HISTORY OF ATLANTA CONSISTORY #24A
The Scottish Rite comes to the Valley of Atlanta
Under The Banner of The Valley of Atlanta Residing In The Orient of Georgia and Under The Allegiiance of The United Supreme Council of The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Prince Hall Affiliation, Southern Jurisdiction, of the United States of America.
The Consistory and the Rite, our Structure and Allegiance
Atlanta Consistory #24A meets on 330 Auburn Avenue in downtown Atlanta, Georgia every 2nd Tuesday of the month at 8:00 pm. The local Scottish Rite Order is headed by a Commander and Chief who is currently the Illustrious Joel West. Atlanta Consistory #24A sits in the Valley of Atlanta which is carefully attended to by the Overseer of the Work, Coordi-nator for the North Area, the Illustrious Larry Martin. The Ill. William Rogers is the Area Co-ordinator for Atlanta Consistory..
The Consistory, an order for 32* Masons, is also subordi-nate to the Orient of Georgia, that is governed by the Deputy of the Orient (an Active member of the Supreme Council) the Sovereign Grand Inspector General Primis James. The State of Georgia for Scottish Rite Masonry is headed by the Deputy of the Orient who has a vote in the United Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite. The Rite is a National organization that is di-vided into two mutually exclusive regions: the Northern and the Southern Jurisdictions.
The Commanders in Chiefs of Atlanta Consistory have done much to advance the “Rite” in the Valley of Atlanta. John Wesley Dobbs served the craft as C-n-C and legend has it that he was also the Deputy of the Orient, the Potentate of Nabbar Temple #128 Shriners, the Deputy of the Desert of the A.E.A.O.N.M.S. for Georgia, the Grand Minister of State of the United Su-preme Council of the Rite, and the Grand Master of Masons for Georgia; all at the same time.
The Consistory in the earlier years met on the same meeting night as the Shriners of Nabbar Temple #128. Before that, men like Charles Faison and J. W. Dobbs held special call meetings for the Consistory to meet. Bro Dobbs’ good friend and Lodge Brother Robert J. Walters made numerous and significant contributions to the Scottish Rite. He served as Commander and Chief from 1951 until about 1960. Under his leadership, the concordant bodies were separated and were required to do their own work. This action by Ill. Walters advanced the Order beyond comprehension in that it allowed the Rite to operate in correct line and step with our Constitutions; while creating independence within each House of the Scottish Rite as a separate entity from the Consistory. Bro. Walters also began the practice of the Scottish Rite ceremony of the Maundy Thursday services for Easter week as well as the Easter Sunrise church ceremony. These Easter week observances are the only outward religious and public Masonic services ob-served in the Rite and it symbolizes the “extinguishing” and the “relighting” of the symbolic lights which ultimately represents Christ.
Ill. Robert J. Walters was elected to the Active Grade of the 33rd Degree in 1960 and was also appointed the Deputy of the Orient the previous year in 1959. He was elected as the Master of Ceremonies in the Supreme Council and served both as Deputy of the Orient and the Grand Master of Ceremonies until he died in 1970. Bro Walters was also given credit for starting our Scottish Rite’s annual banquet for Atlanta Consistory #24.
The female auxiliary organization that serves as the counter-part of the male Scottish Rite order, is the Order of the Golden Circle. The female auxiliary of the Scottish Rite in Atlanta was named after Robert J. Walter’s first wife, Ester R. Walters. The Ester R. Walters Assembly #24 under the Order of the Golden Circle meets on 3rd Sunday of each month.
Commander-In-Chiefs for Atlanta Consistory #24
1908 Dr. H. R. Butler
1913 Charles A. Faison
*Dates Unknown M. M. Dowdell
“ Dr. Floyd W. Sullivan
“ John Wesley Dobbs
1947-1949 Joseph Crawford
1950 William S. Holliman
1951-1960 Robert J. Walters
1961-1968 George A. Studivant
1969-1970 Frank W. Caudle
1971-1972 Port Royal Scott
1973 James Earl Acey
1974-1976 Willie L. Schofield
1977-1978 Charles E. Martin
1979-1980 Felton Hudson
1981-1982 Theodis Wallace
1983-1984 Daniel L. Johnson
1985-1986 Charles Truitt, Sr.
1987-1988 Robert E. Jefferson, Jr.
1989-1990 Sam McDonald
1991-1992 Joseph Pettigrew
1993-deceased Horace Ruben
1993-1995 Ramsey Davis, Jr.
1996-1997 Aaron Kent
1998-1999 Matthew Lewis
2000-2001 Larry Martin
2002-2003 Tommy Moton
2004-2005 Primis T. James
2006-2007 James Ingram
2008-2009 William V. Rogers, Sr.
2010-2011 Joseph Collins
2012 Mario Eury
2013-2014 Emmanuel Lewis
2015-present Joel West
Commanders-in-Chiefs that demitted into Atlanta Consistory from another Jurisdiction are James Buchanan (Orient of New York) and John A. Robinson (Orient of Europe). The three honorary Past Commander-in-Chiefs are X. L. Neal (deceased), Benjamin Barksdale, Charles Ferguson, and Samuel McLurkin. The Atlanta Commanders of the Rite is made up of 33rd Degree Masons.
The Rite maintained strong membership in the early days, but when membership declined in the Consistory, John Wesley Dobbs and several other leaders kept the Order afloat. The Rite kept a steady pace under the strong direction of the Commanders and chiefs: George Sturdivant, Frank Caudle, Port Royal Scott and James Earl Acey in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
However, in 1974, Willie J. Schofield as Commander-in-Chief did much to revitalize the inter-est in the Scottish Rite in Atlanta, serving until 1976. He started the Floral Fund and helped to reorganize the Banquet. Charles Martin was elected to serve in 1977 as Commander-in-Chief, serving until 1978. He purchased the Encampment furniture and was the first to explain the encampment during the Degree work ceremonies.
From 1979 until 1980, Felton Hudson was elected to serve the Consistory. Under Bro. Hudsons’ leadership the order grew and the annual banquet had outgrown small facilities do to its success.
The Commander-in-Chief for 1981 was Theodis Wallace, and when he left office in 1982, he was thought to be one of the most popular and progressive leaders to advance the Rite. Under his tenure, the Banquet was sold out with 500 tickets sold.
In 1983 until 1984, Daniel L. Johnson served the Consistory as the presiding officer, and under his leadership the Georgia Council of Deliberation came to Atlanta and he was also responsible for purchasing 23 new ceremonial robes and electric candles.
Charles Truitt was elected to serve as Commander-in-Chief in 1985 and served until 1986. Bro. Truitt was diligent in obtaining Duplicate Warrants and Charters for the four con-coordinate bodies. Thanks to Ill. Truitt, the Order has the official and legal Charters for all four Bodies of the Scottish Rite. This is significant because under Robert J. Walters’ direction each House in the Rite became independent from the Consistory and met on separate nights; and Ill. Truitt’s efforts gave each of these sovereign bodies a Legal Charter or Warrant from the Untied Supreme Council that had been lost over many years earlier. Under his leadership the membership grew from 350 to 421 members. Ill. Truitt also formed the study classes held on each Wednesday.
The Ill. Robert Jefferson served the Consistory as Commander-in-Chief from 1987-1988 and he improved the ritualistic work and ceremonial demonstrations.
The Ill. Sam McDonald served the Consistory as Commander-in-Chief from 1989 until 1990. Bro McDonald, a Masonic scholar, excelled in the Constitutions and By-Laws.
The next Commander-in-Chief was Ill. Joseph Pettigrew. He served from 1991-1992 and was a great organizer for the Order and was proficient in Degree work and ceremony.
Horace Ruben was elected as the Commander-in-Chief in 1993 and was the Worshipful Master of his Lodge W. C. Thomas #112 at the same time. His life was cut short in October due to an untimely death in office and Brother Ramsey Davis, Jr. took over his post in 1993 and served in that capacity as Commander-in-Chief until 1995. Ill. Davis, an excellent ritualist and motivational speaker, moved the Order in a positive direction.
Ill. Aaron Kent followed, and served as Commander-in-Chief from 1996-1997. He was an outstanding manager of the order and also provided much of the historical background of Masonry for the State.
In 1998, the Ill. Matthew Lewis was elected and served as Commander-in-Chief until 1999. His program was “Back to Basics”, and under his direction the Council of Deliberation had two of its most successful sessions.
The Ill. Larry Martin was elected in 2000 and served the Con-sistory as it entered into the ‘New Millennia’ in 2001. Bro Martin was an excellent organizer who provided the spiritual food that the Rite needed through his many lectures and workshops.
Ill. Tommy Moton served Atlanta Consistory next and maintained the excellence of the Order from 2002-2003.
Ill. Primis James served the Craft from 2004 until 2005 and his hard work and organizational skills helped to re-invigorate the organization.
Many of these notable Masonic leaders have represented their many Lodges well and have done much to mold the shape of Freemasonry in the State.
In 2007, the Ill. James Ingram was elected to serve the Rite and has continued to propagate the rich tradition of Scottish Rite Freemasonry since 2006.
The Valley of Atlanta represents the local area or City that the Consistory sits in. The Valley of Atlanta has been blessed with the formation of the office of Area Coordinator for oversight by Deputy Willis Brown. The present Area Coordinator for the North Area, is Larry Martin who was the first to be responsible for just the territory of Atlanta. His two predecessors Ill. Benjamin Barksdale and Ill. Charles Truitt both were responsible for the Atlanta, Athens, and Rome districts. The following Area Coordinators for the Atlanta area were as follows:
Ill. Benjamin Barksdale (the First appointed as Area Coordinator) (before 1988)
Ill. Charles Truitt (from 1989-1996)
Ill. Joseph Pettigrew (from 1996-2006)
Ill. Larry Martin (from 2006-present)
Since the position of Area coordinator was created by Willis brown in the late 1980s, today the post is regional and is referred to as the Overseer of the Work. For the North we have Ill. Jo-seph Larry Martin, for the South Ill. Michael Delgado, for the Central Ill. Joe Coates. The Overseer of the Works for the entire State of Georgia is the Ill. David Bacon.
The Sublime Princes and Inspectors Generals of Atlanta Consistory were very instrumental in creating a successful Supreme Council session in October of 2005 in Atlanta. The members of the Commanders of the Rite, the Consistory, and especially the Loyal Ladies of Ester R. Walters Assembly #24 should be proud of making the 119th annual session of the United Su-preme Council of the Rite a great success.
The Commanders of the Rite was started in the 1980s by Leroy Bolden. The first President was the Ill. Benjamin P. Barksdale. Past Presidents of the Commanders of the Rite after S.G.I.G. Benjamin P. Barksdale, were Ill. Daniel L. Johnson 1988, Ill. Freddie A. Wideman 1989, Ill. Mathew Lewis 1991, Ill. Marcel Reid 1992, Ill. Ramsey Davis, Ill. Billy Lundsford 1998-1999, Ill. Charlie Taylor 2000, Ill. James Ingram 2001-2002, Ill. William V. Rogers, Sr. 2003-2004, and Ill. Primis James 2005-2006. The Bond between Sadie Mays nursing home and the Commanders of the Rite for Atlanta Consistory started under Commander and Chief Daniel L. Johnson. Booker T. Stanglin was also in-strumental with continuing projects with Atlanta Consistory and Sadie Mays Nursing Home.
he Shining C’s in Atlanta was started under Deputy of the Orient Leroy R. Bolden, state-wide as a social arm of the Scottish Rite Bodies. Members of the local Consistories and Assemblies use the Shining C’s to raise money for projects. Some of its proceeds would assist with the financing of the annual Maundy Thursday service. In Atlanta, the Shining C’s meets on the 3rd Sunday of the month after the Ladies of the Order of the Golden Circle convene.
Under the leadership of the Commanders and Chiefs of Atlanta Consistory, there have been many successful banquets put on by the order. There have been many notable speakers from councilman C. T. Martin, Maynard Jackson, to Thurbert Baker, to Senator Max Cleland.
In re-cent years, the Scottish Rite Mason of the year was Ill. Larry Martin in 1992, James C. Ingram in 2001, and Herbert Haynes in 2002.
We also have records that indicated the following members were selected as Most Valuable Members of Atlanta Consistory: Gary Graham, Ramsey Davis, Jr., Horace Ruben, Tom Kennebrew, Herbert Haynes, Sr. 1997, Charles Truitt Sr. 1980, Robert Jefferson 1981, Joseph Pettigrew 1989, James Ingram 1999, Jackie Hogan 2001, John Noird, Jr. 2001, and William Rogers, Sr. 2002. Other distinguished acknowledgements go to John Noird 1999, James C. Ingram 1999, William V. Rogers, Sr. 2000 for the recipients of the Deputy’s Award. We are proud to recognize the following past Commanders and Chiefs for being honored with the Commander in Chief of the Year award: Charles Martin 1978, Felton Hudson 1980, Theodis Wallace 1981, Joseph Pettigrew 1991 and 1992, and Larry Martin 2002.