Mason's Amity Lodge 6

By Barbara F. Dyer | Sep 06, 2018

In this vicinity, we are fortunate to have many nice service organizations, even though there were many more before the television was invented. People needed people for companionship and stimulation, but now it seems easier to sit at home and watch TV. It really does not replace people.

One of the nicest and highly respected groups today is Amity Lodge 6 of Free and Accepted Masons. It is also the oldest group, one who played a very important part in the history of Camden, since they began to form in 1790. It was a long and difficult process to obtain its charter. Camden seemed to be the right place, but there were only about 800 inhabitants here and the nearest Masonic Lodges to Camden were in Castine, Wiscassett and Hallowell. It seems easy to travel in today's times, but back then Camden had only about three miles of passable roads. It was not convenient to sail to Castine, or travel through the foot paths. When the paths were worn enough to later become bridle paths, short journeys could be made on horseback. About 1797, a road was completed from what is now Rockland to Camden Harbor and on to Ducktrap. With great determination, several people, with the support of everyone, attended these places to meet, trying to make Camden a convenient place for a lodge. Their object was to obtain a charter from the Grand Lodge. Many of the names are very familiar in Camden's history, such as John Hathaway (Camden's first lawyer), who made the first record in 1799 “Proceedings of the petitioners for a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, in the town of Camden prior to getting their Charter from the Grand Lodge.”

The first secretary under the charter, Erastas Foote, named the men working for the Camden Charter: Philip Ulmer and his brother Gen. George Ulmer, of Revolutionary War fame (came from Ducktrap); Thursting Whiting; Samuel White; Ephraim Snow; Benjamin Cushing (Camden's first businessman); Joshua Adams (Owl's Head); Simon Barrett and Edward Payson (both from Hope); Bela Jacobs; William Gregory Sr.(Clam Cove); Hezekiah Prince (St. George); Martin Howe (Lincolnville);

Joshua Dillingham; Thomas Shea and John Hathaway. They voted that a petition be forwarded to the Grand Lodge, to procure a charter for the establishment of a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons to be some place that shall be agreed upon, between Wiscassett and Castine and voted that the lodge should be established in Camden, etc. Time was set for the next meeting, Jan. 30, 1799, and in addition to the other members, Robert Snow was present. They wanted a title for the lodge and recommended “Federal Lodge.”

At this next meeting a committee confirmed the recommendation to address the Grand Lodge and adjacent lodges. It was voted the sum of 50 dollars to pay for procuring of the charter and defraying necessary expenses. Then they voted to meet again on the last Wednesday of February.

The same men met again on Feb. 27, 1799, and voted that the master, Philip Ulmer, strike out of the petition such names as he thought proper and the 50 dollars was paid. It was voted to adjourn until the third Monday of April. The pioneers of Masonry in Camden came from the hills, the shores, and the forests of the surrounding country and met in the low valley of the Megunticook, accomplishing the work for which they had assembled, and returned to their homes by the light of the full moon. They were hard times for traveling.

In 1801, as a result of the difficult process, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, of which the state of Maine was then a part, granted the lodge be located in Camden. When the charter appeared it did not contain the title “the Federal Lodge.” In those days the Federal party was one of the great political parties of the country and almost the only one recognized by Camden. We do not know what member suggested it as a name for the lodge, but the Grand Lodge thought it too political, so instead used the name Amity Lodge in the charter.

As Amity Lodge 6 honored the heroes of the Revolutionary War, equally honored were those hardy souls who met to procure the charter for Amity Lodge. But later came the dark days, when the Nine Immortal Masons who saved the lodge in the first days of the 19th century, were reviled and persecuted. To keep the lodge together, I understand they had to sneak in the place and take a chance on their lives. They loved the principal of the Order and by name they were: Lewis Ogier; Abraham Ogier, (son of Lewis); Jonathan Thayer; Micah Hobbs; Henry Hobbs (son of Micah); Josiah Hobbs (also son of Micah Hobbs); James Clark; Jeremiah Cushing (nephew of Benjamin Cushing) and Frederick Conway. They were equally honored. By 1845 this fear of the Masons had disappeared.

Amity Lodge 6 has built a very nice building at Simonton's Corner. One large Mason Meeting Hall room is one half of the building, with an entryway for coats as you enter, and a nice bathroom at the end of the entry way. On the other side of the building is a large room and kitchen. The Masons have suppers there and rent it to Camden Area Senior Citizens, and cook the dinner, served after the speaker. It is also rented for special birthday celebrations or other occasions. One evening a week in the summer, they furnish music for the public on the lawn and people bring their chairs. There is no charge, but they have hot dogs and hamburgers ready for sale.

We are proud of the Masons, and my Uncle Salim Ayoube was Master Mason of Amity Lodge 100 years ago. My brother Milton Dyer Jr. was Master Mason in Hallowell. We thank them for all they do in the community.

Barbara F. Dyer has lived all her life, so far, in Camden and is the official town historian.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Catherine Cooper | Sep 06, 2018 22:17

I meant to type Barbie!!

Posted by: Catherine Cooper | Sep 06, 2018 22:16

I love your articles, Barbie! Thanks for this article it was insightful!

Posted by: Ian Emmott | Sep 06, 2018 21:11

That’s a very nice tribute Barbera

If you wish to comment, please login.