Attleboro Council of Royal and Select Master Masons
1872 – Present
The 125th Anniversary History
Prepared by Very Illustrious Markeith E. Host
A Big Thank You
To the Grand Recorder, R.I. Raymond Franklin Fleck.
The several Past Recorders of Attleboro Council
Especially Illustrious Earl Clinton Cook Jr.
The living Past Illustrious Masters of Attleboro Council
The Members of Attleboro Council – Past and Present
The widows and Ladies of our Companions
The Attleboro and North Attleboro Public Libraries
The “Attleboro Falls Fire Barn Museum”
The Attleboro Sun-Chronicle
Trustees of the Mount Hope Cemetery
And the “memory” of those who lived these events.
Without your assistance this sketch of the History of
Attleboro Council could not have been prepared.
The Attleboros of today are much different than at various times in
our history. What was first called “Attleborough” (After its counterpart in
England) was born on October 19, 1694 from a part of Rehoboth called the
“North Purchase”. On September 10, 1697 the “bounds between
Attleborough and Rehoboth were established. But it was not until June 26,
1710 that they were finalized when the “Mile and a Half’ dispute was settled
in Attleborough’s favor.
On February 18, 1830 the bounds between Attleborough and
Wrentham were established with part of the land being annexed to the Town
On June 14, 1887 the sections known as “The North Village” and
“The Falls” were established as the Town of North Attleborough being
accepted on July 30, 1887 and confirmed on March 6, 1888.
On June 17, 1914 the “Town of Attleborough” was incorporated as
the “City of Attleboro” dropping the “ugh”. But it was not accepted until the
vote of November 3, 1914.
The population of Attleborough at the time of our organization in
1872 was approximately 6,800. By assistance of the railroad it had by 1880
grown to approximately 11, 111. But due to the separation of the Towns, the
1890 census recorded Attleborough’s population down to approximately
7,577. Today in 1997, its population is in excess of 40,000.
Masonic and Historical Background
Return for a moment to an earlier day when life was less hectic and
less complicated. The year is 1872; and the place is “Attleborough”, in the
Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Of course its boundaries are not anything
like they are today. Being created from the “Rehoboth – North Purchase” of
1661. This tract of land had been purchased from Chief Wamsutta of the
Wampanoag Indians. The original boundaries at the time of purchase
extended from Wrentham to and including Pawtucket (R.I.), and from the
present day towns of Cumberland (R.1.) to and including Seekonk. On the
larger scale, Massachusetts claimed much of the land, which are now the
Towns of Barrington, Warren, Bristol, Tiverton, and Little Compton, Rhode
Island. Over time and several disputes, the present day boundaries were
The Attleborough of 1872 included the present day City of Attleboro,
Town of North Attleborough, both of which were subdivided into the
Villages of East Attleboro, West Attleboro, Briggs Comer, Dodgeville,
Hebronville, Attleboro Falls, and the “North Village”. The primary source of
transportation of that day was by foot, by horseback, horse and buggy,
trolley car, and railroad. The automobile had not yet reached the drafting
board, and the hope of flight was still a dream.
Having these boundaries and life-styles in mind, it is understandable
why in 1797 the “Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society
of Free and Accepted Masons of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts”
issued a charter to form Bristol Lodge from the residents of Attleborough,
Mansfield, Norton, Rehoboth, Pawtucket, and Taunton. Originally seated in
Norton, Bristol Lodge was moved to East Attleborough in _1811 and then to
the North Village of Attleborough in 1830 by the Grand Lodge. This gave
birth to a new lodge for East Attleborough in 1870 under the banner of
Ezekiel Bates Lodge A.F. & A.M., which met within the “Sturdy Block”,
located at 25-33 Park Street. (Present day Attleboro center)
Freemasonry between 1832 and 1859 went dark in most of the nation
stemming from the “Morgan incident” in the State of New York. When the
Craft once again “came to light” some years later, many new lodges and
other masonic organizations were born. One of these was Bristol
Commandery Knights Templar #29, which was stationed at Bristol Lodge in
the North Village being chartered on October 20, 1870.
The primary capitular membership in 1872 for the Attleborough area
is believed to have been Key-Stone Royal Arch Chapter of Foxborough; and
perhaps one in Pawtucket. Transportation by trolley or rail made it easy to
attend these meetings. Beginning in 1816 Adoniram Royal Arch Chapter
met at the Balkcom Tavern in East Attleborough, but in 1825 voted to move
to New Bedford. The present day Chapters of King Hiram of Attleboro, and
Rabboni of North Attleborough, had not yet been organized.
The Council or cryptic degrees in this Commonwealth officially had
their start with the formation of the Grand Council at Boston on June 15,
1826. However, prior to that date there were ten subordinate Councils
working under the authority of Grand Councils of other States, or under such
authority assumed by themselves. The original ten Councils were: Boston –
Springfield – Salem -Brimfield – and Princeton Councils all named after
and operating in those cities. The others were: Adoniram of Medfield –
Warren of Sheffield – Washington of Greenwich- and Hiram of Sutton. Of
these original Councils six are still in existence, three within their original
cities, and three at different sites than where they were organized.
Of these Boston Council takes seniority of rank, having been
organized in 1817 and conferring only the Royal Master Degree. It appears
to have had no authority from any Grand Body and was founded by nine
Royal Arch Masons who received the Degree of Royal Master. Great
prosperity capped their labors and they soon had a membership that
extended throughout the Commonwealth. They later increased their work to
include the Degree of Select Master, and some time after the formation of
the Grand Council, the Degree of Super Excellent Master was added. These
Council Degrees however where not a prerequisite for a Companion to
advance from the Chapter to the Commandery. It was not until 1988 that the
Grand York Rite Bodies mandated that these “three little jewels of the York
Rite” be a requirement for Masonic knighthood.
In 1872 a Dispensation, and later a Charter, was granted by the Grand
Council to give birth to Attleboro Council in the village of East Attleboro
(now the City’s center). Like Ezekiel Bates Lodge, the Council also held
their assemblies at the “Sturdy Block” on a different day and hour. In the
course of our history Attleboro Council, like that of our Grand Council, has
been styled under three different titles. First as Attleboro Council of Select
& Royal Masters in 1872; and then by 1876 as Attleboro Council of Royal
& Select Masters; and then on April 27, 1996 as Attleboro Council of Royal
& Select Master Masons. The last change was instituted by the grand
administration of M.I. Bernard William Russell to show the unenlightened
that we were part of the “family of Freemasonry”.
The Grand Council of the Cryptic Rite has been styled under several
different titles over its history, but has always conformed to the Preamble of
its Constitution. Simply stating in part that, ” Cryptic Masonry is a
charitable, benevolent, educational, and religious secret society, adhering to
its own peculiar ancient customs and rituals, including the ancient
Landmarks of Freemasonry” …. “It is a social organization only so far as it
furnishes additional inducement that men may foregather in numbers,
thereby providing more material for its primary work of training, of worship,
and of charity.” Attleboro Council has always strived for these high ideas.
The Grand Council has its exclusive jurisdiction over the territorial
limits of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts having its Grand East in the
City of Boston. However in the early l 990’s, after experiencing “financial
difficulties”, it established its “Administrative Office” in the Town of
Norwood, Massachusetts at the first floor of 12 Vernon Street.
The Grand Jurisdiction of the Commonwealth is divided into several
“Arches” to which one of the junior Grand Officers serves as “Overseer” of
a particular Arch. He thus becomes the liaison between the several Councils
of the Arch and the Grand Council. Since the Grand Officers are selected
from different Councils within the Commonwealth each year, no individual
Council remains in the same numbered Arch from year to year.
The several Arches are thus explained.
9th Arch Office of the Most Illustrious Grand Master
gth Arch Office of the R.I. Grand Deputy Master
th Arch Office of the R.I. Principal Conductor of the Work
6th Arch Office of the V .I. Grand Captain of the Guard
5th Arch Office of the V.I. Grand Conductor of the Council
4th Arch Office of the V .I. Grand Steward
3rd Arch Office of the V.I. Grand Sentinel
I st Arch
Among others who serve our Grand Council are the Right Illustrious
Grand Master of Ceremonies and the Right Illustrious Grand Director of
Ritual who retain this title while in Office, but upon leaving office is styled a
Very Illustrious Master.
First Most Illustrious Master
Attleboro Council of Royal and Select Master Masons
Daniel Henry Smith
January 4, 1835 -June 1, 1913
18 Dean St. Attleboro, Massachusetts
Daniel Henry Smith was born in Rehoboth, Massachusetts to
Remember and Sally (Wilmarth) Smith, but spent the majority of his life in
Attleborough. He was educated in the schools of Attleborough, and was one
of the first to have the advantage of a high school education; entering the
school system only a year or two after it was instituted.
In adulthood he was a jeweler by trade and for about twenty-five years
conducted a large business in Attleborough known as the D.H. Smith
Company. The business was located in the Hayward Building making plated
goods of several sorts, but specializing in “Gentleman’s lockets”. He later
change careers and entered the business of a funeral director taking rooms in
the Watson Building. This business he continued until a few years before his
death on June 2, 1913.
Our companion had a long record of service as an Officer for the
Town of Attleborough. Over the years he served as Selectman, Overseer of
the Poor, Assessor, and member of several other important Committees.
When the Town was set-aside from North Attleboro in 1887 he served as
Chairman of the Board of nine Selectmen which reassessed and established
He also was the Chief Engineer of the Attleborough Fire Department,
and under his direction the South Main Street Fire Station was built. He also
supervised the installation of the electric fire alarm system for the Town.
Brother Smith was raised on October 8, 1867 at Bristol Lodge in the
“North Village” of Attleborough; but would later demit to become the first
Worshipful Master of Ezekiel Bates Lodge- Under Dispensation from 1870
to 1871 in Attleborough center. From 1885 – 1886 he served our Grand
Lodge as Right Worshipful District Deputy Grand Master of the 23rd
Brother Smith also was a 32° degree Mason for over forty years in
the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry; a distinction few men of his time held.
Through not confirmed, his membership is believed to have been in the
Valley of Boston where he was most active. But it could have been in the
Valley of Providence as the railroad connects Attleborough to Boston to the
North and Providence to the South.
In the York Rite of Freemasonry our Companion was most active. He
was one of the few Past Masters of his time to also hold all three jewels of
the York Rite. If the Knights of the York Cross of Honour were organized in
Massachusetts during his lifetime, he would have been a most desirable
In the Capitular Rite he served King Hiram Royal Arch Chapter as
High Priest in 1877, and later the Grand Royal Arch Chapter as a Right
Excellent District Deputy Grand High Priest. He was the fourth Sir Knight to
be knighted in Bristol Commandery – Knights Templar #29 of North
Attleboro. During 1875 – 1876 he served as Eminent Commander of Bristol
Commandery Knights Templar #29 stationed at Bristol Lodge. He was also
a member of “The Massachusetts Union of Knights Templar Commanders
of the Ancient & Honorable Artillery”.
In the Cryptic Rite he was our first Trice Illustrious Master and a
Charter Member of “Attleboro Council Select & Royal Masters – Under
Dispensation”. When the Council went “Dark” from 1879 – 1888,
Companion Smith faithfully paid the Grand Council assessments from his
personal funds in order to retain the Charter. During this time his labors
were rewarded with the appointment as the Grand Conductor of the Grand
Council for 1881 investing him with the title of “Very Illustrious”.
In 1888 Attleboro Council returned to their labors under the style of
Attleboro Council of Royal & Select Masters. The following year V.I. Smith
was again elected to the Office of Trice Illustrious Master of for 1889 and
His other activities included membership in Orient Lodge of Odd
Fellows, the West Side Club, and the Pomham Club. He was also a
prominent member and first Commander of the William A. Streeter Post –
Grand Army of the Republic in Attleborough. In addition he was an active
member of the State Militia at the time of “the Rebellion” and during the
Civil War received the commission of Captain in Company H of the 24th
Shortly after the turn of the Century, Companion Smith donated the
income of a $2,000.00 fund to the Attleboro Public Library. In appreciation
the Library printed a special bookplate in his memory to mark the books
purchased from that fund. The bookplate denotes a woman dress in toga
style apparel seated next to the Lamp of Knowledge reading an engraved
tablet. A banner across the top reads: “From the Daniel. H. Smith Fund”.
On May 28, 1913 Daniel H. Smith sailed from New York City aboard
an ocean liner for a cruise to Jamaica just a few weeks after the death of his wife. He died aboard that ocean liner on June 2, 1913 bound between Port Antonio and Colon, Panama. He aged 78 years.
On Sunday, June 22, 1913 a Special Conclave of Bristol Commandery
K.T. # 29 opened at 2:00 P.M. for the purpose of providing a Commandery
escort for Ezekiel Bates Lodge who journeyed to Murray Universalist
Church to attend the funeral service of our departed frater. In addition to the
multitude of brethren in attendance there were forty-nine Sir Knights in line
in full Templar regalia.
First Right Illustrious Master
Attleboro Council of Select and Royal Masters
Everett Southworth Horton
June 15, 1836 – June 3, 1911
: 42. Pleasant Street- Attleboro, Massachusetts
Everett Southard Horton was born in Attleborough, Massachusetts on
March 13, 1831 to Gideon Martin and Mary (Smith) Horton; being the first
born of their children. In Attleborough he attended school until he was
sixteen, when he became an assistant in his father’s store. He occupied that
position until his father’s health failed, when he took complete charge of the
business. He continued to run the business until the outbreak of the Civil
War. On June 12, 1861 he was married to Mary Ann Carpenter, the only
daughter of Jesse R. and Mary Carpenter also of Attleborough. They
likewise had only one child, Mary Edith Horton.
During the spring of 1862, having disposed of his business, Mr.
Horton with others recruited a company of “nine months men”. On the
election of its officers in September he became the company’s second
lieutenant, soon receiving his commission from Governor Andrew. His
natural earnestness and resolution showed themselves in his new occupation,
for he quickly mastered the drill and learned his duties as an officer. He went
into camp with his company at Boxford, Massachusetts, where in September
of 1862 they were mustered into the United States service at Company C –
Forty-seventh Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. They were
soon ordered to New York and into camp on Long Island. On December 21,
1862 they embarked on the steamer “Mississippi” for New Orleans, La.
arriving on January 1, 1863 where they were assigned to provost duty in and
around that city. Upon the resignation of the Captain of Company C,
Lieutenant Horton, by a large majority of the votes of the Company, was
chosen his successor. This “Nine Months” service was extended to nearly a
year, for it was not until August 1863 that Captain Horton and his men
Very soon after his return home came Governor Andrew’s call for
more troops. Mr. Horton again responded, receiving a commission as second
Lieutenant and the position of recruiting officer for the Fifty-Eighth
Massachusetts Volunteers. He opened an office in town but was soon
ordered to camp to take charge of recruits whereupon he received his
commission as Captain. He and his Company remained in camp at
Readville, Massachusetts until April 28, 1964, when they went to the front and became participants in the memorable
Reaching the field on May 6th they were in the long and bloody march to
Petersburg. After the battle of Cold Harbor, he was recommended and
promoted to the rank of Major. The commander of the regiment was
wounded in a charge on June 3rd and until September 30, 1864; the
command devolved on Major Horton. On that date while leading the
regiment in action a few miles south of Petersburg, he was made a prisoner.
By October 3rd he had reached Libby Prison outside Richmond, Virginia
where he was confined until October 8th. He was then sent to Salisburg, N.C.
and on October 19th to Danville, Virginia where he was kept until January
27, 1865. At that time he was selected as a hostage and sent back to Libby
Prison where on February 22′ 1865 he and many others were paroled and
sent to the Union lines.
He was soon exchanged and granted a furlough of thirty days. He left
for home and after a short visit, departed to rejoin his regiment in Virginia
arriving on the very day that Petersburg was captured. He was soon ordered
to Washington D.C. where he remained on active duty until he was mustered
out of the service. During his service Major Horton received seven
commissions, and was mustered into service on six of them. He was a
gallant soldier, doing all of his duty. As an officer, while strict in discipline,
he looked well after the comfort of his men, and was universally popular
with both officers and soldiers alike.
Shortly after the close of the war he became manager of Davids &
Cornell of Providence, the largest grocery house in Rhode Island; but
continued his residency in Attleborough. He remained in that position until
1880, when, by the death of his brother, Edwin J. Horton, a place in the firm
of Horton, Angell & Company became vacant. He soon became the senior
partner of that concern which was engaged in the manufacture of gold plated
men’s and ladies jewelry.
Brother Horton was raised in Bristol Lodge on April 12, 1870 and
soon after joined King Hiram Royal Arch Chapter. He was the 74th candidate
to be knighted in Bristol Commandery K.T. #29. In all these bodies he
maintained his membership during his lifetime, but never aspired to “The
Chair”. It was only in Attleboro Council Select & Royal Masters U.D. that
he took a leadership role as our first “Right Illustrious Master ” (Deputy
Master), and in 1877, he became our third Trice Illustrious Master working
under a full charter. He was also a 32rd Degree Mason in the Scottish Rite.
Our Companion was also socially active in other organizations in the
Attleborough area. Since its organization he had a deep interest in the Grand
Army of the Republic and contributed largely in maintaining the thriving Post established in Attleborough. He was its Commander several times and also Commander of the Bristol County Association of the G.A.R. He was
also a member of the Society of the Army of the Potomac. And of the
Military Order of the Loyal Legion.
Major Horton was long one of Attleboro’s most public-spirited and
enterprising citizens. In politics he was an earnest Republican. He served in
the Massachusetts Legislature – House 1891-92 and Senate 1893. He was
Chairman of the Board of Selectmen for Attleboro several times,
Commissioner of the Attleboro Sinking Fund for many years, and was
President of the Board of Trustees of the Attleboro Public Library from its
organization until 1909, when he resigned, having been one of the principal
founders. He was serving at the time of his death as a member of the
commission having charge of the important work of establishing the new
sewer system of Attleboro. He was a long time Trustee and Secretary, and
eventually President of the Richardson School Fund, and was one of the
organizers in 1876 of the Attleboro Savings and Loan Association, which he
served continually as a Director and later as President. He was also Vice
President of the Jeweler’s Board of Trade in Providence, serving several
years until his resignation due to poor health in 1904.
Major Horton owned one of the finest and largest collections of curios
and antique relics in New England. He not only had many mementos of his
own interesting and eventful career, but also numerous articles of value as
representing the various periods of Colonial history. His interest in such
matters was fully demonstrated when the edifice of the Second
Congregational Church of Attleboro was constructed. The plan of bringing
from Attleborough, England, a stone from the old church there, to be placed
in the vestibule of the new home of worship was original with him and
carried out at his private expense.
His first wife (Mary Ann) died on June 21, 1871. On September 24,
1873, he was married to Eliza Dutton Fremont, of Amesbury,
Massachusetts, by whom he had two children: Gertie E. (Born: May 29,
1876), and Addie D. who died in infancy. Socially he was one of the most
pleasing companions; a strong and stanch friend, a valuable citizen, and a
successful businessman. He died June 3, 1911 at his home of 106 Pleasant
Street in Attleboro after a few days of illness at the age of 74. Of him it was
said that; “probably no man in town did more quiet, unseen deeds of real
charity than he.”
Herbert Noah Mason
March 13th, 1831 – June 3, 1911
46 East Street- Attleboro, Massachusetts
Herbert Noah Mason was born in Attleborough, Massachusetts on
March 13, 1831 to Noah and Harriet Wood (Fisher) Mason. There he
attended school and grew to manhood. Going to the “North Village” of
Attleborough, he entered the employment of E. Ira Richards and Company,
where he received a through knowledge of the jewelry business, and soon
became an expert workman. After some years he returned to Attleborough,
and was employed in the jewelry industry by Charles E. Hayward for twenty
years. Some years later he resigned his position to form a partnership with
Earl Richards, under the firm name of Mason & Richards, for the
manufacture of fine jewelry. This association was successfully carried on for
years. Mr. Mason superintended the business, while Mr. Richards acted as
traveling salesman. When the business was later sold to the Walker & Ripley
Company, Mr. Mason retired from active business and moved to Mansfield
where he purchased a small farm on School Street in that town. This
property he actively farmed for fifteen years. At the end of that time he
returned to Attleboro, and passed the remainder of his life looking after his
real estate holdings. During his lifetime he was a very public-spirited
individual and a stanch Republican. He was well known and respected by all
classes of citizens.
Our Brother was raised in Ezekiel Bates Lodge of Attleborough on
March 22, 1871 and from 1878 to 1881 he served as her Worshipful Master.
From 1876-1878 he was High Priest of Key-Stone Royal Arch Chapter of
Foxborough. He was Attleboro Council’s first “Illustrious Master of the
Work” was it was then called, but today is entitled “Deputy Master”. During
1875 and 1876 he served as Attleboro Council’s second Trice Illustrious
Master. Our Companion later became the 54th member to be knighted in
Bristol Commandery of Knights Templar # 29. He was also a member of
Hope Chapter #41 – Order of the Eastern Star and the Company C
Mr. Mason was twice married, first to Mary L.W. Titus of South
Attleboro, the daughter of Otis and Celestine (Wolcott) Titus. Two children
were born in this union (Anna C, and Clara L.).
Mary Mason died in Attleboro on February 17, 1862 and Herbert later
married Mary M. Packard, widow of Charles M. Haskill. She died on
January 30, 1904, less than four months prior to his death on May 13, 1904.
A Special Conclave of Bristol Commandery was held at 1 :00 P.M. on
Tuesday, May 17, 1904 in the Masonic Temple of North Attleboro. The
Generalisamo, S.K. Charles H. Parker, opened the Conclave for the purpose
of attending the funeral of our departed frater which was held at the Second
Congregational Church in Attleboro where the “Ternplar Burial Ritual” was
rendered by Eminent Sir Knight H.H. Curtis who was assisted by Sir Knight
Arthur T. Parker as Prelate. Burial was at the Mt. Hope Cemetery in North
Attfeboro Council of Select & Royal Masters
Daniel H. Smith
Everett S. Horton
Herbert N. Mason
Edward C. Martin
John M. Daggett
Joseph M. Bates
Edward C. Martin
Edwin H. Cummings
Emery A. Perrin
Jacob Silloway Jr.
Richard H. Trestead
Edwin L. Crandall
John W. Luther
Daniel H. Capron
John L. Kendall
James F. Leonard
William S. Blackinton
First Non-Charter Members by Affiliation
George M. Bacon – Elijah Capron – Charles S. Cobb
William B. Crocker – Michael Ryan – Joabert Sweet
First Officers of
Attleboro Council of Select and Royal Masters
December 12th 1872
Most Illustrious Master – Daniel H. Smith
Right Illustrious Master – Everett S. Horton
Illustrious Master of the Work – Herbert N. Mason
Master of Ceremonies – John M. Daggett
Master Of Exchequer – John M. Bates
Recorder – Edward C. Martin
Captain of the Guard – Edwin H. Cummings
Conductor of the Council – Edwin L. Crandall
Sentinel – John W. Luther
Tyler – Avery Forbes
Attleboro Council of Select & Royal Masters ~ Attleboro Council of Royal & Select Masters ~ Attleboro Council of Royal & Select Master Masons
Birth of Attleboro Council
Attleboro Council of Select & Royal Masters was organized in the
summer of 1872 through the efforts of twenty-one companions of Pawtucket
Council which had petitioned the Massachusetts Grand Council for permission
to organize. It should be noted that even at this date in our history the state lines
of today were not established. Thus parts of Rhode Island was under the
jurisdiction of Massachusetts freemasonry. A dispensation was quickly granted
and on Monday, August 5, 1872 the organizational meeting was held in
“Mason’s Hall” within the Sturdy Block at 25-31 Park Street in the village of
“East Attleboro” (Now downtown). The following charter members were appointed
to serve, using the then Massachusetts titles:
Most Illustrious Master Daniel H. Smith
Right Illustrious Master Everett S. Horton
Illustrious Master of the Work Herbert N. Mason
Master of Ceremonies John M. Daggett
Master of Exchequer (Treasurer) Joseph M. Bates
Recorder Edward C. Martin
Captain of the Guard Edwin H. Cummings
Conductor of the Counci Edwin L. Crandall
Sentinel John W. Luther
Tyler Avery Forbes
At the annual assembly of the Grand Council in Boston on Wednesday,
December 11, 1872, the charter was granted and Attleboro Council was
officially constituted. The charter bears the date of “December 12, 1872” but
was not received until Monday, March 17, 1873 at a “Special Assembly” of
Attleboro Council. The Most Illustrious Grand Master -Charles Henry Norris
and the Deputy Grand Master – Jerimiah Dow Parker and the Grand Principal
Conductor of the Work-Thomas Elliott St. John signed it. It was attest by the
Grand Recorder – David Roberts. Also listed on the charter are the other eleven
charter members. Namely:
Emery Anson Perrin – Jobn Langdon – James Foster Leonard – Orville Balcom – Daniel Henry Capron – -Richard H. Treasted Rodolopbus Bliss – Emery Leach – William S. Blackinton – Eliphalet SMith – Jacob Silloway Jr.
One may wonder as to why the charter is styled as “Select & Royal
Masters” and not the reverse which is common today. At the time of its issue
there was a growing conflict between masonic scholars as to the order in which
the cryptic degrees where to be conferred. It is true that the circumstances
referred to in the Royal Master degree occurred during a period which lies
between the death of the “Chief Builder” and the completion of the edifice;
while those of the Select Master degree occurred before the builder’s death.
Hence chronologically, the events of the Select Master occurred before those of
the Royal Master. This was the logic for the first title.
However, it was successfully argued that the events of the Select Master
where not “brought to light” to the great body of the Craft until long after the
existence of the Royal Master degree was known and recognized. In other
words, the “Select Masters” had been designated, performed their tasks for
which they were selected, and then closed there labors without ever being
openly recognized as a “class within the Temple of Solomon”. The business in
which they were engaged was a secret one and their existence was not known
until the building of the Temple of Zerubbabel. Thus on Wednesday, December
13, 1876 the Grand Council voted to reverse the titles and became Councils of
Royal & Select Masters.
It is interesting to note that the “Cryptic Year” ended on September 30th of
each year instead of August 31st has it does today. The assemblies of Attleboro
Council were in the beginning held on the first Monday of each masonic month
with the first Monday in December being the Annual Assembly. The first annual
return to the Grand Council indicates that Attleboro Council began with twenty
four members. At the Special Assembly of Monday, June 23, 1873, Attleboro
Council elected their first three candidates collectively. Receiving the Select
Master Degree that evening were Companions William B. Crocker, Michael
Ryan, and Joabert Sweet. They all received the Royal Master Degree and the
Super Excellent Master Degree on Monday evening, July 21, 1873. On the
Annual Return for that year, Attleboro Council paid a fee of two dollars per
candidate in addition to the three dollar filing fee for a total annual expense of
nine dollars to the Grand Council.
Similar to all new adventures there was good times and poor times.
Attleboro Council was very active and enthusiastic for the first five years. Then
in 1877 interest began to taper off. This may be due to the Companions’ time
being taken up by the others bodies. The “Blue Lodge” and Chapters were fairly
busy and there was a strong support for the “military environment” of the
Commandery as many Companions were veterans of the civil war and members of other military type organizations such as the G.A.R. Since the Council degrees were not a requirement for Commandery Knighthood, many times the
Council was overlooked. It would not be until 1987 that these “Three Little
Jewels of the York Rite” would be mandatory before a Companion could
advance from the Chapter to the Commandery.
The year of 1878 was a trying year for Attleboro Council. Numerous
changes were made in the By Laws, no candidates appeared, and the records
state that at most of the meetings in 1878 and 1879 no assembly was opened due
to the lack of a quorum. At the end of 1878 it was necessary to appoint a
committee to solicit subscriptions to pay the debts and it was voted to move
from “Masonic Hall”. The January and February meetings of 1879 took place in
the “old Masonic Hall” within the Dean Block, while the March and April
meetings where held at the Briggs Block. Both are located in what is now the
“downtown area” of Attleboro.
From 1879 to 1888 there were no assemblies held. Much credit should be
given to two of the “Charter Members” for the survival of Attleboro Council.
These two were the Recorder, John T. Bates who faithfully filed the Annual
Returns; and Illustrious Companion Daniel H. Smith who loyally paid the
annual fees to our Grand Council. Through their efforts the Charter was not
relinquished. Illustrious Companion Smith also served our Grand Council in
1881 as Grand Conductor of the Council while his “Mother Council” was in
On Tuesday evening, April 3, 1888, new officers for Attleboro Council of
“Royal & Select” Masters was chosen under the direction of the Grand Council.
Assembling at Freemason’s Hall in Attleboro’s “Sturdy Block”, Companion
Nehemiah Hicks was elected to bring Attleboro Council from darkness to light
again. A fine line of Officers among who was V .I. Daniel Henry Smith would
assist him. Illustrious Companion Smith would be elected the following year to
serve another term as Illustrious Master.
Illustrious Companion Hicks was the resident agent’ for “Foster &
Nightingale Properties” at Mechanic Mills which was located near the Mechanic
Street Pond. This Company was the manufacturer of cotton goods for “shirting
and printed cloths”. History did not record much more about this Company or
about Companion Hicks.
Likewise, neither history nor our records indicate any celebration or
observance of a 25th Anniversary in 1897. In view of the rugged path we had
traveled thus far; it was perhaps though better to be forgotten.
Second Quarter Century
Attleboro Council of Royal and Select Masters
December 12th 1897
Thrice Illustrious Master – Leo R. Heilborn
Deputy Master – Charles S. Holden
Principle Conductor of the Work – William L. Elliot
Treasurer – Everett S. Horton
Recorder – Orville P. Richardson
Chaplain – Arthur E. Codding
Master of Ceremonies – Alfred R. Crosby
Captain of the Guard – Rufus C. Read
Steward – Charles I. Cobb
Sentinel – Christopher T. Draper
The Second Quarter Century
The Second Quarter Century
Renewed interest and vigor brought a new image to Attleboro Council.
Like her sister organizations, the Council membership began to grow and by
1905 it was apparent that the “Craft” needed larger quarters. In September of
1905, the Council with other Masonic organizations in Attleboro moved from
the Sturdy Block to the top floor of the newly constructed “Bronson Building” at
8 North Main Street. These quarters have a “masonic character” in its design of
arches, pillars, and vaulted dome. Today however, its beauty is hidden by the
“advanced technology” of the drop ceiling and door clad hallways.
The records reveal a healthy and steady growth in membership as our
Council was establishing a reputation for holding meetings at which the
Companions were sure to enjoy a good sociable evening. One such notable
meeting was a special assembly on Tuesday evening, November 18, 1913. On
this occasion fifty-six companions of Hyde Park Council, which at that time
actually met in Hyde Park; but later moved to Norwood, visited Attleboro
Council. Also visiting were nine companions from Providence Council of Rhode
Island. With the sixty companions of Attleboro Council, it made a total
attendance of one hundred and twenty-five companions. This and other such
evenings are believed to have laid the ground work for the annual “Triangular
Meets” between these three Councils which were organized in 1931 and have
continued until today.
To further enhance this strong bond of good fellowship between these
three Councils, the companions of Hyde Park Council visited Attleboro on
Tuesday evening, December 23, 1913. At that meeting they presented Attleboro
Council with a gift of a wooden cabinet containing three beautiful silver vessels
(cups) for use in the work of the Royal Master degree. They are still the proud
possession of Attleboro Council.
To reciprocate, the companions of Attleboro visited.Hyde Park Council
on Thursday evening, February 4, 1915. At that time they presented the
companions of Hyde Park Council a beautiful set of”golden utensils” for work
in the Royal Master degree. These “Temple furnishings” were the handiwork of
Companion, and later Very Illustrious, Charles Thomae. The utensils consisted
of golden candlesticks, snuffers, bowls, hinges, tongs, and spoons. A similar set
was presented to Attleboro Council at their Tuesday evening, February 23, 1915
Assembly. Accepting for the Council was Trice Illustrious Master, William L.
King who received them from Companion Thomae.
Following the presentation, T.I. King proceeded to receive the “Visiting
Officer”, R.I. Edward J. Ellis, Grand Principal Conductor of the Work. The
Grand Master of Ceremonies, V .I. Hugh J. Stockford of Hyde Park Council,
made the proper solicitation and the suite was received in form. As the suite was
being introduced it was discovered that the delegation of Hyde Park Council was
missing. Just as an inquiry was about to be made, a demand came at the door. In proper form the missing Companions entered in a solemn procession dressed in white and bearing a beautiful “Ark of the Covenant” which was deposited before
the “East”. Companion Stockford stepped forward and announced that the “Ark”
was a gift of love and friendship from the Companions of Hyde Park Council.
He also explained that it was as near a duplicate to that described in the
Scriptures and in our ritual, and that it was the handiwork of our Visiting
Officer, R.I. Edward J. Ellis of Hyde Park Council. In a “very earnest manner”,
T.I. King accepted this gift on behalf of Attleboro Council. As part of the
“Official Work” of that evening, Companion Walter L. Gardiner was the first to
receive the Royal Master degree using this golden Ark of the Covenant which
has graced our apartments for over eighty years.
During the years that followed, Attleboro Council expanded it
membership, as there grew an increasing interest in cryptic masonry. At
Attleboro Council’s regular assembly on Tuesday, January 25, 1921 Illustrious
Enos D. Williams announced that several of the members residing in Taunton
desired to “break away” and have petitioned the Grand Council for a Charter to
organize in Taunton, Massachusetts. Their prayers were answered on Monday,
May 15, 1922 when the Grand Council issued a Charter to organize Taunton
Council U.D. This event occurred approximately four month before Attleboro
Council’s Fiftieth Anniversary.
The Fiftieth Anniversary celebration was held on Tuesday Evening,
September 26, 1922 within the Attleboro Freemasons’ Hall now located on the
top floor of the “Bronson Building” at 8 North Main Street. The celebration was
under the direction of a “General Committee” chaired by Trice Illustrious
Benjamin W. Taylor. It was reported to be a long, but enjoyable evening, The
Officers opened a regular assembly at 5:10 P.M. for the dispatch of regular and
annual business. The submitted reports suggested that Attleboro Council had
completed one of its most successful years, which under the leadership of T.I.
Taylor, had greeted thirty-three new Companions bringing the total membership
to Two Hundred and Eighty Three. Also at that meeting it was proposed that the
three surviving Charter Members be elected to Honorary membership. Elected at
the following month were Companions Orville Balcom – Emery A. Perrin – and
John W. Luther. The “Annual Report” also indicated that this year’s average
attendance was sixty Companions per Assembly.
Following the election of officers, the Most Illustrious Grand Master,
Dean K. Webster was received accompanied by a large and distinguished Suite.
Members of the suite included most of the Grand Officers as well as Officers of
Milford, New Bedford, Fall River, Brockton, Hyde Park, and Pawtucket #2
Councils; as well as the Right Puissant Conductor of the General Grand Council
of the U.S.A. The Grand Master expressed his delight and heartfelt thanks at
being privileged to attend so notable an event.
At this Assembly several Anniversary gifts were presented to Attleboro
Council. Ill. Winthrop F. Barden presented a “white stone” gavel with the masonic emblem fashioned from stone taken from the quarries near the site of King Solomon’s Temple. The handle was turned from olive wood grown near
the same spot. T.I. William L. King presented the Council with a “working
copy” of our charter for display within our chambers; and the Officers for 1922
presented a silver plated set of”Square – Compasses – and Trowel” to adorn the
alter. All these gifts were still in use at the 125th Anniversary in 1997.
At 6:15 P.M. the Assembly of Select Masters, having an attendance of
one hundred and forty-five, was closed. The Companions joined the ladies and
guests in the banquet hall for dinner. Over two hundred attended this meal with
some guests traveling from outside the Commonwealth. These included several
representatives from the Grand Councils of New York, Connecticut, and Ohio.
During the course of the evening the Nava Grotto Band rendered several musical
Following the satisfying meal, T.I. Taylor extended the cordial greetings
of Attleboro Council. He then introduced Illustrious Albert M. Dunham, who on
behalf of the “History Committee”, presented a fine sketch of the “Fifty Year
History of Attleboro Council”. In addition to Illustrious Dunham, the Committee
was composed of Illustrious William A. Spier and Illustrious Winthrop F.
Several dignitaries were called upon to speak, with the final speaker being
Most Illustrious Webster who gave an inspiring address upon the topic of “The
Greatest Secret of Freemasonry”. This secret he declared, was not to be found or
communicated in words or signs, but by a diligent search it would be found
“buried here” in the hearts of all true companions. He admonished the members
not to live on the glories of past deeds, but to press on to still greater works of
brotherly love – relief – and truth.
The Nava Grotto Band was again called upon for a few more selections,
and then the evening was concluded with Illustrious Winthrop F. Barden giving
an illustrated talk and “stereopticon views” of his recent travels through Egypt.
The festivities concluded at approximately 10:30 P.M. with all standing as the
Nava Grotto Band played the National Anthem.
Thus ended the first Fifty years.
Officers of the 50th Anniversary of
Attleboro Council of Royal and Select Masters
December 11th 1911
Illustrious Master – Benjamin W. Taylor
Deputy Master – Ralph C. Estes
Principal Conductor of the Work – Fred H. Richards
Treasurer – Harlin A. Allen
Recorder – Winthrop F. Barden
Chaplain – Robert L. Cooke
Master of Ceremonies – William W. Josselyn
Captain of the Guard – Charles D. Blaikie
Conductor of the Council – A. Vernon Wilson
Steward – Victor R. Glencross
Sentinel – Edward C. MacKinnon
Organist – Edward G. Hall
From The Golden To The Diamond Anniversary
The years of 1922 through 1932 showed much enthusiasm and progress
for Attleboro Council. The membership reached an all time high of three
hundred and three in 1924 after the admission of thirty three candidates for each
of the two previous years. However 1924 fell short with the admission of”only
twenty eight” new Companions. This evidently was the peak of attainment for it
has never been equaled since. This enthusiastic membership activity gave rise to
the portrayal of the Super Excellent degree in “full Drama form”.
On Tuesday evening, April 24, 1923 Attleboro Council presented the
Super Excellent Master Degree in a very elaborate and pretentious form with the
new costumes and paraphernalia procured through the efforts of Illustrious
Ralph C. Estes. The work was well done and well acknowledged by the one
hundred and sixty Companions present, including the thirty-three candidates.
This gave further encouragement and enticement to the officers. The
following month a group of over forty past and presiding officers, together with
thirty eight companions traveled to Rhode Island’s Pawtucket Council #2 (under
Grand Dispensation) to perform the Super Excellent Drama in full form and
costume as a courtesy. There were over three hundred companions to witness
this fine exhibition.
On two other occasions Attleboro Council conducted ritual under special
dispensation outside the Attleboro Masonic Temple. The first was on Tuesday
evening, March 6, 1923, in the Mansfield Masonic Temple. Under the
leadership of Illustrious Benjamin W. Taylor, the Royal Master Degree was
portrayed in full costume. Among the prominent Mansfield residents receiving
this degree that evening were: Henry J. Parker, Warren L. Hopkins, Henry F.
Bayley, Donald P. Pitman, G. Lester Hewitt, Charles H. Steams, and others.
Companion G. Lester Hewitt later presided at Illustrious Master of Attleboro
Council in 1931 and Companion Donald Prescott Pitman remained a member in
good standing until his passing on April 20, 1996.
The second occasion was on Tuesday evening, November 27, 1923 when
a special assembly was held by dispensation within the Foxborough Masonic
Temple for the conferring of the Royal Master Degree on seventeen candidates.
Among these were Companions: Charles A. Burrell, Frank C. Carpenter,
Herbert Dodkin, Raymond W. Leonard, Norman R. Smith, Henry A. Turner,
Reverend Willard H. Roots, and others. Companion Frank C. Carpenter presided
as Illustrious Master of Attleboro Council in 1933 and Companion Henry A.
Turner presided in 1934.
On Tuesday evening, May 27, 1924, the Super Excellent Master Degree
and Drama was preformed in full costume upon twenty eight Attleboro Council
candidates and thirteen candidates of Taunton Council. The assembly of one
hundred and sixty companions enthusiastically enjoyed it.
A note of interest may be inserted here as taken from the minutes of
Tuesday evening, November 28, 1922 where it was reported that the Grand
Council had directed that henceforth the title of the presiding Officer shall be
“Illustrious Master” and not “Trice Illustrious Master”. Evidently it took some
time for the Recorders to become accustomed to the change for they continued
to use the old title on several occasions.
The early twenties seemed to be the most active and rewarding years for
Attleboro Council. However, a sharp contrast would soon befall the Council and
Freemasonry in general. The portrayal of the Super Excellent Master Degree
soon lost its impetus and it gradually faded until it was no longer exhibited. The
“Great Depression” has much to do with its demise. Due to a large number of
demits and several deaths, the membership was not sustained and the activity of
the degree work was curtailed. Visitations and special events were the only
times when a large attendance was recorded.
To maintain interest and attempt to subdue the declining membership, the
exchange of visits became the benchmark of Attleboro Council. During a
fraternal visit to Providence Council #1 on Friday evening, November 14, 1930,
a Holy Bible was presented to Attleboro Council as a “gift of Friendship”. This
Holy Writ was first used to open Attleboro’s next assembly on Tuesday evening,
November 25, 1930. It would also be the last time it would be used in the
Masonic Temple at 8 North Main Street, for the next assembly would be on
Tuesday evening, January 27, 1931 within the “New Masonic Temple” located
at 71 North Main Street. It has adorned our altar at every assembly since. The
minutes of this meeting also reveals an apparent “custom of the times”, for
among the bills was one for Five Dollars payable to “H.L. Cooper Co.” for one
box of “fine cigars”. Apparently for consumption at collation.
On Tuesday evening, April 2, 1931 the officers of Attleboro Council
visited Hyde Park Council. At that assembly Illustrious G. Lester Hewitt
received from Illustrious Ernest T. Johnson of Hyde Park, a gift of three squares
and three triangles as a token of friendship between our Councils. They
reportedly were the handiwork of V.I. Charles Thomae.
Another “special event” occurred at the annual assembly on Tuesday
evening, September 22, 1931. A delegation from Taunton Council lead by its
Deputy Master, Companion Frank B. Place presented Attleboro Council with the
“Traveling Broken Triangle” they had received earlier in the year. This
Cryptic token and book was first sent with its message of greetings on Thursday,
October 6, 1910 by Colombian Council #1 Royal- Select, and Super Excellent
Masters of New York City in celebration of their Centennial Anniversary. At
that time the token had been on its journey for twenty-one years traveling
through New York, Missouri, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. This token was
passed to Providence Council # 1 on Friday evening, November 13, 1931 on the
institution of the first “Friendship Triangle” (later entitled the “Annual
Triangular Meet”) between Hyde Park, Providence, and Attleboro Councils.
On this special evening Most Illustrious Alden B. Hefler, Most Illustrious
Grand Master and Suite, accompanied by the Officers of Attleboro and Hyde
Park Councils were the guests of Most Illustrious Fred W. Johnston, Grand
Master of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. At this historical event,
Illustrious Arthur W. Peace of Providence Council # 1, Illustrious Norman J.
Stone of Attleboro Council, and Illustrious Samuel R. Smith of Hyde Park
Council were escorted to the East. There each of them were presented with a
“Friendship Jewel” by Most Illustrious Albert Knight, Past Grand Illustrious
Master of Rhode Island.
Each of the jewels represents a side of a “Perfect Friendship Triangle” and
is to be worn by the presiding Illustrious Master of the respective Councils
during the term of his office. It is to be transmitted to his successor upon leaving
that Office. This solemn symbolic attestation of perfect friendship has been
observed, unbroken, for Sixty-six years in each Council. A special ritual was
composed by some of the members and has been in use by the Councils for
several years. Certainly this simple but solemn “Triangle Ceremony” binds us
all into one “Circle of Friendship” which should last eternally.
Notably among the special events in Attleboro Council, which began
during the late 1930’s, was the introduction of “A Ladies Night” in the yearly
program. This program was most successful and lent a spirit of companionship
and fellowship among our invited guests. Many times our ladies would conduct
their own entertainment while the Companions were in session. This helped to
maintain our attendance and to continue the fine reputation Attleboro Council
had gained as being known as “The Friendly Council”.
On Tuesday evening, January 27, 1948 Illustrious Frederic A. Cheyne
opened a Council of Select Masters at 6:09 P.M. for the celebration of Attleboro
Council’s Seventy-fifth Anniversary. The Grand Master of Ceremonies, Ill.
Eugene P. Hamilton was introduced and announced the presence of Most
Illustrious Howard A. Gray, Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal &
Select Masters. A committee of Past Illustrious Masters chaired by Illustrious
Benjamin W. Taylor received him in form. Most Illustrious Gray presided, but
saved his remarks for after the meal. The Council was closed in ample form and
the Companions formed a reception line outside the banquet hall to greet our
ladies and guests.
After a delicious meal, the Illustrious Masters of Hyde Park and
Providence Councils were introduced together with other visiting dignitaries.
Illustrious Wintrop F. Barden presented an “updated” History of Attleboro
Council; and then M.I. Gray presented his remarks. Entertainment and dancing
concluded a pleasant evening. No documentation of the 75th Anniversary
History of Attleboro Council could be found and it is feared that it may be
In Pursuit of the Century Mark
The decline of Council membership continued through the years
following World War II and by 1952 the membership had dropped to one
hundred and twenty-four. Evidently the spirit of our brethren returning from the
service to their country brought new life to the Council. The membership began
to steadily increase and by 1972 the rooster had expanded to two hundred and
two. Part of this growth was due to a custom of”exchanged ritual by Grand
Dispensation” between Attleboro and Providence Councils. These Councils
would exchange visits, generally with both Most Illustrious Grand Masters
present. Each Council would obligate their own candidates, and then “the host
council” would do the ritualistic work of a cryptic degree in the ritual of that
Grand jurisdiction. This undoubtedly served to strengthen the fraternal bonds of
companionship between the Councils and generate interest among the members.
The early l 950’s also saw changes in the “recruiting tactics” of Attleboro
Council. Most meetings included an invitation to the several Master and
Capitular Masons in the area, together with their ladies, to come and enjoy our
hospitality. A meal was generally served and a speaker or other program was
presented while the Cryptic Masons attended the Assembly. Some programs
included home movies or slides of a Companion’s travel, or some unusual
hobby. One such special program was the presentation of”a masonic play”
preformed by the “St. Albans’ Masonic Players”. The records indicate that these
events were well attended and greatly enjoyed by all.
The 1951 minutes reported that the Council voted to purchase new
Officer’s aprons at a cost of “seven dollars and ten cents each”, certainly a
bargain. But another important change was observed that happened that year.
The Recorder, Illustrious Frederic A. Cheyne was the first to have the minutes
typed and not handwritten as before. Research suddenly became easier.
On Tuesday evening, February 25, 1958 a By-law change was voted
establishing our current “eight-month meeting system”, which consists of the
months of September through November and January through May. Previously
the Council had two other meeting systems. From 1888 until 1913 we met on
the second Monday of December – February-April – and October. But by
October 27,1913 it was voted to change the meeting to the Fourth Tuesday of
those months. This continued until 191 7 when the “four month system” was
changed to a “seven-month system” consisting of January through April and
September to November of each year. By the mid l 950’s it was observed that
the Council was regularly holding “a Special Assembly” in May and this is
believed to be the reason for changing to the present eight month system. The
other “organizational change” occurred in 1920 during the administration of
Illustrious Howard E. White when the Annual Assembly was changed from
October to September as it is today.
On Tuesday evening, April 22, 1958 the surviving members of the
original 1930 Triangular Meet were honored at the “Attleboro Leg” of this
annual event. Honored that evening were R.I. Henry Calfin, V .I. Charles
Thomae, Ill. Henry Turner, Ill. John Harmstone, and Ill. Howard White. This
evening also highlighted the election of Illustrious Hartley Franklin French of
Providence Council # I to Honorary Membership in Attleboro Council. His
attendance, commitment, and wise counsel are still present today some forty
At the September 22, 1959 Assembly, a presentation of thirty-six purple
border members’ aprons was made to the presiding Illustrious Master, Russell E.
Warner. These were presented by Past Illustrious S. Edward Haughton who
reported that they were a gift from the brethren of “The Sword of Bunker Hill of Rhode
Island”. They are believed to be those in use today, as there is no record of other
aprons being purchased or presented.
Early in the Spring of 1960, under the leadership of R.I. Alfred Herschel,
representatives of the Sixth and Eighth Arches assembled to organize a “One
Day Cryptic Outing” at Francis’ Farm in nearby Rehoboth, Massachusetts. Its
purpose was for “summer sociability” and to confer the “Three Little Jewels of
Freemasonry” upon several candidates at a single assembly under Grand
Dispensation. A Committee was elected with R.I. Herschel as Secretary.
Through his untiring efforts the first outing was held at Francis’ Farm on
Saturday morning, July 16, 1960 with over two hundred and fifty in attendance.
By the “Centennial Year of 1972” the event had expanded to over two hundred
and seventy-five Companions and forty new candidates. This annual event
would continue until the early 1980’s when the “Farm” was sold. By then the
project had become too expensive and candidates too scarce to re-locate. But
later “Festivals” and “One Day Programs” under “Grand” supervision would be
offered annually throughout the State, and also by the other York Rite Bodies.
In 1960, thanks to a large bequest to Attleboro Council by the late
Illustrious John H. Harmstone, the Council was able to establish a fund for the
support of several social events each year. The most popular events of this era
were “The Harmonettes” and the “Zembo Sisters” which were enjoyed by the
Companions and their ladies. These programs gave birth to the “Annual Ladles
Nights” which many times was the highlight of the year. It was not unusual to
have over two hundred and thirty in attendance at these functions with elaborate
collations and pleasant sociability. The organ music of Companion William D.
Gamble often added to the enjoyment of the functions and Assemblies.
However it should be remembered that this was also a period of social and
political unrest. An unpopular and questionable involvement in the affairs of
Southeast Asia was brewing, and on Friday, November 22, 1963 shots rang out
in Dallas ending the life of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Four days later
Illustrious Horace Earl Darling called up the Companions to stand in a “moment
of silent prayer” for our departed “Commander” and friend.Throughout this decade known as “The Restless Sixties” the Companions’ zeal and fidelity remained true and strong, as did those of the “Council-Mates”, the newly formed
“Ladies Circle” of Attleboro Council.
Through the years the strength of Attleboro Council has been the devotion
of its members and support of their families. This era was no exception as was
demonstrated on Tuesday Evening, May 23, 1967. On this special evening
Illustrious J. (John) Dale Osterberg and Officers opened a Council of Select
Masters to receive Most Illustrious Frank W. Balcomb and Suite. During this
Assembly the Grand Council was pleased to present a Special Citation for
“faithful service to the Cryptic Craft” to Illustrious Companions Benjamin
Whittenmore Taylor and Henry A. Turner. Attleboro Council likewise honored
them by the presentation of a special plaque. To cap off a busy year, two nights
later on May 25th Attleboro Council accepted a special invitation to confer the
Super Excellent Degree in Boston Council by Grand Dispensation.
The “First Century” of Cryptic Masonry in the Attleboros concluded in
celebration at a special assembly on Saturday Evening, October 28, 1972. The
event was held within the apartments of the Masonic Temple located at 71 North
Main Street, Attleboro. Over two hundred and sixty Companions, ladies, and
guests assembled in the banquet hall to witness the cutting of the “Anniversary
Cake” by the Honorary Chairman Illustrious Benjamin W. Taylor assisted by the
Illustrious Master, Raymond Arthur Birman.
Following the dinner the “Anniversary Committee” was recognized. In
addition to Illustrious Taylor, the Committee consisted of
R.I. Alfred Herschel – Chairman
R.I. Walter Henry Hiller- Reception
Ill. Raymond Arthur Birman – Banquet
Ill. J. Dale Osterberg – Tickets
Ill. Hubert E. J. Berry – Flowers & Gifts
Companion Earl Clinton Cook Jr. -Entertainment
Ill. Malcolm Douglas Leonard – History
Companion William R. Armstrong – Printing
Companion Francis Gerald Hazeldine – Anniversary Fund
By 8:00 P.M. the Companions, ladies, and guests filled the Council
Chamber. The Illustrious Master then received the “Grand Suite” which was
composed of Most Illustrious Carl R. MacPherson and his guest, Most
Illustrious Saunders Spooner of the Grand Council of Rhode Island, together
with thirty-one other dignitaries. Following their introduction and remarks, the
entertainment was enjoyed by all. The reading of the. “History of Attleboro
Council” by Illustrious Malcolm Douglas Leonard concluded a memorable
evening. Attleboro Council had reached its centennial in style and grace and was
looking forward to many more years of fellowship and service.
Officers of the 100th Anniversary of
Attleboro Council of Royal and Select Masters
December 11th 1971
Illustrious Master – Raymond A Birman
Deputy Master – James L.A. Forester
Principle Conductor of the Work – Donald T. Brown
Treasurer – Francis G. Hazeldine
Recorder – Russell Armstrong
Chaplain – Malcolm D. Leonard
Master of Ceremonies – Emory E. Chapman
Captain of the Guard – Earl C. Cook Jr.
Conductor of the Council – George E. Oldmixon
Steward – Donald V. Stewart
Sentinel – Fredrick J. Murray
Organist – William H.T. Furry
A New Century Begins
After passing the “Century Mark”, the Companions of Attleboro Council
returned to their labors with renewed vigor. Not only the Companions, but also
their ladies who became to be known as “The Council-Mates”. The meetings
during this decade were active ones, which enable Attleboro Council to win
“Grand Council’s Attendance A ward” four years in a row. One of the highlights
of this period was on Tuesday Evening September 25, 1973 when Illustrious
William Sanderson became the fifth Companion in this Commonwealth, since
its creation in 1965, to receive Grand Council’s lsh·Sodl Award for sponsoring
This flurry of activity was created in part by the dedication of its Officers
and faithful attendance of its members. A major influence was the many
entertaining programs were presented at our meetings. Some of these programs
included musical groups such as the “Parsons’ Plunkers” Banjo Band, Barbershop
singers, and “Hom Blowers” and “Bell Ringers”. Other programs were non-musical in
nature and included such topics as “Archery”, “Indian Lore Dancing” and “Square
Dancing” exhibitions. Whatever the event, a good time was had by all.
On Tuesday Evening, April 22, 1975 the Visiting Officer paid a fraternal
visit to Attleboro Council during its “Semi-Public” Installation of Officers. At
those proceeding he was please to present a “Certificate of Merit” from our
Grand Council to Companion Dexter George Stripp for his many years of
faithful service to this Council. Companion Stripp was one of those companions
who never get in line, but works for long periods of time “behind the scenes”. It
would not be until 1979 that the Grand Council would stamp a medal for
recognition of the outstanding efforts of such dedicated Companions. It would
be known as the “Blake-Bayley Medal for Distinguished Service” Award.
This award is triangularly shaped, silver in color, and has the emblem of
the Cryptic Rite in the center. It was named for two great feaders of the Cryptic
Rite in this Grand Jurisdiction. They were Most Illustrious John Albert Blake
who was Grand Master of our Grand Council during the years 1894-1896; and
Most Illustrious James Cushing Bayley who was Grand Master of our Grand
Council during the years 1959-1961. Much appreciation is due to Most
Illustrious Edmund J. Outhouse and Most Illustrious Willis J. Rice for their
efforts in originating this award and the production of this medal. The first
members of Attleboro Council to receive this award were Illustrious Ellis
Royden Westcott (Sr.) and Illustrious Frederic A. Cheyne on Tuesday evening,
May 27, 1980. .
On Tuesday Evening, April 28, 1981 Attleboro Council under the
leadership of Ill. Charles Frederick Jenks hosted the 50th Anniversary of the
“Triangular Meet” held with Hyde Park and Providence Councils. The Most
Illustrious Grand Master of the State of Rhode Island (and Providence Plantations) and his suite were the guests of the Massachusetts Most Illustrious Grand Master. This made for a very large and distinguished suite. The
“ceremonial ritual” was flawless and the companionship abundant.
In 1982 the Recorder, Illustrious Earl Clinton Cook Jr., streamlined the
“monthly notice system” to save the Council money by changing from “type set
printing” to a “photo copy” system. He would serve in this Office until 1995
giving many an Illustrious Master “good counsel”. Also that year at the October
26th Assembly, Companion Christopher Charles Thomae presented the Council
with “Three Bible Markers” to denote the location of those biblical passages
unique to each degree. They were present in memory of Illustrious Donald T.
Brown (1974) and remain in use today.
The last one-day class of candidates at the annual “Rehoboth Outing” was
held in July of 1984. The following summer the event was hosted by Brockton
Council at the “Walk Over Club”. Attleboro Council would later support the
“Fitchburg Festival” which did the entire York Rite degrees as a united effort on
separate Saturdays during a spring time month. At most of these events the
Super Excellent Drama was not part of the program because of the large cast
needed to present it. But the new members were encouraged to seek out and
witness this work whenever it was presented. On May 17, 1986 it was presented
in full dress costume at Temple Council in East Weymouth, Massachusetts.
Many Attleboro Council companions took a role in its presentation; and efforts
were made to present it on a more regular basis by means of a “Statewide
Two other important Grand Council events occurred in 1986, which
affected all Massachusetts Councils. On Monday, September 1st the Grand Council Dues doubled from two to four dollars; and in December the Annual Grand Assembly was opened at the Sheraton Hotel in Milford, Massachusetts by
Most Illustrious Leslie Carmen Burns as the rental for the Boston Grand Lodge
“Building” had become too costly. This practice has continued to date, but has
from time to time been held at other New England hotels as a “weekend event”.
In January of 1994 the Grand Council’s “Administrative Offices” where
moved to 12 Vernon Street in Norwood, Massachusetts through the assistance of
Most Illustrious Robert Warren Hansen. This again was a financial decision to
cut operating expenses; but the “legal Seat” of the Grand Council would remain
at 186 Tremont Street – Boston.
On Saturday, October 17, 1987 the Grand Commandery of Knights
Templar of Massachusetts and Rhode Island voted to unite the York Rite Bodies
by making the Council degrees mandatory before a Companion could be.
admitted to the Chivalric Orders. Sir Knights who previously had not joined a
Council (since it had not been mandatory) were not required to join a Council,
but were encouraged to do so. This ruling only applied to new applicants for
Following the Assembly of Tuesday Evening, May 18, 1988, the ladies
and Companions were invited to a special event entitled: “The Feast of the
Mysterious Nine. A Ladies Night” presented by the Officers to honor those ladies who
had supported them in Office that year. The tables were arranged in a “Broken
Triangle” with the opening near the kitchen so that the meal could be served
directly to each guest. Following the meal, “a barbershop harmony and comedy
group” called The Blue Hill Four entertained the guests. Gifts were presented to
the officer’s ladies, and every lady attending received a purple rose. A toast was
proposed to our “departed ladies”, and then all joined in a circle around the alter
to sing one verse of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” lead by Illustrious E. Everett
Wood. It was an excellent end to another great cryptic year.
In 1989 the Grand Council introduced a new ritual known as the “Apron
Lecture” which was “suggested” for presentation after the reception of the Super
Excellent degree. Also that year, a new “Uniform Ritual Floor Work Manual”
with illustration was presented to each Council in the hope for more uniformity
of the work.
At the Annual Assembly of December 1990 it was voted to add a one
dollar assessment to the Grand Council dues in support of Arteriosclerosis
research sponsored by Grand Council International. This became one of the
major charities of our Grand Council.
The early l 990’s witnessed a “slow down” in Council activities.
Candidates where few, the line of Officers thin, and once again the Past
Illustrious Masters took up the slack. Several ideas to revitalize the Cryptic Rite
where suggested, such as a “Daylight Council” for the aging membership which
could no longer drive at night; or “weekend Assemblies” held on a Saturday
served with a luncheon for those working late during the week. However, no
organized remedy seemed to develop and it was business as usual for Attleboro
A Special Assembly of the Grand Council was held on Saturday, August
21, 1993 where it was voted to adopt a new Grand Constifution and General
Regulations for the government of the Cryptic Rite. However, because of the
wording of several of its articles, the document was returned to the Committee
for additional work. It would not be approved until a Special Assembly held at
Milford on April 27, 1996. With that vote the organization’s name was changed
to the Grand Council of Royal and Select Master Masons of Massachusetts. This
name change was done to let the unenlightened know that we were part of the
Masonic fraternity. Several other organizational changes where made which
included the movement of the Annual Grand Assembly to the last Saturday in
March of each year, the creation of a Grand Director-of Ritual, as well as several
other refinements for the better government of the “cryptic craft” in this
During this period of the early l 990’s, Attleboro Council made great
financial strides in the refinement of the manner in which its “Permanent Funds” were managed. A committee headed by Illustrious Hurbert Edwin James Berry worked hard to strengthen the annual profitable of these funds. Upon his death,
Illustrious Bruce Allen Bayley and committee continued his good works. With
wise counsel and much good fortune, Attleboro Council has been able to
generate some sizable funds to support many charities in the Attleboro area.
Among these have been the “Christmas is for Kids” program, two “soup
kitchens for the hungry” operated by two Attleboro churches, and the North
Attleboro Food Bank. Also supported were the D.A.R.E programs of the
Attleboro and North Attleboro Police Departments, the Attleboro Y.M.C.A
“Summer Camp”, and the Attleboro Literacy Center. To name a few.
On Saturday, December 12, 1997; one hundred and twenty five years after
its creation; the Officers assembled within the apartments of the Attleboro
Masonic Temple located at 71 North Main Street. Prior to the opening of the
Council, the Officers descended to the Temple’s main level to meet with
representatives of the “Christmas is for Kids” program to whom the Council was
please to present a five hundred dollar donation for there great works this
At 7:00 P.M. a Council of Select Masters was opened and Most Illustrious
Bernard William Russell and suite were received. After the formalities, the
Council was closed in ample form at 7:20 P.M. The companions thenjoined the
ladies and guests at Williams Restaurant – 16 South Main Street (rear section of
Morin’s Restaurant) for the celebration feast. Forty-six ladies and Companions
were in attendance. The token was a “cut glass” paperweight bearing Attleboro
Council’s “Anniversary logo” displayed on this cover.
The evening’s activities included the presentation of several 25 – 30 – 35
and 40 Year membership pins; as well as donations for the stained glass
“Council Window” in the chapel of our Masonic Home at Charlton, and the
Arteriosclerosis Research Fund of Grand Council International.
After the presentation of a short sketch of our history, Most Illustrious
Russell spoke of the great fraternalism we have enjoyed “over the generations”
promoting the principles of the cryptic rite. To conclude an excellent celebration
he was please to invest Illustrious Companion Christopher Charles Thomae with
the Blake-Bayley Distinguished Service Award on behalf of his companions.
Thus completes one and a quarter centuries of cryptic masonry in the
Attleboro Council of Royal and Select Master Masons
Membership on December 12th 1997