Hello wanderer! You’ve reached the online presence of a Masonic Lodge! Not just any Masonic Lodge but Saint Petersburg Lodge 139, the metaphysical mother lodge of the Saint Petersburg, Florida area. Saint Pete 139 is the Genesis of Freemasonry in our part of the County and she is as old as the beautiful city of Saint Petersburg herself! We were chartered in 1894 by a band of cowboy philosophers looking to leave the world a better place than when they came into it, and that is just the beginning of our story. Our destiny as Freemasons is to be the builders of society, temporally as The Ancient Craft has been in the past as well as speculatively and philosophically. The roots of Freemasonry stretch back tens of thousands of years, before the Cowboys of the wild west, before the founding of The United States of America, before the Knights Templar of the high medieval ages… all the way back through time to the building of King Solomon’s Temple. In those ancient times Freemasons were “Operative”, meaning that we actually constructed the great structures and wonders of the world. Freemasons were master builders that had unlocked the secrets of mathematics, geometry, trigonometry and early physics pertaining to the materials with which they built the great temples, cathedrals and castle of the world. This secret knowledge served The Craft well in its trade for centuries, and as the demand for the skills of the Freemasons grew, so did their knowledge. As Masons journeyed out across the known world to build their great works, they encountered other aspects of ancient mystery schools and preserved those various flavors of knowledge and wisdom within their own rituals and ceremonies.
As time passed the Freemasons had spread all over the known world creating a network of Masonic Lodges with skilled craftsmen who supplied much of the construction and building development wherever western influence was present. During the crusades, Freemasons built the castles and fortifications of Kings and Princes as well as those of the Knights Templar. Freemasonry and the Knights Templar were closely associated as everywhere the Templar went, the Freemasons also went, building their castles and fortifications. When Pope Innocent II issued the famous Papal Bull, “Omne Datum Optimum” he gave the Knights Templar special powers to be exempt from local laws, exempt from paying taxes and exempt from travel and passport restrictions. It is no coincidence that the same Papal Bull also granted these special rights and privileges to The Freemasons as well. Now fast-forward to 1776 where Worshipful Master George Washington, Most Worshipful Grand Master Benjamin Franklin, and Brother John Hancock decided to set up a little country you might know as the United States of America. In total, nine signers of the declaration of independence were Freemasons. They are as follows:
Brother Benjamin Franklin, Grand Master of Pennsylvania, 1734
Brother William Ellery, First Lodge of Boston, 1748
Brother John Hancock, Merchants Lodge No. 277 (Quebec) affiliated with Saint Andrew’s Lodge in Boston, 1762
Brother Joseph Hewes, Unanimity Lodge No. 7 (Edenton, N. C.)
Brother William Hooper, Hanover Lodge (Masonborough, N. C.)
Brother Robert Treat Paine, (Massachusetts Grand Lodge)
Brother Richard Stockton, (Charter Master of St. John’s Lodge in Princeton, New Jersey, 1765)
Brother George Walton, Solomon’s Lodge No. 1, (Savannah, GA)
Brother William Whipple, St. John’s Lodge, Portsmouth NH 1752
Worshipful Master and Commander in Chief of the Continental Army George Washington was not present to sign the declaration of independence because he was a bit busy at the time preparing to defend Manhattan and New York against Major General Sir Knight Henry Clinton. Many more founding fathers were also famous Freemasons but they are too numerous to list here. Now if we continue on our journey forward through time we find Brothers James Bonham, James Bowie, David Crockett, Almaron Dickenson and William Barrett Travis caught up in the famous battle of The Alamo! On March 6, 1836, one hundred and eighty-seven men under the command of Brother Travis were defeated by several thousand Mexican soldiers lead by Brother and Mexican General Santa Anna (who was also a Freemason). On July 4, 1976, the Grand Lodge of Texas placed a bronze marker at the Alamo, honoring the Masons who died there. During the following battle of San Jacinto, American forces led by Brother General Sam Houston defeated Brother General Santa Anna in a swift and decisive battle which lasted only 18 minutes. Brother General Santa Anna who was also the President of Mexico was captured the following day under strict orders from General Houston to bring him in alive. It is said that Brother Santa Anna upon being brought before General Houston in fear of his life gave the masonic sign of distress. In the end General Santa Anna was kept alive and three weeks later signed a peace treaty that dictated that the Mexican army retreat, paving the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country.
Have you enjoyed our Masonic Journey through time so far? Good, and now that you know a little about Freemasonry’s impact on history, let’s get back to the history of St. Pete Lodge 139. It all began back in 1893 when we were just a “U.D.” Lodge petitioning the Grand Lodge of Florida for a charter. We were one of five Lodges chartered in January 1894 under Most Worshipful Marcus Endel, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Florida. We were chartered with nine founding members made up from the most important and influential people in Saint Petersburg at the time. The charter officers were as follows:
Brother W. W. Coleman, Worshipful Master, a hotel owner.
Brother H. W. Hibbs, Senior Warden, owner of the first wholesale fish house.
Brother J . C. Williams, Jr., Junior Warden, owner of Crystal Ice Company (with his brother). Brother Williams also owned the hardware store and was a land developer.
Brother G. L. King, Treasurer, owner of the first saw mill (Which cut and crafted the very lumber that Saint Petersburg was originally made from!)
Brother James Henry, Secretary.
Freemasons are “Traveling Men” always seeking light and knowledge. As the famous writer and philosopher J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote, “All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost”. If you “wander” in this life but wish to become a “Traveler” instead of merely a “wanderer” then we encourage you to consider becoming a Freemason. Travelers seek the light and have a purpose, a moral compass and a direction. We Freemasons are a global Brotherhood of Noble and good men. We are an ancient order whose goal is to shape and build society for the betterment of all mankind. We are the keepers of knowledge, wisdom and light, and we embrace men young and old who are the seekers of these precious jewels. If you are interested learning more about Freemasonry please check out our “Masonic History Page”. If you want to know what it takes to become a Freemason, please take a look at our “How to Become a Freemason Page” in the drop down menu, under “About 139”.
Have fun exploring our website! Down the rabbit hole you go!