In 1958, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Lodge Han Yang, the McFarlane Hunting Ancient tartan was selected as the official lodge color.The tartan was chosen in honor and remembrance to Bro. Alexander McFarlane, who was not only a founding member of Lodge Han Yang, but also served as the Right Worshipful Master in 1937. Originally from Canada, Bro. McFarlane had made a living in Korea as a miner and businessman. He lived with his Japanese wife, Sosa, in a village between Seoul and Inchon.
In 1940, during the time of the Japanese occupation of Korea, tensions between the Lodge and the Japanese administrators ran high. On several occasions, members of the Japanese secret police attempted to break into the Lodge room to search for evidence of a secret society, which was officially prohibited. During this time period, the Lodge officially functioned as a club and the secret police had the right to demand admittance to any meeting, but records show that they never enforced this power. However, members of the Lodge were continually questioned about their Masonic activities. As a direct result of these hostilities, Lodge Han Yang was put into early recess in the spring of 1940.
In order to protect the records and other important items, several of the members who had decided to stay in Korea took possession of the Charter, documents, regalia and furniture. Since Bro. McFarlane was the treasurer, he volunteered to keep the financial records in his home. Soon after the recess, in 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and Lodge Han Yang was forced into its longest period of darkness.
By the time Lodge Han Yang reopened in June of 1946, Bro. McFarlane had completed his earthly labors and had traveled to the Grand Lodge above. His widow, however, remained faithful to Bro. McFarlane’s wishes and had securely kept the vital Lodge records. These were presented to the Brethren so that the Lodge could be reopened under the leadership of Bro. Jensen, who, as Master, had closed the lodge six years earlier.
Bro. Alexander McFarlane is interred in the Seoul Foreigners’ Cemetery.
More information about the McFarlane Tartan can be found here.
Click here to read an LA Times article about the Seoul Foreigners’ Cemetery.