HIRAM CONSISTORY NO. 2
Hiram Consistory which hitherto had been holding allegiance to the Baltimore Supreme Council immediately petitioned the United Supreme Council for warrants of perpetual patent under its authority, and on January 27, 1887, the petition was granted and the Consistory was set apart with the proper ceremony as Hiram Consistory No. 2 of Baltimore, Maryland, the first Consistory established in the State of Maryland. The first officers elected and installed were as follows:
R. H. Freeman - Illustrious Commander-in-Chief
John T. Tubman - Illustrious 1st Lieutenant Commander
Hiram Watty - Illustrious 2nd Lieutenant Commander
Walter Sorell - Illustrious Minister of State and Grand Orator
Joseph H. Lee - Illustrious Grand Chancellor
C. R. Matthews - Illustrious Grand Secretary and Keeper of the Seal and Archives
John R. Keene - Illustrious Grand Treasurer
William Mitchell - Illustrious Grand Hospitaler
The establishment of Hiram Consistory No. 2 in the Valley of Baltimore in 1887 led subsequently to the following Scottish Rite Bodies in that city; The Baltimore City Lodge of Perfection No. 1; Eureka Chapter No. 1 Knights of Rose Croix; Emmanuel Council Knights Kadosh; and Queen Esther Assembly No. 1 Order of the Golden Circle.
Among the early pioneers of Scottish Rite Masonry in the Orient of Maryland are to be found the names of Lemuel G. Griffin who was among the first group of men of color to be elevated to the thirty-third and last degree of Masonry under the supervision of Baron Hugo DeBulow, a member of the Supreme Council of France; Samuel W. Chase; John Cook; W. L. Emerson; R. H. Freeman; James A. Handy; Jno. R. Keene; J. H. Lanzey; Joseph Mitchell; James Morris; John H. Owens; Walter Sorrell; John T. Tubman; Hiram Watty; William E. Wilkes; and Samuel E. Young.
Scottish Rite Masonry from 1887 to 1896 in Maryland remained in a state of lethargy; there was seemingly no disposition to increase its influence or its membership. Later in the same year of 1896, the Deputy for the Orient of Maryland, Illustrious R. H. Freeman conducted an induction of a large class of Master Masons into the degrees 14º - 32º. This gave new and added impetus to the Maryland Scottish Rite Fraternity. New Officers were elected by the several bodies at a State Scottish Rite session held on July 24, 1897 and new life infused all along the line. This new condition however lasted only a short period. Interest began to wane, either due to a lack of understanding of the beauties contained in the higher degrees or dissatisfaction on the part of some of the members. Such were the difficulties that stood in the pathway of the Rite in Maryland.
The United Supreme Council held its 15th Annual Session at Baltimore, Maryland in 1902. This session was a huge success. Hiram Consistory No. 2 admitted many new members and the class of new inductees swelled the membership to nearly one hundred. Many of these members were prominent in the various departments of the Craft. Many were well known in the private arena of life. There were lawyers, doctors, ministers of the spoken word, teachers and professors. In fact, they were from many fields of life’s activities. This influx made Hiram Consistory No. 2 stronger. The membership exhibited a new pride, and a new feeling regarding the Order as evident.
The 1902 Annual Session of the United Supreme Council was conceded to be, up to that time, one of the most successful in its history. The new members labored long and hard to help make it so. Thus, a new era was inaugurated. The progress of all the bodies of Scottish Rite Masonry in the State of Maryland moved onward and upward. This movement continued to the early years of World War I from 1917 thru 1920. Membership dropped during this period of national emergency. Hiram Consistory No. 2 however, weathered this crisis and continued to hold regular scheduled meetings.
During the Depression years of the late 1920’s and the 30’s up to World War II, Hiram Consistory No. 2 continued its obligations to its membership and to the community. Following World War II membership growth in Hiram Consistory No. 2 has been excellent.