EARLY FREEMASONRY IN CANADA
Stuart Livingstone Brown PM
I recently read a brochure written by the late Worshipful Brother Frederick W. Harris PM, and published in 1916. It was titled "Freemasonry in Annapolis Royal"
Of great interest was a statement from a paper entitled "First Glimpses of Masonry in North America" read by the late S.D. Nickerson, Grand Secretary, before the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in March 1891. Quote, "I find reference to a tradition among Masonic Historians to the effect that Lord Alexander, son of Sir William Alexander, may have been initiated an Entered Apprentice during his residence in Nova Scotia". The facts of the case are that Sir William of Menstrie received Charters for the whole of Nova Scotia in 1621, 1625 and 1628 and settled for a Scottish Colony at Port Royal which his people, under David Kirk captured in 1628 from the French. Nova Scotia at that time included all of the present Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, the lower portion of Quebec and the upper portion of Maine.
The son, Sir William Alexander, the junior, was left in command of the colony and remained here until the peace of 1632 compelled him to return the colony to France. It was during this period of four years that the father was created Viscount Stirling and Lord Alexander of Tullibody and later Earl Stirling, Viscount of Canada.
D. Murray Lyon in his History of Freemasonry in Scotland gives extracts from the original minutes of the Lodge at Edinburgh showing that on the "Third day of Joulay, 1634," Lord Alexander, son of Sir William Alexander was "admitet folowe of the craft" in the Lodge and gives his autograph as of such title.
If Sir William was in fact initiated an Entered Apprentice at Port Royal during his years of residence from 1628 to 1632, then Masonry came to Canada and indeed North America, at least 357 years ago.