Union Lodge # 75, Unionville, Union District

The warrant of this lodge was granted December 16, 1850, but, from not having been officially applied for, it was not until November 1, 1853 that it was issued to

D. Gouldelock, WM, John L. Young, SW, and W.T. Thompson, JW.  The lodge had, however been at work since January 17, 1851.  Brother B.F. Arthur, late Master of Union 75, has kindly supplied me with the following information: “A lodge was organized in this town in 1818.  I have, in the achieves of my lodge. The Charter of this lodge dated December 26, 1818, in which Zachariah Reid is WM, Richard Humphries, SW, and A.W. Thompson, JW.  This lodge was abandoned about 1829. The minutes are in the possession of Lodge # 75, and the last records made on October 5, 1829.  No authentic information can be obtained as to the cause of its extinction.  There is a tradition, however that political causes produced its dissolution.  There is also a tradition that a lodge was also in existence in this District not far from Pickneyville, many years ago, but no reliable information can be obtained concerning it.”

To these items I can only add a few additional facts.  There was, in 1817, an Ancient York Lodge at Unionville, which was then known as “No. 75”. I have not discovered the exact date of its institution, but it must have been after 1807, as its name is not found in the registry of that year.  In 1817, it acceded to the Union of Grand Lodges which took place, and, in 1818, took out a new warrant as “No 43”, which is the warrant mentioned by Brother Arthur.  It paid its annual dues, regularly, up to 1830, after which year it made no returns, although it continued to be represented in the Grand Lodge by proxy until the end of 1833.  The lodge was suspended in 1834, but I suppose that it never really worked after 1830 or 1831.  In 1807 there was a Lodge of Ancient York Masons situated on Hughes Creek, Broad River, Union District, which was designated as No. 18.  It was in existence in 1817, and at the union in that year its number was changed from 18 to 12.  In 1823 it surrendered its warrant and jewels.  As Pickneyville is also on Broad River, it is probable that this was the lodge which is alluded to by Brother Arthur as being, “not far from Pickneyville.”

 This 1818 Charter has been in the possession of Union Lodge # 75 since that time.  Due to the age and condition of this document, and the fact that is may be the oldest known South Carolina Charter in existence, the members feel that it should be preserved and stored in a fireproof, climate controlled environment so that it will be available for viewing by future generations.

On June 16, 2009 at the Regular Communications of Union Lodge # 75 A.F.M. the Membership voted to donate this old Warrant of Constitution to the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of South Carolina.

 Most Worshipful Brother Barry A. Rickman, Grand Master of Masons of South Carolina  was present at this Regular Communications and graciously accepted it to be placed in the achieves of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina.

                     MW Brother Barry A. Rickman Grand Master of Masons of SC, WB Jimmy Kimbrell WM of Union Lodge # 75, RW Brother Roger W. Gregory DDGM 12 District and Secretary Union Lodge # 75. RW Michael Broom, Grand Marshall of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, and WB Dean Tollison, Senior Grand Deacon of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge and Tiler of Union Lodge # 75.

 

  

Brother Gene Y. Tollison is shown wearing the Jewel of the

Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest.

 Brother Tollison received the Priestly Order of the Temple on December 8, 2004 in Cana Tabernacle No. XLIX 

Brother Tollison has the distinction of being the first and only Mason from Union County to receive this prestigious degree. Membership in this order is by invitation and limited to Knights Templar who have served a full term as Commander, and attained the honor and distinction of Past Commander. Invitations can be issued only after unanimous ballots have been taken at a gathering of Knight Templar Priests.

The Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest is an honorary and invitational organization with membership limitations and cannot be applied for. Members are selected and extended invitations based on outstanding Masonic performance.  The order has historic roots in England that trace back to 1786, with references back to 1686, the traditional year of the Revival. There are records of the conferral of this Order in the United States during the 1800’s. The Grand College of America, Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests was formed in the United States in 1931. South Carolina has one Tabernacle with membership limited to 33. For the Tabernacle to consider a new member, death of one of the 33 must occur, and then only one member is allowed from any Masonic District. This means that only one Mason from all of Union and Newberry Counties can belong to this prestigious order.  Only after Brother Tollison’s death will anyone ever be considered from Union County.

 Brother Tollison was called by the Grand Architect of the Universe on January 18, 2012.

 

    

 The New Lodge Hall

 

    

Rededication Ceremonies August 11, 2007.

The Union Masonic Temple located on the Duncan Bypass in Union, SC was built in 1957.  It was built and owned by Union Masonic Lodge # 75, Rutledge Masonic Lodge # 351, and the Union York Rite Bodies who pooled their resources to build the building. The Grand Master of Masons Most Worshipful Thomas H. Pope (deceased), who was an attorney in Newberry held a ceremony in 1958 to dedicate the building to serve the community. Humphries Willard was Worshipful Master.

In the last few years, Rutledge Lodge # 351 along with two other lodges in Union County John A. Fant # 334, and Santuc # 227 merged with Union Lodge # 75. These mergers caused the membership to increase to over 400 members.  Members of the Temple Board, (a five-member board that oversees the building and grounds) had a vision of a modern updated lodge that the members could be proud of and that could be used and serve Union County into the next century. In October 2006, the members of Union Lodge 75 and the Union York Rite Bodies approved major renovations to be made to the lodge hall including hardwood floors, ceramic tile, carpet, special lighting and new furniture including spectator seating, officer chairs and desks. The renovations were completed in early August of this year, and the end result was far beyond what was visioned and expected by everyone.  

On Saturday, August 11, 2007 the lodge was re-dedicated by the Grand Master of Masons of South Carolina, the Most Worshipful Gerald L. Carver who assisted by Grand Lodge Officers opened the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of South Carolina in Union for the purpose of re-dedication. One quote from the Grand Master described the lodge as a “ beautiful edifice”.

There were approximately 135 Masons and their families in attendance including Loyd Thompson who was present at the original dedication in 1958 and is the only surviving participant of the original dedication. 

The present Worshipful Master of Union Lodge # 75 is Robert M. Hines who is a Lt. with the Union Sheriff’s Office. 

Roger W. Gregory , Secretary Union Lodge # 75 A.F.M.

Rededication Ceremonies August 11, 2007.

The Most Worshipful Gerald L. Carver Grand Master of Masons of South Carolina opens Grand Lodge in Union Lodge # 75 A.F.M. Also seen are Right Worshipful Barry A. Rickman-Deputy Grand Master, Robert M. Hines-W.M. Union Lodge 75, Zachary Arthur-S.D. Union Lodge # 75, and M.W. Jack A. Marler-PGM-Grand Treasurer

Roger Gregory, Secretary presents the Plumb, Square and Level to M.W. Grand Master Carver and says the following:

Most Worshipful, having been entrusted with the superintendence and management of the workmen employed in the construction of this edifice, and having, according to the best of my ability, accomplished the task assigned to me, I now return my thanks for the honor of this appointment, and beg leave to surrender up the implements which were committed to my care, when the foundation of this fabric was laid, humbly hoping that the exertions which have been made on this occasion will be crowned with your approbation, and of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge.

 

Rededication Ceremonies August 11, 2007

 

Most Worshipful Brother Gerald L. Carver Grand Master of Masons of South Carolina standing with the building committee. F.Dean Tollison, Jerry A. Willard, Grady L. Lanier, G. Allen Owens, Roger W. Gregory, Absent: Gene Y. Tollison, Chris P. Sanders

Rededication Ceremonies August 11, 2007

 

 

 

  Jerry A. Willard 

Temple Board Member

Brother Willard was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on 12/28/95. He has served twice as worshipful master, once in 2001 for Rutledge Lodge #351 and once for Union Lodge # 75 in 2005. He is also a member of the Union York Rite Bodies having served as High Priest, Illustrious Master and Eminent Commander. Brother Willard is a Charter Member of the Scottish Rite Valley of  Rock Hill 18º, and the Scottish Rite Valley of Columbia 32°, Hejaz Shrine Temple Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Master Hillbilly of Hillbilly Clan #2, Charter Member of Piedmont Council #440 Allied Masonic Degrees (A.M.D.). AMD degrees taken: Saint Lawrence the Martyr. He is also a dual member of Spartan Council #153 A.M.D.

He is a Super Excellent Master in Union Council #5, and holds an Honorary Life Membership in Duncan Lodge #256. He is also a Knight of York in Palmetto York Rite College #70, A Knight Mason in Samuel H. Womack Council #20, Charleston Chapter #28 National Sojourners, Martha Chapter #79 OES.  He is a Super Excellent Master, Thrice Illustrious Master, Annointed High Priest and Knight Crusaders of the Cross, and a Charter Member of Palmetto Forest # 206 Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America and has received the Sidonian Degree.

Brother Willard has been employed with BMWMC since 1995. His current position is Senior Buyer. Brother Willard is also an Instructor for the South Carolina National Guard

 

 

 

James C. Lancaster

Worshipful Brother Lancaster was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on 8/22/63.  WB James serves as Worshipful Master of Union Lodge # 75 for 2011. He is a member of the Union York Rite Bodies where he serves as the Eminent Commander of Union Commandery # 16. He is a Super Excellent Master in Union Council #5 of Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters of S.C.  He is a member of Martha Chapter #79 Order of the Eastern Star  where he serves as Chaplin, and a Charter Member of Palmetto Forest # 206 Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America and has received the Sidonian Degree, and also a member of  Hejaz Shrine Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Brother James is also a member of Piedmont Council #440 Allied Masonic Degrees (A.M.D.).  Brother Lancaster is retired from Milliken and Company after 37 years of service as a manager in textiles. He recently became a member of Grand Convention of Anointed High Priest, Thrice Illustrious Master's Council, Knight Crusaders of the Cross