|Stony Creek No. 5 F. & A.M.
Historical Implications for Stony Creek in Michigan
"The Clouded Period"
|"Stony Creek "Light" Shines Thru 19th Century "Dark" Years"
One of the youngest Lodges in the Territory of Michigan kept "the light
of Masonry" glowing in that Territory and State from 1830 - 1840, during
which time the Grand Lodge of Michigan was "dark" or nonexistent. For
some 10 years of that period, Brother Daniel B. Taylor, the Tiler of
Stony Creek Lodge No. 7, made it his duty to see that the Lodge room
was opened on the regular meeting nights with a softly lite candle in
the window to signify that Michigan Masonry still lived.
|Taken from "Dateline 1764 - Michigan Masonry - Vol. 2."
For a time, the Lodge met in the home of Nathaniel Millerd; later, in the homes of Joshua
B. Taylor, and Jesse Decker. But - we may have jumped ahead in our story.
|Meetings Held in Private Homes
The Grand Lodge of Michigan was first created in 1826 and continued until 1830 when,
by order of General Lewis Cass, Grand Master of Michigan, suspended labor for the time
being. Its subordinate Lodges were advised to do the same and all complied, with the
exception of the youngest - Stony Creek. The Grand Lodge action was the result of the
great wave of "anti-Masonry" which swept the country following the "Morgan excitement"
which occurred in Batavia, N.Y., in 1826. A man named William Morgan disappeared
No trace of him, alive or dead, was ever found, but Masons were blamed and Masonry
suffered greatly throughout the United States. Dr. Morgan J. Smead, 33rd degree and
Past Grand Master of Michigan, spent years in research on the Morgan incident, and
correspondence now in our possession is prima facie evidence that Morgan took a ship to
the British West Indies and to the Cayman Islands as a shipwrecked sailor.
In Michigan, which became a state in 1835, the anti-Masonic cyclone expended its fury in
nine years and in 1840 the revival and reconstruction of the Grand Lodge set in. A
convention of Masons was called on November 15, 1840 and held at Mount Clemens. At
this meeting, a committee of three was appointed to make careful inquiry and to report at
another meeting set for May 5, 1841. By February, 1841, this committee decided that it
needed more help and it was increased to six members. It then was decided to revive
the Grand Lodge of 1826-1830. As the former Grand Master, General Cass, was not
available, the Junior Warden, Martin Davis of Ann Arbor, agreed to act.
He issued a dispensation to Oakland Lodge to resume labor under its old charter, then
issued a dispensation to Lebanon Lodge at Mount Clemens, and these two Lodges
along with plucky Stony Creek Lodge met June 2, 1841, in Detroit and proceeded to
revive the lapse Grand Lodge.
Thus, through the perseverance of one Lodge - Stony Creek No. 7 - the Grand
Lodge of Michigan was able to observe the 150th anniversary of its founding as
Americans celebrated the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1976.
On Lodge nights, as soon as the stage
arrived bringing the mail, he would get his
newspaper and wend his way to the Lodge
room. On arriving there, he would light a
candle, place it in the window and then sit
down to read. If no one else came, Brother
Taylor waited the alloted amount of time and
he then would blow out the candle, lock the
door, and go home. Such sturdiness of spirit
and forthright action among the Masons of
Stony Creek Lodge enabled the Craft to
survive the attacks of its many enemies.
Stony Creek Lodge received permission on June 6, 1827 to meet in the village of Stony
Creek, Oakland County, Michigan Territory - near Rochester and about 30 miles north of
Detroit. Armed with the dispensation, a small group of Master Masons who had come to
Michigan from the states of New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, repaired to the
log school that had been built in 1825-1826 and held a public installation of officers.
William A. Burt was installed as Master with John Allen as Senior Warden and John D.
Axford as Junior Warden.
Stony Creek Lodge, under the leadership of its founders, overcame many obstacles to
continue its existence, too. The infant Lodge met for several years in the home of
Brother Millerd, but anti-Masonic excitement become so intense that neighbor rose
against neighbor and even families were ruthlessly divided.
The church of which Brother Millerd was a member became so outspoken and bitter in its
denunciation of Masonry that, for the sake of peace, he asked the Lodge to remove to
the home of another Brother. This was done twice in order to keep the Lodge alive and
active. This is the time frame that Brother Daniel B. Taylor, the Tiler, was the member
most active and most persistent in maintaining the Lodge through those trying years.
Records show that Stony Creek Lodge conferred degrees in 1833-1834. At least one
Master Mason was raised in 1834. It is also important to note that some years later that
Brother Daniel B. Taylor served as Master of the Lodge.
As you can see, the history, dedication, and fortitude of the members of Stony Creek
Lodge is truly unique in Michigan Masonry.
In all the 150,000 square miles of the Michigan Territory, his
was the only Masonic light which blasts of bigotry and passion
could not extinguish. With that, Daniel B. Taylor remains one
of Stony Creek's most honored members.