Freemasonry in Maine 1762 - 1945

Author:  Ralph J. Pollard

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Picture of Alexander H. PutneyAlexander H. Putney, Thirteenth Grand Master

Most Worshipful Alexander H. Putney was a native of Massachusetts, and a hatter by profession. Little is known of his early life. He came to Portland in 1828, and was already a Mason. He affiliated with Ancient Land-Mark Lodge in 1829; served the lodge as Junior Warden in 1830 and 1831; Senior Warden from 1832 to 1835, and as Master from 1836 to 1842. In Grand Lodge he served as Deputy Grand Master in 1846, and was elected Grand Master in 1847; and re-elected the following year. He was one of the " Forty-Niners " to California, going early in the rush after golden promises. He never returned to Maine. After taking up residence in California he severed connection with Ancient Land-Mark Lodge and affiliated with a new lodge near his home. He is recorded as having " died in California, in September, 1861, aged fifty-seven years and seven months."

Picture of Joseph C. StevensJoseph C. Stevens, Fourteenth Grand Master

Most Worshipful Joseph C. Stevens, at the time of his death, June 9, 1883, was the senior Past Grand Master. He was born in Boston. Mass., September 7, 1803, and when a young man was appointed a cadet at the United States Military Academy, at West Point, from which institution he was graduated with honors in 1824, but did not enter the Regular Army. He was one of the engineers employed in the construction of the Erie Canal. He came to Bangor in 1827, where he was prominent in business affairs for many years, and a successful dealer in timberlands, His military training led him to take an active interest in the militia, and during the Civil War he rendered the Government valuable service and material aid. He was commissioned a Major General by the State. Brother Stevens was initiated into Masonry in Rising Virtue Lodge. No. 10, in Bangor, May 27. 1828; became Master in 1846; Junior Grand Warden of The Grand Lodge in 1848, and Grand Master in 1849 and 1850. He was also active in other departments of the York Rite, and presided over the Grand Chapter, Grand Council, Grand Commandery and Grand Order of High Priesthood. He was a dignified, courteous Christian gentleman, respected in his community and valued in his church. Subsequently be moved to Lancaster, Mass., and upon the decease of his wife removed to Boston, where he died at the ripe old age of nearly eighty years. The burial service was touchingly rendered by a select body of his Masonic brothers, which had met for that purpose. He had five sons, all of whom served with distinction at the front in the Civil War Brother Stevens' name is perpetuated in Capitular Masonry in Maine by the fact that Stevens Chapter. No. 28, at Newport was named for him.

Picture of John C. HumphreysJohn C. Humphreys, Fifteenth Grand Master

Most Worshipful Brother John C. Humphreys was initiated in United Lodge, No. 8, at Brunswick, in 1819; and having filled most of the subordinate offices in the lodge he was elected its Worshipful Master in 1825. After having served as Junior Grand Warden, Senior Grand Warden and Deputy Grand Master, he was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in 1851, and re-elected in 1852. In civil life he held the office of Senator in the Legislature of Maine, and Sheriff of the County of Cumberland. In all stations, whether Masonic or civil, he discharged their duties with zeal, ability and success. He died in Brunswick, on June 18, 1865, at the age of sixty-seven years, and was buried by the Grand Lodge of Maine in special communication, Most Worshipful William P. Preble, Grand Master officiating.

Picture of Freeman BradfordFreeman Bradford, Sixteenth Grand Master

Most Worshipful Brother Bradford was born in Minot, Androscoggin County, Maine, May 24, 1802. He was graduated from Waterville College (now Colby College) in 1827, and at once came to Portland to commence the study of law in the office of Stephen Longfellow, Sr. He was admitted to the bar in 1830, and began the practice of law in Orono, remaining there until the following autumn, when he returned to Portland and opened an office. In 1833, he was appointed to superintend the construction of the Breakwater in Portland Harbor by the Government. In 1864, he moved to Auburn and opened an office, remaining therefor seven years, when he returned to Portland. Brother Bradford received his degrees in Portland Lodge, No. 1, in 1844. At the following meeting he was elected Senior Deacon, and at the next election Worshipful Master. He withdrew from Portland Lodge and was a charter member of Atlantic Lodge, No. 81. He was Grand Master in 1853, declining a re-election. Coming upon the stage, just as Masonry was reviving after its long sleep, he was exceedingly useful in re-organizing the Masonic bodies, and establishing correct modes of procedure. The work had been forgotten and as a consequence, many errors and new inventions crept in; he did much to restore the old work and establish uniformity throughout the State. Brother Bradford revised the Constitution and to him are we indebted for the excellence of that document. He received his Chapter degrees in Mount Vernon Chapter, was a charter member and first High Priest of Greenleaf Chapter, and was Grand High Priest in 1848. He was also one of the founders of the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar, of Maine, in 1852. He died in Portland, October 23, 1873.

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