A Freemason, himself, Bob’s research has included much about that institution, and the incidental references to that group are authenticated by information he has gained from that interest. In the book, the principal character joins a Masonic lodge in Elizabethtown, Tennessee. Bob’s research showed, from the lodge’s current number, that the present lodge could not have existed during the Civil war. Fortunately, he was able to contact other Masons in that region who enlightened him on the fact that the original lodge (with a much lower seniority number) did exist in Elizabethtown, Tennessee but had to surrender its charter during the Civil War for its inability to pay its per capita obligations to the Tennessee Grand Lodge. Owing to the financial strain imposed on the members by the war, they couldn’t pay their dues and the lodge failed. It was resurrected about forty years later under a new name and a contemporary number.
At times Freemasonry played a significant role during the Civil War. ‘Brothers’ from both sides of the conflict often found it preferable to relieve one another’s distress than to impose the demands of the politics of their allegiances on each other.