This is not your grandfather’s Freemasonry, at least not in Boston and the Grand Lodge AF & AM.
Freemasonry has opened up in the last 50 years, sharing its goals and purpose with the public so that they can be better understood. And the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has been at the forefront of this openness.
It was four years ago that Massachusetts launched its Ben Franklin series that described the Fraternity to the general public. There is a concerted effort here to dispel some of the myths and misinformation that has been allowed to exist by tight lipped Freemasons and reach out to the public in hopes of creating a better understanding of the Craft.
This is all reflected in the WGBH Boston Television piece on Massachusetts Freemasonry. Go back a few decades and this would have been a hit piece. But because Massachusetts Mainstream Freemasonry has laid the groundwork of years of informing the public of just what Freemasonry is all about, something your Grandfather’s Freemasonry would not do, this is the closest you can get to an infomercial.
A crew is at work in Boston unearthing a time capsule believed buried by patriots Samuel Adams and Paul Revere. CNN affiliate WBZ reports, the 18th-century capsule was left in a cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House. The capsule is believed to date from 1795, when construction started on the building. The cornerstone has been removed because of repair work to the historic building, and a worker from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston was chipping away at it Thursday to get at the capsule. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, who also heads the state’s historical commission said, the capsule contains rare coins, a Paul Revere plate, papers and other artifacts dating back to the 1600s. He said, he capsule was last dug up during emergency repairs to the State House in 1855 and put back in place when the cornerstone was reset. – WochitGeneralNews
BOSTON (AP) — Crews removed a time capsule dating back to 1795 on Thursday from the granite cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse, where historians believe it was originally placed by Revolutionary War luminaries Samuel Adams and Paul Revere among others.
The small time capsule is believed to contain items such as old coins, documents, newspapers and a metal plate that was owned by Revere. Secretary of State William Galvin speculated that some of the items could have deteriorated over time.
Official plan to X-ray the capsule on Sunday at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to get some idea of the contents and possibly details on their condition, then open it next week.
Originally made of cowhide, the time capsule was believed to have been embedded in the cornerstone when construction on the state Capitol began in 1795. Adams was governor of Massachusetts at the time.
The time capsule was removed in the mid-19th century and its contents transferred to a copper box, Galvin said. Its removal Thursday was due to an ongoing water filtration project at the building. Galvin said the plan is to return it to the site sometime next year.
Pamela Hatchfield, a conservator at the museum, was exhausted Thursday after spending hours chiseling and drilling on the massive cornerstone, taking care not to damage the time capsule or coins that were thrown in the mortar that held it in place.
She held up the capsule for viewing by state officials, reporters and contractors involved in the renovation of the Statehouse.
“It’s heavy,” Hatchfield said. “I feel happy and relieved and excited and really interested to see what’s in this box.”
Hatchfield said state officials did not know that the time capsule was embedded in the cornerstone until 60 years after some of the nation’s leading founding political figures put it there.
“It was first put in there in 1795 by Paul Revere and Sam Adams and was unearthed accidentally when in 1855 there were some amendments to the building,” Hatchfield said. “They put the contents back into a new box and placed it in a depression in the stone, which is on the underside.”
Galvin said there were notes from 1855 indicating that officials washed some of the contents in the capsule with acid before putting them in the new copper box.
It also was a humid day when the items were restored and, Galvin said, the corner of the Statehouse where the capsule was fixed has had a water leakage problem for 30 years.
“We have to see what held up since that time,” he said. “That’s the biggest question we have right now — are the contents in good condition or not?”
Galvin said the Massachusetts Statehouse is one of the oldest, active statehouses in the country.
“Obviously, when we talk about the original box being presided over by then-Gov. Sam Adams, Paul Revere, it’s pretty significant,” he said. “I’m very fond of saying … that the history of Massachusetts is the history of America, and it’s very true and this is another evidence of that.”
The excavation came just months after another time capsule was uncovered from the Old State House, which served as the state’s first seat of government. That long-forgotten time capsule, dating to 1901, turned up in a lion statue atop the building and, when opened, was found to contain a potpourri of well-preserved items including newspaper clippings, a book on foreign policy and a letter from journalists of the period.
But The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts AF & AM is not so sure that the newspapers have the correct take on the story. They call it the Paul Revere Time Capsule period and in a press release on the Grand Lodge site titled “1795 PAUL REVERE TIME CAPSULE RE-DISCOVERED“ has this to say:
On the morning of December 11th, 2014, a work crew removed the cornerstone from the Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill. Inside, they discovered what was initially being reported as a 1795 Paul Revere era time capsule with “previously unknown” contents.
Previously unknown? We beg to differ. Why? We were there! The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts has kept detailed proceedings of its activities since inception in 1733.
The town of Boston purchased a plot of land east of Beacon Hill in 1795 for $13,000 that was previously part of Governor John Hancock’s estate. That estate was then given to the state by the town for the purpose of constructing a new state house.
Governor Samuel Adams requested that the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts assist with the laying of the cornerstone, and saw to it that “the ceremony was performed in due form… with the usual rites of ancient Masonry.”
On July 4th of that year Governor Adams, Grand Master Revere, and Deputy Grand Master William Scollay laid the cornerstone after “the Grand Master had deposited under it a number of gold, silver, and copper coins, and a silver plate bearing an inscription” describing the event.
On August 7, 1855, while workmen were making repairs to the foundation of the State House, they “were surprised by the appearance of a few copper coins and a small leaden box… put together without the usual solder generally used by workers in that metal. This accidental discovery of the original cornerstone resulted in having the same plate and coins replaced without any special display under a new stone” in the same location (Freemason’s Monthly Magazine, Vol. XIV, p. 367).
Our records give a detailed account of the exact contents of the time capsule that has been rediscovered. Just like everyone else – we’re eager to see how well they have withstood the test of time.
Should the capsule be re-interred, we’d love to continue the tradition of laying the cornerstone in due form.
Among subsequent charges up the hill that day Dr. Joseph Warren, Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and a Major General was slain. This was a great loss for the Grand Lodge, for Massachusetts and for the Patriots who sought separation from British rule.
Interesting people do interesting things and some of the most interesting to me are Masonic artisans or craftsmen. The cream of the crop are those who are multi talented having expertise across a number of fields. When I wrote about Patrick Craddock I noted:
Successful people are multi- talented and multi-faceted people. If you take a look at Brothers David Naughton-Shires and Ryan Flynn you will notice that they have interests and expertise in a wide range of different areas. What they do in one field is buttressed by what they know in another. When you combine a working knowledge of mathematics, science, history and religion with such sub headings of scholarship perhaps such as numerology, sacred geometry, historical preservation, symbology, ancient mystery schools, Gnosticism, computer science and other such studies, you become a well rounded person able to pull from other areas for your vision.
Here are some of these multi talented Freemason artisans and craftsmen who have graced the pages of Freemason Information and Phoenixmasonry.
Now it is time to add another multi talented Masonic artisan to the group, Right Worshipful Brother Walter Hunt, Grand Historian for the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts AF & AM. Hunt is a most remarkable man who has been a writer all his life and a full time professional since 2001. He is the author of four science fiction novels by Tor Books – The Dark Wing series, which has been compared to the works of, Orson Scott Card, Frank Herbert, David Weber, and J.R.R. Tolkien. The series has been published in English and German and The Dark Wing has also appeared in Russian.
Since these works he has written “A Song In Stone,” which deals with the mystery of Rosslyn Chapel and the secrets of the Templars.
Hunt writes of his inspiration for A Song In Stone:
“In the summer of 2005, I had the opportunity to visit Rosslyn Chapel, an extraordinary site just seven miles from Edinburgh. The final scenes in the best-selling novel The DaVinci Code take place there; it’s said to be the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant and the Grail, among other things. It also has Masonic and Knight Templar connections. My tour guide that day was a fellow Mason, who was very knowledgeable about the place – both the traditional lore and the somewhat more esoteric stories. While I was standing with him in the northeast corner of the chapel – highly significant, that, as my fellow Masons will attest – he and I had a conversation similar to the one below.”
“Look up there,” he said, pointing to the ceilings. I could see the pendant bosses hanging down from the place where four arched supports met; each arch was decorated with hundreds of boxlike projections and an assortment of carvings and decorations – animal and human figures, angels and devils, nature emblems and Green men.
“Extraordinary,” I managed.
“Unlike anything else,” he said. “There are countless numbers of places of worship, holy places, all across Europe and the world. But this is different, Ian. This is not merely a work of art: it’s a text written in stone. More than that – it’s a song.”
“I don’t quite get your meaning. A song?”
“Take a look around the arches. There are seven slightly different shapes for those boxes. There are seven notes in the scale. In fact, if you’ve a good ear, you could strike each of them and hear a slightly different sound.
“Now imagine if all of them – there are more than fourteen hundred – were arranged as music . . . It’s the healing music of Rosslyn,” Madson said softly, looking away from me as if he were trying to remember something.
“I don’t think that was in my briefing.”
“No, it wouldn’t be,” he said. “But if it could be found . . .” “What happens then?”
“It heals the world.”
. . . And, as sometimes happens in my line of work, I had a moment of inspiration. A song, I thought. A whole plot dropped into my head; what if that song was truly the key to healing the world – what if it unlocked something of great importance? People have been trying to unlock the music for centuries; someone claims he’s actually done it, though my guide suggests that this falls short of the true “healing music”. But if the music was more complex, there might be an even more complex reason for it to have been encoded in the stones of the Chapel. From such small things are great things born. By the time I headed for home a week and a half later, I’d sketched out a plot for a new novel; by Labor Day there were five chapters. Within a year, there was an entire book. It was the first book I’ve written that isn’t part of the Dark Wing universe. The quoted portion above is from that book.
He goes on to describe Rosslyn Chapel:
The Apprentice Pillar, which is said to be tied to Freemasonic legend. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Even the dimensions have meaning. As I began to plan out the plot of A Song In Stone, I became more and more aware of the strange field of sacred geometry – the way in which medieval builders created remarkable structures without resorting to advanced mathematics, computer-aided design, or any other modern convenience. There is a great confluence between the Gothic architectural style and the mathematics of music. It shows at Rosslyn, at the great cathedrals such as Chartres (explored later in the book, and to be described in a later post) . . . and at Rosslyn as well. Rosslyn is rightly called a “mystery chapel” – and it deserves better than to be an anticlimactic footnote. From the Lady Chapel to the decorated ceiling, from the pillars to the sacristy, Rosslyn is full of little mysteries waiting to be discovered.
Lately Hunt has a few more irons in the fire. He is writing a sequel to A Song In Stone titled A Word In The Air.He is also working on another novel titled King & Country. “It’s an alternate-history timeline” he says, “an America with no United States; the American Revolution never happened. In fact, there is no hint of a revolution: the Atlantic colonies never consider the possibility of separation, because their relationship with the mother country is on a fundamentally different footing.”
Now so as you get the picture that is a very serious author who does not just dash off a bunch of words and slap them into a book, here is his reading list for research for this undertaking:
The Earlier Colonial Period
Andrews, Charles M. The Colonial Period of American History. This work is the definitive text on the colonial period. It is in four volumes, though Volume 1 and Volume 2 are the most important, as they provide the most complete descriptions on the origins of the British colonies (including offshore and Caribbean ones).
Bourne, Russell. Gods of War, Gods of Peace. An excellent insight into the religions of native societies as they came into contact with European ones.
Cordingly, David. Under the Black Flag. A real-life history of piracy, with considerable information on the lives of the most notorious pirates.
Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed. An excellent study of the cultural origins of English-speaking colonies in America. While not as historically in-depth as the Andrews book for facts and details, it’s an easier and more fluid read. 0195069056
Jones, Daniel P. The Economic and Social Transformation of Rural Rhode Island. A dry discussion of early Rhode Island economics, particularly informative for the period just after King Philip’s War. 1555531210
Mandell, Daniel.Behind the Frontier. A study of the role of native peoples in Massachusetts Bay Colony during the eighteenth century. This is a good companion piece to the excellent Taylor book on New York natives (see below). 0803282494
McCormick, Richard P. New Jersey From Colony To State. A Rutgers University study of the transformation of the Jersey shore settlements up to the creation of the United States. (New Jersey’s development is less linear and more complex than other colonies, so this is a very useful book.) 081350662X
Mason, Laura. Sugar-Plums and Sherbet. Subtitled “The Prehistory of Sweets”, this book is an insightful discussion of the development of sugar and sugar products. 1903018285
Peckham, Howard H. The Colonial Wars: 1689-1762. Detailed discussion of the “forgotten wars” in America (not forgotten here, needless to say!) prior to the French and Indian War. 0226653145
Salinger, Sharon V. Taverns and Drinking in Early America. A well-researched book about the culture of taverns and the social mores of drunkenness in colonial America. 0801878993
Singleton, Esther.Social New York Under the Georges. A wonderful source of information on New York life – furnishings, etc. – with pictures. Great stuff. 1406770493
Taylor, Alan. American Colonies. One of the best all-around books about colonial development in America. I had a conversation with a reenactor at Jamestown in the summer of 2007 who had some issues with Taylor’s conclusions, but the book is comprehensive and detailed. 0142002100
Vaughn, Alden P. The New England Frontier. A detailed discussion of relations with natives in New England during the seventeenth century (before King Philip’s War). 080612718X
Warden, G.B. Boston 1689-1776. The 19th of April was famous in New England long before the Revolution – it was the day that Bostonians took Sir Edmund Andros prisoner in Fort William. This very informative book begins with that event and takes the reader all the way through the coming of the American Revolution. B000NOYL1M
Zemsky, Robert. Merchants, Farmers and River Gods. Zemsky’s book is a study of leading citizens in Massachusetts Bay Colony prior to the Revolution. This B000KLXLY6
Buchan. Crowded With Genius.
McLynn. Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Preble. The Highland Clearances.
Schama, Simon. A History of Britain (3 vols, DVD)
Treasure. Who’s Who In Early Hanoverian Britain.
Treasure. Who’s Who In Late Hanoverian Britain.
French and Indian War
Anderson, Paul Crucible of War
Harvey A Few Bloody Noses
Jennings. Empire of Fortune
Parry Trade and Dominion
American Revolution Era
Allgor Parlor Politics
Middlekauff. The Glorious Cause
Middlekauff. Benjamin Franklin and His Enemies
Schecter. The Battle for New York
Early 19th Century
Key, Jane Holtz. Lost Boston. A photographic essay on the city of Boston, 1558495274
Middle 19th Century
Land and Sea Warfare
Black, Jeremy Warfare in the Eighteenth Century
Herman To Rule the Waves
Lavery, Ship of the Line (2 vols)
Hunt says this bibliography is a bit out of date as he has added to it. My goodness, that is a lot of reading to do for one book!
But before he completes this epic work he is going to publish a 1632 novel with the help of Eric Flint. It is set in 1636, and takes place mostly in the New World.
Hunt has still another work in progress, this one almost complete. The Book is title “Elements of Mind,” a novel that is set around 1860, and deals with mesmerism – a sort of pseudoscience that swept England in the middle 19th century. The principal characters are almost exclusively real people, though in many cases their histories have been altered or elaborated to fit the story.
Hunt doesn’t just limit himself to writing, however. He is also the designer of a board game called Rails of New England.
If this is all Hunt did it would be quite an accomplishment. Yet this man is also an active Freemason. Grand Historian,Right Worshipful Walter Hunt is a member of Norumbega Fraternity Lodge, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts AF & AM, which was originally a merger of Norumbega and Brookline Lodges, 03/12/1984, where Hunt was Master in 1993-1994 and then that merger merged with Fraternity & Fuller Lodge to form Norumbega Fraternity Lodge,10/05/2001. Hunt is also Past Master of Mount Hollis Lodge of the same jurisdiction where he served as Master in 1999 and 2006.
Hunt writes for the Trowel, the magazine of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts AF & AM. He has an ongoing series right now of in depth looks at Massachusetts Past Grand Masters you have never heard of. When the editorship of the Trowel became available recently Hunt was one of two semi finalists for the position.
Here is a list of articles that he has authored for the Trowel:
Summer 2009: “A Grand Historian For Our Grand Lodge.”
Winter 2009: “Masonic Team-Building.”
Spring 2010: “Our Grand Master Visits Our Brothers in Panama.”
Fall 2010: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: John Cutler and Samuel Dunn.”
Winter 2010: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Isaiah Thomas, Benjamin Russell – Printers, Patriots, Freemasons.”
Spring 2011: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Joseph Jenkins, John Abbot – The Builder of the Temple and the Defender of the Craft.”
Summer 2011: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Joshua B. Flint.”
Winter 2011: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Paul Dean – Careful Steward.”
Spring 2012: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: George Randall – Apostle in the Wilderness.”
Summer 2012: “Browsing the Proceedings of Grand Lodge.”
Fall 2012: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: John T. Heard.”
Winter 2012: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Augustus Peabody – A Profound Thinker and Good Man”
Spring 2013: “Grand Marshal to Grand Master.”
Summer 2013: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Charles C. Dame – The Fraternity Rebuilds.”
Fall 2013: “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: William Sewall Gardner – Holding the Scales in Equipoise.”
Spring 2014: (pending): “Grand Masters of Massachusetts: Claude LeRoy Allen – A Different Time.”
But his crowning Masonic achievement, the pièce de résistance , is his website Masonic Genealogy.
MasonicGenealogy is intended for use as a research tool for Masonic historians. It is the synthesis of readily-available sources presented in the form of a wiki, a searchable database consisting of pages connected by links. The content is constantly evolving and enlarging, and all material on the site is subject to change as new material becomes available.
Here is how this project came about in Hunt’s own words:
“The primary author was at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts at one of its Quarterly Communications in the fall of 2009, and met three Brothers from Rufus Putnam Lodge in Rutland, Massachusetts. These Brothers were interested in finding out information about their Lodge’s history.”
“Their initial inquiry ran up against one of the greatest problems with our otherwise-terrific Grand Lodge Library and its extensive records, the Proceedings which chronicle the doings of our Grand Lodge from 1733 to the present: there is no comprehensive index. There are indexes in some of the more than 140 volumes of the Proceedings (though not all), and there is a card catalog (incomplete) composed around 1951 that covers some (but not all) of the topics – people, places, lodges, events – from our long history. But there is no overall, up-to-date index.”
“And so began the quixotic notion of creating an index – by, as another of Masonic Genealogy’s principals says, “turning every page.” Thus, over a series of months, every page of the Proceedings from 1792 to the present has been turned (the work is ongoing). The site now contains pages for every lodge ever chartered, and virtually every lodge for which a dispensation was ever issued, in Massachusetts. Similar data sets exist for other states. There is a page for every year of the Grand Lodge’s history (the work is ongoing), listing all of the events of that year, in some cases illustrated by pictures from the Proceedings and elsewhere. Other topic pages are being developed; see the Current events page to see what exists and what’s new.”
It is real genius placing a cataloging system into a wiki. Hunt explains some of the benefits:
By referencing a Year page, the user can readily see the events of that year, including the Grand Master, the dates and events of Quarterly Communications, elections and decisions, and necrology information from that year. Each year also includes a summary of all lodges in existence during that year, both chartered and under dispensation.
By referencing a Location page, the user can see a list of all lodges that met in that place, along with the years they met there. It is intended eventually to list the building locations and information about those buildings, but that is not yet in place.
By referencing a Lodge page, the user can see information about the lodge of that name, along with a list of years the lodge was active; where the date appears in bold, there is a reference for that lodge in the corresponding year. Each lodge page also includes the charter and dispensation date, the Grand Master issuing the charter, the places it met, and the current disposition of its charter, if known.
From a layman’s point of view the wiki format has obvious advantages. It is on a database not web pages. It doesn’t exist until you click on it. There is no realistic limit to how much data you can enter. It’s easy to set up and has the ability to rapidly locate things. It is very fast!
And the links, did I mention the links? You can put links on a page which link to another page which has numerous links to other pages which when you link onto them have still more links. And this goes on forever and can bring you back to where you started. It’s like one big circle. Hunt says, “Think of a wiki as a roll top desk with pigeon holes.”
Some of the other advantages are that a wiki has an edit link for every page. It writes the html for you. Most wikis store old copies of pages and often will show you what changes you have made on those pages.
Creating New Pages Is Simple With Wikis: Wikis let you link to pages that don’t yet exist. Click on a link that points to a nonexistent page, and the wiki will ask you for initial content to put in the page. If you submit some initial content, the wiki will create the page. All links to that page (not just the one you clicked) will now point to the newly-created page.
Wikis Simplify Site Organization: As wikis work like hypertext databases, you can organize your page however you want. Many content management systems require you to plan classifications for your content before you actually create it. This can be helpful, but only if what you want to convey fits a rigid mould. With a wiki, you can organize your page into categories if you want, but you can also try other things. Instead of designing the site structure, many wiki site creators just let the structure grow with the content and the links inside their content. But you don’t have to have it either way. I do all three on my own site. Visitors can navigate the site by following a storyline, drilling down through a hierarchy, or they can just browse with the natural flow of the internal links. Without the wiki, such complexity would be a nightmare. Now that I use a wiki, I also find my site structure easier to manage than when I used a template system and a set of categories.
Wikis Keep Track of All Your Stuff: Because a wiki stores everything in an internal hypertext database, it knows about all your links and all your pages. So it’s easy for the wiki to show back links, a list of all the pages that linking to the current page. Since the wiki stores your document history, it can also list recent changes. Advanced wikis like the Wikipedia can even show a list of recent changes to pages that link to the current page.
Hunt tells us again, “A wiki grows organically. Take things in any order, in any time. Look at any page and see its history.”
Some come with me now to explore Masonic Genealogy. Under regional sections on the right click on Massachusetts. Click on Lodges and we will look up one of my former Lodges. Go to the P’s and click on Paul Revere. Now under Anniversaries or Visits by Grand Master, take your pick, click on 2006- 150th anniversary. Now we find ourselves on the Jeffrey Hodgdon Grand Master page for 2006. Scroll down the page to Special Communications and find 10/14 2006 Brockton. Click on Brockton and then Paul Revere and we are back where we started.
Now this is a very simple route that we took. But you might have noticed along the way all the options you had to go elsewhere and make a bigger circle or a longer route. The cross referencing in this wiki presents you with the best cross referencing you have ever seen and you can use it without getting lost.
Lately Hunt is working on expanding and explaining all the annotations in the pages of the Grand Constitution.
The bottom line is that this is a tremendous tool for research and getting to know your Grand Lodge. It is the new Grand Lodge Search Engine!
Walter Hunt, a historian, writer, author, science fiction buff, board game aficionado and Freemason is making his mark on society and Freemasonry. His Masonic Genealogy will be a model for every Lodge in the United States if not the world and will bring Grand Lodges fully into the 21st century Information Age with both feet.
Stories of Prince Hall & Mainstream interaction are popping out everywhere. And the beautiful aspect of it all is that there is great appreciation and joy at this intermingling. Brotherly love and affection prevail and every moral and social virtue cements Brothers of different traditions.
The Beehive reported recently the story of the Mainstream Grand Master of Michigan visiting a Prince Hall Lodge with many of his Michigan Brethren in “Bridging The Gap.” The latest example of this joyous cross visitation comes from a personal friend, Brother Tofique Fatehi from Mumbai, India. Brother Fatehi and I met on the Global Fraternal Network in the late 90s. Soon, thereafter, Brother Fatehi journeyed to Massachusetts to visit his son who is living here. When an opportunity to see the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team perform in Southern Maine arose, Tofique took the opportunity to accompany us and see US Mainstream Masonry.
Tofique returned this fall for another family visit and got in touch with me to see about visiting a Prince Hall Lodge in Massachusetts. I turned him over to the capable hands of Worshipful Jim Bennette of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, another good friend who has a strong relationship with Massachusetts Prince Hall.
Tofique reports in the Global Fraternal Network newsletter:
While in Massachusetts I visited a PH Lodge in Boston. Bro. Fred Milliken (now in Texas) arranged for my introductions. I attended the Widow Son Lodge in Dorchester (South Boston).
L to R – SW Otis Sams, WM Dexter McKenzie, Bro. Tofique Fatehi, JW Linus Eyong
Tofique reports that they rolled out the red carpet for him and he had a great time and was impressed by their ritual & knowledge.
All this goes to show that it is time now for all the old barriers to be taken down. We are in the second decade of the 21st century and the manner in which different races and cultures have heretofore interacted is a thing of the past. The future brings us all closer together in brotherly love and affection.
So let us all do our part to see that the state of Freemasonry in the world opens up into a celebration of its diversity and a new age of the expression of what Freemasonry truly exemplifies.
History, then and now, in the making, and your chance to help make it a reality for the Canton Viaduct Masonic Memorial. From the Milestone Public Flyer.
Canton Viaduct, Canton, Massachusetts, is the oldest railroad bridge of its kind in the world and it was the tallest and longest railroad bridge in the world when it was built in 1835.
Neponset River flowing under the Canton Viaduct
The Canton Viaduct is the longest and oldest stone viaduct in the Western Hemisphere. The foundation stone was laid in 1834, and it was completed in 1835 by operative stonemasons, many of whom were also Freemasons from area towns and Lodges.
To commemorate the viaduct’s 175th anniversary and the Freemasons who were involved in the construction of this historic structure, it is being proposed that a granite stone obelisk be erected in or near the Canton Viaduct Park next to the waterfall on the west side of the structure near the Neponset Street opening. It is very likely that all of the Towns in the area at that time had Freemasons who worked on the Canton Viaduct.
Masons Marks on the original arch of the Canton Viaduct
This summer or fall, a celebration commemorating the 175th anniversary of this National Historic Monument is expected to be held in Canton at the site of the structure. It is anticipated that numerous dignitaries, both Masonic and non-Masonic, will be in attendance.
It is hoped that this Monument and Milestone would remind all of the contributions of the Freemasons to the development of industry in America. The obelisk would be 8 feet tall in addition to a buried concrete, four foot deep foundation base on which it would stand. There would be a cavity to hold a small Time Capsule to be opened at the 300th anniversary of the construction of the Viaduct (A.D. 2135), have a number of Masonic
symbols carved into it, alluding to the industrial importance of the viaduct since it was so instrumental in jump-starting industry not only in this area, but in all of greater Boston, as well as the distance to Boston and the distance to the Massachusetts Grand Lodge in Boston.
The Freemason Square and Compasses carved in the Foundation Stone with the date of April 20, 1834.
Site work (hopefully this would be done by volunteers) would consist of laying cobblestones around the monument in a design such that the obelisk also served as a sun dial. If there is enough interest in funding this project, a Rough Ashlar and a Finished Ashlar would be placed on either side of the monument near the base. Ideally, an interpretive bronze plaque would have listed all the Lodges and donors who participated in the project and possibly donors who participated in Memorial’s construction.
Canton Viaduct cornerstone back inscription reads: “FOUNDATION STONE LAID APRIL 20, 1834.” The Operative or Craft Freemasons’ calendar year was 5834 A.L. (Anno Lucis – In the Year of Light).
This could be an excellent public relations tool for the local Freemasonry in general as well as local businesses who contribute in the area. The Time Capsule would also contain the names of donors and all those involved in the project to be remembered when it was opened 125 years from now.
The obelisk with all the carvings would cost approximately $6, 450. The Ashlars would be $125 to $150 each. Site work would be an additional $200 or so to cover the cost of cobble stones and other materials. The work is anticipated to be voluntary. Add another $200 for the cost of the base and time capsule. The upper estimate of cost for this project would be approximately $7,150, though that price could vary depending on several factors.
This grand project cannot happen without the cooperation and generous donations of Masons, local businesses, and individuals who would like to help ensure the construction of this highly visible icon to America’s Freemasons and their place in the history of building America. The Obelisk would essentially look like the diagram below.
Reserve a Space in the Time Capsule:
Donors who contribute $1,000 or more will be entitled to place an 8 inch X 11inch photo or document into the Time Capsule with whatever subject matter they choose. Those contributing $100 will be entitled to place a 2 inch X 3 inch photo or document of their choice into the Capsule. Please note, of course, that space is limited. The anticipated date of the opening of the Time Capsule is 2,135 AD, which is 300 years after the completion
of the Canton Viaduct.
For more information about this project please contact John Ciccotelli, Master of Blue Hill Lodge at: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call (508) 636-5253. If you would like to contribute to the success of this historic project, your tax deductible donations may be made out and sent to Blue Hill Lodge, A.F. & A. M., c/o Ralph Staples, Secretary, 28 Wardwell Road, Canton, MA 02021. Be sure to put Canton Viaduct Masonic Memorial on the Note at the bottom of the check. Donations can also be made through PayPal.
To do this, go to the PayPal website, type in the amount you want to donate, enter the email address: email@example.com and click submit. You willr eceive a verification of your donation from Blue Hill Lodge for your tax records.
The Freemason Square and Compasses carved in the Foundation Stone with the date of April 20, 1834. The foundation stone was laid on Sunday, April 20, 1834 with a Masonic foundation stone ceremony to give the structure a “soul” and ensure it’s stability. This day may have been chosen to coincide with Paul Revere’s Copper Mill founding in 1801 or the election of Jacques De Molay in 1292, the last Grand Master of the Knight’s Templar.
The majority of the B & P’s Board of Directors were Freemasons, including President Thomas B. Wales and Joseph W. Revere. President Wales was very involved in Freemasonry and gave three of his clipper ships Masonic names: Morning Star, Hesperus (Evening Star), and Templar. According to Masonic tradition, foundation stones are located in the northeast corner of structures with inscriptions such as the Masonic emblem (square and compasses) and the date, which would most likely contain a time capsule. Freemasons use Fibonacci numbers in their structures and there are examples of these “golden ration” numbers in the Canton Viaduct:
The inscription on the back of the cornerstone is recessed into an elongated octagon.
The original roadway portal was built through the eighth cavity from the south end.
There are 13 voussoirs in each river portal.
There are 21 voussoirs in each deck arch.
There are 21 deck arches on each side of the bridge.
There are 21 cavities in the bridge
Canton Viaduct cornerstone back inscription reads: “FOUNDATION STONE
LAID APRIL 20, 1834.” The Operative or Craft Freemasons’ calendar year was5834 A.L. (Anno Lucis – In the Year of Light).
Operative Freemasons laid the cornerstone (the final stone in the structure) in the south end of the west parapet. According to Masonic tradition this location was selected to it being the farthest distance from the foundation stone located in the northeast corner. There are no Masons marks on the front, back or sides of the cornerstone but there may be some on the other surfaces.
First I had the opportunity last week to speak at Lyles Middle School in Lexington, Massachusetts to the classes of a Lodge Brother who teaches history at the school. I managed to talk to four periods of combined classes, my subject being the first battle of the American Revolutionary War in Lexington, Massachusetts . I traced the development of the Minute Men from 1643 to 1775 and showed what a pivotal part they had to play in the early days of the Revolution before a standing army was conscripted.
Interwoven with the story was my own personal journey.
I spoke to the students about being born and brought up in Lexington, about being a member of DeMolay in Lexington and marching in the Patriot’s Day Parade, about joining Freemasonry and the Paul Revere Colonial Degree Team where I took the name of William Munroe, a Freemason who was a Sergeant in the Lexington Minutemen and who was stationed on an all night watch through the night of April 18, 1775 on the Lexington Green.
Six days later I attended one of the most intense Lodge meetings that the Pride of Mt. Pisgah #135, Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Texas has held in its existence. Pride of Mt. Pisgah is building a brand new Masonic building of its own, moving out of rented quarters when it is completed.
The land was purchased about six months ago but the red tape took a little while to make the transfer a reality. Now that hurdle has been accomplished we were able in this meeting to get down to concrete assignments and to plan a time frame for the raising of the building.
The Master had been busy between Communications handling permits and city of Dallas paperwork which is monumental. He also had been busy completing 501(c)3 paperwork and I drew the assignment to help finish completes this application as well as proof read it and making any last revisions.
We will be building a steel building and we voted at our meeting to accept the architectural plans and materials purchase to frame the building. Assignments were handed out to get bids on a general contractor, electrician, plumber etc. Much of the building will be sweat equity. We are going to be doing a lot of the inside work ourselves. So I can see many days of hard labor ahead of us. We have set a September ground breaking date and a January completion date.
But there is one thing I am sure of. All the wages will be paid and none will go away dissatisfied. This story is far from over and you will be reading many serial follow ups to our progress. As this small Lodge takes upon itself a task that is all consuming and far reaching I ask for your prayers that this project will have a fruitful ending.
Lexington, Massachusetts – Are you registered yet?
This has been posted a few times, but some changes to the schedule have been made, and your shot at early registration is coming to a close, so if your in or around the Lexington Mass area, you need to attend this symposium!
Registration deadline draws near! Register by March 24, 2010.
On April 9, 2010, the National Heritage Museum, in Lexington, Massachusetts, will hold a symposium, “New Perspectives on American Freemasonry and Fraternalism.”
The symposium seeks to present the newest research on American fraternal groups from the past through the present day. By 1900, over 250 American fraternal groups existed, numbering six million members. The study of their activities and influence in the United States, past and present, offers the potential for new interpretations of American society and culture.
Jessica Harland-Jacobs, Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida, and author of Builders of Empire: Freemasonry and British Imperialism, 1717-1927, will open the day with a key note titled “Worlds of Brothers,” Harland-Jacobs’ paper will survey and assess the scholarship on American fraternalism and Freemasonry. Drawing on examples from the 1700s, 1800s and 1900s, she will demonstrate that applying world history methodologies pays great dividends for our understanding of fraternalism as a historical phenomenon. Harland-Jacobs will conclude with some thoughts on how global perspectives can benefit contemporary American brotherhoods.
Professor Harlan Jacobs was a guest in Masonic Central in 2008.
Six scholars from the United States, Canada, and Britain will fill the day’s program:
Ami Pflugran-Jackisch, Assistant Professor of History, University of Michigan – Flint, “Brothers of a Vow: Secret Fraternal Orders in Antebellum Virginia”
Hannah M. Lane, Assistant Professor, Mount Allison University, “Freemasonry and Identity/ies in 19th-Century New Brunswick and Eastern Maine”
Nicholas Bell, Curator, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, “An Ark of the New Republic”
David Bjelajac, Professor of Art History, George Washington University, “Freemasonry, Thomas Cole (1801-1848) and the Fraternal Ethos of American Art”
Kristofer Allerfeldt, Exeter University, “Nationalism, Masons, Klansmen and Kansas in the 1920s”
Adam G. Kendall, Henry W. Coil Library and Museum, “Klad in White Hoods and Aprons: American Fraternal Identities, Freemasonry, and the Ku Klux Klan in California, 1921-1928”
Adam was a guest on Masonic Central in 2008.
The symposium is funded in part by the Supreme Council, 33°, N. M. J., U.S.A. Registration is $50 ($45 for museum members) and includes morning refreshments, lunch and a closing reception.