A History of Freedom Lodge Number 112
It is an established fact that no Masonic Lodge just happens to be
formed. There are generally reasons for forming a new lodge. Freedom lodge was
no exception. In the fall of 1860, sixteen brethren of George Washington Lodge
Number 94 of Westminster were determined to form a lodge which would be more
convenient to their place of residence.
They lived in Freedom, 14 miles from Westminster.
The brothers were having a difficult time finding a suitable meeting
place. The problem was resolved through the liberal generosity of Brother John
T. Steele. Brother Steele donated a plot of ground for the hall, a considerable
portion of building material, and a team of horses to haul the supplies. By the
fall of 1861 a 21’ by 43’ building was ready for occupancy. Dispensation was
applied for and granted by Most Worshipful Grand Master John S. Berry. The new
lodge was organized on February 1, 1862.
At the Grand Lodge of Maryland‘s May 12, 1862 annual communication in
Baltimore, Most Worshipful Grand Master John S. Berry stated that he had granted
a dispensation to a number of brethren of George Washington Lodge number 94
residing at Freedom in Carroll County to open and to hold lodge at that place to
make Masons with dispensation, together with the book of proceedings, to be
returned to the Grand Lodge after charter had been granted. The new charter was
granted on May 13, 1862.
The following officers were installed for the newly formed
Warren L. Little, Worshipful Master; Joseph W. Steele, MD Senior
Warden; Nicholas Rodgers, Junior Warden; J. Oliver Wadlow, Secretary; John
Other charter members of Freedom Lodge Number 112 were; Richard
Frazier, Thomas Paynter, Stephen Ro Gore, Lewis Ohler, William Curry, William
A. Phillips, John L. Nicholas, Robert Clark, John Clark John T. Steele,
Christian Devries, and other early members of the lodge were; Richard Tregeise,
MD; Norris Edward Oates; Goerge W. Davis; Rev. A.S. Hank; E.E. Shipley; Adam L.
Hover; Edward Nicholes, Elias P. Devries; L.A.J. Lamotte; Nicholas C. Harry;
Dr. Bernard Mills; Stephen B. Stockdale; Robert T. DevriesRichard Wilton; Jacob
M. Zimmerman; George W. Stockdale; Rev. J.W. Gray; George W. Lamotte; Jesse M.
Lowe; John L. Lloyd; Robert Lehman; George Place; Lewis D. Gore; Horace L.
The Hall was dedicated by the Grand Lodge on May 28, 1865. The Grand
Line Officers present were; John Coates, Grand Master; Anthony Kimmel, Past
Grand Master; Jacob H. Mediary, Grand Secretary; James W. Brewers, Grand
Lecturer; David Martin, Grand Tyler; and Brothers Lawrence Langston, Edrward T.
Schultz; Charles E. Kemp; Rev. Thomas Myers, and others of Baltimore. Brothers
John A. Lynch, Charles W. Ross of Frederick, as well as a number of brethren
from Westminster and Manchester lodges were also present. Following a dedication
service, a procession of brothers retired to an adjoining grove where addresses
were delivered by Brothers Langston and Myers. The procession then reformed and
marched to a nearby graveyard where funeral honors were given at the grave of
Past Grand Master Peter Little. The entire assembly partook of a bountiful
repast prepared by the brethren of Freedom Lodge at their new
The total cost to erect and furnish the hall was $2,600. A fair held at
the time in aid of the building fund realized nearly $1,200. The Lodge Hall was
a two-story frame building. The lower floor was put to use as a public school.
The lodge was very prosperous, and within a few years the brethren had paid off
the entire debt. According to a History of Carroll County, “At a single festival
this lodge took in $1,400 which cleared all debts and left a surplus for
An interesting historical note is that during the first 33 years of
existence, Freedom Lodge had only six Worshipful Masters, Warren G. Little; J.
W. Steele; J. Oliver Wadlow; Lewis Ohler and John Deckerbaugh. The latter served
as Worshipful Master twenty-three times during these first thirty-three
In 1892 a resolution was passed at the Grand Lodge communication known
as Standing Resolution Number 18 which permitted Freedom Lodge to hold meetings
alternately at Freedom and Sykesville.
Masonic funerals are one of the ways in which we honor our brothers. In
1901 Past Grand Master Rev. James Bryan Purcell died. At the time he was serving
as the Episcopal Rector in Sykesville. He was buried there in Sykesville with
Masonic Honors by officers of the Grand Line, assisted by the brethren of
In 1924 Freedom Lodge petitioned the Grand Lodge to rescind Standing
Order Number 18, which required alternate meetings at Freedom and Sykesville.
This petition was granted and Freedom Lodge held their meetings at Sykesville
until 1956. That is when they occupied their new Temple in Eldersburg, which
was located near the site of the original lodge.
The idea of a new lodge building was first discussed in 1945. No action
was taken until ten years later when plans were drawn up by Brother William S.
Alexander, P.M. A month later, in November 1955, the building plans, with some
alterations were approved by the membership of Freedom Lodge.
The Grand Lodge of Maryland gave approval of the final building plans
in January 1956.
On May 26, 1956 at 3:00 PM, a Special Communication of the Grand Lodge
of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Maryland was called in the Masonic Temple
at Sykesville, for the purpose of laying the Cornerstone of the new temple at
Eldersburg. The change of site from Sykesville to Eldersburg was authorized at
the Semi-Annual Communication for the Grand Lodge of Maryland in May 1956 to
take effect upon the completion of the new temple. The Grand Lodge opened in
ample form and proceeded to the site of the Cornerstone Laying. The Grand Lodge
Officers present on the occasion were: Arthur W. Dowell, Most Worshipful Grand
Master; Charles H. Cover, Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master; George M.
Mullen, Right Worshipful Senior Grand Master.
With The Grand Line Officers at their respective stations, also
accompanied by Daniel Hope, Most
Worshipful Past Grand Master, they proceeded to lay the Cornerstone in due and
ancient form, before a large assembly of members and their friends. Worshipful
Master Charles F. Hoffmaster of Freedom Lodge 112 and his current line, as well
as a number Freedom Past Masters were present on this occasion.
The contents of the box deposited in the Cornerstone are as follows: The Holy Bible;
Names of the Grand Lodge Officers; Names of the Living Past Grand Masters; Names of
the Officers of Freedom Lodge; Names of the members of Freedom Lodge; Names of
the Directors of Freedom Holding Corporation; A copy fo the By-laws of Freedom
Lodge; Money; The May Communication of Freedom Lodge; The May communication of
the Order fo the Eastern Star; A set of building plans; Sykesville Herald
Newspaper; Historic notes of Freedom Lodge; and Copy of the list of articles
After the ceremony, The Grand Lodge Officers returned to the Masonic
temple at Sykesville, and the Grand Lodge was then closed in ample form.
To handle the building program, the lodge was incorporated as the
Freedom Holding Corporation with a fifteen man Board of Directors. Named as
members of the first board of directors were Brothers: William S. Alexander,
President; Earl Zepp, Vice-President; Malcolm P. Burman, Senior Treasurer;
Luther H. Haight; Secretary, Edward H. Arrington; O.T. Gosnell; Howard A.
Smith; Ralph W. Beam; John F. Trammell; Charles F. Hoffmaster; Walter V.
Bennett; C. Roger Hall; Cellius L. Brown; J. Henry Koller, and Norman P.
A special Communication of the Grand Lodge of Maryland was held at the
Masonic Temple of Freedom Lodge Number 112 in Eldersburg, on May 28, 1957 for
the purpose of dedicating the new Temple.
Grand Master Charles H. Cover, along with the officers of his Grand
Line were present. Worshipful Master Brother Ralph W. Bean was present at the
time of this dedication.
On April 12, 1977 a special ceremony was held where the mortgage of the
lodge was burned.
The lodge in Eldersburg remained in the 1957 building until 2003. It
was then that a new cornerstone was laid for the building in which Freedom Lodge
Number 112 currently meets. This lodge continues to grow and prosper and has
recently undertaken a new series of renovation projects.