About Freemasonry
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest fraternal organization in the world.  It applies the tools of the ancient stonemason in symbolic usage to better the individual.  The Craft, as it is sometimes called, has officially existed in its present form since the early 1700's, although the "operative" form existed for centuries prior in the form of medieval trade guilds.  

Masons meet together in lodges, a term also used to describe the members themselves, as a group.  In the lodge, we enjoy good fellowship, and we refer to one another as brothers.  The Brothers meet for scheduled assemblies, known as stated communications, on a monthly basis, although there are times when the lodge is assembled to initiate, pass, or raise a candidate or brother through the three principle degrees of Freemasonry.  

When a candidate first joins a lodge, he is refered to as an Entered Apprentice.  After learning the central tenents of this degree, the brother will be passed to a Fellowcraft. Upon proving himself proficient in understanding the important elements of the Fellowcraft degree, the brother will raised to the highest degree of a regular lodge, known as a Master Mason.  He may then choose to get in line to enter one of the lodge offices.  The head of the lodge is refered to as the Worshipful Master, and he is head of the lodge for one year.  Workings inside of a regular lodge, also called a blue lodge, are rather democratic in practice.  Virtually all events involving a lodge are voted on by the members. 

Freemasonry does not solicite membership, so to become a Mason, you must ask one.  While Freemasonry does not espouse any particular religion, a belief in a Supreme Being is necessary, along with being a male, of good moral character, and a desire to assist one's fellow man. 
About Yorktown Lodge  

Originally, our lodge, like so many others, met at the town's favorite social establishment,  the town tavern.  Yorktown's most popular was known as The Swan Tavern.   Meeting in the upstairs of the Tavern, our lodge was granted its' official establishment in 1755, and it was the first instance of our lodge being innumerated with No. 205.   This number was, however, amended in 1770 to No. 167, then eventually to No. 133, then No. 134, and in 1792 to No. 119.   This manifestation of our lodge is steeped in mystery, as nothing is heard in the English records until its official disappearance from the Grand Lodge of England's books around 1813, and there are no existant records of its members in its 58 years of functioning here in the States.  As well, it was not represented in Williamsburg at the convention to form the Grand Lodge of Virginia in 1777.  A potential explanation for this silence are the events of the time period:  it's disappearance from the Grand Lodge of England's records coincides with our struggle for independance from, and battles with, the British Crown, which undoubtedly caused difficulties, and it is probable that some members remained loyal and took the original charter with them upon departure.  
Our historic brethren requested a charter from the newly formed Grand Lodge of Virginia in 1780.   It was given the  numeric designation No. 9 in 1786.   The lodge then went silent for almost a decade, appearing in a communication from a brother to the Grand Lodge of Virginia in 1796 .  Yorktown Lodge No. 9 appears, as determined from an insurance document dated 1818, to have been located in the Main Street Courthouse, between "the lots of Grifford, Monnet, and Taylor on two sides, and on streets on two other sides."  Lodge No. 9 remained in the Yorktown Courthouse until 1826, when it was removed from the Grand Lodge's list of active lodges.  

Little is known of the Yorktown Lodge during the next 55 years, but the Craft, itself, was called upon to perform a great glory in Yorktown in 1881.  On October 18th of that year, 983 Freemasons from the original colonies (comprised of Blue Lodge members, as well as Knights Templar) decended upon Yorktown for the laying of the cornerstone of the Victory Monument, commemorating the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and the British forces in the town.  Although our Lodge lay dormant, as displayed by the proceeding surrounding the Monument's construction, Freemasonry still flourished.

Masonry reestablished itself in Yorktown in 1924, as Lodge No. 353, located on
Church Street.  By 1934, however, it had decided to move locations,
and built our current Temple on Ballard Street in 1936.  We then assumed the
number "205", our original number from 1755, and have retained it since.   

Though tried and tested over the years, Masonry was found worthy, and it holds an important position in the history of a historic town.
-Compiled from "A Primer of Freemasonry in York Town, Virginia, 1755-1955" by Albert W. Banton, Jr. 
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