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Location: Canal Zone

Chartered By: Everett C. Benton

Charter Date: 12/11/1912 1912-129

Precedence Date: 12/11/1912

Current Status: Active


  • Clinton G. Carty, 1912
  • Eli D. Sims, 1913
  • Harry O. Cole, 1914
  • Frank L. Heald, 1914
  • Wilbur Simpson Perry, 1915
  • Ralph Osborn, 1916, 1917
  • Thomas McHenry Jordan, 1918
  • Travis L. Powell, 1919
  • Newton Ambrose Becker, 1920
  • Lee Walter Kelso, 1921
  • Elias Denny, 1922
  • John Haywood Poole, 1923
  • John Merson King, 1924
  • Algernon Sidney Brown, 1925
  • Oscar Hume Martin, 1926
  • Ernest Behlen, 1927
  • Ernest Charles Cotton, 1928
  • John Rudolph Hammond, 1929
  • William Maurer, 1930
  • 'Robert J. Neely, 1931
  • Fred Leonard Wertz, 1932
  • Percy Edward Snow, 1933
  • Robert Carl Lumby, 1934
  • John Henry Leach, 1935
  • Jess McGarvin Coffey, 1936
  • Clarence Lester Johnson, 1937
  • Thomas Charles Sullivan, 1938
  • Frank Adrian Anderson, 1939
  • George Archiebald Wills, 1940
  • Ernest Leland Slocum, 1941
  • Isaiah Albert MacKenzie, 1942
  • Robert North Ruley, 1943
  • Harold Parks Bevington, 1944
  • Arthur Francis Howard, 1945
  • Samuel Roe, 1946
  • Theodore E. Englebright, 1947
  • Walter A. O. Freudigmann, 1948
  • William Rufus Dixon, 1949
  • Carl Jacob Browne, 1950
  • Carl Henry Starke, 1951
  • Worden Earl French, 1952
  • Sanford Douglass Mann, 1953
  • Joseph William Nelson, 1954
  • Norman B. Davison, 1955
  • William A. Haradits, 1956
  • Alfred Thomas Marsh, 1957
  • Michael Fenton Greene, 1958
  • Rex Orman Knight, 1959
  • Ernest Edward Faris, 1960
  • Charles Samuel Smith, 1961
  • Badger J. Chandler, 1962
  • Fay McKinley Brown, 1963
  • Austin Earl Salter, 1964
  • Braxton W. Treadwell, 1965
  • Albert Lester Wilder, 1966
  • William J. Quigley, 1967
  • Harvey S. Gullickson, 1968
  • Ray Leonard Bunnel, 1969
  • James Edward Bredenkamp, 1970
  • Jerry Leon Ransom, 1971
  • Cristopher L. E. Glasscock, 1972
  • Robert Manning Hines, Sr., 1973
  • Jerry Lee Baldwin, 1974
  • Donald Prieto Garrido, 1975
  • Michael Alexander Ross, 1976
  • Charles Harlan Taylor, 1977
  • John Bernard Bamber, 1978, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2005
  • George Francis Klein, 1979, 1987, 1988, 1995, 2002, 2007
  • William Edward Froude, 1980
  • John Arthur Engstrom, III, 1981
  • Robert J. Gilmore, 1982
  • Gordon J. Riordan, 1983
  • Kenneth B. Frazier, 1984
  • Eric S. D. Wilson, 1985, 1986, 1991-1994, 1997, 2006, 2008-2010
  • William Orban Schiller, 2011
  • Albert Currie Hopper, III, 2012


  • Petition for Dispensation: 1912
  • Petition for Charter: 1912


  • 1962 (50th Anniversary)



1912 1914 1924 1927 1934 1935 1936 1947 1949 1952 1954 1955 1968 1969 1981 1998 2010


  • 1962 (50th Anniversary History, 1962-6; see below)


  • 1918 (Visit to Grand Lodge by the Master of the Lodge, 1918-190)
  • 1960 (Correction of the Charter of Sojourners Lodge to designate its jurisdiction as within the Canal Zone (and not merely Cristobal granted, 1960-169)



From New England Craftsman, Vol. VIII, No. 5, February 1913, Page 135:

The great work being done by the United States Government in constructing the Panama Canal has been so widely dealt with by the public press, and is now being exploited by comprehensive illustrated lecture to such an extent, that any reference to it would seem to have no special interest for the readers of the Craftsman. The recent visit to the Isthmus by representatives of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in an official capacity is worthy of record and remembrance because of the attention called to the policy pursued by the Grand Lodge from its very inception in regard to the encouragement of Masonic enterprise beyond the confines of the Commonwealth, as well as in the exemplification of that policy in the case of the Canal Zone. Expressed briefly, the Grand Lodge has in time past established Lodges in many parts of the World where no Masonic bodies of our rite had already occupied the field, if American citizens were gathered in such numbers as to make desirable their assembling Masonically, provided that there was added to this the wish that such Masonic gatherings should be under the auspices of i he oldest Grand Lodge upon the Western Continent.

Not to mention the Lodges established in the eighteenth century outside of Massachusetts, most of which are in existence today, but have become instrumental in the regular formation of new grand jurisdictions it was in pursuance of this policy that, Aug. 17th, 1853, Grand Master Randall granted a dispensation for Bethesda Lodge of Valparaiso, Chile, and that Grand Master Parkman, Dec. 15, 1863, gave a dispensation for Ancient Landmark Lodge at Shanghai, China. Both of these Lodges are under our jurisdiction today. In 1866, a dispensation was granted for a Lodge at Arica, Peru, and the printed records of the Grand Lodge for that year mention Isthmus Lodge at Panama, but to neither of these were Charters ever issued.

For several years past it has been the desire of American residents in the Canal Zone that the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts should establish a Lodge in that territory. In the absence of such a body many of the Brethren connected themselves with Sojourners Lodge, under the jurisdiction of Scotland, and located at Colon, on the Atlantic side of the Isthmus. So long as that Lodge was in operation, the formation of a new Lodge was not deemed expedient, but it was finally agreed by all parties that Sojourners Lodge should surrender its Charter; that the Brethren who desired should receive a dispensation from Massachusetts; and that at the completion of the period of dispensation, a Charter might issue under the same conditions as those governing the issuance of Charters to Lodges in the Commonwealth, the location of the new Sojourners Lodge to be at Christobal, adjoining Colon, within the Canal Zone. The Charter was granted by the Grand Lodge at its last Quarterly Communication, and in the meantime a dispensation was issued in response to a demand for a new Lodge at Ancon, adjoining the city of Panama, on the Pacific side of the Isthmus. A Chapter and a Con-mandery, under American jurisdiction, had already been established at Las Cascadas, fifteen miles fron Panama.

The importance of the movement led the Grand Master to desire to constitute the new Lodge in person, and for this purpose he called for the attendance of the Deputy Grand Master and the Recording Grand Secretary, and the remainder of this article is a brief itinerary of their movements.

The party which went to the Isthmus consisted of M. W. Everett C. Benton, with Mrs. Benton and two children; R. W. Herbert E. Fletcher and Mrs. Fletcher, R. W. Thomas W. Davis and Mrs. Davis. They left Boston at ten o'clock Tuesday, January 7th, being escorted to New York by about twenty-five friends, ladies and gentlemen, who did not forsake them until they were safely placed upon the steamship Zacapa, of the United Fruit Company's line, which left New York Wednesday noon. Contrary to expectation, the voyage south was a very comfortable one, the course being just outside of the storm which beat upon the coast a few hours later. Port Antonio and Kingston were reached on time; the prevailing trade winds favored the trip across the Caribbean Sea, and Colon was reached at two o'clock on the following Wednesday. Here the party was met by members of the Lodge and their ladies, the government buildings were visited, and in the evening a dinner was served at the old Washington Hotel, the new hotel, a grand fireproof building not being ready for occupancy. Its completion is hoped for by March 15th.

About eleven o'clock that evening, a railroad automobile, intended primely for use of the government officials, and those to whom facilities are given for inspecting the work on the Canal, conveyed the reception committee and the visitors to Panama, where quarters had been provided at the Hotel Tivoli, just outside the city limits. The trip was a beautiful one, as the light of station after station and village after village came into view and the newly risen moon cast a subdued radiance over all.

The following day, a committee of the Brethren acted as guides and entertainers over the Pacific Division, the chief points of interest being the locks at Miraflores and Pedro Miguel. W. Bro. Sims and Bro. Cole, who two days later were installed as Master and Senior Warden of Sojourners Lodge, were in charge of the party, and they were entertained at Corozal by Bro. Cole who is Resident Engineer for the Division.

The afternoon was occupied by an automobile ride to the ruins of Old Panama, which was destroyed by the buccaneer Morgan in 1671, after an overland march from Porto Bello on the Atlantic coast, during which the invaders suffered almost incredible hardships.

Parts of old churches and a ruined bridge are all that mark the site of the ancient city, which, founded in 1521, was in its day the most magnificent in the New World. Its churches were inlaid with gold and silver and it is said to have contained seven thousand houses, many of them of elaborate construction. The city was rebuilt at the foot of the volcanic hill, Ancon, five miles away, where it could more easily be defended against enemies, but it never regained its former commercial importance.

Thursday night occurred the landslide of which the newspapers made mention about the first of February, and it was feared that the committee who were to show the work on the Central Division would be unable to discharge their duty, but the tracks were not seriously obstructed and the Culebra Cut was viewed from within and from above under very favorable conditions, the latter being after a dinner at Bas Obispo, at which Bro. Poncian G. Bermudes was the host, followed by a climb to the top of the hill occupied by the camp of the Marine Corps at that place, under the leadership of Capt. Beaumont.

Saturday, taking train at 10.30, the party went to Gatun and were met by the third section of the committee, and were taken over and around the Atlantic side of the great dam, upon the stability of which is said to depend the whole question of the sue cess of the canal, as it retains the water of the new Gatun Lake, the part of the great watercourse through which vessels are to proceed under their own power. Starting for Colon by way of the new canal entrance the launch found wind and wave so heavy that it was decided to turn about and complete the trip by the French canal, on the side of which were to be seen many of the old French dredgers and other abandoned machines, looking like children's toy in comparison with the majority o those now in use. Elsewhere along the work, the old Belgium engines are to be seen, overrun by the tropical growth, some of the better preserved ones, however, still being in use for moving material from point to point. Dinner again at the Washington House,— the Constitution of the Lodge, with its one hundred and ninety charter members,— and return of forty-eight miles to Panama by the midnight train, closed the day.

The Lodge is preparing to enter new quarters in a fireproof building, which has been under construction for some months. In the meantime it is located in the headquarters of the Commissary Department, erected under the French regime as a residence for General De Lesseps and it was in this building that the ceremony of Constitution took place. A roll call at the end of the meeting showed that forty states and seven foreign countries were represented among the members and visitors present.

Sunday morning, a ride about Panama; in the afternoon a ride for the ladies, and later, a visit by the Grand Master to Canal Zone Lodge, under dispensation. In the evening, a banquet under the auspices of this Lodge was given at the Hotel Tivoli, at which two hundred Brethren and ladies were present.

The morning brought about the disintegration of the party. Bro. Fletcher and his wife took the morning train for Colon, from which they sailed at ten o'clock for Jamaica. The writer and Mrs. Davis followed on the noonday train, spending the night at Colon, and taking boat the next day, being joined at Kingston by Bro. and Mrs. Fletcher, while the Grand Master was to resume his journey to Valparaiso on Tuesday.

If one assumes to analyze the work being done at the Isthmus, it appears to resolve itself into this: the government is attempting little that is new in engineering or construction, the processes and materials employed are familiar to civil engineers; but everything is upon a scale greater than has been employed, at least in modern days, upon any enterprise; and for this reason challenges the admiration of the world. The most important undertaking in connection with the canal was to improve thy sanitary conditions which were so intolerable that the building of the Panama Railroad, sixty years ago, is said to have cost a life for every tie, and of the Europeans engaged in the French work more recently a great majority perished. The extermination of the mosquito (I saw one while at Ancon) meant the end of yellow fever as a scourge; and cold storage with the control of food supplies by government, has made the Canal Zone a place for occupancy by the Anglo-Saxon, and in these things is the success of the work of such stupendous magnitude.

Of the enterprise peculiarly in question in the trip the officers of the Grand Lodge made, it can only be said that it was engaged in after careful deliberation, and with advice from those whom the Craft in Massachusetts have recognized as their leader. The errand upon which the part were bound to awaken keen interest upon the part of the Masonic Brethren and the general public who were their fellow travellers; the members of the fraternity in the Canal Zone exhibited an enthusiasm which surpassed all expectation; the presence of the visiting ladies appeared to be especially appreciated by the wives of the Masons of the Canal Zone; and no pains were spared in making the stay upon the Isthmus enjoyable.

It is to be hoped that a good deed has been wrought for Masonry and that the end will crown the work.




1913: Canal Zone District

1927: Canal Zone District Panama District, 1982-2003

2003: Panama District


District Grand Lodge web site

Massachusetts Lodges