Founding Members

Edward Farris Storey
Our First Master

Edward Farris Storey was born in Jackson County, Georgia, July 1, 1828. In 1844 with his parents he moved to Texas. In 1846 he became a member of the Texas Rangers, and he and his father served in the Mexican War. In 1849 he married and in 1850 his wife died, leaving him an infant daughter, Julia. In 1852, with his little daughter in the saddle with him, he started to California with a party he had organized to make the trip. They traveled by saddle horse and pack train through Old Mexico to Mazatlan on the Pacific Coast where they took a boat and, after a stormy voyage in which many passengers perished, he landed with his party at Monterey, California, and at once began the business of stock raising at San Juan, then in Monterey County, but now in Benito County.

He had joined the Masons in Texas, and a number of the men who accompanied him to California also were Masons. In the then pioneer and unsettled condition of the country, he realized the benefit that a Masonic Lodge would be to the community and took steps to obtain a Dispensation from the Grand Master to organize the Lodge at San Juan under the name “Texas Lodge,” and in 1854 that Lodge was chartered under the number 46. The Grand Lodge of California was then only four years old. He was elected as the first Master. By 1857 he had had many favorable reports about Tulare County, then known as the Four Creeks country, and he came to Visalia, bringing with him his little daughter Julia. The same unsettled conditions in Visalia that he had seen at San Jaun indicated to him the same necessity for a Masonic Lodge at Visalia, which he proceeded to help organize as outlined previously in this booklet.

In 1860 after the expiration of his term as master, Brother Storey felt the urge that drew so many men to Nevada, when the Comstock Lode was discovered. He went to Virginia City, leaving his little daughter Julia with the wife of the Methodist Minister at Visalia. He had been in Nevada only a few months when an Indian War broke out. Brother Storey was elected Captain of the "Virginia Rifles," and when leading his men against the Indians, was fatally wounded from ambush on June 2, 1860, and died that same evening, at the age of thirty-two years. He was buried in the Virginia City cemetery with military honors. Storey County, in which Virginia City is situated, was named in honor of Brother Storey, and in 1930 Escurial Lodge, in conjunction with Virginia City officials, and the county commissioners of Storey County, erected a monument over Brother Storey’s grave which was dedicated by the Grand Lodge of Nevada November 8, 1930.

At the time of the death of Brother Storey, telegraph lines had just been completed to Visalia, and one of the first messages received in was a message to the Lodge at one dollar a word announcing the death of Brother Storey. The Lodge immediately met and in addition to the usual resolution of respect, passed a resolution authorizing the Master to see that Brother Storey’s orphaned daughter was provided for, and authorizing him to apply to the Court for appointment as her guardian. J. N. Thomas, the second Master of the Lodge, immediately filed a petition for the appointment of himself as guardian, which petition was granted by the Court on the same day it was filed. She then became a ward of the Lodge until her marriage to J. W. Williams, a member of the Lodge and for many years City Marshall of Visalia.

About one year after Brother Thomas became the guardian of Julia, a demand was made upon him to surrender the custody of the minor to an alleged uncle, but the Lodge instructed Brother Thomas forthwith to reject the demand, and directed the Charity Committee to institute legal proceedings to protect the orphan child.

The committee feels that the tribute paid to Brother Storey by the Deputy Grand Master of Nevada at the dedication of the monument to his memory in 1930, so forcibly describes his character that it is here printed in full.

"Most Worshipful Grand Master, as the pioneers moved westward across this great country of ours, Masons and Masonry moved with them. Those men put into practice the excellent tenets of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, and by their precepts helped to bring stability and beauty out of near chaos. Their work was well done and they too builded better than they knew. Captain Storey was a Mason, a Man—and a Mason, and believing, as we know he did, that it is far better to give than to receive, he placed his life upon the Altar of Sacrifice that we might have a smooth path to tread after him. This monument I dedicate to him and to the Craft, for the Mason that he was."

Copy Of Article Describing Edward Farris Storey's Funeral As Reported in San Francisco Bulletin 
Dated June I2, And Reprinted in Visalia Weekly Delta, June 30, 1860.


(From the S. F. Bulletin)
Virginia City, U. T., June 12, '60.


Editor Bulletin: --As mentioned in my last, Sunday, June 10th was celebrated the funeral of the late Capt. Storey. About 2 o'clock in the afternoon of that day, the different military companies, the Masons and the citizens assembled near Wells, Fargo & Co's express office. A pair of fine mules drawing a wagon, conveyed the remains of the gallant man who fought and died. No bell tolled the knell of a departed soul, no priest habited in white vestments headed the procession; but slowly and silently the band, half military, half civil, marched toward the grave. This was dug in the usual place for interment, near the road to the Flowery District. As the spectator from this point watched the solemn procession approach, he must have been indeed dull, if his sensibilities were not aroused by such a striking scene. Toward the south, the sun was gilding the distant hills and shedding its benign rays over the mountains on the west, clad in bright green, except where the hand of man had scattered the earth in search for hidden treasure. Here is the tunnel with its cavernous mouth; there, the shaft and windless told the tale of hardy labor. The "city" itself, with its white canvass roofs, reflected the rays of the sun, and seemed to rejoice in the beauty of this summer day. But toward the north and east, the dark cloud, heavy with rain, overspread the sky; and as the drops fell, seemed to join in the general sorrow, and mingle its tears with those assembled round that stony grave. Down from the heights above the procession moved. First went the military companies, then the Masons clad in white aprons then the hearse and Capt. Strong's Company, and lastly the citizens. How strange the scene! Here, in this new country, from every nation and every clime were gathered the different classes of men. Thousands of miles over land and ocean, many, ay, the most, looked back on their homes—some through months, some through years and some through many years into the past, bright with boyhood’s memories, wondering at the future. But, above all, that hand in their white aprons, representing as they did a class throughout the world, bound as they are by ties more indissoluble than that of brothers, was the strangest point in the strange picture. Here were ties even among strangers, ties strengthened by deep mysteries, ties hightened by history and antiquity. Around the grave the Masons gathered and as the ceremony began, as the hands were clasped above their heads, the clouds broke asunder and the bright light of the golden sun dispelled the darkness below. Again there came around the grave another hand of brethren-—his companions in arms. Men rough in appearance, but bearing in their breasts resolute though sorrowful hearts, as the performed the last sad offices for their former Chieftain. DULCE ET DECORUM EST PRO PATRIA MORI.


Monument erected to memory of Capt. Edward Farris Storey at Virginia City, Nevada. November 8, 1930. 
The movement for the erection of this monument was sponsored by Escurial Lodge No 7, F. & A. M., of 
Virginia City and the Commissioners of Storey County. It was dedicated by the Grand Lodge of Nevada.


Colonel Thomas Baker
Our First Secretary



Thomas Baker was born in the State of Ohio, November 5, 1810. He was a lawyer by profession; also, he was educated as a Surveyor. Before leaving Ohio, he was commissioned a Colonel in the Ohio State Militia. While yet a young man, he went to the then territory of Iowa, where he distinguished himself as being its first United States District Attorney. When Iowa was admitted to the Union as a State, he was elected a State Senator and on the organization of the Legislature, was elected President of the Senate and ex-officio Lieutenant Governor.

Filled with the spirit of adventure created by the "Gold Rush", he came to California in 1850 and in 1852, he and his brother, (Nathan Baker Visalia's first store-Keeper), came to Visalia. He commenced the practice of law, and became very prominent in early county history as one of the organizers of Tulare County. Following the first election of officers in Tulare County, Judge Walter Harvey (who was elected County Judge) killed, without provocation, the popular Major James Savage, and was forced to resign. Colonel Thomas Baker was appointed County Judge to fill out his unexpired term; also, he was appointed Assistant United States Indian Agent to replace the deceased Major Savage. In 1854 he was elected Assemblyman from Tulare County and in 1861 was elected State Senator for the district composed of Tulare and Fresno Counties.

In 1857 Colonel Baker was chosen chairman of the first group of Masons which met in Visalia for the purpose of applying for a Dispensation to organize a lodge at Visalia. When the Dispensation was issued, he was named as the first Secretary of the Lodge.

In the early 1850's Colonel Baker was appointed the first Receiver in the United States Land Office in Visalia. During his service in the Land Office, he became interested in the reclaiming of "Swamp and Overflow" lands, and in the first part of the 1860's, resigned his position in the Land Office and moved to a place on Kern River, then known as "Kern Island" and became a large developer of real estate. The location of his holdings became known as Baker's Field, but afterwards officially named Bakersfield. Thus, it may be said that Colonel Thomas Baker was the founder of the City, now known as Bakersfield in Kern County. At the entrance to the City Hall in Bakersfield stands a large statue of him in memory of his laying out the City of Bakersfield. He died in 1874.


Joseph Clarence Ward
(1844- 1923)

Joseph Clarence Ward, known to his many friends as "J. C.", was born May 13, 1844, in the State of Alabama. He left home at an early age to become a telegrapher. The Morse system of telegraphy had just been invented, and "J. C." envisioned a great future in this method of communication, and had a burning desire to learn the system. At the age of about fifteen years, he began working as a telegraph messenger in the office of the Grand Trunk Rail road in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. Thomas A. Edison (who afterwards be came known as the electrical wizard), then a lad of about thirteen years of age was working as a "Newsboy" on the Grand Trunk railroad. The two boys became very close friends and when Edison would arrive in Mt. Clemens from his run, he would hasten to the telegraph office to see Ward, where "J. C." taught him the Morse code and the art of telegraphy.

In the latter part of 1862, "J. C." enlisted in the Union Army and was assigned to the staff of General Ulysses S. Grant at his field headquarters. It is said that lie was the first telegrapher who ever served a General in the field of battle. In 1862 he was wounded in service and forced to retire from active military duty. In 1865, he came to California and applied to General Horace W. Carpentier, head of the telegraph system on the Pacific Coast for a position as telegrapher, and was accepted and assigned to the Western Union's telegraph office in Sacramento. After the end of the war, there was a strong desire on the part of the telegraph companies to make telegraphic connection with the continent of Europe. Attempts had been made for years, without success, to lay an Atlantic cable, but the companies were forced to conclude that an Atlantic cable crossing was not practical, so they began to investigate the possibility of constructing a line through British Columbia, Alaska and Siberia, via Bering Straits, to connect with European lines. Brother Ward was chosen as a leading member of a crew to plan a route for such line. His crew had reached a point about eight hundred miles north of Vladivostok, Siberia, when the news came in 1866, that Cyrus W. Field had been successful in laying the Atlantic Cable, and the Siberian route was abandoned.

"J. C." returned to the United States, and influenced by the mar stories of wealth to be obtained on the Comstock Lode in Nevada, he went to Virginia City. Mining did not appeal to him. In 1869 he eloped with his Virginia City sweetheart and was married in Gilroy, California, then continued his journey to Visalia to accept an assignment with the Western Union Telegraph Company, to install a set of "repeaters" and take charge of its office for a period of six months. Having fulfilled this assignment, he immediately accepted the position of manager of the Postal Telegraph Company's office in Visalia, a position which he held until his death in 1923 (52 years). Upon Brother Ward's death, the Postal Telegraph Company discontinued its office in Visalia. At the time of his death, Brother Ward was the oldest telegrapher, in time of service, in the Postal Telegraph system. Many times, late at night, when the telegraph lines were not too busy, operators throughout the nation, paying tribute to his long distinguished service, would call him and have friendly and social chats.

As a citizen, Brother Ward, was very civic minded and an ardent advocate of anything that would benefit the community. When Visalia was incorporated in 1874, he was elected a member of the school board and later served as its Mayor.

Brother Ward numbered among his personal friends, Thomas A. Edison, the electrical wizard; General Ulysses S. Grant, of Civil War fame; John W. Mackay, founder of the Postal Telegraph Company; 5. F. B. Morse, the inventor of the Morse telegraph system; and many other early day National figures. Over his telegraph table and key, always hung the autographed photographs of Thomas A. Edison and Professor S. F. B. Morse.

Brother Ward became a member of Visalia Lodge in 1873, and served as its Master for the years 1883, 1884 and 1885. He served as Secretary of the Lodge for many years. His handwriting was like copper plate, and it is with pride that the officers now show the minutes of the Lodge written by him. He also served Chapter No. 44, R. A. l as its High Priest for five years and Visalia Commandery No. 26 K. T. for three years as its Commander. He was an earnest and learned Mason and an outstanding ritualist. Without any previous notice, he could occupy any station in conferring any Degree or Order from Entered Apprentice to the Order of the Temple.

A most interesting account of a conversation between Brother Daniel McFadzean and Charles Edison, as recorded by Brother McFadzean is as follows: "About 1912, I met in San Francisco, Charles Edison, the son of Thomas A. Edison, who was afterwards Governor of New Jersey and Secretary of the Navy. He was then quite a young man. When he learned that I was from Visalia, he asked Mc if I knew Mr. Ward, and told me that his father had told him that if he came to California and did not visit Mr. Ward, he would send him back. Complying with his father's request, Charles Edison came to Visalia and spent a day with Brother Ward. In 1915 Thomas A. Edison, Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford - visited the Pan-American Exposition at San Francisco, and on their way out Edison wired Brother Ward to join them in their private car at Sacramento, and Brother Ward had the pleasure of doing the Fair with these three distinguished gentlemen."

Thomas A. Edison was very hard of hearing, especially in the latter years of his life, and Brother Ward, on numerous occasions, conversed with him by means of the telegraphy he had once taught him. This was accomplished by placing his hand on Mr. Edison’s knee, using it as a telegraph key board, then tapping out the message in the Morse Code. Of course, in answering, Mr. Edison would do likewise.

Brother Ward's son, Bert Ward, was recognized as one of the most expert telegraphers in the nation and when President Harding was on his death bed in the Palace Hotel in San Francisco, a telegraph office was organized in the hotel to carry on presidential business and Bert Ward was placed in charge of that office and continued in that capacity until the death of President Harding

Daniel McFadzean

Daniel McFadzean was born May 19, 1867 in Ontario, Canada. At the age of about seven years, he became an orphan and was passed around among his several relatives to be raised by them. He acquired an education about equal to two years in our present day high school, and became a school teacher, known then as a "School Master."

On March 16, 1888, he arrived in Visalia where he made his home until the time of his death on May 29, 1950. He obtained employment as a teacher and taught in several districts in Tulare County, his last position being Vice-Principal of the Visalia Elementary School District. In the summer months, he worked in the harvest fields and during the winter months taught school. During this period, in his spare time, he studied law, and in 1893 was admitted to the bar to practice law in the State of California. From that time on, he was a practicing attorney in Tulare County. He became one of the leading authorities on the interpretation of law in the State of California, and perhaps, the most prominent member of his profession in the San Joaquin Valley. From 1902 to 1909 he ably served Tulare County as its District Attorney, after which he voluntarily retired from the political field. On several occasions, he refused the proposal of his nomination for Superior Judge and declined the offers of appointment to the Federal Courts.

Brother McFadzean was deeply interested in all civic affairs and took an active part in them, especially in education and the public school system. He held practically every office in the Visalia Public School system, and for many, many, years was President of the High School Board of Trustees. He believed that education was the hope of the world, and had implicit confidence in the ability of youth to solve correctly any problem that might be presented to it.

Uncle Dan, as he was affectionately known by Masons and non Masons, alike, was, beyond doubt, the most highly respected and best loved man in Tulare County. His sterling example of honesty, integrity, and up righteousness was an inspiration to everyone who came in contact with him. He was of rugged Scotch descent and blessed with that God— given attribute "Common-sense" and keen sense of humor. How he enjoyed a good clean story to the fullest. His countenance reflected the living sincerity and kindness in his heart, and the quietness of his voice put everyone in his presence at ease. He was generous and charitable, almost to a fault, toward every worthy cause, especially in helping poor boys to acquire an education, but no one ever knew it except himself and the recipient. This kind and gentle man was truly a man among men.

Uncle Dan was made a Master Mason in Visalia Lodge in 1892, and served three terms as its Master—-1895, 1896 and 1901. He was also two times a Past Commander of Visalia Commandery No. 26, K. T. and three times a Past Patron of Martha Washington Chapter No. 13, O.E.S.

Perhaps his greatest pleasure in life, other than the joy of his family, was his association with the Masonic Fraternity. In his own words—”My greatest pleasure is the friendship I have enjoyed in Masonry”. He always saw the sunny side of life—come prosperity or depression, he saw no obstacle which could not be dissipated by the earnest and sincere application of the rules of Masonry. The road was never too long or the night too dark for Uncle Dan to attend a Masonic function or to serve a worthy brother when his services were needed. He was a much sought after speaker and toast master at Masonic gatherings throughout the San Joaquin Valley and his anecdotes were refreshing beyond description. It was a rare treat to hear him install the officers of a lodge. He gave unlimited time to Masonry, but he reaped an equal amount of joy from his efforts.

To the officers and young members of the Lodge, Uncle Dan was kind and gentle and ever willing to stretch forth a helping hand and patiently assist them with any problems. He sincerely had a great personal interest in the welfare of the Lodge. It was his joy and pleasure to have them come to him for counsel. This is the trait which instilled confidence in the officers and new members and made Uncle Dan the Worthy Mason he was.

Three incidents stand out in his life as a Mason; the first man he raised as a Master Mason was Brother John Livingston Rhodes in 1895. (Brother Rhodes demitted to Dinuba Lodge and became a Past Master thereof) and in 1945, Uncle Dan presented to him his fifty year button; in 1920 he acted as King Solomon in raising his only son, Donald McFadzean, as a Master Mason; and in 1947 he acted as King Solomon in raising his only grandson John McFadzean, as a Master Mason.

Uncle Dan was not only a fifty year Mason, but also a fifty year Past Master. We feel by his sincere and active devotion to Masonry and by his sterling character as a Mason and citizen, he has done more for Masonry, especially Visalia Lodge, than any member of the Lodge up to this time. Surely, his life was a testimonial to Masonry and stands as a monument to the greatness of the Order and the ultimate realization of its tenets.

Walter Charles Haight
Walter Charles Haight was born in Illinois, October 26, 1874. He attended the local schools in Illinois and was graduated from the University of Michigan in 1898. After graduating from the University, for four years he taught in the high schools of his native state. In his spare time he studied law and in 1901 was admitted to practice law in the State of Illinois. He immediately commenced the practice of law in Chicago, and very soon was recognized as an outstanding trial lawyer. During this time, he became extremely interested in land titles and in 1914 came to California as a real property title man. He worked in several counties of California, and in 1920 came to Visalia, and associated himself with the Tulare County Abstract Company.

In 1923, his many friends prevailed upon him to accept a Deputy- ship in the District Attorney's Office. This he did, and served as Deputy District Attorney of Tulare County from 1923 to 1927. His services proved so satisfactory that in 1927 he was elevated to the position of Assistant District Attorney, whose chief duty was to act as advisor to the Board of Supervisors of Tulare County. He served in this capacity from 1927 to 1931. In 1930, without opposition he was overwhelmingly elected District Attorney of Tulare County and ably served the County until 1947, at which time he voluntarily retired from the political field and entered into the private practice of law. On several occasions, he refused to have his name submitted to the voters of Tulare County, as a candidate for Superior Judge.

Walter, as he is affectionately called by his many friends, was raised a Master Mason in Sycamore Lodge No. 134, A. F. & A. M. in Sycamore, Illinois, on August 23, 1898. In 1939, he demitted to Visalia Lodge No. 12, F. & A. M. and in 1952 demitted from Visalia Lodge to become a charter member of Mineral King Lodge No. 720, F. & A. M. He became a Royal Arch Mason in Loyal Chapter No. 234 at Chicago, Illinois in 1911, and affiliated with Visalia Chapter No. 44, R. A. M. in 1921. He is very active in Royal Arch Masonry, having served Visalia Chapter as its High Priest in 1923, 1925, 1932 and 1933. In 1936 he started through the chairs in the Grand Chapter of California, and in1940 served as the Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the State of California. Through the years 1942, 1943, 1944, 1945 and 1946, he served as Master of the 2nd Veil of the General Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States of America.

He became a Knight Templar in Lincoln Park Commandery No. 64, at Chicago, Illinois in 1912, and affiliated with Visalia Commandery No.26, K.T. in 1922. He served as Commander of Visalia Commandery in 1926.

In 1919, Walter became a member of Bakersfield Chapter No.125 O. E. S. and in 1921, affiliated with Martha Washington Chapter No. 13, O. E. S. He served as Worthy Patron of Martha Washington Chapter in 1930.

Walter has had a most remarkable Masonic career and has willingly spent unlimited time in the service of all the branches of Masonry. He has a charming personality and is gracious to the highest degree. Everyone he meets is his friend; he unconsciously radiates that warmth and genuine feeling of sincerity that is in his heart. He is a very fluent and witty speaker, and much sought-after toastmaster and after-dinner speaker for Masonic gatherings throughout the San Joaquin Valley. On nights of installation, irrespective of the organization, it is just taken for granted that Walter will be the host. And surely, a gracious host he is.

In 1948 Visalia Lodge presented to Walter his 50 year button.

Walter has given much to Masonry, and while he is not now a member of Visalia Lodge, he remains its own much loved grand-child, because Mineral King Lodge is the youngest off-spring of Visalia Lodge. For his untiring labors for Masonry, and especially Visalia Lodge No. 128, F. & A. M., we proudly salute him.