WORSHIPFUL MASTERS AND THE MEMBERSHIP
The first initiate of Cedar Lodge to be elected W.M. was W. Bro. Alex. Mackie. His two successors, V. W. Bro. Bro's. Murton and Rundle were also Cedar Lodge initiates. Records indicate that most of the W.M.s also served their lodge in other capacities. Our membership was composed of dedicated, long serving, capable and, in some cases, colourful citizens of Oshawa.
Names such as Wm. Brambridge (first candidate initiated), James Robson, Dr. Francis Rae, Frank and Fred Gibbs, T. H. McMillan, Rev. Wm. Hanson, W. H. Conant, Wm. Gullock, Wm. Woon, Robert McLaughlin, J. F. Willox, John Lander, George J. Scott, Lyman English, F. J. Lambert, J. A. Sykes, W. H. Thomas and many others were very much a part of both our history and the Oshawa we know today.
THE TREE BRANCHES OUT 1887 - 1901
The first three years of this period provided the challenge of keeping members interested when only five candidates were initiated. W. Bro. George J. Scott, with the capable support of V. W. Bro. Murton as Secretary and Bro. Robert McLaughlin as Treasurer, met the challenge. In 1889, the year Oshawa was incorporated as a Town, the Lodge prepared to move to the Rowse Block, in 1947 known as the Bassett Block. The late W. Bro. F. L. Henry and Bro. Howard Felt were the last candidates initiated in the old Hall.
1890 witnessed the admission of thirteen members. Again, names familiar in the history of our Lodge and Oshawa were active. Eli S. Edmondson, an uncle of the late V. W. Bro. Byron Edmondson, installed the first electric lights in the Lodge Room. The cost of $12.00 per year included the use of "the wiring, fixtures and electricity". The improved conditions resulted in an invitation to Pentalpha Chapter requesting that they return to Oshawa and use the new Hall, rent-free. The rent, shared by the two Lodges, was $90.00 per year.
On February 13th, 1891, under W. Bro. A. E. Henry of Cedar, and W. Bro. Dr. Francis Rae of Lebanon, the new hall was "properly dedicated" by the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. John Ross Robertson. A banquet at the Commercial Hotel followed. Our first fraternal visits to Composite Lodge, Whitby and Jerusalem Lodge, Bowmanville were made in 1892 with W. Bro. E. O. Felt as our Master. In the same year a fire damaged parts of our Lodge Room. Our warrants were spared, with the only damage being to the frames.
In 1893 another part of our history, the Inner Guard's sword, was presented to the Lodge by a 75-year-old candidate Bro. (Col.) John McGill who "started through the chairs". 1894 was an interesting year for W. Bro. F. L. Fowke in that V. W. Bro. R. S. McLaughlin was initiated. Also, some electrical equipment was purchased and the current was paid for on a metered basis. Between 1895 and 1901 Dr. F. L. Henry was Senior Warden for three years prior to moving to the East. He followed W. Bro. John Lander, W. Bro. Dr. T. E. Kaiser and filled in for W. Bro. R.S. McLaughlin who was sent to Gananoque to carry on the work of The McLaughlin Carriage Company following the 1900 fire at Oshawa.
Bro. George McLaughlin was initiated in 1897, the same year of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Queen Victoria. In 1901 W. Bro. Lyman C. Smith would eulogize that same Queen with what was described as a masterpiece. At the next meeting, a portrait of King Edward VII, in full Masonic regalia, was ordered by the Lodge.
During this period various by-law amendments occurred with a goal of harmonization between the two Oshawa Lodges. Considerable benevolent work was also done with the demand resulting in the formation of a Benevolent Fund supported by voluntary subscriptions. It was noted that after the visit of M. W. Bro. Robertson, how regularly subscriptions were made to the Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto. During this 15-year period we know there were 9 affiliations and 49 new admissions. Records do not indicate the total membership at its end. V. W. Bro.s. Arthur L. Rundle and Luther K. Murton were appointed Grand Lodge Officers during the period.
THE WORSHIPFUL MASTERS AND MEMBERS
As mentioned earlier, most of the Masters were well known in the community, with several achieving great success in their industrial, professional and political fields. A wonderful blend of personalities, interests and skills made the Lodge strong. The membership also mirrored names, too many to mention, vital to the Lodge. There were several cases of long service to chairs and others for having made our community a better place in which to live.
IT LOOKS LIKE A TREE 1902 - 1917
For the first and possibly the last time, on record, a Minister, W. Bro. (Rev.) J. J. Rae of the Simcoe Street Methodist church was Master of our Lodge in 1902-1903. In 1904-1905, a Teacher, W. Bro. E. T. Slemon headed the Lodge. Once again our organization practiced that virtue of charity, with contributions to the Centennial Benevolent Fund. While now falling under a political mandate, our membership also petitioned the Government to pass the Lord's Day Alliance Act. 1906 witnessed both the introduction of "The musical ritual" and the beginning of the end of spirits being used to supplement documented lavish fourth degrees.
1908 saw our Craft contribute to both the Hospital and the YMCA. In 1909 our membership stood at just over 100. Between 1910 and 1917 our documented history shows on-going illustrations of charity, dedication and support for each other. These various acts characterize Masonry and the principles upon which it is founded. In 1911, V. W. Bro. Murton, our faithful secretary for over thirty years, unable to continue, tendered his resignation. His detailed records have resulted in our knowledge of what happened during those years and we are indebted to him. V. W. Bro. Phillip Taylor, the Mason who had served both Lodges so well was given a Masonic Funeral on December 24th, 1911.
The next few years saw the passing of many well known and long serving Masons from Cedar Lodge. 1916 generated a refurbishing of the Lodge Room at a cost of $500.00 and the rent increasing by $30.00 per year to $75.00. Interestingly, for the first time the Auditor's Report showed a balance over $1000.00 ($1,125.00). In 1917 a phone was installed in the Hall.
GRAND LODGE AND THE MEMBERSHIP
V. W. Bro. E. W. Drew was appointed a Grand Lodge Officer in 1912. The minutes indicate that 109 members were initiated into the lodge during the period and 12 were admitted to membership by affiliation. Any student of Oshawa's history would recognize those member's names as being part of the fabric of our city.
THE TREE IS THREATENED. 1918 - 1931.
The early part of this period appeared to show some problems. When studied, it merely reflected a period of great change and the stresses associated with change. The rapid expansion of industry, along with the Oshawa population growth, contributed to the development of two factions within the lodge.
The newcomers wished to move the Lodge from "the horse and buggy" days to something meeting the needs of the "Motor City". Conflict was not of a serious nature, it was one of those defining periods where a clash between two groups rendered procedure and administrative matters ineffectual. The situation was further agitated by the departure of the first four Worshipful Masters of the period. As usually is the case, a "Moses" was found in the person of R. W. Bro. H. G. Hutcheson, a Past Master of Fidelity Lodge, Port Perry, who had moved to and affiliated with Cedar Lodge in 1919. He and other Masters and Past Masters from Temple and Lebanon Lodges rendered that assistance which was required to remove the "Threat to the Tree". On May 26th, 1921,
Cedar Lodge for the first time, on its own, had the honour of entertaining the Grand Master, M. W. Bro. F. W. Harcourt. This visit stimulated Lodge affairs and lead to more frequent visits from distinguished Grand Lodge Brethren. Our 50th Anniversary was celebrated on Sept 18th, 1922 with the M. W. Bro. W. N. Ponton gracing the Lodge with his presence. W. Bro. Geo. J. Scott, the dean of our Past Masters at the time, ,journeyed all the way from Winnipeg to act as W. M. of the evening.
With all chairs occupied by Past Masters of the Lodge, a most creditable first degree was conferred. All living Past Masters, eighteen (most of whom were present) were presented with Past Masters jewels. The publicity surrounding our 50th anniversary also resulted in the discovery that both our first W. M., W. Bro. Jas. P. Smith and our first secretary, Bro. C. W. Smith were living, and they were made honorary members of the Lodge. Neither lived very long to enjoy this honour. Bro. C. W. Smith had been blind and confined to bed for years. Grand Lodge and Cedar combined to help make his last days a bit more comfortable. He had been reinstated, died about a year later and was buried with Masonic honours by the Bay of Quinte Lodge, Toronto. A Cedar Lodge Past Master, W. Bro. Geo. T. Everitt, acted as W. M. at the graveside partially paying our debt to the past.