After having worked under a Dispensation issued April 13th, 1847, Atlanta Lodge No. 59 received a charter from the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Georgia on October 26th, 1847, and, on December 31st, 1847, held its first election and installation of officers.
The lodge rooms were on the upper floor of a two-story wooden building which stood on the corner of Lloyd (now Central Avenue) and Alabama Street, at south angle. The ground floor of this building was occupied by a grocery store of which Paul McSheffery was the proprietor.
Just seventv-seven years, over three quarters of a century ago, in this building, which for many years was known as Masonic Hall, the first lodge of F. & A. M. was constituted.
Leonard Christopher Simpson was the first Worshipful Master of Atlanta Lodge No. 59. He is described in the History of Atlanta as the citv’s first resident lawyer, and a man of fine personal appearance and unusual professional abilitv. It is of him we speak when referring to the founder of Freemasonry in Atlanta, then in DeKalb County, Georgia.
The entire membership of the fraternity, from the youngest E. A. in the N. E. C. of the Lodge to the W. M. in the East, may point with laudable pride to the magnificent record made by the first Worshipful Master of Atlanta Lodge No. 59.
Brother Simpson was a man loved and admired by all who knew him during his long and useful life. He was the son of John Simpson, an early settler and carriage maker of Decatur, Ga., and received most of his education at Decatur, Ala.
After completing his course of study, Brother Simpson embarked upon his life’s journey, determined to make his mark in the world. His motto was “Honesty and fair dealing with all mankind.” He began studying law at the age of 18 under Hon. William Ezzard, a celebrated jurist.
In 1845, he moved to Atlanta and soon gained the confidence and respect of all with whom he came in contact. He was one of the first members of the City Council of Atlanta, serving as such in 1848, 1852 and 1853, and very capably handled the duties of City Attorney for a considerable length of time.
Brother Simpson was recognized as one of the brightest Masons of his day, and his services were always in demand. A true man and Mason, he was respected and held in highest esteem by all who knew him. He was considered a sincere friend of the peole, careless only of his own interests; but ever solicitous of the welfare of the brethren. Although he never succeeded in accumulating a fortune, he lived the life of an honest man and good citizen, and died in the sanctity of true Masonry.
He established a wonderful record of service, especially in his Masonic career. During 1847, 1848, 1850, 1851 and 1852, he very capably filled the station of Worshipful Master of Atlanta Lodge No. 59. He was Senior Warden of Pythagorus Lodge No. 4 of Decatur, and in 1848 was appointed Junior Grand Deacon of the Grand Lodge of Georgia. Having been promoted by regular steps and in regular order, in 1858, he was elected Deputy Grand Master, and performed the duties of this exalted station to the satisfaction of all concerned.
More to come…