The Masonic Trowel

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John Adams - (Spoke favorably of Freemasonry - never joined)

Samuel Adams - (Close and principal associate of Hancock, Revere and other Masons)

Ethan Allen - Mason

Edmund Burke - Mason

John Claypoole - Mason

William Daws - Mason

Benjamin Franklin - Mason

Nathan Hale - No evidence of Masonic connections

John Hancock - Mason

Benjamin Harrison - No evidence of Masonic connections

Patrick Henry - No evidence of Masonic connections

Thomas Jefferson - (Deist with some evidence of Masonic connections)

John Paul Jones - Mason

Francis Scott Key - No evidence of Masonic connections

Robert Livingston - Mason

James Madison - (Some evidence of Masonic membership)

Thomas Paine - Humanist

Paul Revere - Mason

Colonel Benjamin Tupper - Mason

George Washington - Mason

Daniel Webster - (Some evidence of Masonic connections)

Summary: 12 Masons, 3 probable Masons, 1 Humanist, 2 Advocates of Freemasonry, 4 no record of connections.

A Brother in Savannah

Many years after the civil war had ended, a son of brother L. J. Williams of Downsville lodge no. 464 New York reported in lodge of a story his father had told him of an masonic experience he had during the war.

When the war broke out the entered apprentice and the Fellowcraft degrees had been conferred on him in New York. He went out in defense of his country without having been raised to the degree of Master Mason. It was his misfortune to be taken a prisoner of war while at or near Savannah, Georgia.

While he lay in the southern prison, he communicated through letters with some of his friends in the north. His lodge in New York, through proper officials, got in touch with Zerubbabel lodge in savannah, and made the request that the savannah lodge, as a favor to the brethren of the north, confer the Master Masons degree on the Fellowcraft brother, L. J. Williams.

One night my father was taken from his prison and conducted to the Savannah lodge room. It was a remarkable occasion. He wore his bedraggled blue uniform, a token of his sympathy with the cause of the north. All of the chairs were occupied by confederate officers. He was surrounded by men who wore the gray. They were on opposite sides of a struggle to the death, but they were brethren. Then and there he was raised a Master Mason and acclaimed a friend and brother by his enemies.

But the more significant feature of the story was yet to follow. For on the same night my father escaped from his prison and joined his companions of the north. I have visited Savannah since then and looked up the record of his raising. In red ink, on the same page that records the fact that the degree was there conferred, is the brief annotation: "on this night Brother Williams escaped from prison."

I have talked with my father about the matter a number of times. When asked about his ' escape ' he always smiles peculiarly. You may put it down as an escape, he told me, but it wasn't an escape, stickily speaking. For on that night some men came to my prison. They put me in a boat and carried me off some distance. Then they deposited me on some neutral soil between the lines. From there I found my way back to my friends.

Who my rescuers were, I have never learned. It is their own secret, and it has never been disclosed. But in my mind I know exactly to whom I may attribute the 'escape' in question. His name is Hiram.

From the Blues and Grays web site.

"Be careful how you live. You may be the only Mason some people will ever meet."


John Hancock was a member of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston, Massachusetts. He was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. He wrote in a bold flourishing style. When asked why his signature was so large, he replied: "So that George III may read it without putting on his spectacles."


by John Hohenstein, Zerubbabel Lodge #15, Savannah, Georgia

It was a time not long after Fort Sumter and The War of Northern Aggression was well under way. The Yankees, as they are still wont to do, had promptly flocked to Hilton Head and Tybee Islands, the barrier islands on opposite sides of the mouth of the Savannah River. The Savannah Folks didn't mind much that the Yankees had stolen the good beaches, for the water was still a bit cool for Southern preferences and, besides, they knew the gnats and mosquitoes would teach the Yankees a lesson they'd never forget. So, the Southerners, as Southerners are wont to do sometimes, just waited.

They didn't have to wait very long before the Yankees on Hilton Head sent out a messenger under a white flag.

It seemed that the Yankees had among them a young fellow who had passed through the Fellow Craft Degree before shipping out. The Yanks were just sitting around slapping gnats when it occurred to one of them that, just maybe, there was a nearby lodge that could test him in the Fellow Craft Degree and raise him to that of a Master Mason.

As luck would have it, there was indeed a lodge in Savannah that would soon be having a Masters Degree.

One morning, not too many days later, a detail of Confederate Cavalry slipped across the Savannah River into South Carolina and traveled through Bluffton to the shore opposite Hilton Head Island.

From there they escorted one Fellow Craft Mason and, I believe, a number of Master Masons of the Northern Persuasion, safely through the Confederate Lines and back through about 35 miles of Confederate defenses to Savannah where the candidate and his witnesses were delivered into the lodge.

The records note that this Brother was indeed proficient in the Fellow Craft Degree and he was raised to the Degree of a Master Mason.

That night another detail of Confederate Cavalry, no doubt Brothers to a man, slipped back across the Savannah River and safely escorted their Brothers back to Hilton Head.

Anyway, I have loved this story since the first time I heard it. It clearly demonstrates that, at the darkest period in our Nation's history, when brothers were killing brothers, Brothers could still be Brothers.


Hiram Abiff Boaz was born on December 18, 1866, at Murray, Kentucky. He moved to Texas at an early age. In 1891 he was ordained a Methodist minister. In 1922 he was elected a Bishop of the church. He became a member of Granger Lodge No. 677 of Texas. When he received his third degree, a large attended because of the unusual name of the new member. He served as Grand Chaplain of Texas on 1953.

This brother had many interesting experiences connected with his name. He never tired of telling of the time he was traveling in the Holy Land and arrived at a Mosque in Hebron on the wrong day for visitors. When he told then his name was Boaz, it seemed as if he had given a magic password. Others were not admitted that day, but they opened the gates for him.


His name is John. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He was the top of his class. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Mason recently while attending college. After moving to his new town, he finds that down the street from his new apartment is a well-dressed, very conservative Lodge. One day John decides to go there after work. He walks in with shoes, jeans, his work shirt, and long hair. The Lodge has already started and so John starts looking for a seat.

The Lodge is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now the Brethren are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. John gets closer and closer to the East and, when he realizes there are no seats, he squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this Lodge before!) By now the Brethren are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the Secretary realizes that from way at the back of the Lodge, a Past Master is slowly making his way toward John.

Now the Past Master is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A good man, very elegant, very dignified, and very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid in the Lodge? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.

The Lodge is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The Secretary can't even continue with the "Minutes" until the Past Master does what he has to do. And now the Lodge watches as this elderly man drops his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to John and welcomes him so he won't be alone.

When the Secretary gains control, he says, "What I'm about to say, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget."


Paul Boynton, during the 1832 political campaign, lived in the Green Mountain country of Vermont. Those were dark days for the Craft. Andrew Jackson, a past Grand Master of Tennessee, was the candidate for the Presidency against William Wirt, a Mason running on the Anti-Masonic ticket. Brother Boynton was a devoted Freemason and did not recant or hide his association with the Craft while the storm was brewing and many members deserted. He made an election vow that if Vermont went for Wirt he would move "out west". In those days "out west" meant St. Lawrence Country, New York, to New Englanders.

When Wirt won in Vermont (the only state in which he won), Brother Boynton kept his word and moved. At the end of an eighty day journey on horseback, Brother Boynton settled down in Canton New York. He swapped his horse for a watch and a gun shop. He became the best gunsmith in the area and his gun stocks are now collector's items. He invented many things, such as eight day clocks and a pedometer. In 1835 he built what is now known as The Royal Arch House, located at 12 Pine Street, as a constant reminder to friend and foe alike, that he was a mason. Emblems familiar to the Royal Arch Mason are on the front of the building. It is said that he dug his own grave and made his own marker, except for the date. He died on July 13, 1851.


A little incident, containing some mystical interest, transpired in Wayne county, South Carolina, during the late war. It is as follows:-

It was late at night, the husband was absent, and the wife, alone with her children, had retired. Three or four soldiers rudely knocked at the door of the house, and demanded entrance and something to eat. The good lady told them that it was too late, that she had nothing cooked, but fearing they would break the door, she got out of bed, and opened it to expostulate with them.

They insisted that she should cook something for them, and while she was getting ready, and they were roaming about the house, one of the party, who seemed to be the leader, happened to find a copy of  Mackey's "Masonic Jurisprudence." Turning over he found the name of the poor, frightened woman's husband written on the fly-leaf.

"Is this your husband's?" he inquired of the lady. "Yes sir," was the timid reply.

"Is he a Mason?"

"Yes Sir."

"Come, boys, right about-march!" and immediately the house was cleared and quickly closed.

Published at THE CRAFTSMAN - 1866


A Union General, Thomas H. Benton, Grand Master in Iowa, 1860 - 1862, saved Albert Pikes Masonic Library at Little Rock, Arkansas, by placing Federal Troops around Pike's home when the city was invaded during the Civil War.


In 1860, at Limerick, Ireland, in a small chapel, an old brass square was found under the foundations of the old Baal’s Bridge in 1830 and is dated 1507 with the following inscription:

“I will strive to live with love and care upon the level by the square”

Please visit our website for further details.


The Chevalier Charles D'Eon of France was born on October 5, 1728, and was given the name Charles Genevieve Louise Auguste Andre Timothee Deon de Beaumont. He was born of a noble family. Although his sex was being questioned, he became a Freemason in 1766 in the Lodge of Immortality No. 376, which met at the Crown and Anchor in the Strand, London. He served as Junior Warden in 1769 and 1770. He had many talents; he was an export fencer and an able diplomat who successfully negotiated the Treaty of 1763 ending the Seven Years' War.

He had an effeminate appearance and occasionally masqueraded as a woman. His enemies in France accused him of being a woman masquerading as a man. Masons wondered whether a woman had been initiated into the Craft. The controversy about his sex caused considerable gambling and the speculation got out of hand. Finally an insurance company filed a suit to have the matter adjudicated. Witnesses testified that he was a woman. About this time he accepted an offer of Louis XVI to accept a pension, return to France, and resume the garb of a woman. From this time on he wore women's cloths with rare exception. When he died on May 21, 1810, a competent physician performed an autopsy and clearly proved that D'Eon was a man.

Earliest Warrant in the World

It was issued in the Grand Lodge of Ireland 1727.


In order to have unbroken floor space in the George Washington memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, the cars in two elevator shafts move sideways thirty-five feet. As the elevators rise 255 feet in two slanting hoist-ways from the main floor to the observation platform at the top of the building, it moves sideways 1 foot for approximately every 7.28 feet it ascends or descends.


In 1735 Lodge #44 at Doneraile, Ireland usually met at Lord Doneraile's home who was Master of his Lodge. His sister also lived with him, Elizabeth St. Leger.

Knowing that the meeting was about to open Elizabeth hid in a storage room adjoining the lodge room. She removed a brick that she had loosened from the wall a few days before and watched the conferring of the Fellow Craft degree.

When the meeting was about to close, Elizabeth realized what she had done, and in her nervous attempt to leave knocked over some storage boxes. The Tiler hearing the ruckus sounded the alarm and ran to dispatch the intruder. Lord Doneraile appeared just in time to save her life.

After questioning her the members re-assembled and deliberated on what to do about this intrusion. After two hours of heated debate, cooler heads prevailed. She was given two alternatives, either she submit to receiving the first two degrees in Masonry or other arrangements would be made for her. Miss St. Leger being able to hear some of the debate gladly accepted.

Mrs., or more appropriately Sister Aldworth after marriage, was so taken by the lessons of charity and Fraternal love shown to her upon being passed to the degree of Fellow Craft that night, that she spent her life and considerable wealth helping the poor in general and the Masonic poor in particular.


I’m writing this letter to publicly thank one of your members, Eric Forny, and also thank your church for your obvious part in making this man who he is today. I first ran into Eric in Maine a few years ago during a blizzard. I was driving a semi truck, and was stuck on the side of a hill in the middle on the interstate. I was pretty panicked when Eric called to me over the CB radio. He had used his semi truck to block off the traffic on the highway and talked me backwards down the hill. I was then able to follow him over the hill going fast enough to maintain enough momentum to climb the hill with out getting stuck, yet slow enough not to loose control in the severe winter conditions. I got to know Eric over the next couple of days following him down through New England and into Ohio. This is how I know his family is from Berlin Center and is a member of your church. He not only got me out of that situation, but he has set an example that I’ve tried to follow everyday since.

People who spew Bible quotes and shove Christianity down your throat always turned me off. Eric never once said he was a Christian, but I sure could tell he was one through his actions. He was constantly checking stuck and broke down cars along the road for people. We must have stopped eight or ten times just to help out people along the road. When I finally got home, my wife and I had a long talk about Eric and we both dedicated our lives to Jesus that Sunday in church.

I never saw Eric again after that trip, but I always try to ask about him over the CB when I am in Ohio. For a long time I heard a lot of stories about “Opie”, Eric’s CB handle, saving people. Driver’s used to say that he doesn’t actually deliver freight, he just drives around saving people. So many that at times I’ve doubted that all of them could be true or if Eric is a real person. Real or not, Eric is definitely a guardian angel.

This is my reason for writing you his letter at his time. My niece has been having a difficult problem with a stalker. The police have said he hasn’t actually done anything illegal that they can trace back to him, so they can’t do anything with him. This past week my niece’s stalker tampered with the gas in her car causing it to break down along the interstate. He was following behind her and when she pulled off the road he passed her, pulled off the road not too far in front of her broke down car and started walking back to her. Praise God, Eric stopped to see if he could help. When Eric arrived my niece’s stalker turned around and drove off without incident.

Praise God Bill Zimmer

PS. To my shock, my niece said that Eric is a Freemason. Did you know that he was one? If Eric Forny is what Freemason’s are about, maybe my Church needs to reevaluate Freemasons.


Ely S. Parker, a full-blooded Indian chief, was the grandson of Red Jacket, a close friend of George Washington. He was a Union Brigadier General in the Civil War, and served as General Grant's secretary. He was raised in Batavia Lodge No. 88, Batavia, New York, and later affiliated with Valley Lodge No. 109. He demitted and became a founder and first Worshipful Master of Akron Lodge No. 527 of New York. Ely Parker Lodge No. 1002 of Buffalo, New York. is named after him.


The first lodge in Kansas was Wyandotte Lodge. It net in the home of the Senior Warden, Matthew R. Walker. Mr. Walker, an Indian, acted as Tyler of the lodge. Later Mrs. Walker became the first Grand Matron of the Eastern Star in Kansas.


Mary Baker joined her oldest brother in Charleston, South Carolina. In December 1843, she married George Washington Glover. a close friend of her brother. Brother Glover was an honorary member of the staff of the Governor and was called "Major Glover". He was a member of St. Andrew's Lodge No. 10 and of Union Chapter No. 3, R.A.M. A few months after the marriage Brother Glover contracted yellow fever and died; he was given a Masonic funeral. Before he died he requested members of the lodge to help his young bride return to the parental home in New Hampshire. How well they kept their promise was told by the widow, who wrote in 1892, "Here it is but justice to record they performed their obligation most faithfully." Some time after arriving at her parental home she gave birth to her only child, George. Later she married Mr. Eddy; there is no record that he was a Mason.


Frederick the Great, a Mason without any doubt, while in a jewelry shop in Potsdam, Germany, observed a middle-aged woman exhibiting an article of silver having certain Masonic symbols, possibly a Past Master's jewel. She was trying to borrow money on it. She said she had come to this particular shop to avoid the usurers and because the owner of the shop was a Mason. The jeweler told her that he was not in the pawnbroking business and couldn't make the loan.

Another person in the shop asked her many questions concerning the jewel, whose it was, how she had possession of it, etc. The man offered to buy the jewel and kept raining the price. When he decided to make her the loan, he discovered he had no money in his pocket. He then disclosed to the surprised woman that he was the King.

Fredrick shook his staff at the jeweler and told him that he was not fit to be a Mason and threatened to file charges against him. The following morning the woman went to see Fredrick and the palace and he instructed her to return whenever she was in need of help.


Dr. Charles H. Mayo, one of the founders of the famous Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was a Mason. His son Charles W., who also was a Mason, became governor of the Clinic, which began in the Masonic Temple building in Rochester. The Grand Lodge on Minnesota for years has maintained a representative at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester to assist Masons planning to come there and to make their stay pleasant.


"Fort Masonic" was built on what was known as the Heights of Brooklyn, which later became Bond and Nevins Streets, Brooklyn, New York. On August 22, 1814, the Grand Lodge of New York adopted a resolution by which, on September 1, the officers of the Grand Lodge accompanied by a group of Masons from fourteen lodges, went to the place and performed one day's work. On September 17, another day's work was done to complete the work.

"Fort Hiram" was built on October 3, 1814, at Fort Point, Rhode Island, but the Grand Lodge which supervised 230 Masons at work. Thomas Smith Webb was Grand Master at the time. The purpose of the fortification was to protect the harbor of Providence, Rhode Island.


On his famous solo flight over the Atlantic in 1927 Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh wore the square and compasses on his jacket as a good luck emblem. He was a Mason at the time.

When Bernt Balchen, explorer and air pioneer, flew over the North Pole and the South Pole with Brother Richard E. Byrd, they dropped Masonic flags on both Poles. In the 1933-35 expedition over the South Pole, Brother Balchen also tossed his Shrine fez on the Pole.

Leroy Gordon Cooper, Jr., famous astronaut, on his 22 orbit flight carried a Masonic coin in his pocket as well as a blue Masonic flag which he later presented to his mother lodge, Carbondale No. 82, Carbondale, Colorado.

On August 23, 1879, Lodge No. 239 of France held a meeting in a balloon flying over Paris, at which time a Brother was initiated.

The inventors of the first balloon were Joseph Montgolfier, Michel Montgolfier, and Jacques Etielle; all were members of the Nine Sisters Lodge in France.

Brother Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I air ace, was a devoted Mason for many years.


James Hoban was the architect who designed and supervised the construction of the White House. When the British destroyed this building during the War of 1812, he designed the one replacing it. James Hoban was a Mason. He was probably present when the cornerstone was laid by Maryland Lodge No. 9 of Georgetown on October 13, 1792, with Masonic ceremony. He was also a devout Roman Catholic.

During President Truman's term of office it was necessary to rebuild the White House. In 1952, while the work was in progress, Brother Truman discovered that some of the original stones contained traditional "Mason's marks". He directed that these stones be preserved and delegated the duty to Major General Harry H. Vaughan, Brother Renah F. Camalier, and the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. These stones were distributed to the Grand Lodges of the United States and to certain territories and foreign governments. On February 22, 1966, the last stone was presented to the George Washington National Masonic Memorial Association for display in the Temple on Shooter's Hill.


Extravagant claims are sometimes made in connection with the Masonic membership of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. There were fifty-six signers of the document. There is satisfactory evidence to prove conclusively that eight were Masons. Twenty-four others are sometimes claimed as Masons, but evidence submitted is not completely satisfactory, being based of hearsay and "tradition", rather than documents. There are twenty-four signers who have never been claimed as Masons. The best answer the question is as follows: "Scholars have proved that eight Signers were Masons. As many as thirty may have been."


At one time Golden Rule Lodge No. 5 of Stanstead, Canada, occupied a lodge room which was bisected by the boundary between Canada and the United States. It had entrances from the Vermont and Canadian sides; the membership of the lodge consisted of men from both sides of the border.


by Brother Harold Fink J.W.
Konosioni Lodge 950 Fayettville New York

While doing a load of wash I stepped next door to have a beer and read my book while I waited. Two fellows were looking at a gold ring they had just found in the parking lot. One guy said, "It's a military ring." The other observed, "Naw, it's a trade school ring. It has a square & compass on it. (My ears perked up.)

I said, "Mind if I take a look, guys?"

It was nothing elaborate; a small, gold ring . . . well-worn, S&C on one side, the initials RB on the other.

I remarked, "Weighs about 3 grams; marked '10 ct,' . . . worth about 15 to 20 bucks at the most. You'd probably get more from the Brother who lost it. Nice ring, though. I don't have one myself. I have more important things to spend the family's money on."

So I told them I would post it in the local Masonic newspaper, "the Word," and I would meet them here next month with the reward. They agreed.

Nobody answered the ad.

My beloved mentor the R:.W:. Rocco Buffano said in his best 78-year 'old-school Italian voice,' "Kid, ya know, my name's Rocco Buffano."

Not being the sharpest cookie, I said, "Yeah, nice name, Rocco."

He said, "Wake up Kid!

I'll take the ring, since none have claimed it."

Well, I'll try to make this short. Oops, too late . . .

I met the guys back at the bar (did another load of wash) and gave them $25.00 for the ring. An old fellow asked, "Are you going to keep it?"

I replied, "No, it's going to a Brother who happens to have the same initials. Cool, huh?" The "old guy" shuffled off, and I drank my beer.

As I was about to leave he walked back in carrying a Big old Book. He said, "Here, take this. I don't read it anymore."

It was a 1911 Masonic Library . . . gold leaf . . . beautiful!! I "hemmed" . . . he "hawed." I bought him a beer and started reading. SO COOL! I had a grin from ear to ear. As I got up to leave and thank him one more time, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a classic S&C blue-stone, heavy-gold ring and pressed it in to my hand. Shocked, I started to "spit & sputter." He said, "Don't worry about it; now you have one."

Needless to say, "Old John" never buys a beer when I'm there.

I may not know any Masonic "secrets, " but there is Magic in the Craft.


In his lifetime Joseph Fort Newton was the silver-tonged orator of the Craft. With his talks and book he did much for Freemasonry. He told the story that his father became a mason in a military lodge. He had been taken prisoner and was transported to Rock Island, Illinois, where he became desperately ill. An officer of the camp, desiring to help him as a Brother Mason, took him to his home and nursed him back to health. When the war ended the Mason loaned him enough money to get back home. If Newton's father had died on Rock Island, the world would have been poorer for not having had a wise and eloquent minister of the gospel, and the Craft would have been poorer in its inspiration and literature.


In 1794 a Masonic token was minted in honor of the Prince of Wales in England. A son of George III, he later became George the IV. From 1790 to 1813 he served the Grand Lodge of England (Moderns) as Grand Master. The ordinator of the coin was Brother James Sketchley of Birmingham who created the coin to commemorate the election of the Prince as Grand Master. These coins were so superior in their copper content that they readily became tender. In 1817 they they were withdrawn from circulation by government order. Brother Judson L. Parker, editor of Masonic Temple Topics, Chicago, has been collecting these coins and presenting them to distinguished Brethren. More than 350 have been distributed.


- Lafayette, French liaison to the Colonies, without whose aid the war could not have been won, was a Freemason.

- The majority of the commanders of the Continental Army were Freemasons and members of "Army Lodges."

- Most of Washington's Generals were Freemasons.

- The Boston Tea Party was planned at the Green Dragon Tavern, also known as the Freemasons' Arms, and "the Headquarters of the Revolution."

- George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States by Robert Livingston, Grand Master of New York's Masonic lodge. The Bible on which he took his oath was from his own Masonic lodge.

- The Cornerstone of the capitol building was laid by the Grand Lodge of Maryland.


A century ago thee were more than 3,000 Masonic lodges which can be described as "Moon Lodges"; in 1954 there were fewer than 500. These lodges meet on the day of the full moon for practical reasons; the brethren had light to travel by at night. There may have been some symbolic meaning also. The advent of electricity, street lights, and the automobile made the reason for meeting on such nights antiquated through unique. Many Grand Lodges now require lodges to meet on fixed days of the week.


John Stafford Smith (1750-1836), a member of Royakl Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No. 4, London, wrote the music which became our national anthem. Its original use is not known, but at an early date it was use by an Irish Masonic orphans' Home as its song. when Francis Scott Key utilized this music for the Stat Spangled Banner, it was a popular drinking song known as To Anacreon in heaven.


James O. Halliwell-Phillips, and English antiquarian and librarian, was not a Mason. While engaged in his work, he came across a manuscript in the British Museum catalogued as A Poem of Moral Duty. It was really a statement of the "Old Charges" in poetic form. It is believed to have been prepared in 1390, thus making it the oldest known Masonic document. Now called the Regius Poem, or the Halliwell Manuscript, it was published in 1840 in a brochure entitled On the Introduction of Freemasonry into England.


The rev. Canon William Henry Cooper was a member of seventeen lodges. He was the founder and first master of three of them. His lodges were in Ireland, England, Australia, new Zealand, British Columbia, and Ontario.


On November 7, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt attended the meeting of Architect Lodge No. 519 in New York and raised two of his sons, James and Franklin D., Jr. An honorary membership certificate was presented to the President by the Lodge.


Alexander I, Czar of Russia form 1801 to 1825, banned the Craft in Russia in 1801. He rescinded the order in 1803 and became a Freemason, probably for political reasons; but in 1822 he again banned Freemasonry in Russia.


In Fulda, Germany a dispute arose about the name to be given a new high school. The first name suggested was Professor Karl Ferdinand Braun, inventor of the T V picture tube, and a Nobel prize winner. A protest arose on the ground that he was a Freemason. Finally the school was named after Baron Von Stein, who is known as the father of local self-government. He was a devoted Freemason. It was later discovered that Professor Braun was not a Freemason.


Rudyard Kipling, the famous English author, was born in India of English parents. He was educated in England but returned to India in 1880. He was initiated in Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782, Lahore, Punjab, India in 1886. A special dispensation was necessary as he was only twenty years and six months at the time. When he took the degrees, there were four Holy Books upon the alter representing the dominant religions in the area. Upon his rising he was immediately elected secretary; and he prepared the minutes of that meeting himself.

Many years later he wrote: "I was secretary for some years of Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782, E. C., Lahore, which included Brethren of at least four creeds. I was entered by a member of Brahmo Somaj, a Hindu; passed by a Mohammedan; and raised by an Englishman. Our Tyler was an Indian Jew. We met, of course on the level, and the only difference anyone would notice was that at the banquets, some of the Brethren, who were debarred by caste from eating food not ceremonially prepared, sat over empty plates."


General Thomas A. Smyth of the Civil War was raised in Washington Lodge No. 1 of Delaware on March 6, 1864. He was killed by a sniper's bullet on April 9 and was buried by his lodge on April 17, 1864.


Known Masons (9): Gunning Bedford, Jr., John Blair, David Brearly, Jacob Broom, Daniel Carrol, John Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, Rufus King, George Washington

Evidence of Membership And/or Affiliations (13): Abraham Baldwin, William Blount, Elbridge Gerry, Nicholas Gilman, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Lansing, Jr., James Madison, George Mason, George Read, Robert Morris, Roger Sherman, George Wythe

Those Who Later Became Masons (6): William Richardson Davie, Jr., Jonathan Dayton, Dr. James McHenry, John Francis Mercer, William Patterson, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer

Summary: 28 of 40 signers (70%) were Freemasons or possible Freemasons based on evidence other than lodge records.


To counteract similar exaggerations about the Masonic membership of the signers of the Constitution of the United States. Brother Ronald E. Heaton also researched The Masonic membership of Signers of the Constitution, he concluded that thirteen signers were Masons. Their membership is supported by clear and conclusive written records; there are seven signers who are sometimes claimed as members, but the evidence is insufficient and not conclusive; the balance were not Masons.


Known Masons (10): Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Joseph Hewes, William Hooper, Thomas McKean, Robert Treat Payne, Richard Stockton, George Walton, William Whipple, John Witherspoon

Evidence of Membership And/or Affiliations (7): Elbridge Berry, Lyman Hall, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Nelson Jr., John Penn, George Read, Roger Sherman

Summary: 15 of 56 Signers (27%) were Freemasons or probable Freemasons.


President Calvin Coolidge had the reputation of being a person of few words. One time while attending a public function he was told by a young lady, "Mr. President, I made a bet that I can get you to say three words." To which he replied, "You lose."

Although not a Mason, he was not stingy with words when he talked about Freemasonry. While Governor of the Bay State, he addresses the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and said: "It has not been my fortune to know very much about Freemasonry, but I have had the great fortune to know many Freemasons, and I have been able in that way to judge the tree by its fruits. I know of your high ideals. I have seen that you hold your meeting in the presence of the Bible, and I know that men who observe that formality have high sentiments of citizenship, of worth, and of character. That is the strength of our Commonwealth and Nation."


Dr. Edward Jenner, an early English Physician, observed that milk maids who once had smallpox did not get the disease when exposed to it. After experimenting, he announced this discovery in 1789, and vaccination followed shortly thereafter. He was Worshipful Master of Royal Faith and Friendship Lodge No. 270 in Berkeley, England, in 1811-1813.


On December 20, 1874, a special meeting of New York Lodge No. 330 was held to exemplify the third degree for the edification of a Brother. His Royal Highness David Kalakaua , King of the Hawaiian Islands, and a member of Le Progres de l'Oceanie Lodge No. 124 (Supreme Council of France) Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands. After the degree was exemplified, the Bible on which George Washington had taken his oath of office was displayed. The royal visitor asked that the book be opened at the page where the oath was administered. He took the book in both hands and kissed the page saying "I thank God for this privilege." On January 15, 1865, the same royal visitor attended Chicago's Oriental Lodge No. 33 which had called a special meeting. Over four hundred distinguished visitors attended.


Stephen Girard, a wealthy merchant of Philadelphia, died on February 26, 1831. His will left a fortune to many worthy causes. There was a report that when he was near death, he had requested his sister to secure a Roman Catholic priest. This was construed as a desire to become reconciled with the church; but when the priest arrived, Girard was dead. On the strength of this report permission was given to admit the body into the German Roman Catholic Church building. 400 Masons assembled at the Masonic Hall, by invitation of the Grand Lodge, and marched to the church to attend the funeral. They did not wear their aprons in order to avoid criticism. The clergy, left in a body and refused to perform any service. The Masons took charge and buried the remains of Stephen Girard in the vault he had designated. When Girard College was built under the terms of his will, the body was re-interred in a marble tomb on the grounds of the school.


One believed to have been given the name of Joseph Balsamo but who later adopted the name "Count Cagliostro", has the doubtful distinction of being the world's outstanding Masonic charlatan. He became a Mason in London in 1776, and later conceived the idea of his "Egyptian Rite", which he formulated and promoted with his wife. The project was a money making scheme; they founded lodges through out Europe. His colorful career came to an end when he established on of his lodges in Rome. He was arrested on December 27, 1789, and charged with the "crime" of being a Freemason. He was imprisoned by the papal police, was questioned, tortured, tried and found guilty. He died some years later while still in prison.

The Best attending Mason

Wor.Bro Hoey, a member of Richill lodge, Northern Ireland, died a few years ago. He had been a member of the lodge for 65 years, and in all that time he never missed a single meeting - stated or emergency!!


In 1899 Leader Scott (a pen name) published her book, The Cathedral builders, the story of a Great masonic Guild. This was followed in 1910 by W. Ravenscroft's The Comacines, their Predecessors and their Successors. The theory advanced is that when the Roman Collegia of Artificers were abolished, a group of workmen retired to an island in Lake Como where they preserved their technical skills and later built the cathedrals of Europe. This theory was followed by Joseph Fort Newton in The Builder and was widely accepted by readers of his popular book.


On September 7, 1929, after rising his son Brother Norman B. Hickox, Master of Events Lodge No. 524, Illinois, formally presented a beautiful silver cup to the lodge. He also presented a book of travel and a specially prepared carrying case. The cup was to be sent on a journey, traveling always from West to East by land sea or air, and always in the custody of a Master Mason.

On November 19, 1929, the book and cup were taken to Ashlar Lodge No. 308 in Chicago to start the journey. The book recorded the places and circumstances of each visit of the cup.

On the journey the cup was received by more that 150 host lodges. It touched places all over the world. On May 24, 1958, a homecoming celebration was held at Evans Lodge to commemorate the return of the cup to the lodge. The Cup of Brotherly Love, an illustrated account of this odyssey, was published by the Masonic Service Association in 1959.


At the time he was raised in Highland Park Lodge No. 382 in Los Angeles, California, John Aasen was eight and a half feet tall and weighed 536 pounds. Twelve craftsmen were required for certain parts of the ceremony. There were 1500 Masons present to observe the ceremony.

Charles S. Stratton, a midget, was made a famous by P. T. Barnum as "General Tom Thumb". He was first presented to the public in 1842; as the time he was two feet high and weighed 16 pounds. In 1844 he married Lavinia Warren, also a midget. He settled in Bridgeport, Connecticut and was raised in St. John's Lodge No. 3 on October 3, 1862.

The Longest Membership

Charles McCue, born on the 14th June in 1756 in Northern Ireland, became a mason at the age of 18. He migrated to Canada in 1837 and affiliated to St Johns Lodge No 68, Ingersoll, Ontario. When he died on 5th May 1870, he had been a mason for almost 95 years.


Joshua Norton was born in England on February, 1819. He engaged in a number of business enterprises in Africa and migrated to San Francisco in 1849. He immediately entered the real estate business and accumulated considerable wealth. When he tried to corner the rice market, he lost the entire fortune. In order to cheer him up, his friends stated to call him "Emperor."

On September 15, 1859, he proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States. He donned a blue uniform with brass buttons, epaulets, and a military cap. Instead of having his head examined, everyone humored him because of his pleasant and cheerful disposition. He rode the street cars free, attended theaters without charge, and was supplied with the necessities of life by those around him. When he ran short of cash, he issued drafts on the Imperial Treasury. He issued Royal Proclamations designed to better the human race. On Sunday he always attended a church; he had no favorites and visited them all. Merchants and financiers consulted him on business matters and he apparently gave sound advice on these matters.

He was a member of Occidental Lodge of San Francisco and for a time lived in the Masonic Temple and issued some of his proclamations from there. He was given a Masonic funeral when he passed away on January 8, 1889. Fifty-four years later his grave was moved and a monument was erected over his new grave.


In 1835 a group of Masons met under a large oak tree in Brazoria, Texas, and took the first step to form Holland Lodge No. 1. The tree, known as the Masonic Oak, has continued to grow and is still in existence.

On May 15, 1966, the Masons of Texas made a pilgrimage to the Oak. There was singing, dinner, preaching and much fun. The Grand Master, H. W. Fullingim, dedicated the place by placing a Texas State Historical Marker near the Oak to commemorate the start of the lodge there.


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was one of those private pacts a daughter makes with her dad. The one who died first would send a signal to the other that all was well in the hereafter. Two days after her mother and father plunged to their deaths on Alaska Airlines Flight 261, Tracy Knizek believes she got that message. A commercial fisherman who helped scoop debris from the crash site found the red-and-gold Mason's ring worn by her father, Bob Williams. Until she was told of the ring's recovery, the Suquamish, Washington, woman had struggled to accept her parents' deaths.

"Maybe this is God's way of telling us that this is really happening and that everything is going to be OK, and that hopefully I'll hear from him again," she said Thursday in a telephone interview from her parents' home in neighboring Poulsbo.

It was only a year ago, after her grandfather died, that she reminded her father of an agreement they made years earlier. "Ever since I was a little girl, my dad and I had a deal. Whoever died first, the other one would come back and tell them what it's like,"she said. "It was just to let the other person know if it's OK, like we think it's going to be." That the ring was recovered at all seems as miraculous as the crash was tragic.

Oxnard fisherman Scott Jarvis' boat Meridian was part of a flotilla of commercial fishing boats that helped illuminate the crash scene Monday night while rescuers searched for survivors. Jarvis, 37, and his nephew, 21-year-old Kevin Marquiss, pulled enough seat cushions, insulation and other debris from the water to cover the back deck of the 32-foot boat. Later, as they cleaned jet fuel off the decks, they discovered the ring nestled in a deck hatch. Studded with three ruby-colored jewels, it had a large capital G in the center -- that, Jarvis later learned, stood for "Grand Master Mason." "It's like he sent it from heaven and just set it on the boat." Jarvis said.

Bob Williams, 65, and his wife, Patty, 63, were returning home to the Puget Sound after spending two weeks in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, with friends Robert and Lorna Thorgrimson, who also died aboard Flight 261. The couple traveled often after Williams retired as an Air Force colonel 20 years ago, visiting Panama and cruising to Alaska in the past year, Knizek said. Knizek, 39, had always been close to her parents. After living away from home for several years, she moved into a second house on their nine-acre property five years ago. Although the homes are separated only by a small woods, a quirk of geography placed them in different towns.

Just last year, her father carved a one-acre horse pasture out of the property. In the years ahead, they planned to fence it and build a barn, eventually buying horses for Knizek and her two children. "They were my best friends in the whole world," she said of her parents. She never told anyone of her agreement with her dad. But as she spoke to Jarvis, who contacted the Poulsbo Mason's Lodge after finding the ring, the story poured out.

"When that ring came around, I thought, 'Wow.' It's just to tell us, 'This is really happening, Tracy, this is real, and you're going to be OK and your brothers are going to be OK."'

The ring remains with Jarvis, who will hold onto it until the families can arrange a meeting. In a letter to be opened upon his death, Bob Williams left the ring to the oldest of his two sons, Greg.

Robert S. Ferguson PM, Secretary
Midland Lodge 144


In 1853 the Reverend F. Peterson wrote on page 101 of his History of Rhode Island and Newport of the past: "In the spring of 1658, Mordecai Campannall, Moses Packeckoe, Levi and others, in all fifteen families, arrived in Newport from Holland. They brought with them the three first degrees of Masonry, and worked them in the house of Campannall; and continue to do so, they and their successors, to the end of 1742." This statement has been repeated from time to time, although in 1870 the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts looked into the matter and could find no evidence to support the statement.


As a young man Sarkis H. Nahigian fled Armenia to escape persecution and arrived in the United States in 1890. He worked hard and became a successful businessman in Chicago and a devoted Mason. In 1948 he presented a priceless Oriental rug, 46½ feet long and 29½ feet wide, to the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. In presenting the gift he said:

"I came to America believing in miracles. I say these words with gratitude, faith and pride. Gratitude -- to the generations of hard-working and God-fearing men and women who came to this new country to make a home for freedom. Faith, in that the democracy they built will never die. Pride, in that my chance has come to show my appreciation for being an American. And believe me when I say there is no finer title, no higher position than to be a citizen of the United States."

"Here we have freedom of thought, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. One does not appreciate what these freedoms mean until one recalls what it was to be deprived of them. Now, again, in humble spirit, it gives me great pleasure to donate to our beloved George Washington Memorial Building, the largest Persian Royal Meshed carpet I have ever known. I donate this carpet in grateful appreciation of all the unlimited privileges and friendships and support I have enjoyed in this blessed United States of America, and not among the least of these is my privilege of being a Mason."


Montana's first livestock brand was the square and compass; it is still in use. No one knows when it was first used; but it was before May 25, 1872, when it became necessary to date and register brands then in use. It was first owned by Poindexter T. Orr of Beaverhead County, Montana Territory.


The famous Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor was designed by a Frenchman, Frederick A. Bartholdi, a Freemason. The Grand Lodge of New York laid the cornerstone with masonic ceremonies on August 5, 1885.


Occasionally one reads the heart-warming story that President Theodore Roosevelt's gardener was master of at the time. The story illustrates how all men become equal in a Masonic lodge. However there is no evidence to support this story.


Matthew McBain Thomson was born Scotland. In 1881 he settled in Montpelier, Idaho. He returned to Scotland but in 1898 returned to Montpelier with a patent from the "Scottish Grand College of Rites". He used this document to create his "American Masonic Federation", later changed to "International Masonic Federation". He promoted the sale of all sorts of "Masonic" degrees by mail and worked through paid solicitors. Reduced rates were given when groups were large and many joined at the same time. He and two other were eventually prosecuted for using the mails to defraud and in 1922 they were sent to jail.


The lodge with the highest meeting place on the globe is Roof of the World Lodge No. 1094, of Oroya, Peru. The elevation of the lodge room in the Andes Mountains is 14,167 above see level. The closet competitor in the United States is Corinthian Lodge No. 35 at Leadsville, Colorado elevation about 10,200 feet.


When General Horatio King asked William McKinley how he happen to become a Mason he explained: "After the Battle of Opequam, I went with our surgeon of our Ohio regiment to the field where there were about 5,000 Confederate prisoners under guard. Almost as soon as we passed the guard, I noticed the doctor shook the hands with a number of Confederate prisoners. He also took from his pocket a roll of bills and distributed all he had among them. Boy-like, I looked on in wonderment; I didn't know what it all meant. On the way back from camp I asked him:

"Did you know these men or ever see them before?"

"No," replied the doctor, "I never saw them before."

"But," I persisted, "You gave them a lot of money, all you had about you. Do you ever expect to get it back?"

"Well'" said the doctor, "If they are able to pay me back, they will. But it makes no difference to me; they are brother Masons in trouble and I am only doing my duty."

"I said to myself, If that is Freemasonry I will take some of it for myself."

Webmaster's Note:

Received the following information via email from Charles G. Hollingsworth, PM

"Did You Know" ... In the link by that name, the reference to President McKinley, the Lodge in which he received his was Hiram Lodge #21, Winchester, Virginia.

By the way Hiram Lodge still meets on the second Tuesday of each month and claims to be the 
"Oldest Masonic Lodge West Of The Blue Ridge Mountains".


Between 1890 (when Wyoming became a state) and 1951 every Governor of that state was a Freemason, except one. This single exception was Mrs. William A. Ross, who was the wife of a Mason, and she was a member of the Eastern Star.

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