The first lodge of the Masonic fraternity established in the county was Tyrrell Lodge, No. 116, under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge. On June 2, 1858, a charter was granted and the lodge was organized, with the following officers:

Thomas Downing, W. M.; G. C. Wright, senior warden; W. W. Brown, junior warden; Theodore Hazlett, treasurer; Geo. W. Maxfield, secretary; L. B. Ostrander, S. D.; Edward Tyrrell, J. D.; Nicholas Tyrrell, tiler.

The Master Masons were J. S. Harris, William Battams, John Tyrrell, H. F. Beebe, W. B. Hamilton, Geo. W. Briggs, Walter Wood, W. P. Harmon, Jas P. Olds, S. H. Curtis, A. P. Goddard, John Runyan, Geo. W. LeValley, Peter B. Foster, and D. M. Cool. The Worshipful Masters who served to 1882 were Thomas Downing, 7 years; G. W. Ruddick, 1 year; W. V. Lucas, 7 years; J. K. L. Maynard, 1 year; D. C. Chamberlain, 1 year; C. H. Cooper, 5 years. J. M. Andrews was appointed tiler by myself in 1869 and the last I knew of the lodge he was holding the office, a permanent fixture, as he is in the Grand Army, as commander of the Post. Nicholas Tyrrell, being the oldest member in age and in service, at the time of the organization, was honored by giving the lodge his name. He was a very devoted member, and was always present at the meetings when able.

The first Odd Fellows' lodge in the county was established in about 1859, with Roswell Keith as noble grand, and other offices filled by Herman A. Miles, Wm. Shores, A. J. Stroh, Wm. Reeser and Uncle Geo. W. Baskins. The list of charter members I cannot give, for I was not a member of the order until after the war.

I was made a Master Mason in Tyrrell lodge March 14, 1857.

A lodge of the Knights of Pythias was established in Waverly some time in the late 60's or early 70's, as Western Star No. 3. The second Masonic lodge was established in Janesville in the 60's, with David High, Hamilton Rowen, Fish, Boomer and others as officers or members. A large Good Templars lodge was established in 1860, to which most all the young folks belonged, but after a prosperous career for three or four years, it surrendered its charter and I think never was re-established. The Odd Fellows' lodge surrendered its charter during the war, or soon after it closed, but subsequently was re-established and has been a prosperous lodge ever since.

Last updated 4/13/15
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Bremer County, Iowa
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Last updated 10/12/13
Pioneer Days of Bremer County -- Chapter I