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Past MastersHistorical Documents

History of Yellow River & Norcross Lodge

On May 1, 1858, Right Worshipful Samuel Lawrence, Deputy Grand Master, granted a dispensation and empowered Past Master Richard D. Winn of Lawrenceville Lodge to constitute Washington Lodge near Yellow River in Berkshire District, Gwinnett County Georgia.  On May 29th of the same year, the lodge was constituted.  The first communication was held in an upper room of Brother D. R. Phillips' residence, and the following officers were installed:
Darling P. McDaniel, W.M. J. C. Carroll, J.D.
J. B. Mills, S.W. Andrew Ford, Secretary
William Garner, J.W. James McDaniel, Treasurer
E. J. McDaniel, S.D. John W. Nash, Tyler

The first regular communication was held on June 5, 1858, at which time the following committees were appointed:

Auditing Committee: J. B. Mills, G. W. Shamblee, Eli McDaniel, D. R. Phillips

Finance Committee: James McDaniel, Andrew Ford, John Baxely, J. C. Carroll

Hall Committee: Lewis Nash, James Garner, Asa Wright, John Baxely

Other members by dispensation were: E.G. Nash and Juhan A. Juhan.

These first members paid $1.00 each for dispensation, and on December 18, 1858, paid $.10 dues for the rest of the year.

At the first communication Thomas H. Liddell made application for the degrees in Masonry and later was elected and lived a long and useful life in the lodge.

Other members who received degrees during 1858 were:
John Bankston Ezekiel Mathews
Charles McKenny John Cain
James Andrews Moses M Cruce

During 1858, Larkin McCarty came by dimit. The records show that Brother McCarty dimitted from this lodge December 5, 1858, and an entry is made later showing that Larkin McCarty paid fifty cents ($.50) for one visit to the lodge.

The fee for degrees was $21.50, and dues were $2.00 a year.  At the end of 1858, membership of the lodge was twenty-four (24).

Daniel P. McDaniel, the first Worshipful Master of the lodge, was also the first member recorded on the Treasurers Book.

The Lodge worked under the dispensation until the Grand Lodge met in October, 1858 when a charter was granted and the name changed from Washington to Yellow River Lodge #228.

historical doc 1W/B McDaniel :: 1858


During the Civil War, between 1863 and 1865, the membership more than doubled, several being initiated, passed and raised at one and the same communication while at home from the war on furlough. The lodge has several interesting stories concerning members who served in the confederacy.

Dr. Moses Richardson, several times Master of this Lodge, a gentleman of the old school, and a true Mason, was a surgeon in the Confederacy.  One day while Sherman's Army was paying its respects with a torch to this country, a squad of Yankee solders went to Dr. Richardson's home near Lawrenceville and ransacked his home, taking all they could find.  Among the articles taken was a Masonic Apron.  The officers in charge of the squad, seeing the Apron, went into the house and inquired if the Apron belonged to the head of the house.  On being told that it did and that he was away in the Confederate Army, the officers ordered everything returned to the home.  Mrs. Richardson said they also brought back some coffee, extra.

W. H. McDaniel, a war-time made Mason, son of the first Senior Deacon, was captured by the Yankees and, together with a neighbor boy of his, was taken to Elmira, New York Prison.  Mr. McDaniel stayed in prison only two or three weeks when, by some mysterious agency, he got out and made his way back to his regiment.  The poor neighbor boy who was not a Mason, died in prison.

Another instance of the same kind happened to Brother A. J. Martin, a member of this Lodge who has long since "gone to that house that is not made with hands."  Brother Martin was exempt from war duty because he had a blind wife and several children, One day a squad of Yankee soldiers came to his home and took the only horse he had.  As the were about to leave with the horse, Brother Martin made himself known as a Mason to the officers in charge.  The officers then ordered the horse returned back to the lot.

D. P. McDaniel who was Worshipful Master during the War, feared that the Lodge room would be destroyed , so he removed all the Lodge paraphernalia to his home for safe keeping.  While going through his home, a squad of Yankee soldiers found this Lodge regalia and left without molesting anything.

A Masonic Apron saved the home of Brother James Garner and the only thing taken was a small tin cup.

Brother Burgess Kelly's family had to refugee during the War. but before leaving, they painted a large square and compass on the front door of their home.  When they returned later on, they found everything in tact.

Brother Walker Nash, one of the charter members of this Lodge, was surrounded and captured by Yankee soldiers.  Upon making himself known as a Mason, he was told to run, and if he heard any gun shots they would be over his head and harmless.  Brother Nash ran to safety amid a shower of bullets but was not hurt.

The Lodge worked under the name of Yellow River Lodge until 1871 when it was moved to Norcross and occupied the upper floor of the Norcross Academy, or school building, located on Church Street, better known as Holy Row.

The Lodge later bought this upper floor from the Academy, and reading from the deeds of the Academy to the lodge we find the following:

"All the upper story of School House on Church Street with all rights and privileges, with the exception of the bell which is reserved.  And said Fraternity has full power to said land for hitching purposes".

In the 1883 proceedings from the report of the committee on By-laws and Charters of the Grand Lodge of Georgia, we find the following:  "We recommend that the petition of Yellow River Lodge No. 228 to change the name to Norcross Lodge, be granted".  In 1884, the name was changed to Norcross Lodge No. 228.

In 1907, the Lodge sold its property on Church Street and bought a lot lying on Depot Square, better known as Main Street.  In 1909, a two story brick building was erected on this lot, and is the same building in which the Lodge is now located.

From 1907 until its new building was completed in 1909, the Lodge held its regular communications in the Odd Fellows Hall here in Norcross.

During the hundred years span of the history of this Lodge there have been forty-five (45) Worshipful Masters who have served the Lodge well, some for several years.

Norcross Lodge #228 © 2008