Among the first settlers of Dakota Territory were members of this ancient and honorable order. Yet it was not until 1863 that a charter was granted for St. John's Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons at Yankton, under the jurisdiction of the grand lodge of Iowa, with the following list of officers:
Melanhen Hoyt, Master.
Douner T. Bramble, Senior Warden.
John Hutchinson, Junior Warden.
Moses K. Kingsbury, Secretary.
George W. Kingsbury, Treasurer.
George N. Proper, Senior Deacon.
F. M. Liebach, Junior Deacon.
Blight E. Wood, Tyler.
This was followed by Increase Lodge No. 257 at Vermillion in 1869, Elk Point Lodge No. 288 in 1870, Minnehaha Lodge No. 328 at Sioux Falls was instituted that year and in 1875 Silver Star Lodge No. 345 was instituted at Canton. Delegates from these five lodges met at the hall of Elk Point Lodge on June 22, 1875, and adopted a constitution and by-laws for a Grand Lodge and petitioned the Grand Lodge of Iowa under whose jurisdiction they were acting for authority to organize under a separate jurisdiction.
It was not until the spring of 1887 that any decisive steps were taken to organize a Masonic lodge in Faulk county.
The following brethren having obtained their demits from the lodges to which they belonged, received authority to meet and work under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Dakota Territory, viz:
Ira C. Adams
Charles W. Dunkel
Charles H. Gardner
I. Allen Cornwell
Jeremiah H. Howe
A. D. Hursh
Chalkley H. Derr
Herman A. Kaeppler
George A. Morse
Caleb H. Ellis
Charles C. Moulton
John A. Pickler
Donald W. Pillsbury
Tanson O. Sanborn
James H. Wallace
Preston H. Wilson
On the 17th of June 1887, they met at Faulkton and perfected their organization by the election of officers. While working under a dispensation sixteen members were admitted. On June the first, 1888, the Grand Lodge of Dakota Territory granted a charter for Faulkton Lodge No. 95, and on July 5, 1888, the first regular communication was held at which brother James S. Huston, of Redfield Lodge No. 34, having been appointed Deputy Grand Master instituted the lodge and installed its officers. After appointing John A. Pickler Grand Marshall he proceeded to install the following officers, they having been duly elected :
Ira C. Adams, Worshipful Master.
I. Allen Cornwell, Senior Warden.
George C. Bissell, Junior Warden.
George A. Morse, Treasurer.
Charles A. Morse, Secretary.
H. A. Kaeppler, Senior Deacon.
H. D. Chamberlain, Junior Deacon.
C. H. Derr, Senior Steward.
D. Bryden, Junior Steward.
D. S. Smith, Tyler.
Since July 5th, 1888, there has been ninety-four men good and true, made Masons in Faulkton Lodge No. 95.
The following officers have been elected and installed for the year 1909:
Hubert L. Headly, Worshipful Master.
Frank T. Reid, Senior Warden.
Clark L. Streeter, Junior Warden.
Alvin M. Moore, Treasurer.
James P. Turner, Secretary.
I. Allen Cornwell, Chaplain.
Adelbert J. McDowell, Senior Deacon.
Arthur W. Phelps, Junior Deacon.
William J. Dodds, Senior Steward.
John Dignan, Junior Steward.
William Garrick, Tyler.
While a number have removed from the county and taken their demits with them, the grim reaper Death has made his inroads, so that the present membership is reduced to seventy-seven.
After the division of Dakota Territory, North and South Dakota remained under one Masonic Jurisdiction until 1899.
Free Masonry has found a very fruitful field in South Dakota, counting among its members many of the state's most talented, influential and reliable citizens. Today there are lodges of Free and Accepted Masons and chapters of Royal Arch Masons.
The York rites of Free Masonry in Dakota Territory date from February 25th, 1885, when charters were issued for chapters at Yankton, Sioux Falls, Deadwood, Canton. Huron, Watertown, Brookings, Flandreau, Redfield and others to the number of fourteen, delegates from which met at Sioux Falls, July 8, 1885 and proceeded to organize the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons for South Dakota. This branch of this ancient order together with the auxiliary order of the Eastern Star have found a very fruitful field in this state. The class of people who constituted the pioneer settlers of Faulk County were of that degree of intelligence that required just such social and intellectual enjoyment that this popular and influential organization was prepared to supply.
It was not until December 21, 1888, that discussion and agitation culminated in a meeting at the Masonic Hall at Faulkton, at which decisive measures were taken to secure from the Grand Chapter a dispensation under which to meet in view of a permanent organization.
The first meeting under a dispensation was held at the Masonic Hall in Faulkton, Jan. 23, 1889, with the following active members:
Companion R. G. Morton, High Priest,
Visiting Companion C. H. Ellis, King.
Companion H. S. Humphrey, Scribe.
Companion M.S. McDearmon, Captain, of the Host.
Companion I. Allen Cornwell, Royal Arch Captain.
Companion J. A. Pickler, Grand Master Third Veil.
Companion C. H. Derr, Grand Master Second Veil.
Companion Jerome Ferguson, Grand Master First Veil.
Companion G. A. Morse, Secretary.
The Most Excellent High Priest read the dispensation under which the Chapter was acting. It was decided to elect a secretary and treasurer. Companion George A. Morse was unanimously elected to fill both of the offices. The following is the record of the first Stated Convocation of Faulkton Chapter No. 30 Royal Arch Masons, held at the Masonic Hall, Faulkton, South Dakota, July 10, 1889.
Companion, H. S. Williams, of Aberdeen Chapter No. 14 South Dakota, a duly appointed Deputy, Most Excellent Grand High Priest, installed the following elected officers, viz:
Companion R. G. Morton, High Priest.
Companion H. S. Williams, King.
Companion Ed. W. Lowe, Scribe.
Companion M.S. McDearmon, Captain of the Host.
Companion P. H. Wilson, Past Scribe.
Companion I. Allen Cornwell, Royal Arch Captain.
Companion H. D. Chamberlain, Grand Master Third Veil.
Companion F. A. Seaman, Grand Master Second Veil.
Companion David Bryden, Grand Master First Veil.
Companion Geo. A. Morse, Treasurer.
Companion C. A. Morse, Secretary.
Companion J. A. Pickler, Guard.
The passing years have brought no unusual changes. Some of its valued members have been called to the Supreme Lodge and if found worthy, to enter into the Sanctum Sanctorum above. Others have removed to other jurisdictions. From the surrounding community good men and true have been found to take their places.
The opening year of 1909 finds a membership of seventy Companion Royal Arch Masons, with the following elected and appointed officers, viz:
Companion A. M. Moore, High Priest.
Companion I. Allen Cownwell, King.
Companion A. D. Griffee, Scribe.
Companion Thomas Picton, Treasurer.
Companion C. E. Haskins, Secretary.
Companion A.J. McDowell, Captain of the Host.
Companion A. W. Morse, Royal Arch Captain.
Companion A. A. Garrick, Grand Master Third Veil.
Companion A. W. Phelps, Grand Master Second Veil.
Companion John Dignan, Grand Master First Veil.
Companion N. J. Frayn, Guard.
Faulkton Chapter No. 69 Order of the Eastern Star was organized in May 1907, and June 11th of that year received their charter.
This organization is composed of the wives, widows, mothers, sisters and daughters of Master Masons. Although the Eastern Star is closely related to the Masonic fraternity, it is no part of that ancient institution, but becomes active in advancing the principles of Free Masonry.
From seventeen charter members there has been a rapid growth of nearly one hundred members. Regular meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday evenings of each month. The officers for the present year (1909) are as follows:
Inez Armstrong, Worthy Matron.
James Turner, Worthy Patron.
Abbie A. Jarvis, Associate Matron.
Mayme Bryden, Conductor.
Frances Cornwell, Associate Conductor.
Adah, Nellie Bottum.
Ruth, Nora McDearnion.
Esther, Louise Simon.
Martha, Mattie Colgrove.
Electa, Jane Lockey.
Elizabeth Jones, Secretary.
A. M. Moore, Treasurer.
Rheta Garrick, Chaplain.
Ruby McDearmon, Organist.
Sue Phelps, Warden.
Emma Moore, Sentinal.
Alice Morse of Faulkton is Grand Associate Matron of the Grand Chapter of South Dakota.
The Odd Fellows of Faulkton in the early eighties organized a lodge of considerable size which continued until about 1893, when owing to the hard times, and there being no hall in the town that was suitable to hold meetings, which they could procure, they .surrendered their charter. This lodge was known as Nixon River Lodge.
On May the 2nd, 1906, Faulkton Lodge No. 169, I. O. O. F. was organized with a good membership and is now considered a good strong working lodge.
There is also a lodge at Chelsea, South Dakota, of which I am unable to give the name and number. Also at Cresbard where New Empire Lodge was organized on April the 15th, 1909. These two lodges are located in good thriving towns, along the line of the M. & St. L,. railroad, and in a portion of the county that is well populated and in one of the finest agricultural sections of South Dakota, and are destined to become strong and influential organizations.
There was on the 19th day of April, 1909, organized in Faulkton, Lily Rebecca Lodge No. 116 with twenty-five members, and has a bright future before it, with the following officers:
Dora Louise Simon, Noble Grand.
Frances Champlin, Past Grand.
Anna Bixler, Vice Grand.
S. Belle Jarvis, Secretary.
Ada Dunsmore, Treasurer.
Millie L. Ellis, Warden.
Victorena Rush, Conductor.
C. E. Coste, Inside Guardian.
Ralph Warren, Outside Guardian.
James Dunsmore, Right Supporter to the Noble Grand.
Ada Alden, Left Supporter to the Noble Grand.
Mrs. C. E. Coste, Right Supporter to the Vice Grand.
Violetta Shaver, Left Supporter to Vice Grand.
Emily Niemeyer, Chaplain.
The Ancient Order of United Workmen perfected an organization in Faulkton in 1889. This is a fraternal and insurance organization and has always been popular with the business men of this city and has taken a strong hold upon the rural population of the county.
In December, 1898, the Degree of Honor organized a temporary lodge in Faulkton, and since that time has been in active operation. In that time it has paid three thousand dollars or more on account of the death of members. From the twenty-six, who were charter members, the order rapidly increased in number until nearly one hundred had identified themselves with it. The promptness with which death losses have been paid has done much to give the lodge both financial standing and a social influence both in the city and surrounding country, and as a beneficiary organization is well worth the sympathy and patronage of a much larger number. Meetings are held on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. The last meeting of each month, refreshments are served and especial attention is given to the social side of the order.
The order has had its home in Hay's Hall ever since his block was erected and is in good financial standing.
The following are the officers for the year 1909:
Mary Griffee, Past Chief of Honor.
Victorena Rush, Chief of Honor.
Ann Thorn, Lady of Honor.
Louise Simon, Chief of Ceremonies.
Minnie Pangburn, Recorder.
Eva M. Young, Financier.
Emma Seaman, Receiver.
Altia Edgerton, Usher.
Frank Pangburn, Inner Watch.
S. F. Thorn, Outer Watch.
Mrs. Emma Rice, Advisor.
This order was introduced into Faulkton eleven years ago and a Hive established and a strong organization secured .
After a destructive fire, with hall, charter and paraphernalia all destroyed, the order has never recovered from this heavy blow. The organization is barely kept up on account of the insurance benefits secured through this society.
George Zaelke, Commander.
R. M. Whitney, Recorder.
This order was introduced into Faulkton in November, 1897, and a live working Hive of twelve members secured, which was soon increased to seventy-five, fifty of whom were benefit members.
A fire in which their lodge room, charter and paraphernalia were destroyed was a hard blow to the organization. The social members soon dropped out and by reason of that and the removal of benefit members there are at the present time only thirty-five members, with the following officers:
Inez Armstrong, Lady Commander.
Millie L. Ellis, Lieutenant Commander.
Emma Burge, Record Keeper.
Mattie Colgrove, Finance Keeper.
Emily Niemeyer, Chaplain.
Faulkton Camp No. 2774 of the Modern Woodmen of America was organized in April, 1895, with ten charter members, being a social order with fraternal features. While the organization has received the hearty support of the community and acquired a good membership, there has not been a single death or a dollar of insurance paid out since its organization in 1895.
The present officers are:
C. L. Streeter, Venerable Commander.
F. A. Seaman, Clerk.
A. Boiler, Banker.
The Modern Brotherhood of America organized a lodge in the city of Faulkton in 1903. This is a fraternal and insurance organization and has secured a very rapid growth, having a membership of one hundred. Frank A. Pangburn is president of the organization arid Mrs. Eva M. Young, secretary.
Phil. H. Sheridan Post No. 72, organized in 1895, has had an eventful
history. At one time, with one hundred and twenty-three Civil War
veterans in the county, one hundred and two had their names upon the
roll. Through the earnest and persistent efforts of the
Woman's Relief Corps the Post has a place of meeting in a fine Grand Army and Relief Corps building.
Many members have removed from the state and within less than one year
five have answered to their last roll call. There are now only fifteen
members, the oldest
being in his eighty-fourth year and the youngest member sixty-three.
The ownership of the lot and building is vested in the Grand Army Post and the Woman's Relief Corps and when the last roll call has been sounded the property will revert to the city of Faulkton for a public library building.
The following is a list of officers:
John W. Hays, Commander.
A. A. Andrews, Senior Vice Commander.
H. A. Wilkinson, Junior Vice Commander.
George J. Jarvis, Adjutant.
M.S. McDearmon, Quarter Master.
Thos. O'Neil, Officer of the Day.
L. D. Wood, Officer of the Guard.
A. J. Sprague, Chaplain.
Phil. H. Sheridan Woman's Relief Corps No. 43 under territorial
jurisdiction and 19 South Dakota jurisdiction was organized May 24,
1888, with twenty-one charter members as follows:
Sarah B. Humphrey,
Alice M. A. Pickler,
Helen M. Bissell,
Hattie F. Douglas,
Lottie A. McDearmon,
Belle F. McCoy,
Nettie E. Haskins,
Susan C. Moulton,
Retta H. Miller,
Carrie B. Norton,
Hester A. Swearngen,
Emma B. Miller,
Lydia M. Bonsey,
Viola E. Wallace,
Mary Etta Talcott,
Jane E. Hughes,
Mary E. Summy,
Silvia G. Bottum,
Alia A. Bottum
Mattie M. Johnston.
This organization has been one of the most devoted, successful and efficient working Relief Corps in the west. Too much credit cannot be given for the beautiful, commodious Grand Army hall, now worth two thousand dollars, and for the sympathy and encouragement extended to our comrades in sickness and in health, and for the most loyal support, when the last sad roll call has sounded.
The following ladies have served as president of the Corps in the following order named: Mrs. Humphrey, Moulton, McCoy, Pickler, Wallace, Finney, Stoddard, Whipple, Hays, Rush, Miller and Mrs. Spencer, now acting president.
This corps has also had the honor of having two state department presidents, viz: Sue C. Moulton and Alice M. A. Pickler.
The following are the officers for A. D., 1909:
Eliza Spencer, President.
Frances C. Champlin, Vice President.
Frances Hays, Junior Vice President.
Mary A. Finney, Secretary.
Emma Rice, Treasurer.
Victorena Rush, Conductor.
Emily Niemeyer, Chaplain.
The Tuesday Club of Faulkton was organized in the fall of 1897 as a
literary club exclusively for ladies. Meetings were to be held every
Tuesday evening from October
first to May first.
The early membership was limited to sixteen and in later years to twenty.
For several years Shakespeare's plays were the chief .study, and not one year has passed without some study of one or more of the plays of the greatest master of literature.
Carlyle said: "The study of history is the preliminary to all right and full understanding of anything we can expect to find in books," and the club recognizing the fact, has made thorough study of the history of nearly all the great nations of the world. With the history has been included the study of geography, literature, art, music, government and the people. Three complete years have been devoted to the study of America and three years to the study of England. Other countries studied are Germany, Russia, Scandinavia, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, China, Japan and Mexico.
Each year one program at least has been devoted to both the question of Household Economics and the Woman Question.
In 1906 the club raised one hundred dollars to pay for trees to be planted in the city park.
During the club years 1906-7 the club wrote a "progressive story" the main incidents of which were all authentic facts in the knowledge or experience of the writers. The story was named "Three P's" or Pioneer Pen Pictures of Dakota, and was published in book form in the fall of 1907, and has met with a ready sale.
The "open meetings" of the club, once or twice a year have always been counted among the leading social events of the year.
In October 1907, the tenth anniversary of the organization of the club was celebrated by a grand banquet, to which husbands and friends, to the number of seventy-five were invited.
The following is the list of presidents names from the beginning: Belle F. McCoy, Sylvia G. Bottum, Mable R. Morse, Carrie M. Norton, and Sue C. Moulton.
The club joined the "State Federation of Women's Clubs" in 1900, and has been identified with all its projects for general welfare and charity.
The history of the county would not be complete without at least a brief mention of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle of the winters of 1887-88, 1888-89.
It was the aftermath of a small circle which was the source of much pleasure in the earliest days of Faulkton, of which Mrs. Pickler was president and her home headquarters.
The later circle, with few exceptions, met weekly at the home of George A. Morse and his sons, A. W. and C. A. Its membership was composed of doctors, lawyers, merchants, bankers, editors, ministers, housewives, young men and maidens, about fifty in all, and the flow of wit and wisdom was unsurpassed in any other literary circle of the land. C. A. Morse was president of the circle both years.
There were many notable events in connection with these meetings that cannot even be mentioned in a short article, but who of the old crowd will ever forget Frank Turner's recitation of "Tarn O'Shanter," or the lecture on Burns by Captain Douglas of Seneca, or the time the gentlemen played "Pyramus and Thisby" from Shakespeare's "Midsummer Nights Dream." Joe Bottum played the part of "Bottum," Joel Booth the part of " Pyramus," Leslie Bailey, "Thisby." A. W. Morse, "Wall," and C. A. Morse, "Moonshine."
The birthdays of all the great authors were appropriately celebrated in turn, and many brilliant papers were read. The greatest event in the circle's history was when Albion W. Tourgee lectured in Faulkton on "Socialism and its Allies," and a grand reception by the circle, at the "Morse House," at which he read selections from his own writings. His gracious, friendly cordiality was fully appreciated by those present and he seemed equally pleased with his entertainment and entertainers.
This organization is composed of young ladies and the membership is limited to sixteen . The object is for social and intellectual improvement. The meetings are held from September to June on every Tuesday evening and the society has proved a perfect success for the first year of its existence.
There has been general enthusiasm among all the members to faithfully perform the work assigned them.
This club was organized in March 1908 and in July became a member of the State Federation of Women's Clubs.
The first president of the club was Margaret Frayn. The following are the present officers of the club:
Mayme Byrne, President.
Margaret McDowell, Vice President.
Katherine Harty, Secretary and Treasurer.
Margaret Nichol, Press Correspondent.
Leading all the improvements in the city was the erection by I. Allen Corn well of his fine concrete block on the corner of Ninth avenue and Court street. The first floor supplies two of the finest offices in the city, one occupied by the Faulk County Abstract Company, supplying every facility and abundance of room for its important and ever growing business, the other by P. H. O'Neil, who, on account of his extensive cattle business is now known throughout the state as "South Dakota's Cattle King." In addition to his dealing in neat stock, Mr. O'Neil has made some extensive deals in real estate which brings him well up as a real estate man.
The second floor of this building is the home of the Faulkton Commercial Club. It contains four spacious and conveniently arranged rooms with all modern improvements and conveniences. It has been furnished most sumptuously and with every facility to care for and attract a large membership. No organization has ever started out under more favorable circumstances or made more perfect arrangements to interest and hold together its more than one hundred members.
Its genial affable and social president, Mr. P. H. O'Neil, seconded by the mayor of our city, Dr. William Edgerton, vice president of the organization, will do much in providing not only the pleasing and companionable enjoyment that such an organization should afford, but in bringing the members of the club in one solid phalanx to support anything that tends to the upbuilding or the social, moral and financial advancement of the city.
With the fact before her that each year adds largely to the value of surrounding farm lands, more largely to the number of acres put under cultivation, together with the rapid and almost unparalleled increase in bank deposits Faulkton must keep a pace in the onward march, and her Commercial Club if true to themselves and the general prosperity of our city must lead in the onward march.
The following is a full list of its efficient and popular officers: Hon. P. H. O'Neil, president; Dr. William M. Edgerton, vice president; Dr. A. J. McDowell, secretary; A. M. Moore, treasurer. The board of directors consists of all the above named officers, together with Messrs A. Boiler, A. D. Griffee and Frank Oulton.