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beyond the northeast corner

A Brief History Of Freemasonry In Michigan - Early Michigan Masonry


Richard h. sands

FREEMASONRY in Michigan had its genesis on April 27, 1764, when a warrant was issued for the first Masonic lodge in the territory of Michigan by Provincial Grand Master George Harison of the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York (English Moderns) to a group of Military Masons of the 60th Foot Regiment headed by Lieutenant John Christie, Worshipful Master; Samuel Fleming, Senior Warden and Josias Harper, Junior Warden.

Provincial Grand Master Harison was Deputized by the Right Worshipful John Probyd, the Grand Master of England, Baron of Carysford, in the County of Wicklow, in the Kingdom of Ireland. The deputation was dated 9 June, 1753, in London, England.

The meetings of Detroit's first Lodge were held in the old blockhouse. Our pioneer Brethren improvised such crude, scanty furniture as was necessary to the proper functioning of the Lodge. The room was poorly lighted by a few small windows. There were no luxurious seats or richly carpeted floors, no mural decorations nor expensive organ.

Like so many of the world's old Lodges, the only items extant today of the existence of Lodge No. 1 are the original Warrant, a copy of a Masonic certificate and a few old letters, from which we must piece together the story of the first thirty years of Freemasonry in this vast wilderness, then known as the Michigan Territories. For example, on 18 August, 1767, a Masonic certificate attesting to the initiation, passing and raising of Brother Thomas Robinson and recommending him to "any community" was issued by Union Lodge of Detroit, No. 1, and signed by Samuel Fleming, W.M.; Richard McNeall and William Edgar, Wardens and sealed by Ben James, Secretary. (Thomas Robinson was a Captain in the British Navy and carried this certificate to his death on Mar. 27, 1806.

From this certificate we learn that the name of the first lodge in Detroit was Union Lodge and Samuel Fleming succeeded John Christie as W.M. The Irish Influence By 1772, there were at least two other lodges functioning at Detroit, both Irish Military Lodges:

No. 299 was warranted August 3, 1756, by the Grand Lodge of Ireland to Richard Withers, Lieutenant John Luke, Sergeant Robert McCutchin and six others. It was in America from 1767 to 1778 and in Detroit from 1771 to 1775.

This Lodge registered 54 new members with the Grand Lodge of Ireland up to 1803. The Warrant was cancelled in 1818. No. 378 received its Warrant from Ireland November 5, 1761, and the grantees were Thomas Grubb, John Hutton and Thomas Milligan. Twenty-seven new members were registered up to 1765. The Warrant was cancelled in 1815. As we will see below, the first five Lodges of our Grand Lodge were given life by the Grand Lodge of New York which is of Antient origin. The drama of our Master Mason Degree definitely has an Irish flavor. The Ancients were of Irish origin and we can only conclude that this coupled with the short visitations of these Irish Military Lodges left an indelible imprint on our Masonic ceremonies.

Zion Lodge No. 10 (now No. 1)

Zion Lodge No. 10 secured its warrant from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lower Canada (English Antients) on September 7, 1794, at which time Detroit was still an important British Military Post. It was the Masons of the 4th Battalion, Royal Artillery, who sought and received this warrant. There is no evidence of any continuity from the earlier

Lodges - these men had been residents of Detroit only a few short months and apparently there were no joining members who were ever on the roster of a former Detroit Lodge. The records of Zion Lodge begin December 19, 1794 and are virtually continuous thereafter. Zion transferred its allegiance to the independent Grand Lodge of New York (Antients origin) July 7, 1807, and became dormant during the war of 1812, and renewed its charter with New York on April 9, 1816.

Through the years, Zion Lodge mothered Lodges at River La Tranche and Amherstburgh across the Detroit River in Lower Canada and encouraged the establishment of a Royal Arch Chapter, Monroe Chapter No. 1, R.A.M. which was organized April 21, 1818.

By 1821, the influx of new settlers to the Territory of Michigan created a larger demand for Freemasonry, and Zion Lodge supported petitions from four new Lodges in rapid succession.

Detroit Lodge No. 337 (now No. 2)

On August 17, 1821, Zion Lodge supported a petition to the Grand Lodge of New York from Brothers to form a neighboring Lodge in Detroit, and on September 5, 1821, this Grand Lodge granted a warrant to the petitioners under the name of Detroit Lodge No. 337.

For the subsequent thirty years, these two Lodges shared Freemasonry in Detroit.

Oakland Lodge No. 343 (now No. 3)

On February 7, 1822, a petition was forwarded together with support from Zion Lodge from Brothers in Oakland County to receive a warrant for a Lodge in Pontiac. On March 7, 1822, a warrant was granted by the Grand Lodge of New York to form Oakland Lodge No. 343, and the Lodge was instituted on July 16, 1822.

The early days of Oakland Lodge were rather difficult ones since the county was sparsely populated and considerable poverty could be seen on all sides. On several occasions, the Grand Lodge of New York was moved by several appeals to remit the Lodge's dues, even as late as 1825.

Menomanie Lodge No. 374

First Lodge West of the Great Lakes

On the first Monday of May, 1824, Zion Lodge cordially supported a petition from several Brothers stationed with the Army in Green Bay, (now Wisconsin) for a warrant. Again, this was granted on September 1, 1824, for Menomanie Lodge No. 374 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of New York. By the close of 1825, twenty-seven new members were reported.

The Lodge was kept alive until 1830, when because of the removal of the regiment stationed at Fort Howard, whose officers were the main support of the Lodge, it was compelled to discontinue working and finally disappeared from the Masonic scene.

Monroe Lodge No. 375

On December 4, 1824, the Grand Lodge of New York issued a warrant, following receipt of a petition and letters of support from both Zion and Detroit Lodges, for Monroe Lodge No. 375 to operate in the town of Monroe.

This Lodge, which assisted in the formation of the Grand Lodge of Michigan in 1826, suspended its labors in 1829 during the anti-Masonic period and never again took up its working tools.

Formation of the First Grand Lodge

Sixty-two years were to pass from the formation of the first Lodge in Michigan before any action was taken to form a Grand Lodge in the vast Territory of Michigan. (There simply were not enough Lodges to warrant it.) It was during a meeting of Detroit Lodge No. 337, held on July 26, 1825, that a discussion was had regarding unifying the Lodges then in operation in the Territory. Zion No. 10, Detroit No. 337, Oakland No. 343, Menomanie No. 374 and Monroe No. 375 (all constituents of the Grand Lodge of New York) met on June 13, 1826, and the formation convention was held on June 24, 1826; subsequently, the following Grand Lodge Officers were elected:

Lewis Cass, M.W. Grand Master

Andrew G. Whitney, R.W. Deputy G.M.

Seneca Allen, R.W. Senior Grand Warden

Leonard Weed, R.W. Junior Grand Warden

John L. Whiting, R.W. Grand Secretary

Henry J. Hunt, R.W. Grand Treasurer

Smith Weeks, R.W. Grand Chaplain

John E. Swartz, Grand Pursivant

Samuel Sherwood, Grand Tyler

They were installed on December 27, 1826 (St. John's Day). Lewis Cass was Territorial Governor of Michigan (1813-1831) and was Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in 1810.

The Lodges of the Northwest Territory were then renumbered as follows:

Zion No. 10 fi Zion No. 1

Detroit No. 337 fi Detroit No. 2

Oakland No. 343 fi Oakland No. 3

Menomanie No. 374 fi Menomanie No. 4

Monroe No. 375 fi Monroe No. 5

The Grand Lodge met in session in 1826, 1827 and 1829 during which times petitions for other Lodges were received and granted; specifically for Western Star Lodge No. 6 in Ann Arbor and Stoney Creek Lodge, U.D. in the village of Stoney Creek, County of Oakland. Grand Master Cass signed the dispensation authorizing Stoney Creek Lodge to meet and work on January 9, 1828. It is of interest that this is the last known record of the work of this first Michigan Grand Lodge, although it is well known that at least one more meeting was held. Thus the last recorded act of the Grand Master of this Grand Lodge was to give birth to the only Lodge that kept up its meetings during the eleven years of inactivity that followed and formed the only living link connecting Michigan Masonry of the first quarter of the nineteenth century to the Freemasonry of today. This was a providential act which preserved from extinction the Masonic institution in Michigan, as will be noted below.

Michigan at this time was having an immense immigration from the eastern states, and especially from New York. These newcomers brought with them the intense and bitter prejudice against Masonry, which was sweeping over the eastern portions of the country. The so-called "Morgan Affair" was at its height, and so bitter were the feelings that it was hardly safe for a man to be known as a Mason. It entered into all social, business, religious and political life -families were divided, church fellowships rent in twain, and business interests sacrificed. In the midst of such times, a meeting of the Grand Lodge was held some time in 1829, the exact date unknown, and it was resolved to suspend all Masonic work until the excitement should be allayed. The Lodges were asked to suspend labor, and all promptly acceded to the request except plucky Stoney Creek Lodge, which continued its meetings.

To comprehend the events which led to the suspension of Masonic work in Michigan in 1829, and the almost absolute silence that prevailed until the Year 1840. the reader is now transported to Western New York State and given a brief history of the event which shook the Masonic institution in America to its very foundations.

The Morgan Affair

William Morgan was born in Culpepper County, Virginia on August 7, 1774, and by trade was a brick and stone mason. Subsequently, he was a trader in Richmond. He married Lucinda Pendleton, the oldest daughter of Rev. Joseph Pendleton, a Methodist minister and planter in Washington County, VA in October, 1819. Morgan moved from Virginia in 1821 and apparently became a brewer near York, Upper Canada. The brewery was destroyed by fire and Morgan moved to Rochester, N.Y., with his wife and two children, and resumed the business of stone-mason. From thence he went to Batavia, Genesee County, a town of 1,400 inhabitants and from there he disappeared.

In what Lodge, if any, William Morgan received his degrees in Masonry is not known; but he was a visitor in Wells Lodge, No. 282, in Batavia, established in 1817. He received the Royal Arch Degree at Le Roy, N.Y., May 31, 1825.

Morgan signed a petition to obtain a charter for a Royal Arch Chapter in Batavia in 1826, but unbeknownst to him one of the petitioners objected and a revised application was made without his name.

Rumor has it that when he found out about the switch that he vowed to publish the secrets of Masonry in his now famous "Illustrations." He was to be aided in this by his friend, David C. Miller, a local printer and publisher of the Republican Advocate. Rumor further had it that several Masons vowed to stop him.

On the morning of September 10, 1826, Nicholas G. Chesebro, Master of the Lodge at Canandaigua, and one of the Coroners of Ontario County, obtained a warrant for the arrest of William Morgan on a charge of stealing a shirt and cravat from innkeeper Kingsley.

The next morning, Morgan was arrested on the street and taken to the inn at Stafford, whereupon his friend, D.C. Miller offered to put up bail that he would not leave the jail limits; but Morgan apparently consented to go to Canandaigua, fifty miles from Batavia, saying that he could convince Mr. Kingsley, the prosecutor, that he did not intend to steal the shirt and cravat. Morgan was examined by the magistrate, Loton Lawson appearing for him, and he was discharged.

Morgan was immediately rearrested on a claim against him for $2.68, due Aaron Ackley, an innkeeper. Morgan admitted the debt, confessed judgment, and offered his coat as security. This was refused and Morgan locked up. On the following evening, September 12, 1826, Morgan was released by a person claiming to be from Pennsylvania.

It is assumed from testimony taken later before officers of the State, that Morgan was carried, willingly or otherwise, by carriage and relays of horses, through towns and villages designated Victor, Rochester, Clarkson, Gaines, Wright's Tavern, Molineux Tavern, Lewiston (a thickly populated country), a distance of over 100 miles in 24 hours, and securely lodged in the magazine of Fort Niagara, where he was still known to be on September 17, 1826.

Morgan was never to be seen again. The Masons involved, claimed that they had given Morgan money, taken him to Canada, and in exchange he agreed never to return. The anti-Masons claimed that they had exacted the so-called Masonic penalties. No body fitting Morgan's description was ever found (the body buried under the monument in his honor in Batavia is not that of William Morgan), despite a reward of two thousand dollars offered by the Governor of New York State; but sightings of Morgan were reported nearly everywhere outside of the United States for many years thereafter.

The uproar occasioned by this event spread all over the country. An anti-Masonic convention of the twelve western counties of New York was held at Le Roy on March 6 and 7, 1827, which was attended by about eighty delegates, many denunciatory speeches were made, anti-Masonic resolutions approved and a Central Committee of Correspondence and Publication appointed. This committee succeeded beyond its wildest dreams - on July 4, 1828, a mass meeting of seceding Masons and others was held and an anti-Masonic declaration was signed by one hundred and three former Masons. Such scenes as these were repeated all over the country. Anti-Masonic feelings were being whipped into a frenzy. Small wonder then that in Michigan where such a large proportion of the people were flocking from western New York, the intense bitterness and malignant opposition to Masonry should shake the pillars of the institution and cause its almost total annihilation!

Stoney Creek Lodge No. 7

Upon receiving their dispensation from M.W. Grand Master Cass, the members of Stoney Creek Lodge No. 7 repaired to the log school which had been built in 1825-26, and held a public installation of officers.

For a time the Lodge met in the home of Nathaniel Millerd, but the church of which Brother Millerd was a member, became so outspoken and bitter in its denunciation of Masonry that, for the sake of peace, he asked the Lodge to remove to the home of another member. This was done twice in order to keep the Lodge alive and active.

Brother Daniel B. Taylor, the Tiler, was the member most active and most persistent in keeping the Lodge active through those trying years. The Lodge conferred degrees in 1833 - 34 and raised at least one Master Mason in 1834. It is alleged that on Lodge nights, as soon as the stage arrived bringing the mail, Brother Taylor would get his newspaper and wend his way to the Lodge room. On arriving there, he would place a lighted candle in the window and sit down to read. If no one else came, he waited the usual time "to close the Lodge." Then he would blow out the candle, lock the door and go home. (The records of Stoney Creek Lodge have been lost or destroyed, and this story cannot be proved or disproved.) The report filed by Stony Creek Lodge in 1841 indicates that the Lodge also met in Orionville, probably at the tavern of Jesse Decker.

The Second Grand Lodge

As the Morgan incident began to die out, a meeting of Masons was held at Mt Clemens on November 13, 1840, to review the condition of the Craft in the State of Michigan. (These brethren were totally unaware of the existence of an earlier Grand Lodge.) Several more meetings were held at Detroit, finally with Stoney Creek No. 7, Oakland No. 5 and Lebanon, U.D. (Martin Davis, the J.G.W. of the original Grand Lodge had issued a dispensation to the brethren of Mt. Clemens to form Lebanon Lodge) represented, to discuss the revival of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, and Levi Cook, a Past Master of Detroit No. 2 was elected Grand Master (although Detroit Lodge No. 2 was not active at the beginning of the revival).

On June 21, 1841, the officers of the Grand Lodge were installed except for Brother Levi Cook, the Grand Master elect, who declined. Brother Leonard Weed, the Deputy Grand Master elect, served in his stead and installed the remaining officers and was also installed and served as Deputy (and Acting) Grand Master in 1842. John Mullet was elected Grand Master in 1843, 1844 and 1845.

On January 5,1842, the Grand Lodge met in Detroit. The doings of the Acting Grand Master in appointing Benjamin C. Howard to represent this Grand Lodge in the general convention of Grand Lodges in Washington, D.C. in the coming March, were approved.

At the General Masonic Convention, Brother Howard, who had been chosen to represent Michigan, was denied such representation. The report of the Committee on credentials indicated their reasons for denial had to do with the fact that the Brothers who instituted the new Grand Lodge were not representing lawful subordinate Lodges at the time and they proceeded to issue warrants for new Lodges contrary to the fundamental Statutes and Landmarks of the Masonic Fraternity, and that the Grand Lodge so organized is an irregular body, which ought not and cannot be recognized by the Fraternity in the United States. This report seems to have been taken as a guide for the action of other Grand Lodges, because no other Grand Lodge recognized this second Grand Lodge with the single exception of the Grand Lodge of Ohio.

A Third Grand Lodge

While the Brethren of eastern Michigan were laboring to build up the recently organized Grand Lodge, those in the southwestern part were working on a different direction, for what appear to be good reasons. The Brethren near the village of Niles made application to the Grand Lodge of New York for a dispensation to meet and work, and on June 8, 1842, the exact day when the new Grand Lodge of Michigan was holding its second meeting, the dispensation was granted.

On December 10, 1843, a dispensation was requested of the Grand Lodge of Indiana by the Brethren near St. Joseph in Berrien County. The dispensation was granted on February 12, 1844, for Western Star Lodge, U.D. to be formed.

Meanwhile a committee of the new Grand Lodge of Michigan wrote a letter to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of New York requesting recognition once again. On February 15, 1844, the executive officers of the Grand Lodge of New York replied, declining the recognition and offering a suggestion as to how the Grand Lodge of Michigan could be legally constituted with their help; namely, the Grand Lodge of New York would be willing to revive the warrants of their five earlier offspring and thereby provide a nucleus of legally constituted Lodges to form a new Grand Lodge in Michigan.

Detroit Lodge No. 2 led the way, followed by Zion Lodge No. 1 and Oakland Lodge No.3 who became No. 100, 99 and 101, respectively, on the rolls of the Grand Lodge of New York.

On September 17, 1844, it was agreed to dissolve the revived Grand Lodge of Michigan and reorganize the Grand Lodge in order to be recognized by sister Grand Jurisdictions. Together with St. Joseph Lodge, these four legally constituted Lodges elected Grand Lodge officers and voted to adopt the original 1826 Constitution in forming a third Grand Lodge.Worshipful Brother John Mullet was installed as Grand Master in November (exact date unknown) by PGM Lewis Cass and Grand Master Mullet then installed the other officers.

At the first meeting on December 17, 1844, a resolution was adopted to include the remaining Michigan Lodges in order of their original Charters and in June of 1845, the Lodges were:

Zion Lodge No. 1

Detroit Lodge No. 2

Oakland Lodge No. 3

St. Joseph Lodge No. 4

Stony Creek Lodge No. 5

Lebanon Lodge No. 6

Napoleon Lodge No. 7

Jackson Lodge No. 8

Evergreen Lodge No. 9

There is a difference of opinion as to the continuity of the three Grand Lodges.You are as competent to judge as anyone - what do you think? It should be noted; however, that the present Grand Lodge of Michigan celebrated its sesquicentennial (150th year ) in 1976. It clearly believes that it has been continuous since 1826, and bases that continuity on Stoney Creek Lodge despite the Grand Lodge itself being dark.

John Barney

No man has had a greater or longer lasting influence on Masonry in Michigan than has John Barney, yet today his name is rarely known within the state. Who was this man, what was his contribution and how can we rank him among such well-known Masons as Lewis Cass, Augustus Woodward, Henry Schoolcraft and Daniel B. Taylor?

Freemasonry was brought to this continent by the settlers and various soldiers, and lodges were chartered by a variety of Grand Lodges: The "Antient," "Modern" and later the "United" Grand Lodges of England, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, the Grand Lodge of Ireland and by dispensations from a multitude of individual lodges. The popularity of Masonry and these multiple and diverse origins gave rise to "degree peddling," and a great diversity of ritual.

As the various Grand Lodges formed in this country, there was a desire on their part to impart some uniformity upon the ritual within a given jurisdiction and to make that work as near the original as possible. Fortunately, there existed a group of talented ritualists such as Thomas Smith Webb, Jeremy Cross, Benjamin Gleason, John Barney, Samuel Wilson and many others who were dedicated to preserving and propagating the early craft ritual with minimal changes. These men introduced some innovations, but they were relatively few.

The original Grand Lodge of England commissioned William Preston to go into the countryside and record the work as it was being performed by the lodges in England who constituted the Grand Lodge. Preston subsequently organized and expanded these workings and published his first "Illustrations of Masonry" in 1772. A disciple of Preston's, whose name has been lost, came to the colonies in late 1799 or early 1800 to teach this ritual; and Thomas Smith Webb enthusiastically received these teachings and began to further propagate them, printing what became known as the "Preston-Webb" or subsequently the "Webb" ritual in this country, officially titled the Freemason's Monitor.

Webb formed a school to train others, and the demand upon his time became so great that he enlisted former pupils to take over the instructions, saving for himself the task of examining the "graduates" and attesting to their proficiency.

It was to this school that John Barney came in 1817 to receive instruction. He was taught by Benjamin Gleason, a former pupil of Webb himself.

Evolutions of the original Preston-Webb ritual as taught by these itinerant lecturers were subsequently adopted by every Grand Jurisdiction in these United States with the singular exception of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, but this story is somewhat ahead of itself.

Michigan History

Let us return to the history of Freemasonry in Michigan. Subsequent to the warranting of our early lodges, wars and treaties alternately changed the jurisdiction over these territories so that lodges had to petition first the Grand Lodge of Canada at Quebec and then the Grand Lodge of New York for warrants. It is of interest that Zion Lodge never surrendered its original warrant (the Grand Lodge of Canada at Quebec never asked for it). When Detroit #2 petitioned the Grand Lodge of New York to renew its charter it invited John Barney, a recent Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, to install its new officers and instruct the Brethren in the ritual (the original ritual having been long forgotten).

He did just that and at the invitation of the new Grand Lodge, spent the last six months of 1844 and the first eight months of 1845 visiting the Michigan Lodges and instructing them in the "Barney work" as it was loosely known.

The Life of John Barney

He was born in October, 1780, near the town of Canaan in Litchfield County, Connecticut. His father was a tailor, and the family lived in humble circumstances. John was crippled and unable to walk without a cane, even as a youth.

Nothing is known of his education or his early life;however, he had great determination as will be evident below.

About 1802, he left Connecticut to settle in Weatherfield, Vermont. He had learned his father's trade and was so employed when he could find work, but often he had to take whatever work he could get on local farms. It was here that he met and married Lucy Ann Hubbard. Shortly after the marraige, in 1808 or 1809, they moved to Charlotte, Vermont, near Lake Champlain, where they lived in humble but honest poverty and where their first four children were born.

John petitioned Friendship Lodge #20 in Charlotte and became a member of that lodge in 1810.

We are left to guess how John Barney learn-ed that it was possible to become a qualified professional lecturer by attending the school run by Thomas Smith Webb in Boston; however, it is known that Jeremy Cross spent considerable time in the Champlain area of Vermont between 1814 and 1817. In any event, John Barney resolved to go to Boston and learn those lectures; however, he had no money for the trip nor to care for his family in his absence. His Brothers in Friendship Lodge collected funds to enable him to go. Barney arrived in Boston in August, 1817. As was indicated, Webb arranged for Benjamin Gleason, one of his earlier star pupils, to give Barney the necessary instruction.

After completing the course and recording all the details in a private key, Barney was examined by Webb, declared proficient and given a certificate of proficiency.

Upon his return to Vermont, Barney attend-ed the Grand Lodge of Vermont for the purpose of obtaining official standing as a "Lecturing Master." Barney then taught several of the Brothers of Friendship Lodge (presumably to repay them for putting up the funds to send him to school). His first official work was in Dorchester Lodge at Vergennes, where he stayed some ten days.

It was the practice of these lecturers to move on when Lodges in their local areas were satisfied. He gave lectures for a fee in Connecticut and visited Harpersfield, Ohio, in 1826; however William Fielding was then serving as the Grand Lecturer. He returned to Connecticut in 1828, but the anti-Masonic movement had seriously affected Masonry in Connecticut and Barney had to seek another avocation. He went to Washington to apply for a job as a lighthouse keeper, but was told that he had to be a resident of the area. While in Washington, he accepted lecture engagements over the next two months, but then took sick in February of 1830. After the sickness, he was in serious financial straits and decided to return to Harpersfield, Ohio, where he hoped to collect some old debts and something from the estate of his father. The anticipated estate had dwindled to nearly nothing, and his old debtors had no funds either. He obtained the rights from a patent holder to go into the patent pail business and sent for his family to join him. Before he could get started in the patent pail business, he caught an inflammation in his eyes, a disease common in the area at the time, and he was incapable of transacting any kind of business for several months and nearly lost the sight in one eye. Fever swept the land in the summer, fall and early winter of 1830-31 and many died from the plague. Six of his children suffered severely - only one little girl escaped the plague. The Barney home was a hospital. Concomitantly, their only cow became sick and died, the crops were few and the family could no longer find either potatoes or salt, the food they had been forced to depend upon to carry them over. The situation was further compounded by the anti-Masonic fervor - Barney found that he could not write to Masonic bodies for help for fear the letters would be intercepted by some anti-Masonic postmaster. He did write to individuals and one brother in Stanford, Connecticut, sent him $10, which Barney stated saved his family from starvation.

In 1832, he assisted in establishing a Royal Arch Chapter in Cleveland and was appointed as Grand Lecturer in the Grand Chapter and Grand Council in Ohio, and one year later he was elected as Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge.

During the period from 1826 to 1837, the anti-Masonic movement caused many lodges and their officers to become inactive and the officers forgot their work. When the revival started about 1838, there was much work for Barney as Grand Lecturer. In 1842 he was appointed as the representative of the Grand Lodge of Ohio to the convention of Grand Lodges to be held in Baltimore in May of 1843. The main purpose of the convention was to prepare a uniform ritual to be adopted by all the Grand Lodges. Grand Masters and Grand Lecturers from all jurisdictions were urged to be present.

Barney was elected to be a member of the most important committee, "On the Works and Lectures in Conferring Degrees"' and proved to be its strongest personality. He led the fight for the Webb work against the advocates of other systems, and the result was that the Webb work, which he had been teaching in Ohio, was adopted by the Convention with only minor changes.

The Michigan Ritual

As was indicated above, Barney was invited to teach this work to the Michigan lodges and by Edict #1 in January of 1845, this agreed upon work of the Baltimore convention of 1843, loosely called the "Barney work," was adopted for use in all Michigan lodges and was used virtually unchanged for the next 50 years. This is remarkable because Barney left Michigan after only 8 months in 1845 to become Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Illinois. He died two years later in 1847 in Peoria, Illinois, enroute back to Chicago from a lecture tour in Missouri. The Grand Lodge of Illinois paid his funeral expenses and later erected a monument over his grave. Unfortunately, heavy rains and flooding since destroyed the cemetery.

In 1848, the Grand Lodge of Michigan officially adopted the "Barney work." In 1864 and in 1948, the Grand Lodge of Michigan voted to continue to use the Barney work as adopted in 1848, with only minor changes.

By virtue of this outstanding record of service and achievement, the Masons of Michigan are bound closely to those of Vermont, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and New York.

Selected References

Smith, James Fairbairn and Fey, Charles, Freemasonry in Michigan, Vol. I, Most Worshipful Grand Lodge Free and

Accepted Masons of Michigan 1963.

Smith, James Fairbairn, Dateline 1764, Michigan Masonry, Vol. 2, Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of Michigan 1979.

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