A History of Plano Lodges

H. David Moore
Member, Texas Lodge of Research
Past Master, Plano Lodge No. 768 AF & AM
15 APRIL 1995


The Early Lodges

The establishment of masonry in the state of Texas preceded the settlement of many areas of the state. Dr. Anson Jones and four Brothers, in the winter of 1834-1835, “resolved to take measures to establish a Lodge of our Order in Texas.” Their meeting near the town of Brazoria, in south Texas, resulted in a request for a lodge charter from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. The Grand Master of Masons in Louisiana, John H. Holland, granted the Charter and thus began Holland Lodge No. 36, under Dispensation. When the Grand Lodge of Texas was formed in 1836, Holland Lodge was re-chartered as the first lodge in this grand jurisdiction.

Masonry was not far behind in the North Texas area. The first lodge chartered in this area was DeKalb Lodge No. 9 in DeKalb, Bowie County on 2 February 1840. DeKalb Lodge No. 9 demised in 1844, but was re-chartered in 1892 with the same lodge number.

Dr. Daniel Rowlett, a large landowner in the Plano area, helped organize Constantine Masonic Lodge No. 13 at old Warren, now Bonham, on 18 March 1840 and was its first Worshipful Master.

Friendship Lodge No. 15 in Clarksville, Red River Co., was chartered 11 December 1841. Paris Lodge No. 27, Lamar Co, was chartered 24 January 1845. St. Johns Lodge No. 51 in McKinney, Collin Co., was chartered 24 January 1850. Tannehill Lodge No. 52, Dallas Co., was chartered 24 January 1850. Boston Lodge No. 69, New Boston, Bowie Co., was chartered 24 January 1851. Manta Lodge No. 209, Van Alstyne, Grayson Co., was chartered 22 June 1858. Farmersville Lodge No. 214, Collin Co., was chartered 19 January 1858. White Rock Lodge No. 234 in Addison, Dallas Co., was chartered 16 June 1859.

Plano Lodge No. 235, Collin Co., was set to work under dispensation 15 June 1858, chartered 17 June 1859 and demised during the year of 1888. Plano Lodge No. 235’s charter officers consisted of Dr. James Wilson, WM, a physician who arrived in Plano from Tennessee in 1859, George W. Barnett, S.W., who came to Collin Co. in 1843, and George R. Yantis, J.W., whose origin is unknown. Other original members of the lodge were W. S. Coffey, James C. Fain, Robert Fitzugh, Dewitt C. Forman, William Forman, James C. Forman, George W. Givens, J. C. Givens, N. Givens, J. E. Harrison, William C. McKamy, B. E. Pegues, J. G. Vance, F. J. Vance, Samuel M. Wilkins, and B. N. Wilkins. Other distinguished members included Captain William Beverly, William B. Blalack, Dr. Henry Dye, Thomas F. Hughston, William M. Weaver, James Wells, and R. B. Whisenant.

The first meeting place is assumed to be in a building on the George W. Barnett farm, located near the banks of Spring Creek and a fresh water spring. This building served for the school, church, and other fraternal meetings like the Plano Masonic Lodge.

The second meeting place for the lodge was located over the storehouse built by James C. Forman and Hampton H. Gossum on the southeast corner of Avenue K and 15th Street. The agreement between Forman and Gossum and the Plano Masonic Lodge was to give “the Masons the privilege of building a Masonic Hall or other building on top of the storehouse” for the use and benefit of the Masonic fraternity forever.” The lodge is believed to have built and moved into this building sometime in 1860.

Fires plagued Plano during the 1880’s and 1890’s. The lodge building was destroyed by fire in July or August of 1881. The first called meeting after the Lodge building was destroyed, was held on 7 September in the Baptist Church in Plano to devise plans for rebuilding a Hall and disposing of lodge property. The stated meeting of 1 October 1881 was held on the second floor of the Chaddick & Housewright building located on the northwest corner of Avenue K and 15th Street, known in later years as the Harrington Furniture Store. The 1st floor of the building was operated as a saloon and the lodge met above it. This stated meeting’s primary purpose was to procure a suitable place for the Lodge to meet and, also, to procure Lodge Jewels, a seal, record books, and other lodge regalia. Subsequent stated meetings dealt with procurement of lodge furniture and the purchase of a lot on which to rebuild the lodge.

The Emerson lot was approved for the purchase price of $500 in April, 1882. The committee reported in July that the property had been purchased with $100 down and the remainder to be paid in twelve months. A committee was appointed in April to develop plans and to estimate the cost of the new building. The committee reported at the May meeting that a building 25′ x 60′ x 24′ high would cost about $1700. Bids for the building were solicited and the low bid of $1893.75 was received from James L. Glorence & Co. This bid was approved by the lodge on 18 November 1882 with instructions to proceed with its construction.

Apparently the building was nearing completion, because at the 19 May 1883 stated meeting a committee composed of Brothers J. T. Kendrick, Joe W. Beverly and J.H. Reedy was appointed to rent the store room, or lower floor, of the lodge for no less than $20 per month. The lodge also passed a motion to forbid the storeroom to be used as a drinking saloon or any gaming purposes. The lodge then passed a motion that the building committee be instructed to buy 2 or 3 dozen chairs for the lodge room and Brother J. B. Klepper was appointed to move the furniture into the new lodge room.

The lodge continued to meet in the lodge, but the records from Grand Lodge indicate that the lodge charter was arrested in 1887 for failure to meet. However, the minutes of the lodge fail to indicate this occurrence nor does there appear to be a break in the minutes through the year.

The last stated meeting of record in the minutes occurred on 21 April 1888. The M.W. Grand Lodge of Texas’ records only indicate that the lodge demised in 1888. There is no written record of what happened between April and when the charter was surrendered to the Grand Lodge. Many older members agree that the lodge fell upon hard times for various reasons. The minutes of the lodge indicate a long standing indebtedness to a Brother, but after several attempts to resolve a means of repaying the Brother, the lodge finally resorted to executing a note to the Brother for the sum owed. Also, numerous members were declared in arrears for their dues resulting in charges and specifications being preferred against them. The lodge also experienced numerous demits from the members which lessened its financial base. This was apparently a result of very hard times in the community at that time. We also see in the minutes numerous charges made against members for non-Masonic conduct, for non-payment of dues, and for public intoxication. (See minutes of 28 January and 25 February 1888 for full details) The membership was very hard on its members to be upstanding citizens of the community.

However, many members were determined to continue their Masonic careers and affiliated with White Rock Lodge No. 234, in Addison, which continues to be a viable lodge in the Dallas area. It was located in the southwestern corner of Collin County. The lodge had built a hall in 1872 on property adjoining the Frankford Methodist Church prior to the church purchasing land from William McKamy in 1873. The church actually held its early worship services on the first floor of the lodge building, which was also used for other fraternal, religious, and educational purposes.

After some years, a number of Plano masons decided it was again time for Plano to have its own lodge. The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge was duly petitioned and was granted a charted on 5 December 1894 and was to be known by the name and style of Plano Lodge No. 768, of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. The Lodge was then Constituted in due and ancient form on 7 January 1895 with Right Worshipful Sam R. Hamilton, Deputy Grand Master, performing the honors during an opening of a Deputy Grand Lodge in the Plano Lodge room.

The charter members numbered many former members and officers of Plano Lodge No. 235, such as Dr. James Wilson, the Charter Master, F. R. Ball, Thomas F. Hughston, Joseph H. Gulledge, and William M. Weaver. Other charter members were F. M. Armstrong, E. W. Dinwiddee, M. J. Ford, J. A. Gant, C. S. Haggard, and W. A. Vines, to name only a few of the notable and most recognized of the community leaders. The elected officers for the newly chartered lodge at this first stated meeting were duly installed by Right Worshipful Sam R. Hamilton, Deputy Grand Master.

The first elected and appointed officers installed were:

James F. Rowland, Worshipful Master

F. R. Ball, Senior Warden

James Mitchell, Junior Warden

W. D. McFarlin, Treasurer

James Wilson, Secretary

F. 0. Miller, Chaplain

W. A. Vines, Senior Deacon

J. H. Gulledge, Junior Deacon

T. C. Jasper, Senior Steward

J. M. Collier, Junior Steward

A. A. McGuire, Tiler

During this first meeting, a motion was made and approved to adopt the by-laws contained in Taylor’s Monitor and the blanks filled as needed to establish the stated meeting time, the secretary’s salary, the tiler’s salary, and the lodge dues being set. The stated meeting was to be held on the first Tuesday night on or after each full moon at 7 o’clock PM. The secretary’s salary was set at $25 annually and the Tiler was paid one dollar for each stated meeting only, and be exempt from the payment of dues. Dues were set at the rate of $6 per year from the time of his raising or affiliation, or until otherwise ordered by the Lodge.

The lodge members on 27 November 1894, and prior to the granting of the charter, entered into an agreement to rent the third floor of a recently erected building from H. C. Jones. The agreement specified a rental fee of $125 semi-annually for a term of five years. The charter members signed the agreement in total for the lodge.

It was at this first stated meeting of Plano Lodge No. 768 that the first petition for initiation was received and read from Wallace Hughston, son of Thomas F. Hughston, and referred to a committee composed of J. C. Jasper, J. M. Collier, and F. R. Ball. Wallace Hughston was elected to receive the Entered Apprentice Degree on 12 February 1895 and was initiated 15 February 1895. Brother Wallace Hughston was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on 16 March and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on 13 April 1895.

The first Master Mason raised by Plano Lodge was not Wallace Hughston. At the stated meeting on 15 January, following the constitution of Plano Lodge, an Entered Apprentice from White Rock Lodge No. 234, H. B. Carlisle, petitioned Plano Lodge to receive the Fellow Craft degree. After being granted a waiver of jurisdiction from White Rock Lodge, Brother Carlisle was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on 12 March 1895, and subsequently raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason at the stated meeting on 9 April 1895, four days before Wallace Hughston received his Master Mason degree. Wallace Hughston and H. B. Carlisle were, however, examined as to their Fellow Craft proficiency at the same stated meeting on 9 April.

The first six months of the new lodge were very successful. Numerous petitions for the degrees were received as well a many petitions for affiliation from former members of Plano Lodge No. 235 coming back to their home lodge.

The 11 June 1895 stated meeting, among other business, elected Thomas F. Hughston as Worshipful Master, Joseph H. Gulledge as Senior Warden, and Wallace Hughston as Junior Warden. These officers proceeded in succession to the East with James F. Rowland, serving a second time, W. A. Vines, serving three times, and James Wilson to follow through the next few years.

Joseph H. Gulledge was to serve Plano Lodge four times as Worshipful Master during his masonic career, but for all his years .of dedicated service, he did not serve as a District Deputy Grand Master. It is interesting to note that on his first installation as Worshipful Master, DDGM (no name given) Bowlly called the lodge to order and proceeded to confer the Past Master degree on Brother Gulledge. He then installed the officers for the ensuing year.

In March 1899, Plano Lodge was invited by the First Christian Church to lay the corner stone. On 20 March, a called meeting was held for the purpose of accepting the invitation and to establish the various committees for this auspicious event. On 2 May 1899, a representation of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Texas was opened in Plano Lodge for the purpose of laying the corner stone for the church, a dispensation being given by Most Worshipful Grand Master Sam R. Hamilton. Most Worshipful Anson Rainey served as Grand Master for the corner stone laying ceremony. Plano Lodge also laid the cornerstone for the new sanctuary of the First Christian Church in 1985.

Plano Lodge continued to meet in the same place for many years. But in August 1924, the lodge purchased the Moore House Hotel in Plano for $5000 from J. W. and Molly Shepard and converted it into its current meeting place. The façade of the building has the year 1925 on it, which may indicate the year it was permanently occupied by the lodge.

Wallace Hughston

Wallace Hughston was a continuous member of Plano Lodge up to the time of his death in 1959 – some sixty-four years. He was a lawyer by profession and served as County Attorney of Collin County from 1898 to 1902. He was also a State Senator from the 10th Senatorial District during the 44th Texas Legislature, a director of the Federal Housing Administration of the Dallas Area from 1948 to 1951, a member of the Selective Service Board in 1942, and a director of the Railroad Commission in Austin under Governor Beauford Jester.

Wallace Hughston served as Worshipful Master in the third year after he was raised a Master Mason. He served as District Deputy Grand Master of the 9th Masonic District in 1923-24. He was appointed and served as Grand Orator in 1928-29. He was elected Grand Junior Warden in 1929, served in each of the succeeding stations until he was elected Grand Master of Masons of Texas in 1932. He was the first Grand Master from Texas to serve as the presiding officer of the Grand Master’s Conference in Washington D.C. in 1932.

He belonged to the York Rite and the Scottish Rite Bodies. He was a 33 degree Scottish Rite Mason, a member of the Red Cross of Constantine, a past member of the Board of the Scottish Rite Crippled Children’s Hospital, and a past director of the Masonic Home and School.

“Wallace Hughston never saw and never knew a little Mason. All Masons were big Masons to Wallace Hughston, and he died believing that the Masters Degree was the highest degree in Free Masonry. He was the wisest man I ever knew, never giving any bad advice, nor did it ever enter his mind to avenge any wrong, but held to the belief that with time, patience and perseverance all things would work out for the best.”, so said Most Worshipful Grand Master William G. Procter in a letter to the Wallace Hughston Lodge No. 1393 after Wallace Hughston’s death.

Thomas F. Hughston

Wallace Hughston’s father, Thomas Finley Hughston, was a stalwart member of both Plano Lodges for seventy years. He served as Worshipful Master of both lodges and in just about every office throughout the years, including Secretary. We know he served as the Tiler of Plano No. 768 continuously from July 1903 through the Masonic year of 1922. He may have served longer, but the records of the lodge do not exist after 20 November 1922. There were very few meetings in the record books to indicate him not being in attendance. If there was a mainstay for Plano masonry, it was Thomas F. Hughston.

For those who remember the spittoons in the lodge, it was Thomas F. Hughston, by the direction of Worshipful Master J. M. Willis, who purchased one dozen spittoons. He presented the lodge with the spittoons and a bill for $6.00 payable to Philpott Hardware on 18 March 1905.

Dr. James Wilson

Another outstanding member of the early history of Plano and Plano lodges was Dr. James Wilson. Brother Wilson was the charter Worshipful Master of Plano No. 235 in 1859 and was Worshipful Master of Plano No. 768 in 1901-1902. He served as District Deputy Grand Master in 1898. He died on 5 May 1905 and the Lodge called a special meeting to make the funeral arrangements. All lodges in the area were notified of the funeral to be held at 8:00 AM on 6 May. Dr. Wilson had been seriously ill for several months prior to his death and he was apparently destitute, because the lodge paid many of his expenses from July 1904 until his death. Several times the minutes provide motions to pay for his rent and personal care. A page is allotted in the minutes of the lodge for the resolution of sorrow for Dr. Wilson. “He held in high esteem the teachings and symbols of the craft, and his last efforts were spent in formulating and publishing in book form a treatise on ancient craft Masonry which he has left to the craft for its benefit and instruction.” A copy of this book, “Masonic Gems”, is in the possession of our current secretary, Harry F. Powell, but you must get it from him in order to spend time to read and enjoy it.

Robert B. Howey

Plano Lodge had many outstanding Secretaries to serve the lodge, but two, who together served seventy (70) years, made the most outstanding commitment to the lodge.

Brother Robert B. Howey, born in Ironprior, Province of Ontario, Canada, in the year 1872, moved to Plano with his widowed mother a few years after he was born. She later married James Mitchell and, therefore, Robert (Bob) Howey became very close to his stepfather. Bob was often called “Bob Mitchell” because there were some who never learned that they were not actually father and son. In adult life, Bob was a rural letter carrier. He was also a member of the Plano Volunteer Fire Department until the infirmities of age would no longer permit him to be an active member.

Bob Howey petitioned Plano Lodge in the Spring of 1908 and was initiated an Entered Apprentice Mason on 14 July 1908, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on 18 August 1908, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on 10 September 1908. Bob was elected Worshipful Master in June 1914. Eighteen years later, in December 1932, his good friend Wallace Hughston appointed Bob to serve as District Deputy Grand Master of Masonic District 9 during his term as Grand Master.

Bob Howey was elected secretary of Plano Lodge in June 1918. He served faithfully and efficiently in that office for the next thirty-one (31) years. During this time, pleasure in attendance at the meetings was increased ten-fold by Brother “Bob’s” friendly smile and firm handshake. One always came away with the feeling that the Lodge was in very good hands, indeed.

Robert B. Howey was called by the Supreme Grand Master of the Universe on 24 July 1951. He was laid to rest with Masonic Honors in the Masonic section of the Plano Mutual Cemetery.

The second faithful and outstanding secretary of Plano Lodge was Frank W. Beverly. Frank was born in Plano on 19 August 1906 and resided in Plano his entire life.

Frank petitioned the Plano Lodge and received his Entered Apprentice degree on 5 December 1932, was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on 2 February 1933, and raised a Master Mason on 2 March 1933. He served as Worshipful Master in the Masonic year of 1936-37. He was appointed as District Deputy Grand Master in 1938 to serve the 9th Masonic District during the term of Grand Master John T. Rice. Brother Frank was a member of the Scottish Rite and the York Rite bodies. He was made life member of the lodge on 4 July 1968 and received the Golden Trowel Award from Plano Lodge in 1991. Brother Frank was elected secretary of Plano Lodge in 1948 and served as its Secretary for 39 years, from 1948 to 1987, and was bestowed the title of Secretary Emeritus of Plano Lodge after he retired from that position.

Brother Frank W. Beverly was called by the Supreme Grand Master of the Universe on 17 July 1992 after serving his family, his church, his community, his country, and his lodge as a good and faithful servant. Plano Lodge will probably never have a more dedicated, faithful, and caring individual to serve it in any capacity as our dear, Brother Frank. Everyone loved him because he cared so much for the prosperity of the lodge and its membership. He has been sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

Past Masters

Plano Lodge No 768 has had ninety-one (91) Worshipful Masters to serve that office. Five have served twice, W. A. Vines served three times, and Joseph H. Gulledge served four times. Twelve Past Masters have been appointed as District Deputy Grand Masters for Masonic District No. 9. Masonic District No. 9 was divided into Districts 9A and 9B in 1990. Buford C. (Cliff) Martin, Jr. was Plano Lodge’s first member appointed DDGM of Masonic District 9B in 1994.

Plano has had masonry for over 130 years. Plano Lodge No. 768 is now celebrating its 100 years of success. In the past few years we have actually grown in number and remain strong while other lodges in Texas have been losing membership. I look forward to the next few years in the history of Plano Lodge No. 768.