Wednesday, September 11, 2013

James David Armstrong - Part V: Masons

     Prior to leaving Ireland, James David Armstrong joined the Masons. He attained the highest rank in the masonic Order. 
In part the obituary of James David Armstrong1 reads as follows:

    “But the boy [James David Armstrong] obtained a good common school education.  His father’s companions held him in high esteem and as a mark of their special favor chose him to fill his father’s place among them.  He was made a master mason June 23, 1847 at Belfast and in the succeeding two years was inducted through the degrees of the Scottish rite to the thirty-third.
   . . . During this period [while living in New Jersey] he was an honored visitor of the Grand Lodge of New Jersey, A. F. & A. M.
. . .     For a number of years he neglected to communicate with any Masonic body here but finally made himself known to the late Judge Stillwell at one time mayor of Bloomington.  No. 43 was then meeting over the old Gridley bank and the late J. D. Harford was its worshipful master.  The night he visited them an officer mistaking him for an intruder, inquired whom he wished to see.  Armstrong, jestingly replied “No one in particular”.  The announcement of Judge Stillwell shortly after mollified the earnest guardian and Mr. Armstrong was welcomed into fellowship.   He was associated with the establishment of  DeMolay Commandery No. 24, Knights Templar, and a bosom friend of the late G. M. Jameson, well known in older Masonic circles.”

An image of the Masonic Certificate of James David Armstrong is shown below.  The certificate is in the possession of my second cousin, Julie Armstrong Zollner.
Masonic Certificate of James David Armstrong

We Chiefs of the Enlightened Men
Of the most Ancient & Right
Worshipful Lodge of St. John
Do hereby Certify that Brother
James D Armstrong
Of Lodge 186 has been initiated
In all the degrees of our Mysteries
And has performed all his Works
Amongst us to the entire satisfaction
Of all the Brethern. Therefore
We desire all the Right Worshipful
Lodges of the Universe and all
True Accepted Masons to
 Recognize & admit him as such.
In Testimony whereof we have
Delivered him this present Certificate
Sealed by our Secretary with the
Seal of our LODGE and that it
May not be of use to any one
Else but unto the said Brother
 James D Armstrong
He has signed his name in the
Margin. Given in the GRAND LODGE
at DUBLIN the Metropolis of
IRELAND this 16th day of
In the Year of Masonry
Master Registered Mason
23 day of June 1847

     Below is an image from Google Maps of where Masonic Lodge 186 (St. James' Lodge) meets.  James David Armstrong was a member of Lodge 186,  The lodge is on the outskirts of Carryduff (where he was married) along Mealough Road. The church and the lodge are about two miles apart.  On his marriage records he is recorded as living in Mealough. 
Mealough Masonic Hall

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     Lodge 43 in Bloomington, Illinois was in the Old Gridley Bank Building and the northwest corner of Main Street and Front Street in Bloomington, Illinois.

View Larger Map

1. “Passing of a Nestor” Pantograph, Bloomington, Illinois March 30, 1906

2.   "Google Maps." 2005. 5 Sep. 2013 <>

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