Sunday, June 19, 2011

History of the Masonic Templars in America

With some of the free time I have had lately while in Iraq I have started researching the history of the Masonic Knights Templar in America. I have found one piece (see below) that has given me a direction to take and I have also requested information from the Grand Encampment and my Grand Commandery. I am also sifting through research papers done by the Brothers of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076 (UGLE). The paper that has given me a big piece of the puzzle is titled "The First Knights Templar in the United States", written by Michael Kaulback.

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INTRODUCTION

A careful look must be taken at the known history of the growth and development of the Chivalric Orders of masonic knighthood if any sense is to be made of the connection between the Templars and Freemasonry. The earliest recorded masonic Knights Templar organizations were in Scotland and Ireland in the mid 1700s. They seem to have formed after a speech made by Michael Ramsay of Scotland in France purporting that the Knighthood of the Crusades had masonic influence. No-one is absolutely certain as to the exact dates involved, but in America the series of events are easier to follow.

EARLIEST RECORD

The earliest written record available in America mentioning the Knights Templar is to be found in the records of St. Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter. (called a Royal Arch lodge at that time.) On 28 August, 1769, William Davis was « Accepted and Accordingly made by receiving the four steps - That of Excellent, Super Excellent, Royal Arch, and Knight Templar. »

St. Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter must have been formed befère this date, but very little documentation exists. Originally it was believed that the British Army Lodges working in Boston (Glittering Star n° 322 organized under the Grand Lodge of Ireland and British Army Lodge n° 58 organized under the Grand Lodge of England) brought Royal Arch Masonry with them. However in the records of Saint Andrew's Lodge there is a copy of a letter dated 29 October 1762, sent to the Grand Lodge of Scotland requesting a Charter for a Royal Arch Lodge. We may conclude that there was an existing Royal Arch Lodge or at the very least a group of Royal Arch masons previous to the arrival of the British Army Lodges on 30 September 1768.

Who then were the Officers of Saint Andrew's Lodge who performed the work that day ? Looking at the list we find James Brown listed as Royal Arch Master. He was Master of Glittering Star Lodge n° 322 and listed as N° 48 on the list of Brethren, Grand Registry of Ireland. Next we have Charles Chambers listed as Senior Warden of St. Andrew's Lodge, also Senior Warden of Glittering Star Lodge N° 322 and n° 38 on the same list of Brethren. The test of the members present were members of St. Andrew's Lodge or members of British Army Lodge n° 322.

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I will continue my research and post my findings.

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