And ‘Fraternally Thine’
Fraternally Thine. That is what we so often see at the bottom of correspondence from lodge to lodge, lodge to its member and Grand Lodge of Kentucky to subordinate lodges. Ever wondered why its there and what it means? This all begins with Capt. Henry Bannister Grant better known as Capt. H.B. Grant.
Capt. Grant was born in Auburn, New York on March 12, 1837. In 1853 he moved to Frankfort, Kentucky. In 1858, Grant became a Mason at Hiram Lodge #4. Just before the Civil War in 1860, Grant was living in Louisville. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Grant joined the Union Army and served as Captain of Company F, 27th Kentucky Infantry.
After the war, Capt. Grant became a businessman and in 1883 he became the first editor of the Masonic Home Journal and served at that post for five years. Grant was Grand Secretary from 1887 till his death in September 1912. He was a charter member of Louisville Lodge #400. Lodge #610 in Barren County bears his name.
He wrote many Masonic books including Doings of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, 1800-1900 and Vest Pocket Trestleboard. He also wrote on Masonic trials and Landmarks of Freemasonry.
In 1908 he was on a Grand Lodge Committee with PGMs Virgil Smith and John H. Cowels to select a design for Past Master Jewel which presented this report, “The Past Master’s jewel shall be of gold-plain or ornamental with chasings or gems- and consist of a pair of Compasses whose points are extended about sixty degrees upon a graduated segment (1/4 part) of a circle (or 90 degrees) between which the effulgent sun is represented. Its size and hangings are optional-whether the jewel be worn as a watch-charm or a coat-badge – but no addition of any circle or wreath, or other devise are to be made to the foregoing adopted design.”
Of the four books allowed to be used by subordinate lodges in Kentucky, HB Grant wrote one and Henry Pirtle wrote the other. In the digest section item 18 of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky Book of Constitutions we find the list of those four allowed books. Item 18 reads, “The use of improper and unauthorized books is unlawful and pernicious in it’s influence. Only such
books as are authorized by Grand Lodge (e.g. Trestle Board by H.B. Grant; The Kentucky Monitor, by Henry Pirtle; Th Ky Rtl and The Kentucky Ritual) are acceptable for use by its members.”.
We can also see Past Grand Secretary Grant’s finger prints on the current Book of Constitutions. Beginning at item seven in the introduction section of the constitution under the Kentucky Masonic Laws we find the following: “1880 Hiram Bassett, H. B. Grant and Rob Morris were appointed to prepare and print 750 copies of the laws of the Grand Lodge, which ordered that the annual publication of the Constitution should thereafter cease. Two of the committee reported that H. B. Grant “Consented to perform the arduous task of preparing the work without assistance from or consultation with us, as he proceeded.” Also that his work “was so complete and satisfactory it left but few suggestions for us to make.” The title was “Constitution and Digest of Decisions of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky, F.&A.M., Code and Forms of Trials and act of Incorporation of the Grand Lodge.”
He is also mentioned in items eight, nine and ten.
As you can see, Capt. Grant no doubt had a great impact on Kentucky Freemasonry. So much so that after his death in 1912, Henry Pirtle introduced a resolution in which the Grand Lodge of Kentucky enacted a standing resolution in honor of his memory. This resolution can be found in the Book Of Constitutions section on Standing Resolutions, item 2. “Resolved, That the Grand Lodge concurs with the Grand Secretary’s (Dave Jackson Grand Secretary 1912 to 1921) suggestion and directs that the words, “Fraternally Thine,” so familiar to the brethren of this and many other jurisdictions, as a superscription to the signature of our beloved brother, Capt. H. B. Grant, now lost to us, be adopted as a memorial to his memory, and be used as a Masonic superscription to signatures in all Masonic correspondence in this Grand Jurisdiction.”.
Further reading on Brother H.B. Grant can be found in the July 2020 issue of the Masonic Home Journal on page eight. Also, a book written by Brother Charles Snow Guthrie titled Kentucky Freemasonry, 1788-1978: The Grand Lodge And The Men Who Made It contains information on Brother Grant. The Kentucky Monitor also references some of his work on page 329.
Sources used for this presentation include:
- Kentucky Freemasonry, 1788-1978: The Grand Lodge And The Men Who Made by Charles Guthrie, 1981
- Masonic Home Journal: July 2020 page 8
- Grand Lodge of Kentucky Book of Constitutions
The American Tyler: Volume 19 Number 2 issue July 15th, 1904
I interpret Fraternally Thine as meaning “with a close brotherly bond”. How do you interpret it?