Page 1

The Cross Keys The Monthly Newsletter of Lodge Houstoun St. Johnstone

December 2013

Walking the Road / Seeking the Light

In this issue: Views of an older mason New master in 242 The Battle of Salado Creek in Texas Annual Trip to Busby Liberal arts & sciences

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Number 171

Are my Views in the Minority As a PM of nearly 36 years in the East of Scotland, I decided to put pen to paper— something I have rarely done in the past. The Scottish Craft has changed dramatically from the 1960s when I joined—the attendances are down, the fees are up, there is less going on in lodges other than degrees (even without a candidate), lodges find it difficult to fill all offices, social clubs are struggling for brethren to work and use them, discipline cases at Grand Lodge have increased, there is more bickering in lodges due to fewer brethren, the same brethren have to do more (degree work or just maintenance in their premises), PGLs are not respected, fewer professional people show any interest in joining and I could go on! I went to the ICHF this year (great fun), but was taken aback when I spoke to one of the (non-mason) researchers from a university. It would appear they are very interested in Scottish masonry, but she did emphasise it was only up to the 19th Century—she felt Scottish Freemasonry ceased to be of interest and of any historical use after the start of the 20th Century. I asked why? Her main reason was that Scotland (and England in some respects) led the way initially while taking their lodges across the empire. Social history of most countries was tied with the Craft and unless both aspects were reviewed, a complete story could not be told. Her view was that since WW1, nothing of interest happened in Scotland which now lags behind—it became a drinking club for the working class( italics are my view). Social clubs certainly increased the level of drinking (which was essential revenue at the time), but it also decreased the quality of member and put many off. Today, we are still suffering from this—candidates are taught nothing because very few want to instruct apprentices. Too many are after gongs and sliding up the slippery road in PGL. Very few are examples to follow. We often hear about starting at grass roots in football—we need to do this in lodges and forget about promotions if we want the Craft to become healthy again. Some US Grand Lodges only have 6/7 office bearers—why does PGL have so many? This usually costs the lodge more money, either from a free meal or drink. AND that is why so many PGL office bearers attend! As well as getting a wee jewel at the end. The standard of their office bearers varies hugely from being very competent to utter buffoons. How can brethren be expected to respect and support such a body. Their annual visit to a lodge in most cases is a waste of time often not seeing a degree— do they need to? I’m sure plenty of brethren would complain to Grand Lodge if they thought something strange was creeping into degrees. Books need audited—absolutely, because we have too many willing to take from the Craft. And in more ways than one without putting anything back into it. How many of our brethren today are even interested in learning more? What percentage read the Ashlar? Less than 5% I would guess. The ICHF was in Scotland and we had only 3 Scottish speakers (I think). Why? How many PGMs attended? How many of their commissioned office bearers attended? How many Grand Lodge office bearers attended? Damn few—and I think that is deplorable!! They have a nerve to hold these offices and

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Are my Views in the Minority (ctd) preach about masonry, but don’t support a conference like this where we have a chance to show off Scottish masonry. Or do they not attend because they are not in the lime light? Too many are not leading by example, but use PGL to boost their egos and their self-image. I am too old and so are most brethren in my lodge. We haven’t had a candidate for over 2 years and we rent premises—perhaps we should hand back the charter. If Grand Lodge allowed us to affiliate to another lodge for free, I would. However, the so called leaders of our Craft should do something—resign! Being a rugby man, I don’t keep abreast of football, but Rangers board seems to be in the papers everyday. Perhaps the average mason should do what their fans are doing and push for a take over to get rid of an incompetent board? PGL has become a PMs club for brethren wishing to do little. And now we have PMs with no experience (often as IPM or only a year in) joining PGL. Why? Good, experienced PMs often don’t want tarred with the PGL brush of mediocrity. Who can blame them? Scotland is also unique in that we have only ever had one grand lodge. Is it time to change that? Of course not, but we are going no where at the moment. How long do we wait until the decline in all out standards has actually changed what we perceive to be regular freemasonry. Am I being too critical—perhaps, but is my view shared by the majority—probably. If Bro. McApathy doesn’t get a hold of brethren, I would be interested if anyone replies to my letter. I have asked Bro. Grant to keep me anonymous—why? I know I would get some very adverse comments thrown at me. Let brotherly love prevail!

*Ed+: I decided to put this in exactly as it came. Often I alter parts or reduce the length, but I felt this is an excellent article with many points worthy of comment. I am also interested to see if any brother will reply, but I hae ma doobts . . . What about some Provincial brethren?

Cross Keys Dec 2013

New Master in 242 The new master of 242 is Bro. Allan Stobo Jnr who was installed in an excellent manner by his father Bro. Allan Stobo Snr PM 242 and Bro. David Grimsley PM 242. The master can be seen with his installing masters (dad on the right) aka Bros Stadler and Waldorf although caught off guard here smiling. The OBs for 2013 –14 are shown below.

Cross Keys Dec 2013

The Battle of Salado Creek, Texas After the defeat of Antonio López de Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, the Mexicans signed the Treaties of Velasco... but it didn't take long for Santa Anna to regroup and invade Texas again.

This time he was not going to risk being captured. Instead of leading the army himself, he sent General Adrian Woll, a Frenchman who had served under Napoleon. On September 11, 1842, as the thick dawn fog lifted, shocked San Antonio citizens awoke to see hundreds of Mexican troops standing at parade rest in Alamo Plaza. General Adrian Woll gleamed with pride at his success: the most important city in Texas was under his complete control.

In Gonzales,Texas, Masonic Brother and Colonel Matthew "Old Paint" Caldwell gathered his men and started for Seguin. Masonic Brother Alfred Sturgis Thurmond was town marshal at Victoria, and joined his friend and Masonic Brother Ewen Cameron's Texas Ranger company for the trip. They united with Masonic Brother John "Coffee" Hay's Texas Ranger company and Masonic Brother. A.C. Horton’s Texas Ranger company from Matagorda, and others, and headed toward San Antonio. When the Texans arrived at San Antonio, they were over 200 strong, but were outnumbered over 8 to 1 by Woll's forces. Col. Caldwell (commanding) reasoned that if Woll could be lured into the open prairie, the outnumbered Texans could give a good account of themselves from their fine defensive position in the bed of Salado Creek. After the long ride, only thirty-eight horses in the Texan camp were fit for duty, thus only thirty-eight men could go in as decoys.

Brother Masons and Texas Rangers John ‚Coffee‛ Hays and Henry McCulloch, taking six men with them, boldly ventured to within half a mile of the Alamo, taunting the Mexican cavalry to come out and fight. Hays had expected to be pursued by about forty or fifty Mexicans. Instead, as the Texans rode into the town, they encountered Woll's entire force of about 500 mounted cavalry, already in the saddle! The Mexicans gave immediately chase.

Cross Keys Dec 2013

The Battle of Salado Creek, Texas (ctd) As Hays, McCulloch, and their half dozen companions rode out of town, with over 500 Mexicans in chase, and approached the rest of the group of about 30 Rangers who were hiding in ambush, Hays yelled orders to them to mount and fall back. (Editor’s note: I suspect he did not have to say it twice!) The rangers fell back across the mesquite-covered prairie toward Caldwell's position. For the first four miles of the chase, the Texans had the advantage of a lead of about half a mile. Too soon, however, the fresh horses ridden by Woll's men began to gain on the somewhat jaded mounts of the rangers. As the Mexicans gained ground, the Texans threw off blankets, hats, and raincoats in an attempt to lighten their horses' loads. "The race," wrote Masonic Brother and Reverend Z. N. Morrell, "was an earnest one." The Mexicans made a desperate effort to cut off Hays by passing his right flank. McCulloch and his men kept between Hays and the Mexicans, sending couriers every half mile or so to cause Hays’ men to peel off and head for the timber. Finally, when the timberline was reached, Brother McCulloch had only one man left with him, Masonic Brother and Texas Ranger Creed Taylor. These two had been targets of the entire Mexican force for the last half mile, at a range of 150 to 200 yards, and it was estimated that the Mexicans fired over 200 rounds at them. Neither man, however, was hit by a single musket ball. By the time the battle lines were drawn between the Texans in the Salado Creek bed and the Mexican troops, over 1,100 Mexicans troops would be involved in the fight against just a few more than 200 Texans.

Masonic Brother Rufus Burleson, one of the combatants, wrote: ‚Their grand old leader, Col. Caldwell, in a few words of burning eloquence, said, "Boys we can never surrender; we must all die fighting; and although they outnumber us eight to one we can whip them as we did at San Jacinto." He called on Elder Z. N. Morrell, who was equally gallant in the use of the musket as in wielding the sword of the spirit, to encourage the boys. The old hero cried aloud, "Boys, we are going into battle against fearful odds, eight to one, but their cannon can't hurt us entrenched as we are. Keep cool. Don't fire till you see the whites of their eyes. Shoot every man who wears an officer's cap or sword, and before God we can whip them." Just at that moment the cannon roared and the shot rattled among the tops of the trees and cut down the limbs.‛

Mexican cannon fire, though well directed, shot harmlessly over the creek and the Texans, while the devastating return fire of the Texan sharpshooters withered the resolve of the experienced but outwitted Mexicans. Cross Keys Dec 2013

The Battle of Salado Creek, Texas (ctd) Only one Texan died along the Salado in the nearly five hours of the battle. On the Mexican side, the toll was difficult to confirm. Eyewitnesses at the scene claimed over 60 had died and at least 200 wounded. By 6.00 p.m., Gen. Woll realized that his situation along the Salado was untenable, and that other Texan reinforcements would turn the tide of battle against him. Cutting his losses, Woll ordered the playing of victory call by the buglers, and gathering up some of the bodies of his fallen soldiers, marched "with great fanfare and celebration" back into San Antonio. By Monday evening, Woll was marching southwest out of the city, with Texans giving chase. Harassed by snipers, the Mexicans nevertheless reached the Rio Grande and crossed into Mexico. The Texans would hold up at the Rio Grande, awaiting orders from Bro. Sam Houston to cross. This was the prelude to the Mier Expedition. Dawson Massacre

Another company of Texans at the Battle of Salado Creek were not as successful. A separate company of 54 Texans, mostly from Fayette County, under the command of Nicholas Mosby Dawson, arrived at the battlefield and began advancing on the rear of the Mexican Army. The Mexican commander Woll, afraid of being surrounded, sent between 400 and 500 of his soldiers and one or two cannon to attack the group. The Texans were able to hold their own against the Mexican rifles, but once the cannon got range the Texan fatalities mounted quickly. Dawson realized the situation was hopeless and raised a white flag of surrender. Both sides continued to fire, however, and Dawson was killed. Within an hour, thirtysix Texans were killed, fifteen were captured and three escaped.

Bro. Dick Brown PM Chairman of History Committee Grand Lodge of Texas

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Annual Trip to Busby No.458 From The Masonic News in June 1872. This was an old Glasgow (Masonic) newspaper from 1872—74, but contains many fascinating topics which will appear over the next few editions.

Glasgow Star Lodge

Lodge Thorntree

A very public event!

Toasts in open lodge

Enjoyment in toasts?!!!!

No. 103

Ctd over Cross Keys Dec 2013

Annual Trip to Busby No.458 (ctd)

Master’s Diary Our master is hoping to make the following visits to sister lodges in December. If any brother would like to attend with Bro. Allan, please contact him or just meet him at the lodge. They are: 

St. Barchan No.156 on Tuesday 3rd

Craigends No.1042 or RCK No.370 Installation on Thursday 5th

Garthland St. Winnoch No.205 on Saturday 7th

POW No.426 Installation or Glennifer No. 1219 on Tuesday 10th

St. Barchan No.156 Installation on Saturday 14th

Thistle & Crown No.1167 on Thursday 19th

Craigielea No.1218 on Monday 23rd

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Liberal Arts & Sciences To understand why the seven liberal arts and sciences are relevant today, imagine a geometric compass. The first leg, the point that anchors it, represents an approach to learning. The second leg, the drawing tool, represents the lessons themselves. The circle that it draws represents a way of life. In the second degree of Masonry, the candidate begins to work on the ‚approach to learning‛ leg of the compass. He is asked to reflect on the structure of learning, why learning is important, and how he will continue to learn as life goes on. Enter the seven liberal arts and sciences. Like any muscle, the brain must be conditioned. The seven liberal arts and sciences are like a comprehensive cross-training routine. Most of us probably feel a tractor-beam pull toward some of the liberal arts over others. The left-brain thinkers are tempted to gravitate to logic, the intuitive types to rhetoric, the tone-deaf give music wide berth. But just like weight training can improve a distance runner’s speed, we improve our overall intellect by studying all seven. We also improve our ability to learn, and our inclination to ask ‚Why?‛ in the first place. Whether we are trying to understand the importance of a word in a piece of Masonic ritual or studying the interplay between dissonance and harmony in a piece of music, we are working at problems that require concentration. Like early man puzzling over the heavens, we have to struggle a bit. Just when we’ve arrived at one answer -- say, we grasp the importance of a keystone in an arch -- we are confronted with a series of entirely new questions: Who first invented the keystone, and when, and why? What is its symbolic meaning? That’s the challenge, and ultimately the benefit, of the seven liberal arts and sciences. The more we study them, the more subtle their lessons become. They require a real digging; a commitment to noodle around with a tricky concept and hold it in our mind until, suddenly, like Newton and the apple, we break through to a deeper level of understanding. This is the kind of thinking that’s supposed to happen inside Masonic lodges. ‚The liberal arts and sciences go to the core of the power of our symbolism in Freemasonry,‛ says R. Stephen Doan, a past grand master in California and vice chair of the Institute for Masonic Studies. ‚You join a group that is asking you to think about things in a manner totally foreign from the way in which you’ve thought about them before. You’re trying to look at more things symbolically. Once you understand that the tools of architecture have symbolism, you begin to realize that other processes have symbolism, too. You are forced to look at different things and ask, ‘Why is that happening?’‛ Scottish masons would do well to think more about the Craft than we currently do.

Cross Keys Dec 2013

GL News Once again the Grand Lodge of Scotland is delighted to host the Phoenix Choir for a Christmas Concert on Sunday, 8 December 2013. Doors open at 2.00 pm and the concert will commence at 2.30 pm. A complimentary refreshment will be available. The concert is sponsored by W. T. Dunbar Funeral Undertakers and the proceeds will go to the charities: The Princess Royal Trust and Prostrate Scotland. Tickets for the concert are available from Freemasons' Hall by telephone (call 0131 225 5577) or by calling in person. Credit and debit cards can be used for payment. Tickets are priced at £10.00 each.

PGL News Sunday 15th December, 2013—pick up Christmas parcels from Lodge Inchinnan between 11 and 12. Don’t forget extra parcels now £8 each. Monday 13th January, 2014—PGC in Lodge 307, Barrhead at 7pm. Saturday 25th January, 2014—Tri-Annual Communication and Annual Meeting of the PGL in Barrhead: seated by 2.15pm

The Broken Column Q.

Why the ‚broken column‛ in Freemasonry?

Answer: Among the ancients, columns or pillars were used to signify princes or nobles, as if they were pillars of state. A broken column would signify a ‚fallen Prince,‛ the weakening of the state. Thus we have the broken column as a symbol of the fall of one of the chief supporters of the Craft. This is more common in American masonry rather than Scottish.

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Continuing the series, this article entitled The Importance of Sideliners:

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Fire at Masonic temple, Massachusetts The photos at the lodge building in Quincy, Massachusetts show the damage to this old building. Unfortunately, many artefacts and history have been lodge. Although insured, many of these irreplaceable items are lost. All the more reason to think about digitising minute books.

From the Columns The first meeting after the installation was witnessed by 75 brethren. The EAD was conferred by the OBs on Candidate was a Lewis, Alistair Norman steel Morrison, 18 years old and son of Bro. Kenny Morrison. Bro. David Grimsley PM, as installing master, completed his duties by installing the other Installing Master, Bro. Allan Stobo PM as Chaplain.

December Events in 242 Thursday 12th December—FC by OBs Thursday 26th—cancelled Sir William Wallace RAC 19th December—EM at 7.30pm

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Bro. Archie’s 60th

Bro. Archie McGown PM 1361, Past Sub PGM of Renfrewshire East and Past Depute Grand Master celebrated 50 years as a past master and 60 years as a member of the Craft. There was a superb turnout from his family, brethren across the province, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife and no doubt many other places. Bro. Archie is seen above with the Grand Master Mason, Bro. Will McArthur master of Lodge Burnside No.1361 and Bro. John Miller PGM. Below he is with his two brothers—all smiling! It was a great evening with a fantastic atmosphere. Congratulations once again Bro. Archie.

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Red Apron Lodges in England The Grand Stewards' Lodge, uniquely in the English Constitution, has no number and no real equivalent in Scotland. It has been in this position since 18th April 1792 when it was 'placed at the Head of the List by order of the Grand Lodge' and given the name it now holds. Since 1731 they have been entitled to wear an apron trimmed with crimson and a collar of the same colour during their year of office. The predecessor of this Lodge was not noted in the earliest engraved lists of 1723-24 and 1725 but the 1729 list notes a Stewards' Lodge, No. 117, meeting at Shakespeare's Head Tavern, Covent Garden. It was this Stewards' Lodge, allocated No. 47 in 1781 and meeting in the Freemasons' Tavern, Great Queen Street, which eleven years later became the Grand Stewards' Lodge. From the earliest days Freemasons appear to have held an annual feast. After the formation of Grand Lodge this tradition continued and Stewards assisted the Grand Wardens in the organisation of these festivals. In 1724 Grand Lodge attempted to form a regular Board of twelve Stewards but such regularity was not achieved until 1728 when these twelve led the masonic procession into the hall for the festivities. Each of these Stewards was granted the power to choose his successor to assist at the next Grand Feast. Shortly after the consecration of the new Metropolitan Grand Lodge in October 2003 the first twenty recently appointed Metropolitan Grand Stewards got together with the idea of forming their own lodge. After much work and support, permission was granted, and with the twenty stewards appointed in February 2005 the lodge was founded. Lodge membership is open to Brethren appointed to the office of Metropolitan Grand Steward which means that the lodge should grow at the rate of twenty new members each year. The Lodge's objectives, as set out in its By-Laws, are to assist and support the work of the Metropolitan Grand Master and the Metropolitan Grand Lodge of London, and to increase the Masonic education and broaden the Masonic experience of its members and of the Craft in general. One of the friends of many brethren from 242 (and also a recipient of the CK) can be seen in the back row, second from the left. The photo shows 17 of the 20 Metropolitan Grand Stewards who assisted (from 8am to 5pm) with escorting brethren for honorary London (provincial) ranks. The Grand Charity donated ÂŁ500,000 to the Scout Association. A well earned pint after that! Cross Keys Dec 2013

New Royal Arch Publication Yasha Beresiner '200 Years of Royal Arch Freemasonry in England 1813–2013' Lewis Masonic, Surrey, 2013. Hardback 192 pages, 16 colour plate illustrations. £19.99 from the publishers or from InterCol, 43 Templars Crescent, London N3 3QR UK. E-mail: (copies signed by the author available on request). The year 2013 has seen the publication of a number of new books both about the 1813 union of the two English grand lodges then in existence as well as a similar anniversary of the last two hundred years of the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch. Yasha Beresiner’s book is a little different from the purely historical or ritual-based examination of this Masonic order. On the one hand it draws in a critical way on primary sources, including some newly recovered documents. This is as it should be, coming from the research of a Past Master of Quatuor Coronati Lodge. On the other hand, it incorporates a more populist section, in devoting the central twenty-two pages of the book to a ‘novella’, which, although based on primary sources, has naturally resulted to a large extent from its author’s imagination. Bro. Beresiner has successfully combined historical research with historical fiction within a single volume. One appealing aspect of the third section of the book, which looks at the history of the Royal Arch chronologically almost in diary form, is the incorporation of an introductory sentence or two to each year from 1814–2013 summarizing the main social, political and economic events of that year, thus setting the Masonic history within its proper general historical context. Yasha Beresiner has produced a very readable book which should appeal to a wide range of both Masonic and non-Masonic scholars. PLEASE NOTE: To order this book contact: Mr Martin Faulks Lewis Masonic & Ian Allan Publishing Riverdene Business Park Molesey Road Hersham Surrey KT12 4RG E-mail: Tel: 01986 895433 Review by Bro. John Wade, Past Master Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076, Prestonian Lecturer, 2009 Cross Keys Dec 2013

Lodge Captain Spiers Installation

The new master of Lodge Captain Spiers No. 791 is Bro. Graham Tibbs. This was a special occasion as the lodge has just moved premises and now meets in Lodge St. Barchan No.156 in Kilbarchan. Bro. Graham is pictured here with his installing masters Bros Duncan McDonald PM 791 and Barry Smart PM 791. We wish him and his brethren every success and look forward to seeing him around the province.

Walk for Charity Bro. Tony Pearson PM of Seldson Park Lodge No.5005 (EC) walked 18 miles round Croydon in order to raise money for SADS UK (Sudden Adult Death). So far Bro. Tony has raised over ÂŁ300. His site remains active for further donations:

Cross Keys Dec 2013

1873 Advert No advertising in public places?

We perhaps the Masonic News was deemed an

exception as seen with the advert for a tailor.

Bro. Geoffrey Robert Seymour PM 5005 (EC) Bro. Geoff was born 11 September 1944 and died 6th November 2013. He joined Selsdon Park Lodge No. 5005 on the 24th January 2004 rising to the chair of the lodge in 2007. In addition to being the master in two lodges, he was also Almoner for both Lodges, Treasurers for both Lodges as well as Treasurer for his Royal Arch Chapter having rising through the three chairs of Chapter to 'Z'. His contribution to Freemasonry was huge, as it was to the lives of others in general, and such a large turnout for his funeral (140 plus) is testament to the number of people that held him in high esteem. Bro. Geoff was the perfect gentleman and will be sadly missed throughout the Craft.

Thought of the Month "You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break." Harry S. Truman, US President, Past Grand Master

Cross Keys Dec 2013

11/11/11 Last months, wreaths were laid by lodges across the country.

Top right is the wreath from 242 at the Johnstone

Memorial in Houstoun Square, top left the brethren from Lodge St. Barchan No.156 and Lodge Captain Spiers No.791 parade after the church service to the memorial in the centre of the village. Great turn out from all the organisations. Bro. Stuart can be seen (just) behind the banner!

Below are the wreaths in the Grand Lodge in London and an example of one of the crosses laid for each lodge in Scotland.

In Memoriam It is with deep sadness and much regret that we have to inform you of a loss sustained to the Lodge in the passing to the Grand Lodge above of the following Brother: Bro. Geoff Seymour PM Seldon Park Lodge No.5005 (EC)

Cross Keys Dec 2013

To submit an article, contact the Editor: Grant Macleod E-Mail:

Lodge Website

Thanks to Bro. Allan Stobo RWM for proof reading.

Don’t forget to support The Ashlar magazine— Scotland’s only Masonic magazine. Just click on the magazine to find out more.

Cross Keys Dec 2013

Cross Keys December 2013  
Cross Keys December 2013  

Scottish masonic freemason magazine