Every month we will release a document from the Archive of African Lodge (Boston and Philadelphia), as well as other documentation and provide a short summary of the improtance and significance of that document.
This Month's Document:
The Nov. 18, 1845 Minutes of African Grand Lodge, Boston
Boston November 18, A.D. 1845 A.L. 5845
The African Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted
Masons met & opened on the Entered Apprentice degree
for the dispatch of business
Br. J. T. Hilton WM Br. Holt
Br. P. Gaul SW Br. Butler
Br. Harris JW Br. Batter
Br. A. Gaul SD Br. Keene
Br. Harry JD Br. Douglas
Br. L. Hutchinson Sec.
Robbert R. Brown & John Christian
presented by their vouchers & was duly
initiated into the first degree of masonry
Lodge closed in due form and opened in the
fellowcrafts Br. Robbert R. Brown & John
Christian were duly initiated into the
Fellowcrafts degree of Masonry
Lodge closed in due form & opened in the
sublime degree of Master Mason
Br. Robbert R. Brown & John Christian
were duly initiated into the sublime degree
of Master Mason
Br John Christian paid six dollars
it being the his dues to the Lodge $6.00
closed in due form
[end of transcription]
The importance of this document is that African Grand Lodge had been functioning as a Grand Lodge for 18 years at this point. In none of the documents in the archive do we see African Lodge No. 459 opening at all. This proves that African Grand Lodge was nopt composed of multiple Lodges, but was the composition or transition of ONE SINGLE LODGE. African Lodge No. 459 was now African Grand Lodge. African Lodge No. 459 cease to exist in 1827. This is very important to note, because many believed that African Lodge still functioned. African Lodge No. 459 assumed the powers of a Grand Lodge, just as many Grand Lodges did in America when they severed ties with the Grand Lodge of England. Not all Grand Lodges were formed in the manner of African Grand Lodge, but the renunciation of warrants from the Grand Lodge of England was a prevalent feature in the Grand Lodge constitutions in America.
With this being stated, we find a Grand Lodge making members to its Grand Lodge, which is an interesting feature with African Grand Lodge. Usually, a Grand Lodge would have constituent Subordinate Lodges and those initiated, passed and raised would be members of one of those subordinate Lodges, and by virtue of appointment, election or sitting in one of the principal stations, would become members of the Grand Lodge. In this historical context, they were immediately members of the African Grand Lodge. In all actually, African Grand Lodge was a LODGE operating under the powers of a Grand Lodge. As can be seen in the style of the officers, there was no "Grand", just the style and rank of subordinate Lodge officers.
African Grand Lodge on this night opened on all three degrees and conferred all three degrees, in one night, on two Brothers, The $6 paid by Br. John Christian for dues is equivalent to $189.48 today.
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