"In the Beginning"
Before the State of Nevada came into existence as a governmental body, all Nevada Masonic Lodges (seven in number) were on the Register of the Grand Lodge of California.
Washoe Lodge 157, located in Washoe City, NV (halfway between present-day Carson City and Reno), at its stated communication of July, 1863, appointed a committee to confer with the other lodges in the area, as to the expediency of organizing a Grand Lodge for the Territory of Nevada. From some cause, the subject was dropped at that time.
In November, 1864, Virginia City Lodge 162 and Escurial Lodge 171 (located in the City of Virginia) appointed a joint committee to correspond with the lodges in the state, as to the expediency of organizing a Grand Lodge for the State. The appointment was responded to by the appointment of like committees from all the lodges. After a careful and deliberate consideration of the subject, the following resolutions were reported, and adopted by five lodges, there then being eight chartered lodges in the State:
WHEREAS, the subject of organizing a Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the State of Nevada has been agitated:
RESOLVED, that it is the opinion of this Lodge that it is expedient, advisable and desirable that a Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons be at once organized in the State of Nevada.
RESOLVED, that if five chartered lodges, within the State, adopt similar resolutions to the foregoing, that a convention of the lodges of Free and Accepted Masons within the State of Nevada, convene at the Masonic Hall, in Virginia [City], on Monday, the sixteenth day of January, 1865, at eleven o’clock a.m., for the purpose of organizing a Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Mason in the State of Nevada; each lodge to be represented by its Masters and Wardens, whose charter shall be their credentials.
RESOLVED, that the Secretary notify each lodge in the State, of our action in this matter.
The Convention assembled on the sixteenth day of January, 1865 at Masonic Hall, Virginia [City], NV and was called to order by W.B. Joseph De Bell, chairman of the joint committee and B. J.G. Bloomer, of the committee, acting as Secretary.
The Convention resolved to appoint a committee on credentials, which reported on the brethren present. Present were representatives from Carson Lodge 154, Carson City NV, Washoe Lodge 156, Washoe City NV, Virginia City Lodge 162, Virginia City NV, Silver Star Lodge 165, Gold Hill NV, Esmeralda Lodge 170, Aurora NV, and Escurial Lodge 171, Virginia [City] NV, all of whose delegates were then seated in the Convention.
The committee on credentials then reported that the above-named lodges are indeed legally chartered and constituted lodges of Free and Accepted Masons, and that the officers of said lodges there present were duly authorized and qualified to organize and constitute a Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Nevada, and further resolved that the work proceed toward that end.
Various housekeeping issues were then satisfied, and the Convention appointed a committee to draft a Constitution for the Grand Lodge of Nevada, after which the convention adjourned until the next morning, January 17, 1865.
On the morning of January 17, 1865, the committee on credentials reported that they had examined the charter of Silver City Lodge 163, Silver City NV, and found it to be legally chartered and entitled to be represented in the Convention, and its delegates were seated.
The committee on constitution then presented the proposed Constitution, which was discussed, amended, and adopted unanimously.
On the afternoon of January 17, 1865, the convention opened, discharged the committee on constitution, and opened as a Lodge of Master Masons, presided over by W.B. Henry B. Brady, Master of the oldest lodge represented by its Master, and proceeded to the work of election of Grand Officers as follows:
Grand Master - M.W. Joseph De Bell; Deputy Grand Master - R.W. George W. Bailey; Senior Grand Warden - R.W. Henry B. Brady; Junior Grand Warden - R.W. R.T. Mullard; Grand Treasurer - V.W. Charles E. Olney, and Grand Secretary - V.W. Charles H. Fish. Those elected officers, along with other appointed officers, were installed into their offices at 7:00 PM that evening, and the Master’s Lodge was closed in Ample Form, after which, it was Resolved that, whereas, this convention has accomplished the work for which it convened, that it be adjourned, sine die - the minutes for the day’s sessions were read and approved, and the convention was then declared adjourned, sine die, by George Hopkins, presiding, attest Charles H. Fish, Secretary of the Convention.
The New Grand Lodge
The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons was then opened at 9:00 PM on January 17, and resolved that each lodge represented in the Convention have endorsed on the back of its charter:
"This Charter having been submitted to the Grand Lodge of the State of Nevada, it is hereby ordered that the Lodge be recognized as a legally constituted Lodge under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge, by the name of _________ Lodge, Number___; and that this order by signed by the M.W. Grand Master, and countersigned by the V.W. Grand Secretary." and Resolved that the same order be endorsed on the Charter of Lander Lodge 172 if desired.
And thus began the official history of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Nevada - and a long and proud tradition which continues today.