MENDOCINO FREEMASONS: WHO RUNS MENDOCINO?
- Thomas Jefferson Founding Father USA & 33 degree Master Mason.
ASK ANY OLD TIMER IN MENDOCINO “WHO RUNS THE COUNTY?”, MANY WHO WERE ALIVE IN THE TWENTIES WILL TELL YOU “IT’S THE FREEMASONS”, HERE IS A LITTLE INSIGHT ON THE FREEMASONS AND WHAT THEIR ORDER REPRESENTS, PLENTY OF JUDGES, POLICE AND SHERIFFS AS WELL AS MOST PAST COMMUNITY DECISION MAKERS AND MEN OF LOCAL POLITICAL POWER HAVE BEEN MEMBERS OF THE MASONIC ORDER IN MENDOCINO COUNTY, OUR CURRENT SHERIFF, TOM ALLMAN IS SELF DESCRIBED AS A “PAST GRANDMASTER” OF THE WILLITS MASONIC LODGE, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR MENDOCINO?
HOW MANY LOCAL OFFICIALS ARE PART OF THESE ANCIENT “SECRET ORDERS”?
DECIDE FOR YOURSELVES!
This statue sits atop of the Masonic Lodge (now the American Savings Bank) in the town of Mendocino Carved out of a single Redwood log on the beach below Mendocino, is a Masonic emblem, the broken pillar the maiden beside it, with the sprig in her hand, and old father Time toying with her tresses.”
“The different styles of architecture are handsomely represented by pillars on the sides of the wall which seem to be sustaining the dome of the “starry heavens,” in which are represented two of the great lights of the Order. On the pinnacle of the dome there is a beautiful piece of sculpture carved from a block of the indigenous redwood. It represents the beautiful Masonic emblem, the broken pillar the maiden beside it, with the sprig in her hand, and old father Time toying with her tresses. The execution of the design is very perfect, and speaks volumes for the skill and ability of the workman who produced it. There it ever stands, visible to all who enter the town or pass through its streets, proclaiming in silent majesty, that grandest of all lessons which the teachings of this worthy fraternity seek to inculcate.”
Mendocino CA 06-12-11
The Masonic Hall, also known as the Masonic Temple and Mendocino Lodge No. 179, is an historic Masonic building located at 10500 Lansing Street in Mendocino, California. It was built in 1866 of local redwood by Eric Albertson and John Gschwend. Eric Albertson, who was the first worshipful master of Mendocino Lodge No. 179, also crafted from a single redwood trunk the unique sculpture of Time and the Maiden which adorns the top of the hall’s cupola. Also known as Father Time and the Virgin, the sculpture incorporates a book and a fallen column and has become a local landmark. While its exact symbolic meaning is shrouded in Masonic secrecy
From the book-
History of Mendocino County California – Alley, Bowen & Co., San Francisco, 1880
The Mendocino Masonic Temple
The secret order of the Freemasons has been around since the Knights Templar. Their main focus is on brotherhood and finding ways to help and better one another personally as well as in the community. Many communities in Mendocino County had their first court of law inside the local Masonic Temple. The Masonic Hall in Mendocino Town was built over a century ago in 1866, by Erik Albertson and John Gschwend. Eric Albertson is also responsible for sculpting the statue on top of the hall out of a giant Redwood trunk which he sculpted on Big River beach where he lived and died shortly after.On July 3, 1865, Eleven Mason’s assembled to formulate plans for organizing a lodge and on November 4,1865, they held their first meeting. Eric Albertson was named Worshipful master.On December 30, 1865, they voted to take steps in the building of the hall on a piece of land that was transferred to them by William Hesser and on January 27, 1866, they elected trustees to oversee the construction of the hall that had been proposed. On February 24, 1866, Eric Albertson was awarded a $1000 contract to build the lodge. So the lodge was built and on November 27, 1866, the lodge held its first chartered meeting.
The statue above the Masonic hall is the best known landmark in Mendocino and people come form all over to see it. To this day the true meaning of the statue is held secret by the Mason’s and give only this explanation:”The figures depicted are used by the Masons’ in their ritual work and thereby unknown to persons except Mason’s,” stated Wilber Wade (lodge master) in a LA Times article (3 Dec. 1989). Each part of the statue holds a certain meaning, for example, the broken column shown with father time and the weeping virgin standing over a book is symbolic of mourning. The statue consists of many elements which as one Mason put it, all he could say was that all parts of the statue together mean “time, patience, and perseverance will accomplish all things.”
“That statue really should not be there”, said Fran Lewis (an assistant grand secretary of the Grand Masonic Lodge of California) in the same LA Times article. “It should never have been done. Technically, according to our beliefs, it is something that should not be publicly displayed”
Free and Accepted Masons. — Mendocino Lodge, No. 179, was organized under dispensation October, 1865, and the charter was granted in October, 1866. The officers under dispensation were : E. J. Albertson, W. M.; William Heeser, S. W. ; George R. Lowell, J. W.; R. G. Coombs, Treasurer ; G. Canning Smith, Secretary. The charter members were : E. J. Albertson, William Heeserer, George R. Lowell, F. B. Lowell, G. Canning Smith, J. Gschwind, S. Coombs, R. G. Coombs, I. Stevens, and William Booth. The first officers under the charter were: E. J. Albertson, W. M.; G. R. Lowell, S. W.; Alfred Nelson, Jr., J. W.; G. Hegenmeyer, Treasurer; and A. Chalfant, Secretary. The following named members have filled the position of W. M.: E. J. Albertson, George R. Lowell, A. Chalfant, Alfred Nelson Jr., B. A. Paddleford, Frank E. Warren, F. Hailing, and J. P. Lindberg. The present officers are : J. P. Lindberg, W. M.; C. O. Packard, S. W.; J. Grindle, J. W.; G. Hegenmeyer, Treasurer ; Frank E. Warren, Secretary.* The present membership is fifty-nine, and they have made one hundred and three members since the organization of the lodge. In 1866 an enterprise was put on foot by the members of this lodge by which they were enabled to build a fine hall for their use. A stock company was organized, and the shares of stock were sold for $100 each, which were readily disposed of to the required amount. These shares of stock were bought in from time to time by the lodge as money accumulated in the treasury, until at the present time it is all in the hands of the Order. The building cost $6,000 and is not fully completed yet. When all the projected plans for the building are fully carried to a successful issue, it will be one of the handsomest lodge”
The story of the broken column was first illustrated by Amos Doolittle in the “true Masonic Chart” by Jeremy Cross, published in 1819.
Other symbols in the Masonic system are more recent. Perhaps they are not the less important for that, even without the sanctity of age which surrounds many others.
Among the newer symbols is that usually referred to as the broken column. A marble monument is respectably ancient – the broken column seems a more recent addition. There seems to be no doubt that the first pictured broken column appeared in Jeremy Cross’s True Masonic Chart, published in 1819, and that the illustration was the work of Amos Doolittle, an engraver, of Connecticut.
o invented printing from movable type? We give the credit to Gutenberg, but there are other claimants, among them the Chinese at an earlier date. Who invented the airplane? The Wrights first flew a “mechanical bird” but a thousand inventors have added to, altered, changed their original design, until the very principle which first enabled the Wrights to fly, the “warping wing”, is now discarded and never used.
Therefore, if authorities argue and contend about the marble monument and broken column it is not to make objection or take credit from Jeremy Cross; the thought is that almost any invention or discovery is improved, changed, added to and perfected by many men. Edison is credited with the first incandescent lamp, but there is small kinship between his carbon filament and a modern tungsten filament bulb. Roentgen was first to bring the “x-ray” to public notice-the discoverer would not know what a modern physician’s x-ray apparatus was if he saw it!
In the library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa in Cedar Rapids, is a book published in 1784; “A BRIEF HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY” by Thomas Johnson, at that time the Tiler of the Grand Lodge of England (the “Moderns”). In this book the author states that he was “taken the liberty to introduce a Design for a Monument in Honor of a Great Artist.” He then admits that there is no historical account of any such memorial but cites many precedents of “sumptuous Piles” which perpetuate the memories and preserve the merits of the historic dead, although such may have been buried in lands far from the monument or “perhaps in the depth of the Sea”.
In this somewhat fanciful and poetic description of this monument, the author mentions an urn, a laurel branch, a sun, a moon, a Bible, square and compasses, letter G. The book was first published in 1782, which seems proof that there was
at that time at least the idea of a monument erected to the Master Builder.
There is little historical material upon which to draw to form any accurate conclusions. Men write of what has happened long after the happenings. Even when faithful to their memories, these may be, and often are, inaccurate. It is with this thought in mind that a curious statement in the Masonic newspaper, published in New York seventy-five years ago, must be considered. In the issue of May 10, 1879, a Robert B. Folger purports to give Cross’ account of his invention, or discovery, an inclusion, of the broken column into the marble monument emblem.
The account is long, rambling and at times not too clear. Abstracted, the salient parts are as follows. Cross found or sensed what he considered a deficiency in the Third Degree which had to be filled in order to effect his purposes. He consulted a former Mayor of New Haven, who at the time was one of his most intimate friends. Even after working together for a week, they did not hit upon any symbol which would be sufficiently simple and yet answer the purpose. Then a Copper-plate engraver, also a brother, was called in. The number of hieroglyphics which had be this time accumulated was immense. Some were too large, some too small, some too complicated, requiring too much explanation and many were not adapted to the subject.
Finally, the copper-plate engraver said, “Brother Cross, when great men die, they generally have a monument.” “That’s right!” cried Cross; “I never thought of that!” He visited the burying-ground in New Haven. At last he got an idea and told his friends that he had the foundation of what he wanted. He said that while in New York City he had seen a monument in the southwest corner of Trinity Church yard erected over Commodore Lawrence, a great man who fell in battle. It was a large marble pillar, broken off. The broken part had been taken away, but the capital was lying at the base. He wanted that pillar for the foundation of his new emblem, but intended to bring in the other part, leaving it resting against the base. This his friends assented to, but more was wanted. They felt that some inscription should be on the column. after a length discussion they decided upon an open book to be placed upon the broken pillar. There should of course be some reader of the book! Hence the emblem of innocence-a beautiful virgin-who should weep over the memory of the deceased while she read of his heroic deeds from the book before her.
The monument erected to the memory of Commodore Lawrence was placed in the southwest corner of Trinity Churchyard in 1813, after the fight between the frigates
Chesapeake and Shannon, in which battle Lawrence fell. As described, it was a beautiful marble pillar, broken off, with a part of the capital laid at its base. lt remained until 1844-5 at which time Trinity Church was rebuilt. When finished, the corporation of the Church took away the old and dilapidated Lawrence monument and erected a new one in a different form, placing it in the front of the yard on Broadway, at the lower entrance of the Church. When Cross visited the new monument, he expressed great disappointment at the change, saying “it was not half as good as the one they took away!”
These claims of Cross-perhaps made for Cross-to having originated the emblem are disputed. Oliver speaks of a monument but fails to assign an American origin. In the Barney ritual of 1817, formerly in the possession of Samuel Wilson of Vermont, there is the marble column, the beautiful virgin weeping, the open book, the sprig of acacia, the urn, and Time standing behind. What is here lacking is the broken column. Thus it appears that the present emblem, except the broken column, was in use prior to the publication of Cross’ work (1819).
The emblem in somewhat different form is frequently found in ancient symbolism. Mackey states that with the Jews a column was often used to symbolize princes, rulers or nobles. A broken column denoted that a pillar of the state had fallen. In Egyptian mythology, Isis is sometimes pictured weeping over the broken column which conceals the body of her husband Osiris, while behind her stands Horus or Time pouring ambrosia on her hair. In Hasting’s ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RELIGION AND ETHICS, Isis is said sometimes to be represented standing; in her right hand is a sistrum, in her left hand a small ewer and on her forehead is a lotus, emblem of resurrection. In the Dionysaic Mysteries, Dionysius is represented as slain; Rhea goes in search of the body. She finds it and causes it to be buried. She is sometimes represented as standing by a column holding in her hand a sprig of wheat, emblem of immortality; since, though it be placed in the ground and die, it springs up again into newness of life. She was the wife of Kronus or Time, who may fittingly be represented as standing behind her.
Whoever invented the emblem or symbol of the marble monument, the broken column, the beautiful virgin, the book, the urn, the acacia, Father Time counting the ringlets of hair, could not have thought through all the implications of this attempt-doubtless made in all reverence-to add to the dignity and impressiveness of the story of the Master Builder.
The urn in which “ashes were safely deposited” is pure invention. Cremation was not practiced by the Twelve Tribes; it was not the method of disposing of the dead in the land and at the time of the building of the Temple. rather was the burning of the dead body reserved as a dreadful fate for the corpses of criminals and evil doers. That so great a man as “the widow’s son, of the tribe of Naphtali” should have been cremated is unthinkable. The Bible is silent on the subject; it does not mention Hiram the Builder’s death, still less the disposal of the body, but the whole tone of the Old Testament in description of funerals and mournings, make it impossible to believe that his body was burned, or that his ashes might have been preserved.
The Israelites did not embalm their dead; burial was accomplished on the day of death or, at the longest wait, on the day following. According to the legend, the Master Builder was disinterred from the first or temporary grave and reinterred with honor. That is indeed, a supposable happening; that his body was raised only to be cremated is wholly out of keeping with everything known of deaths, funeral ceremonies, disposal of the dead of the Israelites.
In the ritual which describes the broken column monument, before the figure of the virgin is “a book, open before her.” Here again invention and knowledge did not go hand in hand. There were no books at the time of the building of the Temple, as moderns understand the word. there were rolls of skins, but a bound book of leaves made of any substance-vellum, papyrus, skins-was an unknown object. Therefore there could have been no such volume in which the virtues of the Master Builder were recorded.
No logical reason has been advanced why the woman who mourned and read in the book was a “beautiful virgin.” No scriptural account tells of the Master Builder having wife or daughter or any female relative except his mother. The Israelites reverenced womanhood and appreciated virginity, but they were just as reverent over mother and
child. Indeed, the bearing of children, the increase of the tribe, the desire for sons, was strong in the Twelve Tribes; why, then, the accent upon the virginity of the woman in the monument? “Time standing behind her, unfolding and counting the ringlets of her hair” is dramatic, but also out of character for the times. “Father Time” with his scythe is probably a descendant of the Greek Chromos, who carried a sickle or reaping hook, but the Israelites had no contact with Greece. It may have been natural for whoever invented the marble monument emblem to conclude that Time was both a world-wide and a time immemorial symbolic figure, but it could not have been so at the era in which Solomon’s Temple was built.
It evidently did not occur to the originators of this emblem that it was historically impossible. Yet the Israelites did not erect monuments to their dead. In the singular, the word “monument” does not occur in the Bible; as “monuments” it is mentioned once, in Isaiah 65 – “A people…which remain among the graves and lodge in the monuments.” In the Revised Version this is translated “who sit in tombs and spend the night in secret places.” The emphasis is apparently upon some form of worship of the dead (necromancy). The Standard Bible Dictionary says that the word “monument” in the general sense of a simple memorial does not appear in Biblical usage.
Oliver Day Street in “SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE DEGREES” says that the urn was an ancient sign of mourning, carried in funeral processions to catch the tears of those who grieved. But the word “urn” does not occur in the Old Testament nor the New.
Freemasonry is old. It came to us as a slow, gradual evolution of the thoughts, ideas, beliefs, teachings, idealism of many men through many years. It tells a simple story-a story profound in its meaning, which therefore must be simple, as all great truths in the last analysis are simple.
The marble monument and the broken column have many parts. Many of these have the aroma of age. Their weaving together into one symbol may be-probably is-a modernism, if that term can cover a period of nearly two hundred years. but the importance of a great life, his skill and knowledge; his untimely and pitiful death is not a modernism.
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