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Masonic lodge in Decatur to celebrate 180th

By Paul Huggins 340-2395

The Rising Sun Masonic Lodge No. 29 wants the public to help it celebrate its 180th birthday Saturday.

It will have an open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the lodge at Bank and Walnut streets Northwest. Members will serve free hamburgers and hot dogs. They also will have an information booth at Old State Bank where a Civil War encampment will occur Saturday afternoon.

The lodge was formed in 1827, a year after Decatur was founded. Its earliest lodge masters were William Dancy, James Fennell, James Sykes and Isaac Lane. Lane was one of the original five trustees of the Decatur Land Co. and considered one of the town's founding fathers.

Decatur historian John Knox wrote in a 1966 Daily article that listing all the accomplishments of the local Masons "would be to sketch the history of the region.

"As planters, builders, legislators, county officials, doctors, lawyers, bankers, railroad and business men, they figured in practically every important development during the first quarter to a half century of the county's history," he wrote.

The lodge has had eight homes since 1870 but all were within Old Decatur. The lodge now has about 200 members. Members usually participate in the Christmas Parade and sell Boston butts as a fund raiser to support their Christmas Food Basket and scholarship programs.

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