Charles William Nash
Founding Master Celebration
30-31 July 2021 at Philip
C.W. Nash, Founding Master of the first Lodge in west Rupert’s Land which is now in North Dakota. Later as Grand Master of MN he chartered Lodges in Dakota Territory.
Schedule of Events:
30 July: Welcome Steak Fry & fellowship at 73 Saloon
31 July: 8:00 Breakfast & Program
- 10:30 Masonic Rites and Interpretive Panel dedication in Philip Cemetery
For Lodging Reservations:
Motel West, 421N. Auto Ave, Philip, SD 57567, 605-859-2546
Americas Best, 401 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57743, 605-837-2188
Lakota Lodge, 106 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57743, 605-837-2151
Americas Best, 201 S. Blvd, Wall, SD 57790, 877-200-1272
Best Western, 712 Glenn St, Wall, SD 57790, 605-279-2145
Come Celebrate Our Masonic History
M.W.B. Charles W. Nash Masonic History
On Saturday, July 31, 2021, M.W. Jeffery VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, will be presiding over the Final Masonic Burial Rites, for MW Bro. C.W. Nash, our Founding Master, at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip, South Dakota.
M.W. Bro. Nash was Captain of Hatch's Battalion, Minnesota Cavalry, which was sent to Ft. Pembina in the fall of 1863, during the Sioux Uprising. Their military duties were to insure the safety of the local residents, and to assist in guarding the border between Dakota Territory and Rupert’s Land, British Territory.
Within this military unit there were a number of Masons, who wished to continue their Fraternal Fellowship while stationed at Ft. Pembina and reached out to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota for ability to do so.
M.W. Bro. Nash was appointed the founding Master of Northern Light Lodge U.D., at Ft. Pembina, Dakota Territory, when it was given a Dispensation to operate as such, on September 18, 1863. He personally carried this Dispensation with him from St. Paul as the soldiers made their way north.
While pondering a proper name for his Lodge one winter evening, Nash witnessed a beautiful display of color and light high above him and was compelled to call his lodge, Northern Light. This name still continues today under the Affiliation of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba A.F. & A.M.
A number of prominent individuals and soldiers from the Red River Settlement (present day Winnipeg) wished to join the Masons, and knowing of the Lodge operating at Ft. Pembina, traveled south to receive their Degrees.
When the soldiers from Minnesota were no longer needed along the border they returned home to Minnesota during the month of June, 1864. All the meeting records, membership list and the original Dispensation were returned and given to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.
In the meantime, the northern Brothers had petitioned M.W. Bro., A.T.C. Pierson, Grand Master of Minnesota to reinstate the Dispensation of Northern Light Lodge U.D., Red River Settlement, Rupert’s Land, which he signed on May 20, 1864. He also appointed Bro. John Shultz to act a Master. W. Bro. Shultz would later become the fifth Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, serving from 1888 to 1895.
This original Northern Light Lodge U.D. became a cornerstone Lodge of three who originally formed the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, and it operates today as Northern Light Prince Rupert’’s Lodge No.1, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In its formative years the Grand Lodge of Manitoba held Fraternal authority of all lands to the west within Rupert’s Land, including present day Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.
M.W. Brother Nash, returned to the Minneapolis, St. Paul area and was an active member of the community as well as the Masonic Lodge. He held a Degree in Law and co-owned the Pioneer Printing Company in 1866, which later became the Minneapolis Tribune. Prior to arriving in Minnesota, he had also held the office of Mayor at Ft. Dodge, Iowa.
On April 21, 1868, a fire destroyed the building which housed the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, and thus all the records from the past were consumed in the flames, but our unique history with Northern Light Lodge continued.
W. Bro. Nash was nominated and elected, from the floor of the Minnesota Grand Lodge to the position of Grand Master without ever holding another office! And, on January 10, 1872, as Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota, he signed the Charter for Yellowstone Lodge No. 88, Ft. Buford, Dakota Territory, which became the first Chartered Lodge in what is now the State of North Dakota.
Thus, he became a Grand Master of Masonry which eventually held leadership over several million square miles, and a Father of Masonry for many historically recognized Lodges in the US and Canada, including the noted Northwest Mounted Police Lodge No.11, at Regina, Saskatchewan.
The schedule of events honoring our historic Mason at Philip, South Dakota, will begin on Friday evening, 30 July 2021, with a Steak Fry Meet and Greet social, hosted by the Masonic Lodge Brothers in Philip and the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. A Breakfast Program will be held the following morning, and the Masonic Burial Ceremony to follow.
A special commemorative marker and interpretive panel will be placed and dedicated at the grave site after the Masonic Last Rite Ceremonies, with representatives from the Grand Lodge Jurisdictions from which MWB Nash had affiliation.
Contact numbers for Motel rooms, etc, can be found on the Grand Lodge of South Dakota web site. Most of the rooms in Philip at Motel West are already taken, but those in Wall and Kadoka are still open. Kadoka is about 20 miles to the South of Philip and Wall is 32 miles West of Philip, and the roads are in good condition, so spending the overnight there should not create too much of a problem for those who have to travel back and forth.
The public is invited to attend the services and dedication at the cemetery, and all Members and Ladies from any Jurisdiction are welcome to attend both the steak fry and breakfast and program on Saturday morning.
The committee is asking that if you plan to attend the steak fry, or the morning breakfast, to please sign up through Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/c-w-nash-celebration-tickets-156240157517
. They will need this information in order to have enough provisions on hand for everyone when they arrive. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated.
For specific questions on the celebration, contact either of the Brothers listed below:
Lincoln Smith, District Master, District #15
20824 226th Street
Quinn, SD 57775
Mobile: (605) 441-2500
Doug Thorson, PM, Philip Lodge No. 153
22750 Cottonwood Rd
Quinn, SD 57775-3200
Mobile: (605) 515-1590