I do not have an outline or bullet-points for this. What I do have is a challenge that has been
issued, a full pot of coffee, half a bottle of Alpha Brain, an internet connection and nothing on the
calendar. So strap yourself in and bare with me for what should be an interesting trip through
|The Tun Tavern|
In 1733, Henry Price (Grand Master of North America for the Grand Lodge of England) granteda charter to a group of Boston Freemasons. This lodge was later named St. John's Lodge and
was the first duly constituted lodge in America. The first meeting of St. John’s Lodge #1 was
held in a building known as the Tun Tavern.
On November 10, 1775 the United States Marine Corps was officially formed by a vote of theContinental Congress. Captain Samuel Nicholas was named the first Commandant of the
Marine Corps. Robert Mullan (the proprietor of Tun Tavern ) was appointed to raise two
companies of Marines. So it was, the very first Continental Marines were recruited in Tun
Tavern, and it became the birthplace of the U.S. Marine Corps 238 years ago (yesterday, November 10 2013).
night of December 16, 1773 there was to be a meeting of these Brethren. The minutes state
that the meeting was “closed on account of few Brethren present.” I can confirm without a
doubt, that this artifact does exist and I have seen it… Well, a copy of it. A few decades ago,
my father was helping me with a research paper I was doing for school. He had the time and
love of research and somehow came up with a copy of these meeting minutes.
book had a few names scrawled on it and then one very particular set of initials. One that lends
itself to an act that would thrust the fledgling colonies into a war with Great Britain. Three
simple letters, S.O.L. A few hours later, Boston Harbor was full of crates of tea and a revolution
had begun. It is no coincidence that membership rolls of St. Andrew’s Lodge holds names like Paul Revere, William Molineux, John Hancock & Joseph Warren. On a side note, American’shave been drinking coffee ever since… According to the English, American’s lost their rase for
tea because of their peculiar way of mixing it with salt water…
Many Masons made their names on the battlefield. Some of the earliest were John Paul Jones
and the Marquis de Lafayette, heroes of the American Revolution. Benedict Arnold was a noted
Mason (he was expelled because of his treason during the war).
Many soldiers who fought on opposite sides in the Civil War were members of the same
fraternal order, including the Confederacy's George Pickett and the Union's Joshua
Chamberlain, both of whom fought at Gettysburg.
The first recorded acts of Masonic charity during the Civil War occurred during the Battle of BullRun, July 21, 1861. This story of a wounded officer, Col. W.H. Raynor (1st. Ohio), finding quarter
and assistance with J.H. Lemon (Raford’s Cavalry) after being wounded and captured by the
enemy, is the just one of many during this brutal war between Brethren.
Another example is found with Fellowcraft L.J. Williams (114th N.Y. Vol.), being captured &
imprisoned around Savannah, GA. Through communications with his home Lodge and a local
Lodge, Williams, wearing this Union Blues, was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason
by officers wearing Confederate Gray. That night Williams “escaped.” When asked how he was
able to get away, he said it was hardly an escape. He had been taken by boat in the dark of
night to the enemy lines and set free. He attributed his “escape” to Hiram.
Even Masonic Hall’s were saved from the destruction of 4 years of war. As was the case in
Richmond, VA when during the Confederate retreat. There are differing accounts on exactly
how the Hall was not destroyed or looted with the rest of the City, but all 3 are Masonic in
Masonic Lodges, practices and even charity towards the enemy. It makes perfect sense that
fabric of the military might of our Nation is intertwined with the history of Freemasonry. Even
those in the armed forces who have not been initiated, passed & raised, carry with them the
same thoughts and ideals that we as Master Masons carry every day. If you speak to a service
member and question the missions they are charged with, one idea is continually raised, and it
is not far off from: “Making Good Men Better.” They will certainly all affirm to you that they would
gladly lay down their own life for a Brother.
So, on this Veteran’s Day, let us take pause and remember those that have come before us, those that protect our freedoms today and this that have paid the ultimate sacrifice in combating
evil, wherever it may show its head.
It is estimated that 22 veterans take their own life each day.
Let us not forget what they have given for us.