Prince Hall Freemasonry


Prince Hall freemasonry is a parallel line of Freemasonry, originally started as a Masonic lodge for freed african slaves in the colonies during the Revolutionary war.

Today, the Prince Hall fraternity has over 4,500 lodges worldwide, forming 44 independent jurisdictions with a membership of over 300,000 masons whereby any good hearted man who is worthy and well qualified, can seek more light in masonry.

Here is a list of Prince Hall Grand Lodges

September 12th, 1748 – December 4th, 1807

Prince Hall is recognized as the Father of Black Masonry in the United States. Historically, he made it possible for Negroes to be recognized and enjoy all privileges of free and accepted masonry.

Many rumors of the birth of Prince Hall have arisen. A few records and papers have been found of him in Barbados where it was rumored that he was born in 1748, but no record of birth by church or by state, has been found there, and none in Boston. All 11 countries were searched and churches with baptismal records were examined without finding the name of Prince Hall.

One widely circulated rumor states that “Prince Hall was free born in British West Indies. His father, Thomas Prince Hall, was an Englishman and his mother a free colored woman of French extraction. In 1765 he worked his passage on a ship to Boston, where he worked as a leather worker, a trade learned from his father. During this time he married Sarah Ritchery. Shortly after their marriage, she died at the age of 24. Eight years later he had acquired real estate and was qualified to vote. Prince Hall also pressed John Hancock to be allowed to join the Continental Army and was one of a few blacks who fought at the battle of Bunker Hill. Religiously inclined, he later became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church with a charge in Cambridge and fought for the abolition of slavery.” Some accounts are paraphrased from ph1the generally discredited Grimshaw book of 1903.

Free Masonry among Black men began during the War of Independence, when Prince Hall and fourteen other free black men were initiated into Lodge # 441, Irish Constitution, attached to the 38th Regiment of Foot, British Army Garrisoned at Castle Williams (now Fort Independence) Boston Harbor on March 6, 1775. The Master of the Lodge was Sergeant John Batt. Along with Prince Hall, the other newly made masons were Cyrus Johnson, Bueston Slinger, Prince Rees, John Canton, Peter Freeman, Benjamin Tiler, Duff Ruform, Thomas Santerson, Prince Rayden, Cato Spain, Boston Smith, Peter Best, Forten Howard and Richard Titley.

When the British Army left Boston, this Lodge, # 441, granted Prince Hall and his brethren authority to meet as a lodge, to go in procession on Saints John Day, and as a Lodge to bury their dead; but they could not confer degrees nor perform any other Masonic “work”. For nine years these brethren, together with others who had received their degrees elsewhere, assembled and enjoyed their limited privileges as Masons. Finally in March 2, 1784, Prince Hall petitioned the Grand Lodge of England, through a Worshipful Master of a subordinate Lodge in London (William Moody of Brotherly Love Lodge # 55) for a warrant or charter.

The warrant was granted on September 29, 1784 under the name of African Lodge, # 459 on the register of the Grand Lodge of England by authority of then Grand Master, the Duke of Cumberland, delivered in Boston on April 29, 1787 by Captain James Scott, brother-in-law of John Hancock and Master of the Neptune. Prince Hall was the first Master of the lodge which was organized one week later, May 6, 1787.

The warrant to African Lodge # 459 of Boston is the most significant and highly prized document known to the Prince Hall Masonic Fraternity. Through it, Masonic legitimacy among free black men is traced, and on it more than any other factor, rests their case. That charter, which is authenticated and in safekeeping, is believed to be the only original charter issued from the Grand Lodge of England still in the possession of any Lodge in the United States. African Lodge allowed itself to slip into arrears in the late 1790’s and was stricken from the rolls after the Union of 1813 although it had attempted correspondence in 1802 and 1806. In 1827, after further unreplied communication, it declared its independence and began to call itself African Grand Lodge # 1. It is interesting to note that when the Massachusetts lodges which were acting as a Provincial Grand Lodge also declared themselves an independent Grand Lodge, and even when the present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was formed by the amalgamation of the two separate lodges, African Lodge was not invited to take part, even though it held a warrant every bit as valid as the others.

The question of extending Masonry arose when Absalom Jones of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania appeared in 1791 in Boston. He was an ordained Episcopal priest and a mason who was interested in establishing a Masonic lodge in Philadelphia. Delegations also traveled from Providence, Rhode Island and New York to establish the African Grand Lodge that year. Prince Hall was appointed Grand Master, serving in this capacity until his death in 1807.

Upon his death, Nero Prince became Grand Master. When Nero Prince sailed to Russia in 1808, George Middleton succeeded him. After Middleton, Petrert Lew, Samuel H. Moody and then, John T. Hilton became Grand Master. In 1827, it was Hilton who recommended a Declaration of Independence from the English Grand Lodge.

In 1869 a fire destroyed Massachusetts’ Grand Lodge headquarters and a number of its priceless records. The charter in its metal tube was in the Grand Lodge chest. The tube saved the charter from the flames, but the intense heat charred the paper. It was at this time that Grand Master S.T. Kendall crawled into the burning building and in peril of his life, saved the charter from complete destruction. Thus a Grand Master’s devotion and heroism further consecrated this parchment to us, and added a further detail to its already interesting history. The original Charter # 459 has long since been made secure between heavy plate glass and is kept in a fire-proof vault in a downtown Boston bank.

In 1946, the Grand Lodge of England again extended recognition to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge but withdrew it the same year. In 1994, the Grand Lodge of England finally accepted a petition for recognition by Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. “England cited several reasons recognition was witheld,” Nicholas B. Locker, Grand Master of Prince Hall from 1992-1994, said in an interview in June 1996. “One was ‘territorial boundries,’ because the Grand Lodge of England had already recognized the white Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, which shared the same jurisdiction with us. “Another factor was that Prince Hall owed back payment of dues to the Grand Lodge. Back 200 years ago, there were no checks, and often dues for England were put in the hands of sailing ship captains. It was several months before the ships arrived in England, and money was lost. So it wasn’t possible to say for sure that Prince Hall paid all his dues.”

The ties were arranged to be formalized in June 1996. In its 212 years, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge has spawned over 44 other Grand Lodges. The subordinate lodges receive recognition once their grand lodges are recognized.

Prince Hall is buried in a cemetery overlooking the Charlestown naval yard in Boston’s north end. His grave is situated near a large tree, his wife’s grave is directly behind his.


  1. Interested in membership,father was a Mason for years before he died. Feel it’s time to look into it for myself. Reading of history, and of Prince Hall Freemasonary. Will find Lodge # and degree of father,he lived in Levittown,Pa.

  2. Darryl M. Wright says:

    Hey Bryan, what is your father full name. We can look in the here in Philadelphia if he was a Prince Hall Freemason.

  3. Darryl M. Wright says:

    Wow, I didn’t reread that before posting. What I meant to say was, I can check at our Philadelphia Grand Lodge. Sorry for the confusion if any.

  4. jarvis woods says:

    Iam 21 Ive been reading up on masonary since the age of 14. my great uncle was in f masonary and he come from barbados and i believe his lodge was in newyork. I belive iam deicated and willing to fight to continue to hold up the order or the true world. so if anyone knows how i can get affiliated reach me on myspace name jontae. ancient free and accepted.

  5. Norman Brown says:

    I have been trying to establish link with this beautiful order.Please direct!

  6. Bro. James R. Morgan says:

    For the guys interested in Masonic membership, it’s not that hard. Just google the Masonic Grand Lodge of your state and look for a lodge in your area. If you don’t know anyone, the brothers their will be more than happy to work with you.

  7. kevin brown says:

    Ive been looking into this fraternity since my military days. I do have a cousin an uncle who are members. Not sure how to ask them or if I should wait till I return to Jamaica to see if I can me a member.

  8. Franklin Jerry Williams says:

    SO MOTE IT BE !!!

  9. Andante Samuel Deloatch says:

    I’m interested in becoming a member,My grandfather was 33rd1/3 His name is Raleigh Deloatch from Conway North Carolina I don’t know the lodge number but I am hungry for knowledge and I truly want to be illuminated. My grandfather was a great man and I want to follow in his steps.

  10. Bro. Michael S. McCullough says:

    So, glad to see positive illustrations about Masonary.

  11. Bro. Huey says:

    mind has beened opened, just found out my great uncle was A bufflo soldier fought in WW2 n italy.. He was from boston, which make me believe he was a Prince Hall masonary.. ive found myself, Now I JUST WANNA BE HAPPY!!!

  12. Ardon Hall says:

    my grandfather was a Prince Hall Mason in Los Angeles around the 1950’s. His name was Austin L. McCoy. Could u please help me find his records and a let me know if i should start looking into this for myself also.

  13. I have family that are freemasons i do not know if it is Prince Hall they are black so I would assume, I live in Michigan City, IN and I would like to learn the more I read the more I am craving to find the better man in myself…

  14. voted worthy says:

    I was recently voted worthy to join a PHA lodge. Due to my lack of light at this time, I will not divulge any info as in what lodge or state i am in. i will keep all of you informed as i travel further ( until i am raised to that 3rd deg.) Really looking foward to this experience.

  15. I have a few questions that I hope someone can answer:

    Can someone please tell me what is the highest degree that a Prince Hall Freemason can attain? I believe it is the 3rd degree but I am not sure.

    Are Prince Hall Freemasons connected to the Scottish Rite or York Rite?

    After attaining the 3rd degree, are Prince Hall Freemasons then able to continue in the Scottish or York Rite?

    Does anyone know of any Prince Hall Freemasons who have attained 32 or 33 degrees?

    Must you become a Prince Hall Freemason in order to become a Noble Shriner?

  16. Bro. Bruce K. Gidney says:

    Seek and Ye shall find, Ask and it shall be given unto you, Knock and the door shall be opened.

  17. Eddie Bodden says:

    I’m a member of lodge 471 blue lodge and I’m very interested in prince hall can you please lead me to the direction I have to go ….thank you

  18. is anyone still on this blog I need some questions answered

  19. We are. Feel free to use the Contact page at the top.

  20. Bro.Austin Corbin says:

    I’m a freemason for a few mouths and I support all worthy masonry

  21. I want to join but I’m not sure my father is a prince hall Mason 32nd degree

  22. Joseph F. Scott says:

    I too am reading information about Prince Hall Masonry now that I have settled in a community long-term.
    My father, John F. Scott, deceased, was a Mason and Shriner in Missouri. I live in Jefferson City, he was in the lodge here, and in Columbia. Shrine in Kansas City. Birth..August 1932.
    Any advice would be appreciated. Mr. Williams, Mr. Logan, and other family friends have passed away and other Masons have moved away, so I cant ask one of his lodge brothers like he had told me before he passed on.

  23. So basically they were tricked into being informants and traitors to their country

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