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Kennyetto Lodge No. 599

History Of

Kennyetto Lodge No. 599



Brief History of Kennyetto Lodge

Freemasonry has had its place in the history of Fulton County for over two centuries, as evidenced by the celebration in 1966 of the bicentennial of St. Patrick's Lodge No.4 in nearby Johnstown . Although Kennyetto Lodge No. 599 can boast only half those years, recorded history informs us that Freemasonry was first present in Broadalbin some three-quarters of a century prior to the founding of Kennyetto Lodge with the formation of Montgomery Lodge No. 42 in the mid-1790's. However, that short-lived Lodge surrendered its credentials in 1834 in the aftermath of the infamous Morgan affair.

A photocopy of old records in Grand Lodge's archives indicates the initial Petition for the formation of Montgomery Lodge No. 42 to have been dated May 7th, 1795, and the Warrant issued to the Lodge on November 24, 1795. The records make no mention of a Charter having been issued. However, on June 8, 1832 , Grand Lodge, in, an apparent reference to the Warrant, declared it to be forfeited, but nothing was surrendered and filed until sometime in 1834.

Approximately 30 years later, local interest in Masonry was revived. A Petition to create Kennyetto Lodge was signed, (though undated), by the proposed Master and Wardens and nine prospective other members. A Dispensation from Grand Lodge, with recommendation of both Fish House Lodge No. 298 and Gloversville Lodge No. 429, was issued on November 23, 1865 , signed by Robert D. Holmes, Esq.,Grand Master and James M. Austin, Grand Secretary. The record also notes that "original members and initiates are mechanics, merchants, 1 miller, 1 physician, and two manufacturers."

The first recorded meeting of Kennyetto Lodge was held in the old Kun-Ja-Muck Hall on December 16, 1865 -- a Saturday, no less. (Kun-Ja-Muck Hall occupied the second floor rooms in the building that more recently has housed former hardware and furniture stores at 13-17 West Main Street .) Brother Isaiah Fuller was elected acting Worshipful Master; RN. Rosa, Senior Warden; and Amos Brown, Junior Warden. The business of that evening's first communication consisted of receiving and accepting the petition of Silas Applebaum as their first candidate for the degrees of Masonry. The bills of the evening, amounting to $467.08, were ordered paid by the Worshipful Master, who also then authorized the Secretary to borrow the necessary funds from the brethren present.

The new Lodge was chartered on July 3, 1866 . The first annual meeting was held on July 19, 1866 , at which time Brothers Isaiah Fuller were duly elected Worshipful Master; R N. Rosa, Senior Warden; and Ara Capron, Junior Warden. Some of those early brethren apparently believed in making Lodge communications an all-night affair; often conferring two degrees in an evening, and sometimes all three degrees were conferred upon separate classes of candidates.

While no official record exists of it's donor, the first Holy Bible placed upon the Lodge's altar in early 1869 carries the beautifully handwritten inscription: "Happy New Year, Arthur & Clara, January 1869" on the flyleaf. The original Bible saw continuous service for over a century, when a much-needed permanent replacement Bible was donated by W\George W. Decker on April 4, 1986 . The original Bible, which now almost qualifies as a "loose-leaf' edition, still remains in the Lodge's archives. Apparently the Lodge's current practice of presenting a personal copy of the Holy Bible to each brother did not originate during those early years. The first personal copies of the Holy Bible were presented to a class of candidates on April 23, 1924 . That class consisted of Brothers Rev. Harry B. Erkman, Fred Foss, Peter Lockyer and Earl F. Smith.

In the year 1910, upon the formation of Broadalbin Chapter No. 487, DES, the Brethren of Kennyetto Lodge were joined by their new Sisters of the Order of Eastern Star. The ladies of the Star have been ever most helpful to the Lodge, especially during the time of the building of the Temple some 15-20 years later. Their generous donations of items of furniture and transfer of their deed for the lot enabled the completion of the Temple in good order.

For over sixty years, quarters in the old Kun-Ja-Muck Hall were shared jointly with Broadalbin Lodge No. 855 of the International Order of Odd Fellows. On January 10, 1923 , Brother Edward J. Greenslete suggested that "A committee be appointed to submit preliminary plans and financial arrangements for the construction of a new Masonic Temple in Broadalbin." The Worshipful Master appointed Brothers E. J. Greenslete, H. G.Hawley and George A. Stever to investigate.

The new Temple was off to a good, but sometimes rocky start, and it wasn't until July 3, 1926 that the "firehouse lot" was purchased from the Broadalbin Knitting Company, and ground broken in the center of the village for the new Temple . The cornerstone was laid under the direction of Worshipful Master Henry Benedict on Saturday aftenoon, June 16, 1928, assisted by an impressive delegation of the following Grand Lodge Officers: M\W\John A.Dutton, Grand Master, M\W\Col. John W. Vrooman, Senior Past Grand Master, R\W\George R Irving, Grand Marshall, R\W\Cecil C. Finch, District Deputy Grand Master, R\W\Nelson L. Finch, Past Grand Representative, and Brother Reverend Harry B. Erkman, Pastor of the local Presbyterian Church, serving as Grand Chaplain. Other dignitaries attended also, representing the Fulton-Montgomery-Herkimer Masonic District, as it was then known.

The address of the day was delivered by R\W\Judge T. Cuthell Calderwood, a member of St. Patrick's Lodge No.4 in Johnstown and a Fast District Deputy Grand Master. Judge Calderwood made note of the fact that at this point every lodge in Fulton County now owned its own Temple . The first communication in the new Temple was held later that same year, on Wednesday evening, November 28, 1928 . The Temple Building Committee was later discharged in 1930, upon the completion of its work.

Completion of the new Temple and subsequent furnishing thereof provided intense motivation in the early 1930's, both socially and ritualistically. An active Fellowcraft Club planned numerous social functions around the major holidays; an Eastern Star member (Florence MacFarlan, chaplain) presented to the Lodge, and to her Chapter, the Holy Bible which had been a wedding gift to her and her deceased husband; and twenty-one officers and Past Masters from Artisan Lodge provided a historical dramatization representing famous figures of history who were Masons, and then presented a large silk American Flag with an appropriately engraved standard which was accepted on behalf of the Lodge by W\M\Harold D. Chase.

Two other gifts to the Lodge, presented in mid-Winter of 1935, included a complete set of fireplace tools, andirons and screen grill from Senior Past Master Nelson Lasher; and the other much-appreciated gift was a cord of wood for use in the fireplace, given by Brother S. L. Frasier. After adjournment of the' communication at which these presentations were announced, everyone was invited to the "club room" where. as the local paper reported: "The members found the fireplace equipped with a screen grill, andirons, shovel and other tools ... The lights were turned out and the members enjoyed a "talkfest" by the light of the fire."

Reports of these events, and several other items of interest, are to be found in old newspaper clippings from 1931 to 1937, ce11ected by and recently given to the Lodge by one of its older members. They have since been photocopied and are available for reading in the Temple .

Kennyetto Lodge hosted the annual Grand Lecturer's District Convention on November 18, 1964 , the year in which R\W\Elwood A. Stowell served as District Deputy Grand Master. At that time

R\W\Howard W. Potts, (in whose honor the Potts Award was later established), was Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York . The Potts Award is given to any Lodge in a Masonic District which has all 7 of its line officers present at a Convention. The GL Convention was scheduled in two sessions, beginning at 2:00 PM , breaking for dinner at 6:00 PM , and re-convening at 8:00 PM . It was anticipated that approximately 150 guests would be present. According to Grand Lodge's press release, the 10 Lodges in the Fulton-Montgomery Masonic District had a combined membership of about three-thousand brothers.

 The one-hundredth anniversary of Kennyetto Lodge No. 599 was celebrated in 1966, highlighted by a long-awaited mortgage-burning ceremony. Presently, with 91 brothers on the roster, the Lodge continues toward the new century with high purpose and fervent prayer to the Grand Architect of the Universe for guidance and protection. May our Brothers of the future advance the Light of Freemasonry as steadfastly as did those of the past.

 Kennyetto Lodge meets on second and fourth Wednesdays at 7:30 PM , except during Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, and the summer months. Broadalbin Chapter No. 487, Order of the Eastern Star, meets on the third Wednesday, also at 7:30 PM .

For further information regarding Kennyetto Lodge #599 please contact:

 W. Richard Gugenberger Secretary


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This page was last updated on August 12, 2015