Masonic Lineage of Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Louisiana

 

The Grand Lodge of England (Modern) granted a charter to African Lodge No. 459 on September 29, 1784. According to the custom of that day, African Lodge No. 459; became a Mother Lodge and granted Warrants to lodges in Philadelphia and Providence. African Lodge No. 459, called a general assembly of the Craft on June 24, 1791, and organized the African Grand Lodge according to custom and usage.

 

From the lodges chartered by African Grand Lodge (later the name was changed to Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts), the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was formed on December 27, 1815. This Grand Lodge chartered Richmond Lodge in New Orleans (March 5, 1849). From lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, the Grand Lodge of Ohio was formed on May 3, 1849. Subsequently, during June 1850, with the permission of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, Richmond Lodge changed its allegiance to the Grand Lodge of Ohio.

 

The Grand Lodge of Louisiana was formed in 1863 by he lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Ohio as follows

 

Organization of the Grand Lodge for the State of Louisiana, 1863

 

A convention of Ancient York Masons was held in the city of New Orleans, State of Louisiana, at the Hall of Richmond Lodge No.4, Clinton Street #4, between Custom House and Bienville Streets, on the 5th of January, in the year of our Lord 1863, and of Light 5863.

 

Present:

 

Brother James B. Berry, Past Master; Brother Jurdon B. Noble, Past Master; Brother Oscar J. Dunn, Brother Lewis Banks, Past Master; Brother Henry Green, Present Senior Warden; Brother John Symes, Present Junior Warden; Brothers P. Thoroughgood, O.Reiffel, P. Canal, J.W. Cottrell, and Isodore Rieras, all of Richmond Lodge No. 4, Jurisdiction of Ohio.

 

Brother Jacob A. Norager, Past Master; Brother Edward Campanel, Past Master; Brother Wellington West, Present Master; Brother Joseph Johnston, Present Senior Warden; proxy of Milford Piron; Brother George P. Douse, Past Junior and Senior Warden, proxy for Emile Merle; Brother E. Harney and Brother G. Broadnax, all of Stringer Lodge No. 11, Jurisdiction of Ohio.

 

Brother John Parsons, Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge for the State of Ohio and Present Master of Parsons Lodge No. 18; Brother John J. Bonjean, Present Senior Warden; Brother Thomas Bland, Present Junior Warden; Brothers George J. Davis, E. Meilluer, J. Abelard, and O. Fernandez, all of Parsons Lodge No. 18 Jurisdiction of Ohio.

 

The convention was called to order by Brother Lewis Banks, and on motion, Brother John Parsons was chosen chairman.

 

The following resolutions were unanimously adopted:

 

Resolved, that in the judgment of this Convention, Richmond Lodge No. 4, Stringer Lodge No. 11, and Parsons Lodge No 18, are legally constituted and chartered Lodges of Free and Accepted Masons, and that the representatives of said Lodges, here present, are duly authorized and qualified and constitute a Grand Lodge for the State of Louisiana.

 

First. That Richmond Lodge No.4 is  regularly constituted by the Most  Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ohio, by a warrant bearing the date June, A.D. 1850, A.L. 5850, Brother Lewis Banks, Worshipful Master; Brother Henry Green, Senior Warden; and Brother John Symes, Junior Warden.

 

Second. That Stringer Lodge No. 11 is regularly constituted by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge for the State of Ohio, by a warrant bearing the date of 6th January, A.D., 1854, A.L. 5854, Brother Wellington West, Worshipful Master; Brother Jacob A. Norager, Senior Warden, proxy for Brother Milford Piron; and Brother Edward Campanel, Junior Warden, proxy for Brother Emile Merle.

 

Third. That Parsons Lodge No. 18 is regularly constituted by the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge for the State of Ohio, by a warrant bearing the date 23 June, A.D. 1857, A.L. 5857, Brother John Parsons, Present Worshipful Master; Brother John J. Bonjean, Senior Warden; proxy for Brother F. Farman (deceased); and Brother Thomas Bland, Junior Warden.

 

The convention proceeded by ballot to elect the Grand Officers, and on casting their votes, the worthy brethren named obtained a majority, and were duly elected to the following Grand Lodge Offices:

 

John Parsons – Grand Master

 

James B. Berry – Deputy Grand Master

 

Lewis Banks – Grand Senior Warden

 

Jurdan B. Noble – Grand Junior Warden

 

Wellington West – Grand Treasurer

 

George J. Davis – Grand Secretary

 

The said Grand Officers were duly proclaimed, agreeable to ancient form and usage, and the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge for the State of Louisiana, to be legally constituted, and the officers thereof duly installed.

 

The Grand Master then proceeded to appoint the following officers:

 

Jacob A. Norager – Grand Chaplain

 

George P. Douse – Grand Senior Deacon

 

J.W. Cottrell – Grand Junior Deacon

 

John J. Bonjean – Grand Marshall

 

Thomas Bland – Grand Sword Bearer

 

O. Rieffel – Grand Pursuivant

 

John Symes – Grand Senior Steward

 

Isidore Rieras – Grand Junior Steward

 

Henry Green – Grand Master of Ceremonies

 

E. Harney – Grand Lecturer

 

L. Artidore –Grand Tyler

 

The said Grand Officers were duly proclaimed, agreeable to ancient form and usage, and the Most Worshipful Grand Master for the State of Louisiana, duly installed them.

 

The Grand Master appointed Brothers Oscar J. Dunn, Lewis Banks and Jacob A. Norager to a committee to draft a Constitution and By – Laws for the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge was then called off until the 7th of January 1863.

 

In the year of 1869, this Grand Lodge was incorporated by an Act of Legislature. The Act did not designate the Grand Lodge by title, “Eureka”. However, since the second meeting of the Grand Lodge in 1864, the Eureka was used to differentiate between the White and Colored Lodges of Symbolic Masons in Louisiana. In order that our Grand Lodge may properly honor the memory of the founder of Masonry among Negroes in America, and also that there may be no doubt as to who the legitimate descendants of Prince Hall Masonry in Louisiana, our act of incorporation was amended in 1944 causing our title to be “Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons of Louisiana.”

 

A congratulatory letter from the White House on our 150th Grand Lodge Anniversary and a Congressional Record of the same was received on July 15, 2013.

Whitehouse Letter  |  Congressional Record