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Masonic History

Officially, the Grand Lodge of England was founded in London on St. John the Baptist's day, 24 June 1717, when four existing Lodges gathered at the Goose and Gridiron Ale-house in St. Paul's Church-yard in London and constituted themselves a Grand Lodge.

In 1733, Henry Price, the Provincial Grand Master over all of North America for the Grand Lodge of England, granted a charter to a group of Boston Freemasons. This lodge was later named St. John's Lodge and was the first duly constituted lodge in America.

US Presidents that were Freemasons

George Washington

George Washington was president from 1789 to 1797. At 20 years in 1753, he became a Mason. It is said that he might have attended about nine Masonic lodge meetings for the rest of his 46 years. He wrote letters where he stated he was glad to be a Mason.

James Monroe

He was in office from 1817 to 1825. In 1775, he became an Apprentice in Williamsburg Lodge at Williamsburg, VA. Records indicate that he may have been a Master Mason in 1776.

Andrew Jackson

President Jackson was in office from 1829 to 1837. There are suggestions that President Jackson turned into a Mason in Tennessee in Harmony lodge No. 1. It is believed that he attended Clover Bottom Lodge. President Jackson was a very active Freemason and from 1822 to 1823, he was the Grand Master of Tennessee Masons.

James K. Polk

He was in office from 1845 to 1849. He became a Master Mason in 1820 in Columbia Lodge No. 31. As a Freemason, he helped in the founding of Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC in 1847.

James Buchanan

President between 1857 and 1861 and became a Master Mason in 1817. His lodge was Lancaster Lodge and he was Junior Warden here from 1821 to 1822, and in 1825 he was the Worshipful Master. Later, he became Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania’s Deputy Grand Master.

Andrew Johnson

Johnson was in office between 1865 and 1869. He was Master Mason in 1851 at Greeneville Lodge in Greeneville, Tenn. In 1851 he was possibly an associate of Greeneville Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. He became a member of the fraternity after he finished his term as Senator in 1843.

James A. Garfield

He was president in 1881 and in 1864 became Master Mason in EA & FC Magnolia Lodge No. 20 in Columbus Ohio.  He is said to have been a Chaplain in a lodge where he was a member.

William McKinley

McKinley was president between 1897 and 1901 and became Master Mason in 1865. In 1867, McKinley was associated with Canton Lodge No. 60 at Canton, Ohio and afterwards became Eagle Lodge No. 43’s charter member

Theodore Roosevelt

He was president between 1901 and 1909 and in 1901 became Master Mason in Matinecock Lodge No. 806, Oyster Bay, NY. He was very supportive and active. He once remarked that Masonry appealed to him as it assisted in realizing what his government had vowed to do, that is, treat each man on their own merit.

William H. Taft

William was president between 1909 and 1913. In 1901 he became a Master Mason in Cincinnati, Ohio at Sight, Kilwinning Lodge No. 356. He was active and supported Freemasonry a lot.

Warren G. Harding

He was president between 1921 and 1923.  In 1901 in Lodge No. 70 in Marion, Ohio, he got his Entered Apprentice Degree. He did not attain another degree until he became president.

Franklin D. Roosevelt

He became president in 1933 up to 1945. In 1911, he became Master Mason in Holland Lodge No. 8 in New York and was very active and supportive of Freemasonry.

Harry S. Truman

Truman was in office from 1945 to 1953. In 1909 he became Master Mason at Belton Lodge No. 450 in Grandview and was Missouri Grand Master between 1940 and 1941. He was a very active member and supported Freemasonry.

Gerald R. Ford

He was president from 1974 to 1977. He became Master Mason in 1951 at Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 1949 he was initiated at Malta Lodge together with his step brothers. He was made Grand Master in 1975 in Orlando Florida up to 1977.

Lyndon B. Johnson

He was president between 1963 and 1969. His initiation was carried out in 1937 at Johnson City, Texas in1937, in Johnson City Lodge. However, he did not finish his degrees. He was just an entered apprentice.

Future Farmers of America

In September 1925, four members of the faculty of Virginia Polytechnic Institute located at Blacksburg, Virginia, were discussing agriculture students. They decided such students should have an organization for self-expression and pride in their farm background. Out of this discussion grew the Future Farmers of America. The FFA has degrees and rituals similar to Masonic rituals. The logo of the FFA contains the rising sun, an eagle, an owl, a plow and an ear of corn. Their colors are blue and yellow. Today the FFA has more than 400,000 members nationwide.

The four founders were all Masons.

  • Walter S. Newman Purdie Lodge #170, Windsor, VA

  • Edmond C. McGill Hunters Lodge #156, Blacksburg, VA

  • H.W. Sanders Glen Allen Lodge #131, Glen Allen, VA Henry

  • C. Groseclose Sr. Ivanhoe Lodge #235, Wytheville, VA

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