Donated and built by John Walt, this was the meeting place of the International Free & Accepted Masons and Order of the Eastern Star, known as Johnson Lodge No. 37. It was an African-American lodge. A list of Walthourville’s historic resources in the most recent Liberty County Joint Comprehensive Plan dates it to circa 1845, but I believe this to be an error. If it was originally a white lodge, it could date to the antebellum era, but the style of construction doesn’t support that date. Furthermore, its African-American association precludes that date as such organizations and gathering places for blacks were illegal at the time. My guess is that it was built in the late 1800s. Whatever its history, it’s an important landmark and should be preserved.
Tag Archives: Georgia Fraternal Lodges
Fraternal lodges were important gathering place for the historic African-American communities of the Georgia coast. The Keystone Lodge No. 98 Free & Accepted Masons, Prince Hall Affiliated, is an important part of the Harrington community. This lodge, which I understand is still active, is also home to the Progressive Chapter 139, Order of the Eastern Star.
A farmers’ alliance was first chartered on Sapelo Island in 1892 to serve the needs of black farmers. It was also used for social gatherings and community meetings. Original members were: Cuffy Wilson, President; Sipio Sams, Vice-president; Rachel Dunham, Treasurer; Reverend Joseph Jones, Chaplain; Ceasar Sams, Conductor; Sam Dixon, Secretary; other members included Glasco Campbell, Peter Sams, Ben Brown, Cato Hillery, Katie Brown, Charles Hall, and Liberty Handy. Through the efforts of Cornelia Walker Bailey and the Sapelo Island Cultural & Revitalization Society restored this important symbol of Hog Hammock in 2008 and it is the site for the Cultural Day Festival, held every third Saturday in October. It’s one of the older remaining buildings in Hog Hammock.
Hog Hammock Historic District, National Register of Historic Places