MWPHGL of Georgia History

At the close of the Civil War in 1865, Masonic Lodges began to appear in the Southern States. Rev. James M. Simms, a Baptist minister and a free man from Savannah, Georgia, had moved to Boston, Massachusetts where he was made a Mason. As soon as the Civil War ended, Rev. James M. Simms, clothed with Masonic authority as a District Deputy Grand Master, returned to Savannah to live and establish Eureka Lodge, No. 1, F. & A. M. on February 4, 1866. In December 1866, Hilton Lodge No 13, F. & A. M. was established with both Lodges receiving warrants from the Prince Hall Lodge of Massachusetts. On December 13, 1866, Banneker Lodge No. 38, F. & A. M., was established at Augusta, Ga., by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

Rev. J. M. Simms called these three Masonic Lodges to meet in Savannah, where on June 24, 1870, he organized the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Georgia Free and Accepted Masons. Rev. James M. Simms was elected to serve as its first Grand Master. The first 16 lodges established by this Grand Lodge are as follows:

  • Eureka Lodge #1 – Savannah
  • Hilton Lodge #2 – Savannah
  • Banneker Lodge #3 – Augusta
  • Bradwell Lodge #4 – Columbus
  • St. James Lodge #5 – Atlant
  • James M. Simms Lodge #6 – Darien
  • St. John’s Lodge #7 – Americus
  • St. Matthews Lodge #8 – Eufala, Alabama
  • Louis B. Toomer Lodge #9 – Brunswick
  • Summner Lodge #10 – Blackshear
  • Zion Lodge #11 – St. Mary’s
  • Mount Moriah Lodge #12 – Key West, Florida
  • Phoenix Lodge #13 – Macon
  • Pythagoras Lodge #14 – Savannah
  • King Solomon Lodge #15 – Albany
  • Mount Moriah Lodge #16 – Savannah

The Grand Lodge went on to charter more than 500 lodges with more than 20,000 members.The depression caused a number of the lodges to merge and the numbers were greatly reduced, but today the jurisdiction is in a very healthy condition and growing again in a fine spirit of Peace and Harmony. The Grand Lodge was incorporated July 11, 1890, as the “Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Georgia”. The charter was amended July 19, 1950, changing the name to Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge, Free and Accepted Masons, Jurisdiction of Georgia. During the 144 years of existence in the state, the following Grand Masters have presided over the Craft:

  • James M. Simms | Savannah | 1870 -1872
  • Louis B. Toomer | Savannah | 1872 -1874
  • John H. Deveaux | Savannah | 1874 -1883
  • Alexander Harris | Savannah | 1883 -1886
  • Anthony K. Desverney | Savannah | 1886 -1888
  • William E. Terry | Columbus | 1888 -1889
  • John D. Campbell | Savannah | 1889 -1894
  • William E. Terry | Columbus | 1894 -1901*
  • Henry R. Butler, M.D. | Atlanta | 1901 -1932*
  • John W. Dobbs | Atlanta | 1932 -1962*
  • Xenophon L. Neal, Ph. D | Atlanta | 1962 -1990
  • Neal McQueen | Augusta | 1990 -1995
  • Benjamin P. Barksdale | Atlanta | 1995 -2000
  • Willie L. Williams | Fort Valley | 2000 -2005
  • Ramsey Davis, Jr. | Atlanta | 2005 – 2010
  • Douglas M. Jones | Statesboro | 2010 – 2014
  • Bruce A. James | Thomasville| 2014 – Present