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The First Home of Masonry in Western Massachusetts Built 1750. Orange, Mass.
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The Masons are a fraternal organization that began in England in the 17th century. Its origins are murky, but it may have had its roots in organizations created by stonemasons of the day. The first lodge in what would later become the United States was founded in Boston in 1733. Orange was sparsely settled prior to 1763 and the end of the French & Indian War and would not become a town until 1810. It is improbable, although not impossible, that a branch of the Masons had been founded there as early as 1750, as this postcard claims. Colonial Masons tended to be from the highest level of society, and it is unlikely that enough Masons had settled there to have a functioning group. More likely, one or perhaps two members of the Boston Masons settled in Orange during the 18th century and a later generation claimed their presence to be the origins of Masonry in western Massachusetts. In any case, by the mid-19th century Masonry was widespread, and was an important method for middle and upper-middle class men to achieve social rank and connections. The first verified charter from Orange was made in June, 1825, the Orange Lodge. It closed down in 1831 during a period of persecution against Masons but was re-established in October, 1859.
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