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How do I find out what my great great grandfather did to become a 33rd Degree Mason after the Civil War?
Posted: 29 March 2016 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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My great great grandfather Isaac VanBuren Willingham was a surgeon during the Civil War and after the war he became a 33rd Degree Mason. He actually sailed to Rome to be appointed to the 33rd Degree and was given a Roman Coin. I have the coin and my family is trying to find out what Dr. Ike did to be able to become a 33rd degree Mason. He lived in Glen Rose, Texas.

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Posted: 29 March 2016 03:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Kim Osborn - 29 March 2016 12:29 PM

My great great grandfather Isaac VanBuren Willingham was a surgeon during the Civil War and after the war he became a 33rd Degree Mason. He actually sailed to Rome to be appointed to the 33rd Degree and was given a Roman Coin. I have the coin and my family is trying to find out what Dr. Ike did to be able to become a 33rd degree Mason. He lived in Glen Rose, Texas.

There are a few issues with your statement. The 33rd degree is conferred on those who are Scottish Rite Masons and have been elected to receive the degree due to exceptional service to humanity and Masonry. If your ancestor were a 33rd, it would not have been conferred outside the US. So, the trip to Rome was probably for something else not related to Masonry.

There are two jurisdictions of Scottish Rite in the US, Northern and Southern. Depending on where he lived, you could contact either or both of them. You may find nothing as he may not have been a 33rd but simply a Mason. The highest degree in Masonry is not the 33rd, it is the third, Master Mason.

You could also contact the Grand Lodge of the State where he lived and give them all the information you can. Where he lived, his birthday, etc. They will have his complete Masonic career in their records.

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Posted: 30 March 2016 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Thank you for your information. We have already sent all of our info. to the Grand Lodge in Texas. We are waiting for their reply. We do know that my great great grandfather was one of the founders of Kimball Academy in Kimball, Texas. We are very curious about him and are very happy to hear any responses that anyone may have. I will post any info we get from the Grand Lodge in Texas.

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Posted: 06 April 2016 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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To my knowledge, the 33rd degree in Scottish Rite is an honorary degree for your years of dedicated service to Scottish Rite Masonry. You do not do anything to receive the 33rd degree. You just do what every Freemason or Scottish Rite Mason does everyday. You support and help your fellow man. Am I not correct?

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Posted: 06 April 2016 04:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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(I am a Scottish Rite Mason). There are two different 33rd degrees in Scottish Rite Masonry(Southern Jurisdiction USA).  The senior leadership of the council, are (mostly) active 33rd degree Masons (Sovreign Grand Inspector General, for example). The other 33rd degree is an honorary 33rd. It is similar to an honorary PhD.  Outstanding service to the Scottish Rite is sometimes rewarded with a 33rd degree.  Outstanding service to Craft Masonry, is also considered in the awarding of the 33rd (honorary). 

As far as your Grandfather, you should contact the COMILOR (Confederate military lodge of research). It is a research lodge that conducts research into various aspects of the Craft, primarily with respect to the period around the war between the states. I wish you luck.

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Posted: 07 April 2016 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Thank you both for your information. We appreciate it. We are still searching for information and waiting for the Grand Lodge of Texas to reply to our letter. We will do as you have suggested and hope to find more information.

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