The history of a Masonic lodge that has been in existence for over one hundred and fifty years cannot adequately be described here. Its best description is seen in the lives of its members and their achievements and the manner in which they conduct themselves within the community. However, since all stories must begin somewhere below you will find a brief history of the creation of this magnificent Masonic lodge.
In the early part of 1866, a number of brethren residing in Central Falls and the vicinity came to the conclusion that it would be for their convenience, and for the advancement of Masonic interests, to establish a Masonic Lodge in Central Falls. One of the brethren thus interested, Bro Augustine A. Mann, volunteered to draw the necessary petition, and after obtaining the required number of signatures, presented the same to the Grand Master, and asked for Dispensation to enable the brethren to form a Lodge, to be known as “Jenks Lodge”. The petition bore the signatures of thirty-eight brethren, whose names appear on the original Charter, namely;
Nathan P. Towne, James G. Fales, James H. Andrew, Alvin F. Jenks, Augustine A. Mann, Edward L. Freeman, George H. Dalton, Albert Frost, Joseph Cobb, Charles H. Baker, John A. Peaslee, David L. Fales, George T. Cummings, John F. Adams, Jabez W. Wilmarth, Samuel H. Carney, Horace Daniels, Hermon H. Allen, Edward A. Browne, Erastus E. Lapham, Robert Robertson, George H. Miner, George F. Crowningshield, John W. Angell, Charles A. Fales, Joseph Carter, Lysander Flagg, Edward A. Patt, George A. Pierce, Abner C. Hunt, Albert Spencer, George E. Allen, James Babbitt, Henry A. Stearns, Israel B. Purinton.
The Dispensation was granted under date of May 1st, 1866, and under the authority of the same, the first meeting of Jenks Lodge was held in Engine Hall, May 8th, 1866. Bro. John W. Angell was chosen as Secretary and a committee was formed to create the lodges bylaws. At the meeting held on May 14th, 1866, the lodges bible was presented to the lodge by Mrs. Eliza Anne Wilmarth. Bro. E.L. Freeman made the presentation speech to the members. The first “regular” meeting was held on May 21st, 1866 with the following officers present: Horace Daniels, Worshipful Master, Jabez W. Wilmarth, Senior Warden; Erastus E. Lapham, Junior Warden Augustine A. Mann, Treasurer; John W. Angell, Secretary; E. L. Freeman, Senior Deacon; Charles A. Fales, Junior Deacon; Albert Spencer, Tyler.
The Charter which legally constituted the lodge was officially awarded on January 25th, 1867; the delivery of the same, the installation of its officers were all performed by Most Worshipful Thomas A. Doyle, Grand Master.
The first Master of Jenks Lodge, General Horace Daniels, began his life as a school teacher and entered into business wherein he realized much success with the Greene & Daniels factory. He was called to fill various offices in Subordinate and Grand Bodies, and showed ability and diligence in all these stations.
The second Master of Jenks Lodge, Bro. Jabez Wilmarth, rendered large and varied services to the Masonic institution and bequeathed Jenks Lodge the monies which created our first charitable fund aptly named the Wilmarth Fund. Several of his living descendants are members of our lodge even now.
The Lodge remained at its location on Elm St until it moved to its new home on January 6th 1875, wherein it relocated to Arnold Block on Central St. Since that time Jenks has had several homes in Rhode Island. It currently resides at 18 Turner Ave in Riverside RI at St. Andrews Temple, a Masonic lodge building with a long and storied history that matches Jenks Lodges own.
Since its inception Jenks Lodge has had distinguished lodges choose to merge with it. We are proud to say that the members of Union Lodge No. 10, St. Andrews Lodge No. 39 and E.L. Freeman Lodge No. 41 all chose to merge with Jenks Lodge adding their storied histories to our own. To this day Jenks Lodge continues to adapt and evolve with its membership, ever with an eye on the goal of supporting members and the community in which it resides.
Union Lodge No. 10
Union Lodge No. 10 was founded on April 15th 1808. For its residence it built a two story Masonic Hall on what the meeting minutes described as land located “a little below Pawtucket landing, on the east side of Neck road, on the southwest corner of Jabez Jenks’s land”
When the anti-masonic fervor of the 1830’s took hold, Union Lodge unanimously voted as follows;
“First, That we cordially approve of the address of the Grand Lodge as published, and of the steps recently taken by them in defense of Masonry.
Second, That we pledge to the Grand Lodge and to each other, our firm and undivided support in the present struggle, so far as our policy will permit and our obligations justify.”
Such was the spirit in which Union Lodge No. 10 met and the character which their members carried themselves throughout its history. Union Lodge No. 10 merged with Jenks Lodge on the 10th of February 2003.
St. Andrews Lodge No. 39
On the 21st of November in 1894 a request was made and the dispensation was granted for a new lodge to be formed in Riverside RI. In May of 1895, the Charter for St Andrews Lodge #39 was awarded and signed by 21 members including John Cady, James Whitehouse, William Richmond, and John Kingsford.
St. Andrews spent some time moving around various areas of Riverside till in 1909 settling on the property located at 18 Turner Ave in Riverside RI. St Andrews Lodge No. 39 became a focal point of the community in Riverside and was considered to be one of the elite lodges in the Grand Jurisdiction of Rhode Island. During its history, St Andrews had well over 400 members and continued the proud Masonic tradition of being active in within the lives of its members and the community.
On the 24th of February in 2020, St. Andrews Lodge No. 39 merged with Jenks Lodge No. 24. Jenks Lodge, having sold its property in Pawtucket RI, moved into St. Andrew’s Temple’s historic location at 18 Turner Ave in Riverside RI where Jenks Lodge still resides and meets to this day.
E.L. Freeman Lodge No. 41
E.L. Freeman Lodge No. 41 merged with Jenks Lodge No. 24 on the 21st of October 2002.