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The citizens of Beaver County may be surprised
to know that the first Masonic Lodge in the county was located
at General Wayne's fortification of Legion Ville, located in Harmony
Township. In the Book, Minutes of the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge
of the Most Ancient Freemasons, Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, 1895,
is found the following:
Philadelphia, March 25, 1793.
Grand Lodge, Special Communication.
Present: The R.W.G. Master J.B. Smith.
A Grand Lodge was opened in ample form and
the Rt. Wl. G. Master informed the Brethren that the purpose of
calling the Grand Lodge was to lay before them a Petition he had
received from a number of Brethren in the Service of the United
States at Legion Ville, praying for a Warrant to hold a Lodge
limited to the movements of the American Army, which petition
was read, and the same being recommended agreeably to the Regulations
of this Grand Lodge, on Motion and Seconded the prayer of the
Petitioners was unanimously granted, and the Grand Secretary was
directed to make out a Warrant accordingly in the names of Robert
MisCampbell, Master, Samuel Tinsley, Senior Warden, and William
Eaton, Junior Warden. The said Lodge to be called No-58, to be
held wherever the Master of the said Lodge for the time being
shall be stationed in the Army of the United States.
On motion and Seconded, resolved, that the
Sum of Twenty Dollars shall be paid by Bro. G. Treasurer to the
widow of our late Brother Alexander Robinson; also the Sum of
Six Dollars to Brother Matthew Whitehead for the use of the Widows
of our late Brothers Beck and Boyle.
Lodge closed at three quarters past 9 'clock
P. LeBarbier Duplessis, Gd- Secry.
Robert MisCampbell (Master of Lodge 58)
was from South Carolina and joined the Legion of the United States
at the rank of Lieutenant on March 14, 1792, nine days after the
Legion was created. He arrived in Pittsburgh in July of 1792 and
following the resignation of Captain Jedediah Rogers of the dragoons
(cavalry), Lieutenant MisCampbell was placed in charge. On October
7, 1792, he was promoted to Captain. Upon arriving at Legion Ville
in November of 1792, he constructed an obstacle course and training
area south of Legion Ville where the Levinson Steel Company now
sits. By all accounts he was an outstanding and popular officer
and praised by General Wayne. Miscampbell once wrote in a letter
to his friend Captain Solomon Van Rensselaer, "Give me health
of Body, Peace of Mind, a Pretty Girl, a clean shirt, and a Guinea,
and I'm Rich and happy" At the Battle of Fallen Timbers on
August 20, 1794, Captain MisCampbell's dragoons were ordered to
attack the left flank of the Indians and in the charge he was
One of troopers wrote after the battle,
"Among the Killed was that good, brave,
gallant and intrepid Captain Robert MisCampbell, of the Second
Troops Light Dragoons, and then commanding Officer of the Cavalry,
who fell in a charge on the Enemy in an early Part of the Action;
by which the Legion was deprived of one of its bravest Officers,
before he had an Opportunity of rendering his Country those Services
which were to be expected from his Bravery. It would be vain for
Abilities like mine to attempt to describe the deceased Captain
Campbell's Virtues; but to do Justice to his Memory I cannot avoid
observing, he was possessed of every Qualification which constitutes
the Gentleman, the officer and a good Man: and as he was when
living generally loved, now that he is dead I believe he is generally
It is probable that he was carrying the
charter for Lodge 58 in his personal belongings at the time he
was killed. Captain MisCampbell was buried in an unmarked grave
with full military honors on the field of battle.
Samuel Tinsley (Senior Warden of Lodge 58)
was from Virginia and served as a Captain of the Virginia State
Militia from 1778 to 1782. He enlisted in the Infantry of the
Legion of the United States on March 16, 1792. He was transferred
to the 3rd Sub-Legion on September 4, 1792 at Pittsburgh. After
serving at Legion Ville, he moved with the army to Ohio and was
promoted to Captain on February 9, 1794. Captain Tinsley and Lieutenant
Bernard Gaines acted as seconds in the infamous duel at Fort Greene
Ville of Ensign John Bradshaw and Lieutenant Nathaniel Huston.
Huston and Bradshaw were both mortally wounded. John Bradshaw
was given a proper Masonic burial and having been friends in life
both Huston and Bradshaw were buried side-by-side.
Tinsley was transferred to the 1st United
States Infantry on November 1, 1796. He was discharged from the
army on June 1, 1802 and died on October 2, 1833.
William Eaton (Junior Warden of Lodge 58)
was from Vermont. He served in the Continental Army from 1780-1783
at the rank of sergeant. He enlisted in the Legion of the United
States as Captain of Infantry on March 5, 1792. He was transferred
to the 4th Sub-Legion on September 4, 1792 and arrived at Legion
Ville in November 1792. Eaton transferred to the 4th United States
Infantry on November 1, 1796. He resigned from the army on July
10, 1797. He was chosen as the leader of an expedition against
the Barbary Pirates and led the attack on Derna, Tripoli on April
27, 1805 immortalized in the United States Marine Corps Hymn,
"To the shores of Tripoli." William Eaton often referred
to as "General Eaton," died in Brimfield, Massachusetts
on June 1, 1811.
Other known Masons who served at Legion Ville included Major General Anthony Wayne and William Clark, leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Historical Register and Dictionary of the United States Army: From its Organization, September 29, 1789, to March 2, 1903, by Francis B. Heitman. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1903.
Bayonets in the Wilderness, by Alan Gaff. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma, 2004.
Anthony Wayne, A Name in Arms, by Richard C. Knopf. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1960.