Prince Edward Lodge No. 14
The Minutes are not available for the first two years to confirm the Degree work but the Grand Secretary’s Report for the year ending April 30, 1885 showed seven Entered Apprentice Degrees, two Fellow Craft and one Master Mason. The data suggested that the Brethren had a very busy first month. The total membership was twelve. In the following year the Lodge raised nine Master Masons and recorded a total membership of twenty-six.
The Lodge maintained a busy schedule of Degree work in the early years. Twenty-seven Brethren were raised in the first five years. The Lodge had a membership of thirty-six in 1889. (Proceedings, 1889) It was common practise to confer two different Degrees at the same Communication. The last such Communication was held on December 3, 1947 when candidates Ian Henderson and Joseph Harding received the Entered Apprentice and Master Mason Degree respectively. The Brethren were sincere in knowing the work and were committed to Lodges of Instruction for practice on a regular basis. In 1892 the Brethren set the third Thursday of each month during the winter for practice
The initial growth spurt was followed by a quiet period during which the total membership dropped and problems with arrears developed. Several of the Brethren were suspended. The Lodge did not experience renewal until 1910. During the two decades the total membership dropped from thirty-seven in 1890 to twenty-eight in 1909. The number of Demits granted (25) almost matched the number of Master Masons raised (29). (Proceedings, selected years) Perhaps in an effort to ease the losses the annual dues were lowered from $2 to $1 in 1901. (Minutes, March 6, 1901)
Some interesting notes on the management of dues were found in the Minutes. In 1888 the Lodge voted to remit the dues of Bro. Harry Squarebriggs and Bro. James Squarebriggs, two Charter Members from the Hunter River area, “as a small token of their labour in the past in helping to fix up this Lodge Room and on account of the distance that they are living from the Lodge.” (Minutes, January 8, 1888) The gesture was repeated in 1889 and 1890. In 1895 Bro. John Binns, a Charter Member, was given “clear receipt for dues up to the end of 1896 in consideration of having received from him two swords for use of Lodge.” (Minutes, September 4, 1895) The generosity had limits for some of the Brethren. The request of a Brother for a Demit on June 1, 1898 was approved subject to receipt of 84¢ in dues owed. One Brother demanded an additional 16¢ for the month of June when the request was received. The Worshipful Master denied the amendment. The Brother indicated his intentions to appeal to the Grand Master.