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A Blast from the Past into the Future

By William M. Ferrell

Ashland No. 798


The first meeting of record of the proposed Ashland Masonic Club was held April 24, 1957, at the home of Brother Cyril T. Stevens. The May 14, 1957 meeting of Ashland Masonic Club was held at the Bower Boy Scout Cabin Community Center, San Lorenzo. At the meeting of June 11, 1957, the by-laws of Ashland Masonic Club were presented and read. A Charter Fee of fifty dollars ($50.00) was agreed upon. The by-laws were now ready for approval by the members.


A letter, dated June 18, 1957, was mailed to the Grand Lodge of Masons in California, to the attention of the Very Worshipful Lloyd E. Wilson, Grand Secretary, requesting that an Inspector be appointed for the Ashland Masonic Club and stated that their meeting place was Bowers Scout Cabin, San Lorenzo Community Center.


The June 25, 1957 meeting of the Ashland Masonic Club was held at the Masonic Home, Decoto, California. The purpose of this meeting was to practice degree work. Brother Cyril Stevens was in the East for this practice. At the meeting of November 18, 1957, an agreement was reached with the directors of the San Lorenzo Masonic Building Association to use their temple. The Ashland Masonic Club held their February 14, 1958 meeting at the San Lorenzo Temple and put on an exemplification of the Third Degree for Worshipful Edward C. Will, Inspector of the 367th Masonic District.


At the business meeting of April 4, 1958, a minute of silent prayer was observed in memory of the late Cyril T. Stevens, President and founder of the Ashland Masonic Club. Most of the club members attended the funeral of Brother Cyril Theodore Stevens, who passed on March 21, 1958, (73 years, 6 months, and 29 days), which was held under the auspices of Lorenzo Lodge No. 709 F. &A.M.


On August 27, 1958, the Ashland Masonic Club journeyed to Alisal Lodge No. 321 F. &A.M. in Pleasanton and conferred a Third Degree on one of their candidates, with Worshipful Harold Short in the East.


At the September 5, 1958 business meeting of the Ashland Masonic Club, Worshipful Harold Short presented to the club the Holy Bible for the alter.


The Ashland Masonic Club received a letter on February 11, 1960 from the Most Worshipful Grand Master stating that Ashland Lodge (U.D.) would be instituted on the evening of Monday, March 14, 1960. He also advised that he would be in attendance.


The granting of this dispensation was the culmination of many hours, days, weeks, months and years of hard work by the officers and members of the club, which started in April 1957.


On March 14, 1960, Grand Master Joseph Shell, other Grand Lodge Officers, and approximately 350 Master Masons were in attendance at the Institution, held at San Lorenzo Temple. The Grand Master installed Worshipful Harold E. Short, P.M. as Charter Master, Brother Merle J. Fisher, Charter Senior Warden, and Brother Edward D. Fernandes, Charter Junior Warden.


The Grand Master surrendered the gavel to Worshipful Master Harold Short, who installed the following: Brother James Nicholson, Charter Secretary, and Brother Eugene Armstrong, Charter Treasurer, and appointed charter officers. The Lodge was opened on the Third Degree for transaction of business required by a Lodge under dispensation.


The Master declared Ashland Masonic Club dissolved and all records and moneys incorporated in Ashland Masonic Lodge U.D.


The By-Laws of Ashland Lodge U.D. were read by the secretary and approved by unanimous vote of the lodge.


The Master then called on the Grand Master for a few remarks and he delivered an inspiring speech.


The Inspector of the 367th Masonic District, Worshipful Edward C. Will, introduced the officers of Grand Lodge and each responded and wished Ashland Lodge success.


Letters were read by the secretary from Estes Kefauver, Senator from Tennessee and Most Worshipful Harry S. Truman, Past Grand Master of Missouri. Both letters wished Ashland Lodge success. The letters were address to Brother Marvin D. Carrigan, our Charter Junior Steward.

Lodge was closed in due form and refreshments prepared and served by the wives of the charter officers.


Ashland Masonic Lodge No. 798 at San Lorenzo, in the County of Alameda was chartered at the Grand Lodge communication Friday, September 30, 1960, A.L. 5960. At the time of charter, it shows there were 35 members.


On October 15, 1960 Most Worshipful Alfred Breslauer, Grand Master of Masons in California, opened Grand Lodge in the Lorenzo Masonic Temple and constituted Ashland Lodge No. 798. The Grand Secretary read the Charter, which named Worshipful Harold E. Short, P.M. as Charter Master, Merle J. Fisher as Charter Senior Warden and Edward D. Fernandes as Charter Junior Warden.


The Charter Master introduced the first secretary, treasurer, and the charter appointive officers.

The Grand Master gave an inspiring message and explained the ceremonies of the Charter of a new lodge.


The Master introduced many Masters, Past Masters and officers, representing approximately 50 lodges from the East Bay and many from other jurisdictions. Grand Lodge closed at 9:50 P.M.

At the November 7, 1960 Stated Meeting, seven applications for degrees and one application for affiliation were read. The master announced that at the December 5, 1960 Stated Meeting election of officers for 1961 would be held.


At December 5, 1960 Stated Meeting, the following members were elected to office for the year 1961: Brother Merle J. Fisher, Worshipful Master; Brother Edward Fernandes, Senior Warden, and Brother Edward Clark, Junior Warden.


Brother Fisher announced he had appointed Brother Floyd Johnson Junior Steward for 1961.

On December 16, 1960 Open Installation of Officers for 1961 was held. Brother Merle J. Fisher was installed Worshipful Master for 1961. Worshipful Harold E. Short, P.M. was installing Officer and Worshipful Edward Will was Master of Ceremonies. The Installing Chaplain was Linford W. Hunter, P.M.


The preceding is just a condensed version of the beginnings of Ashland lodge. The complete history will be in the centennial publication.


This concludes the overview of the eight lodges that comprise Crow Canyon No. 551. Last call for any information about your home lodge. And, yes there will be an overview of our lodge from the September 1997 consolidation to the time of the centennial publication.

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