Capitular Masonry in Indiana
Graig Huber

Royal Arch Chapters entered Indiana, as most of Masonry, through the state of Kentucky (indirectly from Virginia). The first Chapter in Indiana was formed in Madison on July 14, 1816. It is worth noting that this date is prior to Indiana officially becoming a state in December of 1816. in 1823, three Chapters (Madison, Brookville, and Vincennes) met and formed the First Grand Chapter of Indiana, however, no officers were ever elected and no meetings took place after the initial organization structure was agreed upon. Due to its never officially performing any actions it was deemed as “dissolved” by later attempts to organize a Grand Chapter of Indiana. Finally, on Christmas Day 1845, four Chapters (Madison, Logansport, Lafayette and Richmond) succeeded in forming the present day Grand Chapter of Indiana complete with organization structure and election of officers. The first Grand High Priest of Indiana was William B. Smith from King Solomon Chapter in Richmond. From the beginnings of these four Chapters, The Grand Chapter of Indiana has issued approximately 165 additional charters to confer the Capitular Degrees throughout the State.

The degrees that Chapters in Indiana are authorized to confer are Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch. Based upon minutes from Chapter records, the following approximate dates give you an idea when these respective degrees appeared in Indiana:

  • Mark Master - 1819 - Madison, Indiana
  • Past Mater - Mid 1820’s - Madison, Indiana
  • Most Excellent Master - 1825 - Vincennes, Indiana
  • Royal Arch - 1819 - Madison, Indiana

An interesting note to these degrees is that in Madison around 1819 a Mark Masters Lodge was performing degree work, however, no proof of its existence has been found. In all likelihood, this lodge of Mark Masters was “folded” into the Chapter located in Madison and to “cure” any unlawful work all minutes and history were destroyed. Without question any of the Capitular Degrees could have been worked prior to these approximate dates as records from the time period are scarce or no longer in existence. It is safe to say that the Capitular Degrees entered Indiana around the time of statehood and the decade following.

- Information compiled from the Indiana Monitor and Royal Arch Mason’s Guide