rent to J.C. Kimmel $4.50. Bills ordered paid. A motion was made to have a public installation of officers on 4 July in conjunction with the Odd Fellows and have a speaker for the occasion, motion carried. A motion was made to continue with Odd Fellows festivities but have our public installation on 24 June due to timing, sustained. The lodge then proceeded to elect the same officers as the first year.

24 June 1885 , Lodge opened then call off and went to Polytechnic College (now Kimmel Park) for the public installation. Brother B.F. Hawkins of Waxahachie Lodge No. 90 proceeded to install the officers for the ensuing Masonic year. To wit -

  • 1885
    • Brother A.D. Witherspoon Worshipful Master
    • Brother J.G. Vinson Senior Warden
    • Brother B.F. Witherspoon Junior Warden
    • Brother P.W. Lowe Treasurer
    • Brother W.M. Finley Secretary
    • Brother E.C. Elder Chaplain
    • Brother T.J. Cates Senior Deacon
    • Brother W.H. Patterson Junior Deacon
    • Brother F.P. Smith Tiler

A point of interest, B.F. Hawkins of the Waxahachie Lodge was one of the first settlers of Hawkins in Midlothian, homesteading five hundred acres beginning near Highway 287 east of the railroad and south to about Mt. Zion Road. He donated the land for the old town of Lebanon and the original east portion of the Midlothian Cemetery. Lebanon had the first dirt floor community house with split log seats, used as a school house, interdenominational church, and meeting place. B.F. Hawkins helped Colonel E.H. Tarrant and Larkin Newton organize Ellis and Tarrant counties in 1845. The two counties were a part of Navarro county. Larkin Newton built the log cabin now restored downtown as his homestead and was Ellis county's first county clerk. Hawkins Street in Waxahachie was named for him and he built the spacious home on Hawkins Street where our Noel Coward grew up. Wilbur L Stevenson, a member of our lodge and local resident, is a sixth or seventh generation grandson of both Mr. Hawkins and Larkin Newton because of inter-family marriages. He grew up on Newton property that has the Newton Cemetery near the original log cabin site. His mother was a Hawkins and inherited the land where the city's new water tower now is, and Wilbur purchased it many years ago from the rest of the family.

The college where the lodge had the public installation was the old Polytechnic Institute which stood on the north and east sides of Kimmel Park. It closed in 1912 and the students merged into the Midlothian school system. It moved to Poly in Ft. Worth and started a school there near where our present day Masonic Home and School now is. The city block number fifty-nine was purchased by the J.C. Kimmel family who donated it to the city of Midlothian for a park in 1918. The two-story part of the George Sewell home was the kitchen of the old college and was moved to present location in 1916 by George Sewell's parents, and he lived here all of his life, his wife still lives there.

Stated Meeting 27 June 1885 - The petition for first degree of John Belok was passed. The E.A.-B.F. Milton was examined in E.A. proficiency, approved and Fellowcraft degree conferred. It was moved and seconded that the committee on the Lodge Hall be instructed to rent a hall over Mandefelts Store for two years. This was a two-story wooden building where Lawson Office Furniture now is.

Stated Meeting 25 July 1885 - The committee on the Lodge Hall reported that they had a contract for twelve months with Mr. Mandefelt for the hall over his store for four dollars and fifty cents a month. Brother B.F. Milton was examined in Fellowcraft and by secret ballot was elected to receive the Masters degree. Brother Milton was then raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. Receipts for the evening were $13.25. The by-laws of the Taylor Hamilton Monitor were adopted by the lodge on motion and second. The lodge paid Mandefelt for the month of August rent and moved to the hall upstairs.

Stated Meeting 26 September 1885 - It was voted to write a letter of appreciation and thanks to the Odd Fellows Lodge for sharing their hall with the Masons. It was then voted to purchase six spittoons and a stove for the Masonic Lodge. It looks like the Odd Fellows Lodge also moved within a month or so.

Stated Meeting 9 October 1885 - A bill for four dollars and ninety cents to pay for a lodge seal was voted and paid. One dollar and fifty cents was collected in dues.

Stated Meeting 24 October 1885 - A motion and second to appoint a committee of three to work in conjunction with the Odd Fellows Lodge to procure a stove and lock and keys for the outside door. It is unclear at this time whether both lodges moved to the new hall. The minutes seem to indicate they did. It was moved and seconded to send a draft to the Mammouth Springs Lodge for fifteen dollars to repay the loan to purchase the charter for the Midlothian Lodge on 12 December 1884. The motion also included twenty-five cents to Brother Finley for stationary, to Brother Patterson twenty-five cents for candles, and a bill from the Odd Fellows for seventy cents for a can of oil and a lamp. The secretary was instructed to settle the bill on hall rent of $4.50 at the end of each month. The Worshipful Master then appointed a special committee to procure a stove now.

Stated Meeting 27 March 1886 - A motion was made that the lodge change regular meetings from the second and fourth Saturdays of the month to the forth Saturday of each month, sustained.

Stated Meeting 25 September 1886 - The committee on building a new lodge building reported progress. The money could be obtained to build or buy a new lodge hall. The lodge voted to let the committee proceed with plans to buy or build a house for the lodge. It was moved and seconded to procure a bible for the lodge's own. That bible is in the glass display in the lobby of our lodge, copyright 1883.

Stated Meeting 27 November 1886 - The committee on procuring a new lodge recommended that the lodge form a stock company and purchase the building from Mr. Mandefelt (where John Few's building now is).

Stated Meeting 29 December 1886 - A motion made and seconded that the stock company to procure a lodge be recalled and the report of the building committee be disregarded and the committee discharged, sustained. A new committee was appointed to contact the Odd Fellows Lodge and arrange and collect for rent for two months as the lodge was to continue to rent the Mandefelt hall. The Midlothian Lodge had rented the Mandefelt hall and rented to the Odd Fellows for six dollars per month.

Stated Meeting 29 May 1887 - The election of officers for the next year were: A.D. Witherspoon, Worshipful Master for a fourth term; W.J. Rhodes, Senior Warden for a fourth term; and several new officers were elected.

Stated Meeting 26 November 1887 - The committee on procuring a hall for another year reported they had contracted with Mandefelt for the hall for 1888 for six dollars a month.

Stated Meeting 23 June 1888 - After the minutes and regular business, dues were discussed and it was moved and seconded that all members over twelve months behind on dues be suspended, sustained. Dues are $2.60 a year. The lodge proceeded to elect officers for the ensuing Masonic year. To wit -

  • 1888
    • Brother W.J. Rhodes Worshipful Master
    • Brother J.W. Gainer Senior Warden
    • Brother Ed Lowe Junior Warden
    • Brother B.F. Witherspoon Treasurer
    • Brother J.M. Bickers Secretary
    • Brother D.B. Coglan Senior Deacon
    • Brother B.F. Milton Junior Deacon
    • Brother A.H. Elder Tiler

This is the first year to change all of the officers and move up. On 24 July 1888 the new officers were installed.

Stated Meeting 24 September 1888 - After regular business, a petition for the first degree in Masonry was read for J.C. Kimmel. It was moved and seconded that a committee be appointed to confer with Mr. Mandefelt to purchase the room below the lodge and report to lodge at the next meeting. Receipts for the evening were one dollar and seventy cents.

Stated Meeting of 24 October 1888 - The committee on the room (toilet) below the lodge had recommended that the lodge buy it. It was moved and seconded that they pay Mr. Stephson five dollars, carried. It was recommended that the lodge form a company and purchase the room. Request that Brother A.D. Witherspoon represent Midlothian at Grand Lodge this year, permission granted. A called meeting for next Thursday to confer the first degree upon Mr. B.F. Stephson. Receipts one dollar and fifty cents.

Stated Meeting for 28 February 1889 - After conferring an E.A. degree, a Fellowcraft degree, then a Masters degree on Brother J.C. Kimmel, the lodge had a business meeting. The committee reported that Mr. Stephson agreed to take five dollars for the room (toilet) below the lodge. The committee was dismissed, a draft issued for five dollars to purchase the room below. The treasurer reported the lodge had $40.80. The Mandefelt Hall Company was paid the rent on the upper hall. Receipts for the evening were $31.60.

Stated Meeting 23 June 1889 - Election of same officers as last year and motion and seconded to have a public installation on 4 July and committee appointed to procure a speaker. Receipts of $9.05.

Stated Meeting 27 July 1889 - After regular business a letter was read from Alexandra Lodge No. 637 asking for aid to rebuild their lodge which had burned. Motion and second that the lodge send one dollar to Alexandra. The motion lost by one vote.

Called Meeting 27 July 1889 for the purpose of installing officers for the ensuing Masonic year. Brother J.M. Stephenson of the Mammouth Springs Lodge and Brother J.C. Springer of Ovilla Lodge No. 370 were the installing officers. Brother John Collier addressed the lodge. The same officers were carried over.

Stated Meeting 25 May 1890 - After regular business they elected officers for the next year, all remained in the same station as 1889.

Stated Meeting 24 June 1890 - The committee on Mandefelt reported on the hall and accepted a motion and seconded to contact the Mandefelt Company and purchase the Mandefelt Hall. Motion sustained. The new officers were installed for the ensuing Masonic year. Receipts for the evening were $22.20. The audit committee found everything in order with both the Secretary and Treasurer. We find members behind on dues $59.50. The indebtedness of the lodge to wit: rent $115.00; J.M.Bickers $8.00; Wm. Finley $12.90, supplies; Brother Bradley $2.50. Total $138.10.

Stated Meeting 23 August 1890 - The committee report on purchasing a lodge hall was approved and Brother C.W. Berry was appointed to contact members for money to pay for the new hall. A letter for help from Bee Hive Lodge No. 550. The appeal was put on file as these were common in those days. The Midlothian Lodge had trouble paying their bills but received at least three requests for help a month from other lodges.

Stated Meeting 22, November 1890 - It was reported that the plan to raise money for purchase of a lodge hall was not working. It was moved and seconded that the lodge purchase the building and have the deed in the lodge's name.

Stated Meeting 27 December 1890 - The special committee to raise money by subscription made a minority report which was adopted. After other business and conferring an E.A. degree, a motion was agreed upon that the committee make a majority report on the lodge hall at a Called Meeting on the second Saturday in January at 2 p.m. There is no record of a 2 January 1891 meeting. However at Stated Meeting on 28 February 1891 motion and second that the Secretary write the Grand Master for leave to meet in the same hall as the odd Fellows and was adopted. A draft was sent to Grand Lodge for annual dues, amount $16.50.

Stated Meeting 28 March 1891 - Special committee majority report read and received, and committee dismissed. A letter from Grand Lodge was read and put on file. A bill for $209.50 for lodge rent on the hall was presented. Motion and second that a draft be drawn on the treasury and bill paid. It was moved and seconded that a committee of three be appointed to form a stock company among the members to purchase the hall. Brothers Brundage, Bickers and Gainer were appointed and to report at the next meeting. Receipts for the evening were $5.20.

Called Meeting on 6 June 1891 the object of the meeting that of forming a stock company for the purchase of the hall. Brother Bickers made a statement that what had been subscribed was about one hundred dollars short. After talking over our business the amount was subscribed. Brother Bickers was instructed to take notes for same.

Stated Meeting 23 August 1891 - After regular business the finance committee asked for more time on hall purchase, granted.

Stated Meeting 26 September 1891 - After minutes read, there not being a majority of the finance committee present it was moved that they be granted more time, which was granted by vote.

Stated Meeting 28 November 1891 - After regular business the finance committee not being able to make an intelligent report, asked for more time which was granted. The E.A. degree was then conferred on Dr. J.L. Barnett. Brothers Wylie Clark and and C.E. Alexander were examined for proficiency in the Entered Apprentice, Masters Lodge re-opened and voted on the examination, then both received their Fellowcraft degree.

Stated Meeting 27 December 1891 and the finance committee not having anything to report were given more time. Receipts for the evening were $14.90 after conferring the Masters degree on Brothers Wylie Clark and F. Harper.

Stated Meeting 25 January 1892, after business an E.A. degree was conferred. C.E. Alexander was then examined in Fellowcraft, then the sublime degree of Master Mason conferred. A motion was made and seconded to insure furniture and find out what it would cost to repair furniture, also what two Fellowcraft pillars would cost, a chart and carpet and report to lodge. Receipts were $38.10.

Stated Meeting 27 February 1892 - Committee not ready to report on furniture or pillar asked for more time, granted. The Master degree was conferred on Brothers A.L. Sims and Dr. L.L. Barnett. They then conferred the Fellowcraft on Brother H.R. Love. Receipts were twenty-two dollars.

Stated Meeting 27 May 1892 - The Worshipful Master announced that all members who were twelve months in arrears with their dues to pay up or be suspended. The officers elected for ensuing Masonic year one-hundred years ago for 1892 are as follows: Brother J.W. Gainer, Worshipful Master; Ed Lowe, Senior Warden; C.E. Alexander, Junior Warden; W.A. Brundage, Treasurer; J.W. Bickers, Secretary; W.K. Love, Chaplain; F.P. Smith, Tiler; Wylie Thrash, Senior Deacon; R.E. Peeler, Junior Deacon; J.C. Kimmel, Senior Steward. The finance committee asked for more time on dues collection, granted.

Stated Meeting 27 May 1893 - After years of being from four to thirteen months behind on rent, the lodge has paid their three dollars per month rent on the due date for twenty-six months now. The officers for the new Masonic year are: Ed Lowe, Worshipful Master; C.E. Alexander, Senior Warden; W.A. Brundage, Junior Warden and voted to have a public installation with a speaker and dinner on the ground. It was decided to invite the Waxahachie Lodge, Mt. Peak Lodge, Ovilla Lodge, Cedar Hill, Mt. Creek and Mansfield Lodges for the meeting. The purchase of the lodge hall has not been in the minutes for over two years.

Stated Meeting on 20 January 1894. A notice from the finance committee that the Hall Company was going from three dollars to five dollars a month rent beginning 1 February 1894. A petition was received for 1st degree from T.H. Newton, grandson of Larkin Newton an 1848 pioneer family and builder of our log cabin.

Stated Meeting 19 May 1894 - A petition from R.K. Milton was approved by committee. The hall committee reported they have rented the Brick Hall from Brother Kimmel for seven dollars a month for one year. A contract was signed. Courthouse records show lot 6 - part of 7 - block 16. This is our old lodge over Webb's store.

Stated Meeting on 19 June 1894 - The officers were elected for the ensuing Masonic year. After conferring an E.A. degree and a Masters degree it was moved and seconded that a Called Meeting for four p.m. on our next Stated Meeting date for the purpose of installing the officers for the next Masonic year. The new two-story brick building was built in 1893-94.

Called Meeting at four p.m. 14 July 1894 for the purpose of installing the officers for the ensuing Masonic year. Brother W.J. Rhodes, Worshipful Master; Ed Lowe, Senior Warden; D.B. Coglan, Junior Warden; J.W. Gainer, Treasurer; Wm. Finley, Secretary; other officers same.

Stated Meeting 14 July 1894 7:30 p.m. - The contract on the rent of the brick building between J.C. Kimmel and the Midlothian Lodge was read and approved. They then balloted on S.J. Martin and S.D. Moore and proceeded to confer the E.A. degree on each. R.K Milton was examined on E.A. proficiency, was accepted to pass to Fellowcraft which they conferred. A bill was presented for two dozen chairs for fifteen dollars. W.A. Brundage and Ed Lowe for $2.50 for moving the lodge furniture from the hall to the new brick hall. Receipts for the evening of 14 July 1894 were $45.20.

Stated Meeting 11 August 1894 - The committee on petition of Mr. J.M. Lisdale reported unfavorable. Ballot was spread and he received seven black balls. E.A. conferred on Brother S.J. Martin. R.K. Milton examined in Fellowcraft, then ballot spread on Brother Milton was clear.

It is noted in the minutes that Brother R.K. Milton's father, Brother B.F. Milton, was the first Masters degree of the Midlothian Lodge in July 1885. Brother R.K. Milton is the first Masters degree conferred in the new lodge hall they were to occupy from 1894 to 1975. Attendance has increased from 10-14 to 22-25 in the new building.

Called Meeting 16 September 1894 for the purpose of conferring the Masters degree upon Brother S.J. Martin. Receipts were eleven dollars.

Stated Meeting 13 October 1894 - Worshipful Master W.J. Rhodes ordered every member in arrears with their dues to come forward and settle tonight or by next meeting night. Receipts for the evening were $32.75. The lodge regularly sent money to the college of Poly for needy students.

Stated Meeting 1 June 1895 - A letter was read from the Waxahachie Lodge inviting our lodge to be on hand 4 July 1895 for the laying of the cornerstone of the new Ellis County Courthouse. Several brethren attended. The lodge elected officers for the ensuing Masonic year. To wit - W.J. Rhodes, Worshipful Master; C.E. Alexander, Senior Warden; S.J. Martin, Junior Warden. Receipts were eleven dollars.

Stated Meeting 6 July 1895 - A Masters degree was conferred on Brother P.P. Henson. A committee was appointed to see what we could rent a lodge hall for and report at next meeting. It was moved and seconded that the lodge employ Brother Sam R. Hamilton to come and instruct our lodge in the work, sustained. Brother Hamilton has a lodge named for him in Dallas and is the co-author of the Taylor-Hamilton Monitor. They hired the best. Visiting brothers from Mt. Peak Lodge No. 478, formerly named Mammouth Springs until 1893, W.K. Forbes, T.J. Dorsett, R.W. Dillard, H.H. Anderson, J.M. Stevens and W.H. Robinett.

Stated Meeting 3 August 1895 - It was reported they had Brother Hamilton for four days of Masonic School and several Mt. Peak brethren participated. The committee on renting a lodge hall reported that Midlothian Hall Company, their old meeting place, was available for five dollars a month and the brick building they were in was seven dollars a month due monthly. It was moved they table it for a month but lost. It was then moved and seconded that they stay in the Kimmel Hall, sustained. A bill for fourteen dollars from Brother Kimmel for past two months of last Masonic year. It was referred to the finance committee. Receipts were $4.38 for the evening.

Stated Meeting 3 November 1895 - The petition of Mr. W.H. Price was accepted and the E.A. degree conferred in due and ancient form.

Stated Meeting 30 November 1895 - A bill was read for twenty-eight dollars rent due J.C. Kimmel and was referred to the finance committee.