By Alisha Thompson
They’re a family and if you have questions, they are happy to answer them.
The Tyre Masonic Lodge #42 is an open book, according to Lodge Secretary Kris Travis. Davis Masons host an impressive group of members dating back to 1891 in Davis. Many of whom have streets named after them in Davis including Mr. D.F. Ellis, Mr. M.C. Ferguson, Mr. W.F. Parker and Mr. C. N. Hanna, all founding members of Davis’s first Masonic Lodge.
Recently, the group hosted a ribbon cutting at the Lodge with the Davis Chamber of Commerce and later were the guest speakers at the Chamber luncheon. Eager to share their history with members of the Davis community, along with their desire to educate the public about the history and function of the group made it’s way to the pages of this week’s edition of The Davis News.
What is Free Masonry?
That was a question that gave Travis pause. “I don’t like the textbook Masonic answer of that,” he explained. “Free Masonry unites men of good character who through different religious and social backgrounds share the belief of fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. We enjoy the brotherhood of other like minded individuals but we also share a belief in God.”
To be a Mason, you have to be a man, 18 years of age, of good moral character and believe in a supreme being. That supreme being is your own definition.
Davis has 54 members. Not all active, you know the members who are. You’ve seen them selling cotton candy at the football field. You’ve probably had one ask you about purchasing raffle tickets. You’ve attended benefit dinners, donated money to one of these benefits. With no requirements to join the regional lodge, members can join any lodge and as many lodges as they’d like to join. Travis said there are several members from Ardmore that are active.
Free Masonry, as he explained, is seeing the whole person.
Why no women?
“I think it’s very important for a guy to have a place where he can be around other men. That’s above board, and not the local watering hole. When we meet on the level (everyone is equal,) that means I can take my worries to another brother Mason. When women are around, they may put up a wall,” Travis said. “And we don’t share like we are supposed to.”
There are some co-ed lodges and women do have the opportunity to participate in the Order of the Eastern Star, a women’s Masonic organization. Travis said there has been interest in starting a local organization for interested. The only stipulation to join, is you have to have a member of your family that was a member.
Are you a secret society?
“If we’re a secret society, we do a pretty darn bad job at it,” Travis laughed. “We have the square and compass on our chest, on our cars. You see it in other towns. We are not a secret society in any way. We do have our secrets, like any other organization does. Those are around our modes of recognition and initiation process.”
The only time non-lodge members can’t go into the lodge room is when they are having a scheduled meeting. There are open meetings and those are open for non-members to see the inside of the meeting room.
History of Tyre Masonic Lodge #42
In the 1800s, a Masonic Lodge was located in Dougherty. “Those brothers in the lodge needed an option closer to their farms and livestock, and after some searching they settled for a lodge north of Dougherty,” Travis said.
The first meeting happened in Davis on March 28, 1891. So early in the town’s history, in fact, that there is only one older establishment in Davis – The Post Office.
“One of their first orders of business was to establish meeting times. In an era before such modern technology as a calendar on every wall, meeting times were set on the Saturdays on or after the full moon of the month,” Travis said.
Some of these early Masons have familiar names. Samuel H. Davis, the founder of Davis. Mazeppa Turner, namesake to Davis’s Turner Falls. Other names include Wyatt Chigley, grandson to Nelson Chigley. Grover Cleveland “Key” Wolf who coached the first undefeated High School football team, and the origination of our town mascot.
History of the Masons
Established long before history records were kept, officially recognized in the history books as an organization in London in 1717. Today, there are over 3 million members of the organization worldwide, Oklahoma home to 20,000 Masons. There are over 200 lodges in Oklahoma.
The Masons believe in brotherly love, truth and relief. Brotherly love by showing tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and will behave with compassion and understanding. Truth both in the view of themselves and their dealing with others. Masonry requires high moral standards and its members endeavor to uphold these principles in their public and private lives.
Masons and Charity
“Charity is something we teach our new brothers about and Tyre Masonic Lodge believes in charity,” Travis said. “I believe Tyre Masonic Lodge has the interest of Davis at heart from the beginning of our lodge.” The Masons even donated land to the first school for the City of Davis. These acts of charity come through community dinners and other fundraisers hosted by the Lodge.
With help of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma and the Masonic Charity Foundation, the Masonic Lodge has raised and donated over $100,000 back to the Davis community over the past five years.
The question was raised within the group why don’t we know this and why doesn’t the City of Davis know what we do? Giving the group more of a desire of to educate and inform the public about the mission and function of the Lodge.
Lodge members are taking a little time out to focus on themselves right now. “We are renovating our lodge and soon, hope to host community events and fundraisers there,” Travis said. “We are going to start having pancake breakfasts at the lodge and the community is invited.” These breakfasts will take place on a Saturday morning in the very near future. The group hopes to renovate their kitchen, first.
Want to know more?
If you have any questions about the Masonic Lodge, including how to join, simply talk to a Mason.
If you see a Mason, thank them for their overwhelmingly generous contributions to the community of Davis. The lodge is located at 101 N. Second Street.
By Alisha Thompson