FAQ: What is the oldest Lodge Room in the world? In the US?

Discussion in 'Frequently Asked Questions' started by Larry the Mason from Holbrook, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. The Freemasonry FAQ

    Version 1.0
    August 2006

    This Frequently Asked Question comes from the weekly USENET MASONRY FAQ, posted to alt.freemasonry every Friday at 08:00 Pacific. Please refer to the weekly FAQ for other resource and contact information.

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    What is the oldest Lodge Room in the world? In the US?

    "St. John's Chapel, Edinburgh, Scotland is said to be the oldest
    Masonic Lodge Room (1736) in the world. The oldest known Lodge Room in
    the U.S. is situated in Prentiss House, Marble head, Massachusetts
    (1760).The oldest Masonic Lodge Building is the Lodge Hall of Royal
    White Hart Lodge No. 2, Halltax, Northings, North Carolina (1771)."
    (FMBITS.TXT)

    Other information disagrees with this, stating that the oldest
    American Lodge Room is "Masons Hall in Richmond, Virginia, the home of
    Richmond Randolph Lodge No. 19 and Richmond Royal Arch Chapter No. 3.
    The building owned by Royal White Hart Lodge wasn't built until 1821.
    Masons Hall was built in 1785. It was originally the home of Richmond
    Lodge No. 10, the first wholly new Lodge chartered by the Grand Lodge
    of Virginia. It was also the first permanent home of the Grand Lodge
    of Virginia." (from Northern Light)
     
  2. K.S.

    K.S. Registered User

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    interesting...
     
  3. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

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    Guess you just added to my list. Will this never end. Thanks for the light.
     
  4. Mindovermatter Ace

    Mindovermatter Ace Registered User

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    I believe this to be incorrect as there were a few lodges granted charter "before" 1771 in New Orleans before the American Revolution. They were French SR lodges but nonetheless chartered for work as Freemasons.
     
  5. Mindovermatter Ace

    Mindovermatter Ace Registered User

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    LOUISIANA FREEMASONRY
    A BRIEF HISTORY
    WILLIAM J. MOLLERE, PM, TRINITY UNION LODGE No.372, F&AM, LOUISIANA(His biography is at the end of the article)
    Louisiana is a unique State, as are all States within our republic called these United States ofAmerica. Louisiana is famous for its foods and flavors – it is the home of gumbo – and Masonry inLouisiana is described as just that – a gumbo.
    Louisiana is situated at the mouth of one of the great rivers of the world – the Mississippi River.Almost the entire state is composed of sediment deposited from the Mississippi River over thousands ofyears. There are ridges along the northern edge with Mt. Driscoll, near Ruston, being the highest elevationat 534 feet above sea level. New Orleans, a great international city with many unusual features, sits on amud bank along the banks of the Mississippi River near the mouth, with a very large and shallow LakePontchartrain on its northern limits, and has the distinction in places due to subsidence of being 22 feetbelow sea level. The shape of the state resembles an old shoe with the toes sticking out.
    First settled as early as 6,000 years ago by paleolithic tribes who left behind such impressivestructures as the Poverty Point mound complex, the region was first explored by Europeans as early as1519 when Alvarez de Pindea's Spanish expedition discovered what was probably the mouth of theMississippi River while exploring the Gulf of Mexico. Hernando de Soto's ill-fated expedition happenedupon the Mississippi River probably around Natchez, Mississippi around 1542 as his troops transversedfrom Florida westward looking for gold. He was buried in the River when an unfriendly native's arrowpermitted him to enter his Heavenly House of Gold. In 1682, Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle, sailedfrom Canada through the Great Lakes and down the River and planted a cross near the mouth of theRiver, and claimed all of the territory drained by the River for Louis XIV, for whom Louisiana is named.Louis de St. Denis established Fort St. Jean Baptiste in 1715 on the Red River as the first permanentsettlement in the Mississippi Valley – the Fort became the Town of Natchitoches. New Orleans wasfounded by Jean Baptiste Lemoyne de Bienville and his brother Pierre Lemoyne d'Iberville in 1718 andnamed for Phillippe, Duc D'Orleans, and a cathedral was built the same year making St. Louis Cathedralthe oldest in the United States.
    In 1723, New Orleans replaced Biloxi as the capital of Louisiana. In 1751, sugar cane wasintroduced as a crop. Numerous French settlers, together with their African slaves, settled in New Orleansand began cultivating indigo, sugar cane and tobacco. John Law, Louis XIV's finance minister, settledmany Germans from the Alsace's region north of New Orleans along the “River Parishes” in an area stillknown as the German Coast. In 1762, Louis XV gave the Isle of Orleans and the Louisiana Territory tohis cousin, Charles III of Spain, prior to the signing of the Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years' War(which we refer to as the French & Indian War). By that Treaty in 1763, England gained Canada and theFlorida Territory which included the land east of the Mississippi River north of the Isle of Orleans andestablished New Richmond which had been and would again become Baton Rouge. In 1764, the firstAcadian families (referred to as Cajuns) began arriving from Nova Scotia and settled in Louisiananorthwest of New Orleans. Following the Revolutionary War, Spain regained all of the Florida Territoryfrom England.
    In 1800, Spain was forced to give the Louisiana Territory back to Napoleon, who in 1803 sold theIsle of Orleans and all of the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15,000,000. In 1804, theTerritory was divided into the Territory of Orleans (south of the 33 degree latitude) and the Territory ofLouisiana (north of the 33 degree latitude). William C. C. Claiborne was appointed Governor of theTerritory of Orleans. In 1810, settlers in St. Francisville, north of Baton Rouge, revolted against theSpanish and captured Fort San Carlos (Baton Rouge), Biloxi and Mobile – all of the land west of thePerdido River to the Mississippi River and south of the 31 degree latitude and declared an independentrepublic called the Republic of West Florida. President Madison ordered Governor Claiborne to seize theterritory and divided the land into southern Alabama, southern Mississippi, and the County of Feliciana inLouisiana. The Territory of Orleans and the County of Feliciana were admitted into the Union asLouisiana, the 18th State, in 1812. The War of 1812 had its last important battle in 1815 as Gen. Andrew




    Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans aided by Jean Lafitte. Baton Rouge became thecapital in 1849. Louisiana seceded from the Union in 1861, briefly became a Republic, and then enteredthe Confederacy. It was readmitted to the Union in 1868. I give you this very brief history lesson onLouisiana became most of these events played an important part in the history of Masonry in Louisiana.
    Now to the events that make Louisiana Masonry a gumbo and so interesting: Freemasonsprobably first arrived in Louisiana around 1745 from Bordeaux, France. They arrived in Bay St. Louis,Mississippi and traveled to New Orleans through Lake Pontchartrain, down Bayou St. John to the BasinStreet wharf and the edge of the City of New Orleans. There was no way to come up the mouth of theMississippi River due to delta development and mud flats. Thus all commerce came south to New Orleanson the Mississippi River, was transported off flat boats and keel boats to wagons and across the City toBasin Street where ocean-going vessels were able to dock on Bayou St. John. The early Masons were allmerchants and practiced their Masonry in private. In 1750, there were approximately 5,000 people in theTerritory.
    In 1752, a warrant arrived from France to form la Parfaite Harmonie Loge (Perfect HarmonyLodge) which was French Rite. In 1757, a charter was issued to Perfect Harmony to also work in theScotch Rite from Bordeaux. In 1763, Loge de Parfaite l'Ecosse (Lodge of Perfection) was opened underScottish Rite ritual, and in 1765 a second Scottish Rite lodge, La Consolante Maconne, received itscharter from Bordeaux. (These dates have recently been confirmed by materials returned to the GrandOrient of France. The materials had been confiscated by the Germans in 1941, recovered by the Russiansin 1945 and returned to France in 1999.) This was all prior to Henry Franken opening his Albany, NewYork “Ineffable Lodge” in 1767. Scottish Rite first was practiced in North America in New Orleans! Bythe Treaty of Paris, New Orleans became Spanish, not French, and the residents were not happy. In 1766the residents revolted and threw out the Spanish administrators and the small garrison. In 1767, an Irishborn Spanish general named Don Alexandro O'Reilly, arrived and quieted the rebellion and executed allof the leaders – most of whom were Freemasons. Spanish rule was harsh and Masonry was not tolerated,mostly due to the Papal Bull of 1738 denouncing Freemasonry and being enforced throughout SpanishTerritories. All lodges disbanded or met under cover of dark and outside of the French Quarter – the NewOrleans city limits. American merchants and adventurers began arriving in New Orleans in the 1760'scoming down the Mississippi River from the Ohio and the Tennessee Rivers. These “foreigners” were notreadily welcomed and had to live outside of the city limits – most settled north of a wide canal borderingthe city and began an area known as the American Quarter – today known as Downtown or the CentralBusiness District. The canal was eventually covered and became Canal Street – the widest boulevard inthe western hemisphere.
    During the American Revolutionary War, the French and Spanish sided with the AmericanColonists and several important battles of the American Revolution were fought in the area – NewRichmond (Baton Rouge) was captured in a large battle, the Battle of Bayou Manchac, and the Battle ofMobile Bay were the most noteworthy. These battles were all led by the new Spanish Governor, DonBernardo de Galvez. Galvez worked to reconcile the French, American and Spanish people and he even“looked the other way” as several lodges openly reorganized. Governor Miro who followed Galvezfollowed the same philosophy – a older version of “don't ask – don't tell”. Baron Carondelet, whofollowed Miro as Governor also favored Masonry by allowing meetings to actually take place within theCity.
    In 1793, Parfaite Union (Perfect Union) Lodge was organized by several Masons living in NewOrleans and applied to the Grand Lodge of South Carolina for a charter. On March 30, 1794, Loge laParfaite Union No.29, having been duly constituted as a York Rite Lodge held the first installation ofofficers. The first Master was Laurent Sigur. That same year Masons who practiced using the French Ritepetitioned the Grand Orient of France for a charter for Etoile Polaire Loge (Polar Star). The Grand Orienthad suspended all of its operations due to the French Revolution. The group then applied to the ProvincialLodge in Marseilles in 1796 for a charter. The charter was granted, but due to travel restrictions, the firstinstallation of officers did not occur until St John's Day, December 27, 1798 with Duprelong Petavin asthe first Master. The Grand Orient resumed labor in 1803, took action on the application and issued acharter in 1804 to Polar Star Lodge No.4263, and deputized Charles Tessier to deliver the document. TheLodge was reconstituted and the new officers were installed on November 11, 1804 with Andre Chastant




    as Master.
    When British Craft Masonry was first introduced into France about 1726, it spread quickly to all

    of the French colonies – especially those in the West Indies. Martinique had its first lodge in 1738, Haitiby 1749, and Guadeloupe by 1766. Haiti even had a Provincial Grand Lodge by 1778. The Grand Orientof France recorded over twenty-five lodges being formed between 1738 and 1776 on these islands. Manyof these Masons influenced the development of Masonry in New Orleans. British Masonry and thenAmerican Masonry also influenced the islands as St. Lucia and Trinidad had lodges forming. By 1786,the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania had issued charters in Santo Domingo and in the Lesser Antilles andeven moved charters to Cuba when rebellion erupted due to revolution in Haiti. A great deal of Masonrywas happening in the Caribbean area – most of which would influence Masonry in Louisiana as settlerswho were Masonic leaders moved from the islands to New Orleans during insurrections, revolts andrebellions. New Orleans proved to be a safe haven, a place where families could reunite and whereMasonry was appreciated and welcomed.
    The first known Freemason in the Western Hemisphere was the Governor of Massachusetts,Jonathan Belcher, made a Mason in England in 1704. Daniel Coxe, in 1730 became Provincial GrandMaster of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. In 1733, Henry Price assumed the same title overNew England. Masonry was very influential in the development of colonial America and proved to be avery cohesive influence during the Revolutionary period. The American foreigners to New Orleansbrought many of their ideas about self government and independence with them. Their Masonry alsobrought a new “flavor” to add to the gumbo – York Rite Masonry. Needless to say, in the LouisianaTerritory, the Spanish authorities were watchful of these Americans, and the Masonic leadership in NewOrleans that had always been French and Scottish Rites was watchful of this new form of Freemasonry.
    While the two lodges, Perfect Union and Polar Star, were being instituted and operating, otherevents were occurring in New Orleans Masonry. Several Masons who had belonged to Candor LodgeNo.12 in Charleston, SC, and that Lodge having been closed, had moved to New Orleans and weredetermined to reopen their old Lodge. These Masons applied to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for acharter and were granted a charter for Candor Lodge No.90 on May 18, 1801 with Nicholas Definiels asthe first Master. No record of any activity is known for Candor Lodge No.90; however, the same yearanother group of Masons applied to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for a charter for Charity LodgeNo.93, which was granted on March 1, 1802, and the same N. Definiels was listed as the Master, sosomething occurred that caused Candor Lodge to cease meeting not long after it began operating.Obviously, both Lodges worked under the York Rite system. There was a separation between the Anglo-Saxon “race” and the Latin “race” in New Orleans business and in New Orleans Masonry. Lodgemembership followed along these racial lines for many years.
    On February 15, 1806, Louis Casimir Elizabeth Moreau Lislet acting as Master of la ReunionDesiree Loge No.3013 under the Grand Orient of France, moved its charter from Haiti to New Orleansand applied to the Grand Orient to relocate and resume labor. A duplicate charter was received on July 20,1807 renumbering it as No.3829. It was listed as a Grand Symbolic Lodge with a General Grand Chapterreferring to its grade as a Rose Croix Chapter operating under the French Rite. Lislet was listed as theMaster. According to its minutes, the Lodge did not operate after its November 27, 1808 meeting, butMoreau Lislet continued to be one of the most influential Masons in New Orleans. Polar Star No.4263meanwhile applied to the Grand Orient for a Rose Croix Chapter and this charter was granted as Loge laVertu Recompensee No.5001 with officers installed on May 24, 1807.
    September 2, 1807 saw the first English speaking lodge chartered in New Orleans under theGrand Lodge of New York as Louisiana Lodge No.1 – Edward Livingston, the former Mayor of NewYork City and former Deputy Grand Master of New York, was the first Master. His Brother, RobertLivingston, was the Minister to France who negotiated the Louisiana Purchase. On September 15, 1808,the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania granted a York Rite charter to Lodge la Reunion Desiree No.3829renumbering it Lodge No.112. Louis Lusson was the Master – he had previously served as Senior Wardenin the Lodge. In 1810, two new lodges were reorganized from refugees who arrived from Cuba holdingcharters from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania – Concord Lodge No.117 and Perseverance LodgeNo.118, both dated October 7. That same date, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania granted Royal ArchChapter charters to both Lodges – thus higher York Rite degree work officially entered Louisiana on




    October 7, 1810. Late in 1809, a number of “Northern” Masons living in New Orleans organizedthemselves and applied to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for a charter as Harmony Lodge No.122 – thesecond English speaking lodge in New Orleans. Maunsel White was the first Master installed onNovember 19, 1810. Interestingly, Moreau Lislet was the deputy for the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvaniaduring all of these charterings. (As a side story, Maunsel White was born in Ireland, became a merchantprince in New Orleans and died on December 18, 1863 at the age of 88 and as a very active Freemason.)
    Polar Star Lodge No.4263 on March 24, 1811, applied to the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for acharter and Polar Star Lodge No.129 was reconstituted. This action created great discord and led toseveral members arguing for continuation with the Grand Orient. A lengthy document was drafted byMoreau Lislet that outlined the responsibilities and obligations by and between the former and latternumbered Lodge. (All of these documents are now held by the Supreme Council, AASR, SouthernJurisdiction, in their archives in Washington, DC.) Jean Pinard was installed as the Master on October 20,1811 with RW James Milnor, Esq. signing as Grand Master and attested by George Baker, GrandSecretary. Again, Moreau Lislet was deputized to represent the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
    On June 22, 1811, a group of Scottish Rite Masons obtained a charter from the Grand Consistoryof Jamaica, issued on April 7, 1811, to meet as Bienfaisance Lodge No.1 with Jean Baptiste DesBois, 33o,as Master with thirty-three members. It was the first regularly constituted and distinctively Scottish Ritelodge. The Lodge operated for over a year and then all members transferred to Concord Lodge No.117,and it ceased to operate by May 27, 1812.
    While all of this activity was taking place in New Orleans, Masonry had a presence in theoutlying areas. There were approximately 80,000 people in the Orleans Territory, most of whom lived inNew Orleans. Approximately 1,000 were Masons. The Attakapas country was the second most populacearea – in the south central area of the Territory. The next most populous area was not a part of Louisiana –the West Florida Territory (south of the 31o latitude, east of the Mississippi River, north of BayouManchac and extending to the Perdido River and to East Florida – all Spanish possessions. On thewestern edge, Baton Rouge (renamed Fort San Carlos by the Spanish), Port Hudson and St. Francisvillewere the three most prominent trading centers – all located on the Mississippi River. A number of Masonslived in this area and had unofficially organized a lodge, on The Plains, probably east of Port Hudson nearthe present city of Zachary. While not chartered, these Masons met and enjoyed fraternal relationships.Most of these men resented the Spanish occupation, although most farmed on large Spanish land grants.In the summer of 1810, a number of these men met at Bayou Sara, near St. Francisville, and adopted aplan of government for Spanish West Florida. In September, Fort San Carlos fell as the settlers raised theflag of the Republic of West Florida – the blue banner with the single white five-pointed star in themiddle. They had met “on the square” and under the five points of fellowship, and their flag symbolizedtheir efforts. Fulwar Skipwith, a prominent planter and Freemason was declared the President of theRepublic. Biloxi and Mobile also fell during the rebellion. The Republic extended from the PerdidoRiver, just west of Pensacola and to the Mississippi River. St. Francisville was named the capital. Forninety days the Republic enjoyed its existence until Governor Claiborne troops', under GeneralWilkinson, seized the Republic and annexed it into the United States on December 6, 1810. PresidentMadison divided the Republic into south Alabama with Mobile, south Mississippi with Biloxi and theCounty of Feliciana added to the Territory of Orleans with Baton Rouge, Port Hudson and St.Francisville. By this action, Alabama and Mississippi had direct access to the Gulf of Mexico. Claibornewas a member of Perfect Union Lodge, Wilkinson was a member of Concord Lodge and Madison was amember of a Virginia lodge. The Republic's flag was adopted later by the Texas rebellion andincorporated into the Texas state flag, and the flag later became known as the “Bonnie Blue Flag” duringthat period of the War of Northern Aggression, which some call the Civil War.
    Between 1803 and 1812, the period when the Louisiana Purchase was known as the Territory ofOrleans and the Territory of Louisiana, New Orleans and St. Louis were the leading centers of commerceand activity. Many different types of people came to live and settle the area. Refugees from the WestIndies, adventurers, fortune seekers, political opportunists, and people hoping for a better life came to thearea. Aaron Burr, the former Vice President, and the man who shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel alsocame to New Orleans. Burr, a Freemason, had intentions not totally wholesome. He was somewhat of arenegade in the eastern part of the United States, and decided to act as an agent for the British and




    convince the Latin population in New Orleans that an independent Louisiana, fostered by the Britishbetween the Spanish to the west and American areas to the east and north, would be to everyone'sadvantage – mostly Burr's. His adventure came to naught and he died a broken, penniless man. GeneralWilkinson, Governor Claiborne's military head, was intrigued by Burr's proposition, but realized that hehad better opportunities staying on the side of the United States. Wilkinson was later named Governor ofthe Louisiana Territory, and moved to the Territorial Capital in St. Louis where he became prominent inearly Missouri Masonry.
    In 1803, Jean Baptist Marie Delahogue arrived in New Orleans and affiliated with Charity LodgeNo.93. He had received permission from the Charleston Scottish Rite to confer through the 18o.Delahogue had probably received all of his degrees prior to leaving France. In 1807 he conferred the 32oon Louis Jean Lusson and several other New Orleans Masons. In 1809, Lusson received the 33o fromGabriel Jastram who was deputized through de Grasse-Tilly, one of the founding members of the ScottishRite in the New World. The Grand Consistory was chartered in 1811 and told to report all activities toKingston, Jamaica and Charleston, South Carolina – the two headquarters for Scottish Rite.
    In 1805, Congress allowed the Territory of Orleans to have an elected legislature and agreed toadmit the Territory as a state when the population reached 60,000. A debate began in Congress in 1810when the population reached almost 75,000 as to admission of the Territory as a state. On April 30,1812,the Territory of Orleans became the eighteenth state known as Louisiana.
    On April 18, 1812, Pierre Francois DuBourg, Master of Perfect Union, issued a call to form aGrand Lodge. Perfect Union No.29 (South Carolina), Charity No.93 (Pennsylvania), Louisiana No.1(New York), Concord No.117 (Pennsylvania), Perseverance No.118 (Pennsylvania), Harmony No. 122(Pennsylvania), and Polar Star No.129 (Pennsylvania) responded and met as the Grand Communication ofAncient York Masons. A second meeting was held on May 16 and Charity Lodge No.93 was notrepresented, and Louisiana Lodge No.1 decided not to be a party to the formation of a Grand Lodge. OnJune 13, the five remaining Lodges met and voted to organize the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. On June 20,the Lodges met and elected the officers with P. F. DuBourg elected as the first Grand Master, MoreauLislet as Deputy Grand Master, Jean Blanque as Senior Grand Warden, Francois Pernot as Junior GrandWarden, Jean Pinta as Grand Treasurer, Jean Veron as Grand Secretary, Mathurin Pacaud as GrandOrator , Yves Lemonnier as Grand Pursuivant, and Augustin McCarty as Grand Steward. The RW GrandMaster was duly, regularly and in proper form installed. During his address, DuBourg announced thatHarmony Lodge decided to withdraw from the formation of the Grand Lodge. The two English speakinglodges having both withdrawn their support was disappointing in the formation of the Grand Lodge. Thefive remaining lodges were renumbered according to their entrance into the Grand Lodge. On March 27,1813 the quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge announced that a Grand Royal Arch Chapter hadbeen organized and attached to the Grand Lodge. (March 8, 1813, Concord and Perseverance RAChapters, working under charter from the Grand Chapter of Pennsylvania, organized themselves into theGrand Chapter of Louisiana.) On April 13, 1813, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania recognized andextended fraternal correspondence to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, and on December 17, 1813 anextraordinary session of the Grand Lodge was convened to lay before the Grand Lodge thatcommunication. It was “received with the liveliest demonstration of joy”, and the Grand Secretaryimmediately sent a copy to Harmony Lodge No.122.
    When Gen. Andrew Jackson arrived in New Orleans in 1814 and prepared the City against aBritish invasion during the end of the War of 1812, he came as a Freemason with many other Freemasons.He attended Lodge with Governor Claiborne and held Masonic communication with Jean Lafitte and hisbrother, General Dominique You. Lafitte was considered a pirate, however Jackson was able to have anycharges against Lafitte and his men dropped after their participation in winning the Battle of New Orleansin January 1815. It was all a very Masonic affair.
    Intrigue continued as Joseph Cerneau, a French Mason who had become prominent in New York,practiced his own form of Masonry. He organized the Sovereign Grand Consistory of Supreme Chiefs ofExalted Masonry, and proceeded to promote his form of Scottish Rite Masonry on the east coast. Due tothe Grand Lodge of South Carolina being briefly declared irregular during this period, the CharlestonScottish Rite was also declared irregular, and “Cerneauism” took hold in Louisiana. In 1812, EmanuelGigard, organized the Grand Council of Princes of the Royal Secret in New Orleans as a part of the




    Cerneau movement, and many of the Charleston Scottish Rite members joined. Louis Lusson openlyfought Cerneauism but was ridiculed by many of his brethren. After 1815, Lusson's named is notmentioned for almost twenty years. From 1815 until 1833, French Rite and Scottish Rite are rarelymentioned in the Proceedings of the Ancient York Grand Lodge.
    There was one exception: In 1824, Gilbert du Motier, the Marquis de Lafayette, arrived in theUnited States as the guest of a grateful nation and of President Monroe and the Congress. He toured thecountry and arrived in New Orleans in 1825 where he was lavishly greeted and entertained. He visitedseveral French Rite lodges and spoke at Scottish Rite events also. He visited Charles Tessier in BatonRouge and probably visited several lodges in the areas outside of New Orleans. From these reports, it isknown that French Rite and Scottish Rite still operated within Louisiana. John Holland was Grand Masterduring this period and was known to favor reconciliation among the Rites.
    In 1818, the Grand Lodge forbid any social intercourse with any lodge other than York Rite! Bythe close of 1818, nine new charters had been issued by the Grand Lodge – Friendship No.6 in Mobile,Reunion Fraternal No.7 in Havana, Los Amigos No.8 in Vera Cruz, True Reunion No.9 in Campeachy,Blazing Star No.10 in Baton Rouge, The Temple of the Divine No.11 in Matanzan, Truth No.12 inDonaldsonville, Union No.13 in Natchitoches, and Rectitude No.14 in Havana. The three lodges inLouisiana, Blazing Star, Truth and Union were admitted as full members of the Grand Lodge. HarmonyNo.122 continued to meet under their charter from Pennsylvania, and another lodge was found to havebeen chartered from the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in St. Francisville – Feliciana No.46. This was notdiscovered until 1828 when a new charter was ordered issued as Feliciana No.31. 1819 saw three newcharters – Columbian No.15 in Alexandria, Eureka No.16 at Blakesley, and Washington No.17 in BatonRouge.
    Following the fall of Napoleon and the restoration of the French monarchy, many republicanrefugees arrived from France and populated the lodges using French and Scottish Rite ritual form, thuscreating a problem for the Grand Lodge. The old charter for Polar Star No.4263 was reconstituted, and theGrand Orient of France issued a new charter for Polar Star No.7474 using French and Scottish rituals.Almost all of the members also belonged to Polar Star No.5. The creation of a lodge using the GrandOrient of France's charter remained an issue until the mid-1820's, after Lafayette's visit, when the GrandLodge realized that it had to amend its earlier requirement of recognizing only York Rite ritual lodges.
    Humble Cottage Lodge No.19 was chartered in 1823 in Opelousas, and to this day remains theoldest continuously meeting lodge west of the Mississippi River. During the early 1820's Harmony LodgeNo.122 had ceased meeting and had become extinct. The death of Harmony No.122 was not mournedbecause it had been the cause of great disharmony, disunity, mistrust and generally un-masonic behaviorin New Orleans. In 1825 a number of former members reorganized and asked for a charter and weregranted one as Harmony Lodge No.26 on March 4, 1826. Thus, an English-speaking lodge in NewOrleans reappeared.
    Masonry continued to grow outside of New Orleans and most of the lodges were English speaking. Theofficial language in Louisiana was still French and all correspondence in the Grand Lodge was in French.While all lodges were encouraged to use their native tongue, official correspondence was in French. Thiscreated tension in areas outside of New Orleans where the Anglo-Saxon race was predominate. Only thetrue brotherhood of Masonry kept the Latin and Anglo-Saxon races from openly having disputes.
    1826 saw the beginning of the Morgan Affair throughout the United States and the period knownas the Anti-Masonic Movement. Louisiana Masonry did not suffer greatly during this period as did therest of the country due to the hold of Cerneauism on Masonry. In 1831, Grand Master Holland convincedthe Scottish Rite to rejoin the Charleston Scottish Rite and resume the title of Grand Consistory. Manyrecords between 1828 and 1831 are missing from Scottish Rite documentation, and it is believed thatGrand Master Holland who was serving as the head of most of the Grand York Rite Bodies may haveremoved records that disturbed the “peace and harmony” of Louisiana Freemasonry. In 1832, Hollandwas referred to as the Representative of the Charleston Scottish Rite. He formed a Council of Kadoshwithin the Grand Consistory during this period. Because of the Morgan Affair, the Charleston ScottishRite ceased meeting for a period and in 1834, a new United Supreme Council of the Western Hemispherewas organized and the Grand Consistory in New Orleans changed its allegiance – John Holland quietly




    retired from Scottish Rite after executing the Concordant of 1833 whereby the first three degrees werealways under the control of the Grand Lodge. The United Supreme Council disbanded in 1839 , and theMarquis de Santangelo organized the Supreme Council of the United States of America and namedhimself as Sovereign Grand Commander claiming jurisdiction over all of the United States and makingthe Grand Consistory in New Orleans his headquarters. The Grand Lodge and the Grand Chapter, RoyalArch Masons, quickly recognized him. This all finally came to a close in 1852 when Albert Mackayappeared in New Orleans and “healed” Scottish Rite and brought Louisiana back under Charleston. But,did it? Albert Pike arrived in New Orleans in 1854 and served as head of the Valley for over two years -1857-59. Today, on St. Bernard Avenue in New Orleans, the Supreme Council of Louisiana continues tomeet and practice its own “original” form of Scottish Rite Masonry, not recognizing any other Masonicgroup in Louisiana as legitimate. What its offices, archives and library holds is unknown, but perhapspieces of Louisiana's Masonic history that has long been missing. Hopefully, one day the information willbe open for research and examination.
    While Louisiana's Grand Lodge was not happy with other Grand Lodges chartering Lodgeswithin its jurisdiction, it happily organized and chartered Lodges outside of Louisiana. With Lodgesformed in Alabama, Cuba and Mexico, it also chartered two lodges in Arkansas – Morning Star No.42 inArkansas Post and Western Star No.43 in Little Rock – both helped form the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in1838. Support was given to Simon Bolivar, the Liberator of South America, and a very avid Freemasonand was responsible for forming the Grand Lodge of Venezuela.
    Texas Masons also looked to Louisiana for support. Mexico had Masonry by 1785, and a ScottishRite Lodge was meeting in Mexico City in 1806. After the Mexican Masonic Civil War in 1828 betweenthe the York Grand Lodge headed by General Guerrer and the Scottish Grand Lodge headed by GeneralBravo, Masonry fell into disrepute and was outlawed throughout Mexico. Joel Poinsett, the AmericanAmbassador, who was an active Freemason, had sided with the York Grand Lodge and was expelled. Thesettlers in the Texas area, both Anglo and Spanish did not care for the dictatorial manner of former Masonand President General Santa Anna. Under a little grove of laurel trees, near Brazoria, Texas the firstknown meeting of Freemasons was held in Texas in March 1835. The six men decided to apply forDispensation to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana to be called Holland Lodge in honor of their friend, JohnHolland. Holland Lodge No.36 met in the old courthouse in Brazoria on December 27, 1835 with AnsonJones as Master. James Fannin, Senior Deacon, would be killed with all of his men in February 1836 atGoliad, and the Alamo fell in March. Many of the heroes of these two battles were Freemasons includingDavey Crockett from Tennessee, and Jim Bowie, a member of Humble Cottage Lodge in Opelousas.Meanwhile, the formal charter was issued to Holland Lodge on January 27, 1836. The charter wasdelivered to Anson Jones who placed it in his saddlebag where it remained throughout the Battle of SanJacinto, the final and decisive battle for Texas independence. The courthouse, Dispensation, officerjewels, aprons and records of the early meetings were destroyed by the Mexican troops when they burnedthe town of Brazoria. Other charters from Louisiana were issued to lodges in Nacogdoches and in SanAugustine on September 22, 1837. These Lodges met in Houston on December 20 ,1837 and formed theGrand Lodge of the Republic of Texas. Anson Jones was the first Grand Master. Just as Pennsylvania isproperly acknowledged to be the Mother Grand Lodge of Louisiana, Louisiana can claim to be theMother Grand Lodge of Texas.
    On September 25, 1825, the Grand Lodge issued a charter to Numantina Lodge No.27, the firstlodge that worked in the Spanish language.
    On April 7, 1827, the Grand Lodge adopted a resolution stating that any Mason who lived in theCity of New Orleans for more than six months and was not a member of any Lodge in Louisiana wouldbe admitted as a visitor not more than three times; lodges were authorized to refuse admission to anyBrother who came within meaning of the resolution. This was intended for the large number of Masonsfrom northern states who had not affiliated with any lodge. Since most such visitors attended HarmonyLodge No.26, another English-speaking lodge in New Orleans was needed, Louisiana Lodge was quicklyorganized and chartered on June 28, 1828 as No.32. During this period, there were any number ofincidents between the Anglo and Latin lodges including one Festival of St John on June 24, 1828 whenHarmony Lodge refused admission to member of Triple Bienfaissance Lodge declaring it to be irregularsince it met using French Rite. Finally after days of deliberation, the Grand Lodge acted to rescind its




    1818 order concerning York Rite work, and recognized all Rites as equal.
    In 1831, the Grand Lodge was determined to establish a Code of General Regulations. This Code

    was finalized and adopted in 1832 and was complicated, contradictory and generally over-stated. Amongother issues, the Grand Lodge was divided into three chambers – Ancient and Accepted York Rite,Ancient Scotch Rite, and French Rite. The Grand Master was the presiding officer over a deliberateassembly of the three. It stated that all meetings must be held under the third degree (a change from usingthe EA when members were present who were not MM), candidates had to be twenty-one, be able to readand write, be of good moral character, and hold a respectable position in society. However, the son of aMason could be initiated at age eighteen, although he could not become a Master Mason until twenty-one.Three black cubes were required to reject a candidate. One could not be a Master of a lodge unless overtwenty-five, and no one could serve as Master of more than one lodge at a time, even if it were indifferent Rites.
    By 1833, the Scottish Rite had gained prominence in the Grand Lodge and the French Rite hadbecome an adjunct to the Scottish Rite work. Polar Star No.5 petitioned the Grand Lodge to change itswork to Scottish Rite and become Polar Star No.1. Perseverance Lodge No.4 made the same decision.The Grand Lodge granted the distinction of having two No.1 lodges – Perfect Union No.1 (York Rite),and Etoile Polaire No.1 (Scottish Rite) on November 8, 1833.
    A new Code was adopted in 1844 that was less confusing although it retained many of theoriginal sections without rewording. It generally consolidated the three Rites into one working group andgave the Grand Master increased power. The Grand Lodge would meet using the York Rite, but thelanguage would be French. Only delegates would be admitted to the Grand Lodge session unless visitorswere officials from another Grand Lodge. The three principal officers had a vote as did all Past Masters atGrand Lodge. This created somewhat of an imbalance in power since Grand Lodge was always held inNew Orleans and lodges from outside New Orleans had a hardship attending with large numbers ofdelegates. (This situation continued for many years until the Grand Lodge in 1977 began moving GrandLodge sessions around the state.)
    Another interesting event occurred in 1844. St Albans Lodge No.28 in Jackson – east of St.Francisville, organized in 1826, had stopped submitting returns to the Grand Lodge in 1833 and wasdeclared extinct by the Grand Lodge in 1834. The Lodge however never stopped meeting and conferringdegrees. In 1844, a report was received by the Grand Lodge of St. Albans existence. A committeereported that St. Albans was clandestine and needed healing. After great debate, St. Albans wasreadmitted to the Grand Lodge, allowed to retain its No.28, and scolded. The Lodge continues to meettoday in one of the oldest lodge structures in Louisiana.
    The War with Mexico in 1846 brought more Northern Masons to New Orleans and furtherdivided the French and English speaking population, and many sojourning Masons could not understandthe Rule concerning admission and the right to visit a limited number of times.
    A number of Mississippi Masons resided in New Orleans and had to abide by the rule ofvisitation. Since most did not understand French when visiting a lodge, the rule affected only their desireto hold Masonic communication with their brethren. In discussions with their Grand Lodge ofMississippi, some of these men openly talked of having the English-speaking York lodges in Louisianarebel and join the Grand Lodge of Mississippi. The Grand Lodge of Mississippi meeting in Natchez andwith John Quitman as Grand Master in February 1847 offered to charter “certain Ancient York Masons inLouisiana” within the jurisdiction of “the French Grand Lodge” of Louisiana. Initially two charters wereissued to George Washington Lodge in New Orleans and Lafayette Lodge in Lafayette. By 1848, MarionLodge, Warren Lodge, Crescent City Lodge and Hiram Lodge – all within New Orleans – and EurekaLodge were chartered. A yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans in 1847 moved the capital from NewOrleans, first to Donaldsonville, and finally to Baton Rouge. St. James Lodge No.47 participated in thecornerstone laying of the new capitol building on the first high bluff along the Mississippi River. With allof the confusion of the War with Mexico, the yellow fever and the moving of the state capital, the sevenlodges under Mississippi charter quickly organized themselves and created a rival Grand Lodge – theLouisiana Grand Lodge, Ancient York Masons. A number of Grand Lodges recognized the new GrandLodge as the legitimate Masonic body within Louisiana. The Grand Lodge of New York however camesquarely down on the side of the original Grand Lodge and censured the Grand Lodge of Mississippi for




    creating a rival Body within a Grand Jurisdiction. Soon, other Grand Lodge followed suit – Alabama,Georgia, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, South Carolina – with Mississippiturning a deaf ear to all. The Grand Lodge AYM was firmly established in Louisiana with twenty-fivelodges. This entire period has become known as “The Mississippi Intervention”. Finally on January 28,1850 the two rival Grand Lodges met and compromised their differences and reorganized into The GrandLodge of Louisiana, Ancient, Free & Accepted Masons comprised of fifty-six lodges. John Gedge whohad been the Grand Master of the rival Grand Lodge was elected Grand Master. The Grand Lodge ofMississippi was repudiated for having created the turmoil. At the same time, it was decided to publish allproceedings in French and English.
    A total of seventy-six new lodges were chartered between the creation of the Grand Lodge,F&AM, in 1850 and the outbreak of the Civil War. A total of one hundred seventy-four lodges had beenorganized and chartered through the efforts of Masonry in Louisiana from August 15, 1812 to February16, 1860.
    The tragic period in American history referred to as The War of Northern Aggression or The WarBetween the States, or, more properly, The American Civil War created a challenge for Masonry inLouisiana. Many lodges ceased meeting. One lodge reported to the Grand Lodge that no meetings wereheld “owing to the Invasion of this section of country by the Federals.” Several Lodges that continuedmeeting refused to admit Federal soldiers who were Masons. This action prompted the Grand Master toissue the following reprimand: “To object to sit with a Brother who has proved himself such, because heis in the Army or Navy, or comes clothed in the garb of his calling, is highly unmasonic and will not bepermitted in this Jurisdiction. It does not show a proper Masonic spirit, and what is more, tends to destroythe universality of Freemasonry.” While many stories have been told of heroic deeds, the fact remains thatBrotherly Love and Fraternal Friendship gave Louisiana Masonry some wonderful stories during thisperiod of destruction, desolation and deprivation. While Union Officers respected Masonic property andgenerally protected families who had Masonic relatives, the normal Yankee soldiers were conscripts,draftees, lower-class uneducated riff-raff who cared only about booty. Numerous lodges were brokenopen and robbed and buildings destroyed. When a Union soldier broke into St. Joseph Lodge No.79 inNewellton, on the Louisiana side, south of Vicksburg, and stole the silver officer jewels, his UnionCommander inspected the saddlebags and had him arrested and the jewels returned with his personalapology. The jewels are displayed today in a special case. When the Plains Lodge No.135, west of PortHudson, had its building destroyed by cannon fire during the siege of Port Hudson, the original MinutesBook was recovered and taken by a New York officer back to his home. He returned it to the Lodge afterthe War with a note of apology stating that he had entered the Lodge without the permission of the JuniorDeacon. That Minutes Book is proudly displayed today in the Lodge. During the Battle of Baton Rouge, aUnion officer posted a guard outside of St. James Lodge No.47 and allowed no one to enter who was nota Mason. The original surrender documents for Baton Rouge were found in the Minutes Book of theLodge in 1985. Perhaps the most amazing story is called today, “The Day The War Stopped”, and on thesecond Saturday of June each year a reenactment occurs in St. Francisville. St. Francisville, an old andhistoric city still lies on the banks of the Mississippi River. With the Siege of Port Hudson, St.Francisville just to the north was strategic for the Union. The city was shelled unmercifully by Uniongunboats, day and night for days. Then, one morning, under a flag of truce, a boat approached the shoreand asked if any Masons were in the St. Francisville area. Feliciana Lodge No.31's Senior Warden wasone of the defending commanders along the Confederate lines and responded. The gunboat's commander,Lt Commander Hart, a member of St. George's Lodge No.6 in Schenectady, New York, had died of afever and had requested a Masonic burial. At the appointed hour, the gunboats pulled to shore and themen assembled in honor guard formation for their commander as his body was brought to shore.Likewise, the Confederate troops assembled and the Masons stepped forward to conduct the ceremony.Commander Hart was laid to rest in Grace Episcopal Cemetery, today across the street from FelicianaLodge, with full Masonic rites. The Union troops marched back to shore, reboarded their boats andConfederate troops returned to the lines and the bloody battle resumed. (Each year a parade is held in St.Francisville honoring this event and an officer from the Grand Lodge of New York attends and lays awreath on Commander Hart's grave.) Many lodges ceased meeting during the War, and today, MinuteBooks in many Lodges are blank between 1861 and 1865. Many of the members went to War; and some




    of the members returned to continue their Masonry. Masonry resumed Labor following the War withrenewed interest. While twenty-five new lodges were chartered between 1864 and 1870, bringing the totalnumber of lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge to almost two hundred, membership did not increase intotal numbers. There were almost eighty Royal Arch Chapters and almost fifty Councils andCommandries – and there was one Scottish Rite, the Grand Consistory in New Orleans. By 1900, theGrand Lodge had issued charter No.276, although the total number of Masons had actually declined sincethe Civil War. Almost all of these lodges were located in small communities, all away from New Orleans.While Lodges were organizing and Masonry was enjoying increased popularity and recognition, a numberof Lodges also surrendered their charters and closed or they merged with healthier lodges – it was aperiod of Masonic awareness in areas – Lodges acted as community centers, area schools organized andmet in Lodges (many of the first public schools in Louisiana trace their formation to Masons in thecommunity who held the classes in the Lodge buildings), and businesses operated on the ground floor ofmany Lodges giving the Lodge added income, but also becoming the locational focus in the community(example - Mr. White's Hardware Store is on the ground floor of the Lodge).
    In 1852, the Grand Lodge decided to appoint District Deputy Grand Masters and divided the stateinto eight regions. The need for uniformity, the use of several languages and remote locations proved thisnecessary. A “Grand Translator” employed by the Grand Lodge was used to send Grand Lodge messagesoutside of New Orleans into remote areas where French was unused. District Lodges were also authorizedto be organized. It wasn't until 1892 that a Grand Lecturer was authorized and employed to visit Lodgesto ensure uniformity of ritual work. It was not until 1927 that a standard Monitor was published to aid inthe use of ceremonials and lectures used.
    1900 saw a change in growth – industrial growth – sawmills, paper mills, refineries and oil andgas exploration brought economic advantages to the state. The period of Reconstruction that embitteredmany and brought economic disaster to many was a fading memory and rural areas declined as peoplemoved to towns and cities to enjoy economic growth. Between 1900 and 1910, Masonic membershipdoubled. In 1920, a record number of 3,380 Master Mason degrees were conferred. By 1927, membershipreached 35,191 with 267 active Lodges meeting. The area in and around New Orleans enjoyed the largestgrowth.
    For many years, the Grand Lodge met in New Orleans in Perseverance Lodge Hall. In 1853, theGrand Lodge purchased a building in the American Quarter, on the corner of Perdido and St. CharlesStreets for $55,000. In 1872 a new building was authorized on Tivoli Circle (this Circle would berenamed Lee Circle with a large marble column atop which a bronze statue of General Robert E. Leegazed “defiantly” to the north). $60,000 was the purchase price and plans for a four-story Temple weremade. The building was impossible to build due to foundation problems, and great cost was incurred.Finally, in 1890, the property was sold for $112,500 realizing the Grand Lodge only $50,000 after allexpenses. A new building was built on the old Temple property on Perdido and St. Charles for $100,000and dedicated on June 24, 1892. It was an impressive five-story building with a statue of JacquesDeMolay on the very top. The Grand Master during this period was Charles F. Buck, a German born NewOrleans attorney, who would become Deputy for Scottish Rite. Ten years after his death, his son CharlesF. Buck, Jr. would follow his father as head of Scottish Rite in Louisiana and serve for over twenty years.This was one of a very few father-son teams to head Scottish Rite in the Southern Jurisdiction. (The firstDeMolay Chapter in Louisiana was chartered in 1921 in Lake Charles, sponsored by the Scottish Rite,and named Charles F. Buck Chapter.) With the growth of Masonry in the early 1900's the need for alarger Temple was realized, since most of the Lodges in New Orleans met in the Grand Lodge building.By 1922, the Grand Lodge authorized building a new Grand Lodge building and set the price at$2,250,000. On February 6, 1927, the new 18-story Grand Lodge building at 333 St. Charles Avenue wasdedicated at a total cost of $2,500,000. In 1996, that building was sold for $750,000 and subsequentlyconverted into first the Hotel Monaco and today, the Hilton Hotel. The Grand Lodge offices wererelocated to the former Masonic Home for Children in the center of the state in Alexandria, and today anew building adjacent to the old Children's Home property – all on Masonic Drive.
    While the York Rite enjoyed general success, particularly as Royal Arch Chapters associated withLodges, Councils and Commandries usually were located in larger population areas. Today, there are 29Chapters, 24 Councils and 15 Commandries in Louisiana. York Rite membership totals approximately




    2,400 members today. A number of dedicated men have served the General Grand Bodies with severalbecoming General Grand High Priest – the first was Edward Livingston, and several others following; thelast being A. J. Lewis. Eastern Star had general acceptance and began chartering Chapters in 1884,however a Grand Chapter was not organized until 1900. The high point came in 1960 when over 200Chapters enjoyed a membership of over 30,000. Today, the number is one-half of that. The AncientArabic Order, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine first came to Louisiana in New Orleans in 1885 whenJerusalem Temple was organized. Since then, El Karubah Temple in Shreveport was organized in 1913,Habibi Temple in Lake Charles was organized in 1973, Barak Temple in Monroe was organized in 1981,and finally Acacia Temple in Baton Rouge was organized in 1986 – five Shrine Temples with a totalmembership of around 4.500. One Louisianian has served as Imperial Potentate – Voris King. ScottishRite has played a major role in Louisiana Freemasonry through influence and through intrigue over theyears. While much of the history has been discussed previously, Louisiana has had many prominentleaders in the Southern Jurisdiction – two have served as Sovereign Grand Commander – IllustriousJames C. Bachelor and currently, Illustrious Ronald A. Seale. Several have served as Lieutenant GrandCommander, and many others as high ranking appointed officer on the Supreme Council. There are fiveScottish Rite Valleys in Louisiana – New Orleans which was originally the Grand Consistory, Shreveportorganized in 1913, Lake Charles in 1923, Baton Rouge in 1955, and finally Monroe in 1971. Scottish Ritemembership totals approximately 5,000 members today. Other collateral Bodies also exist in Louisiana'sMasonic Family – DeMolay, Rainbow for Girls, High Twelve, Grotto, White Shrine, Amaranth, AlliedMasonic Degree, Rosicrucian, York Rite College, Red Cross of Constantine, Royal Order of Scotland,Knight Masons, Jesters, and others. These all add to the Gumbo of Louisiana Masonry.
    Following World War I, from 1919, Freemasonry grew by over 50 new Lodges being chartereduntil 1931. The Depression years saw hardships with members demitting, many being suspended for non-payment, and Lodges closing, Only one Lodge was chartered between 1931 and 1942. However the spiritof Masonry prevailed and most of those men who demitted and many who were suspended returned totheir Lodges as soon as they had jobs and money to pay Dues again. After World War II, again a growthin Masonry was unbelievable – over thirty new Lodges were chartered between 1946 and 1960. Since1960, approximately twenty new Lodges have been chartered. Membership in Louisiana Masonry peakedin 1964 with 51,512 members. Today, there are approximately 22,000 members – in forty years, a loss ofover one-half. While the Grand Lodge has chartered over 490 Lodges since 1812, there are about 260Lodges meeting in Louisiana today.
    While a true Gumbo is composed of anything on the table, in the refrigerator or caught, killed, orstolen that day, one ingredient is missing that always stirs discussion in areas outside Louisiana, andoutside of the South: Prince Hall Masonry. Prince Hall Masonry is vibrant and strong in Louisiana. Thereare any number of African-American Masonic groups in Louisiana, not all Prince Hall – Sons ofSolomon, King James Masons, and several claiming to be Prince Hall – New Orleans has six Prince HallGrand Lodges, Baton Rouge has four. To my knowledge, Prince Hall Masonry has never approached myGrand Lodge and asked for or discussed recognition in Louisiana. While my Grand Lodge may have onlya few African-American members, many learned and respected Masons in Louisiana will acknowledgethat attitudes are changing. As younger men step forward and become the leaders in my state, the insideof a man will become the important factor relating to his membership qualifications. This is mentioned atthe conclusion of this historical discussion only to anticipate questions that are raised concerningLouisiana's Masonic mix – after all, Pierre DuBourg, the First Grand Master, had a brother who was theRoman Catholic Archbishop of New Orleans, and our Jewish membership has always been strong inLouisiana. Spanish, French, German and Italian lodges are still practicing the Scottish Rite ritual andconferring the first three degrees in the Scottish Rite form. Hindu, Muslim, Druise, Deist and mostChristian denominations are represented in Louisiana Lodges. At a time when membership is presentlynot increasing, Louisiana Masonry is not excluding people; but, the knock at the Outer Door must bemade first by one who seeks to be recognized and to visit.
    Many years have passed and many changes have been made – we do not call them innovations,we call them improvements. The Grand Master was originally a Right Worshipful, now all are MostWorshipful – and each retains that title for life. Our Grand Wardens were originally Senior and JuniorGrand Wardens; now they are Grand Senior and Junior Wardens. Eighteen year olds may join; memory




    work has finally been placed in a cipher booklet. An annual Wardens Retreat has been in place since1998, and educational materials are being offered. Lodges are being reminded that they need only “besatisfied” with the proficiency of the candidate rather than requiring letter perfect examinations. SomeLodges are having to face the reality that their membership has an average age of 75–80, and that 90-95%of the members never attend. The idea that the 90% still pay their Dues has yet to be understood by the 5-10% who attend on a regular basis – the 90% still value their membership and perceive value from theirmembership – those 90% need to be cherished as they pay the bills. Understanding what Masonry reallywas by “The Greatest Generation” who joined immediately following World War II, is still hard. Thatgeneration returned to Lodges that Initiated, Passed and Raised men at every communication; thenlistened as memory work was repeated – that was the essence of every meeting! Real Masonic educationnever entered the Outer or Inner doors. The cycle must occur again however for continued existence. Justas Louisiana Masonry had the Anti-Masonic period, Cernauism, the Morgan Affair, the Civil War, theReconstruction Era, the Great Depression, and now as we witness the departure of The GreatestGeneration, during each period Masonry had a rebirth and revival because there were those whoregrouped and looked to the true strength of the Institution and the meaning of our Gentle Craft; and it hassurvived and grown and flourished, as it will again.
    Over two hundred and fifty years of Masonry in one small state is full of incredible stories, too many torelate here, but all are still important. Perhaps this short view of some important details has assisted inunderstanding another corner of the world where Masonry has played an important role. May we neverforget that role.
    March 19, 2010
    REFERENCES AND SOURCES:
    Allen, C. S. - The Story of the West Florida Rebellion
    Black, John Paddy – memories from Plains Lodge during its 150th Anniversary
    Borne, Clayton J. III -
    The Story of Early Freemasonry in Louisiana – Perfect
    Carter, James D. - History of the Supreme Council, Vols 2 & 3
    Denslow, W. R. - 10,000 Famous Freemasons
    Grand Lodge, State of Louisiana, F&AM - Proceedings - 1900, 1965, 1977, 1997, 2002, 2009.
    Greene, Dr. Glenn L. -
    Masonry in Louisiana – A Sesquicentennial History – 1812-1962.
    Gueymard, Ernest -
    When Masonry Came to Baton Rouge – State Times – 1975
    Harris, R. Baker –
    History of the Supreme Council, Vol 1
    Jordan, Glenn H. - Let There Be Light, A History of Freemasonry in Louisiana – 1763-1989.
    Louisiana Almanac –
    Department of Economic Development – 2002
    Mollere, William J. -
    The Need for Membership – Louisiana Lodge of Research, Vol 1.
    Mollere, William J.
    - The Development of Scottish Rite and its Leadership in Louisiana Freemasonry –Louisiana Lodge of Research, Vol 1.
    Poll, Michael R.
    - A Foundation Study of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana 1811-1815 –LouisianaLodge of Research, Vol 1.
    Roehl, Theodore - History of Louisiana Lodge No.102 – 1851-1932.
    Scot, James B. - Outline of the Rise and Progress of Freemasonry in Louisiana – 1923
    Scot, James B. - Outline of the Rise and Progress of Freemasonry in Louisiana – 2008 Edition (Bernheim& Poll – Cornerstone)
    Stillson, Henry L. -
    History of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons andConcordant Orders - 1915
    Thompson, Edward N. -
    Holland Lodge No.1 – Louisiana's Gift to Texas – Louisiana Lodge of Research,Vol I.
    Tidwell, Allen G. -
    Effects of Recognition of Prince Hall Masonry – Louisiana Lodge of Research, Vol1.


    Union Lodge No.1.




    William Jules "Bill" Mollere, 33°
    Ill. Mollere, was born on March 8, 1946, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and graduated fromLouisiana State University with a degree in Political Science. His work with a research anddevelopment company dealing with health care, traffic safety, and environmental science led tohis joining the staff of the Governor of Louisiana in 1973. For seven years, he worked ondeveloping an environmental technology and policy group that became Louisiana's Departmentof Environmental Quality in 1980. Appointed Administrator of the Waste Management Division,he fulfilled this role until 2000 when he was named the Senior Technical Advisor for theDepartment of Environmental Quality. In 1993, he was honored to receive the statewide DunbarCareer Service Award for Distinguished Public Service.
    A former Sunday School Teacher, Deputy Mollere belongs to the First United Methodist Churchof Baton Rouge where he has served on various Boards and Commissions. His interests includearcheology and anthropology, he has served as President of the Louisiana Archeological Society,and he has been on "digs" throughout North and Central America.
    His fraternal life began with DeMolay membership at age 14, serving his local Chapter, District,and State before becoming a Member of the International Supreme Council in 1975. He wasLouisiana Executive Officer for 15 years and held the office of Grand Master of DeMolayInternational during the Order's 75th Anniversary in 1993-94. Following that, he was electedGrand Secretary of DeMolay International (1995-2001) and a member of the InternationalDeMolay Board of Directors (1989- 2001). He currently serves as an Advisor at Pelican Chapterof DeMolay in Baton Rouge.
    Ill. Mollere's Masonic career began in 1967 at age 21 in Baton Rouge Lodge #372 (Master1980). He also belongs to East Gate Lodge #452 in Baton Rouge where he is an Honorary PastMaster. He has served as President of his High Twelve Club, Illustrious Master of his Council,Sovereign Master of his Allied Masonic Degrees Council, Potentate of ACACIA Shrine Center,Venerable Master of the Baton Rouge Lodge of Perfection, Director of his Jester Court, and he isan active member in his Chapter and Commandery. He belongs to Eastern Star, Grotto, YorkRite College, Rosicrucians, Red Cross of Constantine, Royal Order of Scotland, and many of theAllied Masonic groups.
    His Masonic interest has been mainly in research areas, he served as the Charter Master of theLouisiana Lodge of Research, and he belongs to a number of Masonic research organizationsincluding the Scottish Rite Research Society (Life Member).
    Joining the Scottish Rite of Baton Rouge in 1968, he has served as an Associate Director ofReunions, Kitchen and Wardrobe Helper, Stagehand, and Degree Director. In recognition of hismany services, he was invested with the KCCH in 1977 and coroneted a 33° in 1991. He hasserved as Personal Representative for the Orient of Louisiana since 1996. Effective on October13, 2003, SGC Seale appointed William Jules "Bill" Mollere, 33°, as Deputy of the SupremeCouncil in the Orient of Louisiana and Crowned Active on August 26, 2007.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
  6. jwhoff

    jwhoff Premium Member

    2,591
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    Where were you when I was in the seventh grade back home in Louisiana. They made that Louisiana History course last one full year!

    Pirate, Indians, British invasions, Huey P. Long, the civil war battles along the rivers Mississippi and Red held my attention. But I suffered through that timber industry stuff.

    thanks for the information.
     
  7. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

    3,053
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    There is a difference in the "oldest lodge" and the oldest lodge building. Remember that we met on high hills and low vales long before we built edifices to house our gentle Craft.

    The oldest Lodge in the world is considered to be Edinburgh No. 1, with minutes dating back to 1599.
    The oldest in the US is still a battle between New York, Massachusetts, and Louisiana (last I looked). Like many subjects within Freemasonry, a Brother could spend a lifetime researching this.
     
  8. Mindovermatter Ace

    Mindovermatter Ace Registered User

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    True, however the Mother Lodge of Kilwinning is older than Edinburgh No. 1.
     
    dfreybur likes this.

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