The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Kansas And its Jurisdiction met in Council Grove, Kansas for its’ Grand Communication on October 7, 1881. On this date Widow’s son Lodge No. 17 was chartered by the presiding officers of the Grand Lodge which were James W. Wilson, Most Worshipful Grand Master; Oscar I’ Harris, Deputy Grand Master; William Read Sr., Right Worshipful Grand Senior Warden; J.B Loving, Right Worshipful Junior Warden and Flewellyn W. Suites, Right Worshipful Grand Secretary.
Green B. Anderson was elected the first Worshipful Master, James W. Williamson the first elected Senior Warden and W.T. Porter the first elected Junior Warden. Brother Anderson’s leadership was regarded as outstanding and he was re-elected to the office of Worshipful Master sixteen (16) consecutive years. He was succeeded by George McClennan in 1907. Brother McClennan served as Worshipful Master for one (1) year.
R.L. Stewart was elected Worshipful Master in 1908 and held this position for two (2) years. In 1910 Dr. S.H. Thompson was elected to this position but because of his business practice he was only able to serve in this station for one (1) year. Brother Sanford Brown was elected to the post of Worshipful Master in 1912 and he held the office for one (1) year. In 1913 A. R. Merit was elected as the Worshipful Master and he served for five (5) years. Nathaniel Wilson Sr. was elected in 1917 and he served for one (1) year as the Worshipful Master. In 1918 J.A. William was elected as Master and he served three (3) consecutive years. J.A. Smith was elected Worshipful Master in 1921 and served through 1922.
Brother William A. Henderson was elected to lead our lodge in 1923 and he held this office for five (5) consecutive years. He was one of the best ritualistic Worshipful Masters elected to the Lodge since being chartered in 1881. Next, Brother Uriah Scott was elected to the office of Worshipful Master in 1928 and served for one (1) year. Melvin E. Jenkins Sr. was elected Worshipful Master in 1929 and held the post for three (3) years. Brother Jenkins had been a member of Widows Son for only three years prior to being elected to the office of Worshipful Master. He demitted from Rustic Star Lodge No. 73 in 1926. Brother Jenkins’ administration was very successful. Arthur Bleats was elected as Worshipful Master in 1932 and served through 1933. Brother C. C. Byers was then elected Master in 1934 and he served through 1935. Rufus Washington was elected in 1936 and served through 1937.
In 1938 Brother Nathan W. Thatcher was elected to the office of Worshipful Master and he served for seven (7) consecutive years. He increased the membership to a record high and gave Widow’s Son Lodge the distinct honor of having the largest membership in the state of Kansas. He excelled as a Masonic leader in Kansas and was appointed Deputy of Kansas Scottish Rite Masonry. In 1945 Martin Taylor was elected Worshipful Master and he served for one (1) year. Sheltie McClendon served during 1946 and Chauncey W. Taylor Jr. was elected as Master in 1947. Brother Taylor served as Master for two (2) years and his ritualistic ability won the admiration of the Brothers. He also served as a Patron in the Western Star. In 1949 Watson McLaurin was elected Master and served for one (1) year. Wade McCurley was elected Worshipful Master in 1950. He also served as Patron of Electa Chapter OES for several years. Wiley E. Edwards Jr. was elected to the office in 1951 and was one of the first graduates of the Fred J. Lee Masonic School of Instruction. Lawrence Warford was Master in 1952 and Cleo Franklin in 1953. George Lee Mansfield Jr. was elected in 1954 and 1955 Herbert r. Williams was elected as Master. Lester J. Woodard was elected Worshipful Master in 1956 and served two (2) years. He too was an outstanding ritualistic scholar and was recognized for his achievements in this area.
Brother Wayne L. Harshaw was elected as Master in 1958 and he presented a 5-point plan to the organization. He pledged to increase the attendance at Lodge meetings by meeting with the membership and trying to encourage them to become active in the Lodge programs. Grand Master P.G. Porter learned of this program and decided to visit our lodge. While visiting with the Lodge he offered Brother Harshaw an appointment with the Grand Lodge. Brother Harshaw was appointed to the office of Director of the Knights of Pythagoras. Later he was appointed Grand Coordinator of the Grand Lodge and held both offices for sixteen (16) years. Brother Harshaw gave numerous workshops throughout Kansas and ended his administration with twenty six (26) Councils operating in the Kansas Jurisdiction and one (1) in Puerto Rico, where he initiated fifty (50) soldiers into St. Mark Consistory of the United Supreme Council AASR. He was also elected Grand Junior Warden and held that position for three (3) years.
In 1959 Robert L. Turner was elected Worshipful Master and he served two(2) years. Edward T. diamond was elected in 1961 and had the honor of hosting the Lodge’s 80th Anniversary Banquet. He was appointed Assistant Grand Secretary of Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Kansas. He was also elected the Most Eminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment, Knights of Templar, North America, Prince Hall Affiliation. In 1962 Cornell Wren was elected as Master and Charles T. Young followed him in 1963. Cecil K. Banks was elected Master in 1964 and was followed by Henry E. Brown in 1965. Claude Crouch was elected in 1966 and Nathaniel Wilson Jr. followed him in 1967. Brother Wilson was well known for his ability to perform the Middle Chamber.
Brother Lawrence C. Sample was elected as Master in 1968 ans served for two (20 years. In 1970 John W. Brewster was elected as Master and he was followed by William P. Garth in 1971. Brother Garth had a background in Scouting so he worked very closely with the Knights of Pythagoras program. Under his leadership Council No. 23, Order of the Knights of Pythagoras, better known as Widow’s Son Council became the most outstanding among all the Councils. Louis Byers was elected Master in 1972 and was followed by Theodore Williamson in 1973. Clarence Cunningham was elected as the Master in 1974 and 1975 Sylvester Norwood followed him. Brother Norwoodheld our 94th Anniversary Banquet which was successful. In 1976 Elliott Eley became Master and he was followed by Flenord Pierre in 1977. Forston Brown was elected as Master in 1978 and Brother Edgar J. Lindsey in 1979.
In 1980 Carter J. Beavers, a Captain of the Kansas City, MO Fire Department, was elected as Master of the Lodge and while serving he was responsible for making many of the necessary repairs to the Lodge Hall. Donald R. Jackson was elected as Master in 1981 and our 100th Anniversary Banquet was held under his administration. Again the Lodge experienced a successful celebration. The next to be elected to Master was Reese Holmes in 1982. He was followed by Robert B. Jackson in 1983. Joseph Harper was elected I 1984 and served two (2) years as Master. In 1986 the Lodge elected Brother Edward Cunningham to the position of Master and the Lodge held its’ 105th Anniversary Banquet.
Brother John D. Hollis was elected as Master in 1987 after being a member for several years. Because of his faithfulness and dedication to the Lodge, the Lodge voted to put him into office. Brother Hollis was a Masonic scholar and emphasized ritualistic work. In 1988 Gerald Ward became Master and 1989 Frank Lavender Jr. was elected to the office of Worshipful Master. Brother Lavender was the beginning of a new era; a younger generation was revitalizing the Lodge’s programs and initiating new ideas. Eddie L. Pierson was Elected Master in 1990. In 1991 Glover L. Ward was elected as Master and while under his administration the Lodge held its’ 110th Anniversary. This event was very successful and proved to be an inspiration for all those involved. Larry A. Coleman became the next Master in 1992.
In 1993 Jackie G. Potter was elected Master and he served in this capacity for two (2) years. Ralph Aldridge was elected in 1995 as Master of the Lodge and was followed by Robert Lee in 1996. In 1997 Christopher Williams was elected Master of the Lodge and he was followed by Lance M. Lavender who was elected in 1998 and served two (2) years. During his administration he received the “Worshipful Master of the Year” award. Then in 2000 Christopher Blaurock was elected to serve as Master of the Lodge.
In 2001 tommy Grayson was elected Master. Tommy was also a graduate of the Fred J. Lee School of Instruction and was very proficient in the ritualistic realm of Masonry. In 2002 Lee Dixson was elected as Master of the Lodge. Brother Lee was the first Master lost while serving as Master. Widow’s Son lost Brother Dixson during his first month as Master. Past Master Lance M. Lavender was appointed to serve the remainder of the term. Terry Winbush was elected as Master in 2003 and he was followed by Michael Guess in 2004. Jabond Warrior was elected to the office in 2005. He was followed by Norman Smith 2007, Jeffrey Boykin 2008, DeJuan Broadus 2009, Antonio Allen 2010, Kevin Reddick 2011, Mark Harper 2012 and Al Pearson 2013.
Widow’s Son is currently one of the largest Lodges in the Kansas Jusridiction. Our belief in making a good man better has aided us in keeping our membership strong and from our hard work and dedication we have received numerous “Lodge of the Year” awards as well as Worshipful Master and Master Mason of the Year awards. Widow’s Son lodge has always worked diligently with the Grand Lodge as well as with the other subordinate Lodges. Widow’s Son has always led by example and has always been willing to stand and abide by all edicts, communications and summonses received from the Grand Lodge.
We give thanks to the grand Architect of the Universe for allowing our Lodge to have prosperity in growth and for supplying our Lodge with leadership, vision and integrity. Our faith in God has lead us through the Great Depression of the 30’s and onward through the present without any financial setbacks. With continued faith and perseverance Widow’s Son Lodge No. 17 will remain a forerunner among the subordinate Lodges of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall grand Lodge of Kansas and will be forever faithful to our Brothers and Sisters.