About Masonry

What is Masonry?

  • It is a voluntary association of men.
  • It is a system of moral conduct.
  • It is a way of life.
  • It is a fraternal society.
  • It is religious in its character.
  • It teaches the Golden Rule.
  • It seeks to make good men better men.
  • It teaches morality through symbolism.
  • It uses rites and ceremonies to instruct its members.
  • It is based on a belief in the Fatherhood and Brotherhood of God.
  • It is based upon a firm and steady belief in the Immortality of the Soul.

Scioto Lodge History

Established in 1805

On September 10, 1805 The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts received a petition presented through Right Worshipful Brother Thad’s M. Harris from Thomas Gibson and others, praying for a charter to holding a lodge in the town of Chillicothe, State of Ohio by the name of Scioto Lodge, which was granted unanimously.

First Meetings

The first meeting of Scioto Lodge took place on November 22, 1805 in the home of Thomas Needham, a tavern keeper. Elections were held and Thomas Gibson was elected Worshipful Master; Jervis Cutler elected Senior Warden; Nathaniel Willis, Junior Warden. Joseph became secretary Pro Tem.

The second meeting held December 4, 1805, was opened in the first degree. Henrie Massie’s name appears as Treasurer, Francis McHenry as Senior Deacon, Seth Thompson as Junior Deacon, James Davenport as Secretary and Oliver Strong as Tyler. One of the items of business was the adoption of lodge by-laws. Unique among the provisions of the by-laws was in the fifth section which subjects each member to a fine of thirty cents for neglect of his attendance on regular nights, unless the majority shall think his excuse sufficient. Two shillings and six pence was considered a common monthly expense for all members.


Elections were provided for twice a year on the night before the days of St. John the Evangelist (December 27th) and St. John the Baptist (June 24th). “All brethren who have paid up their fines and dues, or have been excused from payment, have the privilege of voting.”

Candidates were considered entitled to vote as soon as they received the first degree and most business was transacted in the Entered Apprentice Degree until October 2, 1822. From that time a limitation was placed on those who had not received all three degrees.

First Candidates

The first candidate raised in Scioto Lodge was Seth Thompson on December 25, 1805. The records do not indicate where Brother Thompson obtained his first two degrees. He became the first Junior Deacon of the lodge the preceding December 4, 1805.

Brother Thomas Needham became the first candidate initiated into Scioto Lodge No. 2 on March 19, 1806. He was the second candidate raised and at his raising he became the 15th member of Scioto Lodge on January 12, 1807.

Early Members of Scioto Lodge #2

Nathaniel Willis, first proprietor of the Chillicothe Gazette, was a charter member and first Junior Warden. According to the History of Freemasonry in Ohio this is the same Nathaniel Willis, who along with Paul Revere and several other brethren, dressed themselves in Indian costumes and threw some tea into Boston Harbor on the night of December 16, 1773.

Peter Parcells and James Barnes were raised during 1807 and were the second and third proprietors successively of the Scioto Gazette.

Thomas Kirker of West Union, raised in 1807 was the second Governor of Ohio serving in 1807 and 1808.

Thomas Worthington, the Governor of Ohio in 1814-1818 was admitted a member of Scioto Lodge in 1815.

Duncan McArthur was raised in Scioto Lodge in 1807 and was Governor of Ohio in 1830-1832.

Nathaniel Massie, who first laid out the city of Chillicothe, was admitted a member in 1806.

Thomas Gibson the first Worshipful Master of Scioto Lodge was Auditor of the Territory.

William Creighton was raised in 1807. He became Worshipful Master in 1819 and was the first Secretary of State of Ohio. He proposed and designed the Great Seal of Ohio.

Henry Brush was raised in Scioto Lodge in 1808 and was a prominent Judge and Congressman. He became Worshipful Master in 1809 and Grand Master of Masons in Ohio in 1813-1817.

Scioto Lodge Building History

A Meeting Place

As Scioto Lodge grew, the necessity of having some permanent home became apparent to the members. On July 18, 1808 Brother William Creighton presented proposals from Brother Humphrey Fullerton respecting the erection of a Masonic Hall, which is as follows:

“The subscriber will purchase one half of the East Lot of William Winship’s Block of lots binding on the alley and Second Street, will build a brick building of forty-eight feet by twenty-five, the first story thereof for the used of the Chillicothe Bank, will leave a passage of eight feet, and in fine complete the lower story of the house to be the exclusive property of the subscriber, the passage of eight feet excepted – the upper story, when compleat for use of the lodge will be deeded by the subscriber to the lodge – The Lodge building the upper story at their own expense”

This the lodge acceded to, and in deed of records, Volume 8 page 411, a deed from Thomas James and Wife to Thomas M. Bayley for the property on East Second Street, on the site now occupied by the Majestic Theatre, the south east quarter of the lot. Said deed carried the following exception:

“Except the upper story of the house which is not occupied as a lodge room for the Free Masons and the use of the entry leading to said room, the title to which remains with Thomas James.”

This meeting place was used by the members of Scioto Lodge from the time of erection in 1809 until the great fire of 1852 destroyed it. It was also the location of most, if not all, sessions of the Grand Lodge of Ohio until the year 1818. The meetings of the Grand Lodge of Ohio were held in Columbus in 1818 and did not again return to Chillicothe until 1852. This meeting took place October 19, 1852 and was held in Atheneum Hall, located on the North West corner of Walnut and Second Streets with 157 lodges represented by 406 voting members. The Grand Lodge of Ohio met in special session on June 3, 1853 when Most Worshipful Brother William B. Hubbard, Grand Master, laid the corner stone for the new Masonic Temple following the great fire of 1852. The work must have advanced very rapidly, because on October 18, 1853 The Grand Lodge of Ohio met in the new structure.