Calaveras Masonic Lodge No.8 Established in 1855

A brief History of the Calaveras Lodge

 Calaveras Lodge No. 8, circa 1890 Freemasonry may well be one of the world's oldest, and largest fraternities. Freemasons believe in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man.


A Brief History of Calaveras Lodge No. 8 The organizational meeting of Calaveras Lodge No. 8 was held in the home of Captain Moses Thorpe at Fourth Crossing. Fourth Crossing is located South of San Andreas, between San Andreas and Angels Camp.


Dispensation was granted by M : . W : . William H. Howard, January 24, 1855.



Garrett Garretsee, Worshipful Master - Joiner

S. S. Abott, Senior Warden - Paddler

Moses Thorpe, Junior Warden - Miner

Nelson B. Jenks, Treasurer - Joiner

Horace Austin, Secretary - Physician

J. D. Davidson, Senior Deacon - Miner

W. D. Pulliam, Junior Deacon

Timothy Cowles, Tiler - Miner

Other Master Masons:

P. M. Bright - Miner

E. L. Caldren - Miner

E. H. Everett - Marble Hooker

D.D. Fox - Miner

Daniel Latimer - Merchant

J. Rea Fellowcrafts

Emanuel J. Attinilli - Clerk

Edward R. Purple - Magistrate

 Opheus Smith - Miner

Entered Apprentices:

John Arle Cook - Miner

James Finnie - Merchant

William Jeff Gatewood - Attorney

John P. Haskell - Joiner

Chauncey A. Morse - Miner

Morris Murphy - Merchant

Roberet Wilmer - Miner


The first meeting of Calaveras Lodge No. 8 was held in Temperance Hall in San Andreas on February 2, 1855. The meeting was held under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of California. On May 4 1855 a charter was issued by the Grand Lodge to Calaveras Lodge No. 78. The first meeting of the Lodge, after the charter was issued, was held in Temperance Hall on the 11th day of May, 1855.

An election was held and the following officers were subsequently installed:



Garrett Garretsee, Worshipful Master - Joiner

Moses Thorpe, Senior Warden - Miner

Timothy Cowles, Junior Warden - Miner

Nelson B. Jenks, Treasurer - Joiner

Horace Austin, Secretary - Physician

J. D. Davidson, Senior Deacon - Miner

R. McCraken, Junior Deacon - Miner

P. M. Bright, Tiler - Miner


An Installation of Officers was held on June 1, 1855. Temperance Hall was located on the East side of Gatewood Avenue, on a lot adjoining the original Catholic Church. The lot and building were purchased by the Lodge in 1855. On May 30, 1873, Calaveras Lodge No. 78 and San Andreas Lodge No. 50, I.O.O.F., jointly purchased a two story brick building that was originally built by the Odd Fellows in 1856. That building is located on the South side of Main Street across from the Black Bart Inn. The I.O.O.F. symbol and the year are still visible on the front of the building near the roof line.

The Lodge was located on the second floor. The interior of the original Lodge room is depicted in the photo below. Today the building houses the County Museum and the Arts Council. The current Fraternal building was built in 1900 and was jointly owned by Calaveras Lodge No. 78 and the Odd Fellows. The decorative roof line was removed in 1955 when the building was being upgraded to meet earthquake standards. In 2003, at the request of the Odd Fellows, negotiations were held to allow Calaveras Lodge to purchase the entire building. By a vote of the Lodge, this action was approved.

The first Masonic Lodge in Calaveras County was Mokelumne Hill No. 31. After surviving two fires, Mokelumne Hill Lodge No. 31 consolidated with Calaveras Lodge No.78. The consolidation occurred on December 13th, 1883. Campo Seco Lodge No. 100 consolidated with Calaveras No. 8 in 1897.


1898 Officers:

Frank Joseph Solinsky, Worshipful Master - Attorney

William Casey, Senior Warden - Saloon Keeper

George Christian Graves, Junior Warden - Deputy Sheriff

David Cassinelli, Treasurer - Merchant

Adolphus Henry Coulter, Secretary - Miner

Charles Lowe Chase, Senior Deacon - Miner

John Chambers Early, Junior Deacon - Miner

Jabier Salcido, Marshal - Butcher

Cipriano Augostini, Steward - Merchant

Gwin Raymond, Steward - Carpenter

Tomas Alfred Box, Tiler - Selling Water

1898 Past Masters:

Moses Thorpe - Miner

William Anderson Wallace - Miner

Elisha Bryant Robertson - Physician

William Casey - Saloon Keeper

Charles Robert Beal - Teacher

Frank Joseph Solinsky - Attorney

George Christian Graves - Deputy Sheriff


In 1898 the following comment was published in Fifty Years of Freemasonry: "There are 36 Master Masons on the roll of Calaveras Lodge, and it is remarkable as to the uniformity of its numbers during all the years of its existence and to the Masters and all of the officers and members is a great credit due in maintaining their Lodge so well as they have. Were it not that San Andreas where it is located is the County seat, it must have fallen with many other Lodges which have long ceased to exist.

One Hundred and two years after this was written we find the Lodge is still in existence. Calaveras Lodge currently has 106 members and the Lodge continues to Initiate, Pass, and Raise new candidates. Brother Paul Neuman was a member and the Secretary of the Lodge for a number of years. Instead of hailing a Brother with the usual salutation, he would exclaim, "Aloha!", for he had been in the Hawaian Islands so long and was the attorney of record for the Crown and King Kalakaua's and Queen Liliokalani.

California's Lieutenant Governor, John B. Reddick, was a member of Calaveras Lodge #78. Mokelumne Hill Lodge No. 298 consolidated with Calaveras Lodge No. 78 in 1920. From 1905 to 1928 the ground floor of the Fraternal building was rented by Calaveras Public Schools.

The following is copied from the History Page of Calaveras High School:

San Andreas was selected as the location for the Calaveras High School in December, 1904, after the Calaveras Union High School district was approved by the voters on November 4, 1904. The District encompassed the entire county. High School classes began in September, 1905, in the Odd Fellows and Masonic Building (Fraternal Hall), on the corner of St. Charles and Main Streets. The first class numbered forty-four pupils, twenty-four in the General Culture (Academic) and eighteen in the commercial class. The first principal, James Keith, served for sixteen years. He was the one most responsible for initiating the movement to form the Calaveras County High School District, and after serving four years as district attorney, he again became principal and served in this position until his death. He was known as the "Father" of the Calaveras High School District. According the Dr. R. Coke Wood, in the Calaveras, The Land of Skulls,

The first graduating class was in 1910 with only one graduate, Maude Newland." He further states: "The school had grown to he point in 1926 where the Masonic Hall was no longer adequate, and plans were made for a new high school. As the first move the Board of Trustees purchased thirty acres of ground from Clarence Getchell as a campus and a bond election was held in 1926 to raise $125,00 for the construction of the new building." The new school building opened in 1928.

When ever you visit Washington D.C. please visit the Washington Monument. Look carefully for a certain block of stone. This particular block of stone is a unit of granite. It was purchased by Calaveras Lodge No. 78 on April 7, 1855 for the sum of $25.00.