The Cashmere Grotto, 1917, Historical Sketch

A few years prior to 1889, LeRoy Fairchild, with a numerous following of the membership of Hamilton Lodge, No. 120, F. & A. M., diligently prospected for fun and mischief, and at last, in the summer of 1889, discovered a rich vein that led to the mother lode of pure, good fellowship, and opened before them the Enchanted Realm with its inexhaustible treasures to gladden the heart and bind men in closer companionship.

On the evening of September 10th, 1889, a band of seventeen assembled in the Masonic Hall at Hamilton, N. Y., for the purpose of perfecting an organization. This organization was destined to evolve into the Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, but at first the organizers had in view a purely local institution, as indicated by the name which it first adopted, namely: "Fairchild Deviltry Committee." Hence the letters "F. D. C." have an historic significance to us as Prophets.

It was decided at this first meeting that the membership of the organization should be confined to Master Masons in good standing.

On the evening of May 28th, 1890, the members of the "F. D. C." in response to a demand for the extension of the order, unanimously resolved to establish a Supreme Council with sovereign power to extend and govern the order. Measures were duly adopted for the carrying out of this resolution, and pursuant thereto the Supreme Council of the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm was duly founded and established on the 13th day of June, 1890.

In the spring of 1903 Guy W. Shoemaker, of Elmira, N. Y., became a member of Lalla Rookh Grotto, No. 3, Rochester, N. Y. He told his Masonic brethren and the idea of forming a Grotto in Elmira was conceived. It was agreed that the proceeds from the initiation fee should be paid to the Masonic Board of Trustees to be applied towards-reducing the debt on the Masonic Temple, With the above object in view the following Masons contributed ten dollars each and applied to the Supreme Council, M. O. V. P. E. R. for a dispensation: Prophet Guy W. Shoemaker, Brothers J. M. Diven, Henry K. Ball, George H. Spring, J. B. Coykendall, W. C. Smith, W. J. Copeland, C. B. Losie, George McCann, C. W. Ufford.

On April 6th, 1903, Prophet William H. Whiting, District Deputy at large, assisted by Past Grand Monarch George P. Loder, instituted Cashmere Grotto, Under Dispensation, at the Masonic Temple, Elmira, N. Y. The dispensation named William G. MacEdward as Potent Monarch, George McCann as Chief Justice, Fred P. Jewett as Master of Ceremonies, and was dated at Hamilton, N. Y., April 6th, 1903, signed by J. Harris Balston, Grand Monarch, attested by Sidney D. Smith, Grand Secretary. Sixty-seven charter members were duly obligated and installed by Prophet William H. Whiting.

Cashmere Grotto, U. D., paid the Supreme Council $20.00 for the Dispensation, and $90.00 to Prophet William H. Whiting for instituting the Grotto.

At the fourteenth annual session of the Supreme Council, M. O. V. P. E. R., held at Hamilton, N. Y., October 20th, 1903, a charter was granted to Cashmere Grotto, No. 11, Elmira, N. Y., naming William G. MacEdward, Potent Monarch; George MoCann, Chief Justice; Fred F. Jewett, Master of Ceremonies.

The charter is signed by Chas. W. Mann, Grand Monarch; William H. Whiting, Grand Chief Justice; Chas. E. Lansing, Grand Master of Ceremonies; attested with seal by Sidney D. Smith, Grand Secretary.

At the Supreme Council session held at Syracuse, N. Y., in October, 1907, Cashmere Grotto was honored by the election of Past Monarch George McCann to the highest office in the Supreme Council, Grand Monarch, which office was held by him for one year, and Past Monarch Snyder was elected to the office of Grand Steward.

At the Supremo Council Session held in Buffalo, N. Y., in June, 1915, Past Monarch W. H. Snyder was elected to the office of Grand Monarch, and at the Supreme Council Session at Detroit, Mich., the following year, Grand Monarch Snyder reported the largest growth in the history of the Supreme Council, having instituted 23 new Grottoes.

Cashmere Grotto, No. 11, has a membership, January 23, 1917, of 1474; is out of debt, with a balance in the treasury.

Since the completion of the new temple we have been paying into the temple fund $720.00 a year as rental. The Grotto also donated the opera chairs in the balcony on top floor, besides equipping a full stage with scenery, etc.

In the year 1907, W. H. Snyder, Monarch, suggested that the Grotto, accompanied by the Grotto Band, visit the Orphan's Home, Elmira, N. Y., on New Year's Day, giving all the children presents and a substantial donation to the management. This visit was such a decided success that it has becomo an annual custom with Cashmere Grotto.

The interest displayed by the Prophets was so great, the attendance so large, that the facilities at the Orphan's Home became too small, so that for the last seven years the children have been brought to the Masonic Temple in automobiles. The party-being met at the corner of Main and Water Streets by the Grotto and band in uniform and escorted to the Temple, where the exercises were conducted in the drill hall.

Last New Years' day the drill hall was crowded to its utmost capacity with Prophets and members of their families. The shining countenances, with suspicion of moisture in the eyes of those attending and the fact that the attendance at this function is greater than that of any ceremonial session or other function held during the year, all testify to the good that is being done, not only to the helpless orphan but to the members of the Grotto.

"A little child shall lead them."

References
1. "History of the Grotto," and "History of Cashmere Grotto," History and Roster of Cashmere Grotto, No. 11, M. O. V. P. E. R. (Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm), Elmira, New York, 1917, pages 5-10. Section relating to History of the Grotto from History of the Supreme Council, Sidney D. Smith, Historian and Grand Secretary

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