THE SUPREME COUNCIL, 33°
(MOTHER COUNCIL OF THE WORLD)
ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE
SOUTHERN JURISDICTION, U.S.A.
1861 – 1891
JAMES D. CARTER, 33°
THE LAST YEARS OF AN ERA
1887 – 1891
“A few bits of information conclude the surviving evidence of the anti-Cerneau war of 1888 – 1890; a report that Cerneauism was nearly dead in West Virginia due to the action of the Grand Lodges in the surrounding states; a report of no Cerneau activity in Oregon; and copies of Pike’s pamphlets published in 1889 – 1890 not heretofore mentioned which are as follows:
“During 1889, Grand Commander Pike summarized, for the first time, the basic concepts underlying legitimate Masonic Bodies and the recognition of same that had developed in the Southern Jurisdiction. These were published and distributed as a circular letter throughout the world. This important document is republished in full in Appendix VII.
“Much of the correspondence of this biennium had relation to the condition of various Bodies and regions in the Jurisdiction, that pertaining to developments in New Orleans is of considerable significance. Although the earliest known ancestor of Scottish Rite Masonry in North America was an Ecossais Lodge constituted on November 12, 1763, at New Orleans, this form of Freemasonry, during the following 126 years, seems to have been intermittent, precarious and harassed by misunderstanding and strife. On January 16, 1889, Mark Quayle, Commander of the Grand Consistory of Louisiana, asked Pike for suggestions for the improvement of the Scottish Rite in that state. Pike’s reply is unknown, however, Quayle, several months later, wrote that some growth had taken place and that the degrees had been conferred in full and in ‘decent and proper manner.’ He closed by stating that he was receiving the support of all Scottish Rite Masons in New Orleans. Batchelor confirmed Quayle’s report and credited Quayle with the progress, commenting that he had done the work almost alone.
“More work was reported early in 1890, that the Grand Consistory was then out of debt and that the future appeared to be ‘hopeful;’ this report brought forth a letter of congratulations from Pike. A short time later, the Bodies in New Orleans were said to be in better condition than in many years past and then it was reported that the Spanish speaking Bodies had been reactivated. The next report was that all New Orleans Bodies were out of debt, that the Spanish speaking Chapter of Rose-Croix had seven candidates and that Louisiana was prosperous, which was said to indicate ‘prosperity for Masonry;’ a week later Pike was told that the Masons of New Orleans were planning to build a five-story Masonic Temple in the heart of the city and that all Masonic Bodies, including the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, would participate. There was reason to believe that better days were in store for Masonry in Louisiana.
“Grand Commander Pike seems to have appointed R. W. Hill to be Deputy of the Supreme Council in Indian Territory some time prior to July 1, 1888, for on June 30, 1889, his report was filed showing that eleven candidates had received the degrees from him and that his remittance was $744.
“Nothing further was heard from Hill and on May 29, 1890, Harper S. Cunningham asked to be appointed Deputy for Oklahoma. He was recommended by Jacob Dewitt and others but Pike appears to have replied that Oklahoma already had a Deputy. However, Pike decided to appoint Cunningham who acknowledged receipt of his commission and at the same time stated that little results could be immediately expected as there was ‘not a citizen in the territory one year ago,’ that the men in Oklahoma were ‘not men of wealth’ but ‘restless and pushing men,’ and that there was widespread drought. He did think there was a great hope for the Rite in Oklahoma in the future.
“However, the Rite was introduced into the Territory and this was the first step toward the great future. Many of the letters received by the Grand Commander during the biennium reflect the condition of the Rite in various areas. In Minnesota, the Inspector General estimated the membership of the Rite to be 200 in November, 1888, and early in 1889, a class of nineteen was reported at St. Paul. The formation of a Lodge of Perfection was reported at Duluth on February 7, 1889, with twenty members and sixteen candidates waiting for the degrees. Thirty more petitions were reported at St. Paul in mid-1889 and that the Duluth Lodge of Perfection had sixty-five members while plans were being made to establish a Chapter of Rose Croix upon the completion of a $20,000 Masonic Temple at Duluth. A class of twelve in the Chapter of Rose Croix and the formation of a Council of Kadosh were reported from Duluth to Pike as January, 1890, ended. Further reports that the Bodies in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth were all doing well reached Pike in March, 1890, but it was said that there was little life in the Bodies at St. Peter and Mankato and that the Lodge of Perfection at Red Wing was dead.
“Reports from Kansas began with that of a class of twenty-five for the degrees through the Thirty-second at Salina, the revival of the Lodge of Perfection at Fort Scott where seven candidates were advanced to the Thirty-second Degree and the completion of the work on twelve candidates at Wichita through the Consistory. In mid-August, 1889, plans to form a Lodge of Perfection from Masons in the military forces stationed at Fort Leavenworth were formulated, authority to communicate the degrees was requested and received, a petition for Letters Temporary was filed before the end of the year and on January 9, 1890, Army Lodge of Perfection was constituted. The last report from Kansas for the biennium spoke of ‘hard times’ and the need to consolidate all Bodies above the Lodge of Perfection in two centers in order to have strength.”
We could quote the remainder of the chapter, but it is of no use to us. As you can see, the business of Al Pike was just that — business. Not fooling around with strange rites and Klan meetings.
See also, Legenda XIX°. Also coming: more of Pike’s writings; Oliver on the Royal Arch Insignia; and more hard to find Masonic writings most of which are from the mid 19th Century of the Common Era.