On June 27, 1857, a charter was granted to Jackson Lodge No. 19 in Delaware City by then Grand Master Alfred P. Robinson, naming John Hamon as Worshipful Master, Alexander Biddle as Senior Warden, and Adam Culin as Junior Warden. This was the first Lodge to be chartered in Delaware after a lapse of thirty-three years, with Union Lodge in Dover being revived at the same time after being dark for nearly a quarter of a century as a result of the Morgan Affair. Of Jackson Lodge’s nine charter members, four were from St. John’s Lodge No. 2; one from Washington Lodge No. 1 and some from Union Lodge No. 5.
In 1861, the first member of Jackson Lodge to be elected Grand Master was Benjamin No. Ogle, one of their charter members, formerly of Washington Lodge No. 1, being elected as Grand Secretary and serving until 1864. W. Wood Lesley was elected to serve as Grand Treasurer in 1865. In 1882, PM Francis S. Dunlap was elected Junior Grand Warden. In 1894, George W. Green was elected Junior Grand Warden and he took in the dedication of new Lodge halls for Hope Lodge No. 4, Jefferson Lodge No. 15 and Endeavor Lodge No. 17.
In 1990, the fifth member of Jackson Lodge to serve the Grand Lodge was Charles W. Pancoast, who was elected Senior Grand Warden. In 1916, H. Morton Price became the sixth member of Jackson Lodge to serve the Grand Lodge when he was elected Senior Grand Warden. This same year, the Grand Lodge adopted the issuing of an identification medal to all of its members serving in the first great conflict, World War I, and the laying of the cornerstone of the New Century Building in Middletown.
In 1935, Harris Samonisky became the first of three brothers to serve as Grand Master of Masons in Delaware. MW Samonisky was privileged to attend the meeting in New York when the President of the United States of America, Brother Franklin Delano Roosevelt, assisted in the raising of two of his sons to the sublime degree of Master Mason.
About 1960, Jackson Lodge No. 19 sold their Lodge building and started construction of a new building. Unfortunately a series of events (cost, design, insurance, weather, etc.) delayed progress for several months. As a result Grand Lodge became involved and voted on the following Code change to minimize similar situations in the future. Chapter 12, Article I, Section 2 states “Before any Lodge, thorough its holding company or trustees shall contract to purchase, build or remodel a Masonic Hall or Temple at a cost exceeding Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), it shall submit to the Committee on Properties and Insurance its plans, specifications and financing methods for review. The Committee shall, after such review, make a report and recommendation to the Grand Master. The project shall not be undertaken without the approval and consent of the Grand Master, based upon the report and recommendation of the Committee.”
The year 1963 saw Jackson Lodge moved its Masonic Temple from its previous location on Clinton Street to its new home at Fourth and Clinton Streets in Delaware City. In 1971, Brother Walter E. Nelson became the second member of Jackson Lodge to be elected Grand Master after previously serving as Senior Grand Deacon in 1964, Junior Grand Warden in 1968 and Deputy Grand Master in 1970.
Only three years would pass before the third Grand Master from Jackson Lodge would be elected in the person of Henry E. Snedeker, the long-time Secretary of Jackson Lodge. Brother Snedeker had previously served the Grand Lodge as Junior Grand Steward in 1940, Senior Grand Warden in 1946 and Grand Marshal in 1971.
In 1993, David S. Crockett served the Grand Lodge as Grand Tiler following his year in the East at Jackson Lodge. In 1999, Clarence Timmons served as the Senior Grand Steward. Also in 1999, Jackson Lodge became the first Lodge in the state to open their Table Lodge to the ladies. It has met with repeated success since adoption.
In 2002, PM Peter Tyrrell carried on the tradition of service to the Grand Lodge by serving as Junior Grand Deacon.
May 2004 saw another first when Jackson Lodge, with the cooperation of the Grand Lodge of Delaware hosted the Most Worshipful Grand Master and Past Grand Masters conferring the Master Mason Degree on a Jackson Lodge candidate.
Thus, has Jackson Lodge played an important role in the advance of Freemasonry since it’s founding before the Civil War. Let us emulate their example by not shirking our Masonic responsibility to take every effort to project our Masonic Image.