The Origin of St James Lodge #4
The Grand Lodge of Georgia, Free and Accepted Masons was formed when three lodges of black masons came together in Savannah, GA for its first regular communication on June 24th, 1870. The three lodges which met, each with brief but important lineage, were as follows: Eureka Lodge No.11 A.F. & A.M in Savannah, which received its dispensation from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts on Feb 4th.1866 and it’s charter on June 24th of the same year; John T. Hilton Lodge No.13 A.F. & A.M in Savannah, which also received it’s dispensation from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in Sept. of the same year when a number of brothers from Eureka demitted; and Banneker Lodge No.38 in Augusta, which received its dispensation from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania (a National Compact Grand Lodge) in December of the very same year.
At the “Grand Lodge Session” the lodges were renumbered, Eureka #1, John T. Hilton #2 and Banneker #3, also, the first officers were chosen for the state of Georgia and they were as follows:
Grand Master James Simms
Deputy Grand Master Louis B. Toomer
Senior Grand Warden K. S. Thomas
Junior Grand Warden W. H. Barfield
Grand Treasurer C. L. DeLamatta
Grand Secretary Albert Jackson
Grand Senior Deacon John H. Deveaux
Grand Junior Deacon H. S. Jiles
Grand Chaplain Alexander Harris
Grand Senior Steward C. Brinson
Grand Junior Steward Linsey Moore
Grand Junior Steward R. L. Newsome
Grand Marshal R. L. Newsome
Grand Prelate U. L. Houston
Grand Tyler S. G. Prentis
The time is now 1866, Brother James M. Simms already having been made a Mason, knew that in Savannah, there were a number of brethren of a receptive mind who craved the light of Masonry. Several of those brethren were free men and under the usage of Masonry and were qualified to receive the secrets of the order.
The organization immediately began to grow and the St. James Lodge #4 in Atlanta GA was the first lodge chartered in 1871 under the Grand Lodge of Georgia. In 1888 the Grand Lodge of Georgia joined with the Grand Lodge of A.F .&A.M to form the Union Grand Lodge of Georgia. At that time the lodges were renumbered again and there is controversy as to whether or not St. James remained #4 because the lodge was listed as #5 during the proceedings. However, in all subsequent communications St. James was again referred to as No.4.
The Most Worshipful Union Grand Lodge of Georgia continues to grow and operate today as what we now refer to as the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Georgia.