Founding of Accacia 51
On March 24, 1865, Grand Master George W. Present granted a dispensation for a lodge in Cottage Grove that empowered Jesse Smith to serve as Worshipful Master, Oliver G. Leonard as Senior Warden and Ruel Parker as Junior Warden. Three days later, on the 27, the first meeting Under Dispensation was held where five petitions were read and committees organized. Throughout the next few weeks, meetings were held to organize the lodge and hold instruction.
A. L. Holman was the first to be raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in the lodge on May 8, 1865 and was immediately elected Secretary. Among the first bills authorized to be paid were $3.00 for spitoons, $3.00 for a Call Bell, 25¢ for tin reflectors for lamps, 60¢ for three curtains and $25 for a Master's carpet. Furbers' Grain House was contracted as the first home of the lodge (1865 to 1890) for the amount of $50 per year. Officer jewels were purchased for $80.
Accacia was legally Constituted on November 3, 1865 when the Grand Master, Grand Secretary and Grand Marshall were in attendance to install the officers and present the lodge its charter. Proposed bylaws were read, adopted and ordered printed on Christmas Day, 1865.
July 18, 1866 brought the lodge's first Masonic picnic -- and still annually conducted each summer.