In 1942 McGill University had a Masonic Club. It was in it’s 19th year. Their purpose was … “to keep the student Mason in touch with the Craft during his attendance at college. This the club has attempted to do, in so in spite of the increasing demands made by the War on its members. University Lodge is the sponsor of the Masonic Club, and Club members are urged to look on University Lodge as their “Masonic home” while at McGill.”
While I cannot find a reference to a Masons Club in University of Toronto’s 1936 Year Book, 42 separate “fraternity” clubs are listed with names like Phi Delta Theta and Beta Theta Pi. I bet a Masons Club existed there too and still does
Who are the Masons? Freemasonry was first established in London in 1717. It’s evolution represented a response to men’s social need to organize themselves into some kind of brotherhood during a period when the dominant social ethic was becoming individualism. Individualistic, theistic and anti-Catholic, the Masons organized a collective infused with brotherly humanism and based on elaborate ritual. The Odd Fellows, the Woodmen and scores of other societies adopted many of the Masonic principles such as their three-degree initiation rite, secret passwords, special handshakes and promises to aid one another in times of sickness or distress. The expressed purpose of the masons is to make a man a better man – a better husband, a better father, a better community member, a better citizen. The Masons do not seek new members (although this may have changed recently), new members seek out the Masons.
Hundreds of fraternal organizations were formed in the Americas in the 1870s and 80s including many temperance and literary groups. Some form of life insurance was often offered to members as “benefits”.
One of these many fraternal benefit societies formed in 1882 was the Knights of Columbus with which I am very familiar. As a member of the K of C, and Roman Catholic, I am forbidden to join the Masons because of the wide gulf in spiritual beliefs. The Masons are deemed “deists” proclaiming only a common belief in a master creator – whatever you wish to call her/him – God, Allah etc. Even some of the Protestant denominations label masonry as occultish and pagan like. However the Church of England is known as being a strong upholder. Many Anglicans have been masons for many generations. My paternal Grandpa Rev. White Burton Morgan was an Anglican minister and Mason of the Scottish Perfection Lodge. Likely many others of his family were too.
With this brief introduction, it is very interesting that we also have a number of known Masons in both the Ward and Finnie families: Sydney M, R. Gordon W. and Alex Finnie. There were undoubtedly more, perhaps Samuel H. himself and several more of his sons and brothers.
A Lodge is the basic organizational unit. Sydney M. belonged to the Westmount Lodge: http://www.westmountlodge.org/ ; R. Gordon. belonged to the Waverly Lodge: http://www.biblio.com/book/laws-waverley-lodge-82-free-accepted/d/8872908 ; and, Alex Finnie likely belonged at the time of his death to one of the many Victoria, BC area lodges: http://www.freemasonryinvictoria.com/
Here is a copy of Syd’s Life Membership in Westmount Lodge No.76. He would have been about 55 when this was issued so he had probable been a member for at least 25 years. A Life Membership usually means you do not have to pay annual dues any longer and is an honour to receive:
Hence these three at least must have known the secret handshake, passwords and rituals and have been able to discuss this together freely over a beer or coffee. One or more may have been a Grand Master meaning they presided over a Grand Lodge. There would have been many social events to which wives were likely invited. Networking and many dinners would have been had. A secret society to which we Wards and Finnies belonged – very interesting connections here.
The Mason seeing eye.
In the previous image, the compass and square represent the link to the middle ages stone mason Craft from which the Freemasons sprung. The “G” may stand for God or Good.
No secrets here!
Are there any current Masons in the family? Please feel free to correct my musings on this topic.