Quill Un-mighty & Sword Dull:
An Analysis of the Rhetorical Responses of John L. Hairston to the review of “Lux et Veritas”
Christopher L. Belcher
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Hear Ye! For the Sword hast been drawn by John L. Hairston to defend the honor of the former Chair of the Phylaxis Society Commission on Bogus Masonic Practices, Brother Ralph McNeal Jr. John Hairston claims to have dissected the review contained within “Lux et Veritas: Light and Truth or The Origin of Ancient Freemasonry Among Colored Men in the state of Delaware”.(click here to see his blog) With all apologies due to the readers, it is necessary to provide why Hairston and other Prince Hall Affiliated researchers have their eyes on the blog posts related to this topic. John L. Hairston, through social media, gained the reputation as being the King of the Strawman Argument where he frames debate on his terms instead of basing it on the literature presented. He does this with long winded essays that fatigue his readers. In this piece, I will again entertain his fabricated arguments and also explain why the events in Pennsylvania and other states in the early to mid 19th Century are so important to the history of Prince Hall Freemasonry.
Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Histoorical Background:
First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania chartered Union Lodge No. 4 and Harmony Lodge No. 5. Union Lodge No. 4 was established January 16, 1816 and Harmony Lodge was established November 25, 1817. One year after the establishment of Harmony Lodge, Union Lodge along with Harmony Lodge were expelled by First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for rebellion against the Grand Lodge. These two Lodges, claimed to have made petition to the “white” Grand Lodge of Ohio for a warrant. Through authority vested in this alleged warrant, Union and Harmony Lodges established The Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1833. It can be easily stated that the actions of Union and Harmony Lodges and their actions which formed Hiram Grand Lodge can be viewed as the first spurious body of African-American Freemasons. During this time frame an arms race of establishing Lodges in various states in the Union was engaged. First Independent African Grand Lodge had established Lodges in New Jersey, New York, Maryland and the District of Columbia. Hiram Grand Lodge followed suit. In some of these jurisdictions, there were Lodges under the jurisdictions of both of these bodies. The Star of the East Lodge No. 12 was established by this body.
The Essential Questions Presented Again (The Only Questions John Hairston attempted to answer)
- Jacob Jenkins and Samuel Leary, according to the report of the committee, were made a Mason in Union Lodge in 1826 [under Union Lodge No. 4]. Considering the cited comments above, it is reasonable to conclude that Jenkins, Leary and others were made to an illegal Grand Lodge (Hiram GL). Is there any way possible to consider these Masons as legitimate?
- The Star of the East Lodge No. 12 of Wilmington, Delaware was formed under the jurisdiction of Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware. Hiram Grand Lodge was formed by those who claimed a Warrant from the “white” Grand Lodge of Ohio. If the warrant received from the “white” Grand Lodge of Ohio was “counterfeit”, as reported by the report of the “white” Grand Lodge of Ohio, how can Star of the East Lodge No. 12 be a “legally” constituted Lodge?
John Hairston replied:
“Yes, we can consider and be assured that Jacob Jenkins and Samuel Leary were both legitimate and regular masons. It is true that Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was formed by rebellion of Union Lodge No. 4 and Harmony No. 5, which eventually led to the formation of the rival Grand Lodge in the jurisdiction of Pennsylvania. Now, let’s move forward to what happened after the formation of Hiram Grand Lodge (PA).
Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania became more influential than its rival, First Independent African Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. This caused major division in Pennsylvania and threatened to destroy the fabric of Freemasonry among African Americans, because where there is no unity, there is the open field for clandestine groups to form and further put at risk the good name of Freemasonry.”
Further Comment: This logic is so far from the maxims by which the “modern” PHA Scholars model. When Hairston and others arm themselves with the swords to battle what they consider the “plague” of African American Freemasonry, they portray PHA as “PURE” regular Freemasonry. Lodges and Grand Lodges established by a fabricated warrants and justified? The Quill is not only “Un-mighty”, the ink could fertilize any lawn.
“In 1846, John T. Hilton, then Grand Master of Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, wrote a letter to all of the Grand Lodges of color to assemble for a National Grand Convention; this included an invitation to Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, of which Union Lodge No. 4 was a subordinate lodge to. This convention, despite the debate surrounding the events occurring at, produced the National Compact of which Hiram Grand Lodge (which represented all of its subordinate lodges) were signers and party to. Even masonic author, Bro. Alton Roundtree agrees that “whether, Hiram Grand Lodge was adopted or healed at the Boston Convention, it was made regular.”
Further Comments: Hairston could not make himself write that the ONLY way that Hiram Grand Lodge became “legitimate” was it becoming a member of the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient York Masons. He will never admit that Hiram Grand Lodge was a “illegitimate” Grand Lodge until 1847. John T. Hilton legitimized Hiram Grand Lodge to promote UNITY. What followed in the year of 1848, is yet another fact of History John Hairston will not let his “un-mighty” Quill write.
Union in Pennsylvania = The Death of Hiram Grand Lodge
First Independent African Grand Lodge and Hiram Grand Lodge, following the mandates set forth by the Articles of Union of the National Grand Lodge, by committee drafted a document of Union. The document was drafted December 10th 1847. The following month, January 19, 1848, the two bodies formed the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Free & Accepted Ancient York Masons. What is important to the Union is that both bodies declared the warrants of both Grand Lodges to be void and the warrant for the new Grand Lodge was issued by the M. W. National Grand Lodge. This Union had far reaching implications (this also brought legitimacy to Star of the East Lodge in Delaware) It must be noted that this Union would be repeated in various due to the fact that both former Grand Lodges had subordinate Lodges in several states. The beauty of the Union is that other Grand Lodges were established via the mandates of the Union in Pennsylvania. The 1847 establishment of the National Grand Lodge along with the Union of Pennsylvania led to harmony and celebration the following year in the New York convention.
Comments: With the Warrants of First Independent Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania as well as the Warrants of Hiram being declared “void”, the newly formed Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was the legitimate Grand Lodge in the state. Hiram Grand Lodge ceased to exist. Dead in the rubbish pile. Hairston would never report this because it strays from the confusion that must be maintain to promote the PHA maxim of pure “legitimacy”.
Hiram Raised From The Dead
Jacob Jenkins, who served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania in 1849, along with others objected to being subordinate to the National Grand Lodge. In November of 1849, Jenkins along with 7 Lodges of the former Hiram Grand Lodge withdrew from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, which was under the jurisdiction of the National Grand Lodge. Upon notice of the actions of Jenkins and his cohorts, the National Grand Lodge took action. National District Deputy Grand Master Samuel Van Brakle declared Jacob Jenkins’ seat as Grand Master vacant until the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was proper assembled to address the issues of dissention. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Free & Accepted Ancient York Masons working under the jurisdiction of the National Grand Lodge, on November 15, 1849 expelled Jenkins and the Lodges affiliated with him. The Jenkins Grand Lodge (A.K.A. the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, A.K.A. The Hiram Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and A.K.A the Seventh Streeters), continued to work under no apparent Masonic authority. There was a severe chasm caused by the actions of the revived Hiram Grand Lodge. Those newly formed Grand Lodges in other states where Lodges were established by Hiram Grand Lodge before the National Grand Lodge, re-joined allegiance to the Hiram faction. In 1850, Hiram Grand Lodge along with those pledging allegiance from the states formed what was known as the Eastern Alliance. The purpose of this Alliance was to encourage state rights and to help to destroy the body known as the National Grand Lodge.
The Character of Jacob Jenkins:
The following from the Grand Lodge of Colorado (mainstream) paints an interesting picture of Jacob Jenkins.
Comments: The above clipping presents all the motivation as to the character of Jacob Jenkins. I would be interested in seeing a source that proves the Grand Lodge of Colorado to be incorrect. These actions are of the same nature that PHA Masons accuse their former Brother John G. Jones. It amazes me how Jacob Jenkins is celebrated and John G. Jones is cursed.
United Grand Lodges of New York: The Issues
Hairston failed miserably to answer the New York questions. This is understandable because of the problems it poses to the PHA “maxim” of deception. With regards to New York, the United Grand Lodge of New York was a member of the National Grand Lodge. This debate was part of the e-list debates with esteem scholars and authors including Ezekiel Bey and Ludwick Hall. It was part of the debates when it was proven that the Boyer Grand Lodge, created by William Grimshaw did not exist. United Grand Lodge was listed as part of the 1848 National Grand Lodge parade lineup. Lux et Veritas printed Woodlin, word for word, what Woodlin presented regarding the expulsion of United Grand Lodge. Hairston cannot deny this. In the debates with the New York PHA Historians, I asked for documentation to prove myself incorrect. This was four years ago, no response has been made. John Hairston is about four years late to that party.
My brothers, especially those under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient Your Masons Prince Hall Origin – National Compact, be not fooled by the tactics of John Hairston nor be fooled by those who cheerlead his efforts. The historical literature speaks volumes to the disposition of the early Prince Hall Lodges and Grand Lodges. The source of legitimacy in Prince Hall Freemasonry is vested in the National Grand Lodge. Please note that there are few references listed for his words (which are in BOLD RED TEXT) and the other citations are ones that I used. You must not fall for this disease of misreporting by the sewage dipped quill and the sword that cannot cut butter.
 Scharff, J. & Westcott, T., History Of Philadelphia 1609-1884, 1884, Philadelphia, p. 2070
 Cooper, A. Footprints of Prince Hall Freemasonry: The Source and Course of Ancient Masonry among Prince Hall Freemasonsin New Jersey in the Nineteeth Century, 1957, p. 15-19
 Hiram Grand Lodge of Delaware, “Lux et Veritas: The Origin of Ancient Freemasonry Among Colored Men in the state of Delaware”1856
 Cooper, A. 19-20, * Cooper demonstrated the New Jersey Union that was in line with the Union in Pennsylvania as coordinated under the auspices of the M. W. National Grand Lodge
 History of Paxton Lodge No. 16 http://www.webspawner.com/users/paxton/
 Ibid p. 37
 Proceedings of the MW Grand Lodge of Colorado (mainstream) 1869, p. 335