Copyright 2009 Masters Lodge #244
All rights reserved
The object of the authors in preparing this work is to rescue from oblivion certain important facts, fast fading from memory of Free and Accepted Masons of Tennessee, and is dedicated especially to the Brethren of Masters Lodge No. 244, F.&A.M. of Knoxville, Tennessee.
Many hours of research has been put into this work, and we hereby acknowledge the following sources of information:
Grand Lodge Records of North Carolina
Grand Lodge Records of Tennessee.
History of Free Masonry in Tennessee by C. A. Snodgrass
Norwood’s Knoxville City Directory
History of Knoxville Fire Department
History The Minute Books and Records of Masters Lodge No. 244, F.&A.M., Knoxville, Tennessee
MASTERS LODGE NO. 244, F. & A. M.
The first Grand lodge, as we know it today, was established in London, England at Goose Grid Tavern on June 24, 1717. In 1738 a number of Brethren seceded from the Grand Lodge of England and assumed the name of Ancient York Masons.
The Ancient York Masons increased in England and the majority of the Lodges in England and the Provincial Grand Lodges in America during the 18th Century received their warrants from the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Rite Masons.
In 1813 a union consolidating the two Grand Lodges under the title of the United Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of England took place. In 1817 a similar and final reconciliation took place in America. A consolidation of all Grand Lodges in the United States has been attempted on a number of occasions with no success.
It is interesting to note that the early history of Free Masonry in the State of Tennessee and prior to the formation of a Grand Lodge for the State of Tennessee, all organized Masonry was under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, which was later known, for a short period, as the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee; with exception that one lodge near Nashville, and possibly some others, were chartered by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky.
The first lodge in Tennessee chartered by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina was St. Tammany Lodge at Nashville. This Lodge was later known as Harmony Lodge Number 1. It first had the North Carolina Number 29, but after the formation of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, it was given the No. 1 position as being first organized in Tennessee. Several of the leaders in the early development of Tennessee belonged to this Lodge, including ANDREW JACKSON who was thought to be a member of this Lodge. This lodge, number one, functioned for only a short period and expired before the formation of Grand Lodge of Tennessee. The Lodge No. 1 at Nashville became defunct on December 9, 1809.
Tennessee Lodge Number 2 originated in Knoxville and was originally carried as Number 41 on the rolls of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. Later it became known as Tennessee Lodge Number 2. This Lodge was organized under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina dated January 15, 1800 under N. C. No. 41.
It is interesting to note that the first meeting of the Lodge was held in an assembly room at Love’s/ Chisholm Tavern at the corner of Front Street, and Arch Street, (later State Street), adjacent to the garden of Blount Mansion, in the City of Knoxville. ANDREW JACKSON was present in Tennessee Lodge No. 2 as a visitor on March 24, 1800, from Harmony Lodge No. 1 at Nashville, while Tennessee Lodge was still working under dispensation, which dispensation it received on January 15, 1800 and was chartered November 30, 1800. Knoxville was the largest populated town in Tennessee at this time, the state having been created just a few years prior to the formation of this lodge. The population of Knoxville was approximately 200.
The first Master of Tennessee Lodge No. 2 was John Sevier, one of the leading figures in early Tennessee History. Brother Sevier had been Governor of the State of Franklin and was the first Governor of Tennessee.
Two of the leading figures in the history of Knoxville were James Grant, Senior Warden and George W. Campbell, Junior Warden who represented Tennessee Lodge No. 2 at North Carolina when the charter was granted. Tennessee Lodge No. 2 was never again represented in the Grand Lodge after the first quarterly Communications. This Lodge did not attempt to secure a new charter in Tennessee and ignored all notices.
On October 3, 1826, according to the records of the Grand Secretary, it was “resolved that the jewels and furniture of Tennessee Lodge No. 2 which was formerly in the town of Knoxville had been discontinued, and the same are hereby given and transferred to Mount Libanus Lodge No. 59 U.D.”
From 1803 to 1813 the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of North Carolina assumed the name, The Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee. Hiram Lodge No. 7 Franklin, (N.C. 55} proposed in a resolution, the organization of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee. The proposal being, “that a convention of Ancient Masons be held at Knoxville, on the first Monday of next Dec., (1811) for the purpose of establishing a Grand Lodge of Tennessee.”
Delegates of this convention held on December 2, 1811 was from Tennessee Lodge No. 2 and were Brothers George Wilson and William Kelley. A copy of the proceeding of this convention, together with a formal petition of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, was sent to Right Worshipful Brother Robert Williams, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina.
At the annual communications of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee, convened at Raleigh, November 21, 1812. The petition was presented and a committee was appointed to consider this matter and report at the annual communications of December 5, 1812. The committee reported favorably. A convention was held in Knoxville on December 27, 1813, in the lodge room of Tennessee Lodge No. 2 in Loves/Chisholm Tavern, to constitute the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.
In pursuance of a Charter from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina bearing date 30th, September, A.L. 5813, AD 1813, relinquishing all authority and jurisdiction over the several Lodges in this State, and giving their assent to the erection of a Grand Lodge in this State; and in pursuance of a notice from the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the several Lodges in this State, requiring them to assemble, either in person or by their representatives, at this place, on this day, and proceed to Grand Convention to the choice of Officers, and the formation of a Grand Lodge in this State, the following Lodges appeared in Knoxville on December 27, 1813:
Tennessee Lodge No. 2, Knoxville (N. C. 41): George Wilson, Thos. McCorry, John Bright, John Anthony and William Kelly.
Greenville Lodge No, 3. Greenville (N. C. 43): Stephen Brooks
Newport Lodge No. 4, Newport (N. C. 50): Edward Scott
Overton Lodge No. 5, Rogersville (N. C. 51): John Williams and George Wilson
King Solomon Lodge No. 6, Gallatin (N. C, 52): John Hall and Abraham Shaifer
Hiram Lodge No. 7, Franklin (N. C. 55): Thomas Claiborne
Cumberland Lodge No. 8, Nashville (N. C. 60): Thomas Claiborne
Western Star No. 9, Port Royal (N.C., 61): William L. Williams
It is known that the Chapter degrees, at least the Royal Arch Degrees, was conferred in Tennessee Lodge No. 2 which was the oldest Masonic Lodge in the state of Tennessee at the time of the Organization of the Grand Lodge.
As originally constituted it was provided that the Grand Lodge should meet each year at the same place the Legislature of Tennessee met. The Legislature of Tennessee met in Knoxville most of the time for approximately thirty years thereafter, for some reason or another, the Grand Lodge always managed to hold its meeting in Nashville. Only the first meeting has ever been held in Knoxville. On the occasion of the One Hundredth Anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge there was a meeting in Knoxville, but this was not in any sense a meeting of the Grand Lodge. It was a one day meeting in the form of a celebration and no regular business was considered.
After the Organizational Meeting of the Grand Lodge in Knoxville, very few of the East Tennessee Lodges sent representatives to Nashville Meetings of the Grand Lodge. Newport No. 4, which was originally chartered by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, never did report to the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, or accept a charter from the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.
A few years after the formation of the Tennessee Grand Lodge, there was a movement started to organize a separate Grand Lodge for East Tennessee. On two occasions this matter was brought up in the Grand Lodge, the reason given being that the members of the Lodges in East Tennessee found it almost impossible to journey to Nashville for meetings of the Grand Lodge. They felt that the Grand Lodge was not interested in East Tennessee and that the functions of the Grand Lodge being so far removed did not benefit East Tennessee.
It is also interesting to note that for the first fifty-five years of the existence of our Grand Lodge, not a single Grand Master was elected from what is know as East Tennessee Lodges.
The records of the Grand Lodge do not reveal that there was a Masonic Lodge in Knoxville, between the years 1816 and 1824, and then Mount Libanus Lodge in Knoxville was chartered at the Annual communications October 5, 1827. The Lodge met on the upper floor of the first Knox County Court House, with William B. Reese, serving as Worshipful Master. This Lodge obtained charter No. 59 from the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.
Mt. Libanus Lodge continued to be active until some time in 1833 and no further report was made to the Grand Lodge. Its charter was arrested on October 4, 1838 and was restored on October 8, 1844 and it then became active for a short time. The report given by the Secretary at the time showed only 19 members, with no degrees being conferred. Mt. Libanus Lodge continued in existence, although inactive until the close of the Civil War. The Grand Lodge arrested the Charter on October 10, 1867. While it is evident that Mt. Libanus never went out of business, it did become dormant so far as the records of the Grand Lodge are concerned, during the period of the entire Masonic disturbance growing out of the Morgan Episode it made no reports to the Grand Lodge.
The disturbance began in the 1820’s and extended into the 1830’s and had a profound effect upon Masonic Lodges all over America, and laid a heavy hand upon the Lodges of East Tennessee. The disturbance was so widespread and feelings were so strong that a Candidate for president, William Wirt, was nominated for president on a platform known as the Anti-Masonic Ticket. This was the year that Andrew Jackson was elected president. Jackson remained loyal to the Fraternity and defied those in the Anti-Masonic Movement.
It is not known what happened to Mt. Libanus Lodge except its charter was arrested on October 10, 1867.
John W. Paxton, the first Master of Masters Lodge No. 244 was raised in Mt. Libanus Lodge.
Masters Lodge No. 244 was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Tennessee on October 2, 1855 and has been in continuance existence since that time, although it is probable that few, if any meetings was held during the Civil War.
It is thought that upon the expiration of Mt. Libanus Lodge, that its members, in some manner, became members of Masters Lodge, whether by transfer, consolidation, or other methods, it is not known.
Masters Lodge was meeting on the East side of Gay street between Cumberland and Church Avenues, when on Tuesday night March 10, 1869 a fire raged and destroyed the Masonic Temple, which was located about four doors below where the Sentinel office was located.
In this connection, we might state that except for an old register of Members we do not have any of the records. The tradition is that Mt. Libanus Lodge was merely a reorganization of Tennessee Lodge No. 2, and that while Mt. Libanus Lodge and Masters Lodge functioned jointly or separately for a number of years. This is purely tradition and cannot be proved by any records known to the writers. However for what it is worth, there is an interesting old book in the office of Masters Lodge. This book is a well bound book, having a cover of leather or some heavy material, and with a cloth cover on top of it. Painted on the cloth cover are the words, “Register Master Lodge No. 244.” Looking inside on the first flyleaf, we find the words, “Mt. Libanus No. 59.” The pages in this book are divided alphabetically by printed tabs placed through out the book with a list of members and date each member received his degrees, date of birth, date suspended, date of death along with other important information. At the end of each section at the top of the page the name Mt. Libanus is listed and there are names on that page. This would indicate that both Masters and Mt. Libanus lodges used this ledger.
There is an old Bible, which was found in the cabinets, that was presented to Masters Lodge December 19, 1859 by Soloman Lyon. (THIS BIBLE IS NOW ON DISPLAY IN OUR LOBBY.) These are the only records we have of Masters Lodge previous to March 15, 1869. At this time the secretary, Brother C. C. Nelson said, “Owing to the recent fire which occurred on Tuesday Night March 10, 1869 destroying all the records, books and papers belonging to the lodge. I deem it due to myself as well as to the members of the Lodge to make the following report.” The Secretary then proceeded to give an account of money, petitions and other records that was in his possession. On a motion, Brothers John W. Paxton, William Morrow and Spencer Munson were appointed to a committee to procure a place and have it suitably fixed up as a Hall for the use and benefit of the Lodge.
Masters Lodge secured temporary quarters from the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in their Hall, which was located on the southwest corner of Market Square.
Then Brother Paxton “offered a paper for the purpose of organizing a joint stock company to raise sufficient funds for the purpose of building a suitable hall for the use of Masters Lodge No. 244, Pearl Chapter No. 24 and Couer DeLion Commandery No. 9.” On motion the committee was authorized to solicit parties to raise the stock and report as early as possible. At the Stated Meeting May 17, 1869 the Lodge Room Committee reported that the room they found in the Park Building was too high in rent, and was instructed to pay no more than $250.00 per year. On June 21 1869 a room was secured for $180.00 per year. On motion of Brother John Gates, that Masters Lodge donates to I.O.O.F. No. 37. Knoxville, Tennessee, the sum of $75.00 for their courtesy extended to this Lodge for the use of their hall for the last few months. This motion was approved. A number of the minutes continue to state the meetings were being held at the I.O.O.F hall.
Old records in possession of Masters Lodge No. 244 reveal that at a Stated Meeting July 19, 1869, Brother John W. Paxton, Chairman of the Committee on furnishing the Lodge Room, “Stated that the Committee had procured the lodge room, furnished it in its present condition at a cost of something near $700.00,” which was ordered paid.
Stated meeting January 17, 1870 on motion it was ordered that the treasurer of the Lodge pay one year’s rent, it being at the rate of $15.00 per month, and that the Secretary of the Lodge consult and agree with Secretary of Pearl Chapter No. 24 and Couer DeLion Commandery No. 9 as to the amount of the rent each bodies should pay. Stated Meeting February 21, 1870 on motion it was voted that the Lodge rent be $80.00 and Pearl Chapter No. 24, $60.00 and the Commandery $40.00. At the same time the Secretary was ordered to take out an insurance policy on 2/3 of value of the furnishing of the Lodge.
On July 17, 1871, at a stated meeting of Masters Lodge, a resolution, which had been sent to the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, which had been signed by Brothers L. H. Regan, John Yates and twelve other Master Masons, requesting the chartering of a new Lodge in Knoxville to be called Maxwell Lodge. The members of Masters Lodge passed this resolution and stated that this Lodge would be proficient in conferring the degrees. This charter was granted to Maxwell Lodge No. 433, later the name changed to Charles H. McKinney Lodge #433, on November 18, 1872, with Brother L. H. Regan being the first Worshipful Master.
In the year of 1870, Brother William Morrow erected the first Masonic Temple in Knoxville, located on the North West corner of Church and Gay Streets. The building was dedicated June 24, 1872. From the minutes January 15, 1872 the Worshipful Master stated, “The building of the Lodge Room was progressing to the extent that the Lodge should take some action to furnish it.” Brother John W. Paxton moved that all funds on hand, not otherwise appropriated, as well as those to be collected be put at the disposal of the Furnishing Committee.
A committee was appointed to raise funds by subscription and instructed to sell any furniture not used in the new hall.
The dedication of the new Hall was at the stated meeting June 24, 1872. Also on this date the installation of officers elect of the Lodge and Pearl Chapter No. 24 were held, and there was a parade down Church, Main and Gay streets.
Brother John W. Paxton then Past Grand Master of Tennessee and other Grand Officers did the first open installation of Lodge officers. Then Worshipful Master Brother W. S. Woodward introduced Brother J. D. Richardson, Grand S. W. who delivered a very interesting address on Free Masonry. The minutes of Masters Lodge state that for a number of years Masters Lodge held open installations either in Churches downtown and at the Knox Co. Court House.
During this period Masters Lodge had grown in membership and had made several donations to charity and in growth of Knox County by purchasing County Bonds. Not too much happened in the next twenty years except one Meeting when the dues were raised from $2.00 to $4.00: also we might state that the dues were paid in several different ways. Some gave their notes. Sometimes a calf or cow was taken and sold. It seems that a dollar then, was almost something no one had.
At the stated meeting held on January 21, 1884, a communication was read from William Morrow, requesting that his dues be paid out what was due him for rent from this lodge on hall rent and that he be granted a demit and the balance of the rent due him up to January 1884 be settled. On motion it was ordered that his request be granted. On motion the Master was authorized to make necessary arrangements as to the hall rent for the next year.
Some twenty years after the dedication of the Lodge Hall built at the North West corner of Church and Gay streets, a committee was formed by the several Masonic Bodies to find another meeting place. At a stated meeting held May 31, 1894, it was voted to form an association to obtain a charter with a capital outlay of $100,000.00 Capital Stock. Each Lodge would pay $5.00 toward the expense of the charter; Brother Charles Davis was elected Chairman and Brother W. H. Hall, Secretary-Treasurer. This was probably the first step of the Masonic Temple Association. At the Stated Meeting March 2, 1897, Brother Hall reported that the Building Committee of all Knoxville Masonic Lodges had leased from J. W. Borches the fourth floor in his building on the corner of Wall and Prince Streets at the end of Market Square for a term of ten years, from January 1, 1897, at an annual rental of $600.00. Masters Lodge and the Commandery each paid the same and the largest amount $135.00 annually: all expense for furniture and maintenance to be prorated. There was no mention why the Lodges moved from the previous hall they had occupied. Stated Meeting December 15, 1902, a motion was made that the Worshipful Master appoint a committee of three to meet with other Masonic Lodges in Knoxville for the purpose of selecting and purchase of property, with a view of erecting a Masonic Temple, motion carried. The master appointed Brother W. H. Hall as Chairman. On July 7, 1908 the Masonic Temple Association was established with Brother George P. Chandler as president. In March 1910, the property at Prince and Wall streets was purchased, but was sold in April 1912. In January 1914, with the proceeds of this sale, the Association purchased the Charles McGee Homestead on Locust Street.
Construction to renovate the McGee homestead and turn it into the temple building began in the fall of 1915, with the building being designed by Brother Albert B. Baumann, Architect and construction under the supervision of Brother Oscar M. Dunn, both members of Masters Lodge and was completed in March 1916. Most Worshipful Grand Master Charles Burham conducted dedication of the temple on October 27, 1916, in an all day ceremony.
At the Stated Meeting December 17, 1917 the Lodge voted “that the Dues of all Brothers serving in the Armed Forces during the War with Germany be taken care of by the Lodge.”
Stated Meeting April 15, 1918, on motion the Lodge adopted the Little French Orphan, (Simone Birbent, age 12), to support at a cost of $36.50 per year.
Masters Lodge occupied quarters in the Masonic Temple on Locust, on April 1, 1916.
Stated meeting May 16, 1921, the adoption for conferring the Degrees to be $25.00 for each Degree.
Stated Meeting February 8, 1924 a motion was made and carried “that Masters Lodge contribute $1,000.00 to the George Washington Memorial Fund.”
On June 17, 1927 the Lodge voted to send a bulletin of activities to each member.
In the late 1929 and early 1930’s the effect of the Depression was beginning to take its toll. Many members were dropped for nonpayment of Dues.
Stated Meeting February 20, 1933 the treasurer reported the loss of funds in the amount of $1,616.09 due to the closing of the East Tennessee National Bank. After discussion as to where to open a new bank account, it was voted to open one with Hamilton National Bank. Due to the loss of funds Masters Lodge had several checks out-standing. These and other bills for 1933 were finally paid with a balance of $94.83. The checks paid to the Masonic Temple Association for rent were held, which amounted to $1,474.00 at the end of 1934. This was finally cleared up in 1936, ending that year with a balance of $428.75.
The Trustees of the Old East Tennessee National Bank finally paid Dividends on the Lodge money with a net loss of $493.00 some ten years later. By this time the country was beginning to prosper. Lodge membership was increasing and World War II was taking its toll in the early forties, and many members were called into service of the Country. As of October 1, 1940 the membership was 1,109. Masters Lodge still continued to grow and on October 2, 1945 Masters Lodge celebrated its 90th anniversary.
A dispensation was issued on August 20, 1951 for the first Quarry Meeting to confer the Master Mason degree on October 13, 1951. This Meeting was held in an abandoned marble Quarry off Island Home Pike. There were approximately 750 Master Masons attending. 114 Subordinate Lodges from 17 Grand Jurisdictions. The Shrine Patrol and Provost Guard, high up on the rim of the quarry, guarded this meeting. The floor of the Quarry was about 100 feet below the surface with Marble Blocks for the Alter and Stations. There were members from many Lodges present and chairs were placed for their comfort and a good view of the floor work. There were other Quarry Meetings held each year following to the year 1956.
The second meeting was August 30, 1952, 1,272 attending from 191 Subordinate Lodges in 24 Grand Jurisdictions. The third was held August 22, 1953, 1,393 attending, 274 Subordinate Lodges 22 Grand Jurisdictions. The fourth meeting held August 14, 1954, 1,477 attending, 311 Subordinate Lodge in 24 Grand Jurisdictions and the Canal Zone. The fifth, our Centennial Celebration, our Hundredth Anniversary was held on September 3, 1955. There were 1,441 registered, 269 subordinate Lodges, 24 Grand Jurisdictions and also England. The sixth and last Meeting was held August 18, 1956. There were 1,972 present, 446 Subordinate Lodges, 21 Grand Jurisdictions and Hawaii.
You can see that with each Quarry Meeting we had a steady growth in attendance, and we might also state that while we grew, the expense for having such a meeting also increased: the first meeting costing approximately $410.00, the fifth our one Hundredth Anniversary, the cost was $1,800.00. The sixth and last was a joint effort between Masters Lodge and its Sister Lodges of Knox County but still Masters Lodge part was $1,026.55.
In the meantime, Masters Lodge at the stated meeting February 15, 1954 had voted to establish a Building Fund for the purpose of acquiring a new Lodge Building, either separately or jointly, with other Masonic Bodies and that $10,000.00 be transferred from our reserve fund to the building fund to be used only for this purpose.
At our stated meeting March 21, 1955 moved, seconded and approved that $12.00 of the fee for each degree, after January 1, 1955 be put into the building fund.
After much delay and many meetings with the Masonic Temple Association trying to get a new Temple Built, Masters Lodge decided to go on its own and build one for its membership.
At the Stated Meeting held on December 15, 1958 it was reported that property located at 2651 East Magnolia Avenue and a house and Lot directly behind facing 5th Avenue had been purchased and partially paid for, and that it would rest upon the membership to complete the payments.
The Building Committee proceeded with approval of the Lodge to erect a new Temple Building. The front old structure was left for office space and our Lobby, the new structure being added in the rear.
During this construction the Trustees of the Lodge were authorized to borrow $80,000.00 for the purpose of erecting the building.
On December 5, 1960 Worshipful Master, Brother Fred D. Whisenant read a Dispensation, issued to Masters Lodge to hold its meetings in our new building. A Fellow Craft Lodge was opened and Brother K. C. Caldwell received the honor of conferring the F. C. Degree in the new building.
This also became the meeting place for Knoxville Chapter Order of DeMolay, which Masters Lodge had sponsored since November 19, 1954; also Areme Chapter No. 466 Order of the Eastern star, which was organized by members who were mostly of Masters Lodge and their wives. The approval for Areme Chapter to meet in the Lodge Building was granted February 20, 1961.
At the Stated Meeting February 17, 1964 it was moved, seconded and approved that the 95 shares of stock of Masters Lodge in the Masonic Temple Association be sold for $350.00 per share, and the sum be applied toward the loan on the Lodge property, the mortgage being held by Hamilton National Bank.
At our stated meeting May 18, 1964 the treasurer reported that the original loan of $67,000.00 had been reduced to $48,681.70 and that $33,250.00 from sale of stock had reduced our loan to $15,431.70, which was being reduced at $700.00 per month. The final payment was made on March 21, 1963. On September 16, 1966 it was voted to air condition the new part of the building at an estimated cost of $20,000.00. This was omitted in the original construction to cut cost, but we could have saved several thousand dollars if it had been installed then. This loan was paid in full May 1974.
On motion at our June stated meeting a building maintenance fund was established in the amount of $300.00 per month to maintain the building and property.
At the stated meeting held on August 3,1998, Brother John Goan, Chairman of Trustees made a motion that Masters Lodge sell the present Lodge building and all adjacent property and move to the building occupied by Bright Hope Lodge at 5400 Broadway, motion was seconded by Brother Clarence Thress motion carried.
On March 4, 2002, it was announced that the building at 2651 Magnolia and the parking lot next to the building along with the parking lot on 5th Ave. had been sold for $225,000.00. Masters Lodge No. 244 F.&A.M., moved to the Fountain City Masonic Temple located at 5400 N. Broadway.
The first meeting in the new location was held on August 5, 2002, at this stated meeting Worshipful Master, Larry French ordered the Secretary, Kenneth Smith, to read the dispensation from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Tennessee authorizing Masters Lodge to move its charter to 5400 N. Broadway.
Masters Lodge has provided the following Past Masters who became Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Tennessee:
|NAME||BIRTH DATE||DIED||GRAND MASTER|
|John Walker Paxton||January 27, 1824||January 9, 1874||1869|
|Nathan Syllins Woodward||July 19, 1844||February 27, 1923||1882|
|Henry Martyn Aiken||March 4, 1844||March 22, 1923||1885|
|William Porter Chandler||January 25, 1872||June 12, 1951||1932|
Brethren as in our early history of Free Masonry, we speculated that Masters Lodge was indirectly an out growing of Mt. Libanus No. 59 and Tennessee Lodge No. 2, but we searched the old records and minutes book and were unable to verify this. We find many of the leaders of the formation of other lodges were members of Masters Lodge. Through its growth it has contributed to many of these.
On November 18, 1872, a charter was granted to Maxwell Lodge No. 433, (now Charles McKinney No. 433 F. & A. M.,) located in North Knoxville on Broad Street and Worthy Brother L. H. Ragan was its first Worshipful Master.
On November 9, 1874 a charter was issued to Oriental Lodge No 453, and Most Worthy Brother N. S. Woodward was its first Worshipful Master.
On June 27, 1892 a charter was issued to Bright Hope Lodge No 557, located in Lincoln Park and later moved to Ft. City.
On January 31, 1924 a charter was issued to Knoxville Lodge No 718.
On January 31, 1930 a charter was issued to Woodward Lodge No. 737, with Bro. William L Chandler as its first Worshipful Master.
On March 27, 1957 a charter was issued to Burlington Lodge No. 763.
On March 22, 1961 a charter was issued to South Knoxville Lodge No. 769
“GREAT OAKS FROM LITTLE ACORNS GROW”
Brethren we would like to also state that many have contributed much to the growth of Masters Lodge. There has been many times in the history of this Lodge, when the trying of time seemed to be against it, but the cooperation of all working together to one common goal made it stand.
FREE MASONRY IS IT WORTH IT?
PAST MASTERS OF MASTERS LODGE No. 244 F.&A.M.
|1855 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.||1856 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.|
|1857 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.||1858 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.|
|1859 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.||1860 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.|
|1861 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.||1862 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.|
|1863 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.||1864 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.|
|1865 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.||1866 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.|
|1867 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.||1868 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.|
|1869 W. H. Lillard||1870 W. H. Lillard|
|1871 Nathan Sullis Woodward, P.G.M.||1872 Nathan Sullis Woodward, P.G.M.|
|1873 James W. Fletcher||1874 James W. Fletcher|
|1875 John Walker Paxton, P.G.M.||1876 Henry Martyn Aiken, P.G.M.|
|1877 Henry Martyn Aiken, P.G.M.||1878 Henry Martyn Aiken, P.G.M.|
|1879 Henry Martyn Aiken, P.G.M.||1880 Henry Martyn Aiken, P.G.M.|
|1881 Herbert W. Hall||1882 John McCoy|
|1883 D. Newman||1884 John McCoy|
|1885 John McCoy||1886 S, B, Bowman|
|1887 John McCoy||1888 Abel N. Brown|
|1889 Abel N. Brown||1890 J. W. Saylor|
|1891 S. P. Hood||1892 Jesse C Groner|
|1893 Jesse C. Groner||1894 Jesse C. Groner|
|1895 G. Burn Davis||1896 John B. Jones|
|1897 John B. Jones||1898 J. H. Lowe|
|1899 J. H. Frantz||1900 A. Y. Burrows|
|1901 J. M. Starett||1902 R. Leslie Chiles|
|1903 T. E. Black||1904 M. F. Flenniken|
|1905 N. C. Llewellyn||1906 J. A. Armstrong|
|1907 Clarence Bradley||1908 James C. Green|
|1909 William A. Tallent||1910 Charles F. Wallace|
|1911 Charles F. Wallace||1912 Andrew J. Dossett|
|1913 R. Glenn Jeffries||1914 Joseph M. Armstrong|
|1915 Henry G. Cook||1916 Fayette Griffin|
|1917 Charles F. Carnes||1918 Rufus B. Curtis|
|1919 David S. Chandler||1920 Joseph S. Venable|
|1921 William Porter Chandler, P.G.M.||1922 Frenando Kimsey|
|1923 Charles F. Carver||1924 James A. Lunsford|
|1925 S. Bruce Farris, Jr.||1926 Spencer O. Brown|
|1927 William L. Marshall||1930 James E. Mayo|
|1931 Guy Smithson||1932 A. G. Jarvis|
|1933 Milton Franklin Gray||1934 Howard M. Taylor|
|1935 Frank M. Drumwright||1936 R. F. Marable|
|1937 Boyd B. Steiner||1938 W. Edgar McPherson|
|1939 Everett Stewart Overton||1940 Herbert L. Pope|
|1941 Herman N. Witt||1942 Richard F. Bristow|
|1943 Walker S. Cox||1944 Harry E. Clark|
|1945 Henry E. Williams||1946 Andrew Johnson Greenwell|
|1947 Melvin Gillon Herring, Jr.||1948 W. Clyde Buhl|
|1949 E. Marshall Cox||1950 L. Edward Ellis, Jr.|
|1951 Herbert G. Johnson||1952 George Jacob Busch|
|1953 Paul E. Willis||1954 George Edward Jack|
|1955 James H. Willock||1956 A. Douglas Clark|
|1957 Harry A. Coppock||1958 Leon N. Lewis|
|1959 Emory Clarence Merrell||1960 Fred Davis Whisenant|
|1961 Von McKenzie Saylor||1962 Joe Barnum McNew|
|1963 Dexter D. Keck||1964 Gilbert D. Smith|
|1965 Thomas J. McCullah||1966 Malcolm Caleb Money|
|1967 Doyle Kenneth Ford||1968 Clarence Edward Blackmon|
|1969 Kenneth Lee Smith||1970 James Franklin Williams|
|1971 William Irsle Hannah||1972 Van Buren Adams|
|1973 Elmer Franklin Roach||1974 Jack B Ellis|
|1975 Otis Kyle Kennedy||1976 John Rufus Simmons|
|1977 Carlton R. Byrd||1978 Raymond Quincy Brashier|
|1979 Sammie Owen Venable||1980 Fred Henry Cox|
|1981 James Wiley Johnson||1982 Thomas Harold Davis|
|1983 Vernon Thomas Hamilton||1984 John Alexander Yasko, Sr.|
|1985 Michael Palmer Monroe||1986 Joel Weinbaum|
|1987 Clifford Lane Lowe||1988 Robert Preston Stair|
|1989 Duane Grant Sharp||1990 Gary Wayne Peters|
|1991 Grendell Quentin Weaver||1992 Ivan William Brody|
|1993 David Nathaniel Rolen||1994 John Rufus Simmons|
|1995 John William Goan||1996 Clarence E. Thress|
|1997 John Rufus Simmons||1998 Ivan W. Brody|
|1999 Arnold C. Myrick||2000 Eugene A. Branch|
|2001 John R. Simmons||2002 Larry M. French|
|2003 Gary L. Lawson||2004 Terry Wayne Keck|
|2005 Terry Wayne Keck||2006 Ernest E, (Gene) Parrott|
|2007 Todd Douglass Sheppard||2008 Dan Lovely|
|2009 Alfred Thomas Hudges||2010
We have been unable to find a copy of the first meeting place, which was on the East Side of Gay Street between Cumberland and Church Avenues. This build was destroyed by fire on the night of March 10, 1869 along with the records and minutes of Masters Lodge.
John Chisholm’s Tavern, known for as period of time as Love’s Tavern, was the first tavern/hotel built in Knoxville, it was built in 1792 adjoining the gardens of Blount Mansion and housed many of Governor Blount’s prominent guests. Chisholm’s Tavern was razed in 1962 to make way for Neyland Drive.
Tennessee Masonic Lodge #2, (N.C. #41) met in the assembly room of this old tavern. On December 27, 1813 the Grand Lodge of Tennessee was organized. This meeting was thought to have taken place in the lodge room of Tennessee Lodge No. 2.