Sunday, December 20, 2009

‘On this date in 1767’

On this date in 1767, a Mason named Henry Andrew Francken, recently arrived in Albany, New York from Jamaica, established the first Masonic body on the North American continent associated with what would become the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite by issuing the warrant of Ineffable and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection. The Ineffable and Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection was of the Rite of Perfection, that system of 25 degrees* that would be the basis for the 33-degree A&ASR established in 1801. Francken issued the patent to this Grand Lodge of Perfection, culminating several months of activity that had begun with his conferring degrees 4 through 14 upon two Masons named William Gamble and Francis von Pfister.

According to the minutes of the Grand Lodge of Perfection, the brethren received their warrant, which they called a constitution, on the 26th of December. On January 11, 1768 this Lodge of Perfection was opened by Master William Gamble, and it remained at labor, as far as we know, until December 5, 1774. An absence of records suggests it then went inactive for 45 years.

This Grand Lodge of Perfection in Albany still exists; it is one of the four Scottish Rite bodies meeting at the Valley of Albany, at 67 Corning Place.

Apropos of nothing, this is a poor photograph I shot of a Philadelphia Grand Lodge of Perfection summons dated Friday, February 15, 1889 which states the 14°, the Degree of Grand, Elect, Perfect and Sublime Mason, will be conferred upon eight candidates, and that the annual election of officers would take place. This document was on display at the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia two years ago.

Bro. Francken was in the news recently following the announcement in October of the rediscovery of a long lost manuscript of rituals, signed by Francken, found in Pakistan, where one such manuscript happened to have gone missing many years ago. This duplicate original manuscript is among only four known to exist. Read about that here.

* It seems there were degrees above 25 that were reserved for the rite’s highest officers.


MobileEndUser said...

Ill. Br. Charles Meyer was of course, serving as the first Supreme Magus of the SRICF at the time of this document. Meyer was Supreme Magus from 1880-1908.

Magpie Mason said...

I don't follow you. What does that mean?

MobileEndUser said...

It doesn't mean anything. It is a historic point of interest. Look at the document you photographed.

Magpie Mason said...

Ohhh, THAT document. Now I see.

Magpie Mason said...

I gather the street address 1717 Chestnut Street was the Masonic Temple's. Today it is a luggage shop.