The Reading Room Archive: Did You Know?

These selections from "Did You Know"
     Submitted by WB Wayne Carter,
     Source: DID YOU KNOW, Published by Missouri Masonic Lodge of Research, 1965

(Whenever possible, credit is given to the source or sources of these materials.  Should you recognize anything which could be better attributed, please notify the webmaster!  Note also that the webmaster, and most especially Aurora Lodge 156, do not certify the accuracy of these items.  They are here for the inquiring mind to partake and enjoy, not as absolute truths.)

When King Charles XIII of Sweden was Duke of Sudermania, he rewrote the entire masonic ritual for his country in 1778. 
  On taking the throne in 1809, he created the eleventh degree of the Swedish Rite - The Civil Order of Charles XIII. 

  The first aprons were badges of disgrace.  The first reference to clothing in the volume of the sacred law is found in Genesis
  3.7, where we read that Adam and Eve on realizing the nature of their transgression "sewed fig leaves together and made
  themselves aprons." 

Drs. John Davis Vincil (PGM 1866 and 1868), C.C. Woods (PGM 1882), and Corona H. Briggs (PGM 1899), all Methodist Preachers and all Past Grand Masters, took the principal stations in conferring first and third degrees on Dr. Arthur Mather, another Methodist minister in his St. Louis Church.

Alexander I, Czar of Russia 1801-1825, banned freemasonry in 1801;  Rescinded his order in 1803 and became a member (probably for political purposes);  but again outlawed the fraternity in 1822.


The Reverend Josiah Henson was believed to be the "Uncle Tom" of Harriet Beecher Stowe's, "Uncle Tom's Cabin".  The Reverend was a Negro slave, he escaped to Canada in 1830 and is buried at Dresden Ontario.  On his grave is inscribed the Square and Compass.

California's first Masonic funeral service was given in 1849 over the body of an unknown brother found drowned in San Francisco bay.   A silver mark of a Mark Master was found on the body.  Tattooed on his left arm were all the emblems of an Entered Apprentice.  On his right arm were the emblems of a Fellowcraft.  On the left breast were the lights of Masonry, and over the heart was the pot of incense.   Tattoos on other parts of his body were the beehive, the sword and heart, the all-seeing eye, the hourglass, sun, moon, stars and comet, the three steps, weeping virgin and Father Time with his scythe.

MEETING IN LOW VALE;    On April 10, 1936, Winnedumah Lodge No. 287 of Bishop, California, held a meeting on the floor of Death Valley, 270 feet below sea level - the lowest place on the continent.  50 Lodges from 10 States were represented.

A prolific brother:

Edward N. Hines  (1870- 1938), a member of Ashlar Lodge No. 91, Detroit, Michigan, not only designed and built the first mile of concrete road in America, but originated the White Line to separate traffic lanes and in 1893 published the first road tourbook.

 Charles Warren Nash was born on a farm near Demant Illinois.  His parents split up when he was six.  As a ward of the
  County Court he was bound out to a farmer.  The farmer was a harsh taskmaster, altogether making  life miserable for the
  boy.  At the age of twelve he walked away and obtained another job.  He was offered a job in the 1890's as a blacksmith
  in the Flint Road Cart Company.  Through his inventions and work habits he became the President of the Durant-Dort
  Carriage Company in 1901.  He became a mason in 1899. But the real story is that he became the President of Buick,
  then General Motors (which was Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and GMC truck).  He was famous for his Nash Car
  Company and lastly the Nash-Kelvinator (the forerunner of AMC Motor Corp). 
      Condensed from The Long Road to Kenosha, The Philalethes, Feb 1999 

Pope Pius IX (Giuseppe Maria Ferrero Mastai Ferretti) joined Freemasonry in Santiago, Chile, in 1832, while a young priest.  He was the secretary of the Papal Nuncio at the time.

Declared a woman by Royal Decree!  King Louis XVI of France ordereed "Chevalier D'eon," a French political adventurer and member of a London lodge, to wear woman's clothing for the rest of "his" life.

Since New Hampshire became a state in 1785, up to 1965, forty of the sixty-nine governors have been freemasons.  Five of them became Grand Masters.

An Ex-President, a President, and two future Argentine Presidents knelt together at the alter of Union Del Plata Lodge.  The were General JJ Urquiza (1854-60), Santiago Derqui (1860-62), General Bartolome Mitre (1862-68), and Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1868-74).

Honorable Mrs. Elizabeth Aldworth, Daughter of Lord Doneraile of County Cork, Ireland, received the First and Second degrees as a girl.  Curiosity prompted her to conceal herself in the lodge held at Doneraile Court, and upon her discovery, it was decided to admit her as a member to solve the predicament.

In 1965, Chicago had three American Legion Posts whose memberships were composed entirely of Masons:   They were (and maybe still are) Theodore Roosevelt Post, Square Post and Trowel Post.

Brother OKAH TUBBEE, a Choctaw Indian, addressed the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire in 1848 and led a discussion on establishing Masonic Lodges among the Tribes "  now located in the Indian Territory"

Every Governor of Wyoming from its founding in 1890 until 1951 was a freemason - with one exception - Mrs. William A. Ross, who was the wife of a Freemason and herself a member of the Eastern Star.

Additional material provided by W.B. Wayne Carter, 
from Masonic Quiz Book 1949, 1950

Joseph Brant was a Mohawk Indian who was initiated into Masonry in London in 1776.  While in command of some Indian troops in the British service, he was to prepare Captain McKinsty, an officer in the Colonial army for torture, when he noticed the mystic appeal in the hour of danger, whereupon he interposed and saved his brother from his impending fate.  He rescued 
McKinsty, took him to Quebec, and placed him in the hands of English Masons, who eventually returned him,  uninjured to the American outposts.  Years afterwards Brant visited McKinsty at his home in Greendale N.Y.

Kilwinning Crosse Lodge No. 2-237-1 holds the oldest charter in the State of Virginia.  Dated December 1st, 1755, the application used the name of Kilwinning Port Royal Crosse Lodge for chartering. 
They received a second charter from the Grand Lodge of Virginia, December 3rd, 1796.  Becoming dormant, it received a third charter December 12th, 1855, but lived only four years.  It is now operating under a fourth charter issued December 14th, 1881.  It is now No. 237 and all these charters are in possession of the present Lodge.  During the Civil War, Union troops raided
the Lodge rooms and carried away much of its belongings.  Some of the articles were restored in 1885 to 1887 which had originally come from Scotland.  The records from 1754 to 1859 were found in an Antiquarian shop in Philadelphia in 1909.  These records furnish the data given here.

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