Vesta Lodge History
Following a request to organize a new Lodge, by a group of Master Masons in the Jefferson, Indiana area, Grand Master, Elizur Deming issued a dispensation on September 13, 1850. The Brethren were to meet and work together as a regular Lodge, under the title of Jefferson Lodge U.D., Austin W. Morris signed the document as Grand Secretary.
Appointed to head the newly organized Lodge were James F. Suit, Worshipful Master; James S. McClelland, Senior Warden; and Taylor Heavilon, Junior Warden. The first meeting of Jefferson Lodge U.D. was on October 18, 1850, with the following Brethren in attendance.
James F. Suit, Worshipful Master – James S. McClelland, Senior Warden – Taylor Heavilon, Junior Warden – Jacob Byers, Treas – Harlow Wells, Secy – Cyrus Pence, Senior Deacon and Everett Milburn as Tyler.
Brothers Pence and Milburn were visitors from Clinton Lodge No. 54, Frankfort, Indiana.
The first order of business was to adopt by-laws. According to te new by-laws, the stated meetings were to be held on the Saturday evening preceding the full moon of each month. The fee for the degrees was $15.00, and a semiannual contribution of $1.00 for each member. The election of officers was to be held on the stated meeting preceding the annual meeting of Grand Lodge. With installation to be on the next stated meeting or as soon thereafter as practical.
On the same evening, petitions for the degrees were received from Elijah Sims, William Gray, Daniel L. Rash, John Kilgore, George B. Rash and David A. Kelsay.
As the new Lodge desired to continue to work, it voted on May 10, 1851 to petition Grand Lodge for renewal of their dispensation. Grand Master Alexander C. Downey granted their request on May 30, 1851. Austin W. Morris, again signed as Grand Secretary.
They were to continue to work together as a regular Lodge under the title of Raper Lodge U.D., and James S. McClelland was appointed Worshipful Master, Elijah Sims, Senior Warden and Jacob Byers as Junior Warden. The first meeting under the title of Raper Lodge U.D. was on June 28, 1851.
The next step would be to obtain a Charter. The Lodge agreed that if one was granted, that the name be altered to Vesta. No reason is given for this request. In Roman mythology, Vesta is the goddess of the hearth and the hearth fire.
During open Lodge on June 21, 1852, the Worshipful Master gave a report of the proceedings of the Grand Lodge Annual Communication, recently concluded, and also presented the new Charter of Vesta Lodge 136, F.&A.M., which was dated May 27, 1852.
James S. McClelland was appointed Worshipful Master; Elijah Sims as Senior Warden; and Jacob Byers as Junior Warden; together with all other Masons, to open and hold a just, true, regular, and warranted Lodge in the Town of Jefferson, State of Indiana, to be known as Vesta Lodge 136, F.&A.M. The Charter was signed by Alexander C. Downey, Grand Master and Francis King as Grand Secretary.
The first group of Vesta Lodge officers were elected July 24, 1852, and would be installed the following November 4th.