The oldest fraternal organization in Denton County

Meeting continuously in Denton since 1857            

Chartered in January 22nd, 1858                          



A PROUD HERITAGE:

Stanfield Lodge, #217 A.F.& A.M. and the Churches and Schools of Pioneer Era Denton.

By Bro... George Avera

A Texas Historic Marker stands on the property of the First Christian Church on the corner of Fulton and Cordell streets in Denton. You can see it by parking in the church lot and following the sidewalk around to the Fulton St. side of the building. This marker states in part that the First Christian Church met in Stanfield Lodge from when it was founded in 1868 until 1876, when the church moved to its own building. This set me to wondering what other pioneer churches might have met at the lodge. All of them did.


Because of its size, Stanfield Lodge was one of the most prominent buildings of Denton. Because it was the host of all the churches and schools of the town, it was one of the most prominent cultural centers.

The first lodge was built in 1859. "For twelve or fifteen years this lodge hall on 'Sand Street' [S. Elm St.] was the home of all the churches of Denton and the only schoolhouse that some of the children ever had. Stanfield Lodge was first organized in 1857 and met in the county clerk's office in the courthouse, "and they held their meetings as nearly as possible at the time of the full moon of each month so the members could travel to and from the lodge in the moonlight.


In 1859 the lodge erected a two story heavy frame timber building on the west side of South Elm Street between Prairie and Highland streets. The heavy framing timbers were hewn from Denton County Oak; the lumber was hauled in from Wood County. This original site is on the same block as today's Lodge building at 316 W. Highland St.

In 1859, there were three two-story buildings in Denton: Stanfield Lodge, the courthouse and a hotel. By the end of the 1860s there were four, another hotel being added to the list. The Lodge was used as a school from 1860 to 1880, with a few fits and starts as one school closed and another took its place. However, the gaps were few and small, and the children of Denton were educated continuously during those twenty years. In most cases, the school teachers were Masons themselves, and in nearly all cases they were hired and paid by the Lodge members. Because there was only one meeting place, the school, churches and the town's general meetings had to "time-share" the Lodge's first floor. The second floor was reserved for Masonic purposes only. The school met on weekdays. General meetings were held at times which did not conflict with the school or church schedules (we assume), and the churches rotated Sundays. The May 30, 1868 issue of the Denton Monitor newspaper "announced that the Methodists held their meetings on the first Sunday in each month [...]; the Cumberland Presbyterians met on the second Sunday [...]; the Christians met on the third Sunday [...]; and the Baptists met on the fourth Sunday [...]. Fifth Sundays seem to have been occupied by the Methodists. All of these meetings were held in the Masonic Hall.


By 1880 the Lodge began to lose favor as a meeting place. By then the school and churches had all moved to separate buildings. The Masons themselves met in the Piner building from 1880 to 1886, returning to meet in the old lodge from 1886 to 1894. Brother Piner was a prominent citizen, a Mason and heavily involved in the school. The Masonic Brothers moved to the Piner building "to secure a more central location," returning when "financial distress occasioned by the state-wide droth forced them to return to the old temple.

We can speculate that perhaps the old temple building lacked modern conveniences, such as indoor plumbing, gaslight or the newly emerging electric light. In the 1860s all of South Elm Street, Lodge and residences alike, drew their water from a single well. It is a certainty that the Lodge used an outdoor privy. It is a fact that Denton was plagued by fires in the early 1880s, so it may have been concern over fire safety that brought about the move. Due to the fire hazard, brick and stone began to replace wood building materials around this time.

Thus we see that Stanfield Lodge loomed large (both symbolically and literally) in the affairs of Denton, and it straddled the days from the early pioneers to the emergence of modern Denton like a giant in the town's and county's most essential affairs: A proud heritage.


Stanfield Lodge #217 History

In reading the following article please remember that it was written in 1919, by the Past Master of the Lodge and Past Grand Master of Texas. The references referring to "now" in the article are over 76 years old. Some members of the Lodge are in the process of bringing the history up to date.

November 1, 1995 J.P. Williams


I am in the process of updating a great many of the pages on this site and would like to point out that the span of years is now 86 from the time the following history was originally written. Please be patient and check back from time to time to see what has changed.

May 5, 2005 J.P. Williams


A Foreword

At the request of the lodge, and in compliance with a resolution of the Grand Lodge, I have compiled a short history of Stanfield Lodge. Unfortunately, the Minutes of the lodge, prior to the year 1886, have been lost, and this makes it quite impossible to record many interesting incidents in the early life of Masonry in Denton. This is especially so in the matter of public installations, Masonic funerals, and laying corner stones of public buildings. But I have done the best I could with the material which has been available, and with the earnest hope that this brief outline of the activities of Masonry in Denton will help us, as well as those who shall come after us, to appreciate the labors of those zealous Masons who laid the corner stone of the Temple of Freemasonry in Denton, it is fraternally submitted.


May 1st, 1919 S. M. Bradley




Chapter One


On October 14th. 1857, a dispensation was granted by Deputy Grand Master John E. Cravens for a Masonic lodge at Denton, Texas, to be known as Stanfield lodge, and in November, following, the lodge was set to work by the District Deputy Grand Master. The lodge continued to work under dispensation until the meeting of the Grand Lodge at Houston in June, 1858, when a charter was issued for Stanfield Lodge No. 217, with the following officers and members:

W. W. O. Stanfield, Worshipful Master.

Stephen P. Bebee, Senior Warden.

Gibson Myers, Junior Warden.

E. Boone, Treasurer.

A. P. Lloyd, Secretary.

C. C. Lacy, Senior Deacon.

Felix McKitrick, Junior Deacon.

Wm. Wilson, Senior Steward.

L. P. Strong, Junior Steward.

Wm. Spear, Tyler.

MEMBERS

J. N. Hembry, J. W. Simmons, James Spear, E. F. Anderson, R. H. King, J. D. Dallas, J. W. McIlhenny, J. Teague, Wm. Kelly, A. J. Hodges, Uberto Allen, E. Rowe, L. W. Arnold, R. W. Throckmorton, C. R. Little, William Wilson. Total 27.

The Lodge was named in honor of W. W. O. Stanfield, who was one of the charter members, and a pioneer Mason in Denton County, and was largely instrumental in the organization of the lodge. W. W. O. Stanfield was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, on the 29th. day of July, 1809. He came to Texas, in 1834, and in 1836, he joined the army, and was a member of Captain Bill Scurlock's Company under General Sam Houston in the war with Mexico, in which Texas gained her independence. He was made a Mason in early life, but we have no record of the date, nor of the lodge which made him a Mason. He lived at Marshall until about the year 1856, when he moved to Denton County, making his home on Denton creek in the west part of the county. He was recognized as the leader of the organization of Stanfield lodge, was one of the petitioners for a dispensation, and served as its first Worshipful Master. He afterwards served as County Clerk of Denton County, in 1858. In 1860, he demitted from Stanfield Lodge, going to Wise County, where he served as Worshipful Master of Decatur Lodge, and later of Aurora Lodge in Wise County.

He was for several years District Deputy Grand Master of the District including Denton and Wise Counties, and attended the Grand Lodge at Houston, traveling the greater part of the distance on horseback. He was proficient, for that day in the esoteric work, and was regarded as an authority on Masonic law. He died at Aurora in Wise County on March 6th, 1886, at the age of 77 years, and was laid to rest with Masonic honors by his brethren of Aurora lodge.

He was a patriotic citizen, a Christian gentleman, and a zealous Mason.


Chapter Two


During the first few years after the lodge was constituted and set to work, Stanfield Lodge had a rough and rugged road to travel over. Most of the officers and members lived of five to fifteen miles from Denton, where the lodge met, and when they attended there lodge meetings it meant a long ride on horseback, over a sparsely settled country with no roads. And this accounts for them having their charter provide that their stated meetings should be held "on or before the full moon of each month," so that the brethren could have the advantage of the moonlight when attending their lodge meetings.

The following roll of the original members with their places of residence and their business callings will help us to appreciate the difficulties which they had to overcome in attending their lodge meeting and planting the seeds of Masonry in Denton County:

W. W. O. Stanfield was a farmer, and lived on Denton creek twelve miles west of Denton. Stephen P. Bebee was a farmer and Minister, and lived on Denton creek twelve miles west of Denton.

  • Gibson Myers was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived five miles west of Denton.

  • E. Boone was a land locator, and lived a half mile west of the Court House Square.

  • A. P. Lloyd was County Clerk of Denton County, and lived at Denton.

  • C. C. Lacy was District surveyor, and lived at Denton. He was considered as good authority on Masonic law for that day and time. He was made a Mason in Kentucky before coming to Texas.

  • Felix McKitrick was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived at Pilot Knob, five miles southwest of Denton.

  • Wm. Wilson was a stock raiser and lived twelve miles west of Denton.

  • L. P. Strong was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived fifteen miles west of Denton.

  • Wm. Spear was a Doctor and stock raiser, and lived on Denton creek ten miles west of Denton.

  • J. N. Hembry was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived on five miles west of Denton.

  • F. F. Anderson was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived on Hickory creek five miles west of Denton.

  • R. H. King (known as Little Bob King) was a merchant and lived at Denton.

  • J. D. Dallas was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived fifteen miles west of Denton.

  • J. W. McIlhenny was a merchant and lived at Denton.

  • James Teague was a farmer and stockman, and lived sixteen miles northwest of Denton, near where Bolivar was afterward located.

  • Wm. Kelly was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived where the town of Bolivar now is.

  • Willis Wilson was a stock raiser, and lived twelve miles west of Denton.

  • A. J. Hodges was a farmer and lived on Duck creek fifteen miles west of Denton.

  • Uberto Allen was a farmer, and lived eight mile west of Denton.

  • E. Rowe was a carpenter and laborer and lived at Denton.

  • L. W. Arnold was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived ten miles west of Denton.

  • R. W. Throckmorton was a hotel keeper, and lived in Denton. He kept a hotel at the southeast corner of the public square. He was a brother of J. W. Throckmorton, who was later governor of Texas.

  • C. R. Little was a farmer and stock raiser, and lived five miles northeast of Denton, near where the town of Mingo is now.

  • James Spear was a farmer and stockman, and lived fifteen miles west of Denton, on Denton creek.


Chapter Three


Prior to the year 1857, the town of Old Alton, about five miles southeast of Denton, had been the County Seat of Denton County.In the summer of 1857, an election was held when the question of the permanent location of the County Seat was voted on, and it was decided at this election to make the town of Denton the County Seat of Denton County.

At that time the population of the town of Denton was about 200, and the population of the entire county was about 600. The total vote cast at the election in 1857, when it was decided to move the County Seat to Denton was only 136.

Business lots on or around the Public Square were sold at public auction in 1857, the average price being about $50.00. The lot now owned by the Lodge on which the Temple building stands, was worth at that time, about $10.00. Land within a few miles of Denton which now sells for $100.00 to $200.00 an acre, was worth at that time, about $1.00 an acre.

There were then only 14 business houses in the Public Square, all except one being one story framed houses. A two story framed house of about eight rooms stood at the northwest corner of the Public Square, and was known as the Shirley hotel. The Court House stood on the north side of the Public Square. This was a two story framed house, 18 feet wide and 36 feet long. The first floor was used for the Court room and the second story as offices for the County officers.

A. P. Lloyd was County Clerk at the time the Lodge was set to work, under dispensation in October, 1857, and there being no other room in the town which was large enough to be used as a lodge room, the Lodge was set to work in the County Clerk's office in the Court House.

The lodge continued to hold its meetings in the County Clerk's office until at the meeting of the Grand Lodge in June 1859, District Deputy Grand Master, John M. Crocket, having visited and inspected the lodge, made a report to the Grand Master, in which he used the following words:-"Stanfield Lodge No. 217, has not a suitable building and unless it can satisfy the Grand Lodge that it will have, should be suspended."

With this warning, the brethren set to work to devise a plan to build or secure a suitable lodge room which would satisfy the requirements of the Grand Lodge, when it was decided to build a Masonic Hall.

Brother F. L. Moore donated a lot of ground, situated on the west side of South Elm street, being about a half acre of land, almost a quarter mile from the Public Square. But the problem then confronting these brethren was how to get the lumber and material with which to build their lodge hall. The nearest lumber to be had for building purposes was in East Texas. They purchased their lumber at Winnsboro in Wood County, and with ox wagons, hauled all the lumber used in the building, except the dimension or framing timbers, from Winnsboro, a distance of 150 miles. The framing timbers, and dimension lumber was made of oak trees, that were felled, hewn and prepared in the forest of Denton County; conveyed, thence in ox wagons, over rough roads to the building site on Elm street, where it was set up and adjusted with the assistance of saws and hammers prepared for the purpose. And it is said, that the building, when completed, fitted with such exact nicety in all its parts, that it was an honor to Stanfield Lodge, and an ornament to the Community.

This Masonic Hall was a two story, framed building, twenty four feet wide, and forty eight feet long. The first floor was intended for a school house, that being the only school house in the town at that time. The second story was for the Lodge room.

This building served as the only school house for the children of Denton for several years, the only requirement made by the lodge was that all orphan children of Master Masons should have free tuition. It was also used as a church, or house of worship, by all religious denominations, free of charge.

In September 1859, Stanfield Lodge moved into its new lodge room, and this building was the home of the lodge for more than forty years. And when, in 1905, this building was sold to Brother Ponder it was still a good and substantial building.

From the time Stanfield Lodge first occupied its Lodge room on South Elm Street in 1859, there was a steady and healthy growth in its membership, increasing from 27 when the charter was issued in 1858, to more than fifty at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. And, even during the distressing conditions brought about by the war, the lodge continued to meet and practice the precepts of Freemasonry. At the close of the War in 1865, it had a membership of more than 75.


Chapter Four


Stanfield Lodge continued to occupy its lodge room from 1859, until about the year 1880, when the brethren became somewhat dissatisfied with the location of the lodge, it being so far from the business part of the town. A committee was appointed to secure a suitable lodge room more conveniently located. This committee soon made a contract with Brother F. E. Piner for the lease of the second story of a new brick building which he had erected at the southeast corner of the Public Square, at an annual rental of $300.00, and in the fall of the year 1880, the lodge moved into its new quarters in the Piner Building.

The lodge room was well furnished and conveniently located on the Public Square, and for a time the Lodge continued to grow and prosper. But for some reason, after three or four years, there was a loss of interest in the Lodge; there were but few applications for degrees, and there seemed to be a general apathy among the members, so, that it was not long until the lodge did not have sufficient income from fees and dues to pay the rent on the lodge room. This condition continued until the year 1885, when there was due Brother Piner for unpaid rent about $300.00, and no funds with which to pay it.

About this time some of the brethren became so discouraged that they insisted on surrendering the charter, and let the door on Masonry in Denton be closed. However, some of the brethren would not consent to let their lodge die of inanition, and advocated moving back to the old lodge room on South Elm street, and by a vote of the lodge, it was decided to move the lodge back into their old home. As a result of this action of the lodge, a number of those who had been rather zealous Masons when the lodge was prosperous, and everything looked bright, demitted, thus greatly reducing the number of active members. But after the lodge had moved back into its old lodge room in 1886, it took on a new life. It was arranged for Brother D. J. Eddleman, who was District Deputy Grand Master, to visit the lodge and hold a school of instruction, which he did, and this enthused the lodge with a new life. There was, after that, always a full attendance at all the meetings, and each one was not only willing, but anxious to do all in his power to advance the interest of his lodge. The membership granularly increased, both from affiliations and from new members. Schools of instruction were held for the purpose of rendering the officers more proficient in the work. About this time, the writers began attending the Grand Lodge, and the committee on work, and soon became quite proficient in the work. So much so, that he could have had a certificate, but could not afford to accept it, for the reason that, at that time, it was understood that anyone who held a certificate was under a sort of moral obligation to attend any lodge which should request it, and hold a school of instruction. However, he spent a good part of his time in instructing the officers of the lodge in the esoteric work, so that they soon became fairly proficient. Thus it will be seen that 1880 to 1886, was a crucial time for Stanfield Lodge. It was a case of life or death. And there are a number of members of this lodge who deserve a large share of the credit for saving the life of the lodge at that time. J. M. Blount, J. W. Cook, Dr. C. pips comb, C. H. Jackson, J. R. McCormick, and Wm. McCormick, all past Masters of the lodge, who have passed over the Great Divide, are among those whose devotion to the percepts and the principals of Masonry helped to keep the lodge alive. Others still living were equally active in making it possible for Stanfield Lodge to be a growing and prosperous lodge in 1919, owning property worth almost $20,000.00, with an active membership of more than two hundred.

The lodge continued to occupy its old lodge room on Elm street from the time it moved back in 1886, during the following eight or ten years. And during that time it enjoyed a healthy and a steady growth in membership.

Schools of instruction were held by Brother John Watson, and the officers and members became fairly proficient in the esoteric work.


Chapter Five


In May 1894, a committee was appointed to devise a plan for building or securing a suitable lodge room near the Public Square, which would not be so inaccessible as the old lodge room, and on September 18th, a contract was made with Brother W. A. Ponder for the purchase of the second story of the brick building which he was then having erected on Hickory street. This committee was composed of S. M. Bradley, J. W. Underwood, J. W. Cook and R. M. Kelsoe. The price which the lodge was to pay Brother Ponder for the upper floor of this building was $1750.00, Brother Ponder agreeing to take the old lodge building, together with the lot on which it stood at $400.00, in part payment for the lodge room. On November 10th, following, a committee was appointed to solicit and collect subscriptions and donations to pay for the new lodge room. All funds then in the treasury and which should afterwards come into the treasury from fees and dues, after paying the Grand Lodge dues, were to be applied in payment of the debt which the lodge had agreed to pay Brother Pinder, and which had been secured by promissory notes executed by the lodge.

In December, 1894, Stanfield Lodge held its first meeting in its new lodge room, which has been the home of the lodge since that time. The notes which had been made by the lodge for the purchase price of the lodge room were paid off as they became due, and Stanfield Lodge was the owner of the second story of this building.

In 1905, Brother Ponder desired to sell the building, the second story of which was then the property of the lodge, and a committee was appointed to make investigation and report the price at which this building could be bought, and the terms of payment. The committee soon reported that the building could be bought for a consideration of $8,300.00, and the committee was instructed and authorized by the lodge to enter into a contract with Brother Ponder for the purchase of this property at the price and on the terms offered, and soon afterwards a contract was made for the purchase of the building at the price of $8,300.00. The contract provided that #1,300.00 should be paid in cash, and ten promissory notes, each for the sum of $700.00 to be made for the balance.

These notes were executed by Stanfield Lodge No. 217, Denton Chapter No. 80, and Denton Commandery U. D. One note was to be paid each year until the whole amount of $7,000.00 should be paid.

In pursuance of this contract, on July, 1905, Brother W. A. Ponder in consideration of $8,300.00, executed his deed conveying the property to Stanfield Lodge, Denton Chapter and Denton Commandery, to be held and owned by them, jointly, each of said Masonic Bodies to pay one third of the notes which had been given for the purchase price. This proved to be a splendid investment for Stanfield Lodge, and as is usual in such matters, there are a few members of this lodge who deserves a large share of the credit.

Among those whose foresight induced the lodge to purchase this property, were W. A. Ponder, M. S. Stout, J. M. Blount, J. R. McCormick, and others who have passed away, others who are still living and active members of the lodge, were largely instrumental in the negotiations which led to this investment. R. H. Evers, Ed. F. Bates rendered valuable service as secretaries of Stanfield Lodge and Denton Chapter in looking after the financial interest of the lodge in meeting the payment of the notes as they became due. At the time this property was acquired by the Lodge, Chapter and Commandery, there was a tacit understanding between W. A. Ponder and M. S. Stout, that if the Lodge and Chapter would continue Brother Evers as Secretary of the Lodge and Brother Bates as Secretary of the Chapter, Brother Stout would purchase the notes which had been given for the purchase money of this property and would either carry the notes himself, or have them carried by some one during the ten years in which they were to run. With this understanding the deal was closed, and the property conveyed to the Lodge, Chapter and Commandery. Brother Stout took over the notes, advanced the money, and Brother Ponder was paid in full for the purchase price of the property. Brothers Evers and Brother Bates were continued in office as secretaries of the Lodge and Chapter until the entire debt was paid. They willingly gave their time and their earnest efforts to the duties, not only of keeping the records of the several Masonic Bodies, but also to soliciting contributions with which to meet the payment of these notes as they became due. And they did this without hope or expectation of fee or reward except the satisfaction of having faithfully done their duty as Masons.

Coming generations of Masons who will enjoy the benefits and the profits resulting from the ownership of this lodge property, will owe at least a debt of thanks to all those earnest Masons who made it possible by their efforts, for the Masonic Bodies of Denton to reap the benefits of their labors.

This property, which cost the Lodge, Chapter and Commandery only $8,300.00 in 1905, is now worth almost $20,000.00, and besides furnishings a splendid lodge room for the use of several Masonic bodies, yields an annual income of more than a thousand dollars.


Chapter Six


When Stanfield lodge was set to work in 1857, there was no uniform system of disseminating and teaching the esoteric work. The work, as practiced in the lodges at that time was a sort of conglomerate, made up of parts of the work of various Gand Jurisdictions. And owing to the sparsely settled conditions of the country, and the difficulty of travel and transportation, it was not until after the Civil War when under the present methods of disseminating the work, that there was anything like a uniformity or work in the different lodges. Under such conditions, it is not surprising that in its early days Stanfield Lodge was reprimanded by the Grand Lodge for "calling off" a stated meeting, instead of closing the lodge; and of resolving the lodge into a "committee of the whole" to investigate the character of an applicant. This occurred in 1859. For these irregularities the lodge was duly reprimanded and warned that the arrest of its charter would be the discipline administered for a repetition of such infraction of the laws of the Grand Lodge.

In the year 1866, the charter of Stanfield Lodge was arrested for a flagrant violation of Masonic law in conferring the degrees upon J. R. McCormick, who had lost one of his legs. J. R. McCormick (known as Bob McCormick) had lived in Denton before the outbreak of the Civil War. He was a most amiable and lovable man. All who knew him liked Bob McCormick. When the Civil War came on, he, like most of the men in the South, volunteered to fight for what he believed to be the rights of the Sunny South. He made a gallant soldier. During a battle in Louisiana, he was shot in the leg, and to save his life, his right leg was amputated just below the knee. When he returned to his home all his friends and acquaintances sympathized with him in his misfortune. He was elected Tax Collector for the County at the first election after the close of the war. He wanted to be a Mason. Members of the lodge who had known him intimately, and who knew his splendid moral character, were anxious for him to be made a Mason. After consultation, and due deliberation, it was decided by those best posted in Masonic law that if he had an artificial leg on which he could walk without difficulty, he would not be physically disqualified to be made a Mason. He procured a cork leg, and with the aid of this he could walk without difficulty, almost as well as if he had two real legs. He was soon elected and received the degrees in Masonry, and was a member in good standing of Stanfield Lodge. This occurred in the later part of the year 1866, and when it was made known to the Grand Master, Richard Douglass, during the year 1867, he promptly arrested the charter, and Stanfield Lodge was in a state of innocuous desuetude for more than three years following.

When the Grand Lodge met in Houston in June, 1870, A. T. Donaldson, who was Worshipful Master of the Lodge at the time the charter was arrested, and J. A. Carroll, who was Junior Warden at that time, were selected by the lodge to go before the Grand Lodge in an effort to have the charter restored. Stanfield Lodge, its charter having been arrested, was not entitled to representation in the Grand Lodge, and these brethren procured proxies from Pilot Point Lodge and Gainesville Lodge, and with these as their credentials, attended the Grand Lodge. Not having an automobile, or other public conveyance, they saddled their horses, and traveled on horseback to Bryan, a distance of about two hundred miles, where they made connection with the Texas Central Railroad, and traveled thence, by train to Houston.

At this meeting of the Grand Lodge the question of the restoration of the charter of Stanfield Lodge was referred to the committee on Grand Officers Reports, and after A. T. Donaldson and J. A. Carroll, as the representives of Stanfield Lodge, had made explanations to the effect that the action of the lodge in conferring degrees on a man with only one leg, was not done with any intention of violating the laws of Masonry and the edicts of the Grand Lodge, but was only the result of ignorance of Masonic Law, and offering profuse apologies, and assurances that the lodge would not again violate the laws of Masonry, and the edicts of the Grand Lodge, the Committee made their report, in which they made use of the following language:- "We entirely concur on the sentiments of the Grand Master in the case of Stanfield Lodge No. 217, in arresting its charter. It grievously erred, and violated the laws, but, we think, more from ignorance and reliance on erroneous council than from intention. Moreover, they confess their error, and do not persist in maintaining their wrong action. We, therefore, recommend that the return of the charter be left to the decision of the Grand Master, at such time and on such terms as may be satisfactory to him." Soon after this, in September, 1870, the charter was restored by Grand Master, C. M. Winkler, and Stanfield Lodge was again a working lodge.

At the first election of officers of the lodge after this, J. R. McCormick, was elected secretary of the lodge, and was continued as secretary for several consecutive years. He soon became proficient in the work, and proved to be one of the most active and earnest members of the lodge. He was a regular attendant at the meetings of the lodge, and took an active interest in all the activities of the lodge. During his long membership he filled all the important offices of the lodge, and always with efficiency and satisfaction to his brethren. He served as Worshipful Master of the lodge for nine years. Few, if any members of this lodge has been worth more to Freemasonry in Denton County, than Bob McCormick. He was a member of the lodge from 1866, until his death, in 1907, when he passed away at Oachaca, Mexico, where he had been interested in a mining business for several years. "Peace to his ashes".

Such infractions of the ancient laws and landmarks of Masonry as that of Stanfield Lodge in conferring the degrees on a man with only one leg were of frequent occurrence after the close of the Civil War, resulting from the chaotic social and economic conditions, and the difficulty of disseminating the work, and the laws of Masonry.

Sympathy for worthy men who had been maimed in the military service was the cause of many hopeless cripples being made Masons. As an example:- A lodge in Kentucky, about this time, conferred the degrees on a candidate who had lost his right arm above the elbow.

The charter of Stanfield Lodge was arrested a second time for conferring the degrees on F. M. Rayzor, who had lost the first joint of the third finger of his left hand. In November, 1898, he was elected, and in due course, receiver the degrees. When this action of the lodge was reported to Grand Master, Sam R. Hamilton, on April 3, 1899, the charter was arrested and the door of the lodge was closed a second time, for violating the laws of Masonry. On June 9th, following, the writer, who was District Deputy Grand Master, made a visit to Grand Master Hamilton, and after explaining that it was not known by the officers of the lodge at the time the degrees were conferred, that the candidate was physically disqualified, and that there was not intention to violate the laws and edicts of the Grand Lodge, the charter was restored.


Chapter Seven

LAYING OF THE CORNER STONES BY STANFIELD LODGE.

 

Stanfield Lodge has appeared in public on many occasions, for the purpose of laying corner stones of public buildings, the first time after the lodge was set to work, being when the corner stone of the Masonic Hall was laid in 1859.

While we have no authentic report of this public function of the lodge, those now living who were present and witnessed the ceremonies say that a large concourse of people were present from all parts of the County, and that all Masons then living in Denton County were in the procession. Addresses were made by some of the leading Masons of Denton County. An old fashion barbecue was served.

Subsequent to that time, many corner stones of Churches and other public buildings were placed by Stanfield Lodge, owing to the loss of the Minutes of the lodge, there is no reliable information as to when and where many of these ceremonies of the lodge were preformed.

Since 1886, the records of the lodge show that the corner stones of many public buildings were laid by the members of Stanfield Lodge, among which are the following:-

On February 21, 1891, Stanfield Lodge laid the corner stone of the North Texas Normal College under dispensation granted by Geo. W. Tyler Grand Master, S. M. Bradley acting as proxy for the Grand Master. Brother F. E. Piner delivered an address to a large assembly of people From over the county.

  • On February 8, 1896, the corner stone of the Court House of Denton County was placed by Stanfield Lodge, Brother Sam R. Hamilton acting as proxy for the Grand Master. All lodges in the County were invited to attend and assist in the ceremonies, and a large crowd was present. Rev. Alexander C. Garrett, made an address.
  • On January 10, 1903, the lodge placed the corner stone of the College of Industrial Arts, Wm. James, as proxy for Grand Master, W. M. Fly, officiating. The ceremonies were witnessed by a large number of people, as well as representatives of other lodges in the County. Hon. Clarence Ousley of Fort Worth delivered an instructive address, explaining the purpose of the college and the possibilities of its future work and usefulness.
  • On July 2, 1904, this lodge laid the corner stone of the First Christian Church of Denton, S. M. Bradley as proxy for Grand Master, Wm. James in charge of the ceremonies.
  • On June 24, 1907, Stanfield Lodge laid the corner stone of the Methodist Dormitory at the College of Industrial Arts, S. M. Bradley, acting as proxy for the Grand Master.
  • On June 24, 1905, the officers elect of Stanfield Lodge were publicly installed in the First Christian Church, S. M. Bradley, D.D.G.M. acting as installing officer. Since Stanfield Lodge was constituted in 1858, many of its members have held public office, a partial list of its members thus honored being as follows:

C. C. Lacy was District Surveyor in 1858, and following years.

    • A. P. Loyd was County Clerk in 1857, until his death in 1858.
    • W. W. O. Stanfield was County Clerk in 1858.
    • J. W. Simmons was County Treasurer in 1858.
    • C. C. Daugherty was Sheriff in 1858.
    • J. M. Blount was County Judge in 1860, and State Senator in 1866.
    • Matt Daugherty was Sheriff in 1866.
    • J. R. McCormick was Tax Collector in 1865.
    • J. R. McCormick was County Clerk in 1876, and several years following.
    • W. F. Eagan was Sheriff in 1876, and several years following.
    • F. E. Piner was District Attorney in 1872. State Senator in 1876, and District Judge in 1884.
    • J. A. Carroll was District Judge in 1876.
    • Thomas E. Hogg was County Judge in 1876.
    • C. C. Scruggs was County Judge in 1880.
    • E. C. Smith was County Attorney in 1876. Representative in 1894 and State Senator in 1906.
    • S. M. Bradley was County Judge in 1884, and 1892.
    • Lee Zumwalt was County Judge in 1906.
    • C. C. Bell was Representative in the Legislature in 1888.
    • J. W. Cook was Tax Collector in 1888.
    • Worth S. Ray was Representative in 1907, and 1909.

The following members of Stanfield Lodge have held office in the Grand Lodge:

W. W. O. Stanfield, District Deputy Grand Master, in 1860.

  • S. M. Bradley, District Deputy Grand Master, 1889 to 1901.
  • Lee Zumwalt, District Deputy Grand Master, 1906.
  • W. H. Thompson, District Deputy Grand Master, in 1912 to 1915.
  • B. F. Kelsey, District Deputy Grand Master, 1917.
  • J. W. Pender, District Deputy Grand Master, 1918.
  • Ray Bishop, District Deputy Grand Master, 1919.
  • S. M. Bradley, Grand Master of Masons in 1905.

 

Chapter Eight

MASONIC FUNERALS.

 

It has been the custom of Stanfield Lodge since it was constituted, and set to work, in keeping with the time honored custom of Masonry, that when a brother died, to lay him to rest with Masonic honors.

But, owing to the loss of the records prior to the year 1886, it is not possible to obtain the names of many members who died and were laid to rest by their surviving brethren. If these records were available, the roll would include many of the pioneer Masons and prominent citizens of Denton County.

Since the year 1886, the following named brethren, members of Stanfield Lodge have been buried with Masonic honors:

Dr. C. L. Herbert, buried April 9, 1887.

  • W. L. Donovan, buried May 3, 1889.
  • W. M. Mounts, buried May 6, 1889.
  • J. A. Carroll, buried October 13, 1891.
  • J. B. Lynch, buried September 16, 1892.
  • J. M. Johnson, buried July 10, 1893.
  • J. B. Sawyer, buried January 26, 1895.
  • Hunderson Murphy, buried February 27, 1895.
  • John Haynes, buried May 4, 1895.
  • John Brenhem, buried January 15, 1897.
  • B. E. Greenlee, buried September 18, 1897.
  • J. M. Blount, buried February 23, 1899.
  • R. D. Gillespie, buried July 21, 1899.
  • T. J. B. Neeley, buried July 21, 1899.
  • F. E. Piner, buried December 14, 1900.
  • W. R. Watson, buried November 18, 1901.
  • J. M. Roark, buried, 1901.
  • J. W. Simmons, buried, 1901.
  • Pierce Anderson, buried April 19, 1902.
  • Nathan Johnson, buried January 2, 1903.
  • L. Willis, buried February 12, 1905.
  • S. A. Claywell, buried February 24, 1905.
  • A. E. Allen, buried March 22, 1905.
  • J. W. Gober, buried February 24, 1905.
  • A. Griffith, buried December 29, 1906.
  • E. B. Keyte, buried June 3, 1907.
  • Roswell Chapman, buried July 16, 1907.
  • J. T. Porter, buried December 30, 1907.
  • R. L. Hayes, buried December 31, 1907.
  • J. M. Griffin, buried September 14, 1908.
  • A. T. Baker, buried January 31, 1909.
  • W. C. Sledge, buried January 31, 1909.
  • J. W. Black, buried June 13, 1909.
  • Wm. Payne, buried November 13, 1909.
  • Ben T. Card, buried April 18, 1910.
  • T. M. Jones, buried June 6, 1910.
  • C. H. Jackson, buried November 8, 1910.
  • M. S. Stout, buried December 4, 1910.
  • W. G. Evans, buried September 20, 1911.
  • H. C. Storrie, buried March 18, 1912.
  • W. B. Francis, buried December 17, 1913.
  • Wm. M. Madden, buried June 14, 1914.
  • Dr. C. Lipscomb, buried March 27, 1915.
  • J. A. Thomas, buried December 31, 1915.
  • J. W. Cook, buried September 21, 1916.
  • E. J. Brock, buried December 10, 1916.
  • J. E. Corey, buried June 2,1917.
  • O. P. Poe, buried April 1917.
  • P. C. Withers, buried July 17, 1917.
  • W. H. Hardee, buried November 3, 1917.
  • F. J. Craddock, buried December 21, 1917.

 

Chapter Nine

ROLL OF MEMBERS FOR EACH YEAR.

 

The following is a list of members of Stanfield Lodge for each year since the lodge was constituted, as shown by the Returns made to the Grand Lodge.

At intervals of about ten years the names of the officers and members are given, except for the years from 1866 to 1870, during which time the charter was arrested, and no returns were made.

It has been impossible to procure a list of the names of the original petitioners for dispensation. The names of the officers and members for the year 1858, are shown on page one.

 

ROLL FOR 1859.

 

J. M. Blount, Worshipful Master.

  • Gibson Myers, Senior Warden.

  • G. W. Hughes, Junior Warden.

  • J. W. McIlhenny, Treasurer.

  • Samuel L. Glassford, Secretary.

  • J. W. Gober, Senior Deacon.

  • E. Rowe, Junior Deacon.

  • C. C. Lacy, Tyler.

  • W. W. O. Stanfield, Past Master.

 

MEMBERS.

 

S. P. Bebee, Felix McKitrick, Willis Wilson, Wm. Spear. L. W. Arnold, E. Boone, J. W. Simmons, John Teague, C. R. Little, J. N. Hembry, E. M. Kelley, J. A. Burns, S. J. Chapman, Joseph Spear, John A. Mayfield.

  • Total 24.

  • Fellow Crafts 8.

  • Entered Apprentices 8.

 

ROLL FOR 1860.

 

Gibson Myers, Worshipful Master.

  • Samuel L. Glassford, Secretary.

  • J. W. Simmons, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 28.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 4.

 

ROLL FOR 1861.

 

Samuel L. Glassford, Worshipful Master.

  • J. M. Blount, Secretary.

  • W. C. Baines, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 47.

  • Fellow Crafts 6.

  • Entered Apprentices 2.

  • Demitted - W. W. O. Stanfield.

  • Deid - J. J. Young.

 

ROLL FOR 1862.

 

Samuel L. Glassford, Worshipful Master.

  • J. M. Blount, Secretary.

  • W. C. Baines, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 46.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 2.

 

ROLL FOR 1863.

 

Samuel L. Glassford, Worshipful Master.

  • J. M. Blount, Secretary.

  • Stephen Hyatt, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 43.

  • Fellow Crafts 3.

  • Entered Apprentices 13.

 

ROLL FOR 1864.

 

J. M. Blount, Worshipful Master.

  • John Richardson, Secretary.

  • Stephen Hyatt, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 58.

 

ROLL FOR 1865.

 

J. M. Blount, Worshipful Master.

  • John Richardson, Secretary.

  • J. M. McCurley, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 75.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 12.

 

Following is a full list of officers and members for the year 1866.

 

W. C. Smith, Worshipful Master.

  • G. W. Hughes, Senior Warden.

  • A. T. Donaldson, Junior Warden.

  • W. C. Baines, Treasurer.

  • J. C. Blake, Secretary.

  • S. K. Smith, Senior Deacon.

  • S. N. Lawler, Junior Deacon.

  • W. F. Eagan, Senior Steward.

  • Wm. McCormick, Junior Steward.

  • L. M. Fry, Tyler.

  • J. M. Blount, Past Master.

 

MEMBERS.

 

Ervin Adams, E, Boone, R. A. Brown, W. E. Bates, R. B. Bradley, S. Berry, J. M. Burleson, T. K. Blake, S. P. Bebee, J. M. Chasteen, S. J. Chapman, John Cranston, A. Cruse, J. H. Christal, J. D. Dallas, W. H. Downard, C. C. Daugherty, T. W. Daugherty, F. R. Davis, Noah Eakin, J. F. Edward, T. J. Eagan, Thos Eagan, J. P. Eddleman, J. H. Edwards, Thos Fletcher, J. F. Fry, Jas. Farris, Alex Gooding, John W. Gober, E. Gonnah, G. A. Grissom, J. N. Hembree, S. Hyatt, A. J. Hodges, J. M. Hamilton, R. B. Haynes, Chas. C. Lacy, J. W. Lowly, R. N. Lusk, Wm. McCormick, J. J. McConnell, J. C. Maxey, H. Murphy, Sidney Marcus, W. H. Mounts, J. H. Mounts, F. S. Perry, John G. Petty, G. W. Real, J. Ed Row, John Richardson, J. C. Rowbardy, Wm. Spear, L. L. Stroud, A. G. Strap, A. H. Serrin, J. Steward, C. C. Vessrey, A. C. Warren, C. T. Weise, B. Wagnon.

  • Total 75.

  • Fewllow Crafts - M. R. Burleson, P. C. James, F. L. Moore, J. D. Pollard, W. H. Taylor, E. A. Teal, R. L. Whitehead.

  • Entered Apprentices - Alex Brown, S. C. Burnett, W. C. Bobbitt, Josiah Cook, James Collings, S. M. Downing, O. B. Dodson, Matt Daugherty, A. H. Fontenberry, H. C. Foster, R. R. Hamilton, W. C. Fletcher, J. G. Kincaid, John Kendall, D, R, Morris, G. C. McCurley, Enoch Morris, C. C. Reynolds, J. M. Roark, D. M. Street, Isaac Shoop, Calvin Williams.

  • Suspended - J. M. Seel.

  • Demitted - Isaac Anderson, J. J. Ensey, J. Eberly, J. H. Foster, G. L. Glassford, James Hensley, A. W. Jones, J. P. Liles, Gibson Myers, J. B. McCurley, Nick Wilson.

  • Dead - W. C. Sicer.

 

ROLL FOR 1871.

 

A. T. Donaldson, Worshipful Master.

  • J. R. McCormick, Secretary.

  • G. W. Hughes, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 66.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 2.

  • Demitted - 4.

  • Suspended for non-payment of dues - 6.

 

ROLL FOR 1872.

 

G. W. Hughes, Worshipful Master.

  • J. R. McCormick, Secretary.

  • W. H. Mounts, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 77.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 2.

  • Demitted - 10.

 

ROLL FOR 1873.

 

J. M. Blount, Worshipful Master.

  • J. R. McCormick, Secretary.

  • W. H. Mounts, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 81.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 4.

  • Demitted - 3.

  • Died - T. J. McDowell.

 

ROLL FOR 1874.

 

Wm. McCormick, Worshipful Master.

  • J. R. McCormick, Secretary.

  • J. J. Ensey, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 87.

  • Fellow Crafts 4.

  • Entered Apprentices 4.

 

ROLL FOR 1875.

 

D. R. Grafton, Worshipful Master.

  • C. C. Bell, Secretary.

  • J. R. McCormick, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 73.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 5.

  • Died - C. T. Weise.

 

ROLL FOR 1876.

 

W. S. Cash, Worshipful Master.

  • M. L. Bradley, Secretary.

  • J. M. Blount, Treasurer.

  • Number of Master Masons 72.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 5.

  • Demitted - 12.

  • Suspended for non payment of dues - G. W. Hughes.

 

ROLL FOR 1877.

 

J. R. McCormick, Worshipful Master.

  • E. B. Keyte, Secretary.

  • J. M. Blount, Treasurer.

  • Master Masons 85.

  • Fellow Crafts 2.

  • Entered Apprentices 5.

  • Demitted - 12.

  • Suspended for non payment of dues G. W. Hughes.

 

ROLL OF MEMBERS FOR 1878.

 

J. R. McCormick, Worshipful Master.

  • E. C. Smith, Senior Warden.

  • Thomas E Hogg, Junior Warden.

  • J. M. Blount, Treasurer.

  • Wm. McCormick, Secretary.

  • Boon Daugherty, Senior Deacon.

  • A. W. Massey, Junior Deacon.

  • John Johnson, Senior Steward.

  • R. Chapman, Junior Steward.

  • S. A. Claywell, Tyler.

 

PAST MASTERS

 

J. M. Blount, J. C. Smith, Wm. McCormick, D. R. Grafton, A. T. Donaldson, W. S. Cash, J. R. McCormick.

 

Chapter Ten

OTHER MASONIC BODIES IN DENTON.

 

Denton Chapter No. 80, was chartered June 18, 1861, and has been active in Masonic work and benevolence during its life. There are now 118 members of Denton Chapter.

Denton Commandery was chartered April 26, 1906, and has had a steady and a healthy growth, increasing from a small number in 1906, to more than sixty active members at this time.

While the order of the Eastern Star is not a Masonic body, it is rather closely related to Masonry, being something like a foster child to the Masonic lodge.

The Denton Eastern Star Chapter was organized in 1905, and has been active in the work for which it was intended. From a small membership it has grown to more than a hundred.