RWM Bro. William Crawford



The Lodge has benefited from the efforts of many of our brethren throughout our history. The contributions of some of the most notable benefactors are here presented in detail.





Andrew Bryson, 1925


Andrew Bryson, a weaver's son and a direct descendant of the old Tarbolton Orr family, grew up in the village at the beginning of the 1850's. By nature of a reserved disposition, and somewhat withdrawn, by accident of birth, he spent his early teenage years employed on the farm of Parkmill. Prospects for the ambitious young man - he had no bent for farming - during this transition period in the industrial life of the village were far from bright and not surprisingly the young Andrew, assisted by relatives "in the trade" began an apprenticeship as a draper in Kilmarnock. His apprenticeship completed, other horizons beckoned and he emigrated to the U.S.A. where he began business in Ware, Massachusetts. The hard-working, conscientious young man merited the success which crowned his efforts. In 1908 he re-visited his native village. A keen Freemason he expressed his delight that the Lodge now had its own Masonic Hall, he contributed £8 to the fund which had been established to clear off the debt on the Hall, but remarked that in his opinion the premises were not worthy of the Lodge of Robert Burns.

The chance remark was not lost on Bro. Rev. J. C. Higgins, the parish Minister. Contact was maintained with Bro. Bryson and, the Great War ended, after considerable correspondence Bro. Bryson gifted, through Bro. J. C. Higgins, the initial magnificent sum of £2,200 for the purpose of building a new Masonic Temple and renovating the then existing Masonic Hall. On Saturday, 26 September 1925 the new Temple was consecrated in due and ample form and together with the adjoining buildings were handed over by Bro. Higgins - in name and by authority of Bro. Bryson - to remain the property for all time of Lodge St. James Tarbolton Kilwinning No. 135.

Bro. Bryson's splendid gift speaks for itself. Today it stands as an enduring monument to the generosity and munificence of a worthy expatriate and a great Freemason. What a pity Bro. Bryson's years did not make it possible for him to attend, in person, the consecration ceremony.

His portrait, suitably framed, adorns the west wall of the Lodge, while his Mason's Mark has been cut on the left hand stone jamb at the main entrance.





Grave of Alexander Munnoch


Alexander Munnoch of Cringate died at South Lodge, Stirling on 14th November, 1879, aged 45 years. A landed proprietor, he was the bachelor son of Alexander Munnoch, a master soap-boiler, and Grace McEwen, a member of the prominent merchant family of Callander and Stirling. He developed a close connection with Girvan, enjoying frequent holidays (no doubt for health reasons) in the seaside town on the South Ayrshire coast. He would appear to have built up a strong affection for the place, its people, and for our Ayrshire coast. Indeed in his last will and testament he bequeathed the sum of £1,000 to the National Lifeboat Institution "to be applied in the purchase and equipment of a lifeboat, house and apparatus, to be placed on such part of the Ayrshire cost not already provided therewith and if possible in the neighbourhood of Troon or Girvan as the Directors of the said Institution may appoint."

What connection he had with Tarbolton, or how that connection was born, has never been established. Whether he ever visited the village is not known. Could it simply be that he was an admirer of the Poet and developed a strong desire to make a tangible gift to Burns's own lodge? Whatever the reason his bequest of £200 made possible the building of the Masonic Hall, which gave to the Brethren of 135 a meeting place of their own and to the village its first real centre for community functions. Indeed the Hall was to remain the focal point in the social life of the parish for the next 80 years. Belated though this tribute may be, nevertheless we would wish, even at this late date in the life of Lodge St. James, to place on record the great appreciation of the members of the Lodge, past and present, of a most generous bequest.

What a pity that no portrait is available to be placed beside those of our. other notable benefactors. The photograph of his last resting-place in St. Ninian's Churchyard, Stirling, now on the west wall, will ensure that this generous donor and a most timely bequest will never be forgotten.





Bro. McCurdy receiving Honorary Membership Diploma


Lodge St. James owes much to Bro. Horace W. McCurdy, a most generous benefactor. A native of Port Townsend, Washington, U.S.A. Bro. McCurdy attended the public schools of that area, the Washington University, and graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was associated with the Puget Sound Bridge and Dry Dock Co. in which he served as President, General Manager, and Chairman of the Board.

Bro. McCurdy has given outstanding service to his community in many fields. He is a Past President of the Rainier Club and the Washington State Pioneers' Association. He is a Past Commodore of the Seattle Yacht Club and an honorary Life Member of the Facoma Yacht Club. He has gained the following well merited distinctions:

In 1955 he was named "Maritime Man of the Year", by Puget Sound Maritime Press Association; Civil Engineer of the Year 1959 by the Seattle Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers; Seattle's First Citizen of the Year 1964 and in 1964 was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award of the University of Washington Alumnus Association. In 1969 he was nominated to the Helms Hall of Fame for rowing and was guest of honour at a banquet given by the National Rowing Foundation in New York.

Bro. McCurdy is a distinguished Freemason. He is a member of George Washington Lodge No. 251 of Seattle and a member of the Scottish Rite Bodies of that city. In 1949 he was coroneted an Inspector General Honorary of the 331. In 1967 he was invested with the dignity of Grand Cross Court of Honour. In 1969 he served as the Personal Representative in the Seattle area of the S. G. I.G. 33rd deg of Washington.

For his munificence to Lodge 135 - vide the main text - and his continuing interest in the welfare of its members, he was, by the unanimous decision of the Lodge, ,made an Honorary Member (the highest honour the Lodge has in its power to bestow) on 4th November 1966. At a Scotch Night in his own Lodge a few weeks later a "weel-kept secret" was revealed with the presentation to him of his Honorary Member's Diploma. At the time of going to press we have just learned that Bro. McCurdy has made a further generous gift of $1,000. The Brethren, in acknowledging with gratitude this unbounded generosity, have decided to purchase a new Organ for use in the Lodge on ceremonial occasions.



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