A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

History: Butler Masonic Lodge No 42, Cliffwood (1927)

The Matawan-Aberdeen Patch mentioned in a recent article that the Butler Lodge was fundraising in an effort to preserve its historic building.  The Independent noted that the building, the oldest still in use in Cliffwood, served as a mill in the 1930s and was donated to the Masons in the 1950s just before the owner died. The Butler Lodge Holding Company has made a number of improvements to the building since that time, the Independent reported. They carried a liquor license in Aberdeen Township as of 2010-2011.

I could find no published account of the establishment of this lodge, nor could I locate news of the building being donated to the Masons. The first mentions of Butler Lodge appeared in the Matawan Journal in the late 1950s. I did find this history (below) of the Butler Masonic Lodge No 42 in Cliffwood in the 27 Jun 1957 edition of The Matawan Journal.

Masonic Lodge Started In 1927

Butler Lodge 42 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Scottish Rite, Cliffwood, was granted a warrant of consultation on Oct. 1, 1927.

Grand Lodge officers officiated at the installation of the first officers, who included Worshipful.Master Love L. Adams; Senior Warden Arthur Mouring; and Junior Warden Edward W. Wortham.

There are 43 members of Butler Lodge, which is named for Archie Butler. At the time of its founding, Mr. Butler was Deputy District Grand Master for the State of New Jersey. At. the present time, Mr. Butler is one of the trustees of Butler Lodge.

The present officers are: Charles L. Wynn, worshipful master; Phillip N. Gumbs, senior warden; Thomas L. Huntley, junior warden; James M. Richardson, treasurer; Samuel L. Gumbs, secretary; Nathaniel Johnson, chaplain; Earl A. Gumbs, senior deacon; Alfred O. Richardson, junior deacon; Ernest Frazier, tyler.


I researched the founding members above and can report the following:
  • There was a Love L Adams who was 45 years old and living in Pittman, Georgia in the 1920 Federal Census. His wife Amanda was 28 years old. Both were born in Georgia to Georgian parents. Love was a farmer. I also found a Love L Adams in a 1941 Newark city directory, where he was listed as a janitor. His wife was Annie. I couldn't find a local Love Adams in the 1930 Federal Census.
  • Arthur Mouring was 48 years old, born in Alabama, and living in the Matawan area, according to the 1930 Federal Census. He was a construction laborer. His wife Sarah was 51 and born in Georgia. Their son Charles was 10 and born in Alabama.
  • Edward Wortham was 45 years old, born in Virginia, and living in the Matawan area. His wife Mannie was 45 and born in Florida. Living with them was James Wortham, age 4?, born in New York.
UPDATE: I researched the leadership of the Lodge as of 1957:
  • Samuel L Gumbs was born 30 Aug 1925 and died in Cliffwood on 1 Jul 1999.  He lived at 196 Delaware Avenue in Cliffwood as of 1988 and 175 Delaware Avenue as of 1993. His gravestone at Midway Green Cemetery in Aberdeen shows that he was a US Navy veteran of the Second World War: SC2 USN WWII. The 1930 Federal Census showed him as the 5 year old son of Nathan and Edith Gumbs of the British West Indies. His parents lived in Cliffwood in 1930 and had come to the US in 1912. They remained aliens as of 1930. Nathan was a grocer who owned his own store. Samuel's siblings, all born in NJ, were Omyo * (12 M), Camilla (10 F), Christopher (9 M), Kenneth (8, M), Philip (7, M), Gwendolyn * (4 1/12, F), and Milton (2 10/12). (* Omyo and Gwendolyn - rendered Guandlin -- are best guesses at the names as written by the enumerator.)
  • Judge Philip N Gumbs was born in Perth Amboy on 29 Apr 1923 and died in Neptune, NJ on 18 Oct 2005. His obituary in the 21 Oct 2005 edition of the Newark Star-Ledger said he was the first African-American judge (1976) and freeholder (1974) in Monmouth County and a former mayor of Aberdeen (1974-75). He was named as a workers compensation judge by Governor Brendan Byrne and retired as a senior compensation judge in 2001. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He attended John Marshall College in Jersey City and studied law at Rutgers University Law School and Lincoln University in Missouri.
  • There was a James M Richardson, born 1933, who lived at 28 Avon Street in Cliffwood in 1993 - 2000.
  • There was an Ernest Frazier who was born 7 Dec 1933, lived in Red Bank in the early 1990s, and died there on 15 Dec 1994. An Ernest Frazier was also listed in the 1956 city directory for Red Bank.
  • I found nothing definitive on Earl A Gumbs, Charles L Wynn, Thomas L Huntley or Nathaniel Johnson.


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