Benjamin Franklin Osborn, the first Master of Broad Ripple Lodge, was born July 30, 1840 on a farm near the Shelby-Rush County Line, Indiana. In which county, it is not definitely known. He died at his home 6104 Broadway, Indianapolis, December 27, 1928 and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

Frank, as he was known to his associates, was the son of Amos G. and Isabell Lowe Osborn. He had three sisters, Louisa E., Hannah Ellen, and Mary M., and one brother John G. Only one of this family of children, besides himself grew to maturity.

When about four years old, his father moved the family to a farm in Clinton County, Indiana, near the vicinity of Kirklin. He lived here about five years, when his father fell a victim of the epidemic disease known as “Flux”. His two younger sisters died of the same disease at the same time. His mother and an older sister, both being ill, were taken by neighbors to their homes and cared for until they recovered. Shortly after this, they left Clinton County and came to live with his uncle, Wesley Lowe, who resided on a farm about one mile north of Old Augusta, on the Michigan Road, now known as State Road 29. Here he helped his uncle on his farm and, as his uncle was also a stockman, made several trips throughout this territory driving stock to markets.

It was in this community, that he received his formal schooling. He attended the County School, which stood at what is now 86th street and State Road 29. He also went to school near the Ditch Road and 86th street. He often said that the most of his education was from newspapers. We, who knew him so well, know that he thoroughly enjoyed his daily papers. He read three of them every day; from front page to last page.

The beginning of his early manhood, also was the beginning of the Civil War. Early in the spring of 1861, he answered the call for volunteers, enlisting for three months service. After serving this, he re-enlisted in June and was in active service until the end of the war. He was a member of the 17th Indiana Mounted Infantry and was in the battles fought in and around Missionary Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Chickamauga, Chattanooga and skirmishes in Georgia and Kentucky. He was mustered out of service August 8th, 1865.

He married Julia Catherine Campbell, August 27, 1865 and moved to a farm located in Washington Township, Marion County, Indiana on what is now known as 86th street. To this union, ten children were born, John C., Clara M., William L., Louie, Arizona, Rosa, Georgie, Grace, James and Frank, all living to maturity, except three.

He took an active interest in public affairs. While his occupation was farming, he found time to devote to politics in precinct, township, and county. He was elected as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives from Marion County in 1899. He served on the following standing committees, Agriculture, Affairs of the City of Indianapolis, Roads and the Soldiers Monument.

In 1901, he moved from the farm to Broad Ripple where he spent the remainder of his life. From 1903 until 1908, he was custodian of the Marion County Courthouse.

He was a member of the Geo. H. Thomas Post and at one time was an officer of the G. A. R.

Benjamin Franklin Osborn was elected to receive the degrees of Masonry in Hosbrook Lodge, No. 473, New Augusta, Indiana, September 27, 1879, initiated as Entered Apprentice October 4, 1879, passed to the Degree of Fellow Craft November 1, 1879, raised to Sublime Degree of Master Mason November 22, 1879.

Brother Osborn was chosen the first Worshipful Master of Broad Ripple Lodge and served during 1902 and 1903.

Lodge Events of 1902

On May 28, 1902, a charter was granted, designating the lodge as Broad Ripple Lodge No. 643. The charter was signed by the following grand officers:

Orlando W. Brownback, grand master; James W. Dunbar, deputy grand master, William E. English, grand senior warden; George E. Grimes, grand junior warden, and Calvin W. Prather, grand secretary.

The list of the three principal officers of the lodge, as designated in the charter, differs from the list in the petition for dispensation and reads as follows:

Benjamin F. Osborn, worshipful master; Arthur Jackson, senior warden, and Charles O. Johnson, junior warden.

Other officers named in the secretary’s report for the year, were Morton B. Dawson, treasurer; Clarence L. Kirk, secretary; John D. Sullivan, senior deacon; James M. Watts, junior deacon; John L. Compton, senior steward; Charles F. Whitinger, junior steward, and Oliver J. Pursel, tyler.

On June 20, of this year, Brother George T. Blue, a member of Mystic Tie Lodge of this city and then trustee of Washington Township, presented the newly organized Lodge with a Holy Bible. This writ of Holy Scriptures was used by our Lodge for quite some time and is still in our possession. It was used on the Altar at the 100th Anniversary ceremonies and is currently on display in the Lodge.

The secretary’s report at the grand lodge as of December 31, 1902, shows that seventeen petitions were favorably acted upon from the date of dispensation to December 31 of that year. Thirteen of these petitioners received all three of the degrees during the year, and the other four received the first two degrees.

At that time candidates could be drawn from the territory designated as “half the distance, as the crow flies” to New Augusta, Carmel, Castleton and Millersville, where Masonic lodges already existed, and to Thirty-eighth street in Indianapolis.

Stated meetings of the lodge were scheduled to be held on the Friday, on or before the full moon of each month. We are told this schedule was arranged because getting from place to place at night was more favorable by the light of the full moon. The report also gives the total membership as of December 31, 1902, as thirty-six, divided as follows: Charter members, nineteen; affiliations, four; master masons initiated by the lodge, thirteen.

The following new members were added to the roster during this period.

By conferring of degrees in 1902:

Melvin Newby Daniel E. Stanley Grant Newby
Marcellus Jackman Frank Dawson Elijah Dawson

By affiliation:

William Mustard Elmore H. Pursel George A. Brewer
Perry Pursel

Lodge Events of 1903

In January of 1903, the Lodge purchased the seal which has served us continuously since that time and is still in active use. Realizing the advantages of an organized Craft to the Lodge, Brother C. L. Kirk was appointed our first Craft Captain and he in turn formed such an organization.

During the year 1903, an event transpired which had, perhaps the most important effect of all on the future of the lodge. J. S. Mustard, whose father, James Mustard, had been made a Mason in 1839, belatedly learned of this fact, and desired to follow in his father’s footsteps. His petition was accepted, although, he had then reached the age of 82, and he was made a Master Mason in Broad Ripple lodge on April 11, 1903.

He desired the lodge to possess a permanent home of its own, and to that end he presented the lodge with a tract of twenty acres, near Illinois and Forty-sixth streets, to be sold and applied on a building fund. His wife, Mrs. Cassandra Mustard, then prevailed upon Mr. Mustard to add an additional ten acres to the original gift, making thirty acres in all.

As a token of its gratitude and esteem, the Lodge presented Brother Mustard with a suitably inscribed cane.

At even this early date the new Lodge began to formulate plans for Its new Temple and, at the September meeting, the members voted the sum of twenty-five dollars with which to advertise the sale of the land given it by Brother J. P. Mustard.

Brother S. B. Plasket was elected the second Secretary of the Lodge at the December stated meeting.

By conferring of degrees in 1903:

Clarence Bowen Wm. Dawson, Jr. Jacob S. Mustard
J. Edward Morris Edward M. R. Howe Everett H. Miller
John Hinshaw Samuel Connelly Henry L. Bornman
Chas. H. Pearce Geo. W. Armentrout Chas. L. Tilton
Dayton L. Dawson Frank Hummel George Kerr
Samuel B. Plasket Robert Kerr

By affiliation:

Wm. C. Moffitt Allen H. Harcourt Daniel M. Horner
Hiram A. Haverstick Richard Lohman