Thought for the Month:
 Be true to yourself.  Joshua Hugh Wooden (Coach John Wooden's Father)

William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge, A.F. &A.M.
Lowell, Massachusetts

Welcome to the William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge Home Page.

Regular Communication on Third Wednesday of Each Month

Lowell Masonic Center, 79 Dutton Street, Lowell MA 01850

About William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge instituted in 1928 by Bro. Lucius A. Derby
            Kilwinning Lodge instituted in 1866, with M.W. William Sewall Gardner as its first Master.
            Kilwinning Lodge and William Sewall Gardner Lodge merged on April 13, 2007, to form William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge.

Brief biography of William Sewall Gardner Fall 2013 Trowell Article on M.W. William Sewall Gardner

Current calendar of events (updated June 18, 2020)

Masonic Breakfasts in the Lowell & 12th Masonic District Area

Photos from the Appreciation Dinner for Rt. Wor. Herbert W. Mitchell, and the awarding of the Joseph E. Warren Medal.

 At 101, Masons Honor a Chelmsford brother

By Scott Shurtleff

Sun Correspondent

Lowell SUN, February 20, 2018

CHELMSFORD — As a Mason, it is Robert Elliot Donaldson’s nature to build things that last. As 101, Donaldson himself has lasted through military service, a marriage of over half a century and so much more, including 17 presidents and counting.  And so it was somewhat fitting that his brother Masons honored him on Presidents Day.

He was born on Oct, 31, 1916, in a small house in North Chelmsford. He’s lived his whole life in Chelmsford, quietly doing his various jobs, and going above and beyond what was expected of him, those who know him say.

In a Presidents Day ceremony at his new home, Sunny Acres Nursing Home in Chelmsford, Donaldson was presented with the prestigious Robert Johnston Service Award by his lodge brothers in the Masons.  The award was recognition of his more than 50 years as a loyal member of the William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge on Arcand Drive in Lowell.

Lodge Master John Papleacos presented the award to Donaldson in front of a small crowd of Masonic officials from the region in Sunny Acres’ dining room.  “He was the brother who would quietly do the jobs that no one liked or noticed,” Papleacos said. “He would greet you and make you feel welcome when you were new or visiting the Lodge.”

He served for 30 years as the Lodge’s ‘Tyler,’ whose duty it was to greet everyone outside the door. “The award is given to the unsung Brother working behind the scenes who goes above and beyond the call of duty,” Papleacos said. “The intent is to recognize the hardest working among us.”

The event was a surprise to Donaldson, who became visibly emotional upon discovery of the reason for the gathering.

He was a member for 53 years, until his 98th year when he finally retired before moving into the nursing home on Billerica Road in April 2017.

But there is so much more to Donaldson than his service to the lodge. He left his mark on the community as a master carpenter, beekeeper, gardener and resident who is still going strong after 100 years.

He was a fixture at the Mason’s booth on Chelmsford Common during July 4th celebrations, where he oversaw the scholarship drive named for another builder, Ralph E. House, for whom the Masons sponsored the memorial scholarship.

He continues to leave his mark in the form a genetic legacy that includes three children, eight grandchildren and six grandchildren. His 76-year-old son Barry is the unofficial record-maintainer of existing and sprouting branches from the family tree. Barry said that his father served during World War II in the Army Air Corps. When he asked the senior Donaldson what he did in the military, the father replied, “Nothing!”

This is a reflection of all that has happened in his life since that time. Army service of yesteryear is but a small part of his large life — a life that included a 50-year marriage to his wife Blanche, who died 20 years ago. Donaldson has built houses, a family, a reputation and an enduring standing in his community.

Video of Brother Robert Donaldson, 101 on October 31, 2017,  receiving the Rt. Wor. Robert Johnston Service Award on February 19, 2018, at the Sunny Acres Nursing Home, Chelmsford MA.

Posing for a group photo with Masons honoree Robert Donaldson, center, are: Kevin McCarthy, of Dracut; John Varkuilenburg, of Billerica; Thomas Berry, Billerica; Barry Donaldson, Dave La Plante, District Photographer, Andover; Russ Clough of Chelmsford; Sean Provost, Hudson; John Papleacos, Worshipful Lodge Master; H. Mark Leonard, Jr., District Deputy Grand Master of the 12th Masonic District.

William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge Civic Activities

Ralph E. House Scholarship Fund, for Chelmsford High School and Nashoba Valley Tech High School graduating seniors. Contact Edward Acheson, 31 Amble Road, Chelmsford MA 01824, (978) 250-1484.  (The scholarship application, in Microsoft Word, can be downloaded by opening this application file and saving it to your own computer or right clicking your mouse on the application link and using the "save as" feature of your browser.) 

Commitment to Masonry:  At the December 2006 Quarterly, the Grand Master announce the Five Hundred Club program for those Brethren who want to donate to our Masonic charities.  The 500 Club honors those individuals who pledge to support the Commitment to Masonry with a gift of $500, provided as either a lump sum or spread over a five-year period of payments.  More information about this apsect of the Commitment to Masonry can be found at the Grand Lodge web site at, clicking on the "Members Center" on the top right part of the home page, and going to the Commitment to Masonry.  A pledge form is available on that web site and is also available for download from this web site (500 Club Pledge Intention Form) a PDF file that you can open or download and print..

Officers of William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge

Other lodges in the 12th Masonic District

Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Home Page

Please send comments to: webmaster

Last updated: Jun 18, 2020, by Roger Whitehead

William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge

As the years pass and the founders of William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge are no longer with us, we must depend upon the written word to tell us what went on before our time. Such is the reason for this brief history of events.

By 1928, the membership in the (then) four Lowell Blue Lodges had come close to 2800 persons. This had brought about a grave situation: Masonic Lodges had never been intended to become large bodies. The Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, Most Worshipful Frank L. Simpson, had expressed concern about just such a situation:

"It is not the primary function of the Masonic Lodge to initiate candidates or to enlarge membership. Were it so, there would be no basis for our law governing proselyting. The primary function of the lodge and the craft is to train its members as benevolent men, to cultivate the social virtues and to propagate knowledge of the art. No greater service can be rendered to the craft than to stimulate a sentiment for more lodges and smaller lodges."

The situation was compounded two years earlier by the destruction of the Masonic apartments by fire. Masonry in Lowell had since been conducted on the premises of what was then the First Universalist Church on Hurd Street.

If there was one man who could be called instrumental in the creation of William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning lodge, it would be Brother Lucius A. Derby, a member and Secretary of Pentucket Lodge and, later, the second Master of our Lodge and the first recipient in Lowell of the coveted Joseph A. Warren Medal. Derby was a medium-sized man whose pictures reveal him to have a kindly expression, with a soft white mustache and thin-rimmed spectacles. One of his major devotions was Free Masonry as evidenced by several of his later gifts to the lodge: a marshal's baton, fashioned from a piece of lignum vitae that he had found in the ruins of the old Masonic Temple and had kept until a suitable Masonic occasion arose; an hourglass furnished in ebony to conform with his previous gifts to the lodge; and an ivory 24-inch gage.

(The story behind the gage typifies Derby's devotion to Masonry and to William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge: the ivory came from a large elephant's tusk brought back from Africa by a Masonic brother; Derby talked himself into possession of the tusk for the purpose of making a suitable gage for the lodge; he carved the gage himself with love and precision after several manufacturers of fine measuring tools refused to do the work because of the fragile nature of the material.)

On February 15, 1928, Derby sent a notice to the 52 Masons who had signed a petition (a 53rd name was added later) to form a lodge in the Lowell 12th Masonic District; this notice requested them to attend a meeting in order to take action in forming a new Masonic Lodge in Lowell and to select a list of officers to present to the Most Worshipful Grand Master. This meeting, which was held on February 29, 1928 at the Masonic quarters on Hurd Street, drew fifty Brothers. After the nomination of Wor. Charles E. Bartlett as temporary chairman, a motion was made by Bro. Derby that the new lodge be named WILLIAM SEWALL GARDNER LODGE.

Derby then moved that the new lodge meet on the second Friday of each month, excepting July and August.

A committee consisting of Rt. Wor. Arthur G. Pollard, Wor. Charles H. Hobson and Bro. John G. Parker submitted a list of officers for nomination. Chosen for major offices were

Other officers chosen for that first line were

Rt. Wor. Frank W. Hobson, Wor. Harry K. Boardman, and Bro. Lucius Fairchild were appointed to draw up a set of by-laws to be presented to the lodge. it was also unanimously voted that Bro. Derby be delegated to personally present to the most Worshipful Grand Master the completed petition for the formation of William Sewall Gardner Lodge.

One month later, on March 31st, a special communication was held for the purpose of receiving a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. District Deputy Grand Master Warren A. Goddard read the dispensation to those assembled and ordered that the Master and Wardens be conducted to their proper positions. The other officers were then appointed by Wor. Davis and conducted to their proper places by District Deputy Grand Marshall Winslow J. Damon. This being done, Rt. Wor. Goddard assumed his place West of the Altar and proclaimed that William Sewall Gardner Lodge was empowered to transact all Masonic business that could regularly come before it. Immediately after the Lodge was opened, the lodge's first Tyler raised an alarm: a brother from Keuton Lodge #415, Portland, Oregon, was without and, after being properly vouched for, was admitted and presented to the Worshipful Master.

Before that historic first communication was closed, the District Deputy Grand Marshall expressed his pleasure at being instrumental in the birth of a new Masonic Lodge and gave his best wishes for the LUSTY MASONIC INFANT. That description has been taken to heart over the years; William Sewall Gardner Lodge has been vigorous in its devotion and service to the ideals of Masonry.

On Friday, April 13, 2007, a significant milestone occurred for William Sewall Gardner Lodge.  The Lodge, by that name, ceased to exist and a new Lodge, called William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge was formed.  Kilwinning Lodge, instituted in 1866 in Lowell, merged with William Sewall Gardner Lodge.  M.W. Jeffrey Black Hodgdon and his suite from Grand Lodge officiated at the merger ceremony and installation of the new line of officers.  The last line of officers of William Sewall Gardner Lodge consisted of:

After the installation ceremony, the first line of officers for William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge consisted of:

Friday the 13th turned out to be an auspicious date for the new Lodge.  M.W. William Sewall Gardner was a founding member and the first Master of Kilwinning Lodge and now the legacy of the two lodges have been joined into one brotherhood.

Return to William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge Home Page

Biography of William Sewall Gardner
October 1, 1827 to April 4, 1888

William Sewall Gardner was born at Hallowell, Maine, October 1, 1827; his parents were Robert and Susan Sewall; he was educated at Hallowell, and at Bowden College, graduating in the class of 1850, and in 1853 commenced the practice of law in Lowell.

He was married at Brattleboro, Vermont, in September, 1868, to Mary Thornton Davis, widow of Charles A. Davis, M.D., formerly of Lowell; she had at the time a son, Charles Thornton Davis, a barrister in Boston. Mrs. Gardner died in 1875. A daughter, Mary Sewall Gardner, lived in Newton.

In 1877 he married Sarah M., daughter of Hon. Isaac Davis, of Worcester.

Soon after commencing practice as an attorney, he formed a partnership with the late T. H. Sweetser, Esq. The firm did a thriving business and soon opened an office in Boston. In a few years the Boston business demanded their whole attention, and the Lowell office was abandoned.

In December, 1875, he was appointed to the Bench of the Superior Court, and continued until October, 1885, when he was elevated to the Supreme Judicial Court by Governor Robinson.

In September, 1887, he was obliged to resign, owing to feeble health.

He was an Alderman of the City of Lowell in 1860-61, and City Solicitor of Newton in 1874-75.

He was deeply interested in Grace Church, Newton, being a Vestryman from 1871 to 1884, and Junior Warden from 1884 until his decease.

William Sewall Gardner had received his degrees in Ancient York Lodge, Lowell, August 11, 1852, serving as Senior Deacon in 1854 and in 1855 was elected its Master. Later becoming active in the Grand Lodge and was its Grand Lodge Master from 1869 to 1871. Gardner was a member of Mt. Horeb Royal Arch Chapter and Ahasuerus Council and a charter member of Pilgrim Commandery, Lowell Lodge of Perfection, Lowell Council of Princes of Jerusalem and Mt. Calvary Chapter of Rose Croix. Instrumental in the founding of Kilwinning Lodge, Gardner served as its first Master. At one time he was the Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar and also served as presiding officer of the Lodge of Perfection and Princes of Jerusalem. Gardner's professional life was as distinguished as his Masonic life: a lawyer by profession, he served as a superior court judge from 1875 to 1885, at which time he was elevated to the supreme court bench.

Return to William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge Home Page


Return to William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge Home Page

Officers of William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge


Worshipful Master

Wor. Sean Provost


Senior Warden

Wor. Karl Hanson


Junior Warden

Wor. John Papleacos 



Bro. Brian Day-Lewis



Wor. Roger Whitehead


Senior Deacon

Bro. Gary Ferreira, Jr.


Junior Deacon

Bro. Luckens Narcisse  


Senior Steward

Wor. Michael Alexis508-320-8082

Junior Steward

Bro. Scott Hirtle978-866-8015

Inside Sentinel

Bro. Edward Windhol



Bro. Kevin McCarthy



Wor. Edward B. Acheson


ChaplainBro. Andre Gibeau617-794-6338

Wor. Bruce Karafelis 


Education Officer

Wor. Edward B. Acheson



Wor. Roger Whitehead


Masonic Ambassador

Wor. Sean Provost


Return to William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge Home Page

List of Past Masters of William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge

12th Masonic District Lodges





Pentucket Lodge 79 Dutton Street
Lowell, Ma.
1807 3rd Thursday
Saint Matthew's Lodge 7 High Street
Andover, Ma.
1822 2nd Monday
Ancient York Lodge 79 Dutton Street
Lowell, Ma.
1852 2nd Thursday
William North Lodge 79 Dutton Street
Lowell, Ma.
1867 2nd Wednesday
Cochichewick Lodge 19 Johnson Street
North Andover, MA
1874 2nd Friday
Thomas Talbot Lodge 11 Concord Road,
Billerica, Ma.
1889 2nd Tuesday
Wamesit Lodge 70 Victor Drive
Tewksbury, Ma.
1921 1st Monday
William Sewall Gardner-Kilwinning Lodge 79 Dutton Street
Lowell, Ma.
1866 & 1928 3rd Wednesday
Merrimack Valley Daylight Lodge 19 Johnson Street
North Andover, Ma
1989 3rd Tuesday

12th Masonic District Officers

District Deputy Grand Master
Rt.Wor. G. Edward Brown

District Deputy Grand Marshal
Rt. Wor. Archibald Campbell

District Deputy Grand Secretary
John Vankuilenburg

Return to William Sewall Gardner - Kilwinning Lodge Home page