© Liberty Lodge #31 F & A M

Liberty Lodge #31

Ancient Free and Accepted Masons


10 E. Franklin St. Liberty, MO  64068 (816) 781-3775

The minutes of August 6, 1870 show that in a contract dated September 10, 1869, recorded in Book 32, Page 143, Clay County records, the building committee for the lodge made arrangements with Mr. R. H. Miller for the erection of a building at the northeast corner of Main and Franklin Streets, the lodge to own the second floor and an easement thereto as well as joint use of 20 feet of the north end of the lot. The lodge sold all its other real estate and built at this site what was to be its home for the next l6 years. The cost of this enterprise was $2,984.67, a man in sympathy with the confederacy and yet we find frequently in the minutes names of brethren from Iowa, Illinois and other northern states. More specifically, on July 14,1863, it was voted to invite Master Masons who were in the Federal Regiment stationed in Liberty to join the

Lodge in attending a picnic to be held in Barry, Missouri.

There is a tradition in the lodge that when Federal soldiers were about to take over William Jewell college for barracks the valuables of the college were brought to the lodge room for safe keeping' remaining there till the close of the war, when they were returned to the college, with the exception of two pictures of Henry clay and Andrew Jackson. These pictures continued to hang on the wall of the lodge room until 1929 at which time they were sent back to the college. A very lovely tradition and probably true as far as the valuables are concerned, but the truth about the pictures is that they were presented to the lodge December 20,1869,by Bro. Jesse E. Bryant as shown by the minutes of that date. Many of our members remember those portraits and how in 1929 they were sent to the college where they now hang in the Museum in Marston Hall.

April 21, 1865, there is an account of the burial of Bro. w. T. Reynolds who was killed by an assassin' This brother must have been highly esteemed in the community for attending the services were Mayor, Councilmen' and citizens of Liberty, the odd Fellows Lodge, Capt. Jno. w. Younger and his company of Missouri National Guard and many brethren from adjacent Lodges.

One year later the lodge officiated at the re-interment of the remains of Bro. William Thompson who died in Sidney, Iowa and was buried there. This was also an occasion in which the whole community took part. Bro. Thompson was a noted orator and educator, being at one time President of William Jewell College. He was worshipful Master of the lodge in 1864. In l88l a monument to him was erected in the New cemetery and the lodge was asked to select suitable emblems and inscription. Miss Mollie Thompson of Liberty is the only survivor of this noted family.

For several years there had been a growing dissatisfaction with the lodge room, and in l865. Hardly had the lodge settled in this new hall until the Tyler was instructed to put fastening on the trap-door. The minutes do not say whether the trap-door was some essential part of the paraphernalia of initiation or just an ordinary exit through the ceiling on to the roof.

If we did not know from history that the period of 1870-1880 was marked by grasshopper infestations and financial panics, we could infer from the lodge records that times were hard. The fees for the degrees were fixed at $ 15- l0-5, and there were many trials for non-payment of dues. Though times were hard and money was scarce, most of the delinquents managed to pay up, and dues were remitted for those who claimed inability to pay.

FROM 1870 TO 1880


1880 - 1890