On June 5, 1730, the Duke of Norfolk, then the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England (Moderns), deputized Colonel Daniel Coxe of New Jersey to be “the Provincial Grand Master of the Provinces of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.” His deputation took effect June 24, 1730 and extended to June 24, 1732. The deputation authorized Brother Coxe to appoint his officers, so it makes sense that Coxe appointed William Allen as Grand Master. Allen was then elected Grand Master, as recorded in the Pennsylvania Gazette, June 19-26, 1732, the election taking place on St. John the Baptist’s Day, 1732. Allen appointed William Pringle, Deputy Grand Master, and Thomas Boude and Benjamin Franklin, Wardens. Benjamin Franklin would become Grand Master in 1734, the same year he published Anderson’s Constitutions, the first Masonic book printed in America.
By September 5, 1749 (during Franklin’s second term as Grand Master), some Brethren of this Grand Lodge, feeling that their self-constituted Grand Lodge lacked the authority it formerly possessed, made an appeal to the Masonic authorities in London for the appointment of a Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania. The Grand Master of England (Moderns), William Lord Baron of Rochdale in the County of Lancaster, appointed William Allen, thus marking the end of the first independent Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and its inception as a Provincial Grand Lodge affiliated with and deriving its authority from the Grand Lodge of England (Moderns).
On February 13, 1760, the Members of Lodge № 1, (Ancients) in Philadelphia, balloted for a Provincial Grand Master, and William Ball, a wealthy landowner in the Province, was elected. Following Ball’s election, application was made by the Members of Lodge № 1 to the Grand Lodge (Ancients) in London for a Provincial Grand Warrant for Pennsylvania. A warrant signed by Grand Secretary Laurence Dermott, bearing the date of July 15, 1761, for the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania (Ancients) was issued.
Whereas the original Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania (Moderns) had been very conservative and relatively inactive, the new Grand Lodge of the Ancients was progressive and active. Whereas the Modern Grand Lodge never had more than four constituent lodges on its rolls, the Ancients’ Grand Lodge granted warrants to sixteen lodges and during the Revolution warranted seven more. Indeed the war intensified the rivalry and considerable friction between Ancients and Moderns in Pennsylvania, because the Modern lodges, to a great extent, were Loyalists, while a large majority of the Ancients espoused independence. By the end of the war the “Moderns” Grand Lodge and its three subordinate lodges had died out. With the death of Brother Franklin, April 17, 1790 at age 84, “Modern” Masonry in Pennsylvania, for all practical purposes, ceased to exist. Thus, in 1813 when Modern and Ancients in Jurisdictions throughout the world began to be reconciled and united, no reconciliation was necessary in Pennsylvania. Therefore, the resulting ritualistic changes and compromises did not affect Pennsylvania Masons, who continued to work in the pure “Ancient” way, as “Ancient York Masons”. This appellation was changed to “Free and Accepted Masons” about 1872.
Among many illustrious Pennsylvania Masons are Major General and Pennsylvania Governor John Frederick Hartranft (1830-1889), who received his Masonic degrees in 1858, and Major General Winfield Scott Hancock (1824-1886), who received all three degrees by dispensation on October 31, 1860, were both members of Charity Lodge №&thinsp:190, Norristown. Hall of Fame golfer Arnold Palmer was a member of Loyalhanna Lodge №&thinsp:275, Latrobe. Today R.W. Grand Master Thomas Gamon, IV presides over 400 lodges and more than 100,000 brother Masons.
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Hoyt Exhibit Unveils Secrets, Symbols of Masons, Odd Fellows
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Masonic Village of Sewickley offers college scholarships to its dining room servers
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Reading Scottish Rite Cathedral Damaged By Fire
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Local Jewish Freemason aims to correct misconceptions
Calling all Masonic Artists: Pennsylvania’s Grand Exhibition Art Competition
Pennsylvania/U.S. Masonic Lodge provides sense of belonging for Harrisburg men, while caring for the community
Pennsylvania/U.S. – 150 years: Renovo Masons celebrate major milestone
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Secret Philly: Inside the Masonic Temple, the intricate landmark next to City Hall
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Freemasons get together to plant trees in Alcoma neighborhood
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Royal Arch Masons recognize John Schultz for 75 years of service
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Feasterville Rotary receives donation from Philadelphia Masonic lodge for Coats for Kids drive
Pennsylvania/U.S. – The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, has reopened for limited public tours
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Masonic Library And Museum Of Pennsylvania Reopens For Limited Public Tours
Pennsylvania/U.S. – Philadelphia’s Masonic Statues Vandalized
Freemasonry rooted in Philadelphia – experience history firsthand
Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
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- Raffling for Repairs July 8, 2021On Jan. 30, 2021, during what was already a difficult year for businesses in downtown Butler, a fire affected four local businesses including Reclamation Brewing Company, a family-owned brewpub. A dozen local fire companies helped put out the blaze. As the proprietor of Don Paul Jewelers, a family-run jewelry store, Brother Don Paul, 33°, Argyle […]Megan Hess
- Art Contest: “Embodying Masonic Values” February 2, 2021The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania is sponsoring an art contest for amateur or professional artists, 18 and older, to submit original entries displaying a visual interpretation of Masonic Values pertaining to Freemasonry in Pennsylvania. Categories include oil, three-dimensional, drawing and print-making, water-based medium and digital imagery.Kelly Lynch
- December Quarterly Communication, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania December 3, 2020On Dec. 02, 2020, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania held its first all-virtual December Quarterly Communication. Traditionally an in-person event, Philadelphia’s COVID regulations required a pivot to a virtual livestream.Kelly Lynch