Masons hold rededication ceremony

RARE PUBLIC CEREMONY — State and area Masons gathered Saturday at the Masonic section at Fort Steuben Burial Estates in Wintersville for a rededication ceremony. Lodges from Jefferson County helped finance the restoration work at the burial section including the rebuilding of an altar. Patricipating in the ceremony were, from left, Edsel Emery, deputy’s representative for the Valley of Steubenville; Deputy for Ohio Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Douglas Kaylor; and Jess Raines, grand master of Masons of Ohio.

WINTERSVILLE — A rare public ceremony was held Saturday by state and area Masons to rededicate the Masons burial section at Fort Steuben Burial Estates.

One Mason had complained the burial section had fallen into disrepair, so lodges throughout Jefferson County came together to finance the work. Led by Master craftsman Michael DiLeonardo, a team of Freemasons from throughout Jefferson County restored the three chairs at the section and rebuilt the altar. A marble Bible and a bronze plaque was attached to the altar.

Led by Most Worshipful Jess Raines, grand master of the Masons of Ohio, and the Grand Line of Ohio, Grand Lodge officers from throughout the state, performed a reconsecration ceremony. The ceremony included the pouring of corn, wine and oil, the wages of a Master Mason, on the altar.

Edsel Emery, deputy’s representative for the Valley of Steubenville, said the cemetery is hallowed grounds for past Masons. He said the altar had lost its facade and was nothing more than a stack of concrete blocks, covered in moss. The project was brought up and lodges gave approval for the work and the paying of the cost.

“I stand here so very proud of the Valley of Steubenville,” he said, adding it is the pledge of Masons to do such work in the community.

“We came together as brothers to make the project a reality to honor those who came before us,” Emery said.

Most Worshipful Deputy for Ohio Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Douglas Kaylor commended the Valley of Steubenville for taking on the project and the workers who used their talents. He said the workers did so without wanting recognition.

“They know the value of a days work done well. What a wonderful gift,” he said.

Raines also commended the workers, saying they were the ones who made a difference in investing their time and talents in a project future generations can celebrate. He said the chairs and altars make people ask questions about the Masons and their work in the community.

“Looking at this project, it is another example of the investments made in communities,” he said.

Raines thanked the Mason who called and complained about the condition of the chairs and altar at the cemetery, saying it was obvious the Mason wasn’t proud of the condition and not representative of the Freemasons.

In addition to DiLeonardo, other individuals were recognized for their assistance with the project: Wayne Fulmer, Tom Hunter, Ronald Callahan, Dennis Chapman, Tim Walters, Jason Gorney, Ken Gilcrest, Jim Gilday, Tom McNeil, Damien Williamson, Dave Cesaro, Brian Cooley, Chris McClain, Scott Pasco, Rich Purks, Willie Pierce, Shane Marker and Bill Moore.