John Darling Lodge was named for a person described as a true and devoted Freemason.
John Darling, native of Vermont, born in 1808, came to Tampa during the Seminole Indian war with General Jessup in 1835.
After the war, John Darling became a businessman in the Mercantile Industry. In 1854,a number of citizens decided to incorporate the town of Tampa. An election was held and John Darling was elected the first President of the Town Council and the Village of Tampa. On the 15th day of December, 1854, Tampa officially became a town.
He made application to Hillsborough Lodge No. 25 and initiated and entered apprentice on December 17th, 1853. A dispensation was granted by the grand lodge of Florida and he was passed to the Degree of Fellow Craft and raised to the sublime Degree of Master Mason on the same day, December 19th, 1853.
In 1887 Brother Darling left Tampa for the home of relatives in the North. Five years later, on September 11, 1892, at the age of 84, he died, in Nashua, New Hampshire and was buried there with Full Masonic Honors.
NEW INFORMATION April 2013
An individual came to the Lodge one Monday with history changing information regarding Worshipful Darling.
He had letters from Worshipful Darling postmarked Iowa. The letters were written to his attorney that he was in ill health living with his sister in Iowa.
The date of his death is correct however his was apparently not buried in New Hampshire with Masonic honors and his grave was unmarked.
Worshipful De Angelo, Worshipful Master John Darling Lodge 2013, is searching all available records attempting to verify if this is indeed true. So far it appears this is good information. Further digging into the past will continue until the matter is resolved.
Since the first Master of John Darling Lodge No. 154, there have been 109 Masters of the lodge, with Worshipful Master Joseph Kennedy as the present master. Of those, there are 29 Masters of the lodge still alive and attending meetings on a regular basis, some giving lectures and others serving as mentors.
Being 120 years old, this lodge has seen many changes in history and in the city of Tampa. The lodge is active and meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. If you would like to know more about our lodge or retain a book of its more than one hundred year history, contact:
John Darling Lodge No. 154
PO BOX 151955
TAMPA FLORIDA 33684-1955
# # # History, courtesy John Darling Lodge No. 154 F. & A. M.
# # # Centennial, L. Alan Austin, P.M. Historian.