Kel Hancock- Blockhouse Investigations- Nova Scotia
with files from the late, Paul Wroclawski
Much has been written about the alleged Masonic symbolism in the Oak Island Mystery. Theorists are prone to see these signs in everything from a letter G carved on a stone, a supposed skull shaped boulder, to stone triangles and crosses, the 90 Foot Stone, and even in a fragment of a simple colonial carpenter's square. By assuming that all of these items are connected and have a Masonic significance, writers have produced volumes of speculation that the Oak Island treasure was deposited in time immemorial by Freemasons, the Rosicrucians or even the Knights Templar. All this, of course, is still just conjecture.
But were actual Freemasons ever really associated with Oak Island? The answer is, yes.
Many treasure-hunters who have dug on Oak Island have been Freemasons. In a list with almost too many members to count we can name, McCully, Archibald, and Pitblado in the 19th century, to Blair, Roosevelt, Hedden and the Chappells in the 20th. Aside from actual searchers many Freemasons have been investors or enthusiasts- the most famous being the likes of John Wayne and Errol Flynn.
But aside from treasure-hunters, were there Masons connected to Oak Island in other ways? The answer, once again, is yes. Some of the island's earliest landowners and residents were Freemasons. Let's have a look at a couple.
Dr. Jonathan Prescott
Jonathan Prescott was a Captain of Engineers in the British Army and was also Under-Surgeon to the Surgeon-General during the Siege of Louisbourg in 1748 He was made a Mason in Boston on January 14, 1746 and settled in Halifax in 1751. Prescott owned Oak Island Lot Nos. 8 and 22 from 1765 to 1784. As a highly successful businessman, he distilled rum in Halifax when rum was an accepted currency in the colonies. He also operated a fleet of fishing boats and was able to set the government's price for fish. He filled many government contracts for supplies, then branched out into lumber and lime and operated a lumber mill near the Chester during the French and Indian Wars. He eventually quarried lime and set up a kiln in the area as well. An original grantee of the Shoreham Grant (Chester), he became a major landowner on both the mainland and the islands directly opposite Chester. Prescott was appointed a Justice of the Peace for Chester in 1778 after his friend, Timothy Houghton, forfeited the office by getting himself convicted of sedition during the American Revolution. Although he was a Captain of the Chester Militia, it seems Prescott fully supported the American cause. In fact, the good doctor enjoyed tea in Chester with rebel privateer Captain Noah Stoddard, the day before Stoddard proceeded to sack the nearby town of Liverpool on July 1st, 1782. Prescott's son, Jonathan, joined Washington's Continental Army as a surgeon and was a founding member of The Order of Cincinnati.
Alexander Pattillo was born in Scotland and arrived in Chester in 1785. He was a major grantee in the Shoreham Grant.
Pattillo quickly established himself as a stone-mason in the area and made bricks, in addition to operating a lime kiln and quarry. As well as being an operative mason he was also a speculative Freemason and is listed as Secretary of the Lodge in Chester in 1786. He was an Assistant Poll Tax Collector from 1792-1794. In February 1785 Pattillo bought Oak Island Lot No. 1 which he sold to Daniel McGinnis (Donald MacInnes) in September of 1794. He later purchased Lot No. 27 in 1786; also sold to McGinnis.
As the team here at Blockhouse Investigations continues to sift through files and conduct new research we are sure to find new connections that we will share with you in upcoming articles. You might want to check in with us when we publish an upcoming piece that examines the Masonic symbolism itself; and the origins of the elements within the Legend of Oak Island which lead many theorists to believe that the islands history and treasure is somehow related to Freemasonry.
For our readers here in Atlantic Canada, hunkering down under another Nor' Easter, we wish you a safe and warm night.
And, as always, to everyone Goodnight from The Blockhouse!
This article is dedicated to the memory of my friend and renowned Oak Island researcher,
Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Paul Joseph Edward Wroclawski, 1966-2014
From The Blockhouse
is published by Blockhouse Investigations and oakislandcompendium.ca
in Nova Scotia, Canada
Editors and Chief Correspondents
Kelly W. Hancock, CD
John Wonnacott, P. Eng.
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