Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Traditional Observance Lodge

W:. Bro. Cliff Porter has published another book. This one "A Traditional Observance Lodge: One Mason's Journey to Fulfillment" is about his experiences, but it also "breaks down the various ceremonies with how-to advice and actual ceremonies, a discussion of the philosophies and traditions, etc." The book is given the following description:
The author's home lodge is different. They suffer from higher than 100% attendance, men wait periods of longer than a year to get initiated, they have never lost a single Entered Apprentice, they have nobody on the roles who is NPD or has been dropped for NPD. Men arrive on lodge days at 8:00 a.m. and are often reluctantly leaving for home near midnight or 2:00 a.m. Their dues are high by American standards, the background check is rigorous, and the initiations are solemn and serious. Every lodge meeting is treated as an event and celebrated as such. Dinner is treated as a feast with all its positive connotations. Freemasonry is celebrated in every aspect of the lodge. From the artwork, the furnishings, the set up and the atmosphere; all aspects of the lodge meeting are intentional and meant to create an experience. The Lodge is a Traditional Observance Lodge or T.O. Lodge as it is called by some. Like all labels, the Traditional Observance label has caused fear and fright, anger and frustration, confusion, and edicts. It has also helped to define the practices that make the author's lodge one of the most successful lodges in the United States by any standard one might choose to measure it. This book does not claim to provide a Masonic magic pill for the ailing lodges of the world. Nor does it claim in any fashion or form that the way this author's lodge operates is the only way or the best way to operate. What this book does is explain the the Traditional Observance model and encourages ideas in the area of increasing the lodge experience and allowing quality to become the watchword over every aspect of Freemasonry. The writings contains a mixture of personal experiences, practical advice, and real life examples for creating a Traditional Observance lodge or increasing your lodges fulfillment.
You can find this book on Amazon and will eventually be on Kindle. I suggest this book as it appears to be a great resource for the Lodge, but can easily be adopted for all of the various orders of Freemasonry.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Order of the Sword of Bunker HIll

Last Saturday I was initiated into the Order of the Sword of Bunker Hill. I have known about this group for a while, but in name only. According to its website, the Order is described as:
Historical and patriotic side Order of Masonry founded to perpetuate the principles of American Liberty, and to indelibly impress upon the minds of each generation the sacrifices made by our Masonic forefathers in forming and establishing the United States of America.
The Order was founded by Frank Goodspeed Taylor on October 15, 1912, in Oregon, IL, and since its establishment has initiated more than 100,000 Master Masons. This is not to be considered a Masonic degree, but an order conferred upon a Master Mason in good standing. 

The purpose of the group is:
To promote the interest of Masonry by encouraging a more regular attendance at its meeting. To form a social and fraternal organization to perpetuate the principles of American liberty. To instill into the minds of each generation the sacrifices of our Masonic forefathers in forming our great republic. To forever inspire patriotism and loyalty by administering to every candidate for our Order the oath of allegiance to state and nation. To provide a time and place for good clean fun. To further cement our friendship and brotherly love by providing social entertainment. To contribute a portion of our initiation free to a worthy Masonic charity.
The national body is called the "Grand Order Sword of Bunker Hill" with the presiding officer known as Grand Commander in Chief. Constituent bodies are referred to as "Orders" and have nine officers, with a Commander in Chief presiding. The Grand Order also has a Noble Council, District Commanders, Liaison Officers, and Ambassadors-at-Large.

It is important to note that no officer, at any level, is given a salary and all monies raised are given to Masonic youth groups or charities. The only fee for a member is the initiation fee of $25.

I am hoping to get my Order more active in Idaho. I must recognize and give kudos to Dave Grindle, Right Puissant General Grand Recorder of the General Grand Council of Cryptic Masons International, for all he has done to re-activate this dormant constituent Order.

Memorial Day 2013

Today is marks the federal holiday where remember those who have died in service to our nation. Originally it was known as Decoration Day, but as to the birthplace of Memorial Day we cannot say for sure as there are many cities/towns that lay claim to this holiday. It's likely that there were many separate beginnings that came about after the Civil War.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868, by General John A. Logan who was National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic which was a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army, US Navy, Marines and Revenue Cutter Service who served in the American Civil War. This day was first observed on May 30th, 1868, when flowers were placed on graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

The State of New York was the first state to officially recognize this holiday which they did in the year 1873 and caught on by the Northern states by 1890. The Southern states refused to acknowledge the day until after WWI when the day changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring American who died fighting in any war. Today it is celebrated by most every State on the last Monday in May as authorized by the US Congress in the National Holiday Act of 1971.

Although not necessarily tied with Memorial Day, this poem is a popularly known and used in regards to those who have died in war:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow 
Between the crosses, row on row 
That mark our place; and in the sky 
The larks, still bravely singing, fly 
Scarce heard amid the guns below. 
We are the Dead. Short days ago 
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, 
Loved and were loved, and now we lie 
In Flanders fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 
To you from failing hands we throw 
The torch; be yours to hold it high. 
If ye break faith with us who die 
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow 
In Flanders fields

This poem was written by LTC John McCrae in 1915 who wrote this after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier who died in the Second Battle of Ypres. It makes reference to the red poppies that grew over the graves of fallen soldiers resulted in the remembrance poppy becoming one of the world's most recognized memorial symbols for soldiers who have died in conflict. In 1915, inspired by McCrae's poem, Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red 
That grows on fields where valor led, 
It seems to signal to the skies 
That blood of heroes never dies.

She thought of the idea of wearing the red poppy on Memorial Day to honor the Departed. She started selling red poppies and all funds benefited servicemen in need. This tradition would spread to Europe by the efforts of Madam Guerin who while visiting the US learned of this custom of Ms. Michael. Eventually the VFW would get involved and nationally started selling poppies. There are various traditions around the nation for Memorial Day, most prominent is the placing of flags to the graves of the deceased.

Traditional observance of this holiday has diminished and many see it as the start of summer vacation where they go camping or have BBQs with all of their friends and families rather than remember the meaning and traditions of this day. Some believe that this occurred as a result of the 1971 Act which gave federal employees a 3-day weekend and made it easier for people to be distracted from the true meaning, thus undermining the intent of the holiday.

In recent times there have been pushes to reform and return to celebrate this day and the honored dead. In 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance was passed which asks that at 3PM (local time) for all Americans to "voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps'." I for one look forward to a return to a day of more solemnity and honor.

In honor of those who have given their all for the service of our nation, I will leave you with this poem written by Father Dennis Edward O'Brien of the United States Marine Corps:

It's the soldier, not the reporter who has given us freedom of the press. 
It's the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. 
It's the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. 
It's the soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. 
It's the soldier who salutes the flag, serves under the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives the protestor the right to burn the flag.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Secrecy: What's the Big Deal?

One of the biggest criticisms I see held against Freemasonry is that we are a "secret society" and that devious and sinister plots have conspired in our meetings. The Fraternities response is that we are rather a private organization with secrets. I would agree with the Masonic response as true secret societies are ones that don't disclose membership, allow members to wear insignia, hold public ceremonies, or, particularly in America, display their meeting places so prominently. Their primary argument is that secrecy is naturally wrong and that nothing good can come from meeting in secret. Aside from the illogical assumption, this anti-secrecy belief overlooks the relationship of secrecy and human nature as well as the need for secrecy in a free society.

Before I continue any further I would like to focus first on the word "secret". The word "secret" comes from the Latin secretus which means to set apart or hide. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a secret society is "any of various oath-bound societies often devoted to brotherhood, moral discipline, and mutual assistance." This is a fair description of Freemasonry, although I still disagree that we [Freemasonry] are a secret society -- maybe it's my bias. I do agree that Freemasonry is a private organization that possesses secrets. It is important to note that privacy is synonymous with secrecy. Privacy is the "quality or state of being apart from company and observation." Privacy is a natural right as everyone has a right to hide or conceal that which they possess or own whether it is a person, place, thing, belief or idea.

As anti-Masons are as diverse as the fraternity is, they denounce secrecy and secrets for a variety of reasons; most simply believe that keeping secrets and secrecy is wrong as it is indicative of plotting against benevolent governments and religious organizations. Even when faced with the proposition that secrecy is the same thing as privacy, many still denounce it often for irrational reasons. Regardless, whether one calls it secrecy or privacy, everyone has a need for it and that is the main focus of this article. Understandably, our secrecy is what feeds their argument as without information they are left with only their imagination and rumors to guide them as to what occurs within the walls of Masonic bodies. Even when faced with the facts they will still stand by the fact that they don't like our private nature.

Now it is laughable to think Freemasonry is truly secret as one only needs to go to a library or get onto the internet to find a vast amount of information regarding our Fraternity, although more often than not some websites information is and was exaggerated and sensationalized. Even many of our own writings are published publicly and open for non-Masons to read. If so much is published why do we keep them private? There are many reasons why we Freemasons continue our private nature and the keeping of secrets. Freemasonry was traditionally extremely private during eras of totalitarianism out of obvious necessity as free-thinking and liberal ideas were seen as dangerous, condemned by tyrants, and forced from public view. 

Overlooking the traditional need for secrecy anti-Masons often state, "If you have nothing to hide, why keep it secret?" This is indicative of a nosy personality and one counter to liberty. Many seek to know what a Mason knows without the effort, without going through the process and earning the information which devalues the information, and would mean nothing to the unworthy and uninitiated. 

In his article "Why Secrecy", Bro. Roger Firestone 33° stated:
Another major reason why secrecy is advocated for the knowledge imparted by Freemasonry is to impart the lesson that our teachings are valuable. We leave many inexpensive items lying carelessly about our homes and offices, whereas truly valuable items are kept locked in safe deposit boxes or other repositories, or are carried with us at all times. In Poe's story, "The Purloined Letter," many hiding places are searched for the letter; having been left in plain view, it is overlooked as worthless. Since knowledge, per se, cannot be locked up physically, keeping it secret is the method used to restrict its circulation and ownership. If the teachings of Freemasonry were made available to anyone as a matter of routine, it would indicate to both members and outsiders that we attach only a modest value to them. Instead, we have spent centuries of effort keeping the truths of Masonry secret and passing them down the generations by memory. This should convince us that what we have labored so hard to possess is valuable indeed.
Bro. Firestone goes on to talk about the psychology of secrecy and secret societies. With further research, I find several journal articles on this very subject covering the rise of "secret societies", secrecy and relationships, and how secrecy builds trust.

As history shows, when the world is out of balance the solution will arise in the needed form. In his article called The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies, Georg Simmel states:

As a general proposition, the secret society emerges everywhere as correlate of despotism and of police control. It acts as protection alike of defense and of offense against the violent pressure of central powers. This is true, not alone in political relations, but in the same way within the church, the school, and the family.
Within any private and voluntary organization, secrecy or privacy is necessary and compatible with trust. Because of the shared experience of members and because they share protected information an organization builds allegiances and meaningful relationships. According to Gary Fine and Lori Holyfield, "The link between trust and secrecy supports group cohesion while leaving room for personal investments." Private organizations rely upon trust to keep private or secret that which has been entrusted to their care. The relationship between privacy and secrecy extends to personal relationships as well as for fraternal ones. Simmel states, "Every relationship between two individuals or two groups will be characterized by the ratio of secrecy that is involved in it." W:.Bro. Cliff Porter in his 2007 article Secrecy and Faith discusses how secrecy breeds trust and courage. Cliff makes the following declaration:
There are many reasons we may love our spouses, but believing we can share anything with them is an important aspect to a healthy relationship. The idea that your closest companion will not share your private moments with anyone else is what allows you to trust them. The idea that we can trust them gives of the courage to share with them. This is the basis of the secrecy of Masonry.
He continues by discussing that in today's modern world Freemasonry is one avenue that still prizes the need for and protection of secrecy and secrets. He also makes the point that in secrecy men may learn as they forget that "listening is often an unintended consequence of maintaining the secrecy and, low and behold, we even learn something here and there." It is also pointed out those who attack secrecy do so for devious and sinister purposes themselves. In the conversations I have with those opposing secrecy I often find beliefs that are contradictory to freedom and human nature. Often those who oppose secrecy are nosy and this often leads to such an obsessive, close-minded personality. In the Paradox of Secrecy, Beryl Bellman states:
The obsessive fear of secrets leads to the denial of the right of secrecy and a rise in the demand for publicity. Concomitantly, distrust of privacy is accompanied by obsession with secrecy. Likewise, an open attitude toward privacy leads to a lessening of concern with secrecy.
While some denounce secrecy on moral grounds, Simmel states that secrecy is a universal sociological form and has nothing to do with moral valuations. Those who believe that secrecy is naturally wrong and use the "nothing-to-hide" argument do so based on assumptions, not fact. They presume that secrets are kept only to hide something wrong, but often privacy and secrecy enhance freedom and liberty since living in a police state, in a state of forced "transparency", inhibits the exercise of natural rights like freedom of speech, association/assembly, and all of those essential to a free society.

Others argue that secrecy is against their faith and religious doctrine, and in the case of those who are Christian, they often overlook Holy Scripture that states there is nothing wrong with secrecy or privacy. Many also seem to forget that since secrecy is universal that everyone keeps secrets and practices secrecy at some level. Those who would deny their own personal secrecy couldn't withstand much questioning concerning intimate aspects of their lives without, as David Flaherty says, "capitulating to the intrusiveness of certain subject matters." They also forget that a key element of a free government, like a Republican or Democratic one, is secrecy.

In my opinion, it is not about Freemasonry having anything to hide, but rather it has everything to do with the sense of entitlement some feel to know the business of others...and frankly, they don't have that right. Entitlement is the belief that one deserves something without putting labor or effort into properly receiving it which is the antithesis to the natural rights that protect secrecy and privacy. As free men we are endowed with the right to keep what is our personal, confidential, private, and secret; and as free men, we do not need to justify the exercise of our Natural Rights.

To the rational mind, they will see that secrecy is the guardian of freedom and liberty, something learned at an early age and is universally used by all human beings. Secrecy is not just some simple notion about concealing information from others, but is an exercise in guarding our thoughts, words, and actions. Secrecy breeds trust and courage and reminds us of the lessons of the Four Cardinal Virtues: Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice.


1. Beidelman, T. O. Secrecy and society: the paradox of knowing and the knowing of paradox. 1993.;view=fulltext. 

2. Bellman, Beryl L. "The Paradox of Secrecy." Human Studies (Springer) 4, no. 1 (March 1981): 1-24. 

3. Dunn, Theron. Why Do We Keep Secrets? September 18, 2007. 

4. Firestone, Roger M. "Why Secrecy?" The Working Tools magazine, August 2006: 30-33. 

5. Holyfield, Lori, and Gary A. Fine. "Secrecy, Trust, and Dangerous Leisure: Generating Group Cohesion in Voluntary Organizations." Social Psychology Quarterly 59, no. 1 (March 1996): 22-38.

6. Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

7. Porter, Cliff. Secrecy and Faith. November 24, 2007. 

8. Sigler, Cory. "What in the world does the world think we’re hiding?" The Working Tools magazine, August 2006: 29.

9. Simmel, Georg. "The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies." American Journal of Sociology (The University of Chicago Press) 11, no. 4 (January 1906): 441-498.

10. Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have 'Nothing to Hide'. May 15, 2011.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Adoniram is a peculiar character in Freemasonry. He is another figure not mentioned in Craft Masonry, but makes an appearance in the Cryptic degrees in the American York Rite and the Lodge of Perfection of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite. In Freemasonry, Adoniram is Hiram's successor after the Tragedy of the Third Degree. His appearance comes to us suddenly, abruptly, and he is elevated to a place of great importance with little explanation as to why.

Focusing primarily on the York Rite of Freemasonry, Adoniram appears in the Royal Master degree of the Cryptic Rite. In the first section of the Royal Master, there is a conversation held between Adoniram and Hiram Abiff that is one of the most beautiful and impacting lectures seen in Freemasonry. If I had to describe in one word the lesson of Adoniram I would choose "Duty"; duty to improve ourselves and the world around us with the finite amount of time we have in this world. There are many theories as to who Adoniram was and there are some who theorize that he is one and the same as Hiram Abiff as they say Adoniram is two names compounded: "Adon" meaning Lord and Hiram, but many reject this as Adoniram is named as the overseer of the workmen in Lebanon and never named to be a worker of brass as Hiram Abiff was; both men appear to be two separate individuals. Out of all the various theories there emerged in Europe a clandestine group known as Adoniramite Freemasonry or sometimes referred to as the Adoptive Rite, but as it was not sustained by the Scriptural history or Masonic tradition it soon ceased to exist.

Adoniram can also be found in the Bible where he is named in charge of those working for King Solomon. In 1 Kings 4:6, he is said to be "over the tribute" and in 1 Kings 5:14 was "over the levy" that was sent to Lebanon. Some believe that Adoniram is the same as Adoram named in 2 Samuel 20:24 who was named to be "over the tribute" under King David, but there is debate as Adoniram is listed to have worked for King Rehoboam (who succeeded Solomon) 47-years after Adoram is mentioned in the 2nd Book of Samuel. 1 Kings also mentions a man named Hadoram that was stoned to death by the people while in discharge of his duties as treasurer or tax-collector. Some still say they were the same person as it is unlikely that even two persons with the similar name would bear the same office and that it is not impossible for someone to have served in officer for 47-years and could have, with this length of time, served in various positions for David, Solomon, and Rehoboam.

Although not tied with the legend of Craft Masonry, Adoniram plays an important figure as the one that succeeded Hiram Abiff as Chief Architect of the Temple. This role isn't necessarily backed up by Biblical references, but the Scriptures do point him out as a prominent figure in the King's Court and relied upon for important aspects of the building of King Solomon's Temple. As with many ancient Biblical figures there is debate as to whether Adoniram is in fact Hiram Abiff, but many do not believe as it is not strongly supported. It is still unclear as to how he gained prominence, but it is believed Adoniram came about as a result of various orders that emerged in France. Remember to be diligent to our duty to God, Country, Family/Friends, and to the Craft.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Virginia Research Priory No.1823

This was announced on the Masonic Society's forum:
On April 27th, 2013, Grand Commander William T. Hargrove established Virginia Research Priory No. 1823 as the first Knights Templar Research Priory in Virginia and in the United States. The purpose of this Research Priory is to perform research on the history, traditions, symbols, ritual, etc., of Chivalric Masonry in general and on Virginia Templary in particular and for its members to serve as a speaker’s bureau for Constituent Commanderies of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Virginia. Membership in Virginia Research Priory No.1823 is open to all Sir Knights who hold membership under the Grand Encampment of the United States of America.
If you would like to become a member of Virginia Research Priory No.1823, please contact any of the following Sir Knights:
Patrick Murphrey:
J. Richard Rawls:
Paul E. Lubic, III:
Peter R. Spring:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Ascension Day

Today marks the 40th day since Easter Sunday and marks the day that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to Heaven. It is most commonly known as Ascension Day, but can also be known as Holy Thursday, Feast Day of the Ascension, or Ascension Thursday. To Christian churches, this day is equal with Feasts of the Passion, Easter, and Pentecost.

This day is usually celebrated with feasts and in some areas has been moved to the following Sunday. Many different ceremonies are used to illustrate the ascension of Christ, and in some instances the descending of Satan. There are other rituals connected with it such blessings of fruits and beans, lighting of candles, the extinguishing of the Easter or paschal candle, and processions of torches and banners affixed with emblems of fruits and vegetables. Even Johann Sebastian Bach, the celebrated composer,  created several cantatas and a piece called the Ascension Oratorio which was to be performed in church services on this day.

Often there is an Afterfeast that lasts for 8-days until the Friday before Pentecost which ends the Easter cycle.

Some claim that this day has been practiced since the beginning of the Christian faith, but no recorded evidence exists before the 4th Century.

The description of the Ascension of Christ comes to us in the Books of Luke (24:50-53) and Mark (16:19) as well as in the Acts of the Apostles (1:9-11). The Ascension is one of the five milestones in the Gospel narrative of the life of Christ; the others are the Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. It is after Christ's Ascension that angels appear before the Apostles and describes to them the Second Coming of Christ as coming back in a like manner.

It is interesting to note that as a Knights Templar, most Commanderies do not hold an Observance for this day. It is curious to note in older Templar monitors that there was a ceremony that laid out a ceremony for an Ascension Observance. It's a fascinating to read. I know some Commanderies do celebrate this and from I've read it's on the following Sunday, on Pentecost.

Remember this day.

Monday, May 6, 2013

United States Vice Presidents and Freemasonry

Well, I've previously written two articles that have mentioned those Masons who have served the United States as President, but I have not honored those who served as Vice President. Out of the 47 Vice Presidents, 18 of them have been Freemasons.

George Clinton

He served as the 4th Vice President and the first to die while in office. He served under Presidents Jefferson and Madison. He had previously served as Governor of New York, member of the Continental Congress, and General during the American Revolution.

It is unsure when he was initiated into Masonry, but it is appears to be a member of Warren Lodge #17 in NYC where he served as Worshipful Master in 1800.

Elbridge Gerry

Ebridge Gerry served as the 5th Vice President and also died while serving for President Madison. He was a Signer of the Declaration of Independence, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and Governor of Massachusetts from 1810-1811.

Although it's not something to honor, he is most well-known for what we know today as "gerrymandering" which is the practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts. This term came about as a result of Governor Gerry's redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts, in the shape of a salamander, which would benefit the Democratic-Republican Party.

It is believed that he was a member of Philanthropic Lodge of Marblehead, MA, but the records of this lodge are missing from the period 1760-78 when he logically would have been initiated.

Daniel D. Tompkins

He served as the 6th Vice President under President Monroe. Previously he had served as a member of the House of Representatives, an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, and as Governor of New York.

He was made a Mason in Hiram Lodge #72 in Mt. Pleasant, NY, on Feb 3, 1800. After the Lodge closed he was admitted as a member of Salem Lodge #74 in Westchester County, NY. He served as Deputy Grand Secretary, Grand Secretary, and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of NY.

He was a member of the Royal Arch Masons and Knights Templar. He was an honorary member of Morton Commandery #4 in NYC. He received the 32° on Nov 8, 1808. 5-years later he received the 33° at the hands of the Provisional Supreme Council and was immediately elected as the first Sovereign Grand Commander of the newly formed Supreme Council of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction. He served in this office until his death in 1825.

Richard M. Johnson

He served as the 9th Vice President under President Van Buren. He previously served in the House of Representatives and the US Senate. In the electoral vote for Vice President in 1837, no candidate gained a majority in the Electoral College, and the election was thereby thrown into the Senate. He came out the victor and is the only Vice President to be elected by such means.

The dates into which he entered Freemasonry are not known, but he is known to be a member of Hiram Lodge #4 in Frankfort, KY. He is listed as a Past Master in the records of the meeting of Oct 1, 1806, and demitted in June 20, 1808. His name appears as member and Past Master in the records of Mt. Vernon Lodge #14 in August of 1807. He is also listed as a member of Mt. Vernon Chapter (later renamed Georgetown Chapter #13), Royal Arch Masons, in Georgetown, KY.

George M. Dallas

He served as the 11th Vice President for President Polk. He also served as Mayor of Philadelphia, US Senator, Minister to Russia, and Minister to Great Britain.

He was initiated into Franklin Lodge #134 in Mar 21, 1818, in Philadelphia, PA. He served as Master of this Lodge in 1820 and 1821. He served the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1835. Most likely due to the anti-Masonic crusade sweeping through the United States the Franklin Lodge closed its doors and when it reorganized 14-years later he did not rejoin it.

During the anti-Masonic years he was actually called to a hearing to testify against the Masonic fraternity. He refused to be sworn in and the inquisition failed. He attended the May 1, 1847, Masonic cornerstone dedication of the Smithsonian Institution. There are records of his further Masonic activities. He died on New Year's Eve 1864 and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania held a memorial service for him in 1865.

William R. King

He served as the 13th Vice President where he died in office from poor health while serving under President Pierce. He also served in the House of Representatives, US Senate, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and Minister to France.

He was a member of Phoenix Lodge #8 in Fayetteville, NC. He was Initiated in April of 1808, May 5, 1809, and Dec 15, 1810.

John C. Breckenridge

He served as the 14th Vice President under President Buchanan. He also had served as a Major in the War with Mexico, Congressman in the US House of Representatives. During the Civil War he would serve in the Confederate Army as a Major General. He also served as Secretary of War under Jefferson Davis until the end of the war when he fled to Cuba and then to Europe, but would eventually return to the States never to enter into politics again.

The dates of initiation are unknown, but he is known to be a member of Des Moines Lodge #41 (now #1) on Feb 7, 1842, in Burlington, IA. After his return to America he would become a member of Good Samaritan Lodge #174 in Lexington, KY, in 1871. He was a member of Temple Chapter #19, Royal Arch Masons, and Webb Commandery #2, Knights Templar, both in Lexington and would receive the 33° on Mar 28, 1860. When he died in 1875 he was buried with Templar honors.

Andrew Johnson

He served as the 16th Vice President until he ascended to President after Lincoln had been assassinated. He also served as a member of the US House of Representatives, US Senate, and as Governor of Tennessee.

He was Initiated, Passed, and Raised in Greeneville Lodge #119 (now #3) at Greeneville, TN, in 1851. He was probably a member of Greeneville Chapter #82, Royal Arch Masons, since he joined Nashville Commandery of Knights Templar #1 in 1859. He received the Scottish Rite degrees in the White House in 1867.

Schuyler Colfax

Colfax served as the 17th Vice President under President Grant. He had previously served in the US House of Representatives where he served as Speaker of the House.

He was Initiated as an Entered Apprentice in Lebanon Lodge #7, Washington DC, on Aug 15, 1856, and the other two degrees were performed by St. Joseph Lodge #45 in South Bend, IN.

Adlai E. Stevenson

He served as the 23rd Vice President under President Cleveland. He had previously served in the US House of Representatives. He also served as District Attorney, member of the House of Representatives, and Assistant Postmaster General.

He received the degrees of Masonry in the now extinct Metamora Lodge #82 in 1858 in Metamora, IL. He later affiliated with Bloomington Lodge #43 in Bloomington, IL, and served as Master in 1874. He served the Grand Lodge of Illinois as Grand Orator in 1895-96. He was a member of Stewart Peoria Chapter #7, Royal Arch Masons; Metamora Council #38, Cryptic Masons; and DeMolay Commandery #24, Knights Templar, in Bloomington.

Garret A. Hobart

He served as the 24th Vice President under President McKinley where he died in office. He had previously served as President of the New Jersey Senator.

He was Initiated to the degree of Entered Apprentice Mason on July 9, 1867; Passed to the degree of Fellowcraft on Oct 31, 1867; and Raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason on Dec 8th, 1868, in Falls City Lodge #82 in Paterson, NJ. He was initiated into Cataract Chapter #10, Royal Arch Masons, on Nov 6, 1871, and dubbed a knight in St. Omer Commandery #13, Knights Templar, in the same year. He would become a charter member of Adelphic Chapter #33, Royal Arch Masons, on Oct 13, 1874, and charter member of Melita Commandery #13, Knights Templar, on May 10, 1876. He would become a life member of Washington Commander #1 in Washington DC. He received the 32° of the Scottish Rite degrees in Jew Jersey on Jan 31, 1876.

Theodore Roosevelt

Replacing Hobart, Roosevelt served as the 25th Vice President until he ascended to the office of President after the assassination of McKinley. He was known as the barrel-chested "bull moose" hero of the Spanish-American War and had previously served as Governor of New York as well as Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

He was Initiated, Passed, and Raised in Matinecock Lodge #806, Oyster Bay, NY in 1901. He was an honorary member of Pentalpha Lodge #23 in Washington DC. He was present at many cornerstone dedications like the one done for the House of Representatives office building on Apr 14, 1906.

Charles W. Fairbanks

Mr. Fairbanks served as the 26th Vice President under President Teddy Roosevelt. He also served as a Chairman of the Indiana Republican Convention and US Senator.

He was made a Mason "at sight" in Oriental Lodge #500 in Indianapolis, IN, on Dec 27, 1904. He was exalted to degree of Royal Arch Mason on Mar 20, 1905, in Keystone Chapter #60 and created a Knight Templar in Raper Commandery #1 on June 26, 1905, in Indianapolis. He received his 32° in Indiana Consistory at Indianapolis on Nov 8, 1905, and a member of Murat Shrine Temple, Indianapolis on Apr 12, 1907.

Thomas R. Marshall

He served as the 28th Vice President under President Wilson. He had previously served as Governor of Indiana.

He received the degrees of Masonry in Columbia City Lodge #189 in Columbia City, IN, in 1881. He was a member of Columbia Chapter #54, Royal Arch Masons, where he served as High Priest from 1889 to 1895, and served the Grand Chapter of Indiana as Grand high Priest in 1899-1900. He was a member of Columbia City Council #55, Cryptic Masons, where he served as Illustrious Master from 1887 to 1893, and served the Grand Council of Indiana as Illustrious Grand Master in 1895-1896. He was knighted in Ft. Wayne Commandery #4, Knights Templar. He would become a charter member of Cyrene Commandery #34 in Columbia City on Apr 20th, 1892, where he served as Eminent Commander in 1897-1898

He received the 32° in Indiana Consistory on Apr 19, 1888, and the 33° on Sep 20, 1898, and became an active member of the Supreme Council of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, on Sep 21, 1911.

Henry A. Wallace

He served as the 33rd Vice President under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He had previously been the Secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of Commerce.

He received the degrees of Masonry in Capital Lodge #110 in Des Moines, IA, in 1927. He received the 32° in Des Moines in 1928, but would affiliate with the Scottish Rite in Washington DC in 1935.

Harry S. Truman

He served as the 34th Vice President until he ascended to the office of President after FDR's death. He had previously served as a US Senator.

He was Initiated on Feb. 9, 1909, in Belton Lodge #450, Grandview, Missouri, and, later in that year, he was Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. In 1911, Truman was the first WM of the new Grandview Lodge #618. He served as Grand Master of Missouri from 1940-1941. He served as Worshipful Master of Missouri Lodge of Research while U.S. President, as well as Masonic Ritualist, District Lecturer, and Deputy Grand Master for several years, buried with Masonic rites in Independence, MO, in televised ceremony. He also received the degrees of the Scottish Rite, eventually getting consecrated as a 33° Scottish Rite Mason. When he visited lodges all over the country, he preferred to be introduced as a Past Grand Master rather than as President.

Hubert Humphrey

Hubert Humphrey served as the 38th Vice President under President Lyndon Johnson. He had previously been a US Senator and served as Senate Majority Whip.

I can find very little of his Masonic affiliation other than he was a member of Cataract Lodge #2 in Minneapolis, MN. It's also believed that he was a member of the Knights Templar so we could also assume with that that he was a member of the Royal Arch Masons, but this has not been confirmed.

Gerald Ford

In a politically turbulent time, Ford served as the 40th Vice President, after the resignation of Spiro Agnew as a result of the Watergate Scandal. He would serve under President Nixon until Nixon's resignation and would ascend to the office of President. He had previously served in the House of Representatives where he served as House Minority Leader.

He was Initiated an Entered Apprentice on Sep 30, 1949, in Malta Lodge #465, Grand Rapids, MI; Passed and Raised as a courtesy in Columbia Lodge #3, Washington DC, Apr 20 & May 18, 1951 respectively. He also received the degrees of the Scottish Rite.


1. Bessel, P. (n.d.). U.S. Presidents and Freemasonry. Retrieved from Paul M. Bessel's Homepage: 

2. Bessel, P. (n.d.). Vice Presidents of the U.S. & Freemasonry. Retrieved from Paul M. Bessel's Homepage: 

3. Denslow, W. R. (1957). 10,000 Famous Freemasons. Retrieved from Phoenix Masonry:,000_famous_freemasons/ 

4. Gerrymandering. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

5. King, E. L. (n.d.). Famous Freemasons (A-L). Retrieved from Masonic Info: 

6. King, E. L. (n.d.). Famous Freemasons (M-Z). Retrieved from Masonic Info: 

7. List of Vice Presidents. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia:

8. Grand Lodge of Minnesota. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

9. Grand Lodge of the Month - July 2009. (n.d.). Retrieved from George Washington Masonic Memorial:

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I See You've Traveled Some

By Unknown

Wherever you may chance to be
Wherever you may roam,  

Far away in foreign lands; 
Or just at Home Sweet Home;  

It always gives you pleasure, 
it makes your heart strings hum  

Just to hear the words of cheer, 
"I see you've traveled some."  

When you get a brother's greeting, 
And he takes you by the hand,  

It thrills you with a feeling that you cannot understand,  
You feel that bond of brotherhood that tie that's sure to come  

When you hear him say in a friendly way 
"I see you've traveled some."  

And if you are a stranger, 
In strange lands all alone  

If fate has left you stranded 
Dead broke and far from home,  

It thrills you--makes you numb, 
When he says with a grip of fellowship, 
"I see you've traveled some."  

And when your final summons comes, 
To take a last long trip,  

Adorned with Lambskins Apron White 
 and gems of fellowship  

The tiler at the Golden Gate, 
With square and rule and plumb  

Will size up your pin and say "Walk In", 
"I see you've traveled some."