Page 26 - Montana Freemason Magazine March 2014
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Montana Freemason                                March 2014	             Volume 90 Number 1

paid him a cent. And Pike was too apathetic, if not had issued scathing attacks on them, including the
senile, to care whether he got it or not.” Judging by Grand Lodge of Iowa in 1889. “However, the fight in
his weariness at all of the traveling, and the aches of Iowa had not ended. Numbers of the members of the
old age, it appears to have been a resigned acceptance, Cerneau bodies in Iowa refused to abide by the action
and not senility. His correspondence still displays of the Grand Lodge and the subsequent edicts of the
lucidity. Brown, p. 466                                     Grand Master. They entered the civil courts of Iowa…”
                                                            “The thirteen instigators of this rebellion against the
Further, Carter says that “The remainder of the Grand Lodge of Iowa were suspended from their
surviving correspondence of this period [1888-1890] Masonic rights and privileges on December 2, 1890,
reveals a wide range of other activities.” Pike carried were finally expelled from the fraternity June 3, 1891,
on correspondence with a variety of individuals across and it is estimated that some 600 Iowa Master Masons
the country regarding administrative matters for the suffered the same punishment before regular Masonry
Rite, and entered into battle with both a gas company in Iowa was purged of Cerneauism. Action similar to
and the customs office when he felt ill-treated. The that of the Grand Lodge of Iowa was instituted and
man may have been old, and he had given up large adopted in the Grand Lodges of Nebraska, Maryland,
scale intellectual pursuits in favor of a decade of Minnesota, and Florida. It should be noted that this
punishing travel in the days before airplanes (by ship, victory of legitimate Masonry had another aspect.
and often riding in horse drawn wagons as much as The question of Grand Lodge supremacy in the
trains), but he was still mentally aware, and willing to Masonic organizational structure was no longer an
tilt at a few windmills. Carter, p. 364                     academic subject; it was now a reality supported not
                                                            only by Masonic jurisprudence but by the civil law.”
[5] 1886-1891: The Slow Road to Death                       Carter calls this a “smashing defeat” of Cerneauism,
                                                            and Pike, who had wished to finally withdraw from
Carter shares a letter Pike wrote in 1886 to the the fight with his nemesis in clandestine Masonry
Inspectors General and Deputies of the Supreme with their “smashing defeat,” continued to address
Council, part of which says, “I cannot work for this the issue in September 1889; was writing a pamphlet
[the Fund of Fraternal Assistance, which was dear to on it in November of 1889, and “He was still working
Pike’s heart] as I have for other purposes. I am too on this material in December when he wrote that he
old, and feel too sensibly the infirmities of old age, was “overwhelmed with work… writing pamphlets to
to be able to go far from home and be long absent expose… imposters in Masonry: and remarked that
from it. The fatigue, the many discomforts of distant he hoped that he was about “done with controversy.”
travel, are too much for me now. I am liable to sudden Carter, p. 355-7
attacks of severe illness; and it is no longer safe for me
to take long journeys. To you and the other Inspectors However, things were grim for Pike during these
and Deputies must now chiefly belong the honour last few months of 1890. It is probable that from this
and glory of labouring to increase that holy Fund.” period on, Pike was truly slow in all of his activities:
Carter, p. 337                                              “At the biennial session of the Supreme Council in
                                                            October [1890] he “looked worn and haggard,...
“At the close of the Session of 1886, Grand the voice was husky, and it was difficult to readily
Commander Pike was nearing his seventy-seventh understand what he said.” He presided over its
birthday. At this point in life, physical health and meetings but had to have someone read for him his
strength became increasingly a more important lengthy allocution.” Brown, p.467
factor in his ability to continue active and aggressive
leadership.” Carter, p. 329                                 “Exhausted by the exertion of attending the
                                                            session, he took to his bed as soon as the Supreme
“Virtually a recluse by 1887, he never went into Council adjourned. After this he occasionally sat up
the sunlight, and rarely went anywhere at night. His for an hour or two, but was unable to sit at his desk
wakeful hours he spent in answering letters and in and write or read.” Brown chronicles his husky voice
reading. ... His birds wear very dear to him; it was and difficulty swallowing fluids through October and
their dependence on him, “the sense of protecting November of 1890, and says that the condition which
them, the caring for them, and seeing them grateful was to finally take his life the next year was diagnosed,
for it, that endears them to me.”” Brown, p.466             “...they [two other doctors] both agreed with Pike’s
                                                            physician that there was a stricture of the oesophagus.”
During the inevitable decline in his health in the
fall of 1889, Pike remained spirited in his defense Pike had waved off all exploratory probings of his
of Scottish Rite Masonry from clandestine groups, throat blockage, despite only being able to swallow
Pspageec2if6ically the Cerneau batch. A slew of Grand Lodges fluids. By the end of March of 1891, he finally relented
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