The Masonic Stone of Port Royal

Reginald V. Harris P.G.M.

The Masonic Stone of Port Royal 1606.

In 1827, a stone bearing the date 1606 and the Masonic square and compasses was found on the shores of Annapolis Basin in Nova Scotia. Masonic students and historians have since advanced the theory that this stone is to be regarded as the earnest trace of the existence of Freemasons or Freemasonry on this continent.

Its Discovery

There are two accounts of the finding of this stone. The first from the pen of Judge Thomas Chandler Haliburton, famous author of "Sam Slick, the Clockmaker," was written in 1827, the year of the ending of the stone or very shortly afterward, and is to be found in his Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia published in 1829 (Vol II, p 155-157,) as follows:

About six miles below the ferry is situated Goat Island which separates the Annapolis Basin from that of Digy and forms two entrances to the former. The western channel, though narrow, is deep and generally preferred to others. A small peninsula, extending from the Granville shore, forms one of its sides. On this point of land the first piece of ground was cleared for cultivation in Nova Scotia by the French They were induced to make this selection on account of the beauty of its Situation, the good anchorage opposite it, the command which it gave them of the channel, and the facility it afforded of giving the earliest notice to the garrison at Port Royal of the entrance of an enemy into the Lower Basin. In the year 1827, the stone was discovered upon which they had engraved the date of their first cultivation of the soil, in memorial of their formal possession of the country. It is about two feet and a half long and two feet broad, and of the same kind as that which forms the sub stratum of Grapeville Mountain on the upper part are engraved the square and compasses of the Free Mason, and in the centre, in large and deep Arabic figures the date 1606. It does not appear to have been dressed by a Mason, but the inscription has been cut on its natural surface.

The stone itself has yielded to the power of the climate, and both the external front and the interior parts of the letters have alike suffered from exposure to the weather; the seams on the back of it have opened, and. from their capacity to hold water and the operation of frost on it when thus confined. it is probable in a few years it would have crumbled to pieces. The date is distinctly visible. and although the figure 0 is worn down to one half of its original depth and the upper part of the figure 6 nearly as much yet no part of them is obliterated-they are plainly discernible to the eye and easily traced by the finger.

At a subsequent period when the country was conquered by the English, some Scotch emigrants were sent out by Sir William Alexander who erected a fort on the site of the French corn fields, previous to the Treaty of St Germain. The remains of this fort may be traced with great ease; the old parade the embankment and ditch have not been disturbed and preserve their original form. It was occupied by the French for many years after the peace of 1632, and near the eastern parapet a large stone has been found with the following monumental inscription. Lebel, 1643.

Thomas Haliburton

In passing we should remind the reader that Thos. C. Haliburton at this time was a practising lawyer in Annapolis Royal and represented the County of Annapolis in the Legislature of Nova Scotia.

Born in Windsor, N.S., Dec 17 1796, of a New England family, he was educated at the Academy Windsor (now King's College School) and at King's College graduating in 1815 with high honours. He was admitted to the Bar of the Supreme Court in 1820 and removed to Annapolis where he resided until 1829. During this period he wrote his "Historical and Statistical Account of his native province, a two-volume history of Nova Scotia. In 1827, he was elected to represent the County in the Assembly and about the same time was appointed judge of Probate and Wills for the County. His legislative career of two years was most notable and brilliant.

In 1829, at the age of 33 years, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for the middle division of Nova Scotia and in 1841, a justice of the Supreme Court, in which position he served for fifteen years resigning in 1856 on his removal to reside in England. Three years later he was elected to the British Parliament to represent Launceton in Cornwall. He died at Isleworth, in 1865.

Haliburton's fame rests not only on his historical work but equally on his famous "Sam Slick, the Clockmaker" a humorous account in several volumes of a Yankee peddler of clocks, and on some twelve or fifteen other works remarkable for his keen insight into human nature and his sense of the ludicrous. He was the first of our British American humorists.

The Second Account

The other account of the finding of the stone is contained in a letter written nearly thirty years after the finding of the stone. This letter which is now in the possession of the New England Historic-Genealogical Society, Boston, Mass., is from the pen of Dr. Charles T. Jackson (1805-80) of Boston, then a student at Harvard and later a celebrated chemist and geologist, and is in the following words:

June 2 1856

Dear Sir:

When Francis Alger and myself made a mineralogical survey of Nova Scotia in 1827, we discovered upon the shore of Goat Island, in Annapolis Basin, a gravestone partly covered with sand and Iying on the shore. It bore the Masonic emblems, square and compass, (sic) and had the figures 1606 cut on it.

The rock was a flat slab of trap rock, common in the vicinity. At the ferry from Annapolis to Granville we saw a large rounded rock with this inscription "La Belle 1649." These inscriptions were undoubtedly intended to commemorate the place of burial of French soldiers who came to Nova Scotia, "Annapolis Royal, I'Acadie," in 1603.

Coins, buttons and other articles originally belonging to these early French settlers, are found in the soil of Goat Island in Annapolis Basin.

The slab bearing date 1606. I had it brought over by the ferryman to Annapolis and ordered it to be packed in a box to be sent to the Old Colony Pilgrim Society (of Plymouth Mass.), but Judge Haliburton then Thomas Haliburton Esq., prevaded on me to abandon it to him and he now has it carefully preserved. On a late visit to Nova Scotia I found that the Judge had forgotten how he came by it, and so I told him all about.

Yours truly, C. T. Jackson

Addressed J. W. Thornton (Pres.)

This letter is now accompanied by a photograph of the stone made about the date of the letter showing the square and compasses and the figures 1606 rudely cut and much worn by time and weather, but still quite distinct.

Other References

From time to time accounts somewhat embellished and adorned with additional information, respecting the Masonic stone have appeared in magazines and periodicals, For example the following from the pen of a writer in the Toronto Telegram in January 1939.

"The stone was discovered by two surveyors in the vicinity of Annapolis Nova Scotia about 1845. It appeared to be part of a gravestone and rudely cut upon its surface was the word "Rillion" and the date 1606."

That at once connected it with the early Canadian travels of Samuel de Champlain.

But that was not the mystery. The mystery centred around the fact that above the name the stone mason had cut the well known Masonic emblems of the square and compass (sic). The history of Masonry in Canada is generally considered to commence in the year 1720 but this stone evidently moved the date back by over a century.

The photograph certainly does not show the square and compasses above the name. It seems very improbable that any such name was on the stone when found in 1827, for had this been so, Dr. Jackson or Judge Haliburton would have surely mentioned it.

ln the Scottish Rite News Bulletin of Dec. 20 1946 the statement is made that "It was on Goat lsland that the 1606 Stone was found", but the Haliburton account written at the time of the discovery of the stone in 1827, makes it clear that it was found on the Granville shore opposite Goat Island.

True the letter of Dr. Jackson says that it was "discovered upon the shore of Goat lsland", but it was written nearly thirty years after the discovery and is not of much help in several other respects. The statement in the S. R. News Bulletin was copied from the History of Freemasonry in Canada by J. Ross Robertson (vol. 1 p. 136) which makes no reference to the earlier account by Haliburton and there is abundant and unanswerable evidence in Champlain's record that the settlement including the burial ground was on the Granville shore.

The Lebel Stone

The Lebel Stone to which both Haliburton and Jackson refer is not to be confused with the stone first mentioned, which is the subject of this paper. The Lebel stone was for many years in possession of the family of the late Fred Leavitt of Annapolis but is now in the Museum at Fort Anne Annapolis Royal. The date on it is 1649 and not 1643. Lebel was the name of a clever business man of Paris, who spent years in Port Royal, Acadia where he was the guardian of D Aulnay de Charnisay's children. He returned to France evidently after 1649 and lived for many years. These facts respecting Lebel were unearthed by the late Dr. James Hannay, of Saint John, N. B. who gave the results of his researches in a very interesting paper read before the Nova Scotia Historical Society on Jan 4, 1882. The stone very much resembles one which a man would use as a door step or house sign.

The Subsequent History of the Masonic Stone

We shall later refer more particularly to the Masonic Stone and the two accounts of its finding already quoted, but wish first to refer to its subsequent history which is most singularly unfortunate. The stone was given about 1856 by Judge Haliburton to his son Robert Grant Haliburton and by him in 1868 entrusted to Mr. (later Sir) Sandford Fleming, the founder of the Canadian institute, Toronto on the distinct understanding that it was on loan, to be returned to Haliburton on demand. This is verified by Judge George Patterson of Pictou who in a letter to the Halifax Chronicle in 1891 states that Mr. Fleming received from the lnstitute a written acknowledgment that it was a loan to be exhibited.

The lnstitute was established in 1849 as the Canadian Institute and received a Royal Charter Nov. 4th, 1851, when its name was changed to the Royal Canadian lnstitute. ln 1861, it occupied the building on the northeast corner of Adelaide and Church Streets, then known as the Mechanics Institute erected in that year.

In the printed Proceedings of the Canadian Institute we find the following record:

21st March, 1868 Prof D. Wilson, LL.D. "Notice of dated traces of European immigration to British America in the seventeenth century. Stone found by Mr. Haliburton at Port Royal. Nova Scotia, bearing date 1606 was exhibited."

The minutes of this meeting of the lnstitute are as follow;

Dr. Wilson (President 1859-61, later Sir Daniel Wilson) read a paper entitled "Notes of dated traces of European Immigration to British America in the 17th Century" and exhibited a stone found by Judge Haliburton at Port Royal, Nova Scotia, bearing date 1606.

Dr. Wilson intimated that the stone was sent by Mr. Haliburton to be deposited in the museum of the Institute, subject however, to be withdrawn by him or his heirs at any time.

The thanks of the Institute were voted to Dr. Wilson for his valuable communication and, on the motion of Dr. Wilson, seconded by Professor Cherriman, the special thanks of the Institute were voted to Mr. Haliburton and to Mr. Sandford Fleming for their trouble and liberality in forwarding the inscriptive stone.

The stone remained on exhibition in the lnstitute's museum until 1876 and Sir Sandford Fleming writes "I have myself seen it more than once since its being placed in the Canadian Institute."

In 1863, the Institute purchased a site at the corner of Richmond and Berti Streets with a view to erecting a building to house the lnstitute and its activities, but construction was not begun until 1876, the cornerstone being laid on August 11th of that year by the Hon. D A MacDonald, Lieut Governor of Ontario (1875-80). The work was carried to a successful conclusion largely through the persistent efforts of Professor Loudon, later President of Toronto University.

As the building progressed, instructions were given by Dr. Charles Scadding to build the stone into the wall of one of the principal rooms or in the hallway with the inscription exposed, but it is said that the mason very stupidly covered it over with mortar, and even the spot could not afterwards be traced although the mortar has been removed at several places to look for it. "Before these facts were made known to me or any trace could be had of the stone," writes Sir Sandford Fleming, "I had a long correspondence with the Institute authorities, and I further offered a reward of $1000 for the stone if it could be found, but it was all to no purpose. I regret extremely that l can throw so little light on it at this day." If ever the present building be taken down diligent search should be made for the historic stone, perhaps the oldest inscription stone in America.

In passing it may be stated that it was in this building in a large public room upstairs that Sir Sandford Fleming in 1878, outlined his proposals for Standard Time. The address was published and sent to all the governments of the world by the Marquess of Lorne then Governor General of Canada. The Czar of Russia called a Time Convention which met at Rome in 1882, adjourning to meet at Washington, the following year when Standard Time was adopted as a universal system. A tablet on the corner of the building marks the site of the birthplace of Standard Time.

The building, now No 58 Richmond St. East is built of brick, its walls being nearly two feet thick, two and a half stories in height. The building was sold on Aug. 10th, 1905, to the Sons of England Benevolent Society; which since then has occupied it as its headquarters. The bay windows in front were added in 1912. The building has been searched from basement to roof not once but many times, without finding a trace of the historic stone.

Some Correspondence

When the building was sold in 1905 an agreement was made between the solicitors for the Sons of England and the Royal Canadian Institute by exchange of letters in which it was agreed on behalf of their principals "that a certain stone containing a Masonic symbol and dated 1606, built somewhere in the walls of the building is, and shall be if found, the property of the Canadian Institute and they shall be at liberty to remove the same and protect us (the Sons of England) from all loss and damage", an agreement evidently made without full knowledge of the facts.

It is a most regrettable fact that this priceless stone should have ever gone out of Nova Scotia where it rightly belongs. The necessity for a Masonic museum in this Province needs no argument when such things as this happen. If the building is ever taken down the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia should see to it that the stone is returned to this Province.

A Study of the Stone

To return now to the two accounts of the finding of the stone itself, there can be little or no doubt that Judge Haliburton's account written at the time of the discovery and on the spot by one who had made a study of the locality and of its history is correct and that Dr. Jackson's account written from recollection thirty years after he found the stone cannot be relied upon as to the place of discovery. Moreover the historical facts stated by Judge Haliburton as to the place of the first settlement by the French establish beyond a doubt that the stone marked with the date 1606 was found on the peninsula extending from the Granville shore opposite Goat Island Annapolis Basin.

As to the inscription on the stone, although the stone not now available for inspection there can be little if any doubt as to the particulars of the inscription. Judge Haliburton undoubtedly wrote his description of the stone with it immediately before him. Dr. Jackson's account made after he had seen it a second time confirms it and the photograph made before the stone was sent to Toronto further establishes the fact that the stone bore the date 1606 and the "square and compass" of the Mason though these emblems would seem to be too much worn away to admit of a good photographic reproduction, a condition not to be wondered at after an exposure to the weather for over two hundred years.

At this date we are obliged to rely on the evidence of Dr. Charles T. Jackson, Judge Haliburton, R. C. Haliburton, Sir Sandford Fleming, Sir Daniel Wilson and Dr. Chas Scadding who actually saw the stone itself. Several of these men were themselves Freemasons and knew the Masonic emblems when they saw them and until the stone itself is again available for inspection we must accept their statement that the marks on the stone were "the square and compasses of the Freemason."

On the other hand some who have examined only the photograph have doubted whether the marks on the stone (other than the date 1606) were really the square and compasses of the Freemason. The fact that these marks appear not to have been cut so deeply and well has suggested to them that they are surface scratches such as might have been made accidentally in digging with a pike or spade. An examination of the photograph however clearly shows that the marks are more than mere scratches — deeper, clearer and more lasting as they must have been to survive the attacks of the elements for more than two centuries. Judge Haliburton in describing the stone says "It does not appear to have been dressed by a mason but the inscription has been cut on its natural surface." It is quite impossible today to decide whether the inscription was the work of a skilled or unskilled workman.

Theories Respecting the Stone

Turning now to the explanations and theories respecting the inscription, Judge Haliburton describes it as a stone "upon which they (the French) had engraved the date of their cultivation of the soil, in memorial of their formal possession of the country."

Against this theory, it must be urged:

  1. That the first cultivation of the soil by these French settlers was in 1605 and not 1606.
  2. Champlain's map showing gardens is dated 1605.
  3. The French took possession of the country in 1604.
  4. It would be more probable that a national emblem, such as the fleur-de-lis, would be used rather than a Masonic emblem for such purposes.

That this is exactly what they did is evident from the record of Argall's capture of Port Royal in 1614. In Murdock's History of Nova Scotia, he states that in that year "Argall destroyed the fort and all monuments and marks of French national power. It is recorded that he even caused the names of De Monts and other captains and the fleur-de-lis to be effaced with pick and chisel from a massive stone on which they had been engraved."

This account not only shows what emblems the French used to commemorate their occupation of the country but also that if this stone was visible it does not commemorate a national event.

The theory that the stone might commemorate the establishment of a lodge of speculative Freemasons as we understand that phrase, has virtually nothing to support it, though it is perhaps more than a matter of interest that during the winter of 1606-7, the French colonists under the leadership of Champlain established a sort of social club, the first in America and styled the "Ordre du Bon Temps" consisting of fifteen members. The little company included several distinguished names: Poutrincourt, the real founder of Port Royal; Champlain, the founder of Quebec, two years later, and the historian of many events at Port Royal; Biencourt. Poutrincourt's son; Lescarbot, advocate, poet and historian of this early period; Louis Hebert, apothecary and farmer and one of the first settlers of Quebec; Robert Grave, Champdore and Daniel Hay, a surgeon. Each member in turn became the caterer to his brethren, a plan which excited so much emulation among them that each endeavoured to excel his predecessor in office, in the variety, profusion. and quality of the viands procured for the table during his term of office. Lescarbot, a member of the society and the historian of these early events says that the Order was originally proposed by Champlain. "The ruler of the feast or steward marched in, napkin in hand, and around his neck the collar of the Order, which was worth more than four crowns; after him all the members of the Order, carrying each a dish." After supper he resigned the insignia of office to his successor, with the ceremony of drinking to him in a cup of wine. Francis Parkman, the eminent historian, writes, "The brotherhood followed the Grand Master, each carrying a dish." but I am unable to find in Lescarbot's record any justification for the use of the title "Grand Master" by Parkman. The Nova Scotia Government, however, on reestablishing the Order in 1937, adopted that title when installing Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada, as the head of the revived Order.

Another Theory

There remains for consideration one other theory advanced respecting the stone; that of Dr. Jackson. that it was "undoubtedly intended to commemorate the place of burial of French soldiers." This expression of opinion by Dr. Jackson in 1856 may have been founded on an opinion expressed by Judge Haliburton on his "recent" visit to Nova Scotia, and may indicate that the Judge had identified the place of discovery as the site of the burial ground. Whatever the facts. the gravestone theory would seem to have more to support it than any other.

First, as to the stone itself. As described by Judge Haliburton who had possession of the stone from 1827 until his removal to England in 1856, it evidently measured two by two and a half feet; undoubtedly of monumental size and shape.

Secondly, as to the place where it was found. Champlain in his "Voyages" gives a plan of the Fort erected by him in 1605. This plan shows a burying ground and a garden outside the eastern parapet or palisade. Judge Haliburton's original theory that the stone commemorated the first cultivation of the soil may have been based on the belief that it was found on the site of the garden but it is equally clear that it might also be a gravestone, although Dr. Jackson says in his letter of 1856 that it was found "upon the shore", "partly covered with sand and lying on the shore."

Assuming that the stone is a gravestone two questions present themselves:

  1. Why are the square and compasses on the stone?
  2. Whose gravestone is it?

It will be convenient to answer these two questions together. Champlain in his history tells us that during the winter of 1605-6 six members of the little colony died. While Champlain does not give the names of those who departed this life nor when they died, yet from his context and Lescarbot's account, it would not be difficult to draw a very strong inference that all died before the New Year dawned, and we may safely assume that the stone is not a gravestone of any of these six settlers.

In the spring of that year (1606) Poutrincourt, who had gone home with De Monts in the autumn of 1605, induced Marc Lescarbot, an advocate of Paris, referred to above, to join the colony. They reached Port Royal on July 27th, where they remained until August 28th., when Poutrincourt started on an exploratory voyage down the American coast, as far as Cape Cod, leaving Lescarbot behind in charge of the colony. Lescarbot in his "New France" has this to say about the work done while the rest were away.

"Meanwhile I set about making ready the soil, setting off and enclosing gardens wherein to sow wheat and kitchen herbs. We also had a ditch dug all around the fort, which was a matter of necessity to receive the dampness and the water which previously had oozed underneath our dwellings, amid the roots of the trees which had been cut down and which had very likely been the cause of the unhealthiness of the place."

"I have no time to stop here to describe in detail the several labours of our other workmen. Suffice it to say that we had numerous joiners, carpenters, masons, stone cutters, locksmiths, workers in iron, tailors, wood sawyers, sailors, etc., who worked at their trades, and in doing so were very kindly used, for after three hours work a day they were free. But while each of our said workmen had his special trade, they had also to set to work at whatever turned up. as many of them did. Certain masons and stone cutters turned their hands to baking and made as good bread as that of Paris."

Let us note in passing the use by Lescarbot of the two words "masons" and "stone cutters." The original French words in Lescarbot's history are "masson" and "tailleur le pierre," the former being a word of wider significance than the other, including any operative on the construction of a building, using either stones, bricks, plaster or cement, the latter word denoting greater skill including not only the work of cutting inscriptions but approaching the work of the sculptor.

Poutrincourt's party meanwhile spent some weeks exploring and when near Cape Cod a party of five young men landed in defiance of orders and were attacked by Indians. Three were killed and buried on the spot by their comrades; the other two were severely wounded one of them, Duval, a locksmith, lived to take part in a revolt at Quebec two years later; the other was so pierced with arrows that he died on reaching Port Royal on November 14, 1606. where he was buried.

During the winter of 1606-7, there were four deaths but these occurred in February and March 1607, and not during the year 1606, according to both Champlain and Lescarbot. If therefore the stone was erected to mark the grave of one of the colonists who died during the year 1606, it must have been the grave of the man who died on November 14, 1606, or shortly afterward of wounds received at Cape Cod.

What was his profession or trade? We know Duval was a locksmith and from Lescarbot's description of the little company, it is probable that his companions on their wild episode on shore with the Indians at Cape Cod, were members of the various trades at Port Royal at this time. If he had been a man of standing either Champlain or Lescarbot would have named him. They name none of those who died at Port Royal.

The Carpenter's Guild

We must not forget that at that time the carpenters of France had their own mystery or trade guilds, carried on along lines somewhat similar to operative Masonry and using the square and compasses as their emblem. Similar craft guilds in England used the square and compasses as their heraldic device and it is to be found in hundreds of articles and manuscripts.

This may be well illustrated by a short quotation from Felix Gras, the eminent Proven├žal poet and novelist (1844-1901), whose works were so highly esteemed by the late Rt. Hon. W. E. Gladstone. In his "Les Rouges du Midi", a book dealing with the French Revolution, he describes a visit paid by Vauclair, a carpenter from Marseilles, to Planctot, a carpenter residing and working in Paris.

"As we stood outside the door we could hear the smooth "hush, hush" of a big plane as it threw off the long shavings, but the planing stopped short at our loud knock, and then the door flew open and there was Planctot himself. It was plain that he knew Vauclair on the instant, but instead of shaking hands with him, he turned his back and rushed off like a crazy man. In a few minutes we heard the clatter of old Planctot's wooden shoes on the stair. He had come to greet Vauclair according to the rite and ceremonial of their craft. He had put on his Sunday hat and his best wig; and before he said a word he laid a compass and a square down on the floor between himself and, Vauclair. At once Vauclair made the correct motions of hand and foot, to which Planctot replied properly; and then, under their raised hands, they embraced over the ............... compass and square."

"Old Planctot" is several times called "le maitre", "the master," which would seem to denote his standing in the craft.

Another more recent book written for younger readers, which gives a vivid picture of the French Craft guilds of the Middle Ages is "The Boy Knight of Rheims", by Eloise Lounsbery, written in 1927, dealing with the guilds of Masons and goldsmiths employed in rebuilding the great cathedral of Rheims in 1424.

The French Guilds

There can of course be no historical doubt of the existence of such craft guilds among French masons, carpenters, and all the trades represented at Port Royal in 1606. The literature on this subject is very voluminous.

The Craft Guilds (Corps d'Etat) of France began as early as the reign of Louis VI (1108-1137) when the monarchs granted charters and privileges to such merchant companies as the cloth workers, grocers, mercers, hatters, furriers and goldsmiths, giving them similar powers of municipal government in Paris, as were later enjoyed by the merchant guilds of London. Other trades and crafts in other towns and cities in the Kingdom, such as the jewellers, glass makers, candlemakers, butchers, bakers and masons were granted similar privileges. Each guild was semi-religious in character and maintained an altar in a neighbouring church; each altar was dedicated to the patron saint of the guild which from time to time provided payment for masses for the souls of their dead. In 1308, the number of these fraternities was so great as to provoke the fear of Philippe le Bel, who interdicted, them, the same king who about this time along with Pope Clement V suppressed the Knights Templar in France.

Among the most active of these fraternities was that which included the masons, stone masons, plasterers, mortarers, quarry workers and tylers. In Amiens, Charters, Rouen, Rheims, Beauvais, Brouges and other cathedral towns, this group was organized under a code of elaborate regulations under which they gained such influence and power that they were made subject to various restrictions and regulations by the French Parliament, but the guilds continued to meet in secret; some few were exempted from the general statutes; and in the end all these fraternities continued their work more vigorously than before, until the National Assembly of 1793 abolished them at once and forever.

The Compagnonnage

The society however to which the artisans at Port Royal probably belonged was the Compagnonnage which flourished everywhere through France from about 1400 almost to the present time. Its members were men of all trades and it resembled Freemasonry in its form of organization and in many other respects. The Order was divided into three groups or fellowships, namely the Children of Solomon, the Children of Maitre Jacques and the Children of Pere Soubise. The Children of Solomon originally comprised only stonemasons, but locksmiths and joiners were later admitted. Maitre Jacques also ruled over the stonemasons and afterwards over locksmiths and joiners, and finally over almost every kind of craftsman. The Children of Soubise were carpenters, to which tylers and plasterers were added.

These three fellowships had legends or traditional histories which took them back to King Solomon's Temple. According to legend, Maitre Jacques was born in Southern Gaul in the time of King Solomon, travelled in Greece where he learned sculpture and architecture and then reached Jerusalem where he constructed the two famous pillars of the Temple and did other important master work. Returning to Gaul he brought with him Maitre Soubise, but enmity grew up between them and the followers of Soubise attempted to assassinate Jacques. A disciple of the latter betrayed his master and five ruffians fell upon him, killing him with five dagger wounds!

The different trades had different ceremonies of initiation, and each had its secret means of recognition. That such a union or brotherhood of artisans existed at Port Royal seems to me very probable; but that it contained any speculative or accepted members is very improbable.

To Sum up

Let us now summarize our theories. The stone would seem to be a grave stone which marked the last resting place of a French settler who died in 1606, probably on November 14th in that year. With this conclusion Hon. A. W. Savary, the learned author of the supplement to the History of Annapolis County concurs. (Supp. 1913 p. 3)

Secondly, this settler was undoubtedly an artisan or operative, a member of one of the trades represented among the French colonists at Port Royal.

Thirdly, the emblem of the square and compasses was in general use as the trade mark or emblem of stone masons and carpenters at this period of French history.


  1. Champlain's Voyages, published by the Champlain Society.
  2. Lescarbot's "New France."
  3. Historical and Statistical Account of Nova Scotia, by Thomas C. Haliburton, published 1829; contains the first account of the discovery of the Stone, Vol. 11 p. 155-157.
  4. Report by Sereno D. Nickerson, Grand Secretary of Massachusetts, printed in Proceedings for 1891, p. 19-20.
  5. History of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders, by Hughan S Stillson 1890 and 1899, Chapter Vl. p. 439, written by S. D. Nickerson, based on Nos. 3 & 4.
  6. Letter to Halifax Chronicle 1891, by Judge George Patterson, based on No. 4.
  7. Reprint of letter in Canadian Craftsman, Toronto, July. 1891.
  8. History of Freemasonry in the Province of Quebec, by Dr. John H. Graham, 1892. p. 31, based on Nos. 1 and 3.
  9. History of Freemasonry in Canada, by John Ross Robertson, Toronto; Vol. I p. 136, based on the above accounts.
  10. History of Freemasonry in Rhode Island, by H. R. Rugg. 1895.
  11. History of the County of Annapolis, by W. A. Calnek, 1897, p. 11, 31, 641, based on Nos. 3 & 4.
  12. Early History of Freemasonry in Nova Scotia, an address by Hon. Wm. Ross, P.G.M., before N. S. Historical Society, and Virgin Lodge No. 3, July 1910; published in pamphlet form; based in part on Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 9.
  13. Supplement to Calnek's History of Annapolis County, by Hon. A. W. Savary, 1913. p. 3, based on No. 11.
  14. Proceedings of Massachusetts, 1914, Grand Master's address.
  15. Freemasonry in Canada, by Osborne Sheppard. 1915 reprint of No. 13.
  16. The Masonic Stone of 1606, by R. V. Harris, Transactions N. S. Lodge of Research, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 29 (Jan. 31, 1916) based on Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 12, 13 and 28.
  17. Mackey's Revised History of Freemasonry, by R. 1. Clegg, 1921, Vol. IV, p. 1314.
  18. "The Masonic Stone of 1606" by R. V. Harris, in "The Builder" Vol. X, Sept. 1924, p. 277-78, Oct. 1924, p. 295 (No. 16 revised).
  19. The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America by M. M. Johnson, 1924. p. 43, based on Nos. 3, 12, and 16.
  20. Gould's History of Freemasonry (Scribner Edition) Vol. IV. p. 26-27, 86, 119, Article by R. V. Harris, 1936.
  21. The Beginnings of Freemasonry in Canada, by R. V. Harris, 1938, p. 13-14, based on No. 18
  22. "Stone of 1606 Remains Sealed in Canadian Institute Walls" by Miss E. A. Kendall, Scottish Rite News Bulletin, Washington, Dec. 20, 1946. a summary of above.
  23. "The Annapolis Stone" by H. L. Haywood, in Supplement to Mackey's Encyclopedia 1947.
  24. Masonic Light Montreal, various articles during 1947-8 by C. E. Holmes,
  25. New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by A. E. Waite, Vol. I (Compagnonnage) .
  26. "The Boy Knight of Rheims" by Eloise Lounsbery.
  27. The Minutes of the Royal Canadian Institute, Toronto.
  28. "Les Rouges du Midi" by Felix Gras.
  29. A Library of Freemasonry by R. F. Gould and Wm. J. Hughan. vol. 1. chaps. iv & v.
  30. History of Freemasonry by R. F. Gould, (Scribners Edition 1936) vol. 1, chaps. 4 and 5, illustrated pp. 86 & 244.
  31. History of Freemasonry by W. R. Singleton, vol. 111 Chap. XV.

Source: The Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, 1950