Copyright 2013-2014© Centre Lodge #273
From U.S. presidents to top athletes, Founding Fathers to legendary writers, Freemasons can be found in almost every field. Here are some of the most notable members, representing a wide variety of professions.
More than a dozen U.S. presidents were members of this fraternal organization, including George Washington , who earned the distinguished title of master Mason. James Monroe and Andrew Jackson also were Masons, and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are said to have had connections to the organization. Presidents of the 20th century that were members: William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, William H. Taft, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Gerald Ford. Lyndon B. Johnson was initiated but completed only the first of the three Masonic degrees.
Benjamin Franklin became a grand master in 1734 and edited and published the first Masonic book in America that same year. Thomas Paine wrote An Essay on the Origin of Free-Masonry in the early 19th century and was suspected of being a Mason. Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, and Francis Scott Key are also believed to have been Masons or at the very least to have had Masonic connections. Other Founding Fathers and Patriots who were Masons: John Hancock, Paul Revere, Elbridge Gerry, Josiah Bartlett, and George Clinton.
Many Masons have walked the halls of Congress or resided in governor's mansions. Congressmen Henry Clay, Nelson Aldrich, and William Jennings Bryan were members. More recently, Sens. Birch Bayh, Lloyd Bentsen, Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and Sam Ervin were Masons. So were the father and grandfather of Sen. John McCain. Former senators Bob Dole, Trent Lott, Conrad Burns, and Sam Nunn are Masons, as are Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Charles Rangel. Famous Masonic governors include DeWitt Clinton, Thomas Dewey, George Wallace, George Ryan, Ed Rendell, and David Paterson. Longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover also was a member.
Many Masons made their names on the battlefield. Some of the earliest were John Paul Jones and the Marquis de Lafayette, heroes of the American Revolution. Benedict Arnold was a noted Mason. Many generals who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War were members of the same fraternal order, including the Confederacy's George Pickett and the Union's Joshua Chamberlain, both of whom fought at Gettysburg. World War II generals Omar Bradley and Douglas MacArthur and Adm. Arleigh Burke also were prominent Masons.
The organization has had its fair share of comedic talent over the years, including Bud Abbot, W. C. Fields, Harpo Marx, Oliver Hardy, Will Rogers, Red Skelton, Peter Sellers, Richard Pryor, Don Rickles, and Michael Richards. Classic screen stars Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Clark Gable, and Ernest Borgnine and directors Cecille B. DeMille and Billy Wilder were Masons. Western film stars Gene Autry, John Wayne, Glenn Ford, Tex Ritter, and Roy Rogers also were members. Magician Harry Houdini, Wild West showman "Buffalo Bill" Cody, and all seven of the Ringling brothers (founders of the circus bearing their name) were Masons, as was Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and many other Looney Tunes characters.
Throughout the years, the Masons have attracted many adventurers. Davy Crockett was a Mason, as was James Bowie, who met his end at the Alamo on the same day as Crockett. Daniel Boone was a member as well. So were Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston, Kit Carson, and Moses Cleaveland, who all have major U.S. cities named after them (Austin and Houston in Texas; Carson City, Nev.; and Cleveland, though the name of the Ohio city is spelled differently). Both Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were members. Richard Evelyn Byrd, who claimed to be the first to fly over the North Pole, called himself a member, as did Charles Lindbergh. Many astronauts are also members, including John Glenn and Edwin Eugene "Buzz" Aldrin, who brought a Masonic flag to the moon in 1969.
Heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey was a Mason, as was fellow boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Golf legend Arnold Palmer has been a member since 1958. Baseball is heavily represented in the organization; members include Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Bob Feller, Willie Mays, and Cy Young. Hockey great Tim Horton, who founded Canada's largest fast-food restaurant chain, was part of the organization. So was basketball coach Red Auerbach and basketball's inventor, James Naismith.
Tim Horton was not the only fast-food maven among the Masons. Dave Thomas (founder of Wendy's), Bob Evans, and Harland Sanders ("the colonel," founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken) also were members. In fact, Sanders's gravestone bears the Masonic square and compasses. Fur trader John Jacob Astor and oilman Edwin Drake were members. Other Masons include Samuel Colt, who popularized the revolver; safety razor inventor King Camp Gillette; Frank Hoover of Hoover vacuums; penicillin inventor Alexander Fleming; Daniel Carter Beard, who helped establish the Boy Scouts of America; Red Cross founder Henry Dunant; James Cash Penney, who started J.C. Penney; and automotive pioneers Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler, and André Citroën.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, is one of many esteemed writers who were members of the organization. Another famous man who wrote under a pen name—François-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire—was a member, as were Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, Jonathan Swift, the poet Robert Burns, and the playwright Oscar Wilde.
The Masons are known for their interest in architecture, so it's no surprise that many renowned artists are members, including Frederic Bartholdi, the French sculptor who designed the Statue of Liberty; Gustav Eiffel, the designer of the tower that bears his name; and father and son sculptors Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum, who carved Mount Rushmore. Painters Marc Chagall and Charles Willson Peale also were Masons.
Freemasons can be found almost anywhere. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Latin American politicians Simón Bolívar and Salvador Allende were Masons, as was Winston Churchill. Napoleon is generally believed to have been a member. Others suspected of having Masonic ties include Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin, King Hussein of Jordan, Binyamin Netanyahu, Tony Blair, and Prince Philip, husband of England's Queen Elizabeth II.
Source: US News & World Report
It was a time not long after Fort Sumter and The War of Northern Aggression was well under way. The Yankees, as they are still wont to do, had promptly flocked to Hilton Head and Tybee Islands, the barrier islands on opposite sides of the mouth of the Savannah River. The Savannah Folks didn't mind much that the Yankees had stolen the good beaches, for the water was still a bit cool for Southern preferences and, besides, they knew the gnats and mosquitoes would teach the Yankees a lesson they'd never forget. So, the Southerners, as Southerners are wont to do sometimes, just waited.
They didn't have to wait very long before the Yankees on Hilton Head sent out a messenger under a white flag. It seemed that the Yankees had among them a young fellow who had passed through the Fellow Craft Degree before shipping out. The Yanks were just sitting around slapping gnats when it occurred to one of them that, just maybe, there was a nearby lodge that could test him in the Fellow Craft Degree and raise him to that of a Master Mason.
As luck would have it, there was indeed a lodge in Savannah that would soon be having a Masters Degree.
One morning, not too many days later, a detail of Confederate Cavalry slipped across the Savannah River into South Carolina and traveled through Bluffton to the shore opposite Hilton Head Island.
From there they escorted one Fellow Craft Mason and, I believe, a number of Master Masons of the Northern Persuasion, safely through the Confederate Lines and back through about 35 miles of Confederate defenses to Savannah where the candidate and his witnesses were delivered into the lodge.
The records note that this Brother was indeed proficient in the Fellow Craft Degree and he was raised to the Degree of a Master Mason.
That night another detail of Confederate Cavalry, no doubt Brothers to a man, slipped back across the Savannah River and safely escorted their Brothers back to Hilton Head.
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."
AF and AM vs F and AM States
What is the difference between AF and AM vs F and AM STATES?
AF and AM stands for Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.
F and AM stands for Free and Accepted Masons.
In actuality, it does not matter whether you join an AF & AM lodge or an F & AM lodge in the United States.
In the U.S., every regular lodge is under the jurisdiction of its state Grand Lodge. Due to the fact that there is no Grand Lodge Headquarters for each state's separate Grand Lodge, each state's Grand Lodge is, therefore, its own "headquarters" within that state's jurisdiction.
All Freemasons, both AF & AM (which means Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, as well as F & AM, which means Free and Accepted Masons, trace their allegorical history back to the building of Solomon's temple in the Holy Scriptures.
Freemasonry was exported to the British Colonies in North America in the 1730s—with both the "Ancients" (sometimes also referred to as "Antients") and the "Moderns" (as well as the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland) which chartered offspring ("daughter") lodges, and organized various Provincial Grand Lodges.
After the American Revolution, independent U.S. Grand Lodges formed within each state.