Although the term “sojourner” is common in Freemasonry, it takes on new meaning under the aegis of National Sojourners, Inc. This Order, founded to meet the needs of the Military Mason in war and peace, has as one of its precepts the words of George Washington, who once said:”When one assumes the soldier, he does not lay aside the citizen. “The Order traces its origin to the time when the North Dakota Regiment departed the Philippines taking with it the Field Lodge Dispensation which had filled the needs of Masons while they were there. In its place a club of Masonic “sojourners” was formed. In 1901 sixteen of these “Sojourners,” representing 13 Grand jurisdictions, demitted from their home Lodges and were granted a Lodge Charter by the Grand Lodge of California. Of course, by instituting a formal Blue Lodge, they negated their purpose for being and, therefore, ceased to exist. In 1913, Surgeon Capt. Harry Eugene Stafford, 33°, Chartering Master of the Manila Lodge which replaced the “Sojourners Club,” became the first Grand Master of the new Grand Lodge of the Philippines.
The idea for a sojourners club to serve the needs of displaced military Masons revived, however, when , in 1917, a group of Masonic Military Officers met in the Hamilton Club in Chicago. They agreed that, in the absence of the Military Lodges of earlier times, there was a need for a national Masonic organization which would serve the requirements of Masonic Brethren from various parts of the country who were thrown together by virtue of their military service. The Order they started grew rapidly, from a 15-man club in 1917 to a national corporation in 1927 with membership then approaching 20,000.The purposes of National Sojourners, Inc., affirm their responsibilities to Brother Masons, the Masonic Fraternity, and the nation. Sojourners traditionally sponsor and coach most military personnel petitioning for Masonic membership, thus providing a bridge between the local military and the Masonic Lodges. Sojourner efforts are directed toward Americanism and support of Masonic programs and policies. Americanism activities include patriotic ceremonies, speeches, presentations, and other actions intended to promote love of country with special emphasis on the youth of the nation.