Members of Valley Lodge No. 175 in Burnet hope the public can help them locate some missing Masons.
Actually, they’re looking for photos of 14 past Masters to complete a wall of pictures.
“We’ve been working on this project for about a year now, and we have photos for almost all our past Masters, but we’re missing some,” said lodge member Jim Barho. “We’ve just about done everything we can to find photos, so now we’re asking the public if they can help us.”
The bulk of the photos they need are of past Masters from the mid- to late 1800s as well as one from the 1930s. It might be a long shot, but Barho pointed out that many of the men are from families with strong ties to Burnet County.
“If you look at the names of the (past Masters), you’ll recognize a lot of the names, especially the last names,” he said. “Many of the names you’ll see on roads and buildings.”
Members will make copies of any found photos.
Valley Lodge formed in 1854 and earned Grand Lodge status in 1856. The original building next door to the current facility remains the longest-operating commercial building in the city. While a lodge, it also served as a school, a post office, and government offices following a fire at the original Burnet County Courthouse.
“There’s a lot of Burnet history with this lodge,” Barho said.
He added that the city, the county, and the lodge all were founded at about the same time.
“This lodge was one of the cornerstones of Burnet,” he said.
As part of Masonic lodge protocol, one member serves as Master for a year, though they can serve for more than one year. The Master is basically a senior leader or chairman, Barho explained.
While he walked along the wall of photos, Barho noted that many Masters were community leaders during their time and several served as sheriffs.
“All of us are involved in the community in multiple ways,” Barho said.
Along with their Masonic volunteerism, members often serve on boards and help other nonprofits and charities.
Lodge secretary Bill Weaver added that Masons are major supporters of nonprofits.
“Masons give two and a half million dollars a day to charities,” he said.
This includes hospitals started by Shriners, which are part of the Masons.
Valley Lodge provides up to 10 scholarships to local high school graduates each year and supports the Take Time to Read and Fantastic Teeth programs, which promote children’s literacy and dental hygiene, respectively.
If you have a photo of a past Master or want more information about the Masons, contact Weaver at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the lodge at 512-756-4897.
Past Masters with missing photos are:
- A.H. Calvin, 1858-59
- Emanuel Sampson, 1862-63
- James P. Magill, 1867-68
- J.C. Johnson, 1873-74
- N.W. Harris, 1877-79
- D.L. Emmet, 1881-82 and 1890-91
- H.R. Hudson, 1882-83, 1889-90
- J.M. Tomlinson, 1883-84, 1885-86
- W.H. Hotchkiss, 1884-85
- H.P. Hicks, 1887-88
- J.R. Hudson, 1888-89
- A.J. Culbertson, 1897-98
- W.H. Boggess, 1898-99
- W.D. Mullins, 1936-37, 1937-38