Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Looking Back: Dorchester's Secret Organizations Of The Past

Not too long ago, the Dorchester Times received a scathing e-mail from a critic who has serious issues with our blog's anonymous nature.

"I don't like the secretness [sic] of your publication," the writer said.  "If your [sic] so proud of your blog and you have so much to say, come out and let us know who is behind the Dorchester Times."

Tell us how you really feel.

The six staff members of the Dorchester Times have been anonymous since the blog's founding in April 2007.  We've lost only one member, who has passed away since we first started.  The Dorchester Times has done just fine, we think, despite being cloaked in our secrecy. 

Dorchester's history is rich with groups whose members remained anonymous while staying focused on the community's greater good.

One such group were the Dorchester Freemasons, who were active during the early 1900s. The Dorchester Freemasons met on the second floor of the building that now houses City Hall and Donna's Hair Creations. (It's rumored that second floor is haunted, but we're not checking to investigate.)

According to the Masons' website, "the Freemasonry is the oldest and largest worldwide fraternity dedicated to the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of a Supreme Being."  

When the old Dorchester school building was razed in 2008, Dorchester's residents received a history lesson on the Freemasons, who laid the cornerstone of the 1927 building.  Click here for our story on the opening of the 1927 cornerstone.

Another organization with ties to Dorchester's early past is the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.), which was concerned with local civic and political matters. Dorchester's I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 74 was founded May 13, 1879.  While not as secretive as the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows didn't exactly publicize their membership.

The purpose of Dorchester Odd Fellows' lodge was to "care for the sick, bury the dead, and care for the widows and orphans."  Dorchester's I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 74 was active until 1973.

The staff of the Dorchester Times is not to be confused with the fine members of the Freemasons, the Odd Fellows or any of the world's elite secret organizations.  But in our own secretive way, this blog continues to serve a purpose and do some good.  We will stick with the formula that is working.

1 comment:

  1. I, for one, have no problem with the Village Dweller remaining anonymous. They do present news and stories that are important to members of this community. Occasionally these stories ruffle someone's feathers, but that is the nature of such a publication, it is supposed to make us aware of an issue, examine that issue, and perhaps even comment on the issue.

    It is this free-flowing exchange of ideas that is so important to our community, and by extension, to our country. Our Founding Fathers knew the importance of a free "press" in ensuring the accountability of all individuals and institutions in our society, that is why it has such an important place in the Bill of Rights.

    The staff of the Dorchester Times has tackled some important issues in the past and has always done so in an informative, rather than a judgemental manner. I believe they have sparked some conversation about community issues that might not have taken place without them "lighting the tinder".
    Should you take every word they print as Gospel? Never! Should you get mad at the folks who are publishing the stories? I think not! What you should do is read the stories, find out what are the reasons they were printed, and then decide how it affects you and our community.

    It occurs to me that we all live in a very small town and the main reason we do so is that we love the sense of community and cohesiveness that we feel in being members of this "family". We should be very proud that the staff of the Times gives of themselves to keep us all up to date and informed about issues and events affecting us all. I do not need to know who someone is to say "Thank You", nor do I need to know who someone is to say I disagree with your opinion.

    As long as the staff of the Times continues to publish articles in a fair and unbiased manner, along with responses from the community of readers that meet the standards of common courtesy, they are entitled to their anonymity. Remember they are not expressing their opinions, they are fulfilling their obligation to keep us informed.


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