Presidents of the United States Who Were Freemasons
GEORGE WASHINGTON (1732-1799)
First President (1789-1797)
Initiated: November 4, 1752, Fredericksburgh (Fredericksburg) Lodge No. 4, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Brother Washington was raised to Master Mason at the age of 20 in 1753. He became Worshipful Master on December 20, 1788, and was inaugurated President of the United States on April 30, 1789, thus becoming the first, and so far the only, Brother to be simultaneously President and Master of his Lodge.
JAMES MONROE (1758-1831)
Fifth President (1817-1825)
Lodge records lost) Initiated: November 9, 1775, St. John’s Regimental Lodge in the Continental Army. Monroe was not yet eighteen, but “lawful age” had not yet been universally fixed at twenty-one. In 1775, Brother Monroe took Membership in Williamsburg Lodge No. 6, Williamsburg, Virginia.
ANDREW JACKSON (1767-1845) Seventh President (1829-1837)
(Lodge records lost) Initiated: The record for Brother Jackson has not been located. He seems to have been a Member of St. Tammany Lodge No. 1, Nashville, Tennessee, as early as 1800. It was the first Lodge in Tennessee, organized in 1789, under a Dispensation from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. The name was later changed to Harmony Lodge No. 1 on November 1, 1800. Brother Jackson is officially listed as a Member in the Lodge Return to the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee for 1805. On December 27, 1813, the Grand Lodge of Tennessee was granted its own Constitution. Brother Jackson was the sixth Grand Master of Masons of Tennessee, serving from October 7, 1822 until October 4, 1824.
JAMES KNOX POLK (1795-1849) Eleventh President (1845-1849)
Initiated: June 5, 1820, Columbia Lodge No. 31, Columbia, Tennessee. Brother Polk assisted in the Cornerstone Laying of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., May 1, 1847.
Governor of Tennessee 1839-1841.
JAMES BUCHANAN (1791-1868) Fifteenth President (1857-1861)
Initiated: December 11, 1816, Lodge No. 43, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Brother Buchanan became Worshipful Master of Lodge No. 43 1822-1823; and in 1824 was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the Counties of Lancaster, Lebanon and York.
ANDREW JOHNSON (1808-1875)
Seventeenth President (1865-1869)
(Lodge records lost during the Civil War) Initiated: May 5, 1851, Greenville Lodge No. 119, Greenville, Tennessee.
Military Governor of Tennessee, 1862-1865.
JAMES ABRAM GARFIELD (1831-1881) Twentieth President (July 2 – September 19, 1881)
Initiated: November 19, 1861, Magnolia Lodge, No. 20, Columbus, Ohio. Owing to Civil War duties, Brother Garfield did not receive the Third Degree until November 22, 1864 in Columbus Lodge No. 30, Columbus, Ohio. On October 10, 1866, he Affiliated with Garrettsville Lodge No. 246, Garrettsville, Ohio, serving as its Chaplain in 1868-1869. Brother Garfield then became a Charter Member of Pentalpha Lodge No. 23 of Washington, D.C. on May 4, 1869; in fact, he was one of the Petitioners for the Lodge Charter.
WILLIAM McKINLEY (1843-1901)
Twenty-fifth President (1897-1901)
Initiated: May 1, 1865, Hiram Lodge No. 21, Winchester, Virginia. Brother McKinley Affiliated with Canton Lodge No. 60, Canton, Ohio on August 21, 1867; and Demitted from same to become a Charter Member of Eagle Lodge No. 431, also in Canton. Following Brother McKinley’s death on September 14, 1901, the name was changed to William McKinley Lodge effective October 24, 1901.
Governor of Ohio, 1892-1896.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT (1858-1919)
Twenty-sixth President (1901-1909)
Initiated: January 2, 1901, Matinecock Lodge No. 806, Oyster Bay, New York. Brother and President Roosevelt visited the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania (in its present home, the Masonic Temple at One North Broad Street) on November 5, 1902, for the Celebration of the Sesqui-Centennial of Brother George Washington’s Initiation into Freemasonry. Governor of New York, 1899-1901. Brother and President Roosevelt issued an Executive Order, dated, October 17, 1901 changing the name of the “Executive Mansion” to the “White House”.
WILLIAM HOWARD TAFT (1857-1930) Twenty-seventh President (1909-1913)
Initiated: February 18, 1909. Brother Taft was made a “Mason at Sight” within the Body of Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, Cincinnati, Ohio, by Grand Master Charles S. Hoskinson. His father and two brothers were also Members of this Lodge. Brother and President Taft addressed the Brethren, saying, “I am glad to be here, and to be a Mason. It does me good to feel the thrill that comes from recognizing on all hands the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.” Brother and President Taft visited the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania on the occasion of a Special Communication held in the Masonic Temple (One North Broad Street), on March 12, 1912.
WARREN GAMALIEL HARDING (1865-1923) Twenty-ninth President (1921-1923)
Initiated: June 28, 1901, Marion Lodge No. 70, Marion, Ohio. Because of some personal antagonism, Brother Harding’s advancement was hindered until 1920, by which time he had been nominated for President. Friends persuaded the opposition to withdraw the objection, and on August 27, 1920, nineteen years after his Initiation, Brother Harding achieved the Sublime Degree of Master Mason, in Marion Lodge. At his request, Brother Harding took the Oath of Office of President of the United States upon the same Bible as was used by Brother George Washington for the same purpose on April 30, 1789 (the Altar Bible of St. John’s Lodge No. 1, New York City).
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT (1882-1945)
Thirty-second President (1933-1945)
Initiated: October 11, 1911, Holland Lodge No. 8, New York City. Brother Roosevelt participated in the Raising of his son Elliott (1910-1990) on February 17, 1933, in Architect’s Lodge No. 519, also in New York City. He was present, but did not participate in the Degrees when two other sons, James (1907-1991) and Franklin D., Jr. (1914-1988) became Members of their brother Elliott’s Lodge, on November 7, 1935. Brother and President Roosevelt was made the first Honorary Grand Master of the Order of DeMolay on April 13, 1934 at the White House. Brother Roosevelt was a cousin of former president and Master Mason, Theodore Roosevelt.
Governor of New York, 1929-1933.
HARRY S TRUMAN (1884-1972) Thirty-third President (1945-1952)
Initiated: February 9, 1909, Belton Lodge No. 450, Belton, Missouri. In 1911, several Members of Belton Lodge separated to establish Grandview Lodge No. 618, Grandview, Missouri, and Brother Truman served as its first Worshipful Master. At the Annual Session of the Grand Lodge of Missouri, September 24-25, 1940, Brother Truman was elected (by a landslide) the ninety-seventh Grand Master of Masons of Missouri, and served until October 1, 1941. Brother and President Truman was made a Sovereign Grand Inspector General, 33°, and Honorary Member, Supreme Council on October 19,1945 at the Supreme Council A.A.S.R. Southern Jurisdiction Headquarters in Washington D.C., upon which occasion he served as Exemplar (Representative) for his Class. He was also elected an Honorary Grand Master of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay. On May 18, 1959, Brother and Former President Truman was presented with a fifty-year award, the only U.S. President to reach that golden anniversary in Freemasonry.
GERALD RUDOLPH FORD (1913-2006) Thirty-eighth President (1974-1977)
Initiated: September 30, 1949, Malta Lodge No. 465, Grand Rapids, Michigan, along with his half-brothers Thomas Gardner Ford (1918-1995), Richard Addison Ford (1924-) and James Francis Ford (1927- ). 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, 33°, 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; Brother 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.