Mizpah Lodge No. 17
After the turn of the Century interest in establishing a Lodge in the Belfast area began to surface. The idea did not become a reality for several years. The Minutes of Saint Andrew’s Lodge show that the Brethren from the Belfast area made repeated requests for support in their desire to have a Lodge of their own. The first request was made on November 4, 1907 when a Petition from eight Brethren residing in Eldon was presented to Saint Andrew’s Lodge. The Brethren were seeking a recommendation from the nearest Lodge .in accordance with Article VII of the Constitution of Grand Lodge. After considerable discussion Saint Andrew’s Lodge decided that “the Petition could not be received at present.” A hint of the possible reason for the refusal was contained in the following two lines in theMinutes that were later scratched over “as the Petition had not fixed in the names of their Master and Wardens.”
The Petition was presented two weeks later with the names of the Wardens and Master included and the proposed name of the Lodge filled in. During discussion on the motion to recommend the Petition to Grand Lodge, R.W.Bro. Daniel F. MacDonald, Deputy Grand Master and a member of Saint Andrew’s Lodge objected to the Petition. He quoted from Section VII of the Constitution of Grand Lodge pertaining to requirements for granting a Dispensation for the formation of a new Lodge and concluded that in his opinion “it would be unwise to recommend the Prayer of Petition until we could satisfy ourselves that everything was in proper shape.” (Minutes, Saint Andrew’s Lodge November 18, 1907) The Worshipful Master ruled that the Petition could not be received and the Secretary was directed to return it to the petitioners.
At a Regular Communication of Saint Andrew’s Lodge on July 6, 1908 Bro. Neil MacDonald of Pinette noted that the Brethren at Eldon had applied for a Dispensation to start a new Lodge. He was informed that when a Petition was presented according to the rules of the Constitution it would receive due consideration.
The matter remained in abeyance for several more years. On June 5, 1911 the Lodge was advised that the Brethren from Eldon wished to petition Grand Lodge for a Dispensation to form a new Lodge in Eldon. Once again M.W.Bro. Daniel F. MacDonald led the charge against the wishes of the Brethren from Eldon. He referred to the Constitution of Grand Lodge and stated that before Saint Andrew’s Lodge could recommend the Petition to Grand Lodge it would have to be satisfied that the Brother named as Master of the new Lodge was capable of Opening and Closing the Lodge, conferring the Degrees and also that the Brethren have a proper Lodge Room. Bro. J.J. Larabee, a blacksmith from Eldon who had been raised four months earlier, responded on behalf of the petitioners stating “that they had a room but that the antic (sic) rooms were not in the west and asked if that made any difference.” Some members said that it did while others were not concerned. (King Edward Lodge No. 16 in Malpeque had been chartered in 1904 and its Ante Room was in the East.) The Worshipful Master, Bro. Laughlin M. MacKinnon, stated that in an effort to resolve the matter the Lodge “would on next regular night be opened and closed by the Officers named in the Petition and if found capable of doing the work he felt sure that this Lodge would do all in their power to have the Petition granted.” (Minutes, June 5, 1911) Meanwhile the Brethren of Eldon forwarded the Petition to Grand Lodge on June 26, 1911.