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Thirteen?!

The number thirteen is widely claimed by anti-masons to be an important or significant number to Freemasonry. As it cannot be found anywhere in masonic ritual, nor in the many explorations of masonic symbols published over the years by masonic authors, freemasons may be forgiven for being baffled by this claim.
But there was one freemason who felt the number thirteen had masonic significance, and although he never explained what the significance was, he managed to be published in one of the largest circulation masonic magazines, The New Age.
James B. Walker 32°—who has left us no other record of his thoughts or masonic career— wrote a description of the "masonic" symbols on the US dollar bill, highlighting what he claimed was the masonic significance of the number thirteen.
The squib, not really an article, follows:
Masonic Symbols In a $1 Bill
13leaves in the olive branches
13bars and stripes in the shield
13feathers in the tail
13arrows
13letters in the "E Pluribus Unum" on the ribbon
13stars in the green crest above
32long feathers representing the 32° in Masonry
13granite stones in the Pyramid with the Masonic "All-seeing Eye" completing it
13letters in Annuit Coeptis, "God has prospered."
On the front of the dollar bill is the seal of the United States made up of a key, square, and the Scales of Justice, as well as a compass; which, of course, is an important symbol in Masonry.
James B. Walker 32°
And that's all Walker wrote. He gave no explanation for his claim, simply presenting it as given. Published as it was, in an official masonic publication, the non-mason may be excused for accepting the claim at face value.
Unremarked is Walker's curious endnote wherein he attempts to describe the seal of US Department of the Treasury. He mistakenly calls it the seal of the United States, describes a chevron—a common device in heraldry—as a square, ascribes the attribute of justice to what is a simple weigh scale, and imagines the presence of a compasses.
One could also be pedantic and point out that there are not thirteen granite stones—who said they were granite?—but thirteen rows of stones on the pyramid depicted in the seal reverse. One could go further and insist that there are actually twelve rows of stones and an engraved plinth. And the actual lettering of "Annuit Coeptis" incorporates the ligature æ and therefore only contains twelve letters. But all of this is secondary to Walker's demonstrably unique and erroneous definition of thirteen as masonicly significant.
Why Walker believed as he did and why his claim was allowed to appear in the Scottish Rite magazine remain unsolved masonic mysteries. But nowhere else in masonic writings will the number thirteen be presented as significant. If some forgotten anti-mason hadn't stumbled across this lone voice, the number thirteen would never have become identified—in the minds of conspiracy theorists—with Freemasonry.
Some online versions of this text have added a fictional footnote reference to a non-existent paragraph: "(See page 27, 4th paragraph)". In fact, page 27 contains the last three paragraphs of an unrelated article about the Nile Valley.
The suggestion has also been made that the number thirteen is masonicly significant because it refers to Friday, 13 October 1307, the date the Knights Templar were arrested. The complete lack of evidence to support this claim, not to mention the historical and logical fallacies undermining it, make this suggestion highly unlikely.

"Masonic Symbols In a $1 Bill" James B. Walker, The New Age. vol. lxviii, no. 4, April, 1960. editor in chief, Luther A. Smith; aid, Norman S. Meese. The Official Organ of THE SUPREME COUNCIL 33° Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction United States of America. p. 17.

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