New Smyrna Lodge 149 did not just simply begin to work as a chartered lodge on January 22, 1896. Many things had to be accomplished before that date.
First of all, a number of Freemasons had to come together, and make a decision to form a Lodge. After this decision was made, Florida Masonic Law clearly spelled out what they must do.
We have some evidence that the first meeting took place in New Smyrna on November 2, 1894. It was mentioned in a committee report prepared for the Fifty Year Celebration of the Lodge. The report did not state who was present, or where it was held. I found no further evidence to corroborate this report, neither did I find any evidence contrary to it.
We have one fact with which to work. A meeting had to take place. Therefore, I am persuaded to accept the date of November 2, 1894, and begin from there.
Where it was held and who attended not being documented, we can each draw our own conclusions about who attended as the history unfolds. This meeting resulted in a petition for dispensation to work as a “U.D. Lodge” being made to the Grand Master of Masons of Florida. This petition, having met with his approval, Grand Master James William Boyd granted his dispensation on January 18, 1895 for a “U.D. Lodge” to work in New Smyrna. He named as the officers, the following:
George H. Count- Worshipful Master
Alex A. Berry- Senior Warden
Fred A. Barrett- Junior Warden