From the East [posted June 2021]

It is difficult to express the gratitude and sheer overwhelming sense of responsibility that I now garner from being elected and installed as the 131st Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota.
As I said last year, “South Dakota and the United States is in a time when Masonry is desperately needed. We are in scary but exciting times and we need to work together to show the World what diversity and inclusion look like.” This is still true and I believe it is my responsibility to set the example for Masons in South Dakota. This will not be something that can be done easily or overnight. There are many difficult conversations that Masonry has ignored over the past couple of decades.
Masons of the past, never shied away from these discussions but, we have become complacent. Our forefathers, made a point of doing what they thought was right, many times sacrificing their personal welfare. Neither should we, in modern times, shy away from having those difficult discussions and making sure Masonry is relevant in today’s society.
Masonry is not political, but we are fooling ourselves if we don’t think that Masons of the past didn’t discuss political subjects and act upon them. We are, or should be leaders in our community and as such, we should bring our working tools, especially the Level and the Trowel, to the discussion and assist our communities to grow according to these, the two most outward facing of our working tools.
By the Level we are reminded that we are all children of God and are bound to aid, support and protect each other.
And with the Trowel, we are to spread the cement of Brotherly love and affection which should band us with society as friends. As Brothers, no contention should ever exist save that noble contention or rather emulation of who can best work and best agree.
That being said, it is impossible that we will agree on all things, all the time. But, as an enlightened society, we should be able to come to a decision based on discussion and open conversation and be noble enough to support that decision whether or not it conflicts with our personal beliefs.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
Jeffery P. VanCuren  
Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota 


South Dakota Masonic Classic

Are you looking for an opportunity to join your fellow Brothers, have some fun, and serve a great cause?
You’re invited to the First Annual South Dakota Masonic Classic benefiting the South Dakota Masonic Charities!
The Classic is a four-person scramble golf tournament that will take place at the Hillsview Golf Club in Pierre on Friday, September 10. A shotgun start will take place at 1:00 and a reception supper will be provided in the clubhouse as the tournament ends.
Join us for fun, fellowship, and to support a great cause! All funds raised will support the mission and programs of the South Dakota Masonic Charities.
Registration is $100 per person or $400 per four-person team. If you register as an individual, you’ll be placed on a team with other Masons from across the state! Registration includes green and cart fees, reception, and a welcome gift!
New to golf? No problem! We’ll have prizes for overall winners as well as hole prizes designed for fun.
Learn more and register at
Want to be a tournament sponsor? Sponsor information is also available by clicking!
Registration is limited to 20 teams, so reserve your space quickly!
Hotel blocks are available at the Pierre Ramkota and Clubhouse Hotels. Hospitality rooms will be available to those who are spending the night!
Once again, for more information on the tournament, sponsorships, or to register a team, visit
Stay tuned to email and Facebook for more information and we look forward to seeing you in September!
Dane Bloch  
South Dakota Masonic Charities  


Charles William Nash
Founding Master Celebration
30-31 July 2021 at Philip, SD

C.W. Nash, Founding Master of the first Lodge, Northern Light Lodge in west Rupert’s Land which is now in North Dakota. Later as Grand Master of MN he chartered Lodges in Dakota Territory.


Schedule of Events:

30 July: Welcome Steak Fry & fellowship at 73 Saloon
31 July: 8:00 Breakfast & Program
- 10:30 Masonic Rites and Interpretive Panel dedication in Philip Cemetery


Map of Philip:

Here is a downloadable, printable .PDF with a map of Philip:


For Lodging Reservations:

Motel West, 421N. Auto Ave, Philip, SD 57567, 605-859-2546
Americas Best, 401 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57743, 605-837-2188
Lakota Lodge, 106 SD-73, Kadoka, SD 57743, 605-837-2151
Americas Best, 201 S. Blvd, Wall, SD 57790, 877-200-1272
Best Western, 712 Glenn St, Wall, SD 57790, 605-279-2145




Come celebrate our Masonic history!


M.W.B. Charles W. Nash Masonic History

On Saturday, July 31, 2021, M.W. Jeffery VanCuren, Grand Master of Masons in South Dakota, will be presiding over the Final Masonic Burial Rites, for MW Bro. C.W. Nash, our Founding Master, at the Masonic Cemetery in Philip, South Dakota.
M.W. Bro. Nash was Captain of Hatch's Battalion, Minnesota Cavalry, which was sent to Ft. Pembina in the fall of 1863, during the Sioux Uprising. Their military duties were to insure the safety of the local residents, and to assist in guarding the border between Dakota Territory and Rupert’s Land, British Territory.
Within this military unit there were a number of Masons, who wished to continue their Fraternal Fellowship while stationed at Ft. Pembina and reached out to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota for ability to do so.
M.W. Bro. Nash was appointed the founding Master of Northern Light Lodge U.D., at Ft. Pembina, Dakota Territory, when it was given a Dispensation to operate as such, on September 18, 1863. He personally carried this Dispensation with him from St. Paul as the soldiers made their way north.
While pondering a proper name for his Lodge one winter evening, Nash witnessed a beautiful display of color and light high above him and was compelled to call his lodge, Northern Light. This name still continues today under the Affiliation of the Grand Lodge of Manitoba A.F. & A.M.
A number of prominent individuals and soldiers from the Red River Settlement (present day Winnipeg) wished to join the Masons, and knowing of the Lodge operating at Ft. Pembina, traveled south to receive their Degrees.
When the soldiers from Minnesota were no longer needed along the border they returned home to Minnesota during the month of June, 1864. All the meeting records, membership list and the original Dispensation were returned and given to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.
In the meantime, the northern Brothers had petitioned M.W. Bro., A.T.C. Pierson, Grand Master of Minnesota to reinstate the Dispensation of Northern Light Lodge U.D., Red River Settlement, Rupert’s Land, which he signed on May 20, 1864. He also appointed Bro. John Shultz to act a Master. W. Bro. Shultz would later become the fifth Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, serving from 1888 to 1895.
This original Northern Light Lodge U.D. became a cornerstone Lodge of three who originally formed the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, and it operates today as Northern Light Prince Rupert’’s Lodge No.1, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In its formative years the Grand Lodge of Manitoba held Fraternal authority of all lands to the west within Rupert’s Land, including present day Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories.
M.W. Brother Nash, returned to the Minneapolis, St. Paul area and was an active member of the community as well as the Masonic Lodge. He held a Degree in Law and co-owned the Pioneer Printing Company in 1866, which later became the Minneapolis Tribune. Prior to arriving in Minnesota, he had also held the office of Mayor at Ft. Dodge, Iowa.
On April 21, 1868, a fire destroyed the building which housed the Grand Lodge of Minnesota, and thus all the records from the past were consumed in the flames, but our unique history with Northern Light Lodge continued.
W. Bro. Nash was nominated and elected, from the floor of the Minnesota Grand Lodge to the position of Grand Master without ever holding another office! And, on January 10, 1872, as Grand Master of Masons in Minnesota, he signed the Charter for Yellowstone Lodge No. 88, Ft. Buford, Dakota Territory, which became the first Chartered Lodge in what is now the State of North Dakota.
Thus, he became a Grand Master of Masonry which eventually held leadership over several million square miles, and a Father of Masonry for many historically recognized Lodges in the US and Canada, including the noted Northwest Mounted Police Lodge No.11, at Regina, Saskatchewan.
The schedule of events honoring our historic Mason at Philip, South Dakota, will begin on Friday evening, 30 July 2021, with a Steak Fry Meet and Greet social, hosted by the Masonic Lodge Brothers in Philip and the Grand Lodge of South Dakota. A Breakfast Program will be held the following morning, and the Masonic Burial Ceremony to follow.
A special commemorative marker and interpretive panel will be placed and dedicated at the grave site after the Masonic Last Rite Ceremonies, with representatives from the Grand Lodge Jurisdictions from which MWB Nash had affiliation.
Contact numbers for Motel rooms, etc, can be found on the Grand Lodge of South Dakota web site. Most of the rooms in Philip at Motel West are already taken, but those in Wall and Kadoka are still open. Kadoka is about 20 miles to the South of Philip and Wall is 32 miles West of Philip, and the roads are in good condition, so spending the overnight there should not create too much of a problem for those who have to travel back and forth.
The public is invited to attend the services and dedication at the cemetery, and all Members and Ladies from any Jurisdiction are welcome to attend both the steak fry and breakfast and program on Saturday morning.
The committee is asking that if you plan to attend the steak fry, or the morning breakfast, to please sign up through Eventbrite at They will need this information in order to have enough provisions on hand for everyone when they arrive. Your assistance in this matter is greatly appreciated.
For any specific questions on the celebration you may contact either of the contacts listed below.

Lincoln Smith, District Master, District #15
20824 226th Street
Quinn, SD 57775
Mobile: (605) 441-2500

Doug Thorson, Past Master, Philip Lodge No. 153
22750 Cottonwood Rd
Quinn, SD 57775-3200
Mobile: (605) 515-1590