Brief History of Tuality Lodge #6 A.F. & A.M., Hillsboro, Oregon
The record of the formation of Tuality Ldoge is found in the Grand Lodge proceedings of 1853, which reads as follows:
“June 14, 1853, a petition was received from a competent number of brother Master Masons, duly recommended by Willamette Lodge No. 2 praying for a charter empowering them to work as a lodge of A.F. & A.M., at Hillsboro, in the County of Washington. On motion it was ordered that a charter be granted to the brethren under the name of Tuality Lodge No. 6, and that Brother Ralph Wilcox be appointed W.M., Brother W.S. Caldwell, S.W., Brother C.G. Merrill, J.W.”
From this it will be noted that Tuality Lodge was not created by a dispensation, but is one of the very few lodges that received a charter direct from the Grand Lodge. The original charter is dated June 15, 1853, and is still in the possession of the Lodge. It is not used in the regular work of the lodge, as a copy has been substituted therefore.
The Grand Lodge officers signing the charter were:
- Jennings, Grand Master
- John Elliott, Deputy Grand Master
- John C. Ainsworth, Grand Senior Warden
- A.M. Belt, Grand Junior Warden
The Grand Lodge was then known as the Grand Lodge of the Territory of Oregon.
The name “Tuality” was taken from one of the four original counties which made up the Oregon territorial government, which was organized at Champoeg in 1843. Tuality County comprised all of the territory north of the Yamhill River west of the Willamette River to the Pacific Ocean and north as far as there was any claim at that time by the United States Government.
At that time the valley through which the Tualatin River flows was known as Tuality Plains. The names “Tualatin” and “Tuality” are Indian names, “Tualatin,” the name of the river, meaning, slow or sluggish, and “Tuality,” the name of the plains, meaning quiet and or peaceful.
The name of the county was changed to Washington by the territorial government on September 3, 1849, and the name “Tuality” is not preserved except as the name of our Lodge.
The Lodge was constituted on the 20th day of August, 1853, by John Elliott, Grand Master, and the following officers were installed:
- Ralph Wilcox, Worshipful Master
- William S. Caldwell, Senior Warden
- Charles G. Merrill, Junior Warden
- Milton Tuttle, Secretary
- Henry Black, Treasurer
- Fred DeWitt
- Iseral Mitchell
Bylaws were adopted by the Lodge on August 25, 1853. They provided that meetings be held on the first Saturday after the full moon at 7:30 PM from the fourth to the tenth full moon, and at 6:30 PM at the remaining intervals of the year. The stated meetings in the third, sixth, ninth and twelfth moons were quarterly meetings. At each quarterly meeting each member was to pay into the hands of the secretary the sum of $2.00 assessments.
Meetings were held at the time of the full moon so that the members could have the light of the moon by which to travel. Many members had to travel long distances over bad roads and ford the rivers to get to the Lodge.
Richard E. Wiley was the first to petition Tuality Lodge for membership. His petition was received on October 22, 1953, and he was raised on December 17, 1853.
By special dispensation David H. Belknap was raised the same evening, and was the second member to be received by Tuality Lodge.
On January 12, 1854, the degree of Past Master was conferred upon William S. Caldwell, after which he was installed as Worshipful Master.
In 1854 the festival of St. John the Evangelist was observed by a meeting with opened at 8:30 AM and continued all day, closing with a public installation in the evening.
Tuality Lodge was granted a charter as a corporation by the territorial legislature in January, 1856. This charter was accepted by the Lodge on June 4, 1856, and a certificate filed with the Clerk of the United States District Court on August 16, 1856.
On December 27, 1855, the Worshipful Master and Secretary were authorized to procure suitable jewels for the officers, and $50.00 was appropriated for that purpose.
On January 17, 1894, Hillsboro had a fire which destroyed the lodge hall of Montezuma Lodge No. 50, I.O.O.F. Thereupon Tuality Lodge extended Montezuma Lodge the use of its lodge room during the time their new hall was under construction. In appreciation of the courtesies shown them by Tuality Lodge, Montezuma Lodge presented Tuality Lodge with a silver jewel to be worn by the Worshipful Master. This jewel is still in use by the lodge today. The presentation was made on March 24, 1894, by D. M.C. Gault, Chairman of the committee from Montezuma Lodge which visited Tuality Lodge for the purpose of making the presentation.
On October 15, 1859, a petition was received from Brother Tuttle and seven other Master Masons for a lodge at Forest Grove, Oregon. Upon motion it was unanimously voted that the prayer of the petition be granted. This new lodge was granted its charter by the Grand Lodge on September 18, 1860, and was known as Holbrook Lodge No. 30.
Cordial relations have always existed between Holbrook and Tuality Lodges. In December 1865, a joint installation was held by Holbrook and Tuality Lodges at Forest Grove. The following year a joint public installation was held by the two lodges at the Christian Church in Hillsboro. This meeting was followed by a dinner at the hotel with ladies present. After dinner the men adjourned to the lodge hall where a meeting was held at 6:00 PM. While finding no further record of join installations, there have been many visits between Holbrook and Tuality Lodges, and the same cordial relationship has continued to exist.
The first Masonic funeral conducted by Tuality Lodge was on October 29, 1865, for Simpon O’Brien. Brother O’Brien had been ill for several weeks, and during his last days two members of the Lodge were detailed each day to look after him.
A reading of the minutes of Tuality Lodge, which are intact from the time of its organization until the present time, will show the manner of lighting used in the community, and how it changed through the years. During the early days of the Lodge there were bills for candles which were used for lighting purposes. The system of lighting seems to have changed in April 1871, for in the minutes of April 9th we find that the Worshipful Master was authorized to purchase five side lamps and three spirit lamps. After an electric plant was established in Hillsboro in the early 1890s the Lodge was lighted with electricity.
The early meetings of Tuality Lodge were held in a hall owned by Henry Wehring at a cost of $150.00 per annum. The minutes show that on August 17, 1865, Brother Wehring was ordered to clean up the hall and buy spittoons.
On May 19, 1860, a resolution was passed authorizing the Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Wardens to take such steps as might be necessary to secure the erection of a hall according to the plans and specifications submitted at that meeting. At the time of the regular meeting in September 1860, the following notation was made in the minutes: “At the time of the regular communication for Tuality Lodge No. 6, A.F. & A.M., a number of brethren met, but in consequence of the insecurity of the room in which they have heretofore assembled they separated without opening lodge.”
On November 15, 1860, the Lodge met in its new hall. At the meeting in December 1860, the trustees were authorized to borrow money to meet claims at no more than twenty percent interest.
In 1892 the Lodge erected its second hall, which became part of Hillsboro City Hall and is now used by the Hillsboro Police Department. This building was erected by a building association which sold stock among its members. Later the Lodge purchased all the stock and became sole owner of the building. The cornerstone for this hall was laid by the Grand Lodge on September 10, 1891, and the hall was formally dedicated on December 27, 1892.
Tuality’s third hall and the one which is being used at the present time was erected in 1922, and was occupied for the first time in April 1923. Elmer L. Johnson was Master of the Lodge at the time the contract was entered into for the construction of this building. He gave much of his time to supervising the work, and as a result a very substantial building was obtained. The Lodge is greatly indebted to Brother Johnson for his splendid efforts in the erection of this structure. The records show that on June 15, 1883, the thirtieth anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated with a picnic at the old Davis place, and a brass band was employed for that occasion. On December 26, 1903, William D. Hare, Past Grand Master, delivered an address in commemoration of the semi-centennial of the founding of the Lodge. In more recent years it has been the custom to celebrate each anniversary with a homecoming meeting, at which all Past Masters are recognized. The Sesquicentennial is being celebrated with a public open house and a homecoming dinner with guest speakers from Research Lodge.
Tuality Lodge has had many members who have been active in the affairs of the Grand Lodge, and also many members who have been active in the political and civic affairs of this state and community. Two of the charter members were prominent in Grand Lodge affairs for a number of years.
Ralph Wilcox, the first Master of Tuality Lodge, who was a physician and teacher, was Treasurer of the Grand Lodge for several years. He also served in the Legislature, was Registrar in the Oregon City Land Office, and served as County Judge of Washington County.
William S. Caldwell, who was the first Senior Warden and the second Master of Tuality Lodge, had served as Secretary of the Convention which preceded the organization of the Grand Lodge in 1851. He was chairman of many Grand Lodge committees such as: by-laws of lodges, credentials, reports of lodges, finance, revision of constitution, rules and regulations, and was elected Grand Secretary for two terms.
William D. Hare and Benjamin Scofield joined the Lodge on May 2, 1863. Both were prominent in the early affairs of Washington County, and Brother Hare was elected Master of the Grand Lodge in 1871.
Peter Boscow affiliated with Tuality Lodge on April 30, 1867. He was Clerk of the local school district for many years, and died on January 7, 1923. He had a record of having missed only one St. John’s meeting from the time he affiliated with the Lodge until the time of his last illness.
Louis A. Rood became a member in 1869. He served Washington County as County Judge, and was Master of Tuality Lodge for seven years.
Thomas H. Tongue joined the Lodge in 1870. He served his county in the State Senate, and was the Representative of the First Congressional District of Oregon at the time of his death in 1903. He was a most distinguished lawyer, and was Master of the Lodge in 1879 and 1887.
Riley Cave, G.N. Hale and Rufus Wagner, well-known pioneers of this community, became members of the Lodge in 1873.
IN 1878 James A. Imbrie and Rudolph Crandall became members of the Lodge. Brother Imbrie served as County Clerk of Washington County, and Brother Crandall as County Judge. It was during the time that Brother Crandall was County Judge in the 1870’s, that the redwood trees which adorn the courtyard were planted.
Two of the pioneer doctors, S.T. Linklater and F.A. Bailey, were members of the Lodge. Both were splendid physicians, and rendered great service to the people of this community. Dr. Bailey served as Master of the Lodge on four different occasions.
Dr. W.D. Wood was also a member of the Lodge, and served as its Master in 1901 and 1902, and as Secretary from 1902 to 1920.
Among the prominent lawyers who have been members of the Lodge are: W.N. Barrett, E.B. Tongue, G. Russell Morgan, who were all District Attorneys of Washington County. Other lawyers were: Thomas H. Tongue, Jr., William G. Hare and E.J. McAlear.
Another member that brought honor and distinction to the Lodge was Paul L. Patterson who served the State of Oregon in the State Senate from 1845 to 1952 when he was elected Governor and served until 1956 with outstanding ability.
Calvin Jack joined the Lodge in 1905, was Master in 1909 and 1910, and served as Treasurer from 1917 to 1947, a period of thirty years.
James Cruickshank, who was a thrifty Scotchman, joined the Lodge in 1918, and to show his appreciation of Masonry in his will made the Lodge his residuary legatee. As a result the Lodge received a substantial legacy.
Donald H. Magargel, who became a member in 1928, and his wife Clara left an endowment for the Lodge which has allowed the Lodge to focus more on community service rather than constant fundraisers.
In May 1980 Mt. Saint Helens erupted in Washington which caused dark skies and left so much ash on the Lodge roof that the members who cleaned it had a full pickup of ash. A Portland newspaper reported that the eruption blanketed Portland in an eerie post-apocalyptic layer of gritty gray ash that settled on trees and puffed up from the ground with every step.
In 1984 James Jackson, a current member, donated a stone from King Solomon’s quarry after a trip to Jerusalem and the Holy Land.
In the mid 1990’s the lodge had an elevator installed. Harley and Hazel Taylor contributed the funds to cover the cost of the elevator. Harley was a member since 1928.
Over the years there have been many Tuality Lodge Masons who have contributed in various ways to assist people in the community and their Lodge, making Hillsboro and Oregon a better place. The spirit of Masonic charity and community service reverberates throughout the pages of our history. We should all endeavor to carry the torch and continue the work of our predecessors. The Lodge currently has a membership of ninety-eight.