Our Triangular Assemblies
Attleboro ~ Hyde Park ~ Providence Councils
How and when did they start?
(Research Paper of April 2, 1959)
R.I. George M. Ellis
Hyde Park Council
Illustrious Master 1944-1945
Over the past years, we have heard many Past Illustrious Masters comment on Past Triangular Assemblies of Hyde Park, Attleboro, and Providence Councils, and while their stories were very interesting, as well as plausible, we could not help come to the conclusion that they all did not dove-tail to make a complete story.
As this Triangle Assembly (April 2, 1959) was being planned, and we reflected on all these past stories, it occurred to us that this might b e the 30th Anniversary visit to Hyde Park, and if so, some special plans should be made. To this end we began to search our own records, and after doing so and not finding all that we had hoped on the subject, we asked the Recorders of the other Councils in the Triangle, Attleboro and Providence, to do likewise, hoping that the records of the three Councils would give us an accurate and complete story. While we have been able to substantiate some of the stories we have heard, we have not yet been able to verify all details.
Chronologically, here is what we have found in the Records. Under the date of October 31, 1929 a Dispensation was issued to Attleboro Council to visit Providence Council No. 1 and confer the Royal Degree. Under the date of January 6, 1930 a Dispensation was issued to Attleboro Council to receive Providence Council No. 1 in Attleboro Council, and for them to confer the Royal Degree on one of their candidates. Neither of these events mentions Hyde Park Council.
The records of a Providence Council No. 1 Assembly on September 12, 1930 says “The Thrice Illustrious Master, Thomas H. Doane, announces that the Most Illustrious Grand Master of Rhode Island will make an Official Visitation on the regular Assembly in November. The Most Illustrious Grand Master of Massachusetts, accompanied by the officers of Hyde Park Council, and Attleboro Council will also pay us a Fraternal Visit on the same evening”.
The records of that November 14, 1930 Assembly of Providence Council No. 1 read, “Illustrious Companions Charles Thomae and Freddy Mosley, Master of Ceremonies of Attleboro and Hyde Park Council respectfully, entered the Lodge room and announced that Companion G. Lester Hewitt, Illustrious Master of Attleboro Council, and Companion Ernest T. Johnson, Illustrious Master of Hyde Park Council, and their board of Officers, are in an adjoining apartment for the purpose of paying a fraternal visit.” Later on, following the account of the reception of the Most Illustrious Grand Master of Rhode Island, among the Suite were listed
- Alden B. Hefler ~ Most Illustrious Grand Master of Massachusetts
- William Tribou ~ Right Illustrious Deputy Grand Master of Massachusetts
- Waldemar L. Sjostrom ~ Right Illustrious P.C.W. of Massachusetts
- William O. Tuckerman ~ Illustrious Grand Master of Ceremonies of Massachusetts
This Assembly on November 14, 1930 seems to be the first meeting of these three Councils in Providence, but there is no mention that this was what we now call a “Triangle Visit”. It was then recorded as a Fraternal Visit. The occasion was caused to be remembered by the presentation of Bibles, one by the Deputy Master of Providence Council No. 1 to Attleboro Council, and one by the P.C.W. of Providence Council No. 1 to Hyde Park Council. In recent weeks I have seen these two Bibles, resting on the Alters in Attleboro and Hyde Park Councils, and each bears a brass plate, recording the presentation by Providence Council No. 1 on November 14, 1930. The records of Hyde Park Council, under the date of December 4, 1930 tells about the Illustrious Master turning over the Bible which he received at Providence to Hyde Park Council, and mentions the brass plate and the inscription thereon, but the Recorder must have been using his memory, or his imagination, for the recorded inscription and that on the plate are not in agreement.
In the records of Hyde Park Council under the date of April 2, 1931, we find that the Officers and members of Providence Council No. 1, and Attleboro Council, visited Hyde Park Council on this date. Most Illustrious Alden B. Hefler, Grand Master of the Grand Council of Massachusetts, and Most Illustrious Louis E. Morris, Grand Master of the Grand Council of Rhode Island, were present. M.I. Hefler, on behalf of Illustrious Charles Thomae of Attleboro Council, presented to Hyde Park Council, a beautiful “metal flower of gold”, which was the handiwork of Companion Thomae and a real work of art. After the work of the evening, which was the Royal Degree by the officers of Hyde Park Council upon Peter Wood, Illustrious Ernest T. Johnson, Illustrious Master of Hyde Park Council, presented Providence Council No. 1 with Alter Lights (Square ~ Compasses and Trowel), and to Attleboro Council he presented a set of Triangles, to be used in the work, including a small one to be carried in the Master’s pocket, and deposited at the proper time. The Deputy Master presented a similar set of Triangles to Hyde Park Council and was duly accepted by Illustrious Johnson on behalf of Hyde Park Council. The several Triangles were later on to have the Mystic Words engraved thereon, in the Hebrew, Syriac and Chaldaic languages.
This is the first reference in the records of Hyde Park Council that these three Councils met in Hyde Park, but no reference is made to it as a Triangle Assembly.
Providence Council No. 1 entertained Attleboro and Hyde Park Councils again on Friday, the 13th of November 1931. Arthur W. Peace was Thrice Illustrious Master of Providence Council No. 1, Samuel R. Smith was Illustrious Master of Hyde Park Council, and Norman J. Stone was Illustrious Master of Attleboro Council. Most Illustrious Albert Knight, Past Most Illustrious Grand Master of Rhode Island, on behalf of Providence Council No.1, presented “Friendship Jewels” to each of the three Councils, the same to be worn by their Illustrious Master while in office, and then transmitted to his successor. These jewels are regularly seen upon the breast of the presiding officer of each Council. Over two hundred were present at this Assembly.
In the records of Hyde Park Council on December 1, 1932 we find that Illustrious Master, Samuel R. Smith, reported a most enjoyable evening with his officers and members of Hyde Park at Attleboro held on November 22, 1932, and that the officers and members of Providence Council No. 1 were also present. The Past Illustrious Masters of Attleboro Council presented the Royal Degree. Neither of the Recorders of Providence Council No. 1 or of Attleboro Council has reported finding any reference to this Assembly. However, it appears to be the first meeting of these three Councils held in Attleboro Council, and on no occasion up to this date have we found any of the meetings of those three Councils called “Triangular Assemblies”.
After a review of the records of all three Councils from 1929 through 1932, we conclude, on the basis of what we have found, that what we now call “Triangular Assemblies” started in Providence Council No. 1 on November 14, 1930, when Providence entertained Attleboro and Hyde Park Councils.
Hyde Park Council was next to hold one of these meetings, when they entertained Providence and Attleboro on April 2, 1931.
The extensive activities of the Attleboro Companions in the above meetings, and in others of that day and age, surely would not lead one to believe that they let 18 months go by before they invited Providence and Hyde Park Councils to come to Attleboro, but if we rely on the records as we find them today, we must record November 22, 1932 as the first date these three Councils met in Attleboro, and this record comes to light only because the Illustrious Master of Hyde Park Council reported to his Council at the next regular Assembly. “A most enjoyable evening in Attleboro”. The Recorders of Attleboro and Providence Councils have not found, up to this time, any record of this meeting.
These Assemblies of these three Councils have became a part of each annual program in each of these three Councils, for without exception from the dates mentioned above, each Council has entertained the other two on the same evening, at least once in every year since.
The name “Triangle Assembly” however, is a product of later years. At first these Assemblies were referred to as a Fraternal Visitation, then as Friendship Meetings or Friendship Assemblies. In 1934, both Hyde Park and Attleboro recorded them as Triangle Assemblies, and apparently the name has become fixed since then.
This research has not been as productive as we had hoped. Please bear in mind that what has been recorded here comes from the records of the three Councils, as we look them over today. It seems quite apparent to the writer that there may be discrepancies, which we have not attempted to fathom.
If this effort he not produced all that we desired, then it has emphasized the impotence of the hand that writes, and the mind behind it.