One of the most enthralling and romantic portions of all Masonic history lies in the story of the part played by Freemasons in the formation of our country. We will never know just how great a part Freemasonry actually did play; but without exaggeration, we can say that Freemasonry and Masonic thinking contributed most significantly to the founding of this great democracy.
It was inevitable that Freemasonry should follow the colonists to America and play a most important part in the establishment of the thirteen colonies. Freemasonry was formally recognized for the first time in America with the appointment by the Grand Lodge of England of a Provincial Grand Master in Massachusetts in 1733. American Masons worked under foreign jurisdiction until 1781, when the first Grand Lodge was established in the State of New York.
A significant number of the signers of the Declaration of Independence as well as the drafters of the Constitution were members of our Fraternity, many of them most active in the affairs of their Lodges. George Washington was a staunch Freemason, and it is said that before the close of the Revolution he placed no one but Freemasons in posts of importance. He was the first of thirteen Masonic Presidents and the only one to serve as Worshipful Master of a Lodge and President at one and the same time. The others after Washington are Jackson, Polk, Buchanan, Johnson, Garfield, McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Franklin Roosevelt, Truman and Ford -- of whom Jackson and Truman served also as Grand Masters.
In the struggle for Independence such well-known patriots as Paul Revere, Joseph Warren, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Hancock, as well as Lafayette, Von Steuben and many others, were members of the Craft. No doubt Freemasonry was responsible for and shaped much of their thinking and opinions.
Volumes have been written about the participation of Freemasons in the Revolution and the founding of America. Time will not permit us to say more except that it was an episode in history of which we can all be most proud.
Ever since that period Masonry has grown and flourished, following closely the growth and expansion of the United States. Freemasonry came to Texas as part of that expansion.