Merriwether, Jesse [Mount Moriah Lodge No. 1](born: 1812 - died: 1892)
Merriwether [also spelled Meriwether and Meriweather] was born a slave who was freed in 1847 under the condition that he go to Liberia. Merriwether went to Liberia as a delegate of the Convention of Free Negroes of Kentucky in 1847. He returned to the U.S. in August 1848 and wrote an unfavorable report for emigration to Liberia. He also secretly established the first African American Masonic Lodge in his house on Walnut Street in Louisville, KY. Mount Moriah Lodge No. 1 was initially located in New Albany, IN, for three years. There was fear that there would be prejudice against the lodge in Kentucky, so the meetings were attended in secret. After three years the lodge was moved to Louisville. (A core of the lodge remained in New Albany for the members who lived in that city.) Jesse Merriwether was also a carpenter. He was the husband of Phoebe Merriwether, b. 1828 in KY. He is the author of A brief history of the schools, public and private, for colored youths in Louisville, Ky. for fifty years, from 1827 to 1876, inclusive. In 1889, Merriwether was selected as a possible candidate for the legislature for the 6th District of Kentucky. For more see The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. by J. E. Kleber; and for more about the beginning of the lodge see p. 42 of The History of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, by W. H. Gibson, Sr. See also the paragraph beginning 'Jesse Meriweather of Louisville...' in "The Race Doings," Cleveland Gazette, 06/29/1889, p. 1.