History of Prince Hall Freemasonry
Prince Hall is known as the father of black Freemasonry in the United States.
On March 6, 1775, Prince Hall and 14 other men were made Masons in Lodge #441 of the Irish Registry attached to the 38th British Foot Infantry at Castle William Island in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. It marked the first time that Black men were made Masons in America.
About a year later, since the conflict between England and America had commenced, the British Foot Infantry left Boston, along with its lodge, leaving Prince Hall and his associates without a lodge. Before the lodge left, Worshipful Master Batt, gave them a "permit" to meet as a lodge and bury their dead in manner and form. This permit, however, did not allow them to do any "Masonic work" or to take in any new members.
Under it, African Lodge was organized on July 3, 1776, with Prince Hall as the worshipful master. It wasn't long before this lodge received an additional "permit" from Provincial Grand Master John Rowe to walk in procession on St. John's Day.
On March 2, 1784, African Lodge #1 petitioned the Grand Lodge of England, the Premier or Mother Grand Lodge of the world, for a warrant (or charter), to organize a regular Masonic lodge, with all the rights and privileges thereunto prescribed.
The Grand Lodge of England issued a charter on September 29, 1784 to African Lodge #459, the first lodge of Blacks in America.
African Lodge #459 grew and prospered to such a degree that Worshipful Master Prince Hall was appointed a Provincial Grand Master, in 1791, and out of this grew the first Black Provincial Grand Lodge.
In 1797 he organized a lodge in Philadelphia and one in Rhode Island. These lodges were designated to work under the charter of African Lodge #459.
In December 1808, one year after the death of Prince Hall, African Lodge #459 (Boston), African Lodge #459 (Philadelphia) and Hiram Lodge #3 (Providence) met in a general assembly of the craft and organized African Grand Lodge (sometime referred to as African Grand Lodge #I).
In 1847, out of respect for their founding father and first Grand Master, Prince Hall, they changed their name to the Prince Hall Grand Lodge, the name it carries today. In 1848 Union Lodge #2, Rising Sons of St. John #3 and Celestial Lodge #4 became the first lodges organized under the name Prince Hall Grand Lodge.
Today, the Prince Hall Fraternity has over 4,500 Lodges worldwide, forming 46 independent jurisdictions with a membership of over 300,000.
REVISED HISTORY OF SONS OF LIGHT LODGE NO. 61
PRINCE HALL, FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONRY.
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA
Prior to 1931 records of Sons of Light # 61 was lost. Our Lodge was established in the year 1903 and was very active in the Rock Hill community during its early years. Records for our Lodge were resumed again in the year 1931. During the year of 1931 the officers were:
Prince Riley – W. M.; S. C. Weston – S. W.; Cye Cureton – J. W.; McNeely Nelson – Treasurer, and S. H. Blake – Secretary. There is no record for the years 1932 and 1933 because they were depression Years. Therefore, the officers elected in 1931 remained the same from 1934 through 1939 with one change in 1936. J. H. Goudlock became S. W.
The officers from 1945 through 1965 were:
J. H. Goudlock – W. M.; J. A. Gaffney - S. W., S. H. Blake – J. W.; McNeely Nelson - Treasurer, and Cye Cureton - Secretary. In 1941 E. W. Brice was listed as J. W. In 1942, S. H. Blake was again elected Secretary. R. M. Lee remained Secretary until B. J. Anderson became Secretary in 1949. W. R. Laney became J. W. in 1943 and served until 1949, when Andrew Jackson became J. W. In 1951, Charles F. Crawford became Secretary, and in 1952, James E. Rhinehart became Secretary and served in this capacity until Lommis Rowells became Secretary in 1956. Rowells remained Secretary until 1965. Another officer who served well during the administration of J. H. Goudlock was Robert Byers as Treasurer.
Officers for the years 1966 through 1971 were: Charlie Crawford - W. M.; Frontis Brooks - S. W.; Ernest Barnette - J. W.; Robert Byers - Treasurer, and
Lommis Rowells - Secretary. During the years of 1972 and 1973 the following served as officers: Frontis Brooks – W. M.; D. C. McDuffie – S. W.; Ernest L Barnett - J. W.;
Robert Byers - Treasurer, and Lommis T. Rowells Secretary.
During the years beginning in 1974 and ending in 1978, the officers were: D. C. McDuffie - W. M.; Ernest Barnett - S. W.; Lommis Rowells - J. W.; Robert Byers - Treasurer, and James Coleman - Secretary. Only one officer was replaced during this period. The J. W. was replaced by Roosevelt Kaniel, Sr. Officers for the years 1979 through 1981 were: Ernest Barnett W. M.; Roosevelt Daniel, Sr. - S. W.; James Rhinehart J. W.; Marion Sanders - Treasurer, and Robert Lee - Secretary.
During the years of 1982 through 1983 the officers were: Roosevelt Daniel, Sr. - W. M.; James Rhinehart - S. W.; Fred Thompson - J. W.; Marion Sanders - Treasurer, and Thomas Love - Secretary.
Officers for the years 1984 through 1986 were: James L. Rhinehart - W. M.; Thomas Love - S. W.; Enoch Dingle - J. W.; Bobby Plair - Treasurer, and Z. B. Wells - Secretary. From 1987 through 1988 the officers were: Thomas Love - W. M.; Enoch Dingle - S. W.; Harvey McCoy - J. W.; Bobby Plair - Treasurer, and Z. B. Wells - Secretary.
For the years 1989 through 1990 the officers were: Enoch Dingle – W. M.; Harvey McCoy - S. W.; John D. Douglas – J. W.; Bobby Plair - Treasurer, and Z. B. Wells - Secretary.
The committee making this study deems it unwarranted, even if adequate information was acquired, to give details of the Subject Lode's History. The committee also feels that the study would be useless without a few highlights and achievements.
The Lodge, having been charted since 1903, has had many officers filling different positions, but only fourteen (14) Worshipful Masters.
The first known meeting place for the Lodge was the I. A. Macon Building located on West Black Street in downtown Rock Hill where they met for a number of years. Later during following administrations, they met in various churches, etc. In the early forties, they started meeting in the Riley Building (formerly Riley Drug Store) located on infest Black Street. This building was later purchased by the Lodge. As the years progressed, Rock Hill became one of the Model Cities of South Carolina. This distinction brought Urban Renewal Programs to Rock Hill which made relocation of the Lodge necessary. Over many or the past years, the thought of two local Prince Hall F&A Lodges joining and building a Temple was discussed, but the cost of construction seemed too enormous for their dreams to come to fruitation. However, as time moved on and things began to look better, the dream began to materialize.
With the pledges of all the brethren and the commitments of all the carpenters, brick masons, concrete finishers, welders, electricians and laborers, the temple was built. Some of the brethren of Sons of Light Lodge No. 61 who gave much of their time and free labor were P. M. Charlie T. Crawford, Rufus Caldwell, William H. Massey, Fred Thompson and James Coleman. Some of the deceased who left their imprints in their endeavors to build a Temple were P. M. D. C. McDuffie, P. M. Frontis Brooks and P. M. James H. Goudlock.
The Temple was dedicated in 1974 and is located on Crawford Road in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
A matter of paramount importance for the whole state of South Carolina is the masonic Temple in Columbia which was erected when the Honorable Prince Riley, who was a Past Master of Sons of Light Lodge No. 61, was then the Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Jurisdiction of the State of South Carolina.
PAST MASTERS DATES IN OFFICE
W.M. Robinson 1903 through 1905
I.A. Macon 1905 through 1912
C.P.T. White 1912 through 1915
Records Unavailable 1916 through 1921
R.J. Boulware 1922 through 1929
Prince Riley 1930 through 1939
J.H. Goudlock 1940 through 1965
Charlie F. Crawford 1966 through 1971
Frontis Brooks 1972 through 1973
D.C. McDuffie 1974 through 1978
Ernest Barnett 1979 through 1981
Roosevelt Daniel, Sr. 1982 through 1983
James E. Rhinehart 1984 through 1986
Thomas Love 1987 through 1988
Enoch Dingle 1989 through 1992
Harvey McCoy 1993 through 1995
Robert M. Lee 1996 through
Daryl Benjamin 2002 through 2003
Jarrod T. Richardson 2004
Harvey McCoy 2005
James W. Knox 2006 through 2009
Gregory Carter 2010 to Present
HISTORICAL COMMITTEE, 1990
Dr. W.B. Knox, Chairman
Enoch Dingle, W. M.
Charlie F. Crawford, P. M.
Robert M. Lee
James E. Rhinehart, P. M.
HISTORICAL COMMITTEE, 2010
Howard McCoy, Secretary