From MasonicGenealogy
Revision as of 18:13, 6 October 2011 by (Talk)

Jump to: navigation, search



Senior Grand Warden, 1909
Grand Master, 1914-1916.


Dean of Boston University Law School, 1935-43 and Sovereign Grand Commander, AASR, Northern Masonic Jurisidction, 1933 -54. B. May 11, 1871 at Waltham, Mass. Graduate of Tufts and Boston U. Law School. He practiced law from 1895-1939, and gained an international reputation in the defense of the LeBlane-Glover murder case. In 1918 he became associate with the Boston U. Law School as a professor, and was dean emeritus from 1943. He was much in demand as a public speaker.

He was raised in Monitor Lodge, Waltham, Mass in 1892, served as Master in 1902 and Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts from 1914-1916. He was a member of all York Rite Bodies and many other Masonic organizations. He receieved distinguished service medals from the grand lodges of Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Nova Scotia, Czechoslovakia and Norway, as well as the Gourgas Medal from the NMJ, AASR. An author of many Masonic articles, his best known book is The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America. Under the his leadership the membership of the northern jurisdiction rose from a low of 208,000 to 425,000 in 1954, at the the time of his retirement from office. It is through his efforts that the northern jurisdiction set up a foundation for research int schizophrenia, the chief mental cripler. Since 1924 this foundation has sponsored more than 50 separate projects at reserach centers across the U.S and Canada. Johnson was a member of the executive committee of the George Washington National Masonic Memorial Association. d. Dec. 18, 1957.

Denslow, William R. 10,000 Famous Freemasons. v 1-4. Fulton, MO: Missouri Lodge of Research, 1957. VOL. 2 p. 305


From Proceedings, Page 1958-36:

Born in Waltham, Massachusetts, May 11, 1871
Died at his home in Boston, Massachusetts, December 18, 1957

He had been in failing health following a heart attack which hospitalized him in London, England, in late March as he and his wife were beginning a vacation in Europe.

He attended the public schools of Waltham and graduated from high school in 1888 and then from Tufts College in 1892 with the degrees of A.B. and Ph.B. After a year of travel, he entered Boston University Law School, from which he graduated in 1895, receiving the degree of LL.B., magna cum laude. He was subsequently honored with the degree of LL.D. from the University of Vermont in 1936; the degree of L.H.D. was conferred upon him by Marietta College (Ohio) in 1941; the degree of D.C.L. was granted him by Illinois Wesleyan University in 1949; the LL.D. by Tufts College in 1949, and the degree of L.H.D. by Boston University in 1954. In addition, he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1938 and an Honorary Member of the American Psychiatric Association in 1940.

He was admitted to the practice of law in the Supreme Court of Massachusetts in 1895 and the United States Supreme Court in 1903. He continued his active association with the legal profession until 1939 when he retired from the firm of Johnson and North. During his long career, Dr. Johnson was prominent in the field of corporation law and also served as an officer or director in a number of financial, industrial and charitable associations.

Most Worshipful Brother Johnson took a great interest in legal education, first, as a lecturer at Boston University Law School in 1918 and 1919, and then as Professor, 1920-1935; Dean, 1935-1942, and Dean Emeritus, 1942.

He married Miss Ina Delphene Freeman at Needham, Massachusetts, October 8, 1895. Mrs. Johnson died December 9, 1947. On August 14, 1954, he married Mrs. Eleanor Yeager Payzant at Woodstock, Vermont, who survives him, together with a son, Melvin Maynard Johnson, Jr.

Most Worshipful Brother Johnson's long, distinguished and notable Masonic record follows:

  • Symbolic:
    • Member of Monitor Lodge, Waltham, 1892
    • Worshipful Master, 1902-1903
    • Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts, District Deputy Grand Master, 1904-1905; Member

Board of Trial Commissioners, 1899-1905 and 1912; Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1913-1915; Member Masonic Education and Charity Trust; Representative of Scotland and Panama and, for many years, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. He received the Henry Price Medal from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and was an Honorary Member of many Lodges and Grand Lodges. He was decorated by the Grand Lodge o{ Norway as Knight Commander with the Red Cross and Honorary Member of the 11th and last degree of the Norwegian Order of Freemasonry.

  • Capitular:
    • Exalted in Waltham Chapter, R.A.M., April 20, 1893.
  • Cryptic:
    • Greeted in Adoniram Council, R.&S.M., December 10, 1908.
  • Chivalric:
    • Knighted in Gethsemane Commandery, K.T., November 28, 1893. Demitted and affiliated with Sir Galahad Commandery, K.T., in 1922; demitted and affiliated with St. Bernard Commandery in 1933.
  • Scottish Rite:
    • Received the degrees from the Fourth to the Thirty-second in the four Boston bodies in 1904-1905. Thrice Potent Master of Boston-Lafayette Lodge of Perfection in 1917-1918.
  • Supreme Council:
    • Created an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, September 15, 1914, at Chicago, Illinois, and was crowned an Active Member on September 23, 1920, at Chicago. Elected Sovereign Grand Commander on September 28, 1933, at Bostoo. He was chairman of the delegation of this Supreme Council to the International Conference of Supreme Councils, Brussels, Belgium, in 1935, and made numerous other foreign trips, visiting Masonic Bodies throughout the world. Served as Representative near this Supreme Council for England, Ireland and Argentina, and was an Honorary Member of many Scottish Rite Valleys and other Supreme Councils.

He was a member of Aleppo Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., Boston; Bay State Conclave No. 29, Red Cross of Constantine; Royal Order of Scotland; and the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis. He was a prime mover in the establishment of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association at Alexandria, Virginia, serving as Vice President in 1916-1920 and as a Director for many years. He was also a member of the International Supreme Council, Order of DeMolay, and was active as Deputy for Massachusetts during the formative period, 1922-24; and then as an Active Member of that Supreme Council, 1924-1951.

He was a noted Masonic author, publishing many articles, pamphlets and two widely-known books, Freemasonry in America Prior to 1750 (1916) and The Beginnings of Freemasonry in America (1924). He was a Fellow of the American Lodge of Research of New York and o{ The Philalethes Society. One of the projects closest to his heart was the initiation of research into the cause of Dementia Praecox (now better known as schizophrenia).

Private funeral services were held at the Church of the Advent, Boston, on Saturday morning, December 21st. A tribute to Dr. Johnson was also paid at the December meeting of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. Burial was at Mount Peake Cemetery, 'Waltham, Massachusetts.

Fraternally submitted,
Joseph Earl Perry
Thomas S. Roy
Claude L. Allen


1914 1915 1916




Grand Masters