Founded December 14, 1805, Overton Lodge was, at the time of its formation, a part of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee.
The Lodge was named in honor of John Overton, 1766-1833, by John Williams. Overton was a prominent Tennessee jurist and Freemason, who practiced law with another young lawyer and Freemason, Andrew Jackson.
On my way to this place the gentlemen of Rogersville requested me to procure from the Grand Lodge of No Caro: a dispensation for a masonic lodge at that place. Upon applying for the dispensation the officers of the Grand Lodge granted it and required that a name should be given the lodge. The gentlemen of Rogersville furnished me with no name for the lodge and I therefore I took the liberty of naming the lodge after you which was highly approved by the officers of the Grand Lodge. I hope it will not be disagreeable to you.
Williams to Overton, November 24, 1805, Overton Papers, Tennessee State Archives
Overton was appointed by Tennessee governor John Sevier to succeed Jackson, in 1804, as the judge of the superior court in Nashville. He held this post until 1810, and in 1811 was elected a justice of the Supreme Court of Tennessee, which office he filled till his resignation in 1816. During this period he wrote “Overton’s Reports,” which include the time from 1791 to 1817, and are of great value as a repository of the land laws of Tennessee.
When the eight lodges in Tennessee came together to form the new Grand Lodge of Tennessee in Knoxville on December 27, 1813, Overton Lodge sent representatives to the convention that established the new grand lodge, and as such, it is one of Tennessee’s founding lodges.
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