The Grand High Priests of
the Grand Royal Arch Chapter
of the Republic of Texas
Barry Gillespie First Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Republic of Texas (1841 to 1843)
Barry Gillespie (December 27, 1802 to May 7, 1851),
Grand Lodge of Texas records show him to have been a Mason in Lafayette Lodge No. 60 in Tennessee. There is no record of his degree dates. From the previously cited newspaper articles Gillespie shows to have served as the Most Excellent High Priest of Lone Star Chapter No. 3 in Austin, Texas, prior to the Convention establishing the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the Republic of Texas.
Gillespie served as the Most Excellent Grand High Priest from 1841 to 1843, however there is no Grand Chapter record of his Capitular affiliation. A copy of his obituary from the Texas State Gazette has been included in vertical file in the Grand Lodge of Texas Library. Gillespie also served as Grand Master of Texas Masons in 1845.
Anthony Butler Second MEGHP GRACRT 1843 to 1844
Anthony Butler (1787 to April 19, 1849) was a member of Milam Lodge No. 11 in Independence, Texas. Butler was made a Mason in St. Johns Lodge No. 37 at Santee in South Carolina (Lodge and town no longer in existence), his degree dates are unknown, and he later transferred to Russellville Lodge No. 17 in Russellville, Kentucky in January 1809. Butler served as the Grand Master of Kentucky Masons for two full elected terms in 1812, and 1813.
Butler received his Royal Arch Degrees in Cincinnati, Ohio sometime in 1813. He was a signer of a petition presented to the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1814, requesting to form a Royal Arch Chapter in Lexington, Kentucky, and would later serve a the first High Priest of Russellville Chapter No. 8. Butler served as the fourth Grand Master of Texas Masons in 1841.
Butler died in a fire that sank the riverboat "General Pike," his body was never recovered. The location of the sinking was difficult to locate due to a miss spelling of the owners name of the plantation where the General Pike was docked.
The original reporting was that the fire occurred at the plantation of Pleasant Harbour in Point Coupee Parish, Louisiana. The correct information was that the fire and sinking occurred at the plantation of the Morgan family off what was known as Morgan's point near the town of Morganza, Louisiana. Pleasant Harper married into the Morgan family, but the land remained in the Morgan family name.
The original town site of Morganza, Louisiana and the Morgan plantation have been taken over by the Mississippi River, and are now under water. Photos of the old river landing and of Morgan's point have been taken by this Committee.
There is no photo, drawing or other image of Butler known to exist in Texas or in Kentucky, however in an article by D.D. Tidwell entitled "Our Flamboyant Grand Master", Butler in 1829 was described as being 6' ft. tall, with a high forehead, grey eyes, small chin, dark complexion and hair, and having an oval face.
Butler has an entry listed in the Handbook of Texas Online.
Edward Burleson Third MEGHP GRACRT 1844 to 1845
Edward Burleson (December 15, 1798 to December 26, 1851), according to Grand Lodge of Texas records, shows to have been a member of Temple Lodge No. 4 in Houston, Texas and served as Junior Deacon in 1838, and later to have transferred to Austin Lodge No.12 in Austin, Texas, and served as its Master in 1842. Burleson's degree dates, and Masonic history prior to his coming to Texas is unknown.
Records also indicate that he dimitted from Austin Lodge No. 12 in December of 1843, but do not show his later Lodge affiliation. Burleson served as the Grand Junior Warden for the Grand Lodge in 1843, Grand Marshall in 1846, Grand Junior Deacon in 1847, and Grand Standard Bearer in 1849.
There is no Capitular record for Burleson, except that being a member of Austin Lodge No. 12 and being at the Convention creating the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Republic of Texas, he would have been a member of Lone Star Chapter No. 3.Burleson is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas, and was the first person to be buried there. The land comprising the State Cemetery was purchased by the State of Texas in 1854 in Burleson's honor. An oil painting of Burleson is hanging in the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Museum in Austin, Texas. A photo of Burleson is available on the website of the Texas State Cemetery. There is no grave marker indicating his service as Grand High Priest.
Burleson has an entry in the Handbook of Texas Online.
Dugald McFarlane Fourth MEGHP GRACRT 1845 to 1846
Dugald McFarlane ( August, 1797 to March 23,1861) was a Mason from South Carolina, his parent Lodge and degree dates are unknown, as most of South Carolina's Masonic records were destroyed in that infamous act of Northern aggression.
However it is known that Mcfarlane sometimes called McFarland was given a warrant by the Grand Lodge of South Carolina exact date unknown, to go into Alabama and create Masonic Lodges. (The location of this warrant is currently unknown, but it is mentioned in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly as having been twice captured during the Texas revolution by Mexican troops who were Masons and returned to Mcfarlane).
Prior to coming to Texas, McFarlane became the First Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Alabama on May 21,1823, and subsequently was the First High Priest of Tuscaloosa Chapter No. 1 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
In surviving records of Matagorda Lodge No. 7 McFarlane shows to have been a charter member. There is a discrepancy in the dates between surviving Matagorda Lodge records (The majority of which were destroyed in the great storm of 1855), and Grand Lodge of Texas records concerning McFarlane. McFarlane also is shown to have been a member of St. John Lodge No. 5 in Columbia, Texas and served as its Master in 1848.
Entries in the proceedings of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Republic of Texas from its Inception in 1841 to its final act in 1849 (A reprint of which was recently found by Ms. Dawn Connally in the Grand Chapter archives, that also included a reprint of the GRACRT constitution from 1841. A photocopy of this document has been placed in the Grand Lodge of Texas Library for research use), indicate that McFarlane along with other Masons in Matagorda formed Cyrus Chapter sometime in 1837. This would have been consistent with the tradition of the Royal Arch degrees being conferred in Craft Lodges under a Masters Warrant.
Copies of pages from the McFarlane family Bible were located in the vertical file on Dugald McFarlane in the Matagorda County History Museum, copies of which have been obtained by the Committee.
McFarlane is buried in the Columbia Cemetery, in West Columbia, Texas in the Theall family plot along with his daughter, Eureka McFarlane Theall and son-in- law, Joseph Theall. There is no grave marker indicating his service as Grand High Priest. There is no known photo, drawing or other image of McFarlane in Texas, Alabama, or South Carolina. A description of McFarlane is given in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, volume 016 number 3 page 298, and is reprinted verbatim below:
Dugald McFarlane was about five feet ten inches in height, well proportioned and strongly built, of fair complexion, light blue eyes, light brown hair tending toward auburn; his habitual expression indicated firmness of purpose, tempered by tenderness and kindness. He was perfectly erect, had a military bearing, was dignified but genial in manner, very strict as to morals, veracity and all good conduct.
N. H. Darnell Fifth MEGHP GRACRT 1846 to 1847
Nicholas Henry Darnell (April 20, 1807 to July 16, 1885) was a founding member of McFarland Lodge No. 3 in San Augustine, Texas, a member of Rising Star Chapter and a delegate at the Convention establishing the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Republic of Texas. Darnell's degree dates and Masonic history prior to his coming to Texas from Tennessee in 1837 are unknown.
Darnell's other Masonic affiliations in Texas were Member of Redland Lodge No. 3 in San Augustine, Texas after the demise of McFarland Lodge No.3 in 1845, Sam Houston Lodge No. 32 in Shelbyville, Texas, and Fort Richardson Lodge in Jacksboro, Texas.
Darnell was Grand Master of Texas Masons in 1844.
Darnell is buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Downtown Dallas, Texas. Grand Lodge of Texas photo is available. There is no grave marker indicating his service as Grand High Priest
Moses Johnson, M.D. Sixth MEGHP GRACRT 1847 t0 1849
Moses Johnson, M.D. (1805 to October 2,1853) was made a Mason in Austin Lodge No. 12, he was initiated, passed and raised in 1840, was member of Lone Star Chapter No.3, and was present at the Convention forming the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Republic of Texas., his Royal Arch Degree dates are unknown.
Dr. Johnson was also a member of Milam Lodge No. 11 in Independence, Texas and Port Lavaca Lodge No. 36 in Port Lavaca, Texas.
Dr. Johnson is buried in a private grave located on the property of Clay Brett at 194 FM 1697 Port Lavaca, Texas 77979. The grave was originally on Dr. Johnson's property. The principal investigator for this Committee traveled to Port Lavaca, and met with Mr. Brett who extended every courtesy and was taken to Dr. Johnson's grave site in a four wheel drive vehicle. The grave in a cattle pasture was overgrown with heavy underbrush and thorns. The Brett family had erected some barbed wire to help keep their cattle of the grave of Dr. Johnson and his wife. Mr. Brett also advised that Dr. Johnson's Grave was under water much of the time.
Dr. Johnson's grave site was photographed, and the photos are in possession of this Committee's archives. There is no known drawing, photo, or other image or a description of Dr. Johnson in existence. All early photos of Texas legislature members and other state officers were destroyed in the 1881 Capital fire in Austin, Texas.
George M. Patrick, M.D.Seventh and Last MEGHP GRACRT 1848 to 1849
George M. Patrick, M.D. (September 30, 1801 to June 28, 1889) was made a Mason in Benevolent Lodge No. 58 in Kentucky, and was initiated, passed and raised in 1827, his date of demission is not known. Dr. Patrick's Royal Arch affiliation prior to his coming to Texas is also not known. Except that at that time the Royal Arch Degree was conferred in Craft Lodges under a Master's warrant by Lodges who received their Warrant or Charter from a Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons.
Other Masonic affiliations included Temple Lodge No. 4 in Houston, Texas, in 1837, according to biographical information Dr. Patrick may have served as Worshipful Master of this Lodge. But no Lodge records can substantiate this.
In 1842, Dr. Patrick was also a charter member of Orphan's Friend Lodge No. 17 located in Anderson Texas and served as its Worshipful Master in 1844, 1846, 1847, 1849, 1850, 1852, and 1853.
Dr. Patrick was the Charter High Priest for Jerusalem Chapter No. 7 under the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Republic of Texas in 1846, and would later be the Charter High Priest for Jerusalem Chapter No. 3 in 1850 under this current Grand Jurisdiction. Dr. Patrick was the only Companion to have served as the Most Excellent Grand High Priest for the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the Republic of Texas and for this Grand Jurisdiction in 1852 to 1853.
Dr. Patrick holds several other distinctions pertaining to Ancient York Masonry, he is the only Texas Mason to have been elected to two full terms as the Grand Master of Masons in Texas in 1849 and again in 1850; he served as the Most Excellent Grand High Priest of this Grand Jurisdiction 1852; he served as the Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters in 1859 and as the Grand Commander of Knights Templar in 1860 as well. Dr. Patrick was the first Texas Mason to have served as the leader of all four Grand Masonic bodies in Texas.
Dr. Patrick is buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, Texas. Grand Lodge photo and a Grimes County Historical association photo are available. Dr. Patrick has an entry in the Handbook of Texas Online.