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San Salvador

The capital of the Rcpublie of Salvador, Central America. Freemasonry was brought into this State quite early, but in 1882 it was suppressed. On March 5, 1882, Rafael Zaldwar, President of the Republic, organized the brethren into a Lodge, Excelsior No. 17, chartered by the Grand Orient of Central America. Another, Caridad y Constancia (Charity and Constancy) No. 18,was opened at Tecla. On July 14, 1908, the Grand Lodge Cuscatlan do San Salvador was formed by three Lodges, Excelsior, Fuerza y Materia, and Manazan. It was recognized in 1917 by the Grand Lodge of New York. Brother Street, however, in 1922 report, writes:--"It has discredited itself very much in the eyes of the regular Jurisdictions by the readiness with which it recognizes the irregular bodies."


The Mexican War was fought in the Far West by young volunteers from the still-new States of Illinois and Missouri. It happened that John Rolls, Colonel of the Third Regiment of Missouri Volunteers, was Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Missouri; when he discovered a number of Masons in his lines he issued a dispensation for Missouri Military Lodge, No. 86; on June 15, 1847, this Lodge was instituted at Independence, into., the eastern terminal of the Santa Fe Trail; and on October 14, 1847, received its Charter. The Lodge held one Communication there; it held its next Communication in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Between those two Communications the young men Of Missouri marched 900 miles--a feat of epic proportion; and why it has so nearly escaped the attention of historians, novelists, and poets is one among the many mysteries of the West, which today, and excepting only for a few small populated enclaves, is as empty and almost as unknown as it was then; and especially was it epic because the men marched where never an army had marched before, through lands of hostile tribes, and deserts, and rattlesnakes without number (the existence of which, and still without number, is kept a secret by every Chamber of Commerce west of the Pecos River, they and earthquakes both). From Santa Fe the troops moved down into Old Mexico; the last Minutes (of a little book in the archives of the Grand Lodge of Missouri) recorded a Communication in Santa Cruz, Old Mexico, July 15, 1848. The soldiers they had left behind formed another regimental Lodge at Santa Fe, and it worked as No. 87 until Aug. 14, 1848.

The Masons left permanently behind in New Mexico after peace was declared petitioned the Grand Lodge of Maryland for a Dispensation; receiving no reply it petitioned Missouri, but again received no immediate answer. Then, under date of May 8, 1851, it received a Charter from Missouri under the name of Montezuma, No. 109, and it was instituted the following Aug. 22. This Lodge stood alone in an unsettled empire now divided among thirteen Grand Jurisdictions; a thousand miles from the fringes of the frontier; among an unfriendly, Spanish- speaking, Roman Catholic populace, with Pueblo, Apache, and Navajo Indian peoples along the edges, and at the same time the rendezvous for some of the wildest, most intractable white adventurers on the Continent. But it flourished, and for many years was Lodge, social center, meeting hall, church--it had even to make a cemetery, since the local Romanists would permit no Protestant burials. But the Lodge was strong because in its membership were the men who were to make new Mexico, first as a Territory, then as a State, among them being Christopher Carson, St. Vrain, Lafayette Head.

Carson himself later was to become a charter member of the Lodge at Taos, founded in 1859. Carson's brother in law, Charles Bent, first Territorial Governor, svas also a member in Taos, and it was there that he was assassinated by a crew of Indians, drunken white men, etc., egged on by the notorious Padre Martinez. Carson himself had once been a runaway apprentice, who "took to the Santa Fe Trail," and who found "out there" the country "for which he was born" a gentleman, a man of great dignity, intelligent, a master authority on Indians, an heroic leader in battle, one of the truly great men of the West--who had nothing in common with the boys' books hero "Kit" Carson who was supposed to go about scalping Indians and carrying two revolvers. He was loved, trusted, admired by everybody, Spanish Americans, Indians, and "Americans," even by the beaver trappers, "the mountany men," a tougher, wilder, more primitive set than the Apaches themselves.

NOTE. On page 181 it is stated that Carson died in Santa Fe. This was an error. He died of heart failure aged 58, on his ranch on the Los Animas, in Texas. Masons employed a Spanish-American native to bring his body back for re-interment in his old home, at Taos N. M., in a small plot of ground near his house. In the long tedious return with the body the Spanish-Ameriean began to have supernatural fears. His peneil-written memo of expenses is in the vault of the Grand Lodge of New Mexieo at Albuquerque; in an entry probably unique in Masonie expense accounts is the explanation of what he did to allay his fears: $5.00 for an image of the Virgin Mary!

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