Return to History of Wilson Lodge

1857-1907 The first 5 decades

FIRST DECADE, 1857-1867
131 Regular Meetings, 47 Emergent Meetings

January 19, 1859, was an outstanding Meeting, the first of many Grand Lodge Nights in Wilson Lodge among which our Hundredth Anniversary is no exception. Among those present:

M.W.Bro. William Mercer Wilson G.M.
R.W.Bro. J. K. Brown G.S.W.
R.W.Bro. M. B. Harris G. Secty.
Bro. The Honourable John A. Macdonald, St. John s Lodge, No. 3, Kingston
The W.M. St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 16, Toronto
The W.M. St. Thomas Lodge No. 44, St. Thomas
The W.M. St . John’s Lodge No. 81, Mt. Brydges
The W.M. St. George’s Lodge No. 88, Owen Sound
The W.M. St. Mark’s Lodge No. 94, Port Stanley

and representatives from the following lodges
True Breton No. 14, Perth
Ionic No 40, Toronto
St. George’s No. 42, Toronto
Rehoboam No 65, London
St. John’s No 75, Toronto
Manito No 90, Collingwood
Corinthian No 96, Barrie
St. John’s No 200, A, London
Antiquity Lodge Montreal
Albion Lodge Quebec
Oriental Lodge Chicago

When you consider the mode of transportation in that day, the zeal for Masonic Visitation was indeed high.

At this Meeting, William Mercer Wilson presented the Lodge with a V.S.L., the Square, and the Compasses. The Officers worked a First, a Second, and two Third Degrees.

When the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge was held July 14, 1859, following the amalgamation of the Antient Grand Lodge of Canada, a renumbering of the Lodges took place, when the number of Wilson Lodge was changed from No. 48 to No. 86.

On May 19, 1863, Wilson Lodge was favoured with a fraternal visit from Molay Lodge No. 498, Buffalo, New York, which was the fore-runner of many fraternal visitations with other Lodges from across the border.

The Minutes of the September Meeting 1864 recorded the first mention of The Committee of General Purposes. Prior to this date this Committee was called “ The Management Committee.

SECOND DECADE, 1868-1877
138 Regular Meetings, 47 Emergent Meetings

In 1870 the Lodge became a Charter Member, Masonic Board of Relief. The By-laws called for regular meetings on the Anniversary of St. John the Baptist in June and of St. John the Evangelist in December in addition to the third Tuesday of each month.
During the years 1869-1870 four members of Wilson Lodge Dr. J. N. Agnew, A. Gemmell, S. Stoodley and J. B. Nixon sat on a Committee with members from other Toronto Lodges to consider the formation of a Board of Relief for the City of Toronto. As a result of the deliberations of this Committee, The Toronto Masonic Board of Relief came into being with Bro. W. L. Smart, a member of Wilson Lodge, as its first Chairman, 1870-1871. Since that date Wilson Lodge has been actively connected with this body. In 1950, with the activities of this organization expanded to include an Employment Bureau, Hospital Visitation to brethren
from Lodges outside Toronto, responsibility for King Solomon Plot in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, as well as relief of transient Masons, the name was changed to The Masonic Service Guild of Toronto.

V.W.Bro. G. Dean Maxwell has been the representative from Wilson Lodge since 1936 and holds the office of first Vice-President at the present time.

December 27, 1872. R.W.Bro. Kivas Tully was made an Honorary Life Member with full privileges.

THIRD DECADE, 1878-1887
126 Regular Meetings, 15 Emergent Meetings

August 16, 1881. A report was requested on the advisability of introducing music, vocal and instrumental, into the ceremony of Initiation, Passing, and Raising

May 12, 1882. The Lodge celebrated its Twenty-fifth Anniversary with a dinner at the Rossin House, then situated at the corner of King and York Streets.

The Menu Cards were printed by Alexander, Clare, and Cable.

July 15, 1884. Motion by V.W.Bro. Alex Patterson, seconded by Bro. Joseph Oliver, and carried, that on and after this meeting all intoxicating liquors be banished from the refreshment table.

FOURTH DECADE, 1888-1897
103 Regular Meetings, 21 Emergent Meetings

October 16, 1888, was another milestone in the Lodge 45 members and 57 visitors were registered. Visitors came from Cape Town, South Africa; Flushing, Michigan; Hespeler, Belleville, Brantford, St. Andrew s Lodge No. 7, Nova Scotia, as well as from the majority of the Toronto Lodges. R.W.Bro. John Ross Robertson, D.G.M., was present and addressed those assembled. The Lodge was called from Labour to Refreshment at 9.35 P.M., resumed Labour at 11.45 P.M. and worked a M.M. degree.

January 19, 1890. The brethren attended Divine Service at All Saint s Church, when M.W.Bro. Rev. Canon O’Meara, Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Manitoba preached the sermon. The collection amounted to $80.46 and was used for benevolence.

January 21, 1890. The Lodge was visited by the D.D.G.M., R.W.Bro. William Roaf, and M.W.Bro. Rev. Canon O’Meara who delivered an address on “Masonry in General”.

March 18, 1890. Thirty-six officers and 158 visitors signed the register. The ballot was passed on eight applicants for initiation and two applicants for affiliation. R.W.Bro. E. T. Malone was received with Grand Lodge Honours and addressed those assembled on the “Worshipful Master.”

April 15, 1890. V.W.Bro. George Tait delivered an address on “ A Board of Trial. Masonic education was an active part of the lodge meetings at this early date.

October 21, 1890. R.W.Bro. Kivas Tully presented R.W.Bro.R. Oliver, who was W.M. in 1888 with his Grand Lodge Regalia as Grand Senior Warden.

In 1894 a Music Committee composed of Bro. Dr. A. S. Vogt, Bro. John Alexander and Bro. Thomas E. Aikenhead was named to look after the musical part of the ritual and of entertainment.

February 19, 1895, was a Past Masters’ Night with R.W.Bro. Kivas Tully ccupying the Chair of King Solomon, with 65 officers and members and 132 visitors present. On this memorable occasion every Lodge in Toronto, Toronto Junction, East Toronto, as well as eleven Lodges from outlying districts were in attendance
a remarkable demonstration of the esteem for R.W.Bro. Kivas Tully and for Wilson Lodge. The February Summons of this meeting made reference to Ionic, King Solomon’s, and Ashlar Lodges,as the “Triple Alliance”

After forty years of Service in the Craft the membership was 166 and the net assets $2069.68.

In June, 1897, Kivas Tully was honoured by Grand Lodge and elected a Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Canada a signal honour for Wilson Lodge as well.
During the first forty years the meetings were held in the Masonic Temple, Church and Colborne Streets, and, because it included among its members Architects, Engineers, Builders, and men engaged in the building supply business of the City, Wilson Lodge earned the sobriquet of “The Builders’ Lodge”

FIFTH DECADE, 1898-1907
104 Regular Meetings, 57 Emergent Meetings

January 18, 1898. The Lodge held its first Meeting in new quarters in the Temple Building. Bay Street.

March 15, 1904. Commenced a fund known as “Wilson Lodge Masonic Building Fund.”

April 24, 1905. Death of M.W.Bro. Kivas Tully, aged 85 years, a distinct loss to Wilson Lodge and to the Craft in general.

July Communication of Grand Lodge, 1905, W.Bro. Edmund M. Carleton was elected District Deputy Grand Master of Toronto District 11.

September 17, 1907. The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated. W.Bro. John S. Simmons, Worshipful Master. The Grand Master, M.W.Bro. A. T. Freed, was present along with 75 other visitors and 84 officers and members. The Past Masters occupied the Chairs and initiated William Hillock. Seven charter
members were in attendance.

During the evening a Loving Cup was presented to W.Bro. John S. Simmons as a token of gratitude and esteem for his efforts on behalf of the Lodge. During the year a son had been born to the Simmonses and named Edmund Wilson Simmons. Edmund after R.W.Bro. Edmund M. Carleton and Wilson after the Lodge.

At the end of 1907 the membership had grown to 287 a net gain of 26; net assets $4929.35.