Organized in 1825, the Bethel Masonic Lodge of Enfield, Mass., was the oldest recorded social or fraternal group in the Swift River Valley. After shuttering its doors for several years in response to anti-Masonic sentiments, the lodge reorganized in 1858 and operated continuously until 1939 when Enfield was flooded for the Quabbin Reservoir, and most of its former members merged into Eden Lodge in nearby Ware, Mass.
The Bethel Lodge records include a membership list, financial records, by-laws, burial service manual, directories, insurance policies, meeting cards, and a one-hundredth anniversary booklet.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Bethel Masonic Lodge (Enfield, Mass)
Organized in 1825, the Bethel Masonic Lodge of Enfield, Mass., was the oldest recorded social or fraternal group in the Swift River Valley. Although it flourished initially, the Lodge soon suspended its operations in late 1829 and surrendered its charter in response to the rise of anti-Masonic sentiments. The charter was restored in 1858 to petitioners Aaron Woods, Henry Fobes, Nathan Weeks, J.B. Woods, John Crosby, Ichabod Pope, and Daniel Ford.
The Masonic Building, erected in 1926, was located in the central business district of Enfield. In 1939, after the town was flooded for the Quabbin Reservoir, the Bethel Lodge folded and most of its members merged into Eden Lodge in nearby Ware, Mass.
The Bethel Lodge collection consists of material dating strictly from the period following reinstatement of the Lodge's charter in 1858. Records include a membership list (1861), financial records (1858-1898), by-laws (1882, 1937), a burial service manual (1909), directories (1898, 1929-1938), insurance policies (1873-1898), meeting cards (1880-1926), and a one-hundredth anniversary booklet (1925).
Includes printed directories for 1887/1888, 1898, 1929, 1922, 1934, 1936, 1937, and 1938 (2 copies).
Acquired from Donald Howe, 1960.
Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf and Linda Seidman, Feb.-Sept. 1985.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cite as: Bethel Masonic Lodge Records (MS 012). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.