Monday, August 31, 2020

I Remember My Father

Today marks 2-years since my Father passed away. I sit here in California working and I've started writing down everything I remember about him. This doesn't nearly encompass everything he was, but it is what I wish to share:

I remember him working multiple jobs to support his wife and kids. 

I remember him carrying me when I broke my arm in elementary school. 

I remember watching horror movies with him and Laura then scaring Laura while we cleaned GeriKens. 

I remember him saving me when I thought I was stronger than the river's rapids. 

I remember him giving me my first beer and so many more over the years. 

I remember every hunting and camping trip to the Cabin. 

I remember him teaching me to ride motorcycles and encouraging me to get back up when I fell. 

I remember his stories and jokes, many of them inappropriate, but hilarious. 

I remember his wrath when I messed up and stepped over the line...which was a lot. 

I remember him teaching me Pinochle when I was sick and the countless games we played over the years. 

I remember the look of pride on his face when Laura was sworn in as a police officer. 

I remember how he melted when his grandchildren were born. 

I remember the look of fear in his eyes when Laura and I deployed to Iraq, and the relief when we were returned. 

I remember the values and lessons he passed on, some were harder to learn than others. 

I remember the last words we spoke to each other. 

I will cherish every good memory and reflect upon the bad ones. 

I miss you Dad and God knows what I would give to just hear your voice one more time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Sights and Places: Dayton Masonic Center

Another beautiful Masonic building lies in the State known as the "Mother of Presidents". Lying near the Great Miami River in Dayton, Ohio, the Dayton Masonic Center stands a very impressive structure sitting on a large property that is beautifully landscaped. It was built by an association established by 14 Masonic groups. It took nearly 3-years to complete using around 450-workers total (many of whom were Masons themselves) and, today, would cost around $40-million. The ground was broken on July 20th, 1925, the cornerstone was laid on May 19th, 1926, and the building was opened on April 1st, 1928.

Prior to this building, the Dayton Masons were located at a renovated Lutheran church that they purchased in 1903. In 1913, there was a massive flood that damaged their old Lodge room so they were looking for a new location. That and they were also running out of space to accommodate every Lodge and Masonic groups. They purchased land that was higher up and safe from floods in the form of the Stoddard Mansion; the Stoddard family was a car manufacturer that went bankrupt and had to sell the mansion.

The building measures 265-feet long, 190-feet wide, and 80-feet high. It is composed of steel, cement, and stone. The stone includes 55,000 cubic feet of Bedford Stone as well as 15,000 cubic feet of hard limestone and marble from Vermont, Alabama, and Tennessee which took 20 train carloads to transport. The marble was used for the interior floors, wainscotings, partitions, and stairways. The building was designed to incorporate Grecian-style architecture. The land was later purchased that was converted to a parking lot that can hold roughly 250-vehicles

Entry Hall

The Dayton Masonic Center houses a number of impressive rooms to include the Schiewetz Auditorium which has 1500 seats. This auditorium would be used for large initiation ceremonies for groups such as the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.

Entrance to the Auditorium

View of the stage

View from the stage

For use by the York Rite, specifically the Knights Templar, there is the Templar Room which is covered with rich colors and woodwork and can seat up to 200.

The Templar Room

They have a number of Lodge rooms, but I am only showing you one which has been described as the most beautiful in the building.

A Blue Lodge

It also holds a library that I think is beautifully furnished.

The last room is the Ballroom which is used for a number of gala events and can be rented out for a number of public or private events.

The Ballroom prepared for a wedding

I hope one day to visit this location and get a tour.


1. Dayton Masonic Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from Wikipedia: 

2. Dayton Masonic Center Video Tour. (2018, April 22). Retrieved from Freemasons for Dummies: 

3. History. (n.d.). Retrieved from Dayton Masonic Foundation: 

4. S2: The Masonic Temple. (n.d.). Retrieved from Decoding Dayton: 

5. The Dayton Masonic Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Royal Order of the Red Branch of Eri

As I mentioned in my first article on the Allied Masonic Degrees (AMD), is an invitation organization composed of detached degrees and honors, one of which is known as the Royal Order of the Red Branch of Eri. The Red Branch of Eri is said to be an ancient order that was established in Ireland that was passed down through the generations before being housed within the AMD. This order exists "within the bosom of the Grand Council and is a Chamber thereof" and is considered the pinnacle of the Allied Masonic Degrees. It is important to note that there is a slight difference between the English and American orders. The American confers this order for meritorious service while in England a member needs to be a VI┬║ in the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia before they are eligible.

The degrees embodied in the Royal Order of the Red Branch of Eri are: 

Man-at-Arms or Associate, Red Branch of Eri (ARBE)
Esquire or Member, Red Branch of Eri (MRBE)
Knight or Knight Red Branch of Eri (KRBE)
Knight Commander or Knight Commander Red Branch of Eri (KCRBE)
Knight Grand Cross or Knight Grand Cross Red Branch of Eri (KGCRBE)
Knight Supreme Grand Cross or Knight Supreme Grand Cross Red Branch of Eri (KSGCRBE)

Councils may elect a Brother a Man-at-Arms (ARBE) for exceptional service to their Council and who are not presently holding an elected office. Each year, a Council may elect up to two Brothers who hold office in a Council to the rank of Esquire (MRBE). For distinguished service to the AMD and having membership in the AMD for 7-years, each year a Council may honor up to two Brothers by investing them with the rank of Knight (KRBE). For those Brothers who have served or are currently serving as Sovereign Master of an AMD Council, they can be elected to be invested with the rank of Knight Commander (KCRBE). The rank of Knight Grand Cross (KGCRBE) is available for those Brothers who are Present or Past Grand Officers of the Grand Council. The rank of Knight Supreme Grand Cross (KSGCRBE) is for those Brothers who currently or have served as the Most Venerable Sovereign Grand Master of the Grand Council.

Like the Blue Lodge, the Red Branch of Eri presents the legendary history of the order and a series of lessons for the candidates being invested with the rank of Man-at-Arms, Esquire, and Knight. The ranks of Knight Commander, Grand Cross, and Supreme Grand Cross are not exemplified.

The basic organizational unit is known as a Faslairt and represents an encampment. Per the Constitution of the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees of the USA, only Knight Commanders may preside over a Faslairt or serve as a governing official. Tradition holds that the Senior Knight Commander presides over the Faslairt which is composed of the following officers:

Commander or Chieftain
Ard Brehon
Ard Cruimthear
Ard Ollam
Four Bards
Master of Ceremonies
Captain of the Guard
Herald or Bollasain
Standard Bearer
Sword Bearer
4 Knights

NOTE: 'Ard' and 'Knight' are used synonymously, though 'Ard' actually means 'High.'

The Jewel of the Order is a white Salem Cross having a red branch in leaf superimposed thereon, but not all wear this jewel. Each degree wears slightly different regalia. Men-at-Arms (ARBE) wears a blue and white sash and their jewel is that of a red cross over a green wreath (see Fig 1).

Fig. 1

Esquires (MRBE) wear a sash of green, white, and blue and their jewel is a green Templar cross suspended from a blue ribbon (see Fig 2). 

Fig. 2

Knights (KRBE) wear a yellow, green, white, and blue sash; a pocket jewel that depicts the motto "Erin Go Bragh" a circle surrounding a harp with an 8-pointed star; and they wear the jewel of the order suspended from a green ribbon (see Fig 3).

Fig. 3

Knight Commanders (KCRBE) wears a sash of red, yellow, green, white, and blue; the same pocket jewel as Knights do; a gold Latin cross with clovers adorning it; and their jewel is a Patriarchal cross surmounted with a crown (see Fig 4).

Fig. 4

Knights Grand Cross (KGCRBE) wear a sash of black, red, yellow, green, white, and blue; a pocket jewel that depicts the motto "Erin Go Bragh" looped around a Patriarchal cross embossed upon a style of a Maltese cross; and they wear the same jewel as Knight Commanders (see Fig 5).

Fig. 5

Knights Supreme Grand Cross (KSGCRBE) wears a pocket jewel that depicts the motto of the order which surrounds a Salem Cross surmounted with a cross, and a collar from which a Salem cross surmounted with a crown is suspended (see Fig 6).

Fig. 6

According to legend, the Red Branch of Eri traces its history back to ancient Ireland. An ancient book known as 'The Annals of the Four Masters of Ireland' tells of the Knights of the Collar of Eri as instituted by King Eamhium and his eight princes over the armies of the four provinces of Ireland, i.e.: Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connaught. In these ancient times, there seem to have been multiple knighthoods and this order seems to be an amalgamated descendant of those knighthoods.

As to the modern history of the order, Worshipful Brother F. G. Irwin, of Inhabitants Lodge No.178, received the order in 1858 from the O'Donnell family who had passed it down father to son. W:.Bro. Irwin would go onto restore and reorganize the order in England under the aegis of the Grand Mur-Ollamham; the name "Mur-Ollamham" translates as "College of the Learned." Bro. John Yarker of England would preside over the "English Revival Order of the Red Branch of Eri" and whose ritual is currently used. In 1933, John R. Shute and William M. Brown, both Past Sovereign Grand Masters, obtained permission from England to establish the order in the US.


1. Article XX, Constitution. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Council, Allied Masonic Degrees, USA: 

2. Dominic, J. (2016, October 31). Royal Order of the Red Branch of Eri. Retrieved from Doylestown Lodge 245:,Ireland%20possessed%20highly%20developed%20literature. 

3. Moore, T. (1835). The History of Ireland. Paris: Baudry's European Library. Retrieved from 

4. Red Branch of Eri. (n.d.). Retrieved from Grand Council, Allied Masonic Degrees, USA:

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Robert Samber

In November 2017, I attended a presentation by Shawn Eyer at the Detroit Masonic Temple. During the presentation, he referenced several Masonic authors from the 18th century. I learned that one of the earliest known essays written by a Mason concerning Freemasonry was by Robert Samber. Robert Samber was an English Freemason, author, and translator.

Samber was born in 1682 around Lymington, Hampshire, England. He faced many disadvantages as he was a younger son in a Catholic family when Protestantism had taken hold of England which limited his career choices. After considering joining the clergy, he began a literary career. Samber authored several documents and include "Treaties on the Plague" which gives instructions on how to prevent and mitigate the spread of the plague. This document was dedicated to the Duke of Montague who was the Grand Master of the Premier Grand Lodge (the Moderns).

Samber also wrote under the pseudonym "Eugenius Philalethes" which was also used by alchemist Thomas Vaughan. It is debated as to whether he was a Rosicrucian or not, but using this pseudonym as a homage to Thomas Vaughan, himself a famous alchemist and Rosicrucian, seems to support the possibility. Long Livers, a compilation of the gathered knowledge of the time, was written by Harouet de Longeville and was translated, with a preface, by Robert Samber using his pseudonym. This preface was a dedication to the Grand Master and brethren of England and Ireland. Samber made some very bold pronouncements about Freemasonry and its lineage in this preface. In one instance he stated that Freemasonry belonged to "an uninterrupted Tradition" and that Masons are "a chosen Generation, a royal Priesthood." I was fascinated to learn that he is also the first known author to use the term "living stones" in regards to Freemasons which is still used in our ritual today and is one of my favorite orations in Freemasonry.

Among his non-Masonic translations is Charles Perrault's "Histories and Tales of Long Ago, with Morals", which later became known as "Tales of Mother Goose" which contain tales such as "Sleeping Beauty," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Cinderella," "Puss in Boots," and other children's stories.

For the most part, men and Masons alike saw him as an honorable man. One paper I read about him was not a fan as he was described as a "rogue Catholic" and a "rogue Freemason" who used his connections for his own profit.


1. Armitage, E. (1898). Robert Samber. Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, 11, 103-108. 

2. Blom, J., & Blom, F. (n.d.). Samber, Robert. Retrieved from Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: 

3. Brother Eugenius Philalethes sendeth greeting. (2007, May 31). Retrieved from The Burning Taper: 

4. Eyer, S. (2017). Wisdom of the Founding Brethren. Retrieved from 

5. Eyer, S. (n.d.). The Essential Secrets of Masonry. Retrieved from 

6. Gould, R. (1884). The History of Freemasonry. London. 

7. History of the Philalethes Society. (n.d.). Retrieved from The Philalethes Society: 

8. Loiselle, K. (2017, May). From Enlightenment to Revolution. Retrieved from The California Freemason: