History of Dallas Commandery No. 6

Dallas Commandery No.6 was organized under a dispensation granted in 1855. Although the early records have been lost, Sir Knight Nat M. Burford, who was present at its formation, names the following Sir Knights as his associates:

Jno. C. McCoy
Jno. W. Seindells
F. H. Tarrant
M. T. Johnson

J. W. Lattimer
Jno. J. Good
W. H. Henderson
Jno. H. Reagan

A perpetual charter or warrant was granted June 24, 1857, recognizing Encampment No.6 as regularly constituted and established under the jurisdiction of the Grand Encampment of Texas, and naming its officers:

Most Eminent Commander
Sir Knight Jno. C. McCoy

Eminent Generalissimo
Sir Knight Nat M. Burford

Eminent Captain-General
Sir Knight J. W. Lattimer

The Commandery grew slowly. It suffered from a loss of membership during the Civil War and struggled to survive, as did many Masonic bodies at that time. By the early 1870s, however, the Commandery had been reinvigorated, thanks largely to the efforts of Sir Knight William C. Young. By 1880, there were 44 members in Dallas Commandery. By 1900, there were 113. During the twentieth century, the growth of Dallas Commandery was reflective of the growth in Masonry overall. More than 1900 Texas Knights Templar belonged to Dallas Commandery in 1970, comprising about six percent of the state's membership that year.

Over the years, Dallas Commandery has been privileged to benefit from the fellowship and wisdom of Masons who have served the fraternity, the Dallas community, and in some cases the state at large with great distinction. These include John M. Crockett, Lieutenant Governor of Texas; John H. Reagan, district judge, U. S. Congressman, Confederate Postmaster General, U. S. Senator and Texas Railroad Commissioner; Anson Rainey, Associate Justice of the Texas Court of Civil Appeals; Nat M. Burford, a law partner of John H. Reagan, who became Speaker of the Texas Legislature; Henry Boll, Swiss immigrant and a leader in the Fourierist La Reunion colony and Dallas Treasurer; the philanthropist Louis Antonio Pires; and John B. "Jack" Erwin, famed landscape artist, architect, and violin maker. Dallas Sir Knights who were Dallas County Judges, District Judges, or District Attorneys include John C. McCoy, J. W. Latimer, E. G. Bower, and Dee Brown Walker. Three Sir Knights have been mayors of the City of Dallas: John J. Good, John M. Crockett, and Louis Blaylock. Ten Past Commanders of Dallas Commandery later became Grand Commanders of Texas, and three affiliated members have been Grand Commanders. Four members became Grand Masters of Masons in Texas: Mike H. Thomas, Samuel P. Cochran, Robert L. Dillard, Jr., and W. Boyd Patterson, Jr. M. Douglas Atkins III, 33 SGIG for the Orient of Texas of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, is a member of Dallas Commandery. Members of Dallas Commandery have been physicians, lawyers, businessmen, journalists, teachers, preachers, and tradesmen. All have contributed to the comradery, beneficience, and devotion to the Christian faith that is the Dallas Commandery.

It is indeed the individuals who are important to the life of any Commandery. Two of the integral components of the Commandery are the drill and ritual teams. The Dallas Commandery Drill Team has been active since its inception, winning a number of state competitions and also national competitions in 1964, 2000, 2009, and 2012. Any success, of course, requires long hours of practice, often at inconvenient hours to avoid the heat of the Texas sun. Members of the Commandery also participate in state ritual competitions on the Order of the Red Cross and the Order of Malta, as well as stand for inspection annually by the Grand Commandery on the Order of the Temple. Since the inception of the Cross and Crown Award in 1994, Dallas Commandery has received the award fifteen times from the Grand Commandery, marking it as one of the leading Commanderies in the state. The hours spent in preparation for all these events help forge a bond among the members and signal their devotion to the Order and its ideals.

Over the past two decades, membership in the Commandery has declined somewhat in numbers, in keeping with a general decline in all fraternal membership during that period. In the last few years, however, the Knights Templar in Dallas have enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence, a hopeful sign of future growth.

Thanks are due to Sir Knight Rex S. Lewis for providing much of the information contained in this short history.

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Every Christian Mason should be a Knight Templar

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