Meridian Sun Lodge was among the first of the Lodges to be organized in what is now Summit County. At that time the area was Medina County. The Lodge was preceded by Middlebury Lodge No. 34, which was organized in February of 1816 and operated until 1828, and Hudson Lodge No. 68, organized in 1823, existing until 1828.
A charter to operate under dispensation was granted to Meridian Sun Lodge on September 5th 1823. The Charter members were, WM Isaac T. Welton, SW Isaac W. Morgan, JW Abraham Freese, John Smith PM, Adonoram Swift, Treasurer Salmon Oviatt, Jonathan Sheldon, David Green and David Jones. Many of these names are still familiar in the Richfield area.
In the 1820 Richfield Census there were 58 family’s listed and of the original 10 members that met at the first meeting I can find only 3 that lived in Richfield: Isaac Welton, Salmon Oviatt and Nathanial Oviatt. By the 1830 census Richfield had grown to 117 families.
*** In letter dated 5, July 1839 from James J. Tyler, he states that Salmon Oviatt was Initiated an EA 7 September 1813; passed 2 February 1814, and raised 27 April 1814 in Old Erie Lodge #3, Warren Ohio.
David Jones was a member of Unity Lodge #12, Ravenna in 1814; affiliated with Concord Lodge #15 in Cleveland, 20, November 1817.
John A. Smith was Initiated 31 May 1815; passed no record and raised 17 August 1815 in Concord Lodge #17.
The first formal meeting of Meridian Sun Lodge was held on 25 September 1823 with 10 members and 6 visiting brethren present. A committee of 4 members was appointed to draft a set of By-Laws and their first petition was read. Here is a partial account of the minutes of that meeting.
A Record of the minutes & By-Laws of the Meridian Sun Lodge No. 69
At a meeting of the petitioners of the Meridian Sun Lodge holden at Brother Orson Mile Oviatt in Richfield the 25th day of Sept. A.L. 5823
Brethren present: Jonathan Shelden
Isaac Welton RWM Nathanial Oviatt
Isaac M. Morgan SW Visiting Brethren
Abraham Freese JW Sherman Peck
Salmon Oviatt Tr. Herman Peck
Marvin Oviatt S. Seth Blood
Willis Milton SD Daniel O’Brian
David Green JD Jeremiah Meach
John Smith P.M. Adonoram Swift
On motion resolved that a committee be appointed to draft a code of By Laws for the government of this Lodge to be presented to the first adjournment of this Lodge. Isaac Welton, Isaac M. Morgan & Abraham Freese & Marion Oviatt appointed Committee to draft By Laws.
Entered Apprentice Lodge opened in due form. Fellow Crafts Lodge opened in due form for the dispatch of business. Fellow Crafts Lodge closed in due form.
Entered Apprentice Lodge closed in due form.
The following are the first By-Laws accepted by Meridian Sun Lodge. We have transcribed them as best as we can, but mistakes in our translation have probably been made. Special thanks to Linda Fleming, Mark Mitchell & Myrtle Haslem of The Richfield Historical Society and Randy Bergdorf at the Peninsula Library & Historical Society for helping me in figuring out what the actual by-laws were.
AL. A regular Communication of the Meridian Sun Lodge No. (blank space) holden at Orson M. Oviatt Hall in Richfield 17 October Al 5823 Jonathan Shelton
Brethren present: Marvin Oviatt S.; Davis Jones; Isaac Welton R.W.; Willis Welton S.D.; Nathanial Oviatt; Isaac M. Morgan S.W; David Green J.D.; Benj’ Lindsey?; Abraham Freese J.W,; John Smith P.M; Sherman Peck; Salmon Oviatt Tr.; Adonoram Swift; Daniel O’Brian; Jeremiah Meach; Herman Peck; Asa Drafus?; Henry Osmun?
Entered Apprentice Lodge opened in due form. Proceedings of the last Lodge read and approved. The committee appointed to draft a code of by Laws. Presented “said code of By Laws”, which were read and accepted by a clear of the Lodge with such alterations and additions as herein after shall be added to them.
David Jones appointed Tyler. A vote taken for the amount of fee for the Tyler services at each regular Communication & a clear vote taken that the Tyler shall have fifty cents each Communications.
Report of the Committee to draft the by laws. Here the committee of the Meridian Sun Lodge appointed to draft a code of by laws begs leave to report the following articles which is respectively submitted. Oct 9th A.L 5823.
Article I: The regular communications of the Meridian Sun Lodge shall be on Thursday previous or at the full moon of every month precisely at 2 o’clock P.M.
Article 2: Every brother shall attend in decent attire and shall conduct himself with due order and propriety during the cession of the Lodge and every brother while speaking shall address the Most Worshipful Master standing in due form and no brother shall address the Master more than twice on the same subject unless to explain himself or by the Master there unto required & in no case shall debate be permitted while the craft are at work.
Article 4: No candidate shall be balloted for until he shall have been propose at least one regular communication previous except in cases of emergency which shall be determined by unanimous vote of the members present & no degree shall be conferred on any candidate unless by unanimous consent of all the members
Article 5: Every applicant for initiation shall present a written petition “or cause is to be done” accompanyed (actual spelling) with a deposit of two dollars which shall be retained if the ballot is clear and passed to the credit of the candidate as part of his initiation for and if the ballot is not clear said sum shall be returned to said candidate and when the ballot shall be clear, unless such candidate shall present himself to take said degree within six months the money shall be retained for the benefit of the Lodge. And should he afterwards appear he shall be considered in the light of a new candidate & be balloted for anew.
Article 6: The fees for conferring the degrees of Entered Apprentice shall be ten dollars including the deposit money. And for passing to the degree of Fellow Craft two dollars and for Raising to the degree of Master three dollars which shall be paid to the Secretary at the time of conferring the degree. And in no case shall the Lodge receive notes of hand for said fees. Except on particular cases
Article 7: No brothers shall be admitted as a member of this Lodge until he shall have been propounded at least one nights Communication previous to this being balloted for except in cases of emergency and that be unanimous of the members present at a regular Communication in his favor and shall subscribe his name to the by laws.
Article 8: All questions which may be proper for the Lodge to decide shall be decided by a majority of votes accepting as herein before express, accept in case of suspension or expulsion of a member in either of which cases a majority of two thirds of the members present at a legal communication shall be required. An application for restoration shall be decided by a unanimous ballot.
Article 9: It shall be the duty of the Stewards to return to the Secretary a true list of all the furniture belonging to the Lodge at the communication for the choice of the officers. A copy of which list shall be handed over to their successor & it shall also be their duty to present a bill for refreshments at every legal communication before the Lodge is closed & they shall use due diligence to foresee the position of the Lodge.
Article 10: Any member by signifying his desire to that affect on payment of all arrearages shall be discontinued from the membership of the Lodge without any vote on that subject but no certificate of such member standing on Masonic character shall be given but by vote of the majority of the members present a legal communication.
Article 11: The Tyler for this time being present shall receive as compensation fro his services for each Lodge night fifty cents & for notifying special Lodges & serving summonses such fees as the Lodge may determine from time to time.
Article 12: Any business may be done in the Entered Apprentice Degree on Lodge except where the nature of the case requires it to be done in other degrees. And if any brother shall divulge any of the secret transaction of this Lodge except to a brother he shall on conviction then of be expelled or suspended or other wise dealt with as the case may require.
Article 13: It is resolved that there can be any alteration or addition in the by laws as
here in after may be added to them by a unanimous vote of the Lodge
Article 14: Every member of this Lodge except Secretary & Tyler shall pay to the Secretary of each communication when present the sum of twelve & a half cents for the use of the Lodge. And it shall be the duty of the Secretary to keep a book of debt and credit for this express purpose which shall be audited together with the accounts of the Secretary & Treasurer by a committee appointed for that purpose at the regular communication for the choice of officers and the report of said committee shall be made previous to proceeding.
Erreta: Article 3rd. The annual election of officers shall be on the first communication in Nov. annually at which time each and every officer shall be chosen by separate ballot and the majority of the votes shall be necessary to constitute choice
This meeting was held at the O. M. Oviatt Hall where they continued to meet until late in the year of 1828, this house is still in existence (2010) and is located at 4235 West Streetsboro Rd.
The Lodge continued to meet monthly, conduct business, initiate, pass and raise new members and occasionally reject petitions. A ballot was taken for each Degree. The minutes of these early meetings are still in the archives of the Lodge. On 14 January 1824 the charter of Meridian Sun Lodge No. 69 was issued. (This original charter was sent to the Grand Lodge in Worthington, OH. in 2008 for storage) The number 69 was somewhat in question as Newark Lodge was issued a dispensation to operate under the number of 69 prior to Meridian Sun but never had a charter as such issued to them, Newark Lodge was later established as No. 97. In the minutes of Meridian Sun, at one place the Lodge is referred to as No. 70. The minutes reflect that the fees for Degrees were $10.00 for E.A., $2.00 for F.C. and $3.00 for M.M. The dues were 12 ½ cents per meeting when present, each member to pay his own Grand Lodge dues. The Tyler and Secretary received 50 cents per meeting. All business was conducted in the E.A. Degree, and the meetings were held at 2:00 PM on the Thursday preceding the full moon.
On 17 October 1823: the By-Laws were read, accepted and written into the minutes.
This was taken in March of 2007, it a picture of the house that the first Lodge of Meridian Sun Lodge No.69 F. &A.M. met from 1823 to the close of the year 1828, when they removed to the house of Ebenezer Palmer and This house was originally owned by Orson Mile Oviatt. I was told that the windows on the left was originally a porch.
Photo by John Evans Sr.