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History of Fortitude Lodge No. 47 
Now we come to Oldham County, which also has a rich and interesting history in Masonry. Fortitude #47 is the oldest Lodge in Oldham County, first chartered in 1818 before Oldham County existed as such. They met at Westport KY, then at Transylvania, KY described in an old letter as being in what is now present day Harrods Creek, situated then at Brownsville, then moved apparently several times, and finally re-chartered in 1844 at LaGrange. In an old clipping from Miss Edna Goodridge dated July 1887, it states that Fortitude met in a new quarters in the Grand Jury Room at the Courthouse. Rob Morris was present for the occasion and wrote a poem for the occasion ending with ‘Rally, Boys, with new delight; come to Fortitude tonight’. This Lodge has had many distinguished and prominent men that served as masters and as members including Rob Morris who served as Master at least three different times. Rob Morris is described in many circles as being the founder of the Eastern Star. He also was the charter master of Royal Solomon Lodge in Jerusalem. Some time back I talked to Jim Pendergast, before he passed away. Jim was a long time resident of Oldham County and he pointed out from pictures of Past Masters on the Wall, many of the Past Masters who where well known in this area. Francis Taylor was the very first Master. Avery O. Gwinn was listed as Secretary. Masters also include such names as Mr. Dawson, Editor of The Oldham County Era for many years and Tom Manby and Elliott Netherton, prominent Lawyers. Mr. Manby’s father was also a Past Master of this lodge and was said to have been descended from anointed Kings. Born in Skipton England in 1828, he owned two general stores in LaGrange and one in Ballardsville. Judge Hall, County Judge for many years, Bill McManion, Vice President of Belknap Hardware Co. and Robert Wakefield had businesses. Mr. Peake, was a Funeral Home owner. In fact, I saw an old funeral home fan at the lodge, which was very old because the telephone number was #1. Incidentally this is where the funeral service was held for D.W. Griffith, one of the first movie directors who directed Birth of a Nation and he is buried in Mt. Tabor Churchyard on Hwy 22 near Centerfield. Mr. Toss, Superintendent of Schools, was an honorary member of a Lodge in Murray KY. The history of Fortitude shares with the history of the community sponsoring the first chapter of the Grangers, an organization of farmers that was the forerunner of the Farm Bureau. (History by Roland Stayton)
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