Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Oregon

Grand Lodge of the Month — November 2013

Most Worshipful Brother David H. Fryday, Grand Master

The first effort to bring Freemasonry to Oregon occurred in Oregon City on February 5, 1846, when a notice was posted in the advertising columns of the Oregon Spectator, the first American newspaper west of the Missouri River, and read as follows: “The members of the Masonic Fraternity in Oregon Territory are respectfully requested to meet at City Hotel in Oregon City on the 21st inst., to adopt some measures to obtain a charter for a lodge.” Seven Master Masons responded to this call, and after due discussion, they created and signed a petition appealing to the Grand Lodge of Missouri for a lodge charter in Oregon City. The suggested name “Multnomah Lodge” was probably proposed to honor Indian Chief Multnomah who befriended the white settlers.

Brother Joel Palmer was returning to Missouri and entrusted to carry the petition to James Spratt in Platte City, Missouri. Brother Palmer delivered the petition to Spratt in the summer of 1846.

Brother Spratt presented the petition to the Grand Lodge of Missouri on October 17, 1846 and the Charter for Multnomah Lodge № 84 to be located at Oregon City, Oregon Territory was granted on October 18, 1846.

The Charter began the journey to Oregon about April 1, 1848. Originally the Charter was in the charge of Brother Pierre Cornwall but when the wagon train on which he was travelling reached Fort Hall, near present day Pocatello, Idaho news of the California gold rush reached the travelers. Brother Cornwall decided to join the rush for gold in California, so he gave the Charter to Orrin and Joseph Kellogg, both Master Masons on their way to Oregon City.

Joseph Kellogg placed the Charter in a small rawhide covered trunk about two feet long and a foot deep and wide. Joseph made the trunk in 1834 and used brass headed nails and a brass lock to secure it. The Kellogg brothers delivered the trunk and Charter to petitioner Joseph Hull on September I 1, 1848—two years, seven months and six days had elapsed from the date of the notice in the Oregon Spectator that caused the petitioners to meet and request the charter be granted and its arrival in Oregon City. The Lodge still owns that historic trunk!

By 1850 two more Lodges were located near what is now Portland and on September 13, 1851, a meeting of the Brothers of those three Lodges was held to form the Grand Lodge of A.F.&A.M. of Oregon. The Grand Lodge was officially formed on September 15, 1851.

Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Oregon
2150 Masonic Way
Forest Grove, OR 97116