The History of Ashley Lodge, #681 A.F.& A.M.
Most of the records of Ashley Lodge, prior to October 1952, were lost in the fire that destroyed the building in the early 1950s. The historical information contained here was compiled from records of communciations with the Grand Lodge of Texas and interviews of members conducted by Brother A. M. Savage and his wife, Adna L. Savage. Much of the information about the early years of the Lodge, biographical information of its members, how it was founded and named or its roles and activities in the community have been lost with the records in the fire.
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The Charter
Ashley Lodge was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Texas on December 12, 1889 in Bailey, Texas and began meeting on January 4, 1890. Brother Joseph Myers, District Deputy Grand Master of Masonic District 54, constituted the Lodge in accordance with constitutional requirements. Brother A. J. Smith, Marshall, proclaimed the officers of Ashley Lodge, No. 681, duly and constitutionally installed in conformity to the rites of Freemasonry.

The Stated Meeting time was set for the Saturday on, or before the full moon of each month at 7pm. In 1934, the Stated meeting night was changed from Saturday to the Monday on, or before a full moon. The Stated meeting night was again moved, in 1939, to the first Monday of each month, where it currently remains.
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The Building
The original Masonic Hall was on the upper floor of a small two story building jointly built and owned by Ashley Lodge and the Corinth Baptist Church of Bailey, on land deeded to them by John L. Atkins. Records indicate the Lodge's cost for the building totaled $570, which would lead us to conclude the entire building cost shared by Ashely Lodge and the Baptist Church would have been $1,140. The two continued to meet in this building until 1912, when Ashley Lodge purchased a building downtown. Meetings were held in the upstairs portion of the downtown building and the downstairs portion was rented to merchants. Over the years, tennants of the downstairs included a drugstore, grocery, meat market and car agency.

When the building burned, the Lodge continued to meet at Grove Hill Lodge in Leonard. Plans were immediately made to rebuild and Lodge members cleaned brick from the building for sale to a private builder in Houston. Proceeds from the sale of brick and the insurance settlement allowed Ashley Lodge to rebuild without entering into debt. Permission was obtained from the Grand Lodge of Texas to build a one-story building, one of only two others allowed at the time. A building committee of Rodney Tefteller, John P. Hale and Tom McDonald was given authority to purchase materials and begin construction of the building, which began on July 1 1952. The building was dedicated on November 12, 1952 and Ashley Lodge continues to meet in the same building, with updates over the years which include new furniture, airconditioning, heaters, carpet, a safe and updated kitchen appliances.

Ashley Lodge celebrated its Centennial Anniversary on July 28, 1990. The celebration was crowned with the dedication of a Texas Historical Commission historical marker, by then Grand Master A. D. Hannah.

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The Members
The Officers of Ashley Lodge for the Charter year were: J. K. Taylor; Worshipful Master, A. J. Ray; Senior Warden and J. M. Jones; Junior Warden. Thirteen Lodge members joined to loan Ashley Lodge the $570 necessary for the Lodge's portion of the building cost: Samuel Anderson, W. T. Bell, J. W. Brown, J. M. Jones, J. W. Garrison, A. Gover, D. G. Sudderth, S. G. Leslie, E. Pevahouse, F. K. Taylor, John Wofford, W. L. Owens and A. J. Ray. Ashley Lodge was 110 members strong in the late 1800s, with the membership roll increasing to 240 in the early 1900s.

Ashley Lodge currently has 42 members, three of which are 50 year members: J. W. Davis Jr., Tom McDonald and Grady Giddeons. Four members, past and present, have served as District Deputy Grand Master of Masonic District 3: W. R. McMurry, Frank Robinson in 1986, J. R. Stephens in 2000 and Bill Rosenbaum in 2002. Ashley Lodge has awarded four Golden Trowels to past and present members: J. H. Stephens, Jewel Mims, J. R. Stephens and Bill Rosenbaum. One member, Rodney Tefteller, received a Lifetime Certificate and three members, Frank Robinson, J. R. Stephens and Clinton Webb have received "A" Certificates. Two members, Frank Robinson and J. R. Stephens served as District Instructor for Masonic District 3, a duty which J. R. Stephens continues to hold.

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