Masonic History and Trivia
MASONIC COIN AS LEGAL TENDER
In 1794 a Masonic token was minted in honor of the Prince of Wales in England. A son of George III, he later became George the IV. From 1790 to 1813 he served the Grand Lodge of England (Moderns) as Grand Master. The ordinator of the coin was Brother James Sketchley of Birmingham who created the coin to commemorate the election of the Prince as Grand Master. These coins were so superior in their copper content that they readily became tender. In 1817 they they were withdrawn from circulation by government order. Brother Judson L. Parker, editor of Masonic Temple Topics, Chicago, has been collecting these coins and presenting them to distinguished Brethren. More than 350 have been distributed.
NON-MASON DISCOVERS RARE MASONIC DOCUMENT
James O. Halliwell-Phillips, and English antiquarian and librarian, was not a Mason. While engaged in his work, he came across a manuscript in the British Museum catalogued as A Poem of Moral Duty. It was really a statement of the “Old Charges” in poetic form. It is believed to have been prepared in 1390, thus making it the oldest known Masonic document. Now called the Regius Poem, or the Halliwell Manuscript, it was published in 1840 in a brochure entitled On the Introduction of Freemasonry into England.
THE MASONIC OAK OF TEXAS
In 1835 a group of Masons met under a large oak tree in Brazoria, Texas, and took the first step to form Holland Lodge No. 1. The tree, known as the Masonic Oak, has continued to grow and is still in existance.
On May 15, 1966, the Masons of Texas made a pilgrimage to the Oak. There was singing, dinner, preaching and much fun. The Grand Master, H. W. Fullingim, dedicated the place by placing a Texas State Historical Marker near the Oak to commemorate the start of the lodge there.
ALBERT PIKE’S MASONIC LIBRARY SAVED BY ENEMY BROTHER
A Union general, Thomas H. Benton, Grand Master in Iowa, 1860 – 1862, saved Albert Pikes Masonic Library at Little Rock, Arkansas, by placing Federal Troops around Pike’s home when the city was invaded during the Civil War.
UP IN THE WORLD
The lodge with the highest meeting place on the globe is Roof of the World Lodge No. 1094, of Oroya, Peru. The elevation of the lodge room in the Andes Mountains is 14,167 above see level. The closet competitor in the United States is Corinthian Lodge No. 35 at Leadsville, Colorado elevation about 10,200 feet.
MUSIC FOR OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM
John Stafford Smith (1750-1836), a member of Royakl Somerset House and Inverness Lodge No. 4, London, wrote the music which became our national anthem. Its original use is not known, but at an early date it was use by an Irish Masonic orphans’ Home as its song. when Francis Scott Key utilized this music for the Stat Spangled Banner, it was a popular drinking song known as To Anacreon in heaven.
QUICK CHANGES OF MIND
Alexander I, Czar of Russia form 1801 to 1825, banned the Craft in Russia in 1801. He rescinded the order in 1803 and became a Freemason, probably for political reasons; but in 1822 he again banned Freemasonry in Russia.
ELEVATORS THAT RUN SIDEWAYS
In order to have unbroken floor space in the George Washington memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, the cars in two elevator shafts move sideways thirty-five feet. As the elevators rise 255 feet in two slanting hoist-ways from the main floor to the observation platform at the top of the building, it moves sideways 1 foot for approximately every 7.28 feet it ascends or descends.
FAMOUS INDIAN MASON
Ely S. Parker, a full-blooded Indian chief, was the grandson of Red Jacket, a close friend of George Washington. He was a Union Brigadier General in the Civil War, and served as General Grant’s secretary. He was raised in Batavia Lodge No. 88, Batavia, New York, and later affiliated with Valley Lodge No. 109. He demitted and became a founder and first Worshipful Master of Akron Lodge No. 527 of New York. Ely Parker Lodge No. 1002 of Buffalo, New York. is named after him.
WHY PRESIDENT McKINLEY BECAME A MASON
When General Horatio King asked William McKinley how he happen to become a Mason he explained: “After the Battle of Opequam, I went with our surgeon of our Ohio regiment to the field where there were about 5,000 Confederate prisoners under guard. Almost as soon as we passed the guard, I noticed the doctor shook the hands with a number of Confederate prisoners. He also took from his pocket a roll of bills and distributed all he had among them. Boy-like, I looked on in wonderment; I didn’t know what it all meant. On the way back from camp I asked him:
“Did you know these men or ever see them before?”
“No,” replied the doctor, “I never saw them before.”
“But,” I persisted, “You gave them a lot of money, all you had about you. Do you ever expect to get it back?”
“Well'” said the doctor, “If they are able to pay me back, they will. But it makes no difference to me; they are brother Masons in trouble and I am only doing my duty.”
“I said to myself, If that is Freemasonry I will take some of it for myself.”
James M. Tolley PM
Putnam Lodge 139