In 2006, former State Representative Paul Smith, former House employee Curtis Barry and Deputy House Speaker Ken Weyler worked locally with the brothers of Blazing Star Eureka Lodge in Concord, NH to put on a dinner for members of the NH House and Senate who were Masons. The dinner was a success and during discussion, it was suggested that although it had been tried in the past unsuccessfully, that the brethren should try and form a lodge.
Within hours, Bro. Smith began working on a proposal for the Grand Master of the State of New Hampshire, MW Bro. David J. Lamprey, Sr to form a new, special lodge. The lodge was to be open from January through June, to coincide with the state legislative session. The lodge was to consist only of Master Masons who were current State Representatives, State Senators or General Court employees, and also any Master Mason who formerly served in one of those positions. The lodge was to be situated in the state capital of Concord. It could not initiate candidates, but could form a degree team to take part in degrees at the request of a lodge or member who was eligible to join General Court Lodge.
MW Bro. Lamprey granted a dispensation for the lodge to begin to work until the semi-annual communication of Grand Lodge, when it would be voted upon. Brothers Weyler and Smith informed the members of the House and Senate what the status was for the lodge and Bro. Weyler motioned that a slate of elected officers be recommended, and they were Bro. Paul Smith as Worshipful Master, Bro. Richard Marple as Senior Warden, Bro. Michael Rollo as Junior Warden, Bro. Ken Weyler as Treasurer and Bro. Howard Dickinson as Secretary.
Over the summer, Bro. Smith created a bank account, registered the organization as a non-profit, began sending letters to every lodge in the state asking them to inform their members in order to grow the potential numbers and filed the articles of agreement with the state and city of Concord. In November of 2006, at the semi annual communication of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, the members of the grand lodge unanimously voted to create the new, special lodge, General Court Lodge No. 1784 with a five year charter. This would be the first new lodge in the state of New Hampshire since William Pitt Tavern Lodge (also a special lodge) was chartered in 1983. Bro. Smith and future members Bros. Dingman and Holland were escorted to the Grand East and presented with the charter.
On December 6, 2006 MW Bro. Lamprey and his suite of Grand Lodge officers installed the first officers of General Court Lodge No. 1784:
- Bro Paul C Smith, Worshipful Master (#76)
- Bro A Richard Marple, Senior Warden (#90)
- Bro Michael S Rollo, Junior Warden (#21)
- Bro Kenneth L Weyler, Treasurer (#84)
- Bro William Denley, Secretary (#62)
- Bro Walter P Sword, Chaplain (#94)
- Bro Vernon W Dingman III, Senior Deacon (#46)
- Bro Ronald J Nowe, Junior Deacon (#29)
- Bro James E Holland, Senior Steward (#85)
- Bro Donald R Buxton, Junior Steward (#2)*
- Bro Shawn N Jasper, Marshal (#39)
- Bro Richard E Kennedy, Tyler (#91)
Pictured front row, l-r Bro Dingman, Wor Bro Smith, Bro Marple, Bro Buxton; second row, l-r Bro Weyler, Bro Rollo, Bro Kennedy, Bro Jasper; third row, l-r Bro Holland, Bro Nowe, Bro Denley, Bro Sword
In 2007, General Court Lodge made history when for its annual communication held in June, dispensation was granted by the Grand Master, MW Bro Robert Hatfield to hold the lodge communcation in Representatives Hall at the State House in Concord (a view of Representatives Hall can be seen in the banner above). This event became widely known and the Grand Master and a suite of nearly 20 Grand Officers attended the event. This communication also had an additional 60 + Masons from all over New Hampshire (and one from Florida) attend the event. The evening was capped off with a presentation of the White House Brick (sent to the GL of NH during President and MW Bro Truman's renovation) and Bro Smith being presented with his Past Master's Jewel for his year of service.
At the annual meeting of General Court Lodge in June of 2008, Bro Arthur Jillette was presented his 50 Year Veteran Medal from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts by WM James Holland, with the assistance of Bro David Jillette, Arthur's brother. Wor Bro Paul Smith then presented a Past Master's Jewel from General Court Lodge to WM Holland for his year of service.
In 2009 the Brethren of General Court lodge held a Table Lodge Banquet in Concord that saw over 60 Masons attend from all over New Hampshire. The lodge had several visits during the year, most notable was that of RW Bro. Glenn Payne, DDGM of the 5th Masonic District of the MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts for a discussion on Prince Hall. At the conclusion of the year, Wor Bro Smith presented WM Marple with his Past Master's Jewel for his year of service.
In 2010, the lodge had many visitors and at the end of the Masonic year in June held a family cookout with guests from Blazing Star Eureka Lodge in Concord. A fireworks display was held and a great day had by all. At the conclusion of the year, Wor Bro Smith presented WM Jasper with his Past Master's Jewel and apron for his year of service.
2011 was a monumental year for General Court Lodge. In its fifth and last year of its original charter, programs were presented at nearly every meeting and to commemorate the intent of the lodge, the annual meeting of General Court Lodge was held in the NH State Senate Chamber. With 57 Masons in attendance including the Grand Master (MW Bro Paul M Leary), a program was presented, and the request for our permanent charter was read and presented to the Grand Master. At the conclusion of the meeting Wor Bro Smith presented WM Derby with his Past Master's Jewel and apron for his year of service. In a truly auspicious manner, the Grand Master then joined W Smith and the other Past Master's assembled and created Bro. Walter Sword, our chaplain since being constituted, an Honorary Past Master of General Court Lodge, where he was presented his jewel and certificate. In November of 2011, the Brethren assembled at the Semi-Annual Communication of Grand Lodge voted overwhelmingly to grant a permanent charter to General Court Lodge.
As of 2013, General Court Lodge No. 1784 is the only known lodge in the United States that was formed with a particular membership of Master Masons who were elected State Representatives or Senators and their staff. This is indeed an honor to the members of our lodge, but we are a lodge that appreciates visitors and would cordially invite all Masons to attend.
*Bro. Buxton passed away in June of 2007, just after the last stated communication for the year