The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in its present form was created in March 1792 by the consolidation of St. John’s Grand Lodge (originally a provincial Grand Lodge under English jurisdiction) and the Massachusetts Grand Lodge (originally a provincial Grand Lodge under Scottish jurisdiction, which declared its independence in 1777). St. John’s Grand Lodge originally had one subordinate lodge, St. John’s (First Lodge) of Boston, chartered 1733; Massachusetts Grand Lodge was formed by St. Andrew’s Lodge of Boston and two military lodges associated with regiments stationed in Boston. At the time of the formation of the united Grand Lodge, there were 22 lodges under its jurisdiction (though it did not include the Lodge of St. Andrew, which only transferred allegiance from Scotland in 1809).
Freemasonry in Massachusetts grew substantially after the consolidation of the Grand Lodges, particularly during the terms of Grand Masters Paul Revere (1795-1797), Samuel Dunn (1800-1802) and Timothy Bigelow (1806-1808; 1811-1813). The Anti-Masonic period had a significant negative impact on membership and lodge activity, but after 1845 there was spectacular growth in interest and participation in both lodge and appendant body activities. By 1870 there were approximately 180 lodges in Massachusetts jurisdiction, including lodges in Chile and China. Growth was slower during the later part of the 19th century, but Masonic activity remained strong in communities across the Commonwealth.
Massachusetts Freemasonry has always been charitable, both at local and Grand Lodge levels. Its benevolences were formalized in 1884 with the establishment of the Masonic Education and Charity Trust, which operates independently of Grand Lodge in dispensing relief and supporting good works, including educational scholarships. In the early 20th century Grand Lodge established a Masonic Home and hospitals for elderly and infirm Masons and their widows; the Overlook Community is now a vital part of Massachusetts Masonic charitable activity. In recent years many local lodges have created Masonic Angel Funds, with the express purpose of quickly assisting children and students in need. Most recently, the Grand Lodge created The Brotherhood Fund: To help, aid, and assist our Brethren Wheresoever Dispersed, intended to offer quick assistance to a Brother of his family in need.
Throughout its history, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has participated in numerous cornerstone ceremonies for prominent buildings throughout the jurisdiction. It has continued this tradition in recent years, participating at ceremonies for the Bunker Hill Monument, Pilgrim Memorial Monument, Boston’s Old State House, as well as the Massachusetts State House.
M.W. Richard Maggio is the 90th Grand Master of Masons of Massachusetts. He presides over 215 lodges and 24,000 members. Notable Massachusetts Masons include past Grand Masters Joseph Warren, Paul Revere and Isaiah Thomas; as well as more contemporary Brothers, such as Retired Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Superior Court, R.W. Robert L. Stedman, and former New England Patriot and N.F.L. Hall of Famer, Wor. John A. Hannah.