OHIO

TheGrandLodgeofOhio

celebratesits200thanniversaryin2008,commemorating
generationsofFreemasonswhowereraisedinthestate.
Today,therearemorethan520MasoniclodgesinOhio
withacombinedmembershipof114,000men.

TheNationalHeritageMuseumatSupremeCouncil

headquartersinLexington,MA,hasover600itemsinits
collectionthatcanbedocumentedasmadeinOhio.These
itemsrangefromphotographsofOhioMasonsandother
fraternalBrothers,toauniquefolkartchairandtoregalia
catalogsanddecorativeprintsfrommanyoftheregalia
housesthatwereheadquarteredintheBuckeyeState.

FreemasonrycametoOhioin1790whenaRevolution-

arymilitarylodgecharteredin1776,AmericanUnion
Lodge,metinMarietta.

Fouryearsearlier,FreemasonandGeneralRufusPut-

nam(1738-1824)metwithseveralotherContinentaloffi-
cersatBoston’sBunchofGrapestavernandtookaction
thatwouldeventuallyformtheOhioCompanywhichpur-
chased1.5millionacresofland.Themenarrivedin1788,
establishingtheirfirstsettlementatMarietta.Withina
year,thecapitalwasmovedtoCincinnati.

OnMarch1,1803,Ohiobecamethe17thstate.Bythat

time,thereweretwoMasoniclodgesinthestate.Twoyears
later,in1805,Ohiowashometosixlodges,charteredby
severaldifferentGrandLodges:Connecticut,Kentucky,
PennsylvaniaandMassachusetts.

Thispatternisnotsurprisinginlightofthediverse

backgroundsofOhio’ssettlerswhocamefromseveraleast-
ernstates,aswellasEngland,ScotlandandGermany.In
1807,OhioFreemasonsbegantotalkaboutestablishing
theirownGrandLodge.

OnJan.4,1808,representativesfromalloftheOhio

lodgesmetinChillicothe.TheGrandLodgeofFreeand
AcceptedMasonsofOhiowasorganizedwiththeability
tograntchartersanddispensationsand“shallinallrespects
beclothedwithfullpowers,asaGrandLodge,according

toancientanddueform,agreeablytotherulesandland
marksofMasonry.”

Inrecognitionofhisimportancetothestateandto

Freemasonry,RufusPutnamwaselectedasthefirstGrand
Master.Putnamwasbornin1738inSutton,MA.Appren-
ticedasamillwright,hefoughtfortheBritishinthe
FrenchandIndianWarbutenlistedintheContinental
ArmyduringtheAmericanRevolution.

BytheendoftheWar,Putnamwasabrigadier-general.

AfterhemovedtoOhioin1796,hewasappointedasSur-
veyor-GeneraloftheUnitedStates.Putnamdeclinedaddi-
tionaltermsasGrandMasterduetohishealth.Hediedin
Mariettain1824.

ExpressingMasonicIdentity

Oneofthemore
unusualitemsin
themuseum’s
collectionhasa
fascinatinghis-
toryassociated
withOhio.

Thehand-

craftedMaster’s
chairshowsa
ruralstyleandis
paintedwith
Masonicsym-
bols,someem-
ployingmetallic
powderswhich
wouldhave
glowedunder
thelodgeroom
lights.

8

August2008/

TheNorthernLight

ByAIMEEE.NEWELL

Master'sChairby
JohnLuker,Vinton
County,OH,1871.

Photo:
DavidBohl

MANUFACTUREDIN

MasonicAntiquesfromtheBuckeyeState