Each month Temple Lodge No. 33 features a deceased Brother of the Lodge as a way of highlighting the contributions Freemasons have made to Duncan and the surrounding Cowichan Valley.
Our Featured Deceased member of Temple Lodge No. 33 for November 2017 is Alfred Edward Green (1874-1968), who came to the Cowichan Valley with his family in 1921 and served as the local coroner. Descendants of Alfred Edward Greenare still living in the Cowichan Valley.
On 23 January 2017 the Temple Lodge No.33 Historian and webmaster, W.B. Mark Anderson, attended a lecture at the Congregation Emanu-El synagogue in Victoria which focused on a University of Victoria Anthropology course, ANTH 395, which is using the Victoria Jewish Cemetery as a teaching aid for archaeological methods. (April 2017 Update: ANTH 395 has been reclassified as ANTH 367)
One of the projects this course is undertaking is to identify the unmarked burial plots of the Victoria Jewish Cemetery and identify the people whose grave locations have been forgotten.
Temple Lodge, No.33 puts information about Deceased Brethren on this website and has found that the pages on Deceased Brethren are among the most viewed and most popular pages on the website. Genealogy is a very popular pastime and Temple Lodge, No.33 gets frequent requests for additional information from researchers who have found ancestors on our website.
He was also prominent in local business. In 1902, he formed a partnership with fellow Temple Lodge, No.33 member Andrew Hans Peterson under the name Pitt & Peterson, which purchased the Duncan Emporium business of W.B. Harry Smith.
With W.Bro. Andrew H. Peterson, he was one of the founders of Cowichan Merchants Ltd. in 1909. He sold his interest in Cowichand Merchants Ltd. to Andrew H. Peterson in 1919.
He later ran a garage under the name of Thomas Pitt Ltd. before retiring in 1932. The building he built in 1929 for his automotive business is still standing at 231 Government St. in downtown Duncan, B.C. This building was designed by local architect Douglas James.
Here is a brief biographical sketch of Right Worshipful Brother Thomas Pitt from Temple Lodge records, newspaper articles and from his obituary and the report of his funeral the Cowichan Leader newspaper:
“…An application was then made by Mr. Thomas Pitt of the town of Duncans (Hotel Keeper) as a fit and proper person to be made a member of this Lodge. The application was made by Bro. Harry Smith seconded by Bro. Louis Truesdale. Carried. The Worshipful Master then appointed a committee on the application of Thos. Pitt. Bros. S. Robinson, Wm. Gidley, J.M. Mutter…”
(Source: Temple Lodge No.33, Minutes of Regular Meeting, 10 February 1900)
“..The application of Mr. Thos. Pitt was then read with a favourable report of committee upon the same. Brother Evans moved, and Bro. Truesdale seconded the motion to receive the application of Mr. Thos. Pitt and discharge the committee. The motion carried…..
The application of Mr. Thos. Pitt was then taken up and a ballot ordered after which the W.M. declared Mr. Thos. Pitt duly elected to become a member of this Lodge by Initiation….[Note: at the same meeting, applications for Initiation were also received from Cap. H.H. Addington, Robert Telford and Melville Franklin Lucas. All were elected members of Temple Lodge, No.33 at the Regular Meeting of 10 March 1900.]”
(Source: Temple Lodge No.33, Minutes of Regular Meeting, 10 March 1900)
“…Mr. Thomas Pitt a candidate for initiation being in waiting, was duly prepared, brought forward [and] initiated as an Entered Apprentice, he paying the usual fee…”
[Note: Cap. H.H. Addington was also initiated at this meeting]
(Source: Temple Lodge No.33, Minutes of Emergent Meeting, 24 March 1900)
Here are the local newspaper reports of the formation of Cowichan Merchants Ltd., a partnership between Thomas Pitt, Andrew H. Peterson and William Penn Jaynes.
“Business House In New Home ————–
This morning at 9:30 when the doors of the new home of Cowichan Merchants, Ltd. are thrown open to the public, one of the finest buildings of its kind west of Winnipeg will be in use as a general store.
The actual commencement of the mercantile business in Cowichan district dates back to 1879, when Mr. W.H. Jaynes first opened a business house here. On July 1st, 1899 the house which was destined to become the strongest mercantile firm in the district was founded by Mr. Harry Smith, who carried on business in the I.O.O.F. block until 1901, when he removed to the corner of Station and Craig Streets now being vacated by the Cowichan Merchants Ltd.
In February 1902, Mr. A. Peterson, who had been with Mr. Smith from the inception of the ‘Duncan Emporium’ formed a partnership with Mr. Thomas Pitt, purchased the business from its originator and by foresight and good management this firm has built up what is conceded to be the most extensive general merchandise business on Vancouver Island.
Last year the business which Mr. W.P. Jaynes had carried on successfully for many years was amalgamated with that of the Duncan Emporium, and the two houses, when the merger was complete, became known as the Cowichan Merchants, Limited, with Mr. A. Peterson as managing director…….”
“AFTER SEVENTEEN YEARS —- Mr. Thomas Pitt Severs Connection With Well Known Firm —
Mr. T. Pitt has severed his connection with the Cowichan Merchants Ltd., having disposed of his interests to Mr. A.H. Peterson. Thus the associations of some seventeen years are broken.
Mr. Pitt started business in partnership with Mr. Peterson, trading under both names in the building at the corner of Craig and Station Streets, Duncan. Its boards still show the old sign under certain weather conditions.
Subsequently the firm of Pitt and Peterson amalgamated with Mr. W.P. Jaynes and thus the Cowichan Merchants Ltd was brought into being.
Mr. Pitt was the recipient of a handsome case of pipes on New Year’s eve at the store, presented on behalf of the employees by Mr. T.J. Reeves. For the patronage extended to him by the public during the past seventeen years Mr. Pitt proffers his sincere thanks and appreciation.”
Here is Thomas Pitt’s obituary in the local Cowichan Leader newspaper:
“Pitt – Cowichan learned with deep regret yesterday of the death in Duncan of Mr. Thomas Pitt, well-known and respected resident of the district since 1890. He was 68.
A former mayor and alderman of Duncan and a Justice of the Peace, Mr. Pitt was a popular figure here. He had been active in various organizations and was prominent in many lines of business.
He was born in Worcestershire, England in 1870, a son of the late Thomas and Letitia Pitt. He came out to this country in 1890 to work on the Elkington ranch near Maple Bay.
After farming for six years, he operated the Alderlea Hotel for three years. He then went into the general merchandising business with Mr. A.H. Peterson in the firm of Pitt & Peterson. Later, the late W.P. Jaynes was taken into the partnership and Cowichan Merchants Ltd. was founded.
Mr. Pitt sold his interest in the business just after the war, and operated a sawmill at Cobble Hill for a few years. Then for 10 years he was in the garage business under the name of Thomas Pitt Ltd. [Note: Thomas Pitt had local architect Douglas James design a building for his garage business in 1929. That building is still standing at 231 Government St. in downtown Duncan.] He retired in 1932.
Mr. Pitt was mayor of Duncan in 1919, 1920 and 1921, and an alderman in 1914, 1922, 1923 and 1924.
He was a keen hunter and angler, and the Cowichan Fish and Game Association grew under his guidance. He was secretary from its inception until illness forced him to vacate the office about five months ago. He was also largely responsible for the organization of the Affiliated Fish and Game Associations of Vancouver Island four years ago, being president for the first two years. He was a club member of Cowichan Branch, Canadian Legion.
In 1900 Mr. Pitt married Miss Alice Grassie. He is survived by her; one son, Mr. Cyril Thomas Pitt, Duncan; one daughter, Mrs. A.E. Robinson, Vancouver; four brothers, Charles W. in Duncan, Stanley and George in England and Harry in Australia; and one sister, Mrs. Nellie Clark-Baylis, in England.
The pallbearers were Messrs. J. Cathcart, R.K. Cairns, Frank Price, A.H. Peterson, D.R. Hattie and James Grieg. The 23rd Psalm was sung and there were two hymns, “Peace, Perfect Peace” and Abide With Me.” Mr. R.W. Whidden had charge of arrangements.”
This small commercial building at 45 Craig Street is now occupied by Just Jake’s Restaurant.
The building was originally built in 1922 for Worshipful Brother Harold Fairfax Prevost, who used it for his stationery and toy business. The building was designed by architect Douglas James and the contractor was Edward W. Lee, later Mayor of Duncan.
At the time this building was constructed , this site was apparently a vacant lot. A livery stable had been on the site previously. We believe that livery stable was the Keast and Blackstock Livery Stable, which burned down in the Great Fire of 1911, which started in the Cowichan Merchants’ building and spread to adjacent structures. This livery stable was operated by Brother Hubert Keast of Temple Lodge, No.33 until Brother Keast’s death in 1907.
Worshipful Brother Harold F. Prevost also served as Mayor of Duncan from 1929-1935. He considered his primary accomplishment as Mayor to have been keeping the City of Duncan‘s finances in stable condition during the Great Depression.
Here are some descriptions of this building taken from local newspapers and historical records:
“Excavations were begun yesterday for the erection of a new store on Craig Street, Duncan, next to the Canadian Bank of Commerce. It is for Mr. H.F. Prevost. Mr. E.W. Lee has the contract. Mr. Douglas James is the architect.”
“NEW BUSINESS PREMISES Building On Craig Street Will Enhance City’s Appearance
As noted last week, excavations have begun on the site of Mr. H.F. Prevost’s new store on Craig Street, Duncan, adjoining the Canadian Bank of Commerce.
These new business premises will be a decided addition to the buildings of the city. The block is to be 30 feet wide by 60 feet long and it will be constructed of interlocking hollow tile, similar to that used in Mr. C.B. Mains new store. This hollow tile, owing to its air space, makes the building very cool in the summer.
It will be a one floor building on concrete foundations with a small cement basement. It will occupy the whole of Mr. Prevost’s lot. The large plate glass windows will face Craig street and the front will be of buff pressed brick with a gallery across the back.
While making excavations for this building, operations were somewhat hampered, owing to the discovery of a twenty-foot well, just at the back of the bank building. Some years ago the site was used for a livery stable when the well was then is use.
The contract calls for the building to be completed in two months’ time. Mr. Douglas James is the architect and Mr. E.W. Lee is the contractor…..”
“Mr. H.F. Prevost and his staff spent a very busy week end moving from the Odd Fellows’ Block, Duncan, to the new store next to the Canadian Bank of Commerce, on Craig street. As so much of his stationery and toy business is of very small size, its transportation was a lengthy and difficult process, having chiefly to be done by hand. However, they are now firmly established in a larger and more commodious building. The former place of business is in the hands of carpenters, undergoing alterations necessary before Mr. H.W. Fox removes his dry goods business there.”
After Harold Fairfax Prevost’s death in 1941, 45 Craig Street was occupied by another member of Temple Lodge, No.33, William Bruce Powel, who used it for his mens’ clothing business, Powel’s Mens’ Wear.
Powel’s Mens Wear moved next door to 25 Craig Street (now the Craig Street Brew Pub) in 1972 and operated from that location until 2004, when 25 Craig Street became the Craig Street Brew Pub.
Craig Street Brew Pub also operates Just Jake’s Restaurant, so 25 Craig Street and 45 Craig Street are under the same management.
Harold Fairfax Prevost is buried in St. Peter’s Quamichan Anglican Cemetery.
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Other members of Temple Lodge, No. 33 known to have been associated with St. John’s Anglican Church are Roland Clayton Fawcett, Kenneth Forrest Duncan, James Grieg, Thomas Pitt, Hugh George Savage, John Dick, Thomas Gibbins, William H. Purver, John Homer, Steven Hamilton Hoskins.
“The meeting of the Grand Lodge of Masons to be held in Duncan on the 26th of this month for the purpose of laying the corner stone of the new church promises to be very interesting. Every one should see this ceremony.”
Source: Cowichan Leader, 16 August 1905
Here is the Grand Master of British Columbia’s report of the cornerstone ceremony at St. John’s Church:
“…….On the 26th of August, 1905, I convened a Special Communication of Grand Lodge at Duncan’s, B.C., for the purpose of laying the corner stone of St. John’s Church. A large number of Brethren from Duncan’s, Victoria, and other parts of the Province, took part in the ceremony. M.W. Bro. C. Ensor Sharp delivered a most eloquent address. During the ceremony I was presented with a magnificent silver trowel which I will always treasure as a memento of one of the pleasantest duties of my Masonic experience. In the afternoon the ladies of St. John’s Church entertained the Grand Lodge and other visitors at afternoon tea, and the members of Temple Lodge provided carriages and took us for a drive through the magnificent country surrounding Duncan’s……….
Report of Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Thomas J. Armstrong, Grand Lodge, 21 June 1906, Victoria, B.C.”
Source: Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of B.C., A.F. & A.M., 1906, page 8
“……………..On August 26th, 1905, I visited Temple Lodge No. 33, Duncan’s. They had no work on, but a social session was held and a very pleasant evening spent……….
Report of Grand Master, M.W. Bro. Thomas J. Armstrong, Grand Lodge, 21 June 1906, Victoria, B.C.”
Source: Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of B.C., A.F. & A.M., 1906, page 11
“PARISH HISTORY ——————— Canon Leakey Refers To Beginnings of Anglican Church in Duncan ———————————————–
The services at St. John [the] Baptist church on the day of its patron saint were marked by a sermon by the Rev. Canon Leakey at evensong.
His texts were those used by the then Bishop of Columbia and himself at the consecration services in 1906, namely, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” and “Let us go on to perfection.”
The canon recalled his first impression of Duncan in 1886, when there were two farms, namely those of Messrs. W.C. Duncan and James Evans, and one shack, that of Mr. E.B. McKay. Elsewhere there was dense dark forest.
Services were conducted by himself as vicar of St. Peter’s Quamichan, in Mr. Duncan’s house, until 1890, when the old agricultural hall was utilized. Then the Masons offered their hall and finally, it was decided to build a church, which stood in a veritable wilderness and, like its patron saint, cried its message.
On August 26th, 1905, the corner stone of the building was laid by the Most Worshipful the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of B.C. It is of interest to record that General Currie on that occasion acted as Grand Marshal. In December of that year the church was opened for service, and about June 22nd 1906, it was consecrated.
Canon Leakey said their gratitude was due to the Masonic fraternity for their interest in the church in the past.
From its name the church spoke of repentance and urged them to go on to perfection. These yearly stages should be marked in their own lives.”
Source: Cowichan Leader, 8 July 1920, page 8
Here are the records of a report given to Temple Lodge, No.33 by M.W.B. Claude Green in February 1979 regarding research he done on the history of St. John’s Anglican Church.
M. Wor Bro Green told the Lodge that his wife has been compiling a “scrap book” and had two identical newspaper pictures giving conflicting accounts of corner stones being laid by local Freemasons. Under one picture it said it was the laying of the corner stone of the first Duncan Hospital which took place on October 22nd, 1910. The other picture stated it was the laying of the cornerstone of St John’s Church, Duncan, B.C. on August 26th, 1905.
Bro Green said his wife was able to prove the correct account of the two pictures was the laying of the corner stone of the first Duncan Hospital by virtue of the fact that two small girls shown in the background were the daughters of our late Wor Bro Wm Dwyer who are approximately the same age as Mrs Green who was born in 1904. The two girls in the background of the picture are approximately six and seven years of age. Mrs Green has verified this with the two Dwyer girls.
Bro Green stated he was aware of the laying of the corner stones of the first Duncan Hospital and our present Masonic Building but had no knowledge of the St John’s Church corner stone. He stated he had found the Church corner stone text but it did not have the customary A.F. & A.M. and Square and Compass inscribed upon it he had therefore doubted that the corner stone had been laid under the auspices of the local Freemasons.
Not satisfied Bro Green looked up the Minutes of 1905 and found that an Emergent Meeting dated August 4th, 1905 was called especially to make arrangements for the laying of the said corner stone and that Grand Master Armstrong had been invited to officiate at the ceremony.
An Emergent Meeting was held in the Lodge on Saturday, August 26th, 1905 at 8:00 p.m. in which the Grand Master paid an Official Visit to Temple Lodge. No mention being made of the laying of the corner stone.
Research of the Grand Lodge Proceedings dated 1906 Bro Green found that Grand Master reported in his Address to the Brethren of his Official Visit to Temple Lodge on the evening of August 26th 1905. Still no mention of the laying stone of St. John’s Church.
Further research in the Grand Lodge Proceedings and under the heading of Special Events Grand Master Armstrong states he had laid the corner stone at St John’s Church, Duncan’s in the afternoon of Saturday, August 26th, 1905. Thus a Masonic laying of the corner stone at St John’s Church had now been established.
Unfortunately, the Lodge Secretary of that period failed to record that Temple Lodge #33 together with the Grand Master had participated in that historic event.
Bro Green asked permission of the Lodge to Insert in the proper space of the Minutes of 1905 a memorandum recording this important historic event. This was immediately authorized.
The Worshipful Master thanked Bro. Green and his wife for the trouble takes by them in order to establish the correct version of the two newspaper pictures and the consequent research undertaken to establish the fact that the St John’s Church corner stone had been laid under the auspices of the local Freemasons and the Grand Master of that period.
Of interest the St John’s Church corner stone bears the following inscription:-
Aug 26, 1905
These are the initials of the following Latin sentences-
AD MAGNA DEO GLORIA
which translated says
TO THE GREATER GLORY OF GOD
There being no further business the Lodge was closed at 8:00 p.m. in Short Form.
Peace and harmony prevailing.”
Source: Temple Lodge, No.33 Minute Book, Meeting of 13 February 1979
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