Cornwall Lodge No. 125

History of Cornwall Lodge A.F and A.M. No. 125 G.R.C

The history of Cornwall Lodge dates from the year 1793, when a warrant was granted to Members of the Craft residing at Cornwall in the County of Stormont, in the Eastern part of Upper Canada, by the Grand Lodge of England. The Lodge was called Athol Lodge, No. 3, and Walter B. Wilkinson was the Master. There are no records in existence of the work done by the Lodge at that time, and there seems to be a difference of opinion as to whether the warrant was issued specially to Cornwall Lodge or was transferred from the regiment of the Queen’s Rangers, whose charter became dormant about that time. From 1793 until 1804 there appears to be no record and it is not until the 17th of April 1804, that we again hear of it.  On that date Bro. Jermyn Patrick, the Grand Secretary of the Provincial Grand Lodge at York, in Upper Canada, writing to the W. Master and officers of Lodge No. 1 of Niagara says: “Another warrant has been granted to brethren of Cornwall, designated by Athol Lodge No. 3, bearing date 13th February,1804‑ Walter Butler Wilkinson, Esquire, Master.”  The lodge became dormant in 1812 and the charter was probably transferred to Brockville in 1816.

The present Lodge was instituted in 1860 and the charter being dated July 12th of that year, and is signed by M. Wor. Bro. William M. Wilson, the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada. The officers were:

Wor. Master             John McLellan

Senior Warden        Thomas Bacon

Junior Warden          F.F. Beaufort

The Lodge continued to grow and prosper until in July 1876, a fire occurred which completely wiped it out destroying all the records and documents which had been carefully preserved and which could not be replaced.  In January 1884, the Lodge was again destroyed by fire, and after occupying several rooms in different parts of the town, finally settled into permanent quarters.

Compared with its rather unsteady history in the 19th century, the Masonic Lodges in Cornwall would benefit from many positive changes and a vast increase in membership during the 20th century.

Corinthian Lodge No. 669 and Eastern Lodge No. 707 were spawned by the renewed interest in Freemasonry realised by veterans returning from World War II and by the many who moved to the Cornwall area during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway.  The dedication of the membership of Cornwall’s three Lodges resulted in the construction of the existing Lodge building during the 1950’s and for the next thirty years many fine men were initiated, passed and raised within it’s walls.  By the 1980’s, many renovations were clearly necessary and modest improvements were made to the lodge rooms and mechanical systems making it much more attractive and comfortable.

This saga clearly shows that while Freemasonry is steadfast in its tradition and allegory, its Lodges and members are ever changing.  A change occurred in 1999, when the Lodge building name was changed from the Cornwall Masonic Temple to the Cornwall Masonic Centre to remove any implied religious preference.

Once again, change impacted upon The Masonic Centre when the building was sold to the Local Muslim Corporation and on March 3, 2004, Cornwall Lodge No. 125 held its last meeting in the Cornwall Masonic Centre. Cornwall Lodge 125 started meeting at Fraternity Hall, Ingleside with its April 2004 meeting.

The Lodge’s membership changed in February of 2005 when Eastern Lodge No. 707 amalgamated with the Mother Lodge, Cornwall No. 125  under the name of Cornwall Lodge No 125.

It will be interesting to watch the future of Freemasonry unfold within Cornwall Lodge No. 125 into this next millennium.

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