HISTORY SUMMARY FOR
Mt. PICKERING LODGE, No. 446
From the year 1969 to 1994 Mt. Pickering Lodge, No. 446, has maintained a fair membership with 279 members in 1969 and 300 at the close of 1993. The average Lodge attendance has been 72, with a high of 107 in 1975. In 1974 the Lodge was recognized by the Grand Lodge for having the best attendance for Lodges with a membership of 300 - 350. It is also interesting to note that during the same period 173 new members were entered and 173 members were deceased. There were also 7 members who received their Fifty-Year Service emblems.
During the past 25 years there was not a sufficient number of members present to open the Lodge on six occasions, primarily because of snow and ice. However on June 22, 1972 an Extra Meeting could not be opened because of a flood.
Since 1969 a number of improvements have been made to our Masonic Hall in addition to the general maintenance of the building. One major project included a new roof to the building and replacement and insulation of the Lodge room's ceiling. A new kitchen was added in place of a stage in the original Banquet Room. At the same time the Lodge Room was made larger and 45 new padded chairs were added to increase the seating capacity. The original bench type seating is still maintained. New carpet was laid in the Lodge Room. New lavatory facilities have been added to the first floor Banquet Room area and a fire escape was added to provide an emergency exit for the second floor.
In the second floor Ante Room there is an area which displays Past Master's pictures and a memorial display case was also placed here to exhibit Past Masters' Jewels and other items donated to the Lodge by the families of Deceased Past Masters. During a number of years Worshipful Masters have sponsored "Mr. and Mrs. Dinner Clubs" for the purpose of helping to pay for these improvements.
An important event of the Lodge, the annual Strawberry and Ice Cream Night, is observed at the Stated Meeting in the month of June. This has always been a 'FULL HOUSE' night, when the Lodge is host to many visitors from neighboring Lodges.
A long-standing tradition was begun in 1933 when Bro. I. Newton Evans, Sr. was Worshipful Master. The following tale describes how this tradition, the annual visitation of a Philadelphia Lodge to Mt. Pickering on Strawberry Night, began. Two boys were raised on two nearby farms in Chester Springs, I. Newton Evans, Sr. and Charles Davis. These two boys were school-mates and maintained their close friendship even after Charles Davis move into Philadelphia. It so happened that when Brother I. Newton Evans, Sr. became Worshipful Master of Mt. Pickering Lodge, No. 446, in 1933, Bro. Charles Davis became Worshipful Master of Fernwood Lodge, No. 543, in Philadelphia. It was therefore natural that Fernwood Lodge, No. 543, should visit during that year. From that beginning a tradition of visitation was begun and in 1993 the 61st Annual Visitation was observed. In 1988 Florence Lodge, No. 87, of Woodbury, NJ, started it's Annual Visitation on our Strawberry Night.
The family of our present Treasurer has been deeply involved in the life of Mt. Pickering Lodge since it's beginning. Beginning with the Lodge's first Worshipful Master in 1869 there have been six Evans family members who have held an elective office in the Lodge. All six members have served their time in the East, Bro. J. Benner Evans in 1869, Bro. B. Frank Evans in 1882, Bro. Clayton K. Evans in 1914, Bro. Daniel L. Evans in 1919, Bro. I. Newton Evans in 1933, and Bro. I. Newton Evans, Jr. in 1954. Two served as Treasurer, Bro. J. Benner Evans in 1869-1871 and Bro. I. Newton Evans, Jr., beginning in 1966. Two have served as Secretary, Bro. J. Benner Evans in 1874-1876 and 1886-1899 and Bro. Clayton K. Evans in 1931-1955.
Visitations by the Grand Lodge of Delaware were started at the Stated Meeting of April 12, 1971 when Brother Lousel S. Jeuell, Most Worshipful Grand Master of Delaware and his Grand Lodge party were received with the customary honors. Brother Jeuell gave an interesting fraternal address.
At the April Stated Meetings in 1972 and 1976 Brother Joseph Chacke, a Past Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of India, was received by the Lodge. On both occasions Brother Chacke addressed the Lodge in the Banquet Room, giving interesting explanations of the Grand Lodge of India.
In 1983 Worshipful Master Victor M. Frederick, III requested that the Right Worshipful Grand Master and his party grace our Lodge with their presence at the 1983 Annual Banquet. The Grand Master accepted the invitation. A special communication of Mt. Pickering Lodge, No. 446, was held on September 9, 1983 and the Right Worshipful Grand Master, Samuel C. Williamson, and the Grand Lodge party were received. After introductions of the Grand Lodge party and remarks by the Right Worshipful Grand Master and the Right Worshipful Grand Secretary, Brother Thomas W. Jackson, the Lodge was closed. The Annual Banquet then followed in the Banquet Room when the Right Worshipful Grand Master, Brother Samuel C. Williamson, was the speaker.
In 1989 Brother Robert M. Oberholser attained a Masonic milestone rarely reached. He was recognized for his seventy-fifth Masonic birthday at an age of ninety-seven years.
At the March, 1990 Stated Meeting the Worshipful Master, Brother David Gottier, appointed the following committee to plan for the observance of the 125th anniversary of the Constitution of Mt. Pickering Lodge, No. 446, . The committee consisted of Victor M. Frederick, III, P.M., Chairman, George S. Robinson, Jr, Senior Warden, I. Newton Evans, Jr., P.M., Treasurer, Wallace F. Smiley, P.M., Secretary, and Victor M. Frederick, IV, Junior Deacon.
In 1993 air-conditioning was added to the second-floor meeting room.
1970 WM William C. Griffiths, Jr.
1971 WM Russell F. Miller
1972 WM Robert H. Wagoner
1973 WM Homer H. Swarner
1974 WM Harry G. Allison
1975 WM Earl L. White
1976 WM Richard C. Fries
1977 WM James L. Fleck
1978 WM Ronal Roth
1979 WM Frank W. McElroy
1980 WM James M. Bollinger
1981 WM C. Ollie Kroh
1982 WM George E. Fetters, Jr.
1983 WM Victor M. Frederick, III
1984 WM Stanley Scott
1985 WM John T. Hall
1986 WM Robert P. Kroh
1987 WM Dennis M. Haldeman
1988 WM Robert W. Fetters, Jr.
1989 WM Samuel B. Acker, Jr.
1990 WM David F. Gottier
1991 WM Elmer H. White, Jr.
1992 WM George S. Robinson, Jr.
The Lodge's Annual Banquet was honored by the presence of Most Worshipful Stanley Fielding Maxwell, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, as the speaker for the evening.
1993 WM Elmer H. Miller
1994 WM Dennis M. Haldeman, PM
Mt. Pickering Lodge's 125th anniversary.
PAST MASTERS of Mt. Pickering Lodge No. 446, F. & A.M.
*J. Benner Evans 1869 *Clayton K. Evans 1914
*W. D. Downing 1870 *John S. Byerly 1915
*David A. Moore 1871‑72‑80 *Daniel G. Stiteler 1916
*Daniel Hendrick 1873 *William P. Krauser 1917
*George L. Moore 1874 *Horace Hause 1918
*John Beary 1875 *Daniel L. Evans 1919
*Thomas Rettew 1876 *J. Hause Dewees 1920
*Daniel B. Lacey 1877 *G. Norman Acker 1921
*Ephriam T. Pearce 1878‑79 *J. Ira Potts 1922
*John W. Snyder 1881 *J. Miles Acker 1923
*B. Frank Evans 1882 *Jacob Ranck, Jr. 1924
*Frank L. Wagner 1883 *L. Rush McNeal 1925
*Joseph W. Snyder 1884 *Clarence Rice 1926
*George W. Beerbrower 1885 *Bently R. Morrison 1927
*William F. Rex 1886 *John Henry Pitts 1928
*Henry A. Jenks 1887‑88‑89 *Lloyd K. Moyer 1929
*George P. Tustin 1890 *Harvey E. Funderwhite 1930
*Samuel G. Gill 1891 *H. Raymond McBride 1931
*Sherman G. Keeler 1892 *Henry N. Waltz 1932
*David H. Hall 1893 *I. Newton Evans 1933
*H. Howard Holman 1894 *Alvin W. Phipps 1934
*A. M. F. Stiteler 1895 *John R. Simpson 1935
*Vernon L. Fisher 1896 *Marshall D. Waltz 1936
*Charles A. Broome 1897 *Gerald H. Walton 1937
*John M. Goodman 1898 *J. Walter Eyrich 1938
*Horace A. Fetters 1899 *Irvin S. Dewees 1939
*Granville Prizer 1900 *Allen W. Murray 1940
*George L. Maxton 1901 *Charles A. Fries 1941
*Ira D. McCord 1902 *Warren E. Wilson 1942
*Jones T. Shoffner 1903 *Raymond E. Prizer 1943
*Allan E. Keim 1904 *Guy E. Johnson 1944
*Thomas F. Furry 1905 *Edward C. Murray 1945
*John S. Wells 1906 *Wilbur E. Walton 1946
*George S. Cressman 1907 *Bayard Samworth 1947
*William J. Davis 1908 George D. Lumis 1948
*Oscar M. Lumis 1909 *Karl Garvine 1949
*Maurice L. Boorem 1910 Oliver W. Mosteller 1950
*William P. McAfee 1911 Earl S. Fries 1951
*Augustus P. Sheneman 1912 *Lester E. Schriver 1952
*Charles E. Pike 1913 *W. Walter McElroy 1953
PAST MASTERS of Mt. Pickering Lodge No. 446, F. & A.M. (cont.)
I. Newton Evans, Jr. 1954 Harry G. Allison 1974
James W. Roberts 1955 Earl L. White 1975
Harold J. Miller 1956 Richard C. Fries 1976
*George C. Reinke 1957 **James L. Fleck 1977
D. Sidney Slemmer 1958 Ronal Roth 1978
Carroll T. Whitely 1959 Frank W. McElroy 1979
Samuel B. Acker 1960 James M. Bollinger 1980
Wallace F. Smiley (No.620) 1960 *C. Ollie Kroh 1981
*C. Richard Levengood 1961 George E. Fetters, Jr. 1982
William J. Whitely 1962 Victor M. Frederick,III 1983
Harry F. Yeager 1963 Stanley Scott 1984
Aaron L. Rhine 1964 John T. Hall 1985
James D. Shick 1965 Robert P. Kroh 1986
Harry B. Weaver 1966 Dennis M. Haldeman 1987
*Paul Ludwick 1967 Robert W. Fetters, Jr. 1988
Robert W. Fries 1968 Samuel B. Acker, Jr. 1989
**Frederick T. Hurlock 1969 David F. Gottier 1990
*William C. Griffiths, Jr. 1970 Elmer H. White, Jr. 1991
Frank M. Hess, Jr. (No.620) 1970 George S. Robinson, Jr. 1992
Russell F. Miller 1971 Elmer H. Miller 1993
Robert H. Wagoner 1972 Dennis M. Haldeman 1994
Homer H. Swarner 1973
TREASURERS OF THE LODGE
J. Benner Evans 1869‑1871
Nathan S. Marshall 1872‑1873
Daniel Hendrick 1874
William Mullin 1875
David A. Moore 1876‑1879
Daniel B. Lacey 1880‑1894
Henry A. Jenks 1895‑1897
Charles A. Broome 1898‑1904
Bayard A. Conard 1905‑1928
Thomas F. Furry 1928‑1934
Oscar M. Lumis 1935
J. Hause DeWees 1935‑1966
I. Newton Evans, Jr. 1966‑
SECRETARIES of the LODGE
John Griffith 1869‑1870
M. Shaner Chrisman 1871‑1873
J. Benner Evans 1874‑1876
Isaiah F. Snyder 1877‑1885
J. Benner Evans 1886‑1899
Henry A. Jenks 1900‑1901
John M. Goodman 1902‑1930
Clayton K. Evans 1931‑1955
Earl S. Fries 1956‑1985
Wallace F. Smiley 1986‑1993
Homer H. Swarner 1994-
‑‑‑TRANSCRIPTION OF HISTORICAL DOCUMENT ‑‑‑
‑‑‑ the beginnings of Mt. Pickering Lodge, No. 446 ‑‑‑
It is an unwritten law of Masonry that when a member of a Lodge is chosen to the office of Junior Warden it is his right the following year to be placed in the position of Senior Warden then one year later to succeed the Worshipful Master and when this rule is broken an unpleasantness is produced. About the year 1851 Dr. William D. Downing, then Senior Warden of Lodge No. 309 was defeated for Worshipful Master by the Junior Warden. Subsequently an effort was made to place the Doctor in the Chair of Worshipful Master but his magnanimity would not permit him to interfere to prevent the occupant of the chair in the West. As a result and to heal the sores made a move was made to organize a lodge in Upper Uwchland and eight members withdrew from Lodge No. 309 in April, 1869 and joined in an application to the Grand Lodge for a warrant the following June which was referred to the Grand Officers with power to act.
Soon afterwards the D.D.G.M. for the Chester and Delaware district, Bro. John Gregg, visited the applicants and after a conference reported favorable and the prayer of the petitioners was granted. A meeting was held in the room of No. 309 in Downingtown on the 12th of July, the D.D.G.M. acting as Grand Master, and the Lodge known as Mt. Pickering No. 446 was constituted in ancient form. It is a cause of regret that no record of this meeting exists ant in fact that the greater part of the Early History of the Lodge has completely disappeared. Besides the constituent members the writer remembers the names of but three others who were present (although there were several). They were Silas Rambo of 276, Richard D. Wells of 309, and Dr. William D. Hartman of 322 who installed the officers.
The Lodge met for business in the second story of the building now known as the "Laboratory", then owned by John Griffith. Although the petitioners had been very reticent about their intentions and the community generally knew nothing of their efforts to establish a Lodge, at this meeting one application was received for membership and one for initiation and membership. It was known that it would be impossible to meet in that building and a room was rented in a house occupied by Jacob F. Mosteller and now owned by Benjamin F. Mosteller. The additions to the Lodge before the close of the year were seven thus nearly doubling its membership.
At the commencement of 1870 the Lodge removed to Lionville to a room belonging to the Odd Fellows where twelve additions were made in twelve months thus nearly doubling its membership. During this year a building committee was appointed to erect a hall which was located on ground bought from Bro. John Griffith for $115.00 on which a hall was erected at a cost approximating $2500.00 and occupied for the first time on the 5th of December. The first person raised in the room was Bro. George C. Marshall of Wilmington, DE.
After the Lodge had paid for the ground and had paid Bro. Griffith about $500.00 for bills he presented for work and material for the building a special meeting was called in March to make arrangements to pay the balance of bills but in the meantime the Worshipful Master made a trip to Cochranville to D.D.G.M Robert L. McCullan who advised him to have nothing to do with the building although the Lodge had a deed for the ground and had paid a considerable sum on the building. This violation of the contract led to stormy scenes as the Worshipful Master was determined to make the writer of this pay back to the Lodge the money given to Bro. Griffith and as might be readily expected caused a falling‑off in the membership and prevented the accessions that would have been made if the Lodge had been an harmonious body. During the year 1871 eight additions were made to the Lodge but from that time until 1887 the diminutions were about as great as the additions. At one time twenty‑three months passed without anyone being entered. In the spring of 1875 three months elapsed that no meeting was held as at best but three or four were at the hall. Appearances indicated that the malcontents had deserted the Lodge as rats are said to desert a sinking ship. It was in contemplation to surrender the warrant and then apply for its restoration but it was said that this would still retain the enemies as members and the idea was abandoned. Then with an abiding confidence that the disturbing element would not come back several applications for initiation and membership were made and in the early fall five were entered and it was evident that the Lodge had a new lease on life by the infusion of new blood. It was soon spread abroad that the Lodge was doing some work and the malcontents returned and seemed to be elated at the bright prospects of the Lodge. Unfortunately the head and front of the schismatics paid his dues and attended the election and by his blandishments succeeded in being elected treasurer and in a few months renewed hostilities. During the year five more were entered but in consequence of the wrangling the membership once more declined. In consequence of the internal dissensions the Lodge failed to pay its Grand Lodge dues and the warrant was suspended and was only restored by the payment of $48 by a member. In 1887‑1888 fifteen initiations were made and since then the Lodge has moved along in harmony, its membership increasing steadily, and its usefulness spreading.
In the summer of 1894 the project of moving the Lodge to Byers was started and after due deliberation it was resolved to move. Arrangements were made to take down the hall and rebuild it near the railroad and on the 13th of August it was decided to commence its demolition on the 15th but a fire of mysterious origin started in the building and before dawn of the following day nothing remained but the foundation walls and smoking embers.
The financial loss by the burning of the building was slight as it was fully insured but uninsured contents of a possible value of $250 or $300 was destroyed besides all of its records. Its first minute book covering a period of 16½ years, almost all the duplicates returned to Grand Lodge, all the applications for initiation and membership, and probably 25 copies of the By‑Laws. A Bible, the gift of the women in the neighborhood, was lost. In the early life of the Lodge, Miss Fannie Griffith conceived the idea that a Bible would be a fine present and succeeded in inducing 21 women to give $21 which was placed in the hands of Revd Geo. A. Wolff, then pastor of Hopewell M.E. Church who purchased a fine edition of the holy scriptures for the altar and a small edition for other uses.
The jewels of the Lodge, 12 pieces, had been purchased at a cost of $53 and three of these were destroyed. Since the fire the Lodge has been meeting in a room at Chester Springs station owned by the Sons of America. It might be proper to pause here and state that Thompson Lodge No. 340, learning of the loss, sent a letter of condolence and Phoenix Lodge No. 75 very generously offered the use of its hall and paraphernalia without cost, an offer that was highly appreciated, but owing to the distance the Lodge could not very well avail itself of this kindness and during the time of meeting the Lodge had supplied aprons for the use of the members.
The destruction of the hall necessitated a change of plans and a special meeting was called August 27th to consider what was best to be done. In the meantime the Penn Mutual Insurance Company had agreed to pay the loss with a trifling abatement for cash and the Lodge feeling able it was resolved to build a brick edifice limiting the cost to $2500. Had the original plan been carried out it is probable that the Lodge would have had a home of its own at an early date but its changed condition caused delays, materials suitable could not be obtained immediately and the completion of the new hall and its occupation necessarily delayed.
If an expression of an opinion would be allowed it might be proper to say that the architect has drawn his plans admirably and the building committee have created a temple that is a credit to the architect and committee, an honor to the craft, and an ornament to the village.
Of the constituent members of the Lodge six have gone to the undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler ever returns, one is still on the favorable side of eternity, and the whereabouts of the other is unknown.
There were 8 constituent members
3 were received by certificate
115 were entered
There were 50 deductions by death, withdrawal, and suspension
Mt. Pickering Lodge, No. 446
1879 ‑Dispensation received to initiate underage petitioner.
1894 ‑Petition for initiation and membership presented; petitioner ceased before approval.
1896 ‑First petition rejected in Mt. Pickering.
1912 ‑A petitioner was approved but never presented himself for initiation. His wife reputedly said "Thou shalt not go".
1928 ‑Stated meeting night changed from "Monday evening before the full moon" to "Second Monday".
1933 ‑June stated meeting ‑ first Fernwood Lodge, no. 543, visitation. Reason for visit ‑ Fernwood's Master, Bro. Charles Davis, had lived in the area many years and and had been a childhood friend of Mt. Pickering's Master, Bro. I. Newton Evans. They began having reciprocal visitations, Fernwood to Mt. Pickering's Strawberry Night in June and Mt. Pickering to Fernwood's September Stated meeting.
1936 ‑Seventy‑fifth anniversary of Mt. Pickering's founding.
1939 ‑Most Worshipful Grand Master of Delaware ‑ first visitation.
1948 ‑Pottstown Masonic School of Instruction organized.
1951 ‑Carroll T. Whitely was entered, passed, and raised on March 19th as authorized by special dispensation.
1964 ‑Extra meeting held by special dispensation at the Lodge Hall at the Masonic Homes at Elizabethtown to raise Brother William F. Fitch.
1969 ‑One hundredth anniversary of Mt. Pickering's founding.
1981 ‑Extra meeting held by special dispensation at the Lodge Hall at the Masonic Homes at Elizabethtown to raise Brother William E. Zinkel.
1994 ‑One hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of Mt. Pickering's constitution.
1995 ‑One hundredth anniversary of the opening of the Lodge Hall at Byers.
Evans family involvement
J. Benner Evans Worshipful Master 1869
B. Frank Evans " " 1882
Clayton K. Evans " " 1914
Daniel L. Evans " " 1919
I. Newton Evans " " 1933
I. Newton Evans, Jr. " " 1954
J. Benner Evans Treasurer 1869-1871
I. Newton Evans, Jr. " 1966-1994
J. Benner Evans Secretary 1874-1876
Clayton K. Evans " 1931-1955