June 26, 2009
A walk on the Masonic side….
Alexander Dominikus Carl Friedrich Assenheimer….also known as “Charles Jr.” Assenheimer. The brother of my great great grandfather. I’ve found his obituaries through ILL (Interlibrary Loan), from The Daily Picayune, most likely a forebearer of the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
ASSENHEIMER- In this city, at 2 P.M., Wednesday Jan 18, 1883, Charles Assenheimer aged 59 years 5 months and 11 days, born in Stuttgart, Wuertemburg.
The funeral will take place this day at 3 o’clock P.M. from his late residence, 513 South Basin, between Jackson and Phillip streets, in which friends of the family, the members of the Concordia Grove No.1, U.A.O.D., the Grand Grove of Louisiana, Mason Lodge No. 172 A and A.S.R. Masons, and the exempt members of the Lafayette Fire Co. No. 1, are respectfully invited to attend.
U.A.O.D.–The officers and members of the Grand Grove of Louisiana, of Concordia Grove No. 1, and of all sister groves, are hereby invited to attend the funeral of their late brother, CHAS. ASSENHEIMER, as above stated. Dr. R.J. MAINBORN, N.O.A.
Geo. B. Ebling, Gr. Sec.
HALL OF UNION LODGE No. 172 A.A.S.R.M. Masonic Temple- The officers and members of this lodge are requested to meet at their lodgeroom this Thursday, at 2 P.M. to attend the funeral of Brother P.M. CHARLES ASSENHEIMER, our late secretary. All M.M. are fraternally invited to attend.
P.M Schneidau, W.M.
This obituary sent me on a wild chase for information. Yes, we knew that he was a member of the Masons. But what did that mean? And what did it mean that he was a member of the Druids?
So let’s start with the Masonic part, and one day we’ll work into the Druids.
A.A.S.R.: Apparently stands for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. According to Wikipedia’s entry for A.A.S.R:
Although most lodges throughout the English-speaking world do not confer the Scottish Rite versions of the first three degrees, there are a handful of lodges in New Orleans and in several other major cities that have traditionally conferred the Scottish Rite version of these degrees.
The next term that stumped me was P.M. Since he was in the A.A.S.R., I checked the above mentioned article for degree structure, figuring it had to be a degree of some sort. The only thing that I saw that matched up to P.M. was the 5th degree title of Perfect Master. What I did notice also was that the dregrees started at 4. What happened to 1-3? Then I saw this little tidbit:
Attainment of the third Masonic degree, that of a Master Mason, represents the attainment of the highest rank in all of Masonry. Additional degrees are sometimes referred to as appendant degrees, even where the degree numbering might imply a hierarchy. They represent a lateral movement in Masonic Education rather than an upward movement, and are degrees of instruction rather than rank.
Interesting….so he was pretty high up there, and instead of just staying at a “Master Mason” at the third degree, he wished to continue onwards and upwards, and achieved the fifth degree by the time of his death. Also, the obituary noted that he was the “late secretary”. What exactly do secretaries do within the Masonic organization?
From another Wikipedia article it states:
The Secretary’s office is sometimes said to be the real power base of a lodge. It is certainly true that the position is an influential one, and in those lodges which do not have an active general committee, the Secretary inevitably ends up making many key decisions in the life of the lodge.
The Secretary’s role includes issuing the ‘summons’ (a formal notice of an impending meeting, with time, date and agenda), recording meeting minutes, completing statistical returns to the Grand Lodge, and advising the Worshipful Master on matters of procedure. In many lodges it is also the Secretary who determines (with consultation) the progression of officers within the lodge. The Secretary is almost always a key figure in the interviewing of potential new members of the lodge.
So, he was a pretty powerful guy, this Charles Assenheimer Jr., my great great uncle.