Short History of Texas Masonry

At a celebration of the Festival of St. John the Baptist in 1844 at Portland, Maine, R:.W:. Brother Teulon, a member of the Grand Lodge of Texas, in reply to a toast complimentary to the Masons of that Republic, observed “Texas is emphatically a Masonic country: all of our presidents and vice-presidents, and four-fifths of our state officers, were or are Masons; our national emblem, the ‘Lone Star,’ was chosen from among the emblems selected by Freemasonry, to illustrate the moral virtues — it is a five-pointed star, and alludes to the five points of fellowship.” 

The first known Masonic meeting ever held in Texas was in February 1828 when Stephen F. Austin, Ira Ingram (who had his land in what would become Waller County) and 5 other masons met in San Felipe. They met to draw up a petition to get a dispensation to form new Masonic lodge in San Felipe Texas. The petition was submitted to the grand lodge in Mexico City. The petition was never acted upon.

The second effort was organized in Brazoria County in March of 1835 for the purpose of establishing a lodge in Texas. After meeting under an oak tree near the town of Brazoria the six Masons attending decided to apply to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for a dispensation to create a new lodge in Texas. After the dispensation was issued the first Texas lodge, called Holland Lodge No. 36, was formed and opened. It was named after John Henry Holland who was the Grand Master of Masons in Louisiana.

John M. Allen delivered the charter for the new lodge to Anson Jones, the first Worshipful Master of Holland Lodge No. 36, just before the battle began at the San Jacinto battleground. Holland Lodge No. 36 was later changed to Holland No. 1.

Two additional Texas lodges were formed, and each given a dispensation and charter by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. They were: Milam Lodge No. 40 in Nacogdoches, and McFarland Lodge No. 41 in San Augustine. Both of these lodges were formed in 1837. Representatives from the two new lodges, and Holland Lodge No. 36, met in Houston and established the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas. Anson Jones who was the fourth and final President of the Republic of Texas was elected as the first Grand Master of Masons in Texas.

By the time the first meeting of the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas was held in Houston on April 16, 1838 there were 25 lodges. The following is a list of those lodges:

Holland No. 1 Houston
Milam No. 2 Nacogdoches
McFarland No. 3 San Augustine
Temple No. 4 Houston
St. John’s No. 5 Brazoria
Harmony No. 6 Galveston
Matagorda No. 7 Matagorda
Phoenix No. 8 Washington
DeKalb No. 9 DeKalb 
Perfect Union No. 10 * San Antonio
Milam No. 11 Independence
Austin No. 12 Austin
Constantine No. 13 Bonham
Trinity No. 14 Livingston
Santa Fe No. 15 * Santa Fe (N.M.)
Friendship No. 16 Clarksville
Orphan’s Friend No. 17 Anderson
Washington No. 18 Washington
Forrest No. 19 Huntsville
Graham No. 20 Brenham
Trinity No. 21. Crockett 
Marshall No. 22 Marshall 
Clinton No. 23 Henderson 
Red Land No. 24 San Augustine 
Montgomery No. 25 Montgomery

* Never chartered

From that meager beginning, Masonry in Texas has grown to 900 lodges with over 130,000 members.