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Friday, January 30, 2015

Bannak Historic Lodge No. 3-7-77 in Montana

For a nominal fee, any Master Mason who is in good standing within their respective lodge and grand lodge and is recognized by the GL Grand Lodge of Montana AF&AM, can join Bannack Historic Lodge No. 3-7-77 AF&AM of MT. The lodge is located in Bannak State Park. It appears that they have yearly gatherings, but there is no stated meetings held, nor any degrees conferred. There are over 1300 members from across the globe that are members, but the majority of members are from the US and Canada. In other words, this is not a 'working lodge', but rather a historical Masonic Lodge in Montana that with the contributions, you become a fellow caretaker of this historic building and your money goes toward it's upkeep and visitors appeal.

The annual meeting is always the second Saturday in September. This year it will be September 12th, and members are encouraged to wear period costumes. Bannak was the first territorial capital of Montana.
Petition fee only - $37.77; Petition fee and either pin or certificate plus S&H - $45.00; Petition fee, pin, and certificate plus S&H - $50.00. Checks should be payable to Bannack Historic Lodge No. 3-7-77, A.F. & A.M. (in U.S. Funds).
*** All fees and purchase amounts are listed in U.S. Funds and should also be noted as such on any checks from outside of the U.S. ***
A photocopy of the petitioner’s current dues card (front and back) must accompany the petition.

H/T Darrell Waddell


  1. Eagle Rock 19 AF&AM of Idaho falls, Idaho, with dispensation from Montana and Idaho, confers a third degree every may. It's quite a day, picnic included!

  2. Can anyone explain the No. 3-7-77 ???

    Dale Dietzman,
    PM of Pompano #263, F&AM, Florida

    1. It's a mystery. There are at least 5 different explanations, and they're all probably wrong.

      It's a message that vigilantes have used in Montana since 1879 to let undesirables know that they had better leave town in a hurry or possibly end up swinging from a gallows. But nobody knows the origin.

    2. Brothers got together took care of thugs/G\

  3. I was wondering the same thing about the 3-7-77. Also, the website seams to be a little out of date (2011), or and I wrong?

  4. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Montana Highway Patrol patch
    3-7-77 was the symbol used by the Montana Vigilantes (Vigilance Committee) in Virginia City, Montana. People who found the numbers '3-7-77' painted on their tent or cabin knew that they had better leave the area or expect to be on the receiving end of vigilante justice. The numbers are used on the shoulder patch of the Montana Highway Patrol, who claim they do not know the original meaning of the symbol. It also appears on the flight suits of pilots of the Montana Air National Guard, and the Flight Patch of the Montana Army National Guard Medevac unit (C Co 1-189th GSAB - Vigilantes). Further, it appears under the bottle cap of certain varieties of Big Sky Brewing Company beer.[1]

    Various theories have been put forth about its meaning, including:

    A person was put on notice that he had 3 hours 7 minutes and 77 seconds to leave town.
    The numbers represent the dimensions of a grave, 3 feet by 7 feet by 77 inches.[2]
    The sum of the number 3+7+7+7 total 24, representing the criminal had 24 hours to leave town.
    The number was borrowed from California or Colorado vigilance organizations, where member number #3 and #77 were authorized to carry out executions.
    Frederick Allen, in his book A Decent Orderly Lynching, says the number meant the person had to buy a $3 ticket on the next 7:00 a.m. stagecoach to take the 77-mile trip from Helena to Butte.[3]
    The number set may have something to do with the date March 7th, 1877; the numbers were first used in that decade and first appeared in print later in that decade of the 19th century.
    There is no historical evidence that the code, "3-7-77", was issued as a warning to anyone, especially for the purpose of vacating Montana Territory. The Montana Vigilantes held trials in absentia for accused outlaws and, if any were pronounced guilty, set about to punish them. They had only one form of punishment and that was hanging. The best interpretation of the origin of the vigilante recognition code is from ALVIN T. WESTDAL, P.M., Chairman Emeritus, Committee on Masonic Education and Research, as follows:

    "Of 3-7-77 or 3-11-77, that "3" referred to the ancient - not less than three shall congregate to form a Lodge. "7" the number to make the Lodge perfect; or if "11" because eleven of the first twelve Vigilantes in Montana were Masons. "77" that seventy-six Masons showed up when N.P. Langford issued the summons to attend the first Masonic funeral for William Bell, with the deceased there was a total of seventy-seven Masons in Montana Territory at the first "census" of the fraternity."

  5. Thanks for passing this along to the craft, my friend!!

  6. Here is my paper on the subject - http://freemasoninformation.com/2009/04/montana-3-7-77-how-freemasonry-tamed-a-territory/


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