Famous Freemasons - Part 1 of 2 [Archive] - Glock Talk


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06-18-2007, 11:56
Famous Freemasons - Part 1 of 2

FAMOUS FREEMASONS: Yesterday And Today

I will not try to overwhelm you with the most complete listing of famous men, who were also Freemasons, ever compiled. First of all, because "fame" is a very subjective label, and as such, a man who is "famous" in one field may be literally unknown in another. Because Masonry is universal in its appeal, its membership make-up is a very diverse cross section of our society. Hopefully you will find some Masons whose names you recognize, and works you admire. And secondly, the desire for joining this Fraternity should not be based on all the "famous members", but rather your desire to help your fellow man.

Suffice it to say, every man listed herein is, or was if he is deceased, a Mason. And in most situations, he was also a member of many of the other Masonic affiliated organizations. I am certain many Masons are not listed. If you know of a notable Mason, who should be listed, please forward the information for inclusion.


I wish to start this listing with the men who served this Country when asked, and were recognized for their service - Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. The (Congressional) Medal of Honor has been issued to many men in the course of American history, of which nearly one hundred fifty recipients of this honor are Masons. The recipients of this honor have fought in many different battles. From the Civil War, to the Boxer Rebellion. From both World Wars, as well as Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War.

Included among the recipients are these World War Two Heros: General Douglass McArthur, USA; Colonel Jackson Pharris, USMC; and Captain James Burt, USA. As well as pilot extraordinare, General Jimmy Doolittle, USA; General Merrit Edson, USMC; Lieutenant Donald Gary, USN; Lieutenant Nathan Gordon, USN; Major William Wilbur, USA; and General Jonathan Wainwright, USA. Captain Ernie Dervishian, USA; Captain Joseph Foss, USMC; Major Hulon Whittington, USMC; Colonel William Hall, USN; Major Carlos Ogdon, USA; Captain Donald Rudolph, USA; General Teddy Roosevelt Jr., USA; and the man who is without a doubt one of the most decorated soldiers ever in the history of the United States Army, Sergeant Audie Murphy.

I would like to include Captain Lewis Millett, USA; and Colonel Carl Sitter, USMC, (who is also a Past President of the National Sojourners); both of whom received the Medal of Honor, but were only a small part of the thousands who fought for the freedom of South Korea.

While there were many men who fought for the liberation of South Vietnam, these are some of the Americans whose actions resulted in their being served with the Medal of Honor. Lieutenant Colonel Joe Jackson, USAF; Lieutenant Colonel Leo Thorsness, USAF; Mechanic 3rd Class Marvin Shields, USN; and Boatswain's Mate 1st Class James Williams, USN.


The United States of America has had fourteen Presidents who were also Master Masons. These include our first President, the man known as "the father of our country", George Washington; and the man who helped write the Monroe Doctrine, James Monroe; as well as Andrew Jackson, who also served as Grand Master of Masons in Tennessee. Also included are James Polk; James Buchanan; and Andrew Johnson, who was also the first President to receive the Degrees of the Scottish Rite. President James Garfield was also a member of the Knights Templar, unfortunately he fell victim to an assassins bullet. William McKinley, is another President who had his life terminated by an assassin. The man who had the "teddy bear" named after him, Theodore Roosevelt. Of course, William Taft was not only a Mason, he was the only President to be made a "Mason at sight". Warren Harding was the first President to become a Shriner; while Franklin Roosevelt was the first President to become a member of the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. President Harry Truman also served as Grand Master of Masons in the State of Missouri, as well as being the only President to receive the 33rd Degree of the Scottish Rite from the Northern and Southern Jurisdictions. I should also mention President Lyndon Johnson, who was only an Entered Apprentice Mason, he never completed his Masonic Degrees. Closing out this list with the last, Masonic, President, our 38th President, Gerald Ford, who was an honorary member of the DeMolay-Legion of Honor, and also an active Shriner.


Of course there have also been seventeen Vice Presidents who were also Masons. Of these only Harry Truman, Lyndon Johnson and Gerald Ford went on to serve as President. The remaining Vice Presidents are George Clinton; Elbridge Gerry; Daniel Tompkins; Richard Johnson; George Dallas; William King; John Breckenridge; Schuyler Colfay; Adelai Stevenson; Garrett Hobart; Charles Fairbanks; Thomas Marshall; Henry Wallace; and Hubert Humphrey.


According to records of the Masonic Service Association, the year of 1959 was the year of the highest membership of Masons in America. In 1959 there were approximately four million one hundred thousand members, while today, in 1995, there are only approximately two million one hundred thousand Masons, which is quite possibility the lowest point of membership in over fifty years. This steady decline in membership can be felt in many areas, and it can be seen in the roster of Government Officials as well. In 1959 there were fifty-four of the ninety-eight Senators who were Masons. Some of them include; John Sparkman, Barry Goldwater, Thomas Kuchel, Gordon Allott, John Williams, George Smathers, Herman Talmadge, Frank Carlson, John Butler, Hubert Humphrey, Jonathan Stennis, Alan Bible, Kenneth Keating, Mike Monroney, J. Strom Thurmond, Albert Gore Sr., Ralph Yarborough, Harry Byrd, Robert Byrd, and Alexander Wiley. At the beginning of 1995, the membership of Masons, who are members of the Senate only number sixteen. Men like; Sam Nunn, Craig Thomas, Alan Simpson, Charles Grassley, Robert Dole, Jesse Helms, J. Bennett Johnston Jr., Trent Lott, John Glenn, Mark Hatfield, Conrad Burns, James Exon, Richard Bryan, Robert Byrd, Strom Thurmond and Ernest Hollings.


In 1995 there are only thirty-one members of our Congress who are Masons, compare that with the one hundred ninety one who were Masons in 1959. Some of the members of 1959 include Lester Johnson, Melvin Laird, William Van Pelt, and Gardner Withrow. Some of the Masons who are serving us in the one hundred fourth Congress are Thomas Petri, Nick Rahall, Owen Pickett, Jim Chapman, Jimmy Quillen, Tom Bevill, Carlos Moorhead, John Porter, Stephen Buyer, Richard Baker, Charles Bass, Howard Coble and Bud Shuster.


In 1959 there were twenty-nine Governors where also Masons, however, that number has dropped noticeably since then. In 1995 there are only two Governors who are also Masons, Tommy Thompson from Wisconsin, and Melvin Carnahan from Missouri. The role of Lieutenant Governor is one which has also shown a decrease in the number of Masons. In 1959 there were eighteen Masons in this position, while in 1995 there are only seven. Men like Frank O'Bannon, Roger Wilson, Dennis Rehberg, Robert Peeler, James Wilder, Robert Bullock and James McCallum.


There are other examples of Masons in American leadership. The team of Mariwether Lewis and William Clark mapped much of what would become the United States. While Admiral Robert Peary and Donald Macmillan did the same for the exploration of the North Pole. Admiral Richard Byrd and his team did the same for the Antarctic. During his 1933-1935 South Pole expedition, sixty of the eighty-two men were Masons, including Gernt Balchen. There have been eleven astronauts who were Masons.

Most of you know the names of "Buzz" Aldrin, Gordon Cooper, Don Eisele, Jim Irwin, Robert Kline, Edgar Mitchell, Paul Weitz, Virgil Grissom, Tom Stafford, Wally Schirra, and the man who has also served as a U.S. Senator, John Glenn. These space pioneers all conjure up stirring memories. Perhaps equally as important were the dozens of Masons who worked in the background. Including former NASA Administrator James Webb and Command Services Manager Ken Kleinknecht.


The field of entertainment has boasted dozens of Masons in its ranks, including with the man best known for his Rhett Butler, Clark Gable. Also included are these Black and White comedy film legends, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, as well as Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and W.C. Fields, who can make us laugh as hard today as when their films were originally made. Other entertainers include "Red" Skelton, Eddie Cantor, Danny Thomas, and the man who made Zorro a legend, Douglass Fairbanks Sr. With a record of over one hundred seventy five films to his credit John Wayne seems larger than life. I need to also mention the legendary character actor Royal Dano, who has also appeared in over one hundred films. I would also like to mention these Cowboy Legends, Tom Mix, and Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and "Tex" Ritter. I must also make mention of radio and television personality Arthur Godfrey, as well as the actor best remembered for his Pink Panther films Peter Sellers, and the outstanding Norm Crosby. The man who gave so much to show biz through The Ziegfeld Follies, Florenz Ziegfeld. As well as studio executives, Louis B. Mayer of MGM fame, Darrell Zanuk of 20th Century, Adolph Zukor of Paramount and Jack Warner of Warner Brothers, and Walt Disney, who is also a DeMolay Legion of Honor member. Mention should also be made of William Wyler and Cecil B. DeMille, who were quite possibly the greatest film directors ever to grace Hollywood. And thanks to Ben Marcus, of Marcus Theaters, we have a place to see these wonderful films.


Of course, what would life be without music? Country Music legends Roy Clark, Eddie Arnold, and the man who gave us the Wings of a Dove, Ferlin Husky. Song writer and singer Roy Acuff, can also be included, as well as Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart, who gave us The Tennessee Waltz among many other hits. Also to be included are Hank Thompson, Mel Tillis, and guitar man extraordinaire, Chet Atkins, and recent Grand Ole Opry inductee, Bashful Brother Oswald. Pop music crooner Nat "King" Cole, and Burle Ives are also listed among this Fraternity's members. The music of "Count" Basie, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Al Jolson, "Duke" Ellington and Irving Berlin is as alive today, as when it was written. When you think of America's Independence Day celebrations with parades and music, John Phillip Sousa, the man known as "the King of Marches" comes to mind. Even in the field of Classical Music, one finds Masonry well represented, with men like, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Jean Sibilius, Franz Haydn, Johann Sebastian Bach, and of course the man who composed work titled The Messiah, comes from George Fredrick Handel. I should mention Jazz Legends Paul Whiteman, Louis Armstrong, and Lionel Hampton. As well as the famous duo of William Gilbert and Art Sullivan; I need to also mention William Handy, who is credited as "the Father of the Blues"; as well as Tony Stewart, the bass player for Foghat, which is considered one of the greatest Rock bands ever to perform.

The above is reprinted by permission.

1995, Conspiracy of Hate: A Christian Perspective on the un-Christian Tactics of the anti-Masons