Volume LVIIINovember 2011Number 4

Bro. Arthur J. Kurtz Awarded Sovereign Grand
Commander's Medal for Distinguished Service

On July 27, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite John William McNaughton bestowed his personal award to Arthur J. Kurtz, R.W. Past Grand Master (1988-1989) to recognize his outstanding distinguished and exemplary service to the Masonic fraternity at large. The recipient of this prestigious award must have demonstrated such service to the Scottish Rite not often witnessed among the general membership. Bro. Kurtz now resides at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown with his wife, Jane.

Sovereign Grand Commander John William McNaughton bestowed the Medal for Distinguished Service Award upon R.W. Past Grand Master Arthur J. Kurtz, as witnessed by R.W. Grand Master Thomas K. Sturgeon and Bro. Kurtz's wife, Jane (shown left).

Celebrating 225 Years of Independence
By Dr. Glenys A. Waldman, Senior Librarian, The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania

In celebration of the 225th anniversary of the independence of the Grand Lodge F.&A.M. of Pennsylvania from the Grand Lodge of England, it is interesting to note how the grand lodges in the United States were formed.

Most U.S. Jurisdictions' grand lodges were not warranted or chartered by any other grand lodge; a grand lodge would usually form itself. However, several colonial grand lodges were, indeed, warranted by England.

To the best of our knowledge, Pennsylvania's Grand Lodge was first warranted by England (Moderns' Grand Lodge), and was meeting by June 1731. It was re-chartered by the Ancients' Grand Lodge in 1761 (the Warrant is signed by Grand Secretary Laurence Dermott). Grand Lodge closed Sept. 25, 1786, opened the next morning (Sept. 26) and re-formed as the independent Grand Lodge (Ancient York Masons) of Pennsylvania. The term "Ancient York" was dropped in favor of "Free and Accepted Masons" in the early 1870s. (The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania does not use the term "Ancient" in its name.)

A grand lodge would warrant lodges outside its particular geographical territory if it was properly petitioned to do so. When three or more lodges had been thus warranted (and presumably constituted), they could form a grand lodge. Pennsylvania warranted lodges from Delaware to what are now the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Argentina and Uruguay. They, in turn, formed grand lodges in their own jurisdictions when there were enough lodges to do so. Thus, in the Louisiana Territory: La Charité Lodge No. 93 (warranted 1802), Lewis and Clark's (St. Louis) Lodge No. 111 (1808), La Concorde Lodge No. 117 (1810), La Perseverance Lodge No. 118 (1810) and L'Etoile Polaire Lodge No. 129 (all under Pennsylvania), and some constituted by South Carolina and maybe France, formed the Grand Lodge of Louisiana in 1812 (the year of statehood).

Below is a list of the formation of grand lodges in the other 12 colonies or states, with the name of the country, colony, state or states whose grand lodge(s) warranted lodges in that state:

Massachusetts: 1733 England (Grand Lodge warranted; independent 1792?)
South Carolina: 1737 (formed by lodges founded by Pennsylvania and England)
North Carolina: 1771 England (Grand Lodge warranted; independent 1787)
Virginia: 1778 [formed by lodges warranted by Pennsylvania, including Alexandria, Va., Lodge No. 39, which became No. 22 (shortly thereafter called Alexandria-Washington) of Virginia.] See Asst. Librarian Cathy Giaimo's excellent article in the May 2007 issue of "The Pennsylvania Freemason," v. 44, no. 2: http://www.pagrandlodge.org/freemason/0507/page12.html.
New York: 1782 England (Grand Lodge warranted)
New Jersey: 1786 England (Grand Lodge warranted)
Georgia: 1786 England (Grand Lodge warranted)
Maryland: 1787 (formed by lodges warranted by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania)
Connecticut: 1789 (formed by lodges warranted by Grand Lodge of Massachusetts)
New Hampshire: 1789 (formed by lodges warranted by Grand Lodge of Massachusetts)
Rhode Island: 1791 (formed by lodges warranted by Grand Lodge of Massachusetts)
Delaware: 1806 (formed by lodges warranted by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania)

Thus, the Family of Freemasonry spread, so that Missouri is a "daughter" of Pennsylvania as Pennsylvania is its "mother" Grand Lodge, having warranted lodges there. Nebraska and California, among others, are "granddaughters" (because Missouri warranted lodges in both); Oregon is a "great-granddaughter" (Missouri and California warranted lodges there); and Alaska is a "great-great-granddaughter" (Washington warranted lodges there; having itself been formed by lodges warranted by California and Oregon). And so it went for many jurisdictions in the United States. That's not all of the lodges for Pennsylvania, let alone for the other 12 colonies, most of which warranted lodges outside their territories as the population spread west.

Note: The author, having gleaned this information from histories of Freemasonry in the various states, would welcome additions, corrections, and any other tidbits. Email Dr. Glenys A. Waldman.

Table of Contents | Index of Issues | Home