The American Revolution and the signing of the Declaration of Independence were defining moments in history, and the individuals who put their names on that revered document came from diverse backgrounds and professions. Among them were several Freemasons, members of a centuries-old fraternal organization with a rich history of fostering principles like liberty, equality, and fraternity. In this article, we'll explore the Freemasons among the signers of the Declaration of Independence, shedding light on their contributions to both the founding of the United States and the principles they held dear.
One of the most recognizable names among the Freemason signers of the Declaration is Benjamin Franklin. He was initiated into the Saint John's Lodge in Philadelphia on February 9, 1731. Franklin's intellectual prowess and diplomatic skills made him an invaluable figure during the Revolution and a key contributor to the drafting of the Declaration.
John Hancock, known for his bold signature that has become synonymous with the act of signing itself, was also a Freemason. He was a member of the Massachusetts Lodge of Saint Andrew in Boston. As the president of the Continental Congress, Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration, doing so with a flourish that has since become iconic.
William Ellery, a signer representing Rhode Island, was another Freemason. He was initiated into the Masonic Lodge of St. John in Newport, Rhode Island, on May 22, 1770. His dedication to the revolutionary cause extended beyond his role in the Continental Congress, as he actively served as a naval officer during the war.
John Penn, who represented North Carolina in the signing of the Declaration, was initiated into the Phoenix Lodge in Edenton, North Carolina. He played a significant role in North Carolina Freemasonry and was known for his commitment to the principles of liberty and justice.
William Whipple, a New Hampshire delegate to the Continental Congress, was a Freemason. He was a member of the St. John's Lodge in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and held the position of Senior Warden. His participation in the signing of the Declaration was accompanied by his service as a military leader, showcasing his commitment to both the cause of independence and the Masonic principles of brotherhood.
Robert Treat Paine
Robert Treat Paine, a signer from Massachusetts, was a member of the Masonic Lodge of St. Andrew. He was initiated into Freemasonry in 1758 in the Grand Lodge of Scotland. His dedication to the Revolutionary cause extended to his legal career, where he served as a prosecutor in the Boston Massacre trial.
Richard Stockton, representing New Jersey, was initiated into St. John's Lodge in Princeton, New Jersey, on December 27, 1765. He was a prominent figure in New Jersey Freemasonry and signed the Declaration with a commitment to the ideals of liberty and self-determination.
George Walton, a signer from Georgia, was a member of the Solomon's Lodge No. 1 in Savannah, Georgia. He was initiated into Freemasonry in 1770, and his dedication to the revolutionary cause was evident in his contributions as both a military leader and a statesman.
The Freemasons among the signers of the Declaration of Independence played vital roles in shaping the United States and upholding the principles of liberty, equality, and fraternity. Their commitment to both the Masonic fraternity and the revolutionary ideals of the time is a testament to the shared values that helped forge a nation founded on the principles of freedom and self-determination. The contributions of these Freemason signers continue to be celebrated today as part of the rich tapestry of American history.
Submitted by: Raymond E. Foster