Civil War Masonry

photo of shriner walking up masonic stairs

The Masonic Influence on World History

Another example of masonic brotherly love during times of conflict.

Perhaps one of the best examples of these ties of brotherhood occurred on the battlefield at Gettysburg.

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 “This battle, the turning point of the War, saw 93,000 Federal troops doing battle with 71,000 Confederates. Of those numbers, one in six were killed or wounded in the three days of fighting from 1 July to 3 July, 1863. Of the men who fought, 17,930 were Freemasons, including the roughly 5,600 who became casualties.

One of the most famous events  at Gettysburg was the huge Confederate infantry push known as Pickett’s Charge.

On 3 July, Pickett (a member of Dove Lodge #51, Richmond, Va) led nearly 12,000 men on a long rush across open fields towards the center of the Union line on Cemetery Ridge.

It has been called the last and greatest infantry charge in military history.

One of the men leading that charge was Brigadier General Lewis Addison Armistead, CSA a member of Alexandria-Washington Masonic Lodge #22 in Alexandria. Originally from North Carolina  he had attended West Point and fought with the US Army for a number of years before resigning his commission to fight for the Confederacy.

During that time, he  served with now Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, USA (Charity Lodge #190, Norristown, Pa.) The two had become good friends.

With Armistead’s resignation, it had been nearly two and a half years since the two men had had any contact. Until Gettysburg.

It was Hancock who had taken command of the fragmented Union troops on Cemetery Ridge on 1 July and organized them into a strong front that withstood three days of pounding from the Confederate guns. And it was his position, in the center of the Union line, that was the focus of Pickett’s Charge. During the action, both men were wounded. Armistead was shot from his horse, mortally wounded. Hancock’s saddle took a hit, driving nails and pieces of wood into his thigh.

As the battle ended, it was clear that Armistead’s injuries were fatal. Knowing that his old friend was somewhere behind the Union lines, Armistead exhibited the Masonic sign of distress. This was seen by Captain Henry Harrison Bingham, the Judge-Advocate of Hancock’s Second Corps (Chartiers Lodge #297, Canonsburg, Pa.). He came to the fallen Armistead and declared that he was a fellow Mason.

The two men spoke for a time,  when Armistead realized that Bingham had direct access to Hancock, he entrusted some of his personal effects to him, his Masonic watch, the Bible upon which he had taken his obligations and a number of other items. Bingham said his farewells, and then returned to the Union camp to deliver the items.

Armistead died two days later.”

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

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Life Is All About Seventeen Inches

photo of a distinguished older gentleman

Wisdom lost through the ages, common sense is no longer common.

I found this somewhere, it’s a good read.

In Nashville, Tennessee, during the first week of January, 1996, more than 4,000 baseball coaches descended upon the Opryland Hotel for the 52nd annual ABCA convention.While I waited in line to register with the hotel staff, I heard other more veteran coaches rumbling about the lineup of speakers scheduled to present during the weekend. One name, in particular, kept resurfacing, always with the same sentiment — “John Scolinos is here? Oh man, worth every penny of my airfare.”

Who the heck is John Scolinos, I wondered. Well, in 1996 Coach Scolinos was 78 years old and five years retired from a college coaching career that began in 1948.  No matter, I was just happy to be there.

He shuffled to the stage to an impressive standing ovation, wearing dark polyester pants, a light blue shirt, and a string around his neck from which home plate hung — a full-sized, stark-white home plate.  Pointed side down.

Seriously, I wondered, who in the hell is this guy?

After speaking for twenty-five minutes, not once mentioning the prop hanging around his neck, Coach Scolinos appeared to notice the snickering among some of the coaches. Even those who knew Coach Scolinos had to wonder exactly where he was going with this, or if he had simply forgotten about home plate since he’d gotten on stage.

Then, finally …

“You’re probably all wondering why I’m wearing home plate around my neck. Or maybe you think I escaped from Camarillo State Hospital,” he said, his voice growing irascible. I laughed along with the others, acknowledging the possibility.

“No,” he continued, “I may be old, but I’m not crazy. The reason I stand before you today is to share with you baseball people what I’ve learned in my life, what I’ve learned about home plate in my 78 years.”

Several hands went up when Scolinos asked how many Little League coaches were in the room. “Do you know how wide home plate is in Little League?” After a pause, someone offered, “Seventeen inches,” more question than answer.

“That’s right,” he said. “How about in Babe Ruth? Any Babe Ruth coaches in the house?”

Another long pause.

“Seventeen inches?”came a guess from another reluctant coach.

“That’s right,” said Scolinos. “Now, how many high school coaches do we have in the room?” Hundreds of hands shot up, as the pattern began to appear. “How wide is home plate in high school baseball?”

“Seventeen inches,” they said, sounding more confident.

“You’re right!” Scolinos barked. “And you college coaches, how wide is home plate in college?”

“Seventeen inches!” we said, in unison.

“Any Minor League coaches here? How wide is home plate in pro ball?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“RIGHT! And in the Major Leagues, how wide home plate is in the Major Leagues?”

“Seventeen inches!”

“SEV-EN-TEEN INCHES!” he confirmed, his voice bellowing off the walls.

“And what do they do with a a Big League pitcher who can’t throw the ball over these seventeen inches?” Pause. “They send him to Pocatello!” he hollered, drawing raucous laughter.

“What they don’t do is this: they don’t say, ‘Ah, that’s okay, Bobby. You can’t hit a seventeen-inch target? We’ll make it eighteen inches, or nineteen inches. We’ll make it twenty inches so you have a better chance of throwing the ball over it.  If you can’t hit that, let us know so we can make it wider still, say twenty-five inches.’”

Pause.

“Coaches …”

Pause.

” … what do we do when our best player shows up late to practice? What do we do if he violates curfew? What if he uses drugs? Do we hold him accountable? Or do we change the rules to fit him? Do we widen home plate?

The chuckles gradually faded as four thousand coaches grew quiet, the fog lifting as the old coach’s message began to unfold.

Then he turned the plate toward himself and, using a Sharpie, began to draw something. When he turned it toward the crowd, point up, a house was revealed, complete with a freshly drawn door and two windows. “This is the problem in our homes today. With our marriages, with the way we parent our kids. With our discipline. We don’t teach accountability to our kids, and there is no consequence for failing to meet standards. We widen the plate!”

Pause. Then, to the point at the top of the house he added a small American flag.

“This is the problem in our schools today. The quality of our education is going downhill fast and teachers have been stripped of the tools they need to be successful….to educate and discipline our young people. We are allowing others to widen home plate! Where is that getting us?”

“And this is the problem in the Church, where powerful people in positions of authority have taken advantage of young children, only to have such an atrocity swept under the rug for years. Our church leaders are widening home plate!”

I was amazed. At a baseball convention where I expected to learn something about curveballs and bunting and how to run better practices, I had learned something far more valuable. From an old man with home plate strung around his neck, I had learned something about life, about myself, about my own weaknesses and about my responsibilities as a leader. I had to hold myself and others accountable to that which I knew to be right, lest our families, our faith, and our society continue down an undesirable path.

“If I am lucky,” Coach Scolinos concluded, “you will remember one thing from this old coach today. It is this: if we fail to hold ourselves to a higher standard, a standard of what we know to be right; if we fail to hold our spouses and our children to the same standards, if we are unwilling or unable to provide a consequence when they do not meet the standard; and if our schools and churches and our government fail to hold themselves accountable to those they serve, there is but one thing to look forward to …”

With that, he held home plate in front of his chest, turned it around, and revealed its dark black backside.

“… dark days ahead.”

Coach Scolinos died in 2009 at the age of 91, but not before touching the lives of hundreds of players and coaches, including mine. Meeting him at my first ABCA convention kept me returning year after year, looking for similar wisdom and inspiration from other coaches. He is the best clinic speaker the ABCA has ever known because he was so much more than a baseball coach.

His message was clear: “Coaches, keep your players — no matter how good they are — your own children, and most of all, keep yourself at seventeen inches.

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The Mystical Sedona Vortex

photo of Bell Rock in Sedona ARizona

The portals of magical Sedona

by Gary Wonning

The four major vortexes in the area are Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Boynton Canyon, and Cathedral or Castle Rock.

There are many vortexes on earth, but Indian legend states there are four major areas, two positive, Sedona and Kauai, Hawaii and two negative, The Bermuda Triangle, and Sussex County in England.

They are not positive and negative as in good or bad, but as in the poles of a battery. There are no good and bad energy or experiences, those characteristics are only perceived as good or bad by the human mind.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

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His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

 

The Lincoln Memorial

photo of a distinguished older gentleman

Wisdom lost through the ages, common sense is no longer common.

Abraham Lincoln was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865.

 

Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 to April 15, 1865) was the 16th president of the United States and is often regarded as one of America’s greatest heroes because of his role as leader of the Union during on of it’s most difficult times.  He issued the Emancipation Proclamation which abolished slavery.

He rose from humble beginnings to achieving the highest office in the land . He was  tragically assassinated at a time when his country needed him to complete the great task remaining before the nation.

His eloquence of democracy and insistence that the Union was worth saving embody the ideals of self-government that all nations strive to achieve. Lincoln’s distinctively human and humane personality led to an incredible impact on the nation which endowed him with an enduring legacy.

 

Battle of Brooklyn Heights and Miracle Escape of Washington’s Troops

photo of shriner walking up masonic stairs

The Masonic Influence on World History

Just one of many instances when the hand of providence, as George Washington referred to it, intervened and the American Army prevailed in what were times of certain defeat. 

The British forces had left Boston and headed to New York.
As a result, General George Washington moved his troops to New York, to fortify Brooklyn Heights.
Enthusiasm was running high and General Washington’s ranks swelled to nearly 20,000.
The British were preparing to attack New York, Before long, hundreds of British ships filled New York’s harbor, carrying 32,000 troops.

It was the largest invasion force in history to that date. The thousands of wooden masts of the British ships were described as looking like a forest.

On AUGUST 27, 1776, the Battle of Brooklyn Heights (Long Island) began.

It was the first major battle after America had officially declared its independence, and it was the largest battle of the entire war.

Soon, Washington expected an attack from the sea, similar to what the British did at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Instead, 10,000 British troops landed a distance from New York and a British loyalist led them through Jamaica Pass, marching all night long to make a surprise attack on the Continental Army from behind.

As a result, an estimated 3,000 Americans were killed or wounded compared to only 392 British casualties.

As General Washington watched 400 soldiers of the First Maryland Regiment charge six times directly into the British lines, allowing the rest of the Continental Army to find cover, he exclaimed:

“Good God, what brave fellows I have lost this day.”

British General Howe trapped the 8,000 American troops on Brooklyn Heights with their backs against the sea.

That night, Washington made the desperate decision to evacuate his entire army by ferrying it across the East River to Manhattan Island.

The sea was boisterous where the British ships were, but providentially calm in the East River allowing Washington’s boats to transport troops, horses and cannons.

The next morning, as the sun began to rise, half of the America troops were still in danger, but a “miraculously” thick fog lingered blocking the evacuation from being seen by the British.

Major Ben Tallmadge, Washington’s Chief of Intelligence, wrote:

“As the dawn of the next day approached, those of us who remained in the trenches became very anxious for our own safety, and when the dawn appeared there were several regiments still on duty.

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At this time a very dense fog began to rise off the river, and it seemed to settle in a peculiar manner over both encampments.

I recollect this peculiar providential occurrence perfectly well, and so very dense was the atmosphere that I could scarcely discern a man at six yards distance…

We tarried until the sun had risen, but the fog remained as dense as ever.”

General Washington was on the last boat that left Brooklyn Heights.

Had the Americans not been able to evacuate, the war would have ended there.

As it happened, the British never again had such an opportunity to capture the entire American army at one time.

Washington wrote later that year, August 20, 1778:

“The Hand of Providence has been so conspicuous in all this-the course of the war-that he must be worse than an infidel that lacks faith.”

If we want to make our nation great.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

 

Sedona Arizona: Red Rock Country

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Written by Gary Wonning

Sedona is approximately ninety miles north of Phoenix and is accessible by driving north on I-17 from Phoenix, Arizona.

The terrain is mountainous and has many trees and vegetation along Oak Creek which meanders through Sedona.

Gary has been a writer/photographer for over thirty years. Specializing in nature and landscape photography, as well as studying native cultures.

His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.

He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.

He has published several books about his adventures.

For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.

Your comments are welcome

 

Michigan: Bailey School in Alcona County

Bailey School is located on the Sunrise Coast in northeastern Michigan.  The school is located in  Alcona County on Lake Huron just a short distance from Sturgeon Point Lighthouse.

For more photos of Michigan, click on the photo

Built in 1907 of Norway pine, the Bailey School is one of the few remaining one-room, log schoolhouses still standing in Michigan

The school bell still rings from atop the roof to summon students of history and simpler times. 

It was built at the site of C.A. Johnson Logging Camp west of Mikado for the children of the logging crews. 

Partially restored in 1973, the structure was disassembled, moved and restored in 1998 to its current Sturgeon Point site

  

It is furnished with items used during its time, including a recitation bench, desks, drinking pail and dipper, and coal stove.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.