The First Ten Years 1896-1905

On January 21, 1896, at the Grand Communication, in Jacksonville, the committee on “Dispensations and by laws” read their report. This report recommended among other things, that a charter be granted to New Smyrna Lodge, with George H. Count as Worshipful Master, Alexander A. Berry as Senior Warden, and Fred A. Barrett as Junior Warden.

On January 22, 1896, the delegates voted and passed this report. On January 23, 1896, the Grand Secretary announced that the Charters had been prepared and New Smyrna Lodge had been assigned number “149”

On January 23, 1896, the Grand Lodge Officers installed the Officers of the newly Chartered Lodges and the “Registry of Particular Lodges” shows that the Officers of New Smyrna Lodge Number 149 were:

George H. Count, Worshipful Master
Alex A. Berry, Senior Warden
Fred A. Barrett, Junior Warden
Christopher L. Dohn, Treasurer
William Andrew Cook, Secretary

The Lodge was chartered with 15 Master Mason members, and one Entered Apprentice member as follows:

George H. Count C. Goodwin William Paulson
Alex A. Berry W.A. Cook W.S. Hartley
Fred A. Barrett W.S. Hart C.L. Dohn
M.S. Brunson C.H. Smith V. Grandburg
S.S. Buell G. Spliess Arthur Whittaker, EA

New Smyrna Lodge, Being assigned number 149, is the only Lodge to ever use that number. A point of interest regarding that is that the Grand Lodge reused some numbers, as many as 6 times. For more than one hundred years, until 1931, it was the practice to assign the number of a defunct Lodge to a newly chartered Lodge.

One other important point to make here is that this lodge took its name from the town of New Smyrna, Florida. New Smyrna changed its name to New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The lodge did not, and it is important to know that our name is New Smyrna Lodge Number 149, Free and Accepted Masons. Thus the Lodge was formed, chartered, and set to work in a Lodge room located on the second floor of the C.L. Dohn feed store at the corner of Canal and Faulkner Streets, in New Smyrna, Volusia County, Florida.

In those days the Annual Returns showed the occupation of the members. Those reported were: Doctor, Druggist, Merchant, Orange Grower, Bridge Builder, Carpenter, Painter, Locomotive Engineer, Trainman, County Officer, Salesman, Tax Collector, Fireman, Hotel Owner, Boatman, Postmaster, Contractor, Machinist, Professor and one who was listed as a Capitalist.

The membership grew steadily for the next few years when on Friday October 13th, 1905 disaster struck! The C.L. Dohn Feed Store burned, and with it, all the physical property of the lodge.

Grand Master Charles Ward Johnson was notified. He directed the Grand Secretary to issue a duplicate Charter, and granted the lodge his dispensation to work without one until it was delivered. The duplicate Charter was issued on October 27, 1905.

The first minuets of a stated Communication after the fire were recorded on November 6, 1905. The lodge had arranged for a temporary meeting in the rush building on Orange street. Several motions prevailed to appoint a “soliciting committee”, a “ways and means committee” to allow the Secretary to buy supplies, and to purchase new paraphernalia.

Grand Master Johnson was asked for his dispensation to allow the lodge to send out a letter asking the other lodges for donations because of our loss by fire. The Grand Master rejected this request. His reasons were not recorded.

We are currently under construction, more will be added as time goes by.