History since our First Communication on February 23rd, 1867 after receiving dispensation granted by M:.W:.
Robert D. Holmes as Presented in a
Paper by R:.W:. Alfonso Serrano
History of Aurora Grata Lodge
No. 756, F. & A. M.
The major portion of this history is taken from the book compiled by Henry Whittemore entitled "History of Masonry in New York from 1780 to 1888."
Aurora is defined as the rising light of the morning; the goddess of the morning, or twilight deified by fancy. The poets represented her as rising out of the ocean in
a chariot, with rosy fingers dripping with gentle dew.
The founders of this lodge gave it the name of Aurora Grata, the Great Light, the Gracious Dawn. Judging from the brilliant Masonic Luminaries that composed it, this
poetical allegory, defining the Aurora, was fitting and appropriate, and the hope expressed by one of its Masters (W:. William Henry White) has with few exceptions, been realized, viz.,
that "prosperity may mark each year from end to end;" that
"… All men's good
Be each man's rule, and Universal Peace
Lie, like a shaft of light, across the land,
And like a lane of beams athwart the sea
Thro' all the circle of the Golden Year."
The first meeting of Master Masons for the organization of this Lodge was held in the Lodge room of Aurora Grata Lodge of Perfection, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, at 13
Court Street, Brooklyn, on Monday evening, October 10, 1874. There were present M:. W:. John W. Simons, R:.W:. Daniel Sickels, R:. W:. Athanasius ColoVeloni, R:.W:. John G. Barker,
W:. George W. Close, Brothers William H. Martin, Henry T. Bragg, James E Conor, Harry M. Gardner, Phillip P. Hauff, L. R. Hallock, S. Edward Stiles. The officers elected and
appointed were W:. George W. Close: Master; R:.W:. Daniel Sickels: Senior Warden; William H. Martin: Junior Warden; Harry M. Gardener: Senior Deacon; Charles L. Camp:
Junior Deacon; Henry T. Bragg: Secretary; Athansius Colo-Veloni: Tiler.
The Dispensation, granted by M:.W:. Elwood E. Thorne: Grand Master, and dated October 17th 1874, was read. M:.W:. John W. Simons, Past Grand Master, was invited to the East and congratulated the brethren on the formation of Aurora Grata Lodge. Two petitions for affiliation were read. The second Communication of the Lodge was held at 367 Fulton Street, Brooklyn, on October 23rd. The
first candidate proposed for initiation and membership was Wiliam Jarvis, proposed by Brother Bragg. He was duly initiated November 9, 1874.
On November 2, 1874, M:.W:.John W. Simons and R:.W:.John G. Barker were elected Honorary Members, and on December 14th 1874 R:.W:. Henry S. Knapp was also elected and Honorary Member.
On January 26, 1875, the Lodge held a reception, with a varied and interesting program, consisting of music, recitations, etc.
The Lodge continued to work under Dispensation until after the meeting of the Grand Lodge in 1875. On June 14, 1875, it being the 32nd Regular Communication, the Lodge was regularly constitutedand instituted, and the officers installed by the Grand Lodge, represented by M:.W:.Elwood E. Thorne: Grand Master; R:.W:.Henry S. Knapp: Deputy Grand Master; John G. Webster: Grand Chaplain; William S. Woodruff: Grand Senior Warden; John G. Barker: Grand Junior Warden; Charles K. Hyde: Grand Treasurer; James M. Austin: Grand Secretary; John C. Book: Grand Marshal. The officers installed were W:. George W. Close: Master; Daniel Sickles: Senior Warden; William H. Martin: Junior Warden; William Waring, Jr.: Treasurer; William H. Connell: Secretary; Harry M. Gardner, Jr.: Senior Deacon; S. Edward Stiles: Senior Master of Ceremonies; Charles A. Winship, Junior Master of Ceremonies.
On July 11, 1879 the place of meeting was changed to 304-6 Fulton Street, Brooklyn.
On January 22, 1889 the Lodge met for the first time in Aurora Grata Carhedral, its present home. It is interesting to note that on this occasion, which marked the
installation as Master of W:. Charles S. Barker, there gathered a group of active Masons whose names have since then been marked high in the history of Freemasonry in this
State. Among those present were R:.W:. John W. Vrooman, R:.W:. Marion R. Grimes and R:.W:. William Sherer and representatives from nearly every Lodge in Brooklyn.
The Meaning of Aurora Grata
Aurora Grata, Gracious Dawn, the dawn of a new day dreamed by Andrew Michael Ramsay in an address delivered March 21, 1737, before a general assemblage of
Freemasons in France.
He saw in his vision the Gracious Dawn, The Aurora Grata, "when all men of enlightened minds shall be united in Freemasonry, when the interests of the fraternity shall
become those of the whole human race, when the subjects of all kingdoms shall learn to cherish one another without renouncing their own country."
That Gracious Dawn, that Aurora Grata, "when all men shall unite in Freemasonry to make minds and hearts better, by which a new people shall be created which, though
composed of many nations, shall cement them into one brotherhood by the ties of virtue and science."
That Gracious Dawn, that Aurora Grata, "when all men shall embrace the obligations placed upon Freemasons to protect their fellow men by their authority, to enlighten them
by their knowledge, to edify them by their virtues, to succor them in their necessities, to sacrifice all personal resentment, and to strive after all things that may contribute to the
peace and unity of society."
… So we have the meaning Aurora Grata, Gracious Dawn.
Dispensation Granted October 17, 1874
WE, THE GRAND LODGE of the most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS of the State of New York, in Ample Form Assembled, according to the Old
Constitutions, regularly and solemnly established under the Auspices of Prince Edwin, at the City of York, in Great Britain, in the year of Masonry, 4926, vis:-
The Most Worshipful ELLWOOD E. THORNE,
The Right Worshipful JAMES W. HUSTED,
Deputy Grand Master,
The Right Worshipful JESSE B. ANTHONY,
Senior Grand Warden,
The Right Worshipful LEVI M. GANO,
Junior Grand Warden,
DO, by these presents appoint, authorize and empower our worthy Brother, George W. Close, to be the Master; our worthy Brother, Daniel Sickels, to be the Senior
Warden; and our worthy Brother William H. Martin, to be the Junior Warden, of a Lodge of FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS, to be, by the virtue hereof, constituted, formed, and held in
Brooklyn, Kings County, which Lodge shall be distinguished by the name or style of AURORA GRATA LODGE, No. 756, and the said Master and Wardens, and their successors in Office, are
hereby respectively authorized and directed, by and with the Consent and Assistance of a majority of the Members of the said Lodge, duly to be Summoned and present upon such Occasions, to
Elect and Install the Officers of the said Lodge as Vacancies happen, in manner and form as is, or may be, prescribed by the Constitution of this GRAND LODGE.
And Further, the said Lodge is hereby invested with the full Power and Authority to assemble upon proper and lawful Occasions, to make Masons, and to admit Members as also
to do and perform all and every such Acts and Things appertaining to the Craft as have been and ought to be done, for the Honor and Advantage thereof; conforming in all their Proceedings
to the Constitution of this GRAND LODGE, otherwise this Warrant, and the powers thereby granted, to cease and be of no further effect.
Given under our hands and the Seal of our GRAND LODGE, at the City of New York, in the United States of America, this fifth day of June, in the year of our Lord One
Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy-five, and in the Year of Masonry Five Thousand Eight Hundred and Seventy five.
JAMES M. AUSTIN,
Registered in the
Book of the