Captain Stephen Chambers – 1st Worshipful Master of Lodge No. 43

Lodge No. 43Captain Stephen Chambers was born in the North of Ireland about 1750.  He came to Pennsylvania prior to the Revolution and resided in Sunbury.  At the outset of the Revolution, he entered the service, was appointed first lieutenant of the Twelfth Regiment of Line, October 16, 1776, and promoted to captain in 1777.  He was chosen to the General Assembly from the County of Northumberland, October 2, 1778, and while in attendance thereon was admitted to the Philadelphia Bar, March 6, 1779.  He presented his certificate from Lodge No. 17 of Dublin, Ireland, to the Royal Arch Lodge, No. 3, of Philadelphia, on March 16, 1779, and was admitted a member upon the recommendation of the Worshipful Master Brother J. Coates.  Very soon thereafter he withdrew to become the Warrant Master of Lodge No. 9, then held in Lancaster.  Master Brother Stephen Chambers later surrendered its warrant to the Grand Lodge due to its members being active in the revolution.  He then returned to Sunbury and was installed as Master of Lodge No. 22, where he served as such until St. John’s day, 1780.  Brother Chambers moved back to Lancaster where he was admitted to practice law.  In Lancaster, his practice was large and lucrative, and he owned several farms.  Brother Chambers was a delegate to the Convention of November 29, 1787, to ratify the Federal Constitution.

In the early part of the year 1785, Brother Chambers, together with six Master Masons, then residents of Lancaster, petitioned the Provincial Grand Lodge for a warrant for holding a Lodge in Lancaster.  This prayer was granted April 21, 1785, and on September 14, 1785, Brother Captain Stephen Chambers, was installed as the first Master of Lodge No. 43.

In May, 1789, there was a banquet given at Slough’s tavern, in Lancaster, which was attended by a number of Revolutionary officers, among whom were Captain Stephen Chambers and Doctor Jacob Rieger.  Captain Chambers was dressed in his military uniform.  Dr. Rieger was a diminutive person, and very untidy in his personal appearance.  At the banquet table Captain Chambers made some disparaging remark about Dr. Rieger, which the latter overheard and deemed insulting.  The result was a challenge to mortal combat, which was accepted.  The parties met on Monday evening, May 11, near Lancaster.  At the first fire neither one was wounded, and the seconds made an effort to reconcile the principals, but Dr. Rieger would not consent to it.  At the second fire the Captain’s pistol snapped without discharging.  Dr. Rieger, however, sent a ball through both legs of his antagonist.  His wounds bled freely, and for two days it was thought they were not dangerous. Mortification, however, set in and he died on Saturday following.



Freemasonry in Northumberland

Lodge No. 43 History