Saturday, November 29, 2014

Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: The Type of Men who Joined Freemasonry in the Past

It is often asked and inquired as to the type of men who joined Freemasonry in the past. What is considered "Modern Freemasonry" started in 1717 when four lodges in London created the first Grand Lodge of England.

Prior to 1717 the grand cathedrals of Europe were built by craftsmen who were members of guilds and today are known as operative masons. These men were not among the social or political elite and they were not part of the upper class or aristocracy of society. They were simple men who were skilled in a certain trade craft. It is believed they held closed meetings where only members of their craft or guilds were allowed. The upper classes of society took notice of this. There is a theory this caused envy among the upper class and aristocracy causing the creation of speculative masons or what is referred to as Freemasonry. Another theory is Freemasonry was started from the former stone mason or operative mason guilds and because a man did not have be to be a member of the operative mason guilds they were allowed to join.

Up until 1717 things were a bit chaotic in Freemasonry. One lodge would not recognize other lodges, there were differences in ritual, etc. On June 24, 1717 the Premier Grand Lodge of England is formed when four lodges met and agreed on a single Grand Lodge jurisdiction in England. Other lodges soon joined and the Grand Lodge of Eng,and grew.

As England expanded its empire Freemasonry came to the American colonies. In the colonies it was the upper class who were members of their local lodges. These men were the artisans, business owners, lawyers, doctors, political leaders, the social elite and military officers. Mark A. Tabbert's American Freemasons; Three Centuries of Community Building explains the members of modern freemasonry at the time only allowed certain men into the fraternity and would prevent the lower class of society from joining. They had the belief they were better at and more capable of making decisions for their communities and by being part of Freemasonry 

In 1751 Laurence Dermott formed a new masonic grand lodge called the "Ancients". Though newer this labeled the first grand lodge " Moderns". The "Ancient" lodges attracted less-affluent and less educated men. These men sought to climb the social ladder of society. The "Ancient" lodges broadened their relief efforts as they accepted greater variety of men. They also became a pathway to extend business contacts,  confirm honor and integrity, improve the the manners and knowledge of their membership. This furthered the aspirations of these men to become well respected gentlemen in society.

There were two other ways the Ancient Grand Lodge challenged the Moderns. They willingly granted charters to any organized group of Masons who petitioned. This created a large number of lodges across the British Empire. By 1780 warrants had been issued to form lodgers in India, North and  South America. The Ancients also innovated the rituals and symbols. The Moderns on conferred three degrees. The Ancients added and additional degree, the Royal Arch, to their ritual. This rivalry would continue into the 1800's.

It could be said the Ancient Grand Lodge welcomed men of lower class and helped bring them up to the same level as the members of the Moderns. The Moderns became known as Free and Accepted Masons, or F. & A. M. also called a three letter lodge and the Ancients became known as A. F. & A. M, known as a four letter lodge.

The "Ancients" and "Moderns" carried their rivalry into and through out the American Revolution. Even though the two were rivals there were men who belonged to both.

September 3. 1783 the American Revolution ended with the colonists attaining their freedom from England, forming the United States of America. The provincial grand lodges that were present in the former American Colonies under the Grand Lodge of England were closed and each one became its own individual or state grand lodge jurisdiction.

Lieutenant Meriwether Lewis became a Mason in the Door To Virtue Lodge No. 44 in Albemarle, Virginia on December 31, 1797. Door to Virtue Lodge was a four letter or "Ancient" lodge.

Captain Meriwether Lewis helped lead the Lewis and Clark Expedition from 1803 to 1806.

There is no conclusive proof found in any of the known records or journals other men of the Lewis and Clark Expedition were members of Freemasonry before the expedition began, whether a lodge of "Moderns" or a lodge of "Ancients". One plausible theory is it is possible, especially because Meriwether Lewis was a member of an "Ancient" lodge. He likely had an open mind about men of lower class and rank being members of a masonic lodge. There is proof of just one other member of the expedition becoming a Freemason after the expedition, Captain William Clark, more information on William Clark joining the masonic fraternity will be in a future article.

Previous articles:
Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Introduction
Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Thank You
Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Information Sources

Friday, November 7, 2014

Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Timeline

This timeline only shows when these events in masonic history took place. Please select from the links in the previous article and read the following articles for a more in depth understanding regarding the connection to Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The reason the timeline stops in the late 1850's is this series mainly focuses on the connection between the expedition and Freemasonry and the American Civil War was just around the corner at this point in history.

927 BC - Construction of King Solomon's Temple was started.
1390 - The Regius Poem was the oldest of the old constitutions.
Prior to 1600 - Operative masons worked in one of the building trades.
July 30, 1599 - Oldest lodge record from Edinburgh Lodge No. 1.
1600 - Operative masonry started to develop into speculative masonry.
By 1700 - Numerous masonic lodges existed in England.
Early 1700 's - A number of Masons were allowed to meet, form a Time Immemorial Lodges, and conduct Masonic work.

1704 - Jonathan Belcher was the first native-born American to be made a Mason.
June 24, 1717 - The Premier Grand Lodge of England is formed.
1725 - The Grand Lodge of Ireland is formed.
1727 - The Carmick Manuscript was written.
1730 - The Grand Lodge of England (Moderns) began to issue Warrants for Provincial Grand Lodges in the colonies.

1730 to 1732 - "Coxe" Provincial Grand Lodge existed, moderns. It was granted jurisdiction over New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

1733 - Provincial Grand Lodge of New England was formed. Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was formed.

1736 - Provincial Grand Lodge of South Carolina was formed. Grand Lodge of Scotland was formed.
1738 to 1780's - Provincial Grand Lodge of New York was formed, Moderns.
1738 to 1753 - The warrant for the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York was issued to Francis Goelet.
1753 - 1771 - The warrant or the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York was issued to George Harrison.
1757 - Provincial Grand Lodge for North America was formed, Scotland.
1759 - Provincial Grand Lodge of Canada was formed.
1771 - The warrant warrant for the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York was issued to Sir John Anderson. who fled to Canada during the American Revolution leaving New York with out a Grand Master.

1751 - Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of England, also known as Antients also called Ancients was formed.

November 4, 1752 - George Washington was made a Mason.
1761 - Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was formed, Ancients.
1775 - American Revolution begins.

An African American, Prince Hall, along with 14 other African Americans were initiated into an Irish Constitution Military Lodge.

Grand Master Sir John Anderson fled to Canada with the warrant for the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York, leaving New York without a Grand Master and charter.

1778 - Grand Lodge of Virginia was formed as an independent Grand Lodge.
1781 to 1784 - Provincial Grand Lodge of New York is formed, Ancients.

The final Provincial Grand Master, Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, was Master of a Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Moderns. This brought the two, Ancients and Moderns, together into one Grand Lodge.

1782 - Grand Lodge of New York was formed.
1783 - American Revolution ends.
1784 - Prince Hall and the 14 other African Americans apply for a Charter or Warrant from the Grand Lodge of England granting them the ability to meet and work as Masons. They formed African Lodge #459.

1786 - Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania is formed as an independent Grand Lodge.
December 16, 1786 - Independent Grand Lodge of Georgia is formed.
December 18, 1786 - Independent Grand Lodge of New Jersey is formed.
1787 - Grand Lodge of New York declares itself independent from England.
December 9, 1787 - The independent Grand Lodge's of Maryland and North Carolina are formed.
1788 - Independent Grand Lodge of South Carolina is formed.
1789 - Independent Grand Lodge of Connecticut is formed.
1791 - Independent Grand Lodge of Rhode Island is formed.
1792 - Independent Grand Lodge of Massachusetts is formed, but was a continuation of the Provincial Grand Lodge of New England.

September 18, 1793 - Cornerstone of the National Capitol was laid in a Masonic Ceremony by Bro. George Washington.

1794 - Independent Grand Lodge of Vermont is formed.
1797 - Thomas Smith Webb published the First Edition of the Freemasons Monitor.
1800 - Grand Lodge of Kentucky if formed.
April 30, 1803 - Louisiana Purchase is completed.
May 21, 1804 - Lewis and Clark Expedition begins.
September 23, 1806 - Lewis and Clark Expedition ends.
1806 - Grand Lodge of Delaware is formed.
1808 - Grand Lodge of Ohio is formed.
1811 - Grand Lodge of The District of Columbia is formed.
1812 - Grand Lodge of Louisiana is formed.
1813 - Grand Lodge of Tennessee is formed.
January 13, 1817 - Grand Lodge of Indiana is formed.
July 27, 1818 - Grand Lodge of Mississippi is formed.
1820 - Grand Lodge of Maine is formed.
April 21, 1821 - Grand Lodge of Missouri is formed
June 11, 1821 - Grand Lodge of Alabama is formed.
1826 - Grand Lodge of Michigan is formed.
William Morgan, who was purported to be Freemason, disappears.

1830 - Grand Lodge of Florida is formed.
1838 - Grand Lodge of Texas is formed.
1839 - The Grand Lodge of Alabama called for a convention of all existing Grand Lodge jurisdictions to attend.

1840 - Grand Lodge of Illinois is formed. Previous Grand Lodge was 1822 - 1827.
March 7, 1842 - The first meeting of the Grand Lodge jurisdictions was held in Washington D. C. It came to be known as the Baltimore Convention.
May 8-17, 1843 - The second Baltimore Convention is held.
1843 - Grand Lodge of Wisconsin is formed.
1844 - Grand Lodge of Iowa is formed.
1850 - Grand Lodge of California is formed.
1851 - Grand Lodge of Oregon is formed.
1853 - Grand Lodge of Minnesota is formed.
1855 - Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario is formed.
1856 - Grand Lodge of Kansas is formed.
1857 - Grand Lodge of Nebraska is formed.
1858 - Grand Lodge of Washington State is formed.

Previous articles:
Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Introduction
Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Thank You
Freemasonry and the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Information Sources