The North Carolina Mason

September/October 2017

North Carolina Mason

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 15

Page 14 The North Carolina Mason September/October 2017 e Grand Historian's Courier Case e stories behind one lodge's namesakes Samuel Johnston 1733-1816 He entered the world in 1733 near Dundee, Scotland, and at age 3 immigrated to America with his parents and uncle, Royal Gov. Gabriel Johnston, to the colony of North Carolina. e family was upper-tier, whereupon Samuel received his education through tutors and college. He studied law and passed the bar, becoming a licensed attorney. Moving to the Edenton area, Johnston's political career skyrocketed. He would purchase Hayes Plan- tation and wed Frances Cathcart, resulting in the birth of three daughters (Penelope, Frances, and Helen) and one son ( James). As the turbulent times between the colonies and the Mother Country continued to brew, Brother Samuel, a thus far loyal British subject, directed his energies to the cause of liberty. His service in North Carolina's Provi- sional Congress, coupled with early military action (Moore's Creek) would result in Royal Gov. Josiah Martin fleeing the colony and, even though North Carolina had no state constitution, Samuel became the de facto governor for two years. His commitment – politically, personally and financially – to establishing a new nation cannot be denied. e eight-year War of American Independence was long, bitter and destructive. Continued service to his state found Brother Samuel serving as the state's governor three times, striving to establish the nation's first public institution of higher learning (University of North Carolina), and becoming the state's first U.S. senator. His Masonic career began in Royal Edwin #5 in Windsor, and Unanimity #9 in Edenton. On Dec. 12, 1787, the Grand Lodge of North Carolina was established in Tarboro and Brother Johnston was elected to become the first Grand Master; it was a position he would hold thrice more. Samuel Johnston's life would end in its 83rd year on Aug. 8, 1816, at his home, Hayes Plantation in Edenton, where he was laid to rest in the family cemetery. On Aug. 7, 2017, your Grand Historian had the honor and pleasure of presenting to Johnston-Caswell #10 portraits of the lodge's namesakes. Our 10th oldest lodge has a long history, and its members continue to keep the flame of masonry aglow in Warren County. By Stephen Campbell Grand Historian Ri ard Caswell 1729-1789 He was born near Joppa, Maryland, in 1729 and attended a nearby parish school. Moving to North Carolina at 17, he received an appointment as Royal Gov. Gabriel Johnston's secre- tary (Samuel Johnston's uncle). At the same time, the enterprising young man became a surveyor and was appointed the state's Deputy Surveyor General. He studied law and became an attorney. Displaying military leadership skills, Caswell would command Royal Militia troops, which suppressed the Regulator movement in 1771. With his talent for politics, military and legal affairs, Caswell was well known throughout North Carolina. He wed Mary Mackilwean, had three children, and moved into Harmony Hall in Kingston (today's Kinston). When Mary unexpectedly died, he wed Susannah Moore, ushering in the birth of 11 more children. As the relationship between the colonies and England frayed, Brother Richard would serve in all five North Carolina Congresses, as well as in the first and second Continental Congresses in Philadelphia. Royal Gov. Josiah Martin, soon to flee, would say that Caswell was "a most active tool of sedition." He was appointed Brigadier General in the North Carolina Militia. His leadership resulted in the American victory at Moore's Creek. By 1777, the state's first constitution was penned and Richard Caswell became the first governor. After three terms, he returned to military service, then again entered into the political arena. Few, if any, men raised more awareness, money, troops, or support for liberty. John Adams would say of him: "He was a model man. We always looked to Caswell for North Carolina." He would serve as governor five times. Between 1784 and 1789, he would suffer the loss of two sons, a daughter, his mother, sister, and two brothers as a result of yellow fever and other diseases. His Masonic journey began in 1754, whereupon he was re-obli- gated in 1772 at St. John's Lodge #3 in New Bern. He would serve as our Grand Lodge's first Deputy Grand Master and then as our second Grand Master. On Nov. 8, 1789, while serving as Speaker of the NC Senate in Fayetteville, Brother Caswell suffered a stroke and died two days later. He was afforded a Masonic funeral in Fayetteville, and his remains were returned to Kinston where he was laid to rest.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The North Carolina Mason - September/October 2017