34 Masons, a Mason’s Son and a Goat Capture Block Island

By W:. Ronald J. Seifried, DSA

Over the course of the history of Freemasonry, brothers had the ability to travel to Masonic lodges other than their home lodge to share in fellowship with other recognized lodges. It is possible for several brothers from one lodge to travel as a group to other lodges for degrees, table lodges or special communications. Several brothers of Jephtha Lodge No. 494 not only travelled to another Masonic lodge, but to another Masonic district in a different state.

Block Island, Rhode Island
Jephtha and Atlantic Lodge members, 1922

On June 2, 1922 Right Worshipful Ambrose W. Rose, District Deputy Grand Master of the Suffolk Masonic District and Past Master of Jephtha (1919), led a delegation of 12 Past Masters, 22 Brothers, a son of a Past Master who was waiting to be of age to join the lodge, and a goat on a trip by sea to Block Island, Rhode Island.  The occasion was to meet with Worshipful Lester Littlefield, Master of Atlantic Lodge No. 31 and nephew to Brother Rose for a special travelling lodge.

It was through the kindness of Worshipful Emmett B. Hawkins (1895-98; 1909-10) that a delegation of over 35 Huntingtonians had the opportunity of going on this trip. It was Hawkins, also affectionately known as “Cappy” to his brothers, said, according to contemporary accounts, “Well boys, I will take the old Isaac Sherwood and the whole lodge can travel on her.”

So, with “Cappy” at the wheel and Brother Henry A. Murphy in charge of the commissary, with some assistance from Worshipful Russel Young (1917), the sendoff party started off at Archer’s Dock in Huntington Harbor at 8AM on a Friday morning, with Jack Cushing blowing the fire whistle to start the long trip. 

By the time the ship of Masons reached the Huntington lighthouse, a small rowboat was coming up behind the Isaac Sherwood with a man in the bow giving a distress sign that only fellow Masons would recognize. The twin engines in the Isaac Sherwood were stopped and silence crept aboard the ship, a silence so deafening one could hear a pin drop. A line was shot across the little rowboat which carried dedicated Brother “Uncle” Sam Horn, late for the early morning departure strictly called by “Cappy.” Big Ernest Carlsson and Elbert Fleet assisted the unpunctual Uncle Sam aboard the Isaac Sherwood and the party continued its long-distance trip. While travelling on Long Island Sound, Worshipful Murphy called out, “Dinner is now being served!”  Cappy later stated he “never saw such a well-trained gang of men in all the years he had travelled the water.” The crew and brothers were fed a hearty feast, including fruit, pies, cake, sardines, and anything else that might have been in ship’s cupboards. After dinner and coffee, the card tables were rearranged for a night of gambling. It was at this moment it was realized the unnamed committee forgot to bring any prizes, leading the brothers to play for actual peanuts.

The strong headwind and tide the Isaac Sherwood faced on this cool Friday evening, Cappy decided to anchor in Gardiner’s Bay for the night and expected to weigh anchor at sunrise on Saturday. The sun failed to be seen through the thick fog the following morning and Brother Clarence Cutting remarked “It had not been seen since yesterday.” Because of the thick fog, the party did not set sail for Plum Island until 7:30AM and were unable to find the eastern island for over five hours.

Eureka Hotel, Block Island

The Isaac Sherwood finally reached the Block Island dock by 1:45 PM, with Worshipful Lester Littlefield and his landing crew patiently awaiting the arrival of the visiting brothers from Jephtha Lodge. Littlefield yelled out at the approaching ship that he just received a telegram from Right Worshipful Douglass Conklin, Past Master of Jephtha (1886-87; 1899), that the new District Deputy was on board. The excited brothers from Atlantic Lodge gathered on the dock to shake hands with the new District Deputy affectionately nicknamed “Rosie.”

A list of several brothers with a case of “sea sickness blues” was recorded in the archives of Jephtha, with the caveat that “nothing is against a man being seasick.” As the brothers from Huntington disembarked the Isaac Sherwood, some of the early settlers of Block Island were gathering outside to witness the visiting Masonic brothers.

The Master Mason Degree was conferred in full form at Atlantic Lodge No. 31, Block Island, Rhode Island by Jephtha Lodge No. 494, Huntington, New York. After the degree work was completed, both lodges retired to the banquet room of the Eureka Hotel, where proprietor Ollie Rose prepared an elaborate feast.

At the conclusion of the banquet, “Cappy” Hawkins initiated all the members of Atlantic Lodge into the Order of the Turtles and gave the Block Island lodge the power to confer the order at any time during his absence. The drinking fraternity traces its origins to an English pub in 1943, loosely organized by a group of fighter pilots complete with an initiation ceremony, grip and passwords. The discovery of the Order of the Turtles in 1922 predates the “official” start of the fraternity by 21 years, an interesting revelation that will need further research.

The Jephtha brothers departed from Block Island at 9AM on Sunday morning and arrived at Huntington Harbor at 6AM on Monday morning. Everyone was happy and ready for the next trip to Block Island, which there would be many, except for Brother Tang, who said he would rather “fill up the holes here on dry land than to fill up in Long Island Sound.” Senior Warden Kurt J. Galow and Junior Master of Ceremonies Louis Sammis were the men before the mast and nightwatchmen, ensuring that everyone was made comfortable during their watch.

The infamous, yet unnamed goat, of which Jephtha was so proud as their travelling mascot, was presented to the brothers of Atlantic Lodge, which received the high honor as the only goat on Block Island in 1922. The lack of DNA evidence cannot confirm if this goat were a direct descendent to one of the many goats Brother George W. Dowling rode, as reported in an 1886 edition of the Long Islander.

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2021 Grand Lecturer’s Convention

I am encouraging all Brothers, especially our newer members to register/RSVP to attend the Grand Lecturer’s Convention. Its open to all Masons (EA, FC & MM). It will only be about 90 minutes according to the Grand Lecturer. Below is the invite that was posted and emailed to all Lodges and Masters to disseminate. I hope Potunk Lodge has a decent attendance at this event. The RSVP links are bellow for all to use. The preference is to use the suffolkmasons.com link as it’s just easier.



V:.W:. Bill Arnold


Potunk Lodge #1071

To the Master, Wardens and the Brethren of your Lodge,


The R:.W:. Kevin G. McCauley, District Deputy Grand Master of the Suffolk Masonic District, cordially and fraternally invites you to join him in welcoming the R:.W:. Richard Friedman, Grand Lecturer of the State of New York at his annual convention.


You are cordially and fraternally invited to attend the 2021 Grand Lecturers Convention on Saturday, March 27th, to be held at 2 PM online (virtual only).

As this is a pandemic year and travel and gatherings are curtailed and or restricted this years Grand Lecturer’s Convention will be 100% virtual, directed and hosted by the Grand Lecturer, R:.W:. Richard Friedman.

The topic of the Grand Lecturer’s convention will be the Masonic Memorial Service.


All Brothers are encouraged to attend. The Grand Lecturer’s Convention this year will begin at 2 PM sharp and expected duration is 2 hours. The Grand Lecturer will begin with opening words and then a presentation on the Masonic Memorial Service. After the presentation is concluded the Grand Lecturer will take questions and answers from the Brothers in attendance. Open to EAs, FCs & MMs


In order to receive the link to the GLC members MUST RSVP with email address or on BAND or the Facebook private Group for the Suffolk Masonic District or via Suffolk District Grand Lecturer’s Convention – Suffolk Masonic District (suffolkmasons.com)


We look forward to wonderful afternoon of Masonic Ritual Enlightenment and an evening of Brotherhood.  Please feel free to contact the Assistant Grand Lecturers for further information or instruction.


Sincerely and Fraternally,


V:.W:. William Arnold, AGL

V:.W:. Robert Licata, AGL

From the East for March 2021


Well the year keeps marching on and weather changes have really added to the isolation and current state of hibernation. At least that’s he feeling I am getting. I hope you are all not getting too comfortable being away from the Lodge lately.

In the Grand Master’s message as of January 29th, all meeting restrictions are withdrawn with the following exceptions.

  • NY State guidelines on gatherings indoors still as of this writing limited to 50.
  • Masks still must be worn indoors and social distancing observed
  • Degrees are still under the COVID modified rules.

So in light of the lessening of restrictions, our next Stated Communication on March 4th 2021 will be in person and attire will be business. We’ll be meeting upstairs for this one and there is very good reason for this. In just a few short weeks really, the Lodge will be holding elections and hopefully investiture and Installations. Our Jr. Officers really need to be back in the Lodge and practicing their ritual so they can take the reins and keep the Lodge running into the future.

I hope to bring as many back into Lodge as possible, since 50 at a meeting is unheard of, I’ll gamble that we do not come near that number, although it would be really cool to see it. Freemasonry will endure and so will Potunk Lodge and we need officers to know the work and be able to take the lead.

I have high hopes that by April we’ll be able to begin planning some fundraisers to try and get back to assuring the financial future of the Lodge as well.

I truly hope all are healthy and doing well and can come out and be with your Brothers in a Lodge setting and enjoy human to human interaction and enjoy true Brotherhood.

President’s Day Message

My Brothers, Snow seems to be the gift that keeps on giving As I listen to what is happening in the “field” and I am happy that you continue keep on giving. As a result of adapting to the Governor’s color-coding of zones for Lodge attendance, I am seeing Lodges once again safely conducting degrees […]

The post President’s Day Message appeared first on Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of the State of New York.

Super Bowl 2021

Super Bowl 2021

Brothers from Smithtown Lodge Volunteered to deliver meals to veterans in homeless shelters all over long island for a special Heros for Heroes for Super Bowl Sunday.  This tradition has been going on for years delivering meals to veterans in shelters to let them know they are not forgotten.

Brother Robert Cornicelli of Veterans Recovery Coalition with assistance of Bro. William Mountzouros, Bro. Jay Dimucci and Bro. Mariusz Bialecki (not in photo) In photo is Assemblyman Michael Durso who volunteered to deliver meals also.

Thank you Brothers for all your efforts in being good Masons and helping out veterans in need.

The post Super Bowl 2021 first appeared on Smithtownlodge1127.

From the Secretary Jan-Feb 2021

My Brothers,


I hope this communication finds you all staying safe and in good health.


You should all have received your dues notices for 2021 dues and thank you to those who have already sent them in. If you have not please remember that due to Covid we have not been able to have any fund raisers or rentals, both very important to meeting the expenses of the lodge, including our GL assessment.


Hoping we can get back to seeing each other at Lodge soon!!

Fraternally – Jimmy G.

From the East Jan-Feb 2021


As all have been keenly aware of the ongoing situation with COVID and meetings at Lodges, I am concerned about the ongoing damage to the Craft that virtualized meetings are doing. That being said, we are Masons and we are obligated to follow the rules, edicts and laws of the Grand Lodge. That’s all I will say about that.

There are a few things going on at our Lodge that we should all know about. Mainly that although we so far have been able to keep things going regarding the building and bills etc., this situation will soon turn critical.

I discussed in the last 2 meetings (1 virtual one in person) the fact that LIPMA has setup a grant program to assist with some of the losses in revenue due to the above situation Lodges are having. I have asked the Secretary, to review the info/application packet and begin pulling together the required documentation so that we may submit an application for the Grant this month.

I am still optimistic that by March/April we’ll begin to see the light at the end of this very long tunnel and begin to operate normally again.

Going forward I will resist any virtual Lodge Communications (unless new directives from the Grand Master are released). So I will be opening the Lodge as normal starting with the first meeting in February.

I hope all are staying healthy and safe this days and as in previous posts, wanted to thank all who have been busy at the Lodge all these long months getting things done that have been needed for some time, painting, tiling and fixing.

I look forward to seeing many of you soon at the Lodge and back to the quarries doing what we do.

We have a few candidates in waiting for sometime now and we need to look to get these potential Brothers initiated and educated.


V:.W:. Bill Arnold


Potunk Lodge #1071

From the West Jan-Feb 2021


I hope all is well with everyone! During these trying times I think we should all reflect on ourselves and our families. I want to give a special thank you to some brothers that have been doing a lot of work at the lodge! RW: Jimmy W:Kevin and Brother Dominick. Thank you so much guys! I really hope this year will go back to normal.

We can finally get our new guys who have been waiting for so long through as we did. Take care brothers and I hope to see you soon!


Bro. Jeremy Conner

Sr. Warden

Potunk Lodge #1071

From the South Jan-Feb 2021

Greetings my Brothers,


I think it appropriate to point out that even in the most troubled times, perhaps especially so, that we remember what Masonry represents and why we proud to be a part of it. Charity, brotherhood, self improvement and moral behavior, in the eyes of the Grand Architect of the Universe are among our most sacred mandates. Although we are unable to meet at lodge in traditional fashion to practice our craft, we are still able to carry on the spirit of Masonry by helping someone less fortunate and in need.

As I write this article, it is snowing and Center Moriches is in a state of emergency. I think i will go help shovel some snow for my elderly neighbor and see if any of my older clients need a hand. I encourage you all to keep your heads up and make the most of the moment by carrying on the work we have all endeavored to do. Covid 19 will be a distant memory soon enough. It is much easier to be a good person when times are good,  A man is better defined in the tough times, when the chips are down as you really get a glimpse into their true character.

Rise to the challenge my Brothers!

Bro. Jeff Lanzet

Jr. Warden

Potunk Lodge #1071