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THE FIRST 100 YEARS

OF

SACRAMENTO LODGE No.40

 

 

 

 

 

WILLIAM WATKINS STOVALL

 

 

 

                     William Watkins Stovall, an original petitioner of Sacramento Lodge, was born in North Carolina about 1826 and came to California during the Gold Rush, settling at Sacramento. For sometime he was clerk for Charles Crocker, dry-goods merchant of Sacramento. He was a deeply religious man, a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and was Superintendent of its Sabbath School. In the Fall of 1852, the parties holding the mortgage foreclosed and the property of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, or Asbury Chapel as it was then called, located on 7th Street between J and K Streets, was sold. As the last day for redemption approached, Judge McGee proposed to W. W. Stovall, then a trustee of the Church, that the money necessary to pay the indebtedness be raised on a joint note and although an effort was made to do this, none could be found who would make the loan on the terms offered. The Church was about to lose one of the choicest lots in Sacramento for its purpose when Bro. Stovall who had some $1600 of his own borrowed $950 from J. G. Brewton, a local merchant, and paid off the mortgage, saving the property for the Church. Subsequently he paid off the loan from Mr. Brewton with interest at 5 per cent per month. Unfortunately, however, two weeks after the church property had been redeemed, the disastrous fire of November 2, 1852, destroyed the eddifice leaving only a vacant lot. Through the efforts of Rev. B. T. Crouch Jr., also an original petitioner of Sacramento Lodge, the church was rebuilt on this lot. The brick basement in which services were held for a time was completed in 1853 at a cost of over $6,000. Had it not been for the generosity of Bro. Stovall it is likely that the church would have been built in a less desirable location for its purpose. On September 6, 1854, W. W. Stovall married Margaret E. Beatty in Sacramento and a year later moved to Wisconsin Hill in Placer County but soon returned to Sacramento where he engaged in the grocery business. He located business first at the corner of 6th and K Streets and later at 195 J Street. He was at heart an enthusiastic "servant of the Lord" and devoted much of his time to street preaching. J. C. Simmons in his History of Southern Methodism on the Pacific Coast published in 1886, states that W. W. Stovall was one "of those who composed the first class in Sacramento" and further states: "W. W. Stovall, though an upright good man, yet he left the communion of our Church to engage in undenominational evangelistic work. In this we believe he made a great mistake." Apparently Bro. Stovall left Sacramento for Virginia City, Nevada about 1866 leaving his family in Sacramento, but in 1870 we again find him in Sacramento in the life insurance business. About 1871 he moved to San Francisco and in 1873 clerked for the Weed Sewing Machine Company. His name does not appear in the San Francisco Directories for 1879 or 1880 but in the 1881-2 Directory he is listed as a Missionary. His name again appears in the San Francisco City Directory for 1892 but after that no further information regarding him has been found. Bro. Stovall was initiated and Entered Apprentice Mason Nov. 17, 1851, passed to the degree of Fellowcraft Dec. 1 and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason Dec. 10, 1851 in Tehama Lodge No. 3 F. & A. M., Sacramento. He served as Secretary of that Lodge in 1852. According to the roll-book of Sacramento Lodge No. 40, after assisting in the organization of our Lodge he dimitted therefrom Aug. 4, 1854 but according to our Minute Book his name was stricken from the roll March 7, 1856. Apparently he did not dimit from Tehama Lodge and for a time maintained dual membership in both Lodges. Bro. Stovall acted as Secretary pro-tem at the first meeting of Sacramento Lodge U. D. According to the 1857 proceedings of the Grand Lodge of California W. W. Stovell withdrew from Wisconsin Hill Lodge No. 74 prior to the May, 1857 returns. He was also shown as a member of Tehama Lodge in the 1856 and 1857 proceedings. His membership in Wisconsin Hill Lodge No. 74 must have been for a short time only. This Lodge surrendered its Charter May 14, 1858. The Grand Lodge proceedings of May 1863 indicate that Bro. Stovall's membership in Tehama Lodge No. 3 terminated in 1862.

 

 

 

 Transcribed by Sally Kaleta.

Proofread by Betty Vickroy.


2007 Sally Kaleta.

 

 

 


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