Excerpt from “Walk U” in “St. Catharines A-Z” by Junius, originally published in the St. Catharines Journal on October 2nd, 1856.
This week Junius takes us on a walk around town to learn about various “organizations, associations, fraternities, orders, and societies, both secret and open, Christian and Infidel, public and private, and of early origin.” Junius has his opinions about most groups, but today I will share with you his information on the Freemasons, which is an organization that has intrigued most people for a very long time. The Freemasons are an international fraternal and philosophical organization that describes themselves as a: “‘beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”.
Junius’ writing on the Freemasons is as follows:
“The order of Masons or Free Masonry is said to be of great antiquity. Writers on Masonry, themselves Masons, affirm that it has had a being ever since symmetry began, and harmony displayed her charms. Masonry is traced by some to the building of Solomon’s Temple, B.C. 1012 and A.M. 2992; and it is said the architects from the African coasts, Mahometans, brought it into Spain about the sixth century, as a protection against Christian fanatics. Its introduction into Great Britain has been fixed at the year 674; although by other authorities it is assigned a much earlier date. The Grand Lodge at York was founded 926. Freemasonry was interdicted in England 1424, but it afterwards rose into great repute. In 1717 the Grand Lodge of England was established, that of Ireland was established in 1730, and that of Scotland in 1736, from whom all the Lodges in this western world sprung. Freemasons were excommunicated by Pope Clement 12th in 1738. The Freemason’s Hall, London, was built 1775, and the charity was instituted in 1788. Various Lodges of Masons are established in Canada, and one in this Town. The St. George’s Lodge, which is in John F. Mittleberger’s Block, third story, and which we believe is composed of many of our first and most prominent citizens. We well remember the time, many years since, when the Masons used to hold their Lodge in John Wright’s, otherwise big Wright’s Tavern, of whom he was one, and of his old sign the square and triangle, and we never shall forget the fact of his frequently proclaiming himself to others as a Mason, and of his apparent pride of the same, of which he was often teezed!”
In St. Catharines there are five lodges:
Mount Moriah No. 19 – St. Catharines
St. Catharines Lodge No. 2 – St. Catharines
Seymour Lodge – Port Dalhousie
Mountain Lodge No. 221 – Thorold
Adanac Lodge No. 614 – Merritton (est.1922)
Many prominent citizens of St. Catharines have been or are members of the local branches of the Freemasons. For more information on the Freemasons, feel free to visit the St. Catharines Museum.
Written By, Alicia Floyd