Brother Jay Strange is a life member of Inman Masonic Lodge with over 45 years of service. Few members of our fraternity reach this milestone, but Brother Strange’s story of service goes even deeper. Brother Strange, a soldier in the Army, was stationed at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii. He and a few friends decided to go into town on Sunday morning for breakfast. At around 7:48 that morning of December 7th, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor. As they were enjoying their meal, Brother Strange and his friends realized what was happening and raced back toward the barracks. Schofield Barracks sat next to Wheeler Field, at the time the largest air base on Oahu, making it also a target for the Japanese on that fateful day. Once they returned to base, Brother Strange and his comrades assisted in its defense, where they came under fire from Japanese aircraft. Brother Strange went on after the attack to serve our country in World War II. For Brother Strange’s service to our country and to Masonry, Most Worshipful Brother Michael D. Smith, Grandmaster of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina, presented Brother Strange with a Grand Lodge Certificate of Recognition on May 19, 2017 at Inman Masonic Lodge. Other members of the Grand Line present during the presentation were Most Worshipful Brother Jay Adam Pearson, Past Grand Master of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina, Right Worshipful Brother Paul McWilliams, the 20th District Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Tommy Watson, Grand Marshal, Worshipful Brother Fred Phillips, Junior Grand Deacon, and others. Brother Strange proudly received his Certificate for becoming “a member of that Greatest Generation of Americans to whom the people and future generations of the World will forever be indebted and grateful” with his wife, two children, and members of their respective families in attendance.
RWB J. Paul McWilliams was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the 20th Masonic District at Grand Lodge 2017. A member of Inman Masonic Lodge #201 AFM, he was raised to the sublime Degree of a Master Mason on October 7, 2008. He served as both the Worshipful Master of Inman Lodge and the Venerable Master of the Knights of Saint Andrews of the Scottish Rite in 2014. 2015 saw RWB Paul elected as the President of the Ancient Free Masons Club of Spartanburg, a seat he held for two years. In 2016, RWB Paul served as Venerable Master of the Lodge of Perfection of the Scottish Rite, as well as being appointed to the office of Senior Grand Deacon in the Grand Line of the Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina. In 2017, RWB Paul serves as Secretary for Inman Masonic Lodge, President of the Masonic Research Society and the Worthy Patron of the Order of the Eastern Star, Chapter #169, in Inman, SC.
Congratulations to RWB Paul McWilliams on his appointment. We at Inman Masonic Lodge are proud that RWB Paul McWilliams has been appointed to serve as our District Deputy Grand Master in 2017.
The Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina hosted their 280th annual communication on April 27th and 28th, at the Embassy Suites Golf Resort & Conference Center in Greenville, SC. On Wednesday, the 26th, the annual golf tournament was held, and the team of RWB Bruce Chennery placed first in their flight. Congratulatons to the Brethren of this team for their tournament win!
This year’s Grand Lodge saw MWB Michael D. Smith elected to the seat of Grand Master, RWB Cal Disher elected to the seat of Deputy Grand Master, RWB O.B. Smith elected to Senior Grand Warden, and RWB Steve Hames elected to Junior Grand Warden. Our Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer remain MWB Jerry Carver and MWB Jack Marler respectively, as well as RW Robert Nix as Grand Chaplain.
Other appointments to our Spartanburg Brothers are as follows: RWB Jerry Hill, District Deputy Grand Master of the 19th District, RWB Paul McWilliams, District Deputy Grand Master of the 20th District, & RWB Jimmy Hayes III, District Deputy Grand Master of the 21st District. WB Fred Phillips has been appointed to Junior Grand Deacon. RWB Tommy Watson has been appointed Grand Marshal. WB Judd Seay has been appointed Grand Standard Bearer. WB David Blanton has been appointed Grand Tiler. RWB Bruce Chennery has been appointed to the Masonic Education Committee, & RWB Michael Collins has been appointed to the Masonic Service Association.
Congratulations to all these Brethren to their elections and appointments for the ensuing Masonic year!
In 2001, author James Walton Lawrence, Sr., published a book entitled, “They Called It Inman”. An excerpt from the book on page 144 mentions Inman Masonic Lodge:
“Tradition says the Inman Masonic Lodge was founded by three Masons a year and four months after a Post Office was opened in Inman. They have been listed as Dr. John Belton O’Neal Landrum, a physician of the Campobello area, Worshipful Master; P.B. Hall, Senior Warden; and J.C. Hamilton, Junior Warden.
Landrum was also the historian who compiled two volumes of history, one about upper South Carolina, and the other about Spartanburg County around 1900. It was his father, the Rev. John Gill Landrum, a Baptist Minister, who established the Town of Landrum. The good doctor is buried in Mount Zion Baptist Church’s cemetary beside the Blackstock Road.
The Lodge’s charter was granted by the Grand Lodge of South Carolina, while in session in the City of Charleston the evening of December 11, 1878. The Grandmaster was Augustus Smythe.
The Inman Lodge has been very active in the practice of Masonry through the years, and has sustained a sizeable membership. Currently, the Lodge has 311 Master Masons.
The brethren have been busy with fund-raising projects to finance college scholarships for students at Chapman High School, Support to Inman Youth Association, Inman Rescue Squad, the Scottish Rite Hospital and the York Rite Hospital.
Most recently, ten officers of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina are members of the Inman Lodge.
Current officers of the 123-year-old Masonic Body include Dean Chapman, Worshipful Master; David Grace, Senior Warden; Mark Dill; Junior Warden; J.E. Mitchell, Secretary; Grady Rhinehart, Treasurer. The Tyler is Doug O’Shields.
The Lodge is housed in an attractive and comfortable Temple at 8 Blackstock Road and shares its facilities with the Inman Chapter of the Eastern Star.”
Joseph Stewart received his Entered Apprentice Degree on February 27, 2017. Congratulations to this Brother on taking his First Step in Freemasonry!
A steak dinner fundraiser was held on March 18th, 2017, at Lyman Lake Lodge. Over 75 attendees gathered for the dinner, including RWB Mike Smith, Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina, and his wife Lynn, as well as WB Paul McWilliams, Senior Grand Deacon, and his fiancée Bonnie.
The evening began with musical entertainment from the Plum Hollow Band. Brother Jared Miller on guitar, fiddle and vocals, Kris Dedmon on banjo and vocals, and Brother Glenn Miller on pedal steel and vocals, played bluegrass for the crowd. A delicious steak dinner prepared by the officers and members of Inman Lodge was then enjoyed by all in attendance. Afterward, thirteen cakes were auctioned off, with an additional two given as prizes for cake walks. Many thanks to WB Stephen Pinker and the officers of Inman Masonic Lodge, and the Pinker family in particular, for a successful night of good food and good times!
Brother Carroll Campbell passed away March 15, 2017. He was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on May 13, 1967, and received his 40 year membership on March 21, 2008. Bro. Campbell's obituary can be viewed here.
Lodges around the globe will be celebrating the 300th Anniversary of Freemasonry this year. Worshipful Brother Matthew Tripp, Worshipful Master of Mount Zion Lodge #9, Free & Accepted Masons of Ohio, puts the Anniversary into perspective. “On June 24th, 1717, in London, England, four Lodges decided to create the Grand Lodge of England,” WB Tripp explained. “And this structure of organization has continued for three centuries and spread around the world.”
“Masonic Lodges existed before that time,” WB Tripp said. “But, the 1717 date represents the basic, creative step in the overall continuity and agreement of principles that still govern the international fraternity we have today.” The United Grand Lodge of England’s celebration of 300 years will be held in the Royal Albert Hall, London, England on October 31, 2017. Invitations to the Grand Masters of all Grand Lodges recognized by the UGLE have been sent.
The first Lodge in South Carolina, Solomon’s Lodge #1, was chartered by the Grand Lodge of England in 1735. The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina was granted a charter just one year later. The Grand Lodge of South Carolina, with its 288 Lodges, will be celebrating its 280th Grand Lodge Communication this April.
The Ancient Free Masons Club of Spartanburg County will be celebrating the 300th Anniversary by conferring a Master Mason’s Degree on Saturday, June 24th, at Saint John’s Masonic Lodge #333 AFM, 190 West Main Street in Spartanburg, at 7 PM. The degree will be conferred in “traditional observance” form, with candlelight and classical music. A meal will be served at 6 PM, and it is recommended, but not required, that all who attend wear a shirt and tie.
Worshipful Brother Reggie Walter Cox, Past Master of Inman 201, has passed away. He served as Worshipful Master of Inman Masonic Lodge in 1982. WB Reggie, along with WB Jackie Gregory, were the founding members of the Inman Masonic Lodge Charles Heatherly Memorial Golf Tournament held annually at Village Greens Golf Course. For 30 years, Reggie & Jackie have headed this golf tournament which has funded many of the philanthropic endeavors of Inman Masonic Lodge, most notably the annual scholarship awards to many Chapman High School Seniors, and funded the formation of the Inman Masonic Lodge Scholarship Fund.
A memorial service will be held at Hopewell Baptist Church, 1919 Highway 11 in Landrum, SC, at 3:00 PM on Saturday, March 11th. Rev. Lynn Stewart will officiate the service. The family is at the home, and will receive friends prior to the service on Saturday, 1:30 until 3:00, at Hopewell Baptist Church. A service of Masonic Rites will be held at a later date at Inman Masonic Lodge and will be announced.
WB Reggie's obituary can be viewed here.
Brother Hugh Wayne Johnson laid down his working tools on February 27, 2017. He was a 54 year member of Inman Masonic Lodge. Visitation for Brother Johnson will be at Seawright's Funeral Home on March 1st, 2017, from 6 to 8 PM. Funeral services will be held in Seawright's chapel on March 2, 2017 at 4 PM, conducted by Rev. Benny Green and Rev. Ralph Brown. Graveside services, including Brother Johnson's Masonic Rites, will follow at Roselawn Memorial Gardens in Inman, SC.
Brother Johnson's obituary can be found here. Please remember to keep the family of Brother Johnson in your daily devotions.