The quarterly publication California Freemason, spring 2007 has an article called To Preserve and cherish, by Adam Kendall, and it profiles the lodge Western Star No. 2. It has a curious Danish connection that I can’t help mentioning:
As the oldest lodge chartered in this jurisdiction, Western Star Lodge No. 2 is an integral link in the historical chain of Freemasonry in California. It was chartered by the Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Missouri on May 10, 1848 as a result of of the efforts of the Danish immigrant and pioneer Peter Lassen (of Mount Lassen fame). Lassen and the nascent lodge’s first Master, Saschel Woods, carried the charter overland back to what is presently Vina, California in Tehama County. Lassen had intended to found a town there using the Mexican land grant, the Rancho Bosquejo, awarded to him during his first sojourn to Alta California in 1840. The lodge was eventually situated in the town of Benton. From thereon, Western Star was one of the four original lodges that together formed the Grand Lodge of F. & A. M. of California. In 1851, just a year after California became the 31st state, Western Star No. 2 relocated to the mining town of Shasta City.
The original Missouri charter transported by Lassen and Woods is proudly displayed in Western Star’s vault and owes it perpetuation to the fact that original had been returned by the Grand Lodge prior to the 1906 earthquake. Legend has it that the folds in the original charter are due to its haveing been carried in Lassen’s (or Wood’s) boot during their expedition back to California from Missouri.