|Horace Chase Lodge #72 F.&A.M.|
|Horace Chase Lodge, Penacook, New Hampshire|
Biography of New Hampshire Grand Master Horace Chase
and member, Anniversary Lodge of Research No. 175
Horace Chase was born on December 14, 1788 in Unity, New Hampshire. He attended and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1814, and read the law for two ears in the Hopkinton law office of Matthew Harvey (1781-1866). Matthew Harvey later became Governor of New Hampshire, a Member of Congress and a Federal Judge, as well as a member of King Solomon's Lodge No. 14 in New London, NH. Horace Chase then moved to Goshen, NH, where he practiced law for three years before moving back to Hopkinton and becoming a law partner with Matthew Harvey. He also served as Postmaster for Hopkinton for 1829 through 1850.
Horace Chase was involved in town and state politics for thirty-two years; from the time he was first Town Clerk in Hopkinton in 1824 until he resigned from the Merrimack County Probate Court in 1856. The following is a chronological list of political offices held:
· Town Clerk: 1824,1825,1829-1835 · Town Treasurer: 1826-1835 · Representative to the General Court: 1829 · Assistant Clerk of the House of Representatives: 1830-1832 · Moderator of Town Meeting: 1832 and 1837 · Judge of the Probate Court for Merrimack County: October 13, 1839 - July 14, 1856
In 1845, he published The Probate Directory, a manual of probate practices and procedures in effect at that time. He was considered a careful and conservative lawyer, thoroughly honest and highly esteemed personally and professionally by his peers throughout the state.
Horace Chase was married three times:
· On December 24, 1818, he married Betsy Blanchard, the daughter of Stephen Blanchard (a Past Grand Lecturer) and Betsy Eastbrook. They had four children. Betsy passed away on June 28, 1843 at the age of 54. · On June 5, 1844, he married Lucy Blanchard, Betsy's sister. She passed away on December 22, 1848 at the age of 51. · On November 15, 1849, he married Ruthanna Clark, the widow of Daniel Clark of Manchester. She passed away on February 1, 1905, outliving him by thirty years.
Horace Chase began his Masonic career in Blazing Star Lodge No. 11 in Concord. He took the Entered Apprentice Degree on May 23, 1815, was passed to the Degree of Fellow Craft on August 15, 1815 and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on October 17, 1815. He then served as Tyler in 1815-1817 and Senior Warden in 1818.
When he moved to Goshen in 1816 to practice law, he demitted from Blazing Star and affiliated with Corinthian Lodge No. 28 in Newport, NH. There he was elected Worshipful Master on April 6, 1819. There appears to be no evidence that he served that Lodge in any other office prior to his election, but he may have been the most experienced Mason in the Lodge at that time. He was reelected Worshipful Master in 1820. Because of his ritualistic ability, previous to his election as Worshipful Master, he had been appointed Grand Lecturer in 1817-1818. He was appointed District Deputy Grand Master in 1820, 1822-1823 and 1829.
Corinthian Lodge No. 28 of Newport had been chartered in 1816 and was one of the twenty-six Lodges in New Hampshire to go dark during the Anti-Masonic agitation. Its charter was forfeited at the Grand Lodge meeting in 1840, when the rolls of the Grand Lodge were purged of those Lodges.
On May 20, 1845, Horace Chase reaffiliated with Blazing Star Lodge in Concord where he became Senior Steward in 1846 and Worshipful Master in 1847. In 1850, he was elected Deputy Grand Master and then served as Grand Master for the years 1851-1852. At the Annual Meeting of the Grand Lodge in 1854, at the age of sixty-five, he was elected Grand Secretary, a position he held for sixteen years until 1870, when he relinquished it due to declining health.
His time in leadership positions in the Grand Lodge was marked by a number of accomplishments and events, including the Civil War, as well as a period of growth in the Craft after the anti-Masonic period. He oversaw a period of standardization of our ritual, as the Grand Lodge ritual committee worked to adopt the ritual as taught by Jeremy Ladd Cross, and the establishment of much of the constitutional and committee structure that exists in the Grand Lodge today. He also compiled, edited and had published the first two volumes of our Grand Lodge Proceedings, covering 1789 to 1841 and 1842 to 1856 respectively. Without those printed volumes, it would be difficult to learn much about the work of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire in its early years.
In the York Rite, he was a member of Trinity Chapter No. 2 of Hopkinton, and served as Grand Secretary of the Grand Chapter of New Hampshire from 1849 through 1869, or twenty-one consecutive years. He was a member of Horace Chase Council No. 4 of Concord, which was named for him. He was a Knight Templar and most likely a member of Mt. Horeb Commandery, now No. 3 but not numbered in those days, which was originally located in Hopkinton but later relocated to Concord when it was revived in 1859. He served as Grand Recorder of the Grand Commandery of New Hampshire for 1860-1865, 1867-1869 and probably in 1866 as well, although no record of the election for that year exists.
The Scottish Rite in what is now the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction was in a period of disorganization during most of Horace Chase's active Masonic career, and it was far less prominent and popular than it is today. Brother Chase was a Scottish Rite Mason and received the 33rd Degree on 27 November 1866 in recognition of his work for the Craft in New Hampshire.
Brother Chase was honored with two Masonic bodies named for him during his lifetime. On June 12, 1861, a petition for a new Lodge in Fisherville, NH, was approved by the Grand Lodge Committee on Lodges, to be called Horace Chase Lodge No. 72. Horace Chase, as Grand Secretary, gave his approval for the new Lodge to carry his name and the number 72 that was his age in 1861. It was the first and last time in New Hampshire that a Lodge was named after a living person. He was present in the East when that Lodge was constituted by the Grand Lodge and the first officers installed. Horace Chase Lodge continues to work today in Penacook.
Horace Chase Council No. 4, Royal and Select Masters, was chartered in June 1862 at the convention that organized the Grand Council of New Hampshire. The charter is dated 24 June 1862 and the petition of nine Concord area Cryptic Masons for the charter was approved on 11 June 1862. Horace Chase was present at that event but was not one of the petitioners. The Council named in his honor continues to work in Concord today.
Horace Chase died on March 1, 1875 in Hopkinton at the age of 86 years. His funeral was held on March 6, 1875 in St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Hopkinton, and he is buried with his three wives in the Old Village Cemetery in Hopkinton.
Over the years, the gravesite had deteriorated, but due to the efforts of our late Brother Oran Cochran, the area has been cleaned and weeded and the fence around the site has been sanded and painted. With funds from Horace Chase Lodge, the monument has been cleaned and a bronze plaque erected indicating that the gravesite is maintained by the Lodge.
For Further Reading about Horace Chase:
Foss, Gerald D., Three Centuries of Freemasonry in New Hampshire, The New Hampshire Publishing Company, Somersworth, NH, 1972, pp. 300-303