Saint James Lodge #102 F. & A.M.
77 Tide Mill Road - P.O. Box 1202
Hampton, New Hampshire, 03842
The history of many historical events can be traceable to some simple incident. A remark—a word spoken—a suggestion dropped—a question asked. The history of Saint James Lodge 102 F. & A.M. had its beginning in such a manner.
It was during a refreshment period of a meeting held by Washington Royal Arch Chapter No. 3 in Portsmouth, N.H., December 23rd, 1958 that Excellent High Priest Paul Brant made the following remark. "It is my belief that my home town of Hampton can and will support the formation of a Masonic Blue Lodge." This opened a wide and serious discussion of the subject, resulting in the appointment of a committee to explore the possibilities of such a venture. This Committee was composed of Paul Brant, Warren Sawyer and Robert Bridle, all of whom are members of St. Andrews Lodge 56 F. & A.M. of Portsmouth. Following several meetings it was decided to institute immediate negotiations with the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, having in view its approval toward the granting of a charter. Such negotiations had their beginning during January 1959, and continued through the year and well into 1960, during which period countless obstacles presented themselves, the principle one being the failure to obtain unanimous approval of all the lodges that compose the 1st Masonic District.
In the mean time Grand Lodge officials had approved such formalities as—financial stability—territorial coverage—dues structure—dual membership plan—effect of the establishment of a new lodge in Hampton would have in relation to other lodges in the district—population in the area—approximate number of Masons interested and other conferences with the Committee, expressed its approval of subject set forth but very frankly declared, that in the absence of unanimous approval of all lodges in the District presented a serious obstacle. Consequently, the granting of a charter would necessarily have to be withheld pending an investigation.
In as much as Grand Lodge reflected a keen desire toward the chartering of a new lodge in New Hampshire, the first in 54 years, it was agreed that a committee would be appointed to look into the matter.
In the mean time, feeling under the encouragement that a charter would be granted, the elected officers diligently continued their rehearsals. During April 1960 information was received to the effect that Grand Lodge would render a decision at its annual meeting, May 1960, as to whether it would grant a charter to Saint James Lodge. In consequence, on May 18th 1960, The Grand Body during the course of its deliberations did render a decision favorable to Saint James, but in the form of a dispensation sanctioning it to operate under prescribed Masonic law, until the formality of a charter issuance could be disposed of.
Thus, under the dispensation granted, Saint James Lodge was accepted as a Masonic entity of the State of New Hampshire, and as such had the authority to proceed with its work under the jurisdiction of Grand Lodge. Stimulated with such authority rehearsals and preparations were stepped up anticipating the date of officers installation ceremonies scheduled for June 16th, 1960, on which date this historic event was consummated.
We are indeed grateful to all officers of Grand Lodge for their guidance and assistance through the many months of negotiations, and too, we deeply appreciate the honor bestowed upon Saint James Lodge by their presence and active interest on this important occasion. To have had our first installation ceremony conducted in person by such high officers of the craft can only be deemed fitting climax to all the efforts that resulted in success.