In 2017 we celebrated the One Hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Scottish Rite Masonry in Texas and the birth of our Mother Consistory on Galveston Island. With this celebration we also welcomed our new Sovereign Grand Inspector General in Texas, Illustrious Mike Wiggins 33rd. Fifty years have passed since Sovereign Grand Inspector General; Illustrious Lee Lockwood compiled the publication entitled The First Century of Scottish Rite Masonry in Texas, (1867-1967), in which the growth of the Rite is covered from the first mediocre Lodge of Perfection to arise on Galveston Island led by General Phillip C. Tucker to the prosperous Orient of seven Valleys. Sense the publication of this piece the Orient has continued to grow and prosper and arguably remains one of the strongest Masonic bodies in the state. Of the many accomplishments in Scottish Rite Masonry in the fifty years since the publication, the establishment of an eighth Valley in the Texas Panhandle is arguably the most impressive. While the establishment of the Valley of Lubbock and the Masonic legends that made their dream reality is an impressive story, the roots of Scottish Rite Masonry in the region run much deeper than that. I would argue that the Texas Panhandle has intrigued the interest of some of the most influential Masonic brethren throughout history and their legend has left profound influence on Scottish Rite Masonry in the region.
To study the roots of early West Texas Masonry, I believe it necessary to examine the draw of the New Mexico Territory to numerous expeditions to the desert southwest by pioneers, fur traders and trappers. One can only speculate to the Masonic seeds these men may have planted during their expedition, unfortunately any sort of Masonic records that may have existed from this time would have long sense blown away like dust in the West Texas wind. One thing we know for sure, the untamed lands of the High Plains and the opportunities that await there have peaked the interest of adventure seeking men and pioneers for over a century. This list of explorers includes Grand Commander Albert Pike and Dr. John H. Robinson. Although there was more than likely other Masons in the area, the expeditions to the New Mexico Territory pre-date the establishment of any formal Masonic Lodge by decades which further adds to difficulty of tracing any kind of Masonic influence these brothers may have left behind.
Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike is not only the most influential Scottish Rite Mason in history, but arguably left a tremendous impact on Masonry as a whole. In 1831, Albert Pike would begin a journey to Independence, Missouri seeking adventure and a change from the New England lifestyle. From Missouri Pike and Dr. Robinson would join a hunting party to Santa Fe, New Mexico, Which would lead the group through the northern Texas Panhandle. The Journey to Santa Fe would become quiet treacherous and filled with unfortunate events, including his hoarse escaping and a devastating snow storm that would cause him to walk over five hundred miles to Taos, New Mexico.3 Pike left the place he referred to as the “city of mud” in 1832 on a trapping adventure on the Llano Estacado near present day Lubbock.3 It would be pure speculation to state definitively that Pike made any type of Masonic influence during his time in this area. However, Masonic roots of the Texas Panhandle run incredibly deep, Lubbock saw the Chartering of its first Masonic Lodge before the town was incorporated as a city. A biography of Pike remarks that “He found Freemasonry in a log cabin and left it in a temple…”, one can only imagine what kind of Masonic influence this brother could have possibly left behind on the plains of Northwest Texas.
Lack of population, hostile Indians and dispute of international boundaries would hinder the development of formal established Masonry in this area for quite some time. However, Pike’s interest in the area would continue to draw him back to West Texas, when in 1883 as Sovereign Grand Commander he would grant authority to open a Lodge of Perfection in El Paso.1 Grand Commander Pike would visit the El Paso Lodge of Perfection 11 April 1883 and would leave behind mementos for the Lodge during this visit.1 El Paso would be the most logical place to open a Lodge of Perfection at the time; it was a more populated area at the time due to an Army outpost in the city. Unfortunately, the Lodge of Perfection would be short lived because the Army would close the outpost in 1885, and remain closed until 1905.1 In his second journey to West Texas, Pike would again journey across the rolling plains of the Texas Panhandle, while still much less developed than El Paso the area around the Llano Estacada had seen considerable growth sense his first expedition half a century earlier.
Throughout his life Albert Pike made two journeys through the Texas Panhandle, he arguably took great interest in the region and found company he enjoyed and shared his Masonic knowledge with. We will never know what type of impact he could have made on the Masonry in the Texas Panhandle, or if his legacy was any sort of motivation to the brothers that would establish the Valley of Lubbock almost a century later. If this story serves no other purpose, it should provide insight to the type of man drawn to this land, the Mason we should all remember and strive to be.
 Lockwood, Robert Lee, comp. The First Century of Scottish Rite Masonry in Texas, 1867-
1967 . Edited by James David Carter. Waco, Tx, 1967.
 Vinson, Beverly . “History of the Lubbock Valley” . Lubbock Scottish Rite Bodies Website.
 Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas W. Cutrer, “Pike, Albert,” accessed December 18,
 “Albert Pike.” Masonicdictionary. Com Website.