Grand Lodge of Oregon, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons
Grand Lodge of the Month - August 2009
Many Masons were accountable for the formation of our American government, among them George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, John Adams, John Hancock, James Monroe and James Otis. Let us not forget, as Freemasonry moved westward across this continent in the wake of Lewis and Clark - both of whom were Masons - Multnomah Lodge No. 84 of Missouri at Oregon City and now No. 1 of our Oregon Grand Lodge, became the first Masonic Lodge established on the Pacific Coast. Its charter was granted October 19, 1846. Oregon's Masonic genealogy stems through Missouri, Tennessee, North Carolina and the Grand Lodge of England.
The second Oregon Charter was granted to Willamette No. 11 (now No. 2) at Portland by the Grand Lodge of California on November 27, 1850, and the third, from the same jurisdiction (California), went to Lafayette No. 15 at Lafayette (now Union No. 3 at McMinnville) on May 9, 1851. These three Lodges convened in the Masonic Hall at Oregon City, Oregon Territory, on August 16, 1851 in a preliminary effort "to organize a Worshipful Grand Lodge for the Territory of Oregon." When they reassembled in the same hall "at half past seven A.M., September 15, A.L. 5851, A.D. 1851," a constitution for "The Grand Lodge of ANCIENT FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS of the Territory of Oregon" was adopted and Berryman Jennings became the first Most Worshipful Grand Master of Masons in Oregon.
Oregon subsequently chartered Olympia No. 5 at Olympia (now No. 1); Steilacoom No. 8 at Steilacoom (now No. 2); Grand Mound No. 21 (which became No. 3), and Washington No. 22 (now No. 4) at Vancouver, which Lodges, on December 8, 1858, organized the Grand Lodge of Washington F. and A.M. Charters were also issued to Idaho No. 35 at Idaho City (now No. 1 in Boise); Boise No. 37 (now No. 2); Placer No. 38 at Placerville (now No. 3), Owyhee U.D. at Silver City (later No. 5), all afterward of the Grand Lodge of Idaho.
Among the many Masons identified with the early history of Oregon were Berryman Jennings, the first Grand Master; Benjamin Stark, the first Grand Secretary and Grand Master in 1857 and 1858; Joseph and Orin Kellogg, who brought the "charter trunk" across the plains; Lot Whitcomb, pioneer steamboat operator; J.C. Ainsworth, shipowner and banker; Thomas J. Dryer, publisher of The Oregonian; John Elliott, first Master of Willamette Lodge, Portland; and Joel Palmer, prominent in early Indian affairs. While only nine men were responsible for the organization of Freemasonry in this State, it has grown from that humble beginning to its present healthy condition. During the first 100 years of our history a Masonic Home has been established at Forest Grove; we have accumulated a Life Membership fund and an Educational Fund, the income from which is available for the elementary school needs of the children of deceased or disabled Master Masons. The financial reports of the Grand Secretary show a remarkable and healthy increase in securities and cash assets.
The virility of this great society of men is unquestioned and enduring. It was founded on those everlasting truths that endure forever, and it speaks a universal language to men of all ages, beliefs and tongues. Its influence for good is deep-rooted in the hearts and minds of its votaries the world over. The teachings of Freemasonry are for all time and will never die.Grand Lodge, A.F. & A.M., of Oregon
2150 Masonic Way
Forest Grove, OR 97116 http://www.masonic-oregon.com/ voice - (800) 970-9920