Twenty-four-year-old Sam Houston joined a Masonic lodge in his home state of Tennessee on July 12, 1817, a couple of decades before members of the fraternal order helped shape the future of Texas.

The principles and practices of Masonry date back to the Middle Ages, when the building of churches on a monumental scale was the public works project for eight centuries. The stoneworkers that roamed from place to place plying their indispensable trade were known as freemasons, and their craft associations or lodges evolved into secret societies after the decline of cathedral construction.

Bartee Haile writes This Week In Texas History which appears every Sunday. He welcomes your comments and questions or P.O. Box 130011, Spring, TX 77393 and invites you to visit his website at

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