First Grand Master
Remembered by historians as the last President of the Republic of Texas, Anson Jones is remembered by Texas Masons as their first Grand Master.
Jones was born on January 20, 1798, at Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He studied and practiced medicine in New York and Philadelphia until 1824, when he went to Venezuela for two years. Returning to Philadelphia, he completed his M.D. degree, joined Harmony Lodge No. 52, and soon was elected Master of the lodge. In October 1832 he moved to New Orleans. He came to Texas a year later, and set up a successful medical practice in Brazoria.
On March 1, 1835, Jones met with four other Masons at Brazoria and petitioned the Grand Master of Louisiana for a dispensation and a charter to form the first Masonic lodge in Texas. In December, when the lodge was set to labor, Jones was elected its first Master. The charter for Holland Lodge No. 36 arrived in April 1836, and Jones carried it in his saddlebags during the-Battle of San Jacinto. At the formation of the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas in December 1837, he was elected its first Grand Master.
In 1838 President Sam Houston appointed Jones Minister to the U.S. and, a year later, he was elected to the Texas Senate. Married in 1840, he returned to his medical practice in 1841, but was appointed Secretary of State before the end of the year. Elected President of the Republic of Texas in 1844, he was recognized as the “Architect of Annexation”, and presided over the annexation ceremonies in 1846, where he declared “The Republic of Texas is no more.”
Texas became the thirty-fifth state, and Jones retired to his plantation at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where he compiled his memoirs.
Despondent that history had not recognized and appreciated his contribution to Texas, Anson Jones took his own life on January 9, 1858.
* From The Texas Mason By Pete Normand, PM Texas Lodge of Research
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* 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: $10.00 Postpaid