Mount Moriah Lodge

The following is an anecdotal sketch presented at the unveiling of a memorial plaque at Siddal House, 1184 Hamilton Road, London, Ontario, on 10th June 1995 by the Historic Sites Committee of the London Public Library Board. It was prepared and presented by Sydney H. Grant, Historian of St. John’s Lodge No. 20 G.R.C. Mount Moriah Lodge met here between 1820 and 1829. The Lodge began operation in 1820 Under Dispensation granted by the authority of the Kingston Convention. This dispensation was continued until 1822 by the issuing of a warrant by the second Provincial Grand Lodge under Simon McGillivray. It was assigned the numbers 773 E.R., and 20 P.R. The first meeting was held at the home of Dudley Merrill; (the Lodge in Dorchester is named after Dudley Merrill). The members were listed as: Charles Duncome, W. M., William Putnam, S. W. , Gardener Myrick, J. W., Henry Schenick, Joseph House, Joshua Putnam and Bartholomew Swat. About 1829, the Lodge moved to Brother Joseph Flannagan’s log Tavern on the first Concession, Westminster Township, Commissioners Road, about three miles from London. This tavern was a building designed as a two story structure with no access to the lodge Hall above from the tavern below. The Lodge was entered by means of a ladder on the outside of the building. From time to time, a Ball was held in the Lodge Hall. One can only imagine the ladies in their crinolines climbing the ladder assisted by their escorts. However, knowing the spirit of the times, one can feel assured they entered the Hall with dignity and grace. This building was demolished by William McKerlie in 1858. In 1830 the Lodge moved to the Swartz Tavern on Commissioners Road about three miles from London in Westminster Township. It was used for some time as the Guthrie’s Home. The meetings then moved to Brother Hartwell’s Tavern. This was a two story building situated on the south side of York Street, next to the Westminster Bridge. Some time later the Lodge moved the Mansion house Hotel on Dundas Street, Just east of Ridout. On 14th June 1835 the members of the Lodge marched in procession to St Paul’s Church to hear a “Practical Masonic Discourse” from the rector, the Reverend Benjamin Cronyn. On 26th November 1835 there was a meeting held in Oxford, (Ingersoll), for the purpose of considering the establishment of a new Provincial Grand Lodge. When one considers the conditions of the time it is not too difficult to understand the problems of calling the Lodges together in convention. Some delegates might have to travel over 500 miles, and without the railroad, it meant using a horse drawn stage or ship. The delegates from Mount Moriah lodge were Joshua Putnam, Gardner Myrick. The names Putnam and Niles are prominent in this part of the country. The Lodge was put under great stress by the MacKenzie uprising in 1837. Many members were very active in politics and were on both sides in the conflict. After the settlement of that unfortunate incident, attempts to reunite proved very difficult. Then there was a lapse of nine years in the minutes of the Lodge until 29th August 1845, when the secretary was instructed to advise Grand Lodge that the Lodge had resumed work. Mount Moriah Lodge had quite a connection with Siddal’s House. John Siddal was W. M. in 1829. The last Master was James Daniell in 1845. After their difficulties , many members joined other Lodges. In the case of James Daniell, he joined St. John’s Lodge No. 209 I. R. and served as W. M. in 1851, 1853 and 1854. St John’s Lodge 209 I. R. became St. John’s Lodge No. 14 when the Grand Lodge of Canada was formed in 1855. So there it is, a brief look at Mount Moriah Lodge, the first Lodge in London. Its original Warrant was signed by the Duke of Sussex, grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England in 1822. The Regular meetings were held on Tuesday prior to the full moon. The meeting times were 3:00 p.m. in the summer and 6:00 p.m. in the winter.