Since 1829 when Widow’s Son Lodge No. 150 was chartered, its members had been serving the Emporia-Greensville community. No longer — the Masonic Lodge has closed its doors.
“With so many members dying off or leaving the area over the years, we just didn’t have the numbers to keep it going,” the group’s treasurer Malcolm E. Tarbert said.
Freemasons are a fraternity of members tracing their origins back to stonemasons of the late 14th century. Members retain medieval craft guilds, such as Apprentice, Journeyman or Master Mason. Tarbert said he is a 32nd degree, Scottish Mason.
“The lodges are under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Virginia,” Tarbert said. “The fraternity encourages its members to practice the faith of one God and the acceptance of a single purpose — to make good men better.”
The history of Masons in Emporia-Greensville dates back to 1793. The Hicksford Lodge No. 37 was chartered that year and continued until 1826 when it failed to deliver its annual report to the Grand Lodge.
Several former members of Hicksford and recruits from Southampton County formed the Widow’s Son Lodge No. 150 three years later and was accepted as a Masonic Lodge member by the Grand Lodge of Virginia.
Hicksford Lodge No. 37, the first in Greensville County, was chartered in 1793. The lodge continued to function until 1826 when it failed to make its annual report to the Grand Lodge and was declared dormant three years later.
The first meeting as the Widow’s Son Lodge was at the home of William Fenrell on June 7, 1829. Fenrell’s house was in the southeastern area of Greensville County near Haley’s Bridge. The group continued to meet at homes of respective members for a few years before building a lodge hall near the home of Fenrell.
The group used the site until moving its meetings into the Greensville County Courthouse in 1840. The courthouse housed the Widow’s Son Lodge meetings for 65 years.
The property, known as “Lands old store lot” was purchased for $650 from William and Helen Land. The Classical Revival style Widow’s Son Lodge Building was completed in 1905 and used by members for the last 114 years. The building has been used for many purposes, including housing the Emporia Post Office for a time.
Tarbert held a plaque with a sword attached and said it was used by one of the lodge officers. The sword is known as The Tyler’s Sword. He said the actual age of the sword is unknown, but it has been used in the Widow’s Son Lodge since the mid-1800s. He said members of the lodge believe the sword should stay in Emporia and be on display in the Emporia Museum or in the Emporia City Hall.