By Dale Hayhugh
[picture: “Parkersville Lodge as it looks today”.]
Parkersville Lodge #484 was organized on Nov 7, 1868. The lodge had its beginnings in 1867 with lands donated by J.M. Early and Levi Jones of 7/8th acre each. A two-story building was started immediately and completed in the fall of 1868. This was a frame building with yellow popular weather boarding and plaster and wallpaper inside. The building was occupied at once with Masons upstairs and a community grade school downstairs.
The school was to be known as Parkersville Academy (a private grade school) with a most enviable reputation and sought after place of learning, with attendance reaching 165 pupils and numbering among its alumni doctors, lawyers and educations of some renown.
The lodge began with 12 masons who were residents of the community but members of several neighboring lodges. These men demitted and under the auspices of Clinton Lodge, with John McLin as proxy and Grand Master in charge, organized Parkersville #484.
The first officers were as follows:
Robert P Smith – WM
J.P. Smith – SW
R.P. Hollowell – JW
J.B. Ramey – Treasurer
J.M. Early – Secretary
N.N. Rice – SD
Thomas Wynn – JD
Jeff Chambers – S&T
Brethren were J.W. Hanberry, J.S. Hollowell, W.H. Harris and F.R. Smith. Also seeking membership with demits pending were J.S. Howard, J.E. Howard, J.E. McCarty, J.B. Kevil and W.M. Johnson.
The first masons to be initiated were R.B. McNary and John J. Nall (better known as Professor Nall), a most charismatic and scholarly man, and the first teacher at Parkersville Academy.
The third man initiated was J.W. Vinson, the father of Judge Jim Vinson and father-in-law to Lewis Lincoln who was to be a member of this lodge and went on to become a prominent newspaperman in Kansas City.
The new lodge held 18 meetings the first year and enjoyed visitors at every meeting beginning in November 1868 to March 1870.
Remembering the only mode of transportation in those days being horse or horse-drawn, tells us something of the dedication and zeal of our forefathers.
The lodge building was located on a lot where the present building and/or the Johnny Thompson residence is now situated, but facing east rather than north like the present building. It was thought to be about the size of our present lodge building.
In 1871, a Baptist church, known as the United Baptist Church, was organized and a building constructed on a lot adjacent to the Masonic/school building. This building fronted toward the north (the same as Johnny Thompson’s house and/or school building) and located a few feet east and south of where Johnny’s shop is now. The upstairs of this building was later to become the second home of Parkersville Lodge.
A few years later, circa 1880, a Methodist congregation was organized. They met in the lodge/school building until 1888 when they built a church later to belong to the Baptist and where the Baptist church recreation building is now located.
My birthplace (where our present church is located) was the Methodist parsonage.
In April of 1871 the first Masonics Widows and Orphans Home in the world was opened in Louisville. In 1902, the Old Masons Home was built with this lodge sending a donation of 50 cents per member.
The Parkersville lodge/school building was the forum for most social activities of the community. Some of the activities were plays, fiddler’s contests, debates, political speeches, traveling shows, etc.
By the early 1900s, the county had taken over the trusteeship of the county schools and the building was needing repairs.
In 1908, the lodge had the opportunity to purchase the upstairs over the Baptist church. This room was owned by C.C. Butts, a local merchant, and was in an unfinished state. The ½ interest in the church building was bought for the sum of $200. Work was begun at once to complete the upstairs plus extending the second floor by eight feet, this providing a porch or canopy for the church and an outside stairwell and ante room for the lodge. The lodge, having insufficient funds, borrowed $250 from Robert Parker (the first Master) to pay for construction.
The Woodmen of the World organized in 1907 and was allowed the use of the Masonic hall for the sum of 50 cents a meeting with lights furnished.
In February, 1909, when the masons moved to the newly renovated upstairs over the Baptist church, the original building over the school was sold to the Woodmen of the World for the sum of $70.
In May 1910, the lodge upstairs building was insured for an annual fee of $27.20. In May 1914, the flue was moved from the center to the side of the building at a cost of $20. In June 1914, Lewis Lincoln was asked to ascertain if the insurance on the building was good and legal. In 1915, an Eastern Star Chapter was formed and was granted permission to use the lodge hall at no cost. In May 1916, Vinson and Co. of Cadiz notified the lodge that the insurance was expired. It was renewed immediately.
In June 1916, a fire of unknown origin destroyed the church and lodge building. Our past generosity to the Woodmen of the World was reciprocated by their allowing us to use the old and original building to hold our meetings.
In September, 1916 we met and offered to share the cost of a new building with the Baptist. The church opted rather to buy from the Methodists, whose numbers were down. The building purchased stood across from our present lodge and was recently torn down.
In October, 1916, a committee was elected and authorized to purchase a suitable building site. This committee was composed of Dennie Mayhugh, W.H. Tandy and Albert Gresham. They were offered a lot across from the old public well belonging to L.L. Rogers for $100, or the Rice and Cummins Tobacco property for $250. They chose the later, since it had a warehouse and goodly amount of salvageable lumber. This property belonged to a Grimmer family of Paducah and formerly of Lamasco.
In December, 1916, the lodge accepted Young and Co. of Princeton low bid of $1,064.50 for a two-story frame building 30 foot ceilings downstairs, a 9-foot ceiling upstairs, a galvanized flue, a lock and key job, with the lodge furnishing all the rough lumber, foundation rock, etc. All first class material was used except for the floor which would be #1 common. The above description of the building was taken from a committee report.
After a few changes, including an additional outside door, the bill of Young and Company came to $1,113.70. Other cost was as follows: chairs, $21.40; desk, $14; stove and pipe, $17; and to C.W. Mayhugh for making the altar, arch, warden stations, etc. $20.
The old building that burned had $700 of insurance coverage but after paying our indebtedness to Robert Parker (money borrowed in 1909 to pay for fixing lodge hall over church) we had $428.79. We borrowed $700 from First National Bank in Princeton. They deducted interest which left us with $666 and we borrowed $5 from M.P. P’Pool to pay the indebtedness on the new building.
When the new building was thought ready to occupy, we remembered we had not provided for lights. Typically, those attending regularly stated donating until the $17.50 for gas lights was paid for.
The new hall was dedicated on Nov. 24, 1917. The lodge opened on M M Degree in the old and original hall (now the WOW building) and marched in solemn procession to the new lodge where (according to minutes) “the 4th Degree was conferred in the form of a good supper and served at the new hall and enjoyed by all”.