joppa lodge white rock ss beaver

Joppa History – 1925

  • January 26, 2020

Two gavels made from the SS Beaver were presented to Joppa.

A series of informal meetings were held and while no official record exists of these gatherings, it is obvious the creation of "JOPPA" Lodge was accomplished in a most thorough and efficient manner.

King Solomon Lodge No. 17, of New Westminster, provided really invaluable help and guidance for the 'new' lodge. Also the use of their regalia by our first Wor. Master, R.W.Bro. J. J. Mahony and R.W.Bro. A. McDonald was of great assistance.

Considerable time and effort were necessary to master the American ritual, as practiced by the mentors from King Solomon Lodge. It was no easier for the prospective members familiar with the Canadian ritual.

A suitable property for a lodge hall was found on Marine Drive, which was for sale. While rented at first, it was with the option to purchase and this option was exercised July 9, 1925, and a holding company was formed to hold in trust all lodge property.

R.W.Bro. J. G. Gamon presented two gavels made from wood taken from the S.S.Beaver, the first steamship to arrive in the Pacific Northwest in 1836, and operated in the fur trade for the Hudson's Bay Company.

After some fifty years of pioneering service in the Northwest, later converted to a tugboat, she ran aground near the entrance to Vancouver and was a total loss.

V.Wor.Bro. J. D. MacMillan on September 30, 1926 presented to the Lodge the Volume of the Sacred Law and was the first to take his obligation as Worshipful Master on this bible.

Mr. G. Morrision, a Cloverdale blacksmith, crafted and presented the door knockers to the Lodge.

Bro. H. W. Hunter, of Blaine, Washington and owner of the Campbell River Mill, gave the pillars to the Lodge. These pillars were introduced into Canada via the Beach Road.

Bro. R. T. Hall of King Solomon Lodge on April 11, 1929 presented one set of gavel blocks and later W. Bro. B. L. Hugh presented etched blocks for the Worshipful Master, Senior and Junior Warden, pedestals.

An application was made by J. J. Mahony and thirty-eight Freemasons living in the Masonic District No. 2 for Dispensation empowering them to meet as a regular lodge of Freemasons, at White Rock, and to be known as Joppa Lodge - the name being suggested by R.W.Bro. Moffatt. April 15,1925 saw Grand Lodge grant permission for a Lodge of Freemasons to meet every second Thursday of each month and until a Warrant of Constitution granted, the following being appointed:

J. J. Mahony Worshipful Master J. D. MacMillan Senior Warden A. J. Smith Junior Warden.

The Institutional Meeting of Joppa Lodge A.F.&A.M. U.D. was held Thursday April 30, 1925 and conducted by R.W.Bro. J. F. Semple D.D.G.M. District No. 2 In attendance were 31 of the 38 Charter Members and 34 visitors. After reading of the Dispensation issued by Grand Lodge, the Investiture of the following officers, with R.W.Bro. Semple being assisted by W.Bro. A. McDonald and W.Bro. E L. Snell of King Solomon Lodge No. 17, New Westminster, B.C.

Joseph Jackson Mahony Worshipful Master John David MacMillan Senior Warden Alexander James Smith Junior Warden Percey Elsey Treasurer Gordon Stanley Graves Secretary John McMurphy Chaplain Walter Scott Huff Director of Ceremonies Orlin R. Merklin Senior Deacon Fabian Hugh Junior Deacon Leonard Alec Shepherd Organist William J. Moffat Senior Steward Thomas Alston Junior Steward Joseph Valentin Beldam Inner Guard Gordon William Coulson Tyler.

The Installed Officers assumed their respective stations and this marked the official "Beginning" of Joppa Lodge.

The Dispensation empowering the Brethren of Joppa Lodge to meet as a Lodge of Freemasons at White Rock, on the second Thursday in each month (until such time as a Warrant of Constitution shall be granted by Grand Lodge or this Dispensation be revoked) was granted by the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of British Columbia, granted the fifteenth day of April 1925 Stephen Jones Grand Master W.A. Dewolf-Smith Grand Secretary.

May 14, 1925 marked the first meeting following the Institutional Meeting of April 30th, 1925. A highlight of this meeting was the receipt of an application for initiation from Messrs. John William Whittaker, Arnold Walter Saunders and Richard Edward Steer all being accepted.

A committee was struck, after considerable discussion, for the purpose of reviewing and reporting back (if possible) on the practicality of purchasing the building - the committee were also given the power to purchase the building for the amount of $2575.00 if it was not possible to postpone the purchase until after the next regular meeting of the lodge. The purchase of the building was completed prior to the next meeting and a report of the matter was made at that meeting, July 9, 1925.

July 23, 1925 saw an Emergent Meeting of Joppa Lodge, for the purpose of Initiating Messrs. Saunders and Steer to the degree of Entered Apprentice.

The visitors complimented the officers on the exemplary manner in which the degree was conferred.

The Emergent Meeting of Joppa Lodge was held in the Masonic Hall September 3rd, 1925, when Brothers Whittaker and Saunders passed a very satisfactory examination of the Entered Apprentice Degree. When Lodge resumed these two brethren were passed to the degree of Fellowcraft. This was another step for the Lodge in degree work, at which the members were becoming quite proficient.

At the Regular Communication of Joppa Lodge, held September 10, 1925 an application to become a member of Joppa Lodge by Initiation was received from Mr. Robert James Esplin.

At this meeting it was moved, seconded and carried that an amendment increasing the initiation fee to $85.00 for anyone wishing to become a member of Joppa Lodge.

Brothers Whittaker and Saunders passed an excellent examination in the work of the Fellow Craft Degree.

The Secretary was to write to Bro. Castie thanking him for the donation of the Secretary's desk.

The meeting of September 24, 1925 marked the official visit of the R.W.Bro. Jacob Rowland, D.D.G.M., District No. 2. After being introduced he congratulated the lodge on their hall and his pleasure at being able to attend this meeting.

Bro. J. W. Whittaker, at 8:25 p.m. was duly admitted and raised to the sublime Degree of Master Mason.

R.W.Bro. Rowland, D.D.G.M., District No. 2 expressed how pleased he was with the manner in which the work was put on and also the splendid attendance - 13 members and 39 visitors.

V.W.Bro. DeWolf-Smith, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of British Columbia congratulated the lodge for the fine performance in putting on the degree.

This completed the special business for which this communication had been called.

The Regular Communication of Joppa Lodge, A.F. & A.M. was held October 8, 1925 in the Masonic Hall, White Rock.

Bro. Senior Deacon outlined the manner of raising money by subscriptions to Debentures from the Brethren and urged each member to assist as much as possible.

This to offset the current indebtedness and provide sufficient working capital to make the necessary repairs and improvements.

Bro. L. J. Burton passed a very satisfactory examination in the Entered Apprentice Degree and after being duly prepared he was admitted again to be passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft Mason.

November 12, 1925 Joppa Lodge held their next Regular Communication in the Masonic Hall. An application for membership by Initiation from Thomas Henderson Douglas, a machinist was received.

The application for membership by Initiation of Robert James Esplin, saw filer, was favourably reported on and was elected to become a member by Initiation.

Bro. A. W. Saunders, was duly prepared and after admittance was raised to the sublime Degree of Master Mason.

The Emergent Meeting of November 26, 1925 was held in the Joppa Lodge hall, in White Rock.

Bro. Richard E. Steer was examined in the work of the Entered Apprentice Degree and after completing a very satisfactory examination he was afterward passed to the Degree of a Fellowcraft Mason.

The year 1925 closed with the Regular Communication of December 10th in the Joppa Lodge hall, in White Rock.

A letter from R.W.Bro. J. G. Gamon was acknowledged, by which two gavels were donated to the Lodge. These were noted as having a "historic nature" in that they were fashioned from wood taken from the "S.S.Beaver". The wood was salvaged from the wreck of the Beaver, the first steamship to come to these coastal waters.

The Beaver arrived in the year 1836 at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon, after sailing around Cape Horn with engines in her hold. After the engines had been properly installed in the vessel, the Beaver was to become the first steamboat to operate on the coast of North America. She sailed for many years in the fur trade for the Hudson's Bay Company. Later she was transferred from the Columbia River northward to British Columbia where she spent her last days.

As with many other older vessels, The Beaver was finally converted into a tugboat. After some fifty pioneering service years in the Northwest, she ran aground near the entrance to Vancouver and was a total loss.

Such a historic vessel has meant that much the Beaver's remains have been salvaged and saved for souvenirs and other mementos.

The Washington Historical Society, at Tacoma, has the Beaver's boiler on display. Victoria, B.C. is the home for a portion of the poop deck, at rest in a museum.

In Portland, the Oregon Historical Society displays fire brick from the engine room of the Beaver. The ship's anchor is housed in the museum at Fort Vancouver.

Early-day transportation by water in British Columbia via the Beaver was a slow one. The towns of Victoria and New Westminster preceded that of Vancouver, which city did not come into its own until after the arrival in 1887 of the Canadian Pacific Railroad.

Two more applications for membership by Initiation were received from Messrs. Gordon Anderson Frederick and Frederick Allen Pollock.

Thus ended the year 1925, with Joppa Lodge accepting a goodly number of applications for Initiation and the members of the Lodge being able to perform substantial Degree Work, while under Dispensation.

This was a very auspicious start for Joppa Lodge, and the numerous compliments paid by the visitors was a testimony to the quality of work being exemplified by the brethren. All in all a very successful beginning for this fledgling Lodge, in White Rock.