A brief history of Orphans Lodge No. 761

An open meeting of North Carolina Masons was held at the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford in the cafeteria at 10:00 am this date to discuss organizing a ceremonial Lodge on the Campus of the Home. Present were; Grand Master, Graham Pervier; Grand Secretary, Walt Clapp and Junior Grand Warden, David Cash.

Master Masons in attendance:  

William Adams, Bob Aiken, Thomas Allen, Jr., Kermit Carter, D. R. Cash, Bob Chandler, Grover Dees, Ray Edwards, Danny Emory, Roger Euliss, Harry Greene, Larry Holloman, Allen Hughes, Greg Key, Doug McConnell, Tommy Mills, Charles Phipps, Chris Richardson, Scott Rose, Bobbie Stephens, Everett West, Brindell Wilkins, Jr., Terry Wooten.

Brother Chris Richardson, Director of Development for The Masonic Home for Children at Oxford opened the meeting and asked for all present to identify themselves and their home Lodge affiliation. Following introductions, Bro. Richardson gave an overview of the reasoning behind forming the Lodge and outlined the tasks that needed to be completed at this meeting if the Lodge was to be formed and the Charter issued at the Grand Communication this year. He stated that the purposes of the Lodge would be to help children at the Home and across the state, to create another link between Masons and the Home, to encourage on-campus visitation. Getting more Masons to visit the Home and helping to generate funds necessary to operate the Home were also key reasons for establishing the Lodge.

Richardson said that the Lodge would be a ceremonial Lodge meeting only once per quarter, but all of the requirements for other Lodges within the state would still have to be followed including: Degree Work, Proficiency, Lodge business, Secretarial work, Recordkeeping, and Active membership on Lodge Committees as outlined by the Code of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. According to the Grand Secretary and Brother Richardson, the tasks that would have to be completed prior to the Grand Communication included: Election of Master, Senior and Junior Warden, Election of Secretary and Treasurer, Decide upon a name for the Lodge, Create a set of By-Laws, Establish a dues structure including annual dues, affiliation dues, and initiation dues, Establish meeting dates, and Select or appoint committees and committee membership. 

Additionally, certain cutoff dates and times would need to be established, working backwards from the date of the Grand Communication, in order to complete all of the tasks included in forming a new Lodge including demonstrating proficiency in degree work, gathering names for the Charter membership, and getting all of the necessary and required paperwork to the Grand Secretary and Grand Master for approval. To this end, it was decided to have a cut-off date of May 25, 2005 for getting all of the initial names to the Grand Secretary so that the date of dispensation and instituting the Lodge would be as soon after May 25th as practical. Further, it was determined that all required paperwork would need to be completed and turned in to the Grand Lodge twenty days before Grand Communication or September 1, 2005.

The next order of business was to accept nominations for Lodge Officers. The following slate was proposed: Master, Chris Richardson; Senior Warden, Bobby Adams; Junior Warden, Harry Greene; Secretary, Tommy Allen and Treasurer, Grover Dees.  A motion to close nominations was made and seconded. Following discussion, a vote was taken and the motion to accept the slate was passed unanimously.

Committees and Committee Membership was then discussed and the following Committees were selected by open vote:

Finance Committee: Bobbie Stevens, Chairman; Allen Hughes and Ray Edwards                          

By-Laws Committee: Danny Emory, Chairman; Doug McConnell and Charles Phipps

Degree Work: Harry Greene, Chairman; Grover Dees and Tommy Mills

Membership: Terry Wooten, Chairman; Chris Richardson, Scott Rose and Larry Holloman

Following the selection of Committees, the dues structure was established as follows; Affiliation: $100.00; Initiation: $100.00 and Annual Dues: $ 50.00 + $15.00 per capita or $65.00 annually.

The following meeting dates were established for the Lodge: The second Saturday in April, The day of Saint John’s Day celebration at the Home, The second Saturday in October (Homecoming), and The third Saturday in December.

The following date was then established to conduct business necessary to complete all of the tasks needed prior to Grand Communication; May 21, 2005 at 10:00 a.m. at the Oxford Lodge 122 building on West College Street in Oxford, NC.

There being no further business, the meeting was dismissed at 11:59 a.m. The minutes were recorded by Doug McConnell.


On May 21, 2005 at Oxford Lodge No. 122, Oxford, NC the Dispensation for the new lodge was granted by MW Graham W. Pervier, Grand Master and officers were installed by the following:

Installing Officer:       MW Graham W. Pervier

Installing Secretary:   RW T. Walton Clapp III

Installing Marshal:      W Mack Sigmon, DDGL - 34th


On July 9, 2005 the lodge under dispensation conferred the following degrees. The Master announced that the morning emergent communication was called for the purpose of raising Brother David Davis to the sublime degree of Master Mason, as a courtesy for Selma Lodge No. 320.  This was required to demonstrate proficiency in the ritualistic work as required by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina to obtain a Charter. After lunch, the Master announced that the afternoon emergent communication was called for the purpose of passing Brother Jerry Gravite to the degree of Fellow Craft, as a courtesy for Wake Forest Lodge No. 282. This was also required to demonstrate proficiency in the ritualistic work as required by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina to obtain a Charter.


On August 9, 2005 the lodge under dispensation conferred the following degree. One of the requirements for obtaining your charter is to demonstrate proficiency in the ritualistic work as required in the CODE by the Grand Lodge of North Carolina.  The Master announced that this specific emergent communication was called for the purpose of initiating Mr. Brian Mitchell Howell to the degree of Entered Apprentice, as a courtesy for Wake Forest Lodge No. 282. 


At the 2005 Annual Communication held at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham the Charter for Orphans Lodge UD was granted.

From The North Carolina Mason - September / October 2005 publication, page 2.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK — Orphans 761 was granted its charter during Annual Communication. It is the second lodge chartered this century. Orphans Lodge is a specialty lodge with an emphasis on supporting, promoting, and caring for the Masonic Home for Children in Oxford.  The lodge will eventually meet on campus.  They are currently preparing a lodge room in one of the old campus dormitories. The lodge will meet quarterly for stated meetings with one coinciding with the St. John’s Day celebration. They were granted a dispensation in the spring and have been working toward full lodge status since.  Wilkerson College 760 was the last lodge chartered in the state. It, like Orphans 761, is composed mostly of dual members. They serve as an extra interest for their members, most of whom will continue to be active in their home lodges. Orphans 761 members include alumni, employees, and Masons with a special affection for the Home for Children.


Orphans Lodge No. 761 was Consecrated, the Charter presented and the 2006 Officers were installed by RW David R. Cash, Sr., Senior Grand Warden at the request of MW Gene T. Jernigan, Grand Master.  RW T. Walton Clapp III, PM, Grand Secretary assisted the Senior Grand Warden in this special ceremony on December 17, 2005.  Fifty-one of the eighty-seven Charter Members attended this historical event at a lodge held at The Cobb Center on the campus of the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford. 

Note:  MW Gene T. Jernigan, Grand Master had a previous commitment serving as the North Carolina Masonic Representative at the Annual North Carolina/South Carolina Shrine Bowl game and could not attend.  


On December 16, 2006 W Chris Richardson became the first Past Master of Orphans Lodge No. 761 with the installation of our new Master for 2007, W Bobby Adams.  Serving during 2005 as Master - UD and 2006 as the first Master of Orphans Lodge No. 761, the members thanked Brother Chris for his dedicated leadership during this important phase of our historical beginnings.


The new lodge building, also known as the Shipman Cottage, was dedicated on April 14, 2007 with MW W. Berry Rigdon, Grand Master, performing the Dedication Ceremony.  He was assisted by officers and members of Orphans Lodge No. 761 in performing this very special ceremony.