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permanent endowment and support common education in Texas and supplement the property taxes
dedicated to the school systems.

There can be no doubt that Masons did much to influence early legislation of the Republic in the
field of education. The leaders of government for the most part were members of the Masonic
fraternity and their dreams of a system of public education took root. These early Masons provided
a foundation upon which the Republic and State would create an effective system to diffuse
knowledge. They included Stephen F. Austin, David G. Burnet, Sam Houston, Mirabeau B. Lamar,
Anson Jones, William H. Wharton, and many others.

In addition, the Masonic fraternity took a direct interest in education during the period between
1840 and 1860. There was a serious problem with the condition of the schools and Masonry
became alarmed that the children might go through life without formal education. Determined,
individual Masonic lodges began to establish schools in towns where they were located. The lodge
building itself became the town’s learning center. The lodge often employed the schoolteacher and
attendance was not limited to Masonic youth but opened to any person with a desire for learning.
The first known primary school sponsored by a Masonic lodge opened in 1842 and by 1860 there
were at least 23 Masonic sponsored schools.

The State Constitution of 1845 provided the foundation for free public schools. Of the sixty-two
members drafting the constitution, at least thirty were Masons. The 1848 Proceedings of the Grand
Lodge of Texas reports “The subject of education is one of peculiar interest to the fraternity. We
as Texans can be justly proud of the magnificent provision made by our State for the future
education of her children. It will be a noble rivalry for us to engage simultaneously with her in this
noble enterprise.

Masons were in a position to influence the development of legislation related to public education
during her formative years. All the Presidents of the Republic were Masons and many members
of the various legislatures were also Masons, in some cases exceeding fifty percent of the
legislative membership. Masonry has certainly planed its part in the development of Texas
education. The services of Masonic lodges in sponsoring schools and furnishing buildings were
possibly greater than any other organization. These services must be considered as among the
important transitional steps in achieving free public education in Texas.

The noted Texas educator and non-Mason Frederick Eby in his introduction to James D. Carter’s
Education and Masonry in Texas to 1846 states that “Education in Texas is indebted to the
courageous assistance of the Masonic Brotherhood for their labors in championing the
establishment of its Public School System at the most critical moment in its history.” Carter
concluded his book with the following statement: “The evidence leaves little doubt that Masons
were using every means in their power, in government, in private associations, in religious bodies
and with individuals, to bring about the creation of education institutions.”

Masonry continues to honor public schools. The emphasis on Public Schools Week can do much
to inform the general public regarding the Masonic influence on today’s public schools. In many
instances, Masons offer more than lip-service to education as they provide scholarships to
deserving students to assist them with college expenses, support school teachers with special

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