The Grand Lodge of Oklahoma - A Historical Snapshot
The history of the Grand Lodge of the State of Oklahoma is as unique as the history of Oklahoma itself.
On October 6, 1874, representatives of 3 Lodges met and organized the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory. They elected Granville McPherson the first Grand Master. Most Worshipful McPherson was raised in Magnolia Lodge #60 in Little Rock Arkansas (a Lodge to which Albert Pike also belonged) and was the sitting Worshipful Master of Caddo Lodge, and a printer by trade. He had a distinguished career in Little Rock, being elected to the Board of St. John’s College and serving as a Director. Again, his life crossed paths with Albert Pike, who was one of the main supporters of the college. The Grand Lodge of Arkansas had established the college for the young men in the area, and both Pike and McPherson were actively involved with the Grand Lodge. McPherson was also one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Scottish Rite in Little Rock, and served as an officer.
With the opening of Oklahoma Territory to white settlers, many of the brethren felt it was time once again for a new Grand Lodge. At a communication of the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory, a petition was read from members of Guthrie Lodge #35, North Canadian Lodge #36, and Edmond Lodge #37 for the formation of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma. In due order, a call went out, and on the 10th day of November, 1892, Grand Master Bennett called a meeting to order at North Canadian Lodge #36. In due time the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma was formed, and Most Worshipful A.J. Spengel was elected as the first Grand Master. His birth records have been lost, but he was possibly born in Colorado, as he took his Degrees in Gunnison #39. He was a charter member of Guthrie #35. He demitted to Denver #5 in 1899 and is buried in Denver, Colorado.
In November 1907, things changed. Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory no longer exist as the State of Oklahoma was born. Since American Masonic tradition asserted that only one Grand Lodge could exist in any given political division, there was a problem with two Grand Lodges in the new state. In 1907 a committee was appointed by each Territorial Grand Lodge to begin negotiations for merging the two jurisdictions.
An historic anomaly happened during the convention to merge the two. A motion was made to suspend the Masonic rules and elect Most Worshipful Henry Muldrow of Tishomingo Lodge #77, Grand Master of Indian Territory, to the office of Grand Master of the new Grand Lodge. In consequence of its passage, Most Worshipful William Moses Anderson was instructed to cast the entire vote for Muldrow, and he was elected by acclamation. This was a demonstration of the admiration and respect for this distinguished leader, and thus the last Grand Master of Indian Territory became the first Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of the State of Oklahoma. Muldrow was a civil engineer by trade and worked for the U.S. Geological Survey for some years.
With the actions of 1909 one might think that the Grand Lodges of Oklahoma and Indian Territories no longer exist, but that would be an error. Looking at the Official Proceedings of the 2006 Grand Lodge session, you will find it is actually the 133rd meeting of the Grand Lodge of Indian Territory, the 114th meeting of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma [territory], and the 98th meeting of the Grand Lodge of the State of Oklahoma. Thus it is that on one page we in Oklahoma pay homage to the giants on whose shoulders we are standing.