Lodge History

West Star Lodge No. 205, Free and Accepted Masons, of the town of Sheldon was the first Lodge instituted west of the Genesee River. Its records, now in the office of Grand Secretary in New York, reveal a petition was presented to Grand Lodge under date of March 10, 1809, requesting permission to constitute a Masonic Lodge in Sheldon. The exact meeting place is not known but available evidence points to Sheldon Center. This petition, signed by 11 members of the craft, advised the Grand Master that they were 30 miles away from any Masonic Lodge and that they had nominated William Vary to be Master, John Ralph to be Senior Warden, and Philo Welton to be Junior Warden. This request was approved by Genesee Lodge of Hartford (now Avon) on May 12, 1809.

On July 24 of that year, DeWitt Clinton, Grand Master, granted a dispensation, the same to be valid for one year. The requirements for a charter or warrant having been satisfied, it was finally granted in 1812. The Lodge was prosperous for a time; however, in 1818 it sustained the loss from fire of its Lodge room. Its charter and all the jewels and working tools were lost. Grand Master DeWitt Clinton ordered a new charter sent to them without charge on January 13, 1819. About three years later, in 1822, the Lodge applied for remission of its Grand Lodge dues basing its request on reduced membership due to a fluctuating population in its wide jurisdiction and the loss sustained by fire in 1818. Grand Lodge cancelled all indebtedness of the Lodge in June 1822, and it met more or less regularly until the period of the Morgan episode. Being unable to collect its dues, it failed to meet its obligations to Grand Lodge. In June 1833, its charter was forfeited.

About twenty-four years later, the present West Star Lodge #413 at Varysburg, the lineal descendent of the pioneer Masonic body of the region, was constituted. The first officers of the Lodge under dispensation were Worshipful Master Eli Williamson, Senior Warden, George A. Johnson, Junior Warden Joshua Coughran, Treasurer Owen Cotton, Secretary Lindorf Potter, Senior Deacon Harvey Johnson, and Junior Deacon H.G. Parker. West Star Lodge No. 413, Free and Accepted Masons, was granted a charter on June 5, 1857. The charter members were H.G. Parker, Chauncey Beebe, Owen Cotton, Roswell Gardner, William Tanner, Amasa Barret, Harvey Johnson, Lindorf Potter, M.D. The first communication under dispensation was held on June 23, 1856 in a room over the store on the corner of Main and Attica streets then owned by a Mr. Ainsworth. It continued to hold its communications there until February 20, 1892, when it moved to its present location. The building at that time was owned by Brother George M. Wolf. During the year 1906, the Lodge purchased the building which has since been remodeled and improved to its present appearance. The remodeling was financed by a loan from the Citizens Bank of Attica which was not repaid in full until 1955, during the administration of Brother Fred Rhebergen.

The Lodge has been fortunate in the caliber of men who have been its leaders during its existence in Varysburg starting with Col. William Vary who was a grist mill operator and the first master of the Lodge.


Reference: This information was taken from records at Grand Lodge from the 1957 Centennial Committee presentation.