The celebrated journey of St. John’s Lodge was conceived on November 7, 1888. On that divine day, nineteen members of Warren Lodge No. 8, applied for, and were granted a demit for the purpose of forming a new Lodge to be named St. John’s Lodge.
This historical journey was undertaken by the following Brothers whose names are on the eternal trestle board in heaven: Thomas P. Bell, Charles Carter, Charles Christian, Richard Hill, Walter L. Gray, Orlando King, Robert Richard, J.R. Dowin, Harry W. Hamilton, William Hill, Ferdinand Ryals, William Small, James H. Williams, and A.B. Winslow. These are the chartered members of St. John’s Lodge, whose blessings we adore. They have, since that historical event, passed on from these shores of mortal man and trails and are now members of the Celestial Lodge whose temple is that house not made by hands – eternal in the Heavens. However, their golden memories continue.
On June 24, 1889, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia granted a charter to St. John’s Lodge No. 12. The Lodge was set aside by the then Most Worshipful Grand Master John H. Lee. Thereafter, he was made an honorary member.
The idea of St. John’s Lodge No. 12 is a fraternal link of brotherly love that flows freely like a river of light, paving the pathway from whence we came. The first officers were: Brothers W.H.S. Young, Worshipful Master; A.B. Winslow, Senior Warden; N. Roberson, Junior Warden; Thomas P. Nell, Treasurer; and H. W. Hamilton, Secretary. These Brothers exhibited the kind of leadership, which became our motto, “Each One Reach One”, as a symbol of hope, faith, and charity of our fraternity.
St. John’s Lodge No. 12 has made memorable contributions to this great jurisdiction. We have provided great leadership to the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge in the role of Most Worshipful Grand Master and Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master.
Down through the years, we have supported the Grand Lodge in numerous stations and places in time of need. Most noted are Past Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master J.M. Marshall; Past Right Worshipful Grand Treasurer Sylvester F. Blackwell, who served in that position for twenty years; Past Worshipful Grand Director, Order of the Knights of Pythagoras Melvin Smith Jr. who was the 2008 recipient of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge S. Matthew Hendershott Award for exceptional, outstanding leadership and contributions to Freemasonry; and Past Right Worshipful Financial Grand Secretary Joe Wicks.
In 1979 and 1980, our Lodge was blessed with the election of PM Donald Vowels to serve this jurisdiction as its Most Worshipful Grand Master. Today, as he gracefully resides in the Celestial Lodge on high as Most Worshipful Past Grand Master, that great fortitude and courage which he so excellently demonstrated, continues to stimulate the hearts and minds of those who someday aspire to serve this great jurisdiction as its Most Worshipful Grand Master.