Of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, the following were known to be members of a Masonic lodge:
Benjamin Franklin – 1 of 13 Masonic signers of Constitution of the U.S. member of St. John’s Lodge, Tun Tavern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Past Provincial Grand Master of Pennsylvania.
Elbridge Gerry, member of Philanthropic Lodge, Marblehead, Massachusetts.
John Hancock, made a Master Mason, at the age of 23, in 1760, in Merchants Lodge No. 1, Quebec City, the first civilian Lodge established in Canada after the Conquest. In 1763, he went to Boston, Massachusetts, where he affiliated with St. Andrew’s Lodge.
William Hooper, member of Hanover Lodge, Masonborough, North Carolina.
Richard Stockton, charter member, and first Master of St. John’s Lodge, Princeton, New Jersey.
Matthew Thornton, made a Mason in a Lodge attached to a British Regiment of Foot during the Siege of Louisburg, Canada, in 1745, serving in a New Hampshire Colonial Regiment as a surgeon. Baron Von Steuben, while at Valley Forge, is said to have conferred the higher Degrees on him and to have been the only Signer who attained the 32nd Degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.
George Walton, member of Solomons Lodge No. 1, Savannah, Georgia.
William Whipple, member of St. John’s Lodge No. 1, Portsmouth, New Jersey.
The following named Signers have been referred to as members of the Fraternity by various Masonic writers, and in Masonic publications, but their Lodge affiliation is not known:
Roger Sherman, claimed to have been made a Mason prior to the American Revolution. A Masonic Apron said to be worn by him is in the collection at Yale University.
Josiah Bartlett, one so named is listed as a charter member of King Solomon’s Lodge, Charlestown, Massachusetts. Descendants, however, say he was not a member of the Craft. There is doubt that this Bartlett is the signer, and records of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts do not show his Lodge affiliation.
Philip Livingston, often referred to as a Mason, but this is open to debate. Records of the Grand Lodge of New York do not disclose his name. Several members, named Livingston, are noted in the records of Holland Lodge No. 8, New York City, New York.
Joseph Hewes. Records of Unanimity Lodge No. 7, Edenton, North Carolina, show his name as a visitor on St. John’s Day, December, 1776.
Robert Treat Paine, member of a Massachusetts Lodge. The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts records do not show his affiliation He was said to be present at the celebration of St. John’s Day, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, in June, 1759.
Thomas McKean, noted as a frequent visitor to Perseverance Lodge No. 2l, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The McKean genealogy has stated he was a Mason, although his name is not found on the records of the Grand Lodge of Delaware, which was not organized until the close of the American Revolution. A brother, Samuel McKean, was a member of the Fraternity.
John Penn, known to have attended Lodges in North Carolina, but his Masonic affiliation is not known.
Lyman Hall, claimed to have been a member of Solomons Lodge No. 1, Savannah, Georgia.
William Ellery, claimed as a member of a Lodge in Boston, Massachusetts.
Thomas Nelson, Jr., claimed to have visited Lodge No. 9, Yorktown, Virginia, after the Siege of that place was lifted in the Revolutionary War, accompanied by Lafayette and Washington.
Absence of definite proof of the Masonic affiliation of the Signers named in the foregoing paragraphs, precludes the possibility of knowing.
This is also the case with Thomas Jefferson; John Adams; Benjamin Rush, Robert Morris; John Witherspoon; George Wythe; Francis Lightfoot Lee; Richard Henry Lee, and others. Caesar Rodney, of Delaware fame, had a son Caesar Augustus Rodney – a member of the Craft. George Read, another Signer from Delaware, had a son – George M. Read – who was Grand Master of Pennsylvania. Samuel Huntington had a son who was Grand Master of Ohio.