© 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 decade of the 1890s was characterized by several notable events.

The year 1890 was scarcely a month old when the community was shocked by the killing of a man named Lewton by Jas. L. Sheetz who had been for several years an active member of the lodge. The fatal shooting occurred when Lewton went to Sheetz's law office and accused him of improper relations with Lewton's wife. As soon as the facts became known the Junior Warden preferred charges of un-masonic conduct against the erring brother. After a year's delay Shettz(sic) was brought to trial in the lodge and convicted of adultery and murder. Sheetz took an appeal to the Grand Lodge and the verdict was reversed and the case sent back for a new trial. At the second trial he was found guilty and expelled. Another appeal was taken and this time the Grand Lodge affirmed the verdict.

In May, 1890, the lodge laid the cornerstone of the Liberty Female College Building on the site of the present High School building. This institution was operated successfully until the building burned in 1913.

In 1895 the lodge was again saddened by the unfortunate misconduct of one of its members. Bro Thos. F. Messick, who had long borne a good name in the community, was arrested for the misuse of funds while serving as a member of the Liberty School Board. After he was convicted in the Circuit Court he was brought to trial in the lodge and expelled. This brother paid his debt to society and after liberation from prison he moved to St. Louis where he lived for many years a useful and respected life.

September 29,1895, at the request of Bro. Chas. L. Dougherty, the lodge entertained a number of brethren from Siloan Lodge No. 225 of Leavenworth, Kansas who exemplified the work of the 3rd degree as it is done in the grand jurisdiction of Kansas.

March 25, 1897, came news of the death of Bro. Jas. R. Eaton. Bro. Eaton was the head of the Science Department of William Jewell College and, while not a member of Liberty Lodge, he had been a visitor to the meetings of the lodge since he came to the college in 1871. Not being affiliated here no page of our records is set apart to his memory, but the following incident connected with his death is here set down to honor the memory of a great and good man and to show the universality of Masonry.

Bro. Eaton was on a visit to the Holy Land when he became ill and died in Cairo, Egypt, March 21, 1897, and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery there. Certain legal matters connected with his death and burial in a foreign land were entrusted to our Brother F H. Trimble, and in the course of the correspondence there was a letter from the Presbyterian minister who conducted the funeral service. He wrote that a strange thing happened at the cemetery, a thing he did not understand but maybe Bro. Trimble could explain. As the casket was being lowered into the grave two sheiks of the desert who had been standing near, walked y the grave and dropped in pieces of evergreen, then made mysterious signs with their hands and spoke some words in the Arabic language. Of course a Mason would have known these men were giving the Grand Masonic Honors for the dead. One wonders how these desert chieftains knew that Bro. Eaton was a Mason. The most plausible answer is that they had met him when he visited a Masonic Lodge in Cairo.

January 25, 1897, we find this item, "a motion was made to buy a new stove." This same motion came up quite often in the following years. Whenever interest lagged and the brethren had nothing better to do someone could be depended on to make this motion and then the war was on. The old stove had its enemies, but its friends were loyal and managed to put off its replacement for 27 years.

November 8, 1897, Bro. F. H. Trimble gave the lodge "a new and up to date hoodwink" which Bro. F. V. Loos received on behalf of the lodge in a speech that only Bro. Loos could make.

Then to round out the decade, in November 1899, came a communication from Sabetha Lodge No. 112, Sabetha, Kansas, inquiring about the whipping by a mob of one J. B. Robinson, a member of that lodge. The Worshipful Master appointed Bros. O. F. Dougherty, Geo. E. Tutt and F. H. Trimble a committee to investigate and report The committee reported its investigations showed that Robinson was proprietor of the Arthur House and that reports of his misconduct were true and the actual state of things was worse than was rumored, and in support of its findings the committee offered evidence. The secretary was instructed to send a copy of the report to the Sabetha Lodge. Nothing more was heard of the incident.

FROM 1890 TO 1900


1900 - 1910