NORTH CAROLINA. Of the existence, or supposed existence, of Freemasonry in this State the earliest record is to be found among the transactions of St. John's Grand Lodge, at Boston, October 2, 1767, to wit: "A dispensation was made out for the Right Worshipful Thos. Cooper, Master of Pitt County Lodge, in North Carolina, consti tuting him Deputy Grand Master of that Province. And he was com missioned with power to congregate all the brethren there residing, or who should afterward reside in said Province, into one or more lodges as he should think fit, and in such place or places within the same as should most redound to the benefit of Masonry." As the early history of Freemasonry in every section oi this country is of great importance, and that uo staLiment, however small it may appear, should be un noticed, we copy the following, in the hope of eliciting further and more reliable facts: " In a MS. letter of Robert Williams, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of North Caro lina, dated Jan. 9, 1808, and directed to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, Bro. Williams says: The Grand Lodge of North Carolina was constituted by charter, issued from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, in the year 1761, signed by Henry Somerset, Duke of Beau fort, as Grand Master; and attested by George John Spencer, as Grand Secretary. They were among the officers of the Grand Lodge of Scot land, although Beaufort was an English Duke, and Lord Spencer an English Earl.' As the famous altercations between the two Grand Lodges of North Carolina and Ken tucky, in relation to the jurisdiction over the territory of Tennessee, iu 1807, etc., was finally settled, chiefly by reference to the statements made by Bro. Williams, in relation to the labove-nained charter, it is a cnrious fact, that the persons above-named were not (Igicers of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, but that the Duke of Beaufort, from 1767 to 1771, was Grand Master of England! It is admirable to see what a small amount of Masonic history satis fied our fathers fifty years ago. If Beaufort signed the charter, he must have done so as Grand Master of England. We hope this piece of history will yet be cleared up."*
Here is another specimen of how Masonic history may be manufac tured, when it is necessary to say something, but in the absence of reliable documentary evidence: "We know that a Provincial Grand Lodge was established in North Carolina, in 1771, under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, which convened alternately in Edenton and Newbern. The archives were deposited at Edenton, which, as we are informed, were destroyed I '; by the British army, dnrmg the Revolution; and, for several years, • the meetings of the. grand body were suspended, and all knowledge of its early records were lost. We cannot even say whether this Provincial warrant was issued directly by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, as we cannot find the fact stated in the history of that grand body; but we think it not at all difficult to recon cile this seeming defect. We know that, in 1756, the Grand Lodge of Scotland granted a Provincial com mission to Col. John Young, who had long acted as Deputy Grand Master over all the Lodges in Amer ica ica and the West Indies. But, as before stated, that warrant was destroyed, and for about ten years no effective attempt was made to reorganize. 'In 1787, the members cf the Graft assembled at Hills borough, and compiled a code of laws for the government of the Grand Lodge, and again commenced Masonic labors.' From this it would seem that they did not think themselves incapacitated to reor ganize, or resuscitate, the Grand Lodge, or, which is most likely, to form a new Grand Lodge, because the original document of authority had been destroyed." Samuel Johnson, Governor of the State, was elected the first Grand Master.
By the transactions of the Gene ral Grand Chapter (meeting of 1847) we learn that a Grand Chapter existed in North Carolina, as a con stituent of that grand body, in 1822, but that it had ceased its labors. The Grand Chapter was reorganized June 28, 1817, under the General Grand Chapter of the United States. In 1857 it withdrew and became an independent Grand Chapter.
The GRAND CouNcin of Royal and Select Masters was organized June 6, 1860.