Marker text: Savannah, Birthplace of Prince Hall Masonry in Georgia
Georgia`s first and second Prince Hall lodges, Eureka Lodge No. 1, and Hilton Lodge No. 2, F. & A. M. were organized at Savannah on February 4, 1866 by Rev. J. M. Simms, having received their warrants from the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. On June 24, 1870 these two lodges, with Bannaker Lodge No. 3, F. & A. M. (Augusta), were organized as the Grand Lodge of Georgia with Rev. Simms serving as first Grand Master.
In 1776, Prince Hall, an immigrant from Barbados, British West Indies, and 14 associates were made Masons by a regular English Army Lodge. A Legitimate Warrant was granted in 1784 to African Lodge No. 459, F. & A. M. at Boston, Mass., with Prince Hall named as Worshipful Master. In 1808, after his death, the name was changed to Prince Hall Grand Lodge, F. & A. M. of Massachusetts.
Rev. Simms, a Baptist minister and free man from Savannah had moved to Boston where he was made a Mason. At the close of the Civil War he returned to Savannah with authority as District Deputy Grand Master to establish Prince Hall Masonry in Georgia. The Georgia Grand Lodge is now incorporated under the name M. W. Prince Hall Grand Lodge Free and Accepted Masons of Georgia.