The History of Thomson Lodge
On November 28th, 1859, West Chester Lodge No. 322 ¨Resolved that the foregoing petition be recommended to the favourable consideration¨ of the Grand Lodge. The endorsement appears on the inner page of the petition signed by seven Master Masons in which they ¨pray for a Warrant of Constitution"from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania to form ¨a regular Lodge in East Whiteland Township at a point on the Pennsylvania Railroad known as 'Garrett´s Sidling' to be called Thomson Lodge.¨ This is the earliest mention of our Lodge.
Similar endorsements followed from Dowingtown Lodge No. 309, dated December 2nd, 1859, (the day John Brown was hanged for treason at Charlestown, VA., now West Virginia) and from Phoenix Lodge No. 75, k dated ¨3rd Day of December A.D. 1859- A.L. 5859.¨
The Petition was composed and written by Dr. Wm. H. Gunkle, our Second Worshipful Master, who signed his own name first and then took the document around to the other six for their signatures. The petition itself is not dated; however, it can be assumed that the good Doctor wrote it not later than November 1859.
The signers, in order of appearance on the petition were:
Wm. H. Gunkle, West Chester Lodge No. 322
Frank Rieser, Reading Lodge No. 62
A. Robb, Phoenix Lodge No. 75
F. S. Fiss, Phoenix Lodge No. 75
Jesse M. Hipple, Phoenix Lodge No. 75
R. R. Darlingtan, Phoenix Lodge No. 75
Elijah G. Hipple, Phoenix Lodge No. 75
Five months elapsed between the application and the issuing of the Warrant. During this time, a mild objection was raised by The Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master, John Thomson, to the use of his name for the new Lodge. Dr. Riser, a personal friend of Brother Thomson, prevailed upon him to permit the use of his name and Brother Thomson finally gave his consent. The Warrant was issued under date of June 4, 1860. Only a few weeks before, both National Conventions had convened, after which it was Lincoln vs. Douglas in one of the hottest political campaigns of our country´s history.
On July 23, 1860, Thomson Lodge No. 340, Free and Accepted Masons, was constituted at the Old Masonic Temple on Chestnut St., Philadelphia. The following officers were installed by The Right Worshipful Grand Master Henry M. Phillips: Worshipful Master Frank Reiser, Senior Warden Wm. H. Gunkle, and Junior Warden Archimedes Robb.