In Ceremonies At
Crockett Park And
BY SARAH GREGORY
Freemasons from across the state visited Greeneville during the weekend to honor President Andrew Johnson and famed pioneer Davy Crockett as part of celebrations for the 200th anniversary of freemasonry in Tennessee.
The Grand Commandery of Tennessee-Knights Templar, Most Worshipful Grand Master Roy Etherton, officers from the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, and other Masonic dignitaries participated in wreath-laying ceremonies at Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, at Limestone, and at President Johnson's grave atop Monument Hill in Greeneville.
Both Crockett and Johnson were Freemasons.
Local festivities began Friday with an open house for the public at Greeneville Masonic Lodge No. 3, F&AM, followed that evening by a Master Mason Degree Ceremony at the lodge.
On Saturday, the wreath-laying at Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park began at 10 a.m.
The Grand Master and other Grand Lodge officers planted a dogwood tree with an inscribed granite Masonic marker, heard a brief historical talk about Crockett, then laid a wreath at a monument dedicated in his honor.
From there, the Masonic group traveled to the Andrew Johnson National Cemetery in preparation for the Andrew Johnson Masonic Celebration.
At the national cemetery, the Grand Master and other Grand Lodge officers, escorted by The Grand Commandery of Tennessee-Knights Templar, marched in procession from the cemetery gate to the top of Monument Hill, where a brief ceremony was conducted.
Andrew Johnson National Historic Site Superintendent Lizzie Watts welcomed guests, and Park Ranger Daniel Luther, who often portrays Andrew Johnson, spoke briefly.
Johnson, it was noted, was the only U.S. President to have full Masonic rites conducted at his funeral service.
Following brief remarks from Etherton and a prayer, Masons laid two wreaths at Johnson's tomb.
The ceremonies held at the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park and at President Johnson's tomb lasted approximately 20 minutes each.
The ceremonies were similar to other celebrations that Masons have held across the state, Etherton said. He noted that other famous Tennessee Masons have also been celebrated, such as President Andrew Jackson.
The weekend's festivities concluded with a celebration banquet at the General Morgan Inn, hosted by Greeneville Masonic Lodge No. 3 F&AM and the Greene County Partnership.
Glen Beck and J.C. Jones of Lodge No. 3, were appointed by Grand Master Etherton to coordinate arrangements for the weekend celebration.
Jones said today that participants came from throughout the state and from other states to take part in the weekend activities.
He said that participants were well pleased with all aspects of the events.
He also expressed deep appreciation for the support and help the lodge received from the staff of the Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, the staff of the Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, the Greene County Partnership and Tourism Director Tammy Kinser, and from many local businesses.