John B. Hessong, the seventh Worshipful Master of Broad Ripple Lodge, was born on a farm one half mile west of Crow’s Nest Hill in Washington Township, Marion County, on December 1, 1875.
He was the youngest member of the family of John J. and Sarah E. Hessong, there being four other boys and one sister in the family. His boyhood days were spent on the farm where he was born until he completed High School.
The first five years of school were spent in No. 8, a one room building which stood across the road from Pleasant View Lutheran Church. He then transferred to the Broad Ripple School and completed the elementary work and High School course in “East Hall”.
After High School, he entered Indiana State Normal School at Terre Haute and after two years there, began teaching. The first school he taught was the Millersville school which stood just across the road to the north east of Millersville Masonic Temple. The next two years were spent at No. 15 which stood on the site of the J. I. Holcomb estate on the Cold Springs Road, when he was transferred to Broad Ripple where he taught one year in the grades and was then advanced to the High School faculty.
After a two years leave of absence, during which time he completed the course at the State Normal and graduated in the class of ’03, he returned to the High School where he continued to teach for several years spending his summers at Indiana University. In 1930, he returned to his alma mater and obtained the A. B. degree.
Tiring of the teaching profession, J.B. took a position with the Indiana News Company and rose to the position of City Manager, where he remained until he was offered the position of stock clerk with the Van Camp Packing Company. He remained here until his brother, Thomas P. and several of the officials of the Van Camp Packing Co. organized the Morgantown Packing Company, when he became the head bookkeeper and later was elected Secretary of the new company.
When the John Strange School of Washington Township was nearing completion, he accepted the principalship and continued in this capacity for many years.
With the exception of the six years spent in Morgantown and the time in college, John B. spent the years of his life in Washington Township, Marion County.
John B. and Myra C. Jackson, his school days sweetheart were married December 27, 1908, and that same evening came to their new home they had built on Ashland Avenue, now Carrollton Avenue.
While but a small boy, “Johnnie” united with the Pleasant View Lutheran Church, but after moving to Broad Ripple, changed his membership to the Broad Ripple M.E. Church. He served in an official capacity in many of the offices of the church.
December 1908 was quite an eventful month in J.B’s life for in that month he was elected as Worthy Patron of Broad Ripple Chapter No. 315 Order of the Eastern Star, also Worshipful Master of Broad Ripple Lodge No. 643, F. & A.M., and took unto himself a wife. Incidentally, he served as Worthy Patron of Broad Ripple Chapter O.E.S. for a period covering seven years.
Brother Hessong petitioned Broad Ripple Lodge for the degrees of Masonry, January 29, 1904, was elected to membership February 26, 1904, initiated as an Entered Apprentice, March 4, 1904, passed to the degree of a Fellow Craft, March 11, 1904, and was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason, April 8, 1904.
On August 19, 1904, John B. was elected Secretary of the Lodge to fill the unexpired term of Brother S. B. Plaskett who had resigned, and he was re-elected in December for another year.
He served as Junior Deacon in 1906, Senior Deacon in 1907, elected Senior Warden for 1908 and in December of that year was elected Worshipful Master, the first Master to be elected in the new hall. John Hessong was elected Worthy Grand Patron of the Indiana Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star in April 1925, after having served in the regular line of subordinate offices and was a Director of the Eastern Star Educational Fund from its inception.
Brother Hessong was a member of Broad Ripple Chapter R.A.M. and served as its High Priest during year of 1923.
Lodge Events of 1909
The Temple having been completed, the Lodge settled, down to enjoy the fruition of its labor and endeavors. The new dining room offered so many advantages over facilities heretofore available that banquets were given on every appropriate occasion. These dinners and the social hours that followed were thoroughly enjoyed by the Brethren.
Relatively, many candidates were initiated into the Order and an heightened interest began to assert itself. The year was saddened however, by the loss of two of our charter members within the short period of one week. Bro. Jos. W. Bates passed away on May 5 and Bro. Benj. J. White on May 8. Both were interred with Masonic honors.
The candidates and affiliations for this administration were:
Raised as Master Masons in 1909:
|Harrison Walters||Wm. H. Archer||Wm. Chenoweth|
|John T. Ray||Oscar Morris||Wm. S. Dow|
|Joseph McCain||Harry Conant||Leslie M. Easterday|
|James Ernst Dow||John F. Blackwell|
Brothers Robert H. Fessler and A. J. Brewer were admitted by affiliation.