Mt. Pickering Lodge, No. 446, Free and Accepted Masons was instituted on the 12th of July, 1869, and has ever been deservedly ranked among the best and most influential organizations in this vicinity. It has always attracted the leading men of this community to seek membership therein and they have succeeded in bringing and maintaining it to the present high position which it holds.
Many good men and true have enjoyed membership in Mt. Pickering Lodge, but many of them have passed to “The Great Beyond”, and have failed to leave a record of facts that would be of interest to all of us who desire to know more about the members and the part they played in making the Lodge what it is today.
This is not the first effort in this direction. Just a few years prior to the death of our first Worshipful Master, Bro. J. Benner Evans, he wrote the early history, mostly from memory. This was necessary because all of the records of the first sixteen and a half years of the lodge had been destroyed by fire when the first lodge hall burned.
It is only fair to him that we preserve his work in its entirety, and add to it any facts that we may find in regards to the early history of the lodge. Accordingly, we will here copy a part of his work, concerning the formation of the lodge:
“It is an unwritten law of masonry that when a member of a Lodge is chosen to the office of Junior Warden it is his right the following year to be placed in the position of Senior Warden then one year later to succeed the Worshipful Master and when this rule is broken an unpleasantness is produced. “
About the year 1851 Dr. William D. Downing, then Senior Warden of Lodge No. 309 was defeated for Worshipful Master by the Junior Warden. Subsequently an effort was made to place the Doctor in the Chair of Worshipful Master but his magnanimity would not permit him to interfere to prevent the promotion of the occupant of the chair in the West.
In April, 1869, eight members ‑ J. Benner Evans, William D. Downing, Joseph P. Smedley, John Griffith, William Mullen, John Tonkens, Dr. A.K. Gaston, and Andrew Whitman withdrew from Lodge No. 309, and joined in application to the Grand Lodge for a Warrant.
The following June the District Deputy Grand Master for the Chester and Delaware district, Bro. John Gregg, visited the above applicants and after a conference reported favorably, and the prayer of the petitioners was granted.
A meeting was held in the room of Lodge No. 309 in Downingtown on the 12th day of July, with the District Deputy Grand Master acting as Worshipful Master, and the lodge known as Mt. Pickering Lodge No. 446, Free and Accepted Masons was constituted in ancient form.
Worshipful Master: Bro. J. Benner Evans
Senior Warden Bro. William D. Downing
Treasurer Bro. J. Benner Evans
Secretary Bro. John Griffith
No written record is found of a Junior Warden being installed.
Bro. William Mullin served the Lodge as its first Tyler.
The fee for initiation and membership was fixed at $40.00.
The annual dues $5.00.
The Grand Lodge dues were $1.00.
At this meeting one petition for admission to membership, and one for initiation and membership were received. During the first year the Lodge gained six by initiation and one by transfer of membership.