Freemasonry in Southampton County

Published 10:48 am Friday, March 20, 2015

The Southampton County Historical Society will host the program “Freemasonry in Southampton County” on Sunday, March 22, at 3 p.m. in Courtland Administration Building. The half-hour program will follow the timeline of the grand lodge through the present and will discuss key figures and lodges within the county.

“Southampton County has a multifaceted history, and we wanted to focus on a new facet,” said Lynda Updike, president of the Southampton County Historical Society. “My father was a Mason, and he was very proud of that fact.”

Freemasonry is among the world’s oldest fraternal organizations, tracing its origins to the early 14th-century. Freemasons come from all faiths and backgrounds but believe in a “Supreme Being.” They are taught moral lessons and self-knowledge through a series of ritualistic dramas or plays performed within each lodge.

“It’s a symbolic journey of groups of like-minded men,” said Andy Spencer, the District Deputy Grand Master for the 32nd Masonic District of Virginia. “I wouldn’t say that it was the center of intelligentsia, but Masons have taught trades to one another for centuries. There weren’t architects back then, so Freemasonry is a more abstract guide to life.”

Spencer will be the keynote speaker at the event. A resident of Hunterdale, he also serves on the Grand Lodge of Virginia Committee on Information Technology. Spencer is an active member of Franklin Lodge 151 and Boykins Lodge 287.

There are three active Masonic Lodges in Southampton County: Boykins, Courtland and Franklin; and three additional lodges that disbanded over time: Jerusalem, Newsoms and Farmers Grove (Sebrell). The program will also examine why the last three are no longer in use.

For more information, contact the Southampton County Historical Society at 654-6785, or visit There will be a question-and-answer period following the program.