The Vidette-Messenger Centennial EditionThe 1936 special edition celebrating Porter County's centennial year . . . .

The following article has been transcribed from the August 18, 1936, issue of The Vidette-Messenger, published in Valparaiso, Indiana. This particular special edition focuses on Porter County's centennial celebration and contains a 94-page compendium of Porter County history up to that time.

Return to the index of articles from The Vidette-Messenger's Porter County Centennial special edition.

Source: The Vidette-Messenger, Valparaiso, Porter County, Indiana; August 18, 1936; Volume 10, Section 2, Page 20.


Six Members of Order Met At Home of A. S. Campbell In 1842 Seeking Dispensation

Porter Lodge No. 137, of Masons, is ninety-four years old.

The act of organizing Porter county was passed by the state legislature in January, 1835. The Governor, Lieutenant-Governor and Speaker of the House signing the bill were all Masons. The Commission appointed by the Governor located the county-seat at the present site of Valparaiso, but it was then called Portersville and the plat of the town bears the date of July 7, 1836. It was not recorded, however, until Oct. 31, 1836. The incorporators were Portersville Land company composed of J. D. Lanier, of Madison, Ind., who had been Grand Secretary of Masons of Indiana from 1826 to 1830, and who was the main financial backer of the enterprise, Enoch McCarty, representative of the company, together with his brother, Benjamin McCarty, also a Mason. In fact, members of the Masonic fraternity had much to do with the establishment of Porter county and Portersville.

On May 11, 1842, six years after the organization of Porter county, the following Porter county Masons met at the home of Brother Adam S. Campbell, which was situated on the south side of the present Lincoln Highway, just over the Washington township line, for the purpose of organizing a lodge. Brothers John E. Harris, Adam S. Campbell, Arthur Buell, Jonathan Griffin, William K. Talbott and James Luther. These brethren resolved to ask for a lodge in Valparaiso and received a dispensation under date of June 22, 1842.

John E. Harris was named Worshipful Master; Adam S. Campbell, S. W., and Arthur Buell, J. W. The first initiation in the lodge was that of Edwin E. Abbott. On March 7, 1843, George C. Buell was made a Master Mason in the lodge which then bore the name of Mason Lodge No. 49. The meetings were held on the upper floor of the old Hummel home, which occupied the site of the Christian hospital. The meetings of this lodge ceased in 1844, owing to the great distance the members lived away and the difficulty of transportation.

The dispensation for Porter Lodge No. 137, was dated June 25, 1850, and the charter is dated May 27, 1852. The first officers were: George C. Buell, W. M.; Isaac Bowman, S. W., and George Z. Salyer, J. W. The first initiation in this lodge was that of George N. Underwood, which took place Oct. 15, 1850.

From this point the lodge enjoyed a steady growth, initiating its six hundredth member on June 28, 1926, and ultimately reaching a membership of 621.

In 1925 Porter Lodge purchased its present commodious quarters located at 113-115-117 East Lincolnway. Previous to that the lodge occupied the third floor of the old Academy of Music building destroyed by fire in February, 1926. At one time the lodge owned the Woodmen hall, but sold it in 1886.

The records of the lodge, which are continuous and complete from the first meeting to date, show that all activities of the city and county have been represented in its membership. Of the fifty-nine who have served as Master of Porter Lodge, all except the second, Oliver Skinner, are shown in photographs, with their name and the year they served, hung in the lobby of the Masonic Temple.

On May 22, 1925, seventy-five years of lodge history was celebrated by Porter Lodge. Judge J. C. Orbison, of Indianapolis, potentate of Murat temple, and past grand master, of the state lodge, spoke. Three hundred and sixty-five Master Masons attended. Guests were in attendance from Calumet lodge of Chesterton and Hebron.

Richard E. Steele is the Master for the year 1936.

Others who have served as Master are: George Buell, Oliver Skinner, Jeremiah Mixon, M. L. McClelland, Thomas Jewell, John D. Wilson, Samuel A. Campbell, Myron Campbell, James D. Hollett, William E. Brown, Moses Winslow, Louis Mandeville, Matthew Turner, William C. Wells, E. D. Crumpacker, D. C. Zook, John W. Stratton, Jonathon Osborn, James A. McConany, Hannibal H. Loring, Edward V. Arnold, Fred Joel, Sylvester C. Keeler, N. L. Agnew, Joseph C. Carson, ?. H. Patrick, Charles D. Jones, Mark L. Dickover, W. H. Williams, Samuel C. Farrell, Nathaniel Clark, John H. Ross, Addison M. Worstell, Clarence Stockman, Byron H. Kinne, K. D. Blount, Ben Smith, Clinton Jones, John D. Stoner, Frank A. Kroetz, Harold J. Schenck, Lewis E. Jones, Harry D. Waldorph, Andrew J. Fehrman, William O. McGinley, Lorenzo D. Smith, Claude O. Pauley, Joseph W. Hinkle, Carroll W. Aylesworth, George B. Tofte, Robert A. Dellet, Martin L. Galbreath, Royden P. Tigar, Stewart Leaming, John R. Shatz, W. Arthur Butler and William R. Caryer.

The second Masonic lodge in the county was organized at Chesterton under a dispensation dated March 9, 1868. On May 27, 1868, it received a charter as Calumet Lodge, No. 379, with George Rawson, W. M., Benjamin S. Little, S. W. and John A. Harris, J. W. These three officers, with F. B. Colling, John Thomas and Abraham Fuller, constituted the charter members. The early records of the lodge were destroyed by fire, and a complete history is not available. There was formerly a chapter of Royal Arch Masons at Chesterton, but it surrendered its charter on October, 1911, when the membership was transferred to the Valparaiso chapter.

Evergreen Lodge, No. 403, F. & A. M., was organized at Wheeler on May 25, 1869, with Andrew J. Harrison as worshipful master; D. S. Curtis as senior warden, and Miller Shinabarger as junior warden. The lodge owned a two-story frame building. For several years the lodge continued to flourish, when it met with reverses, and in 1900 the charter was surrendered.

Hebron Lodge No. 502, F. & A. M., was organized under the dispensation dated June 9, 1874. At the next meeting of the grand lodge a charter was granted and the lodge was regularly instituted on May 25, 1875, with Lyman C. Dunn as worshipful master; Samuel R. Pratt, senior warden; Lewis P. Scott, junior warden; William M. Nelson, senior deacon; Thomas V. Rockwell, junior deacon; Samuel Irvin, secretary; John Skelton, treasurer and C. G. Carman, tiler. The eight officers with John Bryant and John D. Holton, constituted the ten charter members. Hebron lodge has been prosperous and owns its own building.

There was once a Masonic lodge at Kouts, but the records are not available and its history cannot be learned.

Article transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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