Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Officers, May–August 1842

, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the York rite of speculative Freemasonry, granted a dispensation for the organization of a temporary Freemasonry lodge in in mid-October 1841. In conjunction with this action, Jonas appointed as the lodge’s Worshipful Master, as Senior Warden, and as Junior Warden. On 29 December 1841, eighteen Freemasons met and opened the temporary lodge in ’s Nauvoo office. In addition to confirming the previous appointments made by Jonas, the congregants elected the other officers listed below, including Hyrum Smith as Senior Warden pro tempore. On 15 March 1842, Jonas visited Nauvoo and officially installed the Nauvoo Lodge under Dispensation. From 7 April until 11 August, members of the lodge met almost every day, usually twice a day. On 11 August the lodge ceased meeting after Jonas issued an injunction that suspended the dispensation.
From the beginning, many of the original officers, including , were often absent from meetings. On those occasions, other Masons filled their positions pro tempore. During the summer of 1842, most of the offices—with the exception of Steward, which usually went unfilled—were filled by the same individuals on a somewhat consistent basis. usually acted as Treasurer pro tempore until 15 June, when took his position in that office. Beginning on 13 July, began to serve as Worshipful Master pro tempore on a regular basis, requiring others to fill his office of Junior Warden.
Despite their frequent absences, the original officers were usually present in meetings dealing with . JS also often attended those meetings. On 6 May 1842 Bennett recorded meeting minutes for the last time, and soon after began to serve as Secretary pro tempore. In a 7 May meeting, a letter was read from in which he informed the lodge he had received news that Bennett had been expelled from an lodge. Bennett, who was present, denied the charge “in toto,” but the lodge proceeded to investigate the matter during the next two months. Bennett continued to defend himself until 16 June, after which he seems to have ceased attending the meetings altogether. On 7 July 1842, after obtaining more information about Bennett’s character and trying to learn whether he had in fact been expelled from an Ohio lodge, the Nauvoo Lodge expelled him as well.
The first column lists the officers who had been appointed and elected by December 1841. The second column lists those individuals who most often served in these offices during the period from May through August 1842.
December 1841 1 May–11 August 1842
Worshipful Master (pro tempore)
Senior Warden (pro tempore) (pro tempore)
Junior Warden
Secretary (pro tempore)
(after 20 July)
Treasurer (pro tempore)
(pro tempore)
Senior Deacon
Junior Deacon William Felshaw (pro tempore)
Stewards William Felshaw
Tyler (pro tempore)
  1. 1

    Copy of Dispensation, 15 Oct. 1841, in Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 1–2.  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  2. 2

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 29 Dec. 1841.  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  3. 3

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 15 and 16 Mar. 1842.  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  4. 4

    Jonas had issued an injunction against the lodge on 30 July due to reports of “great irregularities.” In November 1842, after reviewing the claims further, Jonas found the charges “entirely groundless” and removed the injunction. (Copy of Injunction, 30 July 1842, in Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 133; Copy of Removal of the Injunction, 2 Nov. 1842, in Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 134.)  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  5. 5

    In some cases, even when the original officers did attend, someone else continued to act in their assigned or elected offices. (See, for example, Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 27 Apr. 1842.)  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  6. 6

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 15 June 1842.  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  7. 7

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 13 July–11 Aug. 1842.  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  8. 8

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 6–10 May 1842.  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  9. 9

    Abraham Jonas, Columbus, IL, to George Miller, Nauvoo, IL, 4 May 1842, Letters pertaining to Freemasonry in Nauvoo, CHL.  

    Letters pertaining to Freemasonry in Nauvoo, 1842. CHL.

  10. 10

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 7 and 19 May 1842; 2, 16, and 24 June 1842.  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  11. 11

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 16 June 1842.  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436

  12. 12

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 7 July 1842. The charges against Bennett were outlined in the 9 August meeting. (Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book, 9 Aug. 1842.)  

    Nauvoo Masonic Lodge Minute Book. / “Record of Na[u]voo Lodge Under Dispensation,” 1842–1846. CHL. MS 3436