All of the Presidents of the Republic of Texas were Masons…all were members of Holland Lodge!
In education, William March Rice, who founded Rice University and Ben Taub whose philanthropy was essential to the founding of the University of Houston were also members.
Entrepreneurs Peter W. Gray and Benjamin Botts founded Gray and Botts (which was the precursor to Baker and Botts) and Ross S. Sterling founder of Humble Oil later known as Exxon were also proud members!
The Masons that comprised Holland Lodge were so ingrained in the enterprise and commerce of the early days of the city of Houston that most of the downtown streets are named in their honor.
The tapestry of Texas’ history is overlaid with the lives of our Brothers, embroidered by their design and tapered by their actions. This Fraternity and this great State are indistinguishable in origin and no institution is more closely woven to the land we now occupy; We are blessed to be called Texans!
History is unchangeable and, though it is often intriguing, names and faces, locations and battles are, in a short space, lost to time. Continents are littered with the lifeless corpses of the past. But the great lesson of history is not the who, or the when, or the how…but the why!
Why did 6 men, not unacquainted with war, while revolution rested thick in the air, why in that moment did they pause and risk their very lives to found this Fraternity? They knew that if they could somehow overcome all odds and plant the seeds of freedom in this new land, there would be a great need for this Fraternity; an institution of acceptance, a philosophy of understanding, a system of unity.
Those 6 men, our Brothers, stand united with men of Holland Lodge here today, and with all Freemasons across this great state; united in the universal cause of Brotherly Love. Our belief of the Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God ring out and are echoed in the Motto of Texas: “Friendship.” We are truly “one State, under God!”
For over 180 years, Holland Lodge, formed under the Lone Star of the Republic of Texas, has spread its beneficent influence over the greater Houston area and the great State of Texas. The Grand Lodge of Texas, formed in 1837 by members of Holland Lodge, Milam Lodge and McFarland Lodge, continues to be a uniting force and, occasionally, on nights like tonight, we gather to honor those who join us in our noble cause. Those who hope to bring a positive change in their communities, builders of future prosperity and servants of mankind.