Merrill Lodge was formed by members of Mount Olivet Lodge No. 300 and was opened on 6th March, 1876. A hall was rented for the first year at a cost of $32.00 and dues were set at $0.25 per meeting. During the early years there was no summer recess, and several emergent meetings were held on Saturday evenings. Lodge instruction was held every Thursday evening except when regular meetings were scheduled. It is believed that the lodge was named after Bro. Dudley Merrill, an Inn keeper in the town of London. In a publication called “Rossiter’s Pioneers of London Township”, it is noted that Dudley Merrill, an American who once worked for Colonel Burwell, was appointed Roadmaster in 1820, and by 1831 was the Commissioner of Roads. Dudley Merrill joined Mount Moriah Lodge in 1820, at the age of 60, and his name appears often throughout the short history of the Lodge. Merrill Lodge has a proud record of looking after the good and welfare of its members and their kin. Its benevolent activities are broad, and include such projects as Parcels for Britain, the Manitoba Relief fund, the Crippled Children’s Society, the Cancer Society, and many others. Merrill is a strong supporter of a Grand Lodge project known as H.E.L.P., “Hearing For Every Living Person”. The final report showed that Merrill No. 344 had exceeded its quota by 500% and that 77% of the membership had contributed. More recently, Merrill was the first the first group of any kind to initiate the “Adopt – a- Highway”, programme in the entire county of Middlesex. Its mandate is to preserve the environment of the road extending from the Lodge Building in Nilestown to the village of Dorchester. Merrill Lodge has always attached notable attention to the social side of its existence. In 1877, the second year of its existence, the Lodge organised a concert that attracted a large attendance from the London area, and produced a net profit of $121.00. Oyster Dinners, often held in conjunction with a concert, have been a favourite method of entertainment from the earliest days. To some extent, they still exist. The Lodge’s records are full of reports of Entertainments, At Homes, Family Nights, and Ladies Nights. The Lodge is also noted for its participation in various sporting events sponsored by the London Districts. Many trophies attesting to excellence in curling bonspiels, as well as golfing and baseball tournaments, adorn the Lodge’s trophy case.