Over Two Hundred Years of Progress
Marshall Lodge is the oldest lodge in the Lynchburg area. It was established over 210 years ago. The United States had recently won a long and costly war of independence from England and life was arduous for everyone. This led several leading citizens of the town of Lynchburg to consider that a Masonic Lodge would meet the needs of the communities.
Consequently, Robert Yancy, James Callaway, and Samuel Irvine were granted dispensation by John Marshall, then Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, to establish a new Masonic lodge. The dispensation was granted on March 30,1793 for the establishment of Hiram Lodge No.39 A.F. & A.M. to function temporarily under the next communication of the Grand Lodge of Virginia at which time a regular charter must be applied for.
On May 27, 1793, Hiram Lodge was instituted with Robert Yancey as Master, James Callaway as Senior Warden, and Samuel Irvine as Junior Warden.
On November 8, 1793, under a Grand Lodge Charter signed by John Marshall, the Grand Master of Masons in Virginia, Marshall Lodge assumed the succession to Hiram Lodge, with the same stationed officers. The change of name from "Hiram" to "Marshall" was in honor of the Most Worshipful Grand Master John Marshall, the great Virginia Jurist who, in 1801 became the Justice of the United States Supreme Court. An important fact regarding Marshall Lodge is that it was the first among all Virginia to be named for a Grand Master--- and during the Grand Masters lifetime, at that.
It was never recorded where Marshall Lodge held its first meeting, but they were probably held in private dwellings or an Inn.
In August 1794 the Masons accepted a proposal made by Brother Phillip Payne to buy the lodge land on the corner of Water and Third St (now Ninth and Church Streets). Six months later the Masons Hall was completed. On October 16, 1795 the land was vested to Marshall Lodge and their successors forever. Marshall Lodge occupied this space as its home until July 1997, when the building was completely destroyed by fire. While the replacement Lodge located on Wards Ferry Road was being built, the meetings were held at the Masonic Lodge on Lemon Drive in Lynchburg. The new building on Wards Ferry Road was opened in June 2004
Marshall Lodge was probably the most important building of Lynchburg's first quarter century. In 1805 the first corporation court of Lynchburg was held in Marshall Lodge. The court found the locale sufficient for its needs and for the privilege of using the hall, the town of Lynchburg paid the Masons $67.00 a year.
The first Bible used by the lodge has been preserved in fairly good condition. The 1789 bible was printed in Edinburgh, Scotland, by his majesty's printers, Mac and Charles Kerr and is dedicated to "James, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland" The bible contains a note stating, "By Invitation of the Commandant of the United States Forces at New London Military Station, Request this lodge attend and conduct the Masonic Ceremonies of Funeral Honors of our late deceased Brother General George Washington on the 22nd day of February 1799. The bible was used for this occasion.
Marshall Lodge #39 has been a big part of the Lynchburg Communities and to Masonry in Virginia for over two hundred years. Thanks to Brother William Wayne Dawson for his efforts in researching the history of such a great lodge.