The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of North Dakota was formed on June 12, 1889, in Mitchell, Dakota Territory, by a division of the Grand Lodge of Dakota into the Grand Lodge of South Dakota and the Grand Lodge of North Dakota. The Grand Lodge of North Dakota consisted of the twenty-six lodges situated in what would become the state of North Dakota. A convention of lodge delegates was convened in Mitchell on June 12, 1889 to set up the new Grand Lodge. Officers were elected and they were installed, along with the new officers of the Grand Lodge of South Dakota, on June 13, 1889.
Walter L. Stockwell was born at Anoka, Minnesota, January 12, 1868. He graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1889 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He came to St. Thomas, North Dakota in 1891 to start a teaching career. On June 27,1894, he married Helen Tombs and they had two children, Walter Jr., and Helen. From 1902 to 1910, Stockwell was the State Superintendent of Public Instruction for North Dakota. In 1911, he, his wife, and other associates established the Northern School Supply Company in Fargo. Stockwell became a Mason on March 11, 1891. He would hold many offices in the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, notably, Grand Secretary from 1910 to 1950. He was also on the Board of Directors of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association from 1918 to 1950. Walter Stockwell died in his sleep on December 4, 1950.
The Hillsboro Lodge No. 10, Hillsboro, North Dakota was formed on May 13, 1882 as Hillsboro Lodge No. 32 in the Grand Lodge of Dakota. When the Dakota Lodge separated in 1889, Hillsboro Lodge No. 10 was formed in the Grand Lodge of North Dakota.
The George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association was formed on February 22, 1911 to create a monument to George Washington, the Mason. The Association began erection of a memorial building on the banks of the Potomac River near Alexandria, Virginia with the laying of the cornerstone on November 1, 1923. The building was dedicated on May 12, 1932.
The Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of North Dakota Records consist of a series of biographical sketches of members of the Hillsboro Lodge No. 10, Hillsboro, North Dakota; minutes of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors, George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association, 1921-1940; a draft copy of the Certificate of Incorporation of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association, and a memorial booklet and informational pamphlets on George Washington, the Mason.
The bulk of the collection consists of the minutes of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of the Association. The Executive Committee minutes cover a period from 1922 to 1933. The Board of Directors minutes cover a period from 1921 to 1940. This correspondence was sent to Walter L. Stockwell, in his role as a member of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors would usually meet on an annual basis, while the Executive Committee would meet on a bi-monthly basis to conduct the routine business of the association. Most of the information contained in the minutes is routine, concerning the construction of the memorial building, but certain sections give a true inside view on what it took to erect the memorial to Washington. In 1921, there was internal discord over Association President Watres methods and manners of running the association. The Treasurer, John Cowles, resigned over the matter. In 1924, funding problems arose and means of resolving the problem were explored. The memorial was dedicated on May 12, 1932 and on June 22, 1932, The Cranford Company, the prime contractor, notified the Executive Committee of their plans to liquidate the assets of their company. Further, the architects, contractors, and sub-contractors appear to have been selected on the basis of their masonic affiliation.
Additionally, there are a series of historical sketches on the members of the Hillsboro Lodge No. 10, Hillsboro, North Dakota. These cover a period from 1882 to 1957. Some of the sketches contain a significant amount of information regarding members, but most have very little information. The collection was received in a well-organized manner and has been maintained that way.