Masonic Presidents of the United States
Our Masonic Presidents, 15 to date, all embraced the brotherhood of Freemasonry even as they represented differing political parties, followed different faiths and came from many different walks of life.
First President, born 1731/2, died 1799. Initiated Nov. 4, 1752, passed March 3, 1753, raised Aug. 4, 1753 all in Fredericksburg Lodge (later No. 4) at Fredericksburg, Va. Charter Master, Alexandria Lodge No. 22, Alexandria, Va., April 28, 1788 and reelected Dec. 20 1788.
5th President, born 1758; died 1831. Initiated in Williamsburg Lodge No. 6 at Williamsburg, Va., Nov. 9, 1775, but there is no record of his taking any further degrees. The records of Cumberland Lodge No. 8 in Tennessee, June 8, 1819, show a reception for Monroe as “a Brother of the Craft.”
7th President, born 1767, died 1829. Grand Master of Tennessee, 1822-23. His lodge is unknown but he is said to have attended at Clover Bottom Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. He was present in lodge at Greeneville in 1801 and acted as Senior Warden pro tem. The records of St. Tammany Lodge No. 29 at Nashville, which became Harmony Lodge No. 1 under the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, show that Jackson was a member.
JAMES K. POLK
11th President, born 1795; died 1849. Initiated, passed, and raised in Columbia Lodge No. 31, Columbia, Tenn. Exalted a Royal Arch Mason in La Fayette Chapter No. 4 at Columbia in 1825.
15th President, Born 1791; died 1868;(1857-1861). Initiated December 11, 1816, in Lodge 43, at Lancaster, PA. Passed and raised in 1817. Junior Warden in 1821 and 1822. Master in 1825. Also Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.
17th President, born 1808 died 1875; initiated, passed and raised in Greeneville Lodge No. 119 now No. 3 at Greeneville, Tenn. in 1851. Probably a member of Greeneville Chapter No. 82 Royal Arch Masons, since he joined Nashville Commandery of Knights Templar No. 1 in 1859. He received the Scottish Rite degrees in the White House in 1867.
20th President, born 1831; died 1881; initiated and passed in Magnolia Lodge No. 20, Columbus, Ohio, and raised in Columbus Lodge No.3O, 1864. Affiliated with Garrettsville Lodge No. 246 in 1866 Affiliated with Pentalpha Lodge No. 23 Washington, D. C. as charter member in 1869. Exalted in Columbus Royal Arch Chapter, 1866 and Knight Templar, 1866. 14th Degree Scottish Rite, 1872.
25th President, born 1843; died 1901; is sometimes said to have been initiated, passed, and raised in Hiram Lodge No. 10 in Winchester, West Virginia in 1865. But William Moseley Brown is authority for the statement that this event took place in Hiram Lodge No. 21 at Winchester, Virginia in that year. McKinley affiliated with Canton Lodge No. 60 at Canton, Ohio in 1867 and later became a charter member of Eagle Lodge No. 43. He received the Capitular degrees in Canton in 1883 and was made a Knight Templar in 1884.
26th President, born 1858, died 1919. Initiated, passed, and raised in Matinecock Lodge No. 806, Oyster Bay, N. Y. in 1901.
WILLIAM H. TAFT
27th President, born 1857; died 1930. Made a Mason at sight in Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, Cincinnati, Ohio in 1901. Evidently, that made him a member at large, for the Grand Lodge issued him a demit and he became a member of the above lodge.
WARREN G. HARDING
29th President born 1865; died 1923. Initiated in Marion Lodge No. 7O, Marion, Ohio, 1901. He received no other degree until after becoming President. He was passed and raised in Marion Lodge in 1920, Royal Arch Chapter degrees in Marion Chapter No. 62 in 1921; Knight Templar in Marion Commandery No. 36, in 1921. Scottish Rite and Shrine in 1921.
32nd President, born 1882; died 1945. Initiated, passed, and raised in Holland Lodge No. 8, New York City, in 1911, 32nd Degree Scottish Rite in Albany Consistory 1929, Shrine in 1930.
HARRY S TRUMAN
33rd President, Born May 8, 1884, Lamar, Missouri. Received the degrees in Belton Lodge No 450; organized and became a charter member of Grandview No. 618. Served in France as a captain in the U. S. Army in WWI. Served as both district lecturer and deputy Grand Master for several years. Elected Grand Master of Masons in Missouri in 1940. He always claimed this was the greatest honor that had ever come to him. He received the first Gourgas Medal of the Scottish Rite, NMJ granted while he was serving as a Senator. He worked for servicemen and women through The Masonic Service Association during World War II. Elected vice-president in 1944 and became President on the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt (a Mason) on April 12, 1945. He died on December 26 1972. On the 28th he was buried on his library’s grounds with impressive rites. These included the only Masonic funeral service ever televised worldwide.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON,
36th President of the US. Initiated on October 30, 1937, in Johnson City Lodge 561, Johnson City, TX. It is not known whether he completed the degrees.
GERALD R. FORD
38th President, Born July 14, 1913 as Leslie L. King, Jr. He was later adopted and took the name of his mother’s second husband (a Freemason). Became President on August 9, 1974 on the resignation of Richard Nixon (not a Mason). Ford received the degrees in Malta Lodge No. 405, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brother Ford was the 1974 recipient of the NY Grand Lodge Distinguished Achievement Award, the highest honor that can be presented by the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York.
(Text source: Courtesy AMERICAN MASON magazine and AMERICAN MASON E MAG at www.amercanmason.com)