We recently learned that my soulmate and current G.H. Imperator of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was not the only Golden Dawn Initiate to hold the title of Grand Commander of Knights Templar in the American South. Over a century ago, that distinction went to the unfortunately named Alpheus Butts Simmons who was initiated into the Isis-Urania Temple in London in July 1894, with no Motto listed and no further information than “An American.”
While there is no record of Dr. Simmons advancing beyond the grade of Neophyte in the Golden Dawn, his Masonic career was well documented in the Proceedings of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar for the State of Georgia at the 49th Annual Grand Conclave held in the City of Savannah, Georgia May 11, 12, and 13, A.D. 1910, A.O. 792. A photo of Sir Knight Simmons, the (then) current Grand Commander, appears on the frontispiece for the Proceedings, followed by a brief biographical sketch of the Grand Commander:
ALPHEUS BUTTS SIMMONS
Was born on the 19th of October, 1864, at Irwinton, Wilkinson County, Georgia. He graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Georgia in 1884 and began the regular practice of his profession at Savannah, Ga., in 1889.
He was initiated into the mysteries of Masonry in Zerubbabel Lodge No. 15 in Savannah in 1890, serving as Master in 1894 and 1895. He received the 4° of the Scottish Rite in Alpha Lodge of Perfection January 20th, 1891; the 32° on October 28th, 1891; Court of Honor in 1897, and Honorary 33° October, 1899. He was Knighted in Palestine Commandery, Knights Templar, November 25th, 1892, and was its Commander in 1897. He is a member of Georgia Chapter No. 3, Royal Arch Masons, and Alee Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S. He became a member of the Official Board of the Grand Commandery by his election to the office of Grand Sword Bearer in 1902 at its session in Savannah and becomes a Past Commander at this Conclave in the same City, bearing the confidence and esteem of his fraters in unstinted measure.
Dr. Simmons is connected officially with several medical associations, being in touch with the distinguished men of his profession throughout the State, and his wisdom and counsel are constantly in demand. As a citizen he is well known for his progressive enterprise in affairs tending to the public good.
Many thanks to Adam P. Forrest for finding this material and Dr. Simmon’s obituary in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. LXIV, Number 21 (May 22, 1915):
Alpheus Butts Simmons, M.D. University of Georgia, Augusta, 1884; an honorary member of the Georgia Medical Society and a well-known and much esteemed practitioner of Savannah, Ga., who retired from practice several years ago; died at his home in Montgomery Road, Savannah February 11, from cerebral hemorrhage, aged 50.
More info on Dr. Simmons can be found on Sally Davis’s page at http://www.wrightanddavis.co.uk/GD/SIMMONSALPHEUSB.htm
Charles “Chic” Cicero
R.E.P.G.C. of Knights Templar of FLA, 2010-2011
Current G.H. Imperator of the HOGD