Caliente Lodge #38
Chartered: June 14, 1935
Caliente Lodge #38, F. & A.M.
390 Dixon St
Caliente, NV 89009
Stated Meeting: First Saturday 1:00pm
Torrence’s History of Caliente Lodge #38
Countless ages ago, following thunderous volcanic disturbances which heaved and distorted the earth’s strata, a mighty barrier of rock was spewed from the bowels of old mother earth, and a bowl like depression was left, a fitting receptacle in which to brew the viands of the gods.
From subterranean depths, huge clouds of steam belched forth to mingle its threatening hiss with the rumble of the elements, as in perpetual tumult, they contributed their awful din in the formation of a new section of old mother earth.
Terrestial disturbances in time gave way to eternal quiet as the reign of heat succumbed to the rule of cold. Untold ages passed by; huge glaciers swept from out of the north, their icy touch congealing the land.
And so the eternal conflict of the elements swept on; the victory of ice was doomed to eventual defeat. New forces were born, whose touch produced a magic world; so, age succeeded age; the earth awoke to a new life; the age of crinoids merged with that of trilobites, to be in turn succeeded by the age of fishes; huge mammals stalked the land, grotesque and fierce, lived their lives and found sepulcher in the bogs and marshes of the Silurian age.
The march of time went on; centuries were but moments in the whirring wheel of time; new life succeeded old; new forms appeared in preparation for the advent of man. The hills were decked with giant conifers, the valleys teemed with beautiful but rank vegetation; as if by magic mighty streams were formed, cutting new channels and deep defiles through rocky bulwarks thrown up by volcanic action millions of years before.
The foregoing is a brief reference to the forces of nature which created the volcanic domes, spires and defiles of that territory adjacent to, and flanking the approach to Caliente, birthplace of the baby lodge of Masons in Nevada. From a physical standpoint, it is a wonderful region, worthy of continued study and rich in surprises for the student familiar with geology who would search far afield for local data of this most interesting district.
Unlike its neighbor, Pioche, located in the heart of a rich silver-lead district, Caliente lays no claims to an immediate mineral zone, but maintains existence mainly from its prominence as a railroad division point.
Established as a construction headquarters when the San Pedro railroad extended its rails from Salt Lake City to the Pacific coast, its importance as a division point was soon recognized, which position it has continued to maintain during the years which followed the completion of that road, later acquired by the Harriman interests, and becoming a unit of the Union Pacific system.
Its close proximity to Pioche, which in the early days of that mining camp teemed with mad excitement, attracted to it many of the rougher element from that camp and there were times in its early existence when this element almost dominated the town. However, the reign of this class of undesirables was short lived and in the past two decades, Caliente has established itself as a model city of propriety.
For many years, the only Masonic lodge in Lincoln county was located at Pioche; for many years too, a large percent of its membership lived in Caliente, and were important contributing factors to the progress of St. Johns Lodge No. 18. Year after year the Caliente brethren made the trip to Pioche to attend lodge; through rain and shine, through heat and cold, summer and winter always found a good attendance present from the neighboring town; and when St. Johns Lodge was moved from Pioche to Delamar, at a time when the fortunes of Pioche were at a low ebb, the Caliente brethren were just as faithful in attendance at the new location, just as much interested in Masonry, and just as zealous in its cause as they had been before the lodge was forced to find a new location. After a few years the ore reserves at Delamar became exhausted and the town was practically abandoned; St. Johns Lodge then moved back to Pioche, and took up its activities in the old lodge room, and again the brethren from Caliente resumed their Masonic treks to Pioche to attend the regular monthly meetings of the lodge of their adoption.
However, a feeling of fraternal unrest developed within their ranks; not because of any dissensions among the brethren at Pioche, but rather, a feeling which might he likened to a desire of parents who have reared a family in rented property, and feel a longing for a home of their own. This desire was manifested among the brethren in the early nineties, and the feasibility of planning for a Masonic lodge in Caliente was discussed among the resident members of the town. I have before me a copy of a letter written by R. W. Chauncey Noteware, at that time Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Nevada, and addressed to Brother Thos. E. Dixon of Caliente which reads as follows:
Carson City, Nevada, August 26, 1907.
Thos. E. Dixon,
Dear Brother Dixon:
As per your request of the 23rd inst I enclose a copy of our code, which of itself will give you the necessary information for starting a lodge —
You will see that the fee is $110.00. You ought to be able to get along very well with paraphernalia at a cost of $150.00.
Hope the brethren will see their way clear to start a lodge, as Masonry in the state languishes for want of new lodges.
I can loan you a fine set of jewels, solid silver, and believe the Grand Lodge will donate them should you ask for a dispensation.
Again, should you order your furniture through me, I can obtain for you ninety days time on the purchase,.
C. N. Noteware, Grand Sec’ty.
That was back in 1907 – however, due to financial difficulties, a large transient population, and the uncertainty of the times, for the country was then breasting a panic which was fast breaking down the financial structure of the land, the matter was held in abeyance pending a return to more prosperous times. As the years rolled along, at intervals the project was revived, as in 1907 times and conditions never warranted making application for a dispensation. Just before the World War the matter was again discussed among the resident members, and at that time local conditions and circumstances made the proposition seem more favorable; but again fate played against the brethren, by taking from their midst the flower of their young manhood, consigning them to the dangers of the battlefield abroad, or a monotonous submersion and existence in some military camp in the United States, pending instructions to move over seas.
It was from these splendid young men that the brethren of Caliente had hoped to be able to build up the proposed new lodge in their city, since a majority of them had, at one time or other expressed the hope that some day they might be able to unite with the brethren in their Masonic work. And so once again the desire of the brethren was doomed to disappointment, and once again they realized that they must remain constant and faithful to the lodge of their adoption at Pioche. But the cheering hope prevailed that some day their dreams might be realized, and that an active lodge might be constituted, and a Masonic temple be reared in their city to mark the enterprise and determination of the brethren.
Eventually the World War was ended, and the volunteers returned; those who went from Caliente were received with open arms upon their return, and all of them were honorably discharged. Some of them returned with distinguished mention, and now again the movers in the cause of Masonry visioned the establishment of a Masonic lodge in the little city, and hopes ran high that these visions might at last become realities. But another menace threatened, and before their plans could mature the country was engulfed in the throes of a depression which was to almost wreck the industrial and financial structure of the land, and the prospect of establishing a Masonic lodge in Caliente was once more shattered. But, not discouraged, the brethren bided their time, believing that somewhere in the future a day would dawn to bring about the realization of their cherished hopes.
In the years which had passed a sizable membership from Caliente had registered upon the membership roster of St. Johns Lodge at Pioche, among whom several had been chosen and served as masters of the lodge.
During the late months of 1934, the urge for a Masonic lodge in Caliente came to the brethren, and again the project was believed possible of accomplishment. Brothers Thos. E. Dixon, Geo. Senter, Leo Harton, W. W. Smith, with others became a voluntary committee to canvass the district in an attempt to bring the matter to the proper focus, and to arrange for a dispensation from the Grand Lodge to organize a lodge in the city. The matter of separation from St. Johns Lodge No. 18 was thoroughly discussed and in the early part of 1935 permission was asked of, and cheerfully granted by that lodge, for the brethren to form a lodge at Caliente.
Upon receipt of this concession from the Pioche brethren, application was at once made to the Grand Lodge of Nevada for permission to operate under dispensation in the division city; the names of twenty-four brethren appeared upon the petition to the Grand Lodge, all but two of whom had demitted from St. Johns Lodge No. 18. On May 15, 1935, the dispensation was granted by the Grand Lodge, under authority of Grand Master Geo. L. Swartz, and the baby lodge of Nevada was launched upon the Masonic sea. At first, the withdrawal of so many of its staunch and faithful members from the lodge at Pioche aroused questions of doubt as to the feasibility of granting the dispensation to the brethren at Caliente, for the withdrawal of twenty-two from a membership of about sixty members, threatened disaster. However, the progressive and determined spirit of the brethren in Pioche, their ability to surmount discouragement and disaster, their zealousness in the cause of Masonry, and the belief that this withdrawal of members might serve as a greater incentive to activity, attendance and cooperation, prevailed and Masonry in Caliente became not a dream or a possibility, but a reality. It was hopefully desired to receive a charter at once, but the fact that the annual communication of the Grand Lodge was less than one month away, almost precluded the possibility of the charter being granted at the coming session, for it would mean that less than one month had elapsed between the granting of the dispensation and the issuing of the charter, should the Grand Lodge decide to authorize such issuance. However, nothing daunted, Brothers Thomas E. Dixon and George Senter journeyed to Elko, to be present at the opening of Grand Lodge on June 12-14, 1935, taking with them the necessary documents to show reason why the charter should he granted, and to establish their rights and qualifications enabling them to conduct and operate their lodge. In due time their claims, credentials and other material evidence was presented to the committee on charters. Among other claims for their rights to operate under their own charter was the fact that of their number, seven were past masters, having served in that capacity in St. Johns Lodge; this and other necessary factors mitigated in their favor, resulting in the recommendation being made to the Grand Lodge that a charter be granted to the brethren at Caliente, and the charter be issued at once.
This action of the committee on charters was a matter of great satisfaction to the Grand Body, and the agent of much applause when the report was adopted. On the same date, June 14, 1935, the document was issued, signed by Most Worshipful Grand Master George L. Swartz, and R. W. V. M. Henderson, Grand Secretary.
Upon the return of Brothers Dixon and Senter to Caliente, plans were immediately made to receive the charter and its distinguished bearer with appropriate Masonic and social ceremonies. Saturday night, June 29, 1935, had been designated by Past Grand Master G. L. Swartz as the date for delivering the charter, constituting the lodge and installing its officers, he having been appointed to this distinctive honor by Grand Master A. F. Aymar, not only because of the latter’s inability to be present, but also, because it was during the incumbency of P. G. M. Swartz that Caliente Lodge was authorized under dispensation and the charter issued, and it was therefore fitting that Brother Swartz “put the finishing touches to the job.”
Elaborate preparations were made for the entertainment of the Past Grand Master and other visiting brethren. A splendid banquet was served at the Union Pacific Hotel, after which the brethren repaired to the I. O. O. F. Hall, where the ceremonies were to be held.
Visiting brethren were present from Los Angeles, Milford, Utah, Boulder City, Las Vegas, McGill, Ruth, Ely, and Pioche, Nevada, and one brother from Alaska.
The delivery of the charter was preceded by an inspiring address by acting Grand Master Swartz, after which he proceeded to install the newly elected officers, assisted by P. G. M. H. R. Amens as deputy G. M. and G. Marshal; C. W. Torrence, Grand Historian, as R. W. Senior Grand Warden, and other Grand Lodge office chairs filled from the various lodges represented. The officers of the new lodge were headed by George E. Jeffs, Worshipful Master; P. W. Duffin, Senior Warden; George Senter, Junior Warden; Charles E. Cornelius, Treasurer; W. W. Smith, Secretary; C. W. Thompson, Senior Deacon; J. F. Callaway, Senior Steward; Charles D. Peterson, Junior Steward; L. L. Onsley, Junior Deacon; Walter A. Ray, Marshal; Dave L. Barnes, Tyler.
With the institution of this new lodge, Masonry in southern Nevada is given a new impetus, for the baby lodge of the state promises to give a good account of itself. Headed by a delegation of past masters, who are thoroughly imbued with the spirit of Masonry, familiar with its great teachings and ritualism, in accord with its sublime moral and spiritual teachings, and supported by a membership equally as enthusiastic in the work and eager to carry the message of fraternity to their fellowmen, the future of the lodge is assured, its fortunes are in good hands, and it will spread the benign influence of Masonry by precept and example.
One of the outstanding Masons of Lincoln county is Thomas E. Dixon, whose interest in the craft is largely responsible for the institution of Caliente Lodge No. 38.
Brother Dixon is a native of Tennessee, and was born in Maury county, near Columbia, on March 5, 1867, the son of George Cardel Dixon, and Eliza Rebecca Fierson Dixon.
Brother Dixon’s Masonic career was launched May 13, 1901, when he received the entered apprentice degree in Florence Lodge No. 14, located at Florence, Alabama, and received his Master Mason degree July 22, of the same year. He served his lodge as Junior Warden in 1902 and 1903, and was advanced to Senior Warden in 1904. Change of location lost him the opportunity of serving his lodge as master.
Subsequent Masonic activities include membership in Keystone Chapter No. 6 of Pioche, Nevada, which he joined in November, 1908, and from which he demitted to Santa Cruz Chapter No. 38, R. A. M., serving that chapter as High Priest for the years 1916-17 and 1918. He also served as Illustrious Master of Santa Cruz Council R. & S. M. for the years 1917 and 1918. He joined Santa Cruz Chapter No. 27, 0. E. S. in March, 1917, from which he demitted to Mary Chapter O. E. S. U. D. at Caliente, Nevada; was elected and installed Worthy Patron of that Chapter, October 19, 1935. As a young man Brother Dixon followed the trade of a carpenter, later becoming interested in railroad accounting, holding responsible positions with the L. & N. R. R. in Tennessee and Alabama.
The call of the West lured him to California, and for a period of years he served the S. P. & L. A. R. R. at San Bernardino and Long Beach, being transferred later on to Eureka, Utah, and a year later coming to Caliente for service with the same road. In 1931 he married Alice Sarah Culverwell, only daughter of William Culverwell, a pioneer of Lincoln county. In 1924, Brother Dixon retired from active business, devoting his time to looking after his own holdings.
Always a consistent worker in Masonic circles, Brother Dixon was largely instrumental in promoting Caliente Lodge No. 38. His efforts started back in 1907, but times, conditions and local as well as national circumstances mitigated against his efforts bearing fruit; his persistency, however, found reward, and to his determination and untiring efforts Caliente Lodge is greatly indebted for its existence.
Brother P. W. Duffin
Among the prominent business men of Caliente is Brother P. W. Duffin, whose interest in Masonry has made him an outstanding figure of the craft in Lincoln county. He was born in Prescott, Arizona, June 26, 1886, a son of Isaac and Della Lamb Duffin, and received his education in the grade school of that city. In 1914, he married Mayme Ryan of Prescott, to which union two sons were born. In 1918, he came to Caliente, and engaged in the cattle business, which he has successfully managed since.
His Masonic career started in 1917, when he became a member of Albert Pike Lodge No. 14, of Milford, Utah.
In 1920, he demitted from the latter lodge to St. Johns Lodge of Pioche, in whose activities he took a prominent part; passing through the various chairs of this lodge, he was elected to be its worshipful master in 1929.
With the organization of Caliente Lodge, No. 38, in the promotion of which he took an active part, he demitted from St. Johns Lodge and became a charter member of the new lodge, under dispensation at Caliente, of which he was chosen its first Senior Warden.
Brother Duffin is also a member of Reno Consistory, and Kerak Temple, Order of the Mystic Shrine.
Brother George E. Jeffs
Brother George Jeffs, the son of John and Amelia Jeffs, has led a busy life since childhood. He was born on July 6, 1890, in Evanston, Wyoming, where he resided for twenty years, attending the schools of that city, in the meantime learning the trade of pipefitter, which he followed for many years in Evanston, and in which he also engaged after moving to Caliente in 1910.
Shortly after moving to Caliente he married Mary E. Foster, to which union two children were born.
Brother Jeffs was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in St. Johns Lodge No. 18, November 18, 1912, and became its master in 1927. In May, 1935, he demitted from St. Johns Lodge to sign the charter list of Caliente Lodge, of which for his zeal, integrity and fitness he was chosen worshipful master when that lodge was constituted July 25, 1935.
He is a member of Reno consistory Scottish Rite Masons and a member of the Mystic Shrine, “Kerak” also of Reno; the latter degree being conferred upon him together with a large class of candidates who received the rites in a ceremonial conducted in the bed of the Colorado river, immediately in front of the rising bulwarks of that mighty barrier, alter the water had been diverted from its course; this ceremony was before an assembly of visiting Nobles estimated at five thousand, who foregathered from New Mexico, California, Utah and Nevada, besides many visiting members from eastern states.
Brother W. A. Ray
The gay nineties were just ending when Brother Ray was born in Greenfield, Mo., December 23, 1899.
Sometime later the family moved to Los Angeles, California, and in 1906 the young man began his scholastic career, which carried him through the grade and grammar schools at Los Angeles, Warm Springs, Riverside High Manual Arts of Los Angeles and ending at the University of Southern California.
Shortly after finishing his education, he entered the employ of the Standard Oil Company at Los Angeles. His application to his work soon won him merited promotion and he was transferred to Bishop, California, from which point he was again promoted to more responsible duties at Caliente where he has since resided. At present he rates as head area salesman for his company in the Caliente district.
Brother Ray became interested in Masonry in 1927, and joined St. Johns Lodge at Pioche. His interest in the work won for him rapid advancement in his lodge, and in 1933 he was elected master, serving with credit to his lodge and with honor to himself; when the charter list in Caliente Lodge was opened, Brother Ray was among the first to sign. He demitted from St. Johns Lodge No. 18, in May, and assisted materially in promoting the new lodge. He was appointed Marshal of the new lodge when the charter was delivered in July, 1935.
Brother Willard W. Smith
To Willard J.and Jane Burns Smith was born, November 26, 1886, a son whom they named Willard W. Smith. His early training was obtained in the schools of Detroit and Cadillac, Michigan. As manhood approached an urge to further knowledge prompted an intensive term in Detroit Business University of Detroit, Michigan, followed by a course in La Salle Extension University of Chicago, devoting his time and energies to acquiring the intricacies of accounting and a course in advanced English.
But the lure of the railroad called him, and in November, 1900 he entered the service of the Ann Arbor R. R. in Cadillac. As the years passed, we find him in the service of the Grand Trunk and C. M. & St. P. and stationed at Detroit, Michigan and Harlowton, Montana, occupying responsible positions. In 1915 he entered the service of the L. A. & S. L. R. R., later moving to Tintic, Utah. His aptness as a railroad employee won him promotion, and in 1916 he was transferred to Caliente, and was appointed yard master, which position he now holds. He joined St. Johns lodge in 1928, his Masonic fervor and his interest in the order winning for him the esteem and confidence of his lodge and he was advanced through the various chairs to become master of his lodge in 1932. Demitting from the lodge of his adoption in April, 1935, he became a charter member of Caliente Lodge No. 38, and was elected its first Secretary U. D., to which position he was re-elected at the time of constituting that lodge June 29, 1935.
Brother Smith represented Lincoln county in the State Assembly at the 1925 and 1933 sessions. He also enlisted as a private in Co. C, 61st Engineers, May 17, 1918, and saw service overseas, advancing from Sergeant to Master Engineer, Senior grade. He was discharged at Fort D. A. Russell, Cheyenne, Wyoming, September 9, 1919.