Masonic Presidents of the US

First President 1789-1797

George Washington, First President 1789-1797

Washington was born in Bridges Creek, Westmoreland Co., VA, the great-grandson of John Washington, and an English immigrant from Selgrave, Northamptonshire. His Father, Augustine Washington, married twice. When his first wife died in 1729 having had four children, he married Mary Ball, George’s mother. Augustine died in 1743, leaving a further six children. George became a ward of his eldest half-brother, Lawrence: and under the benevolent influence of Lawrence and his wife, Anne Fairfax, a relative of Lord Fairfax, he was introduced into polite society.

Despite irregular schooling, Washington showed a flair for survey work, and traveled widely. His first long trip was in the employ of Lord Fairfax. Later he journeyed as an official surveyor to Culpepper Co. At the age of 20 in 1752, he inherited Lawrence’s estate at Mount Vernon upon the deaths of Lawrence’s wife and daughter. He became a prominent farmer, and began to be active in community affairs. He fell in love with Betsy Fauntleroy, but was refused when he twice proposed marriage. In 1752 he was made adjutant for the southern military district state militia. His first commission, in 1753, was to warn the French against encroaching into the British sphere of influence in the Ohio Valley. Although the French ignored this warning, he gained a considerable reputation for his tenacity in delivering the message in the course of a hazardous winter journey of over 1000 miles.

Newly promoted to lieutenant-colonel aged 22, Washington returned to Ohio in 1754 with the task of protecting the Ohio Company. His surprise attack on a French detachment provoked a strong reaction, the first engagement of the French and Indian War, and he was forced to surrender. He resigned his commission later that year in protest at the perceived discrimination against colonial officers, but upon the arrival in Virginia of British General Edward Braddock’s army, he was invited to serve him as an aid-de-camp with the courtesy rank of colonel. Following the British defeat at Fort Duquesne (1755), in which Braddock was killed, he was appointed commander-in-chief of all the Virginian forces, defending the frontier against French and Indian attackers.

He resigned his commission in 1758, aged 26, returned to Mount Vernon, and married Martha Dandridge Custis (1732-1802) in January 1759. The union brought him considerable additional wealth, as well as two stepchildren. He and Martha had no children of their own. He proved a resourceful landowner and entrepreneur, became prominent in local politics, and served as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses (1758-65). In 1774 he represented Virginia in the first continental Congress, but played only a minor role. Returning to the second Continental Congress, which coincided with the first armed skirmishes of the War of Independence (1775-83), he was made commander-in-chief of the combined colonial military forces (1775).

Perhaps Washington’s greatest achievement in the War was the rallying of his depleted forces at Valley Forge during the bitter winter of 1777-8. Dogged by defeats, desertion, sickness, and starvation, his troops reached the lowest ebb of their campaign morale. Their subsequent recovery and notable victories prompted French involvement in the war on the side of the colonists, ensuring ultimate victory.

Washington died in December of 1799 at Mount Vernon where he enjoyed only a year of retirement from the presidency.

Brother George Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice on November 4, 1753, passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on March 3, 1754, and raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on August 4, 1754 in a lodge in Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 1777 the Convention of Virginia Lodges recommended Washington as the most proper person to be elected Grand Master of the Independent Grand Lodge of that commonwealth. He, however, declined the nomination.

In 1788 Lodge No. 39 at Alexandria, which had been working under the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania transferred its allegiance to Virginia. On May 29 in that year the lodge adopted the following resolution:

“The Lodge proceeded to the appointment of Master and Deputy Master to be recommended to the Grand Lodge of Virginia, when George Washington was unanimously chosen Master; William Hunter, Jr., Senior Warden; John Allison, Junior Warden.”

It was also ordered that a committee should wait on General Washington, “and inquire of him weather it will be agreeable to him to be named in the Charter.” The Charter or Warrant under which the lodge is still working is granted to Washington as Master. The lodge then became known as Alexandria Lodge, No. 22. In 1805, the lodge was permitted by the Grand Lodge, to change its name to that of “Washington Alexandria,” in honor of its first Master. This name is still in use today.

James Monroe, Fifth President 1817-1825

James Monroe, Fifth President 1817-1825

US Statesman and fifth president, born in Westmorland Co, VA. After serving in the Revolution he entered politics, becoming a member of the US Senate (1790-1794). He was governor of Virginia (1799-1802, and in 1803 helped to negotiate the Louisiana Purchase. In 1811 he was again Governor of Virginia, then secretary of state (1811-1817), and also secretary of war (1814-1815). In 1816 he was elected president, and in 1820 re-elected almost unanimously. His most popular acts were the recognition of the Spanish American republics, and the promulgation in a message to Congress (1823) embodying the principle “that the American continents …are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power. Twenty years after his death in 1831, this became known as the Monroe Doctrine.

James Monroe was of great stature. He is recognized in history as a great statesman, soldier and president. But he is more than that to us because he was also a great Mason.

He was a man with superior principles and was acclaimed for his honesty and integrity.

Records indicate that James Monroe petitioned Williamsburg Lodge No. 6 to join the fraternity on November 6, 1775. he was initiated as an Entered Apprentice on November 9, 1755. There are no known records indicating that James Monroe was ever conferred the sublime degree of Master Mason however, it is an accepted thought that he received this in a military lodge sometime during the revolution.

Evidence exists to support this hypothesis since records do exist showing due payments by Monroe through October of 1780 at the Williamsburg Lodge. Records were found by Mr. George W. Baird indicating Monroe was a member of the Kilwinning Cross Lodge No. 2 of Port Royal, Virginia.

Evidence also exists showing President Monroe visiting Cumberland Lodge No. 8, of Nashville, Tennessee.

Masonic memorial services were held for Monroe’s death at Randolph Lodge No. 19.

James Monroe is further evidence of the profound influence of Masonry in the formation of America. It is surely no coincidence when you consider that Monroe, Washington, General Lafayette, John Marshall, Robert Livingston and , many more were Masons all and that they all played such large roles in our history.

Andrew Jackson, Seventh President 1829-1837

Andrew Jackson, Seventh President 1829-1837

US statesman and seventh president, born in Waxhaw, SC. He trained as a lawyer, and became a member of Congress for Tennessee (1796), a senator (1797), a senator (1797), and a judge of its Supreme Court (1798-1804). In the War of 1812 against Britain, he was given command of the South, and his first military fame came from action against Creek Indians. His victory over the British at New Orleans (1815) further enhanced his reputation. His election as president was the result of a campaign in which he gained the support of the mass of voters – a new development in US politics that came to be called “Jacksonian democracy”.

In January of 1832, while the President was dining with friends at the White House, someone whispered to him that the Senate has rejected the nomination of Martin Van Buren as Minister to England, Jackson jumped to his feet and exclaimed, “By the Eternal! I’ll smash them!” So he did. His favorite, Van Buren, became Vice President, and succeeded to the Presidency when “Old Hickory” retired to the Hermitage, where he died in June 1845.

Andrew Jackson’s Masonic background is rather sketchy due to lost records; however, there are no doubts about his being a Mason. Records of his acceptance and progression from Entered Apprentice to the Sublime degree of Master Mason are no longer available to us.

He is recognized as having been a member of Harmony Lodge No. 1 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nevertheless, evidence of his involvement as a Master Mason and even as a Grand Master are in existence. Records indicate he was the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee during the years 1822 through 1824.

James K. Polk, Eleventh President 1845-1849

James K. Polk, Eleventh President 1845-1849

A US statesman born in Mecklenburg Co., North Carolina in 1795. He graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina and admitted to the bar in 1820, he entered Congress as a Democrat (1825), and became Governor of Tennessee (1839). During his presidency, Texas was admitted to the Union (1845), and after the Mexican War (1846-1847) the USA acquired California and New Mexico. The Oregon boundary was settled by a compromise with England. He also condemned the anti-slavery agitation, and was committed to states’ rights, a revenue tariff, and an independent treasury. He was often referred to as the first “dark horse” President and was the last of the Jacksonians to sit in the White House. He was the last strong President until the Civil War. Leaving office with his health undermined from hard work, died in June of 1849.

In the year 1820, Brother James Knox Polk was Raised in Columbia No. 31, and he was Exalted in Lafayette No. 4 on April 14, 1825.

Brother Polk had a special relationship with Brother Andrew Jackson and reportedly had a “hero worship” of him. In fact, this association was strong enough to influence Polk to be nicknamed, “Little Hickory.” Jackson also favored Polk and tried unsuccessfully to have Van Buren choose Polk as his Vice President.

Polk and his wife went forth to Nashville in order to welcome General Lafayette to Tennessee. It was here that Brother Jackson introduced Brother Lafayette to the Grand Lodge.

Polk had a confrontation with the Whigs and the anti-Mason, Henry Clay. The campaign got rather nasty and a lot of mud-slinging went on.

President Polk attended the Masonic cornerstone laying of the Smithsonian Institution on May 1, 1847. He was accompanied by his vice President and Brother, George Mifflin Dallas plus numerous other Masonic dignitaries.

Brother Polk was unable to attend the cornerstone ceremonies at the Washington Monument but Brother Dallas attended in his place.

James Buchanan, Fifteenth President 1857-1861

James Buchanan, Fifteenth President 1857-1861

Buchanan was born in Stoney Batter, Pennsylvania in 1791 into a well-to-do family. He studied at Dickinson College, and in 1812 was admitted to the bar. He became secretary of state in 1845, and succeeded in settling the Oregon boundary question. Receiving the nomination of the Democratic Party, he was elected president in 1856, and during his administration the slavery question came to a head. He was strongly in favor of the maintenance of slavery, and he freely supported the attempt to establish Kansas as a slave state. After his retirement in March of 1861, he took no part in public affairs and returned to his Pennsylvania home Wheatland-where he died seven years later in 1868 leaving his successor to resolve the frightful issue of slavery and secession facing the nation. He was the only President who never married.

Brother James Buchanan is honored as a dedicated and true Master Mason. Even to this day, a committee of officers and past officers of his Lodge No. 43 places a memorial wreath on his tomb every year on the anniversary of his death.

Brother Buchanan was made a Mason in Lodge No. 43 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on December 11, 1816. He was Crafted and Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on January 24, 1817.

He was the Junior Warden of his Lodge in 1821 and Senior Warden in 1822.

Brother Buchanan served as the Worshipful Master in the year 1923.

Brother Buchanan represented the First Masonic District of Pennsylvania (Lancaster, Lebanan and York Counties) as the first District Deputy Grand Master in 1824.

It is known that Brother Buchanan was a generous person, having donated the sum of $100.00 to Lodge funds — no small amount at that time — while he occupied the White House.

Buchanan was a member of the Holy Royal Arch Chapter No. 43 in Pennsylvania.

On February 22, 1860 delivered the dedication address for the ceremony of dedicating the Equestrian Statue of Brother George Washington in Washington, D.C. He was accompanied by a large group of Masons and Knights Templar.

Brother Buchanan’s death was on June 1, 1868. Shortly after on June 4th, a special meeting of his Lodge was held for the purpose of his Brothers attending the funeral. It was an unbelievable event that happened with the procession being the largest ever attended for a President that died out of office.

Andrew Johnson, Seventeenth President 1865-1869

Andrew Johnson, Seventeenth President 1865-1869

With the Assassination of Lincoln, the Presidency fell upon an old-fashioned southern Jacksonian Democrat of pronounced states’ rights views. Although an honest and honorable man, Andrew Johnson was one of the most unfortunate of Presidents. Arrayed against him were the Radical Republicans in Congress, brilliantly led and ruthless in their tactics. Johnson was no match for them.

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1808, Johnson grew up in poverty. He was apprenticed to a tailor as a boy, but ran away. He opened a tailor shop in Greeneville, Tennessee, married Eliza McCardle, and participated in debates at the local academy.

Entering politics, he became an adept stump speaker, championing the common man and vilifying the plantation aristocracy. As a Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the 1840’s and ’50’s, he advocated a homestead bill to provide a free farm for the poor man.

During the secession crisis, Johnson remained in the Senate even when Tennessee seceded, which made him a hero in the North and a traitor in the eyes of most Southerners. In 1862 President Lincoln appointed him Military Governor of Tennessee, and Johnson used the state as a laboratory for reconstruction. In 1864 the Republicans, contending that their National Union Party was for all loyal men, nominated Johnson, a Southerner and a Democrat, for Vice President.

After Lincoln’s death, President Johnson proceeded to reconstruct the former Confederate States while Congress was not in session in 1865. He pardoned all who would take an oath of allegiance, but required leaders and men of wealth to obtain special Presidential pardons.

By the time Congress met in December 1865, most southern states were reconstructed, slavery was being abolished, but “black codes” to regulate the freedmen were beginning to appear.

Radical Republicans in Congress moved vigorously to change Johnson’s program. They gained the support of northerners who were dismayed to see Southerners keeping many prewar leaders and imposing many prewar restrictions upon Blacks.

The Radicals’ first step was to refuse to seat any Senator or Representative from the old Confederacy. Next they passed measures dealing with the former slaves. Johnson vetoed the legislation. The Radicals mustered enough votes in Congress to pass legislation over his veto–the first time that Congress had overridden a President on an important bill. They passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which established Negroes as American citizens and forbade discrimination against them.

A few months later Congress submitted to the states the Fourteenth Amendment, which specified that no state should “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

All the former Confederate States except Tennessee refused to ratify the amendment; further, there were two bloody race riots in the South. Speaking in the Middle West, Johnson faced hostile audiences. The Radical Republicans won an overwhelming victory in Congressional elections that fall.

In March 1867, the Radicals effected their own plan of Reconstruction, again placing southern states under military rule. They passed laws placing restrictions upon the President. When Johnson allegedly violated one of these, the Tenure of Office Act, by dismissing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, the House voted eleven articles of impeachment against him. He was tried by the Senate in the spring of 1868 and acquitted by one vote.

In 1875, Tennessee returned Johnson to the Senate. He died a few months later.

Only one Masonic President ever had his Masonic membership used against him — this was Sir Knight Andrew Johnson.

Johnson was Initiated, Passed and Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason in Greenville Lodge No. 119 (this Lodge is now #3)

He is reported to have belonged to other Chapters but there are no records to prove this, not an unusual occurrence since many records were destroyed during the Civil War.

There are existing records from the Grand Commandeer of Tennessee showing an Andrew Johnson that was Knighted on July 26, 1859. There is not sufficient proof to indicate this was “our”Andrew Johnson though. On the other hand, the Nashville Commandery does have a picture of Johnson in full Commandery regalia.

President Johnson received the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite on June 20, 1867 and is recognized as being the first President to receive the Scottish Rite Degrees.

Johnson laid the cornerstone for the Masonic Temple in Washington, D.C. as well as performing in many other Masonic ceremonies.

When Johnson died, his Lodge requested and received permission to conduct a Masonic ceremony. This was conducted by the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, G.C. Connor. Templar services were conducted by Coeur de Leon Commandery No. 9, in Knoxville.

The impeachment against Johnson was led by Thaddeus Stevens, an anti-Mason. This was the only impeachment trial of a President but it was unsuccessful. Johnson never made an appearance at the trial but continued his normal functions — both presidential and Masonic.


James A. Garfield, Twentieth President 1881

Garfield was a US statesman and 20th president born in Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio in 1831. Fatherless at two, he later drove canal boat teams and somehow earned enough money for an education. He was graduated from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1856, and returned to the Western Reserve Eclectic Institute (later Hiram College) in Ohio as a classics professor. Within a year he was made its president. He was a farm worker, teacher, lay preacher, and lawyer, before being elected to the Ohio State Senate in 1859. He fought in the Civil War until 1963, when he entered Congress and became leader of the Republican Party. After his election as president, he identified himself with the cause of civil service reform, thereby irritating many in his own Party. He was shot at Elberon, New Jersey by a disappointed office-seeker, Charles Guiteau, and died two months later. Garfield was the second president shot in office. Doctors tried to find the bullet with a metal detector invented by Alexander Graham Bell, but the device failed because Garfield was placed on a bed with metal springs, and no one thought to move him. He died on September 19, 1881 only six months after he took office.

James A. Garfield was our 7th Masonic President. He was a Master Mason and a Knight Templar as well as a U.S. President.

Unfortunately, tragedy befell President Garfield and cut his career short when he was shot and killed shortly after his inauguration.

James A. Garfield was Initiated and Passed in Magnolia Lodge No. 20, Columbus, Ohio in the months of November and December 1861. However, the war delayed further light until November 22, 1864 when he was Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason. He was Raised in Columbus Lodge No. 30 as a courtesy.

He was a committee member appointed to draft resolutions on the death of President Abraham Lincoln. He performed this duty while visiting Garretville Lodge No. 246.

Garfield served as a Chaplain during the years 1869 and 1870 while affiliating with the Garretville Lodge No. 246.

Brother Garfield was Exalted in Columbia Chapter No. 1 and received the Order of the Temple in Columbia Commandery No. 2. he received the Council Degrees in 1871.

It is known that General Albert Pike conferred the 6 through 14 degrees of the Scottish Rite but the dates are not known. It is probably either 1871 or 1872.

A religious fanatic, Charles Jules Guiteau, brought President Garfield’s term of office to a halt when he shot him while he was at the railroad station.

Columbia Commandery No. 2 accompanied the guard of honor while the President’s body lay in state in the capitol. They also helped escort the body home. A large number of Lodge Officers attended the funeral ceremonies.

William McKinley, Twenty-Fifth President 1897-1901

William McKinley, Twenty-Fifth President 1897-1901

McKinley was born in Niles, Ohio, in 1843. He briefly attended Allegheny College, and was teaching in a country school when the Civil War broke out. Enlisting as a private in the Union Army, he was mustered out at the end of the war as a brevet major of volunteers. He studied law, opened an office in Canton, Ohio, and Married Ida Saxton, the daughter of a local banker.

At the age of 34 he won a seat in Congress in the year 1877. In 1891 he was made Governor of Ohio, his name being identified with the high protective tariff carried in the McKinley Bill of 1890. He secured a large majority in the presidential elections of 1896 and 1900 as the representative of a gold standard and high tariffs. In his first term the war with Spain (1898) took place, with the conquest of Cuba and the Philippines. At the beginning of his second term in September of 1901, he was shot by an anarchist at Buffalo, and died eight days later.

Sir Knight William McKinley was the 25th President of the United States, the 8th Masonic President and the 3rd President to be a Knight Templar.

He was raised in Hiram Lodge No. 21, Winchester, Virginia by a Confederate Master on May 3, 1865, but he was given a demit and took his membership to his Ohio home.

McKinley was affiliated with Canton Lodge No. 60 on August 21, 1867, and became a charter member of Eagle Lodge No. 43.

He received the chapter degrees in Canton No. 84 and was Knighted in December of 1883.

President William McKinley was tragically slain by a terrorist but his last words were so profound they exemplify his life — “It is God’s way. His will, not ours, be done.”

Theodore Roosevelt, Twenty-Sixth President 1901-1909

Theodore Roosevelt, Twenty-Sixth President 1901-1909

Roosevelt was born in New York City in 1858 into a wealthy family, but he too struggled-against ill health-and in his triumph became an advocate of the strenuous life.

He studied at Harvard, and became leader of the New York legislature in 1884. In 1898 he raised a volunteer cavalry (“Roosevelt’s Roughriders’) in the Cuban War, and came back to be Governor of New York State (1898-1900).

Elected vice-president in 1900, he became president on the death (by assassination) of McKinley, and was re-elected in 1904. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for mediating the end of the Russo-Japanese War. An expansionist, he insisted on a strong navy and the regulation of trusts and monopolies, promoted the construction of the Panama Canal, and introduced a “Square Deal” policy for social reform. As Progressive candidate for the presidency in 1912, he was defeated by Wilson. He worked vigorously during World War 1 pressing for America’s intervention.

While campaigning in Milwaukee, he was shot in the chest by a fanatic. Roosevelt soon recovered, but his words at that time would have been applicable at the time of his death in 1919: “No man has had a happier life than I have led; a happier life in every way.”

Brother Theodore Roosevelt was different than most of his predecessors in that he did not seek Masonic office. His Masonic membership activities were confined to his home lodge.

He was initiated on January 2, 1901 at Martincock Lodge No. 806 in Oyster Bay. Theodore was Vice President at that time.

He was raised on April 24, 1901 and is recorded as passing a perfect examination in open Lodge. He made many speeches on Freemasonry including one at the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania during their observance of the 150th Anniversary of George Washington’s Initiation.

During his travels, he participated in many ground breaking ceremonies for Masonic Temples. One particular event was the breaking of ground on the Masonic Temple in Spokane, Washington.

At a later date, Theodore addressed a crowd from the portico of the Temple while in full Masonic regalia of the Master, even though he never served in that lodge.

When Roosevelt participated in the laying of the cornerstone for the Masonic Temple in Washington, D.C. he stressed the importance — and obligation — of Masons to show themselves as good citizens.

William Howard Taft, Twenty-Seventh President 1909-1913

William Howard Taft, Twenty-Seventh President 1909-1913

Born in 1857 in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of a distinguished judge, he was graduated from Yale, and returned to Cincinnati to study and practice law. He rose in politics through Republican judiciary appointments, through his own competence and availability, and because, as he once wrote facetiously, he always had his “plate the right side up when offices were falling.”

He became solicitor general in 1890, the first civil governor of the Philippines in 1901, and was secretary of war from 1904 to 1908. During his presidency he secured an agreement with Canada which meant relatively free trade. He became professor of law at Yale in 1913, and later served as Chief Justice of the USA from 1921 until just before his death in 1930. To Taft the appointment was his greatest honor; he wrote: “I don’t remember that I ever was President.”

Brother William Howard Taft has a rather unusual Masonic background. While he was President-elect, Taft was made a Mason “at sight” by Ohio Grand Master Charles S. Hoskinson. This was on February 18, 1909. The ceremony was held at an “occasional Lodge” called specifically for that purpose and was held in Cincinnati’s Scottish Rite Cathedral.

The very same evening, Brother Taft visited Kilwining Lodge No. 356 in Cincinnati and observed the conferral of a Third Degree. He became a member of this lodge himself on April 14, 1909.

There were considerable problems caused by the making of the President-elect a Mason “at sight”. Most of these were from states where Grand Masters were not allowed this function.

Walter Hurt, publisher of a anti-Catholic periodical, was particularly ruthless of Taft and published an article entitled, “Taft – A 35 Minute Mason”. This article was reprinted in the Masonic Bibliophile (a Cincinnati publication). This caused the Past Grand Master of Ohio Masons — William B. Meish — to issue a statement that the article was 90% false.

Brother Taft represented the craft well though and actively participated in numerous ceremonies. One photo shows Taft wearing the Watson and Cassoul apron of George Washington and holding the trowel Washington used in the laying of the Capitol cornerstone.

Warren G. Harding, Twenty-Ninth President 1921-1923

Warren G. Harding, Twenty-Ninth President 1921-1923

Harding was born near Marion, Ohio in 1865. He studied at Ohio Central College, then became a journalist and a newspaper owner. He gained a seat in the Ohio State Senate in 1899 and the lieutenant-governorship in 1902, after which he returned to journalism until 1914, when he was elected to the US Senate. Emerging as a power in the Republican Party, he won its nomination and the presidency in 1920, campaigning against US membership of the League of Nations, He fell ill and died under somewhat mysterious circumstances, during a series of scandals involving corruption among members of his cabinet, the full extent of which was revealed only after his death in San Francisco in August of 1923.

On June 28, 1901, Warren G. Harding was Initiated in Marion Lodge No. 70, Marion, Ohio, but he was not raised until 19 years later.

He was passed on August 13, 1920, and raised on August 27, 1920. On May 4, 1921, he was made an honorary member of Albert Pike Lodge Number 36 of Washington; made honorary member of Washington Centennial Lodge No. 14, Washington, on February 16, 1922; and honorary member of America Lodge No. 3368, London, England, in 1922

He was a member of Marion Chapter No. 63, R.A.M. and received his degrees January 11 and 13, 1921, and made Honorary member of Columbia Commandery No. 2, K.T., in Washington, March 4, 1921. Hardings’ address upon being Knighted was memorable.

He had been elected to receive the degrees in Marion Council No. 22, R.&S.M., but died before they could be conferred.

In the Scottish Rite, he received the 32nd degree at Columbus, Ohio, January 5, 1921 and was elected to receive the 33rd degree on September 22, 1921, but died before receiving it. He was a member of Aladdin Shrine Temple in Columbus, Ohio.

He was an honorary member of Almas Temple of Washington on March 21, 1921. He was Associate honorary member of the Imperial Council of the Shrine in June, 1923. Kallipolis Grotto MOVPER conferred the degrees on him at the White House on May 11, 1921, and made him a life member.

Washington Chapter No. 3, National Sojourners, made him a member at the White House on May 28, 1921. He stated, “No man ever took the oaths and subscribed to the obligations with greater watchfulness and care than I have exercised in receiving the various Rites of Masonry, and I say it with deliberation and without fear of breaking faith, I have never encountered a lesson, never witnessed an example, never heard an obligation uttered which could be proclaimed to the world.”

At the cornerstone laying in Birmingham, Alabama, he said, “I have been a better citizen for being a Mason. There is nothing in Masonry that a free religious and just American could not be proud to subscribe to, and be a better citizen for so doing.”

When he received the Royal Arch degrees, he inscribed the Bible of a friend with the following: “With grateful and happyremembrancee of the occasion when this Holy Book was employed in revealing the exalting impressions of Royal Arch Masonry.”

He was scheduled to deliver an address on August 2, 1923, in Hollywood, California, to Hollywood Commandery No. 56 K.T. on the occasion of the presentation to them by his own Commandery, Marion No. 356, of the International Traveling Beauseant. He was on death’s doorstep, and his secretary, Sir Knight George B. Christian, delivered the address. This was his last address to the American people. He died August 2, 1923, and on August 8th, the body was conducted from the White House to the Capitol with the six Commanderies of Knights Templar of Washington, D.C. being in the Funeral Cortege. The Asphalt container in which his body was placed was the gift of Boumi Shrine Temple of Baltimore, MD.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thirty-Second President 1933-1945

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Thirty-Second President 1933-1945

Born in 1882 at Hyde Park, New York, he attended Harvard University and Columbia Law school. On St. Patrick’s Day, 1905, he married Eleanor Roosevelt. He became a lawyer in 1907, a New York State senator from 1910 to 1913, and assistant secretary of the navy from 1913 to 1920. He was Democratic candidate for the vice-presidency in 1920, and Governor of New York from 1928to 1932, although stricken with paralysis (polio) in 1921. As president, he met the economic crisis with his “New Deal” for national recovery in 1933, and became the only president to be re-elected three times. He strove in vain to ward off war, modified the USA’s neutrality to favor the Allies, and was brought in by Japan’s action at Pearl Harbor in 1941. He met with Churchill and Stalin at Teheran in 1943 and Yalta in 1945, but died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, GA, on April 12, 1945 where he had gone for treatment, three weeks before the German surrender.

Brother Franklin Delano Roosevelt was raised on November 28, 1911 in Holland Lodge No. 8, Hyde Park, N.Y.

It was several years later (February 28, 1929) when he received the degrees of Scottish Rite.

He was a member of Cypress Shrine Temple in Albany, New York.

He was appointed Representative of the Grand Lodge of Georgia in 1930 and in 1934 he was named the first Honorary Grand Master of the International Order of DeMolay.

Roosevelt had many encounters with opponents because of his Masonic membership.

Newsweek reports President Roosevelt attending the raising of his sons James and Franklin Jr. in Architecht Lodge No. 519. Franiklin’s picture appeared in the magazine at this ceremony.

The German press published headlines referring to the picture as a “secret illustrated document” showing Roosevelt in Masonic dress and surrounded by a “circle of Jews.”

There were numerous othe Nazi Press publications attempting to make Roosevelt appear as a tool of Freemasonry. They continued using this as propaganda in the war efforts. Later the Japanese powers picked up this ball and ran some more with it. But as we all know, their efforts failed.

Note: Hitler feared the Masons and ordered all Masons killed. But the European Masons quickly adjusted and used Hitler’s own favorite flower, “The Forget Me Not”, as their recognition symbol.

Harry S. Truman, Thirty-Third President 1945-1953

Harry S. Truman, Thirty-Third President 1945-1953

Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri, in 1884. He grew up in Independence, and for 12 years prospered as a Missouri farmer.

He went to France during World War 1 as a captain in the Field Artillery. Returning, he married Elizabeth Virginia Wallace, and opened a haberdashery in Kansas City.

Active in the Democratic Party, Truman was elected a judge of the Jackson County Court (an administrative position) in 1922.

Elected as a Democrat to the US Senate in 1934, he was chairman of a special committee investigating defense. Made vice-president in 1944, he became president on the death of Roosevelt, and was re-elected in 1948 in a surprise victory over Thomas E. Dewey. His decisions included the dropping of two atom bombs on Japan, the postwar loan to Britain, and the sending of US troops to South Korea. He promoted the policy of giving military and economic aid to countries threatened by Communist interference (the Truman Doctrine). At home he introduced a “Fair Deal” of economic reform.

Harry S. Truman has one of the most distinguished Masonic records of all Masonic Presidents. Some of his Masonic accomplishments includes…

Master Mason
Chapter and Council
Scottish Rite Mason
Knight Templar

But this record fails to show just how impressive his record is. He was a Master Mason for over 64 years, his Chapter and Council for more than 53 years and more than 52 years as a Templar.

Harry S. Truman petitioned Belton Lodge No. 450 to become a Mason on December 21, 1908. He was 24 years old. He was elected on February 9, 1909 and took his first degree that night.

He was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on March 9, 1909 in Belton Lodge No. 450, Belton, Missouri.

One year after receiving his apron, he accepted the station of Junior Warden. However, in 1911, he helped establish a new Lodge — Grandview Lodge No. 618, and became the first Master.

He was Secretary of Grandview Lodge No. 618 and then once again became Master. He then entered the war in 1917 which curtailed his Masonic activity for a time. But upon his return, he actively resumed his Masonic duties.

On February 22, 1950, President and Brother Harry S. Truman dedicated the statue of George Washington at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial. The statue was a gift from the DeMolay.

President Harry S. Truman was the only President to date to actually hold the coveted 33rd Degree.

He was a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, A.F. & A.M., of Missouri.

He was instrumental in helping with the DeMolay organization and was later named an Honorary Past Grand Master.

Brother Truman is reported to have been an avid reader and read the Bible through three times.

It is reported that Brother Truman was actually attending a Masonic meeting in 1948 while awaiting the results of his winning election over Dewey. It is also reported that Brother Truman raised more then thirty candidates while he was president. There was no publicity at his request.

Gerald R. Ford, Thirty-Eighth President 1974-1977

Gerald R. Ford, Thirty-Eighth President 1974-1977

Ford was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1913. He studied at Michigan and Yale universities, and served in the US navy during World War 2. He became a republican member of the US House of Representatives where he served from 1949 to 1973, and on the resignation of Spiro Agnew in 1973 was appointed vice president. He became president in 1974 when Nixon resigned because of the Watergate scandal. The full pardon he granted to Nixon the same year made him unpopular, and this, along with the economic recession of the time, led to his defeat in the 1976 presidential election by Jimmy Carter.

In foreign affairs Ford acted vigorously to maintain US power and prestige after the collapse of Cambodia and South Viet Nam. Preventing a new war in the Middle East remained a major objective; by providing aid to both Israel and Egypt, the Ford Administration helped persuade the two countries to accept an interim truce agreement, Détente with the Soviet Union continued. President Ford and Soviet leader Leonid I. Brezhnev set new limitations upon nuclear weapons.

President Gerald R. Ford was Initiated in Malta Lodge No 465 in Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 30, 1949. Columbia Lodge No. 3, District of Columbia, conferred the degrees of Fellowcraft and Master Mason on Brother Ford as a courtesy to Malta Lodge on May 18, 1951. Brother Ford’s father, Gerald R. Sr., a 33rd degree Mason presented the lambskin apron.

He received the Scottish Rite degrees in the Valley of Grand Rapids in 1957 and created a Sovereign Grand Inspector General honorary 33rd degree, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, in 1962.

He joined Saladin Shrine Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S. in 1959.

He is a member of Court No. 11, Royal Order of Jesters.

He is an honorary member, DeMolay Legion of Honor.

His first services to Freemasonry came way before this when he was selected for the Eastern Team on the Shrine’s East-West football game at San Francisco. This was on January 1, 1935. He was a member of the University of Michigan’s undefeated National Championship football team in 1934.

Brother Ford is also…
A member of Saladin Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., Grand Rapids, Michigan
American Legion
Veterans of Foreign Wars

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