Pascagoula Lodge #419 F. & A. M.
The first lodge in Jackson County was Pascagoula Lodge No. 202 (on the beach) which was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Mississippi on June 21, 1856. In those days the town of Pascagoula was situated on the beach and extended inland approximately a mile. When the railroad was built in 1870, the town of Scranton was formed in what is now downtown Pascagoula, Mississippi, and Pascagoula Lodge No. 202 moved north to Moss Point, Mississippi.
In 1892 ten Master Masons petitioned the Grand Master of Mississippi, John M. Ware, for a dispensation to organize Gulf Lodge in Scranton, Mississippi. By order of Grand Master Ware, a dispensation was issued by Grand Secretary John Logan Power on January 15, 1892. The dispensation was signed by Grand Master Ware on January 16, 1892, and he appointed as Lodge Officers S. T. Haviland, Worshipful Master, M. C. Pankey, Senior Warden and W. M. Denny, Junior Warden.
The Grand Lodge held in Vicksburg on February 11th and 12th, 1892, decided not to grant a charter due to the short time that had elapsed from issuance of the dispensation but to continue the dispensation until the next Grand Lodge Communication to be held in the city of Natchez on February 9th and 10th, 1893, on the 75th anniversary of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge, presided over by Grand Master W. A. Roane, voted on February 9, 1893, to issue a charter to the now seventeen Master Masons to be known as Gulf Lodge No. 419 located at Scranton, MS, in Jackson County.
The Charter was signed February 10, 1893, by Most Worshipful Irvin Miller, newly elected Grand Master, and attested by Right Worshipful John Logan Power, Grand Secretary, February 10, 1893.
Gulf Lodge No. 419, F. & A. M. was just and regularly constituted and the craft set to work by Brother J. K. McLeod, Past Master of Pascagoula Lodge of Moss Point. The towns of Pascagoula (on the beach) and Scranton (at the railroad) merged in 1912, becoming one town known as Pascagoula, MS.
Pascagoula Lodge No. 202 changed its name to Moss Point Lodge No. 202 in 1921 by order of Grand Master Edward L. Faucette.
The Charter of Gulf Lodge No. 419 was amended on March 18, 1925, by Grand Secretary Edward L. Faucette to show its location as being in the City of Pascagoula, MS.
The Lodge name was changed from Gulf Lodge No. 419 to Pascagoula Lodge No. 419 on April 7, 1939, by an amendment to the Charter signed by Grand Secretary, Sid F. Curtis.
Gulf Lodge first met in the Old Opera House in conjunction with the Odd Fellows Lodge. That building was located at the corner of Pascagoula Street and Krebs Avenue but was later destroyed by the hurricane of 1906.
The Lodge next met in a large frame building next door to Alley's Store which was at the southeast corner of Delmas Avenue and Frederic Street. This building was across the street from the present location of The Mississippi Press building.
In the spring of 1928 the Lodge realized a great ambition when it purchased the brick building known as the Cassanova Building on Delmas Avenue. The renovation of this building required a lot of hard work, most of which was done by the members. This was home for thirty-two years. At the urging of Worshipful Master, G. W. (Nub) Cowart, a twenty foot addition was built in 1952. For many years the Mississippi Power Company office was located in this building.
In 1957, the property where our present building stands was purchased, and Worshipful Master C. J. Lander appointed a building committee. The members of the building were E. J. Smith, Chairman; G. E. Cowart, S. N. Ashley, J. Guy Krebs, Ben L. Briggs, R. L. Smith, Jr., E. W. Runnels, and Fred Brooks.
On February 5, 1959, ground was broken for construction of this new building on the northwest corner of Market Street and Convent Avenue. The ground floor contained two offices, restrooms, a kitchen, and a large fellowship/dining area. On the second floor were the main meeting room, a lobby, two restrooms, and a small meeting room. On May 2, 1959, the cornerstone was laid by Grand Master Grover H. Anderson and the Grand Lodge officers. The principal address was given by Past Grand Master Lawrence C. Corban. This was the largest cornerstone laying ever held in this part of the country.
On January 14, 1960, the Lodge was opened in the old building on Delmas Avenue by Worshipful Master R. L. Smith, Jr. for the purpose of relocating to the new building. In the presence of our Grand Master Grover H. Anderson, Master R. L. Smith, took charge of transferring the Charter, the Holy Bible, and the Square & Compasses to the new Masonic Temple where the officers were installed for the ensuing year by the Grand Master. This was a joint installation with Pascagoula Chapter 151, Order of the Eastern Star. E. W. Runnels was the first Worshipful Master and Nell Smith was the First Worthy Matron.
In July of 1965, Worshipful Master John O. Hedman informed the Lodge that our building was debt free. In 1966, with Grand Master George A. Mullendore present, the notes on this building ($96,000.00 plus) were ceremoniously burned.
The building of this structure is greatly to the praise of Past Deputy Grand Master G. E. Cowart and to many others for the work and planning that went into it, notwithstanding the fact that much work has since gone into the refurbishing, maintenance, and general upkeep by the Lodge members and the Order of the Eastern Star. At the present time the small Lodge room has been renovated and designated as a Memorial Lodge Room. The expense for this renovation was provided by donations from the membership.
Pascagoula Chapter No. 151, Order of the Easter Star, was chartered on June 6, 1920, and has been an integral part of the Masonic Lodge Family since that time. During the Depression Years they assisted the Lodge in paying taxes and building rent when the Lodge was low on funds. When construction of our present building had been completed, the Eastern Star equipped the kitchen with commercial fixtures and provided furnishings, carpet and drapes wherever needed. Their unselfish participation in all Lodge projects down through the years has been indispensable, and their presence is greatly appreciated.
Men from all walks of life have held membership in our Lodge: Sheriffs, police, judges, lawyers, doctors, dentists, druggists, fishermen, plumbers, carpenters, roofers, brick masons, boilermakers, laborers, and many others. Three congressmen and one senator from this District have been members: Walter McKennon Denny was a charter member and our first Junior Warden; William Meyers Colmer affiliated with this lodge on October 19, 1923; and Chester Trent Lott, who served as Representative and is now a Senator, has been a member since August 29, 1975. Yet, as Masons we are all brothers and on the same level.
Charter Members Past Masters 419's Grand Lodge Officers Excerpts from Minutes 100th Anniversary Acknowledgements
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