July 4th 1960
This brochure is devoted, for the most part, to the history of a single Lodge----Alpha, No. 116 F&AM---existing by virtue of a Charter granted by the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, F.& A.M.. The lodge is unique because it is the only one in the United States whose members are colored.
Many articles and statements about the lodge have appeared in print which are not only inaccurate but completely at variance from the facts about the formation and continued existence of the Lodge, which is now almost ninety years of age.
It has been my pleasure to have visited this Lodge many times and on April 14, 1948 I was shown the great and much appreciated favor of being made an Honorary Member. Consequently, I have a special personal interest in the Lodge and am happy to present herewith the results of several years of research into its history. It is a fascinating story and should prove interesting to any Freemason.
The standing of the Lodge is of the highest order and the fraternal spirit of the members is not surpassed in any Lodge, as will be attested by the hundreds of visitors who have partaken of their hospitality.
I originally published the greater part of this history in "Nocalore", Volume II, Part 3, 1932, of the North Carolina Lodge of Research, No. 666 (now defunct). The present work has been revised and brought up to date. The officers of Alpha Lodge gave me every possible assistance when I originally compiled the history some thirty years ago, for which I then, and again now, expressed many thanks.
While there may be other Lodges in the Unites States like it in the future, there will never be another Alpha (First). If subsequent Lodges of a like nature come into being, they could do no better than to emulate the fine work, the upstanding position it has in New Jersey Masonry, and the fraternal spirit it evolves---all of which, taken together, makes for the betterment of our Fraternity of which we are proud.
Harold V. B. Voorhis
The History of Alpha Lodge No. 116
by Willis Allen, P.M.
January 19, 1971 marked the one hundredth anniversary of Alpha Lodge No. 116, F. & A. M. in the Grand Jurisdiction of New Jersey. During the greater number of those years the mention of this all black Masonic Lodge working under the supervision of a white Grand Lodge would have come as a shock to most Masons outside the State of New Jersey. As to its origin, critics, apologists and defenders alike have offered "explanations" galore, seldom permitting their minds to be encumbered by facts.
The simple fact is, that far from being the "unique" product of the schemes of Machiavellian do-gooders, Alpha Lodge is an integral part of the Institution of Freemasonry as it developed in New Jersey. Its history is a part of the "continuous narrative" of the efforts of mankind to rise from the darkness of its baser nature into the radiance of civilization.
The narrative began many eons ago, but the part that concerns Alpha Lodge did not begin to unfold until the year 1867. Then, as now, there were those who did not subscribe to the principle of universal brotherhood. The story of Alpha Lodge is the story of nine dedicated Masons who undertook, against overwhelming odds, the task of making the principle of universality a reality in Masonry in the State of New Jersey.
M.'.W.'. William S. Whitehead, Grand Master of New Jersey, was delivering his Annual Address to Grand Lodge at the end of four long and difficult years in office when he declared that the "true, fundamental and essential idea of our Institution, the central idea of Masonry, the foundation upon which the whole superstructure rests is the Universal Brotherhood of Man." He further stated his belief that regardless of place of birth, social status, color or creed, "A man's a man for a' that." This forthright statement was to be characterized by R.'.W.'. David McGregor, Past Grand Historian,. as "the entering wedge that ultimately culminated in the constitution of a colored Masonic Lodge in New Jersey, and is an example of how the force of logic, carried to its extreme limit, sometimes places one in an untenable position so far as its practical application in everyday life is concerned."
Be that as it may, the fact is that this statement of personal belief and commitment was well received by the members of Grand Lodge and was to become a rallying point for those members of the Craft, both black and white, who shared the Grand Master's philosophy.
The first indication that M.'.W.'. Brother Whitehead's. message had borne fruit was to be witnessed three years later when a group of black Masons attempted to gain admission into recognized Masonry in New Jersey. Their application for "recognition and connection" was in the form of a petition for a charter to form Cushite Lodge, and is of interest to us for two reasons. First, it was sponsored by W.'. Israel Baldwin, Past Master of St. John's Lodge No. 1; second, the petitioners were all black, and will appear again later on in our narrative,
At the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in January of 1870, M.'.W.'. Henry R. Cannon called to the attention of Grand Lodge the fact that "A group of colored Masons have applied for recognition and connection with this Grand Lodge" and he solicited for them "a respectful consideration of their petition and a careful investigation into any claims they may present for reception within the bounds of our ancient, Fraternity." The petition was assigned to two different Committees. The Committee on Warrants and Dispensations recommended that the petition be denied on the ground that it was not "in due form," was not accompanied by a recommendation from a neighboring Lodge and "for other reasons" satisfactory to them. The Committee on Jurisprudence and Charity reported back to Grand Lodge that the petition raised "grave and important questions" that they were not competent to deal with in the limited time available to them and recommended that a Special Committee be appointed to study the question "in all its bearings" and report to Grand Lodge at its next Annual Communication. A Committee composed of M.'.W.'. William S. Whitehead, P.G.M., and P.M. of St. John's No. 1, M.'.W.'. Joseph Trimble, P.G.M., and P.M. of Camden No. 15 and R.'.W.'. Henry Veshlage, Grand Chaplain, and P.M. of Franklin No. 10, was appointed and given the assignment.
A lengthy report was made-at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in January of 1871, setting forth the results of an inquiry into the backgrounds of the petitioners specifically and of Masonry among Negroes in general. The Committee concurred in the recommendation that the petition be denied; however, they "deemed it consistent with the duty assigned" them to suggest to the petitioners that there is one way, and but one way, for them to achieve their objective and that is by following the same course that is required of all other profanes. That the doors of Masonic Lodges are open to all men of every race, creed or color who are freeborn, of lawful age, who declare their trust in God, have passed the scrutiny of a committee of a lawful Lodge and have achieved a favorable verdict of the ballot box."
Strong objection to this "suggestion" was raised on the ground that, as matters then stood, the Committee knew full well that there was scant prospect that any black man, no matter what his qualifications, could ever achieve a favorable verdict of the ballot box in any Masonic Lodge in the State; indirectly accusing the Committee of promoting a point of view that they knew to be generally unacceptable.
Subsequent to the denial of the petition for a warrant to form Cushite Lodge, which he had sponsored, and apparently in anticipation of the report of the Special Committee, W.'. Israel Baldwin called a meeting at his office at 362 Plane Street, Newark, on December 27, 1870. In attendance, besides W.'. Brother Baldwin, were Brothers William M. Clarke and Nathan Mingus, both members of St. John's Lodge No. 1, and George E. P. Howard and Herman Witzel, both of whom were Sojourners. W.'. Brother Baldwin was Chairman of the meeting and Brother Mingus acted as Secretary. Minutes of that meeting read in part as follows:
"Pursuant to invitation, the following named Masons assembled at Brother Past Master Israel Baldwin's office, 362 Plane Street, Newark this Tuesday evening, December 27, 1870, St. John's Day, for the purpose of organizing a new Lodge designed to carry out the suggestions made in the foregoing preamble." What the "foregoing preamble" contained is not known for, apparently, it was never committed to writing. (W.'. Brother Mingus, the first Master of Alpha Lodge, is reported to have explained that the "suggestions" referred to were 1. Perfect Harmony; 2. No Affiliation Fee; 3. No Suspension for Non-payment of Dues.) Those in attendance decided to notify Brothers John Whitehead and Samuel Morrow, Jr., "who have expressed interest in our work" and, on recommendation, to invite Brothers Marcus W. Adams and George M. Howells to be present at the next meeting.
On December 30, 1870 a second meeting was held at the same address, attended by W.'. Israel Baldwin, Bros. William M. Clarke, George E. P. Howard, George M. Howells, Marcus W. Adams and Nathan Mingus. The assembled brethren unanimously declared their intention to form a new Lodge. They chose the name Alpha and selected the principal Officers as follows: Nathan Mingus, Master, William M. Clarke, Sr. Warden and W.'. Israel Baldwin, Jr., Warden. Committees were appointed to prepare a petition and to obtain a recommendation.
At a third meeting on January 14, 1871, the various Committees reported their work completed. Brother Howard submitted a design for a Lodge seal -an hour glass with wings under a pair of scales suspended by a hand with rays of light emanating from the hand - which was adopted. (R.'.W.'. David McGregor, P.G. Historian, was later to interpret that design to signify "that the flight of time had brought justice to all by the radiant hand of fellowship.") All was now in readiness for the opening of the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge which was only four days off.
On January 18, 1871 M.'.W.'. Robert Rusling announced to Grand Lodge that he had received a petition from nine brethren, accompanied by a recommendation from St. John's Lodge No. 1, for the formation of a new Lodge in Newark to be hailed Alpha Lodge and that he knew of no reason why a warrant should be issued. There being no objection, the petition was granted and Alpha Lodge was chartered on January 19,1871 and was duly constituted on January 27, 1871 by M. '.W.'. William E. Pine in the lodgerooms of St. John's Lodge No. 1.
At its first Communication on January 31, 1871, thirteen petitions were presented. Of that number twelve were, from black men, four of whom were the original petitioners for a warrant to form Cushite Lodge. The thirteenth petitioner was a white man named John Hoon. The petitions were referred to the usual Committees for investigation. February 7th, 14th and 21st saw the regular Communications devoted to the details of organizing the Lodge and to rehearsal of the ritual.
Their investigations completed, the Committees reported on the thirteen petitions at the Communication of February 28th with the following results: John Hoon, John L. Sweres, Charles H. Thompson, Abram T. Cooke, Elias Ray, William DeKalb, Davis Brown, William N. Bailey, Thomas F. Washington, James H. Baxter, John O'Fake and Peter F. O'Fake were all reported worthy. The first petitioner, John Hoon, was balloted on and elected. Brother George E. P. Howard was dispatched to notify Mr. Hoon of his election and to request his presence at the lodgeroom for initiation.. During his absence R. '.W.'. George Edwards, Grand Marshal, was announced. He entered the Lodge and was conducted to the East from where he proceeded to inform the Worshipful Master that he I)ore a communication from the Grand Master, M.'.W.'. William E. Pine, directed to the W.'.M.'. of Alpha Lodge, and he proceeded to read it.
The communication, dated February 28, 1871, indicated that a Complaint had been received by the M.W.G.M. from one Past Grand Master and nineteen Past Masters, all identified by name, and from one hundred ninety other Master Masons in good standing and members of Lodges in this Jurisdiction, setting forth, among other things, "that the warrant of Alpha Lodge was obtained by deceit and misrepresentation and that certain proceedings of said Alpha Lodge tend to interrupt the peace and harmony of the Craft in this Jurisdiction, and sufficient reason appearing upon this Complaint, I do, hereby by virtue of the power and authority vested in me, as Grand Master of Masons in New Jersey' order that you forthwith, on presentation of this order, deliver to R.'.W.'. George Edwards, Grand Marshal of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, the warrant of Alpha Lodge No. 116 to the end that the same may be delivered to me as Grand Master of Masons of New Jersey subject to such order as may hereafter be made in the premises by competent authority."
"I do further, by virtue of the power and authority aforesaid, interdict and prohibit all work whatsoever in Alpha Lodge, from and after the day and hour when you shall receive these presents, until this order and interdict shall otherwise be lawfully removed."
In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and private seal this 28th day of February 1871.
Signed-WILLIAM E. PINE
The warrant of Alpha Lodge was delivered to the Grand Marshal who then proceeded to close the Lodge.
The Secretary commented on the incident in the minutes of that communication as follows: "The twelve candidates referred to which were reported on but not balloted for, were colored gentlemen of Newark, and the object of the communication from the Grand Master, M.'.W.'. William E. Pine, was to arrest the warrant of Alpha Lodge in order that those colored gentlemen should not receive the Masonic degrees. The signatures to the charges against Alpha Lodge under which the M.W.G.M. was influenced to act in this matter were, generally, of men who were respected in the community as good and worthy, and many of them as Christian men; and were known among the Masonic fraternity (with very few exceptions) as worthy brethren of the Order. But it seems that prejudice had run away with their better judgment; such were the prejudices existing against good men simply because their skins were black."
Alpha Lodge in turn petitioned the Grand Master for a copy of the complaint upon which the interdiction was made in order to petition for a fair and impartial trial. A second petition was put in circulation by a committee of three Past Masters - two from Eureka No. 39 and one from Kane No. 55 - requesting the Grand Master to call an emergent Communication of the Grand Lodge to deal with the matter, "believing you will be as ready to grant our request as you were to suspend the Lodge and charter at their request." This petition bore the signatures of nineteen Past Masters, six sitting Masters, four Sr. Wardens and four Jr. Wardens, plus one hundred forty-nine other Master Masons.
All the papers in the case were turned over to the Committee on Petitions and Grievances with instructions to investigate the matter and report at the next Annual Communication of Grand Lodge. The Committee began its investigation on the fifth of May and took testimony for three or four days, each side appearing with counsel. All efforts by Alpha Lodge to obtain a copy of the report proved unavailing. Eventually, they were told that the report had been recommitted to the investigators.
At the next Communication of Grand Lodge in January, 1872 all of the first day and evening was devoted to the report of the Committee on Petitions and Grievances. When the vote was finally taken, Alpha Lodge prevailed by a majority of one vote.
Again, the Secretary noted in the minutes - "such appeared to be the prejudice against the Negro that our enemies seemed determined to put us down in the absence of any proof whatever of their charges."
Its charter restored, Alpha Lodge was free to resume labor on the evening of January 23, 1872 and devoted the Communication to routine business.
On January 30, 1872, following the reading of the minutes, the Worshipful Master announced that some eleven months ago twelve candidates were reported worthy by the usual Committees appointed to investigate their character and that said Commitees were respectively discharged. The Sr. Deacon was ordered to prepare the ballot and the following candidates were elected to membership: 1. Rev. John L. Sweres; 2. Rev. Charles H. Thompson; 3. Abram P. Cooke; 4. Elias Ray; 5. John H. O'Fake. Following the usual change of labor, these five candidates were initiated the same evening, thereby becoming the first black men to be initiated in a regular Lodge in the State of New Jersey.
Events moved routinely in Alpha Lodge until the evening of February 26th when a communication from Trenton Lodge No. 5 was to further test the mettle of our Founding Fathers and to determine whether or not the Grand Lodge was serious in its stated commitment to the principle of universality. The communication was a set of resolutions which Trenton No. 5 had already submitted to the Grand Master, and copies of which had been mailed to all the Lodges in the Grand Jurisdiction. A committee, appointed by the Worshipful Master to study the communication, reported as follows:
Resolved: That the communication be returned to Trenton No. 5 because: It
1. Seeks by prejudice to break tip friendly relations now existing with sister Lodges and to stir up (dissention in the Fraternity
2. Renews agitation on a subject fully discussed and settled at the last Annual Communication of Grand Lodge
3. Attempts to destroy an ancient Landmark that all men, free-born, who come under the tongue of good Masonic report and can pass the ordeal of the secret ballot shall be entitled to the rights and privileges of membership
4. Is insulting to Alpha Lodge in tone and character
5. Attempts to dictate to a sister Lodge in good standing
6. Insults the Grand Lodge of New Jersey which has declared the doors of Freemasonry to be open to all men who qualify for its degrees
7. Attempts to stifle a movement which is peculiarly in unison with the principles of Freemasonry whose cardinal virtties are Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance, Justice and Truth; and seeks the amelioration of all mankind and the incorporation of humanity into one grand brotherhood - gathered from every quarter of the globe
8. By declaring that "Freemasonry can be of no benefit to persons of color" it insults the Institution based upon the eternal verities of love towards all mankind
Resolved: That these resolutions be printed and copies sent to the to the M.W.G.M., and to every Lodge in the Grand Jurisdiction.
A separate resolution to the Grand Master also condemned the fact that Trenton No. 5 had released information to the public through the newspapers. Another Lodge sought to make a case against Alpha Lodge by releasing information to the press and elicited the following response from the New York Sun in its issue of February 22, 1871:
THE MASONIC EXPLOSION
The Question of Color Agitating N. J. Masons
Eleven Colored Men Candidates for Initiation in
Alpha Lodge in Newark
Will Outside Masons Attend to Their Own Business and
Leave Alpha Lodge Alone?
An Editorial Note commented to the effect that since Alpha Lodge had a charter from the Grand Lodge of New Jersey and worked under the supervision of that Grand Body, it would seem proper that those Masons who were not members should attend to their own business and thus preserve the peace and harmony.
On April 1, 1872 the following communication, dated March 26th, was received from M.'.W.'. William E. Pine:
To the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Alpha Lodge No. 116
I have recently been in receipt of a communication from Trenton Lodge No. 5 complaining that a subordinate Lodge in this jurisdiction "Persists in pursuing a course calculated to disturb the peace and harmony of Freemasonry in New Jersey," by reason of such acts of said Lodge as are specified in the circular and requesting that I should take such course as will save the Fraternity from harm, or otherwise that I should call a special Communication of the Grand Lodge to fully consider the subject referred to. The request of this circular has been endorsed by action of many subordinate Lodges. I have given their communication and the requests contained in them serious and anxious reflection and consideration, which their importance and number and the respectability of the source from which they emanate, seem to require.
Nothing in the circulars or in the communications has satisfied me that the Lodge in question has been guilty of any deviation from the well-established Landmarks of Masonry which would authorize me, as Grand Master, to interfere with their labors, neither can I see that the Grand Lodge, if convened by me, could Masonically interfere in the affairs of the Lodge in question, should no other complaint be presented than the one referred to in the circular.
I would be guilty of a breach of Masonic obligation if I should entertain in the Grand Lodge a motion tending to abrogate a well-settled and universally concerned Landmark of the Fraternity, or if I should permit any discussion of the advisability of putting a landmark into practical operation.
Believing that an emergent Communication of the Grand Lodge in the present excited state of the Craft could not result in good, and would certainly eventuate in discord and possibly in irretrievable disaster, I decline to accede to the request of the above mentioned circular, and the other communications endorsing it.
Signed - WILLIAM E. PINE
At the Communication of December 2, 1872 all nine of the black members who had been initiated applied for, and were granted dimits for the purpose of forming a new Lodge to be named Surgam Lodge. They then made application to exemplify their work for the inspection of Alpha Lodge for the purpose of getting a recommendation. Brother Abram T. Cooke was in the East, Brother Elias Ray in the West and Brother John H. O'Fake in the South. Brother 1. G. Evans was Sr. Deacon and Brother Thomas F. Washington was Jr. Deacon. On the basis of the work exemplified, Alpha Lodge prepared a recommendation for the proposed new Lodge to be presented, with the accompanying petition, at the next Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge. The petition was presented and the Committee to which it was assigned reported back to Grand Lodge that since no parties had appeared before them either to support or to oppose the petition, they recommended that it be denied. Two motions, one to lay the matter over for one year, and the other that the petition be granted, were both defeated; thereby ending for the time being, any prospect of establishing an all-black Lodge in New Jersey.
On February 24, 1873 the Master of Alpha Lodge, W.'. John Whitehead, stated that the Lodge appeared to have passed through its ordeal; that persecutions would now cease and the special and true Masonic principles, as recognized by Alpha Lodge, would be more respected. Following this observation, the dimits of the nine members who had withdrawn were presented with their applications for affiliation. The applications were reported upon favorably at the Communication of March 24th and all the applicants were balloted upon and elected except Brother John L. Sweres, whose application had been omitted at his request. Brother Sweres moved from the city shortly thereafter and is reported to have affiliated with a Prince Hall Lodge.
M.'.W.'. William S. Whitehead, P.G.M., whose address in 1867 is credited with having inspired Masons in New Jersey to move in this new direction, addressed Alpha Lodge on December 22, 1873 and expressed great satisfaction at their apparent prosperity and referred to their past persecutions and alluded to the time when "our colored brethren" exemplified the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry in St. John's Lodge No. 1 in a manner equal, if not superior, in point of accuracy, to any he bad seen, even in the old Lodges. He also expressed pride in the fact that a New Jersey Lodge should be the first to recognize the universality of Masonry.
These remarks must have been highly gratifying to W.'. Israel Baldwin -in fact, they came none too soon for within eight months of this occasion he had been called from his labors by the Supreme Grand Master of the Universe and on August 25, 1874, Alpha Lodge met in solemn Communication to pass the following resolutions:
That in the death of P.M. Israel Baldwin, Alpha Lodge has suffered an irreparable loss; that in him we had a counselor upon whose judgment we could ever rely, a friend whose friendship was sure and steadfast and a Brother whose aid, when needed, was certain
That his warm and genial nature, his kind and loving disposition, his open and generous heart, ever ready to assist with true sympathy or with substantial aid, if necessary, and his constant exercise of those many virtues, so venerated by all Masons, have elevated him to the highest place in our esteem and that Alpha Lodge and its members will ever venerate our deceased Brother with the greatest affection and reverence.
The sentiments expressed in these resolutions by the colleagues of this noble workman of a century ago have the power to convey not only the magnitude of their loss and the feeling of utter desolation that overwhelmed them, but also the pleasure of having known one so dedicated to Masonic principles.
Assured at least of their place in the Grand Jurisdiction of New Jersey, the members of Alpha Lodge were free to begin the task of carving out their place in the larger community of Masons. From time to time a discordant note was heard from some area that did not approve of the way things were being done in New Jersey, but always the effect was minimal. The equanimity with which the Grand Lodge of New Jersey bore all attempts to violate its sovereignty has been the key to the survival of Alpha Lodge.
As the Lodge matured and slowly increased in membership the number of petitions from white men, which was never large, steadily declined and as the ranks of the charter members and of other white brethren who joined the Lodge in the early years were thinned by dimit, suspension or death, the membership eventually became all black. This development appeared not to come as a surprise to anyone - seemed to have been anticipated, in fact, - as the black brethren were gradually moved into positions of leadership. Brother Abram T. Cooke entered the line as an Officer in 1875 and was elected Master in 1878; Brother James H. Baxter entered the line as Secretary in 1875 and was elected Master in 1.881, '82, '87, '88, '92 and '93.
During the early years Alpha Lodge did not participate in either the District Lodge of Instruction or in the District Grand Lodge. Instead, the District Deputy Grand Master instructed the Officers in their work and examined them as to their proficiency during the regular Communications of the Lodge. Gradually, this began to change and by the early 1900's Alpha Lodge was working the same as any other Lodge in the Grand Jurisdiction. Admittedly, there were difficulties during the early years. Fortunately, there were always those faithful brethren who were willing to lend their strength and support in times of stress. "Charity vaunteth not itself," therefore, much of what was done for Alpha Lodge by non-members is not in the record book; however, in keeping with the best Masonic tradition, knowledge of the contributions of the many brethren who helped the Lodge during the difficult years is passed on to succeeding generations of Alpha members.
Because of the pioneering nature of most of the existence of Alpha Lodge, it is impossible to measure its achievements by conventional criteria. The labors of its most successful Masters, of whom there have been many, were successful only in terms of preserving the morale of its members and their supporters by keeping alive the hope that eventually, the spiritual and social inertia of portions of the Craft could be overcome --this in itself being no mean achievement.
In more recent years, increased participation in the work of the Fraternity, both within and outside the 7th Masonic District, has brought increased opportunity for service and recognition. Examples of this would be the years of association with the M. S. A. program at the East Orange Veterans' Hospital, the support of the Hospital for Crippled Children in Newark through the Lodge's Past Masters' Council and the willingness of the Officers and brethren to participate in the work and programs of other Lodges whenever invited to do so.
Alpha Lodge received its first Grand Lodge appointment when M.'.W.'. Walter W. Smith honored it by appointing W.'. Theodore M. Wells as a Grand Chaplain on his staff in 1965. The appointment received wide publicity and was greatly appreciated bv members of the Lodge. Of almost equal significance to them was the fact that sister Lodges in the District were unanimous in their decision that the honor should go to Alpha Lodge.
In 1969, M.'.W.'. Charies A. Eisenfelder, Grand Master of New Jersey cooperated with M.'.W.'. Charles F. Gosnell, Grand Master of New York, in appointing W.'. Willis E. Allen to the honorary position of Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey near the Grand Lodge of New York. It was especially complimentary to Alpha Lodge and to Menorah Lodge No. 903, Brooklyn, N. Y., in which Brother Allen holds dual membership, that the sitting Grand Masters of New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were in attendance at the Presentation Ceremonies incident to the conferral of that honor. One thinks that only the increased acceptance of the principle of universality in Masonry can account for those honors and for the fact that, as of now, six members of Alpha Lodge have been elected to dual membership in Lodges in the New York Grand Jurisdiction -two in Menora Lodge No. 903 and four in Prospect Lodge No. 978 -both in Brooklyn's Third Kings District.
At this juncture a logical question would be, how does Alpha Lodge view the total experience of the past one hundred years? What of the future?
An honest answer would be that we of the present generation of Alpha members view the past with a feeling of reverence and sincere gratitude towards our Founders for their zeal for the Institution of Freemasonry and for their dedication to, and their resourcefulness in their defense of the principle of universality. The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge has earned our full confidence and profound respect through its adherence to principle in times of stress and for its manifest spirit of brotherhood in all of its dealings. Our many brethren, known and unknown, whose strength and support during the difficult years made possible the survival of the principle for which our Founders risked so much, have given substance to the language of Masonry through their continued friendship and cooperation.
We view the future with ardent hope and eager anticipation; seeing in it as our role a binding obligation to build the Temple within ourselves with the utmost care, to the end that we may make our full contribution toward advancing the cause of universal brotherhood.
WILLIAM M. CLARK
GEORGE E. P. HOWARD
MARCUS W. ADAMS
HERMAN P. WITZEL
GEORGE M. HOWELLS
OFFICERS - 1871
Nathan Mingus ----------------------------------------- Worshipful Master
William M. Clarke ------------------------------------- Senior Warden
Israel Baldwin, P.M ----------------------------------- Junior Warden
John Whitehead --------------------------------------- Treasurer
Samuel Morrow, Jr ----------------------------------- Secretary
George E. P. Howard -------------------------------- Senior Deacon
Marcus W. Adams ----------------------------------- Junior Deacon
Herman P. Witzel ------------------------------------- Master of Ceremonies
George M. Howells ----------------------------------- Master of Ceremonies
Valentine Aschenbach (No. 51) -------------------- Tyler