For the Record Herald

Courtesy of the Record Herald: Printed 11.18.12

The Nov. 13 Milton Memories recording session covered the local Masons and Eastern Star.
Roger Gothardt stated that the West Milton chapter of the Masons began 117 years ago with approximately 208 members.  In 1982 they bought their own building on N. Washington Street.  He later shared that Masons around the world give approximately $5.6 million a day toward various charities, including scholarships, the Eye Foundation, etc., with the majority of funds used to support Shriners’ Hospitals.
John Hamann shared some history.  Free Masonry is the oldest existing fraternity in the world.  It was started in 1717 in London. There are 3.6 million members around the world, 1.6 million in the U. S., with Ohio being the largest in the U.S.
Their emblem represents a stone mason’s tools.  Their goal is to sustain a positive environment with the priorities being duty, God, community, family and self.   There are a number of requirements to apply for and achieve membership.  There is a fee to join plus yearly dues, which covers their many charitable efforts as well as building maintenance and other local expenses.  Past members include George Washington, Harry S. Truman, Dave Thomas, etc.
At one time youth were included through Rainbow Girls for teen girls and DeMolay for teen boys.
Rachel Ann Minnich (a 65-year member) and Mary Fetters shared about the Eastern Star, the women’s counterpart of the Masons.  West Milton is Sharon Chapter 132 of Ohio, begun on Nov. 16, 1900, with 22 members, including five officers.
Some of those early names were: Kessler, Jones, Coate, Mote, Yount, etc.  They met on the first and third Friday of the month, in the evening.  Each member was to bring a penny to pay the janitor.  Induction fees were $2 and yearly dues $1.
Projects through the years have been sending aid to victims of the San Francisco earthquake and food and clothing during the 1913 flood here, sewing and knitting for war relief, to name just a few.
Dennis Bohlender attended the session and was recognized for his 70 years of membership.  He also shared some of his memories, including having to climb three flights of stairs to attend their meetings held in the old Opera House.
Tune in to Channel 5 to hear many more details. As so many local organizations, they need new members to carry on their charitable work.
For membership information log onto their Web Site at
Recording sessions will resume in the spring.  In the meantime all sessions, and the cemetery walk DVDs, are available at the Milton-Union Public Library.