When gold was discovered in California many Masonic Brethren were among the crowds that poured into the district and several Lodges began work in the early part of the year 1848. Soon the question of establishing a Grand Lodge arose. A Convention met on April 18, 1850, of which Brother Charles Gilman of San Francisco was the Chairman and Brother Benjamin D. Hyam of Benicia was Secretary. The Lodges represented were California Lodge, No. 13, of San Francisco; Connecticut Lodge, No. 75, of Sacramento City ; Western Star Lodge, No. 98, of Benton City, Upper California, and New Jersey Lodge of Sacramento City. Brother Benjamin D. Hyam presented credentials from Benicia Lodge, at Benicia, but, as no Masonic information of the existence of such a Lodge could be discovered, it was not recognized. On April 19, a Constitution was adopted and Grand Officers duly elected and installed.
The first Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, namely, San Francisco, No. l, was organized by Dispensation dated May 9, 1850, and a Charter was granted to it, September 13, in the same year. Three Chapters, San Francisco, No. l, Sonora, No. 2, and Sacramento, No. 3, sent delegates to a Convention held on May 6, 1854, at Sacramento for the purpose of organizing a Grand Chapter. The meeting was adjourned, after three days' session, and met again at San Francisco, July 18, 1854. A Constitution was adopted and the Grand Lodge opened. Companion Charles M. Radeliff, of Sonora Chapter, No. 2, was the first Grand High Priest; Companion John D. Creigh, of San Francisco, No. l, Deputy Grand High Priest, and Companion Townsend A. Thomas, of Sacramento Chapter, No. 3, Grand Secretary.
Charters were granted by the Grand Council of Alabama to two Councils in California. One was chartered by the Grand Council of Tennessee and one by the Grand Council of Texas. By representatives of these four Councils the Grand Council of California was organized on June 26, 1860.
A Commandery of Knights Templar, San Francisco, No. l, was formed on November 10, 1852, and was chartered on November 1, 1853. Under the Warrant of Sir William Hubbard, who was then Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of the United States, the Grand Commandery of California was established, August 10 and 11, 1858, in the Asylum of San Francisco Commandery, No. 1.
A Lodge of Perfection, King Solomon, No. 3, was established by a Charter dated January 3, 1866; Robert Bruce, No. 3, a Chapter of Rose Croix, January 13, 1886; Hugues de Payens, Council of Kadosh, No. 3, January 7, 1886, and Los Angeles Consistory, No. 3, October 22, 1888. These four Bodies of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite labored in South California. In North California a Chapter of Rose Croix and a Lodge of Perfection, both by name San Francisco, No. l, were chartered in 1868, the first on June 15, the second on July 13. A Council of Kadosh and a Consistory, also of the same name, were granted Charters on September 17, 1868, and June 30, 1897, respectively.
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