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 modern world would not be quite the same without these Masons: automobile pioneers Henry Ford of Ford Motors, Walter Chrysler of Chrysler Motors, Ransom E. Olds of Oldsmobile, former President of General Motors, William Knudsen, as well as former C.E.O of Freightliner, Kenneth Self. Needed to run these vehicles, is the fuel supplied in part by former Chairman of Phillips Petroleum Kenneth Adams. For the men who cannot leave the house without a shave can thank King Gillette, for the smooth results of his famous razors. Thomas Lipton can be credited with the variety of teas and coffees from the Lipton Company. While John Teets, President of the Dial Corporation, supplies us with the other necessities. The work around the house has been made a little easier thanks to Fred Maytag, of Maytag Appliances and Frank Hoover, of Hoover Vacuum Cleaners. Thanks to the department store ideals of James C. Penny of J.C. Penny, Abraham Neiman of Neiman-Marcus and Sebastian S. Kresge, founder of S.S. Kresge, we all have a place to buy these necessities. Former chairman of U.S. Steel Myron Taylor, as well as Owen Young and Ralph Cordiner, both of whom were former Chairman of General Electric, and former president of AT&T, Fred Kappel can also be added to the list of Masons in American business. The man who made the famous yellow #2 pencil that all school children know and love, Eberhard Faber. Wendys Restaurant founder, Dave Thomas, as well as Kentucky Fried Chicken Restaurant founder, Colonel Harland Sanders. I should also mention the former chairman of I.B.M., Thomas Watson, and of course all gun enthusiasts know Samual Colt, of Colt Firearms, and the designer of the Gatling Gun, Richard Gatling. Hilton Hotels founder Charles Hilton, and of course aviation pioneer and hero Charles Lindberg. I should also make special mention of the very successful, albeit controversial, former Director of the F.B.I., J. Edgar Hoover. The symbolic beauty of the Statue of Liberty can be attributed to Fredric Bartholdi, and the majesty of the sculpture which is known as Mount Rushmore can be appreciated through the artistic perseverance of Gutzon Borglum, and thanks to his son, Lincoln Borglum, who finished it after his fathers death. I also need to mention Count Agoston Haraszthy, the man known as the "father" of the Sonoma Valley wine industry of California.
Perhaps you, or a member of your family, has been treated at the world famous Mayo Clinic, named after a devoted humanitarian and Freemason, Dr. Charles Mayo. Thanks to Nobel Prize winner Alexander Flemming, the drug penicillin has saved many lives, and of course every parent knows the importance of having their child receive the small pox vaccine, discovered by noted scientist and Freemason Dr. Edward Jenner. As well as the founder of the American School of Osteopathy Dr. Andrew Still, and the man who is known for his isolation of the essential Amino Acids Sir Fredrick Hopkins. I should also mention the man who synthesized Vitamin "C" Dr. Charles King, and I should also include A.O.D.A. treatment pioneer Dr. John Oughton. Of course special mention should be made of Dr. Lucius Waites, who has pioneered a program for teaching children who are suffering from the learning disability known as Dyslexia.
These following Masons have been an inspiration to millions of people with their words of wisdom and spiritual guidance. Reverend George Truett, Reverend Peter Marshall, the man who started the Guideposts Magazine Rev. Norman Vincent Peale. The Reverend Joseph Fort Newton, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Bishop G. Bromley Oxnam, former president of the World Council of Churchs. Reverend Daniel Poling, Reverend Adam Powell Jr., and Bishop Carl Sanders. The author of the Pledge of Allegiance, the Reverend Francis Bellamy can also be included in the list of Masons in Clergy. And while not necessarily religious, these groups and their founders have helped shape the face of America. The Salvation Army was founded by the Reverend William Booth, the Lions International civic group was founded by Melvin Jones. The founder of the Boy Scouts movement in America Daniel Beard, was also a Mason. Of which over 300 Eagle Scouts have become Masons. I should also mention all four founding members of the Future Farmers of America, who were also Masons. They were Walter Newman, Edmond McGill, H. W. Sanders and Henry Grosclose. Another Mason, who can be added to this list, is the founder of the Phi Kappa Tau College Fraternity, William Shideler.
One cannot go through their childhood, without having a few heros. Men like Baseball legends Rogers Hornsby, Cy Young, Branch Rickey, and of course the man who is quite possibly the greatest baseball player ever, Ty Cobb. Remember Jimmy Foxx, "Doc" Cramer, and the man whose face is on one of the most valuable baseball cards in the world, "Honus" Wagner. Of course with out the idea and rules for the game of baseball by Alexander Cartwright, these men would have had to find another sport to pursue. Boxing legends Jack Dempsy and "Sugar" Ray Robinson are pugilistic heros to many boys who grew up between 1920 and 1960. Golf pro Arnold Palmer has given many golfers a score to shoot for, while former president of the International Olympic Committee, Avery Brundridge, has given hope to many young aspiring athletes. Also add to this list, former Green Bay Packer coach, and founder of the Rawhide Boys Ranch, Bart Starr, former Greenbay Packer star Ray Nitchke and former Buffalo Bills legend turned Senator, Jack Kemp, as well as former football coach of the University of Texas, Dana Bible.
Many of us cannot go through a day without picking up a good book, some of your favorite authors were and are members of the worlds oldest and largest Fraternity. Masons like the author of "Ben Hur", Lew Wallace, Johann Von Goethe, Lowell Thomas, and the man who wrote many educational books including the inspired novel titled "Up From Slavery", Booker T. Washington. I can also include Robert Burns, as well as the author of "War and Peace" Leo Tolstoi, and of course most every child has enjoyed the story of "Gulliver's Travels", by Jonathan Swift. I should include writer/radio personality Paul Harvey. Other Masons include Play Write, Oscar Wilde, as well as the man who gave us "The Jungle Book" and "the Man Who would be King", Rudyard Kipling, which were both turned into films. As has the stories about "Sherlock Holmes" and his legendary powers of reasoning. Which are from author, physician and Freemason, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The "Tom Sawyer" author, a man best known by his pen name Mark Twain, whose real name is Samuel Clemens. Mention should also be made of these Science Fiction legends, H.G. Wells, Robert Heinlein, and the man who wrote about interplanetary Masonic Lodges in his "Return Journey" novel, Charles DeVet. And of course the legend of "Ivanhoe" can never be told as well as Sir Walter Scott did in his spellbinding novel.
Of course the continuation of education has been helped along by thousands of teachers and other members of the faculty who have been Masons. Men like the former Dean of Harvard Law School Roscoe Pound, former professor of anatomy and surgery at Harvard University, John Warren. As well as lawyer and namesake of Stanford University Leland Stanford, the man behind the famed Rhodes Scholarship, Cecil Rhodes, the former Dean of Baylor Law School Abner V. McCall, and Samuel Kirkland, founder of Hamilton College. Other Masons to be included are Charles Flint, former Chancellor of Syracuse University and current President of George Washington University, Stephen Trachtenberg.
Even in the early years of American History, one finds several Masons. These men are some of the many thousands of patriots who helped to make America the symbol of freedom so respected worldwide. Men like these Revolutionary War Heros, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Knox, Hugh Mercer, Nathanael Greene, Jonathan Heart, George Weeton and the Marquis de Lafayette. And once our country was free, the Constitution had many of its signers who here also Masons. Men like, Gunning Bedford Jr., David Brearly, Daniel Carroll, John Dickinson, Nicholas Gilman, James McHenry, John Blair Jr., Jacob Broom, Jonathan Dayton, Rufas King, William Paterson, as well as statesman, writer, and inventor Benjamin Franklin, and of course the Father Of Our Country, George Washington.
I should include the Battle of the Alamo, because the Masonic Fraternity finds several members who fought for the liberation of Texas. Men like John C. Clark, Alharon Dickenson, James Bonham and Jim Bowie, as well as the Commander of these men, Colonel William Travis. Of course the Battle of San Jacinto is considered by some to be the turning point in the liberation of Texas, and thanks to many Masons like General Sam Houston and Davy Crockett, their goal became a realization.
The listing of all these American heros of freedom, in no way implies that there have not been Masons in other countries who have fought for the civil rights of its citizens, with the same kind of patriotic fervor as ours. Simon Bolivar who sought freedom for the many people of South America, especially those of Venezuela, Bolivia, Peru, Columbia and Ecuador. The name of Benito Juarez is honored throughout Mexico for his stand against oppression. While Jose Rizal of the Philippines is a much revered man who fought for the liberation of that Island from its former brutal rulers. Giuseppe Mazzini and Giusseppe Garibaldi are legends of freedom in Italy, while Lajos Kossuth of Hungary is credited with the same respect we hold for our patriotic heros.
The leaders of many countries have been members of the Masonic Fraternity, all of whom have been strong supporters of civil rights. The list includes, but is not limited to the following men. Long before Hawaii became a state of America, King Kalakaua, King Kamehameha IV and King Kamehameha V were made Masons. King Gustavus V of Sweden, King Edward VII, King Edward VIII, King George IV and King George VI of England, all of whom can be included as members of this Fraternity. As can King Stanislan II of Poland, King Fredrick of Prussia, King Haakon VII of Norway and King George I of Greece. I can also include former Canadian Prime Minister, Sir John MacDonald, former Presidents of Mexico, Plutarco Calles and Miguel Aleman. The man who encouraged the building of the Suez Canal, former Viceroy of Egypt, Ismail Pasha should also be included, and of course no list would be complete without mentioning Sir Winston Churchill, the former Prime Minister of Great Britain.
These well known Masons are just one small part of the membership roster. There are men, right here in this town, that are members who also contribute to the quality of life, on this planet. Like the elderly man in the wheelchair at the VA hospital, who gave his youth for our freedom, the mechanic who fixed your car yesterday, the guy at the grocery store who always has a friendly smile, or the Doctor who just saved another life in the Emergency Room.
To be a member of this Fraternity does not require that person to fit the same mold as the other members. In fact, it is just the opposite. What allows Freemasonry the ability to attract men from all walks of life, is the variety of backgrounds, goals and ideas that create a unique bond between the members of this Fraternity.
The above is reprinted by permission.
© 1995, Conspiracy of Hate: A Christian Perspective on the un-Christian Tactics of the anti-Masons. Anthony Harper - All Rights Reserved.
If you, or your Lodge, would like to post this information on your website, please feel free to contact Mr. Harper via email.
© 1995, Conspiracy of Hate: A Christian Perspective on the un-Christian Tactics of the anti-Masons. Anthony Harper - All Rights Reserved. If you, or your Lodge, would like to post this information on your website, please feel free to contact Mr. Harper via email.