Famous Freemasons Through Out History


United States Presidents
That Were Freemasons

Many U.S. Presidents have spent a season in a Masonic Lodge.
Click on the tabs below to learn more.

President 1789-1797 / Master Mason 1753

George Washington became a Mason at age 20 in 1753. it is suggested that he may have attended approximately nine Masonic lodge meetings during the remaining 46 years of his life, and probably never presided over any lodge.

However, George Washington wrote letters in which he said he was happy to be a Mason, and, in 1791, described Masonry as being “founded in justice and benevolence…the grand object of Masonry is to promote the happiness of the human race.”

Asked more specifically about Freemasonry in 1798, Washington wrote, “…So far as I am acquainted with the principles and Doctrines of Free Masonry, I conceive them to be founded on benevolence and to be exercised for the good of mankind. If it has been a Cloak to promote improper or nefarious objects, it is a melancholly [sic] proof that in unworthy hands, the best institutions may be made use of to promote the worst designs.”

Interestingly, brother George Washington took his oath of office as the first President of the United States with his hand upon a Bible from St. John’s Lodge No. 1,of the Ancient York Masons. Since then, George Washington’s Inaugural Bible has been used used for the inaugurations of Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush.

Additional use has been made in the funeral processions of Presidents Washington and Abraham Lincoln and in the center-stone laying of the U.S. Capitol, the addition of the Washington Monument, the centennials of the cornerstone laying of the White House, U.S. Capitol, and the Statue of Liberty, the 1964 World’s Fair as well as the launching of the aircraft carrier George Washington.

The Washington bible is, interestingly, still in active use by St. Johns Lodge when not in civic display.


President 1817-1825 / Master Mason 1776

Entered Apprentice in Williamsburg Lodge No. 6 at Williamsburg, VA., on November 9, 1775. Sadly there is no record of his taking any further degrees beyond the first.

The records of Cumberland Lodge no. 8 in Tennessee, June 8, 1819, show a reception for Monroe as “a Brother of the Craft.” possibly a Master Mason in 1776.

Said of the Masonic president James Monroe, he was an “Episcopalian of deistic tendencies who valued civic virtues above religious doctrine.” Stating in his first inaugural address the concept of religious freedom, “boasting that Americans may worship ‘the Divine Author’ in any manner they choose.” From The Religion of James Monroe, in the Virginia Quarterly Review, Autumn, 2003.

President 1829-1837 / Master Mason 1800

It is suggested that President Jackson become a Mason in Harmony lodge No. 1 in Tennessee. Harmony Lodge began as No. 29 under the charter of North Carolina, later to be named No. 1 under the Tennessee grand Lodge in 1913.

It has been said that Br. Jackson attended lodge at Clover Bottom Lodge under the Grand Lodge of Kentucky. He was present in lodge at Greeneville in 1801 and acted as Senior Warden pro-tem. The records of St. Tammany Lodge No. 29 at Nashville, which became Harmony Lodge no. 1 under the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, show that Jackson was a member.

A very active Freemason, President Jackson served as the Grand Master of Tennessee Masons from 1822 to 1823.

President 1845-1849 / Master Mason 1820

Master Mason 1820. EA, FC, MM, in Columbia Lodge No. 31, Columbia, Tenn., 1820, exalted a Royal Arch Mason in La Fayette Chapter No. 4 at Columbia in 1825.

President Polk, as a Freemason and elected Commander in Chief, assisted in the cornerstone laying of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 1847.

In Polk’s career as president he oversaw the opening of the U.S. Naval Academy and the Smithsonian Institution, the groundbreaking for the Washington Monument, and the issuance of the first postage stamps in the United States.

Polk was an early supporter of westward expansion expressed in a term that Democrats would later call “Manifest Destiny.”

President 1857-1861 / Master Mason 1817

Master Mason 1817, Entered Apprentice Dec. 11, 1816, Lancaster Lodge No. 43, Lancaster, PA, Fellowcraft & Master Mason degrees in 1817.

President Buchanan was the Junior Warden of his lodge from 1821 to 1822, and the Worshipful Master of the lodge in 1825. He was later exalted in Royal Arch Chapter No. 43, in 1826 going on to become Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania.

Said of Buchanan in his work President James Buchanan: A Biography, by Philip S Klein, “His many talents, which in a quieter era might have gained for him a place among the great presidents, were quickly overshadowed by the cataclysmic events of civil war and by the towering Abraham Lincoln.”

President 1865-1869 / Master Mason 1851

Master Mason 1851, Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, in Greeneville Lodge No. 119 now No. 3 at Greeneville, Tenn.

In 1851, johnson was probably a member of Greeneville Chapter No. 82, Royal Arch Masons, as he joined the Nashville York Rite Commandery of Knights Templar No. 1 in 1859. President Johnson received the Scottish Rite degrees in the White House in 1867.

Johnson joined the fraternity at the conclusion of his Senatorial term in the House of Representatives in 1843.

President 1881 / Master Mason 1864

Master Mason 1864, EA & FC Magnolia Lodge No. 20, Columbus, Ohio, MM Columbus Lodge No. 30, 1864, Affiliated with Garrettsville Lodge No. 246 in 1866, Affiliated with Pentalpha Lodge No. 23 Washington, D. C. as charter member in 1869. Exalted in Columbus Royal Arch Chapter 1866, and Knight Templar 1866, 14th Degree Scottish Rite 1872.

In his time, Garfield is credited as being a Chaplin of a lodge that he held membership in.

Politically interesting, Garfield supported articles of impeachment against President (and Masonic Brother) Andrew Johnson over charges that he violated the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton.

President 1897-1901 / Master Mason 1865

Master Mason 1865, He is sometimes said to have received EA, FC, MM, in Hiram Lodge No. 10 in Winchester, West Virginia, in 1865, but William Moseley Brown is authority for the statement that this event took place in Hiram Lodge No. 21 at Winchester, Virginia in that year. McKinley affiliated with Canton Lodge No. 60 at Canton, Ohio in 1867 and later became a charter member of Eagle Lodge No. 43. He received the Capitular degrees in Canton in 1883 and was made a Knight Templar in 1884.

President William McKinley said in 1901 that the brotherhood of fraternal societies was similar to the brotherhood of “equal citizenship” in the U.S.

It is suggested that McKinley became a Mason upon observing fraternal kindnesses exchanged between Masons in the Union and Confederate Armies during the Civil War.

President 1901-1909 / Master Mason 1901

Master Mason 1901, EA, FC, MM, in Matinecock Lodge No. 806, Oyster Bay, NY in 1901. Somewhat active, and very supportive of Freemasonry.

Theodore Roosevelt, said in 1902, “One of the things that attracted me so greatly to Masonry . . . was that it really did live up to what we, as a government, are pledged to — of treating each man on his merits as a Man”.

From Roosevelt’s obituary in the New York Times, January 1919: Colonel Roosevelt was a member of the local lodge of Masons, and never failed to keep up his interest in it. He had made a habit for many years of visiting Masonic lodges wherever he went, as a member of the Oyster Bay lodge, and, returning, to tell his brother Masons here of his visits.

President 1909-1913 / Master Mason 1901

President Taft was made a Master Mason at Sight in Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1901.

That made him a member at large, until the Grand Lodge issued a demit to Taft when he became a regular member of that lodge. Somewhat active, Taft was very supportive of Freemasonry.

More on on Taft an Freemasonry from the National Heritage Museum: Making a Mason at Sight: The Case of President-Elect Taft.

To the diversity of faith that Freemasonry supports, Taft was a member of the First Congregational-Unitarian Church which he joined at an early age through his parents. It is suggested that as he rose in government, he spent little time in Cincinnati. and attended the church infrequently worshiping when he could.

President 1921-1923 / Master Mason 1920

President Harding received his Entered Apprentice Degree at Lodge No. 7O, in Marion, Ohio on June 28, 1901. He received no other degree until after becoming U.S. President, FC & MM in Marion Lodge No. 70 in 1920 (MM Aug. 27, 1920), Royal Arch Chapter degrees in Marion Chapter No. 62 in 1921; Knight Templar in Marion Commandery No. 36, in 1921, Scottish Rite and Shrine in 1921.

Interestingly, Harding was blackballed on the first petition for membership in 1901 on objection and rumor over his heritage. That impediment was over come and he was made an Entered apprentice on June of that year, but delaying his further progress for nearly 20 years.

President 1933-1945 / Master Mason 1911

Master Mason 1911, EA Oct 11, 1911, FC, MM, in Holland Lodge No. 8, New York City, in 1911, Scottish Rite in Albany Consistory 1929, Shrine in 1930. Somewhat active, and very supportive of Freemasonry.

Theodore Roosevelt, said in 1902, “One of the things that attracted me so greatly to Masonry . . . was that it really did live up to what we, as a government, are pledged to — of treating each man on his merits as a Man”.

President 1945-1953 / Master Mason 1909

Master Mason 1909, EA Feb. 9, 1909, Belton Lodge No. 450, Grandview, Missouri, MM 1909. In 1911, Truman was the 1st WM of the new Grandview Lodge No. 618. Grand Master of Missouri 1940-1941. Very active and supportive of Freemasonry, Master of Missouri Lodge of Research while U.S. President, Masonic Ritualist, district lecturer and deputy Grand Master for several years, buried with Masonic rites in Independence, MO, in televised ceremony.

Harry S. Truman was Grand Master of Missouri, an enthusiastic Masonic ritualist, and Master of lodges while an active politician. He attended Masonic lodge meetings while campaigning, and while he was President of the U.S., and he wrote, “The greatest honor that has ever come to me, and that can ever come to me in my life, is to be Grand Master of Masons in Missouri”.

President 1974-1977 / Master Mason 1949

Master Mason 1951, EA Sep. 30, 1949, Malta Lodge No. 465, Grand Rapids, Michigan, courtesy FC & MM Columbia Lodge No. 3, Washington, D.C., Apr. 20 & May 18, 1951

Ford was initiated September 30, 1949, at Malta Lodge No. 465, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, along with his half-brothers Thomas Gardner Ford (1918-1995), Richard Addison Ford and James Francis Ford. The Fellowcraft and Master Mason Degrees were Conferred by Columbia Lodge No. 3, Washington, D.C., on April 20 and May 18, 1951, as a courtesy to Malta Lodge. Brother Ford was made a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33rd degree, and Honorary Member, Supreme Council A.A.S.R. Northern Jurisdiction at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, on September 26, 1962, for which he served as Exemplar (Representative) for his Class. Brother and President Ford was unanimously elected an Active Member of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay and its Honorary Grand Master, at its Annual Session held at Orlando, Florida, April 6-9, 1975.

Ford held this post until January 1977, at which time he became a Past Honorary Grand Master, receiving his Collar and Jewel on October 24, 1978 in Topeka, Kansas, from the Hon. Thomas C. Raum, Jr., Grand Master, Order of DeMolay.


American Astronauts
That Were Freemasons

Many U.S. Astronauts have spent a season in a Masonic Lodge.
Click on the tabs below to learn more.

Apollo 11

The second man to walk on the moon, Aldrin was the first Freemason to set foot upon the celestial globe.

Initiated at Oak Park Lodge No. 864, Montgomery, Alabama, on February 17, 1955
Passed to Fellowcraft on April 12, 1955
Raised at Lawrence N. Greenleaf Lodge, No. 169 in Denver, Colorado, on February 21, 1956
York Rite Degrees, Waco Texas May, 1967
Member Arabia Shrine Temple, Houston.

Aldrin under special deputation of the Grand Master of Texas, J. Guy Smith, was given authority to open a Representation of the Grand Lodge of Texas on the Moon and establish Masonic Territorial Jurisdiction there for the Grand Lodge of Texas. The deputation was carried to the moon by Aldrin on Apollo II on July 20, 1969.

From: Masonic Education Program, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania


Project Mercury

An American aerospace engineer, test pilot, United States Air Force pilot. Gordon was one of the original seven astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space program of the United States.

The first American to sleep in space, in 1965 Gordon flew as Command pilot of Gemini V.

Member of Carbondale Lodge, No. 82, in Carbondale, Colorado.

Honorary 33rd Degree by the Scottish Rite.

Apollo 7

Eisele completing eleven days in Apollo 7 orbiting earth 163 times. For the Apollo 7 missions, Eisele performed simulated transposition and docking maneuvers with the upper stage of their Saturn IB launch vehicle, and acted as navigator, taking star sightings and aligning the spacecraft’s guidance and navigation platform.

Eisele was a member of Luther B. Turner Lodge, No. 732 in Columbus, Ohio.

Mercury VI, Space Shuttle Discovery

Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth aboard Friendship 7 on February 20, 1962, on the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. He circled the globe three times during a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds.

Glenn went on to become a U.S. Senator for Ohio in 1974 serving until 1999.

In 1998, Glenn returned to space on the Space Shuttle becoming the oldest person to go into space as a Payload Specialist on Discovery’s STS-95 mission.

Glenn belongs to Concord Lodge # 688 New Concord, Ohio, and DeMolay International.

Mercury 4 “Liberty Bell 7”, Gemini 3, Apollo 1

The first astronauts to die inside an American spacecraft.

Grissom, piloting Liberty Bell 7 become the second American to go into space on July 21, 1961. That flight popularly known as Liberty Bell 7 was a sub-orbital flight that lasted 15 minutes and 37 seconds that nearly killed the vetran test pilot when explosive bolts prematurely detonated sinking the capsule.

On January 27, 1967 while training for what would be the first Apollo mission (AS-204) a fire was sparked in the oxygen rich capsule which killed Grissom and his two fellow Astronauts Edward White and Roger. That mision was re-dubed Apollo I in honor of the crew.

Grissom was a member of Mitchell Lodge, No. 228, Mitchell, Indiana.

Apollo 15

James Benson “Jim” Irwin served as Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 15, the fourth human lunar landing. He was the eighth person to walk on the Moon. As the Apollo 15 Lunar Module Pilot Irwin logged 295 hours and 11 minutes in space and 18 hours and 35 minutes of the mission time on the Moon’s surface. Irwin’s mission to the moon made one of the most important discoveries of the Apollo era, the Genesis Rock, an anorthosite rock that formed in the early stages of the solar system – about 4 billion years ago.

Irwin belonged to Tajon Lodge, No. 104, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Apollo 14

As the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 14, Mitchell spent nine hours working on the lunar surface in the Fra Mauro Highlands collecting almost 100 pounds of lunar samples. Mitchell’s mission was notable as it was the first use of Mobile Equipment Transporter (MET); largest payload placed in lunar orbit; longest distance traversed on foot on the lunar surface; largest payload returned from the lunar surface; longest lunar surface stay time (33 hours); longest lunar surface EVA (9 hours and 23 minutes); first use of shortened lunar orbit rendezvous techniques; first use of color TV with new vidicon tube; and first extensive orbital science period conducted during CSM solo operations.

Notable, Mitchell took the iconic photograph of Al Shepard raising the American flag on the lunar surface with Mitchell’s shadow in the frame.

Mitchell is a member of Artesia Lodge, No. 28, Artesia, New Mexico.

Mercury 8 “Sigma 7”, Gemini VI, Apollo 7

One of the original seven astronauts chosen for Project Mercury, Schirra flew the six-orbit, nine-hour Mercury-Atlas 8 mission on October 3, 1962, becoming the fifth American, and the ninth human, into space. In the two-man Gemini program, Schirra achieved the first space rendezvous in 1965. In 1968, Schirra commanded Apollo 7 on an 11-day low Earth orbit to test the three-man Apollo Command/Service Module.

Schirra was the first person to go into space three times, and the only person to have flown in Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo, logging a total of 295 hours and 15 minutes in space.

Schirra belonged to Canaveral Lodge, No. 339, in Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Gemini VII, Gemini IX-A, Apollo 10, ASTP

Stafford flew aboard two Gemini space flights; and in 1969 was the Commander of Apollo 10, the second manned mission to orbit the Moon and the first to fly a Lunar Module there.

In 1975, Stafford served as the Commander of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project flight, which was the first joint U.S. – Soviet space mission. He became the first Brigadier General to fly in space.

In his career, Stafford made six rendezvous in space logging in total 507 hours of space flight and until the launch of STS-94 in 1997, Stafford held the record for the briefest duration between spaceflights, at 5 months 19 days.

Stafford belongs to Western Star Lodge, No. 138, Weatherford, Oklahoma.

Skylab 2, Challenger (STS-6)

Weitz flew into space twice. First as a member of the three-man crew who flew on Skylab 2, the first manned Skylab mission. He was also commander of the STS-6 mission, the first of the Space Shuttle Challenger flights.

Weitz served as the pilot on the Skylab 2 (SL-2) mission, launched on May 25 and splashing down on June 22, 1973. On this mission, Weitz and his fellow astronauts performed extensive repairs to seriously damaged Skylab logging 672 hours and 49 minutes aboard the orbital workshop. Weitz went on to serve as the commander of the the STS-6 which was the maiden journey of space shuttle orbiter Challenger. The Challenger mission brought Weitz’s total space time to 793 hours.

Weitz is a member of Lawrence Lodge, No. 708, in Erie, Pennsylvania.


Persons Throughout History That Were Masons

Going all the way back to the Founders.

Screen Western Star

Catoosa Lodge No. 185, Catoosa, Oklahoma.


South American Liberator

Initiated in Cadiz, Spain. Became involved with Knights Templar and Scottish Rites and founded Order and Liberty Lodge No. 2 in Peru.

American Actor

Abingdon Lodge No. 48, Abingdon, Virginia.

Denver Bronco Retired Quarterback & NFL Hall of Fame Inductee

South Denver Lodge #93.

American Statesman and Inventor

St. John’s Lodge Philadelphia PA.


Famous, but Maybe not for the Right Reasons

Masons throughout history that made a name for themselves.

The Zapruder Film

The Russian born American manufacturer of women’s clothing was the only person to document the horrific assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy as his motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza, in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963 which has since come to be the well known as the Zapruder Film.

At the age of 15 Zapruder’s Russian-Jewish family immigrated to the US leaving a 1920’s Civil War torn Russia. Having only four years of formal education, Zapruder settled in Brooklyn, New York, where he studied English and worked as a pattern maker. He later moved to Dallas in 1941 eventually founding a clothing manufacturing company, whose offices were directly across the street from the Texas Book Depository.



The prominent Democrat, and former chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been a United States House of Representatives member since 1971, representing the Fifteenth Congressional District of New York, and is the most senior member of that state’s congressional delegation. He is the founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus and a decorated Bronze Star and Purple Heart veteran of the Korean War.

Born and raised in Harlem, he entered the service of the Army where he led a group of soldiers out of a deadly Chinese Army encirclement during the Battle of Kunu-ri in 1950. Following the war, he graduated from New York University in 1957 and St. John’s University School of Law in 1960, working as a private lawyer, Assistant U.S. Attorney, and legal counsel during the early-mid 1960s. He later served two terms in the New York State Assembly from 1967 to 1970, and then was elected to the House of Representatives.

In recent years Rangel was faced with a series of allegations of ethics violations which culminated in July, 2010, where Rangel was charged with 13 counts of violating House rules and federal laws, to which he will face a formal trial in the House to determine his fate.

Congressman Charles Rangel is a member of Joppa Lodge No. 55, in New York

Entrepreneur - J.C. Penney's

Born September 16, 1875, J.C. Penney was an entrepreneur who founded the J.C. Penney’s stores in 1902 after working for four years in a small chain called the Golden Rule stores. With an offer of partnership, Penney invested $2000 and opened a store in Kemmerer, Wyoming, with two additional stores in 1907, when be bought out his interest partnership in all three stores. By 1920, Penney had opened 120 stores and by 1929 he had opened 1400. In 1940, in a visit to a Des Moines, Iowa, store where he trained a Sam Walton on how to wrap packages, the founder of Wal-Mart.

With the onset of the Great Depression, Penney was beset by financial ruin but met store expenses by borrowing against his life-insurance policies. He recovered from the financial setbacks but at the expense of his health, to give generously to a number of charities, eventually founding the James C. Penny foundation in 1954, later to be merged into the Oakland, California based Common Counsel Foundation, which partners with families and individual donors to expand philanthropic resources for progressive social movements.

Penney received his degrees in Wasatch Lodge No. 1, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 28, May 19, and June 2, 1911. Buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York Penney passed February 12, 1971.


This little known father of modern Air Conditioning was a man of many talents, including physician, scientist, inventor, and humanitarian, and the inventor of refrigeration, is also a man who suffered for what he believed in.

Born October 3, 1803 on the isle of Nevis in the Caribbean Sea, John Gorrie grew up in South Carolina, moving to the port city of Apalachicola in Florida in 1833. Being very active in his community, he was resident physician at two hospitals, and at various times a council member, Postmaster, President of the Pensacola’s Apalachicola Branch Bank, founding vestrymen of Trinity Episcopal Church, and served on the founding committee of the Masonic Lodge in 1835, where he was appointed secretary pro-tem on December 28, 1835, later serving as treasurer.

Of his invention, following a Malaria epidemic in 1841, Gorrie resigned from all his civic responsibilities, lowered his patient load, and dedicated his time to the illness. Malaria, it was speculated, was from the rapid decomposition of vegetation and the hot humid air which created a poisonous gas. Gorrie, in addressing these issues, surmised that by filling in the low lying areas and draining swamps would be a way to combat the problem. His second prong to the cure was to develop a means to control his patient’s body temperature and the humidity in their rooms by the introduction of hanging ice above the sick beds.

Ice at that time came by boat from northern lakes which were both inconvenient and expensive. To tackle the problem, Gorrie invented a machine in 1845 to cool air sufficiently to create ice, a patient to which was granted him in 1851. His device (a model of which is on display in Gorrie museum) compressed air in a chamber which then released it to expand rapidly, causing it to absorb the heat from water that surrounded the chamber drawing enough heat away from the water to bring the water temperature down below freezing creating ice.

Despite the significance of his development Gorrie never made a penny from his invention. Instead he and his invention were denounced by Northern Newspapers and he was ridiculed his efforts. This was followed by a strong lobby against him by northern ice suppliers, who monopolized the ice market and feared lost profits. Gorrie fell into financial ruin when he was sued for unpaid debts and the unexpected passing of his only investor having never provided the funds to commercialize the invention.

Falling into a nervous breakdown, Gorrie passed at the age of 54 on June 16, 1855. Modern air conditioning is still based largely on the principals discovered by Gorrie today, and was not re-discovered until 1902 by Willis Haviland Carrier.


Born August 11, 1950, this co-founder of Apple Computer Inc, is probably not the paragon of why to be a Freemason, but his work outside of the fraternity is every bit reason to take note of his career and accomplishments.

On the heels of selling off his and Steve Jobs possessions, the two collaborated to raise $1,300 to assemble the prototypes of what would become the Apple computer.

Formed in 1976, Apple computer went public in 1980 and made both Jobs and Wozniak multimillionaires. After 12 year of founding his electronic empire and full-time employment with Apple, he ended his career on February 6, 1987 though he still receives a paycheck, and is a shareholder to the company.

Wozniak has since gone on to write his autobiography iWoz, and found several companies in and around electronics and technology.

Describing his impetus for joining the Freemasons, Wozniak says he joined to be able to spend more time with his, then, wife Alice (married 1976–divorced 1980).

Wozniak was initiated, passed, and raised in Charity Lodge No. 362, Campbell, CA, in 1980.