Robbins, Arlie C.: Prince Hall Masonry in Ontario 1852-1933 139p

(available from )

     Authorized by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall

     Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of the

     Province of Ontario and Jurisdiction, 1974.

From the Prologue (paraphrased slightly):

The Most Worshipful Prince Hall

Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons

of the Province of Ontario and Jurisdiction

1856 -- Reorganized 1872


The Union Grand Lodge of New Jersey (PH) established a lodge of master masons in Hamilton, Canada West, under the name of Mount Olive Lodge #1. The warrant for this lodge was issued on December 27, 1852. The Grand Lodge of New Jersey warranted two other lodges; Victoria Lodge #2 of St. Catherines received its warrant on June 27, 1853 and Olive Branch Lodge #3 of Windsor received its warrant in October 1854.

On August 25, 1856, these three lodges, Mount Olive #1, Victoria #2 and Olive Branch #3, were called together in Hamilton where they were constituted into Widow's Son Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons of Canada West.

During the next fifteen years, the Widow's Son Grand Lodge as well as three other American Prince Hall Grand Lodges from Michigan, Illinois and New York, all set up lodges across Canada West in widely scattered areas of Toronto, Owen Sound, London, Chatham, Dresden, Buxton, Shrewsbury and Windsor, all owing allegiance to the various abovementioned Grand Lodges. In 1871, in order to rectify this situation, a call was issued to Prince Hall Lodges working in the newly designated province of Ontario to meet in a convention in Chatham on October 22, 1872. At this meeting the several lodges united to form the Grand Lodge of the Province of Ontario (PH).

In 1958, after various minor changes of name over the preceding approximate hundred years and with the addition of Mount Moriah Lodge #24 of Montreal, Quebec, the words "and Jurisdiction" were added to the title in order to accommodate the addition of the Province of Quebec.

Finally, in 1975, with the universal recognition of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts as the founder of all Black Masonry in North America, the name was once again changed to conform with those of our sister Grand Lodges in the United States to "The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons Province of Ontario and Jurisdiction."


1852-12-27 Union GL of NJ (NGL) warrants Mount Olive Lodge #1 in Hamilton.

1853-06-27 Union GL of NJ (NGL) warrants Victoria Lodge #2 in St. Catherines.

1854-10    Union GL of NJ (NGL) warrants Olive Branch Lodge #3 in Windsor.

1856-08-25 in Hamilton, #1, #2, #3 constitute

           Widow's Son GL of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons of Canada West.

1856-1871  WSGL, + NGL GLs of MI IL NY charter lodges across Canada West:

           Toronto, Owen Sound, London, Chatham, Dresden, Buxton, Shrewsbury, Windsor.

1872-10-22 in Chatham, WSGL + other lodges form

           Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Province of Ontario

1874       ("MWGL of the Most A and honourable Fraternity of AFaAMotPoO itDoC") aka GLO

1914       MWGL of F&AM of the Province of Ontario

1921       added PH to the title: "MW Prince Hall GL F&AM of Ontario"

1952-54    title changed to "MWGL (P.H.A.) of F&AM of Ontario"

1958-08-11 in Montreal, Mount Moriah Lodge #24 chartered; added "and Jurisdiction":

1959       name was altered to read "MWGL F&AM (P.H.A.) of O and Jurisdiction"

1974-5     The MWPHGL of F and A Masons of the Province of O and J.

1994       Constitution: Title: The MWPHGL, F and A Masons, P of O and Jurisdiction.

2005       Ritual: The MWPHGL of the P of O and Jurisdiction, F and A Masons.

Book Notes -- personal content notes

ii  Is it any wonder that few of the white masonic brethren can bring themselves to "recognize" a Prince Hall Mason?  For to do so would be a tacit admission of the equality of his black brother, a mind-boggling contradiction of his ingrained belief in his own superiority, with which for centuries he justified, in his own mind at least, the enslavement of the African.

    Conversely, the black masonic brothers, in their belief of their own worth, will (should the occasion arise), "recognize" a white brother, welcome him into their midst, grant him the privileges of masonic fellowship and allow him to pass from their midst without hindrance or commitment to reciprocate in his own lodge, thus placing the burden of recognition or non-recognition squarely upon the heads of their caucasian brother.

iv On August 25, 1856, in Hamilton, these three lodges ... were constituted into Widow's Son Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons at a convention presided over by GM Paul Drayton and John Isaacs, Grand Secretary of the National Compact Grand Lodge [of NY].

   1872-10-22 in Chatham, WSGL + other lodges form Grand Lodge of the Province of Ontario.

v  1975 name was again changed to "TMWPHGLoFaAMotPoOaJ"

006 While chafing under the British heel, they in turn stomped with self-serving justification upon the "necks" of Black and native people, seeing no inconsistency between the "pecking order" thus established in the New World and the tyrannies of the Old  World.

008 "motives behind these English Brothers receiving Blacks into their Lodges"

012 It was only after the GLoE offered support to the State of Washington, that the several GL's resumed fraternal relations with what they had considered to be their erring Sister GL. [?]

013 every PH Mason believes in his heart that it is still the ingrained superiority belief of his white brothers, left over from the days of slavery, that is keeping official "recognition" from the PH brothers. 

021 It was the National Compact Grand Lodge, through its splintered NJ adjunct, which would be the first to establish PH Masonry in Canada.

025 no NJ rep was present at WSGL formation!

    "a convention of subordinate lodges, under the jurisdiction of the GL of the State of NY" [supervision?]

026 #9 after: MA PA NY NJ DC OH CA IN [Walkes1989 lists: MA PA NY MD DC NJ OH DE CA; IN:1856.09.12]

028 Declaration of Sentiments, Hamilton Spectator 1856: "Because of the unsociableness of the brethren (white) to meet with us and not giving us that satisfaction when called upon for harmonious working of the craft, We in solemn convention assembled, believe it to be our indispensable duty to act for ourselves, and form ourselves into an independent body of Free and Accepted Masons"

033 1867 non-recognition by NGL!

       the MWGL of Canada (white) branding all Masons of Colour as Clandestine; the United GL of NY refusing to meet us as Masons ... the GL of MI and IL F&AM claiming us irregular ... warrant that had never come from the National Compact GL to the WSGL

034 1871 "a second appeal to the Caucasian GL of Canada went unanswered except for a scathing remark in one of its own GL sessions that a "company of Negroes professing to be Masons were meeting."

The establishment of these Negro lodges in Canada West had been noted and were considered to be "Jurisdictional Invasions" by the white GL which was having its own problems of jurisdiction and reorganization with Canada East (Quebec) during the 1850's.  Although there seemed to be no overt bars against individual Blacks being initiated into the subordinate lodges, that is if he could overcome the ever present "black ball" in the ballot box which would decide his masonic future in that particular lodge, the coloured brothers who had been set up under the charter of Prince Hall Masonry, were considered to be "clandestine" on the grounds that the first PHGL of MA had been declared irregular by the white brothers of that state.  The acceptance of the fact that they were as regular as any white lodge that has ever been set up under the GL of England was still many years into the future.

036 the GL voted to recognize no higher power than the States Right GLs, reaffirming its former decision not to become an adjunct of the NCGL.

040 By 1866, the year following the end of slavery, the United GL of NY (anti-Compact) had established St. John's Lodge #9 in Chatham, Mount Moriah Lodge #11 in Dresden and Meridian Sun #13 in Toronto;

It is also interesting to note that the three lodges at the time of the inauguration of WSGL were under the jurisdiction of the United GL of NY, bitter enemies of the National Compact.  [what does that mean?]

At any rate, it was a member of St. John's Lodge, Ezekiel C. Cooper, who had tried to contact the GL of Canada concerning the recognition of the coloured lodges in Ontario.  His letter was at last answered in 1871 by GM William M. Wilson (A.F. & A.M.); but the answer, although couched in the politest of terms, left no doubt in the minds of the Black brothers that there would be no recognition forthcoming from the White GL of Canada.

041 1872 Chatham ... 2. Because there are four different GLs holding jurisdiction over subordinates in said Province, which is in violation of the Ancient Landmarks of Masonry. ... establish a GL for the Province of Ontario ... [???]

042 become more intimately connected with the Fourteen State GLs whose Jurisdictions are sovereign and independent.

       [presumably that means independent of the NGL]

044 Whereas, from the contrariety of jurisdictional claims set up by MWGL of Canada, the MWWSGL of Canada, the MW United GL of NY, the MWGL for the State of IL, the MWGL for the State of MI; ...

045 1872 "Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the Province of Ontario"

049 1873 "ANCIENT" used for the first time ... 

       1874 Windsor "MWGL of the Most Ancient and honourable Fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the Province of Ontario in the Dominion of Canada"

051 1875 NCGL was officially disbanded [!!!]

066 1888 R.W. Bro. Henry Hartley, PGCh of [U]GLE attended AC. "still being recognized by the [U]GLE"

079 1900 committee to look into the question of fraternal recognition between the MW GLC (white) and the MWPHGL of Ontario.  *Typo* no "PH" until 1921

080 1900 recognition request to GLCPO

088 1905 AC William L. Ward charged; 1905.09.18 found guilty; 1906 AC expelled.

       1907.02.25 "Toronto News" article in answer to question asked concerning coloured masons: -- authored by Ward!

       "A Masonic authority gives the following answer ... there are no legitimate lodges composed solely of coloured men in Canada.  There are coloured citizens in some Masonic lodges in Ontario and other parts, but they are members of ordinary lodges and must be proposed and balloted for just as any other members. ... Now it is a rule in Masonry that there cannot be two Grand Lodges having jurisdiction in the same territory,  If, therefore, there are organizations in Ontario claiming to be Masonic Lodges which are not under the Grand Lodge of Canada, they are not entitled to Masonic privileges. ..."

089 1907 "To be sure, the GLC had been approached several times in the fifty years since PHM had been established in Canada. ... [Ward] was in a position to both receive and send official mail for the GL. ... he accepted the dictates of the GLC which, using the excuse of their being two GLs working in Ontario, they had decided that PH Masons were illegal and even clandestine. 

090 Although fraternal relations had long been established with the foreign GLs ... recognition by the White GLs in North America was still being withheld.  UGLE indignant about treatment of GLWA  [???]

       petitions for recognition to GLCPO still going unanswered


091 1909 our GL ... had been recognized by some of the GLs of Europe and South America though it still smarted over the rebuffs of the White GLs of Canada and the US.

096 1920s KKK in ON and AB

098 1912 MW Union GL of MI severs relations with "GL of Ontario" for jurisdictional invasion.

099 1913 relations were restored after Detroit lodges granted waiver of jurisdiction

100 1914 "MWGL of Ontario F&AM" (in letter from Davis)

102 1914 Ancient was dropped: MWGL of F&AM of the Province of Ontario

       1914 MB GLMN (PH) warrants Regent #5 in Winnipeg

103 1909 AB 1910 "UGLWA did not want to disturb the friendly relations already existing there."

                SK Dr. Alfred Shadd active in a caucasian lodge

104 1921 Windsor "the decision was made to add PH to the title: MWPHGL F&AM of Ontario"

114 1944-47 An application for a Dominion Charter had been made under the name of "MW GL in Canada" ...

114 1944-47 "the only PHGL in Canada with power to operate all over the Dominion"

114 1946.07.27 PHGLNY forms lodge in Halifax NS.  GLNS "privately conceded it to be legitimate" [Cf: Harris1957]

114 1952-54 title changed to "MWGL (P.H.A.) of F&AM of ON" [sequence different on p.115]

115 1970 it was reported that a PH lodge had been set up in Labrador arising from the GL of KS.

115 1958 "and Jurisdiction" added with the entrance of Mount Moriah Lodge of Montreal

115 1959 The name was altered to read "MWGL F&AM (P.H.A.) of ON and Jurisdiction".

       1958 Lincoln Alexander notes that incorporation only protects name but does not necessarily mean "recognition". 

                [demonstrating continued interest in recognition]

       1962 following report by Grand Solicitor Lincoln Alexander, question of incorporation laid aside.

116 1974 once again "The MWPHGL of F and A Masons of the Province of Ontario and Jurisdiction."

117 1980 MWPHGLoFaAMotPoOaJ had 11 lodges: MO#1 AS#4 L#8 SJ#9 E#20 SC#22 MM#24 S#25 S#26 U#27 E#UD

122 1914 The term "Ancient" was dropped from the title of Ontario GL in 1914, when it became known as the MWPHGL of Free and Accepted Masons of Ontario. *TYPO* No "PH" until 1921! [cf 102]

124 A letter of censure from the Grand Lodge of England caused most of these Grand Lodges {which had withdrawn recognition from the GLWA} to reconsider however.  {from combined works of Cass, Upton, Crawford} [?]

125 *TYPO* there should be "not" before "exist"!

PHR 2008-08-05