St. Clair Lodge History

The earliest record of Masonry in Milton was early in the year 1860 when a merchant named Robert Todd called a few men together whom he knew to be Masons. They held a meeting at his house to discuss the possibility of forming a Masonic Lodge to serve the community. At that time the Todd house stood at the corner of Main and Charles Streets.

The following gentlemen were the first members: James Regan, Robert Todd, Gilbert Tice Bastedo, James Young, William Panton Sr., Jacob Bastedo, Humphrey Desmond, and James Ruxton. These Brethren duly signed a petition and forwarded it to Grand Lodge to get permission to form a Masonic Lodge in Milton. The required dispensation was granted May 8, 1860, and the Brethren immediately got into action under the guidance of a few Past Masters from Hamilton.

We find by the first minutes recorded in the Secretary's book on May 29, 1860, that the following officers were to carry on until the Charter was granted: James Regan, W.M., Robert Todd, S.W., G. Tice Bastedo, J.W., Jacob Bastedo, S.D., James Ruxton, J.D., H. Desmond, I.G., and Wm. Panton Sr., Secretary.

The first Master of the Lodge, James Regan, was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland, an exceptionally learned gentleman. While in Milton he was the master at the old Grammar School, formerly known as Sproat's Academy.

At the May 29 meeting applications for membership were received from six men: David Downey, Yeoman, William P. Eager, Clerk of the County Court, George Goodson, Law Student, Henry Watson, Druggist, Peter MacKay, Clerk and Baker, and E. Bones, Cabinet Maker. Henry Watson was the first man initiated into St. Clair.

Bro. Robert Todd, one of the charter members came from St. Clair Lodge, Scotland, and it is understood that because of his gift of persuasion the new Milton lodge was named St. Clair.

The second Wor. Master was G. Tice Bastedo, who was Crown Attorney, having a law office on Brown St. where the current post office and parking lot now stands. Bro. Bastedo was instrumental in organizing the Milton Company of the Lorne Rifles at the time of the Fenian Raids in 1866.

The lodge found its home in many local premises throughout the first 100 years. However, due to increased membership it was necessary to move again, and in 1957 the present building was secured and extended.

The members of St. Clair Lodge contribute to the community in many ways;

  • They collect food and make regular donations to the Salvation Army for the Food Bank,
  • Masons are made aware of the work of the Canadian Blood Services and are encouraged to give blood at every opportunity,
  • Members are involved in many ways with Scouting and Minor Sports within Milton and the surrounding area,
  • St. Clair Lodge provides an opportunity for High School students to achieve their required amount of service hours they need in order to graduate.