Masonry arrived in the Colonies in 1682 when John Skene of Aberdeen Lodge,
came to Burlington, New Jersey. Nothing much more is known of him.
Over the next 50 years Colonial Freemasons exercised the immemorial right of
Masons to form a lodge and make Masons. Coil reports evidence that although no
chartered lodge existed in the Colonies, a lodge was held in King’s Chapel in Boston in
1720, and that the Boston News Letter for May 25, 1727 gave a detailed account of
the Grand Lodge meeting in London.
Starting in 1730, the Modern Grand Lodge appointed Provincial Grand Masters in
the Colonies. The first Provincial Grand Master in America was Daniel Coxe, appointed
for New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania in 1730. There is no record of his
performing any actions as a Grand Master. The Modern Grand Lodge also warranted
lodges throughout the colonies starting with St. John’s Lodge in Boston in 1733, and in
that same year, Henry Price was appointed Provincial Grand Master for North America.
He opened the St. John’s Grand Lodge in Boston, and issued warrants to lodges in
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and
The Grand Lodge of Scotland warranted lodges throughout the colonies starting
in 1756 with St. Andrew’s Lodge in Boston and Blandford Lodge in Virginia. They also
appointed Capt. John Young as Provincial Grand Master in 1757. Joseph Warren was
appointed in 1769 to have authority “at Boston and within 100 miles of the same.” In
1773 this was expanded to cover the “continent of America.” As Grand Master he
opened the Massachusetts Grand Lodge and issued warrants for lodges in
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, and New York.
Ireland warranted a number of traveling lodges with the Army in America. These
lodges initiated colonists who later became members of other early lodges. The
initiation of Prince Hall and 14 others into an army traveling lodge near Boston in 1775
was an event that continues to have ramifications in Masonry today.
Kilwinning Lodge in Scotland, which claims to be the oldest active lodge in the
world, issued warrants to other groups to make Masons on behalf of the Mother
Lodge. The first of these was issued in 1677 to Cannongate Kilwinning which still
meets in Edinburgh on St. John Street, near the Cannongate. Although Kilwinning
Lodge joined in the formation of the Grand Lodge of Scotland in 1725, a dispute over
their proper place on the list caused them to break away in 1743 for a period of over
60 years. In this period they warranted other “Kilwinning” Lodges, including now
extinct lodges located in Virginia at Tappahannock and Falmouth, and perhaps also our
Kilwinning-Crosse #2-237 and Fredericksburg #4.