The three Degrees in Freemasonry, ENTERED APPRENTICE, FELLOWCRAFT and MASTER are the prerequisites of becoming a better man.
Welcome to Smithfield Masonic Lodge's web presence. Hopefully you clicked into here first to get a little more information on Freemasonry. The narrative below should suffice in that regard. Afterward, feel free to visit the 2B1ASK1 page if interested in learning more about our craft.
In the Middle Ages, the term “freemason” was awarded to highly skilled stonemasons who were hired as free agents to build castles and cathedrals in England and Scotland. Because of the inherent danger of their work, stonemasons formed local organizations, called lodges, to take care of sick and injured members as well as the widows and orphans of those who were killed on the job. Eventually, men who were not skilled stonemasons wanted to join the group for the many advantages it offered. These men were known as accepted masons rather than working masons. This is how the group began to shift from a craft guild to a fraternity.
The first Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons was established in 1717 in London. In 1718, English Freemasonry spread to France and Spain, and after 1729, to India, Italy, Poland, and Sweden. Freemasonry spread to other parts of Europe and eventually made its way to the American colonies. In 1733, the first American lodge was established in Boston, under the authority of the Grand Lodge of England. The United States now has grand lodges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
In March 1835 the first Masonic meeting was held in Texas for the purpose of establishing a lodge in Texas. Six Masons met under an oak tree near the town of Brazoria. They applied to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for a dispensation to form and open a Lodge. A dispensation was issued and later a charter. This first Texas lodge was called Holland Lodge No. 36. It was named after then Grand Master of Masons in Louisiana, John Henry Holland. Anson Jones was the first Worshipful Master of Holland Lodge No. 36, now Holland Lodge No. 1.
The charter was brought by John M. Allen and given to Anson Jones just prior to the battle of San Jacinto. Two more Texas lodges were formed, also given dispensation and charter by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. They were: Milam Lodge No. 40 in Nacogdoches, and McFarland Lodge No. 41 in San Augustine. Both were formed in 1837. These two lodges, together with Holland Lodge No. 36, sent representatives to meet in Houston and established the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas.
The convention elected Anson Jones the first Grand Master of Masons in Texas. It should be noted that Anson Jones was the fourth and final President of the Republic of Texas, prior to becoming a state. Today there are over 90,000 Masons in Texas and more than 900 lodges. How we have grown since 1837! We look forward optimistically to the future of Masonry in Texas and trust that its proud heritage will be built upon in the years to come in ways that will continue to serve and honor the great State of Texas of which we are a part.