War of the Rebellion


The History of Freemasonry in America is almost synonymous with the history of our country.  Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, and John Hancock were among the early Patriots who were Masons.  One of the most famous Lodges in the New World was St. Andrew's Lodge which met at the Green Dragon Tavern in Boston.  Many historians are convinced that the participants in the Boston Tea Party were members of that Lodge.  Joseph Warren received his degrees in this Lodge and it is believed that he was involved in the Tea Party.

Peyton Randolph, the first President of the Continental Congress was Provincial Grand Master of Masons in the Virginia Colony.  He died on the floor of the Second Congress in 1775.

Benjamin Franklin was Grand Master of Masons in Pennsylvania.  It is believed that through his influences and strong Masonic ties in France and the rest of Europe, Masonic stalwarts such as Lafayette and Baron Von Steuben came to the aid of the Colonies.

At the Battles of Saratoga September 9 & October 7, 1777, General Burgoyne surrendered to General Horatio Gates.  On October 17, 1877, Grand Master J.J. Couch laid the cornerstone of the monument in Schuylerville commemorating that battle.  The monument has four carved niches; three of which are filled with groups of bronze figures representing the three famous colonial generals who participated in the battle:  Schuyler, Gates, & Daniel Morgan.  The fourth niche is vacant with a solitary word "ARNOLD" to remind us that the glory Benedict Arnold won at Saratoga would be later lost in his treason at West Point.  Had Arnold died in that battle instead of just losing his leg, he would have been remembered as a great American Hero.  All four men were Masons.  Another famous general at the battle was Kosciusko, who was also a Mason.


Monument in Saratoga


After the Revolution, the American Grand Lodges became sovereign and independent.  Eventually a Grand Lodge was created in every State.

Attending the first inauguration of George Washington, at which the St. John's Bible was used, was a Who's Who of Freemasonry in New York State.  They included:

  • New York Chancellor Robert Livingston, then Grand Master of N.Y.  Masons, administered the Oath of Office to the First President of the United States;

  •  The President-elect was escorted by selected military units commanded by General William Malcolm (a Mason), with Morgan Lewis (later Grand Master of New York), and Jacob Morton and Leonard Bleecker as aides (both prominent Masons);

  •  Jacob Morton was the Grand Secretary of Grand Lodge and Master of St. John's Lodge No. 1 (the owner of the Washington Bible), at the time, later became Grand Master of New York;

  •  Surrounding Washington at the inauguration were: Richard Henry Lee, Henry Knox, Arthur St. Clair, Baron Von Steuben, House Speaker Frederick A.C. Mulenberg, and New York Governor George Clinton, all Masons.  George Clinton was later to become the Vice-President of the United States.  He was also the uncle of the future Governor and Grand Master DeWitt Clinton who was present at the inaugural.

On September 18, 1793 Washington laid the cornerstone for the Capitol in full Masonic ritual.  The trowel he used was later utilized by the Grand Master of Virginia to lay the cornerstone of the Washington Monument on July 4, 1848.  Both the trowel and the apron used by Washington are kept at the Washington Masonic National Monument in Alexandria, Virginia.

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