Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 17: Nos 1-2) >> Simms, Freemasonry, and His ''Epistle to a Brother Mason in Affliction'' >> Page 115

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Secondary Scholarship | 2009
Transcription 115 THE SIMMS REVIEW

Southern Distress and Northern Succor
On 28 October 1865 a notice was published in the New York
Times announcing the visit of Brothers William Gilmore Simms and
Robert S. Bruns to the Masons of the North:
The Masons of the North are about to receive a distin-
guished committee from the capital of South Carolina ...
to represent to their Northern brethren the distressed and
prostate condition of the Masonic lodges of Columbia,
where they were once so numerous, strong, powerful
and active .... The Brotherhood in the Northern states, it
is hoped, will extend the hand of welcome to these two
eminent members of the fraternity. They will make their
departure for the City of New York in the steamer on
Thursday. They have obtained the freedom of the cars
from various Presidents of the railroads, and messrs.
Willis & Chisholm, of the People's line, have invited
them to take passage in the Moneka, free of all charge.
Simms's traveling companion, Robert Bruns, was also a Charlestonian
exile in Columbia during its invasion. He was a well-known and respect-
ed Mason throughout the state and was a Past Master of Orange Lodge
No. 14 in Charleston, the Lodge that Simms would later join. Bruns
would become Grand Secretary and then Grand Master of Masons in
South Carolina in the years following the war.
Before their departure, the letter sent to the Grand Lodges of the
North described their circumstances and made the case for aid:
The respectful and affectionate Memorial of your dis-
tressed Brethren, of the city of Columbia, S.C., showeth
that, by the events of war, they have been deprived of
all their possessions, whether as individuals or Masons;
that as individuals, they are, many of them, without the
means of comfortable subsistence for themselves and
families; that their city has been mostly laid in ashes,
to the total destruction of houses, furniture, and chattels
of all descriptions with the loss besides, in thousands of
instances, of their plate, jewels, money, and resources
of every kind; that as Masons, their Lodges have been
destroyed entirely; their paraphernalia; the jewels of sev-