Disclaimer: We have made extensive use of literary, poetic and artistic licenses for your education and amusement.
Hint: Virtually all of the text is true. The photos are for enhancement purposes only.
The founders of Omadi Lodge were great visionaries and entrepreneurs. They were leaders in their fields. In brief, they were the movers and shakers of their era. They believed in the future and they planned their destiny, but most importantly, they helped leave much of Nebraska with a very proud Masonic legacy.
The letter of dispensation for Temple Lodge, U.D. was signed on January 18, 1858, by none other than Nebraska’s first Grand Master, Robert C. Jordan.
Temple Lodge was established along the Missouri River in the brand new village of Omadi, Nebraska. When the lodge was chartered on June 2, 1858 the name was changed to Omadi Lodge #5.
At that time it was the lodge furthest north in Nebraska. Its establishment was recommended by the Master, Wardens and members of Capitol Lodge #3 of Omaha. Mahlon Wilkinson, the first Mayor of Omadi, Nebraska was elected as the first Master of Omadi Lodge #5. Omadi Lodge later supported the development of Ponca Lodge 101in Ponca, Nebraska, a day’s ride via horseback northwest of Omadi.
We all leave a legacy. I would like to share with you a very true story about the development of a proud Masonic legacy.
Allow me to introduce you to eight men who established their priorities early in life and played a very significant role in the early development of our Masonic fraternity. These proud men were builders, devoted and true to a cause.
Amos Lampson was an ambitious sojourner born in New York. He was a wood smith and bridge builder. At 21, he moved to Wisconsin then to Missouri where he married Anna Jackson. The couple moved to Iowa where he continued to hear marvelous stories about the bountiful lands to the west.
At the age of 41, he staked a claim in the newly formed Nebraska territory and moved to the extreme northeast corner. The winter of ’56 was exceedingly cold. The Missouri River froze over on December 9th and didn’t open up again until March 27th.
Amos lost his whole herd of cattle during that harsh winter. The following spring, he reengaged in a business he knew well, the lumber business. He sold lumber to the burgeoning steam ship companies on the Missouri River. The lumber business was good to Amos, but in 1861 with the Civil War looming, duty called and he joined the army.
Jacob Hallack was a visionary and entrepreneur. Like Lampson, he also came from New York and was among the first to settle in northeast Nebraska. Hallack erected the first log cabin in Dakota County in 1855. A creative thinker and futurist, Hallack became a full partner in a new sawmill business.
In 1856 he became the first county clerk of Dakota County. In November of that year, he returned to New York, married his childhood sweetheart and brought her back to Omadi, Nebraska.
Hallack organized the Second Nebraska Cavalry and was a Second Lieutenant in that company. He fought in the Civil War until his release in December of 1863.
John C. Turk was a very reputable, honest person. He established a law practice in Dakota City in 1857. Turk accepted a position on the first board of directors of the local land office. Those ties afforded him the opportunity to become the first trustee of the Dakota City Company, a company developed to lay plans for a new community in the Nebraska Territory.
Turk served as personal secretary to Nebraska Governor, Mark Izard. He was also a law partner with T. B. Cuming (Cuming County). In 1858 he established a third law practice in Omadi, Nebraska.
When Dakota City was founded, Turk became the first town alderman. He also served with Hallak in the Second Nebraska Cavalry during the Civil War.
Eldridge Lampson, a brother to Amos Lampson mentioned earlier. Eldridge was the first Justice of the Peace, the first census enumerator and one of the first county commissioners of Dakota County.
Thomas McDermott, a speculator who came to Omadi in 1856 during the Great Land Rush. As a speculator, McDermott traded community properties much like company stocks are traded today. In 1859 McDermott moved to Colorado and speculated in the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush.
Henry Hale appears today on the family tree of a prominent family still residing in Dakota City. Not much is known about Hale, only that he left Omadi shortly after the financial panic of 1857 – 1858.
Alfred Puett was an attorney by trade but the annals of history consider him an American Legislative leader. He was a member of the 3rd & 4th sessions of the Nebraska Territorial Council in Omaha.
Puett moved to the Dakotas and served in the Dakota Territorial House of Representatives as Speaker of the House.
Mahlon Wilkinson’s story goes back to the time of Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph. The first telegraph message was sent in 1844 with the words, “What hath God wrought?”
The prevailing belief at that time was that Morse’s new invention, the telegraph, had brought on the annihilation of time and space. Many spiritualists of the day were convinced that an even greater wonder called a “spiritual telegraph” could be established between heaven and earth, thus allowing communication with the dead.
In 1854 Wilkinson was a signer of a petition sent to congress to fund this enterprise. Congress, however, decided to fund only the communication with the living and the petition was filed. After moving to Omadi, Nebraska Wilkinson was elected the first mayor of Omadi and the first Master of Omadi Lodge #5.