The historical development of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Oklahoma is as interesting and fascinating as that of the state itself. Prior to the admission of Oklahoma into the union as the nation’s 46th state, its geographical confines were denominated into two distinct regions: Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. The first recorded lodge of masons among men of African descent to be established in the territories was the 10th Calvary Military Lodge, chartered in 1872, at Fort Gibson, I.T. This lodge was organized under the authority of the Most Worshipful King Solomon Grand Lodge of Kansas (National Compact), a subordinate to the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge, F.&A.A.Y.M., of the United States of North America. The 10th Cavalry included within its ranks a score of the most heroic, hardened, and dogmatic Black men of that era. Popularly known as the “Buffalo Soldiers”, many of its servicemen had been previously held in bondage under the institution of America’s original sin, had fought and served honorably in the Civil War, and were later recruited into the regiment to support and protect migrating settlers as they traveled to and through Indian Territory as part of the Westward Expansion.
Freemasonry was also spread throughout the territories under the authority of the Independent Grand Lodges of Kansas and Arkansas. In 1889, the Grand Lodge of Kansas (Independent) organized St. Paul Lodge at Muskogee, I.T. and Mt. Hope Lodge at Okmulgee, I.T. Further, in 1890, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas (Independent) organized Alpha Lodge at Guthrie, O.T. To that end, on November 7, 1892 a convention was held in the City of Guthrie and the Most Worshipful St. John Grand Lodge, A.F.&A.M., of Oklahoma Territory was organized in due and ample form. The convention closed with the adoption of a Constitution and the election and installation of the following Grand officers: J. A. Broadnax, M.W. Grand Master, J. Cowan, R.W. Deputy Grand Master, J. A. Jarrett, R.W. Senior Grand Warden, M. Campbell, R.W. Junior Grand Warden, J. E. Ellis, R.W. Grand Treasurer, W. H. Cole, R.W. Grand Secretary.
The Grand Lodge quickly progressed in standing and stature. While the body had been organized for the masonic government of Oklahoma Territory, it soon appended the words “and Jurisdiction” to its name and began to organize a liberal number of lodges in Indian Territory as well. By 1901 the Grand Lodge had chartered over 70 subordinate lodges on its roster which embraced nearly every corner of both regions. The rapidity of this growth induced a sentiment among a portion of the craft that separate grand lodges be established for both Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory respectively. Nevertheless, there were still many brethren who held that a single Grand Lodge should continue to govern both regions as the United States Congress considered legislation which would admit Oklahoma and Indian Territories into the union as a single state.
These divergent sentiments could not be reconciled. On September 24, 1901, the representatives of seven of the subordinate lodges in Oklahoma Territory and a number of prominent grand lodge officers assembled in convention at Oklahoma City, O.T., withdrew their allegiance from the original grand body, and organized a new Grand Lodge of near identical title and designation, namely, the Most Worshipful St. John Grand Lodge, A.F.&A.M., of Oklahoma Territory. This new Grand Lodge was organized as a rival organization to the original grand body and claimed to hold absolute masonic authority over the masonic affairs of Oklahoma Territory alone. The convention closed with the election and installation of the following grand officers: G. I. Currin, M.W. Grand Master, H. W. Marshall, R.W. Deputy Grand Master, L. Bailey, R.W. Senior Grand Warden, G. N. Perkins, R.W. Junior Grand Warden, W. H. Cole, R.W. Grand Treasurer, J. W. Smith, R.W. Grand Secretary.