History of Freemasonry in California: California’s First Mason
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.
Brother Frank Buckles, WWI Veteran, Freemason
On February 27, 2011, Frank Woodruff Buckles passed away. At the time of his death, he was one of three surviving World War I veterans in the world, and the only American of the group of veterans. He was 110 years old.
Buckles enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1917 at the age of 17. He shipped over to Europe on the RMS Carpathia (the ship which responded to and rescued survivors from the RMS Titanic only five years before), where he served with 1st Fort Riley Casual Detachment driving motorcycles and ambulances in England and France.