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History: Local: Community Organizations

Ashlar Lodge #193 - Masonic

by Michael R. Reilly, Editor

Updated 05/05/2015


 Ashlar Lodge went up For Sale approx December 2014.

Editor Notes: It has been on the market for 3+ months. It is not handicapped friendly, has asbestos siding, is on a small lot, & no parking. When you walk in the door you must walkup one flight or down one flight to access the rooms. The building is around 93 years old, built in 1922. One furnace is the same age as our Depotís. Street parking only. The windows all need replacing. The basement hall & kitchen have a wood floor on top of concrete??? There is no AC & 2 furnaces. The We energies bill last month was $400.20, because someone was not keeping the interior doors doors closed & thermostat set back. The design of the entrance access would make it nearly impossible to have enough space for an elevator or??? The Temple design was to give you a feeling of being elevated as you enter the Hall. Pretty much the same as every Temple. Also, it is right in front of the planned Silver Spring/Main Street intersection. Village wants a parking lot there!! I understand that the women's Eastern Star group left and joined with the "North Colgate" group. The men's Masonic will either disband or might merge with Waukesha or ? Also heard that the owner of the former Eggert's store building is interested in purchasing the property but for less than half of the asking price. If it goes to them, you can bet it will be bulldozed! The building has been termed a "money pit"! Would need a lot of work, and the asbestos siding might interfere with any window replacement?
















Retrospect, May 6, 2015: Fraternal organizations disapper from landscape

Posted Sussex Sun, April 30, 2015

In Sussex, three historic institutions are disappearing.

The Sussex Ashlar Masonic Lodge building was built in 1922 and it is up for sale at age 93. Meanwhile, the Sussex (Women's) Order of the Eastern Star Chapter No. 159 was started in February 1906 and it is no longer in Sussex. Then the crowning, the Sussex Ashlar Masonic Lodge No. 193, started Nov. 10, 19873, is also out of existence. Added together, this represents 344 years as part of the Sussex-Lisbon scene.

The death knell of these three entities is because they have aged out and modern society does not want to be tied down to fraternal groups/clubs compared to what our parents, grandparents and before found to be beneficial to community living.

All three were still vibrant in the 1970s but there was a slow wasting away, despite the ballooning population of the local area. As recently as 25 years ago, in 1990, the membership of the Sussex Masonic Order was 42 men, while 80 (35 active) were in the Sussex Eastern Star.

The founder of the Sussex Masonic Lodge, James Anderson Elliott, had parents born and raised in England, but left with the first part of their family for the United States (New York state) in 1830. Elliott's father was on his second wife with four children when he came to New York, where, with second wife Lucy Transit, he had three more children, the seventh being James.

By the 1840s, the now eight-member family (daughter Caroline had died) arrived in Lisbon, claiming 160 acres bound on the west by Maple Avenue, south by Main Street and east to almost Outer Circle Drive. The land holdings of the Elliott family would increase and decrease over the years. In the 1890s, a family member owned what is the quarry land where the Mammoth Springs Canning Co. was from 1920-96 and is today the site of apartments owned by Art Sawall.

When the Civil War came along, the Elliott boys, now living in Sussex, decided to join up with the Wisconsin Union Army Regiments. Son Samuel was wounded at Chicaminga while 26-year-old James tried to get into the service in 1861 but was rejected because of health reasons. However, he persisted and eventually tagged on to the 28th Waukesha Wisconsin Volunteer infantry Regiment, which fought in the Trans Mississippi theater (Mississippi River, Vicksburg and Helena, Arkansas). Not a soldier, he was a civilian harness and saddle maker, and a teamster for this regiment.

In a letter to his wife in Sussex, Sarah Boots (they married just before he left for service), he related that he was in Arkansas and was "lousy" with lice. He said that he was using the "drown them" system to get rid of them. He would immerse himself fully in the Arkansas River and hold his breath as long as he could, hoping the lice would leave him; it didn't work too well. As he continued his letter to his wife, he asked her to go to the leading Sussex general store, Champeny's, which was located at the northwest corner of Maple Avenue, to get some "blue ointment" and send it to him to get rid of the lice.

On discharge, he became a Lisbon area mason contractor and worker, mostly with Alfred Wileden.

In 1872-73, he was a part of a group of Sussex-Lisbon men who sought a charter to start a Masonic Order chapter in the community.

He would serve as the first master of the Sussex Ashlar Lodge Chapter No. 193 and continue in the leadership role until 1877. Then again in 1883-84, he was the chapter's master.

Later, his son, George Elliott, would serve as master in 1910.

Another accomplishment of James Elliott was being a founding member of the Lisbon Mutual Insurance Company in April 1874.

James Elliott would die Oct. 26, 1914, and was buried at the Sussex church cemetery, St. Alban's. His wife, Sarah, lived until Jan. 8, 1934, when she joined her husband at St. Alban's God's Acre Cemetery. She was 90 years old (1843-1934) compared to James' age of 79 (1835-1914). In his lifetime, his son George Elliott was the longest continuous member of the Sussex Ashlar Lodge.

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Copyright Sussex-Lisbon Area Historical Society, Inc., , 2002 - 2016, Except as noted: All documents placed on the website remain the property of the contributors, who retain publication rights in accordance with US Copyright Laws and Regulations. In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, these documents may be used by anyone for their personal research. They may be used by non-commercial entities, when written permission is obtained from the contributor, so long as all notices and submitter information are included. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit. Any other use, including copying files to other sites, requires permission from the contributors PRIOR to uploading to the other sites. The submitter has given permission to the website to store the file(s) for free access. Such permission may be revoked upon written notice to the website webmaster. Website's design, hosting, and maintenance are donated by Website Editor & Webmaster: Michael R. Reilly (Mike)