In March 1835 the first Masonic meeting was held in Texas for the purpose of establishing a lodge in Texas.   Six Masons met under an oak tree near the town of Brazoria.   They applied to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for a dispensation to form and open a Lodge. A dispensation was issued and later a charter.  This first Texas lodge was called Holland Lodge No. 36.

Two more Texas lodges were formed, also given dispensation and charter by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana.   They were:  Milam Lodge No. 40 in Nacogdoches, and McFarland Lodge No. 41 in San Augustine.   Both were formed in 1837.

When the sharp crack of Haden Edward’s gavel summoned the assembled Brethren of Milam Lodge No. 40 to labor on August 16, 1837, it sounded the coming of civilization to the frontier community of Nacogdoches. The eight men who gathered in the ancient Stone Fort near the town square represented in their convention the cumulative force of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, the oldest fraternity ordained by man. Severally, they were men of prominence if of diverse origin; one had been a revolutionary leader in the unsuccessful Fredonia Rebellion, one had signed the Texas Declaration of Independence, and most were local businessmen.



The present lodge building downtown, at 129 North Fredonia, is the only permanent home Milam Lodge has ever known. Although organized in 1837, it was not until 1931 that this building was built. Before then, the lodge met in such places as the Old Stone Fort, The Old University, Woodman of the World Building and the Hoya Building at Pecan at Pilar.

We are very proud of our history. Hayden Edwards served as the first Master, and Adolphus Sterne the first Secretary. The first meeting was in the “Old Stone Fort”.  In 1837, Edwards ordered twelve chairs, constructed of native hickory with rawhide bottoms, for the use of the lodge. We have in our possession two of these original 1837 chairs. In 1915, the lodge passed a resolution stating that the only persons that may occupy “The Chair” is the President of the United States, The current Governor of the State of Texas, or the sitting Grand Master of Masons in Texas. Over the years, numerous Grand Masters and several Texas Governors have visited Milam Lodge to sit in “The Chair”.  Milam retains a complete set of minutes, from those hand written by Sterne at the first meeting, to the last meeting held to date.

Milam Lodge No. 40 and McFarland Lodge No. 41, together with Holland Lodge No. 36, sent representatives to meet in Houston on December 20, 1837 and established the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas.  The three lodges that established the Grand Lodge of Texas met and assigned Charters and Lodge numbers for each of the Lodges. Holland Lodge was given the designation of being No. 1, followed by Milam Lodge as No. 2 and McFarland Lodge as No. 3.

Milam Lodge No. 2 received their signed Republic Of Texas Charter on December 2, 1838.  During this period from December 20, 1837 through June of 1839, Milam Lodge operated under two Charters, those being the Grand Lodge of Louisiana and the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas.  Milam Lodge No. 2 later returned its Charter from Louisiana to PGM John Henry Holland of Louisiana on August 25, 1839. PGM John Henry Holland of Louisiana later moved to Nacogdoches and affiliated with Milam Lodge No. 2 and was elected and installed as Worshipful Master of Milam Lodge on December 27, 1840.


Charles S. Taylor was the first initiate of Milam. He was the great grandfather of United States Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson. Thomas J. Rusk was made a Mason in Milam, and early membership included such notables as Edwards, Sterne, Rusk, Kelsey Douglass, and William B. Ochiltree.

From three small but all-important lodges sprang what was to become a mighty Grand Lodge, the Masonic heritage of which had followed a clear path.  Out of the Ancient Grand Lodge of England came the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania which in turn chartered four of the five lodges that formed the Grand Lodge of Louisiana; and out of that body came the charters for the original three lodges in Texas.

Like its forebears, the Constitution of the Texas Grand Lodge stated that its members were Ancient York Rite Masons practicing Masonry as it was agreed to at York, England, in 926 A.D.  The words "York Rite Masons" were dropped from the Constitution in 1858, and since that time we have been Ancient Free and Accepted Masons. In 1846, the "Act to Incorporate the Society of Free Masons, composed of Lodges and Chapters" was adopted.  Finally, in 1849, came the "Act to Incorporate The Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, in and for the State of Texas, under and by the name and style of The Grand Lodge of Texas," and so it has been ever since.