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Masonic War Service Medals

Any collector who includes locally issued WWI service medals in their collecting will sooner or later run across a medal issued by a Masonic lodge. The Masons as a rule are a fairly prosperous group so if you find one of their medals in gold it is probably not a posthumous issue. All Masonic lodges are named and numbered and their medals often do not carry a city or state name which can make cataloging them an interesting challenge. With that in mind I found a Grand Lodge of Illinois 1970 year book which lists all the current and defunct lodges in the state of Illinois, in a Portage, Wisconsin antique mall. As soon as I got back home I used the book on the two Illinois Masonic medals in my collection. The first medal checked out nicely but the second was not listed as a current or defunct lodge of Illinois. The medal was issued by the Waubansia Lodge No. 160 which I thought was a Chicago lodge when I bought it. I quickly went to my favorite research site, “Google” and almost instantly found an excerpt from The History of Chicago Vol. 1 by Alfred T. Andreas that reported a charter being granted to this lodge on Oct. 3, 1855. Back in the 1970 book I found a listing for a Decalogue Lodge No. 160 in Chicago also chartered Oct. 3, 1855 which told me that there was a name change some time after WWI. The name change went unrecorded in my 1970 book but the lodge number and charter date remained the same. Another interesting thing I found is that lodge numbers are only unique to the state they are located in. There is only one lodge number 160 in Illinois but there may be others in other states. For example there is also a lodge number 160 in the Denver, Colorado area so the lodge names and charter dates can be very important when researching one of these mysterious medals. Illustrated below is the medal that started me on this tangent.

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