CUMBERLAND VALLEY LODGE 315
A warrant was granted by the R W Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, December 6, 1824, authorizing the establishment of a Lodge at Shippensburg, PA to be called Silensia Lodge Number 198. This warrant was vacated by the Grand Lodge on February 6, 1837 for non-payment of Grand Lodge dues.
At a meeting on November 14, 1857 in Shippensburg, "... several members of the Masonic Fraternity, held at the office of John Wunderlich, to consult and take some measures to restoring Silensia Lodge Number 198 or to make application for a new Warrant to establish a Masonic Lodge." So reads the minutes dated above and so began the history of Cumberland Valley Lodge Number 315.
It was evidently the opinion of those present at the above meeting that, with such a record, Silensia Lodge should not be revived. Hence the Masons present signed an application for a Warrant for a new Lodge, and two brethren were designated as a committee to secure a Lodge room. On January 14, 1858, this committee reported that they had secured the Odd Fellows room and furniture for five years at an annual rent of $35. Consequently, Brother Henry Ruby was directed to go to Philadelphia, PA and secure jewels, aprons and the necessary equipment to open a Lodge. A committee was also assigned the task of drawing up a satisfactory set of By-Laws.
Cumberland Valley Lodge Number 315 was warranted January 11, 1858, to be held at Shippensburg, PA. One week after the constitution of the Lodge, the first application for membership was received and a growing Lodge was launched with the proceeds from a $200 note, apparently the only resources. John Atlee Kunkel was the first Mason made in our Lodge, but other applications to the number of seventeen were presented during the first year at a fee of $20 for initiation and membership.
The Lodge Hall, now known as Ruby Hall, was located on the second floor at the corner of Earl and Orange Streets. February, 1870 a motion made and resolved "that Cumberland Valley Lodge Number 315, because of the noisy festivities in the hall below, inconvenience of access, and badly constructed sidewalls, change its location to the third floor of the First National Bank Building at a low bid of $75 a year." It was completely furnished at a cost of $608, the dues were set at $5 per year.
The Fiftieth Anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated February 18, 1908, with twenty-six members and thirty-five visitors attending the meeting. Later, our Lodge was honored by the appointment of Past Master, Brother Alexander Stewart to the office of District Deputy Grand Master for the Third Masonic District on January 1, 1920.
For many years, the Lodge met on the second Friday of each month, but since January 3, 1957, the time of the meeting has been changed to the first Thursday of each month.
The year 1958 marked a definite milestone in our history as we celebrated one hundred years as a chartered Lodge. The ceremonies included a special meeting on October 4, 1958. We were honored by a visit from R W Grand Master Sanford M Chilcote and other Grand Lodge Officers. As we were about to celebrate another 25 years of Masonry, Thomas W Jackson, Past Master was elected and installed as R W Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in December, 1979.
Since our Lodge was meeting on the third floor many elderly members found it increasingly difficult to climb the stairs. In 1979, the Assembly of God congregation constructed a new church. We negotiated the purchase of their former home at 41 Stewart Place; where we still meet today. After over 100 years in the First National Bank Building, we had a new Lodge Hall.
We continue to be honored by other Grand Lodge appointments. Jeffrey W Coy, PM is now the R W Grand Treasurer. Also, S Eugene Herritt, PM has been appointed to be District Deputy Grand Master for the Third Masonic District. Barry A Martz, PM has also been appointed as Region 2 Chairman of Masonic Education.
In 2008, we celebrated our 150 year anniversary. As you can see, Freemasonry has grown and flourished in Cumberland Valley Lodge Number 315 of Shippensburg, PA.
In 2011, it was announced that Brother S Eugene Herritt, PDDGM, will be our new R W Junior Grand Warden. We at Lodge 315 are very proud and honored to have Brother Herritt serve as a Grand Lodge officer.
On December 27,2017, Brother S Eugene Herritt became the Right Worshipful Grand Master for 2018-2019. The impressive ceremony was held at Hershey, PA. We at Lodge 315 wish Brother Herritt the best at his new position as head of Freemasonry for the state of Pennsylvania.
On June 4, 2018, Cumberland Valley Lodge Number 315 was saddened to hear that Freemasonry lost our Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer, Brother Jeffrey W Coy. He will be deeply missed by all in our Fraternity especially Lodge 315.
HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED?
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Freemason? You may know it’s the oldest and largest fraternity in the world, but wonder what secrets lie behind a clouded veil of mystery. If this is your perception, you’re not alone. But in reality, Freemasonry is alive and well, and its members are willing to speak openly about how it influences their lives, their families, and their communities. We recently interviewed some Brothers from Pennsylvania about their experiences as part of the fraternity.