Col. Christopher Columbus Harris (1842-1935) was Senior Warden in 1880 and in 1881. C.C. Harris obtained his early education under the parental roof by a private instructor, who was employed to teach the children of his parents, as was customary in the South in antebellum days. In 1861 he joined Company F, Sixteenth Alabama Regiment of Infantry Confederate Army, as a private. He soon became a lieutenant, and was wounded the battles of Shiloh, Chickamauga, Jonesboro, and at Franklin, Tenn., and from the effect of the wound received at the latter place, was confined four months in a private house in Franklin, Tn. He was afterward captured, and spent some time as a prisoner of war at Camp Chase. After the war he returned home penniless. His father's fortune too, for the most part, was gone, so that his future depended entirely upon his own energy and industry. He renewed his literary labors, in connection with the study of the law, and in 1866 was admitted to the bar in Lawrence County. About that time he was Clerk of the Circuit Court: afterward County Solicitor, and in 1872 moved to Decatur, where he has since resided, and where he has been a prominent figure in society and in church, and in every move that had for its end the up building of the community and general welfare of the country. He was a true visionary in the history of Decatur, Alabama and one of the leaders of the Decatur Land Improvement & Furnace Company. In 1881, along with W. W. Littlejohn as one of its incorporators, Harris founded and was president of the Bank of Decatur (later First National Bank) and served as attorney for the Decatur Land Improvement & Furnace Company. In 1914 and 1915, Colonel Harris served in the United States Congress as a Representative of Alabama's 8th Congressional District, now obsolete. In the practice of law he is associated with Robert C. Brickell, late Chief Justice of Alabama.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #7420183 and additional biographical information.
W. W. Littlejohn (1845-1907) was Junior Warden in 1884 and in 1886. He was a Civil War veteran who enlisted in the 154th Tennessee Volunteers and later served under General Robert E. Lee in Virginia.
In 1877 he moved to Decatur, where he assisted in the management of Polk Hotel. William Whitson Littlejohn was a man of broad business ideas and superior character who provided leadership for the Decatur Land and Furnace Company. In 1880, he was one of the incorporators of the Bank of Decatur (later First National Bank) and served as the cashier until his death.
Mr. Littlejohn remained in Decatur through the dreadful scourge of yellow fever in 1888 and gave noble aid to the victims of disease during that awful period.
W. W. Littlejohn was one of the prime movers in the early enterprises of Decatur, which have resulted in achievements exceeding the expectation of the most sanguine. It has been said of him and his work in projecting this enterprise "that he built better than he knew."
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #39804478 and additional biographical information.
Robert Perry Baker (1837-1905) In 1886 R. P. Baker was Worshipful Master of Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 and also Mayor of Decatur, Alabama. In January 1859 he came South and, having learned the printing trade under his father, aided in the publication of the Decatur Times assisted by Joe W Furey. In 1861 he published The Constitution in Tuscumbia.
In 1862 he enlisted in the Thirty-fifth Alabama Regiment, C.S.A. and served gallantly at the battles of Corinth, Baton Rouge and Vicksburg.
He was appointed by President Ulysses S. Grant as the United States Marshal for the Northern District of Alabama and held that position from 1875 until 1879.
In 1880 he purchased the McCartney Hotel property.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #39924155 and additional biographical information.
Louis M. Falk (1839-1915) was Senior Warden in 1886. Before moving to Decatur in 1869, he opened a store 22 miles south at a Louisville & Nashville Railroad station in 1858 and named it FALKVILLE.
When the war broke out, he enlisted in the Confederate Army for one year, but this company was not received, and in the summer of 1862 he enlisted in Company A, Fourth Alabama Cavalry, and served mostly in this Alabama and Tennessee. In 1864, he was captured near Pond Spring, Alabama, and sent to Camp Douglas, where he was held as a prisoner of war until the close of the war.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #42081749 and additional biographical information.
The second yellow fever epidemic within a decade decimated Decatur again in 1888 and claimed 35 souls including 5 doctors, three of whom were members of Rising Sun Lodge No. 29.
In addition to the 3 doctors, the Lodge also lost Theodric D. Drake bringing the total to 4 of the 35. The dreaded disease would add Brother Drakes wife Lucy to the list of 35 a few weeks later.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to T.D. Drakes Find A Grave Memorial # 32944034 and additional biographical information.
Dr. William G. Gill (1819-1888), pictured at left, and Dr. Robert V. Williams (????-1888), were members of Rising Sun Lodge and were among the 35 victims of the 1888 Yellow Fever epidemic.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to Dr. Gills Find A Grave Memorial #27166178 and additional biographical information.
Dr. W. J. Young (????- 1888), was Junior Warden in 1876 and again in 1885. He was Senior Warden in 1877 and again in 1878 when the first epidemic struck. He survived the first epidemic in 1878 in discharge of his Hippocratic duties but contracted the disease on October 26, 1888.
The October 27, 1888 edition of the Chicago Tribune reported:
"Dr. Young's case is said to be violent.
After weary weeks of unceasing labors and deep solicitude for the welfare of others, Dr. Young succumbed to the disease on October 30, 1888."
From The Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society, Valley Leaves, Volumes 31-32, page 142:
"Dr. W. J. Young was the last of the noble heroes to die."
For over 100 years the yellow fever victims lay buried in a mass grave in Decatur City Cemetery until a monument was erected in 1991.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #27166372 and additional biographical information.
Illustration below courtesy of Old Morgan County Magazine-#22. All rights reserved.
Once again Decatur recovered and prospered. During this time, on June 28th, 1890, the Grand Lodge of Alabama issued a dispensation for another Lodge, naming it “New Decatur” Lodge #491.
With this development, Rising Sun Lodge #29 moved into the J. T. Banks Building (now called the McEntire Building) on the corner of Oak and Cain Streets.
Lycastus Simpson Robinson (1849-1921) was Senior Warden in 1879, 1882 and again in 1893. He was Worshipful Master in 1885, 1888 and 1889.
In 1893, L. S. Robinson and Peter Broadfoot secured a patent for what is termed the “king brace for a railroad scraper”, for which they were offered and refused $20,000.
In 1896, his second wife, Katherine, passed away leaving 5 children, including a 4 day old infant, in his care.
His son, Leon Simpson Robinson followed his father’s footsteps into Rising Sun Lodge and was it’s Junior Warden in 1919 and Worshipful Master in 1920.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #9379677 and additional biographical information.
Dr. W. E. Forest (1850-1903) Dr. William Edward Forest, President of the Decatur Building and Investment Company, was born in Burlington, Vt. He is a son of John R. and Caroline (Powers) Forest, the former a native of England.
William E. Forest graduated at the University of Vermont, at Burlington, in 1874, in the classical course, and again at the University of New York, in 1876, in the medical course. He practiced ten years in the hospitals of New York City and elsewhere; was connected with the Women's Asylum and the New York Dispensary, and contributed many monographs to medical journals. He was a member of several medical societies while actively in the practice.
In 1883 Dr. Forrest invested extensively in real estate in North Alabama, and in these speculations was remarkably successful. In 1887 he made Decatur his home, and became one of the organizers of the Decatur Land and Improvement Company, and has since become a stockholder in nearly all the enterprises in that booming city. He is president of the Building and Investment Company and of two brick manufacturing companies: president of the Wire Fence Company; largest stockholder and director in the Gas & Oil Company; and secretary in the Artificial Ice Company. He is a Knight of Honor, a member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, Knights and Ladies of Honor, and the Masonic fraternity.
Dr. Forest drowned in 1903 off Rockaway Point in Long Island, NY.
CLICK HERE to be redirected to his Find A Grave Memorial #79832413 and additional biographical information.
Edward J. Oden (1840-1900) was born in Morgan county, Ala., in 1840, and grew to manhood and received his education there. He responded to the first call to arms in the recent civil strife, and became a member of Company E, Fourth Alabama Cavalry, of which company he was made captain in regular order of promotion from the ranks. He was with Forrest in his campaigns in Alabama, the Valley of the Tennessee, and Georgia; in the pursuit and capture of General Streight, when, by their pluck and well-devised stratagem, Forrest succeeded in capturing a Federal force of more than five times the number of his own. The audacity of Forrest's scheme, and the chagrin of the prisoners when, too late, they discovered the ruse, will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.
Captain Oden was in battles at Decatur, AL, Athens, AL, Sulphur Trestle, TN, Pulaski, TN, Corinth, MS, Tupelo, MS, and many others.
He was with Johnson's army at Dalton, GA., and in the running fight from Dalton to Atlanta. From the battle of Peach Tree creek he returned to the Valley of the Tennessee, and saw his last fight at Selma, AL, where his regiment, and in fact, nearly the whole army, were captured, but Captain Oden, accompanied by General Forrest and about one hundred others, cut their way out through the lines and escaped. They proceeded soon afterwards to Wheeler's Station, near Decatur, and surrendered in May, 1865.
After the war Captain Oden farmed in Franklin county, Ala., and taught school one year. Since 1868 he has had an interest in a store at Falkville, and another at Coal Hill, AR. He has been county superintendent of education for ten years consecutively. In 1884 he became interested in a bank in Decatur, in connection with C. C. Harris and W.W. Littlejohn and is now a director in the First National Bank, of Decatur, into which the Bank of Decatur was merged.
In 1886, Captain Oden bought a half interest in the Hartselle Index from E.H. Rolfe, with whom his brother. A. A. Oden, had previously been associated, and since that time has edited that paper. He was married, in 1862, to Miss Carrie E. Sherrill. They have two sons, Arthur L. and Walter L. The Captain is a member of the Christian church, a Freemason, Knight of Pythias and Knight of Honor.
Edward J. Oden is a son of Elias Oden, and grandson of Hezekiah Oden, of East Tennessee, who was a soldier of the Revolutionary War: brought his family to Alabama in 1819, and died in 1848.
CLICK HERE to be redirected to his Find A Grave Memorial #28632688 and additional biographical information.
John Charles Eyster (1863-1926) was Senior Warden in 1890 and Worshipful Master in 1891 and 1892. He was the Morgan County delegate from Decatur to the 1901 Alabama Constitutional Convention and was afterward presented the gavel by Col. John B. Knox, Convention President.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #9379677 and additional biographical information.
On May 1st, 1899, Bro. H. Clay Armstrong, Grand Secretary visited the New Decatur Lodge, No. 491, at New Decatur and witnessed the conferring E.A. Degree by the WM, Bro. Geo. E. Saywell, which was well done and...
...“in due form. It was my privilege to make “a talk” to the Brethren in the Lodge room. This Lodge has enjoyed great prosperity since its organization in 1890.
Starting out with a membership of 17, it now has on its roll 53 members, and nowhere in my knowledge is the Masonic standard higher than in New Decatur Lodge, No. 491; the Cardinal Virtues and Tenets of the Craft are not more scrupulously observed and practiced anywhere than in this Lodge, nor is the outer door more closely guarded. The Returns for the past year show that six applications, for the mysteries of Masonry, were rejected. This is in many respects a “Model Lodge”; it’s financial condition is excellent; the moral standard is high; its membership is loyal and true and all are living in peace and harmony. So may it long continue. To the brethren of this Lodge I am greatly indebted for the courtesies extended. During my visit I was entertained by the Lodge as its guest at "The Tavern'' in New Decatur."
Cotaco Opera House - Built in 1890, the Cotaco Opera House was the first opera house constructed in the state of Alabama. The Opera House was built on a 100 by 140 foot site that ran south from Johnston Street and fronted on the east side of 1st Avenue. It was built by the Cotaco Opera House Company, which was incorporated on September 16, 1889.
In later years, it became the Masonic Lodge, Masonic Theatre, the Payne Theatre and more. The photo (above left) below shows a neon sign on the 1966 Masonic Building (renamed from the Cotaco Opera House) that resembles or was relocated to the current Lodge on Bank and Walnut Streets.
It is located at 115 Johnston Street, SE in historic downtown Decatur, Alabama and presently there are several tenants. It was placed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1986.
Riverboat with passengers at Lock "A" on the Tennessee River, 20 miles west of Decatur, Alabama. The passengers are on a trip sponsored by the Masonic Lodge on May 17, 1895.
The photo (left) is in the Digital Archives Collection of the Alabama Department of Archives And History.
J. L. Jones (1865-1906) was Junior Warden in 1898, Senior Warden in 1899 and Worshipful Master in 1901. Jesse Lemuel Jones, or "Lem" as he was affectionately called, was born in Alabama and moved to Decatur in 1892.
He was employed here by L&N Railroad, later as a U.S. Internal Revenue Officer and then as a Decatur Police Officer.
He was a large man physically, brave and courageous as a lion.
Late in the night of November 24, 1906, another rowdy Saturday night in turn-of-the-century Decatur, a telephone call was received at the Mayor’s office of a "domestic disturbance". "Lem" answered the call alone at a house of ill repute on Dead Man’s Alley, named for the row of clapboard shanty houses beginning at the Rhodes Family/Lafayette Street Cemetery. Robberies, murder, drugs,sex, gambling, vice, corruption (general debauchery) were common in this seedy area.
Alice Williams, the madam of the aforementioned house, claimed some men were raising a "rough house". While "Lem" was arresting Cliff Way, another man, Waymond Moore, interfered, and “Lem” was shot from behind (likely with his own side arm as it was never recovered) in the left temple by a vile coward and died the next morning. He was slain while in faithful discharge of his sworn duty.
Decatur lost another Hero and the Masonic Fraternity lost an exemplary Brother. Brother J. L. Jones received Masonic Rites at his funeral and is buried within the Decatur City Cemetery.
J. L. Jones was the third policeman murdered (one account called it an assassination) in Decatur in the last three years along with Officers William "Billy" A. Baber and Everett Steele.
Cliff Way was arrested, charged, tried, convicted and sentenced to 13 years but the sentence was reversed on appeal. Waymond Moore, for whom a $650 reward had been posted, was apprehended, tried, convicted and was sentenced to 25 years.
Was justice served? Did they get the right man? Well, maybe not the first time, but what about the second time?
The front page of the Thursday evening edition of The Elkhart Weekly Truth, December 6, 1906, reported the following horrible claim.
A hardened criminal, George W. Harris, made the following voluntary boastful confession while in custody (for the attempted murder of an Indiana Officer) of having murdered a Decatur Police Officer while in a “sporting house” brawl a few months ago (actually it was less than two weeks):
"I dropped an officer in a sporting house at Decatur. He attempted to arrest me and several others, and I shot through my coat. "The cop fell dead. If they would get me down in Alabama they would soon have me hanging to a rope."
So, was Waymond Moore really the right man?
In the words of the famous late columnist Paul Harvey “and that’s the rest of the story.” Or, is it? To Be Continued…
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #45485482 and read the heart-wrenching eulogy printed in his obituary in The Decatur Weekly News, December 8, 1906.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to the Officer Down Memorial Page - Remembering All of Law Enforcement’s Heroes, honoring Officer Jessie Lemuel Jones.
Charles Collier Robertson (1868-1951) was Junior Warden in 1900, Senior Warden in 1901 and Worshipful Master from 1902 until 1909 and again in 1914. He was a 50-year Mason and a member of Rising Sun Lodge for over 50 years.
C. C. Robertson worked for L & N Railroad and served a term as Morgan County Tax Collector.
In the photo (left) Brother Robertson is shown in attendance of a Masonic Conference in Cullman - The Cullman Democrat - 22 January, 1948.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #50965798 and additional biographical information.
Judge William E. Skeggs (1852-1931) was Worshipful Master of New Decatur Lodge No. 491 in 1902. He came to Decatur in 1871 and taught school in Somerville and Decatur. He was admitted to the bar in 1878 and practiced law at Somerville until 1887, when he opened an office at Decatur. He represented Morgan County in the State Legislature in 1880-81 and served as Register in Chancery of Morgan County from 1883 until 1887. He also has been a delegate to various state conventions. Judge Skeggs also served this county as Probate Judge for 20 years.
In 1930, Judge William E. Skeggs disregarded a stop sign on Johnston Street and, while being cited, shot Officer T. E. Wright in the abdomen with a .41 caliber Derringer. After several blood transfusions, Officer Wright died.
Judge Skeggs was tried, convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison for 2nd degree murder but the Judge never served a single day in prison. Freed on appeal, Judge Skeggs' second trial ended in a mistrial. He remained free while awaiting a re-trial.
In a strange and bizarre twist of ironic fate, while attempting to walk across Second Avenue, the Judge was struck by an automobile that had disregarded a stop sign and was fatally injured!
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #54282458 and additional biographical information.
Dillard Dudley McGehee (1869-1912) Was Junior Warden in 1902, Senior Warden in 1903 and 1904 and Worshipful Master in 1911. For a period of 20 years he was President of the Decatur Board of Education.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #58136189 and additional biographical information.
W. R. McClusky (1875-1930) was Junior Warden in 1908, Senior Warden in 1909 and 1910 and Worshipful Master for three two-year terms in 1912 and 1913, 1915 and 1916 and again in 1918 and 1919.
William Raymond McClusky lived as a Mason but, more impressively, died as a Mason.
Stricken ill while conducting the Masonic Rites at the grave of A. H. Pence, at Somerville on Sunday afternoon, W. Raymond McClusky, of 1301 Seventh Avenue South, expired almost immediately.
Mr. McClusky complained of feeling ill and called upon a Brother Mason to complete the service for him. He staggered backward and despite the efforts of several physicians in the group, he died some ten minutes later just as the Pence funeral was completed.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #74078105 and additional biographical information.
John Givens McGehee (1896-1981) (pictured left) was Junior Warden in 1925, Senior Warden in 1926 and Worshipful Master in 1927, following in the footsteps of his father, D. D. McGehee. He was a charter member of the Decatur Rotary Club and served as Decatur Personnel Director.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #58136186 and additional biographical information.
Ephraim Lyons (1844-1918), a long time member of Rising Sun Lodge was founder of the Hotel Lyons (right). The hotel had it's grand opening April 1, 1913 and it's facilities were host to numerous Lodge functions. Mrs. Lyons was a member of the O.E.S.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #45525835 and additional biographical information.
Mr. Jones took a prominent part in the Great War, joining the U.S. Army, Fourth Alabama Infantry, Company E, in 1916 at Montgomery, and being sent to Nogales, Ariz with the Mexican border patrol, later being sent to Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. where he was commissioned a lieutenant in 1917. He sailed for France in April, 1917, just after the United States entered the war, and just prior to sailing was married to Miss Aline Drake, in New York.
In France, where he was twice wounded, he was captured in August, 1918, while in charge of a regiment. He escaped and fought courageously and was decorated with the Purple Heart. Lt. Gorman R. Jones of Sheffield, Alabama, served as a white officer in the 369th “Harlem Hellfighters” Infantry Regiment, an African American unit created in New York. In May 1918, Jones was onboard the transport ship RMS Moldavia. In the middle of the night, the ship was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat near the entrance to the English Channel. The survivors, including Jones, were left with only their life preservers to keep them afloat in the chilly water as they waited for rescue.
Finally, the survivors were picked up by a British destroyer and taken to Dover. While there, Jones was hosted by an elderly couple. He left the life preserver that had saved his life with them and asked that they mail it to him should he survive the war.
Lt. Jones went on to see combat in France. He was captured by the Germans and subsequently rescued by his own men. He received a shrapnel wound during the ordeal and was decorated with the Purple Heart. When a surgeon informed Jones that he would need to be evacuated from the front and taken to recover in a hospital, Jones said, “You go to hell. I’m going to stay with the outfit. They’re fighting men.”
Jones did survive the war and returned home to Alabama. Eleven years later, with the help of London Post No. 1 American Legion, the life preserver that saved him from certain death was returned to him. In 1979, Jones' family donated the item to the Alabama Department of Archives and History, where it is currently on display.
Brother Jones was a WW1 Hero and a member of RSL29 until his death in 1938 at the age of 47. If you haven't guessed by now, he is the son of our beloved Past Master Jesse Lemuel Jones who was a Decatur Policeman and was slain in 1906 just a few blocks from the Lodge.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #52742804 and additional biographical information.
Portions of the above descriptions and/or images were taken in part or in whole from https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/index.php/alabama-wwi-blog/1105-an-alabamian-in-the-harlem-hellfighters.html and Find A Grave.
1902-03 New Decatur Lodge #491 Officer Installation Ceremony at Lock "A" on the Tennessee River.
This photo (right) is framed and displayed in Rising Sun Lodge and a copy now resides in the Morgan County Archives, Bank Street - Decatur, Ala. All rights reserved.
On September 12, 1907, The Grand Lodge of Alabama issued a dispensation for Austinville Lodge #679 and it was chartered on December 8, 1907. The charter was forfeited in 1933. Meeting minutes from Albany Lodge #491 reveal that the three lodges regularly participated in courtesy degree work.
A Masonic Cornerstone Laying Ceremony was conducted on the Baptist Church in Decatur on August 11, 1908.
The 39th meeting of the Alabama State Bar Association was held in the Masonic Theater, New Decatur, Alabama on Friday, July 14, 1916.
By vote of the citizens, in 1916 New Decatur was renamed to Albany, respectively changing the Lodge name to Albany Lodge #491.
The following year proved tragic, however, when Rising Sun’s building caught fire, and burned once again.
From there, Rising Sun moved into the “Knights of Pythias” Building, which was located between Church and Wilson Streets on the west side of Bank Street.
The Keller Memorial Bridge, over the Tennessee River at Decatur, was inaugurated March 6, 1928, and the Masonic Temple, home of Albany Lodge #491, was host to a banquet for 300 that evening.
In 1934, Rising Sun moved to the Masonic Temple on Johnston Street. This building was owned by Albany Lodge #491.
On May 3rd, 1935, Albany Lodge #491 and Rising Sun Lodge #29 were consolidated. Upon agreement, both Lodges were now one, fully chartered as the original Rising Sun Lodge #29.
The March 20, 1966 edition of The Decatur Daily published a full page article entitled Masonic Lodge No. 29 Looks Back 139 Years from the Then... and NoW section authored by John Knox. The article is framed and displayed in the Lodge and is more easily read on this file.
The Friday, April 29, 2005 edition of The Decatur Daily published an article in the Living Today section entitled Fencing in a chapter of history - Confederate groups honor 55 dead with historical marker, iron enclosure by Patrice Stewart.
Included in the article was the following:
Only two of the graves have been identified: John R. Palmer and Isaac Beard
PHOTO, Company B, 6th Arkansas, who was a Master Mason and has descendants in Texas. As part of Tuesday's ceremony, members of Rising Sun No. 29 Masonic Lodge of Decatur gave him a proper Masonic funeral ceremony.
The Sunday, July 12, 2005 edition of The Decatur Daily published an article entitled VALLEY OF YEARS PAST 75 Years Ago by Mary Lott and wrote that Rising Sun and Albany Lodge, A.F. and A.M. had selected officials for the ensuing year.
CLICK HERE for the online article.
In the Wednesday, April 12, 2006 edition of The Decatur Daily an article included in the Chatter Box section by Wendy N. McDougald was published recognizing Rising Sun Lodge.
Brother Gerald Gunn, PM accepted a certificate of merit on behalf of the Lodge for helping restore the Confederate Cemetery.
CLICK HERE for the online article.
The Friday, October 19, 2007 edition of The Decatur Daily published an article entitled Masonic Lodge In Decatur To Celebrate 180th authored by Paul Huggins.
George Flavious Mills (May 23, 1921 - ) was Worshipful Master of Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 in 1963. A 60-year Mason, Brother Mills was Initiated April 11, 1949, Passed May 16, 1949 and Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason July 16, 1949 in Rising Sun Lodge.
Mills, a dashing 21 year-old piano salesman PHOTO, enlisted in the Regular Army after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He soon experienced the horrors of war by being thrust into the midst of battle and suffering the loss of his best friend.
He was wounded by shrapnel at the Battle of the Bulge, captured and held as POW by Germany's 3rd Reich. George F. Mills, a Purple Heart recipient, is a PATRIOT and a true AMERICAN HERO. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Infantry Combat Badge. His service and sacrifice for our Great Nation has been subject of magazine and newspaper articles and television interviews (Article 1 - Article 2 -Article 3 - Article 4). He has been Grand Marshal of Memorial Day, Veterans Day and WW/POW Recognition Day Parades and the keynote speaker of these and many other civic events and celebrations.
For his participation in the liberation of France, he was presented a "Chevalier" of the Order of the Legion of Honor PHOTO, an award created by Napoleon in 1802.
Please take a few moments and let Brother Mills take you back to a time of sacrifice, strife, human suffering, courage, and his belief in God with his testimonial in thiese videos
Michael Leiod Jones - (January 21, 1929 - ) Brother Jones was born in Morgan County, Alabama and is a descendant through his mothers linage of Isaac Lane, one of the original petitioners to organize Rising Sun Lodge. Isaac Lane was also a Past Master of Rising Sun.
Brother Jones received his EA Degree March 13, 1950, FC Degree May 15, 1950 and was Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason September 15, 1950. He became Master of Rising Sun in 1969.
The list of his affiliations and devotion to the Fraternity ranks him among the Who's Who in Freemasonry, York Rite and Scottish Rite Bodies.
Worthy Patron Mary Lou Dancy O.E.S. - 1959-1960
Junior Grand Deacon Alabama Grand Lodge F. & A.M. - 1974-1975
Council of Anointed High Priest - 1965
Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 F. & A. M. - Life Member, Past Master 1969
Order of the Silver Trowel - 1966
Order of Red Cross Constantine Sovereign - 1967
Knight Masons - 1989, Excellent Chief 2002
Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priest - 1968, K.C 1995
Knight Crusader of the Cross - 1988
Grand Commandery of Knights Templar - 1973-1974
Knights of the York Cross of Honour - 1966, Prior - 1994
York Rite Gold Award - 1984, Royal Arch - 1952, Council -1960, High Priest - 1964, I.M. - 1964, E.C. - 1964
Royal Arch Mason of the Year
Cryptic Mason of the Year
Alabama Grand Lodge Finiance Committee Member - 18 years
Knight Commander of the Temple - 1996
PHOTO - Rev. Brady Emerson McCullough, Sr. (July 17, 1923 - March 17, 2012) was a 60-year Mason as well as a 32nd Degree Mason. He was a member of Rising Sun Lodge #29, Decatur, AL; Past Master of Nunn-Oden Lodge #398 in Hartselle, Ala.; Past Master of Arrites-Oden Lodge #396 in Falkville, Ala. and Past President of the Northwest Alabama Proficiency Club.
He served in the Alabama Grand Lodge as Grand Chaplin for three years and was Grand Orator for one year.
CLICK HERE to be re-directed to his Find A Grave Memorial #86940511 and additional biographical information.
2015-16 Right Worshipful Grand Marshal Phillip J. Sherman (August 19, 1950 - ) Brother Sherman was initiated 7/23/1973, Passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft 11/19/1979 and Raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason 2/11/1980.
His dedication to the Craft and the list of his offices and accomplishments in the Masonic Fraternity, the York Rite Bodies and the Scottish Rite are exemplary and are here worthily so inscribed as follows:
Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 - Life Member, Past Master - 1985 -1986
Decatur York Rite - Life Member, Excellent High Priest - 1983, Illustrious Master - 1985, Commander - 1988
Knights of the York Cross of Honour - KYCH - 1985 - Life Member, Prior - 2005
Knight Masons - 1985 - Life Member, Excellent Chief - 1999
Red Cross of Constantine - Past Sovereign
Knight Crusaders of the Cross - Past President - 1983
Thrice Illustrious Master, Order of the Silver Trowel - 1983, Past President
Council of Anointed High Priest - 1984, Past President
Ten Sephiroth Council #225 - Allied Masonic Degrees
Alabama College, Masonic Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis, Past Head
Royal Order of the Red Branch of Eri - 2008
Holy Royal Arch Knight - Templar Priest, Preceptor - 2012
Sojourners - 2000, Past President
Heroes of 76 - 2001, Past Commander
Huntsville Scottish Rite - 1992, Life member, Red Hat
Council of Super Excellent Masters - 1998
Grand Commandery Knights Templar of Alabama - Right Eminent Grand Commander - 2003-2004
Grand Council of Alabama - Most Illustrious Grand Master - 2009
Most Illustrious Representative in Alabama for General Grand Council - 2011-2017
Grand Representative in Alabama for Grand Encampment Knights Templar - 2012-2015
General Grand Council - 2013, Cryptic Masons International Companion of the Secret Vault
Right Worshipful Grand Marshall - 2014-2015, Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Alabama
Most Worshipful Grand Master John R. Strickling (May 6, 1947 - )
He was elected to the Grand Lodge line as 2011 - 2012 as Right Worshipful Junior Grand Warden,
2012 -2013 Right Worshipful Senior Grand Warden, 2013-2014 Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master and 2014-2015 Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of the State of Alabama.
He was Worshipful Master of Rising Sun Lodge No. 29 1999-2000 and served as 5th District Lecturer for a total of 7 years.
He is a dual member with Monroe Lodge No. 189 in Woodsville, Ohio where his Father and Grandfather were Past Masters.
Brother Strickling was Initiated 5/23/72, Passed 6/27/72 and Raised 9/26/72 in Monroe Lodge No. 189.
Our 2014-15 Most Worshipful Grand Master is the first member of our Lodge in its 188+ year history to be elected Grand Master.
Today “The Masonic Building”, located at 1 Walnut Street NE, is home of Rising Sun Lodge 29, Decatur York Rite Bodies, Mizpah Chapter 19 and Mary Lou Dancy Chapter 320 of the Order of the Eastern Star.
It is the second largest lodge in Alabama in membership slightly behind Helion Lodge #1 just 20 miles away in Huntsville, Alabama.