From the Widows Sons Archives
Founded: February 18th 1998 at the Mirrage resteraunt schiller Park, Illinois by Carl Davenport. Originally just called “The Widows Sons” the first chapter and it's members were all members of El Jaala Grotto and the El Jaala Motor Patrol.
Brother Davenport had been working on a site MasonicBiker.com” and then the "Mastermason.com/widows sons" website to reach out on the Internet to see if others might be interested in forming chapters of the Widows Sons in their area.
The second chapter of Widows Sons was formed in the Netherlands, in June of 1998.
Connecticut, and Florida formed chapters a couple weeks apart, and many new potential members who were waiting to start chapters began discussions about the Widows Sons being organized internationally. Some of these brethren were involved with the efforts of transforming the Widows Sons into an International Association were: Nico Lulofs of the Netherlands, Bill Zimmerman of Connecticut, Rich Greenberg of California, Anthony Harper of Georgia/Florida, Jeffrey Rosenberg of Boston, Gerard Cannoo of Capetown South Africa, Richard Prina of Arizona and Armando Nunez of Florida, It should be noted that not all of those mentioned above were successful in creating chapters but were making an active effort to do so. Three other chapters were chartered in 1998, but dropped out a month or so later, Illinois is the only 1998 chapter that remains today of the o riginal chapters that were chartered in 1998. The Netherlands were the second, making the Widows Sons an international organization in June of 1998, and about two years later Connecticut, and then Florida. Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio formed chapters after the Netherlands and before Connectcut and Florida, but those four disappeared. Then about two months before Connecticut, Indiana and Ohio started a second group but didn't last.
When Florida was chartered, with four chapters now chartered, a need for a logo became necessary. So the "Widows patch" was designed, and sent to Florida to be made.
The domain, "WidowsSons.com" was purchased on January 18, 2002 and a website was designed and uploaded to the domain. Requests started flowing in. Several interested brethren responded and work began on forming an association.
The association was “administratively” divided into 2 jurisdictions, the Northern & Southern. Each jurisdiction would be charged with geographical assignments giving them the duty of chartering new chapters in their respective states and countries. Brother Fred Broecker, the secretary of the Illinois Grand Chapter, was appointed as the head of the Northern Jurisdiction and Brother Armando appointed as the head of the Southern Jurisdiction. This was announced to the membership in February 2004, a month later by mutual agreement of Brother’s Broecker & Nunez, the New England Jurisdiction was formed, putting Brother Bill Zimmerman as its head. The Widows Sons operated under 3 National Jurisdictions from 2004 through September of 2008 when the jurisdictions were combined back into one in order to offset perceptions of disunity or separate organizations.
In May thealternate/modern logo (winged logo) was introduced in order to appease concerns regarding the ‘Masonic relevance” of the original Widows logo. The modern logo was first regarded as the Northern jurisdiction logo but was later adopted by some states in the Southern Jurisdiction. (Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky).
The UK Chapter of the Widows Sons introduced their own alternative logo, and separated themselves from the Masonic Riders Association by calling themselves the Masonic Bikers Association. The original Widows logo was copyrighted in 2003 and the winged logo was copyrighted in 2004. The UK logo was never copyrighted because it was not an original design and it did not promote the exclusive identity of the Widows Sons.
Brother Armando Nunez resigned from his position as a national organizer and active member of the Widows Sons in 2005. His chosen replacement was Brother Karl Seigal of the Knights of the East chapter of Florida.
Brother Bill Zimmerman left the Widows Sons and his replacement for the director of the New England Jurisdiction was Brother Frank DeFeo who was appointed by Brother Broecker.
Brother Seigal resigned as a national organizer due to the death of his father and Scott Frum was appointed as his replacement by the Florida State Board.
The state of Alabama adopted the winged logo. The first Widows Sons Degree and “Branding” was held at the Hawg Valley Bike Rally in Madisonville Kentucky. The degree was written by Brother’s Jeff Wilson, Robert Lee Curtis, and Ken Sarver of the Traveling Gavel Grand Chapter of Kentucky. Brothers in attendance were from the states of Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Virginia. Brother Mark Sawyer the Grand Chapter President of Virginia came up with the idea of branding our vests and the practice was incorporated as a traditional part of the degree.
The first Grand Gathering was held in Newport Beach Virginia.
The Widows Sons of Texas applied for recognition as a Masonic organization during their Grand Lodge Communication. The ballot was passed in their favor but a motion was placed on the floor for more discussion and a re-vote. During the subsequent re-vote, acceptance was denied by 1 vote
The new Grand Master of Texas issued an edict banning all Texas Masons from being members of the WSMRA. The edict affected over 300 brethren.
Brother Davenport married and moved to England. He immediately asked the President and Vice President of the Northumberland chapter to aid and assist widows and orphans first before any other charity, and to change their name and logos back to match the rest of the organization. They refused.
In January Brother Davenport founded the Widows Sons Magazine (aka WSMag). The magazine was created to publish Widows Sons and Masonic information.
Brother Davenport asked the Northumberland PGB President to drop the national governing board , to aid and assist widows and orphans first before any other charity, and to change their name and logos back to match the rest of the organization. They again refused.
On July 10, Brother Fred Broecker the logo copyright holder received an unusual request from the Presidents board in Illinois. It was a request that he turn over his rights to the copyright of the Widows Sons Logo to the Presidents board.
This same board held a meeting a few weeks later to remove the founder and Fred from the Illinois Widows Sons. It later became known this board was elected and acted illegally and all their damages were restored.
A new 15th Anniversary patch was introduced for the 15th year of the Widows Sons. Several other anniversary items such as two different anniversary coins, wood carvings, a Widows Sons Clock and a few other items.
Brother Davenport again asked the UK widows Sons to drop the national governing board, to aid and assist widows and orphans as a first priority before any other charity, and to change their name and logos back to match the rest of the organization. They again refused.
As a result, all WSMRA charters operating under the WSMBA in England, Scotland and Ireland were revoked.
A new WSMRA chapter, the Sentinels, was chartered in Suffolk, England. The England, Scotland and Ireland chapters were invited to become a part of the Masonic Riders Association. They refused.
On December 12, the Grand Master of Massachusetts, Richard Stewart, issued an edict against the Massachusetts Widows Sons barring any member of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts from being a member of the Widows Sons Masonic Riders Association.
France regained recognition from mainstream Freemasonry and a the Pathmos Eagle Grand Chapter of France was chartered by President Forrest McCracken, of the Sentinel Suffolk, England Grand Chapter, with the Special Guest of the Widows Sons of France, Worshipful Brother Carl Davenport, present to obligate the Pathmos Eagle Grand Chapter President and begin the chartering ceremony. At this ceremony, Italy was given the ok to begin forming the Grand Chapter of Italy.
Germany is approved and are waiting to be chartered.
The Widows Sons European Union was formed to help the European Countries organize and remain within the founding intentions.
France held it's second annual gathering with members from Italy, Belgium, California, and England attending.
A new chapter was formed in The South of France.
A new Grand Chapter has begun forming in Brazil.
Illinois One Five chapter received a award for aiding and assisting widows and orphans of Master Masons in Illinois.
Puerto Rico began organizing a chapter in Puerto Rica.
France held its 3rd annual European Gathering in June.
The new Grand Chapter of Germany was chartered on October 15th at the Castle Wewelsberg in Paderborn, Germany.
Recognized Widows Sons chapters from France, Belgium, and Italy attended. Visitors included the Masonic Bikers of Denmark, The Low Twelve Riders of Germany, the Masonic Bikers of Austria, and several independent Bikers of Europe. Several of independent Riders present expressed interest in beginning Widows Sons chapters across Europe after seeing the chartering ceremony. The Chartering was performed by the Widows Sons of France, with Founder WB Carl A Davenport obligating the new Grand Chapter President and presenting him his vest. Shortly after the chartering, the first Executive Council Meeting was held and the Executive Council was made an official body of the WSMRA.
The Widows Sons Museum was founded after the chartering of the Masons Chapter as the new Grand Chapter of Missouri, and the opening of the campground. The Masons Grand Chapter of Missouri Widows Widows Sons will operate the Widows Sons museum.