Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Alberta
Rt. Ex. Comp. George Tapley
Introduction to Chapter Histories
There had never been a requirement for Chapters to maintain histories, although Golden West Chapter’s first Chapter Register had a seven-page History of Formation and Progress as its first section. Until the adoption of a new Constitution and Regulations in 2011 there was no Chapter officer specifically charged to “…collect and preserve all material of historical significance…”; the office of Chapter Historian was added to the list of officers at that time.
Eighteen of our Chapters began their lives under the Ontario-based Grand Chapter of Canada, beginning with Alberta Chapter No. 106 in 1893. When these Chapters became part of the new Grand Chapter of Alberta some of their original records disappeared and, over the years, so did copies of the Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of Canada covering those early days.
One of the first reactions of the Grand Chapter of Canada to the formation of the Grand Chapter of Alberta was to declare “null and void” the warrants of those of their Chapters who had now aligned themselves with Alberta, and to suspend the Companions of those Chapters and any others involved in the proceedings. In some cases “loyal Companions” in what had now become Alberta Chapters asked for and received dispensations to continue to meet under their original warrants, resulting in two Chapters with the same name but different numbers and allegiances (for example Albert No. 106 and No. 1). At the same time the Grand Chapter of Canada continued to institute new Chapters: Hillvue and Tau Cross in 1914, Mount Olivet and Norwood in 1915.
There are not many histories existing of these GCC Chapters in their formative/crossover years. One interesting exception is RExComp Frank Milne’s 84-page history of Alberta Chapter from its formation until its amalgamation with Albert Chapter No. 1 in 1916, written around 1937. Comp Milne also wrote long yearly Lodge histories/commentaries, but only 1933, ’35 and ’36 have been found.
There are few active Chapters who have managed to preserve complete sets of their minutes or other historical records, and there are even fewer records from Chapters who surrendered their charters or amalgamated.
In the 1980s several attempts were made to collect whatever records could be found from defunct Chapters, on the assumption that these would be loaned to the Glenbow Archives to be microfilmed, and the records then returned. In reality, some of the records collected were from active Chapters, and many of these had no historical significance. All these records then became the property of the Glenbow. No good record was made of what was collected nor, apparently, were the Chapters informed or reminded of where their records were now stored.
For this project, all Chapters were asked to provide at least a brief history of their formation, and 22 histories from 20 Chapters, of various lengths and formats and covering various periods, were eventually received. The two “extra” histories present an older and longer document, or, in the case of Hangingstone Chapter, a different viewpoint. They have been only minimally edited, mostly for typos and for consistency in formatting. The original title, author and date are included where available.
Chapter Histories Included:
Alberta Chapter No. 106 (Excerpt)
Golden West Chapter No. 5
Calgary Chapter No. 11
Vermilion Chapter No. 14
Hillvue Chapter No. 15
Mt. Olivet Chapter No. 17
Mt. Olivet Chapter No. 17 (Version 2)
Norwood Chapter No. 18
Strathmore Chapter No. 21
Crescent Chapter No. 24
Harmony Chapter No. 26
Edson Chapter No. 30
Parkland Chapter No 31
Viking Chapter No. 32
Hamar Chapter No. 33
Bethel Chapter No. 36
Lebanon Chapter No. 38
Cold Lake Chapter No. 39
Hangingstone Chapter No. 40
Hangingstone Chapter No. 40 (Version 2)
Stoney Chapter No. 41
Mountainview Chapter No. 42
COLD LAKE 39