Monday, June 11, 2007

When did lodges first appear in America?

The first mention of Ancient Craft Masonry Lodges existing in America was in 1730. Benjamin Franklin, before he himself was a Mason, printed 'there are several Lodges of FREE MASONS erected in this Province'... in the Pennsylvania Gazette. Most likely there were Lodges earlier than this.

The May 25, 1727 issue of The Weekly News Letter in Boston reports of a meeting of Freemasons in London to elect the new Grand Master. Why would the publisher of this newspaper include this information if there weren't any Boston area readers that were Freemasons? There is a similar news article in the Maryland Gazette of 1729. There must of been subscribers of this paper in the Annapolis, MD area that were interested in masonic proceedings. Newspapers in Colonial America were only a couple of pages long so printing real-estate was valuable. There was also a shortage of subscribers, so publishers printed only information that would be of interest to these subscribers.

It appears that Freemasonry spread rapidly to the "new world." Within 10 years of the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1717, there were several Lodges spread across Colonial America.

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