History of Homeworth Lodge #499


Homeworth Founding

Homeworth, Ohio was a typical farming community, which was settled, and platted in 1851. The people were hard working, church going and had concerns for their neighbors. In 1874 a group of these citizens formed a Masonic Lodge in Homeworth. Prior to receiving their charter, lodge members met in different local locations under several dispensations that were issued during 1874 by the Grand Lodge of Ohio. The meeting locations included Sebring and Alliance (Conrad Lodge). Homeworth Lodge #499 was chartered in January 1875. Conrad Lodge was the sponsoring Lodge for Homeworth’s charter. The first meeting was held in the home of Jacob Boyce on his farm in the vicinity of Fort Pension a railroad crossing which is south of the town of Homeworth.

Charter Officers included:

- WM Hyde Marshall

- SW George R. Gyger

- JW D.W. Wells

Charter Members included:

Able Lee, Edward Thomas, Paul Borton Jr., C.W. Borton,

Monroe Thomas, Fred Zurbrugg, Jac Boyce, E.E. Biery, J.Q. Willard, L.G. Willard, E. Hentz, J.K. Hunter, D.A. Hahn, Albert Ruff,

O.B. Smith, Abe Essick, John Weigel, John Onissinger,

Richard Boyce & Com McElroy

1902 Directory

First Lodge Building

A New Masonic Home Dedicated 1907

In the early years Homeworth held its meetings in the King Building. This building stood on the site of what was later the Pennsylvania Railroad Depot. In 1911 the lodge moved to the Homeworth town hall where meetings were held until May 15, 1947.


Town Hall Fire

The town hall building, which was the meeting place of Homeworth Lodge was destroyed by fire on May 15, 1947. The fire originated in the dining room and it was believed to have been caused by a cigar. The previous evening, May 14, 1947, was the annual Lodge Inspection. There were more than 144 brethren and guests in attendance. Present at the Inspection was Right Worshipful Lynn Shotwell who left his hat in the Lodge. The fire and water damage to the building was considerable but amazingly his hat was recovered and sustained little damage.

The following Alliance Review article was published concerning the fire:

Second Lodge Building

Shortly after the fire, it was decided to erect a lodge building that would belong solely to the Lodge. Committees were appointed and the necessary plans were made to raise funds and to start the procedures for the building. Pledges for donations from members were obtained. The generosity of many friends and neighbors, through monetary donations, materials, and their time, enabled permission to be granted from the Grand Lodge to proceed with the project. The replacement building for Homeworth Lodge was started in 1947. The estimated cost was $12,000.00. The Trustees, M. O. Dickenson, D.L. Wallace, and Forest Fearn obtained a mortgage with Alliance First National Bank for the sum of $5,000. The Lodge dues for 1947 were raised to $10.00 per year to help cover building expenses. The corner stone was laid on October 12, 1947 with the help of the Alliance Knights Templer. The history of the lodge through 1947 was deposited in the new cornerstone before the stone was set. A dispensation to meet in the new Lodge was issued by the Grand Lodge of Ohio and the first meeting was held in the unfinished building in July of 1948. The new Lodge dedication was held on December 17, 1949. The Grand Lodge convened in the lobby, entered the newly finished lodge building and proceeded to dedicate with due and ancient form with Grand Marshal Dillon Crist, Grand Master William Pringle, Deputy Grand Master Lester Harris, Sr. Grand Warden Robert Troescher, Jr. Grand Warden Ed Jenkins, Grand treasurer Fred Peiren, Grand Secretary Walter Hoffman, Sr. Grand Deacon Terry R. Ewing, Jr Grand Deacon Thurman Rohner, Sr. Grand Seward M.O. Dickenson, Jr Grand Steward Homer Ramser, Grand Tylor Lynn Shotwell, Grand Architect Fred McQuilken, Bearers of Carpet: Victor Bates, Earl Haught, F.F. Fearn, and Glover Martin; Bearers of Tapers: H.A. Danner, Earl Wang, and Chester Knoll; and Bearers of Great Lights; Clifford Wallace and others. There were 203 Brethren and guests present, representing 36 Lodges. Other Lodges and organizations contributed to the rebuilding expenses of the new lodge building. Youngstown lodge donated leather upholstered wooden benches and the Scottish Rite Valley of Canton donated $500.00 to the building fund. The Lodge mortgage was paid in full and celebrated on November 11, 1954. Past Grand Master Most Worshipful Brother William R. Pringle of Cleveland was the guest speaker. In 1960 the outer shell of the lodge then of cement block was faced with brick.

Other Functions in the Lodge

In 1949/50 the Order of the Eastern Star received its charter. Their participation in Homeworth #499 activities and their own activities greatly enhanced the Lodge and the community. In 1959 the trustees recommended and the Lodge approved resolutions to control the use of the Lodge and equipment including: the meeting rooms and preparation rooms are to be used only by bodies recognized by the Grand Lodge of Ohio; the rental of the Lodge basement for Sunday use will not be permitted, except for religious purposes; the use of the Lodge basement by any person or persons for non-Masonic purposes will be by rental only; liquor, prizes, or lottery will not be permitted at any time. In 1961 and 1962 the Lodge basement was used by West Branch School District for Kindergarten Classes due to a shortage of classroom space at the school. In 1963 the Lodge participated in the cornerstone laying at the new West Branch Local School.

Reconsecration Ceremony - 100 Years

On October 22, 1975 Homeworth Lodge celebrated a full century of Masonic work with a re-consecration ceremony. Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio Royal Scofield acted as the proxy for Grand Master Calvin Hubler and Junior Grand Warden Daniel Iceman served as Grand Marshall.

Outdoor Master Mason Degree

In September of 1984 Homeworth presented the Master Mason Degree at the 24th annual outdoor degree in a low valley on a farm in Lisbon, Ohio. Among the 503 Masons in attendance were three past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Ohio including: Most Worshipful Brother Royal Scofield, Most Worshipful Brother Dan Iceman, and Most Worshipful Brother Vernon Musser

Participation in Sebring Fireman's Parade

At stated meeting on April 25, 1984 a motion was made seconded and passed that the lodge participate in the Sebring parade..

Dispensation issued May 23, 1984 for the lodge to participate in parade that was being held on June 8, 1984.

One-Day Class and Effect on Homeworth

In 2002 the Grand Master of Ohio instituted a statewide one-day membership class for new members. The one-day members received all three Blue Lodge Degrees in one day without an examination or a verbal recitation. This was a big change and received many hours of debate and discussion across the state. The effect on the membership at Homeworth was very positive. Twelve new Master Masons were added to Homeworth Lodge in 2002. Homeworth set a 24th Masonic District Standard by giving the one-day members the Apron Presentation, the Letter G, Raising them in full form and re-giving them the Substitute. The one-day members were used as pro tem candidates until all had participated in all three degrees. This was a tribute to the vision of the Homeworth Past Masters which provided a foundation to encourage the new one-day members to become active members of the Lodge. The result of this effort was that with the exception of the Junior and Senior Steward, who came into the Lodge in the conventional manner, the 2007 Homeworth line officers were one-day members.

30 Years in the Sebring Fireman's Parade

At stated meeting on April 25, 1984 a motion was made seconded and passed that the lodge participate in the Sebring parade..

The year 2014 marked the 30th consecutive year Homewoth Lodge #499 participated in the Sebring Fireman's Parade. The lodge provides a float to haul the Special Olympic participants and supplies candy for them to throw to the crowd along the parade route.

Significant Members

Huram Ruff a member of Homeworth Lodge #499 received his 33° Degree from the Lake Erie Consistory at Cleveland, Ohio on February 15, 1895.

Five of the lodge officers during the year of 1918 were from the Scott family, including the WM, SW, JW, Treasurer and SS.

In 1961 Brother John Muerman, Past Grand Master of Idaho, a frequent guest, was elected as an honorary member of the Lodge. In 1954 he presented a very rare portrait of George Washington to the lodge. One of seventeen of its kind, painted by William Willaims, it was purchased from the Grand Master of the State of Virginia at Alexandria, Virginia. This portrait is displayed in the upstairs lobby, outside the meeting room. In April of 1965 he celebrated his 100 birthday and was honored at a regularly scheduled meeting.

John Liber Past Master of Homeworth Lodge #499 was elected Grand Patron of the Order of Eastern Star in 1963.

Worshipful Brother Royal C. Schofield who often attended Homeworth Lodge # 499 and contributed in many lodge meetings with antidotes, lessons and other important Masonic messages was voted an honorary member in 1965. In his years as a mason Worshipful Brother Royal C. Schofield received many Masonic honors and was a District Deputy from the 24th district and Most Worshipful Grand Master of Ohio.

In November of 1979 Fred Peiren signed the officers rooster for the last time after 42 years of service as Treasurer.

In 1980 Right Worshipful Brother Gordon Coombs was elected as an honorary member of Homeworth Lodge.

In February 1982 Brother Ralph A. Scott was presented his 70-year Masonic Service Emblem.

On November 11, 1983 Most Worshipful Brother Royal Scofield installed Harold F. Bates as District Deputy Grand Master for the 24th District. Right Worshipful Brother Bates was a past Master of the Homeworth Lodge and served three years as the district Education Officer.

On May 15, 1985 George W. Bush was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in the Homeworth Lodge. Worshipful Brother Bush was the Master of the Lodge in 1992. Because of the similarity of his name with that of President George W. Bush, he was invited on the David Letterman Show twice for the "Top Ten Lists":

Top Ten best reasons to be named George W. Bush, all ten.
Top Ten best reasons to be named after a president, 1of 10.

In 2007 Homeworth Lodge #499 had two Past District Deputy Grand Masters, Right Worshipful Brother Jim Hahlen and Right Worshipful Brother Harold Bates, in its membership. Right Worshipful Brother Hahlen is one of four generations of Hahlen members including Brother F. Ken Hahlen, Worshipful Brother Paul Hahlen and Brother Matt Hahlen. In 2007 Right Worshipful Brother W Harold Bates had been Secretary for over 25 years. Over the years RW Harold Bates knowledge, guidance and friendship to the membership gained him the affectionate title of "god". In 2007 the Bates family membership in Homeworth # 499 extended over 4 generations: Brother David Walter Bates, Worshipful Brother Victor Bates, Right Worshipful Harold Bates, Brother David Bates and Brother Mark Bates

Homeworth has had three Past Potentates of Tadmore Shrine in its membership. Worshipful Brother Crinley Hoover and Brothers Tom Hall and Paul E. Newburn,Jr .

Further Light

Significant Events in the History of Homeworth 499
Historical Listing of Officers

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