Royal Arch

An Elaborate Royal Arch Jewel Owned by Lambert Keatting

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Front, Royal Arch Jewel, 1810. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.6656.

This elaborate gilded Royal Arch jewel belonged to Lambert Keatting (1773-1847), a member of Harmony Holy Royal Arch Chapter No. 52 in Philadelphia. Founded in 1794, the chapter—like others in Pennsylvania at the time—worked under the authority of a craft lodge warrant issued by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and took its name from that lodge, Harmony Lodge No. 52. In spite of its connection with Harmony Lodge No. 52, the chapter drew its membership from several different craft lodges in Philadelphia. Lambert Keatting belonged to Lodge No. 67, where he was elected Master in 1811 and 1812. Later, in 1820, he became a member of Lodge No. 2, also in Philadelphia.

A boot and shoemaker, Keatting joined the Harmony Holy Royal Arch Chapter No. 52 in 1810. A few years later, in 1816 and 1817, he served as the presiding officer, or High Priest, of the chapter. Around the same time, he was appointed to be the Senior Grand Deacon at the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Keatting had a life-long connection to Freemasonry. When he died, in 1847, his friends and acquaintances were requested to attend his funeral. The notice of this event in the newspaper invited specifically, “The Brethren of the Masonic Order generally, and particularly Lodge No. 2….”  

Keatting’s intriguing jewel, part of the collection of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, appears to have been made from two separate jewels(at left). The inner jewel—the round element topped with a bow at the top a banner at the bottom—is a Royal Arch jewel . This style of jewel—in the shape of a circle containing two interlaced triangles—was first worn by English Royal Arch Masons in the mid-1700s. On this jewel, at the center of the star, is a triangle that, on one side, has an engraving of a compasses surrounding a globe, and, on the other side, a circle with the letters of the mnemonic associated with the Mark Master Degree (below, at left). The space within the circle is left blank, suggesting that Keatting may have not taken the degree. Or, if he did, he did not have his personal mark or emblem engraved on this jewel. The banner at the base of the jewel threads beneath an oval with the letter G (a symbol for God or geometry) engraved on it. On the circle and on the arms of the triangle, on both sides of the jewel, an engraver cut phrases in Latin, English, and Greek that relate to the Royal Arch Degree (you can read about these inscriptions here, as they appear on another Royal Arch jewel made in England around 1791). On the back of the jewel, the engraver added Keatting’s name on one of the horizontal arms of the triangle, as well as a Latin phrase and the date (1810) on the circle. On the back of the jewel, the banner at the bottom bears the name of Keatting’s chapter, Harmony Royal Arch Chapter.

The outer element of the jewel is in the shape of an arch supported by two columns, spanned by four steps at the base. At the peak of the arch, above a keystone engraved with an all-seeing eye, is a hanging loop. A ladder (representing Jacob’s Ladder) connects the arch to the bow at the top of the round jewel. To join the arch to the round jewel, a craftsman cut away part of the bow. The round jewel is also connected to the inner sides of the columns and the top of the stairs. On the back side of the jewel, at the base, an engraver cut the initials of the name of the chapter and its number, “H. H. R  A. C. N[o] 52.” This inscription suggests that the arch and columns surrounding Keatting’s jewel may have come from a jewel owned by the chapter. Why Keatting’s jewel and another were joined together is unknown. If you have an idea or theory, we would love to hear  it. Please share it in the comments section below.

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Back, Royal Arch Jewel, 1810. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, GL2004.6656.

References:

John Curtis, Centennial Celebration and History of Harmony Chapter No. 52 (Philadelphia, PA: Dunlap Printing Co., 1894).

Bernard E. Jones, Freemasons’ Book of the Royal Arch (London, England: George G. Harrap & Company Ltd), 1969,258-271.

Joshua L. Lyte, Reprint of the Minutes of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA: The Grand Lodge, 1897).

Public Ledger, (Philadelphia, PA) August 6, 1847), [2].


Assistance from Those "Whose Benevolent Hearts Glows"

At the core of Scottish Rite Freemasonry is a vision to be a fraternity that fulfills its Masonic obligation to care for its members. In this week’s post, we highlight two documents from the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library that illustrate this vision in action, as well as the “benevolent hearts” of Freemasonry.

In the first document, an 1810 letter to Columbian Lodge in Boston, Massachusetts, Susanna Kelly, the widow of Joseph Kelley, a Freemason, petitions Columbian for relief as she and her children await safe passage to Suriname, the home of Kelly’s mother. Susanna’s letter highlights the difficulties that unmarried or widowed women faced in nineteenth-century America and provides insights into how the embargo and Non-Intercourse Act of 1809, two events that led up to the War of 1812, affected everyday Americans.

The second document, an 1810 report submitted by the committee to aid Susanna Kelly, outlines Columbian Lodge’s efforts to aid the Kelly family in conjunction with St. Andrew’s Royal Arch Chapter and its High Priest, John B. Hammatt. Hammatt, who had been initiated at Columbian Lodge, personally paid for many of the family's expenses and advanced Mrs. Kelly $15.00, which may have been used to aid the family during the voyage.     

A1980_013_25DS1 

 


Letter from Susanna Kelly to Columbian Lodge,
June 2, 1810

Boston 2nd June 1810
To the Right Worshipful Master, officers, and members of Columbian Lodge – Gentlemen

It is with extreme reluctance your petitioner again solicits your attention, a widow, with several helpless children, in a country without connections, without money, and without friend (excepting indeed the charitable and humane society of free masons, of which my deceased husband was a member) where can I turn for assistance, but to those, whose benevolent Hearts glow with pity and friendship for the unfortunate. Soon after the death of my husband I determined to return to my mother who resides at Suriname, and who, having heard of my loss, kindly invited me to her arms. But the Embargo and non intercourse laws, prevented my taking advantage of her protection. + I have been obliged tho very reluctantly to request assistance of your fraternity to save myself and children from perishing. Intercourse between this + other countries, having been restored, I hope soon to be able to take a passage to Suriname + am at present in cheap lodging at Charlestown waiting on opportunity for that purpose. But, Gentlemen, I am without resource to obtain a subsistence, a stranger, and a foreigner, who will employ me. I appeal therefore to that generosity, that charity and to that humanity which is so often exercised in the cause of distress – whatever you may be pleased to grant me will be received with the most heart felt gratitude by, gentlemen, your devoted servant--

Susanna Kelly

A1980_013_26DS1Committee Report to Columbian Lodge, 1810  

The committee chosen by Columbian Lodge to alleviate the distress of the widow + children of our late Br. Joseph Kelly by presenting them certain sums of money according to votes of said Lodge, + also to procure a passage for them to Suriname, with deference state, that in conjunction with a committee from St. Andrews Chapter, for that purpose, they have accomplished the above object, but not without expending more money than was appropriated by said Lodge for that purpose as will appear by the following statement,

Cash advanced Mrs. Kelly $25.00
Cash paid for bread 10.50
Cash paid Mrs. Johnson for Mrs. Kelly and children’s board 2.90
Cash paid for wine, eggs, butter [carg. hack hire?] 7.30
Cash paid for beef + bread 7.36
Cash paid for [meal?] and washing floor 1.75
Cash paid for [sundries?] by J. B. Hammatt 34.25
Cash paid for [sauce?] by J. B. Hammatt 9.00
Cash paid for [Truck.g?] by J. B. Hammatt 2.00
Cash advan[ce]d Ms. K. by J. B. Hammatt 15.00
_____
$115.06

That the committee from St. Andrew’s Chapter have paid fifty one dollars of the above sum. Thereby leaving $64.06 paid by your committee, + that they have received 25$ of the Sec.y, which deducted from the above sum leaves $39.06 for which no provision has been made.

Dan.l Baxter      Committee
Sam. Smith

Caption

Letter from Susanna Kelly to Columbian Lodge, June 2, 1810. Gift of Columbian Lodge, Boston, Massachusetts, courtesy of Mrs. Godfrey S. Tomkins, MA 002.

Committee Report to Columbian Lodge, 1810. Gift of Columbian Lodge, Boston, Massachusetts, courtesy of Mrs. Godfrey S. Tomkins, MA 002.

 


A Baseball-Playing Mason in 1887

Harry Wellington Davis markI was recently looking at a volume of Menotomy Royal Arch Chapter's Book of Marks, which is in our Library & Archives collection. The book contains the "marks" of 175 members of Menotomy Royal Arch Chapter, between January 21, 1867 and October 6, 1897. I was particularly intrigued by Harry Wellington Davis's mark, pictured here, which suggests that when Davis joined the Chapter in 1887, he had a strong interest or connection to baseball.

The Mark Master degree is conferred in Royal Arch Chapters. As part of the degree, each candidate selects a unique, personal “mark,” an allusion to the marks that working stonemasons left on medieval stone work. Marks selected for the Mark Master degree often represent or incorporate a Mason’s name or occupation, or feature Masonic symbols. Sometimes they reveal an interest, hobby, or other avocational passion.

Curious about Davis's baseball emblem "mark," I dug a little deeper to see what I could find.

Harry Wellington Davis (1863-1943) was a salesman who was born and lived in Lexington, Massachusetts. In 1886 he petitioned Simon W. Robinson Lodge, the local Masonic lodge, and was raised a Master Mason on February 7, 1887. In 1887, Lexington did not have its own Royal Arch Chapter, so Lexington Masons would have to have joined Menotomy Royal Arch Chapter in Arlington, the next town over. Menotomy Chapter was named after the old name for the town it was founded in - Menotomy, later known as West Cambridge, renamed itself Arlington in 1867, as a memorial to the Civil War dead buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Davis was one of only six members who joined the Chapter in 1887.

But what about those baseball emblems? A quick internet search turned up an 1887 photograph of the Lexington Baseball Team. The photograph - which is part of the Worthen Collection at Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, Massachusetts - reveals that Harry W. Davis was, in fact, a member of the team in 1887. He is pictured in the middle row, far right, in the 1887 photo.

Menotomy Royal Arch Chapter was chartered on June 12, 1866. In 1993, Menotomy Royal Arch Chapter effectively came to an end when it merged with Belmont Royal Arch Chapter and the chapter in Belmont became the surviving chapter.

When Davis died in 1943, he had been a Mason for fifty-six years. He was posthumously awarded the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts' Veterans Medal.

Caption:

Mark of Harry Wellington Davis, from Book of Marks for Menotomy Royal Arch Chapter, 1867-1897. Gift of Mystic-Woburn Royal Arch Chapter, Woburn, Massachusetts.


New to the Collection: A Royal Arch Apron

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Masonic Royal Arch Apron, ca. 1820, Henry Parmele, probably Connecticut, Museum purchase, 2014.115.4. Photograph by David Bohl.

With over 400 Masonic and fraternal aprons in the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library collection, we can be choosy when we add to our holdings.  But we are always intrigued when an apron with a different style or decoration shows up.  This was the case with this one, which we purchased at auction last fall.  The engraved design was new to us and we were very excited to add it to the collection.  The central archway with the ark of the covenant, columns, drapes and the figures in the center and to the sides all relate to the ritual for the Royal Arch degree.  The (originally) red trim also helps identify this apron as one that would have been worn to Royal Arch chapter meetings.  Unfortunately, the history of this apron has been lost and we do not know who originally owned it.  It also does not have any markings identifying the engraver or the printer.

Many engraved designs used on aprons were also used on certificates.  As far as we know, we do not have a copy of this certificate – yet.  But, our friends at the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry in San Francisco do have a copy of a certificate decorated with this engraving.  That certificate does have some information about the publisher and sellers.  Printed along the bottom of the certificate is “Pub[lishe]d by H. Parmele.  To be had of [Comp[anion]s?] S. Maverick N. York A. Doolittle New Haven and J.W. Clark Albany.”  Presumably the apron was printed from the same plate, or at least a plate engraved by the same person who cut the plate for the certificate.

Printer and publisher Henry Parmele (ca. 1781-1821) was active in Connecticut.  He reportedly came up with the idea of an illustrative Masonic chart of symbols before Jeremy L. Cross’s (1783-1860) The True Masonic Chart, or Hieroglyphic Monitor (1819), but Cross beat Parmele to the press and his book, with its groundbreaking illustrations, was available first.  Cross’s book became a best-seller and Parmele’s chart languished.

The other men named on the certificate were all active engravers in their respective locations.  Doolittle worked with Cross on the illustrations for his The True Masonic Chart.  Maverick (b. 1789), Doolittle (1754-1832) and Clark (dates unknown) inevitably both engraved and sold Masonic certificates, along with many other types of documents.

To learn more about our apron collection, see our new book, The Badge of a Freemason: Masonic Aprons from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, available June 2015 at www.scottishritenmj.org/shop.  Members of the Museum & Library or of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction can pre-order the book now (April 2015) through May 31 at a discounted price, by mailing this form with a check.


Rural Conversations of the Merry Midshipman (A Royal Arch Cipher)

Rural_conversations_webIt is no surprise that here at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library we have a large and interesting collection of rituals. In the past, we've written about a couple of Masonic ritual cipher books that have deliberately misleading title pages: Magicians' Magic Movements and Ceremonies and Hindoo Theology for the Use of Missionaries. These books are part of a subset of Masonic ritual books, mostly written in cipher, and often containing an intentionally misleading title page. They are often bound with a flap that closes over the opening and snaps shut, much like a diary. The use of cipher, the false title page, and the clasp binding all serve one purpose: to insure that, should the book fall into hands of a non-member, that person would not be able to make heads or tails of the contents.

Our readers may be familiar with perhaps the two best known examples of these cipher books: Ecce Orienti: An Epitome of the History of the Ancient Essenes, Their Rites and Ceremonies and King Solomon and His Followers: A Valuable Aid to the Memory, Strictly in Accordance with the Latest Authors. Both are Masonic ciphers for the Symbolic (also known as Craft or Blue Lodge) degrees.

The title page seen here is yet another example in this rather whimsical tradition of creating false title pages. It is, compared to the others mentioned above, decidedly more absurd:

Rural Conversations of the Merry Midshipman, Pompous Manes, Monkish Epicurean Mantchoo, and Rollicking Ambling Moufflon

What in the world...? you might be thinking. This title, of course, reveals little about the book's contents. The true title of the book is:

Ritual Ceremonies of the Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master, and Royal Arch Mason

As you can see, the misleading title uses the first letter of every word in the real title, but substitutes them with outlandish phrases.

So what is this book? It is a cipher ritual for the Royal Arch degrees for the state of Kentucky. The 1949 edition pictured here contains a helpful page that precedes the title page, which states that it was "Printed and Published by Order of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Kentucky, Royal Arch Masons." The book is a mix of plain English and cipher and would have been used by members of local Royal Arch Chapters in Kentucky for memorizing the four degrees that are conferred in a Royal Arch Chapter.

Although the edition being discussed here was published in 1949, the first edition of Rural Conversations was published by the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Kentucky in 1887. The organization's Annual Proceedings of that year devote many pages to it.

Caption:

Title page of Rural Conversations of the Merry Midshipman, Pompous Manes, Monkish Epicurean Mantchoo, and Rollicking Ambling Moufflon. 8th ed. (Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Kentucky, Royal Arch Masons, 1949)


Hindoo Theology for the Use of Missionaries (A Masonic Cipher)

Hindoo_Theology_for_Missionaries_webWhen I first came across a small 74-page book in our collection called Hindoo Theology for the Use of Missionaries, I knew that I couldn't take the title page at face value.

First of all, the publication information on the title page indicated that it was printed in Rome in 1814. As a librarian who has seen a lot of books printed in the early 19th century, I was sure that this book was not printed that early - and pretty sure it probably wasn't printed in Rome, either. It looked to me like it was more likely to have been printed in the late 19th or early 20th century. Secondly, the book was quite clearly some kind of fraternal ritual cipher book. We have many cipher books in our collection and a few of them - like Magicians' Magic Movements and Ceremonies - have deliberately misleading titles. I suspected that Hindoo Theology was another case of Masons having some fun at disguising ritual books.

It was while I was in touch with Arturo de Hoyos, Grand Archivist of the Scottish Rite's Southern Jurisdiction about another book when he mentioned Hindoo Theology for the Use of Missionaries in passing. He stated that it was a cipher for the rituals of the Royal Arch Chapter for the State of New Jersey. And yet I wanted to know more about this book - and about its odd title.

After sleuthing around a bit more I was able to find a definitive printed source that talked about this little book. In the 1950 Proceedings of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the State of New Jersey, there's a report of the Grand Historian, Harold V.B. Voorhis, entitled "The 'Manual' and The 'Hindoo.'" Voorhis was a top-notch Masonic scholar, so I knew that I had found a good resource. Voorhis writes:

Let us now look into the advent and adventure of that Masonic oddity known as the "Hindoo." We have no authentic data concerning the author or authors of the "Hindoo" or when it first saw the light of day. However, it is substantially certain that it appeared shortly after the 1864 Gould "Guide to the Chapter" and was published by [James L.] Gould in Connecticut. Consequently, it is not without normal surmise that Gould was responsible for its production. It is doubtful if the name has any significance - "Hindoo Theology for the Use of Missionaries -- Rome -- 1814." It must have been that he compiled it at the instigation of Companion John Sheville, with whom he collaborated in producing the Manual, because, so far as is known, the "Hindoo" was only used in New Jersey, where Companion Sheville had been Grand High Priest.

Although Voorhis concluded that "Hindoo" was only used in New Jersey, there are clear indications that it was also used in Iowa, as well. The 1896 Proceedings of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter for the District of Columbia, for example, state that "We observe that in Iowa the Grand Chapter issues and uses the 'Hindoo ritual.'" Looking at various Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of Iowa in the 1890s in our library collection indeed turns up numerous uses of the phrases "Hindoo Theology" and "Hindoo ritual." In the 1893 Grand Chapter of Iowa Proceedings it is also noted that the Grand Chapter of Nevada used the ritual and that "some few years ago we supplied the Grand Chapter of Kansas with copies of our Hindoo Theology."

As to why "Hindoo" theology, I'm still not sure. It's possible that this is simply a case of the West exoticizing an unfamiliar Eastern religion - the same kind of Orientalism that gave rise to the Shriners and other Masonic and fraternal groups and degrees that present Eastern cultures and religions through the prism of 19th-century Western viewpoints. If any of our readers have thoughts on other cultural references that may have made "Hindoo Theology" an unsurprising choice of title, we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Hindoo Theology for the Use of Missionaries.
Rome [i.e. Paterson, New Jersey] : [Printed by Mackay Printing Company,] 1814 [i.e. ca. 1890-1902]
Call number: RARE 14.3 .H662

 


A Masonic Cash Box

90_3T1 This unusual cash box, which the National Heritage Museum purchased for its collection in 1990, is a favorite with several staff members. So it comes as no surprise that it is currently on view in our exhibition, Curators’ Choice: Favorites from the Collection.

The inlay work draws the eye around the entire box. On first glance, you may think that it is inlaid with ivory, but it was actually made using sulfur! The preference for this material seems to have been localized to German woodworkers in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area during the early and mid-1800s. Despite the unpleasant smell of the sulfur, these craftsmen seem to have enjoyed the speed and ease of completing the inlay this way. Initially, the sulfur dried into a yellow color, which has lightened to its current ivory shade over the decades.  Our box is helpfully dated to 1861 (along with the Masonic date of 2395), although it is not signed by its maker.

The box's maker melted the sulfur and poured it into the wooden sections while in a liquid state. Once it hardened, he polished it and, in this case, it was decorated with pen and ink. The delicate illustrations are copied from the sixteenth edition (1851) of The True Masonic Chart, or Hieroglyphic Monitor by Jeremy L. Cross (1783-1861). Cross first published his book, with illustrations engraved by Amos Doolittle (1754-1832), in 1819 after witnessing the “improper classification” of Masonic symbols at degree lectures. Cross soon became America’s leading Masonic lecturer, and his book became a best-selling and influential source of Masonic symbolism. 90_3T2

The box has a tray inside with spaces fitted for coins and bank notes, suggesting that it was used as a cash box by the Treasurer of a Masonic lodge or Royal Arch chapter. Do you know of other examples of household accessories made using sulfur inlay? If so, let us know in a comment below!

Masonic Cash Box, 1861, Pennsylvania, National Heritage Museum Special Acquisitions Fund, 90.3a-b. Photographs by David Bohl.


New to the Collection: Masonic Jewels

2006_015_3aDP1 At the National Heritage Museum, opening up the prospective donation of a box of Masonic or fraternal badges and jewels kept for decades often leads to “oohs” and “aahs” of excitement as we find a badge that we’ve never seen before.  Personal items like badges offer an intriguing way to learn about the history of fraternalism, providing a range of insights such as how the style of the badge reflects the era in which it was made or offering a glimpse inside the life story of specific members. 

A recent gift to the Museum tells the story of one man’s Masonic career.  Robert Baker visited the Museum a few years ago to present a collection of five jewels that belonged to his grandfather, Julius O. Christensen (1875-1947) of Kansas City, Missouri.  The jewels were handed down in the family, accompanied by an Eastern Star medal owned by Christensen’s wife, Elizabeth.  Christensen immigrated to the United States from Odense, Denmark, coming through Ellis Island in 1893.  After attending Beloit College in Wisconsin, he married Elizabeth Strack in 1900 at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church in Batavia, Wisconsin.  The couple moved to Kansas City, where Julius was employed by the Independent Electric Machinery Company.  They had one daughter, the donor’s mother, Vera (Christensen) Baker.

Christensen petitioned Ivanhoe Lodge in Kansas City in 1906 and was raised on January 17, 1907.  He served as Junior Steward in 1908 and was Worshipful Master in 1912.  The earliest of this group of jewels is Christensen’s Past Master jewel (seen here at left), from 1912.   

Julius Christensen did not rest on his laurels after serving as Worshipful Master of his lodge.  In 1917, he was named Secretary of the Ivanhoe Masonic Temple Company (the Temple was completed in 1921).  Christensen was also active in the York Rite.  One of the jewels (seen below) is dated 1920, the year he became High Priest, and is engraved, “Shekinah Council.”  The familiar all-seeing eye symbol on this jewel is formed with a small diamond.  The symbol takes up the center of a shield with crossed swords behind it.  An elegant archway shapes the body of the jewel and the pin at top is engraved with Christensen’s name.  2006_015_2aDP1

Christensen continued his Masonic service for several decades.  In December 1933, he became Secretary of Ivanhoe Lodge while also filling the post of Recorder of the Kansas City Commandery of the Knights Templar.  Julius O. Christensen died at the age of 72 in 1947.

Top: Masonic Past Master’s Jewel, 1912, probably American, National Heritage Museum collection, gift of Robert C. Baker, 2006.015.3a-b.  Photograph by David Bohl.

Bottom: Masonic Royal Arch High Priest Jewel, 1920, probably American, National Heritage Museum collection, gift of Robert C. Baker, 2006.015.2a-c.  Photograph by David Bohl.


Addison Putnam: A Genealogical Quest

A78_042_Addison_Putnam_certificate

Who was Addison Putnam?  What information can a researcher find from studying Putnam's Masonic certificate?  In this case, the answer is quite a bit of information! For a recent workshop on genealogy and Masonic records, we used a Masonic certificate from our collection in order to demonstrate how one might use a document like this as a starting point for learning more information about the person named on the certificate. In this case, we used a Royal Arch certificate issued to Addison Putnam in 1855 (see image on left).

From examining Addison Putnam's Masonic certificate, a researcher can discern where Putnam's Royal Arch Chapter was located - which was Lowell, Massachusetts - and make an educated guess that Putnam himself likely lived in Lowell. The certificate also gave the name of Putnam's Royal Arch Chapter - Mount Horeb Chapter - and the date he joined Mount Horeb, which  was 1855.

A quick check of the Massachusetts Grand Royal Arch Proceedings (the annual record of the business of this organization), 1856-1867, mentions Mount Horeb Chapter in the 1850s-1860s, but  does not mention Addison Putnam.  Evidently he was not active at the state level of Royal Arch.

Since Mount Horeb is a Royal Arch chapter, we know that Putnam must have joined his local (i.e. Blue/Craft/Symbolic) lodge first, before proceeding to the York Rite. In that case, time for a call to Cynthia Alcorn, Librarian at the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, to see if she had a membership card for Putnam. She does!  Putnam's membership card gives his local lodge as Ancient York Lodge (where he was a member from 1855-1868, until he demitted), and later Kilwinning Lodge (1867-), both meeting in Lowell.  The card also establishes Putnam's death date as April 28, 1905.

A search of the Library's online catalog tells us that we have a lodge history called By-laws And List of Members, Kilwinning Lodge, 1866-1907.  Exactly the time period we are looking for!  In a list of former members of Kilwinning Lodge is Addison Putnam's name.  With this information confirmed we move on.

Next we go to the database Ancestry.com and put in the information that we know: name, place lived, and death date.  Ancestry.com [a subscription database] yields loads of information.  First I try the Federal Census material from 1860, then 1900.  I find Putnam's birthdate, November 1824, that he lived in Lowell, the members of his household (Hannah B., wife, children, Lilias, Addison, and Frank, plus two maternal relatives, Emily and Matilda Puffer).  I find that he married Hannah in 1848.  By 1900, his children are grown and not living with him except for one son, Addison Putnam, Jr. and his wife.

Next I check the New York Times obituaries.  Putnam's obit shows up in the April 29, 1905 Times, with his death date listed as April 28, 1905.  Now I know for sure that I am dealing with the same man that the Masonic certificate was issued to.  However, the New York Times does not mention that Putnam was a Mason.

I check Lowell Sun newspapers and find out his home address which was Nesmith Street in Lowell from the 1894 issue.  In another issue of the Lowell Sun from 1938, I find that Addison Putnam was a very prominent citizen of Lowell.  He had been given the title of "Grand Old Man of Lowell" and the title was just being passed on to someone new.

Finally, I check directories from Lowell, 1889-1890 and have some important information confirmed.  The Federal Census form simply read "merch. clothing" [perhaps merchant] for occupation.  Putnam was, in fact, a clothier in Lowell in 1889 and his business was located on Central Street and was named Putnam and Son. This directory confirms his home address as well.

Our quest is successful!

Image:

Royal Arch Certificate of Addison Putnam, 1855, Engraving on paper, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, A78/042