Lodge History

In the Beginning

Freemasonry came to Indiana by way of the South Gate, that is, through Kentucky, from Virginia.The first Lodge in this state was organized at Vincennes in 1809.  The first in Evansville received its charter in 1819 and was called the Olive Branch Lodge No. 10.  In 1848 this became Evansville Lodge No. 64.

Reed Lodge was an offshoot of Evansville Lodge.  In 1865, right after the Civil War, application was made to the Grand Lodge of Indiana to form a new Lodge by the following brethren:

J. H. Carlin

J. B. Gatch

John B. Hudspeth

C. W. Crabtree

Azro Dyer

D. C.  Keller

Samuel Reed

R. H.  Cooke

J. C. Wheeler

J. M. Shackelford

W. J. Hargrave

C. H. Wentz

Benjamen F. Gatch

L. M. Baird

 Sam Reed 

Dispensation was granted by Most Worshipful Grand Master H. G. Hazelrigg, under date of October 16, 1865, and officers were named as follows:  Samuel Reed, Worshipful Master, W. J. Hargrave, Senior Warden, R. H. Cooke, Junior Warden.  The name and title of the Lodge to be was

Reed Lodge U. D.  (Under Dispensation)


The first meeting was held October 22, 1865, with the above named officers in their respective stations.  John C. Wheeler was the first secretary and L. M. Baird was the first treasurer.  The last meeting of Reed Lodge U. D. was held May 14, 1866.

On May 30, 1866, The Grand Lodge of Indiana granted a charter, executed by H. G. Hazelrigg, Most Worshipful Grand Master, to the members of Reed Lodge U. D. styling and naming the same

Reed Lodge No. 316, F. & A. M.


On June 11, 1866, Brother William E. Hollingsworth, by authority from the M. W. Grand Master constituted Reed Lodge No. 316 a regularly organized Lodge, with full power to work as such under the Charter granted by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, and at the same time installed the officers of the Lodge, placing Brother Samuel Reed in the East.  A total of ninety-three members and visitors were present at this meeting.  The first official act as a Lodge to a brother Lodge was to send a letter of thanks to Evansville Lodge No. 64 for their contribution to the formation of the new Lodge.  The first By-Laws were adopted May 14, 1866, and were patterned, as far as possible, after those of Evansville Lodge.  Brother Reed, for whom the Lodge was named, occupied the Master's chair while the Lodge was working under U. D. and continued in this office until June 25, 1866, when W. J. Hargrave was installed as Worshipful Master.  He had been elected June 11 of that year.

Thus the Lodge started (Under Dispensation) in October, 1865, with a membership of fourteen.  The first annual report to Grand Lodge showed $25 collected in dues, $16 paid in bills, and $7 in Grand Lodge dues.  By 1868 the membership had grown to forty-nine and by the end of 1876 (a little better than ten years) the membership was ninety-six.  Dues were fifty cents per month, payable monthly.  The initiation fee for all three degrees was $25.  Meetings were held on the second and fourth Mondays.  The first brother to complete his degrees in the new Lodge was F. H. Erhman.

Samuel Reed was also the pastor of the Locust Street Methodist Church (which was renamed the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church in 1866 when it moved to its current location at 3rd and Chestnut) from 1843 until 1844.  Brother Reed died in 1869 and was buried with Masonic honors in Oak Hill Cemetery.  A memorial to him, done in marble, was later provided and photographs of it were sent to his daughter and to Newburgh Lodge.  This memorial has been kept in a closet near the Blue Room.  In 1875 a committee was appointed to assist the family in designing a suitable tombstone.