Allen Roberts

MYTH: Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry were Freemasons.

FACT: Neither Thomas Jefferson nor Patrick Henry were members of the craft. An exhaustive search of Masonic records in Virginia, and elsewhere, offer no iota of evidence to make them Freemasons. Jefferson participated in the cornerstone laying of his University at Charlottesville, which was done Masonically. He praised Freemasonry and his own words proved he had never been a member of the craft.

MYTH: All George Washington's generals during the War for American Independence were Masons.

FACT: Thirty-three of the generals serving under Washington were members of the craft, a long way from "all." The late James R. Case and ronald E. Heaton made comprehensive studies of the Revolutionary period and debunked many of the claims considered here.

MYTH: Washington insisted that the Marquis de Lafayette be made a Mason before he would promote him to general, and the same claim has been made about the Baron von Steuben.

FACT: Both Lafayette and von Steuben were Freemasons before they arrived to help fight the British. This was true of Lafayette even though he wasn't 21 years of age when he arrived in America. It's highly likely that Washington never did know they were Masons. The stories of both of these men are highly interesting, but space prohibits the telling of them here.

MYTH: The governors of the 13 original colonies when Washington was inaugurated President of the United States were Freemasons.

FACT: From Lexington until the inauguration 30 different men served as governors. Of these ten were Freemasons. That's one-third! Wouldn't it be wonderful for the country if we could claim the same percentage today?

MYTH: The Boston Tea Party was organized in St. Andrew's Lodge in Boston and its members participated in tossing the tea into Boston Harbor.

FACT: So well has the secrecy surrounding the Boston Tea Party been kept that to this day not a single participant can be truthfully named! It's true that St. Andrew's Lodge didn't meet on the night of the "party." This proves nothing. The "T" that has been claimed as part of the minutes of the lodge is actually an indistinguishable scroll. By no stretch of the imagination can it be called a "T" or any other letter.

MYTH: All, or almost all, Signers of the Articles of Confederation, Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and Signers of the Constitution were Freemasons.

FACT: Ten of the signers of the Articles, nine signers of the Declaration, and 13 signers of the Constitution — and only this number — were, or would become, Freemasons. Even so, this is an excellent percentage of the participants. It should be noted that Edmund Randolph, governor and Grand Master of Virginia, although an important participant in the Constitutional Convention, didn't sign the document. He did, however, fight for its ratification. It should also be noted that four Presidents of the Continental Congresses were Freemasons: Peyton Randolph of Virginia, John hancock of Massachusetts, Henry Laurens of South Carolina, and Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania.

Source: The Northern Lite, November 1988