HENRY ALDEN BELCHER 1844-1915
- MM 1866, WM 1884, 1885, 1888, Norfolk Union
- DDGM, Brockton 24, 1891, 1892
- Junior Grand Steward 1889
- Deputy Grand Master 1896
FROM PROCEEDINGS, 1915
From Proceedings, Page 1915-37:
R.W. Henry A. Belcher, Deputy Grand Master in 1896 and a member of the Board of Directors for many years, died at his home in Randolph on January 20, 1915. He was constant in his attendance upon the Communications of the Grand Lodge and the meetings of the Board of Directors, and has always been a loyal and enthusiastic Mason as well as a successful merchant and, highly respected member of the cornmunity.
From Proceedings, Page 1915-60:
Born, August 6, 1844.
Died, January 20, 1915.
Again the relentless messenger has visited our Grand Body and we are called to mourn the loss of our much loved and highly esteemed. brother RIGHT WORSHIPFUL HENRY ALDEN BELCHER.
A noble man, a zealous Mason, who faithfully practised the principles and precepts of our institution.
He was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in Norfolk Union Lodge in 1866, and was its Worshipful Master in 1884, 1885, and 1888. He was also prominent in this Grand Lodge, serving as District Deputy of the 24th District in 1891 and 1892, and was Deputy Grand Master in 1896, and in 1897 he was further honored by an election as a Director of this Grand Body, which position he held at the time of his decease.
He was exalted as a Royal Arch Mason in Pilgrim Royal Arch Chapter in 1872 and, received the degrees of the Capitular Rite in Satucket Council in 1889, and in 1884 Bay State Commandery No. 38, Knights Templar conferred upon him the orders of Knighthood.
He was also a member of Massachusetts Consistory and on September 17, 1891, the Supreme Council of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction conferred upon him the honorary 33d Degree.
Such is a brief Masonic record of one of our most esteemed and beloved brethren, who in all the relations of life by his unvarying kindness, charity, and generosity, endeared himself to all with whom he was associated. He received his education in the schools of Randolph and in early life started on a mercantile career with such marked success that at the age of 18 years he was a partner in a well established dry goods business. When 21 years of age he entered, the house of Jordan, Marsh & Co., Boston, remaining with them eleven years when he became a partner in the house of R. H. White & Co. of that city. In 1896 he retired from business with a well deserved competence. He was a Director in the Boylston National Bank, of Boston, and also held. many other important positions in mercantile and financial circles.
In 1898 and 1899 he represented his native town in the legislature of this Commonwealth.
He was married to Hannah Butler Nye October 24, 1872, who survives him, and to whom we extend our most heartfelt sympathy in her great bereavement.
To our fraternity, with whom he was associated. in the strong bonds of Masonic friendship, the passing of his counsel, his aid, and cheerful cooperation is an irreparable loss, yet we would do his life injustice did we not also bear this testimony, that his good works expressed. themselves in acts of varied. service without distinction of person and upon his conception of the public good. The State, the Church, the Bank, all of the best forms of work that foster general improvement and prosperity levied. upon his time and strength and received an added impulse.
His memory will flourish in immortal green and his name will always be spoken tenderly by a multitude of friends.
FROM COUNCIL OF DELIBERATION, 1915
From Proceedings of the Massachusetts Council of Deliberation AASR NMJ, 1915, Page 23:
Henry A. Belcher, of Randolph, passed away January 20, 1915. Of sturdy Norfolk County stock, he early developed' that thrift which later made him so successful in mercantile life. At the age of twenty-one he was a partner in a dry goods business, and during the remainder of his life entered actively into the mercantile and financial life of Boston, being an active partner in our leading department stores and director in banks, street railways, and other industries. He represented his district in our Legislature and occupied responsible positions in town affairs. His strong financial and business equipment made him valuable in positions of trust where financial and business methods were needed. He was a Director of our Grand Lodge at the time of his death, and in Masonic bodies generally he occupied a position which will not readily be replaced.
From Proceedings of the Massachusetts Council of Deliberation AASR NMJ, 1915, Page 43:
Your committee appointed to prepare a memorial of our late Right Worshipful Brother Henry A. Belcher beg leave to submit the following:
Henry Alden Belcher was born at Randolph, Mass., on the sixth day of August, 1843. He was the son of Henry and Harriet Belcher and he was educated in his native town, being a graduate of the Stetson High School.
In 1857 he began his business career as a clerk in a dry goods store in Randolph, and at eighteen years of age became a partner in the concern, and three years later entered the employ of Jordan, Marsh & Company, where he served until 1876, when he became a member of the firm of R. H. White & Company, and so continued until 1896, when he retired, and giving up his active and successful work he traveled extensively, making several trips abroad. He also became deeply engrossed in horticulture and on several occasions took the first prize for the best arranged and most attractive private grounds in the State of Massachusetts.
In addition to his residence in Randolph Brother Belcher had a large estate on Cape Cod, where he was much interested in carrying on his farming operations.
His sound judgment and splendid business ability also made him a much-sought counselor in many fields, and he was a director of the Boylston National Bank, a director of the United States Coal and Oil Company, vice-president and treasurer of the Bristol and Norfolk Street Railroad Company, the vice-president of the Turner Free Library, and a member of the Massachusetts Legislature in 1898 and 1899.
He was also deeply devoted to the Unitarian Church and was for some time the president of the society.
The Masonic record of Brother Belcher is as follows:He received his Master Mason’s degree in Norfolk Union Lodge, on January 24, 1866, and his membership in that lodge dates from May 23d of that year, and after serving as Junior and Senior Warden, he was Worshipful Master in 1884, 1885, and 1888.
He was also District Deputy Grand Master in 1891 and 1892; Deputy Grand Master in 1896, and a Director of the Grand Lodge from 1897.
He received the Royal Arch degree in Pilgrim Chapter at Abington in 1872, his Super-Excellent degree in Satucket Council, Brockton, in 1889, and the Order of the Temple in Bay State Commandery in 1884.
He was also a member of Lafayette Lodge of Perfection, Giles F. Yates Council of Princes of Jerusalem, Mount Olivet Chapter of Rose Croix and Massachusetts Consistory, and he was made an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council of the thirty-third and last degree in September, 1901.
In every position that he was called to occupy Brother Belcher exhibited the same splendid attributes. Even tempered, decided, but not arbitrary, in his opinions, he commanded the respect and the earnest regard of all who knew him. He was a man of absolutely clean character. There are no blots or blemishes in the record of his life. His was a noble type of American citizenship, and his devotion to his home was worthy of emulation, since he spent nearly all of his evenings with his beloved wife at their fireside.
Brother Belcher was more than charitable — he was the friend and helper of all in need, and the extent of his giving can never be known, since he followed the scriptural injunction and did not let his left hand know what his right hand was doing. To every Masonic cause he generously lent his aid, and he provided in his will for a bequest of $20,000 to our Home at Charlton.The passing out of our earthly association of a man of such sterling qualities and such wide usefulness is a distinct loss to the moral capital of our community; and to us who were allied with him in Masonic friendship it is a source of deep and genuine grief, but our faith bridges the gulf between us and the Celestial Council into which he has been admitted to membership, and while our earnest sympathy goes out to her who was first in his affection, we look hopefully forward to a reunion with him in the world of light and life eternal.
We do not mourn a common loss.
O merchants, have you known of one,
A truer, cleaner-handed man
Than he whose earthly work is done?
Tell me, O friends, if anywhere
In all your circles, far or near,
You’ve found a firmer, truer friend
Than this fast friend that sleepeth here.
O husbands, wives, in all the earth,
Was any less disposed to roam?
One who was purer in his love,
Or more devoted to his home?
The memory of his noble life
May well inspire us; and some day
The clouds may lift, and light once more
Shine round about our darkened way.
I know he’d have us hopeful still:
Let us look up, then, through our tears.
He’ll not return, but we may hope
To find him in the happier years.
AT CORNER STONE LAYING IN BELMONT, OCTOBER 1896
From Proceedings, Page 1896-280:
FRIENDS AND BRETHREN: In all ages and in every land, men have erected altars and built temples and houses for the worship of God. In' obedience to this want of our common humanity, your society is to build this edifice that you may come up here and worship Him. May it be dedicated to that law of righteousness which man did not make and cannot change, and may your members have the spirit of those truths, without which religion is an empty word.
In response to your cordial invitation, and in accordance with our law, we have to-day laid the Corner-stone of your new church with our ancient customs and ritual. We thus show our sympathy with every movement which tends towards the glory of God, to the spirit of common brotherhood and all the kindly helpfulness which this relationship involves. Close as are the ties which bind you to this church, which will stand for the moral and religious uplifting of this community, they are no closer than are the ties which bind the Masonic Fraternity to those two fundamental principles of our Order — the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
While Masonry does not claim to be a religion, it inculcates and promotes in its teachings much that lies at the basis of all true religion. The Corner-stone of the Masonic Fraternity is the word of God, and without it there would be no Freemasonry. Taking this to be the rule and guide of our faith, the object of Masonry is to bind together its members in a social intercourse and a fraternal fellowship, with a view to promoting acts of benevolence and charity, exacting the practice of morality and a due allegiance to the powers that be, whether of heaven or of earth.
As we gather within our Lodge-rooms, men of every sect and creed, men of every rank and station in life, men of every shade of political opinion, the employer and the employee, ours must indeed be a wonderful organization, which brings them all together on a neutral ground where each and all may meet and be honored, not for any outward rank or position, but only for their inward rank or worth.
Does anyone ask why this Masonic Fraternity, this organization which traces its origin in the traditions of the remote past, exists and with ever-increasing membership and influence? Let me say that Masonry does not content itself in the past. If it did, its days and its influence would certainly be quickly numbered. It honors these traditions for the lessons which symbolically illustrate its principles; and the noble men of history and of our own day who are and have been the best exponents of its truths serve as an inspiration to make a successful application of its principles to everyday life and to the work of elevating human character.
Masonry can only be known by its fruits, and it is only by acting and living according to its principles that it has exercised such an influence in promoting the happiness of its own members and the world.
Character is the glory of man and Freemasonry devotes itself to its formation. Every member of the Fraternity is taught to be honest, upright, temperate and just, and in all things to be a loyal member of society. The true definition of a Mason is one whose influence is ever for the upbuilding of a manly character and who is ever allied to those who are on the side of what is good and true Brethren and Friends, the purpose for which the Grand Lodge of Masons came here has been accomplished, and I trust that your building may be speedily completed and that to your altar may come childhood and youth to find wisdom and purity; here may manhood be made earnest and thoughtful, and old age find the rest and peace of God.