GMWragg

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SAMUEL H. WRAGG 1882-1959

SamuelHWragg1945.jpg

Deputy Grand Master, 1940
Grand Master, 1945-1947


TERM

1945 1946 1947

BIOGRAPHY

FROM NEW ENGLAND CRAFTSMAN, 1945

From New England Craftsman, Vol. XL, No. 6, February 1945, Page 82:

The Masons of Massachusetts will unanimously accord to the new Grand Master. Samuel Wragg, a cordial welcome in his elevation to that high office, and its great responsibilities. In accordance with tradition, the selection of Most Worshipful Brother Wragg was made only after the most careful scrutiny of all available leaders; he is a man well skilled in the arts and architecture of the Craft, of amiable disposition and excellent executive ability. A public servant for many years — he has been Sheriff of Norfolk County and a member of the State Legislature — he brings to the office high talents and the prospect of an able administration. He will have the good wishes of everyone in his new undertaking.

MEMORIAL

From Proceedings, Page 1959-206:

On May 13, 1959, Samuel Holmes Wragg, one of the most beloved of our Past Grand Masters, passed away suddenly at his home in Needham in his 77th year.

Most Worshipful Brother Wragg was born in Needham, Massachusetts, on June 9, 1882, the son of William Wragg and Mary Holmes Wragg, both of whom were born in England. He received his education in the Needham Public Schools and first entered the business world in Boston as an employee of Samuel Ward Company, Stationers. As a young man he was employed in Philadelphia by his uncle, John G. Holmes, who was engaged in the manufacture of surgical elastic. He gave up a promising future in Philadelphia to return to New England where he became employed in the same type of business by the Frank W. Gorse Co., of Needham. From 1915 to 1940 he engaged in the real estate and insurance business, and in 1933, he became President of Charles Walton & Son, Inc., in Needham, manufacturers of elastic fabrics, which position he held until his retirement in September 1949. He held directorships in the Norfolk County Trust Company, Needham Cooperative Bank, and Norfolk and Dedham Mutual Fire Insurance Company.

Most Worshipful Brother Wragg became interested in politics at an early age and he achieved an enviable record as a public servant in the service of the Town of Needham, the County of Norfolk, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was first elected a Selectman of the Town of Needham in 1914, which office he held for six years. From 1919 through 1924 he served in the General Court as a member of the House of Representatives. From 1925 through 1938 he served the Commonwealth as a member of the State Senate, over which he presided as President during the years 1937 and 1938. For twenty-two years, from 1931 through 1952, he served his native Town of Needham as Moderator. In 1930 he was appointed Chairman of the Tercentenary Committee of the General Court in connection with the Tercentenary Celebration of the Commonwealth o{ Massachusetts, on which M.W. Roger Keith also served. Upon retiring from the Massachusetts Senate he was elected High Sheriff of the County of Norfolk, an office which he held with dignity and distinction from 1938 to the date of his death.

His public service was not confined to politics. The high esteem in which he was held was evidenced by his elevation to the Presidency of Middlesex College, now Brandeis University. The Masonic career of our distinguished Brother began in Norfolk Lodge in Needham where he was received, passed and raised on October 13th, November 10th, and December 8th, 1913, respectively. He was almost immediately appointed in the officer line of Norfolk Lodge, and became installed as Master in June 1921. He became a Charter Member of Nehoiden Lodge of Needham upon its organization in 1929.

In 1939, by appointment of M.W. Joseph Earl Perry, he served as District Deputy Grand Master of the Brighton Fifth Masonic District, in which office he served with such distinction that the following year, instead of being reappointed as District Deputy Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Perry appointed him as his Deputy Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts for 1940. He was installed as Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts on December 27, 1944, in which office he served during the years 1945, 1946 and 1947. Thereafter he served on a volunteer basis for a brief period as Relief Commissioner of the Grand Lodge to fill in the gap temporarily upon the retirement of M.W. Arthur D. Prince. In 1940 he was appointed Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Virginia near our Grand Lodge, which office he held until his death. In 1948 he was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Masonic Service Association of the United States, but after ten years of service, he felt obliged to decline reelection to this office in February 1958 because of his failing health.

Most Worshipful Brother Wragg received our Henry Price Medal for distinguished Masonic service in 1940. He was elected as an Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick, and he was presented with the Erasmus James Phillips Medal by the Grand Lodge of Nova Scotia, the Jeremy L. Cross Medal by the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire, the Distinguished Service Medal by the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island, and the Paul Revere Medal by the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts. He also received the Honorary Legion of Honor of the Order of De Molay. He received his Thirty-third Degree as an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in Pittsburgh in 1946.

In the collateral Masonic Bodies he held membership in Hebron Royal Arch Chapter in Norwood, Boston Council Royal and Select Masters of Boston, Gethsemane Commandery, Knights Templar, o{ Neu'ton, and all four of the Boston Scottish Rite Bodies.

Most Worshipful Brother Wragg's Masonic interest extended to some of the organizations having a Masonic prerequisite. He was a Shriner with membership in Aleppo Temple of Boston. He belonged to the Red Cross of Constanrine, with membership in San Lorenzo Conclave in the Panama Canal Zone, and Charter Membership in Bay State Conclave in Boston. He was made at sight a Tall Cedar of Lebanon in Bay State Forest #148 in Framingham, and a Veiled Prophet of the Mystic Realm in Taleb Grotto in Quincy. He was also a member of Wisteria Chapter Order of the Eastern Star in Needham.

On August 28, 1906, he was married to Henrietta Beless. On August 28, 1956, they celebrated their Golden Wedding by holding a reception in their home which was attended by a large number of their friends in their various circles of interest.

Mrs. Wragg had been in declining health for many years and, during the last few years of her life, Most Worshipful Brother Wragg had given of himself unstintingly and selflessly to help sustain her in her courageous fight against the inroads of a disease from which death could be her only release. This loving devotion and care exacted a heavy toll from him, both physically and emotionally. After her death on November 25, 1958, he finally consented to a period of hospitalization under the care of one of Boston's leading heart specialists. Upon his discharge it appeared that he might be restored to a reasonable measure of health which would enable him to engage to a limited extent in some of his customary activities. In fact, only a few days before he passed away he had radiated more encouragement and he seemed to be in better health than had been apparent for many months prior thereto. He had, with obvious zest, participated in some Masonic activities and he looked forward with anticipation to some renelr,ed Masonic activity. However, the Grand Architect of the Universe had other plans laid out on the trestle board, and Most Worshipful Brother Wragg was stricken suddenly and fatally with an acute coronary occlusion in the early morning hours of May 13, 1959.

Funeral services were held at the Carter Memorial Church in Needham, o{ which he was a member, on Saturday, May 16, 1959, and the interment was in the Needham Cemetery.

Most Worshipful Brother Wragg had one son, William H. Wragg of Newton, presently the Treasurer o{ the Union Savings Bank of Boston. He also leaves two brothers, William P. Wragg of Holbrook, and Atbert E. Wragg of Needham.

The sincere devotion in the discharge of his Masonic duties, the unquestioned integrity in the administration of his various positions of public trust, the strict ethics which characteized the conduct of his business affairs, and the high ideals which governed his every act in private life are common knowledge. These facts speak more convincingly and eloquently than all the words that we might command. Yet there are a few things that should not go unrecorded. With but scant formal education, he became in reality a self-educated and self-made man, whose grasp of a wide range of knowledge was the constant wonder and admiration of his friends and colleagues. He seemed instinctively to sense the right answer to problems even in fields where he had little reason to be well versed.

As is always the mark of a great rnan, he was humble and unassuming, yet he was always willing to assume the responsibility of making decisions. As men of unquestioned integrity are wont to do, he placed great faith in his fellow men, attributing to others the worthy motives which instinctively governed his own actions, yet he was not easily taken advantage of. His understanding of people enabled him to select capable subordinates. His confidence in their integrity and loyalty permitted him to delegate authority with confidence, and the confidence and support which he gave to his subordinates developed in them the highest possible standards of responsibility in the discharge of their delegated authority. This, it seems to us, was the secret of the great success and apparent ease with which he administered the various tasks with which he was entrusted.

Such was the man whose memory we cherish. Every member of our Craft may point to him with pride and say that to Sam Wragg, as he was affectionately known, Masonry was the expression of a very particular way of life lived at its finest level. But, what is even more significant, we may all point with justifiable pride to the fact that Sam Wragg was very particular to see that the way he lived his life was an expression of Masonry at its very finest.

Fraternally submitted,
Whitfield W. Johnson
Claude L. Allen
Roger Keith
Committee

NOTES

CHARTERS GRANTED

RULINGS


Grand Masters