For Whom The Bell Tolls

Samantha Molny and James Aaron Steel got married in June in Fort Worth Texas.

As my Grandfather was oft to say, “What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” Steel, you see, is the great-great-great-great grandson of Lawrence Steel one of the founding fathers of Fort Worth and one of a group of ten men who organized Fort Worth’s first Masonic Lodge, #148 chartered in 1855.

Lawrence Steel owned Steel’s tavern, an Inn and stagecoach stop in the old center of Fort Worth. In the belfry of that Tavern hung “Mason” a 16” bell that the family claims was cast in London in 1782.

How and when Steel received the bell is a family mystery but it is a fact that “Mason” was the warning  and celebration system of the early settlers who resided along the Trinity River in Fort Worth in the 1840s and 50s.

“Mason” rang to alert residents of danger, bad weather, mealtime, school sessions, fires, deaths, funerals, the New Year and most pertinent to our case weddings.

Lodge #148 purchased “Mason” from the Steel family in 1871 and has been the caretaker of the bell ever since. “Mason” is not rung often anymore it being a relic of a day gone by. But in June it rang at a Steel family wedding for the first time in 130 years. “Mason” and the Steel family were reunited in a ceremony of union and it can now be said that for that family it was “for whom the bell tolls”.

Posted in The Bee Hive.

Fred is a Past Master of Plymouth Lodge, Plymouth Massachusetts, and Past Master of Paul Revere Lodge, Brockton, Massachusetts. Presently, he is a member of Pride of Mt. Pisgah No. 135, Prince Hall Texas, where is he is also a Prince Hall Knight Templar . Fred is a Fellow of the Phylaxis Society and Executive Director of the Phoenix Masonry website and museum.

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