Hudson-Morris Lodge No. 80 A.F. & A.M. King George, Virginia
The answer to the question “When did the Lodge in King George begin?” cannot be answered. Hudson-Morris Lodge No. 80 was not the first Lodge in King George County.
There was another Lodge here long before this one. Preston Lodge No. 86 was granted a dispensation on January 28, 1809, and was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Virginia on December 13, 1809. This Lodge ended in the mid-1800’s, as did many Lodges, because of the political unrest in our country during that time.
Preston Lodge met at King George Courthouse and became extinct in December 1852. The nucleus around which Hudson-Morris Lodge formed was probably a building. Brother John S. Cheadle, a local real estate agent, listed the building in the early part of 1980. Brother Cheadle asked a local builder, Brother T. T. Coghill, for an estimate on some repairs to the building. The potential for a Lodge was immediately seen and the word spread. Several events, coupled with the existing interest and enthusiasm led to a general meeting of some local Masons. This meeting was held on September 13, 1980, at the home of Brother Eugene Mullen. Those in attendance were Right Worshipful John H. King, a member of the Grand Lodge Committee on Expansion, Right Worshipful William M. Sebastian, District Deputy Grand Master of Masonic District No. 8, Maynard Bechtel, Fred N. Brown, Jerry R. Clift, T. B. Coghill, Samuel Cochran, Vernon Field, Charlie Layne, Eugene Mullen, and David Parr. Right Worshipful King explained that it would be necessary for there to be at least twenty signatures on a petition to request Grand Lodge to grant a dispensation and that “It would be expedient and much in favor of the petitioners if a permanent meeting place could be obtained.” A second organizational meeting was held on October 7, 1980. This meeting was held in the proposed Lodge building which received a vote of confidence from all attending. A petition from Brother Coghill, with thirty-seven signatures was presented to right Worshipful Brother King.
The following officers were elected:
Thomas B. Yancey, Worshipful Master
Devanent W. Phillips, Senior Warden
Samuel L. Cochran, Junior Warden
The following officers were elected or appointed to the remaining offices:
T. B. Coghill, Treasurer
John S. Cheadle, Secretary
Howard F. Coleman, Senior Deacon
Frederick N. Brown, Junior Deacon
Donald L. Clift, Senior Steward
Larry M. Cameron, Junior Steward
Walter T. Lewis, Chaplain
Jerry R. Clift, Tiler
Those present at the second meeting voted to name the new Lodge Hudson-Morris after James D. Hudson and Elmer R. Morris, Sr., who were prominent Masons and citizens of King George County. Also temporary trustees were elected and charged with negotiating with the Daughters of the American Revolution to obtain the building. Articles that were to govern the Lodge until adoption of bylaws were approved at this meeting. On November 11, 1980, Most Worshipful Charles E. Wallace, Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, and his officers instituted Husdon-Morris Lodge and placed it Under Dispensation. In December 1980, this Lodge initiated its first two candidates, Brother Robert VanValzah, III, and Brother Keith K. Miller.
The Grand Lodge of Virginia granted a charter for Hudson-Morris Lodge No. 80 on February 10, 1981. The Lodge had fifty-one members. Brother Robert VanValzah, III was the first candidate raised in Hudson-Morris Lodge. On May 1, 1981, the Lodge was constituted and the officers duly installed.