Today’s post for #HistoryMonday comes from an event prior to the American Revolution and the late Colonial period of the United States. Yet the event would be instrumental towards the Revolution and the United States’ founding as an independent nation.
It was on this day in 1733, Henry Price a freemason from the Boston area returned from London with a recognition of orders by the Premier Grand Lodge of England — the first ever Masonic Lodge. Price had been tasked with petitioning the Premier Grand Lodge for a Warrant to be considered regular freemasons in the colonies since 1721.
These early Boston freemasons began meeting only four years after the founding of the Premier Grand Lodge in London. Price not only received the Warrant for an individual Lodge, he was also conferred with the title of Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New England.
This Provincial Grand Lodge was historically known as St. John’s Grand Lodge, and chartered numerous Lodges in the Colonies. Some of those early colonial lodges included influential figures of the American Revolution including Pres. George Washington, John Hancock, and Benjamin Franklin.
You might be tempted to ask why am I writing about such a specific event that may not have as much broad effect as other historical events? That’s a fair question but given that 14 (or 15) of our Presidents have been members of at least one Masonic Lodge, and like previously mentioned George Washington would be the first President to be recognized for his efforts with Freemasonry. For reference, Pres. Ford was the last Mason to be President.
By way of apocryphal consideration, is the fact that the early freemasons in the Colonies were also determined to hide vast stores of treasure to prevent the British from winning the American Revolution. Whether Nicholas Cage and his friends are convincing of this truth, the conspiracy of Masonic design of America still persists.
Factually, besides several Presidents and other leaders in American History, freemasons are also dedicated to charitable efforts like most other fraternal organizations. Shriners International, a high-level organization of freemasons is by far the most recognized of charitable efforts by freemasons. Local lodges often assist with efforts to better their individual communities, including cleanup after natural disasters or fundraising for medical expenses of a local citizen. In addition, the dues and fundraisers from these local lodges support efforts for those visual impairment and other eye difficulties. Additionally, Grand Lodges and some large local lodges will offer scholarships for undergraduate and graduate studies to families of freemasons and members of the Masonic youth organizations, including DeMolay & Job’s Daughters. I’m obviously familiar with these efforts as I benefitted from a small scholarship from the Indiana Grand Lodge by virtue of my father and grandfather being freemasons themselves. Worth noting, I’ve considered membership in local lodges at various times, and I know my dad is crossing his fingers and hoping I will. We shall see, but I haven’t ruled it out or committed one way or the other.
What do you know about freemasonry? Do you know other famous Masons?