At the urging of his patrons and friends George Galphin and his neighbor Lachlan McGillivray,48 James Adair set about upon a work examining the life and customs of the indigenous people of the American southeast. In fact, Adair's History of the American Indians was dedicated to these men and their effort to counter "fictitious and fabulous, or very superficial and conjectural accounts of the Indian natives."49 However, Adair, like many of his counterparts, had his own fictitious and fabulous beliefs about American Indians. He attempted to prove in his work of the "American Indians being descended from the Jews."50 He described their "state houses and temples" as "following the Jerusalem copy in a suprizing manner" and having a "strong imitation of Solomon's temple."51
The mention of King Solomon's temple and the curious turn of the phrase in reference to the "the widow" and "the fatherless" in his dedication to McGillivray and Galphin poses an interesting question. These are both images from the language of Freemasons. Perhaps ironic, perhaps not, is the fact the Lachlan McGillivray's son had his own ties to Freemasonry. Mixed blood leader of the Creek Nation, General Alexander McGillivray, was born in 1740 just down the river from Silver Bluff; he was educated in Charlotte and Charleston and became a plantation owner.52 He was also a Freemason educated in the rituals and obligations of King Solomon's lodge; Freemasons George Washington and Henry Knox negotiated the Treaty of New York with McGillivray in 1790.53 When he died in 1793, he was buried with Masonic honors in Panton's Garden in Pensacola, Florida.54
Interestingly enough, McGillivray's adversary in the Creek Nation was another acquaintance of George Galphin, the enigmatic tory William Augustus Bowles. 55 Bowles was also a Freemason. He was made a mason in the Bahamas, was the duly accredited provincial "Grandmaster of the Four Civilized Tribes" as appointed by the Grand Lodge of England.56 As such, Bowles attempted to consolidate African and Indian forces in the Southeastern United States and create an independent confederation called "The State of Muskogee." Living among the maroons at Miccosukee, he soon became the Director General of the Creek Nation soliciting aid for loyalists among blacks and indians in Florida.57
In 1790, while touring the Masonic lodges of England with a group of headmen from the Creek and Cherokee Nation, Bowles engaged in a different kind of activity. He sought assistance for a fledgling slave revolt in the French colony of Santo Domingo led by fellow Freemasons Jean-Jacques Dessalines and Toussaint L'Ouverture.58 Little is known of whether his mission was a success. Little is also known about the role of Freemasonry in Native American; but the roll of famous Freemasons within Native American society reads like a who's who of indigenous political leadership.59 Among these are Joseph Brant, George Copway, Vine Deloria, Carlos Montezuma, Arthur C. Parker, Ely S. Parker, Peter Pitchlyn, Opothle Yahola, Pushmataha, Red Jacket , John Ridge, John Ross, Tecumseh, and Stand Watie.
Just across the river from Galphin's trading post on the Savannah River lies one of the oldest Freemasonic lodges in the country. In 1734, Governor James Oglethorpe was made the first master of Savannah's Solomon Lodge #1.60 In his second tour of the colonies in 1739, evangelist George Whitefield, who helped inspire the Great Awakenings,61 spoke before the assembled brotherhood of Solomon Lodge #1. He described the event in his Journals, "Friday June 23, 1738 - [I} read prayers and preach [ed] with power before the Freemasons, with whom I afterward dined, and was used with the utmost civility." 62 Whitefield and the brothers from the lodge then funded and founded the Bethesda Orphanage, the oldest continually running social service institution in the United States, just across the river from Savannah. 63