Brief history of Round Rock No. 227
Round Rock, Texas
Round Rock, Texas
Sometime prior to May 15, 1858, certain Brethren, living in and near Round Rock, drew up a petition praying for the establishment of a Masonic Lodge to be known as Round Rock Lodge. This petition was presented to San Gabriel Lodge No. 89, at Georgetown, Texas, May 29, 1858. San Gabriel Lodge, on August 21, 1858, granted permission for the Brethren at Round Rock to petition the Grand Master to establish a Lodge in the town of Round Rock.
Samuel Matthew was recommended by the Brethren of Round Rock to present the petition to the Grand Lodge and request that a charter be granted should the Grand Lodge approve their work. The petition was signed by the following Masons: John C. Black, Thomas C. Oatts, John L. Peay, Thomas Strede, Aaron Ruble, J.W. Graham, L. R. Simmons, and William Armstrong. It was stated in the petition that there were other Masons living in and near Round Rock who would become members.
On December 17, 1858, the first meeting of the Round Rock Lodge, working under dispensation, was held with the following officers presiding: John C. Black, Worshipful Master; Thomas C. Oatts, Senior Warden; John L. Peay, Junior Warden; N. S. Tisdale, Treasurer; J. B. Napiers, Secretary, P. T.; Thomas Strode, Tiler; J. W. Graham, Senior Deacon; Aaron Ruble, Junior Deacon; and J. R. David, Steward. The second Saturday of each month was voted as the regular meeting night.
The building in which the Lodge held its meetings was located in Old Round Rock. After the fire in 1883, the meetings were held in Webb Hall until April 18, 1884, and then the present building was purchased for $650 from A. L. Bowers.
The first applicants to be initiated in Round Rock Lodge No. 227 were: Levi Amber, R. J. Hill, Marion Asher, and J. H. Smith. Levi Asher was the first Brother to be raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason.
The Round Rock Lodge was granted a Charter by the Grand Lodge of Texas June 16, 1859, at its 22 Grand Communication Assembled in Huntsville, Walker County, Texas. The Charter was signed by James F. Taylor as Grand Master, Samuel Mathew as Deputy Grand Master, and A. B. Ruthven as Grand Secretary. This Charter was issued at Huntsville because the Grand Lodge of Texas was a traveling Grand Lodge meeting in different towns. Later, the Grand Lodge was located in the City of Houston. Then it was moved to Waco near the center of the state, where it was more accessible to all parts of Texas, and is now permanently located in a beautiful modern Grand Lodge Building.
The first elective officers under the Charter were installed August 13, 1859, by Brother R. W. Sam, Deputy Grand Master, and were as follows: John C. Black, Worshipful Master; Thomas C. Oatts, Senior Warden; Joe B. Davis, Junior Warden; N. S. Tisdale, Treasurer; Robert J. Hill, Secretary; J. W. Graham, Senior Deacon; Aaron Ruble, Junior Deacon; Robert Bratton, Steward; and Thomas Strode, Tiler.
Since the minutes of the early meetings of the Lodge were destroyed by the fire, nothing can be recorded in this history of what took place in those first few years. However, according to a letter written in 1936 by Brother T. E. Nelson, in reply to a request from the Advisory Board of Texas Historians, the following information is recorded. “At the stated meeting of Round Rock Lodge No. 227, May 22, 1887, a motion was made to donate the two lower floors of the Lodge building to Southwestern University for the purpose of establishing a female branch of said University in this house with such agreements and regulations as may be agreed upon by a committee appointed by this Lodge for that purpose.” However, the records do not show that such a school was established.
At a stated meeting held November 20, 1880, a motion was made to donate the lower floors, grounds, furniture, etc. of Greenwood Presbyterian Church for school purposes. A committee was appointed to meet with the Church committee and drew up all agreements. In January 1881, the committee reported that the Presbyterian Church has accepted the donation, and a deed to the school property was read, received, and delivered to the Church. A school was held in the lower two floors, for about two years, until the building was destroyed in 1883. In July 1883, Professor T. W. Royston of the Little River Presbytery returned the deed to the grounds and property of Greenwood Masonic Institute and a motion to receive the papers as settlement in full from Little River Presbytery carried.
At a called meeting April 14, 1883, the Brethren voted to locate on the south side of Brushy Creek in what was then known as New Round Rock. A committee was appointed to decide whether to build or buy a building. The present Lodge building was eventually purchased.
In September 1883, two dozen chairs were bought by the Lodge for $9 a dozen and San Gabriel Lodge No. 89 of Georgetown presented a substantial set of furniture consisting of station stands, an altar, gavels, etc. The records show that on November 17, 1883, a resolution of thank was adopted and presented to San Gabriel Lodge for their cheerful and timely assistance.
The property of the Lodge in Old Round Rock was sold in January of 1889 for $200. Since there was a judgment against the property in the amount of $150, the Lodge received only $50 cash from the sale.
The members of Round Rock Lodge participated in many activities of neighboring Lodges as well as being active locally. For example, they were invited and were present at the laying of the corner stone of the Chautauqua Tabernacle in Georgetown on April 16, 1889. In 1910, they participated as a Lodge in the laying of the corner stone of the Court House in Georgetown, and in 1914 they laid the corner stone of the three story brick school building in Round Rock.
On September 15, 1900, this Lodge at the appeal of the Grand Master and at a special called meeting, donated the sum of $50 for the relief of sufferers in the Galveston flood. The minutes also reflect that on many occasions donations were made on appeals for help from various Lodges of the state.
The Masonic Brethren at Pflugerville petitioned the Round Rock Lodge in August 1910 for permission to request that a Lodge be established at Pflugerville; and they also requested that the Lodge at Round Rock recommend to the Grand Master that their petition for a Lodge be granted. This request the Round Rock Lodge granted, and several of the Round Rock Brethren helped to establish the Lodge at Pflugerville.
The records show that the Lodge kept pace with the times and modern conveniences were installed when available. For example, the early meetings were held by lamp light; later gas lights were installed, and when electricity was available in Round Rock, electric lights replaced the gas lights.
The Lodge, in March 1919, appointed a committee consisting of Brothers S. B. Wright, Jack Jordan, and W. E. Henna to confer with the Grand Worthy Matron and Grand Worthy Patron of the Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star for the purpose of organizing a Chapter in Round Rock. As a result, a Charter was granted for an Eastern Star Chapter in October 1919, and the Lodge granted this organization the use of the Lodge room for their meetings.
The records show that the Round Rock thrived and grew, there being many called meetings for the purpose of conferring degrees on candidates. But, as is the case with any growing organization, whether it be a Lodge or a Church, there were some members admitted that were not worthy of the honor. However, the lodge was very alert to remedy this error. Even though the records are full of instances of new members being admitted into the Lodge, there are also instances where unworthy members were reprimanded or expelled from the Fraternity for acts unbecoming a Mason.
Image by Bro. Tony Ramirez
It is also a recorded fact that on many occasions help was given to sick and needy members and to widows and children of deceased members of the Lodge. On one occasion, the Lodge placed the children of a deceased member in the Masonic Home.
The regular meeting night of the Lodge has been changed several times. On November 12, 1937, the Lodge voted to change its meeting night from the first Friday on or before the full moon to the third Tuesday of each month. This change became effective in December of 1937 and the meeting night, the third Tuesday of each month, is still in effect.
Round Rock Lodge No. 227 is proud of the record of its members who served in World War I and World War II. The Lodge does not possess a Service Flag of its members or an Honor Roll of those who served their country in these wars, but it is known from personal contact and reports that these Brethren who fought to preserve our democratic way of life gave a creditable account of themselves.
Five members Round Rock Lodge have been honored by receiving life memberships. One of these, Brother W. T. Awalt, is now deceased. The other four members have been presented fifty-year Masonic Service Awards. They are Brothers W. E. Henna, C. N. Avery, H. N. Egger, and H. L. Stockbridge.
The members of Round Rock Lodge No. 227 are proud of their Lodge home; it is in good condition and free of debt. In 1949, the building was repaired at a cost of approximately $2500. Since 1949, a new carpet has been laid, air conditioning has been installed, the stations and chairs have been refinished and other repairs and improvements have been made.
The Lodge is now embarking upon its second century. It is the hope that peace and harmony will prevail; that the Lodge membership will continue to grow, and following generations will celebrate the second centennial in 2059. The present membership is 106. Although the meetings are fairly well attended, all members are encouraged to be present at stated and called meetings.
OFFICERS FOR THE MASONIC YEAR 1958-1959
Worshipful Master: Joe Gariker
Senior Warden: Victor Robertson, Jr.
Junior Warden: Warren G. King
Treasurer: Luther O. Ramsey
Secretary: Martin E. Anderson
Senior Deacon: J. Emory Johnson
Junior Deacon: Otis Daniel
Senior Steward: John W. Bradley
Junior Steward: George T. Berkman
Chaplain: Claude T. Berkman
Tiler: Marvin D. Olson