Germantown Lodge, No. 95. F. & A.M.
The basic purpose of Freemasonry is to make “better men out of good men”, better fathers, better husbands, better brothers, and better sons. They try to place emphasis on the individual man by strengthening their character, improving their morale and spiritual outlook, and broadening their mental horizons. To become a Freemason, the applicant must be an adult male and must believe in the existence of a supreme being and in the immortality of the soul.1
The Germantown Masonic Lodge was located on the south side of Germantown Road when it was located parallel and south of the Germantown Presbyterian Church (running east and west). It served many purposes, survived the Civil War, became a school, and was eventually torn down in 1985. The following article was written by member A. H. Holden for the 100th Anniversary of Lodge No. 95.
“While the Great Lights of Freemasonry in Europe are being extinguished, perhaps not forever, those of America still shine, and will continue to light the way for men of good intentions as long as the forces of democracy remain dominant.”
None will shine brighter than those of Germantown Lodge No. 95, which on October 7 will take the place of honor with two other hundred-year-old institutions of Germantown – the Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church – and will celebrate with an appropriate ceremony.
The cries of Indians who hunted game on the banks of Wolf River near Germantown had not long ceased to echo when a little group of pioneers who had hewn homes out of the wilderness felt the need for fraternity and petitioned the Grand Lodge of Tennessee. A dispensation, signed by Grand Master George Wilson and Grand Secretary Moses Stevens, was granted October 10, 1840, to Brothers Moses Horn, C.D. McLean, John R. Evans, John D. White, William Evans, Joseph Cotton, Brittain Duke, and James Kimbrough, to organize a lodge and naming Joseph Cotton as Worshipful Master, Brittain Duke as Senior Warden, and James Kimbrough as Junior Warden. The lodge was organized on April 7, 1841, with William Evans acting as Tyler.
On October 7, 1841, a charter was issued by Grand Master W. Tannehill, naming James Kimbrough as Worshipful Master, Robert Payne as Senior Warden, and William Evans as Junior Warden.
Continuously since the lodge was organized there has been a Kimbrough included in its membership. The present members who bear that name are A.G. Kimbrough, Jr. and James Albert Kimbrough.
Nearly all of the early records of the lodge were destroyed many years ago when the home of E. W. Gorman, who was then secretary, burned. The Grand Lodge has returns of Germantown Lodge for 1848, 1857, 1860, and each year since 1865.
James Brett, a genial deputy in the Circuit Court Clerk’s office, is now the lodge’s oldest member, having been raised to the sublime degree on September 29, 1892. Henry Quenichet and Dr. J.G.Seay are the next oldest members, both having been raised in 1903. N.F. (Capt. Bank) Harrison and A.G. Kimbrough were the only men who were active members for more than 50 years.
In November 1904, Bethlehem Lodge No. 407 of Capleville was consolidated with the Germantown Lodge.
During the Civil War when Germantown was occupied by Federal soldiers, many churches and other buildings were burned. That the lodge building and the Presbyterian Church were spared was since Rev. R.R. Evans, pastor of the church and a member of the lodge for 48 years, interceded with the commanding officer, who was also a Mason. The church did suffer the indignity of serving as a stable for cavalry horses but it still in use today.
On the night of January 28, 1904, A. G. Kimbrough, Jr., was raised to the sublime degree. Soon after the membership had returned to their homes the lodge caught fire and was destroyed. Until the present building was completed in 1906, meetings were held in a vacant home.
The present building of sturdy construction has served its purpose well until recently. Then, with many new homes and two new churches being built, it began to look weather-beaten and dilapidated. It was felt that its appearance was not in keeping with the noble traditions of Masonry in Germantown. A few of the older members succeeded in re-inspiring the apparently waning interest of other members; ways and means were found to give the old building a facelifting, with gratifying results.
For many years the lodge sponsored a Thanksgiving dinner, and during all those years hardly a Germantown family prepared Thanksgiving dinner at home. Instead, the whole town met at Germantown Lodge, and hundreds of people from Memphis and nearby communities no doubt recall annually those happy get-togethers at Germantown Lodge on Thanksgiving Day.
For the past hundred years Germantown Lodge has gene just a little country lodge, but it its influence for good is as great in the next hundred years as it has been in the past hundred, then the earnest efforts of the faithful few who have succeeded in keeping the lodge in existence through the vicissitudes of a century will have been vastly justified.
There is something especially appealing about attending the lodge at Germantown-something reminiscent of pioneer days. While it is now easy of access from all directions by reason of fine roads and automobiles, yet this was not so even 25 years ago, and in the unpretentious little lodge room, it is easy to draw a mental picture of those old Masons leaving their farm homes early in the afternoon on horseback and in buggies, in order to reach the lodge by opening time. Then, the short period of congenial comradeship before opening; the seriousness with which the work proceeded, and business disposed of; then the call to refreshment in the dining room below, where many a pot of strong coffee, delicious county hams, squirrels, ducks and other delicacies were prepared. It is easy to understand why they were willing to undergo the long, lonely trip home at midnight, sometimes through rain and snow and storm, just for the sake of a few hours of fraternity. Older members of the Memphis lodges who have visited the Germantown lodge have felt this appeal, as well as younger members whose fathers were Masons in other country lodges in days gone by. This feeling is very well expressed in the following verses by an unknown poet:
“Father’s lodge, I well remember, wasn’t large as lodges go,
There was trouble in December getting to it through the snow.
But he seldom missed a meeting, drifts or blossoms in the lane,
Still the Tyler heard his greeting, whether ice or summer rain.
Father’s lodge thought nothing of it, “mid their labors and their cares
Those old Masons learned to love it, that fraternity of theirs.
What’s a bit of stormy weather, when a little down the road
Men are gathering together, helping bear each other’s load?
Father’s lodge had caught the gleaming of the great Masonic past;
Thinking, toiling, daring, dreaming, they were builders to the last.
Quiet men, not rich nor clever; with the tools they found at hand
Building for the great forever, first a village, then a land.
Father’s lodge no temple builded, shaped of steel and carved of stone;
Marble columns, ceiling gilded, father’s lodge has never known.
But a heritage of glory they have left the humble ones;
They have left their mighty story n the keeping of their sons.”
1 https://en.wikipedia.org, Freemasonry
2 Germantown Lodge No. 95 F. & A.M. History by A.H. Holden, member of Germantown Lodge No. 95 F & A.M.
Masonic Notice Laying Corner Stone (1854)
GERMANTOWN LODGE will lay the Corner Stone of her new Masonic Hall on Thursday, the 9th inst., with the usual Masonic ceremonies. Angerona and South Memphis Lodges will come up on the Thursday morning cars at 7 o’clock, accompanied by the band of Music, and a train will take them back at 4 o’clock in the evening. All the surrounding Lodges in the country have been invited and are expected to attend. The ceremonies of laying the Stone will be performed by the Worshipful James Penn, and the address will be delivered by the Reverend Brother Porter.
A sumptuous Barbecue will be provided for the occasion. Transept Brethren in good standing are invited to be present. By order of the Lodge.
E.W. McKENNEY, JOHN GRAY, S.M. WILSON, Committee
Germantown Lodge No. 95, F. & A.M.
Location, Germantown, Tenn.
Date of Organization, April 9, 1841
Joseph Cotton, Worshipful Master
Britton Duke, Senior Warden
Charles D. McClean, Treasurer
Littleton Henderson, Secretary
James Kimbrough, Junior Warden
William Evans, Tiler
John D. White, Senior Deacon
E. W. Kinney, Junior Deacon
J.G. Seay, Worshipful Master
Loamie Carter, Senior Warden
Paul O. Owen, Junior Warden
T. R. Hudson, Senior Warden
J. D. Pickery, Junior Deacon
H.E. Quenichet, Treasurer
A.C. Gillum, Secretary
J.P. Sullivan, Senior Steward
H.W. May, Jr., Junior Steward
T.M. Ford, Chaplain
J.W. Hix, Tiler
Celebrating our 100th Anniversary, 1941
Germantown Lodge No. 95, F. & A.M.
Membership, October 7, 1941
|Abernathy, J.W.||1093 E. McLemore Avenue||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Anderson, Eugene A.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Brett, James||565 Melrose Street||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Burford, Clarence C.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Carter, Loamie||Capleville, Tenn.|
|Coleman, George J.||U.P. Bank Building||Memphis, Tenn.|
|DeShazo, Rev. Hosea I.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|DeMent, Gordon||Indianola, Miss.|
|Dickey, Lemuel E.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Duke, Paul Preston||Capleville, Tenn.|
|Ford, Thomas M.||Capleville, Tenn.|
|Gillum, Ancel C.||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Graves, Carl R.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Hammond, James||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Harris, Jesse E.||Cordova, Tenn.|
|Hix, Joseph W||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Holden, Alfred H.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Hudson, T. Raymond||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Hutchinson, Robert D.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Jarratt, Otey C.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Kimbrough, Albert G., Jr.||1520 Mississippi Avenue||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Kimbrough, James Albert||776 N. McNeil Street||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Klepper, George M.||Sterick Building||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Lanning, Adam B., II||433 Angelus Street||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Lee, Allen C.||107 Blythe Street||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Littlejohn, St. Elmo||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Mitchell, William P.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Owen, Paul C.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Payne, Herbert G.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Pickering, Joe D.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Pierce, John C.||Cordova, Tenn.|
|Quenichet, Henry E.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Schaeffer, J. Henry||Capleville, Tenn.|
|Schaeffer, Sanford I.||Capleville, Tenn.|
|Scruggs, John B.||Capleville, Tenn.|
|Seay, Dr. John G.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Simms, Ralph P.||1901 Mignon Avenue||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Skinner, David A.||Forest Hill, Tenn.|
|Smith Joseph I||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Stepherson, Melvin A., Jr.||1441 Eastmoreland Ave.||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Sullivan J. Phillip||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Terry, William H.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Thomas, Robert Y.||Capleville, Tenn.|
|Warner, Frank O.||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Widney, Rev. Chas L.||Germantown, Tenn.|
|Wilson, Dean Stanley||1206 Snowden Avenue||Memphis, Tenn.|
|Yestes, Thomas Walter||c/o Memphis Street Railway||Memphis, Tenn.|
Germantown Public School Had Beginning at the Masonic Hall
The public school of Germantown had its beginning in the Masonic Hall located on Germantown Road South. The exact date of the first school is not known; however, a school was in session in that building during 1879. In 1885, the school was moved into the Methodist Church which then was located at 2305 McVay Road. In the fall of 1886, the school was returned to the Masonic Hall. On September 18, 1879, a lot was purchased at 2370 Germantown Road, a small frame building of four rooms was erected in the following year, and the Masonic Lodge no longer served as a school.
G’town F & A Mason Lodge to Be Torn Down
The Germantown News
Thursday, June 28, 1984
The Germantown Design Review Commission last week approved the demolition of the F. & A. M. Masonic Lodge, located at 2389 Germantown Road S. at the request of the Masons.
Citing a small Lodge membership and a lack of funds for necessary repairs, the group has agreed to sell the lot to the Germantown Presbyterian Church, who plans to construct a new sanctuary and parking lot there.
The Germantown Lodge is the oldest Masonic Lodge in Shelby County and one of the oldest in the state, according to Mason J. L. Sweatt.
“The building does not have proper insulation and it’s difficult to obtain fire insurance,” Sweatt said. “It needs many costly repairs which would be difficult for membership to absorb.” At this time, the Lodge has 165 members from all over the county with no majority from Germantown.
“The dollars required to renovate the building made that possibility prohibitive to the membership,” Sweatt said. “In addition, there are no expansion possibilities, due to the size of the lot.”
The Lodge members plan to utilize fixtures and portions of the old building in a new structure, which may be a log cabin replica of the original lodge, Sweatt said. “The building was designed in such a way that it cannot be sectionalized and moved to a new location. That’s another reason we decided to just take it down.” He added.
The Lodge members are considering locating the new lodge on about four acres in the Germantown area, according to Sweatt.
“Currently, we’re looking at 7 or 8 locations and plan to have something purchased in the next 30 days. We’re hoping that membership growth will be encouraged with the new building.”
The old Lodge is expected to be removed by the end of the year, he said.
A BI-WEEKLY NEWSLETTER FROM GERMANTOWN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
2363 GERMANTOWN RD. S., GERMANTOWN, TN 38138
NEW LOCATION POSSIBILITY DELAYS SANCTUARY GROUNDBREAKING
A potential opportunity to locate the new sanctuary facing Arthur Road – a site many members have indicated they would prefer -– is under study.
Representatives of the Masonic Lodge have now expressed an interest in selling their building and the surrounding land. Ownership of the Masonic property would allow positioning of the new sanctuary facing east, south of existing facilities and in line with the present sanctuary and educational building.
The purpose of the Lodge and its land was not considered to be an option when the congregation approved plans for the new sanctuary to be located west side of our present facility.
“We believe this opportunity is more desirable than our original location, and we feel compelled to pursue negotiations with Lodge representatives,” said Charles Walker, who heads the Session’s Planning and Research Committee that is looking into the new development. “The location of the new sanctuary will affect the life of this congregation for many years to come, and we certainly want to consider a more pleasing layout of the facilities if the possibility exists.”
The Planning and Research Committee will attempt to finalize this week’s talks with Lodge officials concerning an acceptable price for the property. Meanwhile, architects who prepared plans for the new building have been asked to consider what changes in design and costs might result if the building were to be located on the south side of our present facility.
Members of the congregation are encouraged to express their ideas and opinions on all aspects of the sanctuary project. Members of the Session and persons serving on the Building and Finance Committees for the new sanctuary are particularly interested in hearing comments from the congregation. Memphis of the Building and Finance Committees include Building Committee: John Gwin III, Chr., Charles A. Baird, George D. Barnes, Mrs. John M. Barron (Doy), Josh B. Bell III, Mrs. Robert Brawley (Jane), William E. Cayce, Robert C. Lanier, James R. Liles, James R. Maddox, Sr., Mrs. J. Boyd Maize (Martha Nell), Dr. E. H. McGehee, Jr., Nathan H. Owens, W. Frank Posey, William A. Ruleman, Jr., Robert P. Walters, Janet Pfaff; Building Finance Committee: John D. Ferguson, Chr., James F. Berg, James S. Cox, Patricia A. Sphar, Nathan H. Owens, Frank B. Horrell, Jack J. Craddock, James H. Shealy, Mrs. David Broyles (Janice).
THE SESSION OF GERMANTOWN PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH