The Builder Magazine
December 1925 - Volume XI - Number
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Mexico's Challenge to American Freemasonry - By BRO. JAFFA MILLER, Roswell,
GRAND LODGE OF SORROW
Men Who Were Masons - John Mills Browne - By BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P.G.M.,
District of Columbia
Turhand Kirtland - First Master of the First Masonic Lodge on the Western
Reserve - By BRO. JAMES J. TYLER, Ohio
Nolichucky Jack and the Mountain Men - By BRO. WILLIAM M. STUART
Claims of the Modern Operatives - BY BRO. R. J. MEEKREN - (Concluded)
Impressions of Freemasonry in Spain - By BRO. GRANVILLE T. ZOHRAB, Ferrol,
JOIN OR NOT TO JOIN
Freemasonry in India in 1780 - By BRO. I. V. GILLIS, Peking, China
IS MASONRY'S GREATEST DANGER?
FREEMASONRY IN ITALY
Secondary Symbolism of Gothic Architecture - By BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MANCHESTER ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC RESEARCH, 1923-24
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MERSEYSIDE ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC RESEARCH, 1923-24
SUPPRESSED TRUTH ABOUT THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.
AND THE PROPHETS, OR HOMER AND NOW.
QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE
MASONRY IS NOT
TWO GLOBES AND THE PILLARS
WANTED AND FOR SALE
Mexico's Challenge to American Freemasonry
BRO. JAFFA MILLER, Roswell, New Mexico
Master, Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A. F. & A. M.. President, National Masonic
Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
timely accord with this article and in recognition of the cause of the
tubercular in the Southwest, so strongly put forward in the article in "The
Builder" for October, 1924, by Bro. R. J. Newton, of San Antonio, entitled "J'accuse",
as well as in our editorial columns comes action by the Masonic Service
Association of the United States at its November annual meeting.
Association gave definite recognition to the cause of the tubercular, classing
it, in effect, with the National emergencies for which the Association was
originally created. It instructed its Executive Commission to incur the
necessary exploitation expense to place the matter appropriately before the
grand jurisdictions of the country at their annual communications; to proceed
to the collection of a volunteer fund from these grand jurisdictions of not
less than $25,000 to be utilized in the development of an effective method of
handling the tubercular situation and to contribute at least $5,000 of this
sum as collected to the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
recently incorporated and formally sponsored by the grand jurisdiction of New
Mexico to provide a legal entity by which the work of relief may be carried
December, 1921, annual communication of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Texas, the
idea of American Freemasonry making hospital provision for brethren afflicted
with pulmonary tuberculosis was first submitted to a Grand Lodge for action.
This may have also been the first time that such action was ever suggested to
any Masonic body in the world.
the past four years the project has been discussed in annual communications of
the Grand Lodge of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico and in other Grand Lodges. It
was also considered at meetings of the Masonic Service Association and at
meetings of the Executive Commission of that organization. Governing bodies of
the York and Scottish Rite have given it some consideration.
Because of the magnitude of the project and possibly because of the difficulty
of uniting forty-nine Grand Jurisdictions in any effort, no matter how urgent
and worthy, not one of these Grand Bodies, nor any other Masonic body, or
organization, gave evidence of any willingness, or intention, to assume
responsibility, or leadership, of this movement. Arizona is the only Grand
Jurisdiction, as far as we know, that has initiated a plan for the care of its
this period of four years' discussion and inaction from fifteen to twenty
thousand American Freemasons died of tuberculosis, many of whom could have
been saved to their families by hospital care and treatment. Each day that
action is postponed means the loss of more valuable lives. Reliable estimates,
prepared by the National Tuberculosis Association, show that more than four
thousand men, over the age of twenty, die every year in any group of three
million men and that such a group would have approximately forty thousand
living cases of tuberculosis needing treatment.
states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and the southwestern part of Texas and
the southern part of California are peculiarly affected by this problem,
because for more than a generation, sick men and women from the other states
have migrated to the Southwest due to the fact that its climatic conditions
are far more favorable to persons afflicted with tuberculosis than the climate
of any other part of the country.
majority of these people, sooner or later, become charges upon public or
private charity, and because of the lack of money to secure adequate care and
treatment, die lingering deaths without hope.
tragic situation resulting from this great migration of the sick and their
families has created a problem that is now well-known to all students of
public health and sociological conditions. An effort was made in 1910 to
direct national attention to this problem by a meeting held in St. Louis, in
connection with the annual meeting of the American Medical Association and a
second meeting one month later held in connection with the National Conference
of Charities and Correction. Delegates to these two conventions from
Southwestern states were brought together to consider the situation, and the
Southwestern Conference on Tuberculosis was organized. The second meeting of
this Conference was held in Waco, Texas, on April 16, 1912, and resolutions
were adopted warning the sick against coming to the Southwest without adequate
means and calling upon the Federal Government to provide for hospitalization
of stranger consumptives in the Southwest.
result of this work, the United States Public Health Service investigated the
problem, and the reports of their findings are printed in the Public Health
Reports of March 12, 19, April 9, 16, 23, and June 18, 1915.
1920, the National Tuberculosis Association made a study of the situation and
again in 1925 reviewed conditions in several cities. The report of the
investigator was read at the meeting of the National Conference on Social Work
held in Denver, Colo., this summer, and was printed in the Survey of Sept. 15.
investigator concludes that, notwithstanding an intensive campaign of
publicity by the National Tuberculosis Association and its affiliated state
and local societies and in spite of the fact that many additional hospitals
have been built in the north and east for the care of consumptives in the last
ten years, the migration to the Southwest is increasing.
also found the same tragic conditions of poverty and suffering in 1920 and
1925, as were found by the investigation of the Southwestern Conference on
Tuberculosis and by the U. S. Public Health Service more than ten years ago.
Southwestern states and cities were in no better position to care for the sick
from the other states than they were ten to fifteen years ago. No other agency
had arisen or developed in all that time to assist in the solution of the
interest, as Masons, in this unhappy situation, lies in the fact that American
Freemasons, like other men, contract tuberculosis, and form a part of the
migration of the sick to the Southwest. No facts can be given as to the number
who come. But practically every lodge in the states of the health belt have
had some experience with sick brethren who apply for aid and comfort. On page
355 will be found some histories of special cases. Many more could be added to
this list from information we have, and a far larger number would be found if
we could make an intensive study and investigation of the relief work of all
lodges in the states affected. One of the chief difficulties in gathering this
material is in the fact that practically none of the lodges keep a complete
and accurate record of relief work, and few of them show the cause of
Additional facts are being secured to the Sanatoria Commission of the Grand
Lodges of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, and these facts will be published in
later numbers of THE BUILDER. Because of the difficulty mentioned in getting
facts and our inability to cover the whole field, we cannot give the total
number of Masonic sick and the number of members of their families
accompanying them in the Southwest, nor can we give you the grand total of the
amounts expended for their care and relief. However the following from only
one city will be of interest:
OF THE MASONIC RELIEF AND EMPLOYMENT BUREAU OF EL PASO
relief work for non-resident indigent tuberculous Masons is carried on by this
Bureau, which is composed of all Masonic bodies in the city. The local bodies
handle relief work among their own members.
Bureau expended a total of $33,634.94 or an average of nearly $1000 monthly,
for thirty-four months from Dec. 1, 1922, to Oct. 1, 1925, entirely for the
care of Masons and members of their families, from other states and cities. A
considerable part of this money is refunded by home lodges, so it is in effect
a revolving relief fund, created by El Paso Masons for this purpose, supported
by monthly assessments on the membership.
to limited clerical help, figures are lacking as to the number of people
aided. Every conceivable form of assistance was given.
are about sixty Masonic men and women in El Paso Tuberculosis Sanatoria, and
about twenty on the home visiting lists. It is estimated that about 40 per
cent of hospital patients receive some help from home lodges, either through
the Bureau or directly."
are over two hundred non-resident Masonic sick in and around Albuquerque, N.
M., and other cities and towns report many sick from other Grand
will American Freemasonry do about this condition ?
the last four years, while we have discussed and referred to committees, laid
upon the table until next morning and have used up all the usual parliamentary
methods of indefinitely postponing any action that will mean something, a few
real Masons have been serving their addicted brethren. And the majority of
these men who are putting Masonry into actual practice, are themselves
sufferers from tuberculosis. You may have heard something about the
Sojourners' Club, of Fort Bayard, N. M., an organization of tuberculosis
ax-service men. Here is a brief report of what they have done and are doing:
OF THE SOJOURNERS' CLUB, FORT BAYARD, N. M.
1920, when the Club was organized to meet a great need, there were about 1,000
patients in the hospital. Government was providing beds, food, medical and
surgical attention. Action on claims for compensation was slow.
patients had no money, lacked even the smallest necessities for comfort, and
some had to stay in bed for lack of suitable clothing. Many of them carried
burdens of grief and worry for loved ones at home, without means of support,
and this retarded recovery.
was contributed, by those who had it, to help those who had none. Help was
given as needed and later, when the Grand Lodge of New Mexico adopted the Club
and secured assistance from other jurisdictions, this relief work was
developed to cover every variety of need. This relief took two forms: direct
contributions and loans. Advances of $10 monthly were made to many for
incidental needs, and larger sums loaned for special personal and family
needs. Many men refused aid but accepted loans, and when compensation was
received, most of these advances were repaid.
service of the Club was not limited to Masons and members of their families.
but was extended to any of the patients and personnel of the hospital who
needed aid. and the Club sought out, or was sought by the sick and unfortunate
for many miles. A total of $66.042 53 has been expended by the Club since its
organization, including the sum of $26,000, contributed by the Northern
Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite for its building and furnishing.
the extension of the compensation there is now less need for relief work and
the Club is developing its recreational and educational program. Its building
is a community center.
hundred and fifty Masons have passed through the hospital in the last five
years, all of whom have benefited in some way by the Club's activities, and
many of them have had a part in the work."
few special cases are cited lower on the page. This Masonic service is summed
up in the following:
work of the Club shows a fine appreciation of the principles of brotherly love
and relief as taught by Masonry, and I do not believe that anyone can estimate
the great good you are doing.
M. Abbott. Sovereign Grand
Commander, Northern Jurisdiction,
A., Scottish Rite."
this splendid example before us, having seen this actual working out of
Masonic teachings, the Grand Lodge of New Mexico has determined not to wait
any longer upon any other Masonic body to initiate the movement for
hospitalization of Masonic consumptives in the Southwest. Due to our small
numbers - our total membership in the state being only 6,421 - and small
financial resources, we hesitated to take action, hoping that some one of our
larger and wealthier Grand Jurisdictions would assume the responsibility. We
now propose, with the help of the Supreme Architect of the Universe and the
rank and file of Freemasonry, three million strong, to go to the aid of our
brethren standing in the Northeast Corner. We firmly believe that 99 per cent
of the Masons of America will endorse and support this project for
hospitalization of the sick when it is presented to them.
under authority conferred by resolution of the Grand Lodge at its last
communication, a charter has been secured from the State of New Mexico for the
organization of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association, with
the following purposes:
act as an agency, or trustee, to receive and administer funds contributed or
acquired for the relief of Freemasons and members of their families; to secure
hospitalization of the sick, to render service according to the need and our
ability; to erect and operate sanatoria; to aid in the prevention and
treatment of tuberculosis among Masons and their families; to disseminate
knowledge as to the cause, methods of treatment, relief and cure of
charter is broad enough to permit us to do anything which we may find
necessary to do in the relief of consumptives and their families.
one of the most powerful arguments for hospitalization of consumptives is the
fact that by removing them from the home we are safeguarding the children from
infection which will later in life cause them to die of tuberculosis, or they
may become pitiful, pinch-faced little hunch-backs, or hobble through life on
shortened limbs. When we care for the fathers we are saving the children.
plan of organization provides for a member of the association's board of
governors from every Grand Jurisdiction and for members at large from all of
the higher bodies, having national or interstate jurisdiction and from the
Mystic Shrine and Eastern Star national bodies.
secure this charter it was of course necessary to name officers for the
Association from the New Mexico Grand Lodge until men from other states are
found to take the positions of leadership.
the organization of this national hospital association, New Mexico challenges
American Freemasonry to service for the sick and afflicted brethren, husbands
and fathers, who through no fault of their own are in need of our fraternal
assistance. If, as it is estimated, $1,000 will provide for a brother Mason's
hospital care for one year, figure out in dollars and cents just how many
months, weeks, days, hours or minutes you can afford to keep one tuberculous
Mason in a hospital. We have created a legal Masonic entity which we expect,
within a short time, will become national in its scope, with authority to
receive and administer funds as your trustee, for the aid and comfort of your
Within a decade the Masonic World will be called together to celebrate the
200th anniversary of the founding of Freemasonry in what is now the United
States of America. Masons of all nations will join with us in a great
Bicentennial World Congress. American Freemasonry will give an account of its
stewardship. It will show the world, in a great Masonic Exposition, what it
has accomplished, for America, for humanity and for the Craft.
are many designs upon many Masonic trestleboards throughout the country. But
there exists no national trestleboard upon which can be placed "The Great
Design," on which American Freemasonry can unite and work out together "The
Master Plan." The New Mexico Grand Lodge dares to set up the National Masonic
Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association as the national trestleboard upon which
American Freemasonry can work out a great design, a master plan for the
hospitalization of our suffering and afflicted brethren.
should be no uncared-for Mason suffering from tuberculosis in the year 193-?
Let us finish this greatest of all Masonic tasks before that year begins, or
have it well on the way to completion. Then we can fittingly celebrate our
Year of Jubilee before resuming labor in another century, which will be the
greatest in the history of American Masonry, because this plan of
hospitalization of tuberculous Masons will initiate a new era of practical
Masonic service and accomplishment.
Masonic historians disagree as to the year Freemasonry was founded in America.
Until that point is settled the date is left open - 193- ?
GRAND LODGE OF SORROW
Following are some case histories of tuberculous Masons in Southwestern
states, selected as typical experiences of brethren who come seeking health.
Brother No. 1. - Grand Lodge of Colorado. Sojourners' Club loaned $100 to
reinstate government insurance, December, 1921 thus assuring wife, soon to
become a widow, of support. Later in month wired wife to come to Ft. Bayard
hospital as his end was near. Met her and arranged for living accommodations.
Patient died Jan. 4, 1922. Wired relatives and friends, telegraphed home lodge
about funeral arrangements, attended to shipping body and looked after widow
until her departure.
Brother No; 2 - Grand Lodge of Scotland. Shipped to Albuquerque by Masonic
Relief Assoication. Cincinnati. Sent from there to Ft. Bayard Hospital by
Public Health Service. Receiv
Men Who Were Masons
BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD, P.G.M., District of Columbia
MILLS BROWNE, Surgeon General of the Navy, was born in New Hampshire in 1831,
and was graduated at a university in that state, with the degree of M. D. The
record does not show at which college he received this, but as such a
qualification always was, and is, a prerequisite for all medical appointments
in the Navy, it is certain that he of course must have taken the regular
course. His original examination for admission into the Navy seems to have
been a very searching one, and mention is made of the fact that he graduated
before reaching his majority.
commissioned an Assistant Surgeon in the Navy in March, 1853, and after a
short hospital detail, he was ordered to the sloop of war Warren at San
Francisco, on Aug. 4, 1853, and he served in that little vessel until May,
1855, when he was transferred to the Coast Survey Schooner Active, in the
Pacific. The service was hard, the living space small, and but little time was
spent in port. This was in “the early days of California,” and though Dr.
Brown could not claim to be a “Forty-niner’ nor even a “spring of fifty,” he
was intimate with many of the survivors of the old Vigilance Committees. He
was transferred from the Active to the Dolphin, a brig, but remained in her
only a few months. He received his promotion to the rank of Passed Assistant
Surgeon in 1856, while still attached to the Active, and then in 1858 he was
ordered to the Naval Hospital at Norfolk, Va., during the yellow fever
epidemic. A year later he was appointed to the frigate Constellation for
service on the coast of Africa. At that time England, France, and the United
States were each obliged by the provisions of a treaty for the suppression of
the slave trade, to keep at least one ship stationed on the west coast of
Africa for this purpose. Most of the trade centered around the Bight of Benin,
from the rivers which flow into it, which at that time had not been explored.
The whole region was a fever hot bed, and deaths were so frequent that England
and the United States were obliged to purchase (jointly) a cemetery on one of
the Cape de Verde Islands, to bury the Protestant dead, as the bigoted
Portuguese priests forbade their interment in the papal cemeteries, and the
men had a horror of being buried at sea. Among sailors generally an old
couplet was current:
"Beware, beware of the Bight of Benin,
few come out where many go in."
to modern medical science this is no longer true, and there is no more risk in
residing on the west coast of Africa than anywhere else.
1861 Dr. Browne was transferred to the Kearsarge, and was in that vessel in
1864 during her fight with the Alabama, one of the most evenly matched
seafights that ever occurred.
Browne was transferred to the New York Navy Yard in 1864-5, and after that
returned to California. He built the hospital at Mare Island, which embodied
all the improvements of that day, and for long was regarded as a model. After
that he was fleet surgeon on board the California and following that the
Pensacola, but was recalled to Washington in 1882 where he became Surgeon
General of the Navy from 1888 to 1893, from which office he was placed on the
retired list in 1893. He died of paralysis in 1894 and was buried with Masonic
honors in Arlington National Cemetery, where the beautiful memorial was
received his first three degrees in a lodge in New Hampshire. He was Master of
Naval Lodge, No. 87, in Vallejo, Calif., in 1871; High Priest of Naval Royal
Arch Chapter, No. 35, in 1869; Grand Master of California from 1875 to 1879;
Grand High Priest of California in 1878; and Grand Master of the Grand
Consistory of California, 1874-5-6. He was a de facto Thirty-third Degree
Mason, and devoted much time to his Masonic duties.
married, in California, the daughter of Mr. Turner, a Civil Engineer in the
employ of the Navy Department. She was a granddaughter of Francis Scott Key,
the author of the Star Spangled Banner.
Browne was one of the most perfect Masonic ritualists the writer has ever
known, and one of the readiest and most impressive public speakers. He was
always most careful in his utterances never to injure anyone's feelings or to
give any unnecessary offense.
monument is the only one in the Arlington National Cemetery having inscribed
on it the full insignia of the Consistory. It stands in a conspicuous place,
near the Lee mansion, and has been much admired.
Surgeon General Browne was a classical scholar as well as a skillful surgeon.
He was a most patient physician, slow to reach a decision, but nearly always
correct in his diagnosis, which was an important factor in his success. In his
personal character he was modest, kind and generous, and greatly beloved not
only by his family, and the members of the Masonic Fraternity, but also by all
who had come in contact with him officially or otherwise in the Navy.
Master of the First Masonic Lodge on the Western Reserve
BRO. JAMES J. TYLER, Ohio
term Western Reserve is not merely the fortuitous combination of two words of
our language, lacking any special significance. More than any other locality
west of the Alleghenies, the term Western Reserve embodies the spirit of
colonization, the hardihood of the pioneer, the willingness to endure for
religious conviction, the theoretical and practical exposition of the tenets
of democracy, the inclusion of thrift both private and public, the fullness of
patriotism, the devotion to education. It represents a condensed history of
civilization and embodies the best of American civilization, and is a precious
heritage which deserves to be perpetuated."
FREDERICK C. WAITE, Ph.D.
than a century and a quarter ago, the State of Ohio, and more especially the
Western Reserve, was an almost unbroken wilderness. To subdue the pathless
forests, those noble pioneers left their homes in the East and struck their
axes in the huge growths of the forests, converting them into fertile fields
and replacing the wigwam of the Indian with the comfortable abodes of
civilization. They came to conquer a wilderness and they conquered it. They
sought a "land of promise" and they realized it. "The secret of their success
may be traced to the moral principles which characterized their education;
hence they practiced economy, and led a frugal life commensurate with their
limited means; they built log cabins in which to dwell, log schoolhouses in
which to educate their children, and log churches in which to worship God.
They had faith, not only in God, but in themselves; they regarded each other
as a common brotherhood, and helped each other in time of need. They looked
ahead; ever mindful of their responsibilities to both God and man, they have
left to their posterity a rich inheritance, rich in lands, and rich in lessons
is still preserved in the Connecticut State Library, the charter issued to
that colony in 1662 by Charles II, which defines the limits of the colony to
be Massachusetts on the north, Long Island Sound on the south, the
Narragansett River on the east, and the Pacific Ocean on the west, excepting
certain portions granted previously. "By virtue of this charter, subsequent to
the Revolution, Connecticut claimed land west of Pennsylvania. Controversy in
relation to this claim at length settled by the cession, by Connecticut to the
United States, of all land west of the State of Pennsylvania, reserving a
tract one hundred and twenty miles in length, between Lake Erie and the
forty-first parallel of north latitude. This cession was accepted, and was
considered as an acknowledgment that the claim of Connecticut was well
founded. This tract received the name of the Connecticut Western Reserve."
Excepting the "Fire Lands," containing half a million acres on the western end
of the Reserve, so-called from being given by the state of Connecticut to
certain sufferers by fire and destruction of their property in that state
during the Revolutionary War, and the Salt Spring tract lying in the townships
of Austintown, Jackson, Weathersfield, and Lordstown, and a few other parcels
previously sold or negotiated, this tract was sold by the state in 1795 to the
Connecticut Land Company for $1,200,000, which money was placed in the school
fund of the state and has always there remained.
General Moses Cleaveland, in 1796, the survey of the Reserve was commenced,
and in January, 1798, the survey into townships five miles square then being
completed, "the land was partitioned among the stockholders of the company by
draft. When the partition was completed, the stockholders of the company
received from the trustees deeds of the land they had drawn. Many of the
grantees removed soon thereafter to their new country, clearings were made in
the forest, log houses were erected, crops were put in the ground, and thus in
the spring of 1798 was commenced the regular settlement of the Reserve."
were two ways to enter the Reserve, namely, through New York state to Buffalo
and along Lake Erie, or through Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh, to the Beaver and
up the Mahoning. By the first of these two ways there came, in 1798, Turhand
Kirtland, destined to be a few years later the first Worshipful Master of the
first Masonic Lodge on the Western Reserve. He was a descendant of the family
of Kyrlands, landed gentry, of Sherrington, in Buckinghamshire, England, which
sent its first representatives to this country in 1635. The family settled in
Lynn, Mass., but later moved to Saybrook, Conn. Turhand, of the fifth
generation of Kirtlands in this country, was born at Wallingford, Conn., Nov.
16, 1755. He was a carriage manufacturer by trade, which occupation he
followed in Wallingford until his removal to Ohio. "In 1776 he was in the
provisional service of New York at the time of the defeat of the American Army
on Long Island and was engaged on board the boats which conveyed our
retreating forces over to the mainland. He, with most of the company, was
attacked with the malignant camp distemper, typhoid dysentery, and was
discharged at Sawpits. After his recovery and return home, he pursued for a
number of years the occupations of carriage making and farming in his native
town." Later he was one of the proprietors of the Connecticut Land Company in
the purchase of the Western Reserve from the mother state.
member of the company drew his portion by lot and "in the first draft of the
company, in 1798, he with several others drew the township of Mecca and part
of the township of Auburn. He also, in company with Messrs. Benjamin Doolittle,
Seth Hart, William Law, Andrew Hull, Titus Street, Levi Tomlison and Daniel
Holbrook, drew the townships of Poland, Burton, and over two thousand acres in
Kirtland (located midway between West Mentor and Willoughby), as well as many
minor amounts in other townships. Three months after this draft, April, 1798,
he set out with his party of surveyors and settlers upon the arduous journey
to the Northwest Territory where lay these new possessions." Each succeeding
summer he returned, locating first at Burton (now Geauga county), but spent
much of his time in Poland and Youngstown, engaged in examining, surveying and
selling land, until 1803, when his family accompanied him and settled in
only attended to the sale of his own lands but was also agent for the
Connecticut Land Company, and while acting in this capacity during the year
1798, he surveyed the townships of Burton and Poland, and during the years
1798-1800 transacted most of the business connected with the final purchase of
land by John Young, and assisted him in laying out the village of Youngstown.
He continued to act as agent for the company for many years, and, until he
retired from active business in 1834, had charge of the greater part of the
land of those proprietors of the Connecticut Land Company who resided in the
his diary we learn that during the year 1798, in fulfillment of his duty as
agent for the company, he laid out and opened a road through the wilderness,
from Grand River, near Painesville, to Poland. This was the second road of any
distance in old Trumbull County and connected Lake Erie with the Mahoning
River and thus establishing communication between the two gateways to the
Reserve. This road started at Poland and followed rather closely the old
saltmaker's and Indian trail to Salt Springs, thence to Warren, and north on
what is now Mahoning avenue. In Champion it turned off to the west above the
County Farm, led through Southington, Nelson, Parkman, Burton and thence to
Grand River. "Over this road the Indians walked, the early settlers went on
horseback, and the first stage coaches sometimes rattled and sometimes plowed
the mud. It was at different times known as the plank road, the turnpike, and
the state road."
of interest to trace the route of between six and seven hundred miles which
Turhand Kirtland with his party of surveyors and settlers, with their supplies
and cattle, traveled on their journey from Old to New Connecticut. From
Wallingford they followed the old Boston and New York post road to the Hudson
River. Then by way of the Hudson to Schenectady, and from here the boats and
supplies continued up the Mohawk River through Wood Creek and into Oneida Lake
to the Oswego River. By this river they reached Lake Ontario and followed its
southern shore to the Niagara River. From thence the boats were hauled around
the Falls on the Canadian side and then navigated up the river to Buffalo.
cattle went overland from Schenectady along the Genesee Road and Niagara Road,
turning off to Buffalo Creek. Turhand Kirtland was with the party which
proceeded by land, for he states that they left Geneva on the 22nd of April,
and his diary, from which the following extracts have been taken, begins
abruptly as follows:
Sunday, May 12, 1798--I crossed the Genesee River with Esq. Law, Abott, Moss,
etc., with oxen, two cows, one steer, having in company forty heads of cattle
and swine. Arrived Monday at Buffalo Creek, leaving the cattle with the men to
come on the next morning.
Tuesday, May 14--Swam our cattle over Buffalo Creek and took a boat. Mr. Abott
and Mr. Moss went to Chippeway and down to the indescribable Falls of Niagara.
Wednesday, May 15--Went to garrison at Niagara to Mr. Samuel Cook's and put up
to wait for the boats to come on. Spent my time in viewing garrisons and the
adjacent country until Saturday, 19th. Sunday, May 20--At daylight went up the
river to Queensland . . . detained at portage until Tuesday noon. I arrived at
Chippeway and proceeded to Fort Erie.
Wednesday, May 23--Arrived at Buffalo.
Thursday, May 24--Left Buffalo and arrived at a small creek about five miles
and lay wind bound Friday and Saturday . . . hung our grindstone and ground
some tools . . . fished and hunted some and Sunday arrived at Presque Isle
(Erie). was treated very politely by Capt. Lyman. Slept and breakfasted with
him and took a glass of Most Excellent Cyder and some garden seeds.
Monday. May 28--Arrived at Conneaut (Stow Castle). Left Conneaut Thursday, May
Sunday, June 3--Arrived at Grand River, about eighteen miles, encamped, and
found on the interval as fine large strawberries as ever I saw.
Monday, June 4--Went up the river about four miles to the Indian Town at the
old fording place. Found several old houses and a large settlement.
Tuesday. June 5--Esq. Law and Mr. Beard started the road for several miles.
Wednesday. June 6--Cut one and a half miles of road.
Saturday, June 16--We caught a very fine faun we judged about one month old
which made us an Excellent Dinner.
Sunday, June 17--Esq. Law ointed for the itch.
Monday, June 25--Being out of bread and flour was obliged to give up surveys
this day . . . We killed a large rattlesnake--fifteen rattles and carried him
home and dressed him and cooked him and notwithstanding my exclamations to the
contrary, after it was cook, it was generally eat with a good relish as any
fresh meat we had eat on the road. I can say with candor I never ate better
Wednesday, July--Being Independence Day drank a can extraordinary and several
Patriotic toasts. Mr. Beard with his hands to survey.
Friday, July 6--Turhand Kirtland and Mr. Umberfield completed a log house on
which they had been working, and Mr. Umberfield's family moved in. "It being
the first night they had slept in a house since we left Geneva. being which
was the 22nd of April, but as I had not finished the chamber floor I concluded
not to leave our tents."
July 8--[He completed his room in the cabin, made a bedstead, struck his tent
and moved into Mr. Umberfield's cabin.] "It being the first night I had slept
in a house since I left Queenstown."
Thursday, July 19--Arrived in Cleaveland and found Col. Sheldon and Rising
Friday. July 20--Spent in viewing the town . . . of Cleaveland. He returned to
Wallingford to pass the winter, and in 1799 he was again on the Reserve,
returning this time no doubt by way of Pennsylvania. On May 2 of that year he
attempted a journey from Poland to Burton, and on his arrival in Youngstown,
he states, "found to my great disappointment that the road was so incomplete
that I could not take my wagon further than No. 4 (Warren)."
Sunday, June 23, 1799--Shirted, shaved and read and went to Boardman.
Saturday, June 29--I set out with Doolittle and Law for Burton, and went to
Youngstown and got a pair of shoes. Set on my horse and went to No. 4
Saturday, August 31--I explored some and filled a map.
Sunday, September 1--I went to Youngstown to attend public Worship. The Rev.
William Wick from Washington county (Penn.) preached, it being the first
Sermon ever delivered on New Connecticut.
Saturday, September 14--I set out for Burton with Mr. Weaver and Benjamin;
went to No. 4 (Warren) and put up at Quinby's.
Saturday, September 26--Doolittle and Law set out for McIntosh (Beaver, Penn.)
and Washington on the way home.
event occurred the following year which no doubt determined the location of
the first Masonic lodge in New Connecticut. On July 10, 1800, Arthur St.
Clair, Governor (1788-1802) of the territory northwest of the Ohio River,
organized the entire Reserve as Trumbull County with Warren as the county
seat. This immense county, now divided into a dozen counties, was known as
Trumbull County of the Northwest Territory, for it was not until 1803 that
Ohio was admitted into the Union as a state.
eastern part of the township comprising the county-seat had fallen to Ebenezer
King, Jr., in the apportionment of land among the stockholders of the
Connecticut Land Company in 1798. On Feb. 22, 1800, he deeded to Ephriam
Quinby 441 acres at the rate of $3.68 1/2 an acre. Later in the same year,
Ephriam Quinby had that portion of his land located on the east side of the
Mahoning River surveyed into town lots and donated the public square to the
village. The town was given the name of Warren as a compliment to Moses
Warren, of Lyme, Conn., one of the first surveyors on the Reserve. "The
capitol city consisted of a dozen log cabins surrounded by a wall of trees,
with here and there a gate opening to a distant settlement." The first cabin
in Warren was built by William Fenton in 1798 and the second by Captain
Ephriam Quinby in 1799.
Turhand Kirtland had already gained a reputation as a man of importance on the
Reserve is shown by the fact that he was appointed one of the five Justices of
the quorum by Governor St. Clair at the time he organized the Reserve as
Justices of the Peace were the sole law dispensers and constituted the general
court of the county. Those designated as the "quorum" taking a higher rank,
while the remainder were associate Justices. "In this body was vested the
entire civil jurisdiction of the county, local and legislative as well as
judicial." They met four times a year, hence were known as "the court of
quorum sessions." Governor St. Clair directed the sheriff to call a meeting of
this body at Warren, Aug. 25, 1800, and in a session which lasted five days,
the foundation was laid for law and order in the new county of Trumbull. The
court room on that day was a bower of native trees standing between two large
corn cribs on the farm of Captain Quinby on Main street (near the present
location of the Erie R. R. station). A synopsis of the record of this session
is preserved in the handwriting of Judge Pease, a brother-in-law of Hon.
Gideon Granger, of Suffield, Conn., the then Postmaster-General of the United
States. It read as follows:
Trumbull County August term 1800 ss.
of general quarter sessions of the peace begun and holden, at Warren, within
and for the said county of Trumbull, on the fourth Monday of August, in the
year of our Lord, 1800, and of the independence of the United States the
twenty-fifth. Present, John Young, Turhand Kirtland, Camden Cleveland James
Kingsbury, Eliphalet Austin, Esquires.
interesting incidents of this year from the diary of Judge Kirtland are given
in "The Mahoning Valley Historical Collections" by his son, Dr. Jared P.
1, 1800--John Atkins, an old salt, returned to Poland with a mail from
Pittsburgh, the then nearest post office. There he obtained two lemons from
another sailor who had turned pack-horse man. Turhand Kirtland and Atkins
immediately started, with the lemons in charge, for Burton, and probably the
first lemons on the Western Reserve
4--The good people of Burton and others from Connecticut, assembled on the
green, forty-two in number, partook of a good dinner, and drank the usual
patriotic toasts then the president of the day, Turhand Kirtland, caused the
lemons to be mixed in a milk-pan of punch, when he offered and drank as a
toast, "Here's to our wives and sweethearts at home." The vessel of punch and
the toast passed around the table till at length it came to a Mr. B., who a
few weeks before, had fled from a Xanthippe of a wife in New England, to
obtain a little respite, and had joined the surveying party; he promptly
responded thus to the toast: "Here's to our sweethearts at home, but the D l
take the wives."
23--Turhand Kirtland had partially recovered from an attack of fever and ague.
He went from Poland to Youngstown to get his horse shod; was required to blow
and strike for the smith. This threw him into an aggravated relapse of the
disorder which was at length cured by taking teaspoonful doses of the bark
every hour. He adds: "I found that Joseph M'Mahon and the people of Warren had
killed two Indians at Salt Springs, on Sunday, 20th, in a hasty and
inconsiderate manner; and they had sent after a number (of Indians) that had
gone off, in order to hold a conference at Esq. Young's and had sent for an
interpreter to attend, who arrived this day, in company with an Indian chief
and his lady on horseback."
30--Went to Youngstown (from Poland) to attend the conference with the Indians
on account of the murder of two of their principal men at Salt Springs, on
Sunday. 20th. by Joseph M'Mahon and Storer. We assembled about three hundred
(whites) and ten Indians, had a very friendly talk. and agreed to make peace
and live as friends. Monday. August 25th--Went to Warren, met the judges and
justices of the county, when they all took the oaths of office and proceeded
to open the Courts of Quarter Sessions and Common Pleas, appointed constables,
and summoned eighteen grand jurors. Bills of indictment found against Joseph
M'Mahon and Richard Storer for murder.
27, 28, 29th--Spent in hearing proposals viewing the ground and affixing on a
place for the seat of Justice in Warren. Many places were mentioned but the
east side of the Mahoning near Esq. Quinby's house was determined upon by the
Court, the court adjourned at noon. I rode to Burton.
Sunday. September 14th--Sample (of Pittsburgh) the counsel for M'Mahon went on
to Youngstown. The prisoner is on the way from M'Intosh (Beaver) with the
sheriff. and an escort of twenty-five troops from the garrison at Pittsburgh
to guard him to Warren, where a court is to he held on Thursday for his trial
for the murder of Captain George and Spotted John (Indians) at Salt Springs.
Wednesday. September 17th--Went to court at Warren. (Return J.) Meigs and
Gilman the judges. Messrs. Edwards. Pease. (George) Tod, Tappan (of Ravenna)
and Abbott admitted as counsellors-at-law by this court.
Thursday, September 18th--Prisoner (M'Mahon) brought in traverse jury
summoned: Friday, September 19th--witnesses examined:
Saturday, September 20th--case argued; verdict acquittal.
Another incident of this year occurs in Harvey Rice's "Pioneers of the Western
Reserve." John Blackburn and Nancy Bryan desired to be married before the
departure of the surveyors from Poland in the fall of 1800 and requested
Turhand Kirtland to perform the ceremony. Mr. Rice states:
yielded to the force of circumstances and consented to officiate. A stool
covered with a white tablecloth and a prayer book (Episcopal) lying upon it
was brought and placed before him. As he was about to proceed a guest proposed
that the whisky bottle should first be passed around, which was done; and
while the party was engaged in taking a hurried sip of the 'O-be-joyful'
someone mischievously inclined purloined the prayer book which contained the
formula to be used in solemnizing marriages. Kirtland, though somewhat
disconcerted, appreciated the situation, directed the happy pair to stand up
before him and take each other by the hand, when he asked, 'Are you agreed to
become man and wife?' They responded 'Yes.' 'Then,' said he, 'I pronounce you
henceforth man and wife and bid you go on your way rejoicing."'
use of liquor by the pioneers was so general that they deemed it parsimony,
approaching wickedness, to neglect to offer it to a guest or limit the
quantity. "It was free as water in the harvest field, clearing and cabin, at
public dinners and on election days." It was employed in the mechanic arts,
such as barn raisings, and became the standard of value and medium of
exchange, and was used in almost all transactions. Masons, in the earlier
days, considered liquid refreshments as necessary to a convocation as a room
to meet in, and the Steward's bills of the early lodges often show payment for
cider, rum, brandy and whisky. It was not until about 1830 that a reaction
began to take place on the Reserve and temperance societies were organized.
The Masonic lodges were one of the first social organizations to abandon the
common use of ardent spirits.
annual journeys from Old Connecticut, one record states that in the spring of
1801, "probably a merrier set of men never crossed the mountains and found
their way through the wilderness," than that composed of John Kinsman, the
pioneer settler of Kinsman, and with him Ebenezer Reeves, General Simon
Perkins, Calvin Pease, "who as Judge, citizen and companion had no superior";
George Tod, one of the ablest jurists of Trumbull County; Josiah Pelton. the
pioneer of Gustavius; John Stark Edwards, and Turhand and his brother, Jared
Kirtland. This party organized itself into a society called "The Illuminati."
All were titled, and in addressing each other the titles were frequently used.
When they stopped for the night, mock trials were held and thus they beguiled
the tediousness of their journey. The party continued together as far as
Youngstown where they separated.
were on the Reserve at this time less than 1500 inhabitants. In the diary of
Bro. Joseph Badger, known over the Reserve as "Father Badger," the statement
is made that he visited Warren in January of 1801 and "was received
courteously by Mr. John Levitt and family. I preached here on the Sabboth. In
this place were eleven families and one in Howland." In the month of July he
records that "on Monday visited Cleveland, in which were only two families.
Here I fell in company with Judge Kirtland. We rode from here to Painesville;
found on the way, in Euclid, one family and in Chagrin one; in Mentor four,
and in Painesville two families."
year 1803, Turhand Kirtland decided to make his permanent home on the Reserve,
and in the spring brought his family by way of Pennsylvania and settled in
Poland. Contrary to expectation it was the inland and not the lake shore
villages which at first prospered. The settlers desired the higher and drier
land and avoided the colder, windy regions about Lake Erie. Thus in the first
three years of white occupation, the southeast corner of the Reserve close to
the Pennsylvania line grew rapidly and Youngstown, Canfield, Poland and Warren
developed into healthy villages, and by 1810 the latter led all the Western
Reserve villages in size and importance.
Regarding the Fourth of July celebration of that year (1803), Bro. John S.
at Warren on the 4th of July where I attended a ball. You may judge my
surprise at meeting a considerable company, all of whom were dressed in
neatness in fashion, some of them would have been admired for their ease and
grace in a New Haven ball room. It was held on the same spot where four years
since there was scarcely the trace of a human hand or anywhere within fifteen
miles of it. We improved well the occasion; began at two in the afternoon of
Monday and left the room a little before sunrise in Tuesday morning. We dance
but seldom, which is our apology.
this year is found the record of the first school in Warren, this being a log
building on the river bank west of the square and on about the same site as
the present Monumental Park. On Sept. 3 the present First Baptist Church was
organized, under the name of the "Concord Baptist-Church," being the first
religious body organized in the village. Later in the same year, Nov. 18, the
First Presbyterian Church was organized. Judge Kirtland speaks of stopping at
Adgate's and Quinby's, in Warren, but neither of these men opened regular
taverns, "they merely entertained strangers with such fare as they had
themselves." Bro. John Leavitt opened in 1803 the first regular tavern which
was located on the corner where the Second National Bank building now stands,
and was for many years the principal stopping place in the village.
Nolichucky Jack and the Mountain Men
BRO. WILLIAM M. STUART
a bright, cloudless day in the latter part of September, 1780. The "Tall
Watauga Boys" were holding a field day at the home of Colonel John Sever,
sometimes called "Nolichucky Jack," from the name of the stream which ran
through his fertile plantation. The wild, uncouth backwoodsmen, settlers in
that tract of virgin forest discovered by Daniel Boone and claimed by North
Carolina, were disporting themselves according to the forms and usages
employed by their ancestors for generations.
little distance a series of whiplike reports indicated that a rifle contest
was going on; a contest with the long Deckhard, a weapon with which each had
to be familiar if he were to preserve inviolate on his head the hair that
nature had caused to grow, or to protect the lives of those under his care.
The Cherokee country lay but a short distance toward the south.
little further away shrill yells, encouraging calls, the pounding of hoofs,
gave evidence that horse racing was being practiced. A group of old men whose
eyes had grown too dim to longer sight along the rifle barrel, and whose
bodies were too much troubled with the pangs of rheumatism to render horse
racing attractive, were engaged in the ancient and honorable game of pitching
horseshoes. At various fires scattered about the fields men were tending
roasting oxen, and the pungent odor of burning flesh was wafted by the breeze
to the nostrils of groups of women whose faces almost invariably showed lines
of care, irrespective of age. Bands of shrieking children, all care discarded
for the joy of the present, raced across the greensward, hid behind bushes or
splashed through little streams in imitation of Indian warfare, of which they
had heard much and experienced not a little.
porch of a rather pretentious house sat a man of perhaps thirty-five smoking a
long-stemmed pipe and watching the animated scene with positive enjoyment.
Known as the handsomest man in Tennessee, Jack Sever's actual appearance did
not belie his reputation. six feet tall he was, light haired, blue eyed,
graceful, with an engaging smile, his courage famed in that land where all
were supposed to be brave; a man full of energy, he was respected by his
fellows and admired by the women. A natural leader of men was Colonel John
family was of French extraction, but had now been American for Several
generations. Being possessed of some wealth, John Sever had crossed the
mountain wall in 1772 and settled in the valley of the Watauga in what is now
Eastern Tennessee. Here, for reasons which have been already noted, and for
many others, he became the dominating spirit of that remote settlement. An
Indian fighter of repute, he led thirty four expeditions against the Indians
and was never defeated. He was later to be the governor of the short-lived
state of Franklin, then the first Governor of Tennessee for six terms.
Representative to Congress, General of the Militia, Surveyor for the
Government, worthy brother Master Mason, he died with his boots on in 1815,
after a long life devoted to the service of his fellow men.
first wife died in 1774, and two years later, while engaged in a campaign
against the Indians who had been incited to war by the British, he won his
second companion. A party of women and children had strayed too far from the
fort and had been attacked by the savages. As they rushed shrieking from the
forest, Sever manned the walls of his fort with riflemen to cover the retreat.
In a perfect frenzy of fear a young girl sprang to the top of the palisade,
scrambled over the wall and fell into the arms of the handsome commander. Here
she afterwards abode as his wife. By his first wife Sever had two sons; by the
second wife, Katherine Sherrill, he became the father of ten children.
this beautiful day of September, 1780, while "Nolichucky Jack" was smoking his
pipe and gazing with complacency upon the scene before him, a horseman
suddenly broke from the forest, spurred his mount over a rail fence and
brought the sweating animal to a sliding halt before the house of Sever. The
rider, a man of about thirty with undeniable marks of Welch ancestry, sprang
from his trembling steed and rushed up the steps of the porch. Sever advanced
to meet him.
how's my old friend Isaac Shelby ?" said the colonel as he extended his hand.
"Well, I should think by the looks, although obviously a little flustered.
What's the trouble, Isaac? Another Indian raid?"
threw himself into a chair. "Worse than that--perhaps," he puffed. "Ferguson's
advanced to the eastern edge of the mountains and threatens to come over and
make us a call." He smiled queerly. "Ah !" Colonel Sever's blue eyes narrowed;
he knocked the ashes from his pipe. "How did you learn this, Shelby?"
"Ferguson released a prisoner and sent him over the mountains with a message
to the effect that if we don't desist from our opposition to the king and take
protection under his standard, he will march his army over the mountains, hang
our leaders and lay waste our country with fire and sword."
that all?" Sever was smiling now.
Lord!" snorted Shelby, "isn't that enough?"
too much," announced Sever. "Far too much. Ferguson is full of the pride that
goeth before a fall. It may be that the Mountain Men will yet teach him a
lesson." He sat down again and reflectively began to refill his pipe. Speedily
his massive head became almost concealed by clouds of tobacco smoke. Shelby
watched him curiously.
with sudden resolution Colonel John Sever sprang to this feet, cast aside his
pipe, advanced to the rail of the porch and called in powerful tones to the
people who were scattered for many rods about the house and out-buildings.
Swiftly the men left their sports and strode toward him, their long rifles in
their hands. the tails of their coonskin caps flapping against their fringed
hunting jackets. The women came too-- women on whose faces the lines of care
and horror were already beginning to deepen. The crowd gathered about the
porch and looked expectantly up into the face of their leader.
of Watauga," began Sever, "on the sixteenth of last month the army of General
Gates was defeated and almost annihilated at the battle of Camden. A few days
later General Sumter's force was surprised and dispersed. South Carolina is at
the feet of the enemy who now aspire to conquer the old North State also. A
force under Major Patrick Ferguson has advanced almost to the foot of the
mountain wall, sweeping all before it. Ferguson has perhaps one hundred and
twenty regulars; the rest of his force are Tories --men who should naturally
be our countrymen, but who are too craven to fight for liberty. Besides," the
colonel paused and smiled, "the gold of the king has called to them. In all,
Ferguson has about twelve hundred men."
crowd in front of the porch stirred restlessly. Men handled their rifles. The
women gazed up at the bearded faces of their mates.
now," went on "Nolichucky Jack," as he allowed his eyes to rove appraisingly
over his audience, "Ferguson sends us word that unless we cease our efforts
against the Indians, whom the king in his might has seen fit to rouse, and
refrain from sending any more of our riflemen across the mountains, he will
march to our settlements, hang our leaders and ravage our territory with fire
and sword. Men of Watauga, what say you to the challenge of the prideful
Briton? Shall we send him word that in the future we will remain in our
settlements as peaceable subjects of the king, acknowledging that, in spite of
his Cherokees and his Tories, the king can do no wrong?"
of anger rose from the crowd. Rifles were shaken fiercely in the air. Even the
eyes of the women, fit mates for the border warriors, flashed and their
normally pale cheeks took on the flush of rage.
shall we," Seiver's voice thundered, "march to the relief of our beaten
brothers of the plains, crush Ferguson and hurl back the tide of invasion from
our borders ?"
uproar was now deafening. Sever had cast his seed on fertile soil. Many young
men sprang on the backs of their horses and charged wildly about the fields.
From all rose the fierce cry, "March against Ferguson! Down with the British
again raised his hand. Silence fell upon the crowd. "The rendezvous," he
shouted, "will be at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga, the twenty-fifth of this
month. Spread the alarm as your ancestors did in the highlands of old
Scotland. Spread the alarm! And now, my friends, disperse."
soon as the crowd had gone, Sever sent an express to Colonel MacDowell, who
with a small band of North Carolina militia had been driven over the mountains
by Ferguson. Shelby secured a fresh horse from the stables of Sever and dashed
away to alarm Colonel Campbell of Virginia, who with many followers had
settled about the headwaters of the Holston River. Other messengers were
dispatched to Colonel Benjamin Cleaveland and lesser leaders, while Sever
himself undertook to rally the Watauga men.
appointed day the clan began to come to the rendezvous. Nearly five hundred
men of the Watauga, including the two sons of Colonel Sever, were on hand and
were promptly divided into two regiments, one of which was commanded by
Colonel Shelby, the other by Sever himself. One hundred and sixty men under
MacDowell, a Master Mason, came riding up on their rangy horses, while four
hundred hunting-shirt men under William Campbell and his brother, Arthur
Campbell, swelled the force. Singly and in small groups others drifted to the
camp until well over a thousand hardy backwoodsmen had arrived. None knew the
slightest thing about military tactics, but all were inured to hardships, were
expert marksmen, and fear abode in the breast of none. Furthermore, the
campaign against the Indians had made them, in a way, veterans.
a remarkable fact that of those Revolutionary heroes who achieved fame in the
various Southern campaigns of that struggle, practically all were Master
Masons. The paucity of records of that period make it impossible to tell when
many of these distinguished brethren were raised, but it is conceded that the
following were Masons: Colonel Moultrie, the hero of Fort Sullivan; Generals
Sumter, Marion and Pickens; Major William Washington, the famous cavalryman;
Light Horse Harry Lee; Colonel Smallwood, of the indomitable Maryland Line;
General Nathaniel Green; Baron DeKalb; General Nelson; Colonel Otto Williams;
the following four upon whose shoulders later rested the purple of the
Fraternity: Colonels Mordecai Gist and Richard Caswell, Generals William R.
Davie and James Jackson. Then, in the expedition that we are about to
describe, the following leaders were of the Craft: Colonel Sever, MacDowell
and Hambright, Captain Lenoir. General Benjamin Lincoln was not made a Mason
until 1781, long after he was forced to surrender at Charleston.
Concerning the MacDowell family, Lossing, who quotes Mrs. Ellet's "Women of
the Revolution," says: "The MacDowells were all brave men. Joseph and William,
the brothers of Charles, were with him in the battle of King's Mountain. Their
mother, Ellen MacDowell, was a woman of remarkable energy. Mrs. Ellet relates
that on one occasion some marauders carried off some property during the
absence of her husband. She assembled her neighbors, started in pursuit and
recovered her property. When her husband was secretly making gunpowder in a
cave, she burned the charcoal for the purpose upon her own hearth and carried
it to him. Some of the powder thus manufactured was used in the battle of
now that the clans had gathered upon the Watauga, a serious question presented
itself: Who would stay to guard the settlements from the Indians waiting their
chance to make another bloody raid? Only by resorting to lottery did the men
decide who should remain behind; all wanted to go on the march against
morning of Sept. 26 the expedition was ready to start. A preacher stood forth
and invoked divine blessing upon those who were to go forth to battle against
the mighty and the workers of iniquity. With bowed heads the bearded Mountain
Men listened reverently to the invocation, then mounting their horses, rode
away to turn back the red wave that threatened to engulf them. Up, up, toward
the summit of the mountain range they traveled, through forests whose foliage
was beginning to empurple in the frosts of autumn, along precipitous paths
where far below could be heard the murmur of turbulent streams. There was no
baggage train; each man carried a supply of parched corn and a quantity of
jerked meat. Also a few beeves were driven along to be slaughtered in due
season. Occasionally a rifle would echo among the wild crags and a hunter
eventually return to the main column with a deer hanging over his saddle bow.
Soon they were joined by Colonel Cleaveland with his detachment, and on the
last day of the month three hundred and fifty men from the counties of Wilkes
and Surrey were added to the army. The next day it rained, and the mountain
streams were swollen to rushing torrents that impeded the progress. In some of
the higher passes deep snow was found.
now decided to elect a general leader for the whole expedition, and eventually
decided upon Colonel Campbell, of virginia, who was to command until such time
as General Gates should send a general officer. Colonel MacDowell was sent to
inform Gates of the raid and to request that an experienced officer be sent.
Descending the eastern slope of the range at last, the army came to the region
of the Cowpens, later to be rendered famous by Bro. Morgan, the Old Wagoner
General. Here it was joined by detachments of militia under Bro. Hambright,
Colonels Lacey and Williams. Many of the recruits, however, were unmounted. As
speed was the prime requisite, it was now advocated that from the whole force
of over eleven hundred men, nine hundred of the best mounted be selected to
make a forced march toward Ferguson, who was understood to be at King's
Mountain, just south of the North Carolina line. This plan was speedily
adopted, although fifty foot soldiers resolved to keep up with the column if
Ferguson, after sweeping at will over the country, rallying Tories to the
cause of the king, drilling them and adding them to his army, had learned that
the men from beyond the mountains had risen and were on his trail. Knowing
something of the character of these hardy fighters, he had retreated to a
place that he felt offered sanctuary for the time being, and had sent an
express to Cornwallis at Charlotte asking for help. His messenger was,
Mountain, one of the Allegheny system, is a spur perhaps fifteen miles in
length, running almost due north and south. Ferguson had encamped at the
extreme southern point of this ridge on an elevation that constituted a hill
by itself. The sides of this hill are precipitous and covered with trees,
while the summit, more or less level, is covered with large stones and masses
of rock. These rocks formed a natural barricade for the defenders of the hill.
Ferguson was a member of a distinguished Scotch family and had entered the
military service at the age of eighteen. Joining the British Army in America
in 1777, he served with distinction at Brandywine, Camden and other
engagements. He commanded the Seventy-first regulars, about one hundred and
twenty of whom accompanied him on the King's Mountain raid. The remainder of
his army was made up of Tories whom he had drilled until he rated them equal
to regulars. His whole force waiting on the hill for the attack was composed
of between eleven and twelve hundred men, considerably out-numbering his
opponents, but, for this particular kind of warfare, inferior to them.
Ferguson himself was a crack shot with the rifle and is said to have been the
inventor of a breechloading piece. His second in command was Captain De
Peyster, a scion of a prominent Tory family of New York.
nine o'clock on the night of Oct. 6, 1780, Colonel Campbell's little army of
mounted borderers set out from Cowpens for King's Mountain, over thirty miles
distant. The night was intensely dark, for a chilly autumnal rain had set in,
adding greatly to the discomfort of the men and rendering it difficult for
them to keep the priming dry in their rifles. All night long the column
plodded through the inky darkness, the only sound being the squashing of the
horse's hoofs in the soft mud and the patter of the rain on the withered
as the gloomy dawn came up they reached the Catawba River at Cherokee Ford.
And now the :rain fell much harder than before. Without halting, the riders
continued their march, and about noon the sun broke through the clouds, the
rain stopped, and all nature shone as though in garments new and of wondrous
texture. The spirits of the men rose.
now a woman ran out of a farmhouse, stared for a moment at the column. "How
many men have you ? ' she asked Campbell.
"Enough to whip Ferguson," gruffly returned the grizzled old fighter. "Where
is he, then?"
woman pointed toward a hill about three miles away. "He's there," she said,
and ran back into the house. Again the long line of drenched horsemen
advanced, their eyes ever on the hill which rose perhaps one hundred feet
above the surrounding country. Smoke could be seen drifting over the trees; a
distant bugle call rang faintly through the air.
about two o'clock when the Americans arrived as near to the hill as they dared
go before forming their line of battle. They dismounted behind a patch of
woods and tied their horses to the trees. It was decided that Shelby, Williams
and Lacey should attack on the left; Cleaveland, Hambright and Winston on the
north; Campbell, Sever and MacDowell on the right. They had reason to believe
that Ferguson had not yet observed their arrival. The orders were simple: the
men were to swarm up the sides of the hill, yell fiercely and fire
deliberately. If forced to retire before the British bayonet (for the Mountain
Men had no bayonets), they were to retreat only far enough to evade the
charge, then return promptly to the combat. The columns moved toward their
the leggins of the men the wet grass clung, while from the dripping trees
miniature showers fell before the autumnal breeze. The slanting rays of the
afternoon sun gleamed on rifle barrel and handle of hunting knife. And now on
the hill in front a musket roared. A drum began its stirring call; hoarse
shouts; the shrill piping of a whistle; the sheen of scarlet among the yellow
"Forward !" shouted the leaders of the Mountain Men, and led the riflemen up
ridge above Shelby's men there suddenly burst forth a musket volley. Lead
thumped the sides of the trees about the mountaineers, or sent down showers of
twigs and branches upon their heads, but the damage was slight. The British
were aiming too high. Shelby's men replied slowly and carefully to the fire,
only pulling trigger when they could see a scarlet coat among the rocks.
hill the whistle sounded again, a man on a large white horse came galloping
up, waved his sword and led his regulars down the slope in a bayonet charge
toward the Watauga men. And now the rifles spat with a vengeance. Many of the
redcoats fell, and the bodies came rolling and bumping down the steep, or
brought up in grotesque attitudes against the roots of the trees. But the rest
came lunging down, their bayonets gleaming wickedly, looks of grim hate, not
unmixed with fear, upon their scowling faces. "At them, men !' roared
Ferguson. "Give 'em the cold steel."
Reluctantly Shelby's men were forced to give ground; so reluctantly that some
were bayoneted where they stood. The rest, turning to fire as rapidly as they
could reload their long rifles, fell back to the foot of the hill.
crashing volley came from the woods to the north. Ferguson was flanked by the
men of Williams. The Britons fell back to the summit of the slope. De Peyster
led his Tories at Williams and forced him to recoil, while again the flanking
rifle fire broke out. Only just beyond reach of the bayonet did the Mountain
Men retire, then when pressure from the flanks relieved them they returned to
the fray with redoubled energy.
now Bro. Sever and his Watauga men. yelling like demons, swarmed up the slope
and attained the summit, taking position among the rocks. Again the shrill
whistle sounded and Ferguson drove his white horse in a charge of regulars
against the position of Sever. But the position was too strong; "Nolichucky
Jack" and his men could not be dislodged. Over their rifle sights the
borderers marked the trimmings on the scarlet coats of their adversaries, and
terrible was the toll taken by the long Deckhards. The drifting powder smoke,
the falling leaves and the excitement of the fight rendered the aim of the
mountaineers more uncertain than usual, else the force of Major Ferguson would
speedily have been annihilated. As it was, the forms of the red-clad soldiers
and their more soberly garbed companions, the Tories, seemed strangely
distorted and blurred in the battle haze that covered the mountain top where
eleven hundred muskets and nine hundred rifles were creating an uproar heard
and again the heroic Ferguson led his men in wild charges. He but increased
his list of casualties, while the men of the mountains continually returned to
the fight, their yells of triumph rivaling the crackling bursts of their rifle
Gradually the British were forced back to the northern edge of the hill where
the men of Cleaveland, Winston and Bro. Hambright, swarming up the slope,
completed the lines of circumvallation. Bro. Sever led his men from their
place among the rocks and charged upon the enemy, now fast losing their
fortitude. The faces of the regulars and their Tory allies showed white
through the powder smoke, and in their eyes was a look of fear. On all sides
the enemy were surrounded, while the Mountain Men pressed nearer, firing with
deliberate aim. On the top of the hill bodies of men lay thickly scattered.
Confusion worse confounded set in. "Quarter !" someone shouted. Men ran this
way and that. A white flag fluttered for a moment then sank out of sight.
Again the shrill whistle. In a last desperate charge Ferguson led such of his
men as would follow him. A dozen rifles spoke at once. The brave Scotchman
swayed in his saddle, pitched to the ground, while his white horse, snorting
in terror, leaped over the bodies of the slain and crashed down the side of
the mountain to liberty.
the white flag appeared. "Quarter ! Quarter !" shouted the Tories and
regulars. Many of the Mountain Men did not know the meaning of a white flag
and continued their fire.
God !" shouted De Peyster in tones heard above the crackling of the rifles.
"Do you murder men who have surrendered?"
Campbell sprang in front of his men and threw up many of the rifles. Shelby
ran toward De Peyster, shouting, "Damn you, if you want quarter, ground your
stricken, the regulars and Tories threw their weapons on the ground while the
noise of firing died out and the clouds of powder smoke drifted away through
the trees. The battle of King's Mountain was over.
this close action the Americans lost twenty-eight killed and sixty-two
wounded, among the latter being Bro. Hambright, one of the colonels. According
to a statement signed by Colonels Cleaveland, Shelby and Campbell, the total
loss of the British was eleven hundred and five, divided as follows: Regulars,
killed, nineteen; wounded, thirty-five; prisoners, sixty-eight. Tories,
killed, two hundred and six; wounded, one hundred and twenty-eight; prisoners,
six hundred and forty-nine.
retaliation for outrages by the enemy, Several of the Tories were hanged after
the battle. After having been gone on the raid twenty-eight days, the army of
Mountain Men returned to their homes with the satisfaction of warriors whose
work has been well done.
battle of King's Mountain had a great effect. Cornwallis was alarmed; he
recalled all his small parties, concentrated his force and fell back to South
Carolina, abandoning for the time operations against North Carolina. The great
victory of Bro. Morgan at Cowpens followed not long after this, and Bro.
Greene originated the campaign of movements which had for its ultimate result
the liberation of the Southland from the tread of the invader.
Claims of the Modern Operatives
BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
will now take up the third and last of the three previously mentioned points
of view from which it is possible to criticize the claims of the modern
Operatives, and for this purpose we will now give a brief consideration of the
technical secrets supposed to have been preserved by the gild. The most
prominent of these is the previously mentioned 3-4-5 triangle for obtaining a
true right angle, the "'five-point system" for laying out buildings, the
diamond diagram for designing them and the supposed method used by the
builders for raising large stones.
SUPPOSED TECHNICAL SECRETS EXAMINED
regard to the first one it may be said that the '3-4-5 triangle is a
convenient method for setting out a right angle on a large scale, though in
most cases the method of describing arcs of a circle would be just as
convenient--in drawing a good deal more convenient and accurate. For the
purpose of making a square, a try-square, it would be useless. The medieval
masons generally, one judges, used wooden squares, and they may actually have
used a carefully squared stone to test and adjust them. But the most delicate
test for a square is to trace a right angle with it on a flat surface and then
reverse its position and draw another from the same starting point. If the
square is true the two lines coincide, if not the amount of error is shown
doubled, for each line varies in opposite directions from the right angle.
That such a simple test was not known to our Operative predecessors is
impossible to believe.
Perhaps more has been written about the "five-point system" by advocates of
the Operatives than about any other technicality they are supposed to possess.
Briefly this is the idea that ancient buildings were laid out from a center
point. That this point being chosen, a pair of diagonals were next marked out,
and the correct distances measured from the center along each diagonal in each
direction to determine corner points. This supposed technical procedure is
mixed up with foundation sacrifices, of which, according to the Operative
account, there were supposed to be five, one in the center and one at each
procedure appears to assume that all buildings were either square in plan, or
oblong in the proportion of three wide to four long, one to two, one to three,
or varying multiples of these numbers. Nothing in reality is more absurd. The
pyramids, it is true, were built on a square plan, and the Temple of Solomon
is said to have been 60x20 cubits--we do not know exactly how it was laid
out--but other ancient buildings, like modern ones, are built on all kinds of
different plans to suit the nature of the site and the purposes of the
builders. But first let us dispose of the sacrifices or foundation deposits.
There is little or no evidence for such being placed in the center of the
building, and none at all when in conjunction with corner deposits. That is,
the excavation of old sites has yielded no examples of such a combination. In
Egypt four deposits were quite common, but no center ones have been found.
They were placed sometimes under the corners and sometimes under the threshold
of the chief entrance. In the case of foundation sacrifice one was usually
regarded as sufficient, and the place selected seems to have been more
frequently in the wall than at a corner. However this will lead us too far
afield, we are concerned now rather with the practical utility of the "five
point" method. Buildings, as has been remarked, are usually erected to conform
in some way to the site. Some temples, and most old churches, are oriented,
but very seldom with any great exactitude. Buildings in a town, such as a Gild
Hall for example, would have some reference to the street and neighboring
structures. Suppose it was required to lay out the foundations of a church due
east and west. The natural way would be to first get the cardinal points
marked out, and the obvious method would be to set out two stakes north and
south sighted at night by the pole star or by observing the point of sunrise
and sunset. From this could be drawn at right angles (by the 3-4-5 method, or
by intersecting arcs, or even by sighting along a large square) the two lines
for the east and west sides of the building as far apart and as long as has
been determined on. To find the appropriate center of the building in order to
lay it out on the five point method would require most of this procedure to
begin with, and when it had been found no practical advantage would have been
gained. In fact, unless a few set proportions depending on the 3-4-5 ratio
were used, the only way to get the exact length of diagonal required would be
by an arithmetical extraction of the square root of the sum of the squares of
the side and end, a thing that only a very few mathematicians could do in the
Middle Ages. An actual acquaintance with medieval buildings impresses even the
casual observer with the fact that the last thing the craftsman worried about
was exact measurements. He built churches easterly and westerly rather than
due east and west; they were more or less the same width throughout, often
less rather than more; the span of the arches is rarely exactly the same; the
angles of the corners seem frequently to have been laid out by eye rather than
by measurement; in short, he was an artist and he knew by instinct that the
eye cannot judge angles in a building and that nothing gives a more dead and
monotonous effect than exact equality of parts. The same observation of the
actual structures disposes of the supposed "diamond" rule for designing their
elevations. Here and there a building more or less fits some such scheme, but
as a whole we can only come to the conclusion that the architect, or master of
the work, first drew a sketch, and when its proportions pleased him he made an
outline drawing of it without reference to any special ratios, and that the
minor detail was devised by the craftsmen themselves as they went along.
MECHANICAL APPLIANCES USED
other things the Operatives profess to have preserved in their traditions is
the methods by which the enormous stones in some ancient (not medieval)
buildings were raised into position. One hardly knows how to begin to
criticise these. Theoretically, in the diagram given, the counterpoise weights
will balance that to be lifted, but the form of apparatus used is most
impractical. Two defects appear at once, the enormous shear effect on the two
pivot pins that have to support not only the load but the balance weights as
well, and the weakening of the two arms by boring holes through them at the
very point where the greatest strength is required. A much more practicable
method, using exactly the same principle, would be the very simple one adopted
by any gang of workmen today, of using long levers to pry up each end
alternately, blocking it up as it was raised.
is one more point of a technical character, though it is not dwelt on as an
Operative trade secret, and that is the curious division of the craft into two
entirely separate classes of masons, arch and square men. And by the way we
have here another of those disturbing reminiscences. The term "Square-men" was
(and perhaps is) a Scottish technical name including the tradesmen who are
also called "wrights," which are very much the same as those included by name
in the present Operative Society (though not, as we have seen, members of it
in fact) under the head of rough masons, tilers, slaters, etc., with the
addition, however, of carpenters and joiners and mill-wrights. But the term is
also used at the present day in England, especially in country places and in
the North, by Speculative Masons to describe themselves. In fact it takes
somewhat the same place as the American phrase of being "on the square." While
on the other side the term "Arch-masons" seems almost, if it might be an
attempt to give an explanation of the question that has been so much discussed
by Masonic students, of the first rise and original use of the term "Arch" as
a distinctive title. One theory being that it had the sense of a superior
grade, as in Arch-bishop or Archduke. Be this as it may, the Operative's claim
is that the trade has always been divided into two, one set of men learning
only how to cut and lay squared stones, and the other knowing only how to cut
stones for arches and vaults and the methods of erecting them. It is, of
course, not impossible that at the present day, under trades-union influences
perhaps, that some such specialization has grown up. The present writer
remembers to have been told by an elderly bricklayer, who was apprenticed to
his trade in a small English country town, that "there were few men who knew
their trade now-a-days." He said he was taught how to do every kind of brick
work, arch work, ornamental work, cut work and the rest, but that the ordinary
tradesman today can only lay a plain wall and corners, and that everything out
of the usual run has to be done by special men. Some such development may have
come about among stone masons as well, but it is as certain as anything can be
that such divisions are not old. Take the work of the alleged "Arch-masons."
The stones required are wedge shaped, they will generally have the narrow end
cut to the curve of the arch, while back and front they have parallel flat
surfaces. If a man can lay out and cut two parallel flat surfaces he can
certainly cut a square wall stone or a "perpend ashlar." If he does not, it is
because he will not, which is not Medieval Masonry but modern trades-unionism.
The Freemason of the Middle Ages was more than a mere trades- a man, he could
not only cut the stones but he made his own designs and templets--the "mould
squares" spoken of in the Old Charges. As a matter of fact the cutting of
square stones and plain voussoirs was the most elementary part of his work,
and in fact mere child's play to planning and cutting the elaborate mouldings
and tracery which are used so lavishly in medieval buildings, and in which the
builders evidently so delighted. Such a contention as this seems to show an
utter lack of comprehension of the original mason craft and its essential
this goes the further curious assumption that setting the stones is more
skilled work than cutting them. It would be perhaps a little dogmatic to say
it was exactly the reverse. Still judging by modern practice, and certain
clauses in the MS. Constitutions, one would judge that then as now there was a
tendency to employ half-trained men--layers--cowans--in building the walls,
having skilled men to set the corners and the more important features. But as
soon as we remember the mouldings and the carving with which even dwelling
houses were adorned, the point becomes comparatively unimportant. Ashlar work
and setting demanded only elementary manual skill, the real secrets
--incommunicable in fact--of the Freemason was his artistic power, his ability
to design and to work out his designs in the rude stone.
conclusion we may touch on Bro. Stretton's own story, remembering that all
accounts of this Operative system seem to go back to him. He tells us that as
a youth he was apprenticed in a large engineering works in the North of
England. He was what is known in that country as a "gentleman" apprentice. In
a large plant of this kind there are skilled men of many different trades--
fitters, machinists, boiler makers, pattern makers, blacksmiths and foundry
men, and apparently also in this particular instance, stone masons as well.
Boys are of course apprenticed to all these separate trades, but the
"gentleman apprentice" who is destined to be an engineer has to work at each
one long enough to get some idea of that special kind of work. Stretton in due
course was put into the stone yard with another apprentice, but the men would
have nothing to do with them, interfered with their work and refused to show
them anything. He says he found out by inquiry that he would have to join
their own private organization in order to learn anything, and this he agreed
to do; and he asserts that he was initiated into Operative Masonry and
eventually passed through all its grades. Now this on the face of it is rather
curious, for he was not apprenticed as a stone mason but as an engineer. He
could not therefore have joined them on the Operative status for he was not
free, he was learning other trades as well, and besides that, no one in the
organization was his employer. But on the other hand he was not strictly an
honorary member, for he did actually work in the stone yard, and learned to
some extent the technical processes of the craft.
present writer remembers to have been told years ago by an English engineer
that during his apprenticeship he one day during the noon hour climbed up the
scaffolding of some new buildings being erected in the plant, and that the
bricklayers came on to work again before he went down. The men were very
unpleasant and insisted that he would have to "pay his footing." He found the
situation rather unpleasant, some seventy feet from the ground on a couple of
narrow planks, and his retreat cut off by the hostile workmen. However a few
shillings given them to buy beer changed the whole atmosphere, and afterwards
he was welcome to climb up whenever he pleased. No doubt Stretton had some
such experience. It is very possible even that some form of ceremony was
performed, but this need not have been ancient and traditional. Many of the
earlier trades unions had initiatory ceremonies such as Bro. Springett has
described for us in his recent article. The question arises and has to be
faced, did Bro. Stretton invent the whole system, building it on some such
foundation in fact as has just been suggested?
the opinion of many of the foremost Masonic scholars in England that he did,
and that conclusion has been reached after serious investigation. Stretton did
his best to win as many converts as possible. The brother to whom he wrote the
letters above mentioned was prevailed on to apply for admission into the
modern society, and his indentures were even made out and are in the same file
with the letters; but he became convinced of the baselessness of the claims
and they were never completed. It may be said that Bro. Yarker was converted
and apparently joined them, as have a good many more of the Fraternity.
Unfortunately, though Yarker was a scholar and a very well read and erudite
one, yet, in the words of one who knew him, "he was no judge of evidence."
question further arises, supposing it was all invention, what are we to think
of the inventor? If he had been a scholar such a mystification and manufacture
of evidence would be of course quite unpardonable. But Bro. Stretton was not a
scholar. He was doubtless a competent engineer, but from his letters one is
forced to the conclusion that he could not have been, outside of his
profession, a specially well educated man. There is no question here of
unworthy or sordid motives, it was no attempt to make money by false
pretenses, rather he seems more likely to have spent money to keep the thing
going. One may judge he was doing what the founders of the Mystic Shrine and
the Grotto did, and earlier still those who founded the Scottish Rite, and
those who before that invented the various separate degrees and orders of
which the latter is composed, only he was not content with a legend of
antiquity but went on and tried to make it real, tried doubtless to
re-construct what he thought Operative Masonry originally was, and then to
pass it off as having continuously existed.
this again he was only following an unfortunate precedent. It is most probable
that the chief difficulties in the way of discovering where and when and how,
for example, the Royal Arch came into being, is due to like mystification on
the part of its founder or founders. We may suppose in the present case that
the intention was innocent and harmless, and that having once started the
inventor found no place to get off and just had to keep on going.
Transactions of the Authors Lodge, p. 191, London 1915.
These lectures were in MS. and belonged to the old Lodge of Lights. The
whereabouts of the original is not now known. In their particular form these
lectures can be dated by a reference, dragged in quite ridiculously, to Sir
Peter Parker, who was Deputy Grand Master from 1787 to 1802.
Impressions of Freemasonry in Spain
BRO. GRANVILLE T. ZOHRAB, Ferrol, Spain
with some difficulty and not without a certain degree of misgiving that I
write down my observations of Freemasonry as practiced in Spain. These
impressions must of necessity be somewhat limited both in character and
substance owing to the difficulty of obtaining authentic and reliable
information on the subject. However, I trust that what I have gathered may
prove of interest to those seeking information regarding the Masonic life and
activity in the Spanish Peninsula, and at the same time I ask your indulgence
for any literary imperfections.
first place I think it would be wise to explain that I have the pleasure and
privilege to belong to a lodge holding a charter from the Grand Lodge of
Scotland. It is perhaps unfortunate that this Grand Lodge does not recognize
the Grand Orient of Spain, one reason being on account of its governing body
being a Council of the 33rd Degree, Scottish Rite; therefore our opportunities
of becoming acquainted with Spanish brethren is from a lodge point of view
rather remote. Judging however by the observations I have been able to make
during the last few years I cannot say that Freemasonry in Spain is in a
healthy condition; the government appears to hold a tight grip on everything
Masonic, preventing as far as possible anything which would tend to encourage,
expand and strengthen the institution. For example, some years ago a
government order was issued which had the effect of closing nearly all the
lodges in the country working under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of
Spain. Their reason for so doing does not appear to have been made clear, but
it is suggested that political and religious propaganda and intrigue in
Masonic lodges in the southern provinces of the country may have been
responsible for the strong action taken by the government. There is no doubt
that this blow, which aimed at the very heart of Spanish Freemasonry, was
severely felt by the fraternity, and only a remnant is left of the many lodges
previously working, and these only continue under strict supervision of the
police who are liable to raid and close them at any time. Still in spite of
these misfortunes Masonic influence is by no means; dead, and although its
life and activities are at the moment at a very low ebb it continues to be fed
by Spanish brethren initiated abroad who return to their homeland, especially
those who come from Havana and Cuba, the influence of these last being felt at
times in no uncertain manner.
mind there is a great field for work in Spain for those who dig in the
quarries, and as education progresses so surely will Masonic influence
manifest itself. I have had the pleasure of meeting many Spanish Freemasons in
various towns and villages that I have visited, but as a rule they are
difficult to find, their "due guard" is real indeed, many of them being
fearful as to whom they reveal themselves; nevertheless it has been
unmistakably borne in on me that their Masonry has a strong and abiding
influence for good among them, which must some day illuminate their sphere of
action and redound to the public weal, prosperity and greatness of their great
and glorious country. Speaking generally, the Spanish Freemason is proud of
the Fraternity to which he belongs; he is a generous, lighthearted fellow,
proud of race and country, distinctly kindly disposed to all irrespective of
creed or tongue; and when you meet him as a brother he is generosity itself,
ready and willing to do his share when opportunities are presented. I have
experienced several instances when this pleasing characteristic has been fully
pretty little incident of this kind occurred some years ago and came to my
notice, which I think is worth repeating. A woman having recently lost her
husband, who was a Mason, was being sent home with her children to Gibraltar,
and as she had no friends at hand to escort her through Spain, a Spanish lodge
was written to and requested to kindly depute some brother to meet her and see
her safely on her way. With what care and consideration these brethren
performed their mission of love may be gathered from the following: this poor
woman was met on her arrival at Madrid, taken to a good hotel and cared for in
every way; next day she was waited upon and escorted to the train which was to
take her to Gibraltar; her tickets for the journey were bought and handed to
her with the best of good wishes, and not one penny of expenses was she
allowed to pay. So the train started on its journey carrying with it a
grateful woman feeling, as she herself expressed it, that she had received at
their hands something of that tender sympathy and loving kindness which means
so much to the recipient, and of which she was so sorely in need. A little
anecdote like this surely indicates in some measure at least that wherever
Masonic ethics are inculcated and the seed of the great brotherhood is well
and truly sown in human hearts, a harvest rich in the fruits of sympathy,
service and self-sacrifice must be the inevitable result.
Perhaps one of the most striking features one meets when traveling in Spain is
the many splendid old churches and cathedrals encountered, built in most
unexpected places, surrounded so often by mean, evil smelling narrow streets
and alleys which speak so plainly of the squalor, misery and distress abiding
there, the indelible mark of which has been stamped there during the passing
of the centuries. And as one stops for a moment or two and stands in one of
the great portals of one of these stately edifices, filled with admiration and
wonder at the magnificence of sculpture and architectural grandeur, one seems
to hear and recognize with bowed head and humble feelings the divine message
of the gentle Master, "Come unto Me all ye that are weary and heavy-laden,"
there is eloquently portrayed in the silent stateliness of the great
structure. Perhaps one of the most outstanding of these cathedrals from a
viewpoint of beauty is that of Santiago, of which I send you two postcards
showing the magnificent "Portico de la Gloria." Truly this beautiful sculpture
may be termed frozen music.
Quoting an old Spanish Masonic History dated 1880, ancient Spanish Masonry
dates back nearly two hundred years. During the reign of Philip V of Spain,
about the year 1727, the Grand Lodge of England empowered Lord Coleraine to
open a lodge in Gibraltar and another in Madrid. Some twelve years later
Captain Alexander Commeford was installed Grand Master Mason of Andalusia. In
the year 1808 the Grand Orient of Spain adopted the system of government of
the 33rd Degree Scottish Rite and exercised jurisdiction over 182 lodges
comprising between twelve and thirteen thousand brethren. The Supreme Council
of Spain in Madrid was constituted in the year 1840, which since that time has
been the supreme Masonic authority in the Peninsula.
JOIN OR NOT TO JOIN
join, or not to join, that is the question
Whether 'tis better for myself to suffer
non-Masonic state of outer darkness
tread the path of other, braver men
enrolling, end it? To join - to meet
more, and in the Lodge to say we end
cold, uncharitable, unfeeling times
Non-Masons suffer - 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To join the Lodge
mysteries perform - ay, there's the rub
those awful scenes what may be done
may intend to shake a strong man's soul?
makes us pause. There's the respect
makes calamity of our friendless state;
who would bear the Solitary life
World's indifference, the lack of Sympathy,
want of friendly speech and the snubs
swelling self-importance stings us with,
he himself might evermore ignore,
joining up? Who would so friendless be
stand outside a genial Brotherhood
that the dread of something afterwards
unknown Society, whose secrets
Mason reveals, puzzles the will
makes us rather bear those ills we have
fly to others that we know not of?
stand we hesitating on the brink
our firm resolve to join the Craft
sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought
leaves us marking time
Freemasonry in India in 1780
BRO. I. V. GILLIS, Peking, China
other day while reading the Memoirs of William Hickey (1) I came across the
following notes that might be of interest to readers of THE BUILDER. Hickey
was in India during the latter part of the eighteenth century and the
incidents quoted fell between the years 1782-1790. Bro. Hickey, for so we must
call him in spite of his lack of appreciation of the society he joined, first
mentions the subject thus:
"Having during my residence amongst the French at Trincomalay found how highly
they respected the Fraternity of Freemasons, and the advantage it would have
been to me had I at that time been of the Order, I determined to become a
'Brother' at the earliest opportunity. Upon my arrival at Bengal Masonry
happened to be much in fashion, there being several Lodges that met, the one
distinguished by the title of 'Number Two' being considered the most select.
At this, therefore, I was proposed, and after the usual examination and
ceremony of 'making', as it is termed, the mummery and absurdity of which, by
the way, greatly offended me, I became a member. I rose to the degree of
Master, soon after which I filled the high office of Senior Warden."
pages later he relates the natural outcome of his general attitude to the
shall here state a ridiculous dispute I got into with the Fraternity of
Masons. The Lodge No. 2, in which I had been made, had belonging to it several
of the tradesmen of Calcutta; also two or three vagabond attornies, to neither
of which description of person did I ever speak, and was therefore considered
by them as extremely proud. A new Lodge having been established, consisting of
the principal gentlemen of the Settlement, I sent in my resignation for No. 2,
and was elected a brother of the new Lodge. This gave great offence to those I
two months after my change, I received an official letter from the Secretary
of my first Lodge, calling upon me in very peremptory language without loss of
time to pay the sum of one hundred and fifty sicca rupees, stated to be
arrears of fees due from me to the Lodge. As I did not approve of the manner
in which this demand was made, though indifferent about the amount claimed, I
wrote an answer without using the fraternal address, and began with a simple
'Sir'. I observed upon the impertinence of the demand, which I denied the
justice of, and although I might have probably paid had it been civilly asked,
I would not yield to the insolence of any low-bred fellow tacking to his
signature the title of 'Secretary'. My letter being laid before the Lodge, the
Master and his Warden took the matter up with much warmth; another epistle was
addressed to me expressive of his surprise my unmasonic letter had created,
and requiring an explanation for such conduct. I remained silent. A second and
a third was written to me which I treated with the same silent contempt. I was
then threatened with a complaint against me to the Provincial Grand Lodge
which had no more effect than the preceding addresses.
"During these letters I was elected Senior Warden of the new Lodge, which had
become extremely popular, so much so that at every meeting we had from eight
to a dozen brothers proposed. This success added to the irascibility of the
first Lodge: they actually did represent my conduct to the Provincial Grand
Lodge as being scandalous and derogatory to the character of a Mason. Mr.
Edward Fenwick, of whom I have before spoken more than once, being then the
Acting Provincial Grand Master, called upon me to admonish me privately as a
friend, and advised my settling the business by apologising to the Lodge I had
insulted for my intemperate language. This I refused to do, whereupon I
received an elaborate address from Mr. Fenwick, assuring me my contumacious
treatment of the Lodge I had belonged to must and would be taken up very
seriously, and if I persisted in refusing to apologise, I should soon have
occasion to repent my obstinacy. At this I laughed.
complaint was regularly made to the Provincial Grand Lodge, where a difference
of opinion prevailed amongst the officers, some of them thinking that the
Grand Lodge had no right to take cognisance of such a complaint, my letter
being a private one from one individual to another in no way to be considered
as masonic. I had a strenuous advocate and supporter in Mr. Hugh Gayer
Honeycomb, the Junior Grand Warden, who upon finding the Grand Master and
several members were for expelling me, insisted upon the question being
referred to the Grand Lodge of England for their decision. This after a long
debate was voted for unless I should upon more mature consideration see the
propriety of apologising. Mr. Fenwick, too made another attempt to work upon
my feelings, in an address consisting of eight sheets of paper, containing an
elaborate dissertation and panegyric upon Masonry, followed by a strong
censure of my contumacious behaviour towards the Secretary of the first Lodge,
whom I had wantonly and unlike a Mason offended and grossly insulted, for
which offence, if I did not satisfactorily apologise, the consequences must
inevitably be that I should be deprived of all the benefits of Masonry and no
longer be considered a brother. To this grave and voluminous philippic I wrote
a concise reply, saying, I had received his (Fenwick's) letter, and
notwithstanding the dreadful anathema it contained certainly would not make
any apology either to a set of or an individual blackguard. This drove the
Provincial Grand Lodge gentry half crazy from conceiving their dignity
attacked, though I had not addressed or signed my letter as a Mason. The
Acting Provincial Grand Master immediately issued an order to the Master of
the new Lodge to elect a new Senior Warden in the stead of William Hickey
removed for contumacious and unmasonic conduct. The Master of the new Lodge
refused to obey, but not liking to enter into a personal altercation upon the
question, resigned his chair, as did his Junior Warden; thus was a serious
schism created amongst the fraternity in Calcutta.
finish this important matter at once. A reference upon it, with all the
circumstances, being made by the Provincial Grand Lodge to the Grand Lodge of
England, the Grand Master and his Council returned for answer that the
Provincial Grand Lodge of Calcutta had no right to take up the business in the
way they had done, and had committed a gross error in removing the Senior
Warden of the new Lodge, whom, therefore, they ordered to be immediately
restored to his situation. The letter concluded by an expression of surprise
at the Provincial Grand Master and his Officers being so ignorant of what
their duty was. This was a great matter of triumph for me and my friends; the
Provincial Grand Secretary sent me an official notice of my restoration, and I
was importuned to resume the station I held, which, as I had never been very
fond of the Order, I persisted in declining, and from that time to the present
day have never been within a Mason's Lodge."
of which it can only be said that Hickey's motives for joining the Order
evidently verged dangerously upon the mercenary and unworthy, and he plainly
shows that the fundamental principles of the Fraternity never dawned upon him.
As a glimpse of Masonic life at the period these extracts seem to be of
considerable interest, and possibly of some historical value.
The Memoirs of William Hickey, edited by Alfred Spencer. London. Hurst &
IS MASONRY'S GREATEST DANGER?
Craft can be in no danger of lapsing from power through a decline in numbers.;
its rulers are more concerned to keep Masonry's growth within due bounds.
There is no possibility of another anti-Masonic craze, now that it has been
accepted into the life of the nation. Nor has it need to fear external
enemies; there is nothing they can do, either to disrupt it from within or to
destroy it from without. Its sole danger is that its own members may lose
sight of its true nature or its ancient ideals, so that what is noble in it
may become cheapened, and the landmarks at the heart of it shall be forgotten.
L. CLEGG, Ohio
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
H. DERN, Utah
CHARLES F. IRWIN. Ohio
E. MORCOMBE, California
FORT NEWTON, New York
C. PARKER, New York
M. WHITED, California
E. W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
studies do not bring us to see more clearly the purpose of the Fraternity, and
the duties and ideals laid upon individual Masons, then they are hardly worth
prosecuting. It is with this thought in mind that the article which appears on
our front page, from the pen of the Grand Master of New Mexico, is presented
to the readers of THE BUILDER. And this statement of our reason for this
seeming departure from research is by no means an apology therefor.
cause of the tubercular in the Southwest is too important to the Craft,
partakes too much of the nature of a national emergency to be ignored longer.
And that this is the view of others - as it has long been of THE BUTEDER - is
indicated strongly by the action of members of the Masonic Service Association
of the United States at its annual meeting in November at Chicago when it
instructed its Executive Commission to take up in definite and positive manner
the question of the relief of the Masonic consumptive.
action of the Association is, in effect, a recognition of Southwestern
tubercular situation as partaking of the nature of those national emergencies
for which the Association was originally created, as well as for the
educational work which it has been carrying on. The instructions given to the
Executive Commission are far-reaching, broadly comprehensive and at last the
cause of the tubercular is in fair way to receive its just attention.
addition to this recognition in principle the Executive Commission has been
instructed to present the cause of the tubercular to the Grand Jurisdictions
of the country; to incur the necessary exploitation expense therefor; to make
plans for raising a fund of not less than $25,000 of which at least $5,000
shall be given to the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association of
New Mexico, incorporated by the authority of and sponsored by the Grand Lodge
of New Mexico, and to proceed to the development of plans for handling the
situation created by the increase of the Masonic tubercular, particularly his
migration to the Southwest and into the weaker Masonic jurisdictions of the
been long coming, but definite forward progress is now within sight. The
brethren of the Southwest, and particularly those of the New Mexico Grand
Jurisdiction, have been unceasing in their efforts in behalf of the migratory
consumptives and to them and to their brethren of Arizona and of Texas who
have had some share in their efforts is, in chief, the credit due for this
action of the Masonic Service Association. They have made the preliminary
surveys to emphasize their demands; they have done more - they have provided,
so far as their efforts and their means have enabled them, for the wandering
tubercular. Their efforts are beginning to bear real fruit and in that should
lie the consciousness of a work well begun as well as a determination to see
it carried on to the utmost of the needs.
readers of THE BUILDER, the members of the National Masonic Research Society
whose influence is great in the councils of the Craft throughout the United
States, have participated in this arousal of Masonic sentiment. They can do
more. They can support the new effort before their Grand Lodges. They can
develop sentiment in subordinate lodges. This is a cause which needs only
publicity. It pleads for itself once the facts are known, and it is beyond
belief that the Masons of the country will continue to leave their brethren of
the Southwest to bear this burden alone.
* * *
this issue THE BUILDER has fulfilled the first year of its second decade. The
first number came out in January, 1915, when the Great War was but a few
months old, and no one could foretell the outcome or even realize the
magnitude of the conflict. Now at the end of 1925 we seem to at least see
glimmerings of light through the darkness, and there is a reasonable hope that
the world is beginning to settle down to peace. No man can live entirely to
himself, neither can nations, especially with the easy and rapid means of
communication that are ours today.
not, as things fell out, a propitious time to found a magazine devoted to
Masonic research, and it is a wonder in some respects that it survived the
time of stress. But for the interest of the members of the Society, the
voluntary and zealous labor of the contributors, the ceaseless care of those
who had charge, it would doubtless have failed. But the fact that it was the
organ of a widespread society has undoubtedly been its salvation, when, had it
been a private venture, it would almost certainly have succumbed, as have so
many other meritorious Masonic journals.
the great majority of its readers are American Masons, yet it is strictly true
that THE BUILDER now goes to every country in the world where the English
language is spoken, and to many others besides, and this foreign membership is
continuously increasing. As has so often happened in history, those who
founded the National Masonic Research Society builded better than they knew.
THE BUILDER has become a forum where all matters pertaining to the Craft that
can be written may be fully discussed, and is undoubtedly an important center
for the dispensing of further light in Masonry, in all its aspects and from
every point of view. It is the Speculative Craftsmen's trade journal, through
which he may communicate his experience, air his opinions and seek answers to
his questions and learn the results of the work of others.
happy to think that in this work there is nothing competitive, save only the
noble contention of who best can work. This is a field in which there is room
for all, and the work of one will stimulate greater interest in the work of
* * *
National Masonic Research Society is in some respects a unique organization.
Those enthusiastic and far-seeing brethren who were responsible for its
inception had in mind the formation of a body to function on the same lines as
the various lodges and associations for Masonic research that have done such
good work in England. But from the beginning two factors prevented the line of
development being the same. The one of these was so materialistic a
circumstance as the size of the country, and the other was the comparative
backwardness of the Craft in America in regard to scholarship. The first
factor has very largely prevented the Society from functioning as the older
bodies do, its work has not been done through the medium of papers read and
discussed at periodical meetings, the distances, and expenses consequent
thereon, have prevented the members in most cases from even meeting each other
personally, the bond of union has been practically THE BUILDER and THE BUILDER
alone. The Society has indeed been more like the Correspondence Circle of one
of the English Lodges of Research, with the lodge cut out. The second factor
has made it necessary for the Society to undertake much more elementary work
than any like organization. It has had to meet the needs of the neophyte
ignorant of even the bare outline of Craft history as well as to hold the
interest and encourage the scholar. Even more, it has had to try and create an
interest in the intellectual side of Masonry where no such interest had
all important movements, the Society had its birth in small things. In a sense
it may be said to have grown out of the idea of a "Study Club." To encourage
the formation of such clubs and providing them with material has always been a
prominent feature of the work of the Society. However, with the experience of
now eleven years certain defects in the machinery have come to light. The
Study Club as a rule is not a very permanent organization. Many causes are
responsible for this, which it would take too much space to fully discuss
here, but one may be mentioned. To further under the normal conditions in the
ordinary lodge the minimum of organization is desirable, but lack of
organization is lack of the mainstay of corporate persistence. Again, there
has been only the slightest connection between the Study Clubs and the
Society, which has probably been to the detriment of both.
this stage it seems as if the time were ripe for a forward movement. It has
been suggested that where members of the Society are grouped within a
convenient area, that local branches or chapters might well be formed. This
would be productive of two important results to begin with. Members of the
Society within a given locality would be enabled to come into actual touch
with each other, and would receive the added impulse and enthusiasm that
personal contact always brings, and then such branches might well take over
the work of encouraging the work of the Study Clubs in their district.
Various organizations of a professional character, such as societies of
engineers, architects, and so on, have found the branch system of organization
most useful, while the Sojourners' Club, a society of purely Masonic
membership, follows a similar method with its local chapters.
begin with such an extension of our work would have to be tentative. The
organization would necessarily be very elastic, the branches could probably be
left to define their own activities within certain very broad limits. Some
would perhaps be able to meet regularly once a month during the year, or some
part of it, others might not be able to manage more than one meeting in the
year, which would then probably take on the character of a local convention.
In such a case the time and place of the meeting of a Grand Lodge or similar
body might be the occasion. Such questions could be solved in the doing, but
the general proposition seems to have great promise and we should very much
like to have the opinions and thoughts of our members upon the matter.
* * *
FREEMASONRY IN ITALY
July, 1925, issue of THE BUILDER we were given a very timely article on
Freemasonry and Fascismo in Italy by Bro. Frank G. Bellini. The public press
for Nov. 5 and 6 carries articles (presumably furnished by the censors of the
Italian press and to this extent open to suspicion) which purport to reveal a
plot to assassinate Mussolini. Newspaper headlines run, "Troops on Guard at
Headquarters of Socialists and Freemasons," and it is claimed that the plot
was hatched by Freemasons and Socialists.
throughout the world should reserve judgment as to the truth of these reports,
until substantiated from impartial sources. It is no new thing for dictators
who maintain their power through force to "expose" such plots against their
well-being or security with an eye to strengthening their own positions.
Freemasonry in Italy is struggling for life. If our readers will turn back and
read Bro. Bellini's article they will be enabled to understand the situation
* * *
not without reason that the Christian Church fixed in the first ages of our
era the commemoration of the birth of the Master at the period of the winter
solstice, when the sun having reached the lower limit of its course once more
begins to ascend towards the zenith, bringing the longer days of spring made
it a natural period of rejoicing, and one that had from prehistoric times been
marked by religious festivals. It is a natural parable in the order of nature
of the coming of Him who was to be for many the Light of the World.
Masonry receives its initiates by a symbolism that among other meanings bears
that of a new birth, and at this season it may be well to think a little of
this, and of the characteristics by which we were then taught a Mason should
be known before the world - Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice, and
then those higher virtues, Faith, Hope and Charity. Let us believe in that
element of good that is in all men, even the worst, let us hope for better
things for those around us, and the world at large. And that our hope may not
be an empty one let us labor to bring those better things about, remembering
that a Mason's Charity should be without any bounds, as far as the East is
from the West. If we seek to bring happiness to others at this Christmastide
we shall therein find our own.
Secondary Symbolism of Gothic Architecture
BRO. R. J. MEEKREN
is a form of symbolism that has been freely ascribed to those who designed the
architectural monuments of past ages that now falls to be considered. So much
has been asserted, often with little or no evidence to support it, that it
will be well to clear away the rubbish and see if we can discover what is the
truth of the matter. The most notable, some would perhaps prefer to say
notorious, example of this kind of symbolism is, if we may believe it, the
Great Pyramid of Gizeh. Many books have been written to support this theory;
the best known and possibly the weightiest of them being Our Inheritance in
the Great Pyramid, by Piazzi Smyth, at one time Astronomer Royal of Scotland.
In this work it is argued that the Pyramid is nothing but a complex metrical
and geometrical symbol, and that its chief internal compartment, the so-called
King's Chamber, was designed secondarily as a physical observatory or
laboratory. Further than this, it is asserted that all important events of the
world, both past and future, are marked in a kind of inspired and prophetic
calendar. There are indeed apparently a number of curious coincidences in the
measurements and proportions of the Great Pyramid, and several other
peculiarities that have not been very satisfactorily explained. How much
credence should be given to this theory will very largely depend on personal
prepossessions. It may be stated quite positively that no Egyptologist of note
has adopted it. In any case it is too remote both in time and place to have
more than a passing reference here.
has attempted any such elaborate explanation of the symbolism embodied in a
medieval monument, at least in modern times. Bishop Durandus, who wrote in the
eleventh century, did work out a system of symbolic interpretation--not for
any particular building but for churches in general, and the seventeenth
century saint and mystic, George Herbert, also did something of the same sort
in several of his devotional poems. Leader Scott in her very interesting book
on the Comacines constantly takes for granted that such symbolism affected the
designs of the Lombard builders, but she makes little attempt herself to
distinguish between sculptured figures and devices and the form now under
discussion, although she does refer to the classification of "old Italian
writers," who treat of church symbolism under the heads of "the ermetica
(hermeneutic?), which they define as symbolism of form or number; and orfica
(orphic), that of figures or representations," and she goes on to say that
"under the first head would fall the symbolical form of their churches to
which we have referred; the form of the windows which were double lighted, and
emblematized the two lights of the law and the gospel; the rounded apse,
emblem of the head of Christ; the threefold nave shadowing forth the Trinity;
the octagonal form of the baptisteries, which St. Ambrose says was
emblematical of the mystic number eight, etc." To this we may add the
cruciform plan of most large churches, those built after the tenth century at
least, and the even more universal care to build them due east and west.
the medieval mind did delight in numerical proportions and relations is
undoubted. There is a tremendous amount of such symbolism, if such it can be
properly termed, in Dante. But really this is a universal trait of the human
mind, especially at a certain stage of culture. There is plenty of it to be
found in the Bible, there is even more in the Chinese Classics; which are full
of quaint numerical arrangements of qualities of things and events.
are two aspects to this interest in numbers. In the first place they may be
used as a mnemonic system. Some of the older forms of Masonic catechism show
this very plainly, and traces of it still exist in our rituals. If
corresponding ideas are grouped under the same or contrasting numbers, as when
it is said that there are three theological and four cardinal virtues, seven
liberal arts and sciences divided into three elementary and four advanced, the
well-known trivium and quadrivium. Of the curious groups of four made by Agur
the son of Jakeh--"there are three things which are too wonderful for me, yea
four that I know not," and for "Three things the earth is disquieted, and four
which it cannot bear." A number makes a very obvious empty form in which the
several points of an oral tradition can be arranged. If there are ten "words"
in the Law given on Mt. Sinai, or five points in the Craftsman's obligation,
any lapse of memory is corrected almost automatically. But this is not the
only source of numbered schemes, there is also an interest in the numbers
themselves. It was along such lines that the earliest researches into
mathematics were prosecuted. The discovery of numerical relations, such as
those in the three-four-five right angled triangle, or the arrangement of the
primary integers in a magic square, so that they give the same total however
added up, gave rise to speculations that the whole universe, material and
spiritual, was based on numerical proportions and harmonies. It is this that
is at the basis of all theories and systems of sacred numbers. For the number
three there is probably a physchological basis. Up to this, number is felt
instinctively rather than recognized intellectually. There is reason to think
the higher animals and some birds can sense the difference between two and
three. Many primitive races had no names for numbers beyond three--which
however does not at all mean they could not count further. Some such peoples
were quite able, and often did in their trading, compute hundreds and even
thousands, but it was done mechanically with the aid of the fingers and other
counters, and counting devices. In some such cases there were properly only
two numbers named, one and two. Three was designated as "many"--which is a
curious parallel to the singular dual and plural cases in Greek and Sanscrit,
and probably all Indo-Aryan languages in their original form. Five is another
number which has an obvious basis in the fingers of the hand. Seven is roughly
the number of days between phases of the moon. The significance of the higher
numbers seems largely derived from these lower ones, and in many cases it
seems distinctly artificial, invented to round out the system. Today
mathematical science has gone far beyond arithmetic and plane geometry, and
this naive wonder at such elementary relations may seem almost inexplicable.
Nevertheless intelligent children often pass through the stage, while our
physicists and mathematicians are trying again, with more abstruse
calculations, to account for the world and the stuff of which it is made in a
generalized form of numbers and geometrical figures.
the question before us is whether such numerical or other symbolism had any
direct effect on the plans of ancient religious edifices. It is very hard to
say definitely. Here and there instances can be found that seem to point to
numerical ratios being consistently followed, or the plan and elevation can be
developed on a scheme of triangles. But though this might affect the actual
dimensions of an individual structure the mass of evidence goes to show that
the type of the building was developed on entirely different principles. Take
for example three of the points mentioned above, the triple division into nave
and aisles, the rounded apse, and the cruciform outline. We may quote a very
eminent authority on architecture, W. R. Lethaby. Speaking of Gothic buildings
he says: "On comparing a number of examples . . . it becomes clear that they
were schemed on large lines to satisfy given purposes with materials readily
available. The builders valued spaciousness and height, lastingness and fair
workmanship, but ideas . . . of abstract proportion probably never occurred to
them. If we turn from the cathedrals to the little village churches we find
that they were in the first case built as directly for their purpose as a cart
or a boat." That is they were preeminently practical men, these old masons.
Their plans were made in accordance with the peculiarities of the site and the
material at hand, and under these conditions to erect a structure adapted to
the special purpose or purposes in view. When we trace the development of the
type of the Christian Church edifice, we find it is a continuous evolution.
The very earliest form was a simple cella, an oblong box of brick or masonry,
as little differentiated in its parts as an old fashioned country
meeting-house. As soon as it became necessary to build larger churches the
structural problem of the roof arose, and was solved in the most direct way by
the use of internal supports, posts if of wood, pillars if of stone. The same
problem has been met all over the world in all ages by the same obvious
device. But the earliest church builders did not even have to think of it for
themselves. They had the temples and public buildings of the empire before
them as models, and inevitably their builders followed the tradition of their
predecessors in the craft. The basilica was there already in the west, and
needed no change in form to fit it for Christian worship; and in the basilica
we find both the triple division by two rows of columns and the rounded apse.
It can hardly be said that the "symbolizing" of this plan in a Christian sense
could have had anything to do with its development when it was perfected
before Christianity began.
THE CRUCIFORM PLAN AROSE
cruciform plan on the whole did develop under Christian influence, though it
had already been suggested in some later structures of the Roman Empire. In
Eastern churches it certainly was evolved in the effort to increase the
diameter of the central dome. The four arms of the "Greek" cross with their
semidomed roofs supported the central vault. The western cross, however, seems
to have been developed chiefly to give more space for chapels. It was the rule
of the church that each priest must say mass every day, and also that mass
should be said only once a day at any altar. When, as in Cathedrals and
Abbeys, there were many priests there had to be a corresponding number of
altars. But though the transept thus had what may be called a strictly
utilitarian origin, the builders, as in all else they did, seized upon it as
an architectural opportunity. It was not so much the form of the cross in the
ground plan that interested them, as the added spaciousness, the vistas, the
lights and shadows that their genius could play with, and make beautiful and
form of window with twin lights is not so easy to deal with. In the first
place it is restricted in distribution, being peculiar to Lombard and early
Norman work. The usual form is two round arched openings close together, with
a small column in the middle supporting the inner spring of both arches. At
the same time this was not by any means the only form of window used, and it
is difficult to examine a number of the buildings in which it appears and
imagine any consistent system upon which it could have been used if symbolism
was its chief purpose. On the other hand this particular style of architecture
is distinguished by its use of arcades of small round arches, supported
sometimes on small columns, sometimes on pilasters. In the facade of San
Michele at Pavia the five double windows obviously repeat the motif of the
stepped arcade supporting the gable, and the impression is forced upon the
mind that the aesthetic was the chief inspiration of the arrangement. This
does not, however, preclude symbolism. The two round windows flanking the
deeply incised Greek cross are not a little reminiscent of the two crosses and
wheel found in the Cathedral of Monza built in the eighth century.
THE GOTHIC WINDOW WAS EVOLVED
window is fundamentally an opening in the wall of a building to let in light.
It as naturally and inevitably becomes an architectural feature as the doors.
The Gothic style of architecture was one in which the windows became a
dominating feature, the walls became less and less important as the style
developed until at last the churches became, as it has been said, "great stone
lanterns," "frameworks of masonry filled with colored glass." But here again
it is hardly likely that symbolism affected the evolution very greatly if at
all, although it is probable that the use of round windows was connected with
pre-Christian ideas. But first it may be as well to see how the Medieval
traceried window developed. In the diagram A, we have a pair of lancet
openings with an oculus or round opening above it. There was a practical
advantage in putting the lancets in pairs as the amount of light was thereby
increased, as will be obvious on inspection of the plan. In the second stage
B, the openings are all enlarged, and to reduce the pressure of the masonry
above a relieving arch is built into the wall. In C, the openings are still
further enlarged, the relieving arch has become the head of the window itself,
while the lancets and oculus have been metamorphosed into tracery. The
evolution is here of course only shown schematically, the actual development
was much more gradual, but the diagram shows the stages it followed, and that
the cause was literally a desire for more light conditioned by structural
necessity. But the oculus or "eye" had another line of development which
finally led to the magnificent and beautiful wheel or rose windows of the
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.
into the subject of the wheel as a symbol at all deeply is quite impossible
here, the most that can be done is to give a few indications of its
distribution and antiquity. In India it is an ancient symbol, and one that
later became very prominent in Buddhism. The "Wheel of the Law" is a
well-known phrase, but it means much more than "law" in the ordinary sense. It
seems to signify the whole course of nature, physical, moral and spiritual. In
Europe the magical use of fire wheels and disks was widespread and apparently
pre-historic in origin. Customs of this kind survived until modern times.
Actual wheels that could be turned seem to have existed in certain temples in
Classical and Roman times, and are still more frequently represented. In Gaul,
the very country where the rose winlow was developed, the wheel was a
prominent symbol closely connected with a deity sometimes equated with Jupiter
and Zeus and supposed to have been solar in character. In Italy it was more
generally ascribed to Fortuna. This goddess did not originally merely preside
over fortune or chance, she was a form of the primitive nature goddess, the
earth mother. The sky god had the wheel as attribute on account of the
movement of the sun and moon and stars, the earth mother because of the
succession of the seasons. Later by a natural transition it was taken to
represent the course and vicissitudes of human life--the wheel of fortune in
the modern sense.
early Greek representations of buildings we find that the ends of the roof
ridges were adorned with a kind of ornament called in general akroteria. This
was more often than not circular or at least ovoid in shape, very often it was
a disk, sometimes radiated, sometimes plain, sometimes with a gorgon's head
depicted upon it. In early times it was often flanked by two snakes, reminding
us of the winged discs and uraeus snakes that almost invariably appear over
Egyptian doorways. It is certainly a curious coincidence, if no more, that the
Gothic rose window occupies the same relative position in the building. In the
illustration given last month of the porch of Bourges Cathedral (p. 344) we
see a wheel shaped opening, not a window here, for the gable of the porch is
only a facade. If this wheel be traditionally derived from the pagan device it
has a peculiar fitness in this particular place, for the scene depicted over
the doors is none other than the Last Judgment. In a very early form of the
wheel window at Beauvais it is plainly represented as a wheel of fortune.
Christ sits enthroned above, while human figures are rising on the right and
falling on the left. It is very curious that actual wheels of iron or other
material, with similar figures wrought on them, representing usually youth,
manhood and age, were often hung up in the roofs of French churches. These
could be turned by means of a crank and a dependant chain or rope and they
were used as a sort of oracle. Some of these still exist in remote country
villages. Taking this evidence altogether--and only its character has been
indicated here, not its extent--we can hardly escape the conclusion that this
form of window did originate in a pre-Christian tradition. And if so, it is
not impossible that the two-lighted window with which we started may also have
been given a symbolic reference. The window certainly seemed to attract the
medieval mind, it was a common motif for the ornamentation of household
furniture, metal work, plate and even jewelry. In some forms of the
Compagnonage the window of the room where the ceremonies were performed was
given a symbolic meaning. The sash bars represented the cross or rood, the two
shutters St. John and the Virgin Mary. And it is hardly necessary to remind
readers of THE BUILDER that the earliest Masonic charts or "tracing boards"
showed three windows as the lights of the lodge.
PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS DOMINATED
spite of all this the evidence is equally conclusive that the architectural
motive was dominant. No traditional form would have survived, whatever its
symbolic reference, had it not lent itself to artistic treatment and been
adapted to fit in with the development of the Gothic style of building. In
very early times when Byzantine influence was still all powerful, the dome was
freely emphasized as symbolizing heaven, and was often decorated accordingly.
But this did not prevent its being entirely superseded first by the barrel and
later by ribbed vaulting. The case of sculptured ornament is rather different,
for it could be readily adapted to new forms of construction, and that such
survived is practically certain. The "lion" pillars of Lombardy can possibly
be traced back to Mesopotamia, whatever their significance may originally have
been. The wheel symbol may have had, in addition to the meanings already
discussed, an apotropaeie purpose, that is in plain English, it was intended
as a prophylactic or charm against witchcraft and the evil eye.
Ireland it is said that many country churches had over the principal doorway
the rude carving of a female figure "in an obscene attitude." What this was
those acquainted with the subject of witchcraft may readily guess. On a church
in the West of England there is, in a series of gargoyles, a grotesque phallic
figure in the attitude in which Pan or Priapus was sometimes represented. Such
figures were undoubtedly used in ancient times as charms against the evil eye,
and were often placed on buildings for "good luck" and this purpose probably
persisted in Christian times. It is very probable, too, that the intreccio or
Solomon's Knot, the endless interwoven bands that the Lombard builders were so
fond of, had a similar purpose, for it is well known that an intricate pattern
of this kind, or a tangled skein of thread or string, was a potent charm
against the evil eye. The underlying supposition being that the witch on
seeing it must stop to unravel it or trace it out, and in doing so loses for
the time her malefic power. It was in fact a sort of spiritual lightning
the symbolism in the design of the building was secondary and by no means the
first consideration is the conclusion that a survey of the facts seems to lead
us. And to clinch the matter we may see what Durandus says about it.
the Temple of God the foundation is Faith, . . . the roof charity, which
covereth a multitude of sins [elsewhere he says 'the tiles of the roof that
keep off the rain are the soldiers, who preserve the Church from Paynim.'] The
door, obedience, of which the Lord saith, If thou wilt enter into life keep
the commandments. The pavement, humility . . . The four side walls the four
cardinal virtues . . ." and so on. He likens the cement to "fervent charity,"
the stones to the individual members of the church, and he says "The circular
staircases, which are imitated from Solomon's Temple, are passages which wind
among the walls and point out the hidden knowledge which they only have who
ascend to celestial things." It would be a reductio ad absurdum to say that
roof and foundations, wrought stones, cement and tiles, staircases and walls
and pavements were used in a building primarily for their symbolic reference.
It is safe to say then that such symbolism is applied to a structure after it
has been planned on quite practical lines.
conclude with a quotation from A. K. Porter's work on Medieval Architecture:
"Thus," he says, after a discussion of this aspect of the subject, "throughout
the Gothic Cathedral, from pavement to spire every detail of imagery occupied
its definite and logical position in the powerful unity that dominated the
whole. It is never by chance that one subject, instead of another, is treated
in a given window: no two statues of the facade could be transposed without
injury to the entire scheme of iconography. Gothic sculptures and glass are
arbs supremely beautiful in themselves; but it is only when it is considered
how much else these arts are, besides merely beautiful, that the full genius
of the Gothic artist is comprehended. At the same time that he created images
architectural, as no other plastic art has ever been architectural, at the
same time that he so successfully filled fields more difficult than any other
sculptors have ever been required to decorate, at the same time that he imbued
his figures with the breath of life, and with a consummate beauty, the Gothic
designer was also able to conceive a vast unity of composition that must rank
as one of the most impressive achievements of any art, and to imprint upon the
whole a depth of inner poetic meaning and symbolism which sums up the best in
all this it will be seen how complex the whole design must have been, and the
intellectual ability as well as technical skill of the builders. But it can
hardly be regarded as the work of one man. It was traditional, it reflected
the spirit, the interests and knowledge of the age. In it what there was of
survival from paganism was given new meaning, and the whole was open to all
who had the ability to understand. We can hardly suppose the peasant, the
serf, or even all members of the higher orders of society were able to
appreciate the whole, but the key was not a mystery, it was simply a question
of intelligence and education. On the other hand it is hard to suppose that
the men who did the work did not appreciate its meaning, the medieval masons
were the same type of men who today are architects, artists and civil
engineers, and must be regarded as quite capable of developing a private
symbolism of their own.
up the conclusions we seem to have reached in this brief study of medieval
architecture we may say that the symbolism used by the builders, including
under this term both the Masons and those who employed them, was exceedingly
varied, ranging from pictorial and sculptured representation treated in
conventional style and arrangement, to ideas attached to the different parts
and materials of the building itself. That the sculpture and painting was
deliberately designed with symbolic purpose in view, even to the position in
which it was placed, and that this was the predominant consideration, though
they were always treated with a view to artistic effect--the unity of the
whole design. Second, that certain forms were continued from pre-Christian
times by the power of tradition, but that these were given new meanings; and
third, that when the structure was completed or the type of building settled,
other symbolical interpretations of a secondary character were invented and
applied to parts and elements of the building to round out the whole scheme.
Roughly that is there are three main divisions. The purely symbolical, in that
this was the chief motive. The traditional features to which new meanings were
given, and the secondary symbolism that was worked out after the design was
completed. But even so it is certain that the divisions are not clearly cut,
for the inter-relations and interaction between them were always adding fresh
complexity to the whole. It is easy for us to see meanings that were not
intended, as easy as to miss what was really in the minds of those who built;
which only emphasizes what has already been said, that in the elucidation of
symbols as much depends on what the interpreter brings to the task as on the
purpose of those who devised them.
addition to the works mentioned in the preceding article the Poetry of
Architecture by Frank Rutter may be mentioned. The Buddhist Praying Wheel by
Wm. Simpson contains much matter on the symbolism of the wheel, and turning
movements. Leader Scott's work on The Cathedral Builders and the Rationale of
Durandus have been referred to, but these works are all very scarce
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
symbolic motives have a predominant influence on the designs of Gothic
buildings? What influence did numerical and geometrical proportions have upon
the plans? Why were many churches built so that the center line of the chancel
deviated from that of the nave? Why were they built east and west? Was the
symbolism of the round traceried windows that of the wheel or the rose? Why
were the round windows sometimes called "eyes"?
MASONRY AND THE MIDDLE WEST
TERRITORIAL FREEMASONRY. By Ray Vaughn Denslow. Published by the Masonic
Service Association, Washington D. C. May be purchased through the Book
Department of the National Masonic Research Society, 1950 Railway Exchange,
St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, table of contents, index, 291 pages. Price, postpaid,
writer must confess in the first place that having no personal connection with
the Middle West he accepted the task of reviewing the present volume as a duty
only. Taking it home with him he began to read it on the street car. After
what seemed a short time he looked up and saw the brilliant illumination of an
auto service station which seemed utterly unfamiliar. After a moment of blank
bewilderment he realized he had been carried about two miles beyond his
stopping place. Anyone can write history of a sort, it needs only diligence
and care in collecting the records of facts, but the gift of using these facts
when collected to weave a story of real human interest is given to but very
few, if we may judge from the character of most histories, whether Masonic or
otherwise. Of this gift the author evidently has his share.
work covers the period from the cession of the Louisiana Territory to the
United States up to the admission of Missouri to the Union, that is, from 1804
to 1820, a brief sixteen years, but years of wonderful growth and crowded with
certainly most remarkable how large a proportion of the outstanding men who
pushed the frontiers of civilization westward were members of the Craft. But
after all it is only natural. As it was then so it is today, of those who
travel widely, explorers, sojourners in far lands, the pick of these are much
more frequently found to be Masons than not. As Bro. Denslow shows Freemasonry
did more than follow the flag, it preceded it or carried it with it. In
reading the ordinary history of these events the Fraternity is seldom even
mentioned - it could hardly be otherwise, for it did not in those days
advertise itself - but in reading the present work one sees story from within,
and comes to realize what a great part in thousands of ways the mystic tie
must have played. Lodges were organized before churches and almost before
government itself, and the influence that they must have indirectly played
must forever remain incalculable. In the mixture of men from every other
state, and from many foreign lands, men with every variety of political,
religious and social opinions and habits, men who by virtue of the very fact
that they were pioneers and settlers in the wilderness, who, like the builders
of the second temple, had often of necessity to labor armed, to be ever ready
to drop the axe to seize the rifle, were characterized by the sterner virtues
of their race, courage and pugnacity, possessed also the defects of these
virtues, high tempers and a readiness to follow a quarrel not at all conducive
to public peace. The fact that the leaders of such communities were so
frequently Masons, accustomed to the traditional order and harmony of the
lodge, must have been a great factor in supporting law and order when these
were but feebly sustained by the authorities.
mother lodge of the Mississippi Valley was Western Star, No. 107, on the roll
of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Its location was at Kaskaskia, which later
became the first capital of Illinois. Seven Master Masons signed the petition
and in September it WAS duly constituted by a Bro. Robert Robertson acting for
and by authority of the Grand Lodge, Bro. James Edgar being installed as the
first Master. Some peculiarities of the by-laws of this lodge may be noted.
The youngest brother present had to tile the lodge when the proper officer was
absent, and "without reward" and a fine of five dollars was prescribed if he
refused. Any brother revealing any of the transactions of the lodge was to be
expelled - or fined fifteen dollars. One rule specially permits the previous
question to be moved if the mover could find two seconders, a procedure
prohibited by most of our present day codes. The regulations against
disorderly conduct were especially emphasized which doubtless throws some
light on the possibilities at that time.
March, 1812, it was discovered that there were no minutes of the preceding
meeting. An earthquake shattered "the stone house in which the lodge was kept"
and "the books and furniture then became inaccessible to those who had met and
consequently the delinquency on the part of the lodge in not meeting was
chapter on Masonic duelists will strike many readers as strange - especially
when they find that there were duels between Masons. But perhaps stranger
still to most Americans today was the distinction between those who were
gentlemen and those who were not. A gentleman was not obliged to accept a
challenge from one whom he considered his social inferior - though the
consequence was that the friend who brought the challenge would have to send
one on his own behalf. The theory being that in refusing a challenge on such
grounds a man insulted the second by implying that he associated with his
inferiors. The whole atmosphere seems unreal today and it is hard to believe
it is only three generations ago.
appears to have been some oversight in preparing the work for the press in one
place. In the account of the formation of Louisiana Lodge, No. 109, the first
on the western side of the Mississippi, the by-laws adopted by the lodge in
1816 are given in extenso, which were submitted to the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania for approval. The report of the Grand Lodge Committee on these is
given in full which recommends a number of amendments. On comparison it would
seem that in some places at least not the original but the amended forms of
the by-laws had been given. As for example the committee decided, in Art. 7,
Section 7, to "strike out the word 'ancient' in the first line and insert the
words 'being an ancient York' after the word 'brother' in the same line." But
as given the passage reads, "Any brother being an Ancient York Mason wishing
to become a member, etc." In the amendment to Article 1 the words "and
living," in the first line, are to be struck out, which seems to be a misprint
of "livery" as this line is the heading "Of the Meeting and Livery of the
Lodge.” That "livery" was intended seems certain because Section 4 of this
article, which deals with "the livery" is ordered to be struck out altogether.
The livery, by the way, was probably intended for the collars and aprons and
was to have been blue; one wonders whether the objection was to the color or
to the phraseology. Attention is drawn to this small blemish chiefly because
this work will undoubtedly become an authority. In generals the make-up and
proof-reading are of the highest quality. The typography is excellent. The
paper also is very good, the binding simple and unostentatious. Bro. Denslow
is to be very highly complimented on his work and the Masonic Service
Association is to be congratulated on adding this to the valuable list of
publications they have put out for the benefit of the Craft.
* * *
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MANCHESTER ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC RESEARCH, 1923-24
usual this volume is full of good things. The Presidential address by Bro. A.
G. W. Provart is on Masonic Knight Templary. The survey is not limited to the
Knight Templar Order only but includes the other degrees that have always been
intimately connected with it. The argument tends to throw the origin of this
offshoot of Masonry further back is usually allowed, except by those who still
swallow the traditional history without criticism. Bro. Provart thinks that
the Knight Templars were closely connected with "Scotch" Masonry, that is "Ecossaism",
and seems to be inclined to think that the Chevalier Ramsay may have had more
to do with such developments than the critical school of students have been
inclined to admit.
Clegg again turns up with an address on American Masonry, especially dwelling
on the salient points in which it differs from the Craft in England. Bro. D.
Lowe Turnbull has a most valuable paper on German ritual. He says that it
"bears a general resemblance to the Emulation Working, with, however,
important variations". As he describes it the variations are very important
radical innovation under the Grand Lodge of Hamburg (which is the especial
subject treated) is the substitution of declarations in place of the
traditional obligations. The theory that the lodge has no control over a
Mason's actions has little favor there. He is bound not to resign (that is
demit) without permission given, nor can he join any secret society without
first resigning from the lodge, which in effect means without its permission.
A year's interval is required between each degree, and the Master's Lodge
meets in a special chamber used for no other purpose. From this it will be
seen that the relation of lodges of E.A's and F.C's to the Master's Lodge is
different entirely from either that in England or in America.
dramatic part of the Third Degree so far as it goes seems more like American
than English usage. The real fact being that in Germany and France much of the
original "body of Masonry" has been retained that has become obsolete in
English speaking Masonry. To the student of variations in the ritual this
article should be of the greatest interest.
Arthur Heiron contributes a paper on the Craft in the Eighteenth Century in
which he continues the line of research begun in his History of Old Dundee
Lodge and his articles on Dr. Johnson in THE BUILDER in 1923, in which much
new information is collected.
Hubert Hunt has an article on "Mozart and His Masonic Music," and there is a
brief account of the "Lady Lever Art Gallery" by the Curator, Bro. Sydney L.
Davison, which contains among other treasures some valuable and interesting
Treasurer of the Association is obliged to note in his report the loss
incurred by the delinquency of a number of members in not paying their
subscriptions. Unfortunately it is not the only institution that suffers from
this. One would at least expect Masons after having received the Transactions
for two or more years would at least feel bound to pay up to date even if
unable to afford the continuance of their membership. The subscription is
really a very low one and it would be well worth while for more of our
American students to join the Association.
* * *
TRANSACTIONS OF THE MERSEYSIDE ASSOCIATION FOR MASONIC RESEARCH, 1923-24
volume contains a number of exceedingly interesting papers by brethren whose
names are well known to students. A short address given by Bro. Robert I.
Clegg holds the place of honor, discussing the status of Masonic research on
both Sides of the Atlantic. This is followed by a paper on the "Nature, Object
and Scope of Masonic Research" by Bro. H. Flint. The author seems rather to
deprecate the study of Masonic origins and antiquities, and to press the
claims of general culture as represented by the liberal arts and sciences, and
above all the study and application of ethics. With his positive contribution
there will be few if any to disagree.
J. Walter Hobbs has a very interesting account of mediaeval Masons, lay and
clerical, and gives many quotations from old records to illustrate the
conditions in which they labored and their status in the community. One is
inclined to take exception, however, to the statement on page 30, that "in the
earlier days some of-the Great Cathedrals and Abbeys maintained a school or
place for teaching architecture, where the ecclesiastics, who had charge of
the building works, ruled and taught with Master Masons and men of lower
degree to carry on the operative part of the work." With all deference to the
author it is difficult to see anything even remotely resembling a school in
the alleged instances cited. The ecclesiastics were employers and they
naturally saw that the work was done as they wanted it, as employers always
have done. And where the work was continuous over a long period of time it was
not unnatural that regulations were laid down, but that there was anything of
the nature of a school over and above the normal instruction of apprentices,
or that the employers had any special interest in this instruction, there is
not a word in the records to indicate.
paper by Bro. Lionel Vibert has, with other very valuable matter, some
suggestions as to the origin of the initiation ceremonies of the three
degrees. He accepts the theory that previous to 1717 there were only two
ceremonies, the Admission of the Apprentice and that of Fellow or Master, but
he argues that in the present tri-gradal system the ceremonies of the First
Degree are not appropriate to the operative apprentice, normally a boy of
fourteen, but that those of the second, which employ the "symbol of a winding
stairway leading to a portal flanked by two pillars of significance" and
beyond which "there lies the inner chamber where the reward awaits the
diligent craftsman and student," would be. The boy is not going to learn his
trade all at once, and so Bro. Vibert thinks this allegory very suitable,
while that of the First Degree representing a new birth, he thinks more
appropriate to the speculative or honorary members, thus reaching the
conclusion that there were two initiations, one for each class of members. The
idea is original but one cannot help feeling that it is based too largely on
the present form of the English ritual, just as the theory of the late Bro.
Race (which is alluded to in the paper) that the drama of the Third Degree was
a sort of miracle play, fits the form of the work as carried out in England
very remarkably, but is entirely upset by the differing forms used in other
times and places. However, the supposition that local stories of the murder of
a craftsman or apprentice, such as that of Rosyln chapel, are really due to
the misunderstanding by mystified profanes of allusions to the Third Degree
ceremonies is one that is inherently very probable, though it is not of course
a new hypothesis. Those who cannot believe that such an important element of
craft allegory as the legend of the Third Degree was invented or adopted de
mono after 1717 will see in this interpretation of such legends a confirmation
of their position.
Covey Crump has a paper on "How Our Craft P. WDS. Came to Be Adopted," which
is full of erudition, though as a matter of fact he gives chiefly information
about the words themselves and their significance, and says nothing really of
when, where and why they were first chosen.
thesis of Bro. A. T. Brand on the opening and closing ceremonies of the lodge
is one that would interest American readers chiefly as throwing light on
English Craft usages. It is a very good example of the result of applying
rigid logic to Masonic usages. A brief quotation will serve to illustrate the
point. "In Freemasonry," says Bro. Brand, "use and wont are considered to be a
sufficient precedent for the continued existence of obviously doubtful points
of ritual; but, if habit and custom, however hoary with antiquity, are based
on false data, they form a precedent only for the perpetuation of error." To
this it must be said that any undoubtedly ancient custom or form has more
authority in a traditional system such as Freemasonry than a logical scheme
that may itself be built on false premises, and at best refers only to a
modern variant of the ritual. In England the lodge is opened in the First
Degree, then in the Second and finally in the Third as need requires - it is
closed in steps in reverse order. At the present day it is customary in
America to open always on the Third, and to regard the E. A. lodge and the F.
C. lodge as distinct entities. The logical scheme that is applicable to one
method will not fit the other at all. And here we must surely say "so much the
worse for the logic". A ritual form that does not fit the scheme will probably
prove to be a vestige of an earlier ceremony that was on quite different lines
altogether. One result thus arrived at in the paper is that the candidate at
his first entrance should give, or have given for him, only one knock. This is
certainly in defiance of every line of Masonic tradition and even the
Emulation Lodge of Improvement, as Bro. Brand admits, though he considers that
here it errs, teaches "a triplicate signal". Nevertheless, taken with caution,
the paper may be of use to our brethren in England seeking for rules to cover
doubtful points, though probably the best advice would be always to adhere to
the custom of the lodge until it is absolutely certain that it is wrong.
* * *
SUPPRESSED TRUTH ABOUT THE ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN. By Burke
McCarty. Published by the Gopher Agency, Chicago, Ill. May be purchased
through the National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950 Railway
Exchange Bldg., St. Louis, Mo. Cloth, illustrated, table of contents, 255
pages. Price, postpaid, $1.65.
thesis of the writer, a lady who has left the Roman Catholic Church, is that
the Hierarchy of that Church in its political schemes for the domination of
the world strongly favored the Confederate side in the Civil War in the hope
that the country would be split into two parts, and so weakened that it would
not be thereafter so able to uphold the democratic ideals of liberty and
independence. That Lincoln as the leader of the forces bent on preserving the
Union thereby incurred the enmity of the Church, and in especial of the Jesuit
Order, and that for this he was condemned to death. It is strongly hinted that
the conspirators who were brought to trial for the crime were merely
subordinates. Great stress is laid on the fact that they were all Roman
Catholics, considerable space being devoted to proving that the actual
assassin was a convert from the Protestant Episcopal Church, to which all his
expect that the arguments adduced for this particular purpose will carry
weight with the readers of the book in proportion to their willingness to
accept the general hypothesis, and it would be idle to blink the fact that
many Americans and among them a great many American Masons are very much
inclined to believe anything bad of the Roman Church. However, viewed
dispassionately, the picture of Romanism as a sort of secret Prussian army,
international in character, and moving everywhere in accordance with orders
from headquarters can hardly be a true one - for if it were it would
inevitably have attained its supposed end by this time, and the Pope and his
counsellors would be autocratically ruling the world. After all, Roman
Catholics, even their priests and bishops, are human beings. They have human
weaknesses, jealousies, spites, bickerings - in short, they evidently do not
work together with just one aim in view as the alarmist supposes. A striking
proof is to be found in the late war. The Vatican undoubtedly favored the
German side, yet could not prevent Cardinal Mercier forcibly protesting the
outrages of the invasion of Belgium. Belgium is a devotedly Catholic country.
According to the author's account of the Roman organization Mercier should
have used all his influence on the German side, Belgians should have given
free passage to the German armies and afforded them all assistance possible.
must always be remembered that when a group of people have a common set of
beliefs and rules of conduct, that from the outside they will appear to be
acting as if guided by some central control. The Masonic organizations thus
appear to the non-Masonic outsider, even in English speaking countries. In
Latin countries where those who join the Order are, in the nature of the
political and social environment, very much more of one mind among themselves
on questions of public interest, this has given the appearance of a concerted
political action on their part as Masons, although political and religious
questions are no more permitted as subjects of discussion in their lodges than
they are in our own. Freemasonry is hostile to no church and to no state,
however antagonistic that church or state may be to Freemasonry. And
Freemasons are taught to judge with candor and to seek truth and justice. The
present work is frankly partisan, it presents a strongly en parse case. It is
well worth reading to see what the case is, but all statements should be
checked by reference to more impartial authorities. It may be that the
organization that so many American Protestants suspect and fear is rather
racial than ecclesiastical.
* * *
FOR THE PRESENT DAY
AND THE PROPHETS, OR HOMER AND NOW. By Cornelia Steketee Hulst. Published by
the Open Court Publishing Company: Chicago: 1925. May be purchased through the
National Masonic Research Society Book Department, 1950 Railway Exchange, St.
Louis, Mo. Green cloth illustrated, 89 pages. . Price, postpaid, $1.10.
PERHAPS the best approach to Homer today is by means of the 'movie'," says the
author in the first chapter, and she instances a young student who had seen
the film of the Odyssey and said it was a "thriller of the first order, and
that when it was given in his university town it attracted large and
increasing crowds of townsfolk and students before its run of a week was over,
not at all because it was 'scholarly stuff,' and 'highbrow,' but because it
has a strong human appeal."
tells us that she was helped in the moral and religious interpretation of
Homer by reading him in translation with classes of girls and boys, and says
that to really rise to the epic "a scholar must become as a little child, or
have kept a good deal of the spirit of childhood, so that he can enter and
live what the poet has written."
poems of Homer were to the Greeks of the classical age and down to Christian
era, very much what the "Book of the Law" became to the Hebrews. It was not
only regarded as a chronicle of most important events in their early history,
but also as a rule and guide in religion and ethics. That this was so is a
commonplace of classical scholarship, but it is not quite easy to see how it
was in the ordinary treatment of the subject; nor does a casual reference to
the poems themselves either in the original (if the reader knows Greek) or in
one of the many good modern translations, help us much. But were we to read
for the first time, and without any Repossessions, the purely narrative
portions of the Old Testament, we should see at first as little moral to the
tale as there appears in Homer; in fact in the older narratives of the Bible,
the passages ascribed by the critics to "the Jahwist," there is less of the
didactic than in the Grecian poet, for Homer dearly loves to moralize, though
always in a simple naive way that is attractive rather than otherwise.
Hulst expounds these epics for us from the moral standpoint, and in
conjunction with an interpretation of the names of the people in the story
that would almost turn it into an allegory, as she herself suggests, of the
type of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. How far her etymologies can be accepted
is a matter for experts to decide, but some seem, to say the least, rather
forced. But however this might be decided it would not affect the general
conclusion she reaches.
touches, rather slightly, as it is not directly in line with her purpose, on
the origin of the stories that underly the Iliad and Odyssey. The myth of
Helen and her abduction is really a variant of the rape of Persephone, and is
curiously connected with the Labyrinth myth of Crete. Both the Iliad and
Odyssey however are composite in plot regarded from the mythological point of
view and contain many re-duplications. Odysseus, however, from one aspect, is
undoubtedly the wandering sungod, though many other elements enter into the
tale as we have it.
descent into Hades is of especial interest to those interested in the
antecedents of Masonic initiation. It is the model on which Vergil framed his
Sixth Book, and undoubtedly reflects the ceremonies and teachings of mystery
Mrs. Hulst's work contains very little that is directly of interest to Masons
as such, it is interesting in itself, and is an inducement to read Homer at
first hand, whose work is a not inconsiderable part of that background of
analogous material that the student absolutely needs in order to balance his
ideas and gain a sane perspective in his investigations into the origin of
QUESTION BOX and CORRESPONDENCE
MASONRY IS NOT
Grand Master Dern's article in the October number entitled "What Masonry Is
Not," has aroused my interest, I have read and re-read the article many times.
I am reminded of the statement accredited to Shakespeare which runs: "There is
nothing either Good or Bad, but that thinking makes it so." Now if Bro. Dern
thinks Masonry is neither reformatory, charitable, religious nor a
money-making institution, then to him it is not such.
Dern approaches the subject by indirection, not what he thinks it is, not what
it was intended to be, but what it is not. Albert Pike, in Morals and Dogma,
tells us that "No man can say that he hath a sure possession of the truth as
of a chattel." To me the best authority for what Masonry was, or is intended
to be, is the Ancient Charges, the Ritual and Monitor. What Masonry really is
might be determined by a survey of its works and activities.
the mere statement that Masonry is not a reformatory institution is acceptable
to me, when applied to the profane. Yet within its own household, if Masonic
writers have not led us astray, it has actually passed through some very
decided reforms. When we note the laws and edicts of certain Grand bodies,
accomplished or in the making, I am convinced that reform is still the order
of the day, and when the journal of proceedings of the last annual
communication reaches you, you will note some very drastic measures along this
line - I refer to the Grand Lodge of Ohio.
Bro. Dern says, Masonry demands "moral perfection" as a prerequisite and is
neither charitable nor religious, I can't conceive of any worth while purpose
it could possibly have. The rough ashlar is to me a symbol of imperfection and
nothing else. It symbolizes the selected material, although rough, therefore
imperfect, it must be big enough morally so that it can be squared and
polished into a perfect ashlar. I know of but one instance in Masonry where a
polished stone was found and was used to good advantage, but let us not forget
that in this instance this stone was polished by a Mason, yea, a most
conspicuous one at that.
that Masonry is not a charitable institution is to me like saying that the New
Testament is not Christian. To say that Masonry teaches charity yet makes no
pretense to practice charity, is to separate the precept from the example, and
the Mason taking the cue from the body politic might do the same, which would
result in Masonry in the aggregate doing the teaching and let the profane set
the example. To me it is as impossible to teach Masons to be charitable
successfully and have them to act otherwise in the body politic as it would be
any of the other virtues we teach, for example, toleration, truth, brotherly
love, hope, faith, etc.
rate, whether Masonry was intended to be a society of men banded together for
the purpose of administering charity as a body politic, it is now very
decidedly such, for example, witness the large number of state and national
institutions here and abroad maintained by Masonic bodies for the care of not
only members of its own household but in some eases those who have no
connection whatever. Is this not charity ? The Ohio Masonic Home at
Springfield is the pride of Ohio Masons, involving hundreds of thousands of
dollars in maintenance each year, all collected and administered through the
bodies politic. THE BUILDER a few months ago carried a list of many such
this is organized charity in one sense. Now Masonry assumes a tolerant and
charitable attitude towards men of every decent political opinion and
religious faith. This, to my mind, is the most beautiful of its attributes,
the most necessary to its universality, by it Masonry becomes the center of
union. Is this not charity and does it not apply to the body politic? If any
Mason thinks not let him try to array his Grand Lodge or any other Grand body
against any of them and he will be convinced. I readily agree that membership
in the Masonic Fraternity is no health and accident policy; true it enters
into no contract with its members to pay them any fixed sum in case of extreme
indigence, as is the case with other societies, however I would not call such
an agreement and the fulfillment thereof "charity," but rather a purely
Masonry be not a religious institution why do we refuse to recognize the
Masons of France and Belgium who have been proscribed for no other reason than
the removal of the Sacred Law from their altars ? If the V. S. L. is not a
religious symbol then I know not what it is. Masonry reveres the Sacred Books
of all nations, therefore she is not sectarian but the more religious. Is the
rainbow-not the more colorful for its many hues? Is a nation not the more
democratic because of added democratic principles ? Does not the mastery of
many tongues make a man a linguist ? Is a man less educated because he
possesses a knowledge of many subjects?
every Masonic Lodge and Temple is representative of the first great religious
edifice erected by a free people who received pay for their labors and were
not slaves or bondsmen, the subjects of both a Hebrew and a Gentile King, and
we may not be far wrong in assuming that the chief architect of that building
was the son of a Hebrew mother and a Gentile father. While our lodge is
representative of a Hebrew Temple, it is also dedicated to two Christian
saints. If Masonry is not religious because she is tolerant of many faiths and
creeds, what can we say of God's Temple, the world, which is composed also of
many faiths and creeds?
agree with Bro. Dern that Masonry is not a money-making institution, at least
in the premise that to store up wealth in great quantity is not its mission.
However when I read of the many structures f or Masonic purpose only, and
others constructed by Masonic bodies to be partially used by them, with
additional space to be leased as quarters for purely business enterprises
paying monthly or annual rental, and costing millions of dollars, and since we
are discussing what Masonry is, rather than what it is intended to be, I am
almost ready to accept a different conclusion.
* * *
TWO GLOBES AND THE PILLARS
been a subscriber to THE BUILDER for several years, and am desirous of some
information that so far I have been unable to obtain. Does it make any
difference which Pillar is placed on the left? Should it be on the one bearing
the Celestial Globe or the one bearing the Terrestrial Globe? Do the globes
have any connection with the names that the Pillars bear?
should like to know why the Terrestrial and Celestial Globes are used in
connection with the work in the Fellowcraft (other than to denote the
universality of Masonry) and would you give such information about their
adoption as you may have at hand?
two questions open up an extended vista into the history and evolution of the
Ritual. However, from the practical point of view, and speaking generally, the
Pillars should be arranged as may best fit in with the Ritual requirements of
the work, where there is not a specific rule in the jurisdiction or an old
tradition in the lodge. Outside of that there is no rule for their
use of Terrestrial and Celestial Globes to surmount the capitals of the
Pillars is modern and is peculiar to America, though there may be, of course,
isolated instances elsewhere. Some old lodges in England, and many on the
Continent of Europe have such globes in their lodge rooms, but only as part of
the equipment to match the requirements of the Second Degree.
question again as to which Pillar was on the right and which was on the left
depends on the way you look at them; whether approaching the porch or whether
from within the Middle Chamber. English speaking Masonry takes the former
viewpoint, European Masonry the latter. The question, in fact, us back not
only to the differences between the "Ancients" and "Moderns," but further
still, to the formulation of the Three Degrees as we have them today.
reason for the adoption of the globes is still a matter of opinion, but,
briefly, it would appear that our eighteenth century brethren had a more or
less conscious purpose of making Freemasonry not only a moral institution, but
an educational one as well. The educational features were concentrated in the
Fellowcraft Degree. But though Wm. Preston did a great deal to bring this
about and his influence on our own Ritual is very great, yet this same idea
was being worked out by others before him in England, and on rather different
lines in both France and Germany. On the Continent of Europe the globes appear
simply as scientific instruments placed on the usual stands to enable them to
be easily turned. Their appearance on the Pillars seems to be due to a
confusion with the ornamental curved capitals of the two Pillars of the Porch,
as described in the Old Testament. The original speaks of a "crown" on the "chapiters,"
and the Rabbis explained this by a Hebrew word meaning "pommel," but which
might also be translated "ball" or "globe." From this it was generally
understood, until modern times, that the Pillars were of one of the Five
Orders of Architecture, which as they were detached, bore on their capitals
ornamental balls to finish them off. Actually it was the capitals themselves
that are said to be curved or globular, being possibly on the model of the
lotus columns of ancient Egyptian temples.
* * *
I am holding no brief for the author of "Democracy vs. Autocracy," reviewed in
THE BUILDER, the reviewer accuses the author of an inaccuracy in the use of
the word "maelstrom," and this accusation is hardly justified although it is
almost too slight a matter to mention.
"Maelstrom" does not mean mill-stream. The word comes from the Scandinavian
malen, to whirl, and strom, a current or stream. Inasmuch as there are air
currents, it would be perfectly proper to call a disturbance of the air,
caused by a whirling air current, a maelstrom.
course it is realized that when, by long usage, a word comes to denote a
particular thing or idea, that it is not altogether correct to use it to
indicate something else. At the same time the author is more correct than the
would also say that the Maelstrom off the coast of Norway is still much
dreaded at certain times although it may not be as famous as it was once
because of present familiarity with it.
all this got a lot to do with Masonry?
A. Foss, Virginia.
reviewer writes: "I must thank Bro. Foss for his correction. He is absolutely
right in the derivation of the word. However, I do not think I was so very far
out of the way as the word 'mill' in English comes from the same root. The
point was raised because it seemed to give the keynote of the book. Those
responsible for its title have in mind apparently the approach of a
devastating storm, a tornado, and for this they use a term that can only be
properly understood as figuratively implying an irresistible sucking down into
a vortex and final and complete disappearance. I do not like the Klan. and I
object to its methods, but the work under discussion is as partisan in tone
and method as the Klan itself."
* * *
WANTED AND FOR SALE
H. M. Washburn would like to secure a copy of "The American Freemason" for
January, 1916. and also the indexes for Vols. VII and IX of the same magazine.
John Linston has some bound volumes of THE BUILDER. from 1920 to 1924,
inclusive, for sale at $2.50 per volume. Also a copy of Rebold's General
History of Freemasonry in Europe Cincinnati 1868, for $1.50.
Letters may be addressed in care of the editor of THE BUILDER.
* * *
question has arisen among some members of our lodge as to whether it is right
for the Worshipful Master to use the sign of fidelity when the lodge is being
opened or closed. It is not the custom for him to do so but I have always
thought that this is not correct and I should like to have the benefit of your
opinion on the point.
being the custom of your lodge it is probably right to perpetuate it, as local
usages should always be preserved unless manifestly wrong, and by that it
should be understood, founded on some real error and not merely apparently
inconsistent with some other custom or ceremony.
Unfortunately the appropriate and dignified ceremonial of all the brethren
coming to order under the sign of fidelity when called up by the Master has
fallen into disuse in a great many jurisdictions. It is one of the old
"customs of the Craft" and there is a strong evidence to show that it was
employed at and before the time of the formation of the first Grand Lodge, and
this same evidence also shows that the Master used this sign in opening the
lodge as well as his Wardens and the brethren. Probably there was some
definite idea underlying the custom in your lodge or your jurisdiction, from
which it was argued that it was not proper for the Master to give it. Perhaps
this idea was that in thus coming to order the brethren were expressing their
fidelity to him. If so, it would appear that a too narrow view had been taken
of it. It really signifies the Mason's fidelity to the obligation that makes
England, and the jurisdictions that follow the English work, the brethren and
officers, including the Master, stand to order under the sign of the degree in
which the lodge is being opened or closed. Yet the old form is not wholly
forgotten, for the sign of fidelity is always given by all at the very end of
the proceedings after the lodge has been declared closed, and definitely with
the intention of expressing faithful adherence to the obligation and
especially the obligation to secrecy.
* * *
article I recently sent you which dealt with brethren who had long been in the
active service of the Fraternity is sure to exhibit many omissions which, from
time to time, may be called to our attention.
let me add one more to those already sent you and which may form a paragraph
in some succeeding issue if a place cannot be found for it in the one
containing the article in question.
that the Rev. J. R. N. Bell at the recent Communication of the Grand Lodge of
Oregon was installed to serve his fiftieth term as Grand Chaplain.
I. Clegg, Associate Editor, Chicago, Ill.
Roman Catholic paper published in Buffalo, N. Y., a notice of our Book Catalog
appeared some time ago, and especially of the fact that a number of works
written by members of that Church against Freemasonry had been listed therein,
on which the comment was made that "The mention of these books by the Editor
of a Masonic Catalog indicates a degree of broadmindedness not often found
this true? If so, Masons have departed from one of the great principles of the
* * *
path in seeming error often lies;
reason for his acts to us is dim;
much to dissipate the wrong he tries,
much he feels is right, how much is sin,
great temptation has bestrode his path;
weakness in his earthly frame may be
lack of training in his young life, hath
him feel and see opposed to you and me.
know not nor can we a judgment give,
deeper sight than ours that power claims;
for me that I should always live
constant study of myself and aims.