Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 17: Nos 1-2) >> Simms, Freemasonry, and His ''Epistle to a Brother Mason in Affliction'' >> Page 118

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Secondary Scholarship | 2009
Transcription 118 THE SIMMS REVIEW

come which should become a fraternity whose mission
is Charity—An institution which precludes prejudices
& politics and ignores the passions of Vanity, Cupidity
& War, which it is our especial mission to subdue &
modify, So that peace & good will shall prevail among
all men .... (Minutes)
Bruns and Simms returned to Columbia with $ 2,006.40 in relief, after
expenses totaling $449.00 were paid to the travelers upon their return.
Other donations followed. By April 1867, the Board of Trustees of
Masonic Funds would have almost $6,000.00 on hand in the form of cash
and notes (Minutes). These funds were used to provide relief for sick and
distressed South Carolinians, provide a source of credit for those trying
to rebuild their business and personal lives, and to rebuild a Masonic
Lodge in the capitol city.
After his initial visit to the North, Simms maintained close
relations with some of the Masons he met in his travels, even making
arrangements for obtaining aid for his destitute friends after the war.
When he returned to New York in June 1867, he made it a point to make
time to see the Masons of that state and was successful in procuring even
more aid for many suffering souls in South Carolina (Trent 304). During
the remainder of his life, Simms became a beloved member of the frater-
nity, both at home and abroad. In the history of Orange Lodge, Simms is
described as "a highly useful member" of the fraternity who "delivered
a series of lectures on Masonry" (24).3 Robert Gould (1835-1915), the
English historian of Freemasonry, took special notice of Simms in his
comprehensive, six-volume work:
William Gilmore Simms, an ardent and devoted Mason,
achieved a place of distinction in the field of American
literature. His books have been widely read. Bro.
Simms's history of South Carolina is perhaps the most
faithful in detail of any that has ever been written; on
that account it was for many years used as a textbook in
the schools of the State. William Gilmore Simms lived
a long and useful life and was ever an honour to the
Fraternity that he loved so well. (206)
It is not known if Simms requested or received Masonic rites at his death,
but his lodge certainly mourned his loss. The Masons of South Carolina,