Grand Lodge of Indiana
To be clear, no one knows for certain how old Freemasonry is, at least as an operative organization. The allegories of Masonic ritual place Freemasons at the building of King Solomon's Temple, however, most scholarly works on Freemasonry recognize these stories as simply vehicles to teach the moral lessons learned in Lodge. Ancient documents, such as the Regius Poem [ca. 1390], have dated operative Masonic lodges back centuries, and minutes have been found placing Masons at worksites all across Europe.
Despite the confusing origins of operative Masonry, the beginning of speculative Masonry is clear. On June 24, 1717, four Lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron Ale House in London and formed the first Grand Lodge of England, followed by the Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland in 1730 and 1736, respectively. Following the formation of the Grand Lodge of England, Freemasonry spread to the four corners of the world, including the Americas.
Speculative Freemasonry appeared in the American Colonies shortly after the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. These early American Freemasons were members of English Lodges who had emigrated to the new colonies. On July 30, 1733, a group of 18 Master Masons were regularly organized as "First Lodge", later to be known as St. John's Lodge, the oldest regularly constituted Lodge in the Western World. The subsequent 40 or so years saw Freemasonry spread across the American Colonies, all under the English, Irish, or Scottish Grand Lodges.
With American Revolution, it became clear to American Masons that their ties to their former Grand Lodges were no more. As the United States began to form and take shape, so too did the various Grand Lodges found in the United States today, of which each state and the District of Columbia typically has one Grand Lodge and one Prince Hall Grand Lodge.
In 1816, Indiana was granted Statehood. The following year on December 3, 1817, nine Lodges constituted under the Grand Lodges of Kentucky and Ohio met at Schofield House in Corydon, Indiana, to discuss the formation a new Grand Lodge for the new State. Just six weeks later, on January 12, 1818, the Grand Lodge of Indiana was formed, and Most Worshipful Grand Master Alexander Buckner was elected our first Grand Master. Of the original nine Lodges which met to constitute the Grand Lodge of Indiana, five were officially formed. They were Vincennes, No. 1, Union, No. 2, Blazing Star, No. 3, Lawrenceburg, No. 4, and Pisgah, No. 5. Today, the Grand Lodge of Indiana has formed over 700 subordinate Lodges, and boasts more than 600,000 living Masons, making Indiana one of the largest Masonic jurisdictions, world-wide.
In the earliest days of the United States, Freemasonry spread in the same manner as pioneers; by water. From Vincennes, Indiana, Freemasonry spread up the Wabash River. Just 18 months following the formation of the Grand Lodge of Indiana, a Lodge of Master Masons was formed under dispensation on July 12, 1819.
Terre Haute Lodge, No. 19 © 2016
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29 June 2016