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.
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