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History of Texas Lodge No.46 of San Juan Bautista California

The Texan Influence © Truitt L Bradly Past Master Tascosa Lodge No 1375

Copyright 2019 Truitt L Bradly

The Formation of California’s Texas Lodge No. 46:

In the latter stages of the California Gold Rush, a group of Masons petitioned the Grand Lodge of California, Free and Accepted Masons for dispensation to form a Masonic lodge in San Juan Bautista, Monterey County, California with the proposed name to be Texas Lodge. The group of Masons who initiated the petition consisted mostly of Texans, and over forty per cent of those were former members of San Gabriel Lodge No. 89 of Georgetown, Williamson County, Texas.


Who were these men and what was the force urging them to uproot themselves and their families and make the long and difficult journey to California?

The formation of San Gabriel Lodge occurred shortly after the Mexican-American War, prior to the annexation of California by the United States of America and the discovery of gold in California. The events leading up to the 1846 declaration of war against Mexico, began with the annexation of Texas by the United States, after which Mexico severed diplomatic relations with the United States in March of 1845.

An alleged invasion by the Mexican Army into disputed territory between the Rio Grande and the Nueces Rivers on 25 April 1846 resulted in the killing of sixteen American soldiers, allegedly by the Mexican troops.

The response of the United States was a three-pronged approach.

  1. Send an army into the heart of Mexico under the command of General Winfield Scott.
  2. Send forces under the command of Colonel Stephen Kearny to occupy both New Mexico and California
  3. Send General Zachary Taylor’s command to capture the city of Monterrey.

General Scott sailed his forces to the seaport of Veracruz, captured it, and then moved inland to capture Mexico City on 14 September 1847. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico ceded nearly all of the western United States, including California, for fifteen million dollars and the United States assumption of all debts against Mexico by the citizens of the ceded territory (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2015).

In 1848 at the request of citizens of the western portions of Milam County, the Texas Legislature established Williamson County out of a portion of Milam County. The legislature chose to name the county Williamson to honour one of their own, state senator, judge, and Freemason Robert McAlpin III Williamson, better known as Three-Legged Willie (Smithwick, 2010, p. 44).

Another Freemason and local landowner, George Washington Glasscock, donated land for the county seat of newly formed Williamson County in May of 1848 and the county commissioners named the town Georgetown in his honour (Breeding, 1974; Varan, 2015).

San Gabriel Lodge was set to work in Georgetown under a dispensation, granted by Deputy Grand Master Andrew Neill of the Grand Lodge of Texas, on 22 May 1851 with John Toliver Cox, Worshipful Master; James Armstrong, Senior Warden; and Edward Farris Storey, Junior Warden (Minutes 89, 1852 – 1854).

The Grand Lodge of Texas voted to grant a charter to San Gabriel Lodge No. 89 on 21 January 1852, naming the same three principal officers to serve as the Charter officers (A. S. Ruthven, 1857; 1860). Cox presided over his final San Gabriel Lodge meeting on 27 March 1852 when he, and a number of the other members who had succumbed to the epidemic of Gold Fever that was spreading through the lodge, departed for California.

After serving a year as Junior Warden while San Gabriel Lodge was under dispensation and serving only two months after being installed as Charter Junior Warden of San Gabriel Lodge, Captain Edward Farris Storey and member William Henry Titchenal and were granted demits on 20 March 1852 to leave for California (Ledger 89, 1874).

In addition to Cox, Storey, and Titchenal, other San Gabriel Lodge members Robert L Matthews, Walter Golborn Hubbard, C. C. Arnett, James H Addison, N. Beardsley, W. G. Hall, and Charter Secretary N. B. Johnson all took demits before 1854 and left Georgetown for California, some of them settling in San Juan Bautista (Ledger 89, 1874).

The Territorial Enterprise described the trip to California:

Capitan Storey, with his only child, an infant daughter, started with other emigrants to California. They went through Mexico to Mazatlán, thence by water to San Francisco on a sailing vessel. They encountered a heavy storm and were blown out to sea, the vessel sprung a leak and the passengers and crew had to pump for their lives. They ran out of water and provisions, endured much suffering and several of their party died.

Captain Storey gained great credit for his coolness and courage and assistance rendered the officers (Hall, 1877, p. 1). Depending on the actual route taken by the party, the overland portion of the journey was at least 925 miles, and possibly more. Storey, and others who had received demits, attended the 27 March 1852 stated meeting of San Gabriel Lodge in Georgetown, so it is evident that the party departed sometime after that night. It is likely that two of the new Master Masons raised at that last meeting and were both granted demits that same evening, Robert L. Matthews and Walter Golborn Hubbard, left with Storey’s party (Minutes 89, 1852 – 1854).

To avoid the extreme summer temperatures known to exist in southern Texas and central Mexico, the spring departure date may have been crucial. An excerpt from an article on the webpage of Visalia Lodge No. 128 Free and Accepted Masons, also describes the journey.

In 1852, with his [Storey’s] little daughter in the saddle with him, he started to California with a party he had organized to make the trip. They traveled by saddle horse and pack train through Old Mexico to Mazatlán on the Pacific Coast where they took a boat and, after a stormy voyage in which many passengers perished, he landed with his party at Monterey, California, and at once began the business of stock raising at San Juan, then in Monterey County, but now in Benito County. He had joined the Masons in Texas, and a number of the men who accompanied him to California also were Masons. (Visalia 128, 2015)

An article posted on the Hispanic Genealogical Research Center of New Mexico’s website has a version of the voyage to California from the Cox family’s perspective, and also supports and expands the latter part of Storey’s journey. It assumes that the Cox family departed from Galveston on 14 March 1852 to Aspinwall, Panama and travelled overland across the isthmus, but the minutes of San Gabriel Lodge have Brother Cox presiding as Worshipful Master on 27 March 1852, so the Galveston departure date was at least three weeks later than reported.

It appears that Cox and Storey took different routes to Mazatlán, but probably the two parties linked up there for the remainder of the journey to San Francisco, with a portion of the group, including Storey, later transferring to the Archibald Gracie from the Emily at San Blas. John Toliver Cox took his wife Mary and family along with him to California. Apparently, his oldest daughter, Rona, was married and did not go with them. His next oldest daughter, Nancy T., married to Noah McCuison [A relative of our Modern day (2019), Worshipful Inspector B.J.McCuiston of our #353 Masonic District] of the and their child and also the 4 children of Noah by his first wife were on the trip. The younger children of John and Mary on the trip were Sarah R., age 19; William J., age 15; John T., age 13; James C., age 11; Thomas C., age 8, and Louise E., age 6. They sailed from Texas, likely the port of Galveston, on March 14, 1852, to Aspinwall (now Colon), Panama. They then made their way across the Isthmus of Panama. One record states that in 1852 it took the soldiers of the 4th Regiment of the U.S. Infantry 4 days to make the trip. How long it took families with small children is not known. (The Panama Canal was not built until 1920.)

In 1852, steamers could make the voyage along the west coast from Panama to San Francisco in about 20 days but sailing ships averaged about 70 days, (Recorded times for that year ranged from 45 to 79 days) The cost of the trip on the sailing ships was much cheaper tha[n] for the steamers. The Cox family sailed on the square-rigged bark “Emily” on April 18, 1852, reportedly with 300 passengers on board. The “Emily” had left Liverpool, England under the command of Captain Charles Clinch in September of 1851, made a stop at Rio de Janeiro, rounded the cape and made its way up the west coast of South America to Panama.

After being boarded by the Cox family she took 60 days of unusually slow progress before finally on June 20th putting in at Manzanillo, about 154 miles south of San Blas, Mexico. She had ran short of food and water. The passengers and crew had to go on limited rations, each person was issued a small daily ration of rice and corn and 3 pints of water. Only limited additional supplies were found in Manzanillo and the “Emily” sailed on. Several passengers died of dysentery before they reached San Blas. At San Blas some passengers were transferred to the bark “Archibald Gracie” on July 28, 1852.

The Cox and McCuiston Families stayed on the “Emily” which struggled on to the north. On August 16, the Emily was in deep trouble about 20 miles off of San Diego with very short supplies of food and water. She had 90 passengers on board. On that day the “Emily” had been contacted at sea by Captain C. P. Patterson, U.S.N. of the steamer “Golden Gate,” only 11 days out of Panama. Later on the 16th, the “Golden Gate” put into San Diego to leave word that caused the steamer “Ohio” to stand by for the relief of the “Emily.”

The “S.S.Golden Gate” [Pictured Above] steamed on and arrived in San Francisco on August 18 On August 17th all but 3 of the “Emily’s” passengers transferred at the port at San Diego to the steamer “Ohio” under Captain Hilliard. The “Ohio” quickly made the last leg of the voyage to San Francisco, delivering the Cox family there on August 21, 1852. It had taken the family 5 months and 7 days to make the trip from Galveston to San Francisco, over 4 months of the time consumed on the voyage from Panama to San Francisco. The Cox family was fortunate that they did not transfer while in San Blas to the “Archibald Gracie” under Captain Peters. The “Archibald Gracie” reached San Francisco 20 days after the Cox family had arrived there safely, on September 10, 1852. Seventeen of the passengers which did transfer had died of disease before it reached San Francisco.

The “Archibald Gracie” was met at the San Francisco dock by Captain North of the San Francisco Police Department and about 12 of former “Emily” passengers were conveyed to the State Marine Hospital at San Francisco to be treated for fever and starvation. (HGRC of NM, 2016)

San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist) is located 100 miles SE of San Francisco, approximately 30 miles inland from Monterey in the San Juan Valley. In 1797, Father Junipero Serra established a mission in San Juan Bautista. [Pictured below]

Father Sierra the founder of the California missions. On August 28, 1784, at the age of 70, Junípero Serra died at Mission San Carlos Borromeo (Carmel Mission) from tuberculosis. He is buried there under the sanctuary.

The settlement that developed around the mission remained an important, but small, trading center in the San Juan Valley for most of the years leading up to the Gold Rush. After the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, Lieutenant Colonel John C. Fremont spent two weeks in July 1846 in San Juan Bautista he wrote: … gathering horses, mules, and supplies for his 428-man army. Known as the California Battalion, Fremont’s little army left San Juan on 28 November 1846 and managed, despite considerable hardship, to meet with Andres Pico and sign a treaty with him – the Treaty of Cahuenga – thus ending armed hostilities between the United States and the Californians. (San Juan, 2014)

After living in Monterey County, in the San Juan Bautista area, for close to a year, Storey and other Masons in the San Juan Valley started the process of forming a Masonic lodge.

On 17 September 1853, they asked the nearest lodge, San Jose Lodge No.10, to recommend the petition to form Texas Lodge. The Grand Lodge of California received the recommendation, along with the petition asking to form the lodge, and on 25 October 1853, the Grand Lodge approved the petition. Grand Master Charles M. Radcliff signed and Grand Secretary L. Stowel attested the dispensation on 23 January 1854. (Hewitt, 2013).

On 4th of February 1854, the first meeting of Texas Lodge under Dispensation, was held with Edward Farris Storey, Worshipful Master; Robert Lowrie Mathews, Senior Warden; Leander Strode, Junior Warden; George Franklin Fulgham, Treasurer; N. B. Johnson, Secretary; H. R. Hannah, Senior Deacon; John E. Chism, Junior Deacon; William G. Walker, Senior Steward; Walter Golgorn Hubbard, Junior Steward; and William Powell Abbey, Tyler (Hewitt, 2013).

The Grand Lodge of California granted the charter on 6 May 1854 that authorized Texas Lodge No. 46 Free and Accepted Masons and on 9 July 1854 the first meeting under the authority of a charter opened with Edward Storey, Worshipful Master; Robert Lowrie Mathews, Senior Warden; Leander Strode, Junior Warden; John E. Chism, Treasurer; George Franklin Fulgham, Secretary; William Henry Titchenal, Senior Deacon; N. B. Johnson, Junior Deacon; and Jos. H. Turner, Tyler.

The other charter members were William G. Walker, R. A. Lattimore, Walter Golborn Hubbard, John Toliver Cox, William Powell Abby, Joseph H Turner, Timothy Jennings, Josiah Merritt, and Delos Rodeyn Ashley (Hewitt, 2013). According to the records of San Gabriel Lodge, the following brethren had been members of that lodge, or had lived in Texas, before becoming members of Texas Lodge No 46:

Edward Farris Storey – He was the San Gabriel Lodge U. D. Junior Warden 22 May 1851 and installed the Charter Junior Warden on 17 January 1852. He was issued a demit on 20 March 1852. (Minutes of San Gabriel Lodge UD, 1851; Minutes of San Gabriel Lodge 89, 1852 – 1854 ) No records exist, but it is likely that he received his Masonic degrees in Gonzales County, which is where he settled with his family in 1844. He was born 1 July 1828 in Jackson County, Georgia and moved to Texas with his family in 1844, settling in Gonzales County. He was a Second Lieutenant in the Texas Rangers, serving in Jacob Robert’s Company. This company consisted of men recruited for service in the Mexican-American War primarily from Gonzales County. The company mustered into federal service on 24 October 1847 and mustered out of federal service on 12 December 1848 (US Census Sch, 2010). Storey married Adella Calhoun Johnson on 2 January 1849 in Caldwell County, Texas. Their daughter, Julia Ann Adella Storey was born on 19 November 1849. His wife, Adella, died on 10 January 1850, leaving him a single parent of an infant daughter (Christy Smith, 2010).

Robert Lowrie Matthews – He was initiated on 20 Feb 1852, passed on 20 March 1852, and by special dispensation was raised on 27 March 1852 in San Gabriel Lodge. He was granted a demit on 27 March 1852. He was born on 14 December 1814 in Madison, Alabama. He was a brother-in-law of John E. and Jesse V. Chism, having married their sister Rebecca Angeline Chism on 18 June 1839 in Tishomingo, Mississippi. The 1860 US Census lists Matthews as living in San Juan Bautista and his occupation was a farmer (1860 US Census, 2009). He died in King City, Monterey County, California on 7 August 1896. His burial was in Salinas, Monterey County, California (Ancestry.Com, 2015).

William Henry Titchenal – San Gabriel Lodge U. D. elected and initiated him on 16 August 1851, passed him on 20 September 1851 and raised him on 18 October 1851. He was listed as a charter member of San Gabriel Lodge on 17 January 1852 and was granted a demit 20 March 1852 to go to California. The 1860 United States Census shows him as living in Township 1, Contra Costa County, California, which is West of Oakland and North of San Juan Bautista (1860 US Census, 2009). He was born 2 January 1817 in Virginia and he died on 3 December 1891 in Orange County, California (FindAGrave Titchenal, 2015). He moved to Santa Ana around 1870, where he worked as a teamster. He later accepted the job of Constable of Santa Ana. Ike McManus shot him in the line of duty after McManus was involved in a fight in a saloon. McManus shot him while Titchenal was attempting to restrain him with his cane. He fully recovered from his gunshot wounds, but McManus made his escape out of the country and eluded punishment. Titchenal was the great-grandfather of actress Janet Leigh and the great-great-grandfather of actress Jamie Lee Curtis (Boardman, 2009).

N. B. Johnson – San Gabriel Lodge U. D. both elected and initiated him on 21 June 1851, made him a fellowcraft on 19 July 1851, and raised him on 16 August 1851. He served as Charter Secretary of San Gabriel Lodge on 17 January 1852. He was granted a demit on 18 October 1852. It is possible that he was a brother or cousin to Storey’s wife, but no relationship could be verified. Johnson was born around 9 1823 in Georgia and lived in Milam County, Texas in 1850 (US Census Sch, 2010). In 1860, he was living in Coulterville, Mariposa County, California with his wife and family and his occupation was a merchant (1860 US Census, 2009).

Walter Golborn Hubbard – He was elected and initiated 20 March 1852, and by special dispensation, he was passed and raised on 27 March 1852 in San Gabriel Lodge and he was granted a demit that same date. He was born about 1821 in Connecticut and resided in Williamson County, Texas in 1850. He married La Venia Bird on 7 April 1852 in Williamson County, Texas and his first child, Henrietta, was born in 1856 in California. He was living in San Juan Bautista in 1866. His last known residence was Santa Ana, California in 1880. He had been variously listed as a blacksmith, wheelwright, and carpenter (JamesKellyFamlyTree, 2015).

John Toliver Cox – Cox was the first Master of San Gabriel Lodge U. D. (Minutes SGL UD, 1851) and the Charter Master of San Gabriel Lodge No. 89 (Minutes 89, 1852 – 1854). He was a Methodist minister and farmer in Williamson County, Texas. He was born in South Carolina in 1800, he married Mary Powers and they had nine children together (1850 US Census, 2009). He died on 27 May 1860 in Sonoma County, California and Lafayette Lodge No. 126 in Sonoma County, California performed Masonic graveside rites at his burial (FindAGrave Cox, 2015).

An article in the book, California Sketches, provides an insight into the life of Cox that was not one would have expected of a clergyman. “[Cox] was converted and joined the Methodist Church after he passed his fiftieth year. He had been, as he himself phrased it, the keeper of a ‘doggery,’ and was no doubt a rough customer” (Fitzgerald, 1889, p. 81). J. C. Simmons says that Cox was “one of the most remarkable men ever connected with our Conference. The early part of his life was spent in the service of sin” (HGRC of NM, 2016).

John E. Chism – (Charter member) and his brother, member Jesse V. Chism returned to Williamson County, Texas and affiliated with San Gabriel Lodge No. 89 on 16 January 1858 and 17 April 10 1858 respectively (Ledger 89, 1874).

According to the 1850 United States Census, John E Chism, 28, and Jesse Chism, 21, were living in Williamson County, Texas in the household of their step-father Benjamin Gooch and very likely were in the party organized by Edward Storey in 1852 but were not yet Masons at that time (1850 US Census, 2009).

After returning to Texas, the Chism brothers both served in the war with John enlisting as a Private in Captain M. W. Matthews Lone Star Guards of the Twenty-seventh Brigade on 8 June 1861 in Burnet County at J. Bunions Springs. Jesse enlisted as a Private in Captain John W. Mullins Twenty-seventh Brigade on 15 June 1861 in Williamson County in Georgetown (1838-1900 Texas, 2011). John died in April of 1889 in Limestone County, Texas and Jesse died 25 April 1910 in Bluffton, Texas. George Franklin. Fulgham – He was born in Twiggs, Georgia on 26 June 1812 and lived there until after the 1840 Census (1840 US Census, 2010).

He was a resident of the Republic of Texas in Harrison County on the 1845 Texas Tax List and in 1848 resided in Caldwell County, Texas (1820-1890 Texas, 1999). He was listed on the 1860 United States Census as living in San Juan, Monterey, California on 28 June 1860 with an occupation of a farmer (1860 US Census, 2009). He moved to San Bernardino, California and was the Sheriff of San Bernardino County from 1863-1869 (sbsmuseum.org, 2016). His occupation was farming in 1870 (1870 US Census, 2009). He died in 1871.

The remainder of the charter members did not start their quest for gold and prosperity in Texas and arrived in California from diverse starting points.

Leander Strode – Leander shows living in Cosumnes River, El Dorado, California in 1850 with his wife and three children. His occupation was “Mining for Gold” (1850 US Census, 2009). The family relocated to the northwest and lived in Sonoma County in 1867 (1866-1898 CA, 2011). By 1874, he had moved to Santa Clara, California (1866-1898 CA, 2011). His marital status in the 1880 census was a 11 widower and he resided in Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo and he was working as a glove maker (1880 US Census, 2010). He died in San Luis Obispo on 4 February 1891.

William G. Walker – He was living in San Juan in 1850 and in 1860 and was listed as being born in Ohio (Escobar, 1999). No further information on Walker was identifiable as there was a large number of William Walkers from Ohio. William Powell Abbey – He does not appear to be living in California in 1850 but appears in Alameda in 1860, 1870, and 1880 engaging in agriculture and is listed as being born in Scotland about 1826 (1860 US Census, 2009; 1870 US Census, 2009; 1880 US Census, 2010).

Josiah Merritt – He resided in Monterey County in 1850 and 1860. He was born in New York. He was listed on both the 1850 and 1860 Federal census as being a lawyer. He married Ludwina (Juana) Castro, the daughter of Mexican General Jose Castro and he died in Monterey on 23 February 1869 (1850 US Census, 2009; 1860 US Census, 2009) .

Delos Rodeyn Ashley – He was born in Post, Arkansas in 1828 and admitted to the bar in 1847. He was living in Monterey County, California in 1852 and his profession was a lawyer (1852 CA Census, 2010). He was District Attorney of Monterey County 1851 – 1853, a member of the California State Assembly 1854 – 1855, a Member of the California State Senate 1856 – 1857, and was the State Treasurer of California 1862 – 1863. He moved to Storey County, Nevada where he served two terms in the United States Congress 1865 – 1869 (Bio Dir US Congress, 2016). In the 1870 Federal Census, he was practising as a lawyer and living in Hamilton, White Pine County, Nevada (1870 US Census, 2009). He returned to California due to declining health and died in San Francisco on 18 July 1873 (Shuck, 2015).

H. R. Hanna, S. Colton, S. Johnson, Timothy Jennings, R. A. Lattimore, and J. H. Turner – No verifiable biographical information or residence sources could be located, and that was probably due to the records not having full names and the men having relatively common last names.

First Visalia Lodge Temple Erected in 1857-58 at the southwest corner of Church and Main Streets.

In 1857, Storey decided to move 150 miles to Visalia, California. It was not long before he and another group of Masons petitioned the Grand Lodge of California to form a new lodge in Visalia. The brethren chose Brother Storey to be the Charter Master of Visalia Lodge No. 128 and on 14 January 1859, Visalia Lodge was set to work with Storey as Worshipful Master (Haight, 2010).

Once again, the allure of the riches, this time in the Comstock Lode, drew Brother Storey to Nevada. The following is an excerpt of the biography and tribute to Worshipful Brother Edward F Storey from Visalia Lodge’s webpage. In 1860 after the expiration of his term as master, Brother Storey felt the urge that drew so many men to Nevada, when the Comstock Lode was discovered. He went to Virginia City, leaving his little daughter Julia with the wife of the Methodist Minister at Visalia.

He had been in Nevada only a few months when an Indian War broke out. Brother Storey was elected Captain of the “Virginia Rifles,” and when leading his men against the Indians, was fatally wounded from ambush on June 2, 1860, and died that same evening, at the age of thirty-two years. He was buried in the Virginia City Cemetery with military honours.

Storey County erected a monument over Brother Storey’s grave, which was dedicated by the Grand Lodge of Nevada November 8, 1930. (Photo Credit: Ray Sherrod)

Storey County, in which Virginia City is situated, was named in honour of Brother Storey. In 1930 Escurial Lodge, in conjunction with Virginia City officials, and the county commissioners of Storey County erected a monument over Brother Storey’s grave, which was dedicated by the Grand Lodge of Nevada November 8, 1930. (Photo Credit: Ray Sherrod)

At the time of the death of Brother Storey, telegraph lines had just been completed to Visalia, and one of the first messages received it was a message to the Lodge at one dollar a word announcing the death of Brother Storey. The Lodge immediately met and in addition to the usual resolution of respect, passed a resolution authorizing the Master to see that Brother Storey’s orphaned daughter was provided for, and authorizing him to apply to the Court for appointment as her guardian. J. N. Thomas, the second Master of the Lodge, immediately filed a petition for the appointment of himself as guardian, which petition was granted by the Court on the same day it was filed. She then became a ward of the Lodge until her marriage to J. W. Williams, a member of the Lodge and for many years City Marshall of Visalia.

About one year after Brother Thomas became the guardian of Julia, a demand was made upon him to surrender the custody of the minor to an alleged uncle, but the Lodge instructed Brother Thomas forthwith to reject the demand, and directed the Charity Committee to institute legal proceedings to protect the orphan child (Visalia 128, 2015).

An excerpt from the comments on Julia’s Find a Grave memorial add to why Storey went to Nevada. But in 1860 when Capt. Storey struck out for the rich silver mines of Virginia City, Nevada, he could not leave Julia with his in-laws the Lockley’s because Rev. Lockley had moved out of the area to pastor another church. It was decided that his Mason brothers and their wives would look after Julia in his absence. Capt. Storey was busy forming a Masonic Lodge at Virginia City when trouble broke out with the Paiute [Indians.]

He quickly organized a troop of volunteers naming themselves the Virginia Rifles, and he took command as [t]heir captain. He was no stranger to danger as he had served as a Texas Ranger and was also a veteran of the Mexican War. Sadly, Capt. Storey was mortally wounded at Pyramid Lake on June 2, 1860, leaving his 10- year old daughter an orphan (FindAGrave Storey, 2015).

With the exception of Edward Storey, the men who left Texas to seek their fortunes in California appeared to be successful, while not becoming rich from gold mining, but most lived until old age in California. The Chism brothers returned to Texas and affiliated with San Gabriel Lodge.

What caused Storey to want to uproot his family and venture into the unknown? Then after an apparently successful period in San Juan Bautista, why risk it all again by moving to Visalia? Then to Nevada? In all the history about Edward Storey, there is no direct mention of him, or the others, being obsessed with finding riches from gold.

The Gold Rush was declining by the time the Texans arrived in California, so maybe the allure of the Comstock Lode is the first real opportunity he had to strike it rich. Storey had a passion for Masonry as he helped establish three lodges and was working on a fourth when he died.

Torrence confirms that Storey was at the first recorded Masonic gathering in Nevada, however, it was a gathering for his own funeral. Although the first unit of Masonry in the Territory of Nevada was not established in Virginia City, yet it is historically true that the first Masonic gathering in the state was held in that thriving camp in June, 1860, and was called to observe Masonic funeral rites over the body of Capt. Edw. F. Storey, killed in an engagement with hostile Indians, near Pyramid Lake, to which reference has been previously made.

Many notables were present at this meeting, prominent among whom was Wm. Henry Howard, Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, and a Past Grand Master from California, who was selected to preside over the meeting, and who is said to have pronounced the funeral oration. An old time resident of  Virginia City, who later became a member of Virginia City Lodge No. 162, was authority, before his death, for the statement that following the funeral services, Masonic matters were discussed by the brethren which contemplated the establishment of a lodge in Virginia City and the acquiring of suitable quarters in which to house the lodge (Torrence, 1930).

For forever-unknown reasons, Storey made the decision to leave his daughter and seek his fortunes in Nevada. The decision ended up costing him his life. His beloved Masonic fraternity was able to fulfil the obligations of Freemasonry and they provided support and protection for his daughter Julia until she married.

As for Freemasonry, all three of the Texas and California lodges have survived, as well as Masonry in Nevada, and Masonry is thriving in those locations today. Moreover, although the collective memory of San Gabriel Lodge had long ago forgotten the contribution of the Masons from San Gabriel Lodge, the Masons of Texas Lodge No.46 and the Masons of Visalia Lodge have kept the history alive.




For those interested in learning more about the foundation of Masonry in California:

Here is a video from the Grand Lodge of California.


The Texan Influence © Truitt L Bradly Past Master Tascosa Lodge No 1375

Past Master Salado Lodge No 296 Past Master Texas Lodge of Research Secretary Texas Lodge of Research

Truitt L. Bradly PO Box 1057 Georgetown, Texas 78627-1057 512 567-4756


Copyright 2019 Truitt L Bradly.

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