Page 21 - MFMJan 2016
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Montana Freemason  January 2016                           Volume 92 Number 1

   It has been a pleasure to serve our Brethren in so     10 (MN)] and two other Masons walked a short
fine an undertaking. Every member of the Committee        distance from their wagon train and went through
has contributed of this time and thought to make the      the Masonic ceremonies. Langford described what
project a success, and we feel that the Masons of         took place in an address he made at the 1867 Grand
Montana are all deeply indebted to Brother Jesse          Lodge session, in part quoted below:
Stoner, whose wonderful generosity has made this
possible. The painting is a fine artistic work, adding        “When the company, of which I was one, entered
much to the beauty of our beautiful building. This        what is now Montana - then Dakota — a single
painting will be a source of joy and pride forever.       settlement known by the name of Grasshopper (now
                                                          Bannack) was the only abode of the white man in
    Respectfully submitted,                               the southern part of the Territory. Our journey from
    John Kain, PGM                                        Minnesota, over 1,400 miles, by a route never before
    Lewis A. Smith, PGM                                   traveled, and with the slow conveyance of ox trains,
    Dr. W. J. Marshall, PGM                               was of long duration and tedious (It was one of the
    Philip G. Cole, Helena 3                              Fisk expeditions). It was a clear September twilight
    John G. Brown, Helena 3                               when we camped on the western side of the range of
   Brother John G. Brown finished with the                the Rocky Mountains where they are crossed by the
following comments:                                       Mullan Road. The labors of the day over, three of our
   “Ten years after the time that Langford had that       number, a brother named Charlton [David Charlton,
meeting, Cornelius Hedges, as Grand Historian, told       Hennepin No. 4 (MN) and Ancient Landmark No.
the Grand Lodge again of the event that marked an         5 (MN)], another, whose name I have forgotten
era in Masonic history in Montana, and he hoped           [George E. Gere, St Paul No. 5 (MN)], and myself,
it would always be remembered in this State. We           the only three Master Masons in the company,
believe this fine mural, inspired like other murals that  impressed with the grandeur of the mountain scenery
have added to patriotism and loyalty in this country,     and the mild beauty of the evening, ascended the
is carrying on the spirit of Hedges and those Masons      mountain to its summit, and there, in imitation of
who laid the foundation of this commonwealth of           our ancient brethren, opened and closed an informal
yours and mine.                                           lodge of Master Masons. I had listened to the solemn
   The first known meeting of Masons in Montana           ritual of Masonry a hundred times, but never when
took place in September of 1862 near the summit of        it impressed so seriously as upon this occasion; such
the Continental Divide a few miles West of Helena.        also was the experience of my companions... Never
It was then that Nathaniel P. Langford [Pacific No.       was the fraternal clasp more cordial than when in
                                                          the glory of that beautiful evening, we opened and
                                                          closed the first Lodge ever assembled in Montana...”

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