Masonic Membership

Ephraim Hiram was a Free and Accepted Mason. At the time of his death he was a member of the Sheboygan, WI Lodge #11. Joseph W. Squire (Ephraim H.'s son) was also a member of the Sheboygan Lodge #11. Both gravestones for Ephraim H. and his son Joseph W. are engraved with the Masonic symbol.  We are grateful to Brother Gustafson and Sheboygon Lodge #11 for the information contained on this page.

Ephraim Hiram Squire 
By tracking Ephraim H. via the U.S. census records and letters found in his military records housed in the National Archives in Washington, DC, we learned that he moved his family to Sheboygan, WI sometime between 1830 and 1846 which means he lived in Sheboygan for at least 30 years until his death.

We contacted Masonic Lodge #11 of Sheboygan, WI where Ephraim H. is burried. Brother Rick Gufstagon was instrumental in helping us learn a bit about Ephraim's last days. The following is taken from the historical records of Lodge #11:

"The minutes of December 4, 1860 indicate "admitted a regular member while on death bed." I interpret this to mean that he was a Mason is another lodge but desired to trasfer his membership to Sheboygan. This is logical for at that time plural memberships were not allowed. Thus, a Mason would usually get a demit (today called a resignation) from his current lodge and present it to the lodge closest to his new residence. So, it is safe to assume that Ephraim H. Squire, Sr. was a member of Sheboygan Lodge for about 2 weeks. The minutes do not indicate from which lodge he was previously a member. However, it is noted that he was desirous of receiving a Masonic funeral. His request for affiliation was granted on the same night it was proposed due to the urgency of his situation."

Joseph Wilcox Squire 
A letter was found in Joseph W.'s military records housed at the National Archives in Washington, DC written from a Brother Mason to Sheboygan Lodge #11. The letter was written 7-19-1864 from the church being used as a hospital in Alexandria, VA and included the return of a diploma that was in Joseph's possession a the time of his death.

When we contacted Masonic Lodge #11 of Sheboygan, WI regarding Ephraim, we also enquired about Joseph W. Brother Rick Gufstagon informed us the minutes of the Lodge indicate that Joseph was initiated an Entered Apprentice on September 4, 1855, passed to Fellowcraft on February 6, 1856 and raised a Master Mason on September 19, 1857. He served as Worshipful Master in 1864, presiding over meetings until 4-4-1864 when the Lodge records indicate the worshipful master's position was filled by pro tem officers.

On June 8 a communication from Grand Master Alvin B. Alden was read in the lodge and is recorded as: "To all whom it may concern, know ye that whereas it has been represented to me that in consequence of the removal from the jurisdiction of Sheboygan Lodge No. 11 A. F. & A. M. of its W.M. & J.W. and the necessary absence of the J.W. of said lodge, the brethren thereof are unable to exercise the rights and privileges of a regularly chartered lodge, I do hereby, and at the request of the remaining members of said lodge empower and authorize brother J. J. Vollrath to take charge of and exercise and discharge the duties of W.M. of said lodge until the next annual communication of the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of the State of Wis which is to be held in the City of Milwaukee commencing on the 14th day of June A.D. 1864, hereby directing him at that time to return this dispensation to said Grand Lodge with a report of his proceedings by virtue thereof, and await the further action of said Grand Lodge. In testimony whereof I here unto set my hand and affix my official seal the day & year aforesaid. Alvin B. Alden. Grand Master."

On July 25, 1864 the lodge minutes read: "Bro. S. U. Hamilton read a communication concerning the death of our worthy brother with his diploma. Br. Hamilton offered the following resolution to be handed to Mrs. Squire[s](sic) with the diploma. Whereas: It has pleased the Supreme Architect of the Universe to call our late worthy brother & W.M. J. W. Squire[s] from labor on Earth to refreshment in heaven; Resolved: that in this dispensation of devine providence the Craft has lost a worthy brother, society an ornament and humanity a friend; Resolved: that we sympathise with the widow & orphans of the deceased in there(sic) loss of a husband & father, we would encourage them to look to an eternal reunion in the Grand Lodge above by the practice of those Masonic virtues - Faith, Hope & Charity; Resolved: that the secretary transmit a copy of these resolutions to the widow of the deceased."

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