Masonry has been a part of life in Brandon, Vermont, since at least 1800. In June of that year, eleven Masons of Brandon and adjacent towns petitioned the Grand Lodge of Vermont for a charter, which was granted October 15, 1802, and named Washington Lodge No. 21. This lodge, like virtually all others in Vermont and most others across the United States, surrendered its charter (in Brandon’s case, in 1833) in the wake of the Morgan Affair that spurred the Anti-Masonic political movement.
The older members of the first lodge in Brandon, together with additional brethren, reorganized themselves once the Anti-Masonic fever had passed. The by-laws proposed for the new lodge were identical with those from the old, and a number of the furnishings of the old lodge, including the Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses, had been preserved to be used by the new. In this way the Craft in Brandon was essentially unchanged despite its hiatus. A new charter, in the name of St Paul’s Lodge No. 25, was granted by the Grand Lodge of Vermont on January 15, 1852, and it is under this warrant that the lodge in Brandon continues to work today.
Prominent men of Brandon have been Masons since the earliest days. Still-familiar Brandon surnames like June, Conant, Davenport, Briggs, Douglas, Chandler, Churchill, Bump, Bliss, Ormsbee, Ketcham, Swinington, Farr, Rosseter, Farrington, Newton, and Thompson populated the membership roll at the time of the lodge’s anniversary observance in 1902. One of these, Ebenezer J. Ormsbee, was Governor of the State of Vermont from 1886 – 1888. Another member of St.Paul’s Lodge, Welland S. Horn, was Grand Master of Masons in Vermont from 1979 – 1981.
For many years, the lodge rented quarters in the upstairs of the Smith Block (above the present Aubuchon Hardware). The black-and-white photo on this page shows how the lodge room looked around the turn of the century (note the large woodstove at left and early electric lighting). In 1964, the brothers of the lodge constructed their own building with dining hall, meeting room, office space, lobby, and storage rooms, bringing the lodge furniture from the Smith Block with them. This building, at 1046 Park Street, has served the lodge well for more than a half-century now, and is still among the more comfortable lodge buildings in the area.
Otter Creek Lodge of Pittsford merged with St Paul’s Lodge of Brandon in 1996. Members from both towns, as well as Ripton, Leicester, and Chittenden, are active leaders in today’s St Paul’s Lodge.