How the Rupert H. MacNeill Conclave was formed

MINUTES of a meeting called by Knight Comps., the Red Cross of Constantine, all members of ROYAL EDWARD CONCLAVE No. 8, HELD at the Ionic Lodge Rooms, King Street, Middleton, Nova Scotia, Saturday, April 2nd, 1983.
The following Knights Companions were invited:
Robert O.Parker, Fred B. Byrne, Marshall Hennigar, Tom E. Hankinson, Howard Margeson, R. Gordon Hughes, Ronald W. Forsythe, R.A. Paul Fleming, Ronald E. Burrell, H. Burnley Cann, John H. Wightman, William J. Sullivan, Fred C. Hayter, Gordon Burnham, Marshall Black and guest Comp. H. Weiland.

All the foregoing were present, with the exception of R. Gordon Huges and R.W. Forsythe, who sent regrets, and Kt. Comps. Hennigar, Parker and Wightman, who were away in Florida and British Columbia.

Marshall Black gave some of the background of the reasonfor, and the history of this meeting. He indicated that he and the last Em.Kt.Comp. Rupert H. MacNeill discussed the question of a new Conclave several times. In the fall of 1982, it was realized that it would be difficult to have sufficient number from our area in order to confer Part III of the Appendant Orders as a team, because we did not have enough members living locally in the Valley area. We then went to some of our source material, namely Preceptory records, and discovered that we had been overlooking some worthy Companions in the area, who could be invited to join Royal Edward Conclave. After this process took place we came to the realization that membership in Royal Edward was almost complete, therefore while we could propose them, there would be considerable delay.

In November of 1982, during the Official visit of the Grand Sovereign, Most Illustrious Knight Companion John Flewelling, GCC of St. Stephen, New Brunswick, he indicated that we should take steps to form a new Conclave in this area. Kt. Comp. MacNeill and Black, held a brief discussion with V.Ill.Kt.Comp. Gordon Lord, Intendent General, indicating that we had discussed the matter, and were considering further action.

After a couple of trips together to Halifax, we discussed the matter, especially as to the location, as well as the desirability of offering further light in Masonry to companions in Western Nova Scotia, whom we felt were desirous of further light. There had been some discussion about a new Preceptory. We felt Middleton offered the best facilities, and reasonable travel for those Companions from Windsor to Digby, and even Yarmouth. The Masonic Temple in Middleton had recently, and is currently undergoing further comfortable renovations. The Lodge room facilities would provide excellent accomodations for the Degree Work.

All these thoughts were climaxed on Wednesday, February 2nd, 1983, when Rupert travelled with me, on my Court Circuit to Middleton, as the basement of the Lodge is used as a Court facility. While I held Court, Comp. MacNeill met with Comp. Vernon Brown and kt. Comp Tom Hankinson of Ionic Lodge. Fortunately, I had extra time, during the day, and the use of the facility appeared encouraging and suitable. Rupert made plans for a closet, which would fit into the renovations. On the way home we discussed more intently a number of subjects, including suitable furniture to be packed away in the closet, the date and time of meetings, etc. He had calculated the number of days left which would not conflict with other Masonic Meetings, and we had decided that the 2nd Saturday of the months of MARCH, APRIL, SEPTEMBER and NOVEMBER would be more suitable. In addition, we compiled the list of possible members and officers. When we arrived at my home in Kentville, at approximately 4:00PM discussions continued as follows:

We felt we should stick to a Jurisdiction in agreement with Royal Edward, of course, fairly consistent with our Preceptory arrangements. We would have jurisdiction over Windsor, Hants County, West of Highway #14, Queens and Shelburne Counties. Consequently, all the Companions invited to this meeting, resided in that area, with the exception of Byrne and Sullivan. However, although they live in Hants County, they are active members of Mount Zion Preceptory. The name of the proposed Conclave was discussed, and three names were felt appropriate, to be put to the meeting, namely:- LOYALIST, ROYAL VALLEY and ERASMUS JAMES PHILLIPS.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Comp. MacNeill left late for supper, and both agreed to call these people after he made ‘feeler courtesy calls’ to Kt. Comps. Hughes and Fleming, as our main problem was going to be that we were short of Past Sovereigns. Comp. Fleming who lives in Halifax has constructed a home in Falmouth, and is living there part-time at present, and is also a member of Adonirum Council in Wolfville. Rupert called me later that evening, extremely enthusiastic and estatic, advising these Comps. were in favour, and everything seemed to be a ‘go’. The proposed meeting would have been held on Saturday, February 12th, except for two things:-

  • A storm on the 12th would have cancelled the meeting, and
  • Rupert’s untimely death on the 4th of February.

In conclusion, I felt at least bound to call this meeting for this date, and leave the matter with those present.

After some discussion, the following decisions were made:-

  1. The kts. were prepared to work and contribute towards the formation of a new Conclave.
  2. Upon motion of WJ Sullivan, seconded by F. Byrne, it was UNANIMOUSLY resolved to form a Conclave to be domiciled in Middleton.
  3. That the rent would probably be a a cost of $30.00 per meeting, and we would make a contribution towards the closet.
  4. There would be four (4) meetings a year, held on the second (2nd) Saturday of March, April, September and November, avoiding as much as possible District meetings, Installations, and bad weather.
  5. It was UNANIMOUSLY agreed that the name of the Conclave would be THE RUPERT H. MACNEILL CONCLAVE.
  6. That we would retain Comp. Harold Coggins to build an altar, in the meantime, we would also request to borrow from the Eastern Star, four (4) pedestals.
  7. It was agreed that our next meeting would be held without notice on April 16th, at two (2) o’clock in the afternoon, at Middleton, at which time our members would also practice for the Appendant Orders. At this meeting, there would be a petition available for signatures, and decisions about officers, dues and fees, qualifications, etc., would be discussed. After the meeting was adjourned, we gathered in the banquet room below, and were served a delicious lunch by Mrs Tom Hankinson, and her daughter, Mrs. Dianne LeGard, at which time we were informed we would be able to use the pedestals.

    At the conclusion of the lunch a moments silence was held in memory of M. Ill. Kt. Comp. Gerald O. Smith, Grand Recorder, who passed away on March 31st, after a lengthy illness.

    Signed by W. Marshall Black, Self-appointed Acting Recorder

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