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Eureka Lodge: Members change; mission remains
Courier Staff Report
Monday, April 14, 2014 11:00 AM
Several leaders from Masonic lodges across the state were present for the recent installation of leadership at the Eureka Lodge 30 in Madison. Bottom row, left to right: R. W. Grand Senior Warden Gary Williams; Most Worshipful Grand Master Otis Dodson; Worshipful Master of Eureka Lodge 30 Ray Livers; R. W. Deputy Grand Master Clyde Bailey. Top row, left to right: Junior Deacon of Eureka Lodge 30 Yarnelle O’Banion; Seceretary of Eureka Lodge 30 Michael C. Cosby; Grand lodge Credential Committee Member Stanley Hill Sr.; Treasurer of Eureka Lodge 30 Daniel Payne Jr.; Past Master of Eureka Lodge 30 Nathan Davis; Junior Warden of Eureka Lodge 30 Leon Perry Sr.; Chairman of Grand Lodge Grievance and Appeals Ted A. Burch. (Submitted photo)
The Eureka Masonic Lodge No. 30 has been a fixture in Madison since the late 19th century, and while some aspects of the organization have changed, what it offers its members hasn't.
The lodge was historically known as King Solomon's Lodge No. 2 of the Prince Hall Masons, and was the third black Masonic Lodge to organize in Indiana.
Ray Livers, worshipful master of the lodge, said at the time churches and lodges were two of only a few places black people were openly welcomed.
"There were only a few things blacks could attend," Livers sad.
In recent years, Masonic membership has dropped across the country, and it's become more difficult to attract new members.
Jason Perry is the Eureka Lodge's youngest member. The 37-year-old said he joined the lodge for the same reason as his predecessors.
"The brotherhood," Perry said. He said he also enjoys the tradition of the lodge.
On April 26, a Unity Day celebration will be held in Indianapolis, celebrating the Grand Lodge of Indiana and the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Indiana. Several members from the Eureka Lodge will attend.
Black Masons have been a part of Madison’s history since early 1852 and the lodge was known as King Solomon No. 8. it was first charted out of Ohio. When Indiana received its charter to help start Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Indiana on September 18, 1887, King Solomon No. 8 in Madison then became King Solomon No. 3. Old lodge minute of both lodges stated the lodge was an active and working lodge till 1896. In 1896 the lodge was suspended due to debt to the Grand Lodge. The member of King Solomon No. 3 still had meetings and worked to pay off the debt. After all debts were paid to the Grand Lodge the lodge was then chartered as Eureka No.30 in 1898 because Prince Hall Grand lodge gave the name King Solomon to another lodge, and the number three had been given to a lodge in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Eureka Lodge #30 historically known as King Solomon’s Lodge #2 of the Prince Hall Masons, was the second black Masonic Lodge to organize in Indiana.
During the late eighteenth century, the Eureka Lodge met at Deahler’s Hall, a building on the south side of Main St. between Broadway and Poplar. During the 1950’s the Eureka Lodge has met at Lodge Brothers Furniture Warehouse located on Poplar Street which became part of Kings Daughters Hospital. In the early 1960’s Eureka Lodge purchased a building located at 703 West Street. The building at 703 West Street, typical of lodge halls which combine street level commercial space with an upper-story meeting room, bears an association with Madison’s African-American fraternal orders that pre-dates its use by the Masons. Prior to the Eureka Lodge, Madison’s black chapter of Independent Order of Odd Fellows (Valley City-Lodge I.O.O.F.) occupied the building as did the Women’s counterpart to the Odd Fellows, the Household of Ruth. The building on West Street was sold due to needing extensive repair that the Lodge could not afford.
Eureka Lodge has been working for 116 years. Thanks to the help of our Brothers of Union Lodge No. 2 of Indiana Grand Lodge for letting us use there lodge where we continue to meet each month.
Black Masons have been active and working in Madison for 162 years. Eureka Lodge has had many members with fifty years continuous service. Robert Smith is the oldest member still alive in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been a member for 68 years, Sam Phillips now living in Columbus, Indiana has 55 years. We have deceased members who had over fifty years’ of continuous service, Frank Inskeep, Herbert Inskeep, Carter Smith, James Watson and William T. Cosby
Active and still working in the lodge today is our Worshipful Master Ray Livers with 41 years of service. Senior Steward Paul Smith has 44 years of service. Treasurer Daniel Payne JR an elected Grand Lodge Trustee has 40 years of service, Samuel Browning JR 44 years of service and Secretary Michael C. Cosby who is also Chairman of Prince Hall Grand Lodge Credential and voting committee, has 47 years of service.
We would like to thank Past Grand Master James M. Stanley Prince hall Grand Lodge historian for his help in research of Eureka No. 30 and King Solomon No. 8 and Solomon No. 3.
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Michael C. cosby
4/14/2014 6:41:00 PM
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