On December 19th, 1849, Most Worshipful Grand Master John P. Lewis on his return home from Tuckerton Lodge No. 4, stopped at Toms River and met Seven Brothers, highly respectable and recommended by the nearest Lodge, and desiring to open a Lodge in the village made a request that a dispensation be granted to them. It being so near the Annual Convention, he declined granting it, but advised them to petition the Grand Lodge for a Warrant which he had no doubt would be granted, on due application being made.
At the Grand Lodge session, January 9th, 1850, six lodges were represented. Among the visitors was James Gulick of Toms River. The Committee on Petitions made the following report. We the committee on Petitions for a new and for reviving old Lodges , have examined the vouchers of the following Lodges correct and recommend Warrants be granted Olive Branch at Freehold, Hiram at Jersey City, and Harmony at Toms River and that the old Warrants for Mount Holly and Camden be revived.
JOHN CLARK, Jr.
From the first entry in the minutes of Harmony Lodge we find the following:
In conformity with a charter granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of New Jersey dated January 9th, 1850, and of Masonry 5850, Harmony Lodge opened in the hall of Odd Fellows in the Village of Toms River on the 19th day of January A.D. 1850. At which meeting were present Brothers James Gulick, Jr., Joseph Holmes, William Gulick, James Gulick, Sr., Garrett Bailey, Robert Laird and P .G. M. Lewis.
Past Grand Master Lewis opened the Lodge in the Masters degree and installed the following officers: James Gulick as Worshipful Master; Joseph Holmes, senior Warden; William Gulick, Junior Warden; James Gulick, Sr., Secretary.
Petitions were presented from Thomas P. Barkalow, William I. James, John Smock, Ward W. Ivins, and William H. Craig—-all of whom were balloted for and elected. The Lodge was then closed in the Masters degree and opened in the Entered Apprentice degree; and Thomas P. Barkalow, William I. James, John Smock, Edward W. Ivins and William H. Craig were duly initiated in the degree. The closed in the Entered Apprentice Degree and opened in the Fellow Craft Degree and Thomas P. Barkalow, William I James, John Smock, Edward W. Ivins and William H. Craig were passed to the degree of Fellow Craft. The lodge was then closed in due and ancient form.
JAMES GULICK, Sr., Secretary.
There were six petitions received at the next meeting, February 26, 1850 and Brothers, Ivins, Gulick, and Craig were appointed committee to procure a room for the use of the lodge. A committee was also appointed on By-laws.
On April 23rd, 1850, the committee reported they had secured the Odd Fellows Hall at a sum of 824.00 a year for regular meetings and 1.00 for extra meetings. Odd Fellows Hall was located on the East side of Main Street, Between Washington and Water Streets, and was later known as the Singleton Building. This was torn down in the 1930’s to make room for the brick building erected by Brothers Harry and Sidney Harris. Meetings were held on the last Tuesday of the month. Members living within one mile of the Lodge were fined for non-attendance. The fees were 5.00 for Entered Apprentice; 5.00 for Fellow Craft and 6.00 for Master mason degrees. Dues were 2.00 per year and the first receipts for dues received were 3.50 from seven members. The fines for non-attendance were always remitted at the next meeting.
NOVEMBER 23, 1852
The SPECIAL MEETING OF Harmony No. 18 Ancient York and Accepted Masons was held at Masonic Hall.
Present were: Robert Laird, W. M. protem; Jacob M. Morris, S. W. protem; Wm. Craig, J. W., protem; W. I. James, S D, protem; G. S. Bailey, J D, protem; Thomas Hooper, secretary protem; E. Ivins, treasurer, protem; WM Applegate, Tyler, protem.
Visitor’s presents were: E.M. Stewart Most Worshipful Grand Master, Jacob W. Morris, Senior Grand Warden and members from Mt. Holly No. 14, Tuckerton No. 4, Hiram No. 17, and Washington No. 9.
In the Grand Lodge proceedings of January 13, 1853, we find the following: It was on motion ordered that the members of Harmony Lodge have liberty to surrender their warrant. It was further ordered that a new warrant be issued to Harmony Lodge at Toms River, to be filled in with the names of the elected officers. Lodge meetings were now changed to Tuesday night on or before the full moon. A seal was ordered purchased for the Lodge at a cost of 6.00 and regalia at a cost of 110.00.
1856: Here in the first officers of the Lodge were empowered to make arrangements with Brother Cowperthwait for leasing the third story room of a storehouse being erected, as a place for Lodge meetings.
1857: Fees were as follows: E. A. degree 10.00; F. C. degree, 10.00; M. M. degree 12.00. At this time furniture was bought at a cost of 175.00 and the meeting place was now located on the West side of Main Street, opposite Washington Street, known as Cowperthwait Hall. The first floor was later occupied by the Post office. Here we labored and entertained for 77 years, our first bill for refreshments being 30.03.
1859: February 15: The first Apron presented by Harmony Lodge. It was ordered that a Past Master’s apron be presented to Past Master James when the Lodge was able to do so. This apron was presented to Brother James on December 13, 1865. The balance for this year was 7.25. A bill for patented oil lamps for 2.75. Up to this time it was always bills for candles.
1860: The dues were raised to $ 4.00 and the first examination in the E.A. degree recorded. The meetings were changed to the first and third Tuesday of each month and have remained as such to the present time. The Tyler was paid 50 cents for each meeting and room keeper $ 12.00 per year. Desks and Altar were purchased for $ 30.00.
1862: Here we have war times. Among the members who took part in this conflict were Brothers Thomas W. Middleton Captain; Ralph B. Gowdy, Captain; John C. Patterson, Lt. col.; and M. Preine Gravatt, 2nd Lt., and several other brothers of our Lodge. The only records regarding the Civil War are as follows: A committee was appointed to visit Capt. T. W. Middleton at Sands Hill, N.J., who recently returned disabled from his command by injuries received at the battle of New Burn, N.C.
1865: We have a visit from Most Worshipful Grand Master Whitehead and Right Worshipful District Deputy Murphy. They complimented the Lodge on their fine work.
1868: Past Master Warren C. Abbey was elected Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. An item as to transportation was published in the Courier as follows: October 21, 1868, by W. S. James, Railroad Agent: to reach Toms River take the Steamboat Jesse Hayte at Pier 30 North River, New York at 9:00 A. M. for Port Monmouth, where you will take cars of the Delaware & Raritan for Toms River.
1870: a committee was appointed to confer with Brother Cowperthwait in regards to enlarging the room. This was finished in 1871 and our rent was now $ 125.00 per year and we are renting the room to Solomon Chapter No. 28, just organized, for 100.00 per year: The Grand Lodge dues were $ 28.50.
1873: the petition of Charles Rogers was received. Our balance was now $ 6.67, and a circular regarding our finances was spent to the members, at the next meeting our receipts were $ 188.19. The Secretary notes that Brother Bodine has paid his dues in advance, and quotes “Would there were more like him.”
A few months after this, a special meeting was held in the basement of the M. E. church at Barnegat (March 13, 1874) for the purpose of conducting funeral services for Brother James Bodine.
Transportation in 1874 was still bad. A communication was received from Tuckerton Lodge for the loan of our burial ritual and to attend the funeral of their Past Master Brother William Mason (June 2nd, 1874) but it being impossible to go and return in the same day we could not meet with them as a lodge. Balance this year $ 2.87.
January 5, 1875: First Past Master’s Jewel presented to Past Master Chipman (cost $ 15.69). Also note that Solomon Chapter after three years is unable to pay their rent. A communication from Barnegat asking information relative to holding a lodge of instruction preparatory to applying for a charter.
Some time in the 1880’s the conferring of more than one degree at the same communication was discontinued.
1880: Brother Charles Rogers Worshipful Master, and the first visit of District Deputy Grand Master Henry Hains, who conferred the Entered Apprentice degree in a very able manner.
1881: The death of Right Worshipful Warren C. Abbey is here recorded. He has served as Secretary for a number of years.
1885: No waivers were issued at this time because of the poor condition of the finances of our lodge.
1887: Committee was appointed to put lock on outer door and Brother Shinn was instructed to procure Pedestals for the Lesser Lights.
1888: A dispensation was granted by the Grand Lodge to hold a public installation of the officers on July 15th. The installation was conducted by M. W. G. M. Moore, assisted by Grand Lodge Officers after which they retired to the hall for refreshments. There were visitors from England. Canada and nearby states.
1891: February 18, the brothers are notified that District Grand Lodge meeting is to be held at Asbury Park.
1895: The attendance of members in improving, as we note that we have had to purchase more aprons and chairs.
1897: Worshipful Brother Howard Jeffrey was presented with Past Master’s Jewel and Brother A. S. Tilton was installed as Worshipful Master.
1898: Visit of Right Worshipful District Deputy Warrenk. Lamp committee ordered to limit their expense to $ 15.00 per year.
1899: Communication from R. W. D. D. Warren that a lodge of instruction would be held in this lodge May 31st. Secretary to notify brethren. A committee appointed to provide refreshments and a committee of three to look up the dishes belonging to the lodge.
A Lodge about to be opened at Lakewood exemplified to the work and requested admits for some brethren. Printing of new By-Laws ordered. A communication to appoint a committee to attend a meeting of the new Lakewood Lodge on request of the Grand Master.
1901: We have no more trouble with the stove, as radiators have been installed.
1902: A Jewel was presented to R. W. D. D. Henry Haines.
1904: Electric lights installed, new Alter lights and letter G purchased. Brother Joseph Grover installed as Worshipful Master.
1905: Safe purchased. Up to this time our records were kept in the vault at the Court House.
1909: Worshipful Brother Joseph Grover was appointed District Deputy Grand Master. Committees appointed to make arrangements for reception and refreshments.
1910: R. W. Joseph Grover conducts first Lodge of Instructions at Tuckerton.
1917: During the First World War period here is no mention as to members taking part, but we find that it was resolved that any member of the Lodge serving in the Army or Navy, their dues should be remitted during such service. It was also ordered that we purchase $ 2,000.00 worth of Liberty Bonds. A committee was appointed to confer with D. A. Veeder and inform him that $ 100.00 and furnish our own lights was the best we could do in regards to the annual rent.
1919: Notice received of appointment of M. W. R. C. Woodward as Grand Treasurer.
1921: A committee appointed to procure a suitable place for the erection of a Masonic building.
1923: Building committee reported that D. A. Veeder would rent the present room as is for 5 years at a rental of $ 450.00. A room in the Courier building for 4 300.00 and that Judge Berry would lease for 5 years a $ 700.00 per year a lodge room to be prepared in the building he is about to erect. It was voted that we accept D. A. Veeder’s offer at $ 450.00 with alterations to be made.
1926: We find at the meeting of April 6, two pages closely written with visitors’ names. The occasion was the raising of Brother Wallace Havens. The chairs were occupied as follows: R. W. Brother Benjamin F. Havens in the East; W. Brother Edgar H. Havens in the West; and W. Brother C. Summer Haves occupying the Senior Deacon’s chair and Worshipful Brother W. Burtis Havens delivering the lecture.
1933: After having labored for 77 years we moved to new quarters in the Courier building. Harmony Lodge has not been neglected by the Grand Lodge in the selection and appointment of Grand Lodge Officers, In 1867 we find W. Brother W. C. Abbey serviing as J. G. W..; in 1909 we find W. Brother Joseph Grover serving as D. D.; in 1929 W. Brother W. burtis Havens as D. D.; in 1934 W Brother John F. Grover serving as Grand Sward Bearer; in 1936 W. Brother John Netterman as Grand Chaplain; in 1948 W. Brother Asa Salvador as Grand Chaplain and in 1949 W. Brother John G. Woods ad D. D. Annual visitations of the Most Worshipful Grand Masters and their officers have been well attended and appreciated. Since 1922 from personal observation there has not been one meeting when there were not present enough Past Masters to open and conduct the work of the lodge. To them we are grateful for the proficiency of the work we now enjoy, not forgetting out Grand Instructor P. G. M. Richard C. Woodward.
Harmony Lodge was instituted on the 19th day of January, 1850. Ocean County was instituted by act of Legislature February 15th,
1850. The first officer appointed by Daniel Haines, then Governor, as Judge, was the Master of Harmony Lodge and the Prosecutor was our Senior Warden.
1949: A Square Club was organized which has a membership of over 150, whose main object is to endeavor to have a cornerstone laid for a Masonic Temple in this Centennial ear of 1950.