Adolphus Sterne
“First Scottish Rite Mason in Texas”

Because of an oath made “on the level”, Adolphus Sterne, the first Scottish Rite Mason in Texas, did not bear arms against the Mexican Army during the Texas Revolution, but he nevertheless played an important role in Texas’ right for independence.

Born in Cologne, Germany, April 5, 1801, Sterne was the oldest son of Emmanuel Sterne. At the age of sixteen he immigrated to New Orleans where he lived for several years, working in a store and studying law. In New Orleans, he became a Mason. By the time he came to Texas in 1826 he was a Past Master and a Scottish Rite Mason, as well as a Knight Templar in the York Rite.

He supplied the Fredonian Rebellion in 1826 with munitions smuggled in from New Orleans and hidden in bales of dry goods and barrels of coffee. When discovered by Mexican authorities, he was charged with treason, sentenced to be shot, and imprisoned in the Old Stone Fort until his sentence could be confirmed by the Commandant at Saltillo, General Manuel Mier y Teran. John H. Holland, Grand Master of Louisiana, interceded on Sterne’s behalf with General Mier y Teran, who was also a Mason. The commandant agreed to parole Sterne provided he obligate himself never to bear arms against Mexico.

True to his obligation, Sterne did not fight against Mexico during the Revolution, but served as agent of the Texas government at New Orleans, where he raised and equipped one of the companies of New Orleans Greys, paying their passage by steamboat to Natchitoches.

In December 1837 he was elected first Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas. He was a member of the Texas House of Representatives in the Second and Third Legislature and of the Senate until his death in New Orleans on March 27, 1852. He was buried in Nacogdoches, where he was a member of Milam Lodge No. 2.

* From The Texas Mason
By Pete Normand, PM
Texas Lodge of Research

* The Texas Masons
The Fraternity of Ancient Free
& Accepted Masons in the History of Texas
by Pete Normand, © 1986
(Book may be ordered from
Brazos Valley Masonic Library and Museum Assn.
P.O. Box 1300
College Station, TX 77841
Price: $6.00 Postpaid)