Modern fiction writers avoid mention of the
Masonic Fraternity in their writings. Yet, just a
few decades ago, we found many authors who
recognized the Ancient Craft as an integral part
of the community.
Brother Rudyard Kipling, in many of his
stories, and in many of his poems, found ways
to weave Freemasonry into his tales. He was an
ardent and active Mason.
Brother and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who
created the characters of Sherlock Holmes and
Dr. Watson, was a member of Phoenix Lodge
No. 257 in Portsmouth, England. His writings
contain many references to Freemasonry.
Most Worshipful Brother Carl H. Claudy,
long-time Executive Secretary of the Masonic
Service Association of the U.S., was probably
the most prolific writer of American Masonic fiction. His The Lion's Paw is a delightful novel
with a Masonic background. His Masonic plays
At the turn of the century, many novels contained references to the Masonic lodge as a focal
point in the community, or references to Masons
as the outstanding pillars of behavior.
Somewhere along the line, either we have lost
some of our Masonic luster or the art of story
telling has become blind to our existence.
It was a refreshing experience for the Masonic
Service Association to receive the following two
gems of fiction for consideration as a Short Talk
Bulletin. The author, Wor. Bro. William W.
Price of Vacaville Lodge No. 134 in Vacaville,
California, reports that he had an urge to put
some of his feelings and memories into writing.
He stated that each contains situations based
upon real people and places that had very deep
and lasting effects upon his Masonic life. In these
stories their love and dedication for the Craft
For your enjoyment and inspiration we are
pleased to share them with you.
The Last Stated
It was Friday night and the wind was blowing
and there was a chill in the air, uncommonly cool
for June. The street where the old Temple was
located was desolate and dark.
The aging Tiler took out his keys and opened
the large door to the old Temple. He turned on
the Square and Compass over the door and it
shone brilliantly in the darkness. He slowly
climbed the twenty-seven stairs as he had done
for the past fifty years.
"It is a Stated tonight" he said to himself, "all
the brethren will be here and everything must be
in its proper place and station."
He opened the door to the paraphernalia
room. There was a mustiness which he no longer
seemed to notice. The rods of the Deacons and
Stewards hung on the right, the jewels of the officers on hooks on the wall, and the aprons were stored in the old wooden box. Ever so gently,
he took them and arranged the Lodge with loving care. He then opened the altar, took out the
Holy Bible, Square and Compass and laid them
so reverently on the altar. He checked the lesser
lights, and all three were working. "The Master
always wanted them checked before he opened
the Lodge" he remembered. He then turned the
letter "G" on and observed that it shone particularly bright tonight. He then turned all the
lights off except the "G" because he always enjoyed looking at it that way. He also turned on
the light over the altar even though he knew
Grand Lodge didn't approve, but "It looks so
right", he thought, and smiled to himself.
He opened the ledger and entered the date,
A.L. 5985 The Year of Light, and 24 June 1985.
"It was St. John's Day", he remarked to
himself. "The Order doesn't celebrate it as they
used to do."
He clothed himself in his apron and jewel, the
cloth was old and faded, and the jewel was dull.
He took his sword and sat down by the door to
the Lodge Hall, so he could see the bright letter
"G" and the Three Great Lights, and there he
waited as he had for all these years, waiting for
He must have dozed for he noticed the door
to the Lodge Hall was closed, but he was tired,
very tired. It had not gone well for Ancient Landmark Lodge for many years, but he was sure the
Brethren would come tonight, "Wasn't it a
Stated and St. John's Day?", he said to himself.
Then he heard from inside the Lodge a voice.
It was the Master saying, "The Officers will
assume their Stations and Places. The Brethren
will come to Order and take their seats". The
Tiler thought out loud, "I'm here, Worshipful
and Brethren, as I have been for all these years."
The next day they found the old Tiler. He must
have passed away in his sleep. They looked into
the Lodge Hall and saw the bright letter "G"
and the light above the altar burning brightly.
"I don't understand what happened here", the
investigator said. "This old Lodge has been closed for some time".
An old Mason who was there to inventory the
property remarked "Yes, I know, but this would
have been the first time that a Stated would have
fallen on St. John's Day in 50 years, it would
have been a grand evening. There's something
awful strange about this".
''What do you mean?", asked the
"Well, this old Ledger, it's dated the 24th of
June 1985 and it's full of names of Brethren I
haven't seen or heard of for years", remarked
the old Mason.
"Strange, very strange" said the investigator.
"Well, my job is over so let's leave. Anyway,
the new owners want to get started on their
building construction", he added.
The old Mason turned off the main switch, but
observed something was wrong. "Look" he said,
"the letter "G" and the light over the altar didn't
"Well, maybe we should just leave them",
said the investigator.
As they shut the door to the Lodge Hall and
turned to leave, they both thought they heard a
voice from within saying "The Officers will
assume their Stations and Places. The Brethren
will come to Order and take their seats". They
looked at each other without comment and locked up the old Temple and left. The Square and
Compass above the large door of the Temple
shone brilliantly in the darkness.
So Mote It Be!
The Old Square and Compass
It was in the year of our Lord, one thousand
eight hundred and forty nine, A.L. 5849. The
place: California. It was the time of the gold rush
which beckoned many Masonic Brethren with
hopes of finding their fortune.
About 1850 in the small township of
Hiramsburg, sundry Brothers requested and
received a dispensation for the Grand Lodge of
California to form a Lodge of Free and Accepted
The Lodge was named Immortality Lodge
Under Dispensation. The membership was comprised of Brethren from many jurisdictions and
all had one thing in common, they were Freemasons .
Much work and effort went into furnishing the
small Lodge Room located over Jones's Hardware Store. They needed it all: the Volume of
the Sacred Law, the two pillars, altar, rods, officer's jewels and aprons, and, of course, the
square and compass.
And thus begins our story.
We were cast near to the Jenkins Silver Mine
located along the Silverado Trail which wound
its way through the rich Napa Valley. We were
placed in a velvet covered box, transported to
Hiramsburg and presented to the Worshipful
Master, Billy Fritts.
It was a joyous evening in Immortality Lodge
when on that first night we were removed from
the box and placed on the Volume of Sacred
Law. How we glistened and shined and it was
wonderful seeing the smiles and warmth on the
faces of the Brethren. It was a great and exciting
moment filled with Friendship and Brotherly
Love. There was a glow in the Lodge Hall which
only the true Mason can experience and it made
us sparkle even more for we would forever be
a part of the Lodge.
The speech by the senior Master Mason present was eloquent and rhetorical. Brother Herb
Sturtridge said, "These instruments, the Square
and Compass, are ancient to our Fraternity, as
are all our beautiful furnishings. They are significant in that they represent the working tools of
our profession. The square is dedicated to the
Master for it is the proper working tool of his
office; it teaches us to work together on the
square of virtue. The compass is dedicated to the
craft, for by due attention to its use we are taught
to circumscribe our desires and keep our passions
in due bounds toward all mankind."
So we were at each and every degree and the
Stated Meetings. We were part of every
ceremony where the new Mason swore to be a
good man and true. Thus, under the guiding
hand of the All Seeing Eye, Immortality Lodge
thrived and grew for many years until...
The Village of Hiramsburg saw many changes
in those years. The Civil War lost us many good
Brethren on both sides. The drought of 1879 and
1880 devastated most of the farmland and most
moved away. The culture and population took
many turns and for Immortality Lodge they were
all the wrong way.
The final blow came on December 27, 1907
when an oil lamp was left burning after St.
John's Day celebration. Much of the old Lodge
Hall was destroyed. Our beautiful altar, the two
pillars, the jewels and aprons were gone, but we
were spared, God knows for what! James
Harvey, Senior Warden, found us in the rubble
and took us home.
The members of the Lodge could not raise the
money to replace the loss. After one year, Immortality Lodge went dark. All the property that
remained was turned over to the Grand Lodge,
all except for us.
James Harvey never became Master. He
passed away in 1909 and his belongings along
with us were sold to an antique store in the
There we have laid for these many years
waiting to return to Lodge, wa
Under the dullness our brilliance still remains,
waiting to serve the Fraternity who brought us
into existence. We hope, someday, someone will
find us. Will it be you, Our Brother?