In the early part of 1795 Elijah Clark, Farewell Coit, Stephen Culver, Cushing Eells, Jeremiah Harris, Giles L'Hommedieu, Ebenezer Huntington, Samuel Huntington, Daniel Lathrop, David Nevins, Robert Niles, John Richards, Benjamin Snow, Asa Spalding, Elisha Tracy, John Trumbull, John Turner and Philip Turner, former members of the first two lodges established in the vicinity of Norwich (Norwich Lodge, established in 1766, and Columbia Lodge, established in 1785), petitioned the Grand Lodge of Connecticut for a charter to organize a lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Norwich, under the title of Somerset Lodge, which name was selected in honor of the Duke of Somerset, who built the old palace in London where the Somerset House now stands.
The charter was granted the 25 th of May, 1795, and Somerset Lodge, No. 34, was duly established. The first communication was held June 8, 1795.
From this time forward for thirty years Masonry in Norwich prospered. Regular meetings were held and many prominent men became members of the Order.
The "anti-Masonic excitement," which began in 1826, had its effect on Somerset Lodge, as it did in lodges all over the country. The brethren kept together until 1832, when all meetings were abandoned. The Charter was returned to the Grand Lodge in 1838.
On the 14th of May, 1845, the petition of the brethren in Norwich for the resuscitation of Somerset Lodge was granted by the Grand Lodge and the charter restored. Of the petitioners for the restoration of the charter four had been members prior to the surrender; seventeen others, also members prior to the surrender, resumed their membership without any action by the Lodge, although for some reason their names do not appear as petitioners for the restoration.
Prom 1845 the Lodge has an unbroken record of existence. Three times members have withdrawn to form new lodges: Mt. Vernon, in Jewett City, 1871; St. James, in Norwich, 1872; Oxoboxo, in Montville, 1874.
As the Lodge grew and prospered its quarters wore enlarged and improved till finally its members united with those of the other bodies in Norwich in building the Masonic Temple, which was dedicated in 1894 and is devoted exclusively to the uses of Masonry. The centennial anniversary was celebrated in 1895 and a second century of usefulness and prosperity entered upon.
1. "Somerset Lodge No. 34", By-Laws of Somerset Lodge, No. 34, A. F. and A. M., Norwich, Conn., 1920, pages 3-4.
See AlsoSomerset Lodge, No. 34, 1900 List of MembersSomerset Lodge A.F. & A.M., Lodge No. 34 By-Laws 1920Somerset Lodge, No. 34, 1924 Annual Report