The Very Beginning…
The above is a copy of Dr. Carlton’s letter petitioning for a Lodge Under Dispensation in Latonia.
On May 6, 1903, Dr. R. E. Carlton address a letter to H. B. Grant, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky and enclosed with it a petition for a Lodge Under Dispensation and seven emits as as his check for $40.00. The second letter written on behalf of the Lodge is not available in it’s original form, but there is typewritten letter copy in the Grand Lodge records dated May 16, 1903. This letter was signed by 26 men, the first three who signed being the three who were recommended to be the first Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden, namely: Robert Elliston Carlton, Joseph Eberle Coleman and Zac Taylor Carlton.
On September 11, 1903, H. B. Grant, Grand Secretary, wrote to the Grand Master, John W. Landrum, enclosing the petition requesting permission to organize Latonia Lodge.
The original dispensation is not available but it was copied in the minutes of the Lodge Meeting held on October 10, 1903. Brothers J. W. Rogers and Edward C. Sellers, or either of them were appointed the proxy of the Grand Master to assemble the brethren constituting a new lodge to be known as Latonia Lodge U. D.
Brothers E. C. Sellers, P.M. of Colonel Clay #159 opened the first meeting on Saturday evening October 10, 1903 in Leucht’s Hall, as proxy of the Grand Master, for the purpose of organizing Latonia Lodge U. D. Thirteen members were present from Covington Lodge #109, including the Master, Senior Warden and Secretary and one Past Master; fifteen members of Colonel Clay Lodge #159, including four Past Masters and the Master; five members of Golden Rule #345, including Past Master Henry Bostwick; six members from Samuel Reed Lodge #478 (then renamed Unity Lodge #478), and ten others from ten different lodges, as well as members of Latonia Lodge U. D.
Temporary organization was effected by Brother E. C. Sellers who appointed Brother A. H. Bryant, Past Master of Colonel Clay Lodge #159, Secretary Pro Ten. The dispensation from Grand Master John W. Landrum was then read, giving the lodge authority to operate and appointing Robert Elliston Carlton, Master; Joseph Eberle Coleman, Senior Warden and Zac Taylor Carlton, Junior Warden.
The lodge was then opened by the following officers:
- Brother E. C. Sellers, Master P. M. Colonel Clay Lodge #159
- Brother T. W. Phillips, Senior Warden, P.M. Colonel Clay Lodge #159
- Brother W. F. Dorman, Junior Warden, P.M. Colonel Clay Lodge # 159
- Brother W. S. Gould, Senior Deacon, P.M. Colonel Clay Lodge # 159
- Brother L. J. Burns, Junior Deacon, Master Covington Lodge # 109
- Brother W. T. Beverle, Tyler, Latonia U. D.
The election resulted in Brother J. T. Earle being chosen as Secretary, Brother G. W. Bidell, Treasurer and Brother W. T. Beverle, Tyler.
Brother Sellers appointed Past Grand Master Henry Bostwick, Marshal and proceeded to install the Worshipful Master elect, Brother Robert E. Carlton. Brother Carlton immediately appointed Brother Robert Lavon, Senior Deacon and Brother H. W. Nolte, Junior Deacon. All were immediately installed.
The first regular meeting of Latonia Lodge U. D. opened on October 17, 1903.
The complete list of Charter Members is as follows:
Robert E. Carlton – Robert Lavon – Joseph E. Coleman – W. T. Beverle
Zac T. Carlton – J. T. Earl – A. Kerr – H. W. Nolte – W. Bidell – J. A. Oliver
The Grand Lodge Report of 1904 lists Latonia Lodge #746 and shows a total of 34 members, 31 M. M’s. and 3 E. A.’s.
Brother Robert L. Bartholomew was the first representative to the Grand Lodge from Latonia Lodge.
Worshipful Master Robert E. Carlton attended the 1904 Grand Lodge Session and offered a Resolution which was adopted as follows: “Whereas, Those who have been raised and educated by the Home, and have gone into the world in various avocations, quite a number of those have organized a club, or association, known as the Guild; be it “Resolved That this Guild Club be given a place on the first day of the Grand Lodge, along with the children, to show the finished product of our ‘Jewels’ annually that we view them.”
Formal Petition to organize and open a Lodge in Latonia.
Grand Secretary’s letter to the Grand Master regarding the request for a new Lodge in Latonia along with a note of approval from the Grand Master.
*All Information published above was provided by the 2003 – 100th Anniversary Lodge Book Committee, Steve Belmont Master*
MEETING PLACE – The first meeting of Latonia Lodge #746, F. & A. M. was held in Leucht’s Hall at the southeast corner of Winston Ave. and Decoursey on Saturday night, October 10, 1903. On Saturday, October 17, 1903, the third Saturday night of each month was set as the Stated Meeting night. On April 4, 1907, the meeting place was changed to Bird’s Hall on the southwest corner of Winston Ave. and Decoursey. On August 22, 1907, the stated meeting was changed to the second Thursday. On July 14, 1927, the stated meeting night was changed to the first Thursday and has been on that schedule 12 months a year since.
On October 25, 1944, the last meeting was held in Bird’s Hall and the Lodge was moved to the Masonic Temple at 4th Street and Scott Blvd. In Covington. The Lodge moved to its present address, 1553 Madison Ave., when the New Masonic Temple was built in 1953 and has been there since.
LODGE BUILDING – On March 18, 1905, there was some discussion regarding the purchase of a lot or building. Since then, several lots and buildings have been examined and a lodge building was discussed every year. Due to high costs of owning and operating our own building, conversations are few and far between.
BY-LAWS – The first by-laws of the Lodge were adopted October 19, 1903 and were the same as the by-laws of Golden Rule Lodge #345 with the exception of the dues. Many changes have been made in the by-laws since that time. In 2014 the by-laws were completely reviewed and updated.
DUES & FEES – Originally the annual dues were $4.00 payable quarterly. In 1917, an Additional dollar was added to make the dues $5.00 per year. Beginning in 1926, the dues were increased to $1.50 per quarter or $6.00 per year. On November 4, 1948, they were raised to $7.00 per year payable in advance. The year of the fiftieth anniversary of Latonia Lodge, the dues were increased to $9.00. They increased to $12.00 in 1967 and in 1976 they were raised from $16.50 to $19.50.
In the years following 1976, the dues have continually been raised to cover Grand Lodge assessments. Now with smaller membership, the increase has been required to keep pace with the cost of Lodge expenses. In 2003 the dues were $50.00 per year with $31.00 of this going to Grand Lodge assessments. Currently Lodge dues are $85.00 and were voted on in January 2016. Of this $85.00, $27.50 per member is paid to the Grand Lodge of Kentucky for their membership assessment.
The fees for the three degrees were originally $10.00 each. On March 11,1920, the total for the three degrees was raised to $40.00. They were increased to $60.00 on February 12, 1925. On May 4, 1933, the fees were reduced to $45.00 but were again made $60.00 on January 1, 1947. In 2003 the fees were $25.00 for each of the three degrees for a total of $75.00. Currently the fees for the first three degrees are $100.00.
MINUTES – Beginning in 1910 the minutes take on a more business like character. The place of meeting is listed for the first time at the top of the page and the Stated Communications as well as the Called Meetings are so designated. However, it was not until 1912 that the meetings were numbered. This practice is followed at present. In 2016 meeting minutes began to be printed and distributed before meetings to help with the meeting schedule.
AMERICAN FLAG – The first mention of the use of the American Flag at meetings was made on October 11, 1917 when a letter was received from Keturah Chapter #50 stating that they had purchased a Flag for the Lodge and the Chapter and invited the Lodge to use this Flag at its meetings. Since then it has been a tradition to display the American Flag at all meetings and those attending pledge their allegiance at the beginning of the meeting.
JURISDICTION – Beginning in 1910, there was much discussion regarding jurisdiction and on October 12, 1911 a committee was given authority to carry their case before the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. On November 11, 1911 it was reported that the Grand Lodge had decided against Latonia Lodge making our jurisdiction concurrent with the other Covington Lodges. However, the committee was continued for one year and on November 14, 1912 the Master reported that the amendment to give Latonia Lodge jurisdiction over all residents of Latonia was defeated. Since then our jurisdiction has been revised to be the same as that of other Covington Lodges, which is county wide. Currently Latonia Lodge is part of District 18, which consists of Boone, Kenton and Grant counties.
TYLER – At one time the Tyler performed many duties of the present house committee. On February 9, 1911 when the by-laws were revised, the duties of the Tyler were given as follows: “The Tyler guards the door, delivers summons and shall be responsible for the condition of the Lodge rooms, furniture, property, robes and other paraphernalia and shall see that all of these are, at all times, kept in clean and proper condition, for the convenience and comfort of the lodge and its members. He shall be paid $6.25 per quarter for his services.” Obviously, the by-laws have since been revised.
MASONIC HOME – Early in the life of the lodge, thought was given to ways and means to help those who live in the Masonic Home. On April 23, 1908 Latonia Lodge in conjunction with Samuel Reed Lodge #478 of Ludlow which is now Unity Lodge #478, jointly agreed to pay the expense of remodeling the dormitory of the Masonic Home at Louisville.
On June 13, 1909 all the Masons in this area visited the Masonic Home in Louisville going by train. In 1972 and 1976, a bus full of Latonia Lodge members visited the Old Mason’s Home in Shelbyville and the Widows and Orphans Home in Louisville.
Today, each person residing in either home lives in his or her own private room. Some rooms in the Masonic Homes contain furniture sponsored by Latonia Lodge.
MASONIC TEMPLE ASSOCIATION – On May 11, 1911 Latonia Lodge was invited to take stock in the Masonic Temple Association of Covington and on June 8, 1911 authority was given to purchase five shares. On October 6, 1927 the stock was sold to the Scottish Rite Bodies at 50 % of its face value.
NEW SCOTTISH RITE TEMPLE – On May 4, 1950 Latonia Lodge made a donation of $2,500.00 to the Scottish Rite Bodies to pay for installation of Chimes in the new organ in the Masonic Temple. In 1977 the Lodge donated $250.00 to help pay for the air conditioning in the large room in the Temple.
CORNER STONE LAYING – The Lodge was active in civic projects. On August 26, 1916 after conferring the Master Mason Degree, the Lodge at the direction of the Grand Master T. J. Adams was resolved into the Grand Lodge. The Lodge then formed in a Grand Procession and proceeded to the sight of the New Baptist Church where the corner stone was laid with full Masonic Services.
Again on November 5, 1921 the Lodge was called to order for the purpose of laying the corner stone of the New Christian Church at 39th St. and Decoursey Ave. The brothers formed in line and proceeded by the Northern Masonic Band, marched to the church grounds. There, ceremonies were conducted by the Grand Secretary, Dave Jackson.