Return to First Page ARKANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY, Volume 26(Spring 1967), p. 14
In 1827 Yell made a move which was to be the beginning of a successful life in politics. He was persuaded to run for Bedford County representative to the Tennessee legislature. The incumbent had run on an Anti-Masonic platform and sought re-election. The man had been expelled by the Masons for an alleged crime against the domestic relations of a brother, and the fraternal organization was very anxious to have one of their group defeat him. Yell was a member of Shelbyville Masonic Lodge No. 122, and the members induced him to be a candidate. During the campaign Yell met the Anti-Masonic charges of his opponent by saying that if Masonry were so bad, then how much more terrible must be a man whom the members of that organization considered unfit. Yell easily won the election (10).
Yell's campaign against the Anti-Masonic representative was certainly not his only contribution to the fraternal organization. Throughout his life he participated very actively in numerous Masonic activities. He was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee in 1830, being elevated by acclamation from the floor. He followed Andrew Jackson as head of the Tennessee fraternal group. Jackson also had been elected by acclamation without having worked his way through the various Grand Lodge offices, and the two were the only men ever so elected to Grand Master of Tennessee (11). After moving to Arkansas Yell proved to be instrumental in establishing the first permanent Masonic lodge in what was then Arkansas Territory. Washington Lodge No. 1 in Fayetteville received its charter from the Tennessee Grand Lodge on November 5, 1835, and Archibald Yell is listed among its charter members (12).
(10) Hallum, Biographical and Pictorial History, 114-115.
(11) L. E. Hebb, "Home of Masonry in Arkansas," Gazette, April 9, 1939.
(12) Ibid.; Hallum, Biographical and Pictorial History, 114.