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                                             Pierre G. Normand, Jr.

                                                  Grand Lodge of Texas: July 2002

The month of July is special to all Americans because we celebrate the birth of our nation on the
fourth of July. On that date in the year 1776, representatives of the thirteen American colonies,
assembled at what is now known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia, adopted a manifesto
asserting their political independence from the British crown. We know that document as the
American Declaration of Independence.

Over the last two centuries various Masonic writers have often attempted to inflate the involvement
of members of the Masonic fraternity in the events leading up to and resulting from this important
historic event. It has often been claimed that all or most of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence were Freemasons; or that all or most of the general officers serving under
Washington were Freemasons. These claims have been made to bolster the theory that the events
of the American Revolution and the formation of the American colonies into an independent
republic were carried out according to some Masonic plan, and in accordance with universal
Masonic principles.

It is always best that such claims be tempered by the light of responsible and accurate historic
research, not for the purpose of discounting the patriotic nature of our early American Masonic
forbearers, but rather to understand the role that Freemasons did play in the formation of this great
nation. Probably the best accounting of Masonic membership among the signers of the Declaration
of Independence is provided in the book Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers, by Ronald
E. Heaton, published by the Masonic Service Association at Silver Spring, Maryland. According
to this well researched and documented work, proof of Masonic membership can be found for only
eight of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence. They are:

         Benjamin Franklin, of the Tun Tavern Lodge at Philadelphia;
         John Hancock, of St. Andrew's Lodge in Boston;
         Joseph Hewes, recorded as a Masonic visitor to Unanimity Lodge No. 7, Edenton, North
         Carolina, in December 1776;
         William Hooper, of Hanover Lodge, Masonborough, North Carolina;
         Robert Treat Payne, present at Grand Lodge at Roxbury, Massachusetts, in June 1759;
         Richard Stockton, charter Master of St. John's Lodge, Princeton, Massachusetts in 1765;
         George Walton, of Solomon's Lodge No. 1, Savannah, Georgia; and
         William Whipple, of St. John's Lodge, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Additionally, another five or six signers have from time to time been identified as members of the
fraternity based on inconclusive or unsubstantiated evidence.

As for the Masonic membership among Washington’s generals, it is true that many were members
of the fraternity, but many were not. The recognized modern authority on the subject is James R.
Case, former Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, who published his findings in
the 1955 booklet Fifty Early American Military Freemasons.

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