The Freemasons of New Mexico shall endeavor to conduct themselves according to the Tenets (Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth), Virtues (Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice) and Values (Freedom, Charity, and Friendship) of Freemasonry, and offer those teachings to men of good moral character through membership, to raise the moral, social, intellectual, and spiritual conscience of society.
The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free And Accepted Masons of New Mexico is the oldest and largest of the two regular Masonic Grand Lodges in the State of New Mexico. It was founded on August 7, 1877, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Immediately following the demise of Hardin No.87 in 1848, Freemasons residing in Santa Fe—capital of the territory which had been ceded to the United States that same year in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo—petitioned Missouri for a charter to establish a new lodge. On August 12, 1851, Montezuma No.109 was established, and for eleven years was the only active lodge in New Mexico. Some of the early leading men in the New Mexico Territory Tjoined Freemasonry at the new lodge in Santa Fe, including Lafayette Head, prominent merchant, U.S. Marshall, and later to be the first Lieutenant Governor of Colorado; famed trapper and scout Kit Carson; and Ceran St. Vrain, founder of the Santa Fe Gazette newspaper.
Two other lodges were later founded at Fort Union. Chapman Lodge No.95 in 1861, named for Lt. Colonel William Chapman, the commanding officer of Fort Union., and Union Lodge No.480 in 1874 were chartered at the fort, and would later move off of the military plat and become permanent, local lodges. Chapman No.95 was relocated to Las Vegas, and Union No.480 relocated from the fort to the nearby village of La Junta (later called Watrous) and is now in Wagon Mound.
The distance of New Mexico from Missouri left the lodges in the Territory out of touch with their Grand Lodge for long periods of time. Many days of travel on horseback over 1000 miles of the Santa Fe Trail was necessary to reach the governing Masonic authority. This inevitably resulted in poor communication and frustration for the lodges. A total of eight lodges were chartered in New Mexico by the Grand Lodge of Missouri after the removal or demise of the two purely military lodges associated with regiments active in the Mexican American War: Several of these original lodges quickly faltered. By 1877, when representatives met in Santa Fe to form the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, Kit Carson and Bent Lodges had folded, and Cimarron was only a few months away from a similar fate. Of the remaining five lodges, Silver City No.465 opposed the idea of breaking with Missouri, reflecting a standing regional conflict which pitted the powerful, landed class of the Santa Fe Ring against dusty backwater hamlets like Silver City. The other four lodges in the Territory: Montezuma, Chapman, Aztec, and Union all voted in favor of forming the new Grand Lodge.