First mayor was active in Masonic lodge

Longview’s first mayor, Moses Kaufman Jr., was one of the 17 charter members who founded Masonic Lodge 404 shortly after the city was chartered.

Kaufman, who served as worshipful master in 1874 and 1875, was the first to sign the charter issued Sept. 27, 1873. He continued to hold Masonic membership until 1903, but little else is known about this early leader of the budding city.

Other charter members included Luke Howard, Frank A. Green, J.F. Witherspoon, J.H. McCauley, William Henry Cunyus, A.J. Roe, J.H. Rucker, A.W. Morrison, E.R. Davis, F.L. Whaley, Doc Pegues, J.H. Spencer, C.H. Rice, S.F. Spencer and E.B. Ragland.

Witherspoon and Rucker were county employees and Cunyus was an Alabama farmer who settled at Peatown. Roe is known to be an early member of the Christian Church while Davis and Ragland acted as trustees for the Presbyterian Church property deed from the Texas and Pacific Railroad.

Pegues and Whaley were both Longview merchants during the city’s first decade. Pegues’ brother, Oliver, was his business partner while Whaley, a charter member of First Baptist Church, was in the hardware business with William George Northcutt and T.S.S. Young.