Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Chartered By: Henry Price
Charter Date: 12/27/1735 I-5
Precedence Date: 12/27/1735
Current Status: assigned to the Provincial Grand Lodge of South Carolina as Solomon #1, at its formation, 10/28/1736
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXVIII, No. 4, February 1869, Page 106:
THE FIRST LODGE IN SOUTH CAROLINA.
We notice that the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina, appends to his excellent Report on Foreign Correspondence for the past year, the following note : —
"As regards the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts granting a warrant to this jurisdiction, I beg to refer my worthy brother (Studley) to Mackey's History of Freemasonry in South Carolina, in which he states that Solomon's Lodge No. 1, at Charleston, S. C. and Solomon's Lodge at Savannah, Georgia, both received their warrants from Lord Weymouth, Grand Master of England, in 1735."
It is certain that Lord Weymouth was nominally Grand Master of England for the year 1735, and this statement may therefore be substantially correct; though, if it be, it is not a little remarkable that, in all the early publications professing to give the history of the Grand Lodge of England from its organization in 1717, and. onward for half a century or more, we find no mention of the issuing of a warrant for a Lodge in South Carolina, under the name of "Solomon's Lodge, No. 1," or of any other name or number; while, on the other hand, we do find that Lord Weymouth did authorize the establishment of a Lodge at Savannah, Georgia, in the year last named; and this, so far as the evidence of the history goes, was the only Lodge for which he ever granted a warrant in America, during the year of his presidency. He, however, discharged all his official duties, if he ever performed any, in a loose and negligent manner; "never having," says the record, " once visited the Grand Lodge after his election." It is therefore possible that if he ever granted a warrant for any Lodge in this country, other than that in Georgia, he did not think it of sufficient importance to report the fact to his Grand Lodge ; in which case no record was of course made of it. We say this is possible, though it is hardly probable.
The only record in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, bearing on the subject, is as follows, under date Dec. 27, 1735 : —
"About this time sundry brethren going hence to South Carolina, and meeting with Masons there, formed a Lodge at Charleston; from whence sprung Masonry in those parts."
It must be admitted that this record is not very full nor satisfactory, inasmuch as it neither gives the date nor the authority under which the new Lodge at Charleston was formed; but the records of Masonry at that early day of its history in this country, were not kept with the precision and completeness that distinguish them at the present time. We think however, the inference is authorized by the terms of the record, that when the brethren referred to, went "hence to South Carolina " in 1735, there was no organized Lodge in that Province ; though there were individual Masons there, with whom on their arrival, they united in forming a Lodge, "from whence," if the record be reliable, "sprung Masonry in those parts." And the inquiry which here naturally suggests itself is, by what authority and under what name was it organized ? To the first branch of this inquiry we have no satisfactory answer to give. It may have been under what was even at so late a day, and indeed at a much later period, known and recognized as the "inherent right" of any sufficient number of Masons met together in a proper place and under proper circumstances to "form a Lodge ;" or it may have been by virtue of some competent authority, either in this country or in England, of which we have no present knowledge.
In respect to the second branch of the inquiry, the fact should seem to throw some light upon the subject (though it may not be admitted as entirely conclusive), that in "an exact list of all the Lodges under the authority of the Grand Master of England," published at London in 1756, we find the name — not of Solomon's Lodge No. 1 — but of "The Union Lodge," as having been formed at Charleston in 1735; and so far as anything to the contrary appears, it was the first Lodge in that Province. It is not impossible that it may have been the root from which Solomon's Lodge sprung, and under which new name Union Lodge subsequently obtained a warrant. This, however, is only conjecture, and the two Lodges may have been wholly independent of each other. Neither of them is mentioned in the published history of the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of England at the time, nor does the name of either appear in any list of the Lodges under the jurisdiction of that Grand Lodge until 1768, when we find that of Solomon's Lodge: thus showing beyond a doubt that the latter Lodge was in existence at that time. It may not be an unreasonable conjecture, from the paucity of reliable information we have on the subject, that it took the place and name of Union Lodge, when it obtained its warrant in or about the year 1735. It is doubtful, however, whether any record can be found of its existence under Lord Weymouth, either at the Grand Secretary's office in London, or elsewhere ; unless indeed the present Lodge retains the original warrant or records; in which case the truth of the matter can be easily ascertained, and its origin and history set right.