History of Chesterville Lodge A.F. and A.M. No. 320 G.R.C.
The By-Laws and Constitution of the newly formed Masonic Lodge No. 320 G. R. C. were adopted in open Lodge on June 29th 1874, and confirmed on July 25, 1874. The first meeting of the Lodge was held in an old hall close to the town Post Office, and for the next 38 years, dues were $1.00 per year, and the initiation fee was a staggering $20.00. During the early years of Chesterville Lodge, members included Bros. from nearly every town within a 15-mile radius of Chesterville. Subsequently, Lodges were formed in Winchester, Finch, Williamsburg, Avonmore and Russell.
On April 5th 1909, a devastating fire destroyed all the buildings on the East side of King St., from Water to Ralph Streets. The Lodge rooms were situated on the second floor of the building at the corner of Water & King Streets, and all of the Lodge records were destroyed, with the exception of a Receipt book with entries dating back to 1882. The secretary, Bro. Wm. Gillispie must have kept this book at his place of residence. During the 3 years after the fire, it is interesting to note that the Lodge rented space in a building owned by T. T. Shaw’s Printing for $25.00 per month.
In 1912 the members of the Lodge and the Oddfellows, combined to build a beautiful building right on Main St. in Chesterville, with the well appointed lodge rooms on the ground floor. The official dedication was held on October 8th, 1913, with the Most Worshipful, the Grand Master, Bro. Wm. D. McPherson and several Grand Lodge officers officiating. Records also show that the Grand Master arrived by train from Toronto early that evening, attended the dedication, and returned to Toronto directly after the close of the lodge. Return train fare from Toronto was $7.95.
In June of 1973, the Lodge was once again struck with a major loss. A tornado swept through the village, destroying the roof and the second floor of the Lodge building. The building was back into full use by June 1974, and would remain as our home until 1997 when the costs of maintaining the building had climbed so high, that a vote was taken, and the decision made, to rent the Lodge room from Henderson Lodge in Winchester where we remain to this day.
During the past 133 years, our Lodge has been honoured to have 7 Brothers acting in the capacity of District Deputy Grand Master for Eastern District.
DDGM District Secretaries
1905-06 R.W.Bro. A.M. Fulton V.W.Bro. Dr. W.A. Brown
1911-12 R.W.Bro.O.D. Casselman V.W.Bro. Rev. S.A. Woods
1929-30 R.W.Bro. Dr. S.H. Hutt V.W.Bro. G.G. Merkley
1945-46 R.W.Bro. P.S. Boyd V.W.Bro. Haldane Durant
1966-67 R.W.Bro. Beckstead V.W.Bro. A.E. Jarvis
1986-87 R.W.Bro. Robinson V.W.Bro. John McMillan
2005-06 R.W.Bro. David Baerg V.W.Bro. Colvin Smith
Special mention should be made of these members who achieved the rank of Grand Stewart.
1882-83 V.W. Bro. J. Holmes
1974-75 V.W. Bro. Fay Shaver
1980-81 V.W. Bro. S. Mattice
1990-00 V.W. Bro. Jack Cross
2002-03 V.W. Bro. Jim Bernard
2006-07 V.W.Bro Colvin Smith
Chesterville Lodge continues to show a strong presence within the community, sponsoring blood donor clinics, hosting the Heart & Stroke Duck Race, and funding Bursary Projects for students at the areas Middle School, and High School, as well as the Frederick Earl Eaton Bursary Fund. New initiatives are also underway for a Lodge sponsored, Child Identification Program.
W. Bro. Jim Tutton
Worshipful Master 2007-08