From the first official discussion for the preparation the History DeSoto Lodge No. 299 F & A.M., it was determined that any proper recognition would include a written and published History of the Lodge.
As plans matured I volunteered to start researching and developing material for the book. This also consisted of utilizing the Reference Department of the Memphis Public Library, examining the files of ancient newspapers, gathering biographical data that appears herein. Much more time was spent in collecting material than writing the book. I must say that if it had not been for the determination of the writer and the support of members of the Lodge, there would not have been a book concerning the History of DeSoto Lodge.
Some errors have likely been made, some items of interest not discovered, some material not used because of the inability to decipher the penmanship, errors in spelling or proper names and numbers of other mistakes. Obviously a considerable amount of news and other material was not available. The Lodge and the writer are indebted to all of those for their cooperation in preparing this book. The sad part of that all incidents could not be used in the prepation of this book.
In the beginning DeSoto Lodge met in the International Order Of Oddfellows Hall and Library at Front and Linden. The Lodge received its dispensation from the Grand Lodge in the State of Tennessee, July 28, 1864, when there was only 36 states in the United States of America. The country had just finished a war that pitted Brother against Brother and Father against Son. The State of the Union was in total disarray. The future for the State of Tennessee was somewhat cloudy, however, life went on and DeSoto Lodge received its Charter on October 4, 1864 under the hand of Grand Master T.A. Hamilton. We were chartered under the name of Hamilton Lodge No. 299 F & A.M., in Honor of Grand Master T.A. Hamilton. On this date the committee on dispensation reported verbally, that they had examined the proceedings of Hamilton Lodge No. 299 and found them correct. They recommended a Charter be granted, which was concurred in by the Grand Lodge and the Charter was ordered to be issued. Subsequently the name was changed to DeSoto Lodge No. 299 F & A.M.
Jack C. Arnold, PM