Washington Lodge No19 AF & AM
of Connecticut

Masonic History

This is the first of two parts Part 2 will be printed in Febuary 2004

This Commenty begins at the close of the year 1790, when a small group of Masons met to discuss the formation of a Lodge to be named after George Washington and be come the oldest Washington lodge remaining under it's original jurisdiction .
They met in the home of Johns Beardsley, who lived a short distance east of the present green in Monroe . Bro.Beardsley's has been the home of four Past Masters .The new Lodge ,s territory was to embrace North Stratford which incluid areas which know as MonroeStepney,Trumbull,Tashua,

Nichols,Huntington,Easton and parts of shelton and Oxford .The Charter was siged on January 12,1791,by M.W. Bro. Pieport Edwards,the first Grand Master and Eilas Shipman first Grand Secreaty Ot Grand Lodge of Conneticut. The first stated comunication was held on St Valentines's Day in 1791 at the home John Beasdsely. Worshipful Master of St Johns's No 8, a farmer in Ripton,installed the first officers,with Worshipful Brother and Doctor Ezrea Curtiss as first master Wor.Bro Curtiss died in 1810. His home is the present Episcopal Rectory acoss The Common from the present Masonic Temple

At the Febuary 12,1795 meeting ,there were 46 members.Toasts were drunk to the Grand Master and George Washington, Preasident ofthe United States of America. In April 1796,a commitee was apointted to choose a site for a new Lodge Room and a fund was started for the purpose .In 1799, membership growing to 75 ,a new building of two stories was erected north the of

the present Monroe Green . This was the ist Masonic Temple built in Conneticut for Masons use only.The Lodge building was later moved to the Hurd st Location on Route 111 and still stands . On Christmass night in 1800, Gideon Judson recceived all three degrees in the presence of 30 members, The Lodge now consisted of over 80 members,On December 30,1800 the Temple was dedicated .Procession sermon, speech and dinner marked the joyious occasion. Brother Samuel Monson,who died in 1803, became the first Master to preside in the new Temple. The Lodge was visited by Bro.Jeremey L.Cross ,Grand Lecturer of Grand Lodge, who gave lecutures illustrating degree work.

In the early 1830's a resolultion to dissolve the Lodge was offered. The last regular communication of the old Lodge was held on April 30,18 39, Wor. Brother Lucius Curtiss who servrd as Master from 1835-1837 had same surname as the very first Master of the Lodge.The Grand Lodge recalled it's Charter in 1860.The Lodge jewels, records and Charter disappered. the Grand Lodge acknowleged receipt of Charter record books and jewels,of Washington No19 in 1860 ,thus signifying the recognition of Masonsry in Monroe to the Authoity of the Grand Lodge of Conneticut and clearing the way for the resumption of Masonry in Monroe. On March 11, 1864 the Grand Lodge issued a warrant or dispensation for Monroe Loge No 953, not the old Washington No 19 , as originally granted . Rodger M. Gray was to be first Master. The petiton to the Grand Lodge was signed by thirteen Masons from nearby Lodges. Among the charter members were OrrinRaymond,Proporietor of the local distiery and Phillip J. Jones a 52 year Mason who died in 1912. On May 24 , 1864, the charter was signed.Monroe Lodge No 93 was destined for a short life lasting just seven years. On June 5,1871 the Grand Lodge of Conneticut passed a resolution retaining the charter of Monroe No 93 and granted the orignal charter of Washington No 19. This was acomplished largely by the dedication and commintment of Worshipful Brother John L.Beardsley who served as the Last Master of Monroe No93 and the first Master of the revised Washington No 19 ! He compiled the first history of two Lodges. January 6,1868: Marked a milestone in the history of the Lodge, for on this date and for the first time ,the installation of the Master Mason degree ( refreshment ),not on an Entered Apprentice degree , as was the former custom .From this date on , all business of the Lodge was conduted on the Master Mason degree .Fittingly enough on July 3, 1871, Brother John L. Beardsley, whose picture proudly hangs in the foyer of the Temple, became the first Master of revied Washington Lodge No 19 the restoration of the charter for which he had for so long labored. Wor.Bro,Beardsley many years later worked with Brother David C.Grant in compiling the first list of petition dates and dates of degrees of men made Masons to 1923. this Monumental work took many hundred s of hours,and remains a credit to the to Brothers. As hard as he worked for the restoration or old No 19's Charter he worked equally as hard to avoid surrendering it again during the 1800's and 1890's when econmic depression struck the land following by the crash of the stock market and panic of 1884. Brother Beardsley died in 1923 , After haveing served the Craft for more than 53 years

Compiled and Prepared by : The Masonic Lodge of Research, December 1, 1996 for the 175th Anniversary of Washington Lodge No.19 Monroe,Conneticut. Edited by Leo H. Lohrman