HENRY CHICKERING 1819-1881
Senior Grand Warden, 1862
FROM PROCEEDINGS, 1881
The committee to whom was entrusted the preparation of a suitable tribute to the memory of R.W. Henry Chickering, Past Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge, respectfully and fraternally submit the following report: —
The services to the community in which he lived and the Fraternity which he honored, of a man like him whose loss the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts deplores this day, cannot be adequately measured by any enumeration of the public stations which he held, or of the offices and posts of duty to which he was called. The force of character, the influence of a good life spent in retirement, may be often more potent and beneficial than the more pronounced yet sometimes superficial results which spring from prominent official station. The subject of our contemplation did not need the glitter of office or rank to establish himself in the respect and admiration of his Brethren and associates. The characteristics of his mind and heart asserted themselves above the mere accidents of position, -and the services he rendered to the Institution of Freemasonry were hot the resultants of any honors bestowed upon him. They sprang from the depth and purity of rhis Masonic principles, from his conviction of their essential utility, and from his warm love of his Brethren. The Fraternity of this Commonwealth, with which for thirty years he was in the closest alliance, alike by his convictions and his sympathies, can never fail in their rendition of honor to his life and memory.
R.W. Henry Chickering was born in Woburn, in this Commonwealth, September 3, 1819. He was the son of Rev. Joseph C. and Sarah A. Chickering. When our deceased Brother was but three years old his father received a call to settle over the Congregational Church in Phillipston, Mass. The days of our Brother's boyhood were spent in Phillipston, where his elementary education was received. He, however, when of suitable age, was sent to the Phillips Academy, at Andover, and there completed such technical education as the school afforded. After finishing his term of study at the academy, he commenced the trade of a printer in Andover, and in that occupation continued until the time of his death, having during his business career been connected with the publication of several newspapers, the last of which was the Berkshire County Eagle, printed at. Pittsfield. Of this journal he was a part or the sole owner, from 1853 to the date of his death. His political views, while conscientiously and-tenaciously held, were kindly and courteously expressed, and his power as an editor and expositor of the doctrines of his party, over the area of its influence, was marked and beneficial. In the year 1853 he was elected a.member of the Executive Council over which Gov. Clifford presided, and held the same office the following year under Gov. Emory Washburn. In 1860 he was appointed a Trustee of the State Reform School at Westboro. Upon the accession of President Lincoln, in . 1861, he was appointed to the prominent, local position of Postmaster of Pittsfield, and for twenty years discharged the important duties of that office to the satisfaction alike of the department and the citizens. As a public man, toward whom the eyes of the people were constantly directed, as a citizen, a neighbor and friend, his life and example challenge the regard and admiration of all who knew him or came within the sphere of his influence. -
Our R.W. Brother was initiated into Masonry, in Lafayette Lodge, North Adams, March 17, 1851, of which he became, Jan. 24, 1853, Junior Warden, and Dec. 12, 1853, Worshipful Master. Upon his removal to Pittsfield, to take charge of the newspaper established there, he was dimitted from Lafayette Lodge, and became, Dec. 24, 1857, affiliated in Mystic Lodge, of Pittsfield. Of this Lodge he was Worshipful Master from 1859 to 1861. At the formation of Crescent iodge, of Pittsfield, 1874, he became one of the Charter Members, and, receiving.a dimit from Mystic Lodge, Oct. 6, of that year, was elected the first Worshipful Master, holding the office for a term of two years.
He received the Capitular degrees, in 1860, in Berkshire R.A. Chapter, of which Body he was High Priest in 1863 and 1864. He also served as Chaplain of the Chapter in 1874 and 1875. He was prominent in the establishment of Berkshire Council R. and S. Masters, which was formed in 1875, and of which he was the first Ill. Master, having received the Council degrees in Springfield Council, February 22, 1864. He held this position also for three,years, and in 1878 was appointed to the office of Chaplain, which he held at the time of his death. The Orders of Knighthood were conferred upon our distinguished Brother in Springfield Commandery in 1864, from membership in which he was dimitted Oct. 24, 1866. In 1865 he was one of the petitioners for a Dispensation to form a Commandery at Pittsfield. A Charter for this Body was granted in 1866, and Brother Chickering was elected First Generalissimo. In 1867 he was elected Commander, and served for two years. In 1874 he was again elected to the same station, which he held until the day of his death. Of this Body he was also Treasurer for the.years 1872, 1873, and 1874. He received the degrees of the A. & A. Scottish Rite to the 32° inclusive, in 1863, and, in 1880, the 33°. His connections with the various Grand Bodies of the Masonic institution were as follows, viz.: — In 1861 he was elected Senior Grand Warden of this Grand Lodge, and served with honor in that capacity during the following year. In December, 1862, he was appointed by Grand Master Parkman District Deputy Grand Master for the Ninth District, and discharged the duties of that important station, under successive Grand Masters, for six years. In 1863 he was elected Grand King of the Grand R.A. Chapter of Mass., and became Grand High Priest in 1868, holding that office for three years. In 1878 he was elected Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Council of R. and S. Masters of Mass., and in 1871 became Grand CapL Gen. of the Grand Commandery of Mass. and R.I., holding this station for two years.
This simple statement of the number and variety of Masonic offices, held by our eminent Brother, may serve to show, although inadequately, not merely the high esteem,in which his zeal and attachment to the Fraternity were held by the Brethren, but the labor, skill, and devotion which he so freely gave to the important interests committed to his charge. His efforts were not confined even to the discharge of so large. a round of duties as were involved in the occupation of so many official positions. In the often more laborious and responsible duties of committees .upon grave subjects of legislative policy or jurisdictional rights he rendered an equal, perhaps a higher, service.
"But his work is accomplished, and his record completed. The kindly service he so often rendered to us, no less than to the poor and unfortunate, must be transferred to. other hands. His genial presence and welcome counsel will no longer be felt in the circle of personal friendship or the Grand Assembly of this Fraternity; but to many hearts the memory of his deeds of benevolence will; long remain. At the performance of the funeral rites in the church, which was thronged with sorrowing Brethren, neighbors, and friends, the officiating clergjonan, in speaking of the great void which the death of our Brother would leave in other homes than his own, observed that 'he had a habit, wholly beautiful, of going to the sick and poor with gifts, of many kinds. There are homes that will miss greatly his helpful visits and his helpful gifts.' But while these beautiful ministrations, the harmonies, so to speak, of a warm and benevolent nature, have ceased on earth, they formed but the prelude of a loftier harmony in the more beautiful region to which his soul has sped. Visions of that region came over his sight in his last hours. Said his pastor at the funeral, 'There is another experience of our friend in his last illness, which, while indicating much concerning him, may be made profitable to us. As the outward man perished, the inner man was .renewed day by day. As his connections with earth parted strand by strand, he discovered more and more clearly his eternal connections with things unseen. As his vision here became more and more narrow, as his eyesight failed, the inner eye was cleared, its vision, purified and enlarged, till he could look at the things which are unseen rather than at the things which are seen.' So has he spoken to us his .Hail and Farewell! Your committee recommend the adoption'of the accompanying resolutions,—;
Resolved, That the Grand Lodge has suffered a serious deprivation in the strength of its counsel and a calamity in its ties of affection, by the decease of our late Brother Right Worshipful Henry Chickering, of Pittsfield, Past Senior Grand Warden.
Resolved, That in the performance of the Masonic duties which he owed the Craft, our late Brother was eminently true to his obligations; that in the numerous posts of duty to which in a long career he had been called, both in the Lodges and in the Grand Lodge, our deceased Brother won the regard and confidence of the Masonic Fraternity, and gave the best evidence of the soundness of his judgment, the uprightness of his heart, and the marked intellectual ability which he brought to the performance of every duty with which he was charged by this Grand Lodge. The confidence reposed in him and the exemplary manner in which he repaid it are attested in the records of this Body, by the important positions he has been successively called to fill, and by the valuable reports of the committees of which he was a member, on subjects of the organization, policy, and economy of this Grand Lodge.
Resolved, That these resolutions be spread upon the records of this Body, and printed with its proceedings, and that a fair copy thereof be transmitted by the Recording Grand Secretary to the family of our lamented Brother, attested by the seal of this Grand Lodge ; and that the Grand Master be requested to offer to them an expression of our sympathy for their suffering under their bereavement.
For the Committee,
CHARLES LEVI WOODBURY,
FROM LIBERAL FREEMASON, 1881
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. IV, No. 12, March 1881, Page 380:
We regret to record the death of this well-known citizen of Massachusetts, and zealous member of the Masonic Brotherhood. Brother and Sir Knight Chickering had been indisposed for some time, and seriously so for a month preceding his death, which occurred March 5th, in the afternoon. For nearly twenty years we have been personally acquainted with him, most of that time intimately so, and though we have known many good Masons, none have excelled him in zeal and fidelity to the craft, nor m the honesty of his intentions. The funeral services were held on the 8th, in the First Congregational Church, in Pittsfield, where he was a member, and were attended by the Masons without regalia. We shall hereafter give a sketch of this, our brother.
From Liberal Freemason, Vol. V, No. 1, April 1881, Page 4:
Henry Chickering's was a busy and a manly life. Born of religious parents — a painter by trade — a man in character and conduct — a Freemason in heart, he filled the period between his birth and his death usefully, and associated his name with so much that is good in Massachusetts, that memory of him will remain long after his person is forgotten.
Eulogy of him were vain, where his deeds are eloquent in praise. Henry, the son of Rev. Joseph C. and Sarah A. Chickering, was born in Woburn, Mass., September 3d, 1819, and died in Pittsfield, Mass., March 5th, 1881.
When three years of age his father received a call as pastor from a Congregationalist Church in Phillipston, and there his earlier years were spent, until when about fourteen years of age, and after a brief term at Phillips Academy, in Andover, he entered a printing office in that town and the business of his life was commenced.
In 1843, after a short partnership, he purchased the Transcript in North Adams, which he earnestly and influentially conducted in the interest of the Whig party until 1855, when he sold it, and in the spring of 1856, removed with his family to Pittsfield.
In 1853. he purchased an interest in the Eagle, a leading and ably conducted weekly, known as the Berkshire County Eagle, of which he became sole owner on January 1st, 1859, and so continued until 1865, when he sold a half interest to Brother and Sir Knight William D. Axtell, who survives him.
It was in Greenfield, and a little later, while conducting the Transcript, that his friendship with Henry L. Dawes, now Senator, began, and which has continued for more than thirty-five years to sweeten their lives, and the always friendly relations existing between their families.
In his political opinions he was pronounced and firm, as indeed he was in his opinions generally. While the Whig party existed he adhered to it, refused to be led into the American or Know Nothing party, and with the late Samuel Bowles, Henry Wilson and others, assisted in organizing the Republican party, in western Massachusetts, and attended the first Republican State Convention held in his native State.
During the years 1853 and 1854, he was a member of the Council of Govs. Clifford and Washburn, and from i860 to 1868, when he resigned, he was one of the Trustees of the Reform School at Westboro, and was recognized as one cf the most active and influential members of the board.
When the Republican party came into power in 1861, Mr. Chickering was appointed Postmaster of Pittsfield, the duties of which office he conducted with ability, and with a keen appreciation of the wants of the people. That he was a faithful officer the vastly improved condition of the mail service in his care affords ample evidence.
He was twice married; his first wife deceased in 1843, leaving a son who survived her only three years. His second wife, Miss Elvira P. Allen of Barre, Mass., with one son, and an adopted daughter, survives him. Two other children, a son and daughter, by this marriage are deceased.
The foundation for his Masonic fame was laid in Lafayette Lodge in North Adams, where he was made a Mason in 1851, and soon rose to the rank of Worshipful Master, which office he held for a few years, but after his removal to Pittsfield, he affiliated with Mystic Lodge, and was its Master in 1858.
In 1874 he became one of the Charter members of Crescent Lodge, and was its Master for the first two years of its existence; and a member of it at the time of his death.
On the 13th of March, 1860, Berkshire R. A. Chapter was organized in Pittsfield; of this body he at once became a member and served as High Priest in 1863 and 1864. In company with others from Pittsfield he received the Orders of Knighthood in Springfield Commandery, February 22d, 1864, and the following year he became one of the Charter members of Pittsfield Commandery, under date of December 22, 1865. Of this fine body of Templars he was the second Eminent Commander, in which place lie was succeeded by others, but was again elected in 1876, and continued in that office till death.
The organization of Berkshire Council ol Royal and Select Masters in 1875 is attributed chiefly to his efforts, and he was its first Thrice Illustrious Master, which office he held for three years.
In 1861 he was Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and was District Deputy G. M. of the Ninth Masonic District from December, 1862, until December, 1868.
In 1863, he was Grand King of the Grand R. A. Chapter of Massachusetts, and was elected Grand High Priest in 1868—69-70, by virtue of which office he became a permanent member of the General Grand Chapter of the United States.
In 1878 he was elected Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Council of R. and S. Masters of Massachusetts; and in 1871 was elected Grand Captain General of the Grand Commandery of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and served two years.
Early in the year 1863 he received all the degrees in the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite to the 32° inclusive, on September 17, 1879, be was elected, and on the 22d of the same month in 1880, the Thirty-third and last degree was conferred upon him in full form.
Occasionally impulsive, it must nevertheless be said of him, that while he was fearless in expressing his opinions, he was animated by a sincere desire, guided by a good conscience, to deal justly by all men; and no man could be more thoroughly imbued with a love of the right than he.
Thoroughly practical, he aimed also to be consistent, and his work in Masonry, as well as out of it, affords ample evidence of his fidelity. For the greater pari of his life he was a professedly Christian man, having united with the Congregational Church in Phillipston, in 1843. For a number of years he was Deacon in North Adams, and held a similar position in the First Church in Pittsfield from i860 to 1873, when he resigned the office. It may be that the rigid doctrines of his church had something to do with his external manner, but whether his apparent reserve was influenced thereby or not, his nature was warm and loving. The Sun, a rival weekly, and opponent in polities to the Eagle, has spoken of him as follows:
"While Mr. Chickering was a man of much ability and of many kindly qualities, he had a certain brusqueness and occasional impatience in the transaction of ordinary business which forbade his acquiring general popularity; but in social lile and those semi-social organizations in which he delighted, he had an exceedingly happy faculty of making himself agreeable; and in those circles few men had more friends."
This opinion of the Sun seems to be a fair expression of the facts, though it makes no special reference to one marked trait in his character, and that was the quality he had of never saying about any person what he would not say to him. After an intimate personal and friendly acquaintance with him of nearly or quite twenty years, we cannot recall a single instance of his using scandalous words about any person, and we are equally at a loss to remember any unkind ones, unless uttered by him in the way of reproof to the person for whom they were intended. Masonically and socially «e have met him in his own town and home, and have largely associated, with him in the business of Masonry for many years, and it is our delight to say that on no occasion can we speak of anything not in harmony with a pure heart and the fair fame of a Christian gentleman.
The day of his funeral was a solemn one in Pittsfield. All places of business were closed, the dead was taken to his rest through silent streets, and the show of respect from all the people. The services were according to the forms of his church in the presence of a crowded congregation — the sermon was eloquent and far-reaching — and from it we take this tribute:
"Mr. Chickering became a resident of Berkshire County in 1844, and has lived among this people for thirty-seven years. During this long period he has not been in obscurity. As editor of a newspaper he was brought before the eyes of his fellow men. Gaining conspicuous place in his profession in the political party to which he was attached, in the Masonic order of which he was a devoted member, in the church to which he belonged, a man whose life was thus lifted up before his fellows cannot be an unknown man. To many of you, to most of you, Mr. Chickering was better known than to myself. Mis achievements, his excellencies, his defects need no enumeration from me. You, his fellow citizens, knew them. Your presence here is your testimony to him." —
"There are many places in which he will be greatly missed. I may not refer to them all. He will be missed in other homes than his own. He had a habit, wholly beautiful, of going to the sick and poor with gifts of many kinds, often the products of his own producing. There are homes that will greatly miss his helpful visits and his helpful gifts."
Take him for all in all he was indeed a man to be loved and trusted.
Henry Chickering was more than a common man ; he honored the places he filled; he adorned Masonry. He lived according to the tenets of his profession, and practised Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. For the Craft he leaves the example of a faithful life, and for us all the admonition to be true to our trusts.