Grand Chapter History






Royal Arch Masonry began in the State of Florida in 1881 when a group of Master Masons petitioned the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia to send a representative to our State for the purpose of establishing a Royal Arch Chapter. The petition was made to M. Ex. J. Brooker Hutchings, Grand High Priest of the District of Columbia. The requested representative came and brought with him a sufficient number of Royal Arch Masons to confer the capitular degrees properly. The Degrees were conferred, the officers were elected. The Chapter was established and was named Zerubbabel Chapter No. 15, UD. Zerubbabel Chapter worked as a UD Chapter for nearly two years. Having been pleased with the work of the Chapter, the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia granted to Zerubbabel Chapter its Warrant. The Warrant was granted August 12, 1883 and was signed by M. Ex. John H. Burrill, Grand High Priest and Rt. Ex J. B. Washington, Grand Secretary. Having received the warrant, Zerubbabel Chapter became the mother Chapter of Royal Arch Masonry in Florida. The nucleus of the membership lived in Jacksonville but there were other members of this Chapter who lived in other cities in the State, and they encouraged Master Masons to aspire and petition for the advance degrees.


A convention of Royal Arch Masons was called to meet in the City of Jacksonville in the month of August 1897. The Convention was held Wednesday, August 29, 1897, at which time the Grand Officers were elected, the Jurisdiction was declared. The chapters surrendered their Charters to the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia. The Grand Chapter was named Union Grand Chapter Holy Royal Arch Masons of Florida and the subordinate Chapters were re-chartered and renumbered. There are still discrepancies on the names and numbers of the chapters that originally chartered the Grand Chapter because of lost records and documents. The last known listing of chapters at the time of chartering is Zerubbabel Chapter No. 1 at Jacksonville; Hiram Chapter No. 2 at Jacksonville; Keystone Chapter No. 3 at St. Augustine; Aaron Chapter No. 4 at Key West; Mt. Pleasant Chapter No. 5 at Palatka, and King Hiram Chapter No. 6 at Fernandina. As the Grand Chapter historical committee continues its research, we will endeavor to gather definitive information on the chapter names and numbers. The first Officers elected for the Grand Chapter in 1897 were Most. Ex. Reuben S. Mitchell, Grand High Priest, Rt. Ex. Elias Sellers, Deputy Grand High Priest Rt. Ex. Lucius B. H. Littles, Grand King Rt. Ex. Benjamin Dilworth, Grand Scribe, Rt. Ex. Joseph Williams, Grand Secretary and Rt. Ex. William J. Henry, Grand Treasurer.


Past Most Excellent Grand High Priests

  1. Rueben S. Mitchell (1897-1900)
  2. L.J. Banks (1901-1904)
  3. George W. Parker (1904-1905)
  4. John G. Riley (1905-1953)
  5. Fred Alexander (1954-1979)
  6. Carey P. Bentley (1979-1980)
  7. Cleveland J. Mackey (1980-1987)
  8. Charles T. Maxwell (1988-1994)
  9. Johnny McCray (1994-2003)
  10. Carl Finerson (2003-2009)
  11. Henry B. Parker, Jr. (2009-2014)
  12. Eugene C. Johnson (2014)
  13. Henry B. Parker (2014)
  14. Lewis S. Thurston (2014-2018)
  15. Enoch Mobley (2018-2021)
  16. Walter P. Russell (2021)
  17. Enoch Mobley (2021-2022)