BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERGREEN LODGE #101

Evergreen Lodge No. 101 of Ravenna Ohio was warranted and granted a charter by The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Ohio on August 7, 1928. This warrant of constitution was signed by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Master Frank A.B. Hall, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master Everitt J. Gatliff, Right Worshipful Senior and Junior Grand Wardens Harrison L. Adams and Addison B. Reed, Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer Otis G. Fields, and Right Worshipful Grand Secretary Howard T. Greer. This warrant was issued to E.M. Proctor, Worshipful Master; Henry Grant, Senior Warden, and Charles Milton, Junior Warden.

Shortly after the Grand Lodge of 1929 assembled, American prosperity took a major jolt due to the Great Depression. American businesses and sales began to look bleak, which in turn lead to the laying off or firing of American businessmen. Significant increases to unemployment made being a part of Masonic life seem like a luxury in those times. But just as the Grand Lodge, Evergreen Lodge No. 101 continued to meet and strive through those tough periods. Although being chartered in 1928, Evergreen Lodge No. 101 was the only lodge organized during the Great Depression. Even in its humblest beginnings in 1930, the hardships endured by the brothers of the lodge seemed almost insurmountable. In 1932, Worshipful Master E.M. Proctor informed the craft that due to the hardships of the depression that work would be suspended and that the charter would be retained for future use.

Once American prosperity began to improve the brothers of Evergreen Lodge No. 101 decided that it was time to reactivate the lodge. In October of 1936, with the assistance of Right Worshipful Grand Lecturer John L. Suddieth and Brother Shorty Freeman of Mt. Calvary Lodge No. 76, Evergreen Lodge No. 101 set out on the task of doing Masonic work.

During the late forties there was an influx of what would be considered clandestine lodges in the area that lured potential men away from joining Evergreen Lodge No. 101. But in the midst of this clandestine movement the men of Evergreen still continued to do Masonic work, which was shown as evident in the increases in membership at that period of time. Also the brothers of the lodge decided that it was their mission to continually teach the principles of Prince Hall Freemasonry in the Portage County area. But the lodge also seen tragedy as the lodge due to a flood was forced to move form their original meeting place to a recreational center in Ravenna. In the flood the lodge lost many records and pieces of regalia, but once again showed the perseverance to continue on the mission set out by the original brothers of the lodge. In 1949, Evergreen Lodge took steps to make the community aware of its presence by awarding the book, "The History of Freemasonry Among Negroes in America", by Harry E. Davis, to Unity Lodge No. 12 of Ravenna and to the public libraries of the cities of Kent and Ravenna.

In 1950 the seven white lodges of Portage Country were presented a copy of the History of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio by Charles H. Wesley, not only to inform the community of their presence but also to begin to try to break down the communication barriers that have existed between the Prince Hall and regular lodges at the time. It was due to some of these tensions as well as racial tensions that the lodge was forced to change locations once again when the recreation center was vandalized and records as well as regalia were once again destroyed. Another landmark for the lodge was the election of Brother Claude Moore as Worshipful Master of the lodge. Brother Moore was the youngest Worshipful Master of a Lodge in 1952. Throughout the fifties and into the sixties the lodge continued to conduct Masonic business and perform ritualistic work in proper fashion.

With the civil rights movement approaching the vision of Evergreen Lodge changed into one that focused for on education and pride about oneself and heritage. This was demonstrated by participating in programs with Alpine No. 84, the Eastern Star affiliate of Evergreen Lodge, and the N.A.A.C.P. in black history programs, the giving out of food baskets, and tutoring of the youth of our community.

From the 1970's until now Evergreen has still held true to those original values and principles and through all the trials and tribulations the lodge endures the brothers of Evergreen still remain as staples of the community. We shave since changed locations twice to our current location. We are also seeing a resurgence of young men becoming interested in the Masonic way of life. Our goals still focus on education seeing children as the key to our future, but we also recognize the need to identify that we as masons need to get more masonry into the hearts and minds of men, rather than get more men into masonry.

Past Masters of Evergreen Lodge No. 101 F&AM

E. M. Proctor

1929-1932

Claude Moore

1964

Henry Grant

1946-1947

Art Bew

1965

Simpson Proctor

1948

C. L. Milton

1966-1967

Harold Meyers

1949

George Proctor

1968-1969

Dale Proctor

1950

Leroy Latimer

1968-1969

Thomas Milton

1951

Pleas Chambers

1971

Claude Moore

1952

Claude Moore

1972-1981

Thomas Milton

1953

Fred Thomas Jr.

1982

Joe Fullam

1954-1955

Derrick Kendrick

1983-1990

Robert Davis

1956-1958

Jerry Beard

1991-1995

Ben Anderson

1959

Kenneth O’Neil

1996

Robert Davis

1960-1961

William R. Moore

1997-1998

Alvin H. Jones Jr.

1962

Louis Copeland

1999

 

 

Brian Boykin

2000-2001



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