The Origin and Development of Freemasonry
| Freemasonry is the oldest, largest, and most widely spread fraternity in the world. The earliest date the name “Freemason” appears according to the historian Findel was 1212. In 1375 the name occurs in the history of the Company of Masons in the City of London. In the library of Henry VIII is a document known as the Regius poem dated 1390, consisting of doggerel verse concerning the earliest statement regarding Freemasonry. Since that time there are other recorded references to our institution. It is safe to say, however, that we can definitely trace Freemasonry as we know it today to the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, since when there has been an unbroken history.
No one can realize how much the United States of America owes to Freemasonry and how great a part it played in the birth of the nation and the establishment of the landmarks of that civilization which has given to the citizens of this great land the liberty which they enjoy and, by indirection, has guided the development of all civilization of the world in those countries where the accomplishments of war are not the ultima Thule of human endeavor.
Freemasonry came to our country early in the Eighteenth Century under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England delegated to Deputies or Provincial Grand Masters. After the Revolution and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Grand Lodges were established in different States and today there is one for each State in the Union and the District of Columbia.
Ohio is proud that within its borders is located the most distinguished Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons west of the Allegheny Mountains. American Union Lodge No. 1 of Marietta. No other Lodge of Revolutionary War days has received such favorable attention from American historians, instituted amid the storms of revolution nearly five months before the Declaration of Independence. It was first organized as a military or traveling Lodge. On September 7th, 1807, American Union Lodge unanimously voted that it was in accord with the proposition of forming a Grand Lodge in Ohio and January 4th, 1808, it and several other Lodges held a preliminary session to organize a Grand Lodge. General Putnam was chosen to be the first Grand Master. Today the Grand Lodge of Ohio has 597 subordinate Lodges with a membership of 140,000.