• Fortitude Lodge #47 F&AM 200th Anniversary

History of Rob Morris

Rob Morris was a man of great social pleasantry and we find in all his association and intercourse with fellow Masons and fellow men a genial and generous disposition.  The banquet table and the social hour after the conferring of degrees never had a brighter star.  But from his first meeting with George D. Prentice Rob Morris was a constant and tactful advocate of temperance and moral uplift in the Masonic Order.

Rob Morris is credited for founding the Order of Eastern Star throughout a few states, was a member of Fortitude Lodge #47 on three of four different occasions and was elected to Master three times.  The Grand Lodge lists only two, owing to the fact that for a number of years Fortitude elected Officers two times a year, on the 27th of June and the 27th of December.  The elected officers of the December date being the only ones listed in the Grand Lodge records.  A copy of our lodge by-laws for the early years state that no one could be a master if he had not paid his dues for the time he was to serve as an officer.

Some say that Rob Morris was a member of Fortitude Lodge #47 at the time of his death on July 31, 1888.  In the display case in the outer room his personal ledger shows that he was re-admitted to Fortitude in 1867.  The Grand Lodge ledger shows the he demitted from Fortitude September 15, 1873, although he lived just across the alley.

When Rob Morris demitted from Fortitude lodge September 15, 1873 he actually transferred to Royal Solomen Lodge #293 Jerusalem, Palestine.  A lodge that he had formed and served as its First Master.  Returning to the United States and his home in LaGrange, Kentucky he was readmitted to Fortitude Lodge #47 on September 15, 1876 and remained a member until his death July 31, 1888.

We find among some papers given to us by Miss Edna Goodridge a clipping about Old Fortitude Lodge, dated July 1887, which is read today with a very keen interest.  This vulnerable Lodge, now in its 69th year of existence, occupied their new quarters in the Grand Jury room of the court house on Saturday night.  The apartment, though rather small, has been neatly fitted up by the Masons, carpeted and made attractive.  Being directly over the jail it is thought there is no danger in the essential secrets of masonry leaking through and falling into wrong hands.  At the meeting Saturday night, the master James B. Hall, placed the veteran Rob Morris in the east, and announced that this was to be a jubilee occasion.  The Doctor made a suitable acknowledgement for the honor, and things went off in good style.  Considerable work is anticipated this winter and it is believed this old Lodge will be revived.  There is only one other lodge in the county, that at Westport.  During the meeting Dr. Morris read the following impromptu poem, composed for the occasion.

RALLY: BOYS OF FORTITUDE

“Rally; boys of Fortitude!
“So when we shall pass away;
Workers stout and square and plumb;
Sweet to sleep with comrades near;
Gather one and all tonight
Masonry may still display
To our new made chambers come.
All its notable influence here;
Three score years and nine have gone
Rally, boys, with new delight;
Since the birth of Fourty-seven;
Come to Fortitude tonight!”
Dead and living make the throng;
Part are here and part in heaven;
By celestial hopes that cheer
Rally in your aprons white;
On life’s weary journey through,
Come to Fortitude tonight!”
Rally, Number Forty-seven;
Let the prosperous year be given!”
“Bring new resolution, boys!
Bold in heart, sincere in prayer,
“So when we shall pass away;
Shame upon the craven heart
Sweet to sleep with comrades near;
Would desert the plumb and square.
Masonry may still display
By the Acacia sprigs that bloom
All its notable influence here;
At the grave of friends we knew;
Rally, boys, with new delight;
By celestial hopes that cheer
Come to Fortitude tonight!”
On life’s weary journey through,
Rally, Number Forty-seven;
Let the prosperous year be given!”

The history of the Fortitude Lodge is also the history of the community, which sponsored the first chapter of Grangers, an organization of the farmers of the community that was the forerunners to the Farm Bureau.

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  • Fortitude Lodge #47 F&AM 200th Anniversary