The history includes the names of many prominent citizens of the community and tells the story of how the Lodge building was built and paid for.
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A History of Covington Lodge 188, F&AM
During the one hundred and twenty seven years that the Covington Lodge #188 Free and Accepted Masons has been in existence, it has suffered several misfortunes such as fires and storms, and many of its records have been destroyed or badly damaged. The information here was obtained primarily from searches of the records of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana and previously written histories of the Covington Lodge. It is hoped that this most recent history will be received and read with interest and appreciation by all, members and non-members of the Craft alike.
Masonry is not a religion, though religious. It is non-sectarian, requiring of its members only a belief in the Supreme Being--God, ever inculcating the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man, as well as the principles of Morality and Virtue, and Faith, Hope, and Charity.
It having existed for more than forty centuries, there can be no doubt in unprejudiced minds, that it is either of Divine Origin, or has always enjoyed the blessing of Deity, and carried on through the ages by devoted and dedicated men.
In the month of July 1867, a little more than two years after the close of the War between the States that ended in April 1865, a small group of Masons residing in Covington, Louisiana, petitioned the Grand Lodge of Louisiana through Mount Moriah Lodge No. 59 in New Orleans for a dispensation to form a Masonic Lodge in Covington.
An official charter was granted by the Grand Lodge on February 13, 1868. The Lodge was consecrated on March 2, 1868 at a regular meeting at "Candle Light", with the Grand Master of Masons of Louisiana, Henry W. Swazey, presiding, with other officers of the Grand Lodge present and assisting. At that time the Lodge had eighteen members.
There is no record showing where the petitioners had been made Masons, except that one of them W. B. Hosmer was a member of the Rising Glory Lodge No. 215, Osyka, Mississippi. It is probable that some were members of Lodges in New Orleans. Franklinton Lodge No. 101 and Livingston Lodge No. 160 at that time located in Pontchatoula, Louisiana were also both functioning, neither being more than thirty miles from Covington. At any rate these members were accepted by the Grand Lodge. Other records show that they all served in the Army of the Confederate States during the Civil War.
THE FIRST MEETING
The dispensation petitioned for was granted and presented at a special meeting of the Lodge under Dispensation in the Town of Covington. On August 5, 1867, by Brother John W. Anderson, Worshipful Master of Mount Moriah Lodge No. 59 of New Orleans, acting as Deputy Grand Master for Louisiana and for Most Worshipful Brother A. J. Norwood, Grand Master of Louisiana, who was unable to attend.
The officers named for the lodge under dispensation included Reverend Robert F. Clute, a minister and at the time Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Covington as Worshipful Master. James M. Thompson, a young lawyer was named Senior Warden. Henry F. Spring, a farmer, was Junior Warden, with William B. Hosmer as Secretary, James M. Ford as Senior Deacon, W. H. R. Hangen as Junior Deacon and Charles Heintz as Tyler.
At this meeting a committee composed of James M. Thompson, Henry F. Spring, and James M. Ford was appointed to draw up a set of by-laws for the Lodge. These must have been previously drawn, for they were presented knd adopted at this meeting.
The time of future meetings was fixed as the first Saturday of each month, commencing at the hour of four o'clock p.m. However, the time of meetings has been changed several times since, and the regular meetings are now the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, commencing at 7 o'clock in the evening. At this meeting three new petitions for degrees in Masonry were received.
The first officers for the newly chartered Lodge were then elected and installed. They were Robert F. Clute, Worshipful Master; James M. Thompson, Senior Warden; Fenelon B. Martindale, Junior Warden; Alonzo Givens, Secretary; Charles Heintz, Treasurer; W. H. R. Hangen, Junior Deacon; J. M. Ford, Senior Deacon; and John Theobold, Tyler.
THE TEMPLE BUILDING
There is no record showing where the first meeting was held except that it was in Covington. The minutes do show that after the installation of officers, the Lodge was closed and the officers, members, and guests departed to the boarding house of Mrs. Sterling "next door", where all enjoyed a fine meal ending with Masonic songs. The old building known as the Sterling Hotel was still standing in the year 1909; and with it being "next door" to the Lodge, it is evident that the Lodge met in some building adjoining the site of the present Temple.
From the time the Lodge was first organized, it occupied rented quarters for a meeting place until November 21, 1871 when it purchased from Mrs. Emma Afroux, the property described as Lot 4 in Square 7, Division of St. John, Town of Covington, and which is on the South side of and adjacent to the lot on which the present Temple is now located.
On the lot purchased from Mrs. Afroux, there was a wooden frame building. This structure was remodeled and used as the Temple until it was destroyed by fire on October 29, 1909. The fire originated in a small wooden structure on the south side of and adjoining a brick building located on the corner of Columbia and Boston Streets, owned by Emile Frederick. This fire was very destructive. The brick building of Emile Frederick and all other buildings on both" sides of Columbia Street from Boston Street down to the Bogue Falaya River, including the Covington Masonic Temple were burned.
After this fire, the lodge had to miss one of its regular meetings but after securing a dispensation, soon secured new quarters for a meeting place. It rented from P. J. Lacroix, who operated a general store on the corner of Columbia and Boston Streets, the second floor of his building. The Lodge occupied this rented space until late in the summer of 1910. Having been engaged in constructing a new Lodge building, the Lodge resumed meetings in its own building upon its completion.
However, another catastrophe was to befall Covington Lodge. In September of 1915, there was a hurricane of large proportions and of great force, striking portions of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. This hurricane was preceded by excessive rains for twelve hours or more, causing all streams to flood. The roof of the Temple was severely damaged by wind, which caused many of the Lodge records to be ruined by rain or so damaged as to be unreadable. However, damage to the Lodge building was soon repaired and meetings continued regularly.
The Lodge building that was constructed in 1910 was destroyed by fire early one morning in the Spring of 1923. The Presbyterian Church offered the Lodge the use of its Sunday school rooms for a meeting place. Meetings were held there until the completion of the present temple building in the year 1924. Undaunted by the fire, the lodge members immediately commenced with preparations to construct a new Temple.
Being afraid to have other buildings too close because of fire, the Lodge purchased from the St. Tammany Light and Ice Manufacturing Company, in January 1924, the property described as Lots 5 and 6 in Square 7, Division of St. John, Town of Covington. By this act, it became the owner of all the property from its own property out to Rutland Street.
This additional property has been kept vacant for reasons of safety as well as appearance, and Covington can now boast of having one of the most attractive Temple grounds in the state.
The present Temple of Covington Lodge was built in 1924 and on September 14th of that year was dedicated by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, with the late Prentiss B Carter, Grand Master, presiding.
Ever since the dedication of the present Temple in 1924, the Lodge has functioned continuously but not without having to surmount obstacles. For instance, when the Lodge building was burned in 1923, some insurance money was collected, but the amount was insignificant when compared to the cost of the new brick building planned, so a rather large sum was borrowed from the old Covington Bank and Trust Company and as security a mortgage was given on the Lodge property.
This loan was being gradually reduced, but with the crash in the stock market in November 1929 causing a great business depression lasting several years, Covington Lodge like all became involved in financial difficulties. The bank holding the mortgage was closed by the State Banking Department and placed in liquidation. In order to make payments on the mortgage loan the Lodge rented the ground floor of the Temple to the Parish for office space for the Welfare Department.
In 1946, a small group of the Lodge members each gave from their personal funds, the amount necessary to pay in full the indebtedness of the Lodge, and it has remained free of debt ever since.
The stately facade of our Temple is a landmark in Covington. Its architectural style has weathered the years with grace and beauty. The cost of the rebuilding and refurnishing was $40,000 in 1923. Its value today is significantly more in both economic and spiritual terms.
Many of the present furnishings were given in memory of loved ones. Some singular and impressive gifts are worth noting. The Altar was given by Robert W. Badon in memory of his father--a member of the Lodge since 1881. The Burns brothers donated one hundred arm chairs. Many other items are identified with metal tags attached.
Through the years, dedicated brethren worked to maintain this Temple. Recently an interior renovation project was undertaken during the years 1993 and 1994, Many man-hours were spent in restoring our lodge to its original splendor. Many members assisted by donations not only of their funds, but their time. All who took part in this work are greatly appreciated by their brethren. We can be very proud of what their efforts have achieved. May our brothers in the future appreciate the heritage we have preserved for them.
ITS RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHER LODGES
When Covington Lodge No. 188 was chartered, it was the first and only Masonic Lodge in St. Tammany Parish, and its membership was made up of men residing in all parts of the Parish. With the organization of the Slidell Lodge No. 311, in 1907, Covington Lodge lost several of its members who demitted to become members " of the Lodge in Slidell, as it was nearer to them.
The Lodge had also lost several of its potential members when Center Lodge No. 244 was organized in 1864, as many members of the Covington Lodge resided in the northern portion of St. Tammany Parish. After Center Lodge was organized, it was much nearer for them to travel to that Lodge-, although it was located in Washington Parish at - Lees Creek, Louisiana about two miles south of Bogalusa.
In those days travel over country roads at night made distance something to be considered. Several demitted from Covington Lodge and became affiliated with Center Lodge No. 244 when it was moved to Bogalusa, Louisiana early in the year 1909 .
Other bodies which have held meetings in Covington Lodge building are Southern Pines Chapter O E S, the Amarath, Covington Chapter Royal Arch Masons, Rainbow Girls, Demolay, the Scottish Rite Club, and Council of Royal and Select Masters. Presently, these groups hold regular meetings at the Temple: Blanc Magnolia Chapter #250 O E S, Covington Scottish Rite Club, Northlake Shrine Club and Royal Arch Masons.
In the past the lower floor of the Lodge building has been used by several organizations: Woodmen of the World, Chapter of Druids, the Baptist Church, and for a court room for some months while the Court House preceding the present one was undergoing repairs.
LODGE MEMBERS, PAST AND PRESENT
The membership of Covington Lodge has been made up of men from all professions, trades or callings: lawyers, doctors, ministers, teachers, blacksmiths, merchants, bankers, and others.
James M. Thompson, one of the original charter members became Judge of the District Court, at that time covering the Parishes of St. Tammany, Washington, Tangipahoa, St. Helena, and Livingston. He traveled 'from parish to parish by horse and buggy. Later he was elected to the Court of Appeal and became noted throughout the state as a Jurist.
The late Lewis L. Morgan was a member of Covington Lodge at the time he was elected to Congress in 1912, where he served two consecutive terms, retiring voluntarily. Of those who served the Lodge as Master, four have served at different times as Clerk of the District Court for St. Tammany Parish, namely Fenelon B. Martindale, W. E. Kennedy, Harrison R. Warren and Andrew L. Erwin, who served as both Clerk of Court and Sheriff of the Parish. Two other members, W. C. Morgan and E. J. Frederick, also served as Clerk of Court. W. B. Cook and Thomas Doherty each served as Sheriff of the Parish.
Covington Lodge now (in 1995) has a membership of 119 which is a good record considering that there are now five other Lodges in the parish: Slidell No. 311, Sun Lodge No. 336, A. U. Peterson No. 455, Bayou Lacombe No. 459, and Pearl Lodge No. 456. Four of those named have been sponsored by Covington Lodge No. 188.
The present lodge officers for 1995 are as follows:
Worshipful Master Charles F. Williams
Senior Warden Upton Lee
Junior Warden Patrick Borelli
Secretary Jack L. Martin
Treasurer Vernon Porter
Chaplain Marlin Peachey Sr.
Senior Deacon Steven Roberts
Junior Deacon Allen Arellano
Master of Ceremonies Marlin Peachey Jr.
Senior Steward Mike Bridges
Junior Steward Jordan Brooks
Tyler Richard Warner
It can be expected with every degree of certainty that under the guidance and leadership of the officers named, the lodge will continue its long tradition of fruitful and useful service.
Thus we ring down the curtain on the past one hundred and twenty seven years of the life of Covington Lodge. It is our hope that the images of those of the distant past"will serve as an inspiration to those of the present, to carry on the teaching and principles of Freemasonry for the good of all mankind, especially to those in their own community.
WORSHIPFUL MASTERS OF COVINGTON LODGE #188, F&AM
Robert F. Clute 1867-1869
F. B. Martindale 1879, 1878, 1888, 1905
Thomas B. Mortee 1871-1872
John M. Yates 1873
J. M. Thompson 1874-1875, 1879-1881
Charles W. Bradley- 1876
Milton Burns 1877, 1893-1897, 1899-1901
W. C. Warren 188291887, 1890-1891
Morris H. Talley 1889
H. R. Warren 189201898
Albert Theobald 1902-1903
Albert Rockenschuh 1906-1909
George E. Jenkins 1910
L. A. Perreand 1911-1912
E. P. Singletary 1913
E. B. Stern 1914
E. G. Davis 1915-1916, 1934
W. H. Kentzel 1916, 1935
Arthur L. Bear 1918
Robert W. Badon 1919
J. Monroe Simmons 1920
N. H. Fitzsimmons 1921
Warren H. Smith 1922
R. N. Menetre 1923-1924
Bryan D. Burns 1924
J. H. Warner 1925, 1933
H. K. Goodwyn 1926
R, L. Nelson 1927
Dr. R. B. Paine 1928
C. S. Fredericks 1929
Alton E. Smith 1930
P. E." Smith 1931, 1938, 1942
H. D. Bulloch 1932
B. F. Edmundson 1936, 1939
0. G. Price 1937
Robert H. White 1940, 1943
Andrew L. Erwin 1944
Lindsay W. McDougall 1945
Dalton J. Barranger 1946
Troy Jackson 1947
Henry L. Mayfield 1948
Rev. O. H. Buckley 1949
B. D. Edmundson 1950
Lee Hebert 1951
T. L. Doby, Jr. 1952
S. L. Guynn 1953
Horace R. Alexius, Jr 1954
R. Geneste 1955
A. U. Peterson 1956
R. E. Goodrow 1957
C. J. Nichols 1958
Ivey J. Martin Sr. 1959
Walter Pulling 1960
Otis Myers 1961
Joseph Howes 1962
Theodore Talley 1963
Louis E. Lester 1964
Roy R. Taylor 1965
Oliver J. Jolet 1966
Walter Pulling 1967
Ray R. Taylor 1968
Wallace Simmons 1969
Ralph H. Gennusa 1970
V. L. Cox 1971
Lawrence Brossette 1972
John Fahey 1973
Charles F. Williams 1974, 1995
Raymond Pellegrin 1975
Otto Haldenwanger 1976
C. J. Leblanc 1977
Don Kelly 1978
Duane Wray 1979
Sammy O'Keefe 1980
Dewey Lee 1981
Steve Roberts 1982
Keith Jarret 1983
Ronald Russell 1984
Roland Galloway 1985
Howard Gibson 1986
Marlin Peachey, Jr. 1987, 1988
George Roth III 1989
R. G. "Bob" Wiggins 1990
Vernon Porter 1991
Richard Warner 1992
David Phenis 1993
Marlin Peachey, Sr. 1994