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History of Saskatchewan and The Old North West
Chapter LII - Fraternal Societies in Saskatchewan

Early Rise of Fraternal Societies—Ancient Free .and Accepted Masons: Kinistino Lodge, 1879; Wascana Lodge, 1883; Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan, 1906—Independent Order of Oddfellows: Moose Jaw Lodge, 18S3; Subsequent Rapid Development —Orange Association—Leading Catholic Orders—Other Fraternal Societies.

The means of social intercourse are valued by no one more highly than by the man who for a period not too long has been deprived of them. It is not surprising then that tents had scarcely given way to "shacks" in our western settlements when fraternal societies of all sorts commenced to spring up in luxuriant growth. Indeed, the development of these institutions faithfully reflects that of the Province in the other many fields to which this book has been chiefly devoted. In obedience to the expressed wish of many prominent citizens, therefore, this closing chapter is to be devoted to a brief record of a few outstanding facts bearing on the rise of some of the chief great fraternal orders.

The first such society to establish itself in the North West was the world-famous order of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. For a time the activities of the order were almost confined to Manitoba, but as early as 1879, on the 28th of March, a group of Masons resident at or near Prince Albert Mission met in the old store of the Hudson's Bay Company to discuss the propriety of applying for a dispensation establishing a local lodge. A petition was in due course presented to the Grand Lodge of Canada and on May 22, 1879, the necessary dispensation was granted for the creation of Kinistino Lodge, Prince Albert. This lodge is therefore entitled to claim seniority in point of age over all others in what is now the Province of Saskatchewan.

The first officers of Kinistino Lodge were Brother C. F. Young, W. M.; Brother J. McKenzie, S. W., and Brother G. R. Ditch, J. W., and the other brethren signing the petition of application for the creation of the lodge were Brothers Charles Mair, John Frederick Kennedy, Joseph M. Coombes, A. E. Porter, Edward Stanley, George Tait and John L. Rcid. It may be interesting to members of the craft to know that the first degrees conferred were at the initiation of Brothers Thomas MacKay, Justice Duncan Wilson and Thomas E. Baker. The total membership of the lodge at the end of its second year was twenty-eight.

A warrant of constitution was granted in July, 1SS0, and some four months later Kinistino Lodge came under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. It is to be remembered that this was before the era of railway communication in the Territories and that Prince Albert lies more than three times, as far from Winnipeg as does London from Paris!

In 1883 lodges were established at Battleford and Edmonton, and these, together with Kinistino Lodge, Prince Albert, constituted the first Masonic District of Saskatchewan, its first District Deputy Grand Master being Brother Charles F. Young, of Prince Albert. The prime movers in Masonry at Battleford were Brothers Henry Sikes, S. B. Steele, Dr. J. W. Ralph", Rev. J. F. Pritchard, II. J. Montgomery and J. M. McGregor.

At this time Regina was but a cluster of camps and "shacks" upon the prairie, but early in January, 1S83, steps were taken for the organization of a Masonic Lodge. A dispensation having been duly obtained, the first meeting of Wascana Lodge, Regina, was held on March 6, when Right Worshipful Brother James Henry Benson was appointed Master. The other first officers were Brothers A. G. M. Spragge and John A. Kerr, Wardens; Brother T. C. Johnstone, S. D.; Brother J. W. Evett, J. D.; Brother W. J.' Lindsay, Treasurer; Brother John Secord, Secretary, and Brother Reverend A. Osborne, First Church of England clergyman in Regina, Chaplain. The first home of Wascana Lodge was in a building owned by the Presbyterian Church; before the end of the year it moved to quarters on Broad Street, owned by Doctor Cotton; in March, 1885, the Lodge took a hall on Scarth Street, the property of Mr. George Wallis; in 1889 it was to be found in a building at the corner of Rose and South Railway streets. This building was destroyed by fire in 1889 and for a short time the Masons were hospitably housed in the Hall of the Canadian Order of Foresters. Meantime Brother Andrew Martin was erecting a new building on Scarth Street, the third floor of which was occupied by the Masonic Order from August, 1890, until the present Masonic Temple at the corner of Eleventh Avenue and Cornwall Street was erected in 1907. It is, of course, impossible to enter into a detailed history of the growth of the Order in any one city, but in view of the important role that Wascana Lodge has played in Masonry in this Province, members of the Order will be interested in recalling the names of those who have occupied the responsible post of Master in this Lodge.

1883—Brother I. H. Benson.
1884— Brother John A. Kerr.
j885—Brother Percv R. Neale.
1886-7—Brother James R. McGaul.
1888—Brother E. G. Weeks.
1889-90—Brother W. Henderson.
1891—Brother S. B. Jameson.
1892—Brother James N. Chatwin.
1893—Brother J. R. Marshall.
1894—Brother W. J. Chisholm.
1S95—Brother W. C. Hamilton.
1896—Brother William Henderson.
1897—Brother Frank Nash.
1898—Brother Alexander Shepphard.
1899—Brother R. B. Fergusson.
1900—Brother David Law.
1901—Brother W. Mclvar.
1902—3—Brother E. B. Hutcherson.
1904—Brother J. R. C. Honeyman.
1905—Brother J. R. Pollock.
1906—Brother W. M. Martin.
1907—Brother A. M. Fenwick.
1908—Brother L. T. McDonald.
1909—Brother W. A. Wilson.
1910—Brother J. N. Bayne.
1911—Brother J. M. Smith.
1912—Brother J. W. Cram.
1913—Brother C. O. Hodgkins.

Upon the creation of Saskatchewan as an independent Province it became necessary to establish a separate Provincial Grand Lodge. The initiative was taken by Wascana Lodge 01: April 3, 1906, on the motion of W. Brother Alexander Shepphard, seconded by Brother J. M. Smith. As, however, Kinistino Lodge, Prince Albert, was the oldest in the Province a dispatch was sent to it by the Wascana Lodge, asking Kinistino Lodge to call a convention to consider the matter, which course was duly followed. The convention met at Prince Albert, May 25, 1906. A deputation was appointed to wait on the Grand Lodge of Manitoba at its next meeting and lay before it a proposal to establish a Grand Lodge for Saskatchewan. Much other important business was also transacted, in the course of which it was agreed that the meeting for formal organization should be held at Regina. At this time there were twenty-nine Masonic Lodges in the Province of Saskatchewan. with a membership of approximately nine hundred. Twenty-five of the Lodges were duly represented by authorized delegates at the Regina Convention, which met 01: August 8, 1906. M. W. Brothers, John Mc-Kechnie and James A. Ovis of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba installed the first officers of the Grand Lodge organized on this occasion. These were: M. W. Grand Master H. II. Campkin: Deputy Grand Master C. O. Davidson; Senior Warden Jagger; Junior Warden Reverend W. B. Tate; Grand Treasurer Alexander Shepphard; Grand Secretary Doctor John M. Shaw; Grand Chaplain Reverend E. Matheson; Grand Registrar A. H. Smith; Grand Senior Deacon C. H. Griffin; Grand Junior Deacon J. I. Ross; Grand Director of Ceremonies John Rutledge; Grand Organist R. B. Taylor; Grand Poursuivant W. Barber; Grand Tyler William Barnwell.

From this time forward the Masonic Order in Saskatchewan has grown by leaps and bounds. By March 31, 1907, the membership had increased to fourteen hundred. A year later it had passed the two thousand mark, and by the end of 1912 the membership had reached the grand total of 5,190.

The first annual Communication was held at Prince Albert in 1907; the second was held at Regina, when R. W. Brother C. O. Davidson, of Prince Albert, was elected Grand Master; at Moose Jaw, in the following year, R. W. Brother H Jagger was elected to succeed him, and in 1910, at Saskatoon, R. W. Brother W. B. Tate was made Grand Master for the year; in 1911 at Regina, Brother Hopkins was raised to this office, and Dr. A. S. Gorrel for 1912-13.

Moose Jaw, Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and Qu'Appelle all boast fine Masonic Temples. There are twelve Chapters of the Royal Arch in the Province,—Battleford, Moose Jaw, Sintaluta, Areola, Estevan, Weyburn, Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon, Govan, Melville and Swift Current. There are Knight Templar Preceptories in the four cities (1912) and there is also a Temple of the Mystic Shrine at the capital.

At Moose Jaw in 1883 there was instituted the first lodge of the Independent Order of Oddfellows to be organized in the North West Territories. There were several lodges instituted each year thereafter, all being in affiliation with the Grand Lodge of Manitoba. When the Territories were divided into provinces, the different lodges in Saskatchewan petitioned the Sovereign Grand Lodge for a charter to establish a Grand Lodge in this Province. At that time there were thirty lodges working in what is now known as the Province of Saskatchewan, with a total membership of one thousand five hundred and sixty members. A charter was accordingly granted and the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan, I. O. O. F. was organized at Regina on May 29, 1907. The laws of the Grand Lodge designate Regina as the headquarters of the institution.

The first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan was L. Rankin, Dominion Lands Agent, Regina (recently transferred to Winnipeg). The first Grand Secretary elected was F. J. Reynolds, of Regina, who has held the office continuously since the institution of the Grand Lodge. The Grand Masters serving since the first year of institution are as follows:

1908—J. Rutherford, Moose Jaw.
1909—J. A. M. Patrick, Yorkton.
1910—H. C. Pierce, M.L.A., Wadena.
1911—H. E. Armstrong, Regina.
1912—J. W. Cunningham, Wauchope.

The growth throughout the Province since the Grand Lodge was organized lias been very rapid, there having been up to the time of writing (1913) an average of thirteen Subordinate Lodges instituted each year with an average annual increase in membership of seven hundred. At the present time there are fifteen Rebekah Lodges with a membership of one thousand six hundred. The Subordinate Lodge membership of the I. O. O. F. now numbers six thousand two hundred, and one hundred and two lodges have been established in the Province. The Encampment branch of the Order has four encampments and those interested are looking to the early establishment of a Grand Encampment in this jurisdiction.

Among the men to whom the I. O. O. F. of Saskatchewan stands indebted is Mr. John Tucker, who since the early eighties has resided in Moosomin. lie instituted most of the lodges established before the creation of the Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan. At that time he was Grand Master of the Province of Manitoba which included the lodges organized in Saskatchewan and Alberta as well. For some years he travelled both by rail and by team to distant points to institute lodges, supported by a few members of the local lodges where he happened to be. Air. Tucker is still very prominent in the official list of the organization, holding the office of Grand Representative to the Sovereign Grand Lodge (1913).

The first Orange Lodge instituted in what is now the Province of Saskatchewan is Number 1493. The warrant appears to have been brought west by members of the Mounted Police, and organized at Wood Mountain about the time of the North West Rebellion in 1885. In 1893, Number 1493 was re-organized at Maple Creek, where it is still located.

In the year 1891, there being fifteen Primary Lodges in the North West Territories, they were entitled to a Provincial Grand Lodge, which was accordingly instituted at Regina, by the late Stewart Mulvey, M.P.P., Past Grand Master of Manitoba, in the same year. A. G. Hamilton, Deputy Sheriff of Moosomin, was elected first Grand Master; R. L. Alexander, Moose Jaw, Junior Deputy Grand Master, and W. J. Kernaghan, Prince Albert, Grand Secretary.

When the Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan were created, in 1905, a separate Provincial Grand Lodge was formed for each province. Saskatchewan had then fifty-four lodges and a membership of i,i6r. The membership remained practically stationary until 1909, in which year there was a net increase of 657. In the three years prior to 1912 the net increase was 1,907 members, and the number of Primary Lodges had increased to 133 in the same period, a gain of 180 per centum. At the end of 1912, although full returns are not yet in, the membership stands at 4,350, and the number of Primary Lodges at 164. There are also twenty-two County Lodges in the Province at the present time, as against eleven in 1909. During the last three years the number of Royal Black preceptories had increased from seven to fourteen, and in 1911, at Saskatoon, a Grand Black Chapter was formed having jurisdiction over all private preceptories within the Province.

Following are the names of Brethren who have held the office of Grand Master since the formation of the Provincial Grand Lodge in 1891: A. G. Hamilton, Moosomin; B. Barber, Wolseley; J. H. Young, Moosomin; Dr. W. Henderson. Qu'Appelle; Thomas Pollock, Moosomin; John Wilson, Caron; E. J. Cudmere, Wcstview; Simpson Shaw, Gainsboro; D. D. Ellis, M. D., Fleming, and A. D. Ferguson, Wolseley.

The great Catholic orders in the Province are the C.M.B.A. and the A.O.H. The Catholic Mutual Benefit Association has a membership of almost 25,000 in Canada. Of its five hundred Canadian branches, the first to be instituted in Saskatchewan was that at Prince Albert. The Regina branch (Number 362) was organized in July, 1902, with Mr. L. L. Kramer acting as District Deputy.

The Regina division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians was instituted ten years later, November 10, 1912, by a degree team from Winnipeg, accompanied by P. J. Henry, Esquire, Provincial President for Manitoba. The first Provincial President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer were, respectively, Messrs. Thomas M. Molloy, James Williams, W. I7. Windiott, and John McCarthy. The A.O.H. is an international organization, having divisions in practically all civilized countries. Its membership is made up entirely of Catholics of Irish descent. The motto of the Order is "Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity," and it is the aim of the Association to promote these virtues by supporting a fund for the maintenance of aged, sick, blind and infirm members, and for the general improvement of the condition of the Irish people.

Necessary space limits compel us to pass over in silence the many other fraternal societies prominent in Saskatchewan. Their name is legion. The sociological significance of the popular demand, in all parts of our Province, for the social fellowship and ceremonious ritual that constitutes a common element in all such societies presents an interesting problem to the thoughtful mind.

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