OUR COUNCIL 345 HISTORY
Union Council No. 345 of the Knights of Columbus was instituted on May 15, 1898. The original charter membership consisted of 65 Knights. The membership of Union Council has since grown to the current 313 Knights. Likewise, the world wide membership of the knights of Columbus has grown to over 1.7 million men.
Union Council was instituted by James A. Flaherty, the State Deputy Supreme Knight of the Order in Pennsylvania, in Abel's Hall, on the third floor of what was then an opera house. Abel's Hall was located on Northampton Street between Third and Fourth streets. The Charter members consisted of Catholic men from both Easton, PA., and Phillipsburg, N.J. Union Council was the eighteenth council organized in Pennsylvania.
Let's remember what it was like in 1898. The opera house had gas lighting, we were just coming into the age of the telephone. Transportation was by foot, horseback, horse & buggy, or by the new electric street car on Northampton street.
On Thursday evening, May 19, 1898, the first officers of the Union Council were elected. On Friday evening, May 27th, State Deputy Supreme Knight Flaherty installed these officers. Finally, on Thursday evening, June 2, 1898, the first regular meeting of Union Council No. 345 Knights of Columbus was called to order by Grand Knight Charles B. Brady. This first meeting was held on the third floor of the Jones Building, Centre Square, Easton, PA.
The officers chosen for the first year were: Chaplain, Rev. John B. McCloskey; Grand Knight, Charles B. Brady; Deputy Grand Knight, M. J. Cannon; Chancellor, Joseph L. Gammell; Financial Secretary, E. E. Hartzell; Recording Secretary John B. Falvey; Warden, Frank Flynn; Treasurer, E. E. J. Cullen; Lecturer, William J. Floor; Advocate, James A. Dougherty; Inside Guard, John Ryan; Outside, Frank Coyne; Board of trustees, P. W. Walsh, Thomas McCormick, Edward J. Kane, Michael Conlain, and John Cannon. The charted members consisted of:
Charles B. Brady, M. J. Cannon, Joseph L. Gammell, John W. Falvey, E. E. Hartzell, E. J. Cullen, John
Ryan, Frank Coyne, Willaimn J. Flood, James A. Dougherty, Frank Flynn, Michael Conlain, P. W. Walsh, John Cannon, Thomas McCormick, Edward J.
Kan, William J. Coroney, Edward Reilly, James J. McBride, Matthew J. Gibney, John J. Leahy, James Callahan, Frank Bahr, Hugh O'Donnell, Thomas F.
Tighe, P. A. Leonard, Richard Cooley, Nichoals F. Pines, John E. Smith, John Cane, Frank H. Connolly, William J. Hickey, Dr. James Monahan, Rev. John B.
Mcloskey, Rev. P. F. Connolly, E. T. Ballentine, Thomas Carroll, James F. Seigfried, Frank J. Siegfried, John T. Flynn, Frank Biglin, Michael Dowd, John
B. McDermott, Thomas Kearney, James J. Cullen, Charles Zwahl, Jr., Patrick Lennon, Barthlomew Murphy, John A. Kempsey, James P. Monahan, Thomas F. McCarthy, J.
A. Sullivan, Daniel W. Quigley, Edward A. Leonard, William H. Kramer, John W. Flynn, John H. Fay, T. J. McGovern, John J. Connilly, Thomas B.
Cody, Bernard W. Flynn, Thomas Conlain, William T. Ward,
John R. Doherty, Daniel P. Curran.
Careful of the caliber of its membership, Union Council experienced a healthy growth, loyal to the ideals of the Order. It became a force in the religious, social, and civic life of the community. On November 10, 1899, the council had grown to such proportions that the Pennsylvania and New Jersey members decided to separate. The Phillipsburg members reorganized as Warren Council No. 474, and the Easton members continued as Union Council No. 345. In 1905, the Council was signally honored by the appointment of Past grand Knight Thomas F. McCarthy as District Deputy of the Ninth Pennsylvania District. Brother McCarthy held this office from 1905 to 1909. Brother Knights of the Union Council, James B. Pendergast, Felix J. Hammerstone and P. Charlie Katz likewise were elected to the post of District Deputy.
Seventy members of the Union Council served with the armed forces of the nation during the First World War. At home, the Council, under the inspiring leadership of its Chaplain, Rev. John E. McCann, enthusiastically supported the Federal Government in every move that had for its purpose the winning of the war. On its twenty-first birthday, Union Council had an elaborate banquet at Selp's Cafe. Two hundred and fifty Knights, and their ladies, including 50 former servicemen, gathered around the festive board.
In 1919, during the administration of Grand Knight John J. Cunningham, the long-cherished desire for a permanent Council Home became a reality. A charter was granted by the Northampton County Courts incorporating & quot; The Knights of Columbus Home Association of Easton, Pa.& quot; On June 24, 1919, at a special meeting, the purchase of the three story house at 7th and Lehigh streets which served the Council for ninety years, was proposed by Grand Knight John J. Cunningham. This project was endorsed, option was taken on the property on July 15, 1919, and title was secured on October 15, 1919.
The home was officially opened on New Year’s Day, 1920. It was furnished and altered to meet the needs of the Council. The first regular meeting of the Home Association was held on September 30, 1919.
In May 1948, Union Council celebrated its Golden Jubilee. During this celebration, the mortgage of the knights of Columbus Home was burned. Thus, the Home of Knights of Columbus, Union Council No. 345, became free of all encumbrances.
During its ownership by the Council, the home has served as a center of Catholic social and intellectual life. Various additions and improvements have been made to the home since its purchase in 1919. The heating system of the home was updated through the efforts of Brothers Robert Hale, P. Charles Katz, Albert Giouvanni, Thomas Rafferty and many others.
The Council Home was also utilized by the community in times of celebration, need, or great catastrophe's. During the flood of 1955, the Home was used as a temporary housing for those displaced by rising flood waters. It is the Knights intention of continuing this commitment to the service of the needs of the community.
In recent years, under the guidance of Past Grand Knight Donald Demko, and Past Grand Knight Robert Frederick, the Council has attempted to reinvigorate itself to provide additional services to the community, the family and today's youth. Because of this commitment, the Council has received several awards for the State, and Supreme Councils honoring its achievement related to Youth and Family. Under the leadership of Past Grand Knight Donald Demko, and Past Grand Knight Robert Frederick, Union Council has also received the Father McGivney and the Columbian Awards for recruitment and adherence to the goals of the Order. As further indication of their faith and service to the Order and community, numerous Brother Knights have progressed to the Fourth Degree.
At the beginning of the second hundred years, Union Council is an active and vibrant group of Catholic men dedicated to the principals of charity, patriotism and service to the Church. family and community. Brother Knights are active in the many activities for the benefit of the less fortunate of the community. One such activity is providing financial support to the Pennsylvania Association of Retarded Citizens (PARC). Brother Knights also contributed time and money to the creation and funding of Notre Dame High School in Bethlehem Township. The Brother Knights look forward with zeal and enthusiasm to the challenges and opportunities that the next century offers.