Famous Masons William Howard Taft


Initiated: February 18, 1909. Brother Taft was made a “Mason at Sight” within the Body of Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, Cincinnati, Ohio, by Grand Master Charles S. Hoskinson. His father and two brothers were also Members of this Lodge. Brother and President Taft addressed the Brethren, saying, “I am glad to be here, and to be a Mason. It does me good to feel the thrill that comes from recognizing on all hands the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.”

Initiated: February 18, 1909. Brother Taft was made a “Mason at Sight” within the Body of Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, Cincinnati, Ohio, by Grand Master Charles S. Hoskinson, in an Emergent Lodge called together for the purpose. His father and two brothers were also Members of this Lodge. Brother and President Taft addressed the Brethren, saying, “I am glad to be here, and to be a Mason. It does me good to feel the thrill that comes from recognizing on all hands the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.”

At five O’clock in the afternoon Grand Mast Charles S Hoskinson personally administered the obligations and esoteric instructions. That evening Taft witnessed the Master’s degree conferred by Kilwinning Lodge No.356, of Cincinnati, which elected him to membership April 14, 1909.

Crescent Lodge No.25, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, elected him an Honorary Member June 5, 1918. On April 22, 1909, he visited Temple-Noyes Lodge No.32, at Washington, D.C., of which his close friend and aide, Major Archie Butt, was a member and for whom, after the Titanic disaster, Temple-Noyes Lodge held an elaborate Memorial Service which Brother Taft attended as one of the Chief Mourners.

He visited the famous American Union Lodge No.1, at Marietta, Ohio, June 15, 1910; Alexandria Washington Lodge No.22, on Washington’s birthday, 1911; May 9th of the same year he posed for a picture in Washington’s Masonic regalia at the White House; May 13th he visited St John’s Lodge No.1, Newark, N.J., to help celebrate its 150th anniversary; on December 27, 1914, he addressed the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and on June 5, 1918, he spoke to Crescent Lodge No.25 of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Brother and President Taft visited the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on the occasion of a Special Communication held in the Masonic Temple (One North Broad Street), on March 12, 1912.

Honorary President Ronald Reagan

February 11 On this date in 1988, a group of masonic leaders met with President Ronald Reagan; the Grand Master of DC presented him with a certificate, and the Scottish Rite and Shrine made him an honorary member of those bodies.



Frederick the Great, a Mason without any doubt, while in a jewelry shop in Potsdam, Germany, observed a middle-aged woman exhibiting an article of silver having certain Masonic symbols, possibly a Past Master’s jewel. She was trying to borrow money on it. She said she had come to this particular shop to avoid the usurers and because the owner of the shop was a Mason. The jeweler told her that he was not in the pawnbroking business and couldn’t make the loan.

Another person in the shop asked her many questions concerning the jewel, whose it was, how she had possession of it, etc. The man offered to buy the jewel and kept raising the price. When they had come upon a number that would get her out of debt he discovered he had no money in his pocket. He then disclosed to the surprised woman that he was the King.

Fredrick shook his staff at the jeweler and told him that he was not fit to be a Mason and threatened to file charges against him. The following morning the woman went to see Fredrick and the palace and he instructed her to return whenever she was in need of help.

Famous Masons Winston Churchill

May 24 On this date in 1901, Sir Winston Churchill received his 1st degree in Studholme Lodge #1591, London.


Brother Winston

Churchill was a very public figure, But Yasha Beresiner has discovered the very private Freemason

Freemasons take pride in having men of stature as members of the fraternity. But have Masons at times attributed too much significance to the Masonic association of these great men? Maybe more than the famous people themselves have done? Winston Churchill was the greatest British statesman in recent history. In 1901 he became a Freemason. What induced him to join the fraternity? How active was he as a Freemason? What part did Freemasonry play in his life?
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born on 30 November 1874 and educated at Harrow. At the time of his initiation into Studholme Lodge 1591 on 24 May 1901, Freemasonry was a fashionable social pursuit.
The election of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) as Grand Master in 1875 gave a huge impetus to Freemasonry. As the Prince of Wales, he had been an exceedingly popular Royal and Grand Master, and brought with him a host of other Royals and aristocrats who gladly joined the Craft.
It was not by accident that the promising young Winston was introduced to Studholme Lodge in London.
John Studholme Brownrigg, Provincial Grand Master for Surrey, whose prominent family gave its name to the new Lodge, consecrated the Lodge on 31 January 1876.
In 1881 the Lodge moved from Surbiton, in Surrey, to London, and the summonses read like a Who’s Who of the aristocracy and social elite.
The guest list for the Lodge’s 21st Installation Banquet in 1897 includes 17 Members of Parliament, including the Lord Chancellor, and numerous Lords, Earls, Knights and high-ranking members of the armed forces dispersed throughout the dining room.
The Lodge records give the date of Churchill’s initiation as 24 May 1901 with his address as 105 Mount Street, his age as 26, and his occupation as a Member of Parliament.
Charles Clive Bigham, Viscount Mersey, whose entry in the Studholme Lodge register, next to that of Churchill, has caused some confusion about his taking his third degree in Rosemary Lodge, gives an insight into the scene on the day.
In his autobiography, published by John Murray in London in 1941, A Picture of Life 1872-1940, he states on page 188:

… that month I was initiated as a free mason at Studholme Lodge (1591). While waiting for the ceremony I walked round and round Golden Square with Winston Churchill, another candidate …

Within two months, on 19 July, Winston was passed to the second degree, and on 5 March 1902 he became a Master Mason, all three ceremonies being conducted in Studholme Lodge.
An unfortunate communication in 1955 by the then librarian of Grand Lodge, W I Grantham, to his counterpart in Iowa, USA, has led to the erroneous reports that Churchill was raised in Rosemary Lodge No. 2851.
This occurred because the Studholme Lodge register has the name Geoffrey C Glyn above, and Charles Clive Bigham below that of Churchill.
Further along the line against both these names is the entry ‘Raised in No 2851, 11th Nov 1901’. This entry was also wrongly attributed to Churchill.
His raising was by special dispensation applied for by the Lodge secretary, Henry James Fitzroy, the Earl of Euston, Provincial Grand Master for Northamptonshire and Huntingdonshire, and conducted by the Master, J C F Tower.
At the same meeting, Ferdinand John St john was initiated and the brethren dined at the Cafe Royal, as was customary for the lodge.
Studholme Lodge amalgamated in 1959 with United Lodge No. 1629 to form United Studholme Lodge, and amalgamated again in 1976 with Alliance Lodge No. 1827 to attain its present status as Studholme Alliance Lodge, retaining its original number 1591.

Famous Masons McKinley

May 1 On this date in 1865, William McKinley (U.S. President 1898-1901) received his 1st degree in Hiram Lodge #21, Winchester, Virginia.

When General Horatio King asked William McKinley how he happen to become a Mason he explained: “After the Battle of Opequam, I went with our surgeon of our Ohio regiment to the field where there were about 5,000 Confederate prisoners under guard. Almost as soon as we passed the guard, I noticed the doctor shook the hands with a number of Confederate prisoners. He also took from his pocket a roll of bills and distributed all he had among them. Boy-like, I looked on in wonderment; I didn’t know what it all meant. On the way back from camp I asked him:

“Did you know these men or ever see them before?”

“No,” replied the doctor, “I never saw them before.”

“But,” I persisted, “You gave them a lot of money, all you had about you. Do you ever expect to get it back?”

“Well'” said the doctor, “If they are able to pay me back, they will. But it makes no difference to me; they are brother Masons in trouble and I am only doing my duty.”

“I said to myself, If that is Freemasonry I will take some of it for myself.”

Famous Masons Rudyard Kipling

May 3 On this date in 1886, Rudyard Kipling received is 2nd degree.

Rudyard Kipling, the famous English author, was born in India of English parents. He was educated in England but returned to India in 1880. He was initiated in Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782, Lahore, Punjab, India in 1886. A special dispensation was necessary as he was only twenty years and six months at the time. When he took the degrees, there were four Holy Books upon the alter representing the dominant religions in the area. Upon his rising he was immediately elected secretary; and he prepared the minutes of that meeting himself.

Many years later he wrote: “I was secretary for some years of Hope and Perseverance Lodge No. 782, E. C., Lahore, which included Brethren of at least four creeds. I was entered by a member of Brahmo Somaj, a Hindu; passed by a Mohammedan; and raised by an Englishman. Our Tyler was an Indian Jew. We met, of course on the level, and the only difference anyone would notice was that at the banquets, some of the Brethren, who were debarred by caste from eating food not ceremonially prepared, sat over empty plates.”

Famous Masons Andrew Johnson

May 5 On this date in 1851, Andrew Johnson (U.S. President 1865-1869) received his 1st degree in Greenville Lodge #119, Tennessee

17th President of the United States of America (1865-1869)
16th Vice-President of the United States of America (1865)


(Lodge records lost during the Civil War) Initiated: May 5, 1851, Greeneville Lodge No. 119, Greeneville, Tennessee.

Brother Johnson is supposed to have been a Chapter Mason but the name of the Chapter and date of exaltation are unknown; was Knighted in Nashville Commandery No.1, Nashville, Tennessee, July 26, 1859, and, the First President to become a Scottish Rite Mason, received those degrees in the White House June 20, 1867, from Benjamin B. French, 33 Deg. and A.T.C. Pierson, 33 Deg., both active members of the Supreme Council, S.J.

He participated in five cornerstone layings; the monument to Bro. Stephen a Douglas, Chicago, Illinois, September 6, 1866; Masonic Temple, Baltimore, Maryland, November 20, 1866; Masonic Temple Boston, Massachusetts, June 24, 1867; National Cemetery, Antietam, Maryland, October 17, 1867; and Masonic Temple, Washington, D.C., May 20, 1868. To attend this ceremony he gave leave to all Masons in government service, and President Johnson marched on foot in the parade as a Master Mason.

At the cornerstone laying of the Baltimore Temple some one suggested that a chair be brought to the reviewing platform for him. Brother Johnson refused it, saying: “We all meet on the level.”

He died July 31, 1875, and was buried with full Masonic Honors by Greeneville Lodge No.119, R.W.G. C. Connor, Deputy Grand Master of Tennessee conducting the services in the presence of four Lodges and Coeur de Lion Commandery No.9 of Knoxville, which performed the Templar service.

Military Governor of Tennessee, 1862-1865.

Famous Masons Barry Goldwater

On this date in 1931, Senator Barry Goldwater (candidate for U.S. President in 1964) received his 1st degree in Arizona Lodge #2, Phoenix AZ.

Barry Goldwater Shriner
Barry Goldwater and John Rhodes join the Scottsdale Shrine Club to share “What’s Right With America.” Senator Goldwater was a 33rd degree Freemason. Like his Uncle Morris, Barry was a lifelong and active member.

The Magnificent George Washington Masonic National Memorial Part 1 of 2

The Magnificent George Washington Masonic National Memorial Part 1 of 2

by Midnight Freemason Contributor 
WB Gregory J Knott

On a recent trip to Washington, DC I stopped by the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.  This grand edifice was established in 1910 with the formation of the George Washington Masonic Memorial Association by Freemasons across the United States.

It took several years of fundraising for the construction to begin in 1922 and another ten years for completion with the building dedication on May 12, 1932.  An estimated 20,000 Freemasons and others attended this impressive ceremony.  A cornerstone dedication was held with President Calvin Coolidge and former President and Freemason William H. Taft present.
The memorial is located on Shooter’s Hill in Alexandria, Virginia.  This site is also the place where the 44th New York Volunteer Infantry set up camp during the winter of 1864; this unit’s mission was to guard U.S. military trains.
The memorial building itself is of classical architecture of both Greek and Roman influence.  The design is influenced by the lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.   It is an imposing structure that you can see from miles around.
You can walk up the memorial via winding sidewalk up the front of the hill.  On the way you come across a large concrete planter box with a sign for the memorial.   A bronze bust of Washington’s head is on the marker with a quote that says:
“Let prejudices and local interests yield to reason.  Let us look to our national character and to things beyond the present period.”  – George Washington
Further up the hill you come across an enormous square and compass that is built into the landscaping.  You can easily see this from the air when you are coming into Reagan National Airport on a landing, an excellent way to let the world know this fraternity is still there.
As you come to the top of the hill, the memorial stands boldly in front of you with a set of stairs leading to the front door.  A portico with six columns rests at the top of the staircase and shields the front entrance from the elements.
Inside the portico are 2 marble tablets with inscriptions of two letters that Washington wrote about Freemasonry, one to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in April, 1797 and the other to King David’s lodge of Newport, Rhode Island on August 22, 1790.  In both letters Washington talks about his admiration for the craft.
Entering into the building, you come into Memorial Hall where I was awe struck by the statue of Washington at the end of the room.  It is large with Washington dressed in his Masonic regalia presiding over a lodge as Master.    The statue was donated by the Order of DeMolay and installed in 1950.
On the walls are two large murals depicting a St. John’s Day Observance at Christ Church in Philadelphia on December 28, 1778 and on the south wall a representation of Washington in full Masonic regalia laying the cornerstone for the United States Capitol.

WB Gregory J. Knott is the Past Master of St. Joseph Lodge No. 970 in St. Joseph (IL) and a plural member of Ogden Lodge No. 754 (IL), and Homer Lodge No. 199 (IL). He’s a member of both the Scottish Rite, and the York Rite, and is the Charter Secretary of the Illini High Twelve Club in Champaign-Urbana. He’s also a member of the Ansar Shrine (IL) and the Eastern Illinois Council No. 356 Allied Masonic Degrees. Greg is very involved in Boy Scouts–an Eagle Scout himself; he serves the Grand Lodge of Illinois A. F. & A. M. as their representative to the National Association of Masonic Scouters.