HISTORY OF CALLAHAN MASONIC LODGE

Callahan Lodge Beginnings to Now

Callahan Lodge #32, F.&A.M. Charter Members

Various Locations of Callahan Lodge

Callahan Lodge Confederate Soldier Connections

Seminole Indian Wars and our early Callahan Lodge Members

Callahan Lodge History from Florida Grand Lodge Book

Callahan Lodge Corner Stones

 (This site is an ongoing process and under revision as we gather historical information on our lodge.  We request anyone with information on our lodge history to share it with us.  We are particularly interested in the location of our first lodge, subsequent lodge locations and any old pictures of the old lodges or lodge events).

 

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Callahan Lodge #32, F.&A.M. Charter Members

   Callahan Lodge received permission from Grand Lodge of Florida on July 4th, 1868 to begin working “UD or under dispensation.” Grand Lodge of Florida formally chartered Callahan Lodge #32 on January 14, 1870 to meet at Callahan in Nassau County, Florida.

   Callahan Lodge No. 32 was chartered with twenty charter members. The following are those charter officers and members:

    William J. Dopson, W.M.

     James W. Geiger

     James Fabius Clark, Sr.Warden

     John Jefferson Higginbotham

     James Geiger, Jr.Warden

     John Hampton Jones

     John Price, Jr., Treasurer

     Leton Uriah Morgan

     John C. C. Jones, Secretary

     Talbert S. Morgan

     Josiah Benjamin Little, Sr. Deacon

     Benjamin C. Parker

     Henry Camille Tison, Jr.Deacon

     R.R. Ratcliff

     Jehu Booth, Tyler

     Golphin Nowling Tison

     Owen S. Albritton

     Redden Turner

     Jesse J. Edmondson

     Nathaniel Smith Upchurch

 

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Various Locations of Callahan Lodge

(From MASONIC HISTORY OF CALLAHAN LODGE #32)

    The first Hall was the second floor of the Old Masonic Temple, owned by the Callahan Lodge, on the south side of the Seaboard Railway near the Callahan Depot.

 

1.      When the first Temple was burned down. The Lodge rented a Hall on the north side of the Railway. Opposite the former lodge.

 

2.      Soon Brother William Jennings Pickett erected a two story brick building on the lot next to where the original Hall stood and theLodge rented the second floor for a Hall and in a very short time it was consumed by fire.

 

3.      Then the Lodge moved into a Hall next door to the place where it had moved from on the north side of the Railway again. There it remained until November 7, 1950.

 

4.      Then the Lodge moved into its own Hall November 7, 1950. This was located one block from Number 1 Highway west on Baldwin Road and west by that road.

 

5.      Newest location at 45085 Frank Brookins Drive was moved into in 1993.

 

 

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Callahan Lodge Confederate Soldier Connections

 

    Our Lodge history states: “20 Brethren, all Confederate Veterans, was granted a dispensation to form Callahan Lodge.”

 

    In the Masonic Lodge History of Callahan Lodge #32 there is information about each Worshipful Master that were mentioned as Confederate Soldiers:

 

James Fabius Clark (Worshipful Master 1871, 1872, 1873) was born in Lincolnton County, GA, in 1823 and died December 5, 1910 and interred in Masonic Plot in East Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, FL.  Received his Masonic Degrees in Solomon Lodge #20 in Jacksonville in 1840’s. Brother Clark served in the last Seminole War 1856 and 1857. Brother Clark and his son Henry Joseph Clark served together for four years in the Confederate Army. He also became the second Worshipful Master of Ezra Lodge #67 for the years 1873, 1874, & 1879. Of note: It was his father Major General Elijah Clark who commanded the troops that fought the Revolutionary Battle of “Alligator Creek” in Callahan on 30 June 1778.

 

Josiah Benjamin Little (Worshipful Master 1875, 1879) born in Wilmington, NC on July 26, 1826; died April 17, 1917. He is buried in Higginbotham Cemetery. He was a revered Confederate soldier, once curiously observed by a friend that saw him tip his hat to an ex-slave, of whom he inquired why. He replied, “He tipped his hat to me, and I would not let an ex-slave have better manners than I.”

 

Ephriam Harrison (Worshipful Master 1877, 1878, 1879, 1881) born south end of Amelia Island June 1, 1836 and died September 28, 1891 with remains interred in old family cemetery on south end of Amelia Island at the Harrison Estate. He served in the Confederate Army with the rank of Sergeant-Major, and was wounded just before the war closed and was hospitalized at Alligator (now Lake City, FL). At time of his death he was serving the 8th year as Superintendent of Public Instruction in Nassau County. (W: Harrison was not Charter Member).

 

William McQueen Sanders (Worshipful Master 1880) born in Nassau County about 1830 and died December 2, 1899 and interred in East Evergreen Cemetery in Jacksonville, FL. He bore the title of “Captain Sanders” through respect of his having served in the Confederate Army from 1861 to 1865. (W: Sanders was not Charter Member)

 

Confederate Soldier Information on other Charter Members:

 

Leton Uriah Morgan – born on 26 May 1838 and died on 13 Jun 1919. Married to Martha Drew on 10 Oct 1879. He enlisted at Callahan, Florida in Co. K, 2nd FLA Calvary on 16 May 1862. His received a Florida Confederate Pension (A02155).

 

 Benjamin C. Parker - married Martha Geiger on 29 Dec 1859 and he died 24 Nov 1900. His wife received a Florida Confederate Pension (A12037) after his death. The request shows he was in the 2nd Regt Florida Calvary along with Nathaniel Smith Upchurch (also a Charter Member of Callahan Lodge).

 

Nathaniel Smith Upchurch – (Raleigh, NC) born 1824 and died on 15 July 1913. Served in the 2nd Regt Florida Calvary with Benjamin C. Parker (also a Charter Member of Callahan Lodge). Served as Treasurer of Callahan Lodge 1874-1875. His witness statement and signature, dated 20 Sept 1907, appear on petition request for widow of Benjamin C. Parker to receive Florida Confederate Widows Pension (A12037); at that time he was residing in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida.

 

 

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Seminole Indian Wars and our early Callahan Lodge Members

 

This is excerpt from: “HISTORY OF JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA”  (Page 457)

 

CHAPTER XXVI

 

LOCAL MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS

 

    In 1835, when it was apparent that there would be trouble with the Seminole Indians, a regiment of militaia was organized in northeast Florida, composed of men from Duval, Nassau, and probably St. Johns Counties. It was known as the Fourth Regiment of Florida ………

    The Legislative Council of 1844 authorized the organization of the Jacksonville Guards; for what purpose is unknown………

 

DUVAL COUNTY MOUNTED VOLUNTEER GUARD

 

    The organization of the Duval County Mounted Volunteer Guard was authorized by the Legislature in 1849, for service on the Indian River frontier in connection with Indian troubles. This company was mustered into service of the State August 7, 1849; the muster roll was as follows:

 

Officers

 

    Captain: Thomas Ledwith. Lieutenants: John Roberts, Jr., Ephraim L. Harrison+.  Sergeants: Aristides Doggett, A.J. Simmons, James Higginbotham+, Redden Turner+.  Corporals: James W. Higginbotham, Benjamin Falana, Edward Mitchell, Nathanial Wingate.  Company clerk: Isidore W. Garnie.

Enlisted Men 

Aldrich, Whipple

Crocker, Henry

Hardin, James H.

Andrews, Joseph

Dooliff, Abner

Harrell, Mayberry

Andrews, Thaddeus C.

Falana, Huster

Hodges, Samuel

Bass, William H.

Geiger, Aaron

Hogans, Reuben

Codding, George F.

Grisham, Jesse

Hogans, Washington

 

(+) Note: These 3  were later to be members of Callahan Lodge

Ephraim L. Harrison

James Higginbotham

Redden Turner

 

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Callahan Lodge History from Florida Grand Lodge Book

 

The Grand Lodge of Florida

Free and Accepted Masons

History – Volume One

The Lodges

Written by J. Roy Crowther, Past Grand Master

(The picture below was taken in the 1980’s when the Lodge was located on Hwy US #301 across from Callahan First Methodist Church.  The old building was torn down when the highway was widened to four lanes).

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Callahan Lodge Corner Stones

Below are the cornerstones that are on our current building.  The one on the left is from our last lodge that was located on Hwy #301 across from First Methodist Church of Callahan and next to Robert Connor's Service Station.  That lodge was built in the late 1940's.  The lodge on Hwy #301 did not have a cornerstone laid until 1972 (over 25 years after it started being used).  The old cornerstone was relocated to the new building and is located to the left of the new cornerstone on our new and current lodge building.  

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The location of Callahan Masonic Lodge #32 prior to the last one located on U.S. Hwy #301 was in one of the upstairs rooms in the Brandies ACE Hardware area; above the current location of the Nassau County Record Office.  Past Master Roy Wingate, Jr. and Brother Thomas Page said they were Initiated as Entered Apprentice Masons on the same night in the old lodge room located above Brandies Hardware.  Brother Wingate went on to say he was Raised several months later to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason by his father, Roy L. Wingate, Sr. who was the presiding Worshipful Master that year.