Wednesday, September 23, 2020


 SAR Compatriot:Eugene Foley

Fraternal Connections
I have heard, over the years, that the “Indians” responsible for the Boston Tea Party were Freemasons.  While I’ve not yet been convinced that there is evidence of clandestine meetings of the lodge to execute such a plan, it is true that many of the Founding Fathers were active Freemasons.  Franklin, Washington, Otis, Wooster, Marshall, Lafayette, Montgomery, Putnam and Hancock were all active Masons.

While Masonry is often characterized as a “secret” really isn’t.  In fact, one might compare it with many other fraternal organizations, like the Grange, Pythians, Odd Fellows, and many others that use ritual and symbolism in their lessons teaching commonly held virtues of the communities they serve.  Such would certainly be consistent with the actions evident among those who would actively seek the abolition of tyranny and despotism.

As genealogical researchers, the lack of secrecy is a treasure trove of information.  Members wanted to be known as such, and even paraded (literally) to make their presence known.  The famous painting of the laying of the corner stone of the first national capital building shows Washington in Masonic adornment.  But, perhaps, most useful is the availability of historic membership information.  Many grand lodges have allowed the transcription of membership files which provide useful dates, occupations, and locations.  And can search them on the internet.