Presidents Day & Our Masonic Presidents
Washington's Birthday is the official name designated to what many of us know as President's Day. During the month of February, the birthday of two of our greatest President's takes place. Both George Washington who was born on February 22nd and Abraham Lincoln born on February 12th.
George Washington's Birthday has been publicly celebrated since he was in office, before Abraham Lincoln was even born. Much of the debate over the name of the holiday springs from the fact that state's can follow their own holidays how they see fit and many of them chose to also honor Lincoln, calling the celebration President's Day.
George Washington, 1st President, 1789 - 1797, Commanding General during American Revolution, made a Mason August 4, 1753, in Fredericksburg Lodge (now No. 4), A. F. & A. M., Fredericksburg, Virginia.
James Monroe, 5th President, 1817 - 1825, made a Mason November 9, 1775, in Williamsburg Lodge (now No. 6), A.F. & A.M., Williamsburg, Virginia.
Andrew Jackson, 7th President, 1829 - 1837 Harmony Lodge No. 1, Nashville, Tennessee, an Honorary Member of Federal Lodge No. 1, F. & A.M., Washington, D.C., and Jackson Lodge No. 1, F. & A.M., Tallahassee, Florida. In 1822 and 1823, he served as the Grand Master of Masons in Tennessee.
James Knox Polk, 11th President, 1845 - 1849, made a Mason September 4, 1820, in Columbia Lodge No. 31, F. & A.M., Columbia, Tennessee.
James Buchanan, 15th President, 1857 - 1861, made a Mason January 24, 1817, in Lodge No. 43 (it has no name), F. & A.M., Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Andrew Johnson, 17th President, 1865 - 1869, made a Mason during May 1851, in Greeneville Lodge No. 119 (now No. 3), F. & A.M., Greeneville, Tennessee.
James Abram Garfield, 20th President. 1881, made a Mason November 22, 1864, in Columbus Lodge No. 30 F. & A.M., Columbus, Ohio.
William McKinley, 25th President, 1897 - 1901, made a Mason May 3, 1865, in Hiram Lodge No. 21, A.F. & A.M., Winchester, Virginia.
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President, 1901 - 1909, made a Mason April 24, 1901, in Matinecock Lodge No. 806, F. & A.M., Oyster Bay, New York.
William Howard Taft, 27th President, 1909 - 1913 - Chief Justice Supreme Court 1921 - 1930, made a "Mason at Sight" in an "Occasional Lodge" called for that purpose on February 18, 1909, in the Scottish Rite Cathedral, Cincinnati, Ohio, by Charles S. Hoskinson, Grand Master of Masons in Ohio.
Warren Gamaliel Harding, 29th President, 1921 - 1923, made a Mason August 27, 1920, in Marion Lodge No. 70, F. & A.M., Marion, Ohio.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President, 1933 - 1945, made a Mason November 28, 1911, in Holland Lodge No. 8, F. & A.M., New York, New York, the same Lodge in which George Washington, the Nation's first President, held honorary membership.
Harry S. Truman, 33rd President, 1945 - 1951, made a Mason March 18, 1909, in Belton Lodge No. 450, A.F. & A.M., Belton, Missouri. He served as the Grand Master of Masons of Missouri in 1940.
Truman was Initiated an Entered Apprentice on February 9, 1909, Belton Lodge No. 450, Belton, Missouri. In 1911, several Members of Belton Lodge separated to establish Grandview Lodge No. 618, Grandview, Missouri, and Brother Truman served as its first Worshipful Master. At the Annual Session of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, September 24-25, 1940, Brother Truman was elected (by a landslide) the ninety-seventh Grand Master of Masons of Missouri, and served until October 1, 1941. Brother and President Truman was made a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33º, and Honorary Member, Supreme Council on October 19,1945 at the Supreme Council A.A.S.R. Southern Jurisdiction Headquarters in Washington D.C., upon which occasion he served as Exemplar (Representative) for his Class. He was elected an Honorary Grand Master of the International Supreme Council, Order of De Molay. On May 18, 1959, Brother and Former President Truman was presented with a fifty-year award, the only U.S. President to reach that golden anniversary in Freemasonry.
Gerald R. Ford, Jr. 38th President, 1974 - 1977. He was raised to the Sublime degree of Master Mason on May 18, 1951 in Columbia Lodge No. 3, F. &.A.M., of Washington, D.C., as a courtesy for Malta Lodge No. 465, F. & A.M. of Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Lyndon Baines Johnson 1908-1973. 36th President, 1963 - 1969. He was Initiated an Entered Apprentice at Johnson City Lodge No. 561, Johnson City, Texas. October 30, 1937. He did not advance any further in Masonry.
It was in 1968 that the term President's Day came up for legal consideration in the Congress but not authorized by a majority vote, though the holiday was moved to fall between the two President's birthdays. Again in the 1980's there was a resurgence of the term with advertisers that solidified the holiday name in American culture. Today, few Americans prefer to call the holiday Washington's Birthday in lieu of President's Day.