The rev. Canon William Henry Cooper was a member of seventeen lodges. He was the founder and first master of three of them. His lodges were in Ireland, England, Australia, new Zealand, British Columbia, and Ontario.
THE SQUARE AND COMPASS BRAND
Montana's first livestock brand was the square and compass; it is still in use. No one knows when it was first used; but it was before May 25, 1872, when it became necessary to date and register brands then in use. It was first owned by Poindexter T. Orr of Beaverhead County, Montana Territory.
A century ago thee were more than 3,000 Masonic lodges which can be described as "Moon Lodges"; in 1954 there were fewer than 500. These lodges meet on the day of the full moon for practical reasons; the brethren had light to travel by at night. There may have been some symbolic meaning also. The advent of electricity, street lights, and the automobile made the reason for meeting on such nights antiquated through unique. Many Grand Lodges now require lodges to meet on fixed days of the week.
FREEMASONS BUILD FORTS
"Fort Masonic" was built on what was known as the Heights of Brooklyn, which later became Bond and Nevins Streets, Brooklyn, New York. On August 22, 1814, the Grand Lodge of New York adopted a resolution by which, on September 1, the officers of the Grand Lodge accompanied by a group of Masons from fourteen lodges, went to the place and performed one day's work. On September 17, another day's work was done to complete the work.
"Fort Hiram" was built on October 3, 1814, at Fort Point, Rhode Island, but the Grand Lodge which supervised 230 Masons at work. Thomas Smith Webb was Grand Master at the time. The purpose of the fortification was to protect the harbor of Providence, Rhode Island.
THE RUG OF APPRECIATION
As a young man Sarkis H. Nahigian fled Armenia to escape persecution and arrived in the United States in 1890. He worked hard and became a successful businessman in Chicago and a devoted Mason. In 1948 he presented a priceless Oriental rug, 46½ feet long and 29½ feet wide, to the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia. In presenting the gift he said:
"I came to America believing in miracles. I say these words with gratitude, faith and pride. Gratitude -- to the generations of hard-working and God-fearing men and women who came to this new country to make a home for freedom. Faith, in that the democracy they built will never die. Pride, in that my chance has come to show my appreciation for being an American. And believe me when I say there is no finer title, no higher position than to be a citizen of the United States."
"Here we have freedom of thought, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech. One does not appreciate what these freedoms mean until one recalls what it was to be deprived of them. Now, again, in humble spirit, it gives me great pleasure to donate to our beloved George Washington Memorial Building, the largest Persian Royal Meshed carpet I have ever known. I donate this carpet in grateful appreciation of all the unlimited privileges and friendships and support I have enjoyed in this blessed United States of America, and not among the least of these is my privilege of being a Mason."
A MASON LOSES A BET AND NEW YORK GAINS
Paul Boynton, during the 1832 political campaign, lived in the Green Mountain country of Vermont. Those were dark days for the Craft. Andrew Jackson, a past Grand Master of Tennessee, was the candidate for the Presidency against William Wirt, a Mason running on the Anti-Masonic ticket. Brother Boynton was a devoted Freemason and did not recant or hide his association with the Craft while the storm was brewing and many members deserted. He made an election vow that if Vermont went for Wirt he would move "out west". In those days "out west" meant St. Lawrence Country, New York, to New Englanders.
When Wirt won in Vermont (the only state in which he won), Brother Boynton kept his word and moved. At the end of an eighty day journey on horseback, Brother Boynton settled down in Canton New York. He swapped his horse for a watch and a gun shop. He became the best gunsmith in the area and his gun stocks are now collector's items. He invented many things, such as eight day clocks and a pedometer. In 1835 he built what is now known as The Royal Arch House, located at 12 Pine Street, as a constant reminder to friend and foe alike, that he was a mason. Emblems familiar to the Royal Arch Mason are on the front of the building. It is said that he dug his own grave and made his own marker, except for the date. He died on July 13, 1851.
PRESIDENT RAISES TWO SONS ON THE SAME NIGHT
On November 7, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt attended the meeting of Architect Lodge No. 519 in New York and raised two of his sons, James and Franklin D., Jr. An honorary membership certificate was presented to the President by the Lodge.
SILENT CAL AND THE CRAFT
President Calvin Coolidge had the reputation of being a person of few words. One time while attending a public function he was told by a young lady, "Mr. President, I made a bet that I can get you to say three words." To which he replied, "You lose."
Although not a Mason, he was not stingy with words when he talked about Freemasonry. While Governor of the Bay State, he addresses the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and said: "It has not been my fortune to know very much about Freemasonry, but I have had the great fortune to know many Freemasons, and I have been able in that way to judge the tree by its fruits. I know of your high ideals. I have seen that you hold your meeting in the presence of the Bible, and I know that men who observe that formality have high sentiments of citizenship, of worth, and of character. That is the strength of our Commonwealth and Nation."
A BIT OF JOHN HANCOCK
John Hancock was a member of St. Andrew's Lodge, Boston, Massachusetts. He was the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. He wrote in a bold flourishing style. When asked why his signature was so large, he replied: "So that George III may read it without putting on his spectacles."
SPECIAL MEETINGS CALLED FOR A KING
On December 20, 1874, a special meeting of New York Lodge No. 330 was held to exemplify the third degree for the edification of a Brother. His Royal Highness David Kalakaua , King of the Hawaiian Islands, and a member of Le Progres de l'Oceanie Lodge No. 124 (Supreme Council of France) Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands. After the degree was exemplified, the Bible on which George Washington had taken his oath of office was displayed. The royal visitor asked that the book be opened at the page where the oath was administered. He took the book in both hands and kissed the page saying "I thank God for this privilege." On January 15, 1865, the same royal visitor attended Chicago's Oriental Lodge No. 33 which had called a special meeting. Over four hundred distinguished visitors attended.
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