Susan Deborah Cook
Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library
(revised 2004 by Abigail L. Dixon)
Contents of Inventory
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publications based on research in the
Size. 6.5 linear feet.
Inclusive dates. Ca. 1790-1966.
Bulk dates. 1844-1934.
Languages. English, French, Spanish.
of meetings, correspondence, financial papers,
and printed items belonging to St. James Lodge No. 47, F. & A.M.,
Source. Placed on deposit March 23, 1994.
Copyright. Physical rights are retained by the LSU Libraries. Copyright of the original materials is retained by the creators, or their descendants, of the materials in accordance with U.S. Copyright law.
St. James Lodge No. 47 (
Stack location. Range 33: 29-32, 33:34; Mss.Mf.:F
James Lodge No. 47 is part of the body of Masons under the Louisiana Grand
Lodge. It was formed in 1844,
superseding the earlier Baton Rouge Lodges of Washington No. 17 and L’Etoile Flamboyante
No. 10 who surrendered their charters in 1834 and 1849 respectively. It sent its petition for a charter to the
Grand Lodge of Louisiana on May 25, 1844. The first meeting of the Lodge was
held in the sugar house of James McCalop.
The Lodge then rented rooms before settling at a house at the corner of
Freemasons are a part of several related secret societies, many of which rented
rooms in St. James’ building and were attended by members of St. James. The Chapters of
Lodge operates in the rituals of the York Rite under the jurisdiction of the
Grand Lodge of Louisiana (located in
of the Lodge has grown from thirty members in 1844 to the peak of seven hundred
and thirty-one in 1958. There is a history
of family membership that spans in some cases as many as four generations. Several members of the Lodge have been
eminent in both Masonic and public life in the areas of government, education,
and business. Among those are James
Harrison Dakin, the architect of the Old State Capitol who petitioned to join
in 1848, J.R. Dufroq, the first Mayor of Baton Rouge (1850-1854), and Col.
Thomas Duckett Boyd, president of
document the life of the Lodge through minutes of meetings, membership files,
financial records, and correspondence between St. James and other Lodges and
related societies (such as Knights Templar and Odd Fellowships) throughout the
Correspondence, 1844-1966, n.d. (
1. Grand Lodge of
Subseries 2. Masonic Lodges, 1845-1947, n.d. (box 1)
3. Louisiana Relief Lodge No. 1, 1853-1933
Subseries 4. District Deputy Grand Masters, 1875-1891 (box 1)
Subseries 5. General, 1844-1966, n.d. (box 1)
1845 Financial Papers, 1841-1957, n.d. (box 2, oversize folders 2-3)
1845 Administrative Papers, 1844-1936, n.d. (boxes 2-3, oversize folders 4-5)
1845 Manuscript Volumes, 1819-1942, n.d. (boxes 3-5, oversize volumes 1-4)
Subseries 1. Minutes of Lodge meetings and By-Laws, 1844-1929 (boxes 3-4,
oversize volumes 1-2)
Subseries 2. Account and Cash books, 1819-1942 (boxes 4-5)
Subseries 3. Membership books, 1844-1922, n.d. (box 5, oversize volumes 3-4)
1845 Printed Items and Writings, ca. 1790-1955, n.d. (boxes 6-7)
Subseries 1. St. James Lodge, 1860-1955, n.d. (box 6)
Subseries 2. Masonic Lodges, 1819-1945, n.d. (boxes 6-7)
Subseries 3. Speeches, poetry, historical notes, and miscellaneous items,
ca.1790-1944, n.d. (box 7)
Group 2. Pike, Overton, and Adams Papers, 1810-1934, n.d. (boxes 7-8 ,
oversize folders 1 and 6)
1845 Papers of George A. Pike, 1859-1863 (box 7)
1845 Papers of Captain Alfred A. Overton, 1810-1847, n.d. (box 7-8; oversize folder 6)
1845 Papers of Amos Adams, 1849-1934, n.d. (box 8, oversize folder 1)
Group 1. Freemasons. Baton Rouge, La. St. James Lodge No. 47, F. & A.M.
1845 Correspondence, 1844-1966, n.d.
Subseries 1. Correspondence with the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, 1844-1936, n.d.
Correspondence from the Grand Lodge consists chiefly of printed circulars (1850-1925) reporting communications from its own and other lodges as well as its decisions and decrees on subjects such as Masonic rites or points of order and copies of special meetings and addresses. Personal correspondence between St. James and the Grand Lodge covers acknowledgements of receipt of dues and annual reports, the granting of dispensations and answers to questions of procedures in masonry. The latter includes matters of the physical qualifications for membership (January 18, 1956), the installation of George Pike as Grand Senior Warden (March 15, 1865) and the upkeep of lodges during the Civil War (1863). Also of note is the correspondence during the yellow fever outbreak of 1878.
Subseries 2. Correspondence with other Lodges, 1845-1947, n.d.
St. James Lodge corresponded with lodges from the States of Louisiana, New York, North and South Carolina, Illinois, Alabama, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Virginia, New Jersey, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Georgia, Maryland, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and from Canada, Ecuador, and Mexico. The most frequent correspondents are the Louisiana Lodges of St. Albans No. 28, Olive No. 52, Plains No. 135, and Milford No. 117. Topics covered are invitations extended to St. James to attend Masonic celebrations and replies to similar invitations from St. James; requests and thanks concerning favors extended to members of other lodges such as the conferral of degrees or the organization of funerals; queries of the committees appointed to investigate the characters of former St. James members seeking affiliation with their lodges. There are also circulars concerning lodge business or requests for financial aid. Of note is the correspondence (1872) concerning jewels taken from a lodge by troops during the Civil War and eventually passed onto St. James by the Grand Lodge of Iowa for return to their rightful owners and correspondence beginning December 23, 1851 concerning the formation of a lodge at Franklinton and at Livingston (n.d.).
Subseries 3. Correspondence with the Louisiana Relief Lodge, No. 1, New Orleans, 1853- 1933.
Included are circulars, notes of thanks for donations, and queries concerning charitable cases.
Subseries 4. Correspondence with District Deputy Grand Masters, 1875-1891.
Letters concern visitations, instruction, and dispensations granted to St. James.
Subseries 5. General Correspondence, 1844-1966, n.d.
This includes requests for assistance from masons and their families, correspondence between the lodge and individual members, correspondence between the lodge and businesses and societies that made use its rooms. General correspondence relates to miscellaneous business such as the purchase of an organ for the lodge (1864).
1845 Financial Papers, 1841-1957, n.d.
The bulk of the material includes receipts and vouchers of St. James’ expenditures, payments received, and taxes, arranged by date or by given groups. Periodical and yearly reports of the secretary and treasurer and the reports of committees appointed to examine the accounts of these officers are indicated—full documents are contained in Series II, Administrative Files. Also included are lists of subscriptions to particular events or causes, loans agreements and the dues owed by members. Of note is the receipt for Captain Overton’s board (April 9, 1847), subscription list for a new asonic building (1850) and comments of a financial review (1879) relating to the yellow fever outbreak.
1845 Administrative Papers, 1844-1936, n.d.
Summary: Minutes of lodge meetings, committee reports, trials, membership files.
The material includes rough minutes of stated and special lodge meetings, reports of committees on subjects such as membership, disputes between members, building plans, financial reports of secretary, treasurer, and committees examining their records, and letters submitted to committees. Also included are reports of the representative of St. James present at other lodge meetings, such as those of the Grand Lodge. Of note are the reports of 1846-1847 on the establishment of a Masonic school and those of 1850 concerning the purchase of grounds for a new Lodge building, reports of 1870 concerning the lodge jewels left with St. James, and a copy of the Grand Master’s visit (n.d.).
Committee reports and correspondence (1844-1858) discuss the formation of a Masonic temple (1860); Lefever (1866); James C. Strafford (1871); W.H. Stroube (1888-1889).
Material on lodge membership covers petitions for membership and affiliation (if petitioner is already a mason) and for progression in degrees or for life membership, applications to demit from St. James and recommendations from other lodges (some of these are to be found in the demits from these lodges). Demits from other lodges submitted by petitioners filed separately at end of series. Of note is the petition of James Harrison Dakin, dated January 5, 1848.
Miscellaneous papers include membership and officer rosters, visitors’ book (1849-1865), inventories, building plans, insurance certificates, and leases and returns of Washington R.A.C. No. 5 to the Grand Lodge (n.d.).
1845 Manuscript Volumes, 1819-1942, n.d.
Summary: Minutes, cash books, membership books, by-laws, history of lodge, funeral records.
Subseries 1. Minutes of Lodge Meetings and By-laws, 1844-1929.
13 volumes containing minutes and rough minutes of stated and special meetings of the lodge. There are two manuscript copies of the account of St James’ beginnings, including the minutes of the first meetings. Also included are the lodge’s by-laws (1855-1878).
Subseries 2. Account and Cash Books, 1819-1942.
16 volumes consist of secretary’s cash books, secretary’s and treasurer’s accounts of Lodge. A complete set of nine cash books (1901-1942). The funeral records include accounts of funeral expenses and funeral notices. Also included is the poor box record and accounts of Washington Lodge No. 17 (1819-1821).
Subseries 3. Membership books, 1844-1922, n.d.
10 volumes list members’ details and contain their accounts with the lodge for dues, degree fees, etc. Some contain other lodge accounts. Volume dated 1869-1870 has an inventory of the lodge library, pp. 75 ff. Visitors’ books date from 1859-1922; the volume dated 1859-1869 has rough minutes, 1855-1860.
1845 Printed Items and Writings, ca. 1790-1955, n.d.
Subseries 1. St. James Lodge, 1860-1955, n.d.
Items related to St. James include funeral notices, obituaries, rosters, programs, and newspaper articles of events such as centenary celebrations of St. James, 1947.
Subseries 2. Masonic Lodges, 1819-1945, n.d.
Items from other asonic lodges include by-laws, orations, and obituaries.
Subseries 3. Speeches, poetry, historical notes, and miscellaneous items, ca.1790-1944, n.d.
Includes speeches and poetry relating to St. James and to masonry in general, and a draft of St. James’ centennial history (1944). Miscellaneous items consist of advertisements, circulars, and newspaper clippings. Four issues of The Masonic Review (December 1849 — February 1851) are catalogued separately from this collection.
Group 2. Pike, Overton, and Adams Papers, 1810-1934, n.d.
I. Papers of George A. Pike, 1859-1863.
Summary: Civil War papers, 1859-1863; papers of the Louisiana Historical Society, 1859-
The Civil War papers were apparently gathered by lodge member, George Pike, in his capacity as editor of the Gazette and Comet in Baton Rouge. There are copies of orders posted by the Provost Marshall and the U.S. Army and a pass for George Pike, dated June 25, 1862. Correspondence between the mayor of Baton Rouge and Commander Farragut debates the question of authority over the arsenal outside the city limits. Personal narratives consist of a report sent of the events taking place after the evacuation of Columbus and an article on the Battle of Baton Rouge, August 5, 1862.
Papers of the Louisiana Historical Society consist of printed and manuscript papers pertaining to the formation and early activities of the society, many of whose founding members were also
members of St. James, notably Amos Adams and George Pike. Also included are the proceedings and correspondence concerning donations of artifacts to the society.
1845 Papers of Captain Alfred A. Overton, 1810-1847, n.d.
Papers pertain to the Mexican-American War of 1847. Capt. Overton was in command of the Panola Boys Company in the Second Infantry Regiment of Mississippi. The company was stationed in New Orleans in January 1847. Material includes copies of military orders, volunteer lists, receipts for army expenses, and the resignation of Capt. Overton, May 15, 1847. Masonic material consists of a certificate of recommendation from Madison Lodge No. 27, Georgia (February 21, 1845), and a demit from Panola Lodge No. 66 (December 30, 1846). Personal correspondence, includes a letter to be delivered by Capt. Overton, notes of introduction (copies in English and Spanish), and documents pertaining to a private court case. Miscellanea include Spanish poetry, partly translated into English (n.d.).
1845 Papers of Amos Adams, 1849-1934, n.d.
Amos Adams, 1798-1859, joined St. James Lodge in 1844. He was Senior Warden in 1845, Master in 1846 and 1857, Deputy Grand Master and Grand Master of Louisiana Lodges in 1857 and 1858. His papers contain certificates for appointment as District Deputy Grand Master February 27, 1852, March 11, 1853 and March 13, 1854; a certificate to appoint Adams special Deputy and proxy to dedicate Tunica Lodge No. 63, September 17, 1852; a copy of Adams’ issue of certificate of proxy to attend Woodville Lodge No. 23, February 22, 1855; a certificate to establish Lebanon Chapter, February 1, 1855; a certificate of good standing (1859) and certificates of degrees conferred on Adams. Correspondence consists of queries concerning proceedings and dispensations, replies to Adams’s own queries. Includes correspondence to Grand Secretary James Risk and Grand Master G.M. Perkins (1858). Correspondence includes a letter (February 20, 1854) on admitting lodges under the authority of the new Grand Lodge; a letter on disabilities and eligibility for masonry (February 9, 1859) and a letter on the admittance of the last independent lodge into the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana (June 8, 1859). Personal correspondence includes information on President John Adams (September 2, 1855). There is also a copy of a complaint made against actions of Adams (n.d.). Correspondence also documents Adams’ connections with the order of Knights Templar, including one (February 26, 1859) conferring the order of knighthood. Also present is a copy of correspondence concerning research on Adams (1934).
A portion of these records were microfilmed in 2003. A partial re-housing of the records in 2004 led to the altering of the records’ original box and folder numbers. See below for the former locations and new locations of the microfilmed materials.
1845 Minutes and By-Laws
Records Formerly in Box 6 Folder 1
Now in Box 3 Folder 38
Minutes and By-Laws
Records Formerly in Box 6 Folders 5-7
Now in Box 3 Folders 42-44
Minutes and By-Laws
Records Formerly in Box 6 Folder 9
Now in Box 4 Folder 2
2 Minutes and By-Laws
1845 Membership Books
Adams, Amos, 1798-1859. 1. I; 2. I, II
Dakin, James H. 1. III
Farragut, David Glasgow, 1801-1870. 1. II; 2. I
Overton, Alfred A. 1. II; 2. II
Freemasons—St. Albans Lodge No. 28 (Jackson, La.). 1. I.2, III
Freemasons—Olive Lodge No. 52 (Clinton, La.). 1. I.2, III
Freemasons—Plains Lodge No. 135 (Baton Rouge, La.). 1. I.2, III
Freemasons. Grand Lodge of Louisiana. 1. I, II, III
Baton Rouge (La.)—History—Civil War, 1861-1865—Personal narratives. 2. I
Louisiana—History—Civil War, 1861-1865. 2. I
Louisiana—History—Societies, etc. 2. I
Louisiana Historical Society. 2. I
Tennessee—History—Civil War, 1861-1865—Personal narratives. 2. I
United States—History—Civil War, 1861-1865. 2. I
Mexican War, 1846-1848. 2. II
location Box Folders Contents
Group 1. Freemasons. Baton Rouge, La. St. James Lodge No. 47 F. & A.M.
Series I. Correspondence
33:29 1 1-40 Subseries 1: Grand Lodge of Louisiana: circulars, receipts, points of order (1844-1936, n.d.).
33:30 Folder 1 Grand Lodge of Louisiana (1851-1913).
33:29 1 41-59 Subseries 2: Masonic Lodges: lodge business, invitations, circulars (1845-1947, n.d.).
33:29 1 60-61 Subseries 3: Louisiana Relief Lodge No. 1: receipts, charity requests, queries concerning cases (1853-1933).
33:29 1 62 Subseries 4: District Deputy Grand Masters:
visitations, instruction, dispensations (1875-1891).
33:29 1 63-82 Subseries 5: General correspondence: lodge members, requests for assistance, business with occupants of St. James Lodge rooms (1844-1966, n.d.).
Series II. Financial Papers
33:29 2 1-44 St. James Lodge: receipts, subscriptions and financial reports, arranged by date and existing grouping (1841- 1957, n.d.).
33:30 Folder 2 Receipts, accounts (1844-1870).
33:30 Folder 3 Receipts, accounts (1871-1882).
Series III. Administrative Papers
33:29 2 45-70 Minutes, membership files, trials
location Box per box Contents
33: 31 3 1-37 Minutes, membership files, trials, demits from lodges, by-laws of St. James, miscellaneous (1861- 1936, n.d.).
33:30 Folder 4 Committee reports, returns to Grand Lodge (1844- 1857).
33:30 Folder 5 Miscellaneous: insurance documents, building plans, rosters, membership certificates,
administrative papers of Washington R.A.C. No. 5 (1854-1910, n.d.).
Series IV. Manuscript Volumes
33:31 3 38-44 Subseries 1: Minutes and By-Laws: minutes
33:31 4 1-5 Minutes (1918-1929), accounts of St. James’ beginnings (1844), By-Laws of St. James
33:34 Volumes 1-2 Minutes (1850-1898).
33:31 4 6-13 Subseries 2: Account and Cash Books: secretary’s
and treasurer’s accounts (1844-1882), secretary’s cash
33:32 5 1-8 Secretary’s cash books (1920-1941), funeral record,
poor box and accounts of Washington Lodge No. 17 (1819-1821).
33:32 5 9-16 Subseries 3: Membership books (1850-1870, n.d.),
visitors’ books (1859-1922).
33:34 Volumes 3-4 Membership books (1844-1918).
location Box per box Contents
Series V. Printed Items and Writings
33:32 6 1-2 Subseries 1: St. James’ lodge: rosters, programs,
funeral notices, and newspaper clippings (1860-1955,
33:32 6 3-5 Subseries 2: Other asonic lodges: by-laws, orations,
funeral notices, and obituaries (1819-1903, n.d.).
33:32 7 1 Other asonic lodges: by-laws, orations, funeral
notices, and obituaries (1908-1945, n.d.).
33:32 7 2-5 Subseries 3: Speeches and poetry, historical notes, miscellaneous advertisements, circulars and newspaper clippings (ca.1790-1944, n.d.).
Group 2. Pike, Overton, and Adams Papers
Series I. Papers of George A. Pike
33:32 7 6-8 Civil War papers: orders and reports relating to Baton Rouge and evacuation of Columbus (1862-1863). Papers of the Louisiana Historical Society on its founding and early activities (1859-1861).
Series II. Papers of Captain Alfred A. Overton
33:32 7 7-10 Papers relating to the Mexican-American War, personal correspondence and miscellanea (1810- 1847, n.d.).
33:32 8 1 Papers relating to the Mexican-American War and
personal correspondence (1847).
33:30 Folder 6 Papers of Captain Alfred A. Overton
location Box per box Contents
Series III. Papers of Amos Adams
33:32 8 2-5 Official and personal correspondence, certificates, letters relating to research on Adams (1849-
33:30 Folder 1 Papers of Amos Adams, certificates of good standing (1849-1859).
Reel 1 Box 3, folders 38, 42-44(ca. 1790-1966, n.d.)
Box 4, folder 2
Reel 2 Vol. 1-2 Minutes (1850-1898)
Reel 3 Vol. 3-4 Membership Books (1844-1918)
Reel 4 Misc. shots
Filmed only membership lists and meeting minutes.
A more comprehensive history of St. James Lodge is to be found in Naresh Sharma, History of St. James Lodge No. 47 F. & A.M. (Baton Rouge, St. James Lodge, 1994).
See also Freemasons.
Duplicate and concurrent materials may be found in Gayarre (Charles E.A.) Papers, Mss. 1282.