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Liberty Lodge Bicentennial Early Years. Liberty Lodge held its first organizational meetings in 1798 The lodge was instituted in 1803 Liberty Lodge was chartered on December 10, 1804 by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee. Tennessee did not become a separate Grand Lodge until 1813.

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liberty lodge bicentennial early years
Liberty Lodge BicentennialEarly Years
  • Liberty Lodge held its first organizational meetings in 1798
  • The lodge was instituted in 1803
  • Liberty Lodge was chartered on December 10, 1804 by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee. Tennessee did not become a separate Grand Lodge until 1813.
liberty lodge bicentennial early years2
Liberty Lodge BicentennialEarly Years
  • In 1804, the year the lodge began:
    • Thomas Jefferson was president
    • There were two political parties:
      • Democrat-Republicans
      • Federalists
    • The Louisiana Territory, which doubled the size of the nation, had only been part of the US for one year
    • Lewis and Clark started out on their exploration of the land west of the Mississippi
liberty lodge bicentennial early years3
Liberty Lodge BicentennialEarly Years
  • In the beginning, stated meetings were held:
    • On or before the 1st full moon of each month
    • On Tuesday of each court week
    • On the Festivals of the Saints John
  • No one is sure where the first meetings were held
  • The lodge now meets on the first Thursday of each month
liberty lodge bicentennial general william lenoir
Liberty Lodge BicentennialGeneral William Lenoir
  • General William Lenoir was the first Master of Liberty Lodge
    • Born in Brunswick County, Va.
    • A Revolutionary War hero in the Battle of King’s Mountain
    • After the war, he became a general in the North Carolina militia
    • Laid out the town of Wilkesboro in 1800
      • He refused to have the town named after him, so it was instead named Wilkesboro.
      • However, the town of Lenoir was named after him, after his death.
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Liberty Lodge BicentennialGeneral William Lenoir
  • Served two years as the first Clerk of Wilkes County
  • Was appointed Justice of the Peace
  • Served in both branches of the NC legislature
  • During his last term in the NC Senate, he was President of the Senate
  • Became the first President of the Trustees of the University of North Carolina
liberty lodge bicentennial general william lenoir6
Liberty Lodge BicentennialGeneral William Lenoir
  • Was a Grand Officer in the Grand Lodge of North Carolina
  • The town of Lenoir City (originally Lenoir Station) in Loudon County, Tennessee was named after him
    • The town’s cotton mill and other buildings were saved from burning during the Civil War by General Lenoir’s grandson, Dr. Benjamin Lenoir, who stopped the Union soldiers by frantically giving the Masonic sign of distress.
liberty lodge bicentennial founding fathers
Liberty Lodge BicentennialFounding Fathers
  • The first sheriff and treasurer of Wilkes County, Richard Allen, was a member of Liberty Lodge
  • Several founding members were patriots and soldiers in the Revolutionary War
    • They named the lodge Liberty Lodge, to represent their patriotic ideals of independence and democracy.
  • Masonry had a strong influence on the development of the US and its government. Masonry was the only recent example of democracy that the founding fathers had to draw on.
  • With that in mind, it is little wonder that so many of our local and national founders were Masons.
liberty lodge bicentennial notable members governors
Liberty Lodge BicentennialNotable Members - Governors
  • Two members of Liberty Lodge became governors of North Carolina
    • Jesse Franklin – 1820 to 1821
      • US congressman
      • US Senator from 1799 to 1805
    • Montford Sidney Stokes – 1830 to 1832
      • Revolutionary War POW
      • Elected US Senator in 1804 and 1816
      • Trustee of the University of North Carolina from 1805 to 1838
      • Appointed to Board of Indian Commissioners by Andrew Jackson
  • Israel F. Pickens
    • State Senator, congressman, and governor of Alabama
liberty lodge bicentennial notable members grand masters
Liberty Lodge BicentennialNotable Members – Grand Masters
  • Three Members of Liberty Lodge became Grand Masters of North Carolina
    • Samuel F. Patterson – 1833-1834
    • Richard N. Hackett – 1910-1911
      • The MESH was built in Greensboro during his tenure
    • Dr. Charles Harrison Pugh – 1955-1956
liberty lodge bicentennial notable members local
Liberty Lodge BicentennialNotable Members - Local
  • Three of the last four Mayors of Wilkesboro are Liberty Lodge Members
    • Charlie Grant Bumgarner – 1953-1973
    • Fidell Frazier – 1973-1995
    • Norman Call – 2000-present
  • Except for a four year gap, Liberty Lodge has had a member in the office of the Mayor of Wilkesboro for the last 51 years.
liberty lodge bicentennial transition
Liberty Lodge BicentennialTransition
  • Liberty Lodge was destroyed by fire in 1891
    • All of the records and furniture were lost
    • The lodge charter was reissued that year; that is the charter we now possess
  • Liberty Lodge merged with Moravian Falls #353 in 1938, after the Moravian Falls lodge building burned down.
liberty lodge bicentennial transition12
Liberty Lodge BicentennialTransition
  • After the fire, the lodge met in a building on Main Street, which later housed G & H Electronics.
    • At the time, the building was a three story structure, but the top floors eventually weakened and would sway in the wind during storms.
    • This caused the two floors to finally be removed in 1930
  • At that point, the lodge moved to the Ferguson building, above Parker Electric, where it remained until 1973.
    • During this period, candidates had to wait in the street, before they could be brought upstairs for examination and initiation.
liberty lodge bicentennial recent years
Liberty Lodge BicentennialRecent Years
  • Cornerstone of the present building was laid in 1970 by Maurice Walsh, a member of North Wilkesboro Lodge, who was then Grand Master of North Carolina
    • Rex Brown was the acting Master of Liberty Lodge when the project commenced.
  • We moved into the current edifice in May, 1973
    • Rex Brown was the first Master to be installed in the new structure
  • The lodge Secretary Room was added in 1991
  • The Liberty Lodge meeting room was completely renovated in 2003, in a joint venture with its sister organization, Wilkes Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star.
liberty lodge bicentennial recent years14
Liberty Lodge BicentennialRecent Years
  • Liberty Lodge presented President Gerald R. Ford with a Masonic Bible, during his visit to Wilkes County on March 13, 1976
    • This was the first visit of a president to Wilkes County
  • For several years, Jim Cornelius edited and published a newsletter, Liberty at Large
    • This publication won the award from the Grand Lodge one year, as the best lodge newsletter in the state
liberty lodge bicentennial today
Liberty Lodge BicentennialToday
  • Seventeen lodges have been chartered in Wilkes County over the years, but only four are in existence today
  • Liberty Lodge is only the eighteenth lodge in North Carolina to reach its two hundredth birthday
  • Liberty Lodge now has 98 members; 8 have passed away this year.
liberty lodge bicentennial thanks
Liberty Lodge BicentennialThanks

Thanks to Doug Triplett, our incoming Master, who provided 90% of the material for this presentation, via his diligent research through the archives of the lodge.

liberty lodge bicentennial thanks17
Liberty Lodge BicentennialThanks

Thank you for your kind attention