Avery Lodge No. 493

This photo is of Union School, circa 1870.  This building was purchased by Avery Lodge in 1920 and is still their home.

One of the many qualifications for forming a new Masonic lodge is that the petitioners for that new lodge must be sponsored by an existing Lodge.  Avery Lodge No. 493 is the sponsor lodge of Arts & Sciences Lodge No. 792, and the Brethren of Arts & Sciences Lodge owe a great debt of gratitude to the Brethren of Avery Lodge.  In a very real sense, the history of Avery Lodge No. 493 is a part of the Masonic heritage of Arts & Sciences Lodge.

On May 31,1871, a petition to establish a new Masonic Lodge in Hilliards, Ohio was presented to Urania Lodge No. 311. The petition was signed by Brothers Davidson, Hatton White and Avery. The motion was defeated. A new petition was presented on June 14, 1871 and was declared illegal. On July 26, 1871 another petition was brought up for consideration to establish a new lodge, to be named Zion Lodge. The petition was found to be incorrect. On July 9, 1873 a petition signed by Brother Seeds of Lockbourne Lodge No. 232, and Brothers Avery, Glover, Black and Hatton of Urania Lodge No. 311, was presented to establish a new lodge in Hilliards, Ohio, to be named Avery Lodge. It is assumed the Lodge was named in honor of Brother Pelatiah Avery because he was the eldest of the petitioners. A ballot was taken, and the motion passed.

In August 1873 a petition was presented to the Grand Lodge asking for a dispensation to open a lodge of Master Masons in Hilliards, Ohio. The Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Asa H. Battin granted the petition on August 19, 1873.   M. W. B. Battin appointed the following officers to serve until the charter would be granted:

Worshipful Master          J. T. Black

Senior Warden               William Hatton

Junior Warden               J. E. Moling

On August 21, 1873 the Brethren opened a Lodge of Master Masons in due form with the following officers:

Treasurer                     S. J. Wooley

Secretary                     R. Z. Seeds

Senior Deacon              Clark Glover

Junior Deacon               Clark Barlow

Tyler                           Alexander Davidson

These officers served their respective stations until the charter was granted.  Other charter members present were: Edward S. Churchman and Pelatiah Avery from Urania Lodge No. 311, and Henry Culp from Blendon Lodge No. 339.

While the Lodge was working under dispensation, on August 22, 1873, Mr. R. M. Merryman was the first person to request membership, followed by Mr. G. W. Elzey on September 4, 1873. At the Grand Lodge Sessions in October 1873, an application for a charter was presented and rejected because the lodge had only been working for two months under dispensation, and only had two candidates.

On November 18, 1873, Mr. John Hart petitioned for membership to Avery Lodge, and on January 20, 1874, Mr. John Koehler petitioned also. At the Grand Lodge Sessions in 1874, another application for a Charter was presented and approved. On October 21, 1874 Avery Lodge No. 493 was granted a Charter, and constituted a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.

After the Charter was granted, an election of officers was held on December 1, 1874, with the following Brethern elected to serve:

Worshipful Master          James E. Moling

Senior Warden               R. Z. Seeds

Junior Warden               E. S. Churchman

Treasurer                      P. S. Avery

Secretary                      G. W. Elzey

Senior Deacon               Clark Glover

Junior Deacon               Alexander Davidson

Chaplain                        Rev. A. R. Miller

Tyler                            J. M. Gutches

These officers were installed on December 15, 1874.

The first to seek membership after the charter was granted were the Reverend A. R. Miller and Dr. James M. Merryman, both by affiliation. The fee for initiation was $ 25.00 for all three degrees and the dues were $ 3.00 per year.

The first meeting place for Avery Lodge was on the North side of Main Street, between Franklin Street and the railroad tracks (4009 Main Street). It was built by Mr. John Westerweller and used as a storeroom. The Lodge built the second story and used it as a lodge room. The first floor of the building was later converted into the Hilliards Post Office.

In December of 1918, the Lodge purchased the property at 3980 Main Street from the Local Board of Education, for $ 1,830.00. A committee consisting of Brothers E. J. Van Schoyck, Jacob Hommon and Paul wood were appointed to remodel the building. The four-room elementary school building was remodeled and converted for the use of a Masonic Lodge Hall. Several men assisted in the remodeling, and were paid at the rate of $ .50 per hour. Past Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Charles J. Pretzman, dedicated the building for the use of Masonry on July 1, 1919, with approximately 95 members and visitors present. At the time of the dedication, the Lodge had 101 members.

In the early 1960’s Avery Lodge experienced several years of rapid growth, averaging 16-18 new members each year. Membership in Avery Lodge grew steadily thru the years until it peaked at 427 in 1980.  Membership in the past several years has been averaging a little over 200.

On July 1, 1969, a program was given at the present lodge hall dedicating 50 years of Masonry in the building.

On September 28, 1974, the Lodge was rededicated for it’s 100th anniversary. The Grand Orator, RWB Jerry O. Rasor, led the rededication, with 64 members and visitors in attendance.