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A. F. & A.M.
No. 58
at Freedom, Maine
(moved to Thorndike in 1877)

       On the 8th day of April, 1828, a number of Masons assembled at the house of Richard Cornforth in the town of Unity for the purpose of petitioning the Grand Lodge for a dispensation or charter for forming themselves into a legal Lodge.
      At this meeting of which Benjamin P. Nickerson was chairman and Peter G. Jackson, secretary, Ruben Brackett and Peter G. Jackson were chosen a committee to draft a petition in accordance with the objects of the meeting, and it was voted that the name of the new lodge should be "Unity".
       The meeting then adjourned to meet again on the 21st of the same month at the house of Col. Robert Thompson in Freedom.
      The petition was drafted, signed, and forwarded
It was signed by: Peter G. Jackson     Walter Edmunds
Benjamin F. Nickerson     Samuel Nutt
Richard Conforth     Nicholas Abbott
Isaac Adam     John R. White
Benjamin Williams     Samuel Sears
Otis Williams     Ruben Brackett
        and Thomas Jones.
       On the twenty-first of January, 1828, Daniel Weed was elected Worshipful Master; Peter G. Jackson, Senior Warden; and Benjamin R. Nickerson, Junior Warden; when the meeting was adjourned to meet again on the thirty-first of the same month at the house of Richard Cornforth.
       At that time and place no business was done, and they adjourned till the nineteenth of April to meet at Col. Robert Thompson’s house.
       On the nineteenth of April, 1828, a meeting was held according to adjournment and the following officers elected, viz.:
     Isaac Adams, Secretary
     Richard Conforth, Treasurer
     Samuel Sears, Senior Deacon
     Ruben Brackett, Junior Deacon
       It was also voted to procure Jewels and furniture, and a sum of money was raised for that purpose by subscription.
       This meeting was holden on the nineteenth of April, and the date of the charter is April tenth of the same year. But inasmuch as no mention of the charter can be found in the records of this meeting, and as it was an adjourned meeting, we suppose the charter had not been received. Still the vote to procure furniture and jewels would indicate that some encouragement had been given them.
       The meeting adjourned till the following Monday, but as no records can be found of such a meeting, nothing is known of the lodge till the twentieth of October, 1828, when the records stand thus:
       Unity Lodge met and opened in due form, so that the birthday Unity Lodge must be set down as October 20, 1828.
       These were its officers at that time:
     Daniel Weed, Worshipful Master
     Peter G. Jackson, Senior Warden
     Benjamin F. Nickerson, Junior Warden
     Isaac Adams, Secretary
     Richard Conforth, Treasurer
     Samuel Sears, Senior Deacon
     Ruben Bracket, Junior Deacon

       Meetings were held in November and December, 1828. In January, 1829, a code of by-laws was adopted.
       At the February meeting in 1829 the first election of officers was had under the charter, and the first action taken upon the admission of new members. Two members were admitted and about the same officers were reelected.
       The Lodge met again in April, May, and July, 1829, and also on the eighteenth day of January, 1830.
      After this date (January 18, 1830), no stated meetings were held, and no records kept of the occasional irregular gatherings of the few, who, from time to time, sat down in dark places to console one another In their persecutions. This was during the reign of Anti Masonry.
       On the twelfth day of April, 1842, by permission of the Grand Lodge, Unity Lodge met as such for the first time since January, 1830. Twelve years had it slept. Twelve long, weary years of persecution, disgrace and dishonor. It had cost more than money to be a Mason. Yet during all these years had the great heart of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth kept time to the emotions of these grand principles of Masonry.
       At this meeting some changes were proposed in the by-laws, and some Masons accepted as members, and one brother, Thomas Jones, expelled. Brother Seth Webb was also elected Secretary, and entered upon the duties of his office, which he so ably filled for eight years. This, it seems, was a special meeting, but a stated meeting was had on the nineteenth of the same month and regularly once a month thereafter.
       At a stated meeting in June of the same year the first work ever done by Unity Lodge was begun. This was the initiation of Brother James Hall, who for many years was a true and zealous worker in Masonry, until unseated by the admission of a person for whom he could not entertain fraternal feelings.
       From this time (1842) Unity Lodge continued the usual work and duties of a Lodge of Masons, till May 23, 1861, when, at a stated meeting, an Order was received from the Most Worshipful Grand Master, stating that charges had been filed against Unity Lodge, and directed that all work be suspended until the same could be investigated.
       Of the nature of those charges, and the proceedings of the Grand Lodge in the investigation of the same, I have not the material at hand to give a correct account. The lodge however, from the moment its charter was taken, existed only in history, and every member thereof was for the time being a suspended Mason.
       During the spring of 1863 a petition signed by fifteen original members was forwarded to the Grand Lodge, praying for the restoration of the old charter, or that they might be granted a new one, and at a special meeting of these petitioners on the thirteenth day of May, 1863, the original charter was restored by hand of Brother R. S. Rich, with the following endorsement:
      "Grand Lodge of Maine, Masonic Hall, Portland, May 6, 1863.
       At the annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in accordance with the report of a special committee appointed to consider the subject, it was
   ‘That the Charter of Unity Lodge No. 58 at Freedom, together with the Records, By-laws, Seal Clothing, and other property of said Lodge be restored to Brothers R. S. Rich, G. S. Keene, J. C, Glidden, Benjamin Williams, Thomas B. Hussey, N. A. Ripley, R. S. McManus, Henry Thompson, J. B. Penney, George Raulet, L. B. Seger, L, S. Brown, William Murray, F. W. Shepherd and N. E. Keene’
      Ira Berry, Grand Secretary".
       An election was then held with the following results:
     R. S. Rich, Worshipful Master
     S. S. Brown Senior Warden
     William Murray, Junior Warden
     George Raulet, Treasurer
     F. W. Shepherd, Secretary
     Henry Thompson, Senior Deacon
     G. S. Keene, Junior Deacon

       At the stated meeting in June a code of by-laws was adopted and the Lodge went to work with more favorable prospects than ever before.
       This is the history of Unity Lodge to the present time, so far as the same would be interesting to any save citizens of this immediate vicinity. To the latter the records of the Lodge is a sufficient history.
       The Lodge is now in a flourishing condition, both financially and in the interest manifested by the Brethren.
       We rent a good hall, which we have well furnished, and are constantly adding to its already respectable library and adornments, such as pictures, relics, etc.

         Very fraternally submitted,
          Benjamin Williams, 2nd.