On March 22, the Institute of Masonic Studies and the History Department at the University of California, Los Angeles will host the Third International Conference on Freemasonry, bringing together a panel of prominent Masonic scholars covering unique perspectives on Freemasonry, Aesthetics, and Civil Society. You will have the opportunity to learn from renowned historians and interact with Masonic experts including Grand Master John Cooper. Open to the public, this event seeks to educate and inspire scholars of the craft.
During the California Gold Rush, the body of a heavily tattooed man was discovered floating in San Francisco Bay. Upon examination, he was found to be carrying the silver shekel of a Mark Master Mason bearing his initials. His tattoos were Masonic in nature; on his left arm he bore the symbols of the Entered Apprentice degree, on his right he bore the symbols of a Fellowcraft, and over his heart were the symbols of a Master Mason. The man’s name remains unknown, but a large gathering of Masons attended his Masonic Funeral.
Before the Grand Lodge of California came into existence in 1850, the first Masons began arriving in the area. While there were many Masons who came to California, first Master Mason to arrive and settle in the area permanently was Brother Abel Sterrns.
Nicknamed “Cara de Caballo” (“Horse Face”) for his “long-jawed countenance,” Brother Stearns was born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts. He was raised to Master Mason, as far as records indicate, in Salem, MA. He moved from Salem to colonial Mexico, where he became a naturalized citizen.