OF ROBERT A. WOODS PRIORY No. 62
The first set of minutes of Robert A. Woods Priory states. “A meeting of members of Indiana Priory No. 8, Knights of the York Cross of Honor, met at 7:30 P.M. in the Masonic Temple at Brazil, Indiana, on July 14, 1961” The Members attending that meeting were: Gayle W. Weaver, Frank F. Dicks, William E. Miller, Charles W. Allen, William T. Matkin, Herman C. Canine, Harry C. McFall, Victor O. Sousley, William T. James, Howard E. Burns, and Raleigh R. Cagle. Knight William T. James was elected chairman to preside over the meeting which had been called for the purpose of organizing a new Priory, and Raleigh R. Cagle was elected to serve as Registrar. Knight Sousley presented a letter received from Knight William J. Netherton, Grand Master General, pointing out the requirements necessary to the forming of a Priory.
At this first meeting the name Robert A. Woods Priory was determined and Bloomington, Indiana was chosen for the Priory location. Those present donated $5.00 each to raise the required fee of $25.00 for the dispensation.
The second meeting was at the Van Orman Hotel in Bloomington September 30, 1961. A banquet preceded the business meeting and ladies were invited. Knight William T. James presided and announced that the meeting had been called for the purpose of instituting Robert A. Woods Priory and installing its Officers.
The Grand Master General, William J. Netherton made timely remarks, Instituted the Priory and Installed the following Officers: William T. James, Eminent Prior; Clarence P. Sousley, Deputy Prior; Raleigh R. Cagle, Registrar-Treasurer; Joseph Manzenberger, Warder; William F. Chestnut, Orator; and Frederick E. Manker, Herald.
On October 7, 1961 at the twenty-sixth Annual Conclave of the Convent General held at Louisville, Kentucky, Grand Master General, William J. Netherton, called Knight William T. James to the East and presented him with a Charter under dispensation, for the Priory. The Priory also acknowledged a gift in the amount of $400.00 presented by Indiana Priory No. 8.
On January 20, 1962 the first ceremony of Induction was held upon a class of candidates consisting of Knights Harold E. Baker, Ralph Henry Cannedy and Archie Moses Shake of Robert A. Woods Priory and Clinton Best Cass of Indiana Priory No. 8.
At this meeting a new core of officers were duly elected and installed to serve the ensuing year. They were: Joseph Manzenberger, Eminent Prior; Clarence P. Sousley, Deputy Prior; Marvin L. Isley, Warder; Raleigh R. Cagle, Registrar; William F. Chestnut, Chaplain; Frederick E. Manker, Orator and Herrick E. H. Greenleaf, Herald. These officers were installed by Past Prior, Knight William T. James.
In appreciation for his services in organizing Robert A. Woods Priory Knight James was voted a Life Membership in the Priory. Also at this meeting the Registrar was directed to send a Thank You letter to Knight Harry Levi in appreciation for the Crown he made for use in the Induction Ceremonies.
Also a motion was moved, seconded and carried that each newly created Knight be presented with a K.Y.C.-H. Jewel as a gift from the Priory.
During the year 1962 several petitions for Dual Membership were read and accepted and also a Ceremony of Induction was held for four Knights.
A motion was moved by Knight Clarence P. Sousley and seconded by Knight Aaron Wills that the Priory purchase an Altar Cloth, and that donations be solicited at Annual Meeting to pay for same. Motion carried.
At the Annual Conclave held on Saturday, January 26, 1963 in the Masonic Temple in Bedford, Indiana an Induction Ceremony was held for eleven Knights. A memorial service was held for Past Prior William T. James who passed away on January 6, 1963.
The election of officers was held with Knight Raleigh R. Cagle, as Eminent Prior; Knight Marvin L. Isley, Deputy Prior; Knight William F. Chestnut, Warder; Knight John M. Hanna, Registrar; Knight Frederick E. Manker, Prelate; Knight Karl L. Dickens, Orator and Knight Charles R. Walts, Herald. The above named Knights were duly installed. At a Called Conclave held on October 21, 1963 the Registrar stated the Annual Report sent to Grand Registrar General was approved and as of June 30, 1963 Robert A. Woods Priory No. 62 had a membership of 99 Knights.
At this meeting a communication was read from Knight Paul L. Becker as follows; “Please accept these Candle Sticks as a gift in token of my esteem for our Honourable Fraternity, Sincerely, Paul L. Becker.”
A Memorial Service was conducted for Past Prior
Joseph Manzenberger, who passed away on October 4, 1963.
A motion was presented to amend the By-Laws of the Priory to change the date of the Annual Conclave of the Priory from the fourth Saturday in January to the first Saturday of October.
During the opening ceremony of the Annual Conclave held January 25, 1964 the new Altar Cover and also the new Candle Sticks were placed on the Altar and these made a very beautiful setting for the ritualistic work.
The motion to amend the By-Laws presented at the previous meeting was read and the ballot spread and the motion was defeated.
A nominating committee presented the names of the following Knights to serve the Priory for the ensuing year and they were duly elected as per their nominations: Knight Marvin L. Isley, as Eminent Prior; Knight William F. Chestnut, Deputy Prior; Knight Frederick E. Manker, Warder; Knight Elmer H. Kimmel, Registrar; Knight Herrick E. H. Greenleaf, Prelate; Knight Charles R. Walts, Orator; and Knight Roy Butts, Herald. The Installation of Officers was held in the dining room after the dinner and entertainment.
During the year 1964 several proposals for membership were received and accepted and it seemed that everything was smoothing out and business was in an even flow. There were fifteen Knights Inducted into our Priory and three Knights were accepted for Dual Membership.
ROBERT A. WOODS
Grand High Priest, R.A.M. 1897 Grand Master R.& S.M. 1910-1911 General Grand Master, General Grand Council, 1933-1936
Robert A. Woods was referred to as “the incomparable Bob Woods, beloved patriarch of Indiana Masonry.”
And indeed he was. He left in his wake an exceptional record of Masonic labor that extended over a span of 74 years. Those who knew him revered him; they have said, and probably did say, at his passing, “We shall not look upon his like again.”
A native Hoosier, and inordinately proud of it, Robert Archer Woods was born January 5, 1861 on a farm near Princeton, son of John B. and Lucilla Charlette (Archer) Woods, both of whom had pioneer ancestors dating back to colonial days and the American Revolution.
After graduating from Princeton High School in 1877, he entered Indiana University, receiving his bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1881. His alma mater conferred upon him the honorary master of arts degree