Oakville Lodge History

History of Freemasonry in Oakville

 

In many small towns a century ago Freemasonry was often intimately linked to the founding and development of the community.  In Oakville, this is certainly true – the town’s leading citizens were also dedicated members of the Masonic fraternity.

 

In 1827, William Chisholm purchased land at the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek from the Government.  Here, along with settling his family and establishing businesses interests, he also founded the Town of Oakville.

 

Pioneering business wasn’t Chisholm’s only passion.  He was also a dedicated Freemason who was a member of St. Andrew’s Lodge located in York (Toronto).  You can begin to appreciate how important his involvement in Masonry was when you consider that attending the Lodge was a 22 mile trip by horseback – a two day commitment there and back.   William’s sons George King Chisholm and Robert Kerr Chisholm also became members of the same Lodge in York. 

By the 1850’s Oakville had grown into a thriving community.  A number of the town’s business leaders and ship Masters who frequented the port were also members of Masonic Lodges in York.  They gathered together under the leadership of George King Chisholm (Oakville’s first Mayor) and petitioned the Grand Lodge (Freemasonry’s governing body) for permission to establish a local Lodge.   

 

On January 11th, 1868 White Oak Lodge was formed.  The name was chosen to honour William Chisholm, as this was the name bestowed on him by the Mississauga Indians in recognition of his honesty and integrity.  George King became the first Master of the Lodge and the membership list reads like a “Who’s Who” of the town. 

 

A Fresh Start

 

In the 1870’s Canada was a very new country going through some expected growing pains.  The Town of Oakville, like so many communities at the time became embroiled in political differences.  Local Masons were not immune to the conflict and eventually membership in the Lodge suffered.  Fortunately, members of White Oak Lodge recognized the danger their actions posed to the survival of the Lodge and what it stood for.  In true Masonic fashion, they agreed to set aside their differences and make a fresh new start.

 

In January 1882, White Oak Lodge agreed to surrender its Charter to the Grand Lodge.  At the same time, members sought permission to form a new Lodge.  Members from opposing sides set aside their politics and worked together in harmony to build a solid Masonic community in their town.  Permission was granted by the Grand Lodge on November 16, 1882 and on Tuesday, December 19 the first meeting of Oakville Lodge was held.   

 

That same evening, Oakville Lodge accepted an application for membership from William Biggar Chisholm, the nephew of William, the founder of the town and the Masonic family in Oakville.  Today, as then, Oakville Lodge and its members continue to play an active role in our community’s development.