THE HISTORY OF DUFFERIN LODGE
A Brief Report
In 1875, Welland Lodge No. 36, which met in Fonthill, presented our petition for Constitution to the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. J. K. Kerr. Dispensation was granted late in 1875, and the first official meeting was held on January 11, 1876 in Leonard Durham's hotel with nine members present. This hotel was next door to our present lodge hall eastwardly. At this first meeting the lodge had to borrow $125.00 from three of its members to pay the accounts.
The names of the first members of the lodge are as follows:
...... Dr. John S. McCallum - who was our first Master and who left in August 1877 to take his practice to Smith's Falls.
...... John C. Gracey - Merchant, who died December 11, 1877.
...... Dilly C. Holmes - who was active until at least 1924, past his 80th birthday, which the lodge celebrated by a visitation of the Members and their wives.
...... Nicholas Shafley - Farmer, who was active many years and died in 1924.
...... James Rice - Lumber dealer, deceased in 1888.
...... John E. Cohoe - was still active in 1924.
...... Leonard Durham - Hotel keeper, suspended June 3, 1885.
...... Peter Swarts - Shoemaker, deceased 1905.
...... Benjamin Sutherland - Merchant, suspended December 14, 1880.
The D.D.G.M. on his first visit suggested, for obvious reason, the lodge acquire a new hall as soon as possible. So, in 1878 a new lodge room which was located in a building two lots west of the present location, was leased for $34.00 per year from Walter Misener. Lodge met there from 1879 to 1888, when the brethren moved to Mr. James Sheldon's building which was practically across the road from our present location. On May 3, 1903 the present Lodge building was purchased from the widow of Brother William Zink for the sum of $125.00. The building was located across the street from our present location and it is thought, at that time, to have been used as a hardware store. It remained there until November 1914 and then it was moved to our present location which was purchased in 1913 from J.L. Heaslip for the sum of $200.00.
It is noted by W. Bro. Ewart Cass that when he became a member in 1940 the building was heated with two airtight stoves which were, at that time, in bad shape. The heating system was later changed to oil and then, again, made the full circle back to gas.
In 1952 the kitchen and washroom were added.
Even though the lodge was badly in need of finances when it was started, the first three candidates were turned down. The next three were received. The initiation fee at that time was $20.00 and annual dues were $1.50. And as it is much the same today with many lodges, the new lodge had trouble with arrears in dues. Some members appear to have been suspended and restored more than once. Restoration seems to have been $5.00 plus current dues, but some seemed to have been made to pay all arrears. It is noted in a portion of the 1881 minutes that about half the applications for initiation were rejected for no apparent reason. In order to stop any individual from taking his spite out on any candidate, the Worshipful Master at that time, Nicholas Shafley proposed that the ballot must show at least two black balls to disqualify a candidate.
Meetings for many years were held on the Tuesday on or before the full moon. The reason was that at that time they could see where the mud puddles were, and avoid them especially when the roads were so bad that they had to walk to lodge.
In these early years the Niagara district included all the lodges from Caledonia east to Fort Erie.
A few interesting facts:
Nov. 29, 1887 - The first church service was held in the Church of England in the Village. Half the collection went to the minister, the other half to the English Church.
1900 - The present seal of Dufferin Lodge No. 338 was bought for $5.00.
1903 - Territorial jurisdiction haunted Dufferin Lodge No. 338. Amity in Dunnville, Ivy Lodge in Smithville, and Merrit Lodge in Welland. The latter ordered a committee to have the distance between Wellandport and Fenwick and Fenwick to Welland measured. Bro. Jacob Huber was paid $2.00 and Bro. John Newby was paid $1.50 for walking and measuring the distance.
1903 - A portion of one meeting's accounts reveal: Mrs. Durham, 33 meals and horse feed, $8.75.
1919 - St. George's Lodge No. 15, St. Catharines presented a beautiful set of door knockers to this lodge, and they are still in use today.
1924 - Electric lights were proposed.
1926 - Our 50th Anniversary.
1929 - Niagara District was divided into A and B.
1944 - Neil Jones was initiated. The evening was late and a feast of pancakes were prepared for all on a wood stove in the lodge hall at 1 o'clock in the morning.
1945 - Date of regular meetings set for second Tuesday of each month instead of Tuesday on or before the full moon.
1962 - Applications were received from three Davis Brothers, Douglas, Edward, Alex and a brother-in-law, Bruce Stayzer.
Sept., 1962 - W. Bro. Donald Cass presented to Dufferin Lodge an Immediate Past Master Jewel, to be worn by the I.P.M. and passed on to his successor. The donation was from W. Bro. Donald Cass and W. Bro. Gordon Bayes.
May 18, 1971 - W. Bros. John Rigg and George Stillwell presented the lodge with a plaque in honour of their fathers. This plaque has the names of the Past Masters over the last 100 years.
1972 - R.W. Bro. Neil Jones was installed as District Deputy Grand Master of Niagara District "A". His Secretary was W. Bro. George Harris.
1975 - Wm. Heaslip was elected W.M. for our Centennial year. The lodge set out to raise $3000.00 for the Centennial Fund.
Nov. 5, 1975 - We were granted permission to wear gold braid.
1976 - Our 100th anniversary.
Fall, 1981 - The lodge was rewired and a new ceiling installed in the banquet room.
June, 1982 - The floor of the banquet room collapsed under the weight of some of the Brethren at our Installation. It was repaired that summer.
1985 - R.W. Bro. William E. Heaslip was installed as District Deputy Grand Master of Niagara District "A". His Secretary was W. Bro. Sam Kingma.
1986 - The exterior of the Lodge building was painted.
Dec, 1989 - R. W. Bro. Neil Jones was honoured for 26 years of service as the secretary of the lodge. He had retired from the position in June of that year.
1999 - R.W. Bro. R. Bruce McLennan was installed as District Deputy Grand Master of Niagara District "A". His Secretary was W. Bro. John Rigg.
1993 - The building was covered with new vinyl siding.
Fall, 2003 - Installed new gas furnace.