Abstract

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.

Access

The collection is open for research.

Language:

English
Special Collections & University Archives
UMass Amherst Libraries
154 Hicks Way
Amherst, Mass. 01003-9275
413-545-2780
Bethel Masonic Lodge Records
1858-1938
1 box (0.5 linear ft.)
Call no.: MS 012

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.

Contents of Collection

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).

Collection inventory
Annual Return of Membership
1861

Box 1: 1
Bills and Accounts
1858-1860

Box 1: 2
Bills and Accounts
1861-1867

Box 1: 3
Bills and Accounts
1868-1879

Box 1: 4
Bills and Accounts
1880-1889

Box 1: 5
Bills and Accounts
1890-1898

Box 1: 6
Burial Service manual
1909

Box 1: 7
By-Laws
1882-1937
4 items
Box 1: 8
Directories
1887-1938
9 items
Box 1: 9

Includes printed directories for 1887/1888, 1898, 1929, 1922, 1934, 1936, 1937, and 1938 (2 copies).

Insurance Policies
1873-1898

Box 1: 10
Meeting notices
1880-1926

Box 1: 11
One-Hundredth Anniversary program
1925
3 copies
Box 1: 12
Administrative information
Provenance

Acquired from Donald Howe, 1960.

Processing Information

Processed by Ken Fones-Wolf and Linda Seidman, Feb.-Sept. 1985.

Acknowledgments

Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Copyright and Use (More informationConnect to publication information)

Cite as: Bethel Masonic Lodge Records (MS 012). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms
Subjects
  • Enfield (Mass.)--History
  • Enfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs
  • Freemasonry--Massachusetts--Enfield--History
  • Men--Massachusetts--Enfield--Societies and clubs
  • Quabbin Reservoir Region (Mass.)--History
Names
  • Freemasons. Bethel Lodge (Enfield, Mass.)
  • Freemasons--Massachusetts--Enfield
Genre terms
  • Insurance policies