Charles Franklin Shuler (Elkton) Lodge No. 74 A.F. & A.M.
Elkton, Virginia
By: Charles F. Shuler and revised by Emory H. Merryman, Jr.

Thirteen Brethren held an informal meeting on November 10, 1890 and requested a dispensation to form Elkton Lodge No.74 A. F. & A. M. Rt. Wor. E. J. Armstrong, District Deputy Grand Master for District 15 approved their request on December 16, 1890. He was a prominent attorney in Luray. Most Worshipful J. Howard Wayt Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Virginia issued the dispensation on December 18, 1890. W. B. Isaacs was Grand Secretary.

The sixteen Charter Members were:
D. W. Phelps- Worshipful Master, F. C. Malony- Senior Warden, J. T. Heard- Junior Warden, J. G. Henry Miller- Treasurer, William K. Jennings- Secretary, Dr. S. P. H. Miller, Miller, L. N. Breeden, H. B. C. Gentry, W. D. Buck, Wood, James Rimel, S. C. Spencer, P. A. Brown, Joseph H. Argabright, and J. H. Shipp.

Each member was assessed $2.00 and the Grand Lodge charged $25.00 for the Charter.
The first meeting of the Lodge under dispensation was held January 5, 1891 in the Odd Fellows Lodge Room. Thomas S. Shifflett who had received his Entered Apprentice Degree in Ashlar Lodge No.125, Shenandoah, VA received the Fellow Craft Degree in Elkton Lodge on the above date and became the first new Mason in the Lodge. The following petitions for the degrees were also received at this First Communication: Walter H. Miller, Vernon C. Miller, M. M. Jarman, Charles E. Miller, J. W. Churchill, Noah Flick, G. H. Glenn, and J. A. Hammer. Charles E. Miller was the father of Dr. Ernest B. Miller and grandfather of Dr. Charles S. Miller. Most of these early members and petitioners were young men in their early twenties and thirties.

The fees for the degrees were $20.00 and annual dues were $3.00 per year paid quarterly. The Secretary and Tiler were paid $1.00 per month. In 1892 the Lodge rented Quarters from W. H. Miller for $3.00 per month.

The Lodge was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Virginia December 17, 1891. The Lodge was consecrated and the Charter was delivered at a Called Communication January 28, 1892 by Rt. Wor. E. J. Armstrong, District Deputy Grand Master District 15.

The first Officers were:
D. W. Phelps- Wor. Master F. C. Maloney- Sr. Warden J. T. Heard-Jr. Warden
G. H. Miller- Treasurer William K. Jennings- Secretary P. A. Brown- Senior Deacon
J. H. Shipp-Junior Deacon A. L. Harnsberger- Chaplain L. N. Breeden- Tiler

Public installations of Officers were held June 28, 1892. The Lodge contributed $12.00 to the Ladies Auxiliary of the Masonic Home of Virginia. The first Masonic Funeral was held August 5, 1892 for Brother Joseph L. Hitt, who died August 4, 1892. The Lodge purchased textbooks for Brother Hitt’s Daughter September 5, 1982 and an application was submitted to the Masonic Home for his son Clinton Hitt, October 3, 1892.

The Lodge paid the expenses of Brother J. J. Shipp to Grand Lodge Sessions in Richmond in December 1892 in the amount of $10.65. In the early days of the Lodge, Officers were elected in June and Grand Lodge was held in December. Stated Communications of the Lodge have been held on the first Monday of each month for many years. The Lodge occupied the third floor of the Downey Building on Spotswood Trail for many years prior to moving to its present building located 2 ½ miles south of Elkton at 2059 Giants Grave Road in the summer of 1995.

Welty H. Hensley and Farren R. McDaniel informed the Lodge membership in the summer of 1994 that the Jehovah’s Witness Church Building was for sale. Farren R. McDaniel urged the Brethren to investigate the possible purchase of the building. Charles F. Shuler contacted the members for contributions to the building fund. The Trustees of the Lodge signed a contract to purchase the Jehovah’s Witness Church building September 6, 1994 for $52,500.00. The purchase was consummated January 12, 1995. The building was renovated at a cost of approximately $20,000.00 When the Lodge agreed to purchase the building, which we dedicate today, we had $15,000.00 in our building fund. Friends and Widows have contributed more than $60,000.00. As of 2011, eighty-four members have served as Worshipful Master since the Lodge was chartered.

M. M. Jarman served five years as Worshipful Master; J. H. Shipp and Johnny Preston King, Sr. served four years as Worshipful Master; V. C. Miller, Clarence A. Baugher, Metford W. Coverstone, Sr. W. Edgar Kite, Sidney J. Snapp, Dr. E. B. Miller and Forrest E. Louderback served three years as Worshipful Master.

J. T. Heard, the last surviving Charter Member, of the Lodge died February 17, 1954. Shortly before he died, he applied for admission in the adult division of the Masonic Homes of Virginia which at the time was not ready to admit residents. He died before the Homes were ready to admit residents.

Charles F. Shuler is the only living Brother Raised in Elkton Lodge No. 74 while a Charter Member of the Lodge was alive. Thus, he provides a link from the present to the beginnings of the Lodge.

Charles F. Shuler served our Lodge as Secretary for fifty-two years. Before that he served our Lodge progressing from Junior Deacon to Worshipful Master in 1958. He is the Senior Living Past Master of the Lodge. He served District 5 as District Deputy Grand Master for two years and is now serving as District Educational Officer.

He served our Grand Lodge progressing from Grand Junior Deacon to Grand Master of Masons in Virginia in 1971. He is the Senior Living Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Virginia. He also served seven years on the Board of Governors of the Masonic Home of Virginia and as President for five years.

In addition to the offices listed above, he has served his Lodge in particular and the Fraternity in General by teaching the catechism for all three degrees and teaching our elective officers the ritual they need to advance.

He has presided at many Masonic Funeral Services thereby helping to restore Peace to those troubled.

Several Brothers who loved him and respected his ability reached a stage in their lives when they could no longer manage their own affairs. At their request, he stepped in to supervise their affairs, thus enabling them to live in their own home when otherwise they would have had to move into a retirement community. In this way he anticipated the Masonic Outreach Program.

The above discussion illustrates that he has and is setting an example by living his Theme of “Building our Temple Through Love and Service”

Since this is a history of things significant to the Lodge and the Fraternity, no discussion is made of his valuable service to his country, community, church or family.

At the February 7, 2011 Stated Communication a motion was made to change the Lodge Name to Charles Franklin Shuler Lodge No. 74 in Recognition of his valuable contributions discussed above. At our March 7, 2011 Stated Communication the Motion was discussed and passed unanimously.

Effective September 10, 2011, the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Virginia approved this motion and thus Elkton Lodge No. 74. became Charles Franklin Shuler Lodge No. 74.
Most Worshipful John Mason Chambliss, Jr.,Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of A.F. & A.M. of Virginia and Most Worshipful Alan Wayne Adkins, Grand Secretary presented Charles Franklin Shuler Lodge No. 74 with the revised charter on September 10, 2011. Charles Franklin Shuler Lodge has seventy-four members, who come from a wide cross section of the Community.