Ill. Odel Squier Long, 33°

Article by Lonnie Carpenter, 33°

Odel Squier Long was born in Ligonier, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, October 16, 1836. Although no records used in preparing this article fix Brother Long’s arrival in Wheeling, West Virginia, documentation exists to show that he became Clerk of the Supreme Court of West Virginia when that state was admitted to statehood by President Lincoln in 1863 with Wheeling as its capital. Brother Long would serve as Clerk of the Supreme Court for 30 years, until his death on December 26, 1897.

Bro. Long was a man of strong literary taste. His chief pleasure was in his books, from which he exercised a wide influence in his community in spreading a love for good literature. For nearly 30 years, Masonic study was an element of his nature, and his familiarity with our Craft’s philosophy, teachings, and laws made him an authority on these subjects.

This store of information established his name as a Masonic jurist, as is shown by his recondite reports as Chairman of the Committee on Jurisprudence and Legislature, and his final labor, the codification of the Statutes of The Supreme Council, 33°, S.J. His Masonic accomplishments have never been equaled in the annals of West Virginia Masonry. His Masonic record began with his initiation in November 1857, in Columbian Lodge No. 134 at Cumberland, Ohio, and he was raised a Master Mason in December 1857. He was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in June 1858 at Cambridge, Ohio, and was knighted a Knight Templar in Wheeling Commandery No. 1. He received his 32° at Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1868 from Ill. John Robin McDaniel, 33°, S.G.I.G. in West Virginia. Coroneted a 33° Inspector General Honorary on May 30, 1876, he was crowned an Active Member May 30, 1876. Bro. Long served as Master of Bates Lodge, No. 33, Wheeling, West Virginia, 1868, 1869, and 1870. In 1870, while serving as Secretary for the Grand Lodge of West Virginia and Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons, he was also elected High Priest of Wheeling Union No. l and Commander of Wheeling Commandery.

Bro. Long served the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter as Secretary for 14 years, retiring in 1885 to accept the offices of Grand Master of West Virginia and Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter. After his service as Grand High Priest, he was again, after six years, reelected Grand Secretary of the Grand Chapter, serving until his death. Sir Knight Long was the First Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of West Virginia, and in 1876, he was elected Grand Recorder.

Upon the death of Brother Long, Ill. Nathaniel Levin, 33°, S.G.I.G. in South Carolina, wrote the following memoriam for Ill. Long dated January 1, 1898: "His character was without blemish—genial and earnest in manner, courteous and magnetic in his intercourse with his fellows, and loving and beloved in his domestic relations, he presented a model for the study and emulation of youth entering upon the stage of life to stimulate them in a high career, by an example of all the virtues which inevitably lead to success."

The Valley of Fargo, North Dakota, included in its letter of sorrow dated December 27, 1897, the following quotation from the Fargo Daily Forum: "Last evening there passed away at his home in Charleston, W.Va., Hon. Odel Squier Long, 33°, Lieutenant Grand Commander of the Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States. He was born October 16, 1836, and was therefore only a little over 61 years of age. For twenty-three years he has been an Active Member of the Supreme Council, and for four years has filled his present position which is next to the highest office in the gift of his brethren. For over thirty years, Mr. Long has been Clerk of the Supreme Court of the State of West Virginia, a position he filled with great honor to himself, and the same can justly be said of every office he has occupied. Mr. Long was a deep student, and all of his reports on Masonic matters are classics. Lovable in disposition; holding clear, concise views himself, yet charitable to others of their opinions; a most companionable gentlemen—a true friend—his demise will be regretted the world over by the many who knew this Mason in heart as well as in name."

On December 26, 1897, the full Templar service was performed at Ill. Long’s home in Charleston. The body was then removed to Wheeling, West Virginia, where the Kadosh service of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was held in St. Matthew’s Protestant Episcopal Church at midnight on December 29, before a vast concourse of Masons and their friends. A guard of honor kept vigil with the body until the next day when the full service of the Episcopal Church was had, after which the remains were conveyed to their final resting place, in the Peninsula Cemetery, with Masonic gravesite rites conducted by Bates Lodge. His funeral was the largest Masonic memorial ever held in the city and attracted great attention.
A large bronze Scottish Rite double-headed eagle medallion on Ill.Odel S. Long’s memorial monument in Wheeling, West Virginia, recognizes his long and distinguished service to our Order.

In August 1925, the Board of Trustees of the Valley of Wheeling purchased lots in Greenwood Cemetery, and on August 8, 1925, moved the bodies of Brother Long and his beloved wife, Mary, who had died in 1886 after a year and a half of happy marriage, to their final resting place. There is erected at his grave by the trustees a beautiful monument, upon which is a large bronze medallion in tribute to his office as Lieutenant Grand Commander. On the bottom of the monument is the inscription, which is a challenge to those who are numbered among Scottish Rite Masons throughout the world: "He Has Lived. The Fruits Of His Labors Live After Him."

Lonnie Carpenter
is Past Venerable Master, Valley of Huntington, W.Va.; Past Grand High Priest, Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons of W.Va.; Grand Lecturer, Grand Royal Chapter Royal Arch Masons of W.Va., 1981 to present; Prior, Huntington Consistory; Degree Master 20°; Cast Member 17°–32°; President, Scottish Rite Foundation of W.Va.; and Past Master, Western Star Lodge, No. 11,Guyandotte, W.Va.