History of Western Arkansas Scottish Rite Bodies 

Welcome to the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the granting of the Charter for the Zabud (Fort Smith) Lodge of Perfection, Valley of Fort Smith, Orient of Arkansas. It is a joyous time and a joyous story the story of the formation of the western Arkansas Scottish Rite Bodies.

 Albert Pike, at one time the Sovereign Grand Commander of Scottish Rite Masonry of the Southern Jurisdiction once said: "Every degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite from the Fourth through the Thirty Second, teaches by its ceremonials as well as by its instruction that the noblest purpose of life and the highest duty of man is to strive incessantly and vigorously to win the mastery of everything of that which in him is spiritual and divine over that which is material and sensual: so that in him also, as in the universe which God governs, harmony and beauty may be the result of just equilibrium"

For many years Master Masons in western Arkansas eager for light, petitioned the Arkansas Consistory in Little Rock for the Scottish Rite degrees. The lessons learned and the impressions made were lasting ones to them. As time moved on and the members of the Rite came into closer communion, one with the other, the subject of establishing a set of the bodies in the Valley of Fort Smith was discussed.

One afternoon in the spring of 1924, a number of the brethren who were members of the Rite, got together and discussed the situation, and decided it was time for definite action. In this group were Fred W. Kidd, 33°, Hurd J. Miller, 32°, James H. Clendening, 32°, and J. K. Jordan.  Mr. Clendening was elected President.

A delegation of the local brethren of the Rite attended the spring reunion of the Arkansas Consistory at Little Rock in 1924 and presented Brother Rosenbaum recommended to the Supreme Council of the Rite that Letters Temporary be given for a Lodge of Perfection in Fort Smith to be known as the Zabud Lodge of Perfection. The Letters Temporary were issued on September 5,1924. The following members in good standing in Arkansas Consistory signed the Letters Temporary: Earl T. Allen, Alonzo M. Buckley, Frank Blakemore, David T. Bryan, James Harry Clendening, Dred R. Dorente, Charles H. Darland, George W. Dodd, Russell H. Dale, Oscar A. Fentress, Omar D. Freeman, David L. Ford, Jack S. Gregg, Joseph Earl Henderson, James K. Jordan, Clarence S. Kidd, Frank G. Kerr, Charles Kruskopp, Captilles A. Lick, C. Earl Leininger, Ernest N. McCall, Hurd J. Miller, Homer C. Norvell, William T. Oglesby, John E. Powers, John C. Reinhard, John Loren Swofford, David E. Shapard, Pink Shaw, Fred P. Warren, Curtis C. Wright, J. Sam Wood, J. E. Blakemore.

The Zabud Lodge of Perfection was granted a charter by the Supreme Council in Washington, D.C., on October 22, 1925. It is the granting of this charter that we are now celebrating. Officers were installed April 30, 1926. In charge of the installation were C. Eugene Smith, 33°, and other officers of the Arkansas Consistory. Brother Rosenbaum was unable to attend because of illness.

The first officers were: James H. Clendening, Venerable Master: Hurd J. Miller, Senior Warden: John E. Powers, Junior Warden; Dred R. Dorente, Orator; Oscar A.. Fentress, Almoner; Robert L. Secrest, Secretary; Alonzo M. Buckley, Treasurer; James H. Clendening, Jr., Master of Ceremonies; Fred P. Warren, Expert; Clarence S. Kidd, Assistant "Expert; Curtis C. Wright, Captain of the Host; end John C. Reinhard, Tyler. Raymond Frazier, 32° did all the work on the scenery used, and Charles Kruskopp, 32°, worked out all electrical effects. 

It was a small beginning. Everything had to be started from scratch, as the saying is. At the time, there was no home for the Rite, no music — in fact nothing but faith and "good men." But the chapter was solidly based on the rocks of Love and Wisdom, and members had a deep affection for the Rite.

All members were in agreement: that men should not revile others on account of political, philosophical, or religious opinion; that they never should forsake or desert a friend when in adversity, in sickness, or in distress; that in all things they should control their appetites and subdue their evil propensities; that the Masons should endeavor to practice those precious Biblical attributes -- Faith, Hope and Charity. 

The affection of the membership for the full meaning of the Scottish Rite Bodies in Western Arkansas was so great and their effort and energy was so tremendous that the Inspector General recommended that the Supreme Council grant Letters Temporary for a Chapter Rose Croix.

The Letters Temporary were granted by the Supreme Council on June 8, 1928. In tribute to a "good man and Mason," the Chapter became known as Fred W. Kidd Chapter Rose Croix. Officers at the time were: John E. Powers, Wise Master; Dred R. Dorente, Senior Warden; David L. Ford, Junior Warden; Robert L. Secrest, Secretary; Harry Padgett, Treasurer, Wallace R. Bacon, Orator; Oscar Fentress, Almoner; Tom A. Cutting, Master of Ceremonies; Harlan H. Conger, Senior Expert; William H. Simpson, Assistant Expert; J. Wheeler Wood, Guardian of the Temple; and John C. Reinhard, Tyler.

 Enthusiasm in Masonry and Masonic activity was now at a high peak in the Fort Smith area.

The "new" Masonic Temple in Fort Smith, built through the cooperation of all the Masonic bodies in Fort Smith and costing $385,000, was dedicated on September 16, 1929.

Minutes of the special meeting of Zabud Lodge of Perfection, Fort Smith, held at 7:30 o'clock, Wednesday evening, December 11, 1929, relate that the session was the occasion for the reading of a letter from C. E. Rosenbaum, Sovereign Grand Inspector General, which contained the following information:"—Whereas it is the desire of the Supreme Council to name all Bodies of the Rite for the town or city in which they are located. Be it resolved that the name, Zabud Lodge of Perfection will bear the name of Fort Smith instead of 'Zabud.'  You already understand that the Chapter Rose Croix will bear the name of Fort Smith Chapter and the charter is so worded."

A resolution presented by R. L. Secrest at the meeting, changing the   name from Zabud Lodge of Perfection to Fort Smith Lodge of Perfection was adopted unanimously.  October 21,1931, the Charter for the Council of Kadosh and also the Charter for the Consistory in the Valley of Fort Smith, Orient of Arkansas, were issued by the Supreme Council 33° Scottish Rite of Free Masonry, Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America.

Officers for the Fort Smith Council of Kadosh were: Robert C. Coffey, 32°, Commander; William T. Oglesby, 32°, Recorder; Harry Padgett, 32°, Treasurer; Burt Clendening, 32°, Master of Ceremonies; Charles Kruskopp, 32° Turcopolier; J. Sam Wood, 32°, Draper; Thomas K. Morton, 32°, 1st Deacon; John Andrews,32°, 2nd Deacon; Robert B. Cutting, 32°, Bearer of Beauseant; Roy R. Gea, 32°, Bearer of White Standard; Robald Gardner, 32°, Bearer of Black Standard; R.C. Wilson,32°, Lieutenant of Guard; John C. Reinhard, 32°, Sentinel.

Officers for the Fort Smith Consistory were as follows: David K. Shapard, 32°, Master of Kadosh; A. M. Leitzell, 32°, Prior; D. E. Wiest, 32°, Preceptor; Walter W. Ayers, 32°, Chancellor; James A. Foltz, 32°, Minister of State; Oscar Fentress, 32°, Almoner; R. L. Secrest, 32°, K.C.C.H. Registrar; Harry Padgett, 32°, Treasurer; Frank P. Anderson, 32° (Elbert Hefner) Prelate; R. C. Mack,32°, Marshal of Ceremonies; J. G. Putman, Jr., 32°, Expert; Earl Henderson, 32°, Assistant Expert; Joseph A. Day,32°, Captain of the Guard; John C. Reinhard, 32°, Steward.

  The jurisdiction of the Bodies of the Rite in the Valley of Fort Smith, Orient of Arkansas, was given in a letter from Francis Vinsonhaler, Deputy of the Supreme Council in Arkansas, dated March 8,1932, as follows:  "Exclusive Jurisdiction in Sebastian County, and concurrent Jurisdiction with the Little Rock Bodies in the remaining counties in the State with the exception of Pulaski County which shall be the exclusive Jurisdiction of the Little Rock Bodies." (Since this specification of the jurisdiction of the Fort Smith and Little Rock Bodies, Crittenden County in which West Memphis, Arkansas, is located, has been reserved for the West Memphis Bodies.)

In the fall of 1952 a letter was received by the Bodies from Brother Joshua K. Shepherd, Sovereign Grand Inspector for the State of Arkansas suggesting that the names of the Fort Smith Bodies be changed to Western Arkansas Bodies.

At the regular stated meeting October 1,1952 the following resolution was duly presented end passed.

  "BE IT RESOLVED that the:

  Fort Smith Lodge of Perfection

  Fort Smith Chapter of Rose Croix

  Fort Smith Council of Kadosh

  Fort Smith Consistory

 shall henceforth be known as:

  Western Arkansas Lodge of Perfection

  Western Arkansas Chapter of Rose Croix

  Western Arkansas Council of Kadosh

  Western Arkansas Consistory

   and that we do ask the Sovereign Grand Inspector General to approve this change in name and to so inform the office of the Secretary General of the Supreme Council.

The Bodies name now reflected the area from which its membership was gained.

Today there are approximately 3,000 members of the Western Arkansas Scottish Rite Bodies, approximately 7,000 in the Little Rock Scottish Rite Bodies and around 1,200 in the new west Memphis Scottish Rite Bodies.

Among the various charities and activities of the Western Arkansas Bodies, a program has been actively pursued by placing the Scottish Rite Dyslexia Training Program in 30 public school systems to date. This program benefits dyslexic children that have speech and learning difficulties due to genetic brain abnormalities.