From Proceedings, Page 1945-512:

By Right Worshipful William H. Beeching.

In the year 1845 East Boston was occupied by 908 families, making a population of 5018. It was a ship building center with its associated industries and made famous by the Clipper Ships built by Donald MacKay. It was the terminal of the Cunard Steamship Line as well as a terminal of the Eastern Railroad.

Its communication with Boston proper was by a ferry, by which Lane’s omnibuses plied to and from Boston and were superseded by horse cars. Later followed by the electrics, and now by the tunnel — all of which have served the writer in their day.

Following the anti-Masonic period, Mount Tabor Lodge was the first Lodge to be instituted in the Boston jurisdiction and the second in the State, Star of Bethlehem Lodge of Chelsea being the first.

Quoting from the address of Most Worshipful Arthur D. Prince at the celebration of our 75th anniversary, in which he said: “The fact that Mount Tabor Lodge was organized by men who must have had in their day and generation the true Masonic spirit; who were inspired with hope, because 75 years ago, when this Lodge was instituted, when you received your Dispensation, Freemasonry was recovering, slowly recovering, from a tremendous blow which almost destroyed it in this country. From 1825 to 1843 there was not a single Lodge chartered in Massachusetts.”

Tonight we gather to pay tribute to those sturdy and courageous Brothers to whom Most Worshipful Brother Prince referred, and their successors, who have so successfully carried on to the present day.

The ten Charter Members were:

  • Ephriam May Cunningham, Custom House Officer; made a Mason prior to 1817; Lodge unknown.
  • Merrill Pettingill, Lumber Surveyor; Merrimack Lodge, 1814, Haverhill, Massachusetts.
  • Dolliver Johnson, Master Mechanic of the Eastern Railroad; Corinthian Lodge, 1824, Concord, Mass.
  • John LaFavor, Lumber Surveyor; Essex Lodge, 1820, Salem, Mass.
  • Israel Foster Crafts, Painter; King Solomon’s Lodge, 1814, Charlestown, Mass.
  • Sumner Foster Barrett, Superintendent of Cunard Line; Star of Bethlehem Lodge, Chelsea, Mass.
  • Isaiah Atkins, Furniture Dealer; King Hiram Lodge, 1829, Provincetown, Mass.
  • Seth Brooks, Lumber Surveyor; Corner Stone Lodge, 1824, Duxbury, Mass.
  • Asahel Durgan, Housewright; King Solomon’s Lodge, 1845, Charles-town, Mass.
  • Nathan Oliver, Blacksmith; Monitor Lodge, 1827, Waltham, Mass.

Following the preliminary meetings held at the home of Brother Sumner F. Barrett, on Wednesday evening, December 24, 1845, the first meeting was held in Massasoit Hall, corner of Lewis and Marginal Streets. They organized by accepting the report of the Committee on Dispensation, elected six associate members and approved the subordinate officers selected. The officers under Dispensation were:

  • Wor. Ephriam May Cunningham, Master
  • Bro. Merrill Pettingill, Senior Warden
  • Bro. Dolliver Johnson, Junior Warden
  • Bro. Enoch Plummer, Treasurer
  • Bro. Daniel Caldwell, Secretary
  • Bro. Rev. Sylvanus Cobb, Chaplain
  • Bro. Israel Foster Crafts, Senior Deacon
  • Bro. Sumner Foster Barrett, Junior Deacon
  • Bro. Asahel Durgan, Senior Steward
  • Bro. George M. Hall, Junior Steward
  • Bro. Seth Brooks, Tyler