For Hundreds of Years

Freemasonry has Existed

It Came to Marion in 1844

The Grand Lodge of Missouri is the ancestral origin of Masonic Lodges in Iowa. Our ancestral line traces from Missouri to Tennessee, to North Carolina, and to the Grand Lodge of England.

Masonry began in Iowa Territory on November 12th, 1840. After petitioning the Grand Lodge of Missouri for a charter and being recommended by Napoleon Lodge No. 25 of St. Louis, a lodge in Burlington was granted a charter on November 30th, 1840 as Des Moines Lodge Number 41. A Lodge in Muscatine began labors under dispensation February 4th, 1841 and was chartered October 10th as Iowa Lodge No. 42. Dubuque Lodge No. 62 received its dispensation October 14th, 1842, and its Charter was issued October 10th, 1843. The dispensation of Iowa City Lodge No. 63, is dated October 15th, 1842 and its Charter was issued October 10th, 1843.

The first four Iowa Lodges, Des Moines Lodge, Iowa Lodge, Dubuque Lodge, and Iowa City Lodge, were represented in Iowa City on January 2nd, 1844 when the Grand Lodge of Iowa was formed at its session on January 9th, 1844. Each Lodge respectively received numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4.

The territorial capital had recently been established at Iowa City, and the legislature was in session. William Abbe, of Marion, believed to have been the first white settler in Linn County and who also later served as an Iowa state senator, was in attendance and was also interested in getting a dispensation from the new Grand Lodge to form a subordinate body in Marion.

He soon learned that Marion’s petition would have to arrive promptly to obtain the coveted “No. 5”, from the first dispensation to be granted. But a generous act on his part made this impossible. The Burlington Lodge was chosen by the delegates to be honored by the selection of its Master, Oliver Cock, as the first Grand Master. However, he was not in attendance when he was elected on January 3rd. So, William Abbe volunteered to ride horseback to Burlington and return with him. In the meantime, George McCleary, of Wapello, had taken advantage of the situation, presenting the first petition.

Marion’s petition was received in Burlington on February 6th, 1844. Dispensation to form our Lodge was granted on the same day and it bears the names of Oliver Cock, Grand Master, T. S. Parvin, Grand Secretary. The eight names on the petition were: John Berry, William Abbe, Lawrence Hollenbeck, Samuel Hunter, Abel Stevens, Thomas Kemp, David Styles, and Joseph McKee.

At the second annual communication of the Grand Lodge of Iowa on January 6th 1845, four charters were granted–Wapello Lodge No. 5, Marion Lodge No. 6, Hiram Lodge No. 7, and Mt. Pleasant Lodge No. 8. Marion Lodge No. 6 was the western outpost of Masonry in Iowa.

The first meeting held in Marion was on March 18th, 1844, six years after the territorial government had been established and two years before Iowa became a state.

More Resources

The following are presentations of note members have made about our Lodge’s history.