Its Birth and Early Days:
From Log Cabin
To Summit Lodge
To Temple in the Village
Edward E. Paulson, PM, MPS
WB Samuel W Fish was the first Worshipful Master of Theodore Breck Lodge No. 714. After settling his estate, his granddaughter, Deborah Scales, sent to the Lodge (July 18, 2018) some of his Masonic-related hand written notes and 12 letters from Sam’s close friend, WB George R. Klein, PM, PDDGM. There are 17 items about early Ohio Masonry, 6 items relate to Breck family genealogy and 12 items concern the formation and early history of Theodore Breck Lodge. No. 714.
Lodge minute books 1-5, record years 1935–1963. The minute books themselves are interesting. They are bound and together weigh 31 lbs. The minutes are hand written or hand printed in various blue inks. The writing and printing are rather compact and small, about 8 or 9 pt. The ink has faded some and the pages show some aging as well. This all combines to make reading them rather difficult.
The minutes were searched for entries of significant events, customs, traditions and items of interest. All items selected are reproduced as originally written, in order to convey a sense of the life and times of that era – committed devotion to God, strong moral character, active compassion for others, strong patriotism and fraternal ties that strongly bind.
Excerpts from WB Fish’s notes appear first, followed by the three stages of the Lodge’s early life, namely, Log Cabin, Summit Lodge and In the Village.
Additional items of interest include:
Typical Events, Customs and Traditions
Mrs. Breck’s Letter
George R. Klein’s Letters to Sam Fish
By 1960, Brecksville had grown to become a city. Attitudes and life styles have changed for some. But we cannot know where we are going if we don’t know where we have been. We draw strength for the future by absorbing and embodying our heritage.
Few indeed, are the lodges that can claim to have been conceived in an open field by an elm tree and born in a log cabin. The formerly small farming community of Brecksville still retains some of its’ country village heritage.. So it is with Theodore Breck Lodge. And I pray it always shall be. Small, close and caring. This Lodge is committed to excellence in its work, true Masonic education of all its members, with a strong sense of fraternity in all that we do as truly Speculative Masons.
Highlights From Notes by WB Samuel W. Fish, Charter Worshipful Master
Early Ohio Masonry
The Cuyahoga River was defined as a portion of the Western Boundary of the United States by Treaty of Fort McIntosh in the year 1785 and by the Treaty of Fort Hamar in the year 1789. The Cuyahoga River and the Portage Path between it and Tuscarawas River constitute the boundary line between the Indian Territory and the United States upon the Western Reserve, until July 4, 1805 at which time the Treaty of Fort Sandusky (at the mouth of the Maumee River) the Indian claims were extinguished.
In the 1700’s, Ohio was Red Man’s Country. The were a few Masonic Lodges in the Ohio Wilderness, each with a different Grand Lodges for its guidance.
American Union Lodge No. 1. Marietta, Ohio, the first in Ohio, was one of the Military Lodges in the Continental Army. Warranted Feb. 15, 1776 by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. Closed at West Point, N.Y. May 23, 1783. At Marietta it re-opened in 1790.
Other Lodges in Ohio at the time were located in Cincinnati, Warren, Worthington, Zanesville and Chillicothe.
The first Ohio Grand Lodge Communication was held at Chillicothe on January 2, 1809 (first Monday). Only four Lodges present.
The Conneticut Land Company
Making a partition in the Western Reserve
Provided a Land Grant April 30, 1807
For a township area 5 miles by 5 miles
Township Founded 1811
Village Founded 1921
City Founded 1960
Breck Family Lineage
Robert Breck. First Postmaster at North Hampton, Mass. Purchased one township, five miles by five miles, sight unseen. He died in 1799. His heirs founded the township of Brecksville.
John Breck. Died 1827
Edward Breck. Born 1834, Died 1866 in Brecksville.
Dr. Theodore Breck. Born 1867, Died July 12, 1934. Age 87.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer July 12, 1934
Flags were at half-staff in Brecksville today as citizens mourn the passing of Dr. Theodore Breck, great-grand son of the village’s founder and one of its foremost citizens. He was 87.
Dr. Breck, who was born and lived in Brecksville all his life, was stricken with appendicitis Thursday and underwent an operation. Complications set in and he died early today at Glenville Hospital.
A student of biology and history, Dr. Breck was one of the last “horse and buggy” doctors in Brecksville. He had practiced in the village 40 years. Well versed in Latin and Greek, he attended Oberlin College but transferred to Amherst College where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He later attended Wooster College and obtained a Masters Degree. In November 1894 he married Miss A. Lucretia Fritzius in Hamlin, Minn.
Last Fall during the Village Annual Home Day celebration, Dr. Breck told friends how his distinguished ancestor bought most of the Brecksville land back in Massachusetts without having seen it. The region is one of the beauty spots in Cuyahoga County.
During the World War, Dr. Breck served as Captain in the Medical Corps in France and the United States. At the time of his death he was President of the Brecksville Civic Association and the Choral Society. He was a former Director of the Cleveland Chamber of Industry, a member of the Early Settlers Association of Western Reserve University and the Brecksville Early Settlers Association and was a Past Master of Meridian Sun Lodge 69 in Richfield.
Funeral services will be conducted Friday at 2:30 pm in the Congregational Church, Brecksville, with burial in Brecksville Cemetery (July 14). He leaves two sons, Theodore, Jr and Graham King, both in Brecksville.
The Formation of Theodore Breck Lodge
On the afternoon of Thursday, July 12th 1934, about 1pm, a meeting of Masons interested in forming Theodore Breck Lodge was held in the open field west of Dr. Breck’s residence, near the elm tree located about half way between Highland and Royalton, about 400 feet from the residence.
Among those present: William Dawson, Clarence Henderson, John Markham, Art De Vorn, W. B. Jameson, Thomas Knight, Herbert Steiger and about four or five others. I was called out of my garden and told a Worshipful Master was to be chosen. Nomination was made and a vote taken. Thus was the first Master decided upon. (Signed S.W. Fish.)
From July 28th 1934 until May 1935 the Lodge formation progressed under the guidance of Bro. George R Klein. At the One Hundred Twenty Fifth Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ohio, held at Cleveland, Oct 31-Nov 1, AD 1934, AL 5934; the Grand Lodge recommended that “The Grand Master issue a Dispensation for establishment of Theodore Breck Lodge, where the Petitioners have complied in all respects with the requirements of the Grand Lodge Laws.” (Proceedings 1934 – Page 122).
On April 17, 1935, Grand Master Ellingwood handed the Dispensation for Theodore Breck Lodge to S.W. Fish as Master of same. This occurred at the Stated Meeting and monthly birthday meeting of Brooklyn Lodge No. 454, Cleveland, O. The Grand Master previously notifying us to be present. On the occasion, Bros. Knight, Klein, Jameson and Fish attended.
The first meeting of Theodore Breck Lodge, U. D. was held at the Log Cabin, Weise and River Rd, Brecksville on May 7, 1935. Ten members attended of fourteen total membership of the new Lodge. Also, a visiting Brother from Brooklyn Lodge No. 454 and two other visiting Brothers from Masters Lodge No. 675. The first petition came from Robert B. Duncan and was presented at this meeting.
The last meeting Under Dispensation was held on Oct 15th, 1935. Brothers G. Robert Klein, Laurence O. Steiger, Anton G. Nosek and Robert B. Duncan, in order given, were duly raised during Inspection Period. At the One Hundred Family Sixth Annual Communication of The M: W: Grand Lodge, held at Akron, O. Oct 16-17, 1935 (see 1936 Proceedings Page 111) it was recommended Theodore Breck Lodge U. D. be given a charter. This recommendation being complied with, a Charter was granted dated Oct 17, 1935.
The first meeting under the New Charter was held Nov 19, 1935 at the Log Cabin. Dist Dept Joe Calhoun assisted by Dist Dept AA Stennes and others performed the ceremonies of Consecration and Dedication and installed the officers at this meeting. The Grand Sec. notified us that Brother John C. Jones could be included in the ‘Charter List’ if he cared to obtain his demit, as he had declared his intention of doing in 1934. Brother Jones accordingly became a Charter Member (between Oct 15 and Nov 19, 1935 while the Lodge was idle).
WM Samuel W. Fish, PM
SW Thomas A. Knight
JW Geo. R. Klein
Treas. John R. Markham
Sec. Wm B. Jameson
Chap. Arthur De Vorn
SD Chas. K. Teeter
JD Geo. F. Skeel
SS Arthur Thisenberger
JS Anton Nosek
Tyler Paul Steiger
On Apr 28th, 1936, Stephen E Nichols received the EA Degree, being the first candidate under our new Charter. The last meeting in the Log Cabin was held on June29, 1937. Wm C Klein was last candidate raised in the Log Cabin. The next meeting was held in rooms of Summit Lodge #213 at Twinsburg Ohio. Tues Sept 28, 1937. In June 29th, 1937, Theo Breck Lodge #714, gave up quarters in the Log Cabin with the hope that a new building could be erected at the center of the Village by early fall, possibly Sept . Because of unexpected delay in progress of the building, it was decided to accept an offer, made by Twinsburg Lodge, of their quarters for our use until ours was completed.
In changing environment so completely as this undertaking required, little could be known of what the outcome would be. To some it may have been considered precarious at the time and under the exciting circumstances. It remained for us to discover, by living through the new conditions and surroundings, the value of the change. But now it is clear, as we have had the opportunity of making a change in environments from the Log Cabin to Twinsburg and we realize the profit involved. We did receive and we did give in return, something priceless.
We, here, know that just beyond the Eastern horizon, where the sun casts its first ray of light and shortly thereafter appears in all of its glory, at the birth of each fair day, Theo Breck Lodge has warm friends. And likewise it is given to the members of Summit Lodge of Twinsburg to know, at the close of each fair day, that just beyond their Western horizon, at the spot where the same sun disappears in its magnificent setting, there is a group of their warm friends, members of Theodore Breck Lodge #714.
Surely, in our first journey we traveled in the right direction and we are grateful for the experience.
It’s good to recall that in following the ancient custom when our Brothers have attended communications in this land of ours, and in foreign lands, after writting (sic) our name upon the register we also wryte (sic) “Theodore Breck”. Which constitutes a companionship of some kind of which we are conscious at times.
Note: Until the early 1980’s, it was the custom for Theo Breck Lodge to regularly, and at least annually, visit Summit Lodge in remembrance of our mutual friendship and of their assistance to us in our time of need.
In 1938, RWB George R Klein built Breck Temple to provide a place for the Lodge to meet. Rent was kept low by the commercial spaces on the ground level. Eventually, the building was purchased by the Lodge and Eastern Star Chapter.
The first regular meeting in the New Temple in the Village was held on Apr 19, 1938. It’s good to recall that in following the ancient custom when our Brothers have attended communications in this land of ours, and in foreign lands, after writting (sic) our name upon the register we also wryte (sic) “Theodore Breck, which constitutes a companionship of some kind of which we are conscious at times.
There follows an itemized inventory of Lodge and Temple furnishings and supplies.
No cornerstone was publicly set in the Temple. A capstone was placed over the entrance to the lodge room.
Weise Road, Brecksville Village
May 7, 1935 to June 30, 1937
Stated Meetings First Tuesday at 8 PM
Minute Book 1 begins on May 7, 1935 when the first meeting Under Dispensation was held in the Log Cabin on Weise Rd, Brecksville, Ohio. WB Sam Fish presiding, 14 members present.. The Lodge rented these quarters from Bro. Thomas Knight, SW. The agreed amount was $180 per year. A resolution was proposed that at the first Stated Meeting after December 1st each year, an appropriate ceremony be held in recognition of Dr Theodore Breck, for whom the Lodge is named. The Lodge By-Laws were read and both items were laid over to the next meeting for approval. The resolution and By-Laws were adopted on May 21 Brother Knight was appointed to prepare an historical record of the actions taken toward the formation of the Lodge and the preparation of the Log Cabin for its meetings. (to date, this record has not been found)
No meetings were held in July, August or September, due to insufficient members present.
October 11: Bedford Lodge 375 was invited to assist in conferring the MM Degree on G Robert Klein and Larry Steiger , since our membership was insufficient in numbers. Visitors from Lakewood, Rocky River, Meridian Sun, Forest City and other lodges assisted in conferring the degree. Many special meetings were held to confer EA & FC Degrees.
The Consecration and Dedication of Theodore Breck Lodge No. 714 by the Grand Lodge Officers occurred at the Log Cabin on November 19. Sam W. Fish WM, Thomas Knight SW, WB George R. Klein JW, etc. were present.
A memorial service in memory of Dr.Theodore Breck was held on December 10. Brother Knight, having had the longest relationship with Dr Breck, related some memorable incidents with himself and the Village of Brecksville. Dr Breck was a true and loyal Mason and faithful friend. Other Brethren spoke of their personal relations with Dr Breck and the highest esteem with which he was held in the community and his profession.
The Secretary was instructed to forward to Mrs Breck, extracts from the minutes referring to the memorial service. A framed copy of the Lodge charter was procured by Bro. G. R. Klein and the Secretary was instructed to present it to Mrs. Breck as a gift from the Lodge.
On January 7, it was learned that there was a proposal for a new building to be built in the Village. The Lodge Trustees were directed to investigate the possibility of a portion of it being available for Lodge quarters. The Stewards were instructed to provide some instructive and educational programs and entertainment for lodge meetings.
By agreement with Summit Lodge of Twinsburg and T. Breck Lodge of Brecksville, printed in the proceedings of the Grand Lodge in 1935, that the East boundary line of jurisdiction of T. Breck Lodge was established to be the Cuyahoga River.
Brother Knight notified the Lodge that he intended to occupy the Log Cabin as his residence after April 15. A special meeting (not a lodge) was held on March 3, 1935 to hear the Trustee’s report regarding new lodge quarters in the Village. An invitation from Summit Lodge was read and discussed.
March 17: On account of the condition of the roads leading to the Log Cabin, no meeting could be held, due to snow being over 4 feet deep.
May 19: The first Annual Inspection was held with 38 visitors and 11 lodges in attendance. Summit FC Team assisted in conferring the MM Degree. The Inspecting Officer made some pointed remarks and offered some good advice. He dispensed with the lectures, believing that they were known by the WM. (WB Sam W. Fish).
The Annual Report for the year 8-1-35 to 7-31-36, listed 19 members and dues of $5.
WB Klein notified the Lodge that Meridian Sun Lodge had petitioned the Grand Lodge to grant concurrent jurisdiction between Meridian Sun and T Breck Lodges. The question to be brought up at the next Grand Lodge at Dayton. The general feeling being that such should not be agreeable to our members, he had taken it up with WB James Calhoun, District Lecturer. (now known as DDGM)
At this time, T. Breck Lodge was surrounded by the following lodges.
East – Summit
South – Meridian Sun – (the formation of T. Breck diminished their area)
West – Quarry
North – Bedford, O N Steele
Each lodge had a defined, geographic jurisdiction. Petitioners were required to join the lodge where they resided. When a man petitioned a lodge in another jurisdiction, that lodge would ask for a waiver from the lodge where he lived. After investigation, the home lodge would vote to grant or refuse the waiver.
Requests for waivers became so contentious an issue that Grand Lodge finally took action in 1943 and prohibited all waivers. And in 1947, Grand Lodge approved concurrent jurisdiction for all lodges within Cuyahoga County, where 231,000 Masons held membership.
October 13: The first conferring of the MM Degree without outside assistance.
October 27: WB Klein reported on the recent session of Grand Lodge in which the boundary between T Breck Lodge and Meridian Sun Lodge was approved as the boundary between Cuyahoga County and Summit County.
November 3: O N Steele Lodge 621 requested a waiver of jurisdiction on a petitioner residing on Bunker Rd, North Royalton. A similar petition from Meridian Sun Lodge 266 for a petitioner residing on Pershing Dr, Brecksville also was received
December 1: During the memorial service paying tribute to Dr Theodore Breck, the WM and many others remarked on his character and the esteem in which he had been held in the Village. The Lodge voted to grant the waiver requested by Meridian Sun Lodge.
December 1: A Committee was appointed to call on the WM of O N Steele Lodge to explain our position regarding this candidate with the hope that the request for a waiver be withdrawn. Also, WB Sam Fish reported that he had called on the WM of Meridian Sun Lodge, at the request of the WM and had advised him not to request any (more) waivers for candidates from the jurisdiction of T Breck Lodge.
December 30: The brethren were surprised to find a quantity of new, comfortable chairs which had been secured by WB G R Klein for their use. (donated)
WB Klein explained what had taken place at the conference with ON Steele in connection with the jurisdiction waiver requested. It resulted in the candidate petitioning T Breck Lodge for admission. Grand Lodge action resulted in a change to the Annual Meeting date from the first meeting in November to the second meeting in November due to a conflict with State, Local and National elections. By-Laws were changed accordingly.
March 16: The Secretary read a communication from Meridian Sun Lodge to the officers and members of TB Lodge and all Masons residing in Brecksville to visit M Sun Lodge on April 17. WM Klein then presented WB Sam Fish with a gold watch with the Past Master’s jewel engraved and an inscription inside the case that it was a gift from TB Lodge for his meritorious service as the first Worshipful Master for two years.
June 1: Grand Lodge issued an edict that no intoxicating liquor of any kind is permitted in any rooms of the Lodge or Temple if exceeding one half of one percent alcohol and no part of Masonic property may be used for selling or dealing in intoxicating liquor. Log Cabin rent was increased $5 per month.
June 22: It was decided close Lodge for July and August, as all (degree) work was completed and new quarters in the Village are expected to be completed in time for September. Occupancy of the Log Cabin is to be terminated on June 30th. Arrangements could be made with Summit Lodge of Twinsburg should any emergency arise.
June 29: The Grand Master issued a dispensation for Theodore Breck Lodge to vacate its present rooms and to meet temporarily in the hall of Summit Lodge 213 in Twinsburg, until the new hall at Brecksville is completed. Furniture and Lodge property was removed and placed in the possession of the WM and Chairman of Trustees, thus ending the first milestone in the history of Theodore Breck Lodge 714.
October 16: Pursuant to the Grand Master’s instructions for a celebration of the 150th signing of the Constitution, WM GR Klein invited the brethren of the Lodge and their friends to meet at his house on October 16th at six pm and enjoy an old fashioned clam bake. A large bonfire furnished light and warmed the chill of the evening. The SW read the Grand Master’s commemoration. Community singing was entered into by all present. The meeting closed at an early hour, all returned to their homes feeling enthused and grateful for having been present at such a meeting.
So that the citizens of Brecksville Village might participate in the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, Theodore Breck Lodge 714 F & A M rented the High School Bldg. for a public meeting on Friday, Sept 17th and engaged our good friend and neighbor W W Dawson to address the meeting on the subject of the Constitution of the United States. Mr Joseph Chase was put in charge of the music and provided an orchestra and led the singing. A very enthusiastic audience listened to Prof. Dawson’s address and enjoyed the humor he injected into it. Everyone joined heartily in the community singing and all went home feeling they had spent a profitable and enjoyable evening.
At Summit Lodge #213, Twinsburg
September 28, 1937 to February 16, 1938
The first meeting in the hall of Summit Lodge in Twinsburg took place on September 28,
November 16: The Annual Meeting recorded 23 members and an average attendance of 45%. Dues were $5.
December 7: WM Klein was given an envelope containing a sum of money contributed by the brethren to reimburse the WM for some unusual expenditures he had paid for the benefit of the Lodge. The WM thanked the brethren for their contribution and without opening the envelope, requested permission of the Lodge to return the envelope as an initial contribution to establish a charitable fund to be used by the Lodge for any charitable purpose they saw fit to approve.
February 1: WM Klein reported that workmen on that day had started pouring the concrete floor for the new Lodge room in the Village and expressed hope that we soon would be able to occupy the new quarters. WB Fish again opened discussion of the Test Oath and explained the Ballot and its meaning. He then spoke of the proper conduct and proceedings of the Lodge. He then read from the Teachings of Masonry and from the Lodge System of Masonic Information published by the Grand Lodge. These passages, as always, were listened to attentively and appreciated by the Brethren.
February 4: The Grand Master’s Edict No. 1 stated that it was desired and requested that each Worshipful Master of an Ohio Lodge arrange in the next 30 days for a Patriotic Sunday Service. There is to be an appropriate sermon or address emphasizing and stressing the need for a militant and aggressive Americanism and extolling the virtues and advantages democratic institutions in contrast with the suppression of speech, press, religion and action under the combined evils of Fascism and Communism under the autocracies and tyrannies of the Old World. (Hitler, Mussolini & Stalin)
February 15: The Grand Master’s Bulletin No. 2 pointed out that some Lodges were violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the edict against liquor, and stated that if existing legislation was not clear enough, an additional edict would be forthcoming and the offending officers prosecuted accordingly.
In accordance with the Grand Master’s request that all Lodges arrange a Sunday with a local Church, Rev. R R Dietrich of the Brecksville Methodist Church was contacted and welcomed the Lodge. All members were urged to attend. A large body of members and their families did attend. The WM and others spoke. Some brothers suggested we observe a “Go to Church Sunday” more often than once a year.
February 16: Grand Lodge granted a dispensation to Theodore Breck Lodge 714 to move into new quarters in Brecksville Village.
In the Village
April 1938 to August 1963
April 1: In keeping with the Ancient Charges that the Master shall instruct the brethren, the WM read from The Lodge System of Masonic Information concerning the duties and privileges of membership.
April 19: The first meeting in the new quarters in the Village, which were provided by WB G R Klein and dedicated to “The Glory of God.” The capstone was set in privacy on Saturday April 23, 1938 by the WM and his two sons Bob and Bill. Although this Temple does not contain his name, within or without, its walls, it will always remain a monument to Brother and WM George R Klein.
April 26: An informal meeting in which we were favored by a visitation of 43 members from Summit Lodge 213, after which a buffet was served in appreciation of their generous hospitality.
May 3: Annual Inspection. Having received a request from Ornan Lodge 652 that we use their Candidate, we conferred the EA Degree. RWB Arthur Marriot complimented the officers on their work, keeping in mind the fact that we had placed very few candidates through the degrees in our short life as a lodge. He advised that we had broken two District records – that of having two thirds of our membership present at Inspection and having seven times as many visitors present as members. (approx 160 total) We were also advised that we are one of six lodges in the District to hold a certificate of 100% contribution to the George Washington Memorial.
May 17: Brother B H Burtt, a boyhood friend and college classmate of Dr Breck, spoke on the personality of this great man who was respected by all with whom he came in contact. Brother Thomas Knight, SW, presented to the Lodge the family Bible of Dr Breck. The WM ordered that it be placed in the case built into the wall for that purpose. The WM then informed us that he had made a pair of moccasins from the hide of a moose that he had shot while in Canada.
June 25: We enjoyed an “open house” to which all Masons living in the vicinity were invited. The evening was spent renewing old friendships and inspecting our new quarters by visiting Brothers. A light buffet was enjoyed by all.
July 5: Brother Jackson made the Tyler’s Desk & Cabinet at no charge to the Lodge. A territorial map was made marking the boundaries of the lodge.
July 19: The investigating committee reported that petitioner, Mr Frank, resided in Newburgh Lodge territory. The WM gave the petition to the WM of that lodge, who was present.
July 28: The Trustees recommended they be authorized to enter into a lease with WB Klein for the hall now occupied, for a period of 2 years at a rental of $20 per month with the provision that the rent be increased to $25 per month for the second year, if at the expiration of the first year there is an unencumbered balance in the Lodge treasury of $500, with an option for renewal for 2 years at a rental to be agreed upon. Rent to be paid beginning as of May 1, 1938. WB Klein presented the carpet and chairs to the Lodge. The Trustees noted that the Temple was not a paying proposition for the WM.
WB Klein presented the carpet and chairs to the Lodge. The Trustees noted that the Temple was not a paying proposition for WB Klein.
September 19: A very enjoyable evening was spent by members and guests at a Steak Fry held on the grounds of the home of WM Klein. It was attended by 68 members, wives and friends. Afterward, all joined in a community sing and impromptu entertainment.
September 20: Newburgh Lodge granted a waiver for Mr Frank to petition T Breck Lodge. WB Fish suggested all members read the Masonic Funeral Service and that a practice be held .
October 4: The proposal to raise dues from $5 to $10 was defeated. A FC Team practice was set for 3 pm, Sunday, Oct 13.
October 21: Upon our visitation there, Newburgh Lodge presented us a Sprig of Acacia and a beautiful combination Square & Compasses inscribed “Presented to Theodore Breck Lodge No 714 F & AM by Newburgh Lodge No 379 F & A M.” This presentation was made, not so much as a gift, as much as an expression of friendship and Brotherly Love which is in complete accord with this Lodge’s many past manifests along these same lines.
November 1: Brother Vosatka, visiting us, presented the Lodge a branding iron formerly owned by Dr Breck. It was placed in the case built into the wall for that purpose.
November 15: Radio station WHK suggested a series of broadcasts in the form of a Masonic Bulletin, to be interspersed with music. WM Klein said he felt such a thing had no place in Masonry.
December 6: Being the first meeting in December, the Lodge paused to pay tribute to the memory of one of Brecksville’s greatest citizens. Accordingly, all stood in silence, with heads bowed, in respect for the man for whom the Lodge was named, Dr Theodore Breck.
Frank S Harmon Lodge No. 663 invited all Master Masons to attend a Masonic play entitled “Judge Not” to be presented December 15.
January 3: The Lodge voted to accept the terms of a 5 year lease at $20 per month until the general fund shall exceed $500, at which time it shall increase to $25 per month.
January 19: Bedford Lodge invited all Master Masons to attend a Masonic play on January 30.
February 21: Ashlar Lodge 639 invited all Masons to a showing of moving pictures of the George Washington Memorial on April 4 th.
April 4: MW Grand Master Alpheus Stephens, RW Deputy GM Samuel Fish and other GL officers, in due form and ceremony, consecrated the new building to the Glory of God and the service of Freemasonry. The Grand Master remarked on the outstanding performance of Theodore Breck Lodge and the leadership of WB Samuel W Fish and WB George R Klein.
April 11: Father and Son Banquet in our own dining room. Rev. Groom, Pastor of Franklin Circle Church, spoke on George Washington.
April 30: Go To Church Sunday. 30 Masons and their families attended. Twice a year.
May 2: Meridian Sun Lodge candidate waiver was refused.
July 18: Steak Fry in Metro Park. 66 Masons and wives attended.
September 12: F C Team practice.
September 7: Steak Fry by the Stewards at the Worshipful Master’s home. All Brecksville Masons and their families invited.
November 7: Rocky River Lodge advised that they had purchased new robes and offered their old robes to us. WB Klein pointed to this as another example of the spirit which is so abundant in Freemasonry. New Grand Lodge legislation whereby the handling of intoxicating liquors, or being intoxicated on the premises where it is sold, disqualifies a man from membership in Masonry.
December 5: Annual tribute to Dr. Breck.
March 17: On Sunday afternoon at the Brecksville High School, the Lodge arranged for a presentation of sacred and secular music, free of charge to the public. The Hiram College Acapella Choir and other artists performed. Cost of the program was assumed by several Lodge Brothers. Churches and Lodges in the area were invited. There were many letters of appreciation in response.
February 7: Father Son Banquet, served by the Ladies Aid Society of the Methodist Church.
April 2: WB George R Klein presented the Lodge a piano.
April 14: Go to Church Sunday. 19 brothers attended.
Various members often presented an educational program
April 30: MM practice.
May 7: Annual Inspection. It was noted that we had broken two District records. 60% of our members were in attendance and the total attendance was 3 times our total number of members.
June 2: A candidate waiver was granted to Babcock Lodge in N. Royalton.
June 11: Ladies Night with entertainment.
August 14: Steak Fry at WB Klein’ home.
October 1: Waiver for Meridian Sun Lodge refused.
October 15: Degrees $80, Dues $7.
November 19: Property inventory valued at $2033.53.
December 17: The marble slabs resting on the pedestals in the South, West and East were the gift of Brother F R Pickering, who has been visiting us for some time. His son was recently made a member of the Lodge.
Summit Lodge suggested we set up a time to regularly exchange degree work between our two Lodges.
1941: 52 Members
January 7: WB G R Klein brought a large “Birthday” cake into the Lodge to celebrate the 32nd anniversary of WB Sam Fish’s installation as Worshipful Master of Jerusalem Lodge No. 26 of Plainfield, NJ, in 1909.
March 4: Berea Lodge granted a waiver.
March 9: Go to church Sunday
March 30: Easter Sunday Hiram College Choir program for the community. Lodge sponsorship not to be advertised.
Officer’s aprons purchased. Anonymous donor paid half the cost.
April 18: Waiver request by Pythagoras Lodge.
April 29: Father son Banquet.
June 3: Brother Harry De Wolfe (not a member) donated the picture of George Washington.
June 17: In commemoration of the formation of the Lodge, a 12 lb cake was provided. A Steward was sent out to find a knife large enough to cut it for 21 happy brethren. A great many compliments were paid WB Sam Fish for his work in forming and contributing to the lodge.
A petitioner had 2 fingers missing from his left hand. A ruling was sought regarding his eligibility. A motion passed to pledge $25 to the Brecksville Methodist Church building expansion fund.
October 21: Grand Lodge ruled that De Molay may not meet in Lodge rooms. WM G Robert Klein advised that Brother Thomas Knight had this evening presented to him some historical papers dealing with the formation of this Lodge.
December 2: Waiver refused.
1942: 54 Members
January 6: Waiver requested by Meridian Sun Lodge.
February 3: Dues raised to $7.50.
February 22: Go to church Sunday
May 10: The Lodge presented a lectern to the Protestant Chapel at the Veterans Hospital in the Village.
May 19: A panel, donated by WB Charles Teeter, displaying the pictures of our charter members and a replica of our charter, was placed on the wall of the reception room.
A waiver request from Forest City Lodge was refused.
July 7: The collection of sales tax stamps netted $38.83, which was given to the Ohio Masonic Home. WB Sam Fish was appointed to lead a project to write to brethren in the a service of our country. There was good followup and response. A Steak Fry was scheduled for the first Saturday after the first full moon in July. 58 members & wives attended.
September 1: The Grand Master requested a contribution of 7 cents per member for services to members in the Armed Forces. The Cleveland News proposed listing various organizations’s members serving in the Armed Forces at a charge of $1 per name. This was roundly rejected as crass commercialism of patriotic duties and personal rights.
October 6: Waiver request from Woodward Lodge.
November 3: Grand Master took steps to stop the requesting and granting of petition waivers. It was declared the most troublesome item in the code and should be prohibited to all new applicants. To be voted on at the next GL session.
November 17: Waiver requests from Meridian Sun and Newburgh Lodges were refused. A library table and wardrobe cabinet were donated anonymously.
December 1: A letter from the U S Treasurer asked that the Lodge make an effort to sell War Bonds. All members were encouraged to join in the Share The Ride program to save rubber and gas and to do whatever they could in the Civil Defense organization.
1943: 65 Members
February 16: Grand Master’s letter. “Warning!” The Office of Censorship of the U S Government warns us to desist from publishing information about our members in the service that may prove harmful to them and damaging to our country.
April 6: Waiver request from Newburgh Lodge refused.
May 4: Lodge purchased a $500 war bond.
September 7: Waiver requests from Newburgh and W G Harding Lodges refused.
October 5: By-Laws changed to meet at 7:00 pm instead of 8:00 pm.
December 7: Effective 10-22-43, Grand Lodge eliminated balloting for degree examinations and waivers of lodge jurisdiction. WB Sam Fish conducted the entire Installation Ceremony from memory – Again. 12 Officer Manuals were purchased.
Brecksville Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star was organized on March 15, 1943. Their first meeting in our Temple was on August 12, 1943. Rent was $25 per month and 50% of janitor service.
January 4: Brother Jack Zaylor made a beautiful Honor Roll Plaque listing 6 Brothers in the Armed Services. Brethren were reminded to always vote with the left hand. A membership committee always interviews and approves a man before granting a petition request.
February 26: Sunday 2:30 pm to 10:40 pm. Raised 5 MM’s. Dinner break was served by two wives.
March 15: Meridian Sun Lodge invited TBL to confer the MM Degree on their candidate, for the third time.
August 19: WB Samuel W Fish moved to California.
1945: 95 Members
January 16: Paul Steiger, our Lodge’s first Tyler, retired on his 71st birthday, due to health. WB Ernest Green recalled Brother Steiger’s early duties. On many occasions he had gone to the Log Cabin in snow, sometimes reaching a depth of several feet, in order to have the room warm in time for the meetings. WB’s Teeter and Klein spoke of such things as their famed oyster stew, cooked in a bucket in the open fireplace in the Log Cabin. And of meetings called off because the snow prohibited members from reaching the cabin, of distinguished visitors from all over the world and that the Altar and pedestals were made from a tree which had stood at the home of Dr Breck.
The Grand Master requested that Tylers require all visitors show their dues card , as evidence of their good standing. The Trustees ruled that there shall be no card playing on the premises. OES is to be informed.
February 20: The Lodge increased its pledge to purchase War Bonds from $25 to $50 per month.
May 1: Brother Barlow, of the Veterans Hospital, requires aid for a short time. He would like a group of 8 men to help for 2 hours, once every two weeks, until employment conditions become better; the draft having caused a shortage of workers.
August 14: V J Day Much celebrating. Open services at Congegational Church. Many of our Brothers and families attended, giving thanks.
October 16: Tenth anniversary of the formation of TBL and the achievement of 100 members.
OES wishes to purchase an organ and asks the Lodge to pay half. The Lodge has no money for an organ. Can the piano be placed in the balcony?
October 1: Grand Lodge was petitioned to declare all of Cuyahoga County one concurrent jurisdiction. Our WM and Wardens will state our objections.
1947: 130 Members
June 11: A play entitled “I Man Die” was presented by the players of Ashlar Lodge 639.
September 20: Our Annual Fall Outing in the Brecksville Metro Park was attended by 120 members and families.
November 17: Grand Lodge approved concurrent jurisdiction for all Lodges in Cuyahoga County, where 230,000 Masons reside. Per Grand Lodge, the conferring of degrees by Masonic clubs is to be determined by the WM.
1948: Average Stated: 52.2, Special: 38.8, 16 EA 15 FC 11 MM raised
March 16: The Parma Masonic Development Committee requested consent to form a lodge in Parma. It was granted by an affirmative ballot.
May 18: First meeting of Parma Lodge.
September 7: Purchased an Altar Bible for DeMolay.
September 21: TBL presented a kneeling stool to Parma Lodge. De Molay challenged Masons to a game of baseball. Accepted tho undermanned. Boys 18 men 5.
October 2: Annual Fall Outing at Oak Grove Pavilion. Dinner, entertainment and a songfest. 116 members and friends.
November 2: WB George R Klein was appointed a DDGM. The District now has 4 DDGM’s and 53 Lodges. WB Dr. Charles Teeter was awarded a membership in the International College of Dentists for his advancement of science in dentistry. This is only the 12th such membership awarded. A movie was shown about the scope and operation of the Metro Parks.
1949: Average Stated: 42.4, Special: 44, 169 members
February 1: Ordered 50 Bibles. Voted to buy a record player and GL approved records of appropriate music for degrees. First played 4-30-40.
June 21: Amended By-Laws.
November 14: Voted to purchase Secretary desk, chair and lamp. Announced first meeting of Strongsville Lodge, UD on 12-2-49. Hi 12 Club meets 3rd Monday. Square Club.
1950: 137 Members
January 17: Voted to purchase a canvas in the MM degree to present to James B Rulh Lodge , Chagrin Falls.
March 7: Voted to purchase 24 Monitor books from GL. To be offered to new MM’s @ 0.65. They contain all the plain text from the Ritual.
April 4: Charles P Rose appointed Secretary Pro Temp. He served 19 years. (His hand printed minutes are the only completely legible minutes in all the books.)
August 10: Met with O N Steels Lodge in the Brecksville Metro Park to celebrate the Police Fellowcraft Team’s 21st Birthday. Grand Master Wm R Pringle was present. Officers and members 35, visitors 360. Not sure that all signed in.
September 1: 25 Officers and members journeyed to Chagrin Falls to attend a meeting of James B Ruhl Lodge, U D, to install WB George R Klein as DDGM. RWB John Barclay, JGD, composed an outstanding bit of verse using each letter of GRK’s full name for the first letter of each word starting a line.
October 3: Ray Bejcek SD, was appointed Fire Chief of the Village.
November 5: WB G Robert Klein officiated at the laying of the corner stone for a new $350,000 Sunday School building at the Church of the Savior, Methodist, located at Lee and Bradford Roads in Cleveland Heights. Our Speculative Brother was instrumental in the campaign for funds for this worthy cause and completed the task in an Operative capacity.
August 1950 Through August 1963
August 20, 1954: Annual Outdoor Lodge meeting. A buffet dinner was served before the meeting. All were seated within 30 minutes. The highlight of this occasion was the recognition of 50 years of service to Masonry by our first Worshipful Master, WB Samuel W Fish. With great ceremony, WB Fish was presented to the Lodge by RWB George R Klein. Then MWB William R Pringle, Grand Master, spoke of WB Fish’s many accomplishments in Masonry, including serving as the WM Under Dispensation at the formation of Theodore Breck Lodge No. 714. He then presented WB Fish his 50 Year Medal, with Grand Honors. Many other Brothers spoke of WB Fish’s service to Masonry, including as Worshipful Master of Jerusalem Lodge No. 28, Plainfield, NJ.
We were then treated to entertainment consisting of several vocal numbers by Brother Victor Roche of Roosevelt Lodge, accompanied by Brother Mike Bryan playing the organ.
There were more than 510 in attendance. Not all had registered.
Typical Lodge Events
1934 – 1963
Annual Outdoor Lodge meeting of seven lodges, hosted by Theodore Breck Lodge, 1950 – 1963. Held at Oak Grove Pavilion, Brecksville Metro Park with Meridian Sun, Summit, E S Griffiths, Parma, Bedford, Maple Heights and Strongsville Lodges. Average attendance was 400-500 and always included Past &/or current Grand Masters and other G L officers, visitors from as many as 41 Ohio lodges and from 5 other states.
A buffet dinner was prepared by TBL with everyone seated within 30 minutes. Souvenir paper aprons were provided. Vocalist, organ music, small combos, singing groups, singalong or a magic act were among the entertainment provided.
Saint John’s Sunday – Together, Brethren and family attend a local church (also 2-4 times a year)
Memorial Tribute to Dr Theodore Breck First meeting in December (by resolution)
Commemoration of the Formation of the Lodge – First meeting in May
Memorial for Deceased Members – Annual Meeting in November
Visit Summit Lodge – Commemorate their assistance in our times of need.
Visit Ohio Masonic Home – Springfield, Ohio
Father-Son Banquet – Dinner and speaker or entertainment. 130-175 attended.
Fall Steak Fry – Metro Park. Entertainment. 100-140 attended.
Ladies Night – Dinner, Entertainment, 100-130 attended.
Past Master’s Night – Dinner and Entertainment or PM’s confer a degree.
Community Music Program – Hiram College Choir. Lodge rented High School auditorium
Brecksville Village Masonic Night or Sojourner’s Night – All Brecksville Masons invited. Avg attendance 120.
Lodge Practices, Customs, and Traditions
A Committee interviewed & questioned all prospects before granting a request for a petition
Membership eligibility was by lodge geographic jurisdiction.
Concurrent lodge jurisdiction approved for all of Cuyahoga County 10-17-47
Lodges voted to allow the formation of any new lodge
All business conducted in the MM Degree
Lodge closed in one degree before opening in another
All new MM’s were reminded to vote by raising their left hand
Grand Lodge required Tylers to check dues cards of all visitors
Frequent F C Team practices
Minutes recorded member’s family births and deaths. Monthly Birthday Party for members
Celebrate Member’s Birthdays of the month with refreshments
Worshipful Masters often held open forums on Grand Lodge Code
Stewards, Deacons and candidate marched in step. Everyone walked in straight lines and turned square corners within the Lodge. Degree proficiency exams were voted by ballot at the Altar
Members were active in Square Club and High Twelve Club
Members encouraged to share rides to conserve gas and rubber and to buy War Bonds
Sam W Fish 50 Year Award at the 1954 Outdoor Lodge Meeting in Metro Park
32nd Anniversary of WB Samuel Fish as WM of Jerusalem Lodge 26, Plainfield, N J
George R Klein installed as DDGM
George R Klein Recognition and Lifetime Membership
Police Fellowcraft Team 21st Birthday at 1950 Outdoor Lodge meeting in Metro Park
Square Dance, Moving Pictures, Plays
Mrs. Breck’s Letter
Theodore Breck Lodge
No. 714 F & A M
Mr B Jameson, Secretary
My Dear Friends:-
The excerpt from the minutes of your December third Memorial Service to Doctor Breck is a solace for which I am deeply grateful. The Doctor could acknowledge much better than I the great tribute you have paid him by founding the Theodore Breck Lodge as well as in this Memorial Service, but I am glad indeed that his life, which I was privileged to share, and his loyalties to the ideals of Masonry are an inspiration to you.
Please accept my most sincere thanks for your consideration of me, and for your beautiful framed Charter. I shall always value it highly, and also please accept my best wishes for success in all your endeavors.
Mrs Theodore Breck
January 6, 1936
Memorabilia – Donated
Dr Breck’s Bible and branding iron
Plaque of Charter Members
Portrait of George Washington
Honor Roll Plaque listing members in the Armed Services
Copy of the original land grant for the township of Brecksville
Tyler’s Desk and Cabinet
Inscribed Square & Compasses
Altar, Pedestals and Marble Sounding Blocks
Marble wall covering, carpeting and chairs
Lectern to the Chapel at the Veterans Hospital
Kneeling Stool to Parma Lodge UD
Canvas to J B Ruhl Lodge UD
Altar Bible to De Molay
George Washington Memorial Foundation
Ohio Masonic Home
Annual Village Christmas Fund
American Red Cross
U S War Bonds
Berea Methodist Children’s Home
Masonic Employment Bureau
Ladies Society of the Methodist Church
Letters to Sam Fish From George R. Klein and Others
9-21-53 Dear Sam,
There was difficulty obtaining approval for B F Goodrich and the Fire Station on Park property. We need a supermarket. Don’t like the idea but we need it. Many new homes and fine type of citizens. Lodge had a great outdoor meeting with about 500 or more in the Metropark.
3-8-54 Dear Sam,
We had a snowstorm this winter with 22 inches of snow. The fire dept “rescued” the boy scout troop that was camped that weekend, despite their strong objections!
(E. Paulson was the Scoutmaster.) Enclosed were newspaper clips of the 3-1-54 cornerstone ceremony for the Methodist Church Education Building. George R. Klein officiated, Rev. C.C. Amendt, Pastor and our Lodge Chaplain.
6-1-54 Dear Sam,
Enclosed is a program from the Grand Master’s Reception at the Carter Hotel in Cleveland. We expect to have a great open air Lodge meeting in the Metropark in mid August. Would you like to attend? You would see your “baby” and how it has prospered.
6-24-54 (From Cecil M. Burnett WM)
Dear Wor. Bro. Fish:
During the past eight years it has been my pleasure to discuss with Geo. Klein, John Markham, J. C. Jones and many others the past history of Theodore Breck Lodge. In all of these pleasant and interesting discussions the name of Sam Fish was mentioned countless times as the one person who did more for Theodore Breck than anyone else. George Klein has read many of your letters in our lodge meetings, and has related many times your wonderful accomplishments while organizing Theodore Breck and also while serving as its first Master.
On August 20th, 1954, Theodore Breck and seven (7) neighboring lodges will jointly hold our annual out-door meeting in the Brecksville Metropolitan Park. We would like very much to center the program around a “special recognition night” for you. Do you think it would be possible for you to be present at this meeting? If so, it certainly would be the “highlight” of my year as Master of Theodore Breck.
Incidentally, you might be interested to know that Mrs. Barnett and I knew Dr. and Mrs. Breck very well. From 1930 to 1934 we played bridge with them on the average of twice a month. I was teaching at Independence at the time.
Hoping to hear from you in the near future,
Cecil M. Burnett W M
6-29-54 Dear Sam,
Thank you for your good letter of June 8th and I was so interested in the manner in which you broke down the progress in Masonry through the new lodges which have been started since ours was started, and as a result, Masonry is becoming stronger and stronger in Ohio as the days and years go by.
I was in hopes you would be able to attend our open air meeting at Brecksville on Friday night, August 20th, as we really want you there, Sam, if it is possible for you to make it. Further, I might say that you can go into the Union Pacific offices in San Francisco, or in the United Air Lines office if you would care to fly, and pick up your ticket. Or if you would like to come by train and return by air, the ticket can be split in that manner, but all you have to do is just say you will come and the tickets will be made available within the next three or four days.
I am sure that you know that there is a 50 year pin due you and this pin is to be presented to you on that evening by a Past Grand Master, William R. Pringle. Arrangements for this presentation have been made and there perhaps will be 500 men at this open air meeting, of which many of them will be your friends of former years.
I had not intended to say anything to you about this 50 year pin and let it come as a surprise, but after thinking it over I believe that you should know just what the program will be at this meeting, plus the fact that I think you will find true Masonry wherever you turn because this is one Masonic meeting where everybody has a smile on his face and everybody acts as if they were enjoying the program.
I do not mean from the above that you are to come in for the meeting and then to be on your way home, as you surely will want to stay and spend some time with us when you come to Brecksville.
Sunday we attended church at Independence as the Lodge has so many members from Independence that the Master thought it well to go to a church in Independence this year. It was a beautiful service and there was a fairly good turnout of the members of Theodore Breck Lodge, for which I was thankful.
Think it over Sam – if your health does not permit you to make the trip, that is something else, but if your health is such that you can make the trip, I do hope you will arrange to do so. You may be sure that whether you come by train or plane, there will be somebody there at your destination in Cleveland to meet you.
With kindest regards and best wishes, I remain,
George R. Klein
p.s. I am enclosing a copy “Grains”, which is one of the finest Masonic papers that any lodge in the 22nd District puts out, for your information.
7-9-54 (From W. R. Pringle, PGM)
Mr Samuel W Fish
George Klein has advised me that you are planning on coming to Cleveland for our big outdoor meeting on August 20th.
This is an annual affair started a number of years ago in which eight lodges are opened and closed in the Brecksville Reservation of the Metropolitan Park. A buffet dinner is served prior to the meeting and there will be hundreds in attendance at the meeting.
George R. Klein has suggested that I present you with a fifty year pin that night. This pin has already been prepared by the Grand Lodge and it will certainly be a privilege for me to present this pin to one who has done so much for Masonryin this state. I know of your record and background, and look forward with keen anticipation to this event.
I want to second George Klein’s request to you to come to the meeting that night..
It has certainly been nice of George Klein to make available plane or rail transportation for you and I know that he is looking forward with a great deal of pleasure to your acceptance.
With every good wish, I am
Wm R Pringle
Past Grand Master
7-12-54 Dear Sam,
Thank you for your note of July 9th and my but it was good news as we as we really want you at the meeting on Friday evening, August 20th.
Please advise me as soon as you have the route which you care to travel so the necessary arrangements can be made at this end for you to pick up your tickets.
With kindest regards and best wishes, I remain,
George R. Klein
7-23-54 Dear Sam,
Thank you for your letter of July 20th and arrangements have been made for you to pick up your round trip ticket at the United Air Lines office at 400 Post Street, San Francisco. Your ticket is on a DC-7, which is the new ship that United is so proud of. You will leave San Francisco on Flight 726 at 8:45 A.M. August 19th, arriving in Chicago at 4:25 P.M. You will leave Chicago on Flight 320 at 5:20 P.M., arriving in Cleveland at 7:55 P.M.
Your Return Trip is on Flight 323, leaving Cleveland at 9:10 A.M. on August 23, arriving in Chicago at 10:00 A.M. Then you leave Chicago at 10:30 A.M. on Flight 721 and arrive in San Francisco at 2:45 P.M. San Francisco time.
There are quite a number of folks who are looking forward to seeing you at the meeting on August 20th and I know that you will have a pleasant stay at my home in Brecksville. Of course I will meet you at the airport on the evening of August 2019.
With kindest regards, I am,
George R. Klein
At the meeting representatives of 71 Ohio Lodges registered.
Also 10 Lodges from out of the state.
WB Sam Fish sent a copy of a nine page account (single spaced typed) to WB George Klein, detailing almost minute by minute his trip to Cleveland and return. He described flying over Yosemite and Devil’s Tower, conversations with fellow passengers and much, much more.
8-30-54 Dear Sam,
Thanks for your wire advising that you had arrived home safely and I do want to thank you for all the pleasure you brought into the lives of so many men by being present at the meeting.
I still have men stop me and tell me what a fine meeting that was, so whatever happened there registered, and it was all for good.
With kindest regards and best wishes, I remain,
George R. Klein
9-30-54 Dear Sam,
Thank you for your note of September 14th and for the copy of the account of your trip from Berkley, California to Brecksville, Ohio and return.
Your story of the trip was certainly most interesting and there are parts of it that I do want to read to the members of Theodore Breck Lodge at some meeting in the near future. I hope I have your permission to do so.
I trust that this finds you and yours well and enjoying good health.
With kindest regards and best wishes, I remain,