Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Wonderful World of Wikipedia

Yesterday, I was doing some maintenance on the PA DeMolay website when I noticed that we received a click from a Wikipedia entry. That entry led me to the biography of Laurence Watres, who is a Past Executive Officer of PA DeMolay.

"Dad" Watres was a United States Congressman and prominent Pennsylvania Freemason from the Scranton area. He served as the Executive Officer for PA for more than a decade and also became Grand Master of the International Supreme Council (in addition to being a community leader and business man.) Having read this article, I noticed that there wasn't any reference to his service to DeMolay or Freemasonry. I decided to take a leap of faith and edit the article, citing resources, and ensure that any visitors to the page would know that "Dad" Watres had served DeMolay.

Having done this, I immediately remembered that "Dad" Watres' brother, Louis, was also a prominent PA Freemason, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, a Past Executive Officer of PA DeMolay, a Past Grand Master of DeMolay International, and was one of the primary initiators of the building of the George Washington Masonic Memorial (whew!) But, alas, when you looked at the page about "Dad" Louis Watres, there was no mention of his DeMolay involvement. So, I went ahead and edited his page to make sure that people would know of his involvement in our organization.

This got me to thinking - there are a lot of prominent historic figures that had been involved in DeMolay and Freemasonry. I went on a Wikipedia search, looking for references. My first stop was "Dad" Kendig C. Bare, who was Mayor of Lancaster and a Past State Master Councilor PA DeMolay. Sadly, "Dad" Bare's article made no mention of DeMolay. Once again, I edited his entry to include his influence on our organization (including the starting of the Keystone Crusader.)

I plugged in a few other names of PSMC's, but didn't find any other references worth noting. This, however, sent me on another path. I started searching some Past Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. Many of them have well written and lengthy pages, including George M. Dallas (a prominent PA politician), Richard Vaux (who once served as Mayor of Philadelphia), William Allen (our first Grand Master and namesake of Allentown), and of course Benjamin Franklin. I also found Masonic references in the article on James Buchanan.

One of the most interesting bits of trivia I came across was that George H. Deike, a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, was the founding leader of the Pennsylvania State University Drum and Bugle Corps, which later became the world famous Penn State Blue Band! Who knew!

Another fun fact was that Louis Watres' wife's sister (so, sister-in-law of Louis), was a prominent actor / artist during her time who even performed for President Hoover. She also patented a new type of lace nightgown. That's another one of those "who knew?" moments!

What's the point of this story, however? It's to encourage you to look for DeMolay everywhere you go. Wikipedia is a great resource and millions of people use it every day. We should make sure that all of our prominent members have a note on their Wikipedia pages stating they were involved in DeMolay. From our Hall of Fame members, to our local leaders, this kind of exposure brings light to the organization and shows the amazing work that we do.

If you do decide to edit a Wikipedia entry, follow the ten simple rules for editing a Wikipedia article. They can be found here:

Who knows, maybe some day you'll have a Wikipedia page of your own!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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