Every year, the Masonic grand master of Texas assisted by hundreds of Masons conducts a traditional ceremony to honor the 187 heroes who died at the Alamo. Special honorees at the ceremony are William Barret Travis, Jim Bowie, David Crockett, James Bonham and Almaron Dickinson, the five Masons who died. 

Coleman and his son, Bruce, attended the ceremony in December. 

“There were about 100 of us inside the Alamo,” said Coleman.
“The ceremony was dignified and impressive. It was so quiet inside and the acoustics are so good that we could all hear without the speaker having to use a microphone. “All Masons in Texas are invited to attend the ceremony. It is held each year near to the founding date of the Alamo Lodge.” 

At the time of the Battle of the Alamo, some of the leaders of colonial Texas and men who were to become leaders of Texas were Masons. Men who were Masons in the U.S. wanted to bring their Masonic ideals and traditions to Texas. In 1835 six Masons met under an oak tree near the town of Brazoria. They applied to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for a dispensation to form and open a lodge. The first lodge was Holland Lodge 36, named for the Grand Master of Masons in Louisiana. The charter forming the lodge was signed Jan. 27, 1836. Anson Jones was the first worshipful master of Holland Lodge. Jones was the fourth and last president of the Republic of Texas. 

The five Masons at the Alamo were men who opposed tyranny, honored their obligations and believed that the dark days would pass. They were willing to fight to the death for their beliefs and demonstrated an inordinate amount of courage in fighting and dying for Texas. Dickinson was sure that there would be Masons among the Mexican soldiers. He told his wife, Susanna, to cover herself and their 15-month-old daughter Angelina with his Masonic apron. He hoped that it would cause them to be shown mercy by the Mexican army. According to legend Santa Anna was a Mason. No lodge has any records of his membership. In the book “Masons Along the Rio Bravo,” Joseph E. Brenner states, “If indeed Santa Anna was a Freemason, he was the most reprehensible example of what one should be.” Regardless of his true status as a Mason, when Mrs. Dickinson was brought before Santa Anna he saw to her needs. Santa Anna offered to adopt Angelina and take her to Mexico as his daughter. Mrs. Dickinson declined the offer and declared she would “ … crawl and work her fingers to the bone to support the baby, but that she would rather see the child starve than to be given to the author of such horror.” 

At the Battle of San Jacinto when Santa Anna was captured and brought before Sam Houston, a story has been told of the general giving Houston a Masonic sign of distress. The story may or may not be true. Masons pledge to not take the life of another Mason. Doubtless, Santa Anna knew this and it is possible that he would have tried to plea for mercy in this manner. There is no substantiated account of this encounter. It is also doubtful that given Houston’s temperament – and knowing of the brutal treatment of his fellow Texans – Houston would have been inclined to grant Santa Anna mercy based on the distress sign. The documented account of Houston sparing Santa Anna’s life based on military and diplomatic reasons is likely the truth. 

From a meeting under a tree with six Masons, there are now more than 130,000 Masons and 888 lodges in Texas.