The Grand Lodge of New Hampshire is one of the oldest in the country, it being the tenth one formed in the original colonies. It also has the distinction of being the fourteenth Grand Lodge to be formed, world-wide. On July 8, 1789, five Freemasons met on the third floor of the William Pitt Tavern in Portsmouth, NH, for the purpose of agreeing on the creation of a Grand Lodge for the state. Those in attendance were Brothers Hall Jackson, Joseph Bass, Nathaniel Folsom and Nathaniel Adams from St. John’s Lodge in Portsmouth, and Brother Alpheus Moore from Rising Sun Lodge in Keene, NH. At this meeting, they formed the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, elected John Sullivan as the Grand Master, and subsequently held the first communication on July 16, 1789. Thus was the Grand Lodge formed.
However, there was an immediate issue which needed to be rectified. Grand Master-elect John Sullivan had never been a Master of a lodge – one of the immutable requirements to be Grand Master. Recognizing this and reacting quickly, his Lodge (St. John’s of Portsmouth) elected and installed him as Worshipful Master and on April 8, 1790 he was duly installed as the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire.
The immediate work of the new Grand Lodge was to contact all other lodges within its jurisdiction and encourage them to recognize the jurisdictional authority of the Grand Lodge. This was accomplished over a period of many years, and as new lodges were formed and petitioned the Grand Lodge for charters, the foundation for Freemasonry within the state became strong.
Today, the 117th Grand Master Kenneth A. Clay, Jr. presides over 66 local Lodges and more than 5,000 Brothers.The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New Hampshire