Ij

FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE NO. 31
(ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA.) RECORDS
(Mss. 4777) Inventory
Compiled by Rose Tarbell
Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections
Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library
Louisiana State University Libraries
Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University
2006
SUMMARY
9 linear feet, 31 ms. volumes
Size
Louisiana
Geographic Locations
1840-1966
Inclusive Dates
1900-1958
Bulk Dates
English
Languages
Records of the Freemasons of Feliciana Lodge #31 in
Summary
St. Francisville, La., include correspondence, financial
items, printed items, membership information, and
volumes.
None
Access Restrictions
Photocopies must be made from microfilm when
Reproduction Note
available.
Copyright of the original materials is retained by
Copyright
descendants of the creators in accordance with U.S.
copyright law.
Freemasons. St. James Lodge No. 47 (Baton Rouge,
Related Collections
La.) Records, Mss. 2860, and Freemasons. St. Alban's
Lodge No. 28 (Jackson, La.) Records, Mss. 4932.
Freemasons. Feliciana Lodge No. 31 (St. Francisville,
Citation
La.) Records, Mss. 4777, Louisiana and Lower
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
Mississippi Valley Collections, LSU Libraries, Baton
Rouge, La.
W:98-105, OS:F, J:29-31
Stack Location(s)
Page 2 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
BIOGRAPHICAL/HISTORICAL NOTE
Feliciana Lodge No. 31 (St. Francisville, La.) is part of the body of Masons
under the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. It was originally organized and chartered under
the authority of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1817 as Feliciana Lodge No. 46 and
was the first English speaking lodge in the state outside of New Orleans. In 1828 the
Lodge was granted a warrant by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana and became
Feliciana Lodge No. 31, F & A M. (Until this point all reports by the Lodge had been
made to the Grand Lodge of Kentucky). It wasn't until 1996 that the Lodge forwarded
a report to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana requesting that a charter be prepared for
them (previously their charter had only been from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky).
The Lodge is said to have been organized in the early 1800s at the Skillman
home, "Rosale Plantation," located north of St. Francisville, La.; it was the ancestral
home of Marine General Robert Barrow. The Lodge had met in New Roads, La.,
until 1840 when it moved back to the Lodge Hall in St. Francisville, located at the old
Spanish Market Place on Royal Street. In July of 1927 the Lodge relocated again to
the corner of Ferdinand and Prosperity Streets, to a building across from the Parish
Courthouse and diagonal to Grace Episcopal Church where it still resides today.
Meetings were suspended at the Lodge from May 1862 - July 1865 because of
the Civil War (1861-1865). However, during the war a Lieutenant in the Union Navy
by the name of John E. Hart became ill while his gunboat "Albatross" was on the
Mississippi River off of the town of Bayou Sarah. Upon his death the Feliciana Lodge
accommodated him with a Masonic burial, as his officers delivered to them his
request for a Masonic funeral. In 1956 he received a new headstone at his grave
located behind Grace Episcopal Church in the Masonic burial lot.
The Lodge is led by the Worshipful Master and a committee that includes the
offices of secretary, treasurer, tyler, and chaplain. A large part of lodge business is
taken up with membership procedures candidates for masonry progress through
the three degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft Mason, and Master Mason.
The lodge members place great emphasis upon charitable works, with the Feliciana
Lodge coming to the aid of distressed masons and their families, victims of the Great
Mississippi Flood of 1927, and World World I and II families - through the greater
efforts of international masonry.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
Records document the activities of Feliciana Lodge No. 31 through
correspondence, membership files, financial documents, and printed items. The
predominant topics of conversation involve lodge membership, the payment of dues,
and charitable concerns. Correspondence, membership applications, registers, and
Page 3 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
minute books document the membership base of the lodge, while account books,
bank statements, and receipts paint a picture of its financial standing. The primary
printed items are the circulars distributed by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana; they list
dates, lodges, member names, and other official data.
Although this collection includes materials for the years of World War I and II,
there is not much evidence of the wars. Masons were accommodating World War II
soldiers regarding the conferring of their degrees with their duty to the Armed Forces,
with some correspondence being received from military bases.
Other lodges are represented throughout these records, as the Feliciana
Lodge consulted other lodges and socialized with them. They are most prevalent in
the correspondence, membership subseries, general printed items, and some
miscellaneous manuscript volumes. The lodges most represented are: Eastern Star,
Louisiana Relief Lodge, St. James Lodge No. 47, Grand Chapter Royal Arch
Masons, Capitol Lodge #399, Plains Commandery Lodge No. 1, and the Grand
Lodge of the State of Brazil.
Feliciana Lodge records from 1817-1840 are scant, apparently lost in a fire at
the office of Judge Samuel Powell, a former Grand Master. Except for any records
obtained by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky for those years, only records subsequent
to 1840 exist.
LIST OF SERIES AND SUBSERIES
Series I.
Correspondence, 1865-1958, 1963,
Subseries 1.  General, 1865-1958
Subseries 2. Grand Lodge of Louisiana, 1879-1958
Subseries 3. Masonic Lodges, 1866-1958
Subseries 4. Administrative, 1865-1957
Subseries 5. Business, 1879-1958, 1963
Series II.
Administrative Papers, 1822, 1861-1958
Subseries 1. General Administrative, 1822, 1861-1955
Subseries 2. Membership, 1866-1958
Series III.
Financial Papers, 1880-1959
Subseries 1. General Financial, 1880-1959
Subseries 2. Bank Statements, 1825-1943
Series IV.
Printed Items and Writings, 1859-1958
Subseries 1. General, 1859-1958
Subseries 2. Grand Lodge of Louisiana, 1866-1953
Series V.
Manuscript Volumes, 1831-1966
Page 4 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
Subseries 1.
Register of Members, 1875-1966
Subseries 2.
Account and Cash books, 1846-1940
Subseries 3.
Minutes of Lodge Meetings, 1840-1963
Subseries 4.
Tunica Lodge #63, et al, 1831-1954
SERIES DESCRIPTIONS
Series I.
Correspondence, 1865-1958, 1963 (3 linear feet)
Regarding the correspondence for this collection, there is some information
that traverses many subseries. Many lodge members corresponded on the company
letterhead of their employer, whereas copies of letters from the Feliciana secretary
will frequently be on the back of scrap paper or copy paper. Correspondence
regarding the Union Civil War soldier, Lt. John E. Hart (1927, 1951-1956), being
buried at Grace Episcopal Church Cemetery is discussed in the General, Grand
Lodge, and Masonic Lodge subseries' as well as being supplemented by news
articles and photographs in the Printed Items series. Masonic misconduct is covered
under all Correspondence subseries since different levels of Masonic government
were involved.
Arranged chronologically within respective subseries.
Subseries 1.  General , 1865-1958
The majority of correspondence in this series consists of letters between the
secretary of the Feliciana Lodge and lodge members regarding the payment of dues,
instruction in Masonic catechism, providing character references, and requesting
transfer of membership to another lodge. Members would write to ask the lodge for
assistance in caring for infirmed Masons or charity cases (such as Elizabeth White,
letters dated 1926-1927), to request financial assistance, or to arrange for the burial
of a Mason or his family. Requests for financial aid are particularly numerous starting
in 1928 and continuing through the Depression, when members frequently could not
pay their dues; the repercussions of which surfaced in the years 1933-1936 when the
Grand Lodge of Louisiana was considering closing the Feliciana Lodge for not
remitting the percentage of dues owed to the Grand Lodge.
There is little correspondence addressing World Wars I and II. Letters dated
1918-1919 contain a few accounts of men who happened to be Masons, briefly
writing about their experiences in the War, and a letter dated Feb. 25, 1918 describes
a training camp for the army. Letters from 1939-1945 speak generally about World
War II: opinions and involvement from lodge members, with the lodges making
exceptions to accommodate the deployment of Masonic members overseas. A letter
dated Dec. 4, 1939 discusses what Freemasons are doing in aid of Great Britain
during the war in Europe.
Page 5 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
Other topics of discussion include a long running attempt by the Feliciana
lodge to authenticate their George Washington portrait located at the lodge and find a
buyer for it; the emergence of tuberculosis in hospitals around 1953; and
correspondence about funding the Louisiana State University Acacia Masonic
fraternity chapter.
Typically when the Grand Lodge of Louisiana is consulted or involved, the
correspondence may be found in the "Grand Lodge of Louisiana" subseries. This
often involves the conference of degrees, questions regarding members, or when
other Masonic lodges are consulted.
Subseries 2. Grand Lodge of Louisiana, 1879-1958
Much of the correspondence sent from the Grand Lodge of Louisiana is issued
from the grand masters and secretaries, and is distributed to all the lodges in the
state of Louisiana; this includes "service letters," information about notices and
resolutions, and circulars that were much like newsletters, but addressed and signed
as correspondence. Correspondence between the Grand Lodge and Feliciana
Lodge mainly concerns disputes over dues owed to the Grand Lodge, members, and
annual returns and balances due from the Feliciana Lodge. The effects the
Depression had on the Grand Lodge are evident in the correspondence indirectly, but
not discussed overtly. In 1928 there is discussion of serious debt among the
Louisiana lodges, with members being unemployed and unable to pay their dues.
There is little correspondence addressing World Wars I and II. A circular
dated Dec 10, 1914 is directed to all Louisiana Masons requesting charity for the
"Masonic War Relief Association of the United States." In 1918 there are a few more
references to the war including a letter asking families of fraternal organizations to
give up wheat products, restrict meat consumption, etc during the war (May 14), and
another that encourages brethren to buy Liberty Bonds (Oct. 1). Masonic efforts to
help Europeans and Jews impacted by World War I are scattered, along with a
reference to an influenza epidemic (Nov. 7, 1918).
Other topics include the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and how the Grand
Lodge of Louisiana provided funds for flood relief for affected Masons (1928); and a
1956 letter discussing the construction of Acadia Masonic Fraternity House on the
Louisiana State University campus (June 9). Correspondence also includes
discussion of finances, receipts for annual returns, etc. for other Masonic Lodges in
Louisiana.
Subseries 3. Masonic Lodges, 1866-1958
Correspondence among Louisiana lodges in which they request that a brother
be instructed in the ways of the order, perform reference checks on prospective and
existing members, request a local lodge to check in on an ill Mason, request
information on former lodge members, and make funeral arrangements. Some
correspondence is from Feliciana lodge or the Grand Lodge concerning the status of
a member, history, or recommendations.
Page 6 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
Subseries 4. Administrative, 1865-1957
Includes correspondence and summons for members to appear for trials.
Masonic trial cases are concerned with "unmasonlike conduct," such as a 1926 case
regarding a mason who had an affair with an African American woman. Other
correspondence is from Masonic committees who are reporting their findings on
finances, appointments, returns, etc. Please consult other Correspondence
subseries as they may contain peripheral information and opinions related to topics
discussed in the Administrative subseries.
Subseries 5. Business, 1879-1958, 1963
Largely concerned with the ordering of Masonic supplies: aprons, ledger
books, receipt books, etc, and other items as needed to operate the Feliciana lodge.
Other correspondence is between Feliciana and the Anti-Tuberculosis League
(1920s), or concerns the payment of taxes and bonds.
Series II.
Administrative Papers, 1822, 1861-1958, undated (.5 linear feet)
Subseries 1. General Administrative, 1822, 1861-1955,
Miscellaneous items of business including upcoming events, reports, lists of
committees, history of the Feliciana lodge, and loose meeting minutes.
Return books from the Feliciana Lodge to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for
the years 1917-1930 are a record of the lodge's annual returns. These books are
completed by the secretary and list the officers, and names of certain members with
their current standing in the lodge; a summation of the yearly membership figures are
recorded in the back of the books.
Subseries 2. Membership, 1866-1958
General items (2 folders 1918-1956, undated) consist mostly of
miscellaneous lists of members and war service records of Masons. Remaining files
are applications (petitions) filed by would-be members as well as notifications to and
from other lodges as to who has applied. Note: The Correspondence series also
mentions who petitioned for acceptance, was awarded degrees, and applied for
demits. Oversized items consist of two documents from the St. James Lodge No. 47
certifying members of their lodge in good standing (1886, 1897).
There is also a small box containing member's due stubs and cards (1925-
1955) for Feliciana and Eastern Star lodges. The stubs do not indicate the lodge
name; assumed it is Feliciana unless otherwise indicated.
Arranged chronologically by function.
Series III.
Financial Papers, 1880-1959, undated (1.5 linear feet)
Page 7 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
Subseries 1. General Financial, 1880-1959, undated
Receipts and vouchers for the Feliciana Lodge expenditures and payments
made. If they were expenses incurred regularly they have been separated by
function (such as rent, utilities, printing service, insurance, etc.) The folders are
interspersed with handwritten calculations on scrap paper resulting in balances. This
subseries also includes (in a separate box) stubs for expenses paid, which are
assumed to be for Feliciana, but some stubs are printed, "Service Committee, The
Grand Lodge of the State of Louisiana." 1920-1927, 1942-1950. Arranged
chronologically by function.
Three oversized items consist of two balance sheets from the treasurer
(1879), and a notarized document describing the sale of land from Hannah E. Town
to the Feliciana Lodge No. 31 (1919).
Subseries 2.
Bank Statements, 1925-1954
Bank statements (including some checks) for an account the Feliciana Lodge
had with the Bank of Commerce in St. Francisville, La. (1925-1954). The checks are
filed with the statements they were bundled with upon processing, and may also
include slips from an adding machine roll. Arranged chronologically.
Series IV.
Printed Items and Writings, 1859-1958, undated (2.5 linear feet)
Subseries 1. General, 1859-1958
General items include lists of Masonic supplies, copies of "The Bulletin,"
(1931-1936), invitations, death notices, and other miscellany. Included in greater
number are the Official Warning circulars (1908-1931) distributed by the Masonic
Relief Association that list masons by name, physical description, and what Masonic
crime they are accused of - some include photographs. Speeches and writings
(1917-1969) consist of speeches, addresses, eulogies, and short writings reproduced
and distributed among the lodges. The majority of news clippings either concern
deceased masons or coverage of the 1956 Masonic dedication of the new grave
marker for Union soldier John E. Hart; the few photographs in the collection also
relate to the grave. Arranged chronologically by function.
Oversized items include a 1951 certificate from the General Grand Chapter of
Royal Arch Masons, the bottom half of a poster for Thomas Dixon's Birth of a Nation,
and a drawing of a roof ceiling (assumed for a lodge).
Subseries 2. Grand Lodge of Louisiana, 1866-1953
Monthly circulars from the Grand Secretary's Office of the Grand Lodge of the
State of Louisiana (1866-1953) to be read in all the lodges at the first stated meeting
of the month. Lists dates, lodge, member name, age, occupation, residence, and the
action taken by the lodge for the member. Also includes two folders containing
progress reports of money raised for the Grand Lodge Temple Campaign (1941-
1942), and an oversized item titled "Synopsis of Action of Grand Lodge" (February,
1876).
Page 8 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
Series V.
Manuscript Volumes, 1831-1966.
Unless otherwise noted, all volumes are the professional records of Feliciana
Lodge no. 31, St. Francisville, La.
Subseries 1. Register of Members
Eight volumes dated 1875-1966 that include a register of members as well as
some annual returns and register of visitors to the lodge.
Subseries 2. Account and Cash books
Eight volumes dated 1846-1940 that include ledgers of lodge accounts and
cash books.
Subseries 3. Minutes of Lodge Meetings
Nine volumes dated 1840-1963 that record the proceedings of lodge
meetings.
Subseries 4. Tunica Lodge #63, et al
Three volumes for Tunica Lodge #63 dated 1831-1866 that include meeting
minutes and a membership register for the years 1850-1851. Three additional
volumes include the following materials for the Feliciana Lodge: one receipt book
(1876-1954), one day book that includes some meeting minutes (1872-1877), and
one roll book that includes information for the lodges of Feliciana no. 31, Bayou Sara
R. A. chapter, and Laurel Chaplin no. 44.
INDEX TERMS
Term
Series #
Acacia Fraternity (Louisiana State University)
I.1,2
Depressions - 1929 - United States.
I
Floods - Mississippi River Valley
I.2
Freemasonry Lodges
All
Freemasons Addresses, essays, lectures
IV.1
Freemasons Charities
I
Freemasons Equipment and supplies
I.5, IV.1
Freemasons Finances
I.4, IV.1
Freemasons Lodge management
All
Freemasons Louisiana
All
Freemasons Membership
I, II.2, IV, V
Freemasons Records and correspondence
All
Freemasons. Feliciana Lodge No. 31 (St. Francisville, La)
All
Freemasons. Grand Lodge of Louisiana
I.2, II, IV.2
Grace Episcopal Church (St. Francisville, La)
I, IV.1
Hart, John E. (d. 1863)
I.1,2,3, IV.1
Secret societies Louisiana - St. Francisville
All
Page 9 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
Tuberculosis United States - Societies, etc.
I.5, IV.1
United States History Civil War, 1861-1865
I.1,2,3, IV.1
Washington, George (1732-1799) - Portraits
I
World War, 1914-1918
I.1,2, II.2
World War, 1939-1945
I.1,2
CONTAINER LIST
Stack
Location
Box
Folder
Contents
Series I. Correspondence
Subseries 1. General
W:98
1
1-42
General correspondence (1865-1939)
W:99
2
1-22
General correspondence (1940-1958, undated)
Subseries 2. Grand Lodge of Louisiana
23-50
Grand Lodge of Louisiana correspondence (1879-1944)
W:100
3
1-13
Grand Lodge of Louisiana correspondence (1945-1958,
undated)
Subseries 3. Masonic Lodges
14-47
Masonic Lodge correspondence (1866-1958, undated)
Subseries 4. Administrative
48-57
Administrative correspondence (1865-1957, undated)
Subseries 5. Business
58-67
Business correspondence (1879-1958, 1963, undated)
Series II. Administrative Papers
Subseries 1. General Administrative
W:101
4
1
General administrative papers (1938-1955, undated)
2
Loose meeting minutes (1822, 1861-1927, 1950, undated)
W:105
11
Return books from the Feliciana Lodge to the Grand
Lodge of Louisiana, 1917-1930
Subseries 2. Membership
W:101
4
3-4
General membership papers (1918-1956, undated)
5
Certificates (1866-1940, undated)
6-22
Petition and forms (1890-1958, undated)
W:105
12
Member's due stubs and cards (1925-1955)
OS:F
1
St. James Lodge No. 47 certificates (1886, 1897).
Page 10 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
Stack
Location
Box
Folder
Contents
Series III. Financial
Subseries 1. General
W:101
4
23
Bank of Commerce (1924-1953)
24
Bonds (1944-1946)
25
Gulf States Utilities Co. (1947-1959)
26
Home Ice & Gin Plant (1945-1958)
27
Insurance (1918-1949)
28
Lodge drafts (1917-1926, 1948-1949)
29
Receipts for registered articles (1927-1957)
30
Rent statements (1943-1948)
31
St. Francisville light service (1917-1928)
32-33
Southern Bell telephone (1927-1939, 1950, 1958-1959)
34
Misc. statements (1952-1957)
35
Town of St. Francisville, gas (1948-1958)
36
True Democrat printing services (1909-1959)
37
W.W. Staplin electric (1930-1932)
38-54
General financial, misc. (1880-1959, undated)
OS:F
1
Oversized items.
W:105
10
Stubs (1920-1927, 1942-1950)
Subseries 5. Bank Statements
W:102
5
1-5
Bank statements (1925-1930)
6
1-6
Bank statements (1932-1943)
7
1-5
Bank statements (1947-1954)
Series IV. Printed Items and Writings
Subseries 1. General
W:103
8
1-4
Official Warning circulars (1908-1931)
5-6
Speeches and writings (1917-1956, undated)
7
Clippings (1938, 1946, 1955-1956)
8
Photographs (ca.1948-1950)
9
Masonic supplies (undated)
10
"The Bulletin" (1931-1936)
11-18
General, misc. (1859-1958, undated)
OS:F
1
Oversized items.
Subseries 2. Grand Lodge of Louisiana
W:104
9
1
Grand Lodge of Louisiana, general (1943-1946)
2-3
Temple Campaign (1941-1942)
4-29
Monthly circulars (1928-1953)
OS:F
1
Monthly circulars (1866-1919)
2
Monthly circulars (1920-1928)
OS:F
1
"Synopsis of Action of Grand Lodge" (Feb. 1876)
Page 11 of 12
Mss. 4777
FREEMASONS. FELICIANA LODGE #31 RECORDS
1840-1966
SPECIAL COLLECTIONS, LSU LIBRARIES
LIST OF VOLUMES
Stack location
Volume
Contents
number
J:29
1-3
Register of Members and Annual Returns (1875-1919)
4-8
Register of Members and visitors (1956-1966)
9-11
Ledgers account books (1846-1886)
12
Ledger account book, including membership dues
(1911-1928)
13
Ledger, account book (1946-1961)
14
Cash book (1917-1928)
J:30
15-16
Cash book (1929-1940)
17-21
Meeting minutes (1840-1896)
J:31
22
Meeting minutes (1898-1922)
J:30
23-25
Meeting minutes (1915-1963)
J:31
26
Receipt book (1876-1954)
27
Day book, including meeting minutes (1872-1877)
28
Roll book: Feliciana no. 31, Bayou Sara R.A. Chapter,
and Laurel Chaplin no. 44 (1911-1924)
29-30
Tunica Lodge no. 63, meeting minutes (1831-1866)
31
Tunica Lodge no. 63, membership register (1850-1851)
Page 12 of 12