Masonic Trivia -- possibly by Wallace McLeod
Rev. Josiah Henson, who was believed to be "Uncle Tom" of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, was buried in a cemetery at Dresden, Ontario. He escaped into Canada in 1830. Masonic symbols are engraved on his tombstone.
When we read of Prairie farmers paying university tuition with wheat, we hark back to 1799 when The Barton Lodge, Hamilton, accepted good merchantable wheat in lieu of cash for dues.
About the same time, The Barton Lodge fines for those who were late or absent. The fine for being late was 3/- and for being absent 5/-. This was reputed to not have much effect in the difficulty. It was decided to raise the fine to $2. unless a satisfactory explanation was given.
The first Masonic Hall build tin Ontario by Governor Simcoe was at Niagara-on-the-Lake. The present Masonic Temple occupies the same site.
Kiyoshi "George" Togasaki, who was President of Rotary International, 1968-69 was Grand master of the Grand Lodge of Japan in 1960-61961.
The music of the American National Anthem (Star Spangled Banner) was written by John Stafford Smith, a member of Royal Somerset and Inverness Lodge, No. 4, London, and was used long before the Americans adopted it.
There are nine lodges of lady Freemasons in Canada, five in Toronto and one each in Whitby, London, Vancouver and Victoria.
The famous May Clinic was started in the Rochester Masonic Temple, Rochester, Minn. Dr. Charles H. Mayo, with his brother, William J. (not a Mason), started the Clinic. He was a member of Rochester Lodge, No. 21. His son and successor, Dr. Charles W. was a member also, of this Lodge. The father of the two founders, Dr. William W. Mayo, was a Mason too.
The world's largest Mason was Bro. Miles Darden, who died in Lexington, Tenn., in 1857, weighing more than one thousand pounds. He was 7 feet, 6 inches tall and measured 6 feet, 4 inches around the waist. His coffin took 100 feet of lumber and seventeen men to carry it. His wife weighed only 90 pounds.
Recently the Editor had the pleasure of driving down Freemason Street in Norfolk, Virginia. At one time this was the only street by this name in the world. Now there are others. This street was laid out in 1762, and was so named as the Mason's hall was built on it.
Many of us remember the famous solo flight of Col. Charles A. Lindbergh in 1827 from New York to Paris. Bro. Lindbergh, now a life member of keystone Lodge, No. 243, St. Louis, Mo., wore a good luck design on his jacket, the square and compasses, during the flight.
At one time the world's tallest building was the Masonic Temple in Chicago. It was completed in 1892 and fr9m it came the word so commonly used today, "skyscraper."
During the French Revolution, the guillotine, a device for beheading prisoners, was first used. The year was 1789. Some claim this device was invented by Dr. Joseph Guillotin, a French physician. Bro. Guillotin was Master of Concord Fraternelle Lodge of Paris.
The last time President Harding of the United States signed his name was in the Masonic Bible of Lafayette Lodge, No. 241, Seattle, Wash. That day, August 2, 1923, he died. A speech he ahd prepared for delivery to the American people was read by Bro. George B. Christian to Hollywood Commandery, No. 56, Knights Templar, in Hllywood, Calif.
Our Bro. John A. Walker has been a Mason for 81 years. However, the longest proven membership was that of Bro. Cyrus E. Hull, who was initiated on march 23, 1852, in Hampton Lodge, Springfield, Mass., and died 83 years and 9 days later.
The first Masonic book published in America was printed by Bro. Benjamin Franklin in 1734. It was an edition of Anderson's Constitutions.
H.R.H. Prince Philip was initiated on December 5, 1952, in Navy Lodge, No. 2612, London, England. Others of the Royal Household belonging to this Lodge were the late King George VI and his brother, the late Duke of Kent. The latter two were Grand Masters. The present Grand Master is a younger Duke of Kent.
This article was published in Masonic Bulletin, Grand Lodge of British Columbia, February, 1971, and reproduced from The Bulletin, Grand Lodge of Canada, in Ontario.