The Elba Masonic Lodge #170 gifted an Alabama Historical Marker to the City of Elba during a ceremony held Saturday, Feb. 13, in Elba.
“The purpose of the marker was to not only honor our founding brothers but also to help support the city in an effort to revitalize and record the history of the downtown area [of Elba],” said Elba Lodge Worshipful Master Ed Kelley. “It also marks a renewed commitment from our lodge to the community as a charitable organization.”
Masons from across the state visited Elba on Saturday for this event, and they participated in the ceremonies including a ‘Parade of Masons’ from the Coffee County Courthouse to the educational building of Elba United Methodist Church where a dedication program was held prior to the unveiling of the new historical marker.
The marker is located at the corner of Davis Street and Claxton Avenue in downtown Elba [across the street from the Elba United Methodist Church].
Elba Mayor Tom Maddox accepted the gift on behalf of the city from the Elba Masons.
The text of the historical marker reads as follows: 150 yards south of this site, John B. Simmons built the first Masonic Hall in Coffee County. On December 17, 1851, the Grand Lodge of Alabama issued a dispensation to nine Coffee County men to form a lodge in the town of Bentonville to be known as Elba Lodge #170. At the first meeting held on Friday, February 13, 1852, a committee was appointed to obtain property for the use of the lodge. The hall was a two-story building used for Masonic business. The first person to become a Master Mason in Elba Lodge #170 was William George Washington Harper on April 24, 1852. Elba’s first public school used the lower floor beginning in 1855. Thirteen members were present for the election and installation of officers on Friday February 13, 1852. Those elected were:
William W. Simmons, Worshipful Master
Alfred McGee, Senior Warden
James Claxton, Secretary
John Harper, Treasurer
Paul Smith, Senior Deacon
Pierre Darcy Costello, Junior Deacon
Micajah Harper, Senior Steward
Irwin Rogers, Junior Steward
William J. Spurlin, Tiler.
Charter members in addition to those elected were James D. Mclean, James M. Tullis, and John B. Simmons.