Thomas Jefferson


Thomas Jefferson


At just what time in history masons began to dispute the membership
of Thomas Jefferson in the Fraternity of our brotherhood is
unknown. Yet in a search for the beginning we find men such as Dr.
Joseph W. Eggleston; Julius F. Sachse and W.J. Paterson stating as
fact that Jefferson was not a Mason. Even Mackey the author of
Macke's Encyclopaedia appears to be of negative opinion for he
offers no affirmative rebuttal in favor of Tom Jefferson being a
Mason, this proves that even Mackey was biased in his research, for
there are many who are just as certain that Jefferson was a Mason,
some of which were  his contemporaries and knew Jefferson
intimately.

To show the inaccuracy of Macke's research, I offer the following
fact. There is published in the proceedings of the Grand Lodge of
Virginia for 1883, a record of the cornerstone ceremonies for
Central College which was laid in 1817, telling of the ceremonies
by the Widow's Son Lodge #60 and Charlottesville Lodge # 90, also
in the minutes of Charlottesville lodge #90 under the date of Sept.
20, 1817, Thomas Jefferson is listed as one of those present at the
ceremonies. (Mackey writes in his encyclopaedia that Jefferson did
not attend this meeting. Mackey ignores the proceedings and minutes
of a Grand Lodge and a Lodge. In spite of this error which was
never corrected and should discredit Mackey, and which has clouded
the minds of many Masons, there are still those who believe
Jefferson was a mason and list him as such. Even the Government
Printing Office has several publications in which are listed the
Presidents of the United States in which Thomas Jefferson is listed
as a Master Mason. During the 1932 centennial celebration, most of
the literature published for that event list Thomas Jefferson as
being a Master Mason. Edward D. Barker, who was Anti-masonic, and
went about making speeches against the Masons of that day, on March
12, 1829, at Middlebury, Vermont, quoted remarks made by Thomas
Jefferson as a Master Mason, and referred to his membership in the
fraternity while President of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson died, July 4, 1826. Even after death he was
recorded as a Mason, for on June 4, 1828, at a celebration of St
John the Baptist, a toast for the departed was given and the name
of Thomas Jefferson was among those named, this ceremony was
recorded by two publications, The Pittsburg Literary Gazette, Vol
1, Aug. 4,1828, and also in the Masonic Souvenir, July 1828. At the
dedication of the Boston Masonic Temple, May 30, 1832 Bernard
Whitman stated that all the presidents of the United States up to
that time had been Masons except two. The two he referred to must
have been the Adams', for both Father and Son were anti- masonic.
Today when many would disclaim Thomas Jefferson as being a Master
Mason, The United States Government lists Thomas Jefferson as a
Master Mason in all its publications. It must be remembered that it
was not healthy in the early 1800s to be known as a Mason, as the
Anti-Masonic groups and many of the Churches were forcing the
Masons of that era underground. As Jefferson was sandwiched between
two strong anti-masonic presidents as the Adams' it is only natural
to assume many of the lodges in that day did not list the names of
all their members present. Jefferson was not the only mason of that
era who  was not listed among those attending the meetings for
security reasons.

However as most of the argument has been taken on the stand that
Jefferson never was recorded in a tiled meeting, and the hearsay
evidence is not accepted, let us now look at the record of a
meeting which was presided over by our First President, George
Washington and was a tiled lodge, and in which Thomas Jefferson,
Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, and seven other distinguished
brethren of that day were present. Therefore I offer the following
evidence for your consideration.


The key to the CHROMO entitled "Washington presiding over a meeting
of the Lodge"


The following was prepared by G.L.Reynolds


"In the summer of 1869 I set  about gathering the facts upon which
to found a correct historic picture of George Washington as a
mason. Various pictures have hitherto been published representing
him in many different attitudes, having no reference to historical
facts. Considering, therefore, that matter of greatest importance
had been overlooked, I determined, if possible, to find when, where
and under what circumstances the honored  "Father of our Country"
did meet with, preside over, or in manner affiliate with his
brothers."

G.L.Reynolds, goes on to explain in detail his visit to
Fredericksburg lodge and copied from the records, their masonic
history and records of George Washington.

"On making known the object of my visit to the lodge at
Fredericksburg and the Lodge at Alexandria, Va., I was most
cordially received by the principal officers, and afforded free
access to all records and relics in their possession, and had
converse with the oldest members, some of whom had been associated
in their day with those who knew all the circumstances of such a
meeting as the CHROMO represented, and had met with Washington in
the Lodge room."

"this was especially the case at Georgetown where they have the
likenesses of Bros. MOUNTZ and THOMPSON, which I had photographed,
as two of the contemporaries of Washington, and are represented in
the CHROMO as officers of the lodge, which in accordance with their
statements now in possession of Potomac Lodge, which I here
subjoin. In answer to a letter of inquiry from the above lodge,
Brother Mountz says;"

""I was treasurer of Lodge No.9, now Potomac lodge No 5, in the
year 1793, and am now in the 83rd year of my age, and have never
had the occasion to regret my connection with our ancient and
honorable Order. I was present and near our late Brother George
Washington, First President of the United States, when he laid the
corner stone of the Capitol of the United States, on the 18th of
September, 1793 which he did masonicly with a marble gavel, which
is the one now in possession of your lodge.


I am, Brethren, sincerely your Brother, John Mountz""



In answer to a similar Letter addressed to James Thompson, he
responds: "Washington  City, May 23d, 1854." ""Brethren: In
responding to your inquiries I offer the following remarks: I am
now in the 86th year of my age, and have belonged to our Honorable
order upwards of sixty years. I was master of your lodge, then
Columbia Lodge No. 19 in the year 1795, and Secretary in the year
1796: appointed delegate to represent the lodge at the Grand
Communication, held in the City of Baltimore, in july 1796: elected
Secretary for the year 1797: I was one of the eight oarsmen and
pulled the stroke oar of the barge that conveyed Brother George
Washington across the Potomac, from a meeting over which he
presided, at Alexandria, Va. and saw him when he laid the corner
stone of the National Capitol, Masonically, in the year 1798 I am,
Brethren, Most sincerely yours, J. Thompson.""



"Here now are two living honorable witnesses, leaving their
testimony upon which to build the historic CHROMO now offered to
the Fraternity. That this meeting of preparatory arrangements for
laying the corner stone was held in Alexandria Lodge No. 22 ( of
which George Washington was a member) just prior to the event, is
not only consistent with the occasion. but supported by other
evidences equal in reliability to the excellent authority already
quoted. We will introduce no verbal statements, since we have
Brother Thompson's written declaration that he formed one of the
party in the barge which conveyed George Washington direct (from
the Preparatory meeting) across the potomac from Alexandria to
Washington City on the 18th of September 1793, the day on which the
corner stone of the Capitol was laid."


"On visiting Alexandria, Va. I was first referred to Brother
T.G.Loodkerman,   to whom I would refer any one for evidence of the
accuracy of the picture, or any statements made.


Reynolds goes on in detail of the time he spent in Alexandria Lodge
22 and explains the many different relics of interest, more
especially those items which are shown in the CHROMO picture and
its details, Reynolds here goes into details of the picture to
authenticate the Meeting and items shown in the picture and those
persons depicted in the picture, which I now list from right to
left.



Washington - is the central figure R.H. Lee Bishop White of Penn.
Benjamin Franklin Robert Morris John Mountz Benjamin Harrison Roger
Sherman THOMAS JEFFERSON George Wythe James Thompson