History of Freemasonry

Freemasonry is a fraternity that dates back to the late 16th century. It is believed to have evolved from the guilds of stonemasons who built the great cathedrals and castles of the Middle Ages. Freemasonry is a fraternity that aims to promote personal development, moral and ethical values, and community service.

The history of Freemasonry can be traced back to the early 17th century when the first Grand Lodge was established in London. This was followed by the establishment of Grand Lodges in other parts of the world, including Scotland, Ireland, and the United States.

During the 18th century, Freemasonry gained popularity and acceptance among the social elite in Europe and America. Many notable figures, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin, were members of the fraternity. Freemasonry played a significant role in the American Revolution, as many of the founding fathers were members of the fraternity.

Freemasonry has its own unique system of symbols, which are used to convey moral and ethical lessons. These symbols are derived from the tools of the stonemason’s trade and include the square, compasses, and the plumb line. The fraternity also has its own system of rituals, which are used to teach moral and ethical values.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Freemasonry continued to grow and evolve. The fraternity played a significant role in the development of the modern welfare state, as many of its members were active in social and political reform movements.

Today, Freemasonry continues to be a popular and respected fraternity around the world. It has a strong tradition of charitable work, and its members are actively involved in their communities. The fraternity remains committed to promoting personal development, moral and ethical values, and community service.


History of Kansas Freemasonry

The Grand Lodge of Kansas is the governing body of Freemasonry in Kansas, formed March 17, 1856, nearly five years before Kansas statehood. Bleeding Kansas, the prelude to America’s Civil War, provided the backdrop to Kansas Freemasonry.

In 1854, three Wyandot Indians and five white settlers – all of whom were Masons – coalesced in what is now Wyandotte County, Kansas, and petitioned the Grand Lodge of Missouri to establish a Lodge of Masons in a Wyandot Indian village. On August 4, 1854, the dispensation was granted, and one week later Kansas Lodge U.D. (eventually to become Wyandotte Lodge No. 3) opened for work. Within two years, two other lodges in Kansas were formed, and in 1856 the trio formed the Grand Lodge of Kansas as America’s Civil War loomed.

Notably, the first master of Kansas Lodge U.D. was John Milton Chivington, a Methodist missionary to the Wyandot and a vocal opponent of slavery. Chivington left Kansas in 1860, became an officer in the Union army and was later celebrated as a hero for his part in the Battle of Glorieta Pass (1862). His orchestration of the Sand Creek Massacre (1864), however, earned him universal condemnation and ultimately made him infamous.

The influence of Missouri Masonry in Kansas resulted in not a few curious situations. In the bloody 1850’s and the years of the Civil War, Kansas was continually torn by bitter strife [over slavery], members of the two factions hunting down and slaying each other. Yet, whenever enough Brethren, regardless of faction, could be found they eagerly stood their guns against the nearest tree and began the erection of a Masonic altar. Enemies by day, they met as Brothers at Night.
– F. P. Strickland, Transactions, The American Lodge of Research, Vol. III, No. 3, p. 485.

The motto of the Grand Lodge, Misteria non Scripta may be translated as “Unwritten Mysteries (or Rites)”

Famous Civil War Masons with ties to Kansas are Union General Dan Butterfield and Confederate General Lewis A. Armistead, both of whom were members of Union Lodge No. 7 in Junction City, Kansas. Other famous Kansas Masons include automotive giant Walter Chrysler (Apollo Lodge No. 297, Ellis, Kansas), Air Force General Henry H. “Hap” Arnold (Union Lodge No. 7), Army General Jonathan M. Wainwright (Union Lodge No. 7), noted psychiatrist Karl A. Menninger (Topeka Lodge No. 17), and former U.S. Senator and Majority Leader Bob Dole (Russell Lodge No. 177, Russell, Kansas).

Kansas Freemasonry, while conscious of its past, is firmly grounded in the present, boasting almost 200 lodges across the state of Kansas. A leading contributor in the fight against cancer, the Grand Lodge of Kansas also supports numerous worthwhile charitable endeavors.

In looking to the future, Kansas Masons continue to quietly work for the betterment of their communities.

References: Albert G. Mackey, Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, Vol. 3, 1909.

Opportunities for Personal Growth:

Freemasonry is an organization that values personal growth and self-improvement. As a member, you’ll have access to a wealth of resources and tools that can help you develop new skills, enhance your knowledge, and expand your horizons. Whether you’re interested in learning more about history, philosophy, or leadership, there’s something for everyone in Freemasonry.