Masonry Came to Colorado 1858 - 1956
By GEORGE B. CLARK, P.M.
The Grand Lodge of Colorado is most fortunate in having as its Grand Historian, with and without portfolio, Worshipful Brother George B. Clark of Pueblo Lodge No. 17. Brother Clark lives in Denver and is at the Grand Lodge office in the Museum, gathering together data for the history of the Grand Lodge of Colorado. During the course of his work on the committees to prepare Centennial booklets, he went into detail to discover some of the hitherto unknown and yet extremely interesting facts in connection with the early history of Freemasonry in Colorado from the time of its arrival with the pioneers of 1856.
It has great readers interest and recognizing this fact, the Square and Compass Magazine, under direction of Anthony E. Valentine, published this history, seriatim, in the recent numbers of the Square and Compass. So many inquiries have been received from those who missed one or more sections of this very interesting history of early day Masonry, that the publisher has agreed to put this into book form, hoping that for those who desire a history of Colorado Freemasonry, other than the stereotype dates and events listing, so customary to condensed history of this and other organizations, might buy the entire booklet for their library at a very nominal sum. It is for this purpose the history of the intimate part of Freemasonry in Colorado is offered as originally written for the Centennial Celebration of 1961, but not published at that time. Every Colorado Mason should have this booklet on his library shelves. It will prove interesting reading to him as a matter of recreation; extremely interesting reading to the researcher who wants to find out the reasons for certain things happening which seem to have a great bearing on the present and future of Freemasonry. We submit it for your interest and information.
HARRY W. BUNDY, Grand Secretary
Masonry Came to Colorado 1858-1956
By GEORGE B. CLARK, P.M.
What will a man not do for Gold? No obstacle is too great, no hardship too severe when there is a reasonable hope that gold may be had for the taking. The streams and hills of Colorado have yielded many fortunes for the hardy adventurers who went after them. The search for gold is the story of early Colorado and the story of early Colorado is the story of Colorado Masonry.
I When the golden sands of California called in 1848, the gold seeker passed Colorado and went on to the West, adding a new empire to the country. Ten years later another wave of excitement, augmented by the success of California, carried eastward. Gold had been discovered at Pike's Peak and the "Prairie Schooner" with its "Pike's Peak or Bust" slogan came to the Rockies. Men flocked to this part of the country, always in search of gold. The prospector for gold is a very migratory sort of person. Any "Strike" or rumor of a strike starts him at once for the new "diggings." Were this not so, there might not have been any Colorado. But it is to the glory of the State that, having found the gold, many of these bold spirits remained to build a State and to enjoy the fruits of their labor within sight of the mountains which gave them their wealth.
Masonry! Yes. Many of these men were Masons, made in some lodge in a "home town, back east." Away from the home town, probably for the first time in their lives, what more natural than that they would seek out their brethren in the new West. The very dangers and hardships of travel would draw them together, and being once drawn together it was inevitable that the principles instilled into them in the lodge would go far in maintaining order in the new country.
Prior to 1861 there was no Colorado; there was only an indefinite "West," with an almost impassable mountain range crossing it from north to south. Travelers, of necessity, went around to the north by way of Ft. Laramie or to the south by way of Santa Fe or Ft. Union. Kansas and Nebraska were new countries with rather indefinite boundaries. The line between them was drawn as a straight line to the mountains. The Utah lines coming from the west were drawn to this same very indefinite mountain range. The maps of 1859 are not in agreement but seem to carry the idea of the mountain range as a boundary line running approximately as a line between the present North Park and Routt County, between Park and Chaffee Counties and between Huerfano and Costilla Counties. All on the west was Utah. The present line between Kansas and Nebraska continued west to this same mountain range. All to the north of this line was Nebraska and to the south was Kansas. One map of the Indian Reservation, dated 1854, shows a section of the southern part bounded approximately on the west by the Culebra Range, on the north by an east and west line through La Junta, and on the east by the 103rd meridian and recorded as being a part of New Mexico.
Up to this time there was little interest in this western country. Kansas and Nebraska argued as to who should police it. But when, in 1858, the magic word "Gold"" was spoken, how quickly this attitude changed. Overnight this new land became of value, a new State was in process of being born.
The Russell party from Georgia had been prospecting for gold along the front of the mountain range in the fall of 1857 and had found deposits of gold sufficient to justify further efforts the following year. They returned in the spring of 1858 and continued their search for gold. The deposits found in the upper reaches of Cherry Creek in 1857 were soon exhausted and the party moved on to the junction of Cherry Creek with the Platte River. They arrived here October 23, 1858, and decided to make a permanent camp to be used as a base of operations from which point prospecting trips could be made in many directions. Cherry Creek and the Platte River were thoroughly prospected and then operations were extended up the numerous streams emerging from the mountains.
On October 26, three days after the Russell party decided to settle here, a party from Council Bluffs came along and camped. Henry Allen, their leader, and his Iowans saw the merit of the Russell plan and decided to stop here also and start a town. During the next few days several other parties reached this small camp at the junction of Cherry Creek with the Platte, which location was then known merely as the, Pike's Peak Region, or "Cherry Creek, K. T."
On November 2, J. D. Ramage and his party arrived. One of those already on the ground came to Mr. Ramage and informed him that the new town had been laid out and was to be called Auraria. Mr. Ramage and his partners decided to remain, so unloaded their stores and set up camp.
Concerning the following day, November 3, 1858, Mr. Ramage says: "After retiring that evening, we heard someone calling out, 'Ho, that tent there.' One of the boys got up and asked if he were calling to us and he replied that there was a man in the tent whom he would like to see, and at the same time making use of a Masonic expression. I then arose and went out. Our caller proved to be Bro. Henry Allen, afterwards Master of No.5. He told us that there were five Masons meeting in his cabin that evening and, having heard that I was a Mason, they invited me to attend.
"I accompanied Bro. Allen to his abode, and there found Bros. W. M. Slaughter, Charles Blake, Dr. Russell, Andrew Sagendorf and, I think, George Lehow. These brethren, together with Bro. Allen and my. self, made the first seven Masons, according to my knowledge and my belief, who ever met in Colorado, having in contemplation the application for a Charter, and a seven who stuck together, as Masons should do, through thick and thin."
Thus, so far as the record goes, the first Masonic meeting in what is now the state of Colorado was held on November 3, 1858. Only ten days after the arrival of the Russell party, the first to settle here, a Masonic meeting was held with seven Masons present. In those memorable ten days a permanent camp had been established, many parties of gold seekers had come in, cabins were built and Masonry was established. And that Masonry, so planted amid pioneer conditions, has persisted through trials and fortune, "through thick and thin," to the present time and will so continue for unknowable time to come.
As W. M. Slaughter, one of the participants, said of it:
"It might be well to call attention to the fact that within ten days from the date of the first arrivals at the point where Denver now stands, October 23, 1858, those Masonic pioneers had set about laying the foundations in the desert for that grand Masonic building which now over. looks both mountains and plains."
J. D. Ramage further says:
"We agreed to meet every Saturday night and as our object in locating in Colorado was to get gold (we were supposed to be out prospecting during the week) we decided that any ideas concerning the country we were in, which might come to us, news of any mines we might discover, or any information which might be beneficial to the brethren, Masonically or financially, would, at the next meeting, be given to the Masons there assembled. We had some very pleasant meetings."
It must be kept in mind that these meetings were not lodge meetings, but were just informal assemblages of individual Masons. There was no authority from any regular Masonic power, as yet, to form a lodge. The time was not quite ready for that; but Masons could and did meet for mutual fellowship and protection.
There is some question as to where these meetings were held. J. D. Ramage thinks the first meeting was held in Henry Allen's cabin. The merit of this claim lies in the fact that Henry Allen was the moving spirit and leader in this Masonic enterprise. What more natural than that the few should gather at his fireside? Another claim is that the first meeting was held in the Russell cabin. The Russells were the first arrivals and presumably built the first cabin. A third claim is that this first meeting was held in the Sagendorf and Lehow cabin. This was really two cabins placed close to each other, end to end, and the area between the two covered.
This Lehow, by the way, was Oscar Lehow and not George Lehow as intimated by the Ramage letter. Such a cabin would take some time to build. Considering that the meeting was held only ten days after the Russell arrival and seven days after the coming of Henry Allen, it is more reasonable to believe that the meeting was held in the cabin built by one of these two. It is, no doubt, true that subsequent meetings were held in the other cabins. As the meetings grew, the need of the larger quarters brought into use the larger cabins.
The meetings were held every Saturday night. The Masons. of incoming parties were sought out and added to the Saturday night group. these meetings were all held in Auraria, which was the name given to the original town site established by Henry Allen and his group on the south side of Cherry Creek and east of the Platte River. Not long after the founding of Auraria, other parties, particularly the Lawrence party from Kansas, came in. They crossed to the other side of Cherry Creek and set out another town site which they called "Denver City," named after the Governor of Kansas. The two communities grew side by side and considerable town jealousy was engendered until, in 1860, a bridge was built over Cherry Creek and the towns consolidated under the name of Denver City.
Auraria and Denver City were not the only towns organized by reason of the gold excitement. Auraria was fourteen miles out from that: base of the mountain range. Many of the prospectors desired to be closer to the hills as the interest was up these mountain streams. So as a matter of expediency, settlements were made at Golden City where Vasquez Creek emerged, and at Boulder or Valmont, along Boulder Creek. Still further to the north was La Porte, which was a station on the Virginia Dale Section of an early Pony Express line. Midway between Auraria and Golden City was Arapahoe, a hamlet now so entirely wiped out that even its location is in doubt. To the south was the new settlement of Fountain City, or as it is now known, Pueblo.
When December 27 of 1858 came, there arose in the little Auraria group the true Masonic desire to celebrate St. John's Day in fitting manner. A sumptuous dinner was prepared for the twenty-six Masons who had now arrived. The story of this banquet has become a classic in Colorado Masonic history. The room-a sixteen-by-sixteen-foot cabin; tablecloth a clean sheet borrowed from a Mormon family recently arrived; chairs-none; menu-pork, beans, biscuits, coffee, wild game'. But it was a St. John's Day Feast, regularly celebrated for the first time in this prairie wilderness.
William N. Byers. arrived on April 17, 1859. He attended a meeting of the Masonic group the first night he was here. About forty Masons were present at that time. The meeting was held in a double log cabin, on the south bank of Cherry Creek, about four blocks below the old City Hall. The floor was the native earth and the roof was of pole;;; and earth. The ante-room was one cabin, the meeting room the other. A few days later, April 23, Byers had his press set up and the first edition of the Rocky Mountain News was published.
This first issue of the first newspaper printed in what is now the State of Colorado, on April 23, 1859, carried this card:
The Arapahoe Lodge of F. & A. Masons meets every Saturday night at their lodge on Cherry Street, Auraria, K. T.
B. A. Smith, Sec.
H. Allen, W. M.
N. B. visiting brethren are respectfully invited to attend.
And this exactly six months after the arrival of the first settlers in an entirely new country.
It will be noted that the Masonic call is signed by Henry Allen as W. M., Worshipful Master. From this and other things we have seen we must conclude that Henry Allen was the leader of the Masonic group from its beginning and is practically the "Father of Masonry in Colorado."
Henry Allen was at this time a member of a lodge in Council Bluffs Iowa. His Masonic career began when he was made a member of Chariton Lodge, No. 63, of Chariton, Iowa, in 1855. From Chariton he evidently went to Council Bluffs, and from there came to the gold regions of the Pike's Peak country. He helped to establish the town of Auraria and appears to have been its first postmaster. He had been postmaster of Council Bluffs, Iowa, from December 9, 1857, to September 27, 1858. In the 1859 directory of Auraria there is listed the Real Estate firm of Henry Allen, W. M. Slaughter and H. Sopris. Mr. Slaughter and Mr. Sopris both were powers in that pioneer Masonic group. Mr. Allen took a prominent part in the Constitutional Convention of 1859 assembled in the interests of framing a constitution for the proposed Territory of Jefferson. Mr. Allen left Denver some time in the early sixties and we next hear of him in the mining town of Idaho City, Idaho, where, in 1864, he assisted in forming a new Masonic Lodge. He later moved to Boise City, Idaho, and then to Helena, Montana. He was prominent in the pioneer Masonry of each place. From Helena, he went to Los Angeles, California, where he died February 18, 1871.
Then came the spring of 1859. Through the first days of May, in a bleak, desolate gulch, high up in the mountains, a lone and weary prospector slowly worked his way, looking, searching, digging, panning. Then on the 6th of May, this man, John Gregory by name, found a deposit of the precious yellow metal. It was about forty miles from Denver, up into the mountains to the west. The locality soon took the name of Gregory Diggings.
True enough, a similar scene had taken place four months earlier' in the next gulch to the south and about ten miles distant from the Gregory strike, but George Jackson had been successful in keeping his big discovery a secret. The news of the Gregory discovery soon carried to Auraria and Denver. In fact, it set the spark to another great wave of gold excitement which swept the east like wildfire. Gold had been found at Pike's Peak and another great gold rush was on. The prospectors and so-called miners of Auraria and Denver lost no time. They were soon on the ground. It is said that by June as many as twenty thousand men had assembled in and about Gregory Gulch.
Top Row: Henry Allen, Oscar Lehow
Middle Row: Charles H. Blake, James D. Ramage, Dr. Levi J. Russell
Bottom Row: Andrew Sagendorf, Wm. M. Slaughter
It should not be inferred that miners are the only ones attracted by a gold discovery. There are five distinct classes of people who rush to the site of a new strike. First is the prospector or miner who discovers and takes from the earth the precious metal. And it is to be remembered that among this class were a great many who posed as miners and prospectors but who never had seen a mine or placer before coming west. Young men, vigorous, healthy and in search of wealth or adventure, came expecting to pick up nuggets of gold as they would pebbles. It is to their honor and glory that many of them soon acquired the technique of the mining industry and eventually became good miners.
The second class to be attracted by a gold strike is that of the merchant who sells his supplies or services for the miner's "dust" in legitimate trade. This class includes also the lawyer, doctor, preacher, builder, freighter, law enforcement official and laborer. The camp could not long survive without them or their services.
The third class is the saloon keeper who furnishes the "fire water," so often the cause of trouble. Closely allied to the saloon keeper is the fourth class, the gambler, who by his wits and nimble fingers separates the miner from his newly-gained wealth. And last comes the motley crowd, the thief, the highwayman, the murderer. These are the ones who wait until the miner or merchant accumulates a "pile" and then go in and take it by force.
Masonic Notices in the First issue of the Rocky Mountain News
November 23, 1859
There is yet a sixth group, small in number perhaps, which later comes on the scene and which exhibits the attributes of several of the other classes. From a position of seeming respectability and always within the law, one of this class seeks through loans, followed by foreclosures of mortgages, to secure possession of property at a small price and sells at a big profit.
"When a strike is announced, all these elements of society are soon on the ground. Frequently the control of a new camp is secured by the criminal or undesirable group before the respectable and law-abiding element can become organized.
It has been intimated above that both good and bad men were represented in that vast mob of gold seekers. There was no law, no order, no government, represented among these men at that time. There were men who believed that all law was left behind at the Missouri River. It was not known definitely whether the region was tributary to Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Texas, or New Mexico. Naturally confusion reigned. The strong took valuable gold prospects from the weak or even took the gold after it had been produced. But cool-headed leaders arose, supported by the better elements among the men. It was inevitable that the leaders among these Masons would become the leaders of the community who were to bring about some semblance of law and order.
Since there was no established law or order of proceedings, the miners assembled themselves in a district meeting June 8, 1859, and by mutual agreement formulated a set of fair and equitable rules for future guidance and protection. Furthermore, they policed their own rules. The district meetings and district rules so set up in Gregory Diggings became the model for the government of other districts. The first Territorial Legislature of the new Territory of Colorado met on September 9, 1861, and upheld the mining laws of the local mining districts.
The weekly meetings at Auraria, interrupted when the entire personnel went to the new diggings, were resumed at Gregory Gulch. So many Masons had come into the district that it became necessary to provide adequate quarters in which to meet. The Masonic interest was intense. Before June had passed, this small band of Masons had preempted a block of ground ,and a "Masonic Temple" was erected. A group of nearly one hundred Masons leveled the ground and ox teams cut and dragged logs for the structure.
Brother. W. M. Slaughter, one of the participants, wrote:
"Word had been passed about among the Masons of the several camps that a Masonic meeting would be held that night at dusk, and as the hour arrived the trails and paths leading toward the' Temple' began to be lined with Masons gathering together to meet each other from distant states and countries for the first time in this wild place amid the pine woods on a lone mountain side. Four men (Masons) armed with rifles and revolvers stood on guard, one at each corner of the Temple and one at the outer door also. At the outer door there was also a receiving committee to whom each visitor was introduced or made himself known if he were unacquainted with anyone. If he desired examination as to his standing as a Mason, he was at once placed in charge of an examining committee of whom there were not less than ten or more appointed to wait on the visiting brethren who were unknown to any known Mason. There were over 200 visiting brethren whose names were entered upon the 'Journal' or 'Roll of Visitors' as it was called at that first meeting. A meeting was held once a week for over three months."
True, it was only a small log cabin and the tyler had to stand outside the door; but to this earnest group it was pre-eminently a "Masonic Temple." The Grand Lodge has recently acquired title to the ground occupied by this first Temple and has erected a suitable monument on it.
New towns sprang up all along the course of the creek from Black Hawk near the site of the Gregory strike through Central City and to to Nevadaville, high on the mountain. Some of the smaller towns are now but memories, abandoned and even erased from the earth's surface. Some have been absorbed by the larger towns for Central City and Black Hawk are practically one continuous city now with but a signboard to indicate the political division line. This signboard is but a few feet distant from the site of the Gregory discovery. Nevadaville became almost a "Ghost Town." A few years ago it had but two inhabitants. Now the recent mining revival has brought many people to reoccupy the old houses of the town. However, throughout the whole "Ghost Town" period of Nevadaville's life there has operated a full functioning Masonic Lodge. The story is told that Nevadaville had but two inhabitants, one of whom was a Mason, and yet supported a regular and going Masonic Lodge. The non-Mason died and Nevadaville boasted of a one hundred per cent Masonic portion of the entire population.
In the fall of 1859, or as winter was closing in on them, many of the miners went out of the mountain or mining districts. Rumors had been circulated that men could not stand the severity of a mountain winter. Another year, and it was known that such stories were greatly exaggerated. Some went back to the" States" for the winter, but none,most of them stopped off at Auraria, Denver City or Golden. The Masons then resumed at Auraria the weekly meetings which had been interrupted by the rush to the Gregory Diggings.
Ways and means were now discussed toward setting up lodges as it was felt that the time was now at hand to establish regular Masonic authority. The group in Auraria petitioned the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kansas, Richard R. Rees, for authority to form a lodge at Auraria. This was granted and a dispensation was issued under date of August 15, 1859, and Henry Allen was appointed to be the first Master of the Lodge. It was named Auraria Lodge.
On October 1, 1859, more than forty Masons assembled in the hall of Auraria Lodge to witness and participate in the first regular communication of Masons in the Territory known as Colorado. The meeting was held on the second floor of a new two-story frame building on Ferry Street which had just been erected by Abraham Jacobs, a member of the Lodge.
The success of Auraria Lodge encouraged these at Golden City to do likewise. Consequently they sought the recommendation of Auraria Lodge for the formation of a lodge at Golden City. In the minutes of the Auraria Lodge U. D. under date of November 26, 1859, is the following item:
"Petition of I. E. Hardy and others of Golden City, K. T. Grand Lodge of Kansas for a dispensation authorizing and empowering them to work was presented and recommended by the Lodge."
With this recommendation the Golden City group petitioned Grand Master Rees for a dispensation to form their lodge. The Grand Master looked with favor upon the petition and issued his dispensation under date of January 21, 1860, and I. E. Hardy was named as first Master of the Golden City Lodge.
When the Grand Lodge of Kansas held its regular Annual Communication in October, 1860, the representative of Golden City Lodge, U. D. was present with his papers, but for some unknown reason the representative of Auraria Lodge U. D. did not arrive in time to be present at the Session. The Grand Lodge granted a Charter to the Golden group on October 17, 1860, as Golden City Lodge No. 34. Because of the failure of the representative of Auraria Lodge to reach the Grand Lodge on time, the dispensation granted to the lodge was continued for another year with Richard Sopris as Master.
About this time the Masons who had remained at Nevadaville, the mining town near Central City, petitioned the Grand Master of Kansas to form a lodge there. The Grand Master looked with favor on their petition and his dispensation was issued under date of December 22, 1860, with Andrew Mason selected as the first Master of Nevada Lodge U. D. This lodge was granted its charter October 15, 1861, as Nevada Lodge No. 36.
There now appeared in this section one of the most colorful characters of early Colorado history, John Milton Chivington. He was a churchman, born and educated in Ohio. In 1854 he was ordered to go to Kansas City as a Missionary to the Wyandotte Indians. From there he went to Omaha, Nebraska. In 1860 he was sent to the Rocky Mountain region by the Methodist Church as the Presiding Elder to establish the Church in the new gold district. He was made a Mason in Ohio and took an active part in Masonic affairs wherever he went. At the time he came to Deliver' he was Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. He at once took a leading part in Masonic affairs here and as a direct result of his activities two regular lodges were organized under the auspices of the Grand Master of Nebraska. The dispensation for Summit Lodge at Parkville was issued on May 6, 1861, and one for Rocky Mountain Lodge at Gold Hill on May 21, 1861. These authorities were confirmed by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska at its next Annual Communication, June 5, 1861, and Charters were issued to these lodges as Summit Lodge No.7 and Rocky Mountain Lodge No.8. Parkville and Gold Hill were mining towns established on small deposits and when these deposits were exhausted the inhabitants left and the towns became "Ghost Towns."
The Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Colorado visited the site of Parkville on August 21, 1935, and he reports its location and condition:
"From Breckenridge, 5 miles down the Blue River, then 10 miles up the Swan River. Located in a flat, now covered from 3 to 5 feet deep with tailings from placer workings above. Nothing left but about 50 feet of Indian stockade, most of the posts of which are now lying on the ground, and remains of 3 log cabins on hill back of town toward the south."
The site of Gold Hill is in one of the canons between Boulder and Ward. Strictly speaking, Parkville was in Kansas and Gold Hill was in Nebraska. But as no accurate surveys had been made, the actual location of the dividing line was unknown. This, no doubt, accounted for the overlapping of jurisdictions. Auraria, Denver City and the mining districts of the present Gilpin County were considered to be Kansas Territory and functioned as Arapahoe County, Kansas Territory.
In February, 1861, the territory enclosed by the boundaries of the present State of Colorado was set aside by the National Government and named the "Territory of Colorado." In due time, 1876, Colorado took its place as a sovereign state of the Union.
In August, conditions were right for the next Masonic move. Here was an independent civil Territory of the Union with no Grand Lodge. Within its borders were several Masonic Lodges qualified to form a Grand Lodge.
There were three chartered lodges:
Golden City Lodge No. 34 at Golden City chartered from Kansas.
Summit Lodge No.7 at Parkville chartered from Nebraska.
Rocky Mountain Lodge No.8 at Gold Hill chartered from Nebraska.
And two lodges "Under Dispensation" from the Grand Lodge of Kansas :
Auraria Lodge at Auraria.
Nevada Lodge at Nevadaville.
Invitations were issued to the chartered Lodges to meet and discuss the advisability of the formation of a Grand Lodge. The time set was August 2, 1861, and the place was Golden City. On that day there assembled at the lodge room in Golden City the following:
Golden City Lodge No. 34 at Golden City, C. T.
Bro. Eli. Carter, W. M.
Bro. I. E. Hardy, proxy for S. W.
Bro. J. A. Moore, J. W.
Rocky Mountain Lodge No.8 at Gold Hill, C. T.
Bro. C. F. Holly, proxy for W. M.
S. W. Bro. J. M. Chivington, proxy for J. W.
Summit Lodge No.7 at Parkville, C. T.
Bro. James Ewing, W. M.
Bro. O. A. Whittemore, proxy for S. W.
Bro. S. M. Robins, proxy for J. W.
Bro. L. L. Brown, Past Deputy Grand Master of Nebraska.
Bro. W. T. Wade, Past Master.
Bro. L. M. Frary, Past Master.
The organization of the Grand Lodge of Colorado was perfected on this day, August 2, 1861, and the following officers elected and installed:
J. M. Chivington of Gold Hill, Grand Master.
S. M. Robins of Parkville, Deputy Grand Master.
James Ewing of Parkville, Senior Grand Warden.
J. M. Holt of Gold Hill, Junior Grand Warden.
Eli Carter of Golden City, Grand Treasurer.
O. A. Whittemore of Parkville, Grand Secretary.
Interrupted communications due to the difficulties and dangers of travel caused some embarrassing situations for the new Grand Lodge. It became known that another Grand Lodge had chartered a Lodge in Colorado after the formation of the Grand Lodge of Colorado. But in true Masonic spirit these situations were cleared away and the new Grand Lodge was recognized and accorded its place among Grand Lodges.
Nevada Lodge surrendered its Kansas charter and received a Colorado Charter as No.4. Auraria and Central City surrendered their dispensations from Kansas and Nebraska respectively and received new dispensations from Grand Master Chivington. They were on December 11, 1861, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Colorado as Denver Lodge No.5 and Chivington Lodge No.6. This latter lodge changed its name later to Central Lodge No.6.
John M. Chivington was re-elected Grand Master in December, 1861. He was followed by Allyn Weston and he by Henry M. Teller. Teller was Grand Master for seven years and was probably the ablest man produced in early Colorado and one of its outstanding citizens.
The Grand Lodge was organized at Golden City in 1861. The first Annual Communication was held December 10, 1861, at Denver; the second at Central City November 3, 1862. Then for ten years the sessions were held alternately at Denver and Central City. The 13th Annual was held in Denver September 30, 1873, and the Annual Communications of the Grand Lodge have been held in Denver ever since.
Note: When the Grand Lodge was erected in 1861, there were but 52 members in 3 lodges in Colorado Territory.
As of January 28, 1964, the reports show 47,034 members in 168 lodges in the state.
The year 1861 was an important year both for Colorado and for Colorado Masonry. It was in February, 1861, that the Territory of Colorado was established. It was in August, 1861, that the Grand Lodge of Colorado was organized. It was in April, 1861, that the great Civil War broke out, that was between the states of the north and the states of the south. It was thought that Colorado was so far removed from the scene of the conflict that the effect of the war would not be felt out here on the frontier. But as a matter of fact it was felt keenly. The thousands who answered the call of "Gold" came from nearly every part of the United States and even from foreign countries. The records of Denver Lodge alone show that during its first few years this old lodge entertained visitors from thirty states of the United States and from four foreign countries. They came from northern states and. from southern states. In this new country, each man had as much right to express his own opinion as had every other man. It did not take long for these outspoken men to align themselves on the questions involved in the war struggle. In 1862, a political campaign for congressmen was fought strictly on the war issues, Union or Secession. The sharp lines drawn in that contest were not softened by time but rather were intensified.
The year 1863 was a difficult and almost disastrous one for this region. The spring was very dry with high winds of almost daily occurrence. It was on April 19 that the" Great Fire" broke out which, in the course of a few hours, devastated several blocks of the business section of Denver. The summer was marked by a protracted drought which dried up the streams and prevented the growth of crops in the limited area then cultivated. Then, earlier than usual, about the middle of October, one of the severest winters ever known in this district set in with frequent, heavy snows and very cold weather. Communication with "the States" was almost completely interrupted. In the mining towns of Central City and Black Hawk, hay, grain, fuel and provision costs rose and famine prices and conditions were but little better in Denver. The mining districts, too, faced another serious situation. The free gold deposits which existed in the decomposed and broken-up ore bodies near the surface were practically worked out. The veins were now showing a new material known locally as "sculptures" which could not be successfully treated by the stamp mills then employed. Another difficulty, equally serious, lay in the fact such quantities of water poured in as to render extensive hoisting and pumping machinery necessary. The primitive appliances theretofore employed must be replaced by suitable machinery which could not be procured nearer than St. Louis or Chicago and the cost of transportation was appalling. The rise in the price of gold served in some measure to lessen the burden, but even then many mining ventures were unable to finance the new order and were forced to shut down.
This combination of adverse circumstances in 1863, the dry winds and fire in the spring, the drought and loss of supplies in the summer, the severe winter opening early in the fall, and the near collapse of the mining industry - all these in addition to the rapidly growing tension over the political and war situation, produced a state of mind wherein each man was suspicious of his neighbors. Collisions were frequent. Even in Masonry, brother was arrayed against brother so sharply and so decidedly on the war question, that it was feared the lodge in Denver might be disrupted. It was not alone the division on the issues of the war, because it is well-known that Masonry functioned beautifully back and forth across the battle lines. William McKinley, a Major in the Federal Army and later President of the United States, received the degrees of Masonry in a Virginia Lodge, officered by soldiers of the Confederate Army. Even in Denver the lodge could have survived had this been the only issue. But the cause was deeper. The discouragements produced by the disasters of 1863 so accentuated private opinion as to render any compromises almost impossible.
THE SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM
The Grand Lodge of Colorado convened in Denver, November 2, 1863, and the prevailing unrest was the major topic. The question was one that could not, with Masonic propriety, be discussed either in lodge or in Grand Lodge. The brethren present were decidedly on one side or the other. The feeling was intense but a solution must be found if Colorado Masonry was to survive. A solution was found. Out of the conference came the decision to organize a new lodge in Denver and permit the two sides to separate and each function through a lodge of congenial members. A large majority of Denver Lodge No.5, including many of the officers, believed the cause of the Southern Confederacy to be a just one. Opposed was the Administration party, represented by the Governor and his secretary and the Army group. Consequently the decision was reached to leave Denver Lodge No.5 with its organization intact, and to organize the Union sympathizers into a new lodge. Thus Union Lodge was born. Both sides supported the action for they recognized the fact that Denver Lodge could not stand as it was and they were perfectly ready to have a new lodge set up along the suggested line.
On the following day, November 3, 1863, a petition was presented to the Grand Lodge to authorize the granting of a charter to the new lodge under the name of Union Lodge No.7. This was approved and the charter granted direct without the usual preliminary of a dispensation.
At the Communication of 1864, suitable resolutions were adopted on the death of Brother John C. Brandley, a soldier of Company "C," First Colorado Cavalry, who was mortally wounded in a battle with the Indians. Previous to his death Bro. Brandley gave $105.00 to a comrade with the wish that it be given to the Masonic Fraternity. It was directed by the Grand Lodge that the money should be used in the purchase of books for the Library. The Grand Master recommended the establishment of a Masonic Library and Bro. Brandley's bequest became the nucleus around which the present library has been built.
Even as Colorado Masonry was received from other jurisdictions, so was Colorado ready and willing to pass on to others her priceless heritage. The first opportunity came in 1865 when the Masons of Virginia City and Helena City, Montana, asked the Grand Master of Colorado for dispensations to form lodges at those places. Not only were the dispensations granted but Charters followed in due course of time, November 7, 1865. Other lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Colorado outside the territory or state were to Cheyenne, Wyoming, Oct. 6, 1868; Laramie, Wyoming, Sept. 28, 1870; Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 26, 1871; and Evanston, Wyoming, Sept. 30, 1874. Each of these lodges participated in the formation of a Grand Lodge in its respective Territory and carried on to build other new states.
It was not until 1866 that Masonry was established south of Denver. On January 27, 1866, a dispensation was granted to El Paso, U. D. at Colorado City which was chartered October 8, 1867, as No. 13. Following El Paso Lodge there were chartered in quick succession Mt. Moriah Lodge No. 15 of Canon City and Pueblo Lodge No. 17 of Pueblo on October 6, 1868. Hostile Indians, appearing on the road, prevented Grand Master Teller from visiting Pueblo Lodge in 1868.
At the Tenth Annual Communication held September 27, 1870, Grand Master Henry M. Teller reported that he had received a request from Brother Oliver A. Whittemore, as Chairman of the Committee selected by the Masonic Bodies of Denver, asking that the cornerstone of the Denver Pacific Railway Company's Depot at Denver be laid by the Grand Lodge on June 24, 1870. He replied that he did not approve of the movement, that, in his opinion, the character of the proposed building did not justify it, as it was for purposes of trade only, and that it was not the custom of the Fraternity to lay the cornerstones of private buildings. Shortly afterward, he received a letter from Brother John Evans, President of the Company, asking him to lay the stone on June 24.
He, therefore, referred the matter to the Committee and as a majority was in favor of proceeding, he waived his opinion, believing that more harm would be done by refusing permission than by granting it. Brother Teller reluctantly gave his consent and deputized M. W. Brother George M. Randall, Past Grand Master of Massachusetts, to take charge of the ceremonies, which took place on June 24, 1870.
This was the first cornerstone laid by the Grand Lodge of Colorado. The latest ceremony of this kind was held September 10, 1955, when Grand Master Charles A. Mantz laid the cornerstone of the new Larimer County Court House at Fort Collins. This was really an outstanding occasion.
Since Sept. 10, 1955, many other cornerstones have been laid by succeeding Grand Masters. The latest ceremony was held November 23, 1963, when Grand Master Clarence L. Bartholic laid the cornerstone of the new high school at La Junta, Colo.
Auraria Lodge U.D. October 1, 1859. 1361 11th Street, Denver, Colorado.
An interesting event took place in connection with the laying of the cornerstone of the Pueblo County Court House, December 31, 1908. A collection was taken up sometime during the ceremony and $39.95 was collected to be used for the relief of workmen who might be injured during the construction of the building. About two years later one of the laborers fell from a scaffold and landed among a lot of rocks, breaking both legs and arms. It was necessary to amputate. At the time he was given $20.00 from the relief fund. When the building was completed and no one else having been injured, the balance of the collection was turned over to the unfortunate laborer. The building was four and one half years in course of construction.
On one occasion the Grand Lodge met outside the State of Colorado. Grand Master Webster D. Anthony convened the Grand Lodge in Cheyenne, Wyoming, January 22, 1873, to dedicate the new Mason's Hall of Cheyenne Lodge No. 16. This lodge at that time was operating under a charter of the Grand Lodge of Colorado, the Grand Lodge of Wyoming having not yet been formed.
The Grand Lodge of Wyoming was formed December 15, 1874, by Cheyenne Lodge No. 16 of Cheyenne, Laramie Lodge No. 18 of Laramie and Evanston Lodge No. 24 of Evanston, all working under charters granted by the Grand Lodge of Colorado; and Wyoming Lodge No. 28 of South Pass City, chartered by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska.
In 1888, the Grand Lodge of Colorado adopted the following Resolution defining Masonic Bodies:
"Resolved, that this Grand Lodge recognize no degrees in Masonry except those conferred under the regulations of the Grand Lodges of the various States and Territories of the United States and the governments throughout the world. It admits the following named organizations and none other to be regular and duly constituted Masonic bodies, namely: The General Grand R. A. Chapter of the United States, the Grand R. A. Chapters of the several States and Territories of the United States and the R. A. Chapters and other bodies under their jurisdiction; the General Grand Councils of Royal and Select Masters of the several States and Territories of the United States and the Councils under their jurisdiction; the Grand Encampment of the United States, the Grand Commanderies of the several States and Territories of the United States, and the Commanderies under their jurisdiction; the Supreme Councils of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions of the United States, of which Henry L. Palmer and Albert Pike are Sovereign Grand Commanders, respectively, and the various bodies under their jurisdiction."
A memorable occasion was July 3 and 4, 1890. On July 3, 1890, Grand Master William T. Bridwe1l convened the Grand Lodge and dedicated the new Masonic Temple at the corner of 16th Street and Welton Street, Denver. With but one exception, every Grand Officer was present. On the fo1lowing day, July 4, 1890, he again convened the Grand Lodge and laid the cornerstone of the State Capitol Building in Denver. One of the features of the occasion was the Masonic choir of more than one thousand voices.
It was at the thirty-third Annual Communication held September 19 and 20, 1893, that Grand Master William D. Wright recommended the appointment of a committee to report the holding of a National Masonic Memorial at the tomb of George Washington on the Centennial Anniversary of his death, December 14, 1899. The subject had originated with Past Grand Master Roger W. Woodbury who brought it to the attention of Grand Master Wright. The recommendation was adopted and a committee appointed consisting of Past Grand Masters Roger W. Woodbury, William D. Wright and William D. Todd. This committee invited all the Grand Lodges in the United States to join in the Memorial Service. The plans were successfully carried out and a very remarkable service was held at Mount Vernon on December 14, 1899. The Grand Master of Colorado, Alphonse A. Burnand, was one of the principal speakers of the day and special recognition was given to the several representatives from Colorado who were present. Out of the contacts of prominent Masons from all over the United States on this occasion came the concrete idea that a structure should be erected as a fire proof repository for the Washington relics and to serve as a Memorial to Washington, the Mason. The idea was perfected and carried into execution. The George Washington National Memorial at Alexandria, Virginia, is the result of a suggestion of a Colorado Mason.
At the Grand Lodge session of 1900, Past Grand Master Ernest LeNeve Foster offered the following:
"That a Masonic benevolent fund be founded to be a trust fund to be invested for the benefit of old or indigent brothers, their widows and orphans, and that five per cent of the revenue of this Grand Lodge be annually transferred to three trustees to invest for that purpose. The revenue from the fund only to be appropriated for charitable purposes at the discretion of the Grand Lodge and Grand Master."
This was enthusiastically approved. And this great movement, started with a small contribution of $60.00, has grown to $1,372,156.86 in 1955, and the relief extended during the year 1955 amounted to $34,708.94.
Attention is particularly directed to the following extract from the minutes of the first meeting of the new Grand Lodge of Colorado, dated August 2, 1861.
"On motion it was
"Resolved, That a school of instruction be established by this Grand Lodge, and that at least one day, each. Grand Communication, be set aside for the purpose of instruction by the M. W. Grand Master, in order that uniformity in the work may be obtained in this Jurisdiction.
"Resolved, That the work of the Jurisdiction be adopted as exemplified in the present session of this Grand Lodge."
Just what this work was is not known. Golden City Lodge was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Kansas "and set up by a representative of the Grand Master who was a well-qualified Kansas Mason. The meeting at which the Grand Lodge was formed was held in the hall of Golden Lodge, and I.E. Hardy of Golden City was appointed the first Grand Lecturer. The first Grand Master was a Past Master of a Kansas Lodge. These facts might lead one to infer that the first work was' "Kansas Work."
On the other hand, a Past Deputy Grand Master of Nebraska, L. L. Bowen, was present at the organization of the Grand Lodge and he may have influenced the selection of the first work. It is known also that Bro. Chivington had been an officer of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska as well as having served as a Kansas Master. It is known that the first Constitution adopted was the Constitution of the Grand Lodge or Nebraska, modified only to suit the conditions of the new Grand Lodge.
Be that as it may, it is one thing to adopt an official "Work" and quite another thing to see that it is used. Lodges were few and far between. The presence of hostile Indians on the way and the extreme vicissitudes of travel made it almost impossible for a Grand Lodge officer, be he Grand Master or Grand Lecturer, to visit the Lodges and teach or demonstrate what the official work was. Each Master of a lodge naturally thought the work of the jurisdiction from which he came was the best ever conceived and, knowing that work, he would use it in his new Colorado Lodge to the exclusion of all else. The result can well be imagined. In 1878, Grand Master C. J. Hart, in his annual address, said:
"We have adopted a uniform work and enacted laws prohibiting the introduction of any other among our Lodges and yet, notwithstanding this, the work in this Jurisdiction is almost as varied as the colors of Joseph's coat."
Many attempts to correct this condition were made. The system of District Deputy Grand Lecturers was tried but was not a success. Men could not give the time and attention to Masonic work to the neglect of private business especially when distances were great and traveling hazardous. As a result a committee 0 five Past Grand Masters was appointed to look into the matter. Their report rendered in 1882 carried this significant statement:
"That the work as presented by the Grand Lecturer is in its essential features the same as the ALLYN WESTON work so long used in this jurisdiction."
It should be noted here that Allyn Weston was made a Mason in Michigan, in a Lodge in Detroit. He was very active in Michigan Masonry and for a number of years published a Masonic Magazine known as "The Ashlar." He came to Colorado in 1861 and at the first Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in December, 1861, was appointed Grand Lecturer. No doubt, he, at this time, introduced his Michigan work in the new Grand Lodge of Colorado. The following year he was elected Grand Master. This Allyn Weston work, with but few changes, continued until 1911, when a revision, made by the Custodians of the Work, was put into effect. This latter work is now in use and by a thorough system of inspection under a Grand Lecturer who devotes his entire time to the work, complete uniformity is maintained throughout all the lodges in the state.
Grand Lodge Monument
On Site of First Masonic Temple in Colorado. Near Central City.
Brother W. W. Cooper, then Grand Lecturer, writing in 1915, had this to say concerning the derivation of the esoteric Colorado ritual:
"From what I can learn of these matters, I am inclined to think that our line of descent is fairly clear. Beginning with Webb, we next have Gleason and Fowle, then Barney, and through Michigan, Colorado. It must be remembered, however, that the Barney work, as taught by him to Willson in Vermont in 1818, is not the same Barney work that we have inherited. The stream has been clouded, possibly it has been purified by additions and mingling's. The Brother Willson above referred to, subsequent to 1818, went to Iowa and Kansas, and the system of lectures which he had learned from Barney in 1818 was adopted by those t.wo jurisdictions. I think there is no doubt that Vermont, Iowa and Kansas have a better title to the original work of 1818 (whatever it was) than have Michigan, Illinois and Colorado. Whether the original Barney-Gleason-Webb work of 1818 is better than the modified Barney-Gleason-Webb work of Colorado is another question."
Until 1906 there had been no Monitor adopted as the official Monitor for this jurisdiction. Prior to this time, the Mackey Monitor had been the unofficial standard and in general use. The Jurisprudence Committee reported on this subject in 1900 as follows:
"In our opinion the Mackey Manual now in use meets the demands and wishes of our officers and lodges. In view of the fact that it is so generally satisfactory and so generally used we recommend that no change be made."
In 1906, however, the Macoy Manual was adopted as the official Monitor and its use recommended throughout the jurisdiction. This was not satisfactory and the Custodians of the Work were directed to and did prepare a Monitor that harmonized completely with the new revision of the esoteric work, and this monitor called "The Colorado Craftsman" was adopted in 1911 and it is in use throughout the jurisdiction today.
At this same time this committee prepared a Colorado Diploma for the use of Colorado Masons who may wish to travel in other jurisdictions where such documents are required. As has been stated, the Constitution adopted August 2, 1861, was practically a copy of that of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, and the preamble reads:
"Whereas, Every Grand Lodge possesses the inherent powers to form a Constitution, as the fundamental law of its Masonic action, and to enact such By-Laws from time to time as it may deem necessary for its own government, and to make such rules and prescribe such regulations for the administration of its subordinate Lodges, as will insure the prosperity thereof, and promote the general good of Masonry; and
"Whereas, Every Grand Lodge is the true representative of all the fraternity in communication therewith, and is, in that behalf, an absolute and independent body, with supreme legislative authority:
"Provided always, that the ancient Landmarks of the Order be held inviolate.
"Therefore, Upon these principles, which have never been disputed, the Grand Lodge of Colorado does hereby ordain, establish and promulgate the following Constitution and By-Laws for its future government, and does make and prescribe the following rules for the government of the Lodges under its jurisdiction."
This Constitution has been entirely revised and the present code, adopted in 1950, has for its preamble the following:
"We, the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Colorado, in order to form a more perfect fraternal union and to provide for and promote the general welfare of the Masonic Craft, do ordain and establish this Constitution."
In every branch of human endeavor there are some names that stand out over and above the others, some figures that are remembered for personal excellence or great activities. Colorado Masonry has its share, men who have loomed large in Masonic affairs and whose names and deeds it is well to note.
The first great name in Colorado Masonry is that of its first Grand Master, John M. Chivington. Outstanding, not because of being Grand Master, but because he made it safe for people to come to this region and enjoy life here. It is to Colonel Chivington, the man who taught the Indian, that the trails must be open for the white man to come and go in peace, that the honor goes. A Minister of the Church, but also a soldier whom the Indians respected and feared.
It is well to remember here, at this time, the name of Allyn Weston, who gave us our ritual. This ritual stood the severe test of a frontier civilization.
Henry M. Teller, for so many years Grand Master of Masons in Colorado, carried the name of Colorado into high places as United States Senator and Cabinet Member. His foresight and ability carried the Craft through a trying period.
Most of us have read that familiar poem, "The Lodge Room Over Simpkins' Store." Its author, Lawrence N. Greenleaf, was recognized in his lifetime as the Poet Laureate of Freemasonry. His fame as a Masonic poet was nation-wide. As Grand Master, as editor, as writer of Correspondence Reviews, and in his many other activities, he is worthy of recognition and remembrance by all Colorado Masons.
One of the greatest Masonic students of the country wrought among us for many years, and we are even yet slow to appreciate his greatness. Coming generations will read the works of Henry P. H. Bromwell and perhaps understand the secrets that he tried to tell but which we, of today, are able to grasp only in part.
Ernest LeNeve Foster gave years of himself in service to his brethren in the founding and building of the Benevolent Fund. Great and wise Masons said that Uniformity of Work in the Ritual was impossible of accomplishment. Yet it was accomplished and the one responsible was William W. Cooper, then Grand Lecturer and later Grand Secretary. Charles H. Jacobson, for so many years Grand Secretary of Colorado, is of loved memory and remembered as the golden-voiced orator of Colorado Masonry. These are just a few of the great names produced by Colorado Masonry. Every Lodge can tell of men whose activities are worth recording but who worked in the comparative quiet of their own communities, satisfied that their fame travel no further.
With the coming of the parent body of Ancient Craft Masonry to Colorado, there came also the concordant orders of Royal Arch Capitular Masonry, Royal and Select Cryptic Masonry, Knights Templarism, and the Scottish Rite. Unlike the lodge system, these other bodies are governed by national organizations and in these, original jurisdiction is maintained over all territory not served by a state body of that rite. These central national bodies had been in existence many years before Colorado was made into a territory and, naturally, they claimed jurisdiction here. In a new state these bodies are generally established in regular order. First comes the Lodge, then the Royal Arch Chapter, then the Commandery of Knights Templar, and finally the Council of Royal and Select Masters. The Scottish Rite may be established at any place in the series when there are sufficient numbers to justify it.
CAPITULAR MASONRY ROYAL ARCH MASONRY
The Grand Lodge of Colorado was established in 1861. The Royal Arch appeared as early as 1863. As exclusive jurisdiction over Colorado Territory was held in the General Grand Chapter of the United States, it was to this body that petition must be made for the establishment of Chapters of Royal Arch Masonry. Dispensations were issued by the General Grand High Priest at various times for the formation of five Chapters in this territory and, in due time, each temporary organization was perfected into a Chartered Chapter. In this way regular authority was given to five chapters located as follows:
Central City Chapter #1, Located at Central City
Denver City Chapter #2, Located at Denver
Pueblo Chapter #3, Located at Pueblo
Georgetown Chapter #4, Located at Georgetown
Golden Chapter #5, Located at Golden
Located at Central City. Located at Denver. Located at Pueblo. Located at Georgetown. Located at Golden. In 1872, while there were but three chartered chapters in Colorado, an effort was made to form a Grand Chapter, but, due to the fact that one of the chapters declined to take part, nothing came of the movement. At this time a suggestion was made that the three chapters in Colorado and the two chapters in Wyoming combine to form a Grand Chapter but this movement was overruled by the General Grand High Priest as not being possible under the laws of the General Grand Chapter.
Under the date of April 22, 1875, the General High Priest gave his consent for the formation of a Grand Chapter in Colorado. Representatives of the five chapters met in convention on May 11, 1875, and perfected the organization of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Colorado on this day with five chapters and 282 members. William N. Byers of Denver City was elected Grand High Priest and Ed. C. Parmelee of Georgetown, as Grand Secretary. This branch of Masonry has advanced steadily from five chapters averaging 56 members each in 1875 to 55 chapters with 6,858 members, an average of 125, as of November 30,1963.
CRYPTIC MASONRY ROYAL AND SELECT MASTERS
Cryptic Masonry first made its appearance in Central City in 1871 when the Grand Master of the Grand Council of Illinois issued a dispensation under date of November 9, 1871, to several Companions to form a Council at that place. The charter was granted October 23, 1872, as Central City Council No. 54, on the Illinois register. This council continued with varying success until 1875, when it ceased to function. Nothing further was done until 1891 when, through the efforts of Companions J. C. Johnston and Henry Dowson, the Cryptic Masons of Denver gathered to form a council. A dispensation was issued by the General Grand Master under date of January 16, 1892, to 23 members to institute Denver Council No.1. The charter was granted by the General Grand Council, October 26, 1894, to 93 members. In rapid succession dispensations were issued and charters granted establishing councils in Trinidad, Pueblo, Canon City, Akron, and Gunnison. The latter two, however, were not constituted as they failed to complete their organization. According to agreement, a convention was called to meet in Denver on December 6, 1894, for the purpose of organizing a Grand Council. There were represented at this convention Denver Council No.1 of Denver, Rocky Mountain Council No.2 of Trinidad, Durango Council No. 3 of Durango, Akron Council No.4 of Akron, Canon City Council No.5 of Canon City, and Pueblo Council No.6 of Pueblo. The charter of Akron Council had not arrived at this time but, by vote, its delegate was seated as regular. Organization was perfected and the Grand Council of Colorado R. & S. M. was erected in form on this date, December 6, 1894.
A disagreement arose between the new Grand Council and the General Grand Council over the manner and form of the organization of the Grand Council of Colorado. This condition existed until July 30, 1898, when all differences were adjusted and the Grand Council of Colorado became a full member of the family of the General Grand Council of the United States.
From the start of five councils with 191 members, or an average of 38, progression has been slow but steady until there are 21 councils with 2,947 members, an average of 140 to each council, as of November 30, 1963.
CHIVALRIC MASONRY KNIGHTS TEMPLAR
Knights Templarism first appeared in 1865 as is evidenced by a dispensation issued to members at Denver City under the date of January 13, 1866, by the Grand Master of Knights Templar of the United States of America to form a Commandery there.
Following this, under date of November 8, 1866, a dispensation was issued authorizing the members at Central City to form a Commandery. Eight years elapsed and the next dispensation was issued August 17, 1874, for the formation of a Commandery at Pueblo. There being now three Commanderies in Colorado, it was deemed wise and proper that a Grand Commandery should be formed. Sanction was given by Grand Master J. H. Hopkins on February 10, 1876, and the representatives met by agreement at Denver, on March 14, 1876. The Grand Commandery of Colorado was established the following day. The first Grand Commander was Henry M. Teller of Central City and the first Grand Recorder was Ed. C. Parmelee of Georgetown. From the small beginning in 1876 of three Commanderies with an average of 42 members, progression has been steady to the present count of 37 Commanderies with 4,479 members, an average of 121 members each, as of June 30, 1963.
SCOTTISH RITE MASONRY A.A.S.R.
About the time the Chapter and the Commandery were being established, those interested in the Scottish Rite began the agitation for the introduction of that branch. The idea is generally prevalent among non Masons that the Scottish Rite is one branch of Masonry in which a Mason receives at one time all the degrees from the fourth to the thirty-second, inclusive. As a matter of fact, this Rite is composed of several bodies, separate and distinct, and yet all reporting to one common body. These bodies are known as:
The Lodge of Perfection conferring the degrees of 4th to 14th inclusive.
The Chapter of Rose Croix conferring the degrees of 15th to 18th inclusive.
The Council of Kadosh conferring the degrees of 19th to 30th inclusive.
The Consistory conferring the degrees of 31st and 32nd.
The first body of this Rite to be established in Colorado was the Delta Lodge of Perfection, chartered January 26, 1877, followed by the Mackey Chapter of Rose Croix, chartered April 11, 1878. For ten years these were the only bodies chartered, but the degrees beyond the 18th were made available by "Communication," this ceremony being generally performed by the representative of the National body who. at t.hat time, was Brother Lawrence N. Greenleaf.
Denver Council of Kadosh received its charter September 3, 1888, followed very shortly by Colorado Consistory, chartered on October 17, 1888. Colorado now had its full complement of Scottish Rite bodies. These four bodies were all numbered ONE and were located in Denver. In 1918, a second series of bodies of this Rite was chartered in Denver; in 1919, a third series in Pueblo; and in 1941, a fourth series in Grand Junction. The first returns available for Colorado Consistory for 1889 show 53 members, while latest returns as of December 31, 1963, show 16,414 members for the four Consistories.
Grand Lodge of Colorado A.F. & A.M.
1130 Panorama Drive,
Colorado Springs, Colorado. 80904
Main Telephone Number:
Fax Number: (719) 484-8993
January 24 and 26, 2019