Georgia freemasonry has a tradition that the lodge at Savannah, now Solomon’s Lodge No. 1, was instituted by James Oglethorpe, the co-founder of the colony, and that Oglethorpe brought the warrant to Georgia on his return from Britain in 1736. However it is more plausible that the warrant was presented by Roger Lacy, an early settler whom the Grand Lodge of England had appointed PGM for Georgia in 1735, shortly before he sailed for Savannah. Lacy was a member of two London lodges, the King’s Arms at St Paul’s, one of the four lodges that founded the Grand Lodge of England, and the Swan Tavern in Long Acre. He was also well-known within the Grand Lodge of England as a former Grand Steward.
Freemasonry in Georgia took a different path to that in South Carolina and had a more raw frontier flavour that reflected the colony’s youth and its tenuous position on the contested border with Spanish Florida. It was not until the mid-1750s as Georgia’s economy pressed forward and Georgia’s society became more stratified that freemasonry within the colony took off. The burgeoning success of the colony’s merchants, planters and professionals saw Georgia freemasonry re-launched to become a select fraternal association.
Little is known for certain about the early history of Georgia freemasonry aside from the existence of a lodge at Savannah from 1734, shortly after the colony was settled, and the receipt of a warrant from the Grand Lodge of England some two years later. No minutes survive from the 1730s or 1740s, nor from the late 1750s until the 1780s, but those extant from the mid-1750s indicate that in the course of two years, 1756 and 1757, nearly thirty new members joined the lodge, increasing the number to thirty-six. Many of the new members had influence and and included the colony’s principal law officers and at least six members of the Royal Council.