BEGINNING OF FREEMASONRY AMONG NEGROES IN AMERICA
In March, 1775, Prince Hall and fourteen other free Negroes of Boston Massachusetts were made Master Masons in an Army Lodge attached to one of General Gage’s regiments, then stationed near Boston.
The same Lodge granted these Negroes authority to meet as a Lodge, to go in procession at St. Johns’ Day, and as a Lodge to bury their dead; but they could not confer degrees or perform other Masonic “work.”
For nine years these brethren, together with others who had received their degrees elsewhere, assembled and enjoyed their limited privileges as Masons. Finally in March 1784, Prince Hall petitioned the Grand Lodge of England, through a Worshipful Master of a subordinate Lodge in London for a warrant or charter. On September 29, 1784, the Warrant was issued, it was not delivered, however, until three years later owing to the fact that the brother to whom the matter was entrusted failed to call for it. It was delivered, however, on the 29th day of April 1727, by Captain James Scott, a seafaring man and incidentally, a brother—in-law of John Hancock, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
On May 6, 1787, by virtue of the authority of this Charter, African Lodge No. 459 was established and began work as a regular Masonic Body.
In accordance with Masonic usage of that time, a General Assembly of Colored Masons met in Mason’s Hall, Water Street.
MASONIC LINEAGEOF THE GRAND LODGE FOR THE STATE OF WISCONSIN
The Grand Lodge of England (Modern) granted a charter to African Lodge, September 29, 1784. According to the custom of that day, African Lodge became a mother Lodge and granted Warrants to Lodges in Philadelphia and Providence. African Lodge called a general assembly of the Craft on June 24, 1791, and organized African Grand Lodge according to custom and usage.
From the lodges chartered by African Grand Lodge (later the name was changed to Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts), the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was formed December 27, 1815. This Grand Lodge chartered the Grand Lodge of Ohio, May 3, 1849.
The Grand Lodge of Ohio chartered the Grand Lodge of Illinois in 1866.
The Grand Lodge of Wisconsin was formed on June 29, 1925 by the lodges chartered by the Grand Lodge of Illinois as follows:
A convention of Prince Hall Masons was held in the City of Milwaukee, State of Wisconsin, on June 28, 1925.
On June 29, 1925 the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Wisconsin was organized by: Grand Master John C. Ellis and a Committee of the Illinois Grand Lodge, under whose jurisdiction the Wisconsin Lodges were then operating.
Lodges present in the State and participating in the organizing of the Grand Lodge were:
Widow’s Son Lodge No. 25, Milwaukee.
Capital City Lodge No. 72, Madison.
W.B. Kennedy Lodge No. 106, Beloit.
L.H. Palmer Lodge No. 115, Milwaukee.
After the organization the names and number of the lodges were changed as follows:
Widow’s Son Lodge No. 1
Capital City Lodge No. 2
W. B. Kennedy Lodge No. 3
Blazing Star Lodge No. 4
First Elected Officers of the Wisconsin Grand Lodge:
Grand Master L.B. Shepard (No 1)
Deputy Grand Master, George Buckner (No. 2)
Senior Grand Warden, Harry Owens (No. 1)
Junior Grand Warden, G.P.L. Gordon (No. 3)
Grand Treasurer, S.A. Matthews (No. 1)
Grand Secretary, Frank A. Hoover No 2)
Grand Lecturer Joseph Gentry (No. 2)
First Appointed Officers of the Wisconsin Grand Lodge:
Grand Chaplain, S.T. Wilson (No. 1)
G.S. Deacon, W.E.W. Brown (No. 3)
G.J. Deacon, John A. Hall (No. 1)
S.G. Steward, J. Earl Jones (No. 4)
J.G. Steward William Johnson (No.1)
Grand Standard Bearer, T.E. Hines (No. 2)
Grand Tyler, Allen Henderson (No. 2)
First Committee on Constitution and By - Laws:
George DeReef (No. 4), Chairman
A.B. Nutt, (No. 1)
F.E. Norman, (No.3)
R. G. Holley, (No. 4)
A.L. Herron, (No. I)
T.E. Hines, (No, 2)
The chartered date of the above four (4) lodges is September, 1, 1925.
Corinthian No. 5 was chartered June 26, 1928
Southgate No. 6 was chartered on September 22, 1945
Ashler No. 7 on January. 25, 1948
Tyre No. 8 chartered on September 17, 1961
Joppa No. 9 was chartered June 8, 1974
King David No. 10 on August 2, 1975
True Square No. 11 was chartered on September 9, 1979
Morning Star No. 12 was chartered on December 5, 2010
The Grand Lodge was incorporated on August 12, 1954