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he history of the fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons is elsewhere recorded. Here, in brief, is the history of Riley Lodge No. 390, F. & A. M.
the middle of the 19th century, the center portion of Riley
Township in Vigo County, Indiana, had become a sprawling agricultural
community. With the
completion of the Wabash and Erie Canal in 1852, the Village of Lockport
was a bustling trade center along its banks. The railroads eventually came
here, and when the town tried to establish a post office, it was forced to
change its name to Riley, for another Lockport Indiana already
In 1868, several members of the Craft,
residing in the area, began to consider forming a regular Masonic lodge
within the growing young town.
Acting on behalf of his brethren, James Madison Sankey petitioned
the Grand Lodge of Indiana for a dispensation. Such was granted on May 28, 1868,
by then Most Worshipful Grand Master Henry G. Hazelrigg, and Riley Lodge
U. D. came into being, with James M. Sankey, W.M., Samuel J. W. Foster,
S.W., and Simeon Hedges, J.W.
The first minutes of the lodge while under dispensation, on the
twenty-first day of June 1868, inform us “the regular communications of
Riley Lodge U.D. should be on the Saturday evenings before the full of the
moon in every month unless the moon fulls on Saturday, when that evening
shall be the meeting of the lodge.”
Riley Lodge U.D. became Riley Lodge No. 390 F. & A. M. on May 25, 1869 when it received its charter from the Grand Lodge of Indiana. On the fifth of June 1869, the new officers were installed and set to work under the new charter by Worshipful Brother S. J. Daugherty, Worshipful Master of pimento Lodge No. 292. The officers were as follows:
James M. Sankey
Samuel J. W. Foster
Joshua M. Hull
George W. Harkness
William R. Ray
William M. Crosley
George W. Hickson
William D. Jones
The membership roll of Riley Lodge No. 390 showed thirty charted members.
In 1875, Riley Township purchased 5/8 of lots numbered 4, 9, 16, and 21 in Lambert's Addition to Lockport, for the purpose of erecting a new township school building. Like many lodges of the day, Riley Lodge No. 390 assisted the cause by purchasing the remaining 3/8 of these four lots. Shortly thereafter, a three-story brick school house, which became Lockport School No. 5, was constructed on lots 4 and 9. Because the lodge had purchased a portion of the property, the third floor of the structure was made use of as the lodge hall. (It was also at this time, that Riley Chapter No. 22, O. E. S received their charter). After the original building was condemned for school purposes, and a new school building was completed in 1909, the lodge and Pawhuska Tribe No. 22, Improved Order of Red Men bought the remaining portions of the property from the county.
The three-story structure was used jointly by the two organizations until 1928, when Charity Lodge No. 171, Knights of Pythias, purchased 1/2 the property from Pawhuska Tribe No. 22. In 1946, Riley Lodge No. 390, bought out the then defunct Charity Lodge and became sole owners of the property. At the December meeting of that year, a committee was formed to investigate the possibility of funding and building a new Masonic temple. Over the next few years, preparations went underway to construct a new building. The old brick structure was razed in 1947, the property was cleared, and construction soon began. After many chicken dinners and other fundraisers, and much donated time and labor, the new stone temple was completed. The cornerstone was laid October 28, 1950, and the completed structure was dedicated in 1951 by then Grand Master Oswald A. Tislow.
In 1969, the lodge celebrated its 100th anniversary. Worshipful Brother George Sankey, descendant of James M. Sankey, was Worshipful Master at the time.
Today, the lodge remains active within the community, and its membership continues to abide by the principles of the fraternity. We strive to leave the reputation of Freemasonry unsullied, so "the world at large may be convinced of its good effects."
Freemasonry Riley, Indiana; Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana Freemasonry
Riley Terre Haute Vigo Co. Riley Terre Haute