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Famous Masons
Brother Mark Twain
Created: 10/15/2018

Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), called "the Great American Novel", and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876). 

Twain grew up in Hannibal, Missouri, which would later provide the setting for Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. He apprenticed with a printer. He also worked as a typesetter and contributed articles to his older brother Orion's newspaper. After toiling as a printer in various cities, he became a master riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River, before heading west to join Orion. He was a failure at gold mining, so he next turned to journalism. While a reporter, he wrote a humorous story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County," which proved to be very popular and brought him nationwide attention. His travelogues were also well-received. Twain had found his calling.

He achieved great success as a writer and public speaker. His wit and satire earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.

However, he lacked financial acumen. Though he made a great deal of money from his writings and lectures, he squandered it on various ventures, in particular the Paige Compositor, and was forced to declare bankruptcy. With the help of Henry Huttleston Rogers, however, he eventually overcame his financial troubles. Twain worked hard to ensure that all of his creditors were paid in full, even though his bankruptcy had relieved him of the legal responsibility.

Born during a visit by Halley's Comet, he died on its return. He was lauded as the "greatest American humorist of his age", and William Faulkner called Twain "the father of American literature".

During a trip to Palestine, he sent his lodge a gavel with this note:  "This mallet is a cedar, cut in the forest of Lebanon, whence Solomon obtained the timbers for the Temple."  Clemens cut the handle himself from a cedar just outside the walls of Jerusalem.  He had it made in Alexandria, Egypt and it was presented to the Lodge on April 8, 1868. 

Brother George Washington
Created: 10/1/2018
  Brother George Washington was initiated an Entered Apprentice Mason in the Lodge of Fredericksburg, Virginia in November of 1752 at the age of 20. The records of that Lodge, still in existence, present the following entries on the subject. The first entry is thus: "Nov. 4th. 1752. This evening Mr. George Washington was initiated as an Entered Apprentice." He was Passed on March 3rd and Raised on August 4th of 1753 in that same Lodge. (Painting and sculpture are from the George Washington Masonic Memorial, Alexandria, VA.)

He was proud of his membership, saying, "The object of Freemasonry is to promote the happiness of the human race." In 1788 he served as first Master of what is now known as Alexandria-Washington Lodge. Washington thus became the first Master of a Masonic Lodge to become President, holding, for a time, both that high office and that of Worshipful Master of his Lodge, a rare distinction indeed. Washington's words upon becoming President reflect well his philosophy: "Integrity and firmness are all that I can promise." What more could a nation ask?

On April 30, 1789 Brother George Washington was inaugurated as the President of the United States on the Holy Bible from St. John’s Lodge No. 1 in New York, NY.

From the very beginning, Masonry has been closely associated with the history of our nation, and never more dramatically evidenced than in 1793 when wearing a Masonic apron presented to him by General Lafayette and embroidered by Madame Lafayette, Washington in a Masonic ceremony, laid the cornerstone of the United States Capitol at Washington, D.C. In August of 1790, in a letter to King David Lodge, Newport, Rhode Island, Washington wrote: "Being persuaded that a just application of the principles, on which the Masonic fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the society and to be considered by them as a deserving brother." George Washington died on December 18, 1799, and was buried at Mount Vernon, Virginia with Masonic Rites conferred by Alexandria Lodge.

Brother Daniel Boone
Created: 2/27/2018

Boone was born near Reading, in Berks County, Pennsylvania, the son of hard-working but adventurous Quaker parents. He learned some blacksmithing but had very little formal education. Daniel appears to have been a scrappy lad who loved hunting, the wilderness, and independence. When his parents left Pennsylvania in 1750 bound for the Yadkin valley of northwest North Carolina, Daniel went along willingly.

There, on the cutting edge of the frontier, he was able to indulge his hunting prowess and love of the wilderness. In the following years he served as a wagoner with Gen. Edward Braddock’s ill-fated expedition to Fort Duquesne in 1755; married a neighbor’s daughter, Rebecca Bryan, in 1756; and in 1758 is believed to have been a wagoner with Gen. John Forbes who was hacking out the road to Fort Duquesne, which he rebuilt as Fort Pitt (now Pittsburgh). Back in North Carolina, Daniel purchased land from his father but never seriously engaged in farming; he loved to roam. In 1763 he and his brother Squire journeyed to Florida, although for unknown reasons they did not stay.

Boone’s fame rests primarily upon his exploration and settlement of Kentucky. He was first in eastern Kentucky in 1767, but his expedition of 1769-1771 is more widely known. With a small party Boone advanced along the Warrior’s Path into an Edenic region. When the time came for the party to return he remained behind in the wilderness until March 1771. On the way home, he and his brother were robbed by Indians of their deerskins and pelts, but the two remained exuberant over the land known as “Kentuck.”

Although he was highly respected and served in the Virginia assembly, Boone was not a good businessman and he lost his Kentucky lands. In September 1799, he set out for Missouri where a son had preceded him. He settled in the Femme Osage valley where he continued to hunt and roam until his death. Twenty-five years later his remains and those of his wife were returned to Kentucky for burial.

Daniel Boone was helped to immortality through the writings of John Filson, whose The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucke included an appendix containing “The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon [sic].” The book was widely read in England and Europe as well as in America, and Boone became the model of the American frontiersman. But even if he had not been cast as a heroic figure in Kentucke, residents of Kentucky would still honor him as that state’s frontier hero.

Brother Albert Gallatin Mackey
Created: 4/16/2017
Albert Gallatin Mackey was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of John Mackey, a physician, journalist and educator, and his wife. His father published The American Teacher's Assistant and Self-Instructor's Guide, containing all the Rules of Arithmetic properly Explained, etc., the most comprehensive work on arithmetic that had been published in the United States. His brother was Edmund William McGregor Mackey, later a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina.
  • After completing his early education, Albert Mackey taught school for some time to earn money for medical school. He graduated from the medical department of the College of South Carolina in 1832. He settled in Charleston, South Carolina. In 1838 he was appointed demonstrator of anatomy in that institution.

    In 1844 he abandoned the practice of medicine. For the rest of his life, he wrote on a variety of subjects, but specialized in the study of several languages, the Middle Ages, and Freemasonry. After being connected with several Charleston journals, he established in 1849 The Southern and Western Masonic Miscellany, a weekly magazine. He maintained it for three years, mostly by his own expense. He conducted a Quarterly 1858-1860 which he devoted to the same interests.

    He acquired the Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and continental languages almost unaided, and lectured frequently on the intellectual and moral development of the Middle Ages. Subsequently, he turned his attention exclusively to the investigation of abstruse symbolism, and to cabalistic and Talmudic researches.

    He served as Grand Lecturer and Grand Secretary of The Grand Lodge of South Carolina, as well as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.


Mackey's books were often revised and expanded during and after his lifetime, and published by many different publishers:

  • Albert Gallatin Mackey (1845). A Lexicon of Freemasonry. 2nd ed., 1852
  • The Principles of Masonic Law, 1856
  • Albert Gallatin Mackey (1867). The Mystic Tie.
  • Encyclopedia of Freemasonry (1873; reprinted in 1878. Subsequently enlarged and revised by other authors into several volumes after his death). His largest and most important contribution to masonic literature.
  • Mackey, Albert Gallatin, Edward L Hawkins, and William J Hughan. An encyclopaedia of freemasonry and its kindred sciences : comprising the whole range of arts, sciences and literature as connected with the institution 1927.
  • The Symbolism of Freemasonry, 1882
  • Albert Gallatin Mackey (with William R. Singleton) (1906). The History of Freemasonry: Its Legends and Traditions.
  • Masonry defined : a liberal masonic education ; information every mason should have, compiled from the writings of Dr. Albert G. Mackey, 33,° and many other eminent authorities. 3rd ed. 1925
  • Mackey, Albert G. A Manual of the Lodge: Or, Monitorial Instructions in the Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, and Master Mason, Arranged in Accordance with the American System of Lectures, to Which Are Added the Ceremonies of the Order of Past Master, Relating to Installations, Dedications, Consecrations, Laying of Corner Stones, Etc. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1870. Print.
  • Mackey, Albert G. The Book of the Chapter: Or, Monitorial Instructions, in the Degrees of Mark, Past and Most Excellent Master, and the Holy Royal Arch. New York: Clark & Maynard, 1870.

Brother Robert Dole
Created: 1/5/2017

Born in Kansas in 1923, Bob Dole began his political career by serving as a member of the Kansas state legislature (1951–53), and later served four terms as prosecuting attorney for Russell County. From 1961 to 1969, Dole served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. From 1969 to 1996, he served in the U.S. Senate, where he earned titles as minority leader and majority leader.

Early Life

Robert Joseph "Bob" Dole was born on July 22, 1923, in Russell, Kansas. Doran, Dole's father, ran a stand that sold eggs and cream. Dole's mother, Bina, sold Singer sewing machines and vacuum cleaners as a traveling saleswoman. Dole had one brother, Kenny, and two sisters, Gloria and Norma Jean.

When the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, the Doles had to struggle to make ends meet. The family moved into the basement of their home and rented out the upstairs to oilfield workers. Dole's parents instilled in him their values of hard work and sacrifice, and both of those would play a large role in Dole's later life. His parents also gave him a strong religious upbringing. Dole once explained, "As a young man in a small town, my parents taught me to put my trust in God, not government, and never confuse the two."

As a youth, Dole was a member of the Boy Scouts and also played sports, winning spots on several all-conference teams. He worked as a paperboy and as a soda jerk at the local Dawson's Drugstore. The drugstore's owner remembered Dole as a "good worker." After completing high school in 1941, Dole attended the University of Kansas, where, inspired by the doctors that he had met while working at the drugstore, he enrolled in the premedical program.

Military Service

He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and was summoned to active duty in early 1943. Upon completing training programs in the United States, Dole became a combat infantry officer and was sent to Italy in 1944 to serve in a relatively safe area near Rome. The next year, Dole was transferred to a post near the Po Valley, in northern Italy. That region still held a German machine gun nest, and, despite Dole's relatively small amount of combat experience, he was ordered to lead an assault against it. The day of the assault was, as Dole put it, "the day that changed my life."

During the attack, an Army radioman went down under German fire. In his attempt to rescue the man, Dole himself was severely wounded. According to examinations by medics following the battle, Dole had sustained the following injuries: a shattered right shoulder, fractured vertebrae in his neck and spine, paralysis from the neck down, metal shrapnel throughout his body and a damaged kidney. The medics examining Dole thought him unlikely to survive.

After several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation, Bob Dole not only lived, but made a better recovery than had ever been expected. The only lingering physical limitations for Dole are his paralyzed right arm and hand, and during public appearances he often keeps a pen in his right hand to make it appear less unusual. The Russell community showed him a great amount of support during his recovery, and as a memento of that support, Dole still keeps a cigar box where donations toward his medical costs were collected. For his service in the military, Dole was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. During his recovery, Dole also met his first wife, Phyllis Holden, who worked as a nurse in a Michigan hospital where Dole spent time. They married in June 1948.

After more than three years of recovery, Bob Dole took advantage of the G.I. Bill, which provided veterans with financial assistance for education. First, he attended the University of Arizona to study liberal arts. After a year there, he returned to Kansas to study law at Washburn Municipal College in Topeka. While attending college, Dole was encouraged to enter into politics. Dole ran as a Republican candidate for the Kansas state legislature (despite the fact that both of his parents were registered Democrats) and won. Something of a moderate at that time, Dole might have been influenced in his party affiliation by advice from Republican leader John Woelk, who said, "If you really want to do something in politics in Kansas, you'd better declare yourself a Republican." In 1952, Dole received his undergraduate and law degrees, was admitted to the bar and began practicing law in his hometown of Russell.


Dole was initiated as a Freemason of Russell Lodge No. 177, Russell, Kansas on April 19, 1955.

Political Career

The early 1950s marked the beginning of Dole's prestigious career as a public official, which lasted for five decades. Dole held the aforementioned state legislature seat until 1953. After his term ended, he took up the position of county attorney of Russell County. In 1961, he was encouraged to run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives that was about to be vacated by a retiring incumbent. Because Dole had little name recognition outside of his home county, his campaign featured such gimmicks as a female singing group called Dolls for Dole, the handing out of hundreds of cups of free Dole brand juice and a coffin with a Frankenstein dummy in it bearing the sign, "You have nothing to fear with Dole." He also had his daughter, Robin (born in 1954), wear a banner saying, "I'm for Daddy—Are You?". 

Dole won the Republican nomination, and went on to easily win the election over his Democratic opponent. Bob Dole won re-election to Congress twice more and, during this period, earned a reputation as a conservative willing to champion unpopular beliefs. One of these unpopular positions was supporting Barry Goldwater for president in 1964—a move that nearly lost him his second congressional term.

At the end of his third term in Congress, Dole decided to try for a position of more influence in the U.S. government. A longtime U.S. senator from Kansas told Dole that he was retiring and that Dole should not hesitate to begin campaigning for the seat. Dole did this with the same vigor and determination with which he had run for his seat in the House years before. Again, his work was rewarded with a resounding win. Dole was elected senator the same year that Richard Nixon was elected president: 1968. Dole became an advocate for Nixon against Democratic criticisms, and the Nixon administration took notice. Nixon became an adviser to Dole and helped him be named Republican National Chairman in 1971.

Dole served in the Senate until 1996, winning re-elections in 1974, 1980, 1986 and 1992. During this time, he chaired many committees and established a conservative voting record as well as a reputation as a "hatchet man." This description refers to Dole's notoriety for speaking out adamantly against policies or proposals he thought unwise.

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