Shelby County, Indiana
The Daily Republican
Written for the Republican:
Saturday evening, July 11, 1885
Page 2, column 2
Joseph Adams and Percy Kitchel, Two
of the Founders of the Shelby-
ville Masonic Lodge.
[BY WILLIAM HACKER]
Percy Kitchel -- Was a native of the State of New Jersey, came West at an early date and settled for a time in Hamilton county, Ohio, no doubt waiting for the departure of the Indians from this part of our State. This being fully accomplished in April, 1822, he come[sic] with his family to this county, purchased land on the West side of Blue river some half mile South of where the village of Freeport is now located. Here he settled down to agricultural pursuits which he industriously pursued for the remainder of his life. He died in the fall of 1848, thus being the fourth one of the original members of the lodge to be called away. Percy Kitchel was a man of more than ordinary intellect which in his younger days had been favorable cultivated, consequently he very soon took a prominent position among the early settlers of the county. At the annual election held in August, 1827, he was elected a member of the board of county commissioners, and the county records fully testify that he discharged the duties of that trust for the term of his election most acceptably to the citizens of the county. For many years previous to his death he served his township as justice of the peace and held that office at the time of his death. Where Brother Kitchel received his degrees in Masonry, whether in a lodge in his native State before coming West or in a lodge located near his residenc e in Hamilton county, Ohio, is not known. This much however is known that he came to this then almost unbroken wilderness a most zealous Freemason fully imbued with the sublime teachings of the order, and that he continued in the practice of those grand principles during the remainder of his life. As has been previously stated he was one of the original members that formed the lodge now at work in Shelbyville. And at its organization January 7, 1825, he was made its first treasurer. The duties of this station he continued to discharge until a short time previou to his entering upon the more laborious duties of county commissioner. From 1828 to 1835 by permission of the Grand Lodge the stated meetings of the lodge were held alternately at Shelbyville and Hanover. For the last five years of this period Brother Kitchel provided rooms at his own residence for the meeting of the lodge and that too without any compensation whatever. It appears that in these early times when a member had what the lodge could use advantageiously it was freely offered and no compensation asked for or accepted. In these latter days of close calculating of accruing interest and profitable investments the idea of furnishing rooms in a private residence for the stated meetings of any society free of charge would perhaps not be entertained for a moment by any one, yet such appears to have been the custom among the early members of our lodge. In the rooms thus furnished by Brother Kitchel in the fall of 1834 at the funeral of Brother Ferris was where the writer first met with the lodge at which time his application for membership was presented and appropriately referred. And here too commenced an intimate acquaintance with our good Brother Kitchel that continued uninterrupted for the remaining fourteen years of his life. From the knowledge thus obtained we can bear testimony that through a long and useful life no one stood before the community more pure in morals, more strictly honest and upright in all his transaction, than the early pioneer of our commandery, Percy Kitchel.
Contributed by Phyllis Miller Fleming
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