History of Belpre, Washington Co., Ohio
By C. E. Dickinson, D. D.
Formerly Pastor of Congregational Church
Author of the History of First Congregational Church
Published for the Author by
Globe Printing & Binding Company
Parkersburg, West Virginia
CHAPTER XIX -
Early Masonic Lodge - Belpre Lodge 609 - Odd Fellows. - Colored
Odd Fellows - Knights of Pythias - Little Hocking Grange
For the following interesting
account of the origin of this
Fraternity among the pioneers we are indebted
to Charles L. McNeal, Esq.
Farmers Lodge F. & A. M., No. 20,
THE first meeting according to the old records was held
January 23rd, 1812 and a part of the minutes are as
The following brethren of Free and Accepted Masons met
at the home of Brother Haskell. Bros.
Nathaniel Cushing, Samuel Nash, Oliver Rice, Jonathan
Haskell, Robert Bradford, William Leebody, Perley Howe,
Cyrus Ames, John Bennett, Ira W. Pier, and Daniel
Loring. The brethren of the Ancient Craft
present, taking into consideration the benefits to be
derived by the institution of Free Masonry, and calling
to mind the advanced age to which many of the brethren
present have arrived, the inconvenience and expense
attending their meeting with their brethren of American
Union Lodge of Marietta of which Lodge several of the
brethren present are members, and believing it to be
their duty to contribute as much as is in their power
toward advancing the benefits accruing from the
institution, came to a unanimous resolution of
addressing a letter to the most Worshipful Grand Master
of the Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio, on the subject,
and on motion being adopted, Bros. Cushing, Rice,
Nash, Loring and Bennett were chosen a committee for
the purpose. Having attended to the business of
their appointment, on the 30th of January they draughted
and signed a letter to the Most Worshipful
Brother Cass in which they communicated
the desire of the brethren of Belpre of congregating
together and of being authorized to work as a regular
Lodge at that place. At the same time inquiring
for information of the most worshipful,
To which letter the brethren of Belpre received a
polite and friendly answer from their brother the Most
Worshipful Grand Master bearing date of February 14,
1812. In consequence of which the brethren met at
brother Haskells; those present were bros.
Cushing, Nash, Rice, Haskell,
Bradford, Leebody, Bennett, Ames,
Pier and Loring. Brother
Cushing being called to the chair and Brother
Loring chosen Secretary, on motion the letter
from the Most Worshipful was read. At the same meeting,
with the full and entire approval of the brethren
present, they came to the unanimous resolution of
petitioning for a dispensation whereby they might
legally congregate as a regular Lodge. On motion
being seconded came a choice of a Worshipful Master,
Senior and Junior Wardens. On examination brother
Nathaniel Cushing was duly elected the
Worshipful Master, brother Samuel Nash
Senior Warden, and brother Oliver Rice
Junior Warden. On motion being seconded it was
agreed that a petition be draughted, signed and
forwarded to the Most Worshipful Grand Master, praying
that a dispensation might be issued authorizing the
brethren of Belpre to congregate together as a regular
Lodge. The petition being draughted and signed by
a sufficient number of Master Masons and the names of
the Worshipful Master and Wardens elected inserted, it
was forwarded to the Most Worshipful Grand Master by
Senior Warden, who on his return (the brethren of Belpre
having met at Brother Plaskells) presented
the brethren with a dispensation from the Most
Worshipful Grand Master of the Lodge of Ohio,
authorizing the brethren of the Ancient Craft residing
in Belpre to congregate as a regular Lodge and granting
to them the right and privileges thereunto appertaining,
they having promised a strict adherance to the
principles of Masonry as well as a strict obedience to
the regulations of the Grand Lodge.
The Lodge so established of Ancient York Masons to be
held in the township of Belpre and to be denominated
Farmers Lodge No. 20 and appointing brother Nathaniel
Cushing to be the first Master, brother Samuel
Nash the first Senior Warden and brother
Oliver Rice the first Junior Warden, which
dispensation continues in force until the next meeting
of the Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio, dated the 7th
day of March the year of redemption 1812 and of Masonry
5812 and signed Lewis Cass.
This dispensation in the original form has been
preserved through all the years and is now the property
of Belpre Lodge No. 609.
This Ancient Lodge composed of a few staunch men met at
regular intervals and arranged their by-laws of
twenty-one articles by which their meetings were
conducted until May, 1816 when the last minutes, now in
possession of Lodge No. 609, were recorded.
We rather deplore the fact to-day that in order to have
a company of men get together there must be “eats” but
in the older days the interest of men must have been
reached through their stomachs for almost every meeting
when a bill was ordered paid the following items were
always included, House Room, firewood, candles, from
eight to twenty-three suppers at 12 1-2 cents each, and
from one to two quarts of brandy.
Quite a lot of petitions, notes, and communications are
still being kept in the archives of Belpre Lodge, but
some of the last records must have been lost for many of
the papers bear a later date than 1816.
In September 1821 a communication was received from the
Grand Lodge as follows.
To all whom it may concern, I, John Snow, Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, have appointed
brother George Dana agent for the Grand
Lodge to collect all dues by note or otherwise which are
due the late Farmers Lodge and hold the same subject to
the order of the Grand Lodge.
September 1, 1821.
This paper was prepared by brother Charles L. McNeal,
Worshipful Master of Belpre Lodge No. 609, F. & A. M.,
It does not seem to be known how long this Lodge
The working tools, charts and aprons used by them have
been preserved and are in the rooms of the present
Lodge. For many years the members of this
residing in Belpre held their membership in Lodges in
Parkersburg or elsewhere.
Belpre Masons received a dispensation to form and open
a Lodge in Belpre from M. W. Grand Master, Harry S.
Kissell of the Grand Lodge of Ohio under the name of
Belpre Lodge 609.
BELPRE LODGE No. 609
eighteen Master Masons signed the petion for this
|J. W. Cady
B. L. VanWinkle
F. J. Dressell
F. D. Masters
B. J. Patton
W. F. Wood
|Will W. Watson
Bruce G. Luzader
F. O. Balderson
A. J. Wigner
S. A. Gailbraith
J. A. Burnfield
Fred A. Lang
C. L. McNeal
W. J. Wharton
were active from the beginning and when the charter
was received, October 11th, 1911 they had raised
seventeen Master Masons. Dr. B. L. VanWinkle
was the first W. Master. F. O. Balderson the
first Senior Warden, C. L. McNeal the first
Junior Warden. This Lodge has continued active
and embraces in its membership many leading men of
Belpre Lodge of Independent Order of Odd Fellows,
No. 619 was instituted August 10, 1875, by Joseph
Lowell, Grand Master. There were seven
charter members, viz: John Brown, David Oliver,
J. R. King, B. W. Compton, John B. Badger, A. F.
Downer, and A. T. Shahan.
At the first meeting, John F. King, and I. H.
Henderson were admitted by card and George
Dunbarger, L. M. Cunningham, Joseph Richards and
I. B. Kinkead were initiated. The following is a
list of first officers:
John Brown, N. G.
David Oliver, V. G.
J. R. King, Sec.
B. W. Compton, Permanent Sec.
A. V. Downer, Treas.
I. H. Henderson, Warden
James King, Conductor
John F. King, Inside Guardian
I. B. Kinkead, Right Supporter to N. G.
C. B. Ames, Left Supperter to N. G.
Joseph Richards, R. S. V. G.
John G. Waterman, L. S. V. G.
A. T. Shahan, R. S. S.
L. M. Cunningham, L. S. S.
meetings of the Lodge were held in Brownings
Building on Main Street just north of the Railroad.
In 1880 they removed to their spacious building on
the corner of Main Street and Blennerhassett Avenue
which they have since occupied. This Lodge has
continued prosperous making considerable additions
each year. The present membership is
seventy-eight. Each year they invite a pastor of one
of the village churches to preach for them a special
sermon at which time they are present in a body.
They also have a department for the ladies known as
Daughters of Rebeckah which is well sustained and
includes some of the leading ladies of the
STAR OF BELPRE LODGE.
Belpre No. 1910 Grand United Order of Odd Fellows
(colored) was organized in 187— by the Naomi Lodge
of Parkersburg, West Va. with 31 charter members.
The first officers were:
H. G. Miller, N. G.
R. W. Whiteman, Permanent Sec.
David Tucker, Noble Father.
George Williams, Elective Sec.
J. W. Scott, Treas.
Robert Williams, Chaplain.
Harmon Boggs, P. N. G.
BELPRE TENT No. 541, KNIGHTS OF THE MACCABEES.
No. 541 Knights of the Maccabees was instituted by
A. W. Shinn, D. G. C of McConnelsville, O.
January 8th, 1906 with the following Officers:
W. E. Cox, Sir Knight, P. C.
M. I. Keltum, Sir Knight, Com.
S. S. Ford, Sir Knight,
Lieut. Com. Dr. J. V. Athey, R. K.
C. G. Dixon, Chaplain.
Isaac Taylor, Sergt.
B. L. VanWinkle, Sir Knight, Physician.
George Northrop, Sir Knight, M. at A.
Pearl Northrop, Sir Knight, 1st M. of G.
A. L. Allen, Sir Knight, 2nd M. of G.
Scott Charter, Sir Knight, Sent.
C. M. Hutchison, Sir Knight, Picket.
now has a membership of sixty-five. Only three
charter members now hold membership here.
Present officers are:
F. R. Wigner, Sir Knight, P. C.
C. C. Miller, Sir Knight, Com.
D. M. Brookhart, Sir Knight, Lieut. Com.
C. K. Brookhart, Sir Knight, R. K.
J. G. Bennett, Sir Knight, Chaplain.
B. L. VanWinkle, Sir Knight, Physician.
Clyde Hawk, Sir Knight, Sergt.
B. F. Tonkins, Sir Knight, M. at A.
G. H. Williams, Sir Knight, 1st M. of G.
C. L. Christopher, Sir Knight, 2nd M. of G.
E. L. Wigner, Sir Knight, Sentinel.
carry a total of $49,000 life insurance. There
is also a sick and accident feature of the
organization which pays eight dollars a week.
Most of the members carry this .
KNIGHTS OF PYTHIAS.
Blennerhassett Lodge of Knights of Pythias was
instituted July 8th, 1889 and was one of the first
fraternal organizations in Belpre. The first
officers and members were as follows:
F. P. Ames, C. C.
D. R. Rood, V. C.
J. F. Steele, Prelate.
C. B. Ballard, M. at A.
L. H. Brown, K. R. and S.
D. M. Alderman, M. of E.
W. L. McMorris, M. of F.
F. L. Simpson, I. G.
Millard Hamilton, O. G.
P. S. Cole, P. C.
F. J. Dressell, W. C. Lockwood, A. T. Stone, H. G.
Stone, G. W. Gandee, J. W. Cady, 0. L. Davis, G. M.
O’Neal, W. J. Wharton, H. S. Curtis, H. T. Curtis,
Will M. Coe, T. C. McTaggart, J. C. Malster, Frank
This lodge has prospered from the beginning and has
been a benefit to its members of the twenty-five
charter members, twenty-two are now living and ten
are still members of the lodge. Others have
been transferred to other lodges.
There are also persons in Belpre who belong to several
other organizations in Parkersburg. It would
seem to a layman that fraternal organizations are
divided into about as many sects as our churches,
but as we observe that persons often belong to
several organizations we conclude that their objects
are somewhat different and assume that they all aim
to confer benefits on their fellow men.
LITTLE HOCKING GRANGE
Hocking Grange, No. 873, was organized May 1, 1874,
and since that time has exerted a very important
influence in the community. It has been
decidedly helpful, not only in out door life but
also in the homes, it has been a center of
charitable work. During the European War its
hall has been opened as a work room for the Red
Cross and for other war work meetings. Its
present membership is about fifty and the official
list for 1918 is as follows:
C. D, Robinson.
Overseer, S. B. Oakes.
Lecturer, A. S. Phelps.
Steward, E. T. McPherson.
Assistant Steward, W. R. Woodburn.
Lady Assistant Steward, Mrs. Julia Woodburn.
Chaplain, B. S. Cunningham.
Treasurer, C. W. Oakes.
Secretary, J. R. Cole.
Mrs. William Armstrong
Mrs. Susan W. Dickinson
Gatekeeper, J. R. Giddings.
Pomona, Grace Robinson.
Ceres, Mrs. McPherson.
Flora, Edith Watson.
Organist, Elizabeth Oakes.
Legislative Committee, F. P. Ames,
Business Agent, J. R. Cole.
printed program for the year 1918 embraces an
extensive list of practical subjects to be
considered at the meetings, which are held twice
each month. Those for two meetings in November may
be given as samples.
Heating the home with a view of saving fuel L. E.
Do you think it wise to make an effort to keep boys
and girls on the farm?---------------------
------------------------- Mrs. Oakes, Mrs. Lewis,
What a boy should be taught ---- S. F. Stone, G.
Getting ready for winter in the Poultry Yard
My Duty to my Community ---------------- Roll Call
The Value of a farm Workshop
---------------------- Eugene Brewster, J. R.
The True Standard of Success
House work in Winter -------------------------
Mrs. Wells, Mrs. Cole
Top Dressing Winter Wheat H. N. Curtis, J. G.
treatment of practical subjects like these by
intelligent men and women must be a continual uplift
to the intellectual and social as well as
agricultural condition of the community. We
hope the Little Hocking Grange may continue and
increase its good work.
END OF CHAPTER XX.