The Origins of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction

In 1813 the Supreme Council for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction was established in New York after a careful inspection of five bodies up to and including the thirty-third.  None of these bodies had been sponsored by the Supreme Council at Charleston.

The organization was effected by Emanuel De La Motta, Illustrious Treasurer General, under the direction of John Mitchell, Sovereign Grand Commander, and Frederick Dalcho, Lieutenant Grand Commander of the Supreme Council at Charleston.  The task of sifting through five bodies was a difficult one.  Nevertheless on August 5, 1813, in the city of New York this second Supreme Council in the U.S.A. was established.  But there were more problems developing.

It was about this time the Anti-Masonic movement had began. Organized by seekers after political power who had seized upon the disappearance of a deluded individual who foolishly boasted of his intent to publish Masonic secrets, it spread beyond the control of its instigators.  Many Masonic bodies closed their doors, surrendered their charters and were never again heard from.  On the other hand, some continued to function, many of them meeting in secret.

Even our own Supreme council, seriously affected by the persecution of its enemies, and by the apathy of its members, practically ceased activity from 1832-1843, being held together chiefly through the efforts of John Joseph Gourgas, Grand Secretary from 1813 to 1832 and Sovereign Grand Commander from 1832 until 1851.  Eventually the storm died and the Scottish Rite once more began to function, but now, in the Northern Jurisdiction, under divided leadership, Cerneau, Atwood, Hayes, Raymond and others attempted to establish Supreme Scottish Rite Bodies.  In 1860 three were active; each called itself a Supreme Council, and claimed absolute authority.

Fortunately, wise council and Masonic principles prevailed over personal ambitions.  After much preliminary communication, the two Supreme Councils then remaining, the legitimate one, headed by Killian H. VanRensselaer, and the recently consolidated Hayes-Raymond Council, met in Boston May 17, 1867, dissolved their respective Supreme Councils and formed our present supreme Council in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.

The Northern Supreme Council  holds jurisdiction over fifteen states: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.  The Southern Supreme Council has jurisdiction over the rest of the United States and in certain other areas of the world.

The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction is divided into districts, each state comprising a district.  The Supreme Council elects from among its Active Members a Deputy for each district; as such he presides over the Council of Deliberation of his district.  Council of Deliberation membership is composed of officers and past officers of subordinate bodies, recipients of the Meritorious Service Award and Supreme Council members of the district.  Within the district are subordinate bodies designated as Valleys.  In Pennsylvania there are seventeen such divisions, of which the Valley of Scranton is one. 

Next: The History of the Valley of Scranton (coming Soon )

 

 

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