Grand Lodge of PEI History
A Committee of Past Masters was formed to determine the necessary steps for the establishment of a Grand Lodge. The members were W.Bro. P.S. McGowan PM, W.Bro. John Morrison PM, W.Bro. W. Wallace MacLeod PM, W.Bro. Philip MacLaren and W.Bro. A. Newton Large. W.Bro. McGowan was instructed to communicate with all of the other Lodges in the Province requesting them to send three delegates to the next meeting on December 17, at 8:00 p.m. in St. John’s Lodge Room.
All Lodges except one responded to Bro. McGowan’s letter but due to the impassable state of the roads on the day of the meeting, the appointed delegates could not attend and the meeting was adjourned until January 28, 1875.
Delegates from Alexandra and Mount Lebanon Lodges were absent when the Brethren assembled in St. John’s Lodge Room in January. The following Resolution was adopted:- “Resolved, That in the opinion of the representatives here assembled, measures should, with the least possible delay, be taken for the formation of a Grand Lodge for Prince Edward Island, ….” (Wakeford in Grand Lodge Proceedings, 1925, p.58) The Delegates were requested to discuss the matter with their own Lodge members and those not represented were contacted by the Secretary of the Meeting. The Meeting adjourned until February 24 at Mount Lebanon Lodge in Summerside.
All Craft Lodges were represented in Summerside. W.Bro. John Yeo PM of Alexandra Lodge No. 983 E.R., presided. When a vote showed unanimous desire to form a Grand Lodge in the Province, the following Resolution was moved and adopted: “ That the several members of the said Lodges entitled to sit in Grand Lodge, or as many as can attend do meet at Charlottetown, on the 23rd day of June next, and then and there to proceed to the election of officers; and to the organization of such Grand Lodge to be known as the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Prince Edward Island.” (Wakeford, p.59)
A Committee was appointed to communicate with other Grand Lodges in eastern Canada to inform them of the intent of the Brethren of the Island. The Secretary was instructed to invite the Grand Masters of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to attend on June 24, 1875 for the purpose of installing the Officers of the new Grand Lodge.
It was coincidental that in the same week that the Government of Canada passed the 1875 Land Purchase Act requiring the compulsory sale of the large proprietary estates on Prince Edward Island and paving the way for greater independence in land ownership for Islanders, Freemasons gathered in Charlottetown to establish a Grand Lodge independent from the Grand Lodge of England. Thirty-five Brethren representing seven of the Island’s eight Lodges assembled in St. John’s Lodge Room at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23, 1875 and passed a resolution declaring themselves to be the Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Prince Edward Island. (King Hiram Lodge was not represented.). W.Bro. John Yeo PM of Alexandra Lodge No. 983 in Port Hill presided. A Resolution was also adopted declaring the Constitution of the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick, to the extent that it was applicable, to be the Constitution for the new Grand Lodge excepting that all of the Officers shall be elected. Following the election of the first slate of Officers the Lodge was closed.
The Brethren reconvened on the following morning at 10:00 a.m. in Victoria Lodge Room on Lower Water Street. The Worshipful Grand Master of New Brunswick, M.W.Bro. John V. Ellis, presided and. the several Stations were filled by representatives of the Grand Lodges of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. After introductory remarks by Bro. Ellis, the Grand Master-elect, W.Bro. John Yeo PM, was introduced, obligated, invested and installed as Grand Master. Grand Honours were given and Proclamation was made. The Lodge of Master Masons then closed.