A Brief History of Jackson Lodge № 1, F. & A. M.

 

The former Masonic Lodgel was constructed in 1926 and is of the Vernacular Commercial style. It is the second meeting site of Jackson Lodge F. & A. M. № 1. This lodge laid the cornerstones with Masonic ceremonies for the first “permanent” Florida State Capitol in 1826 and later additions in 1845 as well as the new state Capitol in 1977. The building has been the early or original location of many Tallahassee businesses. At the present time the Governor’s Club is located on the upper level. At some point in time, it also housed the Odd Fellows Leon Lodge № 5 based on its U.S. National Register of Historic Places listing and a marble marker near the front entrance.

 

Florida was claimed by various nations before becoming a state in 1845. It was first a Spanish Colony, and then sold to Great Britain in 1763, and then ceded back to Spain in 1783 and the whole territory was sold to the United States in 1819. The first Masonic lodges in the Florida territory was charted from Scotland in 1768 called Grant’s East Florida Lodge № 142. In 1771 St. Andrew’s Lodge in Pensacola was chartered with the most of the brothers of this lodge being members of St. George’s Lodge № 108 (military) attached to the 31st Regiment of Foot. Between the 1770s and early 1820s several lodges were organized but were short lived. The last being Esperanza Lodge, in St. Augustine, warranted by the Grand Lodge of South Carolina in 1824. When the United States purchased Florida from Spain and made a territory of it, the fringe of settlements along its northern border comprised the southern outposts of an advancing American colonization. Except for a few Native American trading posts, the interior of Florida was an unclaimed wilderness.

 

John. P. Duval

Born Richmond, Virginia; French Huguenot heritage and relative of General George Washinton.

Texas vs. Mexico War, Brigadier Army General; War of 1812, 1st Lieutenant. Attorney, First Grand Master of Grand Lodge of Florida, Blue Lodge, Jackson Lodge № 1.

Died 1855

 

On March 4, 1824, Territorial Governor Wiliam Pope Duval (John Pope Duval's brother) issued a proclamation that the capital of Florida would be at the intersection of the old Spanish road with the old trail leading southwardly. At the time, this area was referred to as: “The old Tallahassee Indian fields”. Before the end of the year, a log capitol building was built on the southeast corner of the present Capitol Square and the third session of the Legislative Council assembled in it.

 

Replica of Florida's first Capitol, built by Boy Scouts in 1924 and modeled after the 1824 version.

 

In this log structure, one of the first legislative council meetings in Florida convened to create Leon County. By act approved by Governor Duval on December 29, 1824, the Ochlocknee River was made the eastern boundary of Gadsden County. All of the territory between the Ochlocknee and Suwannee Rivers was made Leon County. Tallahassee was incorporated on December 11, 1825. That same year marked the foundation of the first enduring Masonic Lodge in Florida.

 

 Map of Tallahassee, Florida, 1885

 

Predating the incorporation of Tallahassee as Florida’s Capital, Jackson Lodge, U. D., was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Alabama in June 3, 1825. The Lodge was chartered as Jackson Lodge № 23 by the same Grand Body on December 19, 1825, with Robert Butler as Charter Master. Jackson Lodge was named for our Most Worshipful Brother, General Andrew Jackson, who served two years as Grand Master of Tennessee, 1822-23 and 1823-1824; as the first territorial governor of Florida, and as the seventh President of the United States.

According to the history of Montgomery Lodge No. 11 of Alabama, they were the one’s who sponsored the formation of Jackson Lodge No. 23 in Florida. According to the 1824 Grand Lodge Proceedings, on Saturday Evening of December 18th, it was reported at Grand Lodge that,

“A communication from several brother Masons residing at or near Tallahassee in the Territory of Florida, praying a Dispensation to authorize them to open and hold a Lodge of Ancient Free-Masons, was read and referred to the committee on petitions.”

This is the first and only mention of Jackson Lodge in the 1824 proceedings.

In the 1825 proceedings, on Saturday, December 17th, Bro. John B. Hogan the Grand Junior Warden, and member of the credentials committee reported that Daniel M. Riggs, the Grand Secretary of Alabama, represented Jackson Lodge U.D. of Tallahassee, Florida. Then on Monday, December 19, 1825, Secretary Riggs.

"presented the petition of the Masters and Wardens of Jackson Lodge of Tallahassee (now working under dispensation from this Grand Lodge) praying a warrant of constitution.”

The motion was referred to a select committee consisting of John B. Hogan, Grand Senior Warden, and Past Grand Master William B. Patton. The committee made the following report,

“The committee to whom was referred the petition, by-laws and transcript of the proceedings of Jackson Lodge of Tallahassee, held at Tallahassee, in the territory of Florida, working under a dispensation, granted at the last annual meeting of this Grand Lodge, beg leave to report that they have examined the same and find them strictly correct, according to masonic usage, and therefore recommend that the petition be granted, and that the Grand Secretary forthwith forward to the petitioners a warrant of constitution.”

On Thursday, December 22nd, Bro. Riggs’ Secretary Report shows that the Grand Lodge received $35 from Jackson Lodge for their Dispensation. On Monday, December 26th, Bro. Hutchinson, Grand Senior Warden, and Chairman of the Returns Committee, reported that the returns of Jackson Lodge had been reviewed and found them to be correct and that Jackson Lodge owed the Grand Lodge “the sum of $14.” The returns of Jackson Lodge show the following officers of Jackson Lodge:

Robert Butler, WM
Robert W. Williams, SW
Isham G. Searcy, JW
Rome Lewis, Secretary
Samuel R. Overton, Treasurer
David Thomas, SD
Robert D. Jourolman, JD
Ede Vanevour, Tyler

 

Robert Butler

Soldier in War of 1812, Battle of New Orleans, Surveyor General of Florida, 1825. Blue Lodge, Jackson Lodge № 1

Died January 13, 1860

 

The Grand Lodge of Georgia Chartered Washington Lodge № 1 at Quincy in 1828 and Harmony Lodge in Marianna in 1829.

In 1830, Jackson Lodge № 23 of Tallahassee invited Washington Lodge and Harmony Lodge to meet with it in its hall to consider forming a Grand Lodge of Florida. Convening on July 5, 1830 this convention adopted a resolution to form the Grand Lodge of Florida. On July 9, 1830, the Lodges met to adopt governing rules and on the following day, elected officers. The new Grand Lodge officers were installed using the Rules and By-Laws of Alabama. Under the new Grand Lodge of Florida, Jackson Lodge became № 1, Washington Lodge № 2, and Harmony Lodge № 3, all being dated July 6, 1830. Florida's Masons created their grand jurisdiction 15 years before Florida joined the Union as the 27th state.

The Grand Lodge of Florida met in the hall of Jackson Lodge № 1, at Tallahassee, from 1830 to 1869, at which time it was moved to Jacksonville.

 

William Lehnolf Marshall at Jackson Lodge F. & A. M. № 1 - Tallahassee, Florida

William, on the right, was born on April 23, 1873 to Minnie Louise Lenholf and John Marshall of Baltimore. He moved with his twice widowed mother to Lake City circa 1890. He later joined his brothers Frank John and George in Apalachicola and worked as a cook or cabin boy. Later he moved to his wife's home town, Tallahassee. He became a wood-worker/carpenter and built at least one sail boat which he named for his wife Grace Spiller and the baptismal font at Trinity Church in Apalachicola. He was the father of Lenholf, Addison, Eliza and Bill. He became a Master Mason in 1917, Worshipful Master for 1920-1921 and was consecrated as an Anointed High Priest to Excellent Companion on May 19, 1920. he joined the Kiwanis in 1922 and was active for 25 years. He became mayor of Tallahassee from 1932-33 and served on the City Commission for many years.

Thomas E. Andrews at Jackson Lodge F. & A. M. № 1 - Tallahassee, Florida

Thomas on the left, was a Justice of the Peace for District 8 in Tallahassee, Florida until he resigned on May 31, 1915. He was Worshipful Master in 1925

Credit this photo: State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/155326

Note: You will notice that some of the furnishings in this photograph are still in use today.

 

  1. Cleves, Wallace R., Brief History of Masonry in Florida, 1942 Digest of the Masonic Law of Florida, Revised. 1947.
  2. Past Grand Masters, Issue 3 (1830-1982). Grand Lodge of Florida, F. & A. M.
  3. Crowther, J. Roy, P. G .M., Grand Historian. The Grand Lodge of Florida, Free and Accepted Masons History/ 1830-1988, Volume I: The Lodges. The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Florida, Drummond Press, Jacksonville, Florida 1988, 1-2.
  4. Past Grand Masters, Issue 3 (1830-1982), 15.
  5. Alabama Lodge of Research, Florida Freemasonry.
  6. The George Washington Masonic National Memorial, The Grand Lodge of Florida Free & Accepted Masons, Grand Lodge of the Month - May 2013.

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