Fellowship Lodge - Chartered by Paul Revere in 1797, has been the cornerstone of Freemasonry in Bridgewater, Massachusetts for over 2 centuries.
On November 3, 1797, officers of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts came to Bridgewater, and at that time the Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Paul Revere, consecrated and constituted Fellowship Lodge, A.F. & A.M.
The charter of Fellowship Lodge is dated June 15, 1797, and is worthy of special mention. It is signed by Most Worshipful Brother Paul Revere. During his term of office as Grand Master, twenty-three new lodges were formed, and several of these have their original charter.
Fellowship Lodge is one of these.
In order to appreciate the period in which Fellowship Lodge was formed, it would be well to note what was happening in our country in 1797.
President George Washington had just completed his second term, and in March 1797, John Adams, second president of the United States, had been inaugurated.
The cornerstone of the first Capitol building in Washington had just been laid with elaborate Masonic ceremonies in which Brother George Washington took part.
The Town of Bridgewater was composed of what are now Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, and Brockton.
Across the Atlantic, Napoleon was rising to power.
R. W. Br. Orr was made a Mason while an under-graduate of Harvard Univer sity, in 1791, in King Solomon's Lodge in Charlestown, shortly after he attained his twenty-first year. We know but little of his Masonic history, for the next five years, other than his assiduity in informing himself in the principles and practice of the ancient craft.
In 1796 or 1797, he headed a petition to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, for a Charter, to constitute him, with his associates, a regular Lodge; the prayer was granted, and the charter bears date the 15th of June, 1797. Of the Brethren named in the charter, Brother Orr stands first; and he outlived not only all those named in the charter, but all who belonged to the Lodge at the time of its installation; which took place on the 18th day of October, 1797, and by the name of Fellowship Lodge.
Brother Orr was installed its first Master, in ample form. A sermon was delivered on the occasion, by Rev. Brother T. M. Harris; followed by an address from W. Brother Orr, both of which were printed.
Shortly after this, Col. Robert Orr petitioned the Lodge for the honors of Masonry; and being accepted, our W. Brother had the honor and satisfaction of making his father a Brother Mason. Brother Orr presided over the Lodge till 1799, when he was appointed by President Adams, a surgeon in the Navy, which office he held about three years.