Contents Page 2, ‘Buffalo Bill Cody’ This month’s cover story looks at Buffalo Bill Cody in our series of Famous Freemasons.
Page 5, ‘Who was Hiram, King of Tyre?’ Hiram, King of Tyre, this article looks at who he was.
Page 7, ‘The Operative Lodge of Dundee No.47’ A short Historical sketch about this old Scottish Lodge.
Page 9, ‘I met a dear old man today.’ A Masonic poem.
Page 10, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’, “Judge Not”, the twelfth in the series from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Tiler Talks.’
Page 12, ‘Of My Own Free Will and Accord’. Examining the meaning of this statement.
Page 13, ‘Are there Cowans in our Midst?’ This article looks at modern day Cowans!
Page 18, ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ The Lewis. In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Rudyard Kipling and Freemasonry’ [link]
Famous Freemasons Buffalo Bill Cody A child, destined to great fame, was born on a farm in LeClaire, Scott County, lowa, on February 26, 1846 to Isaac Cody and Mary Leacock Cody. Isaac abandoned his farm to work as a stage driver and the family moved to the vicinity of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. At the age of eleven, Bill lost his father in the Kansas border war. Bill's mother was a woman of the highest character and developed in him nobility of soul, fortitude and courage which endeared him to the hearts of all who were destined to meet and know him. She died when Bill who was still in his teens was serving with the Kansas Cavalry. Following his father's death, Bill secured employment as a "carrier boy" on a supply train. Later at age fourteen he obtained a lucrative job as a rider for the Pony Express. Bill made the longest trip on record. Upon reaching Three Crossings he learned that the rider at Sweetwater had been killed and he was requested to ride the next leg. He made a trip of 321 miles without stopping except for meals and to change horses. At seventeen, Bill enlisted in the 9th Kansas Cavalry. Later he served as a Scout in Tennessee and as a Trooper in Missouri. In 1866 he married Louisa Frederici in St. Louis. Bill contracted with the Goddard Brothers to furnish the Kansas Pacific Railroad with all the buffalo meat required to feed the laborers engaged in road construction and in eighteen months (1867-68) killed 4,280 buffalo which earned him the
name by which he is best known-"Buffalo Bill. " From September, 1869, when he first caught the notice of General Phil Sheridan by some daring riding through Indian country, until December, 1872, when he resigned to go on the stage, Cody was continuously on army payrolls as a civilian scout. In July, 1869, he achieved some fame for guiding the 5th Cavalry to its spectacular victory at Summit Springs, Colorado. The troops returned in August, 1869, to Fort McPherson, Nebraska. Cody felt sure enough of his employment to send for his wife. According to Mrs. Cody, when she saw him at Fort McPherson, for the first time, he was wearing long hair, moustache and goatee-- the style of prairie scouts of those days. In September, while buffalo hunting with Major Frank North to supply the garrison with meat, Cody and North were surrounded by Indians and barely fought their way back to the command. With the 5th Cavalry, they then pursued the Indians for ninety miles to Standing Rock Agency, Dakota. Finally, the expedition returned to Fort McPherson on October 28. Within less than three weeks, Captain W.B. Brown organized in his quarters the Plalte Valley Lodge No. 32 of the A.F.& A.M. under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. Cody and Brown were close friends, and it is likely that Cody petitioned right away for membership. One of the officers of the Lodge was the post's physician, Dr. David Frank Powell. Powell, later known as "White Beaver," became fast friends with "Buffalo Bill" and
eventually died in Cody, Wyoming. On his 24th birthday, Cody was elected to membership. He was initiated March 6, 1870 and passed April 2, 1870. During 1870, Cody was involved in only one official Indian fight. However, he was kept busy hunting and guiding visiting dignitaries. One of those dignitaries Professor Othniel Marsh, a Yale paleontologist, was on his way to the Big Horn Basin to do some dinosaur bone hunting. It is Marsh whom Cody credited for exciting his interest in the Big Horn Basin country. Cody also served in the capacity of Justice of the Peace at Fort McPherson. He had been appointed by the army commander because he was the most reliable of the local civilian employees. In addition to performing routine chores such as marriages ("whom God and 'Buffalo Bill' have joined together let no man put asunder"). Cody also served as a sort of unofficial detective and policeman. Certainly one of the biggest events in his life was the birth late in the year of his only son, Kit Carson Cody. On January 10, 1871, Cody was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason. Within a few months, he was cited for "conspicuous and gallant conduct" for a skirmish on Bird Wood Creek, Nebraska. He also began to achieve wider national fame as a guide for distinguished hunting parties. In September, 1871, he led the famous Bennett/Jerome hunt which resulted in an invitation to New York. General Sheridan was so pleased with his conduct of that and a subsequent hunt that he asked Cody to guide the Grand Duke Alexis of Russia in January, 1872. Three months later, April, Cody was
awarded the Medal of Honor for a skirmish while on detached duty with the 3rd Cavalry. Finally, in 1872, he accepted the invitation to go to New York. There he saw himself portrayed in a stage play and was persuaded by Ned Buntline to star in a drama written expressly for him. From that time forward, he and his partner, Texas Jack Omohundro, spent half their lives on the plains and half on the stages of all the major cities of the East. Cody founded his famous Wild West Show in 1883. In 1887, he took the show to Europe for the first time to be the featured attraction during the celebration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Though he remained in England as the toast of British society through October he petitioned Euphrates Chapter No. 15, Royal Arch Masons of North Platte, Nebraska by mail in September. Within a month of the closing of the 1888 season on November 18th, he was advanced to the degree of Mark Master, inducted into the Oriental Chair and received and acknowledged a Most Excellent Master. On the following day he was exalted to the Royal Arch Degree. In addition to running the Wild West Show, which showed on Staten Island in 1888, Cody was running a stock ranch near North Platte and traveling back and forth between the East and Far West. Thereafter, Cody petitioned Palestine Commandery No. 13, order of Knights Templar of North Platte, Nebraska, and duly elected and received the Illustrious Order of the Red Cross on April I, 1889 and on the following day received the Order of Malta and was dubbed a Knight Templar, just before sailing once
again to Europe. This European tour, which began in Paris for the Centennial Exposition, lasted for three years. Cody was back and forth between Europe and America during that time. Just before returning for another tour of England, he petitioned Tangier Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine of Omaha, Nebraska on March 22, 1892, and walked the burning sands three days later. In the meantime, he had found time to lead a hunting expedition through the Grand Canyon and into the Kaibab country of Utah, serve as a marshal during the inauguration of President Benjamin Harrison, and act as Chief of Scouts for General Miles in a futile attempt to head off what became the Wounded Knee Massacre. 1893 had been his most successful year in show business, perhaps the most successful year in history in outdoor show business. The season of 1894 in Brooklyn promised to be just as good. Cody by this time had been seen in person by millions of people on two continents and his name was a household word. He was well on his way to being the most famous man, perhaps, in the world, and certainly the most photographed. The Northern Jurisdiction of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the Valley of New York City honored "Buffalo Bill" by conferring all of its degrees in the Lodge of Perfection (4ø14ø), the Council of Princes (15ø16ø), the Chapter of Rose Croix (17ø-18ø), and the Consistory (19ø-32ø) in the same day, April 4, 1894. This special
action by this New York Body exemplified their desire and that of all Masons of the time to recognize not only "Buffalo Bill's" dedication to his fraternal duties, but also to acknowledge the adherence to the principles of friendship, morality, and brotherly love. By all accounts, Cody's life provided an exemplary model for Masons. He was a man of his word in his dealings with all people. He dealt with people of all races, religions, sexes, and occupations, as equals, and was always open handed in helping those less fortunate than himself . "Buffalo Bill" gave the last performance of his Wild West Show at Portsmouth, Virginia where he became ill with a cold and headed for his Wyoming ranch. He stopped off at Denver to visit his sister and died suddenly from uremia on January 10, 1917. Although "Buffalo Bill" left a will stating he wished to be buried on top of Cedar Mountain about five miles west of his town, Cody, Wyoming, he was actually buried atop Lookout Mountain, 20 miles west of Denver. After his remains had lain in state in a bronze casket in the Capitol Rotunda in Denver, a service was held, and his body was placed in a temporary vault while a permanent tomb could be cut out of the solid granite atop Lookout Mountain. At the request of Platte Valley Lodge of North Platte, Golden City Lodge No. 1, Golden, Colorado conferred Masonic burial rites on June 3, 1917, atop Lookout Mountain, at 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon. Worshipful Master G.W. Parfet, Jr. of Golden City Lodge No. I
appointed eight brother pallbearers who were dressed in their Knight Templar uniforms. At the request of Mrs. Cody, and almost five months after his death, the casket was opened and an estimated 10,000 viewed the dead pioneer and trail blazer. It was estimated that more than 20,000 persons visited the spot and 15,000 were present at the burial ceremony having walked or ridden to the top of Lookout Mountain. It was certainly one of the largest, if not the largest, Masonic burial ever. These words were said by the Masons over the grave: "His spirit ascends to God who gave it, His memory we cherish in our hearts. His body we consign to the earth." Before his burial, a group of friends and family members formed an organization to foster and perpetuate the memory of "Buffalo Bill" in Cody, Wyoming. From this timely but meager start the world famous Buffalo Bill Historical Center has developed. This article on Buffalo Bill Cody was written by by Ernest J. Goppert, Jr., P.G.M. Grand Lodge Of Wyoming
Who Was Hiram, King of Tyre? Our Masonic tradition tells us that our Craft had three original Grand Masters. The first of these, Solomon, the King of Israel, figures prominently in our Masonic story and is still known as a great personage thirty centuries after his time. The third of this trio is the centre and Source of our deepest teaching and to him all Masons are bound by a unique tie. But the second of our Grand Masters has only a passing reference in our Ritual and outside of a Masonic Lodge is known only to a few specialists in history. Hiram of Tyre was a monarch who ruled over a powerful kingdom at the peak of his greatness. He and his people deserve to be known better by the Masonic Fraternity. The kingdom of Tyre or Phoenicia, as it was more generally known, was located on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean north of Palestine. Its principal city was the seaport of Tyre, which, because of its geographical location, became a converging point of the great trade routes. Tyre became one of the foremost commercial centres of the ancient world and grew rich and powerful. Phoenicia has just two claims to high achievement. In the first place the Phoenicians were among the first known sailors of the world. It is said they were the first to navigate upon the open sea and to chart their course by means of the stars. Thus to the men of Tyre goes the distinction of being the fathers of modern navigation. They must have
been an alert and venturesome race. It is known that Phoenician sailors travelled all over the Mediterranean - sailed through the Straits of Gibraltar, down the coast of Africa, up the coast of Spain and even as far as England. If we wish to romanticize history a little we can see in our mind's eye a sea captain of Hiram of Tyre sailing through the Pillars of Hercules and gazing out upon a vast ocean - not knowing that 3,000 miles beyond his sight lay a land where 3,000 years later the name of his Royal Master would be perpetuated in Masonic Lodges As the Phoenicians went about the Mediterranean they founded colonies in various places, the most famous of which was Carthage on the northern coast of Africa. Carthage flourished, and as the parent Tyre began to decline, Carthage carried on the Phoenician tradition. It came into conflict with the rising power of Rome, and after years of furious struggles, known as the Punic Wars, Rome was triumphant and Carthage was destroyed. But Carthage also prevailed -her general Hannibal, one of the great military commanders of all time, took an army across northern Africa, through Spain and southern France, over the Alps and down to the very gates of Rome before he was stopped. It is interesting to speculate that if Carthage had conquered Rome, our civilization, which so largely bears the imprint of Rome, might instead have been influenced by the people of Hiram of Tyre. In the second place, the Phoenicians may claim to a high place in the history of mankind because, they were the inventors of the first known alphabets
We take the alphabet so much for granted that it is hard for us to conceive of a time when it did not exist. Hiram's people were certainly possessed of intellectual curiosity and skill to formulate a way whereby the thoughts of men could be transmitted through other than oral mean&. The Phoenician alphabet influenced the Greek, and the Greek the Roman. In reading these lines you are bearing a certain mute testimony to the genius of the people over whom our second Grand Master ruled. Solomon's name and fame are still remembered today while that of his neighbour to the North has largely been forgotten. Solomon was fortunate in having adequate chroniclers (himself included) which Hiram lacked. Solomon did not equal Hiram in wealth and worldly power, but he did surpass him in the greater and more enduring values of wisdom and of the spirit. King Hiram of Tyre has been saved from complete oblivion in the dusty tombs of history and is remembered by Freemasons because he gave freely of his resources to aid and assist a neighbour in a great and important undertaking. This article by Bro. Lewis M. Parker PGM New Jersey was sourced from The Small Town Texas Mason Magazine.
The Operative Mason Lodge of Dundee No.47 Chartered 6th February 1745 The first minute, at the inaugural meeting of the Grand Lodge of Scotland on the 30th November 1736, states that, "the Dundee Lodge which is supposed to be the Ancient Operative Lodge which asserts a traditional antiquity of more than a thousand years and also claimed David, Earl of Huntingdon, as one of its Ancient Masters”- "was represented by the Deputy Master of Lodge Kilwinning Scots Arms and his Wardens “. Having claimed such antiquity, the Lodge celebrated its Octo-Centenary during 1990, which included a Divine Service within St Mary's Parish Church, which Earl of Huntingdon had commenced building in 1190, dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The Church was destroyed by fire in 1841 and the Lodge laid the Foundation Stone at the rebuilding in 1842. The earliest known reference to the Lodge is 1536 when an agreement was made to carry out work from the Town Council in accordance with ‘the old uses and customs of Our Lady Luge of Dundee’. In 1628, Robert Strathoune of the Operative Lodge of Dundee signed a letter of jurisdiction in favour of Sir William St Clair of Rosslyn as hereditary ruler of the Operative Craft of Masons in Scotland. His descendant William St Clair became the First Grand Master of Scotland in 1736.
The Lodge has been referred to as the Lady Luge of Dundee - The Lodge of the Church Builders - The Lodge of Dundee - Ancient Operative Lodge. The Lodge when chartered in 1745 was given the number 52 on the Roll of the Grand Lodge, but later when Lodges were re-numbered in accordance with their antiquity our number was changed to 47. In 1745 the Lodge built a Masonic Temple at a cost of £300 on land north of the dwelling houses in the Overgate, opposite Thorter Row. The Temple was reached through a whitewashed close and the entrance to the building was on ground level with an inside stair leading up to the Temple and Ante-Room. Another inside stair led to the Fiddlers Gallery. In 1837 an outside winding stair was added which led directly to the Temple. The Lodge room had a domed roof decorated with the celestial sphere, a raised East with a domed canopy decorated with the Terrestrial sphere and supported by two pillars. The illuminated panels depicting St John and St Andrew were also in the East. On the walls were hung portraits of Past Masters dating from the 18th Century. When the building was demolished in 1964 to make way for a very questionable improvement scheme it had been our home for 219 years and if not the second it was certainly amongst the oldest Masonic Temple in the whole world. (The oldest Lodge Cannongate Kilwinning No. 2 consecrated 18th December 1736). The Lodge moved to new premises at 161 Princes Street, which was consecrated on Tuesday 8th September 1964. The interior, through the willing
help of the brethren, was completely revamped and had the usual ancillary facilities. In January 2004, the Lodge, due to the ever increasing burden of costs in owning and maintaining the building at Princes Street, moved to rented accommodation at1A Wellington Street, Dundee, where it now meets on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month from September through to May. In 1793 an act of Parliament for the encouragement and relief of Friendly Societies was passed and the Lodge decided to take advantage of this Act in 1796. The Lodge acted, in addition to being a Masonic Lodge, as a Friendly Society which was wound up and the Lodge reverted to purely Masonic activities in 1840. With the return of the men from World War 1 the Lodge had a great influx of members. For the financial year ending in 1919 there were two hundred and seventy-two Initiates and affiliates. The large number of new members prompted the Lodge to institute 0n 19th December 1919 a Royal Arch Chapter for the benefit of its members and there has been close fraternal co-operation since. During its time the Lodge has been present at and actively involved with the laying of Foundation Stones for many important buildings including during 1776 the new Trades Hall. This building was demolished in 1875,Dundee Lunatic Asylum in 1812, Dundee Royal Infirmary in 1852 to which the Lodge made regular contributions to the funds and the R.W.M. had a seat on the board Grand Lodge in 1859. Wallace Monument, Stirling, in 1861. In 1863, the Foundation Stone was laid for an Educational Institution to be known as
Morgan Hospital, now Morgan Academy The Lodge also played a part in the building of the pier at Newport, Fife for the ferry. The minutes reports on “ Man’s new dimensions over the sea, as the steam engine supersedes the use of sail and oar and looked upon the advent of a regular ferry service between Fife and Angus as a bridge connecting the North and South shores of the river.” The Lodge was actively involved in the Prince of Wales Marriage Procession on the 10th March 1863 and in the same year joined in the celebration to mark the opening of the Baxter or Peoples park in September. From its earliest records there have been many distinguished Brothers amongst whom are; David Earl of Huntingdon Ancient Master of the Lodge Circa 1200 A.D. Robert Viscount Duncan, 1st Earl of Camperdown, who was Master of the Lodge and Grand Master Mason, 1812 – 1814. Sir John Ogilvie, Baronet of Inverquharity, three times Master of the Lodge – 1842 - 1845, 1849-1851, 1853 1854. He was Grand Lodge Junior Warden in 1843, Depute Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Forfarshire,1856 -1862 and MP for Dundee in 1865 He gifted Baldovan House to the Town Council in 1853 for the use of children in need of special care and in the same year gifted Fairmuir Park to the citizens of Dundee to be used for recreational purposes.
Three Lord Provosts of Dundee in the persons of Bro. Ballingall, Bro Sir James Urquhart and Bro W W Brownlee. The Distinguished Scholar Sir Dâ€™Arcy Wentworth Thompson CBLL.D who replied to the toast to the Lodge on the occasion of our Bi-Centenary celebration in 1945. George Golden Robertson RWM 1987 - 1989 , who was installed as the Provincial Grand Master of Forfarshire in 2004 in the Bonar Hall, University of Dundee by Alexander Whitehead, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, on 9th march 2003 Originally researched by Bro. Alex Laing PM in 1995 and updated by Bro. Ronald Knowles PM in 2004.This short history of the Operative Mason Lodge of Dundee No.47 was extracted by the Editor from the Website of Lodge 47. Many thanks go to the Lodge for allowing me to use it in the newsletter.
I meet a dear old man today I met a dear old man today Who wore a Masonic pin It was old and faded like the man, It's edges worn and thin. I approached the park bench where he sat, To give the old brother his due I said "I see you've traveled East", He said, "I have, have you?" I said, I have and in my day Before the all seeing sun
I played in the rubble With Jubala, Jubelo, and Jubalum. He said don't laugh at the work my son It's good and sweet and true..... And if you've traveled as you said You should give these things their due. The word, the sign, the token, The sweet Masonic prayer. The vow that you have taken You have climbed the inner stair. The wages of a Mason are never paid in gold But the gain comes from contentment When you're weak and growing old. You see, I've carried my obligations For almost 50 years It has helped me through the hardships And the failures full of tears... Now I'm losing my mind and body Death is near, but I don't despair I've lived my life upon the level And I'm dying on the square. Sometimes the greatest lessons Are those that are learned anew And the old man in the park today Has changed my point of view. To all my Masonic brothers The only secret is to care May you live upon the level And part upon the square. Brethren, I am always looking for interesting articles, poems, snippets, ideas, anything that might make for good reading for our subscribers. If you know of anything that might fit the bill, please get in touch.
"I've heard of those cases," mused the Old Tiler. "I helped raise them both." "You can't tell me they haven't put their eyes on our Masonic Home! Having reached an age which shows them some practical use for the fraternity, they now propose to pay a year's dues, and then get into the Home to be taken care of for the rest of their lives! But not if I can stop it! "Softly, softly, my brother!" warned the Old Tiler. "It is against the laws of the Grand Lodge to disclose to any one how you have voted or intend to vote on any application for membership."
Judge Not "Well, they'll have to show me!" cried the New Brother to the Old Tiler, on guard in the anteroom with sword in hand. "Who will have to show you what?" inquired the guardian of the door. "The committee appointed to investigate a couple of petitions for reinstatement on the rolls of the lodge!" answered the New Brother. "Old Godfrey was dropped for nonpayment of dues thirtysix years ago. He has never petitioned this or any other lodge for membership since. Now he wants to reinstate himself. A brother Jenkins I never heard of, who was raised forty years ago and took a demit thirty-one years ago, wants to come back- he's never affiliated in all that time."
"Well, and I won't then!" cried the New Brother. "But they won't get in!" "Are you not previous in judgement?" inquired the Old Tiler, gently. "Seems to me you'd better wait and hear what the committees have to say on the matter." "What could the committees say? I won't let any softhearted committee pull anything on me. I love the lodge too much!" "Don't love her so much you forget that the 'greatest of these is charity!'" warned the Old Tiler. "Nor that these whose motives you judge are yet your brethren, sworn to the same obligations." "I happen to know something about these cases. Brother Godfrey was a spoiled child. As a young man he had so much money that he didn't know what to do with it. It was just carelessness that he allowed himself to be dropped
N.P.D. He didn't care for Masonry. He was all for travel, a good time, balls and parties and races and such. About ten years ago his wife died- he had a good wife and he was very fond of her. It changed him. He felt differently about many things. He commenced to do something for some one beside himself. He still has more money than he can spend. There is no possibility of his becoming a charge on the lodge. And I happen to know why he wants to come back." "Why is it?" "He's ashamed of himself!" answered the Old Tiler. "He's offered to pay back all the back dues, with interest. I told him we couldn't accept that; that he couldn't buy his way back into the lodge. But he is no worse off than another in like case. If he tells the committee what he told me, that he is old enough to know better and to value brotherhood; that he wants again to be a part of our gentle Craft and to make up for what he has lost all these years, they will doubtless report favorably. This lodge will not override its committee unless someone has something personal against him." "Oh, well, that's different, of course!" The New Brother looked a little ashamed. "How about Brother Jenkins?" "Well, he's different, too!" smiled the Old Tiler. "Brother Jenkins was a young man full of promise, fire and energy. He had a good position, a good income, a fine wife and four little children. Then he fell and hurt his head; he was two years under the doctor's care. They had
no money; she went to work. Of course the lodge helped. He got his wits back and went to work, but he couldn't do any but physical labor. Something was gone from his mind. He was not crazy, but he couldn't think hard or long. So he became a carpenter. He paid back to the lodge every penny it had spent on him. Then he took his demit. He couldn't afford the dues and he wouldn't let us carry him. Somehow he brought up his children; they are all happily married now. The wife is dead, worn out. He is alone, with an income quite sufficient for his simple needs, and four stalwart children to care for him if it isn't enough. Now that he can afford it, he wants to come back into the lodge he loved and left." "Oh, you make me so ashamed! I'm a first-class moron and no Mason at all, to judge before I knew!" The New Brother looked at the Old Tiler remorsefully. "It never pays," grinned the Old Tiler. "I don't believe any one will want to drop a black cube for Brother Jenkins, do you?" "Not I!" cried the New Brother. "Didn't I tell you not to tell how you would vote?" chided the Old Tiler. But his eyes smiled.
. This is the twelve article in this regular feature, â€˜The Old Tiler Talks,â€™ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
Of My Own Free Will and Accord. I’ve always been curious about the peculiar practice in Freemasonry that no man may be asked, invited, or solicited to enter the fraternity. It is an organizational feature almost unique among societies. In fact, organizations with the most select membership are those which receive no applications, but select and invite their candidates. The no-ask/no-tell canon has been a rule of immemorial standing in the fraternity and, yet, it is impossible to determine when it originated. There is nothing concerning it in the Gothic Constitutions, nor in any of the rules and by-laws of the old lodges, or in the Constitutions of 1723; nor is it discussed by any of the Masonic writers of the 18th Century. There is nothing in the ritual on the subject. The “candidate interrogatories” written by William Preston asks only that the candidate affirm he comes to Freemasonry unbiased by an improper solicitation. And yet, we know that men of noble rank were solicited to become Grand Masters, though they were not Freemasons and had to be initiated just for that purpose. So, all this begs some questions--if we come to Freemasonry by our own free will and accord, in what way are we free? Masonically, what does it mean to be free men? Is this freedom important? Once we enter and take on the commitments and obligations of our fraternity, does this make us less free? Perhaps there is something to be learned by reflecting on the meaning of being free men in the context that Freemasonry is a “system of morality
veiled in allegory.” These three words, “system of morality” may be at the core of our understanding of being free-men, or free-masons. Certainly, these words would be a reason why we should insist that all men who join us do so with complete freedom. Freedom is a condition sine qua non for joining an order based on morality. That a person enters of his own free will and accord means that he is a man free from all prejudices and attitudes which are not based on his own self examination; that he is prepared to judge all attitudes, including his own, with intellectual integrity; that he is free and ready to make a moral judgment and to defend it even when he is in the minority or under strain for holding such a view; and, even more important, that he is aware he must place limits on his own freedom if he is to insure other men the same right to theirs. There is a thin line between being free and being just; between dividing one’s obligations with one's rights; in selfcensoring our own freedom as a result of recognizing another has the same right to his own; that the moral norms of one country may be different in another, yet both right; that the majority recognize the minority’s point of view and that the minority accept the right of the majority to bind all by its decisions. One becomes morally free only when his individual independence is balanced by intelligent choice. To be moral and to act in accordance with moral values requires the ability and readiness to judge between right and wrong, between what is in conformity with prevailing norms and
what is not. A moral choice can only exist if it rests on choosing between two possible alternatives; and this choice has to be made with complete freedom and with no coercion of any kind. A man determines his sense of morals only when these are put to the test. If the choice he makes is made under coercion, there is no moral value in his choice. To be a Freemason means we possess fundamental moral attitudes which are based on constant self evaluation and reevaluation of every aspect of our life. The opening charge to the Master Mason in the 4° of the Scottish Rite is worthy of our contemplation. “Freemasonry is an institution seeking human happiness through tolerance and love; self-perfection, glorifying justice, truth and equality; fighting tyranny, ignorance and prejudices.” To achieve this definition means that every Brother must approach free objectivity in his moral choices. We may think of freedom only in a sense of being free from restrictions or limitations. However, this is perhaps the lesser freedom. The freedom to act according to our freely-made moral choices and convictions is what makes us true Freemasons. Are we less free as a result of undertaking such commitments together as Brothers? I think not. In fact, we have chosen of “our own free will and accord” to be committed to certain moral values. To me, this is a true expression of being free. This article was written by Bro. Rupert G. Davis
Are there Cowans in our Midst? Our Masonic teachings remind us to observe the approach of Cowans and Eavesdroppers; see that none pass or repass except such as are duly qualified and have permission of the Worshipful Master. The definition of an Eavesdropper is widely known and accepted but how do we define a Cowan? What instructions do we given our Tylers to enable them to prevent a Cowan from gaining entry? Is it only the Tyler who must endeavour to observe the Cowan's approach? Could it be that a Cowan might enter through the door of the preparation room, a door we do not tyle? Just who the Cowans were, and are - if they exist - are questions which I have contemplated thoughtfully for some time. Perhaps many of us will agree that the idea of Cowans can be interpreted as a symbolic representation of those things which can hinder our own spiritual growth, the building of our own temple as well as those things which might be detrimental to the well being of a lodge. While endeavouring to find answers on this subject I did not restrict my studies to Masonic writings but used available history texts and recalled visits to rural Britain, the land of the Cowans whose work convinced me that, at one time, the Cowan was as professional in his work as the stone mason was in his.
Should you visit rural Britain you will soon notice that in many places stone walls were, and are, used to divide fields or to indicate property lines. These walls are from three and a half to five feet in height and are built without mortar. Stones have been cut or broken along their natural fissure lines and each piece is placed in such a way as to interlock with its neighbour. Some of these stone walls have existed for centuries. The building of stone walls is an art going back to long before the Roman conquest. It is the art of the Cowans. Most English farmers know how to build stone walls or at least know how to maintain them, but at one time these wall builders were recognized as skilled tradesmen though they practised this work only as a side line to their regular work. The Cowans also built cottages. Cottage walls were constructed in the same manner as the field walls by using interlocking stone without mortar. Five foot walls would be surmounted by rough wooden rafters to hold sod or thatching. No doubt many of the villagers had at one time or another stood against the outside of a cottage at night with their heads up in the eaves of thatching and there listened or perhaps even watched as to what went on inside the cottage; hence the term eavesdropping. For some reason the reputation or eavesdroppers stuck to the Cowans themselves though they probably didn't eavesdrop any more than anyone else. These country stone workers, or Cowans, often had their own stone
quarries and built up reserves of stone pieces ready for the next project and at the same time claiming this practice as their right. Generally, the work was carried out as a service and in exchange for services performed, bartered for goods, crops or livestock. In the towns, however, there was a different kind of stone worker. Here were the stone masons; men skilled in the art of cutting stone into blocks and using mortar to secure the stones to each other. At first they used limestone which was easier to cut and also the limestone dust provided the first cement for their mortar. As time went on these stone masons learned to cut other stone and with the use of their mortar were able to build large buildings. The skills learned were kept secret and passed on only to their apprentices. They formed tight-knit guilds through which they were able to maintain firm control over the members of their craft. Conflict did not seem to exist between the Cowans and the stone masons since they seldom came into contact with each other. It was at this time that the Bubonic plague, commonly known as the Black Death, was spreading rapidly across Europe. Its cause and much less, methods of control were unknown to man. It was the church hierarchy who first observed that those people in the country seemed to have a better chance of avoiding the disease than the town and city dwellers.
It was for this reason that the church decided to build their new cathedrals and monasteries out in the country. This is why some of the old churches which are now surrounded by towns and cities have such names as St. Martin's in the Fields. But all was not serene in the country. It was the year 1066 and the Battle of Hastings and the victor, William the Conqueror was causing much unrest amongst the English populace. With bands of Saxons carrying out hit-andrun guerrilla warfare against the conquering Normans as well as fear of further attack from France, the Norman Barons ruled with an iron fist and fortified their castles against attacks. Here is where most of the stone masons had come, and under contract to the Normans, were held responsible for maintaining their fortifications. The stone masons soon formed their guilds and built lodges which became their homes-away-from home and which also served as their union halls. They jealously guarded their trade secrets and only recognized members of the craft were allowed into their lodges. During meetings and meal hours the lodge was closely guarded by Tylers. The Tylers were the lowest echelon of skilled labour recognized by the stone masons. They worked only in the quarries where they cut rough stone into tiles or building blocks. The more skills a stone mason acquired, the further he moved away from the door of the lodge towards the East end of the lodge where only the most skilled sat, presiding over the others. These highly qualified men were actually the architects and designers.
Because of the strict rule of the Norman barons, the stone masons were not allowed to leave their home guild to travel or to follow another vocation. It was like the Selective Service during the Second World War which designated certain civilian jobs as essential to the war effort. If you were in such a position, you couldn't leave even to join the Military without permission to do so. In order for the church to obtain working rights of the stone masons they had to pay off the Normans or grant special religious dispensations in return for the freedom of the required number of stone masons to build cathedrals who then became "free masons". Likewise, it was forbidden to hire or to accept a stone mason outside the jurisdiction of his home guild unless that stone mason could show evidence that he had his freedom. Thus a stone mason employed in the construction of a cathedral had to be "free and accepted". Now for the first time we had qualified stone masons and cowans working in the same area. The Cowans saw these stone masons come to their country side and take all the work associated with the construction of cathedrals, using rock from their quarries and earning wages they had never dreamed of. They wanted their share of the work and a trade war started. the Cowans could never have built a great cathedral as they were without the necessary training and skills.
Eventually they were granted menial tasks in the quarries or as helpers but they were not allowed to enter the guild lodges. This was a real sore point because the Cowan's art was older than the stone mason's and they really wanted recognition as workers in stone with full privileges in the stone masons' lodges. The cathedrals each took three or four hundred years to build with many generations of masons playing their part. The stone mason trade was kept within family lines and so the local Cowan was never allowed to become an apprentice. However, as the cathedrals neared completion fewer masons were needed and many returned to the more lucrative business in the cities and towns. As the guild lodges at the cathedral sites gradually depleted, some lodges gave in to the pleas of the Cowans to be granted membership and eventually even allowed them to take office. Where this happened and the Cowans became the majority, the lodges collapsed because the Cowans were not steeped in the stone masons'traditions and, having obtained recognition only when it was too late, the Cowans felt no real loyalty to the lodge. Some stone mason lodges took a different stand and never accepted the Cowans for membership but instead, admitted the landed gentry as associate members. It became quite stylish even for the aristocracy to patronize these lodges. It was these non-operatives who started using tools and terms of stone masons in symbolic ways, particularly
when many of these noble men were knights who had returned from the Crusades. Their influence can still be seen in Freemasonry today. With the reformation of the church, it was inevitable and quite natural that purely speculative masonic lodges should be established in the cities by men who had been associated with the earlier craft lodges - lodges which had remained steadfast in their determination to never admit Cowans. Now, you may think that this historical review of the beginnings of the Order is a roundabout way of getting to the question - Are there Cowans in our Midst? - but I feel that an understanding of the past is necessary if we are able to recognize the Cowans of today. Like the Cowans of long ago, modern day Cowans are not necessarily evil or violent, nor do they wish to destroy Freemasonry, or are they even interested in stealing our secrets. As the Cowans of long ago wanted to be admitted into the stone masons' lodges, the Cowans of today want to join an Order. They want recognition and prestige by being members of an organization of men whom they envy. They believe the old stories about fraternal preference; they think that membership in the Order will somehow secure their future. But what makes the Cowans of today? It is their lack of faith and spiritual values. It has been said that just as the Cowan of long ago could never build a cathedral because he built without
mortar, the man of today cannot build the spiritual temple of his life if he does not have faith and spiritual values, and therefore should not be admitted to Freemasonry. Unfortunately, a man's ability to appreciate things of a spiritual nature is not easily seen and examined other than saying to an applicant that he must have a belief in God. When we ask the question â€” In whom you put your trust? the candidate knows the answer we want to hear, often through prompting, and is going to answer accordingly whether he believes or not. Remember, this is one of the Landmarks of Freemasonry we are speaking of. If we admit a non-believer, a candidate without faith or spiritual values, we are admitting a Cowan. It has nothing to do with having, or not having, masonic knowledge, or acquiring masonic knowledge later as he progresses through the degrees. A Cowan initiated, passed and raised, is still a Cowan, just as admitting the Cowan of old into the stone masons' lodges didn't make him a skilled stone mason. Freemasonry, through its lessons may lead a man to think more deeply abut his own place in the scheme of things and so enhance his faith but if he is without faith when he joins, can Freemasonry provide it for him? Sadly enough, as the membership in our order depletes, we tend to panic and we are reluctant to reject an applicant. Consequently, we accept the simple "yes" to a most important question, even though it may permit a Cowan to join our ranks. The Cowans in our lodges have never posed any real threat to the Order up until now because they have always been in the minority. Usually they will
drop out entirely or just stop attending meetings when they finally realize that the material benefits they expected are not there after all. Quite frequently, they will go through the chairs of their lodges, and they may fulfil the duties of their offices quite faithfully, even through their year as Worshipful Master because the prestige and recognition is a reward in itself. But after the term as Master, you seldom see them in lodge. Cowans show themselves in many ways but as the fundamental principles of Masonry are kept alive, so long as our landmarks and traditions are maintained, Freemasonry will continue to live, untouched by the presence of the Cowans in our midst. This paper was written in by Bro. Bob Walker and sourced from the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia.
What is Freemasonry? In the home, it is kindness In society, it is courtesy In business, it is honesty In work, it is fairness Toward the unfortunate, it is pity Toward the wicked, it is resistance Toward the weak, it is help Toward the strong, it is trust Toward the penitent, it is forgiveness Toward the fortunate, it is congratulations Toward GOD, it is reverence and love.
The stonemason's lewis is a device used in raising and lowering blocks during the course of building; in our lodges by the smooth ashlar in the derrick on the Senior Wardenâ€™s pedestal. It is believed that the Romans used it in building their amphitheatres and the Saxons in the building of Whitby Abbey (in 'Heartbeat' country) in the seventh century. There appears to be evidence that it was also used to place some of the huge stones of Hadrian's Wall (A.D. 120-209) for what seems to have been lewis holes can still be seen in parts built by the Roman emperor Severus who extensively repaired the wall in AD 209 A specially shaped socket or hole needs to be cut into the top face of a hard strong stone that is to be lifted where the stonemason's lewis is fitted. There are two main types of stonemason's lewis; one is of a dual levered claw, and the other consists of shaped wedges with a parallel spacing bar in the centre. This spreads to tighten them into the stone block and is lifted by the wedges with the aid of a shackle or bolt a lifting chain or rope completes the device. A lewis might break away from a soft stone due to the pressures applied by the lifting action. The stone is then lifted by a crane or derrick to precisely position the stone which could not be the case if a rope was passed beneath the stone. When the stone is in place the shackle and lewis wedges are removed and reused later. The lewis is therefore a symbol of strength, and as such its name is given to the son of a mason His duty is to bear burdens and the heat of the day that his parents can rest in their old age to live a peaceful evening of their lives. The usual Craft rituals do not now mention it and it is not known in the American Craft except for Pennsylvania. At one time it was considered that a lewis was the first son born to a man after that man becalms a mason but is now generally accepted to be any son An example of an 18th century catechism in part is: Q. What do we call the son of a freemason? A. A Lewis. Q. What does that denote? A. Strength. Q. How is a lewis depicted in a masonâ€™s lodge? A. As a cramp of metal, wedges (etc)
Q. What is the duty of a lewis to his aged parents? A. To bear the heavy burden and heat of the day to render the close of their days happy and comfortable. Q. His privilege for so doing? A. To be made a Mason before any other person, however dignified by birth, rank or riches, unless he waives this privilege. As a lewis supports a block of stone in building, so a lewis is said to support the lodge by his privilege to gain precedence to be made a mason. In Scotland the term is still used for the mason’s son aged between 18-21 years.
Sourced from Why? ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ by Bro. John Cane PPG Supt Wks (Surrey)
When visiting other Lodges, It’s interesting to see slight variations of the ritual!
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on May 31, 2012