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Rabun Gap Lodge No 265, F.& A.M., of Clayton, Georgia held its first meeting on September 3, 1867. It was held under dispensation of the Grand Lodge of Georgia. The charter was signed on September 31, 1867 and formally presented at a public ceremony in January 1868. The officers composing the first lodge were: Georgia M. NETHERLAND, Worshipful Master; Frank A. BLECKLEY, Senior Warden; Leander Montraville BEAVANT, Junior Warden; Thomas N. McCONNELL, Treasurer; James R. McKINNEY, Secretary; William C. SCRUGGS, Senior Deacon; Sam M. BECK, Junior Deacon; Berry B. BECK and John C. GIBSON, Stewards; Dudley M. SINGLETON, Tyler
Minutes from this first communication have been preserved in the archives of the lodge. (Visit the Lodge Archives and Photo Gallery links.) The minutes from 1867 through 1887 have been transcribed. Spellings of some names may be inaccurate due to the inability to correctly transcribe the quill pen writing.
Of these original officers, Georgia W. NETHERLAND would serve as Master for the first six years. Franklin Alexander BLECKLEY would serve a total of seventeen years in the East. Most of the founding members were officers in the Confederate Army. (See details below.) No records have been located to indicate where these founding brothers were members. Their names cannot be found on the rolls of the Grand Lodge of Georgia. With close proximity to both North Carolina and South Carolina and since it is known that a lodge (Blue Ridge #92) existed in Walhalla, SC, and Junaluski Lodge existed in Franklin, N.C. and Blue Ridge #135 in Highlands, NC before Rabun Gap Lodge was formed, it is possible that the founding members were affiliated with an out-of-state lodge. A record also implies that some early members received their degrees in the "Confederate States of America."
These officers with several other brethren proceeded to work and at the first meeting a number of applications were received. These included the petitions of Swepson COX, Jr, Riley B. RICHIE, George W.L. KELLY, William H. PRICE, Hiram GIBSON, Wm PICKETT, J.B.L. WALL, Martin BECK*, J.M. SWAFFORD, Lafayette SCRUGGS, L.W. FINCANNON*, E.B. KNOX*, Jesse GREEN and Leander P. WALL. *Not all of these petitioners received the degrees of Freemasonry.
When the charter was secured, tradition says that Lafayette WALL rode horseback to Athens after it because it was too large to go into the mail bag of that day. Mentioned in the Treasurer's record is an entry dated May 2, 1868, "cash paid Wall's expense $8.25."
The original 1867 charter displayed on the east wall today was signed by Grand Master John HARRIS; Deputy Grand Master R.M. SMITH; Senior Grand Warden C.F. LEWIS; Junior Grand Warden S.A. BORDERS; Grand Secretary Simri ROSE; Grand Treasurer J.E. WELLS.
After the charter was received the Deputy Grand Master, R.M. SMITH came to Clayton and constituted the lodge and installed the officers and instructed them in the work. The lodge paid Bro. Smith $20 for his visit. In June of 1868, a set of jewels were purchased from Bro. Smith
Fees for the degrees during this period were: Entered Apprentice-$10, Fellow Craft-$5, Masters-$5. In 1920, the fees increased to $10, $10 and $10 and dues changed from $1.50 per year to $2.00.
The first purchases made by the lodge were for cambric cloth (assumed for aprons), thread, paper, books for Secretary & Treasurer, and 25 chairs at the cost of 50 cents each. The next bills paid were for "Dispensation and fees" $20, strings for aprons and 25 cents for "marbles". (Assumed to be for the ballot box.) It wasn't until 1870 that a frame was purchased for the charter to be displayed. Receipts found indicate another frame for this charter was purchased between 1902-1912.
Despite the name of the Lodge and some erroneous Grand Lodge records, Rabun Gap Lodge never met in Rabun Gap, Georgia. Many of the early members lived in Rabun Gap and perhaps thought the Lodge would be established there once a permanent building was constructed. The early meetings of the Lodge were held in a "house" belonging to Dr. B. Washington BELL (a member of Blue Ridge Lodge, Walhalla, SC) somewhere in the vicinity of Main and West Savannah in present downtown Clayton. The Lodge voted to pay $50 per year for the privilege of meeting in this "house".
A building committee was established in 1869 with seven members including Amos H. McALLISTER, FA BLECKLEY, and Lewis N. JONES. In January 1870, the lodge purchased from HW CANNON, "one hundred dollars in full payment for building lot." In a report dated April 3, 1871, it states that the building will be known as the "Masonic Hall". The cornerstone of the "Masonic Hall" was laid by Bro. (Bishop) George F. PIERCE, former president of Emory University, on June 16, 1870 with the desire to work as fast as possible to have the building completed before the onset of cold weather. This two story building was built at the present day intersection of Main Street and West Savannah Street where currently stands a modern real estate business. Even though meetings were held in the new "Hall", interior construction continued for the next six years and beyond. (See Photo Gallery)
To raise the funds necessary for the construction, members "subscribed" to pay five or ten dollars. Records indicate some paid much more.
In 1879, under the leadership of Worshipful Master William M. PICKETT, a good stone chimney was ordered built to include 3 fireplaces. Also purchased were another set of officer's jewels. Worshipful Brother PICKETT died while serving his fifth term as Master.
In 1911 a report was made to the Lodge stating that living stock holders owned $506.07 of the Lodge building. It was also stated that 12 deceased members owned $157.90 and their estates had already been settled. This was at a time when membership had doubled in the past 20 years.
By 1911 it was evident that the lodge building was too small to accommodate the number of members who attended meetings. The property and building had been procured by the sale of stock at some prior time. Those alive in 1911 who held stock included WH DUNCAN, DM R VANDIVER, TN McCONNELL, John HOWARD, John F RITCHIE, WH PRICE, John A WILSON, Thomas W McALLISTER, VT STONECYPHER, George W KELLY. Much controversy surrounded how the Lodge would buy back the stock. After extensive research it was determined that no legal documents had been recorded to reflect any joint ownership and the Lodge held a clear title.
Electricity was provided to the Lodge in 1914. A bill for October 1914 indicates electrical costs to be $1.00 and the Lodge received a 10 cent discount from Clayton Light and Power Company. In 1921 the Lodge purchased alter lights and fixtures.
Money was advanced in 1919 to Bro. PD QUEEN "to pay for window shades being put up and cleaning of spittoons & etc." Also in 1919, the Lodge donated $20 for an Eastern Star Charter at this place.
While the Lodge now meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month, from its inception the Lodge had a less well defined meeting schedule. In the early days, meeting were stated for the third Friday at 3:00 P.M. This was soon changed. Per the 1869 By-Laws,"The Regular Meetings shall be held on the Friday before each Full Moon, unless the Moon falls on Friday, in which case the Meeting shall be on that day. The hour of the Meeting shall be Four o'clock, P.M." (The meeting time was again changed prior to 1891 to 10:AM.) These By-Laws superseded the 1868 By-Laws which designated meetings to be held at Three o'clock. In 1914 and 1918 the meeting time were changed several times. In March 1914 a By-Law change was adopted moving the meeting to 7:30 PM; however, in October 1914, a resolution repealing the time change was approved. Meeting times were defined in the 1918 report to Grand Lodge as, "Friday, on or before the full moon in each month and on Friday every two weeks there after." The idea of using the moon to schedule meetings was to provide some light for those attending to return home. The current meeting schedule (2nd and 4th Thursdays) was adopted after 1919.
Returns found in the archives indicate membership as follows:
YEAR - # - WM
1868 - 37 - GM Netherland
1869 - 39 - GM Netherland
1870 - 50~ -GM Netherland (returns are partially destroyed)
1871 - 55 - GM Netherland
1872 - 55 - GM Netherland
1873 - 62 - FA Bleckley
1874 - 65 - FA Bleckley
1875 - 62 - FA Bleckley
1876 - 50 - FA Bleckley
1877 - 56 - FA Bleckley
1878 - 52 - WM M Pickett
1879 - 60 - WM M Pickett
1880 - 57 - MW Swafford (sometimes recorded as "Swofford)
1881 - ?? - WM M Pickett
1882 - 51 - DT Duncan
1883 - 49 - DT Duncan
1884 - 46 - FA Bleckley
1885 - 42 - WM M Pickett
1886 - 41 - WM M Pickett
1887 - 42 - FA Bleckley
1888 - 41 - JC Cannon
1889 - 43 - FA Bleckley
1890 - 47 - FA Bleckley
1891 - 49 - FA Bleckley
1892 - 49 - FA Bleckley
1893 - 40 - FA Bleckley
1894 - 32 - FA Bleckley
1895 - 38 - FA Bleckley
1896 - 37 - FA Bleckley
1897 - 37 - FA Bleckley
1898 - 37 - FA Bleckley
1899 - 43 - REA Hamby
1900 - 46 - REA Hamby
1901 - 48 - WS Price
1902 - 35 - JC Dover
1903 - 52 - JC Dover
1904 - ?? - JC Dover
1905 - 66 - JC Dover
1906 - 66 - JC Dover
1907 - 65 - JC Dover
1908 - 81 - JC Dover
1909 - 86 - JC Dover
1910 - 87 - JC Dover
1911 - 86 - JC Dover
1912 - 90 - JC Dover
1913 - 88 - JT Davis
1914 - 111 - JT Davis
1915 - 112 - JT Davis
1916 - 117 - JT Davis
1917 - 125 - GL Bynum
1918 - 129 - JA Green
1919 - 125 - JA Green
1920 - Tyra Queen
1921 - VA Green
1922 - VA Green
1923 - VA Green
1924 - 159 - VA Green
1925 - 161 - RC Nicholson
1940 - 109 - Edward Jeff Wall
1941 - 113 - Russell E Cannon
In 1908 a deed was located in court house records, Book F, page 628 and referenced in a report stating:
We find a deed of record from HW CANNON to said Lodge dated Jan. 14th, 1870 for the following described property: Forth five feet square off of the South east corner of lot No. 12 in the place of the town of Clayton with metes and bounds as follows: commencing at the South east corner of said lot and running west along the edge of the street that runs west from the Court House forty feet; there south along the edge of Main Street; thence south along the edge of said Main Street forty five feet to the beginning corner, recorded July 12th, 1870.
In April, 1923 a new "machine" was demonstrated "to the satisfaction of the members present" and the lodge voted to purchase a stereopticon. (Picture in Photo Gallery). The lodge was to pay half and the York Rite Chapter the other half. Slides were also purchased. This candle-powered device and many slides are in the archives of the lodge.
The ownership of the Masonic Hall during the 1920's is uncertain. In 1925 the property was apparently sold for $5985.42 according to the Finance Committee's report.
In 1932 or on September 1, 1922 the Lodge purchased a vacant lot 50 x 100 on Court House Street (Now #26 West Savannah St.) with plans to build a new Masonic Hall. Blueprints were drawn in 1936. The Lodge met at Main and W. Savannah (then called Court House Street) until about 1929 when they moved their meetings to a room above a store belonging to C.B. "Bass" BROWN thought to be the nearby brick building (formally Belk's Dept Store). In 1930, 1st floor renovations were made including a glass pane front window for a barber shop. It wasn't until about 1958 that a new two story brick building was constructed on the Court House Street lot. The old Masonic Hall was torn down about 1960. The Cannon's Dept Store rented 2nd floor space from the 1960's until about 2005. Over the years, several organizations have used the Lodge buildings. The Good Templars used the old Masonic Hall beginning about 1884 for a nominal fee which ranged from 50 cents to $1 per month. It's also believed that the Odd Fellows met in the Hall at some point. Records indicate that the Masonic Hall was also used to hold court at one point.
The cornerstone of the current Lodge building was dedicated on June 15, 1958 by J.C. KAUFMAN, GM. (See Photo Gallery for images.) This cornerstone, one visible on the Rabun County Tag Office, one dedicated on July 9, 1908 by Grand Master TH Jeffries at the former Courthouse, and one at a public school building on July 15, 1911, are the only known cornerstones to be laid by Masons in Rabun County.
The cost of construction of the current (1958) building was $30,000.00. Bonds were sold in 1968 to raise $14,000.00 to make major repairs to the building after a foundation problem created a significant crack in the northwest corner of the structure. Funds were raised to repay the debt; however, some members chose to decline the payback.
From the first Minutes of Rabun Gap Lodge we learn that the following men were the original founders of this lodge:
Georgia (or George) M. Netherland - Year of birth varies from 1831 or 1837. Died between August 1 and Sept 27, 1879. CSA service includes 2nd LT in the 25th NC Volunteers. Buried in Toccoa, Ga. Was a member of the Georgia Legislature prior to the end of the war representing Rabun County. An attorney as advertised in the Southern Banner, he served as a Justice of the Peace in Rabun County. Served six consecutive terms as Worshipful Master from 1867-1872. Relocated to Clarkesville, Ga and moved his membership to Tallulah Lodge No 161 May 9,1873. Elected WM of Toccoa Lodge #309 in 1878. Regularly visited Rabun Gap Lodge after his relocation up until the time of his death.
Franklin "Frank" Alexander Bleckley - Born 6DEC1824 (Lincoln Co, NC) and died 2 AUG1902 (Atlanta, Ga). CSA service includes enlisting 1864 as LT in Company F of the 11th GA Cavalry. Served in the Georgia General Assembly in 1861 and 1863 and elected Judge of Ordinary in Rabun County in 1893. Served seventeen terms as Worshipful Master. (See Memorial below.) Is credited with leading the county in 1894 to build a bridge across the Chattooga River, greatly increasing the movement of people and goods.
Leander Monterville Beavert - Born 27OCT1829 and died 23JAN1907. CSA Service includes promotion to Captain on 7/20/1864 24th Regiment, Ga Infantry Company E (Rabun County Riflemen). Served as Sheriff of Rabun County 1862-63. Buried in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery, Rabun Gap, Ga.
Thomas Newton McConnell - Born 20AUG1830 in Macon County, NC and died 27MAR1926 in Clarkesville, Ga. CSA service includes 6th Ga Cavalry as Captain. Served as Justice of the Peace in 1873 and 1874. Buried in the Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery, Tiger, Ga.
James Robertson McKinney - Born 16JAN1823 and died 9JAN1907 in Benton, AR. Moved to Arkansas in 1869. Possibly buried in the Fairmont Cemetery, Siloam Springs, AR.
William Cannon Scruggs - Born 14APR1844 and died 19JAN1911. A prominent farmer, Tax Receiver, and former member of the Georgia House of Representative in 1890. Struck and killed instantly by the Tallulah Falls Railroad train No. 11 one-half mile north of the Clayton depot as he was returning home from a meeting of Confederate veterans. CSA service includes Company H, 16th Regiment, North Carolina Infantry and Company E, 24th Regiment Infantry. Buried in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery, Rabun Gap, Ga.
Samuel Meren Beck - Born 29OCT1826 and died 8SEPT1902. CSA service includes Captain in Company F of the 52nd Regiment, Ga Infantry. Buried in the Antioch United Methodist Church Cemetery, Clayton, Ga. Brother of Berry Benson Beck.
Dudley Meeks Singleton - Born 24OCT1825 in Pickens County, SC. Buried in Springdale, AR. Dimitted in September 1869. CSA service includes 3rd Lieut (or Ensign) in Co C, "Brown Mounted Rifleman" 4th Ga Cavalry.
John C. Gibson - Son of Hiram Gibson, who was one of the first to petition the lodge. He and his father both died in 1875.
Berry Benson Beck - Born 26AUG1822 and died 26MAY1892. CSA service includes Company C, 4th Ga. Cavalry (State Guards) as a Private and later in Company F, 11th Ga. Cavalry as a LT. Served with Frank A. Bleckley. Buried in the Antioch United Methodist Church Cemetery, Clayton, Ga. Brother of Samuel M. Beck. See minutes of 28MAY1892 for details of Masonic Services.
Charles Breen - Born about 1815 in Waxford, Ireland. Naturalized US citizen in 1840 in New York City. Demitted and moved in 1872.
Clinton Ashley Jones - Born 25AUG1837 in Georgia and died 6SEPT1935 in Comfort, TX. CSA service included Company G, 25th NC Infantry Regiment as a 1st Sergeant. Moved to Texas in 1867.
THOSE EARLY MEMBERS.....
Swepson William Cox - Appointed Assistant Surgeon, CSA for the State of North Carolina in 1862. Demitted 1874.
Riley Burton Ritchie - Born 11FEB1829 and died 5APRIL1911. CSA service includes 11th Ga Cavalry, Co F. Buried in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery, Rabun Gap, Ga.
George WL Kelly - Born 11DEC1843 and died 4AUG1897. CSA service includes (Private) Company G of North Carolina's 25th Regiment. Demitted Jan 1889. Buried in the Kelly Cemetery, Dillard, Ga.
William H Price - Born 1843 and died 1932. CSA veteran during 1861-1865. Buried in the Bethel Baptist Church Cemetery.
Hiram Gibson - Original owner of the York House Inn. Born 3JAN1807 in Pickens County, SC and died May 30,1875.
William M Pickett - Justice of the Peace 1872-1877. Married the sister of Berry and Samuel Beck. Served as Worshipful Master for five years. CSA service includes 1st SGT Co C "Brown Mounted Rifleman" 4th Ga Cavalry. Died 3OCT1886 while serving as WM. Buried in an unmarked grave in the Antioch Church Cemetery per the minutes of the Lodge.
John Beck Lafayette Wall - Died in Atlanta, Ga 26MAY1929. Buried in Crestlawn Cemetery. CSA service includes enlistment on 24AUG1861, captured, exchanged and transferred to Company E, 3d Battn. Ga. Sharpshooters.
Lafayette Scruggs - demit granted March 1869
Lafayette Pierson Wall - Justice of the peace 1875, Judge of Ordinary 1881-1884. His memorial reads as follows: "The subject of this memoir, LP Wall was born in Rabun County Aug 15th, 1834 and died Feb 9th, 1920. He was married to Naney Turpin Dec 11, 1851. Was one of the charter members of Rabun Gap Lodge No. 265 and constant in his attendance as long as he was physically able to attend - only when Time that never halts but marches on through youth, manhood and old age had laid his hand on this ones strong man did activities cease as a real working Mason. His friends were numbered by those who knew him. His faults were only to himself. No cry for relief or charity was turned aside. Like the Great Mountains that overshadowed his habitations - so towered his love for his fellowmen. But along with others who worked by his side he layed aside the working tools of the craft and the "Emblem of Innocency" we trust, was worthily donned, and he was welcomed by the Great Master of all worlds. We lay upon his body the sprig of acacia with reverent hands.
James F Godfrey - Justice of the Peace 1871-73. CSA service includes Company F, 11th GA. Cavalry. Memorial reads as follows: "We, your committee appointed to draft resolutions in memory of our deceased brother JF Godfrey submit the following:
Brother Godfrey was initiated, passed and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on Oct 18, 1867. He never held any elective office in the lodge, but was a true brother, devoted to his lodge and lived up to the tenants of the order. He departed this life on the 13, day of Sept 1916. As a citizen he was true to his Government. He was industrious, sober, honest and a Christian gentleman. He was a Confederate soldier and did his part in the was between the States. In the death of Brother Godfrey the Lodge lost a true and devoted member. His children and Grand children have lost a kind and loving Father and Grand Father. His church has lost a true and devoted Christian member, and the State and County has lost an upright, honest and true citizen. Wherefore be it resolved that we extend to the bereaved family and loved ones our sympathy and these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of the Lodge."
Jesse W Green - CSA service as Private beginning 24AUG1861. Elected Judge of Ordinary, Rabun County and discharged APR1865. Died 17OCT1906. Son-in-law of HW Cannon. Memorial included in the November 30, 1906 Minutes.
James Alexander McCarter "Mack" Neville - Born 23MAR1832 and died 11JUL1904. CSA service includes 11th Ga Cavalry, Co F. Buried in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery. Excluded from membership 1873.
David Terrell Duncan - Born 22JUN1833 and died 9JULY1904. Buried in the Clayton Baptist Church Cemetery. Sheriff of Rabun County 1870-1871
William D. Bynum - Born 31MAR1833 and died 29MAY1898 in Milledgeville, Ga.
George K Quillian - No record that he received the MM degree. Dimitted April 1869.
JM Bleckley - Brother of FA Bleckley
Albert George Dillard - CSA service includes 4th Ga Cavalry (State Guards.
Andrew J Keener - CSA service includes Company F, 11th Ga Cavalry.
Lewis N Jones - Born 22June1814 and died 8APR1897. Buried in the Jones/Roane Family Cemetery, Clayton, Ga. Judge of Ordinary, Rabun County 1857. Represented Rabun County in the House of Representatives 1859-1860 and 1875-1876. CSA service listed in Ga. Militia District #587. Son died during the war serving with 25th NC Infantry.
John R Scruggs - Born 5MAY1847 and died 4JUN1925. Buried in the Bleckley Cemetery, Clayton, Ga.
George W Greenwood - Dimitted 1889.
JD Fincannon - Born about 1848 in Rabun County. Dimitted 1873
William W Reed - Suspended 1884
Moses W Swafford - Born abt 1836-1837 in South Carolina. Died after 1919.
JM Swafford - Originally petitioned in 1867, but was not initiated until 1879.
Horace Wiley Cannon - Born 1811 in SC, signed the Ordinance of Secession in 1861. He, along with (Col) Samuel I Beck (father of founding member Capt Samuel Meren Beck) voted against secession, signing their names accordingly. CSA service includes Captain, 4th Ga Cavalry, (Brown Mountain Riflemen).
A copy of his petition can be viewed in the Lodge Archives page of this web site. Son, John C Cannon was WM in 1888. Son-in-law, John W Green was WM in 1902. Fathered 15 children, two of which died while serving in the Confederate Army. Served in the Ga General Assembly in 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, 1843, 1851, and 1855. Died 16FEB1892. Obituary published in the Clarkesville Advertiser. See minutes of 18FEB1892 for details of Masonic services.
The records of Royal Arch Masons in Rabun County have not been preserved as well. Tallulah Chapter #68 was formed in Tallulah Falls on 4/27/1892. It is said that a Masonic Lodge also existed about that time in the same community that later moved and became Clarkesville Lodge. On 4/30/1896 the Tallulah Chapter moved to Clayton where it remained until 6/28/1990 when it consolidated with Toccoa Chapter #21. Many records, as well as a set of RAM aprons can be found in the archives of the Lodge. (See image of Tallulah Chapter Penny.)
In 1955 Walt Disney brought his film production company to Rabun County to film the Great Locomotive Chase. (see photo of WB Winfred S. Bearden with Bro Fess Parker.) A Thank You letter was presented stating, "In Appreciation of Masonic Courtesies Extended During Our Sojourn Among You." The certificate is signed by 23 Masons along with their Lodge number and location.
This page is dedicated to Brother John "Buster" YORK (25Sept1902-19Jan1942), a member of Rabun Gap Lodge, who died for our country during World War II and whose name appears on plaque on display in the Grand Chapter building (formally the Grand Lodge Temple) in Macon, Ga. Brother York was a Merchant Marine 2nd Engineer who set out from New York on the SS City of Atlanta en-route to Savannah. On 19JAN1942 the ship entered the waters around Wimble Shoals Buoy, about 8 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Her navigational lights had been spotted earlier by the German submarine U-123. The German skipper fired one torpedo into the port side just forward of the #3 cargo hold from a distance of 250 meters. The huge explosion wrecked all but one of the life boats. As the ship sunk, it rolled over the top of the only remaining life boat. The submarine then commenced to shell the sinking ship. Only one officer and two crewmen survived of the 46 men on board.
Other members of Rabun Gap Lodge to leave the community to serve our country were: B.S. BEECH, Lamar R. BECK(German POW), Alexander J. DILLARD, Hoke R. HOLLIFIELD, Raymond A. KINNEY, Jesse L. LEOPARD, Edward C. NORTON, Lamon Tyra QUEEN, Leo C. CURTIS, William Noah GRIST
Clayton Tribune - October 16, 1902
MEMORIAL OF LIEUTENANT F.A. BLECKLEY
We, the undersigned committee appointed submit the following report:
Whereas it has pleased the Great Ruler of the Universe to call from this earth to the Great Beyond our comrade and brother, Lieutenant F.A. Bleckley, therefore we commit the following resolutions upon the death of our beloved leader and comrade, after mentioning the following facts:
Lieutenant Bleckley was born December 6th, 1824, and departed this life August 2nd, 1902, aged 77 years. Lieutenant Bleckley was married to Miss Sarah Coffee on the 16th of March, 1848. The issue of their marriage was six sons and seven daughters.
Lieutenant Bleckley enlisted in Company F, 11th Georgia Cavalry, Confederate States of America, and was in Hannon's Brigade army of the Western Division. Lieutenant Bleckley enlisted in May 25th, 1864, and went under the command of Capt. W.C. Price. Lieutenant Bleckley was engaged with the enemy in the following battles: At Waynesborough and Jonesborough, Ga., and Camden and Spartanburg, S.C.
Lieutenant Bleckley was a native of Rabun County and spent his entire life here in the service of his comrades and neighbors and for the advancement of his country, and county interests.
Lieut. Bleckley represented this county in the legislature and was Ordinary of Rabun County. Also was one of the charter members of Rabun Gap Lodge F. and A.M. No. 265 and was a Royal Arch Mason. As a legislator, as ordinary, and as a Mason he was true to his trust, and loyal to his friends, therefore be it
Resolved, first by this, the United Confederate Veterans of Rabun County, that in the death of Lieutenant F.A. Bleckley, our beloved brother, neighbor and comrade, we have lost a true neighbor, brother and comrade, and that we greatly feel his loss. However we humbly submit to the will of the great I am, and humbly bow thereto. And look forward to the time when we shall be again united with our comrade.
2nd. That a copy of these resolutions be spread upon the minutes of this meeting, that a copy be furnished by the secretary to The Clayton Tribune for publication, and to the widow and family of our departed comrade.
This Oct. 7th, 1902. M.W. Swofford, Chairman, T.N. McConnell, J.E. Derrick, John W. Green, Jas. R. Grant. Committee
Clayton Tribune - December 31, 1903
THE MASONIC FESTIVAL
Not in the history of this country was there a day more enjoyed by the masses than last Monday. The day was perfect. The sun shone brightly and seemed to add brightness to the faces of every body. There was nothing during the day to mar the pleasure of everyone. It seemed that the blessing of heaven was hovering over our town and among the people the entire day. Col. Chas. L. Bass the District Deputy was at his best and no better tribute to masonry was ever delivered than the address of Col. Bass. Everyone was highly entertained and the principal of the Order was beautifully told. The speaker endured himself to the craft and the public generally. The court house was packed to over-flowing and many had to stand during the exercises. The good ladies did their part nobly. There was plenty left. Some of the ladies took away half they brought. The occasion was everything that the Craft could wish. Dr. J.C. Dover was installed as Worshipful Master for the year 1904. The following are the officers for the ensuring year. J.C. Dover, W.M; J.W.Green, SW; A.A. O'Kelly, J.W.; W.S. Long, Sect'y; W.J. Green, Treas; R.E.A. Hamby, S.D; Rev. M.C. Warlick, J.D.; Rev. J.S. Dickson, Chaplain; F.D. Singleton and W.R.L. Richie, Stewarts; L.P. Wall, Tyler
Clayton Tribune - July 2, 1908
MASONS TO LAY CORNERSTONE
The main features of the day's exercises will be the laying of the cornerstone of the new courthouse by the Masons followed by an address of the Grand Master (T.H. JEFFRIES on 7/9/1908)of the Grand Lodge of Ga., Masons and other prominent speakers.
The people must necessarily eat and the local Lodge will do its full to feed them but there will be such an immense crowd that it will necessitate an additional supply and the county people are asked and urged to bring a full basket.
Everybody come, lets have a good time.
H.H. Welch, Committee
Clayton is fortunate this year in getting the District Masonic Convention which convenes July 9th. This convention will bring a number of prominent men from all over the seventeen counties.
Clayton Tribune - January 2, 1930
MASONIC BUILDING BEING REPAIRED
The old Masonic Building on Main Street, the oldest business house in town, except the Blue Ridge Hotel is being repaired and the main building partitioned as to have the Barber shop on the north side and the Roy Green Café will have the south side which will be connected with the building now occupied by the café.
The Masonic Building was erected about fifty years ago and has been used for a Masonic Hall until recently when the Masons secured rooms over the C.B. Brown store.
The front of the barber shop will be entirely new and of glass.
Clayton Tribune - March 17, 1932
MASONS TO ERECT STORE ROOMS AND HALL
Rabun Gap Lodge, No. 265, F.&A.M., has recently purchased a lot, 50 by 100 feet, on Court House Street, from the J.H. Cannon Co., on which they plan to build a two story building, the upper story of which will be used for the Masonic Hall, and the lower floor will be divided into store rooms.
The building of this structure will be an addition to the business interest of the town that will help, and will help in filling a vacant lot on Court House Street.
The building planned will be 50x80 feet, giving ample room in the upstairs for the Masonic Hall, and the two store rooms below will be large enough to accommodate a large stock of goods.
Building of the Store rooms and Masonic Hall will start some time in the near future.
Clayton Tribune - October 19, 1939
Seek Bids For Masonic Building at Clayton
Sealed bids for the erection of a Masonic Building at Clayton will be received up to 3:00 P.M., October 27th, 1939. All bids must be accompanied by certified check for $250.00. The successful bidder if his bid is accepted, will be required to furnish satisfactory performance Bond. The right is reserved by the Lodge to reject any or all bids. Plans and specifications may be had by applying to R.E. Cannon
Clayton Tribune - November 3, 1959 (with photo of PM's)
Rabun Gap Lodge No. 265 Honor Masters
The members of Rabun Gap Lodge No. 265 F.&A.M., Clayton, honored their Past Masters at an open meeting Nov. 3 and was attended by their families, friends and visiting Masons.
Brother Theodore Pirkle, Custodian of the Ninth District of Buford was Master of Ceremonies.
Brother Hayes Rogers, Worshipful Master made the address of welcome and P.M. Brother C.W. Holden made the response.
Past Masters present included Brothers J.C. Dover, C.W. Holden, Ernest Norton, R.E. Cannon, Roy Green, W.R. Brown, J.B. Parker, J.A. Jarrard, Carl Vinson, Villa Page, Turner Enloe, Albie Rogers, and Edward Norton. We were proud of this attendance which is 75% of our living Past Masters.
Brother Carl Vinson, secretary, called the roll of Past Masters and each responded with expressions of greetings for the privilege of serving their Lodge and pledged their continuance of service to the Lodge.
A large number of members were present and visitors from other local lodges as well as Masons from several Grand Jurisdictions. Each was introduced as were Mrs. Bruce Alter, Worthy Matron of the Eastern Star, Mr. Bruce Alter, Worthy Patron and Mrs. Emma Nicholson, Secretary.
The highlights of this meeting was an address by Most Worshipful Master Rupert H. Bramblett, First Grand Steward of the Grand Lodge of Georgia. His subject was "Confidence" and was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone present. We deeply appreciate both Brothers Bramblett and Pirkle for sacrifice from their profession and business to come and perform this service to our lodge and may God bless each of them.
A bountiful meal was served and enjoyed.
Clayton Tribune - March 15, 2012 (with photo of officers)
MASONIC LODGE HAS NEW OFFICERS
Rabun Gap Masonic Lodge No 265 recently installed its officers for the year. Pictured, front row from left, are: Maurice Nichols, Shanon Stewart, Ed Campbell, Gary Crane, and Gene Nolte; back row, James Butts, Preston Rogers, Vaughn Rogers, and Delmo Patterson. The lodge was established about 1865.
A ledger book was begun sometime after 1903 listing all members of the Lodge, their degree dates, demit dates, death dates from 1867 until 1920.