Masonic Lodge – Macomb, Illinois – History

1843: The dispensation for a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Macomb, McDonough County, Illinois, was granted January 30th, 1843 by Grand Master of the Lodge of Illinois as Macomb Lodge No. 17. The following Past Master Masons formed the group:

  1. Charles Hays
  2. Rezin Naylor
  3. James Chandler, Jr.
  4. John Anderson
  5. Thomas T. Smithers
  6. Alexander Simpson
  7. O. M. Hoagland

“and several other brethren.”  Also present were W. Levi Lusk (of Rushville Lodge):

  1. Joseph M. Walker
  2. Preston Eyre


  1. Cyrus A. Lawson
  2. Henry L. Bryant
  3. William Ervin
  4. Joseph E. Wyne
  5. William T. Head
  6. Pickney H. Walker
  7. N. Montgomery
  8. George H. Rice, late of Xenia OH
  9. Thomas A. Brooking of Mansfield Lodge 66, Kentucky
  10. Charles M. Bartleson, Philadelphia PA
  11. Alfred Loomis, Whitestown Lodge NY
  • 18 members in all according to the records


  • James W. Bailey conferred Master’s degree
  • Ten dollars was voted to the subscription to compensate Bro. Wm. K. Stewart, for his services in the town of Macomb as “Preacher”
  • 17 members


  • Feb 5 – Remains of Brother George H. Rice were buried w/usual ceremonies
  • Apr 27 – Remains  of Brother C. M. Bartleson were buried


  • James L. Campbell
  • only 8 members reported
  • Oct 3, surrendered the charter of the Lodge; no meetings were held in several months, uncertain what happened (p.349)
  • December 1845, Harmony Lodge No. 3 at Jacksonville had learned that Chicago Lodge was admitting African Americans and they resolved that this should not occur (Resolution on p. 365)
  • Macomb Lodge wrote a strongly anti-integration resolution


  • 20 Nov 1847 requested rescinding surrender of Charter; accepted by state
  • Dec 19 – remains of Brother Nelson Montgomery buried
  • J. E. Wyne, W. T. Head, William Ervin, J. M. Campbell, R. Naylor were elected officers


  • Jose Anderson
  • John O. C. Wilson
  • William S. Hail
  • George W. Head
  • Beverly R. Westfall
  • John G. Woodside
  • W. W. Bristow
  • James  Mitchell
  • John D. Hail
  • Hugh Ervin
  • James B. Kyle
  • Charles W. Wyne
  • W. B. Clarke
  • W. H. Phelps
  • James Hunter
  • Thomas J. Beard
  • R. F. Anderson
  • Samuel Lewis
  • R. H. Broaddus
  • J.L.N. Hall
  • J. L. Broaddus
  • G. L. Farwell
  • J. S. Clarke
  • A. W. Lewis
  • Jeremiah L. Cross
  • Dec 1, the college building & grounds which had been purchased by the Lodge, were donated to the “Presbytery of the Old School Church of Schuyler County,” the Lodge reserving the right to appoint one professor, who should, however be an “Old School Presbyterian.”


  • Theodore McLaughlin
  • July 3: the Lodge “formed a procession, and marched to the Presbyterian Church to hear Bro. R. Harris deliver a discourse on the subject of education.”
  • Aug 3: Bro. Harris was appointed as one of the professors of the college, the right to make this appointment being one of the conditions upon which the college was donated to the “Presbytery of Schuyler County.”
  • Peoria Lodge says: Sept. 21, the delegate to the Grand Lodge was instructed to vote “against having anything to do with the Macomb College.”
  • Sept 24, Macomb Lodge sent a memorial to the Grand Lodge proposing the McDonough College site and building as a location for a masonic college (resolution below).  Worth noting is that the lodges recorded in opposition (Peoria, Hardin, and two at Alton) are all river towns and two of them were large towns.
  • Hardin Lodge: June 15, the Lodge expressed as its opinion that it was expedient for the Lodge to co-operate with the Grand Lodge on the subject of education,  and inexpedient to co-operate with Macomb Lodge in the matter of  “Macomb College,” for the reason that the college was committed to the care of a particular religion, and that they deemed it improper to attach a ” Masonic institution to any denomination.”
  • Summary of pp. 517-523: In response, Franklin Lodge No. 25, at Alton, Illinois, recommended against a centralized college on the grounds of expense, Missouri’s College was close, the members unable to afford such an institution and they wanted to focus on common school education. Franklin already hosted a school for 100 female students. Franklin says they are comparatively poor – farmers, mechanics, tradesman. “Colleges are more congenial to the spirit and principles of monarchical and aristocratical governments, where the power and the intelligence must of necessity be confined to the wealthy and titled few.” The Piasa Lodge at Alton, IL agreed with Franklin, as did the education committee.


  • Additions: A. J. Griffith, John Bowman, James D. Eads, L. T. Farris, C. Gillihan, James P. Head, James H. Bacon, David Lawson, A. Hendrixon, C.C. Lewis
  • June 5 – arranged for burial of Brother Maxwell
  • July 8 – arranged for burial of Brother Thomas Brooking
From pp. 516-7:A memorial was received from Macomb Lodge No. 17, as follows, which, on motion, was referred to the Committee on Education:”At a called communication of Macomb Lodge No. 17, on the 24th day of September, 1849, the following resolution was adopted by said Lodge :”Resolved, That if the Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois at the next annual communication shall determine to establish an institution of learning in this State, and the institution is a college, then and in that case, Macomb Lodge will donate to said Grand Lodge, the college building and grounds known as ‘McDonough College,’ on the conditions and terms proposed in the annexed printed circular.” J. M. CAMPBELL. Secretary pro tem.Macomb, April 1, 1850.

‘WHEREAS, The Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois did, at their last annual  communication, resolve forthwith to proceed to adopt suitable measures to obtain from the Craft and the public, such pecuniary aid as maybe requisite for the establishment and endowment of an institution of learning in the State of Illinois, for the education of destitute orphans — male and female — of deceased brother Master Masons, and such others as the Grand Lodge may direct ; which institution is to remain forever under the control and management of said Grand Lodge, and conducted upon the principles, customs, and constitutions of Ancient Freemasonry; and

“WHEREAS, In furtherance of said object, said Grand Lodge did appoint a committee to receive donations in money and property, and digest and arrange a plan for the accomplishment of the object aforesaid ; and

“WHEREAS, This Lodge being desirous to aid and assist in carrying on so desirable an object, have purchased the building and ground owned and heretofore occupied as ‘McDonough College,’ being four acres of land on a high eminence adjoining the town of Macomb, on which is erected a good, substantial two-story brick house, sixty feet in length and forty in breadth arranged in suitable rooms for college purposes, and originally designed to form-a part of a commodious college edifice — Macomb being an inland town, is comparatively free from the vices and immoralities of large commercial places and river towns, which, connected with its healthy location, renders it, in our humble opinion, one of the most desirable situations in Illinois for such an institution; therefore be it

“Resolved, That we will donate to the Grand Lodge of the State of Illinois the said land and building, on the condition that said Grand Lodge will permanently locate said institution of learning at Macomb, Illinois, to which the sons of the citizens of the county and town may be sent as pay pupils.

“Resolved. That should the Grand Lodge accept the aforesaid property upon the foregoing conditions, we will, without delay, proceed to repair said building in a good, substantial manner, without cost or charge to the Grand Lodge; be it further

“Resolved, That we earnestly request the aid, assistance, and co-operation of all our sister Lodges in the State, in obtaining the location of said institution of learning at Macomb, in pursuance to the foregoing propositions; and request that each of said Lodges fully investigate the claims of this place to such location, and to take the necessary action thereon before the next annual communication of the Grand Lodge; and we also request each of said Lodges to suggest to us any plan they may deem most expedient for the accomplishment of so great and laudable an undertaking as the establishment and endowment of such an institution.

” Resolved, That the Secretary forward a copy of the foregoing preamble and resolutions to each Lodge in this State.

” I James M. Campbell, Secretary of Macomb Lodge No. 17, do hereby certify that the above and foregoing is a true copy of a preamble and resolutions which were adapted by said Lodge at a meeting of the same, held on the first day of April. 1848, as appears from the records of said Lodge.

” J. M. CAMPBELL, Secretary.

” MACOMB, McDonough county, April 1, 1848.”


Reynolds, J. C. (1869). History of the M.W. Grand Lodge of Illinois, ancient, free, and accepted masons: From the organization of the first lodge within the present limits of the state up to and including 1850. Springfield: H.G. Reynolds, Jr.

Additional Reference to Review in Future:

A history of Macomb Lodge No. 17, A.F. & A.M. from 1843 to 1943, Macomb, Illinois: With a brief reference to the organization of the Grand Lodge of Illinois A.F. & A.M. (1943). Macomb, Ill: s.n.

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