Norfolk Confederate Monument Logo
 Norfolk Confederate Monument 1906

1899 Plans For Laying The Corner Stone.


Ceremony by Oldest Masonic Lodge in the Country.

Those Who Will Take Part in the Exercises - The Record of St. Johns’ Lodge for One Hundred and Fifty-eight Years.

The corner-stone of the Confederate monument will be laid by the oldest lodges In this country. Norfolk Lodge No. 1 was character by the Grand Lodge of Scotland June 1st, 1741, and chartered by the Grand Lodge of Virginia October 29th, 1790.

The exercises will take place to-day at 1 o'clock p. m. and Grice Commandery No. 16 will act us an escort. Norfolk Lodge No. 1, Pickett-Buchanan Camp will act as an escort for the Masonic organizations. Major A. Myers will be chief marshal of Blue Lodges.


The officers of Norfolk Lodge are: F. C. Chisnell, worshipful master; W. S. Morris, Jr., senior warden; A. T. Hofheimer, Junior warden; Isaac Moritz, treasurer; George H. Jenkins, secretary; Frank Jacobs, senior deacon; C. A. Fisher, Junior deacon: Walter Edmonds, chaplain; R. W. Pettit, tiler.

The following will lay the stone at the invitation of the officers of No. 1 Lodge: R. F. Cleverly, D. D. G. M., acting master; F. S. Chisnell, acting D. D. G. M.; W. W. Vicar, Ruth, 89, acting senior warden; L. J. Oliver, Corinthan 266, acting junior warden; John Reid, Owens No. 164, acting senior deacon; Lee R. Guy, Atlantic 2, acting junior deacon; Rev. W. J. Young, chaplain; George B. Jenkins, secretary; Isaac Moritz, treasurer.


The procession will leave the Masonic Temple at 12:30 p. m. in the following order: Bugle corps from navy-yard, Pickett-Buchanan Camp, C. V., In command of Mr. George M. Todd; Grice Commandery No. 16, K. T., commanded by P. G. C. Sir John L. Roper, as escorts; the several Blue Lodges of the city and vicinity, under Major A. Myers, marshal, and will proceed down Freemason street, to Granby, to Main, to monument site, on commercial Place, where the ceremonies will be conducted by the representatives of lodges named above. The musical portion of exercises will be under the direction of Mr. A. F. Koerner, of Atlantic Lodge No. 2.


In the list of regular lodges under the Grand Lodge of Scotland, printed In Edinburg In 1765, is found St. John's Lodge. No. 117, chartered for Norfolk, in Virginia, June 1st, 1741. The early history of Masonry in Virginia is involved in obscurity from the paucity of records and the destruction of important documents during the Colonial wars; but it is established beyond all doubt that St. John's Lodge was the first to receive its charter. Other lodges were subsequently organized at different periods, under charters derived from the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland; and, accordingly, at the beginning of the revolution in 1776, we find certainly not less than eight legal working lodges. After the declaration of war by the Colonies it became necessary for their mutual benefit and protection to organize a Grand Lodge for Virginia, and, accordingly, after due notice. The representatives of five of the eight lodges met in Williamsburg, May 6th, 1777.


Matthew Phripp, Esq., a bright Mason and devoted patriot, was the deputy from Norfolk, and was complimented in being elected president of the convention. Owing to the unsettled condition of the country, consequent upon a bloody and devastating war, the Grand Lodge was not formally instituted until the 13th October, 1778, at which time John Blair, master of the Williamsburg Lodge, was duly installed in that town grand master of Virginia.


For reasons now unknown an interval of twelve years elapsed before the committee appointed to ascertain the ages and settle and regulate the rank of the respective lodges, reported, when the palm was awarded to Norfolk. Accordingly St. John's Lodge, No. 117, surrendered its charter to the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and received in its place one from the Grand Lodge of Virginia, under the date and title of Norfolk Lodge, No. 1, October 20th, 1790. signed by Thomas Matthews, grand master; J. R. Read, deputy grand master; B. Ward, grand secretary.


This ancient and honored charter is still in her possession, a precious heirloom, mildewed and dusty, but fragrant with the memories of a heroic past. Although more than a century and a quarter have passed over her head, her eye has not lost its fire nor her arm its strength. Born during a stormy period, and sprung from a vigorous, earnest and virtuous Scotch stock, she has witnessed the rise and fall of empires abroad, and survived the shock of three great wars at home.


Lafayette has been the guest of the lodge and in 1824 was made an honorary member, and signed the register. Its seal and diplomas are respected in foreign lands, Without disturbing its harmony or impairing its strength, it established in 1854, a second flourishing lodge, which, in turn, has furnished the materials for a third. For generations its officers have been selected with reference to virtue, Intelligence and fitness, and many of them have attained distinction in the highest walks of life. Its roll of past masters embraces some of the brightest Masons In the State. For more than forty years it had but one tiler, and he died in office. In the century of its existence its charities have amounted to many thousands of dollars.


It has buried the dead, sheltered and clothed the widow, fed and schooled the orphan, and aided with sympathy and relief multitudes of worthy and distressed strangers.
Were the records of Norfolk Lodge No. 1 published they would add a splendid chapter to the history of Free Masonry, and afford an unanswerable argument and overwhelming rebuke to the sneers and opposition of the enemies and persecution of our ancient institution.


Pickett-Buchanan Camp, Confederate Veterans, will meet in its hall at noon to-day to participate in laying the corner-stone of their monument to the Confederate dead, and invite all Confederate veterans and sons of veterans to unite with them.


The Daughters of the Confederacy met yesterday and arranged for their part in the ceremonies incident to the laying of the corner-stone. They will occupy a position on the stand and will place a roster of the chapter in the box that goes in the corner-stone, also a roster of the original chapter organized in 1884.

Historic Documents related to the monument

1895 Monument of Peace, 1895 Kirmess, 1897 Raising Money, Report of the Committee on Monument, Board of Trustees, Monument Approval, Communication from City Treasurer, Signing Monument Contract, 1899 Ground Braking, 1899 Plans For Laying The Corner Stone, 1899 Laying The Corner Stone, 1902 History of the Monument, 1907 Standard Bearer, 1907 Memorial Day

Source of Information

Virginian-Pilot, Volume 2, number 123, 22 February 1899.