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Montana Freemason                                             March 2018                                 Volume 94   Number 2
                                                                 Meriwether Lewis became A Member of the Door of
                                                               Virtue Lodge  No. 44, on December 31, 1796, it was
                                                               recorded that Lieutenant Meriwether Lewis, on leave
                                                               from his Western Pennsylvania post in the U.S. Infantry,
                                                               “was recommended as a proper person to become a
                                                               member.” Less than one month later, on January 28,
                                                               1797,  he  was  elected  to  membership,  initiated  as
                                                               an  Entered Apprentice,  and  given  his  apron.  On  the
                                                               following evening he was admitted to the second, or
                                                               Fellowcraft degree, and without further examination,
                                                               promoted “at sight”—that is, by unanimous ballot—
                                                               as a Master Mason. Such meteoric progress through
                                                               the fi rst three degrees of Masonry signifi ed confi dence
                                                               on the part of the most prominent men of Albemarle
                                                               that the 23-year-old Lewis was similarly destined for
                                                               moral,  civic,  and  political  leadership.  His  Masonic
                                                               Apron is located at the Montana Masonic Museum of
                                                               the Montana Masonic Foundation in Helena, Montana.
          Building King Solomon’s Temple, Entered Apprentice Degree
                                                                 A little more than two months later, on the second or
                                                               third of April, members of the Door to Virtue Lodge
                                                               conferred  upon  Lewis  the  degree  of  Past  Master
                                                               Mason. On October 31, 1799, Lewis was “Exalted to
                                                               the  sublime  degree  of  a  Royal Arch,  Superexcellent
                                                               Mason”  at  Widow’s  Son  Lodge  in  Milton,  Virginia,
                                                               a  few  miles  southeast  of  Charlottesville.  On  that
                                                               occasion, he was given a Royal Arch apron, which is
                                                               now at the Missouri Historical Society.

                                                                 In  1801,  Meriwether  Lewis  had  been  chosen  by
                                                               Jeff erson to be his private secretary. In May of 1804,
                                                               Lewis & Clark and the rest of their expedition began
                                                               their journey near St. Louis, Missouri.  In September
                                                               of 1808, after being named the governor of Louisiana
                                                               Territory,  Lewis  helped  establish  the  fi rst  Masonic
         Inside the Temple, Fellowcraft Degree                 lodge in St. Louis and was Master of St. Louis Lodge,
                                                               Number 111.

                         The Temple, Master Mason Degree

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