Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum

Young, Harriet Louisa, 1818-1909; Truman, J. Vivian (John Vivian), 1886-1965; Truman, Martha Ellen, 1852-1947; Young, Harrison, 1846-1916; Truman, John Anderson, 1851-1914; Stark, Lloyd Crow, 1886-1972
Freemasonry; Presidential family

Longhand Note of President Harry S. Truman, Not dated. President's Secretary's Files - Longhand Notes.

See also page 168 of Hillman's book.

My Masonic History

In 1906 I quit my job in the Union National Bank in Kansas City and moved to the farm at Grandview. It consisted of 600 acres and belonged to my Grandmother, Hariet Louise Young. She was a wonderful woman.

My Uncle Harrison Young, an old bachelor had been running the farm since 1893, when my grandfather died. He wanted to go back to town and so arrangements were made for our family to take over.

My father, brother and I ran the place for ten or twelve years.

I had always been interested in becoming a member of the Masonic Lodge. One day a cousin of my mother's who lived on a farm east of us came over to look at some live stock. He was wearing a square and compass with a big C in the center. I told him of my interest and desire to join.

This incident happened in January 1909 or December 1908. Mamma's cousin came back in a few days with an application for membership in Belton Lodge 450 at Belton, Missouri. The initiation fee was twenty dollars, half of which went with the application. I signed up and gave my second cousin a check for $10.00.

On Feb. 9, 1909 I was initiated, passed in two weeks and on March 9, 1909 received the 3rd degree and after passing all examinations became a full fledged member of Belton Lodge 450 A.F. & A. M. of Missouri.

About a month after, the Grand Lecturer, James R. McLachlan came to Belton for a three day lodge of instruction. I attended all three days and accompanied the grand lecturer to Holden and St. Joseph becoming almost letter perfect in the ritual in all the stations.

In the fall of 1909 I was appointed a deacon and in the falloff 1910 elected Junior Warden. I decided to organized a lodge at Grandview about this time.

The Masonic Law required twenty signatures to a petition for dispensation to be presented to the Grand Master.

The Grand Lodge met in St. Louis in September 1910 and I presented the petition to the Grand Master in the spring of 1910.

It was favorably acted upon and a dispensation was issued by the Grand Master with me as master of Grandview Lodge U.D. When the Grand Lodge met in the fall I was present and a charter was issued to Grandview Lodge 618.

The Deputy Grandmaster Leon Thalman organized and put the Lodge to work in 1911. I was elected its first master and then its secretary. I was again elected master in 1916 and was master when the War came along in 1917. While I was over seas the lodge had burned with all the records and the charter.

When I came home from the War I kept up my interest in Masonic affairs, becoming known as a ritualist and in 1924 I was appointed Deputy Grandmaster and Deputy Grand Lecturer for the 59th district which was Jackson County outside Kansas City.

I held instruction courses in every lodge in the district in each year and held a general course of instruction for all lodges in the district with the Grand Lecturer present.

These meetings were most helpful and instructive and gave the members a chance to become better acquainted. It was also an opportunity to impress upon the membership the great lessons taught in the old and new Testaments.

In 1930 William R. Gentry was Grand Master. He is a prominent lawyer in St. Louis and a working Republican in politics. I was Presiding Judge of the County Court of Jackson County and an organization Democrat. Mr. Gentry appointed me to the first step in the Grand Lodge Line. This meant that eventually with no mishaps, I'd be Grand master.

Some partisan Republicans in St. Louis tried to head me off when I came to the first elective office but they failed as they did every year after that until I became the Grand Master of Missouri in September 1940.

In the meantime I had been elected to the United States Senate in 1934. I was having the fight of my life for re-election in 1940. My political friends were in trouble and the Governor of the State who held his office because I had been for him was trying to unseat me. So the same old St. Louis click that tried to head me off in the Grand Lodge at the first elective office, tried again when I came up for Grand Master. They failed and I'm sure they are now sorry they tried to discredit me, because there are very few Grand Lodges who have had a President of the Greatest Republic in the history of the world as a past Grand Master!

When I became President in 1945, the Scottish Rite wanted me, of course for the 33rd degree. I had been entitled to it for five years but the old man who was Sovereign Grand Commander was from Kentucky and a violent anti-new dealer. So I wasn't asked. But I didn't act the snob and tell the old man where to go when he did come around because I wanted to top off my Masonic career with the 33rd degree.

My Masonic career has been helpful in teaching me to get along with people, has caused me to become more familiar with the Bible and inspired me to read a great deal of history.


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