Freemason Tim Bryce.



– Today’s high school seniors were just four at the time.
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There have been a handful of epochal events over the years where someone might ask, “Where were you when this or that happened?” For example, Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination, the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, Neal Armstrong setting foot on the moon, and the Challenger disaster. Of course, the most recent event to Americans was the 9-11 terrorist attack in 2001. As for me, I was in my office early on that Tuesday morning and my cleaning crew was in taking care of the office. In the reception area, I had a television turned on and tuned to the local news. As I was typing on my computer, one of the cleaning crew came into my office very excited and said, “Tim, come out here and look at this; they’ve attacked the Twin Towers in New York.” I rushed out and watched the north tower burning and listened to newscasters hustling to get on top of the story. Then, after a few minutes, a second plane crashed into the south tower. We couldn’t believe our eyes. This was compounded later by air attacks on the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and another plane crashing in western Pennsylvania.

President Bush was visiting an elementary school just south of us in Sarasota where a news crew captured the president’s reaction to news of the disaster. The visit was cut short and he left with a brief statement informing the people present what had occurred and, if memory serves me right, he asked for a moment of silent prayer. This disaster would ultimately define the president’s tenure of office.

Conspiracy theorists would later claim the disaster was an “inside job” caused by the administration. I have listened to these stories time and again, and cannot find any validity in them. Nonetheless, on that day, 9-11, 2,996 people perished including the 19 terrorists involved, the greatest single day loss in our history, easily outdistancing Pearl Harbor where 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others wounded. In the New York disaster, the city lost 343 firefighters and paramedics, and 60 law enforcement personnel. Companies in the North Tower lost hundreds of employees each. It was truly a sad day.


It has now been 14 years since the attack, and the disaster is already fading from the memories of our young people. Consider this, today’s high school seniors were but four years old at the time and, as such, have no real recollection of the disaster. I may understand them not remembering Pearl Harbor, an event which occurred over 70 years ago, but they should be reminded of the significance of 9-11 and its effect on the 21st century.

Although America was mildly aware of Middle East terrorists before, this disaster brought it home to the nation and defined our foreign policy for years to come. Today, just about everyone is familiar with the names of al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS. New words have entered our vocabulary, such as burka, Jihad (Holy war), Fatwas (binding religious edicts), Mosque (Islamic place of worship), suicide bombers, IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), caliphate (Islamic government) and are familiar with the sects in the area, Sunnis, Shites, and Kurds. Most Americans now know where Iraq, Iran, Yemen, UAE, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are, and we’ve noticed Muslims immigrating to countries, including the United States, and insisting on Sharia Law. Prior to 9-11, this was all relatively unknown. Now it is a part of our daily lives.

The threat of a terrorist attack is still a viable concern. We should ever be vigilant for the next attack. As Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. observed, “And that’s why it’s just going to get worse. You’re going to see more attacks, where they target two different sites and expand across the nation in different states. I think we have to find a role for U.S. citizens in this as well but until we get a strategy, that’s not going to happen.”

9-11 is an important symbol, not just for remembering the victims of 2001, but a warning for our future. This is why the lessons of 9-11 should be repeated to school children. The very least schools could do is ask the students to stand and have a moment of silence for the victims. 9-11 may be in our past, but what is in store for us in the future?

For a synopsis of 9-11, see:

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemasonry as it was Practiced During the American Civil War

freemasonry and the civil warOn November 6, 1860, prior to Abraham Lincoln’s election for United States President he declared that, “Government cannot endure half slave and half free.” He was referring to the common practice during those times, mostly within the southern states, of human slavery. However, these causes weren’t a full or primary cause of this war. If the Confederacy were successful in their efforts the Union, as being the United States would no longer be able to avail the benefits from those southern states with their productions, especially of cotton textiles and bountiful food crops without paying tariffs to a separate nation.

The American Civil War was started in 1861 and it ended in 1865. The Confederacy of the southern states prepared itself for war starting on February 4, 1861. It consisted of eleven states who aimed to secede from the Union and establish itself as a separate and independent country.

The war’s first battle was on April 1, 1861 at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. But it wasn’t until January 31, 1865, that the United States Congress abolished slavery by passing the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution.

On May 10, 1865 President Andrew Johnson officially ended the American Civil War after the surrender was declared at Appomattox, Virginia.

Thousands of lives were lost and many had been badly wounded and would suffer until their eventful death relieved their pains.

Estimates are that at least 110,070 were killed in battles or later  died from the wounds inflicted in battles, and another 199,790 or so from diseases that were attributed in some way due to that war.

However, these reported testaments of compassionate acts by the Freemasons show a brighter side of those four years of strife and the unusual ways of war; often fathers and sons fighting on opposite sides as were blood and fraternal brothers and friends was far too common. This allowed the “Light of Masonry” to shine brightly even during those troubling times.

During that Civil War, approximately 410.000 soldiers were interned in prison camps and it has been estimated that about 56,000 of them were Freemasons. There are recorded stories that indicate how these Masons were true to their Masonic obligations and to our Masonic teachings, even while performing their duties as military fighting men.  When they were confronted with a wounded and distressed brother, they did all they could to provide comfort and compassionate assistance. I’ll here cover just a few examples of those reports that demonstrate the kindness and concerns shown for their Masonic Brethren, in some cases for others without regard for which side they were fighting. The Masonic sign of distress was witnessed and responded to quite frequently during those troubling times.

Lt. Col. Homer Sprague, an 13th Connecticut Volunteer was taken prisoner. During a long march to the prison, Sprague became so exhausted that he collapsed into a ditch. A Confederate Officer allowed him to ride in the ambulance for the remainder of the journey. With some difficulty, he was able to climb into the vehicle. He there learned that the driver was also a Brother Mason.

This Brother said to Sprague,

As a Mason I will feed you to the very last crumbs of my food, but as a soldier I will fight you till the last drop of my blood.

Sprague replied,

I hardly know which to admire most, your generosity as a Mason or your spunk as a soldier.

Hunter McGuire

Hunter McGuire

In 1863 Hunter McGuire, a physician and commissioned officer in the Union Army, resigned his commission and enlisted in the Confederate Army as a Private. This was because while still serving within the Union Army and while trying to evade capture by Confederate forces, he tried to jump his horse over a fence. Both he and the horse went down and were captured. He gave the Masonic sign of distress. A Confederate officer recognized the sign and ordered a temporary cease fire while he and his horse were cared for. This event convinced him to resign his commission in the Union Army.

There was many times in which the Masons demonstrated compassion for the suffering of their Brother Masons. Union soldier John Copley with the 49th Infantry was captured by the Confederate troops and confined in a military prison camp. It was soon after his capture, that all of the Masons in the camp were gathered up and moved together into a separate barrack where, thanks to the Masons of the local area, they also had somewhat of a plentiful and better diet than did the other prisoners.

Being known as “The White Apron Men” as the Freemasons were often referred to in those days, were known to remain true to their Promises, they were allowed the liberty of roaming about the camp based solely on their word to not attempt escape. On one occasion a Mason was approached by a non-Mason who stated that he and his friend were very hungry, not having eaten in three days.

Without comment, he walked on, but in the afternoon he again spotted the man, and without saying a word to him, dropped a package at his feet. When the man opened it, he saw food and drink, plentiful enough for both he and his friend to nourish them.

After the war, one of those men wrote,

I was not a Mason during the war, but what I observed of the compassionate ways of the Masons, I was induced to join this beneficent order, and I was made a Mason in 1866.  I vowed to pattern my conduct by what I had there observed, especially of how they truly cared for each other.  Those Masons were treated with respect, and they were trusted based on their integrity of character.

He went on to say that it was just as well that he had not been a Mason at that time. Not being bound to such a promise, he was able to escape and made his way to safety.

These 3 stories are from the Heredom Series of books produced by the Scottish Rite Research Society.

officers in the civil warIn my web searches and from my private library, I also found several interesting accounts of Masonic compassion being demonstrated during that War.  One story was of an Alabama Artillery group, who were resting from a hard fought battle during the day prior that had lasted into to the late night hours, several being killed or wounded. After traveling to a field on the edge of a thicket of trees, they having assumed it to be a fairly safe place to rest and refresh them selves for the next battle.

The surviving men were exhausted and some fell into a deep sleep, while others engaged themselves in conversations, some inspecting their weapons and ammunition supplies, while yet others were attending the wounded.

A Corporal lay back against the trunk of an old pine tree, watching a flock of birds overhead while contemplating his thoughts of how he would prefer death, rather than being incarcerated in a Yankee prison camp, and at the same time admiring the Navy Colt pistol he had taken from the dead body of a Union Captain during the last battle.

He caught a glimpse of a reflection among the trees that he believed might a weapon.  Now being of the highest rank, since the Commissioned Officer had been killed in the last battle, he called out to the men, “To your guns boys, git ready.”

He silently prayed;

Thou Oh God, know our down sittings and our uprisings, and understand our thoughts from afar off, shield and defend us from the evil intent of our enemies.

He grimaced in pain as he arose from the scaly bark of that old pine tree. He had been wounded twice in previous battles, the first time by a painful flesh wound to a leg, and the other by a piece of shrapnel from an exploded shell that hit him in the chest, knocking from his feet. When he finally looked at the wound he saw a jagged gash extending from the nipple to the collar bone.

He refused a hospital stay, choosing to remain with his comrades and within his duties as a soldier.

The Corporal again patted the Colt pistol in his waist band with assurance that he would do better with it, rather than with a heavy rifle. As he arose he looked with pride at the Masonic ring his father, now his Masonic Brother, had presented to him when he was made a Master Mason.  He again called out to the troops, “Prepare for battle.”

He was suddenly confronted by a Yankee Lieutenant who from the tree line had noted what he perceived to be, a much weakened condition of the Corporal, and was apparently intent on capturing him alive if possible.  They were now bound together in a death grip, both men showing unbelievable strength.

There’s probably no greater human horror than to be locked together with a person whom you know will kill you, if you don’t kill him first. “To kill or be killed” was a simple and familiar saying; but to actually be in that situation gave it much more meaning.

He was struggling to get to the Colt pistol, but being so tightly bound body to body, it was impossible.  He somehow garnered a moment of extra strength, and as he pushed on the Lieutenant’s chest, he caught sight of a Masonic emblem, and without hesitation he muttered sounds into the ear of what he now believed to be a brother Mason. On the Lieutenant’s hearing the sounds, the death grip quickly became a brotherly embrace, both men now with tears in their eyes, for what could have resulted had not the discovery been made.

Another interesting story was of two opposing Generals, John Gordon of the Confederate Army and Francis Barlow of the Union Army.  During a raging battle, General Gordon was crossing the bloodied field of battle, where he came upon General Barlow who had just received what was assumed to be a mortal wound.  Even though the fierce battle was continuing all around them, Gordon took the time to show compassion for a fallen brother.  He gave Barlow a drink of water and inquired as to what he might do for him.  Barlow asked him to write a letter to his wife, which he dictated the words of his supposed, impending death.

Upon receipt of the letter his Lady traveled to retrieve his remains, but by then he had received medical care and was recovering to fight again. Several years later these two men met in Washington, D.C., both having assumed that the other had died during the war.

They enjoyed Masonic fellowship, sharing brotherly love and affection while remembering their many experiences. Their close friendship and brotherly love continued until death.

The practice of brotherly love, friendship and morality were also demonstrated in lesser famous military actions.  In 1863, gun boats including the Albatross, were shelling a small Military port near Mandeville, Louisiana. The Captain of the Albatross was J. E. Hart who had been made a Mason in a Lodge in New York. This Brother had been suffering with pain, fever and delirium for several days, and during that ongoing battle, to ease his misery, he shot himself in the head, taking his own life.

A friend and Masonic Brother assumed command, and with much grief for the loss, he under a flag of truce, went onto land among those troops they had just been shelling, to inquire of any Masons among the troops and in the town.  He asked them to assist him in the performing of Masonic Last Rites for a fallen brother.  And whether it would have been considered proper or not, they gave him a most impressive Masonic Funeral.  His remains were ceremoniously interned to their long home.

The Masons of the area placed a marker at the head of the grave, with the Masonic Square and Compasses most prominent, in honor of this departed Brother.

There are many reasons why freemasonry, more than any other fraternal organizations, has survived and thrived throughout the ages.  Our tenants and devotions to them have made this possible.  Our rules and customs have encourages us to show kindness and compassion for others, without expectations of anything in return.

The mental structure of which our Ancient and Honorable Craft is constructed, transcends all that would most likely cause a division among non-Masons.

We must live by our Masonic teachings and our values while looking to the inner goodness of a man, rather that that of the outer appearances, or any other distinctions. We must show love and compassion, assist the needy, lift up the downtrodden and spread Masonic love toward all of God’s people, without regards for ones religious faith, political leanings or any other personal differences that are of no business of our Fraternity, then we will have become the Masons we so desire to be.

These acts of brotherly love and compassion as mentioned herein, are just a few examples of how we Freemasons have demonstrated our devotions to the teachings of our Symbolic Craft, in wars as well as in times of peace.

May we, by use of the symbolism of the Masonic trowel, continue the spreading of that cement which units us into one common band of brothers and fellows, and may it some day become common among all good people throughout the world.  Let the love and caring we share as Masonic Brothers never cease; and may it always be most predominate.  May every moral and social virtue continue to bind us as a Masonic Fraternity of  friends and brothers, with a spirit of charity imbedded in our hearts, much so as it was so well demonstrated by our Masonic Brothers, during that Civil War.

May love and compassion continue be observed by we Masons for the world to see, and hopefully it will someday be emulated by all of mankind around the world.  And may these practices of love among mankind forever be observed.

Amen and so mote it be.

This piece comes to us from Brother W. B. Paul Weathers from Arizona. Br. Weathers was initiated, past and raised in the now defunct William Whiting Lodge in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He has been a member of Oasis Lodge #52 in Tucson, AZ for many years and is affiliated with the Grand Lodge of China (Valley of Taipei, Orient of Taiwan) under the Scottish Rite. He is a two term Past Master, Cryptic Mason/York Rite, member of the Scottish Rite Research Society, Eastern Star, Sabbar Shrine, High Twelve and the Sojourners. Active with the Grand Lodge of Arizona, Br. Weathers also manages a chest of medical assist devices for the elderly and needy and organizes a quarterly outing for Masonic widows and elderly couples.


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Dating the Foundation of English Masonry

Here is the second in a series from writer/researcher Hank Kraychir from his website Gnosis Masonry.


I think some may have missed the most important point in the first article , namely that today’s Freemasonry did not grow out of ancient stone guild operative Lodges that gradually became speculative but rather from aristocratic speculative Lodges that were brought to Britain by the Romans and existed long before the Stone Mason Guilds.

Kraychir makes that point here in article number two.

Dating the Foundation of English Masonry to 557 AD

 Posted by Hank Kraychir

I recently stumbled upon a book called, Illustrations of Masonry (originally published in 1772– p. 8), which was written by William Preston, with copious notes and additions added by George Oliver. I used the 1867 version of the book for this research; although, the information contained within is the basically same.

In essence, Preston and Oliver gave a detailed background of Masonry in England, from Druid and Roman influences to its transformation into a popular fraternity without direct political influence. You see, for much of British history, Masonry fell under the direct influence of a King (or Queen), which will be explained further down in this blog.

On page 105 Preston wrote about the departure of the Romans. and confirmed Masonry’s presence during the period, “After the departure of the Romans from Britain, Masonry made but a slow progress, and was almost totally neglected, on account of the irruptions of the Picts and Scots, which obliged the southern inhabitants of the island to solicit the assistance of the Saxons, on order to repel these invaders.”

In short, Preston wrote the Roman Empire was forced out by the Picts, Scots and Saxons about 407 AD. Thus a war took place, which hurt, but did not destroy, Masonry in England. You see, Masonry was in Britain while Rome ruled it, which would lead me to believe they brought it with them. We also know that Masonry (Mithraism, Collegia) was very popular within the ranks of the Roman Military. And the Druids were early Masons as well; although they battled Rome for years and were eventually defeated by them before their departure in 407. Thus, it makes more sense that Roman Masonry was the primary form in England during the 4th and 5th centuries AD.

Preston continued, “Masonry got into repute, and Lodges were again formed” (p. 105). Therefore, there were Lodges before and after the 407 AD departure of the Romans. He continued, “but these, being under the direction of foreigners, were seldom convened, and never attained to any degree of consideration or importance” (p. 105). So again, Masonic Lodges existed, but they were under the rule of foreigners, perhaps the Saxons from Germany, so most native Britain’s did not want to participate.

Now this is where the story gets most interesting, Preston wrote in the following paragraph, “Masonry continued in a declining state till the year 557, when Austin, with forty more monks, among whom the sciences had been preserved, came into England… Masonry flourished under the patronage of Austin…” who was the “first Archbishop of Canterbury” (p. 105). Thus, St. Austin, a religious leader, became the patriarch or father of English Masonry. You see, although Masonry existed in England before 557, it was not fully accepted until Archbishop Austin took over its control. This, according to Preston, was the start of a long line of either religious or Royal control of the Craft in England; it would not be until the 18th century before Masonry in England became independent. This statement is also confirmation that religion played an important part of the formation and establishment of English Masonry; and dismisses the idea that early English Masons were simply a bunch of stone workers. This important point was made by Preston on page 7, “Masonry passes under two denominations,-operative and speculative,” which confirmed Masonry during the period was both operative and speculative in nature. Unlike today, which is speculative only.

On page 106, we also read about Bennet, Abbot of Wirral in 680 AD, who would eventually become inspector of Lodges and superintendent of all Masons in England; an appointed position by the King.  Masonry again stayed in a low state until about 924 AD when King Edward died, and Athelstane, his son, became King. Athelstane “appointed his brother Edwin patron of the Masons” in England (p. 107).

This resulted in the “first Grand Lodge of England” being established in 926 (p. 107); an issue I have discussed previously. These facts still support the previous statement that Masonry remained under the control of the King, this time through his brother Edwin. And yet still Royal control of the Craft remained through the 17th century, which led to its limited participation by the British population and the common man. But everything changed by the 18th century (1717).

I know there will be critics who will attack the authors as stating unsubstantiated facts; I would expect nothing less from deniers of ancient Masonic history. Nevertheless, authors William Preston and George Oliver’s credentials are of the highest Masonic order, and their written works reflect this important fact. Also, Preston was a member of the Grand Lodge of England during the period of publication, which helped his research greatly. I would also remind Masonry that much of what we teach in our Lodges cannot be substantiated, and has been passed down through Masonic traditions; like the building of King Solomon’s Temple and even the Holy Bible that sits in the middle of our Lodge rooms – where are the references for these one might ask as well (*Smile*)!  You see, it is far easier to be a denier of Masonic history than it is to prove it; that is why we have so many Masonic deniers of our own history.  These deniers throw their denials around with no other proof than claiming something is false – I must ask, where is their proof when they make their claims of denial? Get my point.     

In conclusion, it becomes even clearer that English Masonry can be dated to 557 AD, and even before under Roman control through Mithraism or Collegia  It also looked like English Masonry was controlled by political authorities for much of its history, which hindered its growth and acceptance; but once it become an independent body (after 1717), it truly thrived and followed the British Empire around the globe, as its power and influence also grew. I know this conclusion is a simplistic interpretation of the book, but I don’t see any other way to get my points across in such short order. If you don’t believe me, read the book, Illustrations of Masonry, yourself, which will prove my points conclusively.

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir

Dissecting The 1723 Constitutions Of Freemasons; Dispelling Revisionist Myths


I have come across one of the most thought provoking articles in a long time. It’s not the same old hash but from a fellow Masonic writer Hank Kraychir who is a top rate Masonic researcher. His website, GnosisMasonry, has many wonderful and thoughtful articles on it. But this one strikes a cord that is so important to us all – OUR HISTORY.


So with permission from Brother Kraychir here is his wonderful article:

Dissecting The 1723 Constitutions Of Free-Masons; Dispelling Revisionist Myths.

A note from the author:

Please take your time reading and understanding this important article. I do not make my claims lightly, and I hope this article will lead others into researching this important topic further. I personally believe a hoax has occurred upon Freemasonry by revisionist pundits. I think it might have started out innocently enough, but it has gone on so long now that the 1717-1723 narrative claim has become fact within the minds of many within Freemasonry. In short, the document they claim proves the 1717 narrative does not support their positions. This article tells a different story than the one most Masons unjustifiably believe. To date, I believe this is the most important discovery I have made in my personal journey and research about Masonic history. I hope you enjoy reading this article, as much as I enjoyed researching and writing it ~/G|~

I have heard it time and time again that Freemasonry began with the formation of the first Grand Lodge of England in 1717; and the adoption of its Constitution in 1723. This is an all too easy statement to make, but it’s not a supportable narrative when honestly investigated. When Freemasonry actually began will perhaps always be debated, but let’s not create false narratives in order to satisfy immediately wanted answers; like the 1717-1723 narrative.

Pundits of the 1717-1723 narrative often refer to the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons as the document that proves their theory. And to be honest, since I was not familiar with the document, and had to rely on other writings and opinions, I had no response to the claim. That was until I was given an opportunity to buy a copy from Brother Michael Doxsee, who also sells other out-of-print Masonic books for those who might be interested in such things.

I took several weeks to read the book, and wrote notes along the way. The most obvious clue was found on the cover, which had two dates, “In the Year of Masonry-5723″ and “Anno Domini-1723,” (Anno Domini stands for A.D.). You see, as I will prove with words from the document, the authors of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons held the position that they were upholding the ancient traditions passed down to them through Masonic history, its documents and traditions. The dates listed above prove they believed they held a lineage of some four thousand years. Now, I am not here to debate the validity of such a claim; rather, I hold the position that they only intended to continue with the traditions of the craft from the time period.


Also, notice how I used the word “they” above; rather than the commonly understood author’s name of James Anderson. I did this for a reason. Yes, on page 74, the name of James Anderson was written, with a note underneath that appears to read (my copy is a little blurry), “The author of this Book.” Nevertheless, after reading the publication, it became evident that Anderson was essentially the compiler of the work, not its sole author, as so many pundits have proclaimed. This belief is confirmed by David Stevenson, who wrote, “There was a good deal in it that was new in detail, but Anderson’s work of compilation did not involve any major innovation or attempt to take Freemasonry in fresh directions” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 121).

To further make my point, please consider the header page, which reads, “Printed by William Hunter, for John Senex at the Globe, and John Hooke at the Flower-deluce over against St. Dunstan’s Church, in fifth street.” So I beg the question, if John Hunter was the printer, who were John Senex and John Hooke in relationship to this book; and why do their names appear on the cover page and not James Anderson, who was mentioned way back on page 74, along with 60 other named individuals? These 61 names, including Anderson, are from the section entitled “Approbation.” The names listed, I assume, are in order of Masonic importance, only because they are not in alphabetical order, as one might presume. The word Approbation can be defined as, “an act of approving formally or officially.” Therefore, this was the final approval committee, which included Anderson.

Most interestingly, Anderson’s name was listed near the end of the page with the Roman Numeral XVII (17th out of 20 subsections that were listed) next to it. This ranking could lead to several speculations, of which that Anderson was simply a compiler, and performed some writings tasks, but was beholding to the views of other Masons; unlike his 1738 second edition, where he was much more involved, which would account for the major differences between the two Constitutions. This belief is confirmed by andThe Builder (1923):

“His own account of the work, as given in 1738, is that he was ordered to digest the Old Gothic Constitutions in a new and better method by Montagu on 29th September, 1721, that on 27th December, Montagu appointed fourteen learned brothers to examine the MS., and that after they had approved it was ordered to be printed…”

Therefore, we can presume that at least 60 other Masons approved this document and had a hand in its formation. And more specifically, the committee of fourteen had an even greater hand in its development, “…they are part of the committee of fourteen’s revision of the text…” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 117-118).

Interestingly, unlike today, where some reviewers of the document argue it is nothing but unsubstantiated historical errors, the biggest claim after its publication was that it did not go far enough; that the history section had been watered down from the origins of true Masonic history, “A masonic reviewer took exception to parts of the History… tended to rebuke him for not making even larger historical claims for Masonry” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 120-121).

After the header, a dedication section followed, which dedicated the book to the Right Worshipful Grand-Master, the Duke of Montagu, who served the previous year. The importance of the section, written by Deputy Grand-Master J.T. Desaguliers (not Anderson), was that great pains had been taken to make sure the document aligned with old Records, History and Chronology:

“I need not tell your GRACE what Pains our learned AUTHOR has taken in compiling and digesting this Book from the old Records, and how accurately he has compar’d and made every thing agreeable to History and Chronology so as to render these New CONSTITUTIONS a just and exact Account of Masonry from the Beginning of the World to your Grace’s MASTERSHIP still preserving all that was truly ancient and authentic in the old ones.”

Following the Dedication sectional, “The Constitution” section was displayed, which essentially started the History of Freemasonry; portions of which were presumably compiled and written by Anderson, and edited and approved by the committee of fourteen. On the very first page, it was written, “Collected from their general RECORDS, and their faithful TRADITIONS of many ages” (p. 1). Notice the two words RECORDS and TRADITIONS were capitalized; so what exactly were these early 18th century Masons trying to tell the brethren? Simply stated, that they painstakingly gathered the old Records and combined them with their ancient traditions when they formed the historical section of the Constitutions. Again, I must stress, as I will stress throughout the writing of this article, they did not believe they were forming anything new; rather, they believed they were upholding ancient traditions.

Furthermore, how important was this history to these early Masons? Well, lets take a look at what they had to say on the matter, “At the admission of a NEW BROTHER, when the Master or Warden shall begin, or order some other Brother to read as follows…” (p. 1). Therefore, every new Mason was read this particular history. Again, I know some Masons have written negatively about this historical section; however, I must remind every Mason reading this post, our Masonic history should not always be taken literally, which sadly some pundits of the 1723 Constitutions had sorely forgotten or neglected on purpose? Case in point, if a Mason still thinks the story of Hiram Abiff is an accurate tale than he or she has never been instructed in the use of Masonic allegory; or as Albert Pike wrote about Hiram Abiff:

“Whatever Hiram really was, he is the type, perhaps an imaginary type, to us, of humanity in its highest phase; an exemplar of what man may and should become, in the course of ages, in his progress toward the realization of his destiny; an individual gifted with a glorious intellect, a noble soul, a fine organization, and a perfectly balanced moral being; an earnest of what humanity may be, and what we believe it will hereafter be in God’s good time; the possibility of the race made real” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 225).

As such, much of Masonic history is allegorical lessons based on historical events and people, which means these lessons have a deeper meaning, as Pike confirmed when he wrote about the ancient belief of using allegory to teach the mysteries:

“Nothing excites men’s curiosity so much as Mystery, concealing things which they desire to know: and nothing so much increases curiosity as obstacles that interpose to prevent them from indulging in the gratification of their desires… In this spirit of mystery they professed to imitate the Deity, who hides Himself from our senses, and conceals from us the springs by which He moves the Universe. They admitted that they concealed the highest truths under the veil of allegory, the more to excite the curiosity of men, and to urge them to investigation. The secrecy in which they buried their Mysteries, had that end. Those to whom they were confided, bound themselves, by the most fearful oaths, never to reveal them. They were not allowed even to speak of these important secrets with any others than the initiated; and the penalty of death was pronounced against any one indiscreet enough to reveal them, or found in the Temple without being an Initiate; and any one who had betrayed those secrets, was avoided by all, as excommunicated” (Albert Pike, Morals and Dogma, 1871, p. 384).

So when it was written, “No doubt Adam taught his Sons Geometry, and the use of it, in the several Arts and Crafts convenient, at least, for those early Times…” (p. 2), what did this mean? The story of Adam and Eve is nothing but a metaphor for men and women in the beginning of creation by God. Yet, some have gone out of their way to claim Anderson and the committee of fourteen did not know what they were writing about when they began the history of Masonry with Adam. REALLY? David Stevenson surmised the issue of starting the document with Adam, when he wrote:

“Thus, whatever faults later generations have found, the book satisfied those who had commissioned it. Over half of it, the History, describes the Craft’s ancient and exalted past. Taken as history as judged by modern scholarly standards, Anderson’s account is clearly absurd, but in some respects the abuse heaped on it, and therefore on Anderson himself, is unjustified. There is little point in raging against him for starting withAdam and then wending his way through the Old Testament, for in his time that was the conventional mainstream of the past, not a bizarre aberration. Moreover beginning the story of Masonry with Adam was to be expected. Everything started with the Creation, so a history naturally started there. To do otherwise would have been unsatisfactory, a starting in the middle of a subject. Masonry should be traced back to Adam, just as dynastic history traced royal families and national histories their origins to Adam” (Stevenson, David, James Anderson: Man and Mason, p. 110-111).

I will not go into the details from this particular section, but I will state that Anderson and the committee of fourteen gave a basic understanding of Masonry from a biblical perspective, which included Adam, Noah, Moses, etc; and added to it by mentioning Mitzraim and the Magi (p. 5). There was also an emphasis on King Solomon and the building of his Temple,  which would be expected.

Nevertheless, what I found most interesting was discovered on pages 11 and 12; which was the fact that the name Hiram was written, “But above all, he sent his namesake Hiram, or Huram, the most accomplish’d Mason on Earth*.” I mentioned this particular point, only because some have stated that the Legend of Hiram Abiif did not start until after 1717, or after the 1723 Constitution was written; again, to which I had no answer until reading the document itself. Well, one only had to follow the footnotes at the bottom of the pages to see that Anderson and the committee of fourteen were writing about both Hiram, the King of Tyre, and Hiram Abiff, which, by the way, tells an entirely different account than the one I was taught in Blue Lodge Masonry:

“*We read (2 Chron. ii. 13.) Hiram, King of Tyre, (called there Huram) in his letter to King SOLOMON, Says, I have sent a cunning Man, le Huram Abhi, not to be translated according to the vulgar Greek and Latin, Huram my Father, as if this Architect was King HIRAM”S father; for his discrition, ver. 14. refutes it, and the Original plainly imports, Huram of my Father’s, viz. the Chief Master-Mason of my father, King ABIBALUS; (who enlarg’d and beautify’d the City of Tyre, as ancient Histories inform us, whereby the Tyrians at this time were most expert in Masonry) tho’ some think HIRAM the king might call Hiram the Architect Father, as learned and skillful Men were wont to be call’d of the old Times, or as Joseph was call’d the Father of PHARAOH; and as the same Hiram is called Solomon’s FATHER, (2 Chron. iv. 16.) where tis said

Shelomoh lammelech Abhif Churam ghnafah,

Did Huram, his Father, make a King Solomon.

But the Difficulty is over at once, by allowing the Word Abif to be the Surname of Hiram the Mason, called also (Chap. ii. 13.) Hiram Abi, as here Hiram Abif; for being so amply describ’d, (Chap. ii. 14.) we may easily support his Surname would not be conceal’d: And this Reading makes the sense plain and compleat, viz. that HIRAM, King of Tyre, sent to King Solomon his Namesake HIRAM ABIF, the Prince of Architects,describ’d (1 Kings vii. 14.) to be a Widow’s Son of the Tribe of Naphtbali;and in (Chron: ii. 14.) the said King of Tyre calls him the Son of a Woman of the Daughters of Dan; and in both places, that his Father was a man ofTyre: which Difficulty is remov’d by supporting his Mother was either of the Tribe of Dan, or of the Daughters of the City called Dan in the Tribe ofNaphthali, and his deceased Father had been Naphthalite, whence his mother was call’d a Widow of Naphthali; for his father is not call’d aTyrian by Descent, but a Man of Tyre by Habitation; or Obed Edom the Levite is call’d a Gittite by living among the Gittites, and the Apostle Paula Man of Tarsus. But supporting a Mistake in Transcribers, and that his Father was really a Tyrian by Blood, and his Mother only of the Tribe either of Dan or of Naphthali, that can be no Bar against allowing of his vast Capacity; for as his father was a Worker in Brass, so be himself wasfill’d with Wisdom and Understanding, and Cunning to work all works of Brass: And as King SOLOMON sent for him, so King HIRAM, in his letter to Solomon, says, And now I have sent a cunning Man endued with Understanding, skillful to work in Gold, Silver, Brass, Iron, Stone, Timber, Purple, Blue, fine Linnen and Crimson; also to grave any manner of Graving, and to find out every Device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning Men, and with the cunning Men of my Lord David thy Father. This divinely inspired Workmen maintain’d this Character in erecting the Temple, and working the Utensils thereof, far beyond the Performances of Aholiab and Bezaleel, being Also universally capable of all sorts of Masonry.”

So what can be learned by reading the above footnote? Well first off, there were a few spelling mistakes, which Masonic historians continually gripe about. My response is, “get over it!” As I have stated before in other writings on this blog, history is replete with examples of spelling errors, many of which had nothing to do with the author, but rather the printer of the publication. Printing a document was far more difficult to perform some 300 years ago than it is today; and any comparisons between the two are simply disingenuous, and not worthy of a Mason seeking a high moral character. Furthermore, many Masons have incorrectly claimed that the legend of Hiram Abiff did not occur prior to the modern era; however, after reading the above footnote, which covered almost two pages within the 1723 Constitutions, it is obvious Anderson and the committee of fourteen felt differently. Sadly, no degree ritual was included in the Constitutions, which would aid us greatly today in understanding this important legend. Nevertheless, it is obvious the writers of this document understood its importance and included, at length, the history of the legend and its importance to Masonry during this period. Also, their version of Hiram Abiff had several twists and turns of which I was not familiar with, some of which left me puzzled. Like, what was the actual relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff; especially when they used of the words “namesake” and “Prince,” which would lead me to believe Hiram Abiff was of Royal Blood and a member of King Hiram’s family? I will not delve into this query any further, other than to say, the above footnote left more questions than answers.

It should also be mentioned that the historical section included countless references, which I considered unusual for the time period. I have read many Masonic documents and books that had been written over the last two to three hundred years; most of which included either no referencing material, or very few at all. This point should be greatly considered when discussing the validity of the document and the true intent of its authors. Here is a general list of references, with some notes included, particularly its length:

Page 1: One side date reference.

Page 2: One bottom reference, three lines long; referencing metal working of Tubal Cain, music of Jubal, etc.

Page 3: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, eight lines long. It made references to the Vestiges of Antiquity, Enoch, Vespasian the Emperor, etc.

Page 4: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, six lines long. It referenced Nimrod, Moses, Bacchus, etc.

Page 5: One side date reference.

Page 6: One bottom reference, seven lines long. References to the Quarries of Arabia, and the building of ancient Egyptian monuments to honor the Empire.

Page 7: Two side date references.

Page 8: One side date reference.

Page 9: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, six lines long. It referenced Sampson, the Philistines, Secrets to his wife, honour (honor) among Masons, etc.

Page 10: One bottom reference, fourteen lines long, or about a third of the page. Referenced King Solomon, number of workers building the Temple, Hiram, etc.

Page 11: One bottom reference, twenty-six lines long, or 80% of the page. referenced the relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff.

Page 12: One bottom reference, twenty-one lines long, or about 60% of the page. This reference was a continuation of the relationship between King Hiram and Hiram Abiff.

Page 13: One side date reference.

Page 15: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or about 50% of the page. Referenced the Temple of Diana, Dresiphon and Archiphrom, and other Temples in Greece, etc.

Page 16: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced the architecture of Grand Monarch Nebuchadnezzar, his gardens, palaces, etc.

Page 17: One bottom reference, twenty-three lines long, or 70% of the page. This is a continuation of page 16 reference, with additions on the tower of Babel, etc.

Page 18: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, twenty-two lines long, or 75% of the page. This is yet another continuation of pages 16 and 17, with additions of Solomon’s Temple, Great Babylon, Grand Cyrus in Persia, etc.

Page 19: One side date reference.

Page 20: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seven lines long. Referenced the Grecians and their barbarism.

Page 21: Three side date references; and one bottom reference, ten lines long. Referenced Pythagoras traveling into Egypt, the Magi, Cambyles~King of Persia, etc.

Page 22: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, nine lines long. Referenced Anaxagoras, Oenopides, Beiso and many others.

Page 23: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, fourteen lines long, or 45% of the page. Referenced Alexandria, Julius Caesar, Siege of Troy, etc.

Page 24: Two side date references: and one bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced Eratosthenes, Conon, Apollonius, etc.

Page 26: One bottom reference, eighteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Phidias, Nemefis, Minerva at Athens, etc.

Page 27: One bottom reference, eight lines long. Referenced Menelaus, Claudius, Ptolomeus, etc.

Page 28: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, eleven lines long, or 40% of the page. Referenced Roman Colonies, Citadels, Bridges, Art, etc.

Page 29: One bottom reference, fifteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Saxon and Scottish Kings, and Grand Masters of earlier Lodges, Laws, Charges, Regulations, etc.

Page 30: Three side date references. Also, it was claimed that King Athelstan was “…prevail’d…  to improve the CONSTITUTION of the English Lodges.”

Page 31: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, six lines long. Referenced William the Conqueror, Roger de Montgomery, Nobility and Clergy, etc.

Page 32: One side date reference.

Page 34: One bottom reference, twenty-two lines long, or 70% of the page. Referenced ancient manuscripts, Lodges and Masonry, etc.

Page 35: One bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced “Tertio Henrici Sexti, Cap. 1. An. Dom. 1425.”

Page 36: One bottom reference, sixteen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced the battle between the clergy and the ancient brethren of Masonry.

Page 38: Two side date references; and one bottom reference, ten lines long. Referenced Queen Elizabeth and her jealousies with Masonry.

Page 40: One side date reference; and one bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 50% of the page. Referenced Henricus Comes Danby, 1632.

Page 41: One bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced an ancient Royal Palace, Judges, etc.

Page 42: One bottom reference, thirty-four lines long, or 85% of the page. Referenced King Charles the II. Mr. Grinlin Gibbons, etc.

Page 43: One bottom reference, nineteen lines long, or 60% of the page. Referenced Archbishop Sheldon, Sir Christopher Wren, King Henry VII, etc.

Page 44: One bottom reference, five lines long. Referenced the Bishop of Salisbury, three knocks, etc.

Page 45: One bottom reference, seventeen lines long, or 60% of the page. This reference is a continuation of the earlier page.

Page 46: One bottom reference, twenty-even lines long, or 70% of the page. Referenced Roman influence on Great Britain, Inigo Jones, Sir Charles Hotham, etc.

Page 47: One bottom reference, twenty-one lines long, or 45% of the page. This reference is a continuation from the previous page.

Page 48: One bottom reference, twenty-three lines long or 70% of the page. This reference is a continuation from the two previous pages.

So what can be learned from this basic reference overview of the historical section? Well, first off, it’s obvious the authors took much more care in presenting their case than pundits of the book led me to believe. Again, I am not here to prove or disprove the accuracy of the historical claim; nevertheless, I now believe that Anderson and the committee of fourteen, as well as the 60 other signers of the document, attempted to back up their claim, and used hundreds of references to prove it, which I believe was unusual for the period. In many cases, the authors used more than half a page to back up their claim; how these obvious references were missed by earlier writers is beyond me. In fact, almost every page included some type of reference.

I highlighted several references above that stood out. Like on pages 29 and 30, which mentioned the fact that there were earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations. Simply stated, how can pundits make the claim that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons proved that the first Grand Lodge was formed in 1717, when the document itself claimed there were other Grand Lodges; and how can these pundits also claim that this document formed the first Constitution when the document claimed there were other Constitutions, and that they simply compiled from other ancient Constitutions, Documents, Laws, Charges and Regulations. In your author’s mind, any claims made about the date 1717 and the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons being the “first” is nothing but revisionism; it is an out and outright lie by revisionists with an agenda to disprove Masonic lineage!

The references listed also help support Anderson and the committee of fourteen’s assertion that Masonry started with the first records of recorded history; and evolved and immersed itself into and through many great cultures from the past. Most notably the Egyptians, Israelites, Greeks and in particularly the Romans, who left their mark on British culture before their departure from the island. This history has been well documented by other authors, including Joseph Newton, the author of The Builders (1914), which is a topic I wrote about previously on this blog.

Of particular interest, here are a few quotes, with my comments following, which further make my point:

Page 29: “No doubt several Saxon and Scottish Kings, with many of the Nobility, great Gentry, and Eminant Clergy, become Grand Masters of those early Lodges… which would also prompt them to enquire after the Laws, Charges, Regulations, Customs, and Usages, of the ancient Lodges… “

Comment: Here is a quote from the referenced section that mentioned other Grand Masters and previous Laws, Charges, Regulations, etc.

Page 30: “particularly by Charles Martell King of France, who according to the Old Records of Masons sent over several expert Crafts-men and learned Architects into England…”

Comment: Here is a quote that mentioned Charles Martell from the 8th century. This is a topic that I have discussed previously on this blog. I find it most interesting that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons would make a note of this important historical figure.

Page 31: “for we read King EDWARD III. had an officer call’d the King’s Free-Masons…”

Comment: I have heard it time and time again that the term Freemason or Freemasonry began with the 1717 date and the writing of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; yet, the above quote proved the term was used much earlier. This again is proof of revisionism. The term itself may in fact have to do with a Mason being free to travel; and has nothing to do with the speculative overtones many pundits have proclaimed. Therefore, when someone tells you that there is a destination between the terms Masonry and Freemasonry based on the 1717-1723 dates, they are simply continuing and espousing a revisionist tale propagated to divide the Craft under a cover of lies.

Page 32: “yet King ATHELSTAN, (the Grandson of King ALFREDE the Great, a mighty Architect) the first anointed King of England… encourag’d many Masons from France… brought with them the Charges and Regulations of the Lodges preserved since the Roman times, who also prevail’d with the King to improve the CONSTITUTION of the English Lodges according to the Foreign model…”

Comment: And yet again, King Athelstan is a topic I have written about previously on this blog; however, also notice how the authors of the document mentioned that some Charges and Regulations came from France, and that other ones came from the time of the Roman empire. My question is, how would they know these were the same Charges and Regulations that came from Rome? They wouldn’t unless they had something to compare them with, like the ones in England. Also, notice the word CONSTITUTION was used with all capital letters! Do you think they were trying to say something? Like perhaps there was a previous Constitution. Yes!!! You see, according to Anderson and the committee of fourteen, the King only wanted to improve the Constitution, not create a new one.

Page 33: “and having brought with them all the writings and Records extant, some in Greek, some in Latin, some in French, and other languages, from the contents thereof that assembly did frame the CONSTITUTION and Charges of an English Lodge…”

Comment: Anderson and the committee of fourteen were writing about the period revolving around King Athelstan, who, according to the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, used records that were compiled from other languages, notably Greek, Latin and French, to form a better or new Constitution. You want proof of Masonic lineage, here it is. A new Constitution was formed in Britain during the reign of King Athelstan using documents from Greece, Rome (Latin) and France. That would mean earlier Constitutions, Charges, Regulations and Customs were easily traced back to Greece; and since Greek was the primary scholarly language prior to the rise of Rome (Latin), this maybe further anecdotal proof that Masonic lineage goes back to Egypt or before? Although it was not mentioned by the authors, they were probably referencing the Ancient Collegia system.”

Page 38: “King James VI of Scotland… being a Mason King, reviv’d the English Lodges…”

Comment: First off, how could or would a King be a common Mason? You see, he would never be a member of a Masons guild; however, in a system of Operative and Speculative Masonry, a King could easily be a Mason King, but not the other way around. Therefore, any claim that modern Masonry simply copied the ancient traditions of workman guilds, is another false claim made by revisionists. Throughout the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, Anderson and the committee of fourteen made no distinction about Masonry being nothing but an ancient science of both Operative and Speculative Masonry; just like our traditions teach us today.

This exercise could go on and on and on, but for the sake of time and space, I will simply conclude the historical section; and now proceed to the next section, “The Charges of a Free-Mason, Extracted from the Ancient Record of Lodges…,” which also holds several clues into the thinking of these early 18th century Freemasons.

Page 49: “The ancient Records of Lodges beyond Sea, and of those in England, Scotland, and Ireland, for the Use of the Lodges in London: TO BE READ At the Making of NEW BRETHREN, or when the MASTER shall order it.”

Comment: This quote is supported by an earlier quote on page 33, which dealt with the old Records from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece; and the Records from England, Scotland and Ireland, as well as the Records beyond the sea. Also, notice how it was a requirement to read these Charges to new brethren, just like in the historical section.

Page 50: “1. Concerning God and Religion… But thought in ancient Times Masons were charg’d in every Country to be of the Religion of that Country or Nation, whatever it was, yet tis now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that Religion in which all Men agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves…”

Comment: A big distinction can be made at this point. The authors readily admit that the old Charges required a Mason to be a member of the faith of the particular country he resided in; however, they declared that it was now thought more expedient to simply remain silent about religion when residing in a country. This maybe one of the more progressive changes made in the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; one in which they readily admitted to changing.

Page 50: “II. Of the CIVIL MAGISTRATE Supreme and Subordinate… A Mason is a peaceable Subject to the Civil Powers… for as Masonry hath been always injured by War, Bloodshed, and Confusion, so ancient Kings and  Princes have been much disposed to encourage the Craftsmen, because of their Peaceableness and Loyalty, whereby they practically answer’d the Cavils of their Adversaries, and promoted the Honour of the Fraternity…”

Comment: We see the authors mentioned the “ancient Kings and Princes” in reference to civil authority; and that Masonry had always been injured because of war, despite being loyal to civil authority. My thoughts immediately hypothesized this to mean the enemies of the state, who thought that Masons were loyal only to the state, would consider them to be their enemies as well. This uneasy relationship between warring parties maybe the link to the rise and fall of Masonry throughout the history of man.  Nevertheless, the most important point made is that the authors did not simply make this rule up; rather, they gathered it from the ancient records.

Page 51-52: “IV. Of MASTERS, WARDENS, Fellows, and Apprentices… These Rules and Governors, supreme and subordinate, of the ancient Lodge, are to be obey’d in their respective Stations by all the Brethren, according to the old Charges and Regulations…”

Comment: Again, we see the authors referring to the “ancient Lodge” and “old Charges and Regulations.” I have to say it again, Masons during this period were only adhering to the traditions from the old Charges ~ for the most part, they did not create new Charges, unless otherwise specified.

Page 57: “POSTSCRIPT. A worthy brother, learned in the law, has communicated to the Author (while this sheet was printing) the opinion of the great Judge Coke upon the act against Masons, 3 Hen. VI. Chap. 1. which is printed in this Book, page, 35, and which quotation the Author has compared with the original, Yiz:


The cause wherefore this offence was made felony, is for that the good course and effect of the statutes of laborers were thereby violated and broken. Now, (says my Lord Coke) all the statutes concerning laborers, before this act, and whereunto this act doth refer, are repealed by the statute of 5. Eliz. Cap. 4. whereby the cause and end of the making of this act, is taken away; and consequently this act is become of no force or effect: for cessante ratione Legis, cessat i’psa Lex: And the indictment of felony upon this statute must contain, that those Chapters and Congregations were to the violating and breaking of the good course and effect of the statutes of laborers; which now cannot be so alleged, because the statutes be repealed. Therefore, this would be put out of the charge of justices of peace, written by Master Lambert, p. 227.

This quotation confirms the tradition of old Masons, that this most learned Judge really belonged to the ancient Lodge, and was a faithful brother.”

Comment: The above post-scripted quote referred to the Sir Edward Coke ~ [Cook] ( 1 February 1552 – 3 September 1634) who they believed was a Free-Mason; and who also adhered to the traditions of old Masons and the ancient Lodge.

The General Regulations Constitution:

Page 58: “GENERAL REGULATIONS… And now, by the Command of our said Right Worshipful GRAND-MASTER MONTAGU, the Author of this book has compar’d them with, and reduc’d them to the ancient Records and immemorial Usages of the Fraternity, and digested them into this new method, with several proper Explications, for the Use of the Lodges in and about London and Westminster.”

Comment: Here we see Anderson and the committee of fourteen commenting on the General Regulations, not their History or their Charges, just the General regulations, which was a separate Constitution. This too dealt with the old Records, but they did take certain liberties with regard to a “new method” regarding General Regulations. I do hope the reader of this article can see the difference between each of these sections or Constitutions. No where in the history section or Constitution was this claim made.


Page 72: “Upon this the Deputy shall rehearse the Charges of a Master, and the GRAND-MASTER shall ask the candidate, saying, Do you submit to the Charges, as Masters have done in all ages?”

Comment: Take note of the highlighted section above, which referred to Masters in all ages; again I write, Masons during this period were only following the traditions from earlier periods.


Page 73: “APPROBATION… And WHEREAS the old Constitutions in England have been much interpolated, mangled and miserably corrupted, not only with false Spelling, but even with many false Facts and gross Errors in History and Chronology, through Length of Time, and Ignorance of Transcribers, in the dark illiterate Ages…”

Comment: Here we see the reason for the compilation of the new Constitutions, which was because the old Constitutions had become corrupted. I have heard the term new Constitutions used several times in the book; therefore, they referred to their work as a new Constitution not the “first” Constitutions, as many pundits of Masonic history have misapplied.

History of Masonry Songs:


Comment: For the sake of time and space, I combined the last music section into one segment. Needless to say, I could easily go on and on to make my point; but let me just write that the music within the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons only confirms what was written in earlier sections and by myself in this analysis. Which is, Anderson, the committee of fourteen and the other signers of this work felt deeply about maintaining the Masonic tradition of adhering to the old doctrine. In no way did they believe they were starting anything new, other than those issues explicitly written about; like in the General Regulations. These songs were written by a variety of Masons, which are listed above, including Anderson, who wrote “The Master’s Song.”


So what did I learn by dissecting the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons? Well, first and foremost, I learned that an improper revisionist agenda has been propagated against Masonry for decades, if not longer. When the 1717 fairy tale began is not certain? Yet, by dissecting the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, the document these revisionist pundits claim proved their point that Freemasonry began in 1717, I learned their allegation is unsupportable. Throughout the document, the authors repeatedly wrote that they were simply compiling a new Constitutions, which was based on old Constitutions, and old Records; some of which came from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece. It can be easily assumed that the authors of the 1717 Constitutions of Free-Masons took great care in researching their historical roots. And during the discovery process they discovered many historical errors, which they readily admitted to and did their best to correct. In no way did these men take their work lightly; rather, they understood the gravity of the task and sought out all available information to help create a new, not a “first,” beginning for Masonry in England.

I learned that James Anderson was not the exclusive author of the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; rather, he was simply the principle compiler of the document, who was accountable to a committee of fourteen other prominent Masons. And that the document was ultimately approved by at least 61 Masons total, including Anderson. Therefore, any abhorrent claims against Anderson must now be rethought. You see, pundits continually argue that Anderson, who by the way was a prominent minister, had an agenda of rewriting Masonic history and making money off of the book. Claims I believe have been falsely and disingenuously applied. In fact, it has never been proven that he personally benefited from his work regarding the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons, which took about fifteen years to sell out of all first printed copies before another printing was conducted in 1738. Needless to say, very little money could have been earned between these printing dates.

Furthermore, I learned that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons was an adulterated version of the old Constitutions and other related documents. In fact, the most profound claim against the book was made shortly after its initial publication, which claimed that it did not go far enough in supporting previously viewed Masonic history. This belief stands in stark contrast to contemporary claims that say the document is nothing but unsupportable falsehoods, which were made by the authors to glorify Masonry in England that had been previously struggling for recognition.

Moreover, I learned that the document used the age-old instruction of allegory, like when it applied the Biblical account of Adam to start Masonic history; a point pundits claim proved the inaccuracy of the document. To strike out against this claim simply shows a lack of knowledge regarding the use of Masonic allegory; like the story of Hiram Abiff, which is simply a metaphor for a variety of lessons.

I also learned that the story of Hiram Abiff was actually included in the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons; an issue pundits claim was not added to Masonry until about 1730 or so. Now, I will readily admit it was not included in the general writings; however, it was included in the detailed reference for Hiram on pages 11 and 12, which could have been easily found by simply reading the references on both pages.

The 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons also detailed countless references, which I believe was unusual for the period, and a topic pundits neglected to credit. In truth, nearly every page from the historical section showed a reference; and in many cases showed several references that often took up more than half a page. The sad fact is, pundits of the document either showed outright scholarly neglect, or an outward bias, by forgetting to follow these important references. In short, the historical section clearly proved that the committee of fourteen and the 61 signers, including Anderson, of the document attempted to back up their claim with unusual scholarly references for the time. By following these references, I discovered that earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations existed. This is important, for you see, pundits continually claim there is simply no proof of earlier Constitutions, Grand Masters, Lodges, Laws, Charges and Regulations. Really? That is not what the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons continually wrote about and referenced. Simply stated, how can pundits make the claim that the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons proved the first Grand Lodge began in 1717, when the document itself wrote that there were other Grand Lodges; and how can these pundits also claim that this document formed the first Constitution when the document claimed they simply compiled from another (other) Constitutions and other ancient Documents, Laws, Charges and Regulations. In your author’s mind, any claims made about the 1717 date and the 1723 Constitutions of Free-Masons being the “first” is nothing but revisionism. In actual fact, such claims are an out and outright lie by revisionists with an agenda at disproving Masonic lineage!

The document also supports the works of other Masonic writers, like Joseph Newton, the author of The Builders (1914), who I wrote about previously on this blog. It also made mention of Masonic legends like Charles Martell, King of France and King Athelstan, King of England, and their efforts at promoting Masonry. I have heard it time and time again, that there is simply no proof that these two men were affiliated with Masonry. Really? Well, we now have the supreme document from the period that say’s otherwise. And one of the biggest discoveries came from page 33, which demonstrated that King Athelstan used records that came from France, Rome (Latin) and Greece to rewrite the Masonic Constitution during his reign.

Needless to say, I could add to this discussion at length; however, I think I have written enough to make my point in this article. But let it be said here, if you don’t believe my research, please purchase the book yourself and do your own research. And if you do, you will find the same findings I did, which stand in stark contrast to many of the revisionist fairy tales that have been propagated against Freemasonry for decades, if not for at least a century now. Thank you for reading ~/G\~

So Mote It Be!!!

Hank Kraychir

Interview With Masonic Author Frederic Milliken, His Life And Times and Texas’ New Intervisitation

I recently had the pleasure to interview one of Phoenixmasonry’s own, Bro. Frederic Millken, Executive Director for the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library. Frederic is a prominent and hard working Masonic author. The reason for the interview, however, was the recent intervisitation between the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Grand Lodge of Texas. Frederic has a fascinating personal and Masonic history included here that I hope readers will find as interesting as I have.

Elena Llamas (EL): Frederic, first things first! Give us a bit of your personal background.

Frederic Milliken (Frederic): I was born and brought up in Lexington, Massachusetts the birthplace of the American Revolution. It was the battles of Lexington and Concord that started the Revolution. Lexington came first. Here Paul Revere rode into town hollering, “The British are coming,” the British are coming” (although he probably really said the Regulars or the Redcoats).

Buckman tavern in Lexington, Massachusetts. The Battle of Lexington and Concord took place on April 19, 1775 as, having received word that the regular army had left Boston in force to seize and destroy military supplies in Concord, several dozen militiamen gathered on the town common, and then eventually went to the Buckman tavern to await the arrival of the British troops. Following the arrival of the British army, a single shot was fired, by whom, we still do not know. With this shot, the American Revolutionary War began.
Buckman tavern in Lexington, Massachusetts.
The Battle of Lexington and Concord took place on April 19, 1775 as, having received word that the regular army had left Boston in force to seize and destroy military supplies in Concord, several dozen militiamen gathered on the town common, and then eventually went to the Buckman tavern to await the arrival of the British troops. Following the arrival of the British army, a single shot was fired, by whom, we still do not know. With this shot, the American Revolutionary War began.

When I was 5 years old my father died. My mother worked three jobs to support me and my two sisters. She had a day job, part time night job and a weekend job. On the weekend she manned the Buckman tavern where the Minute Men gathered in the wee hours of the morning of April 19,1775. The Buckman tavern was on the northeast corner of the Lexington Green in 1775 and that same building is still there today. On the northwest corner today stands Simon W. Robinson Lodge where I went to DeMolay and on the southwest corner stands the First Parish Church where my Mom was secretary, her day job.

On weekends at the Buckman Tavern my Mom’s job was to be a tourist guide and she would go through the story of Paul Revere riding into town and the subsequent battle with the British that took place on the Lexington Green for any who wanted to hear. I can remember as a young boy sitting on the stone step just outside the screen door listening to her tell that tale over and over again. That’s why it was such an honor for me later on in life to become Master of Paul Revere Lodge and to participate in a Colonial Degree Team.

Every Patriot’s Day (April 19th) Lexington held a recreation of Paul Revere’s ride and a reenactment of the Battle of Lexington. In the afternoon there was a huge two hour parade. As a DeMolay I marched in that parade.

(EL): At what age did you join Freemasonry and where?

Frederic: I joined Freemasonry at the age of 45 in Plymouth, Massachusetts where the Pilgrims landed.

I worked in the next town over and my wife worked in Plymouth so we had many Plymouth acquaintances. Plymouth Lodge had just completed its brand new building a few years before my arrival. I was initiated in 1989 and immediately went into line as Junior Steward. The next year I jumped to Senior Deacon and three years later was Master. In 1992 I affiliated with Paul Revere Lodge in Brockton, Massachusetts where I lived. It was not long after that I entered Paul Revere’s two year line as Senior Deacon. I was Senior Deacon at Paul Revere the year I was Master in Plymouth. I can remember doing the Masters ritual for the First Degree on a Monday night in Plymouth and the next night, Tuesday, performing the Middle Chamber lecture in the Second Degree in Brockton. Immediately upon affiliating with Paul Revere Lodge I joined the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team and as Master I brought that team to Plymouth Lodge for a historic night where over a hundred Masons gathered with five District Deputies in attendance, one from Rhode Island, to watch the degree team. I had to get permission for overflow parking from a business next door and hire a policeman to handle the traffic. That experience greatly influenced my philosophy on how, as Master, to put a yearly program together for a Lodge. My theme from then on became, “We Need To Celebrate Our Freemasonry.” And celebrate it we would!

Paul Revere Lodge AF & AM #2
Paul Revere Lodge AF & AM #2
Kilwinning Degree Team performing at Paul Revere Lodge with Bro. Frederic Milliken as Master
Kilwinning Degree Team at Paul Revere Lodge with Bro. Frederic as Master

Kilwinning Degree Team at Paul Revere Lodge with Bro. Frederic as Master

Both Plymouth Lodge and Paul Revere Lodge were high profile Lodges that had a lot going on. Paul Revere Lodge was looked upon as one of the five top Lodges in the state. I was honored to sit in the East in both these Lodges which were in two different Masonic Districts.

Portion Of The Paul Revere Degree Team Prepares To Install Frederic as Master Year 2000
Portion Of The Paul Revere Degree Team Prepares To Install Frederic as Master Year 2000

EL: Please elaborate on celebrating Freemasonry!

Frederic: What I am saying is THINK BIG! Many Lodges meet twice a month and they spend the majority of their time in boring business meetings where the topics of discussion are how much toilet paper should we buy and what do we do for the next fundraiser? How about inviting a guest speaker to enlighten the Brethren?

But even better than that how about planning and executing a big event where many Masons gather for some special brotherhood? When you do that you increase the pride Brothers feel for their fraternity and bolster their enthusiasm for the Craft. That all works for more camaraderie and perhaps more candidates.

After that first big bash with the Colonial Degree Team at Plymouth Lodge I continued to put on Masonic Events as large as I could come up with.

The Grand Daddy of them all was the Colonial Degree Team’s visit to Indiana. Bloomington, Indiana is my wife’s hometown and there you will find Monroe Lodge. Monroe (family name also spelled Munroe) was a natural, the name of the Revolutionary War Masonic patriot I had adopted for the Degree Team.

My correspondence with the Master of Monroe Lodge in Bloomington, Indiana, lasting for more than a year, proved fruitless in trying to put this undertaking together. After I stepped down from the East at Paul Revere Lodge and Monroe Lodge got a new Master talks picked up again and finally it was a go.

So on a Friday morning 18 Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team members boarded a plane for Indianapolis. There we were met by a small bus and a Past Grand Master of Indiana, MW Richard Hickham, and the Worshipful Master, Wor. Gary Denson, and some Brethren from Monroe Lodge. They transported us to Bloomington, about a 2 hour drive, where we stopped at the Bloomington Shrine Club for a steak dinner and welcoming speeches. Afterward we were taken to the state DeMoaly Chateau for billeting.

Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team entering the DeMolay Chateau
Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team entering the DeMolay Chateau

The next morning we were picked up by the bus and transported to the Lodge where we were served breakfast. After breakfast we visited the Lodge room and laid out what the degree would look like for the officers of Monroe Lodge. Then back in the bus we received a tour of Bloomington and Indiana University.

Saturday night we had dinner at the Lodge followed by the degree. The Lodge room was packed! After it was all over we went downtown to an Irish Pub and celebrated. Following that we were bused back to the DeMolay Chateau for some shuteye. The next morning, Sunday, the bus picked us up and transported us back to Indianapolis to the airport. By Sunday night we were back in Boston.

At the Irish Pub with Wor. Gary Denson of Monroe Lodge #22 Bloomington, Indiana
At the Irish Pub with Wor. Gary Denson of Monroe Lodge #22 Bloomington, Indiana

What a great time we all had and how rewarding it was to make new friends. That was really celebrating our Masonry!

EL: What attracted you to Freemasonry?

Frederic: My best friend in school introduced me to DeMolay. Battle Green DeMolay met at Simon W. Robinson Lodge AF & AM in Lexington, Massachusetts. Eventually I became Master Councilor. Our Dad Advisors were Freemasons and I became very acquainted with a Masonic Lodge and some of its workings by belonging to DeMolay. Joining DeMolay was the main reason for my later joining Freemasonry. But there is still another important reason. I reached a stage in my life where I really wanted to associate and become friendly with like minded men, that is those that value honesty, morality and uprightness. I found that every Mason I knew was a good man and that perhaps associating with many good men would keep me from straying into the less than noble world.

Frederic’s DeMolay diploma 1959
Frederic’s DeMolay diploma 1959

When I was elected to become Master for the first time at Plymouth Lodge I gathered an installation team of five Past Masters of Simon W. Robinson Lodge who were also Past Master Councilors of Battle Green DeMolay and all old friends of course. They installed me and my officers.

EL: Tell us more about The Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team

Frederic: The Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team was formed as a tribute to our nation’s Centennial in 1976. It was only supposed to be for that one year but was such a great hit that it continued on and is still active today. Each member of the team dresses in Colonial costume which always includes a tri-cornered hat and takes the name of a Revolutionary War Mason. The Team performs the second and third sections of the 3rd degree. At the end the Team’s Historian gives a lecture on our American Flag and the sacrifices that Colonial Mason’s made to make our country free. At the conclusion each Team member rises and gives a brief bio of the Revolutionary War Mason he represents.

While the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team performs in its own Lodge its claim to fame is the travelling it does to put on this degree for other Lodges. I accompanied the Team to the 200th anniversary celebration of Provincetown Lodge on Cape Cod, to a Lodge in the state of Maine and to an outdoor degree held in the woods of the Grand Lodge’s retirement home with the Grand Master present, to name just a few. At the retirement home stone stations and altar had been carved out in a clearing in the woods at the bottom of a hill. As Master I took the Degree Team to Plymouth Lodge as we have already heard, to Simon W. Robinson Lodge in Lexington, MA and to Putnam, Connecticut, again to mention just the most memorable.

The visit to Simon W. Robinson Lodge was a really a big time affair. Along with our usual 3rd degree exemplification we also participated in a tri Table Lodge. Three Lodges came together with the District Deputy of that District so that we had three Masters in the East, three Senior Wardens in the West and three Junior Wardens in the south. We started at 4:00 PM on a Saturday and finally finished up at 11:00 PM.

The Putnam, CT performance was our second visit to this Lodge. The first visit was precipitated by a church member of mine who upon selling her house and cleaning out the basement found an old Masonic diploma. It was from the 1800s for a Mason completing his degrees at Putnam Lodge. So, after going through channels, I contacted the Lodge and arranged for us to bring a bus load of Paul Revere members to formerly return the diploma. That got us a return visit 6 months later with the Colonial Degree Team.

Frederic interviewing mother and child for Paul Revere's Child Identification Program (CHIP)
Frederic interviewing mother and child for Paul Revere’s Child Identification Program (CHIP)

EL: What role did you have in the Team?

Frederic: My role was to do the Charge at the end of the degree before the Historian came on. I tried many different charges but eventually settled on one called “The Canadian Charge” in Massachusetts. This charge is known in many other states by a different name. For a historical sketch of this charge see the article penned by a friend here –

From Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Magazine "The Trowel"
From Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Magazine “The Trowel”

As you remember each member of the Paul Revere Degree Team adopted the name of a Revolutionary War Mason. When I arrived onto the team all the famous names had been taken. With permission from the team leader I researched my own name. I wrote to the Grand Lodge Of Massachusetts Library and asked them if there were any Freemasons that fought in that battle against the British on April 19,1775. The reply stated that of some 70 Patriots that lined up to fight the British some where near 26 were Masons. That was remarkable because Lexington did not have a Masonic Lodge at that time. From that list I chose William Munroe.

William Munroe was a Sergeant in the Lexington Minute Man and he was stationed by the Lexington Green on an all night vigil the night of April 18,1775. He was to warn the Minute Men of any British activity in the area. When Paul Revere rode into town he woke up sleeping Masons in the area and had word sent to Captain Parker the leader of the Lexington Minutemen. Munroe was also the proprietor of the other tavern in town, the Munroe Tavern which still stands today just a stone’s throw down the street from the Scottish Rite National Heritage Museum.

In 1797 William Munroe went into Grand Lodge to receive a charter for Lexington’s first Masonic Lodge with himself as its first and founding Master. He was escorted to the East of Grand Lodge there to be received by Most Worshipful Paul Revere. Hiram Lodge met for some 40 years in the backrooms of Munroe Tavern in Lexington.

EL: Who were the other team members representing?

Frederic: I can’t remember all the names chosen by Colonial Degree Team members but some of them were Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, Israel Putnam, John Paul Jones, Paul Revere, George Washington, John Marshall, Henry Knox, Robert Livingston, General Hugh Mercer, Ethan Allen, Patrick Henry, Benedict Arnold, Joseph Warren and of course the honorary American Marquis de LaFayette, These are some of the Revolutionary War Freemasons represented by the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team.

EL: How fun! What led you to join Prince Hall Masonry?

I was Master of Plymouth Lodge in 1994 when Prince Hall recognition was being worked out. Recognition was formerly signed in 1995. Thereafter I was active in receiving Prince Hall visitations into Paul Revere Lodge. I was very impressed with their Masonic knowledge and work.

A few years later I started to become very active with Masonry on the Internet. There I met and corresponded with such stalwarts as Jeff Naylor, Chris Hodapp, Errrol Hinton, Stephen Dafoe and Theron Dunn to name a few. We all seemed to be involved with the reform Freemasonry movement. And among those reforms was recognition of Prince Hall. These were the days when “Laudable Pursuit” was penned. And I added my 2 cents in, often with biting sarcasm.

When I moved to Texas I joined the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM and went to their Grand Lodge Session. I was not impressed with some of the leadership and disappointed with the racial divide that was part of the tradition. I had some unfortunate incidents which I do not wish to go over again.

It was then I figured out that the best way I could work for racial justice within Freemasonry was to join Prince Hall. After all I had been an advocate for many years for Prince Hall recognition across the board in every state. I decided to put my feet where my mouth was and walked on over into Prince Hall Texas. I have never regretted that decision. I love and am much loved.

Prince Hall Texas Grand Lodge - Fort Worth Texas
Prince Hall Texas Grand Lodge – Fort Worth Texas
Rooftop Raising Dallas Texas MWPHGLTX
Rooftop Raising Dallas Texas MWPHGLTX

EL: Any other special personal Masonic history you want to share with the readers?

Frederic: The Fellowship Players of Fellowship Lodge in Bridgewater , Massachusetts, a town close to Brockton, invited me to take the part of Squire Bentley in the Masonic play “A Rose Upon The Altar,” by Carl Claudy. This is a very moving play about a man who disowns his daughter for marrying a man he disapproved of and the discussion that goes on in the Lodge room about his plight and his subsequent change of heart. By removing all Masonic signs, tokens and grips from the play, the Fellowship Players was able to get permission from the Grand Master to perform this play to the public at large.

We played for Lodges, Ladies nights and to the public. I can remember one performance for the Bridgewater Knights of Columbus and their wives and another in New Bedford for Masons visiting from England and their wives and the public.

These performances gave the Craft another way to feel proud of themselves and enthusiastic for their membership in the fraternity. It also introduced non Masons to a little slice of Masonic life and opened the door for a dialogue about Freemasonry.

Lastly it was one of the biggest joys of my Masonic career to be able to do this.

EL: Wow! That is awesome! Now, let’s talk about the recent events in Texas. What are your thoughts on the historic intervisitation between the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas and the Grand Lodge of Texas?

Frederic: I think intervisitation was long overdue and that now that it is here those that have a difficulty with Prince Hall are going to recede into the background and not be heard from hardly at all. A new day has dawned on Texas Freemasonry and it will be one of shared brotherhood. As the two Grand Lodges cooperate in a wide range of efforts together, all the fears and the fairy tales will disappear and we will become one in Masonic purpose and practice.

Prince Hall Grand Master Wilbert Curtis is in the middle with the top hat on and to his left (our right) is the Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM PGM Jerry Martin together at the Prince Hall Grand Session June 25-28, 2015. A historic fraternal exchange.
Prince Hall Grand Master Wilbert Curtis is in the middle with the top hat on and to his left (our right) is the Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas AF & AM PGM Jerry Martin together at the Prince Hall Grand Session June 25-28, 2015. A historic fraternal exchange.

There were many forces behind the scene on both sides working for recognition for years and then for intervisitation. I was one of them but also from the Grand Lodge of Texas was Blake Bowden and his website “My Freemasonry.” Many other unknown and unheralded Masons on both sides of the aisle worked behind the scenes, especially to see that we could visit each other’s Lodges. There was literally a ground swell of sentiment from the rank and file that this was something that needed to be done. And I don’t think anything could have come of it all if Prince Hall Texas did not have such a gentle, soft spoken, easy going Grand Master in Honorable Wilbert M. Curtis.

EL: Really? You think Grand Master Curtis’ personality had a lot to do with it?

Frederic: You would really have to get to know the man to see how much his personality has kept the peace. I know that I am nowhere near that personality type. Cross me and I will let you have it, both barrels. But in the face of false accusations, finger pointing, lies and deceit Grand Master Curtis has remained calm, cool and collected. He has not fought fire with fire but rather with brotherly love and affection. He can be firm and commanding but never mean or derogatory. In some tough negotiations he was solid as a rock.

Frederic With Grand Master Curtis At York Rite Conclave
Frederic With Grand Master Curtis At York Rite Conclave

EL: This marks the first time in history that both Grand Lodges sat in a regular session together. How does this feel to you on a personal level?

Frederic: It is exhilarating! To know I have played a small, miniscule part, but one nevertheless, that is rewarding. I think that Prince Hall Freemasonry has been vindicated. I think that some of the misconceptions of Prince Hall will now disappear.

EL: Which misconceptions are you referring to?

Frederic: That Prince Hall Freemasonry is not regular; that it is Clandestine; that it does not perform acceptable ritual; that it is disrespectful to the Craft; that it is rowdy and raucous; that it doesn’t take Freemasonry seriously enough, that its first Grand Lodge was not formed according to Masonic protocol. These are all false misconceptions.

Race relations in the state will improve. My only disappointment was that I was too ill to participate on this historic occasion. But I know that years of opening my big mouth and even at times inserting my foot into it have paid off. That when it came time to choose the fork in the road, I didn’t take what I thought was the easiest path but the one that was the right thing to do. It means my rebel rousing days are over for Texas. However we have nine US Grand Lodges left who still do not recognize Prince Hall. This battle is won but the war is not yet over.

EL: What would you like to see happen in the future?

Frederic: I would like to see the two Grand Lodges do more things together inside and outside the Lodge room. Intervisitation opens up a whole new world to many Masons. Both Grand Lodges can celebrate some Masonic historical remembrances together. They can have a joint Table Lodge. They can join together on some charitable events. They can study Freemasonry together and pull lecturers from each Grand Lodge to speak at the other.

As it stands now each side must apply to its Grand Secretary to visit the other’s Grand Lodges and permission must be granted by the other side. I think that in time this requirement should just disappear and a more free flow of cross visitation assume its place.

They say time heals all wounds. I’m not so sure that is true but I am willing to give it a shot. As each Grand Lodge does more together it will cement the bounds of peace and harmony and brotherly love will freely flow.

EL: Hopefully! Are there other Caucasian Brothers in your Lodge?

Frederic: There was one other Brother who was Caucasian who has since demited and moved away. My Lodge also has a Brother of Filipino heritage.

EL: Do you want to share any racial insights from your perspective?

Frederic: I think that to rehash old instances and war stories does more harm than good. Suffice it to say that there was some animosity between Caucasians and African Americans in the state of Texas that bled over into Freemasonry. Those feelings have not all gone away but we are on the road to peace and harmony in Freemasonry.

All it really took was for some association to take place. I have maintained for years that if you sit down and break bread with a stranger or an enemy or someone you don’t understand, that that act of having a meal together opens up the common humanity you have with each other and promotes a mutual respect. Upon that can be built real friendship.

There will always be people who can’t see beyond skin color. This is not Utopia. Evil exists. But when you greet another Freemason on the five points of fellowship it matters not what race he is.

We would be wise to remember our ritual, “By the exercise of Brotherly Love we are taught to regard the whole human species as one Family – the high and low, rich and poor, who as created by one almighty Parent and inhabitants of the same planet are to aid, support and protect each other.”

Frederic With Brothers from Cote d'Ivoire 2014 Grand Session, MWPHGLTX
Frederic With Brothers from Cote d’Ivoire 2014 Grand Session, MWPHGLTX

EL: Seems like you have a positive and hopeful view of the future.

Frederic: There is only one place to go and that is up. Every close association, every time of togetherness will meld Brothers from both Grand Lodges into fraternal love. We can learn a lot from each other and in so doing we can come closer and closer together. New traditions will soon be formed. Some joint fellowships will become part of those new traditions. As that unfolds disharmony will become a thing of the past. As I said before a new day has dawned on Texas Freemasonry. It will never be what it was again.

EL: Wonderful! Frederic, you are an avid blogger and Masonic author. Tell us about your work and where it can be found.

Frederic: I write in other areas besides Freemasonry but it is my wish that these areas remain separate and unknown to each other. In this manner I can remain more open to other ideas and interface better with people of all different views without others having a preconceived notion of what I am all about. There is nothing worse than an agenda driven person who will not get off your ear. My thing is to approach fields from a point of view that fosters knowledge, education and understanding.

My Masonic writing started on the early well known Masonic websites with forums of the 90s. Masonic Light started by Jeff Naylor and frequented by Hodapp, Dafoe and Dunn gave way to The Lodge Here I was in constant discussion on Masonic issues especially with my nemesis Theron Dunn who after he suddenly passed was replaced by Grayson Mayfield. When that Forum died I went on to Master and then got out of the forum talk back and forth show altogether.

I formed my own blog “The Beehive” which I merged with Freemason Information by invitation of Greg Stewart. Those forum discussions formed the basis of the articles I then wrote which can be found on either Freemason Information or Phoenixmasonry. It is in these two places that I continue to write but with less frequency.

I have evolved over time. Much of my early Masonic writing was about the abuses of Freemasonry and certain Grand Lodges and the reforms needed. I really took some Grand Lodges to task and I wasn’t afraid to be vocal about it. Some of the high profile cases I wrote about were PGM Frank Haas, Derek Gordon, Mike McCabe, Victor Marshall and Gate City Lodge No 2 and Corey Bryson & Duke Bass Fortesque.

PM Mike Bjelajac, Me, PM Beaux Pettys, Victor Marshall Gate City Lodge No 2
PM Mike Bjelajac, Me, PM Beaux Pettys, Victor Marshall Gate City Lodge No 2

I actually got to meet in person Derek Gordon who resigned from the GL of Arkansas and Victor Marshall who the GL of Georgia attempted to expel because he was an African-American. Mike McCabe was expelled unjustly from New Jersey and Bryson & Fortesque were forced to resign from Florida for not being Christians.

I have gradually steered myself into a more philosophical approach and find great joy in telling the stories of some super Masonic Craftsmen. I was able to meet Masonic artist Ryan Flynn last year and record a session with him about his work.

There are two other places I write for which may not be open to all Masons. I write and deliver articles to the Phylaxis Society and to my Grand Lodge publication “The Texas Prince Hall Freemason.”

EL: You are also Executive Director for the Phoenixmasonry Masonic Museum and Library. Tell us about your work and experience there.

Frederic: It was President and owner David Lettelier who approached me about the position of Executive Director of Phoenixmasonry. He had read some of my writings and liked what he read. One of the first things I did upon coming aboard was to convince David that we needed to get into Social Media. I felt this was where Freemasonry on the Internet was going. So Dave and I put our heads together and opened a Phoenixmasonry Facebook page. I then added Twitter followed by Rebel Mouse. David starting putting many of my articles into the Phoenixmasonry essay session.

Soon I was to open a special Prince Hall section of the main website inaugurating its inception with the William Upton videos which tell such a heart rendering story. We added a few more article writers such as Nelson King and Ian Donald and the poetry of Ezekiel Bey. The Essay section was rapidly increasing. Adding books was very time consuming and proceeded at a slower pace.

Frederic Giving The Charge At Grand Session, MWPHGLTX
Frederic Giving The Charge At Grand Session, MWPHGLTX

But we wanted to give our readers the widest possible choice of Masonic content. It wasn’t long before we started to invest heavily into You Tube videos. We added a You Tube section to our Facebook page. This became very popular.

I spent a lot of time as Executive Director in marketing Phoenixmasonry especially among the Prince Hall brethren. I got the Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas to add a link to us on the Grand Lodge’s website. I worked with David on his project of a 10 year (2009) medallion minted as a thank you to all who had contributed to Phoenixmasonry’s success. That became a tremendous marketing tool as I carried a bunch of them with me wherever I went and gave to many influential Masons one as a gift.


My job concentrated on disseminating whatever we were doing to various Grand Lodges, Masonic websites and forums, Masonic Yahoo Groups and an extensive E-Mail list. It was my goal to always keep the name and content of Phoenixmasony on the lips of as many Masons as possible.

I took over the project of getting us a 501(c) 3 status with the IRS, filling out the laboriously long form and making sure all the information was correct. This designation will facilitate contributions to Phoenixmasonry from those who are looking for a good cause to contribute to.

What I started with David to increase our visibility has been continued with the addition of new blood to our team. We have added editorial assistants to our Facebook page who help us add the most interesting Masonic material we can find. We recently added

Phoenixmasonry’s 10 year anniversary medallion
Phoenixmasonry’s 10 year anniversary medallion

you, Public Relations Director Elena Llamas, and you have carried on right where we left off. You have spruced up our Facebook page, created a Phoenixmasonry You Tube channel adding many videos and put Phoenixmasonry on Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, Reddit and Tumblr. It’s a team effort and I am proud what all of us have been able to accomplish. Phoenixmasonry is the most complete and best Masonic website on the Internet.

EL: It is a pleasure to work with you at Phoenixmasonry! Thank you so much, Frederic, for sharing such a fascinating personal history and all you insights. I hope the readers have enjoyed this interview. For more information on Frederic’s work, you can find him at

Freemason Tim Bryce.


Every job is important.

I had a friend who used to be very class conscious when it came to work. He wouldn’t socialize with other people he deemed below him and was very choosy when it came to where he lived. If the wrong class of workers were in the neighborhood, he wouldn’t visit the area (let alone move into it). It had nothing to do with race or religion, only the types of jobs people had. In his mind, there was a clear delineation between people based strictly on their livelihood; e.g., blue collar labor, technical people, middle management, professional people, and executives. I guess we are all a little class conscious about how people make a living, a kind of one-upmanship, but I never saw it quite this vividly before.

This bothered me because I believe in the dignity and honor of any job, regardless how mundane it may seem. This caused me to do some soul-searching as to why I felt this way and I suppose it is because I am acutely aware of my family’s history; e.g., how we came to this country from Scotland, which certainly wasn’t in a luxury liner, how we struggled to get a foothold here, how we survived the Great Depression, and how we prospered following World War II.

Like many of you, I can recall the menial jobs both my grandfather and father performed to help the family survive. Interestingly, they never complained about it but, rather, always spoke with pride of how well they did their jobs. For instance, my grandfather used to be employed by the Wickwire Steel Company in Buffalo, New York where he ran a machine to make the rebar mesh used in such things as concrete sidewalks. It was certainly not a glamorous job. In fact, it was rather difficult as the machines would frequently break down. Instead of waiting for the machine to be fixed by someone else, as his union wanted him to do, he learned how to fix the machine himself. He figured he couldn’t get paid if the machine was idle, so he devoted his own personal time to learn as much about it as he could. His knowledge of the machines grew to the point where he eventually became the head of maintenance. Whereas he could have done nothing, instead he elected to take a proactive approach.

To my grandfather’s way of thinking, his job was no better or worse than anyone else’s. He was just thankful he had one and did it to the best of his ability. This taught me you should not look down your nose at anyone for the job they have, but rather how well they perform it. I have much more respect for the common uneducated laborer who knows what he is doing as opposed to a well educated professional who is a derelict.

It is fundamental to the human spirit that we all believe we are leading a worthy and honorable life. Since work is an inherent part of our life, how meaningful our job is depends on what we make of it. If we take a defeatist attitude and treat it as a triviality, we will suffer from low self-esteem and become jealous of others. However, if we adopt a professional attitude towards our job, regardless of its magnitude, we will have a more positive sense of self worth.

With this said, I don’t understand the obsession a lot of High School Guidance Counselors have in pushing students towards a college education. Not everyone is predisposed to attending college, some are better served by going into a trade school or the military. Yet, many guidance counselors pooh-pooh such institutions thereby creating a snobbish attitude towards them. Believe me, there is nothing dishonorable about learning mechanics, auto repair, plumbing, carpentry, or serving in the military. Imagine where we would be without such professions.

One of the main reasons I have enjoyed my time in the Masons is that we are taught regardless of your station in life, everyone serves on the level. In other words, everyone has an equal say regardless of who they are, thereby taking ego out of the formula and creating a sense of cooperation.

I do not know how well we are passing this lesson of work dignity to our young people, but I fear we are creating a generation of people who are more class conscious than the last, and never satisfied with the job they have, regardless what it is. From a psychological point of view, this should have profound long term effects on our productivity and our culture.

Originally published: May 10, 2010

Keep the Faith!

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Freemason Tim Bryce.

Our Legacy


Will we be remembered for tangible objects or the people we come in contact with?

Something just about all of us consider at some point in our lives is our legacy, be it on a small scale such as a job or project, or our life’s work. Nagging questions linger, “How will I be remembered?”, “Did I do a good job?” or “Was my life well spent?” Some people believe we are judged by physical objects such as a building we constructed, the development of some object, or perhaps an invention. Others consider our impact on productivity and prosperity through such things as leadership, organization, and systems. The fallacy here is that buildings and products inevitably deteriorate, processes and inventions evolve and are replaced, so notoriety for such things is fleeting. To compound the problem, we have no real sense of history and quickly forget who did what years ago.

I contend we are not measured by inanimate objects, but by animate ones instead. It is how we influence others that is perhaps most important, be it our relatives, our coworkers, our customers or whatever. If we can set an example or motivate someone to excel beyond their capabilities, to grow and evolve, then we have accomplished something rather monumental. This is probably what motivates teachers. For example, Helen Keller’s work positively impacted people with disabilities around the world, yet had it not been for her teacher, Anne Sullivan, it would never have happened. Thomas Edison is well remembered not only for the inventions he created, but the companies he founded, including General Electric which does business around the world. All of this may never have happened without the influence of his mother, Nancy, who encouraged and home schooled him. Let us also not forget Aristotle’s influence on Alexander the Great who significantly influenced the cultures of Europe, Asia and Africa.

We are ultimately defined by the decisions we make and actions we take, both good and bad. It is the consistency by which we apply these actions and decisions that defines our character. Greatness is measured by a person’s ability to move the masses towards a major goal. There are several fine examples strewn throughout history, such as the ancient Greeks (e.g., Plato, Socrates, etc.); political leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, King Henry VIII, Joan of Arc, Winston Churchill, and Emperor Meiji of Japan, and; religious figures such as Jesus, Confucius, and Mohammed. Interestingly, all were effective communicators.

The point is, we all have a profound effect on others, be it in a positive or negative light. It is when we can get others to aspire and achieve that we have really written our own legacy.

As to my own personal legacy, I believe I have done some good things in terms of information systems theory, and have helped clean up a lot of messes for customers who I have consulted with over the years, as well as the organizations I have participated in. This is all well and good, but beyond this I hope I will be remembered as someone who…

  • Challenged people to use their brains, to think, and not to go on autopilot.
  • Encouraged people to try new ideas, to think outside of the box.
  • Warned people of the dangers of complacency and apathy.
  • Admonished others to appreciate their heritage yet grow, evolve, and adapt.
  • Preached leading an honorable and worthwhile life.

If I have done this, than I feel my time was well spent.

Our legacy is what we give of ourselves. We can give money, we can volunteer our time, we can invent and design new things, but I believe we really affect people when we shape their perspectives and thinking processes. Thereby our legacy is whatever we want it to be; we write it ourselves, either by doing nothing or helping others find their way.

I’ve told you what I hope my legacy will be; what’s yours?

Originally published: April 26, 2010

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Famous Freemason | Tom Mix

Tom Mix , May 21, 1925
Tom Mix , May 21, 1925

In this series on Famous Freemasons, we delve deeper into the history of these notable individuals to explore their dynamic lives beyond the lodge room door. In this installment, we meet:

Tom Mix

b.Jan. 6, 1880 – d. Oct. 12, 1940

A name that many film buffs recognize, cowboys idolize, and at least for a time, the man that everyone wanted to be. Tom Mix was a circus performer, champion horseback rider, radio personality, beloved Freemason, and perhaps most known for his roles in Western films as the clean cut cowboy who always saved the day. Mix appeared in nearly 300 films, the majority of which were silent, and at one point in time was the #1 box office star in America.

Thomas Hezikiah Mix was born in Mix Run, Pennsylvania, on January 6th, 1880. He spent the

Tom Mix in The Fighting Streak - 1922
Tom Mix in The Fighting Streak – 1922

majority of his young life working on a local farm, and was instilled by his father with a love and passion for horses. Upon the onset of the Spanish-American War, like many others his age, Tom decided to enlist. Although never seeing any real war action, he moved through the ranks, and served his country well. Before being honorably discharged, Tom went on furlough where he met Grace I. Allen. On his next furlough, he decided to marry her. For a short period of time he returned to active duty, but ultimately was forced to choose between the military and his wife. This resulted in never returning to active duty from his last leave, and being declared AWOL. In the 15 years that followed, he had married and divorced three times. Though his marriages were unstable, his professional life and career was developing rapidly. He found work at the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch, which boasted its own touring Wild West show. This gave Mix his first introduction to acting and performing, and went on to earn numerous riding and roping contests.

Tom-Mix big hat

His acting career flourished, scoring roles with various talent agencies and film companies. Throughout the 1920’s, he made over 160 cowboy films, and even built his famous set known as Mixville located today in what would become the Edendale district of Los Angeles unremarkably refereed to today as the Glendale Boulevard Corridor in the Silverlake area. Over 150 movies were shot in Mixville, which was considered to be its own Western town. It was complete with all of the props and locations you might find in a frontier town, such as a dusty street, hitching rails, a saloon, jail, bank, doctor’s office, and surveyor’s office. It even boasted a simulated desert, large corral, period homes, and an indian village of lodges near the back lot. Mix’s career was inspirational for future movie stars such as John Wayne and Ronald Reagan, both of which were very vocal about the influence which Mix’s career had on their lives.

Throughout his acting career, Tom Mix was also a devoted freemason. He was raised on February 21, 1925, at Utopia Lodge No. 537, in Los Angeles California. He joined both the Scottish Rite and The Royal Arch, and participated in the famed 233 club. The 233 was an entertainment industry social club which claimed over 1,700 Masons as members from the motion picture and theatrical industries. Members of 233 included: Douglas Fairbanks, Harold and Frank Lloyd, Wallace Berry and Louis B. Mayer. One of the outstanding patriotic activities of the Club was a gigantic “Pageant of Liberty” in the Los Angeles Coliseum on July 5, 1926 before an audience of 65,000 and employing over 2,500 actors and a chorus of 1,200. Mix, the star that he was, rode into the spectacle astride his horse Tony portraying Paul Revere beside Hoot Gibson who rode as a Pony Express rider. With the 233, Mix is said to have participated in traveling Craft degree team composed of actors.

Tom Mix and the Great K & A Train Robbery - 1926
Tom Mix and the Great K & A Train Robbery – 1926

Tragically, Mix died in a fatal automobile accident on October 12, 1940. His memorial service was held at Little Church of Flowers at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, CA, not far from Mixville. A memorial of a sorrowing horse marks the location of Mix’s passing in Arizona highway. At his memorial service Mix’s close friend, Monte Blue, read a Masonic ritual in his honor.

Mix was truly a man from another era, a mythical era when celebrity and fame created legends… even if for just a little while. Tom Mix left a legacy for many, and is still regarded today as one of the most influential actors in the history of film-making. Without his influence, countless actors may have never graced the silver screen. His impact changed lives and history as we know it.

You can visit the Tom Mix Museum in Dewey, Oklahoma, and for more on Tom Mix, the blog of a Western fan has great things to say about The greatest cowboy of the silver screen.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

The Masonic Role in American History

How Masonry affected America.

I have been a Freemason for many years and I am still surprised by those people who believe the Masons have a secret agenda in terms of manipulating the country or stockpiling incredible amounts of wealth. Heck, we have trouble organizing a picnic. However, there is reasonable evidence to show Masons were involved with the founding of the country. For example, of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence, 9 were Masons (16%), and of the 39 men who signed the U.S. Constitution 13 were Masons (33%). Of the 44 presidents we have had, 14 were Masons (32%) with the last one being Gerald Ford. Beyond this, few people outside of the fraternity truly understand the impact of Masonry in America.

I participate in a book club whereby we have been studying the history of the United States, from the Revolutionary War to today where we are studying the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. Throughout these books, there is mention of the various founding fathers who were Masons. Inevitably, I am asked about their Masonic heritage. For example, in the book, “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life,” by Walter Isaacson, the author mentions Franklin’s Masonic background, but it was obvious to me he didn’t comprehend the fraternity’s influence on Franklin. Our acclaimed inventor, author, printer, ambassador, and postmaster was raised a Master Mason at St. John’s Lodge of Philadelphia in 1731, and become the Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania three short years later in 1734. Franklin was considered to be America’s top scientist and intimate with American politics. He is the only founding father to sign the three most important documents of the time: the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Treaty of Paris (thereby ending the Revolutionary War).

In 1771, Franklin visited Ireland and Scotland. During this time, his hosts were surprised by how well he was received by the people. What they didn’t realize, nor Isaacson, was Franklin was not just a respected scientist, but was also well known in the Masonic community who embraced “the age of enlightenment” which opened many doors for him.

In the late 1770’s, Franklin was appointed the first United States Ambassador to France. Again, he was warmly welcomed by “enlightened” Masons. So much so, he joined Loge des Neuf Soeurs in Paris, and became the Master of the Lodge in 1779. His influence was great and, as such, he helped initiate the great French philosopher Voltaire into the fraternity, among others. Freemasonry at this time was very much concerned with discussing philosophical and scientific subjects, and questioned everything. Theoretically, it is still supposed to be this way today but it has turned more into a social club as opposed to discussing “enlightenment.” Nonetheless, Franklin’s Masonic background proved useful in forging relationships with Europe and ending the war.

The “Father of our Country,” George Washington, was raised a Master Mason in Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4 A.F.& A.M., VA, in 1752. It is said he had a high regard for the fraternity due to its sense of “enlightenment” and order. However, due to his commitments as General and President, Washington could not afford to spend much time attending Lodge.

In 1787 Washington was elected to preside over the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia which devised the U.S. Constitution and thereby our government. Washington was elected primarily due to his prestige, but his Masonic heritage, with a keen sense or order and protocol, certainly helped. Keep in mind, the discussions and votes were kept secret until the conclusion of the convention which lasted approximately four months (May 25th – Sept 17th). This is a testament to Washington’s ability to run a meeting.

Just because Masons observe protocol, it doesn’t mean they always get along.

Andrew Jackson

Nothing more vividly exemplifies this than the relationship between President Andrew Jackson and Senator Henry Clay (who had also served as Speaker of the House, and Secretary of State). Both men served as Grand Masters of their respective states, Clay in Kentucky in 1820, and Jackson in neighboring Tennessee in 1822. In government though, they were political opposites and detested each other. Jackson was a member of the Democratic Party and Clay’s roots began in the Whig party (which would eventually evolve into the Republican party). The two men seemed to disagree on just about everything. In the presidential contest of 1832, incumbent Jackson trounced Clay. When Jackson refused to renew the charter of the Second Bank of the United States, Clay passed a resolution to censure Jackson, a tremendous embarrassment to the president. This caused Jackson to call Clay, “reckless and as full of fury as a drunken man in a brothel.” On his last day as President, Jackson is said to admit that one of his regrets was that he “had been unable to shoot Henry Clay…”

There may have been no love lost between Jackson and Clay, yet they respected each other as Masons, which may have ultimately been the reason why Jackson never acted on his regrets. As an aside, Clay was a member of Lexington Lodge No. 1 F.& A.M. in Kentucky and Jackson was raised at Harmony Lodge No. 1 F.& A.M. in Nashville, Tennessee.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Unlike Clay and Jackson, perhaps the strongest bond between political leaders was between President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Great Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill during World War II. FDR was raised a Master Mason at Holland Lodge No. 8 F.& A.M. in New York in 1911. As a career politician he had limited time for Masonic activities but there is strong evidence he supported the fraternity, such as having his three sons initiated into it and becoming an honorary Grand Master of the Order of DeMolay, a Masonic youth organization. Churchill’s ancestry included many Masons and he became a Master Mason at Studholme Lodge No. 1591 in 1901. Like FDR, his political career kept him from actively participating in Masonic activities, but he maintained his affiliation.

As the war began, Great Britain was essentially alone and isolated. The country desperately needed the resources and assistance of the United States. On August 9th, 1941, prior to America entering the war, the two leaders met secretly in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. Churchill arrived on the HMS Prince of Wales and met Roosevelt aboard the USS Augusta. The two had met during World War I when FDR was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and Churchill as Lord of the Admiralty, a loftier position. Churchill had forgotten the meeting, which slightly perturbed Roosevelt, but years later as Prime Minister he desperately needed to know the President. Freemasonry was an important connection as it established the values both men possessed. When meeting FDR aboard the USS Augusta, Churchill gave FDR what appears to be a Masonic handshake thereby denoting their relationship. With such common values, the men were able to speak “on the level,” and form a strong bond which was helpful in forging the Atlantic Charter.

I am certainly not suggesting Freemasonry was the principal influence motivating these men of history, but it certainly didn’t hurt. It taught them about building relationships based on common values, protocols, and the search for “enlightenment.” There are many other stories of how Freemasonry helped to shape America, such as my article on, “Montana 3-7-77 – How Freemasonry Tamed a Territory.” However, as I delve into the history books I am appalled by how Freemasonry is shrugged off as an irrelevant aspect of history. It may not have the significance as purported by anti-Masonic conspirators, but it did have an important role to play in forging relationships. I just wish historians would pay closer attention to how Masonry influences the lives of people.

Keep the Faith!

More Masonic History.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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A Secret History of the Civil War

The origins of the Knights of the Golden Circle can be traced to Cincinnati con man George Bickley.

The origins of the Knights of the Golden Circle can be traced to Cincinnati con man George Bickley.

University of Cincinnati Civil War historian, Mark Lause, has a new book out titled A Secret Society History of the Civil War (University of Illinois Press). It’s a look at secret societies (societies similar to the Freemasons) that were active in the years leading up to and during the Civil War.


That secret society, the Knights of the Golden Circle, was the brainchild of a Cincinnati con man named George Bickley. He fund-raised for the group here in Cincinnati before the Civil War and envisioned it as a para-military organization. During the war, he offered the services of the Knights to the Confederacy, suggesting the organization could work as a fifth column among the North’s civilian population.

Explained Lause, UC professor of history,

The Confederates turned Bickley down, but the South did have a secret service that was active in the North during the war. The United States government was convinced the Knights of the Golden Circle were a big part of this Confederate secret service and spent resources tracking down the organization. However, it wasn’t the case, since the Knights and their numbers were greatly inflated by Bickley.

While the Knights were never actually a fifth-column force in terms of numbers, they and their ideas are thought to have influenced John Wilkes Booth, the stage actor who assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Said Lause,

John Wilkes Booth is thought to have been either a member or sympathizer with the Knights of the Golden Circle who were in Baltimore at that time. A man named George Sanders, who was a member of the Confederate secret service, was reputed to have been Booth’s contact via the group. And Sanders was a member of another secret society that advocated assassination.

Depiction of an initiation ceremony of the Knights of the Golden Circle.

Depiction of an initiation ceremony of the Knights of the Golden Circle.


On the other hand, some secret societies of the era, like the Prince Hall Masons, played a role in beginning and then sustaining the Underground Railroad.

In general, you can think of secret societies as umbrella organizations for those who want to break existing laws for what they believe are patriotic reasons,

said Lause.

On one side, there are groups like the Knights of the Golden Circle. On the other side, there are groups like the Prince Hall Masons.

The membership of the Prince Hall Masons was comprised of African-Americans, both free men and slaves. The order was founded by a black veteran of the American Revolution, and its purpose was to oppose the legal, social and cultural repression of blacks. “This group was the tap root that became the Underground Railroad, he stated.

A Secret Society History of the Civil War by by Mark A. Lause

A Secret Society History of the Civil War by by Mark A. Lause

Interestingly, the Louisville, Ky., chapter of the group held its meetings in New Albany, Ind. Said Lause:

Because slaves were members along with middle-class, free blacks, the group routinely rowed across the Ohio River in secret in order to safely hold meetings in a free state.


Founded in 1848, this U.S. secret society (NOT named for “Union” in Civil War terms) was loosely tied to other such societies in Europe. It pursued an anti-slavery agenda. In fact, members of the Brotherhood of the Union in Milwaukee, Wisc., are known to have taken civil disobedience so far as to successfully storm the local jail in order to free a runaway slave who had been captured and incarcerated under the Federal Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.


Price’s Lost Campaign: The 1864 Invasion of Missouri (Shades of Blue & Gray), (University of Missouri Press), another new book by Lause, tells of a border-state military campaign that both the Union and the Confederacy wanted to forget even before it was over.

The Confederate campaign referred to in the title was initially begun to capture St. Louis and Jefferson City (the capital of Missouri). It quickly degenerated, bringing little credit to either side. As such, the available historical record – participant and eyewitness accounts, military records and newspaper accounts – have been little studied until now.

In studying that record, Lause interprets why St. Louis was never actually invaded — even though the forces commanded by Confederate Gen. Sterling Price greatly outnumbered Union army forces (commanded by Cincinnati industrialist Union General William Rosencrans) in the state and even though Price came to within 30 miles of the city.

According to Lause, there are important reasons Price, in the end, did not invade St. Louis even though newspapers in the city were openly publishing information about how few Union army forces were in the city to defend it – information that Confederate informants in the city would have shared with Price.

The city’s civilians would no doubt have taken up arms and transformed the fight from a “battle” between armies into high-casualty, building-by-building , street-by-street guerrilla war.

Why? Because they absolutely had nothing to lose, said Lause. For the population in Missouri, if a Union occupation was considered bad, a Confederate occupation was considered far worse. In the two-month campaign, the forces under Price engaged in ethnic cleansing as they passed through towns and territory: Brutalizing and killing blacks, German immigrants, Catholics, prisoners of war and anyone else who might be sympathetic to the Union cause.

Price actually tried to put a stop to the ethnic cleansing, but many of his forces were originally from the region. They felt disenfranchised and were determined to settle the score. They were already killing civilians and literally leaving the bodies out for hogs to eat. The German population in St. Louis knew what they faced and would have made it extremely expensive – if not impossible – in terms of casualties for the Confederates.

Another reason the Confederates did not invade St. Louis: They had suffered grim casualties in the two battles of the campaign. In the battle of Pilot Knob, about 1,400 local blacks, local militia and some Union Army forces fought about 8,000 Confederate troops, with the Confederates suffering “ghastly losses,” according to Lause, even though the pro-Union forces, in the end, gave up ground. In the subsequent Battle of Leasburg, pro-Union forces refused a demand to surrender and were able to hold off the Confederate forces.

More Masonic History.