The New York State Masonic organization in conjunction with the Sullivan County Resort Council is planning a huge conclave in this county on June 2, 3, 4 to honor Major General John Sullivan for whom the county was named.
It is expected that more than 5,000 Masons will assemble here at the hotels for the observance and it is possible that President Truman, who is a former Grand Master of the Masons of the State of Missouri, will be invited to be present.
Captain Witherspoon, publicity director for the New York State Masons met with Wor. Bros. Bruce and Benton at the Concord Hotel on January 29 to discuss plans for the unique celebration.
The Sullivan County Historian, James W. Burbank, also attended the meeting together'with representatives of the Masons and the Sullivan County Resort Council of which Milton Kutcher is President.
It is reliably reported that at the climax of the conclave there will be unveiled by the Grand Master a bust of General Sullivan.
Major General Sullivan had close contact with many men who later became Sullivan County residents and the General is said to have passed through this area in his campaigns against the Indians.
General Sullivan, who was the first Grand Master of Masons in New Hampshire, was of Irish descent. He was born in 1740 and after a boyhood on his father's farm in Maine became a lawyer and politician. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1774 and in 1776 became a Major General in the Continental Army. He held several commands wiih varying degrees of success.
In the spring of 1779 he was placed in command of an expedition against the Indians and Tortes in New York. This expedition was a distinct featUre of the Revolution - a war measure planned and approved by Washington as a punishment for the unjustifiable warfare of the allied loyalists and Indians. General Sullivan executed the order faithfully and severely. "The Town Destroyer."
Sullivan was thanked by Congrcss for his services but dissatisfied with the actions of the Board of War he retired to private life.
He was elected to Congress in 1780 and served a year. In 1783 he became Attorney General for New Hampshire and in 1786 Governor of that State. It was during his last year as Governor that he became Grand Master of the Lodge.
During the final years of his life he served as Federal Judge in his district. Death came in 1795. He had spent twenty years of his fifty six years in public service and had been made Doctor of Laws by the University of Dartmouth.
A large gathering of Masons is expected at the Monticello Lodge Temple on Friday evening, February 10, at which time Captain Maurice Witherspoon, James Reynolds, Senior Grand Deacon, William Rose, director of Masonic Benevolence and other dignitaries will appear at Monticello Lodge to speak on Masonic Benevolence and to discuss plans for a celebration in June to honor Major General Johm Sullivan the Revolutionary hero for whom Sullivan County was named.
Prior to the Lodge meeting which is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. sharp there will be a radio broadcast in which Witherspoon, Rose, Nick Eckerlin, a blind man, and one or two officers of Monticello Lodge will participate. The radio broadcast will be made over station WVOS from 5:30 to 5:45.
The blind man is a Right Worshipful, the holder of the Grand Master's purple bar, has done considerable Red Cross and other charitable work which brought employment to many blind people. He operates a grocery store and has remarkable talent in identifying items by the sense of touch. He will be accompanied by a seeing eye dog which joins in the spirit of things by barking whenever the audience applauds a speaker or when the Masons sing.
Wor. Bro. Benton and several other Masons from this district saw R.W. Eckerlin and his dog last fall when he witnessed the ceremony in which R.W. Bro. Reynolds was presented as senior Grand Deacon.
Bro. Reynolds is related to the Ice company Reynolds on High Street and his family are natives of Sullivan County. He is also a cousin of R.W. Bro. Ralph Wright.