History Of The Convent General P.H.A.


As an organization, the Convent General P.H.A. formally began in 1987, making this Order the latest entry in what is collectively styled the Prince Hall Family. However, being the newest did not mean we were the least experienced members of the group; in fact, due to our qualifications for membership, this body, collectively has more experience than any other Masonic entity found in Prince Hall Masonry. That being said, with all of our knowledge, we are still making and correcting our mistakes, and we are still evolving as an organization.

Our Mission then and now, is clear and straightforward. We are to ensure that our knowledge and wisdom, is shared with the members of our Lodges, Chapters, Councils, and Commanderies. While we are supporting our subordinate and Grand York Rite Bodies, it appears that we want to do more.

In 1987, a group of York Rite Masons from the jurisdictions of Ohio and Michigan organized Alpha Priory No. 1 under the sanctions of The Grand Encampment of Knights Templar and the blessing of the Grand Master of Ohio. Henry Choya Small of Pennsylvania joined Alpha Priory in 1988 or 89, and over the next four to five years; he invited at least two dozen duly qualified Masons from Pennsylvania to join Alpha Priory.

In 1994, twenty Alpha Priory Knights from Pennsylvania demitted and formed John R Gilmore Priory No. 2. Thereafter, Knights from the Jurisdiction of Illinois formed John W. Thompson Priory No. 3. Still later, what was originally to be styled the Southern Priory, became Harry J . Spencer Priory No. 4 in Tennessee. Finally, birth out of the Pennsylvania’s Priory, Daniel W . Frazier Priory No. 5 was formed.

In the year 2000, Past Prior Willie Mosley from Alpha Priory No. 1convened a meeting in a suburb of Baltimore Maryland for the express purpose of establishing a Convent General. Many questions were asked and answered, and later agreed by the representatives of the five Priories in attendance, that no other Priories would be formed before the birth of the Convent General.

Three years later, at the request of Eminent Prior Michael Steel from Harry J. Spencer Priory No. 4, with all five Prince Hall Priories in attendance, Knight Robert Wilson was asked to draft a proposed Constitution, General Regulations, and By-Laws for what would later become the Convent General. After completion of that task, Knight Wilson was asked to preside over the reading of the new Constitution, in its entirety. At the conclusion of the reading, the Document was adopted as changed and it was agreed that the First Five Grand Master Generals would be one each from the Priories then in existence, and in the order of their formation date. Hence, the newly designated officers were:

Grand Master General, Willie Mosley Alpha Priory No.1

Deputy Grand Master General, Henry C. Small John R. Gilmore No. 2

Grand Warder of the Temple, Raymond Tucker John W. Thompson No.3

Grand Prelate, Michael Steel Harry J. Spencer No. 4

Grand Seneschal, Arthur Taylor Daniel W. Frazier No. 5


Having the full blessing of the Grand Master of the Jurisdiction of Illinois, Levi L. Rose Priorate Court No. 1, Princesses of the York Cross of Honor became an adopted Court of John W. Thompson Priory No. 3. However, from the late 1990’s until 2007, this group was not formally recognized by the Convent General. Since that year, through Levi L. Rose Priorate, Michael E. Steel Priorate No. 2 in Tennessee and The Tarheel Priorate in North Carolina were organized. The Priorates named above have since formed the Tucker-Coffee Grand Court Princesses of the York of Honor. At this writing, there are now five operating Courts and two others Under Dispensation scheduled to receive their Charters in May of 2015.