May,theGrandLodgeofMasons
inMassachusettswillcelebrateits

275thanniversary.But,thisisonlythelatestcommemo-
rationinitslonghistory.

Fromitsbeginningin1733rightuptothepresent,

theGrandLodgetherewereobservedsolemnoccasions
andjoyfulones.Sometimestherearesuchdistinguished
guestsasAmericanpresidentsandotherswithonlythe
state’sMasonicbrothers.

OnMarch22,theNationalHeritageMuseumwill

openanewexhibition,“TheGrandLodgeofMasonsin
Massachusetts:Celebrating275YearsofBrotherhood,”
whichwilltracethehistoryoftheoldestMasonicjuris-
dictioninthewesternhemispherethroughitspeople,its
placesanditscelebrations.

WhilethemodernGrandLodgewieldsitsauthority

primarilywithinMassachusetts,foundingProvincial
GrandMasterHenryPrice(1697-1780)chartered
lodgesinsuchdisparatelocationsasSouthCarolina,
Antigua,NovaScotiaandNewHampshire.

MasonsthroughouttheUnitedStatesoweadebtto

theGrandLodgeofMassachusetts.Thebrotherswho
belongedin1733spreadthelightofFreemasonryacross
thecountryandeveninternationally.

Fromthestart,ProvincialGrandMasterHenryPrice

waschargedwithfollowingtheprintedConstitutionsof
thefraternity,establishinga“GeneralCharity”forthe
“ReliefofPoorBrethren,”andannuallykeepingthe
FeastofSt.JohntheEvangelistinDecember.Stilla
highlightoftheGrandLodge’sannualcalendartoday,
thisfeastincludestheelectionoftheGrandMaster,a
mealandothercelebratoryactivities.

ShortlyaftertheGrandLodgewasestablished,the

feastofSt.JohntheBaptistbecameanotherannual
event,heldinthespring.Anaccountofthatcelebration
inBostoninJune1737waspublishedinaLondon
newspaper.Itdescribedtheactivitiesthroughthestreets
ofBostonas“thefirstprocessioninAmericatheyap-
pearedintheproperbadgesoftheirOrder.”

TheGrandLodgeofMas-

sachusettsobservedsomberoc-
casionswiththesameattentionto
appropriatedressandactivityasit
didonmorejoyousoccasions.On
Dec.14,1799,GeorgeWash-
ington(1732-1799),Revolu-
tionaryWarhero,firstPresident
oftheUnitedStatesand
Freemason,passedawayat
MountVernon.

Almostimmediately,thena-

tionenteredaperiodofmourn-
ingandnewspaperaccountsof
hisfuneralwerepublished
throughoutthecountry.

InBoston,aprocessionwas

proposedbythetown’sciti-
zens,which
tookplaceon
Jan.9,1800.
TheGrand
Lodgede-
cidednotto
participatein

6

February2008/

TheNorthernLight

C

elebrate

THEGRANDLODGEOFMASONSINMASSACHUSETTSTURNS275

ByAIMEEE.NEWELL

In

Silkribbon

commemorative
badge,ca.1825,

Loanedbythe

GrandLodgeof

Masonsin

Massachusetts.