Bro. Andrew Christopher Messer


Andrew Christopher Messer was a Freemason and founding member of Lodge Temperance 2557 which met at the Masonic Hall, Shakespeare Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. He was the Junior Deacon of Tyne Lodge 991 where he was Initiated on 11th December 1890, passed to the 2nd degree on 12th February 1891 and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on 19th March 1891. He  went on to become Master of Tyne Lodge 991 being installed in the chair of King Solomon in 1900.

In early 1895 a group of Freemasons thought it a good idea to form a Lodge which would have no intoxicating drinks at any of its meetings. Andrew attended the first meeting held in the offices of the North of England Temperance League to discuss the formation of what was to become Lodge Temperance. After discussion,  it was agreed to sign a petition and forward it to Grand Lodge. The petition shows he was a subscribing member and Junior Deacon of Tyne Lodge No. 991, living at 1, Wooley St., Wallsend, Newcastle Upon Tyne and working as an Engineer. It was also agreed at the meeting that Andrew would become the first Tyler of Lodge Temperance. To minimise costs and to ensure the lodge started without debt, several brethren promised to donate items of furniture and Andrew’s contribution was the gavels and maul.

Andrew was only with Lodge Temperance 2557 for a year, resigning in November 1896 after his year as Tyler, but went on to be a founding member of Wallsend Lodge No. 2703, along with Robert English Womphrey, consecrated at a meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge held at North Shields on Tuesday 25th October 1898.

Andrew was the son of Thomas Messer who amongst other things was a bookbinder, printer, bookseller, stationer and newsagent from Ford, Northumberland and Ann Hopper  from Earsdon, Northumberland.  Thomas had a shop in Albert Street, Cowpen Quay, Blyth, Northumberland and later moved to Turner Street, Waterloo, Blyth near the Railway Station, where he also ran a “register for servants for those in want of servants and those requiring situations” and dealt in patent medicines. Thomas and Ann had at least  four children:

  • Margaret(b 1856)
  • Ann (b 1858)
  • Andrew Christopher Messer (b 28/03/1865, Blyth – 04/08/1952)
  • Thomas (b 1869)

Andrew married Emma Jane Atkinson of Hebburn, Co. Durham, a Domestic Servant, in Wallsend in 1889 and they had at least two children

  • Andrew Christopher (b 1890, Wallsend)
  • Ann Hopper (b 1892, Wallsend)

In the 1891 census Andrew is living with his wife, Emma Jane and son, Andrew Jnr, at 1, Wooler Street, Wallsend and is recorded as a metal turner. By 1901 the family have moved to 6, Buddle Street, Wallsend and Andrew is now a Commercial Traveller.

Andrew was interested in public life.  The Shields Daily Gazette reported in 1894 that he was serving as a sidesman at St. Luke’s Church in Wallsend. A sidesman or usher, is responsible for greeting members of the congregation, overseeing seating arrangements in church, and for taking the collection. The Shields Daily Gazetter reported in 1901 that “Andrew Messer, Commercial Traveller, 6, Buddle Street, was nominated for the first town council of the newly incorporated borough of Wallsend”

On March 21st 1904 Andrew and his family embarked on the S.S. Pretorian at Liverpool destined for Halifax, Nova Scotia. He returned briefly in 1907 after the death of his father, Thomas to take care of his affairs and then again in 1919 with his second wife Mary Ann.

The Morpeth Herald of 15th June 1907 reported:

“Probate of Will of Mr. Thomas Messer of 27, Crescent, Whitley Bay, Northumberland, Commercial Traveller who died January 27th, has granted to his son Mr Andrew Christopher Messer of 28, Strathmore Cresent, Benwell, Newcastle, surviving executor who has sworn the total amount of the property at £1003 10s 2d.” The National Probate Calendar also records that Andrew is a fitter and turner.

In the Canadian census of 1911, Andrew is with his wife Emma Jane, son Andrew and daughter Ann at Medicine Hat, Alberta. He is a machinist working for the Canadian Pacific Railway. Sadly Emma Jane died in 1912 but he married Mary Ann Spence in 1913. After Mary Ann’s death in 1943, Andrew married Catherine Jane Miller. He died on 4th August 1952, aged 83, in Vancouver, British Columbia.