December 21st 1888 Mt. Pisgah Lodge #53 was officially constituted having received its charter from the Most Worshipful
Union Grand Lodge of Georgia (now known as the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia) with G.W. Allen, Ely Colston
and P.C. Tinsley serving as the first Worshipful Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden respectively. Mt.
Pisgah #53 was the second lodge to be formed in Columbus, GA. Lewis Hayden #6, Electric City #322 and Sons
of King Solomon #358 make up the remaining lodges in Columbus with Paschal #303 and Sons of Buena Vista #446 rounding
up the remaining lodges in the 4th Masonic District. As of today Mt. Pisgah #53 has been in
operation for over 120 years and is the only lodge in Columbus that has never closed its doors and now to give you a brief
history as to how Mt. Pisgah #53 was able to be formed.
On March 6, 1775, Prince Hall and 14 men
of color were made masons in Lodge #441 of the Irish Registry attached to the 38th British Foot Infantry at Castle William
Island in Boston Harbor, Massachusetts. It marked the first time that Black men were made masons in America. About a year
later, since the conflict between England and America had commenced, the British Foot Infantry left Boston, along with its
lodge, leaving Prince Hall and his associates without a lodge. Before the lodge left, Worshipful Master Bait gave them a "permit"
to meet as a lodge and bury their dead in manner and form. This permit, however, did not allow them to do any "Masonic
work" or to take in any new members. Under it, African Lodge was organized on July 3, 1776, with Prince Hall as the Worshipful
Master. It wasn't long before this lodge received an additional "permit" from Provincial Grand Master John Rowe
to walk in procession on St. John's Day.
On March 2, 1784, African Lodge No. 1 petitioned the Grand Lodge of
England the Premier or Mother Grand Lodge of the world, for a warrant (or charter), to organize a regular Masonic lodge, with
all the rights and privileges thereunto prescribed. The Grand Lodge of England issued a charter on September 29, 1784 to African
Lodge No. 459, the first lodge of Blacks in America.
time is now 1866; Brother James M. Simms already having been made a Mason, knew that in Savannah, there were a number of brethren
of a receptive mind who craved the light of Masonry. Several of those brethren were free men and under the usage of Masonry
and were qualified to receive the secrets of the order.
Even though the smell of gunpowder and the echoing of cannons
of the civil war; the fight for freedom and the great struggle of the North and the South were ongoing, the formation of a
Masonic Lodge was on the minds of men of color for many years. At that time colored men were not allowed to have any gatherings
what so ever except for religious purposes. Immediately after President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation the brethren
who were interested in the formation of a Lodge started to hold meetings. Several attempts were made to establish a Lodge
but it was very difficult to secure the required number of Masons to assist in the work. The work was, therefore delayed.
Finally a dispensation was granted by the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on February 4 A.D. 1866, A.L. 5866 and
Eureka No. 11 F. & A. M was organized. The first Lodge room was located in the building which today occupies the site
of the Chatham Bank and Trust Company located west of Johnson Square.
Bro. James M. Simms was appointed District
Deputy Grand Master for the area, which covered Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge
of Massachusetts granted the Charter for Eureka No. 11 F. & A. M. on 24 June 1866. At its exception, the Lodge grew
to such a large number that some of the brethren were given their demits so that in September of the same year Hilton Lodge
No.13 in Savannah could be formed being granted a dispensation by the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Bro. James Jackson helped to organize Banneker Lodge No. 38 in Augusta, Georgia. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania granted the