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Raising of brother Charles “Chuck Wagon” Baylacq to the sublime degree of Master Mason

On the 30th day of July, in the year 6022 AL, the brethren of Texas Lodge no.46 welcomed Charles “Chuck Wagon” Baylacq, to be the 473rd member of Texas Lodge.

The degree was held in unique fashion, leveraging a rare & unique “traveling charter” issued to Texas Lodge in 1854 which allows the Lodge to hold meetings and degrees within 7 miles of the Lodge, as long as the location does not interfere with neighboring jurisdictions.

As a former Wells Fargo Express office, many a traveler has set out upon an important journey from the fabled steps of the Texas Lodge hall building. Back then our Brethren traveled by Stagecoach, which were known to carry, 9 passengers inside, 4 on top the roof, and a driver and messenger out front for a total of 15, not to mention the team of horses.

On this fateful day, so too, our modern brethren set out upon a journey to the top of a hill, not to Mt. Moriah, (although 3 brothers with similar names did indeed find this as their destination that day) but rather a local destination known as Fremont peak, named after a late Brother explorer, who went by the name of John C. Fremont But this day the brethren climbed aboard a more modern contraption…for the few mile journey from San Juan Bautista up the canyon…..as before, but with this difference.

The conveyance upon which our brethren embarked to this “Traveling Degree” was an equally revered and recognized piece of modern American history, with a lineage that can be traced back to the “Victoria” Stagecoach. This historical conveyance, built upon what is known affectionately as the “Panther platform” is known for its ubiquitous usage as Taxi Cabs, Police Cars, and Town cars, you may known them as “Crown Victoria’s, Mercury Grand Marquis’, and Lincoln Town cars” which reigned supreme from 1978 to-2011, 33 years.

I mention this detail, because you surely must be familiar with these vehicles, but you may not know that they are connected to another great Freemason, having been made by the Ford company, and brother Henry Ford.

This Brother mason, strove for many of the ideas promoted in Freemasonry. In this example, humility, equality of all man, and finally understanding the great level of time, to which we all are ultimately subject.

Brother Ford who was honored with the 33rd degree of Scottish Rite Masonry, stated:

“I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men, behind whom, were centuries of work. Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready, and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense.”

I digress…. we are talking about the most important undertaking, that of making a Freemason but you must admit, the history of Freemasonry and Masons is fascinating.

As the Limo’s V8’s team of 239 Horsepower, pulled up to the meeting site, the smell of BBQ wafted through the canyon and belly’s began to rumble. The brethren dug around in the horse trough for something to wet their whistle, and a bottle of brown water may have been spotted, being passed among the brethren.

After a hearty meal consisting of:

was enjoyed by the 30+ brothers and family members, it was time to get down to business, that of the most important job of a Lodge, making a Master Mason.

As cigar smoke and the smell of oil lamps wafted across the outdoor lodge room, the Master Raymond E. Hill IV opened lodge upon the 3rd degree, with the assistance of his Sr. & Jr. Wardens, Brothers Richard Bartlett Past Master and Kevin Herrick Past Master, for the purpose of conferring the sublime degree of Master Mason upon Brother Charles Baylacq. The Tyler’s register accounts for the other officers and visitors, as well as the magnificent degree team.

While describing the “goings on” while a Lodge is in session is not often documented, because that’s where “them Freemason’s secret things are revealed”, I will attempt to summarize the “goings on” as they were quite unique that day.

General memory denotes that this “Traveling Charter” held by Texas Lodge no. 46 has not been utilized for quite a few years, the Brethren not able to remember or recollect a mention of such an occurrence, for maybe 3/4 of a century ago. For those not so sharp with math, that would be 1947.

(So you want me to document the 3rd Degree of Masonry, for you?) Where to begin…..

The Lodge room is laid out upon the four cardinal points of a compass. The area lit by oil lamps… as you are well aware, when one’s sense of vision is diminished it heightens the others. The smell of wet earth and clay, the sound of shovel against rock, dirt upon a casket etc. Then the gunfire began to ring out, echoing up the canyon in surround sound… it was close, not in our direction. Maybe a neighbor. It started with a single shot, as the candidate wandered around in circles, as he tried to gain his bearings.

Some 90 shots were counted by Brother Jesse Rodriguez, having previously served the lodge as Treasurer, was quite adept at counting on his fingers, the shots… were strictly denominated in increments of “California legal” ten round bursts, maybe…. but that’s how we will document it.

In response, the Tyler withdrew his historical civil war era sword from its scabbard, and the unmistakable ringing sound of cold steel, echoed across the Lodge room. A cowan appeared out of the twilight the sound of all this gunfire raising suspicions, but it was none other than a hound named “Bella” and she returned to her station, after seeing the Lodge Brethren unphased. The lecture of the 3rd degree  was tactfully delivered by Worshipful Brother Kevin Herrick PM, the charge by Worshipful Brother David Driesbach.

Many things occurred that day, but being a society w/ secrets, we must reserve the details for the Brethren of the fraternity. Our new Master Mason will forever remember this day, and will cherish the Antique Masonic Bible that was presented to him, (gifted to him by Worshipful Kevin Herrick) and signed by each other Brothers in attendance.

Be sure to attend the next one… Yawl!

Respectfully Submitted,
Loren George McKechnie

Secretary of Texas Lodge no.46 F. & A.M. of California


Raymond E. Hill IV

Worshipful Master of Texas Lodge no.46 F. & A.M. of California

Additional Photos are in the Gallery below:

{Note, no photos were taken during the time the lodge was open}