The Reading Room Archive: Vol. 4

Sit back, relax, enjoy some brief tidbits of Masonic information.

(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.)

From the Masonic Service Association:
    The Masonic Information Center has learned that a new movie titled From Hell, starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham, will be released 10/19/01.  The book From Hell, upon which the movie is based, purports to tell the Jack the Ripper story as involving ritual killings performed by a Mason at the request of Queen Victoria.  Reviews have distinctly negative Masonic references.
While some actual historical facts are interspersed in the story, the Masonic involvement is pure fabrication.  The best response to all this is to inform yourself and, if asked, others of the facts relevant to the Jack the Ripper case.  Consult the October 2001 Short Talk Bulletin or
Check out the article,  "Home experiment boosts students" on Page 1, Section B - Denver and the West, of the Sept. 4, 2001
edition of The Denver Post.

A portion of the text says:
"Sharon Ivie, 1999 Colorado Teacher of the Year, used a $7,500 Colorado Masons Quality in Education grant to test the hypothesis that kids with a computer at home have higher-order thinking skills and do better on standardized tests"

Thanks to Vern Ingraham, chairman of the Public Schools Committee, and the Grand Lodge for providing the grant.

This month's selection from "Did You Know"   September, 1999
   Submitted by WB Wayne Carter,
   Source: DID YOU KNOW, Published by Missouri Masonic Lodge of Research, 1965


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."

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.
This month's selection from "Did You Know"   June / July, 1999
   Submitted by WB Wayne Carter,
   Source: DID YOU KNOW, Published by Missouri Masonic Lodge of Research, 1965


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.

Brother Frederick A. Bartholdi, a member of  Lodge Alsace-Lorraine (formed in 1872), began to design the mammoth figure known as the Statue of Liberty.  He addressed his Lodge on June 19, 1884 explaining his model and the purpose behind the proposal.  He again addressed the Lodge on November 13, 1887, giving the methods adopted for the erection.  He finally addressed his Lodge in 1887 to tell of the ardent welcome he had received from his brethren and friends in America.

The Cornerstone was laid in a Masonic ceremony 1884.  It was dedicated October 28, 1886.

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.

General James Harold Doolittle has a most unique history regarding his Masonic membership due to his army connections in World War I.  Acting under a special dispensation from the Grand Lodge of California, Hollenbeck Lodge No. 319, F. & A.M., of Los Angeles, elected him to receive the three degrees of Masonry on August 8, 1918.  The candidate was at the time in Louisiana with the air force and had received orders to go overseas immediately.  In consequence, the Grand Lodge of Louisiana issued a special dispensation allowing him to be initiated, passed, and raised during one meeting in Lake Charles Lodge No. 165, F.&A.M. on August 16, 1918.   On October 19, 1945, General Doolittle received the 33rd degree at the House of the Temple in Washington with, among others, President Harry S. Truman, General Henry Harley Arnold, and James Cash Penney. 


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