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Sunday, February 27, 2022

Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Co-Sponsoring Revolutionary War Lecture Series


by Christopher Hodapp

As the U.S. inches its way to the 250th anniversary of America’s declaration of independence in 2026, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has announced its participation in a series of lectures and presentations on the pre-revolutionary war years. Entitled Boston’s Revolutionary Martyrs, the speaker series is a joint effort between the Framingham History Center, Revolution 250, the Dr. Joseph Warren Foundation, the Massachusetts Society of the Sons of the Revolution, and the Massachusetts Freemasons. It will feature scholars, historians and authors. 

According to a story in the MetroWest Daily News, the first presentation in the series will be held this Friday through Sunday and will highlight the events that led to the 'Boston Massacre' and its aftermath. This weekend commemorates the 250th anniversary of Dr. Joseph Warren’s first 'Boston Massacre Oration' in 1772.

Crispus Attucks is generally regarded as the first person killed on the night of March 5th, 1770 in what was quickly dubbed the 'Boston Massacre' by the pro-independence press. Six British soldiers and their commanding officer were surrounded and attacked by an angry mob of 400 Bostonians. When one soldier was struck with a club and knocked to the ground, the soldiers opened fire on the crowd, killing five men and wounding six. Revolutionary Mason Paul Revere quickly put together what became the most famous depiction of the event, an engraving that depicted the steely-eyed soldiers firing into the helpless crowd.

Attucks was of African-American and Native-American descent, and is generally regarded as the first American martyr of pre-revolutionary America. But many details of the Boston Massacre remain mysterious today. Questions that loom large include “Was the Boston Massacre the first fatal violence of the Revolution?" "How do leaders like Dr. Joseph Warren who have been whitewashed from history keep the memory of the Massacre alive?" and "How did this initial massacre shape the ideology of the Martyrdom in American liberty?” The inaugural series of lectures answers these and other questions.

The Grand Lodge Massachusetts is marking its 289th anniversary this year. It is the oldest Masonic grand lodge in the Western Hemisphere and the third-oldest in the world. It was chartered in 1733, following the establishment of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, and Ireland in 1725. Many of the participants in the runup to the American Revolution were Freemasons in Boston, at the English-chartered St. John’s Lodge (the first chartered Masonic lodge in the American colonies, established by the "Moderns" Grand Lodge of England), and the independently established Lodge of St. Andrew (which eventually secured a charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, and ultimately became a part of the "Ancients" Grand Lodge in North America). 

Each event will display artifacts, documents and period pieces that have never been available for public viewing, such as the lost archives of Warren’s medical diary, the only painting of Warren (by John Copley of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston) and more. 

Presentations include:
  • “Trial by Massacre” by Dr. Robert J. Allison (Charlestown only)
  • “The Ongoing Search for Crispus Attucks” by J.L. Bell (Framingham, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Dedham)
  • “The Martyr & the Massacre: The Story of Dr. Joseph Warren” by Christian Di Spigna
  • “Women Witnessing a Massacre” by Katie Turner Getty (Framingham, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Charlestown, Dedham)
  • “The Boston Massacre and its place on the Road to American Independence” by Jonathan Lane (New Bedford only)
The lectures will be held at five locations between Friday, March 4 and Sunday, March 6 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Dr. Joseph Warren’s first Boston Massacre Oration in 1772, including:
The events are open to the public. Join the presenters as they discuss and explore how that “Bloody Massacre perpetrated in King Street…” became an indelible part of our national memory. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased using the links embedded in the schedule above. The New Bedford event is free of charge.








1 comment:

  1. Wikipedia : "The Grand Lodge Massachusetts CLAIMS to be the third oldest Masonic Grand Lodge in existence (after the United Grand Lodge of England, which dates its own existence from the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland founded in 1725), INTERPRETING the 1733 warrant, creating Henry Price the PROVINCIAL Grand Master of New England, as the creation of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts" John Hamill comments : "Grand Masters under the premier Grand Lodge made many appointments from 1727 onwards but the appointment of a Provincial Grand Master in no way implied the existence of a Provincial Grand Lodge." If we can believe Laurence Dermott by 1733 several Provincial Grand Masters had already been appointed previously not only in England but also in Bengal (1729) Hannover (1730) Russia (1731). According to Benjamin Franklin (letter 28th Nov 1734, the terms of the 1733 appointment of Henry Price (°1697–†1780) stated that he was deputed “Provincial Grand Master of New England and Dominions and Territories thereunto belonging, which deputation and power was extended by London in August 1734 over all America. https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-01-02-0116

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