Lodge History (1858-1899)
No record reveals the reason or the manner in which the name URANIA was chosen for this lodge. The word URANIA is Greek, meaning heavenly one, the muse of astronomy. This is indeed a fitting name.
In the year 1858, several Master Masons residing in this area then known as Pleasant Valley, Ohio and being members of Palestine Lodge #158, Marysville, Ohio, and seeing the need of Lodge, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Ohio for a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons be instituted in this place.
A dispensation was granted October 21, 1858 at the Methodist Church with the following being present: John Beach, E. R. Cook, A. Downing, T.J. Downing, A. D. Doolittle, T. W. Fasha, A. J. Ferguson, Wesley Ferguson, Joseph Guitner, J. K. Holycross, Benjamin King, W. W. Norton and D. C. Winget.
On the following day, November 17, 1858, a second meeting was held at the same location and at that meeting Bro. W. T. Snow, District Lecturer was there to install the following officers: A. Downing, W. M., E. R. Cook, S. W., J. K. Holycross, J. W., Joseph Guitner, Secy., A. Doolittle, Treas., W. W. Norton, S. D., D. C. Winger, J. D., and Wesley Ferguson, Tyler.
The third meeting was held the next day and the District Lecturer, Bro. W. T. Snow was present for the purpose of instruction. On this date, the Odd Fellows were contacted and quarters were leased for future meetings.
The first petitioner to Urania Lodge was Mr. E. W. Barrow, on November 21, 1858.
Bro. Levi Hager, having received the E. A. and F. C. degrees at Palestine Lodge #158, Marysville, Ohio was the first to be raised to the sublime degree by Urania Lodge. This was done January 26, 1859.
In July, 1859, the following brethren, Bros. E. W. Barrow, A. J. Ferguson, J. B. Hagerty and E. R. Cook were appointed by the Worshipful Master,
A. Downing, to accompany the remain of Bro. A. G. Curry (the second petitioner of Urania Lodge) to Washington, Pennsylvania for burial. Their expenses amounted to $56.44 and was loaned to the lodge by some of the brethren and later reimbursed by the Lodge.
The Lodge worked under a dispensation until the charter was granted by the Grand Lodge and was presented by M. W. G. M. Horace M. Stokes October 30, 1859.
The first by-laws stated that the meetings be held on the Wednesday on or before the full moon, but it seems they met at least once a month and as often as the Worshipful Master deemed necessary. The meetings were held at the Odd Fellows hall until 1862, paying a yearly rent of $18.00. They then rented a room over McCloud’s Drug Store, which according to records, was located over what is now Tedrick’s Hardware Store. (The address is 153 West Main Street, now a chiropractor’s office, 2002).
The records show that on November 5, 1862, the amount of $10.50 was paid to Mrs. McCloud for rent.
The first public installation of officers was held November 16, 1859 at the Methodist Church. The District Deputy Grand Master, Bro. G. W. Snow was present to install the officers-elect.
A Tyler sword was presented to the Lodge by Bro. Thomas Haynes on April 1, 1863. This sword was later returned to Bro. Haynes’ son upon request.
During the year 1867, the brethren formed what was known as the Urania Lodge Building Co. and sold stock to the brethren. The records do not reveal what happened to the company or if a building was ever constructed, but sometime during 1867 the Lodge moved from the McCloud location to the new quarters on the third floor of the Odd Fellow Hall, paying rent of $37.66 for two years. On December 27.1867 new officers were installed and the new Lodge hall was dedicated. Officiating at these ceremonies were Past Grand Master Thomas Sparrow, Deputy Grand Master Joseph Stewart, Senior Grand Warden Chandler and Junior Grand Warden I. E. Bigelow. A sum of $285.61 was paid at that time for new furnishings for the new lodge hall.
A petition was received on May 31, 1871, from Hilliard, Ohio asking for consent and recommendation of Urania Lodge to institute a new Lodge in that place. This was found to be incorrect, was returned and was again presented on August 30, 1871, under the name of Zion Lodge. This petition was accepted by our Lodge but for some reason did not meet the requirements of the Grand Lodge so again on July 9, 1873, the petition was again presented to this Lodge under the name of Avery Lodge. This was accepted and passed by Urania Lodge on this date.
In checking a book entitled History of Madison County, the name of this village was changed from Pleasant Valley to Plain City in 1872. The reason being that several villages had the same name and goods were being sent to the wrong place. The first record of a meeting being held under the name of Plain City, Ohio, was on December 31, 1873.
On August 20, 1874, a special dispensation was obtained from the Grand Lodge and the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. Byers attended Urania Lodge, observed the work, followed the refreshments and later in the day attended a picnic. The records are silent as to the location of the picnic.
Because a charge was placed against one Bro. William Harris for frequent drunkenness, a special meeting was called on December 2, 1874 and a trial was held. He pleaded guilty as charged, ballots were taken and he was reprimanded in a friendly manner by the Worshipful Master and a brotherly feeling prevailed.
The same brother was again charged for the same violation on July 27, 1876 and by ballot, was suspended.
At the regular stated meeting September 27, 1876, the representative to the Grand Lodge communication was instructed to vote against the recognition of the African Grand Lodge of Ohio.
In 1881, the brethren who had in 1867 purchased stock in the Urania Lodge Building Company tendered their shares and had their dues paid. The length of time for the dues payments was determined by the amount of stock owned. For each $50.00 share, 20 years were paid. For each $25.00 share, 10 years dues were paid. For each $5.00 share, 2 years were paid.
One Bro. J. M. Wilson, having been charged with defrauding a Brother Mason and operating a house of ill repute, was, on July 6, 1881, expelled from the Lodge and all Masonic rights. The ballot being 20 black and 2 white.
One Bro. J. M. Sells, having been charged with Unmasonic Conduct, a vile tongue and malicious acts, was, on November 30, 1881, expelled from all Masonic rights. The ballot being 29 black and 12 white.
The same evening, a beautiful Bible was presented to the Lodge on behalf of Bro. A. B. Cohen of Lafayette Lodge #19, Washington, D. C.
On December 27, 1882 the installation of officers for the ensuing year was performed at the Aman and Leonard Hall located on the north side of West Main Street, where a banquet was enjoyed by the Masons and their wives. All repaired to the Masonic hall for a social evening.
A charge was made by Urania Lodge against Hiram Lodge, Delaware, Ohio and Bros. B. Baker and Asbury for Unmasonic Conduct and causing the degree work to be performed upon one F. T. Sells, knowing that said Mr. Sells had been rejected by Urania Lodge. A trial was held on October 29, 1884, at Urania Lodge and all received reprimands from Worshipful Master Bro. R. C. McCloud.
On April 29, 1885, one Bro. H. H. Arnold, having been charged with forgery, stood trial, found guilty, and was expelled from all Masonic rights.
On June 7, 1887, Urania Lodge was visited by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, Bro. Stacker Williams and the F. C. Degree was conferred upon a candidate. At this time the Grand Master made necessary corrections and instructed the officers in their work and the proper manner in closing the Lodge. The Lodge was closed in due form and all enjoyed a supper at the Plain City Hotel.
On December 12, 1888 three officers-elect could not be installed because they had been declared by the Grand Lodge to be connected with bodies which were declared clandestine, namely The Royal Masonic Rite. One Jacob Weaver denounced his allegiance to such bodies in open Lodge and was then installed as Treasurer. The other two members retired.
The Masonic records are not clear as to the date, but it is verified by historical records that during the year 1889, the Grand Master of Masons in Ohio, Bro. Leander Burdick, presided at the ceremonies of the laying of the cornerstone of the Universalist Church which still stands on the South Chillicothe Street and which at that time was the only building in the area having an iron constructed ceiling. The cost of the building was $7,000.00. The fact that the weather was very bad did not prevent the members of Urania Lodge from making a nice representation. A letter was sent on November 6,1889 to the Grand Master thanking him for his services.
On April 2, 1890, a committee reported that they had made arrangements to purchase the third floor of the Odd Fellow Hall for the sum of $800.00. The sum of $225.00 was paid at that time and the balance was to be paid on or before May 1, 1890. The Lodge at that time not having the money, was loaned and the balance by Bro. Geo. W. Stevens. The sum was repaid with 8% interest and the interest being applied to Bro. Steven’s dues.
Urania Lodge on July 2, 1890 rented their hall to the I. O. R. M. (Independent Order of Red Man) for the sum of $75.00 yearly to be paid monthly. At a later date, January 17, 1894, Urania Lodge received upon demand, a stove, carpet and chairs from the I. O.R.M., allowing $25.00 credit on delinquency rent on the hall.
At no time prior to the year 1894 do the records reveal any scheduled inspections of the work of the Lodge. From time to time, the Grand Master or District Lecturer was present to witness the degree work and give instruction. On March 21, 1894, the District Lecturer or District Deputy as we know the title was present to inspect the work in the E. A. and M. M. Degrees.
On June 15, 1894, the members of Urania Lodge met at the train depot to welcome members of York Lodge. These brethren exemplified the work of the M. M. degree upon Bro. Ernest Beach. This was followed with a banquet, serving 195 brethren at a cost of $83.00.
At the July 31, 1895 meeting, Urania Lodge granted Order of the Eastern Star (O.E.S.) permission to use the Lodge hall for chapter meetings.
In June 1896 Urania Lodge purchased from Bro. G. T. Black 48 chairs for the sum of $100.00. (We believe these to be the same chairs we now use in our lodge room. They are still very comfortable and in very fine condition.)
On August 19. 1896 it was resolved and carried that the use of tobacco in any form be prohibited in the Lodge room.
The installation of officers on December 16, 1896 was combined with the installation of officers of the O. E. S. After the Masonic officers were in due form installed, the Lodge room was turned over to the Eastern Star Chapter and after they installed their officers, they then retired and the Lodge was closed in due form.
Sometime prior to April 27, 1897, the Lodge hall must have sustained some type of fire damage. A vote was taken and a letter of thanks was sent to the Plain City Fire Department for their services. The records are silent as to the details but some of our brethren have witnessed some of the results of that damage.
On March 2, 1898 the Lodge was opened and the minutes of the previous meeting were read. The Tyler appeared in the Lodge room, stating he had been overpowered and the anteroom was full of strangers. The Lodge was called from labor to ascertain the cause of the commotion. When the door was thrown open the strangers were found to be members of the O. E. S. After a short social visit, order was called. Miss Bessie Lane sang the lines from Robert Morris, “We Meet upon the Level” followed with music by Miss Jennie Black. At this time refreshments prepared by the ladies were enjoyed by all. The Worthy Matron, Miss Lucy Robinson, gave a short talk on future social activities and then the ladies retired. The Lodge was then closed in due form.
On April 6, 1898, Bro. Howard C. Black presented the Lodge with a Masonic sword to replace the one previously returned. It is a beautifully engraved sword and at this time is in its proper place, the Tyler’s station. Also on this night, Bro. Samuel J. Lafferty, District Lecturer was present and presented instructive criticism which was very well received.
Before going to Lodge on February 22, 1899. The brethren assembled at Bro. Black’s furniture store, which is believed to have been located where our Lodge now stands (102 East Main Street). They purchased a rocking chair for the sum of $4.50 and proceeded to deliver it to the home of Dr. Gardner, this being his 51st birthday and also afflicted. After a short visit, they proceeded to the Lodge feeling much happier for their charitable deed.