Dispatches from Maine

Just another person of little note writing about ordinary things. That I reside in Maine is icing on the cake.

23 November 2006

Responses to History of the Grand Lecturer in Maine

I had no idea that my post on the History of the Grand Lecturer in Maine would generate so many responses so quickly.

Bro. Hutchins from Unity Lodge No. 58 in Thorndike sent me the following

6 November 1856
"Brother Benj. F. Cunningham presented a letter from Brother Dockham giving time when he would be a visitor to our Lodge. On Motion, Voted B. F. Cunningham be a committee to escort Bro. Dockham from Belfast at the expense of the Lodge. On Motion, Voted to receive Brother S. B. Dockham Grand Lecturer three days viz: 17th, 18th, 19th of Nov. at the expense of the Lodge."

R.W. Bro. Roger Hanneman, Past Master of Orient Lodge No. 15, sent me the following thrilling excerpts from the History of Orient Lodge:

16 October 1805
Bro. Benj. Gleason, Grand Lecturer [of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts], was sent by the G. Lodge to instruct the new Lodge and, Oct 16th they "Ballotted to allow Bro. G. $15, together with his expenses while here, also $2.75 for Stage hire to Wiscassett."

2 January 1825
After opening a Lodge of E.A. the officers for the ensuing year were elected, Bro. Healy as W. Master. The Lodge at this time appeared desirous of becoming proficient in the art, as it was voted "to hire Bro. John Miller Eight Evenings more in addition to the former Eight, to instruct the lodge in Masonry."

7 December 1825
Received a communication from a committee of the G. Lodge recommending it to the Lodges under their jurisdiction, to avail themselves of the instruction of Bro. Samuel Kidder as Lecturer on the first three degrees in Masonry."
A committee was accordingly appointed and Bro. K. employed in this and other Lodges in the vicinity for some time. But his labors appear not to have been productive of much good, as we have frequently heard "Father" Miller and other old Masons complain that the innovations introduced by him were extremely hard to eradicate.

The minutes from 2 January 1825 and editors note of 7 December 1825 are particularly engaging. The January minutes make clear that the committee charged to select a Grand Lecturer really did send letters of recommendation prior to their reporting back to the Grand Lodge. It is also clear in the December 1825 editors note why Bro. Samuel Kidder's tenure was so short. I wonder what innovations Kidder introduced, and how I might discover what they were? The "Father" Miller referred to in the editors note is the long time Grand Lecturer Bro. John Miller who is first appointed in 1828 and was the District Deputy Grand Master of the 4th District in 1827.

These and other inquiries have also lead to more good news for me. R.W. Bro. Brad Blake, Secretary of the Scottish Rite Valley of Portland, has agreed to loan me his copies of the Proceedings of Grand Lodge as I need them. This will save me a ton of time, as I will no longer have to take the day off to do my research at the Grand Lodge Library. R.W. Bro. Andy DiBiasio, Secretary of United Lodge No. 8 in Brunswick, has kindly agreed to help me research some material from 1842-1843 in the records of the Lodge. This is going to be extremely helpful in my research into the Maine State Convention of 1843. More on that even to come!

If there is anyone interested in assisting with this research project, please let me know. There are four areas where I could use more information for this project:
  1. A record of every elected and appointed officer of the Grand Lodge of Maine from 1820 through the present. This would be most useful if it was in two formats. The first arranged by year with all officers for that year. The second arranged by name of each person to show the course of their career in Grand Lodge.
  2. A record of each of the Maine Districts through the years and which Lodges are a part of that District.
  3. Information from any of the Lodges during the period 1842-1844 regarding a Masonic State Convention to be held in Portland. Any references to Lodge histories would author, title, publisher and page number references. Any references to minutes should bear the date of the minute and the book and page number, if there is one.
  4. Information from any of the Lodges regarding requesting or using the services of a Grand Lecturer. If you find one of these a direct quote is best.
I appreciate any help you can offer. The information from Bro. Hannemann, for example, was vital as it revealed what happened to Bro. Samuel Kidder and perhaps set the stage for the brief tenures of Grand Lecturers during the next several years.

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