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Fidelity Lodge #113 F&AM

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HISTORY OF FIDELITY LODGE

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The First Six

It was in these surroundings that Bro. Knapp set about his self appointed task of organizing a lodge of Masons in Ridgewood. We can imagine him going around tactfully questioning residents and commuters until he had the names of fifteen Master Masons residing in the community. However, among these he could find but six who were sufficiently interested or willing to leave their own Lodge and agree to become charter members of a new lodge. They were:

  • John Martin Knapp, Sagamore Lodge No 371, New York, NY
  • Robert B. Cable, Commonwealth Lodge No. 409, New York, NY
  • John I. Demarest, Pioneer Lodge No. 70, Hackensack, NJ
  • John Andrew Marinus, Joppa Lodge No. 29, Paterson, NJ
  • Lucien H. Kendall, Reading Lodge No. 62, Reading, PA
  • Rev. Richard Johns, Milford Lodge No. 344, Milford, PA

It was necessary that there be seven Master Masons to sign the petition for a Dispensation.

Brother John Martin Knapp - Charter Member

John Martin Knapp was made a Mason in Sagamore Lodge No. 371 of New York City on October 31, 1865. He was a lawyer, in business in New York. His stationery carried the imprint

Knapp and Calkins
Attorneys & Counselors
289 Greenwich Street, New York

His profound interest in Masonry is attested to in many ways. Among the books in Fidelity's library there are bound copies of the Grand Lodge Proceedings bearing the personal notes he made. There were also Masonic journals in the library to which he was a subscriber.

He was born in Hackensack, New Jersey, October 3, 1837. It is not known just when he came to Ho-Ho-Kus but the Ridgewood Atlas published in 1876 shows him living in Ridgewood on Ridgewood Avenue about where the Warner Theater and the Telephone Company now stand.

He was a Captain in the National Guard of New Jersey from the Hackensack area since his name is not listed with the service men of the Civil War from Ridgewood.

As this history will reveal, Bro. Knapp did succeed in establishing Fidelity Lodge and was its Master during Dispensation and after Constitution for the years 1871 and 1872. He appears to have had a side acquaintance in Masonic circles in Newark, Paterson, and the Pascack Valley as well as among the Grand Lodge Officers of the day.

In 1872 when M.W. William Pine was Grand Master, Bro. Knapp was appointed to the Committee on Finance of the Grand Lodge and in 1874 he was appointed Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of the State of Rhode Island. After his retirement as Master of Fidelity Lodge he continued a lively and active interest in Lodge affairs up to a very short time before his death in 1908 at the age of 71. He was Secretary in 1873, 1875, 1876, and 1877, Tyler in 1874, Junior Warden in 1881 and Marshal from 1894 to 1896.

Brother John I. Demarest - Charter Member

John Isaac Demarest, who was the first Junior Warden to be installed in Fidelity Lodge, demitted from Pioneer Lodge in Hackensack. At the age of 34 when he joined Fidelity he was a mechanic and a resident of Midland Park. He was born in New York City.

Bro. Demarest was also a conductor on the New Jersey Midland Railroad better known as the New York, Susquehanna and Western. He continued a lively interest in Fidelity Lodge right up to the time of his death in 1893.

continued on next page

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