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  • Grand Pursuivant, 1881-1882
  • Senior Grand Warden, 1888



From Proceedings, Page 1918-271, Grand Master's Address:

I exceedingly regret to be obliged to announce the decease of R.W. Brother James M. Gleason who passed from us on Tuesday, October 15, 1918. He became a member of this Grand Lodge in December, 1878, and was elected to Permanent Membership in 1887. For more than thirty years he cherished a deep interest in this Grand Body. Always present at the Quarterly Communications, always willing to serve in any capacity, prompt and efficient in every duty, wise and sympathetic in every case of want or distress - such was Brother Gleason, whose cordial greeting and cheerful disposition we shall greatly miss. His work was well done, his years full of activity, and his life crowned with charity and good will.

From Proceedings, Page 1918-491:

R. W. James Mellen Gleason, son of Josiah, Jr. and Susan Reed Morse Gleason, was born at Wardsboro, Vermont, October 6, 1833. He received his education in the public and private schools in his native town, at Springfield Wesleyan Seminary, Springfield, Vermont, and at French's Commercial College, Boston, Mass. He had taught school in Vermont four terms, probably the greater part of a year, when at twenty-three, in common with so many other New England country boys, he gravitated to Boston for his life work. Here he was a bookkeeper for seven years, and of the next seven years a hotel proprietor for three years. On March 1, 1870, he became Cashier of the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, filling that position more than twenty-four years, when he became Treasurer, and served in that position until his retirement from business in 1911.

His genealogical record shows him to be in the eighth generation from Thomas Gleason, of Sulgrave, Northamptonshire, England, who came to this country about 1632. It would be impossible to select a characteristic of our Brother which would apply singly to his many-sided life. He was an "all-round" good man, and viewed from any point measured up to the full stature of manliness. He was genial and wholesome to meet, faithful to every trust and to his friends, loyal to his country, his home, and to the Masonic Fraternity of which he was an honored member, charitable beyond anything we shall ever know, a liberal contributor to any cause which merited his attention and sympathy. As a memorial to his father and mother he caused to be erected in his native town a town hall which is said to have cost fifty thousand dollars. He was not given to discussing his gifts even with his close friends, and it is therefore impossible to record his benefactors.

He enjoyed the society of his friends, as is evident by the following list of clubs and societies of which he was a member, which also indicates the diversity of his inclinations.

  • New England Historic Genealogical Society
  • Boston Art Club
  • Appalachian Mountain Club
  • Bostonian Society
  • Young Men's Christian Union
  • Vermont Association of Boston
  • Vermont Veterans Association of Boston and Vicinity, Honorary Member
  • Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, Sergeant one year
  • Knights of Rome and Red Cross of Constantine
  • Edward W. Kinsley Post No. 113, G.A.R., Associate Member
  • Algonquin Club
  • Boston City Club
  • Middlesex Club
  • Massaehusetts Republican Club
  • Siloam Lodge, No. 2, I.O.O.F.

But with all his associations and connections there is no doubt his membership in the Masonic Fraternity rested nearest his heart and claimed and received his most intense devotion. In this he displayed the most untiring and efficient service as member of committee, or as a subordinate or presiding officer, without doubt obtaining more satisfaction from this connection than from any other outside his business.

The following will indicate his activities in the various Masonic organizations. He received the Master Mason degree in Joseph Warren Lodge February 25, 1868, and membership March 24, 1868. He was respectively Junior Deacon, Senior Deacon, Junior Warden, Senior Warden, and Worshipful Master two years, 1877-1879. He was Treasurer of his Lodge twenty-five years, 1880-1905, when he was elected a Trustee, which office he held until his death.

In Grand Lodge he served as Grand Pursuivant, 1881 and 1882; Grand Lecturer, 1884 to 1887 inclusive; a member of the Auditing Committee 1878 to 1880 inclusive, the last two years Chairman of the Committee; Chairman of the Committee on Returns 1880 to 1888, to which Committee he was later reappointed, being its Chairman at the time of his death; member of the Committee on Charters and By-Laws 1903-1907, and Senior Grand Warden in 1888. He was a member of the Worshipful Masters' Association of Boston, and one of the organizers of the District Deputy Grand Masters Association of which he continued an active and honored member.

He received the Royal Arch Degree in Saint Andrew's Chapter January 20, 18n. serving as Chaplain two years, 1884-85. He received the Super-Excellent Degree in Boston Council Royal and Select Masters May 28, 1871, serving as Recorder seven years from 1873. He received the Order of the Temple in Boston Commandery No. 2, Knights Templars, November 20, 1872, when he served as Assistant Guard, Junior Warden, Senior Warden, Captain General, Generalissimo, and Eminent Commander. In Grand Commandery he served on the Committee on Ritual in 1884 and as Grand Lecturer in 1890.

He received the Grades in Boston Lodge of Perfection, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, and served two years as Secretary. He became a member of Giles F. Yates Council of Princes of Jerusalem October 6, 1871, Mount Olivet Chapter of Rose Croix October 20, 1871, and Massachusetts Consistory Sublime Princes of the Royal Secret November 3, 1871. He received the thirty-third degree and was enrolled an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, September 21, 1897. He received the Royal Order of Scotland September 19, 1898.

He died October 15, 1918. Funeral services were held at the Second Unitarian Meeting House, Coolidge Corner, October 20, 1918. Rev. Dr. Van Ness and Rev. Dr. Hamilton, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge, officiating. In keeping with the well-known desires of our Brother, the service was of the simplest character, only Boston Commandery being represented officially by a guard of honor. After the ceremonies the remains were conveyed to Wardsboro, Vermont, for interment.

So passes a good man and a good Mason, one who "Iived respected and dies regretted."

Signed by the Committee,
Dana J. Flanders
Daniel W. Lawrence, Senior Permanent Member of the Grand Lodge,
Leonard B. Nichols.


From New England Craftsman, Vol. XIV, No. 1, October 1918, Page 26:

James Mellen Gleason, a well-known and much beloved and respected member of the Masonic Fraternity, died after a brief illness Tuesday, Oct. 15, at his home in the Copley Square Hotel, where he has resided many years. Brother Gleason has just passed his eighty-fifth birthday, having been born in Wardsboro, Vt., October 6, 1833. He was one of four sons of Josiah and Susan Read (Morse) Gleason. He was closely attached to his parents and in later life, after having accumulated the means for doing so, he presented his native town with a Memorial Hall on the front of which was placed a bronze tablet inscribed in honor of his parents. The building which was admirably arranged and furnished for town purposes was presented to the town and accepted with appropriate ceremony July 4, 1907.

Brother Gleason's boyhood was spent on the homestead. He attended the schools of his native town and Springfield Wesleyan Seminary. He went to Boston in 1856 and after pursuing a regular course, graduated from French's Commercial College. On March 1, 1870 he entered the employment of the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company and continued with the company as cashier and later as treasurer during his business life.

Brother Gleason was highly regarded as a man of business and not until he was well along in years did he retire to private life.

As a Freemason he was widely known He was made a Mason in Joseph Warren Lodge, Boston, February 25, 1868; a Royal Arch Mason in St. Andrews R. A. Chapter January 20, 1871; a Royal and Select Master in Boston Council May 25, 1871; and a Knight Templar in Boston Commandery November 20, 1872. He filled many Masonic Offices in the various rites.

Among the numerous positions he filled were those of Master of his lodge; commander of the Commandery, and Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge. He was a thirty-third degree Mason of the Scottish Rite, and <l member of many societies and associations.

He was especially loyal to his native town and state and was an
honorary member of the Vermont Veteran Association of Boston. In
every Masonic affiliation, as well as in all relations which Brother Gleason has borne in business or social life he has won the respect and lasting regard of all with whom he has been associated. His pleasant greetings 
and cordial friendship will be missed by us but his virtues will shine with 
greater lustre in the brightness of the summer land to which he has now


From Proceedings of the Massachusetts Council of Deliberation AASR NMJ, 1919, Page 32:

Our Illustrious Brother James Mellen Gleason, 33°, having accomplished a life of active usefulness, was called home on October 15, 1918, his years being fourscore and five.

His early training among the rugged hills of Vermont gave him a sound constitution, and when he came to Boston soon after his majority he was enabled to engage in various pursuits until he finally became cashier of the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, in 1870, a position which he held for nearly twenty-five years, when he became Treasurer of that enterprising and successful Life Insurance Company, and he continued in charge of its finances until he retired within a few years past.

He never married, and Masonry was to him like family ties and connection. The numerous bodies of which he was an officer and member, both active and honorary, evidenced his love for the Craft and the esteem in which he was held by the brethren.Outside of these numerous Masonic affiliations he was an Active Member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Boston, of the Boston Art Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, Bostonian Society, and the New England Historical Genealogical Society, while anything that had the badge of Vermont claimed his devotion, civil or military; in all organizations of which he was a member he took an active interest and found pleasure and enjoyment in the association with friends.

He received his thirty-third and last degree of our Rite, September 21, 1897, having received all other Scottish Rite degrees in the Boston bodies in 1871, so that he was a senior among us.

It is interesting as a coincidence that Thomas Gleason, the ancestor from whom he descended, was born in Sulgrave, England, in 1607, leaving there for this country in 1632; this town was the birthplace of Lawrence Washington, the rector of Purleigh, identified in 1889 by Henry FitzGilbert Waters as the identifying link connecting our immortal brother, “the Father of his Country,” with old England.

The funeral was held October 20th last, at 2.30 p.m., at the Second Unitarian Church, Sewall Avenue, Brookline. The body of the church was filled; representatives of various organizations of which Brother Gleason was a member, or in which he was interested, were present; among them the Farm and Trades School, The John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, G. A. R. Post 116, of which he was an associate member; naturally, too, there was a numerous gathering of Masonic brethren with delegations from every body of which he was a member, in many of which he held office and in all of which he had taken an active interest.

The services were conducted by Rev. Dr. Van Ness, pastor of the church, while a most impressive eulogy on the life and character of our late brother was delivered by Illustrious Brother Hamilton, Active 33°. The music both by organ and quartette was inspiring and the floral offerings profuse.

There being no immediate family of Brother Gleason, the numerous gathering of friends formed a mute tribute of the worth and regard in which he was held by his associates. Of the thirty-third degree there was our Very Illustrious Brother Abbott with Illustrious Brothers Gallagher and Hamilton, Active Members of the Supreme Council, and Daniel W. Lawrence, our Emeritus Member; others of the thirty-third degree present were Dr. James D. Robertson, Judson C. McKenzie, Josiah T. Dyer, Charles H. Ramsay, James S. Blake, Charles M. Pear, Dana J. Flanders, William B. Lawrence, Eugene A. Holton, Samuel F. Hubbard, Dr. Freeman C. Hersey, and Joseph W. Work.

“When I am dead
And silent lie low in my narrow bed,
I ask not that the world shed tears,
And raise o’er me a monument of stone;
But this I pray —
That men may truly say,
‘He was a man.’ "

From Proceedings of the Massachusetts Council of Deliberation AASR NMJ, 1919, Page 55:

James Mellen Gleason, 33°, born in Wardsboro, Vermont, October 6, 1833, died at Boston, October 15, 1918.

Illustrious Brother Gleason came to Boston in 1856, was employed as a bookkeeper for a few years, and in 1870 entered the employ of the John Hancock Insurance Co., one of the largest insurance companies of the country, where by careful and painstaking attention to his duties he was advanced to the position of treasurer, from which he retired a few years before his death to enjoy the rest his labors had so justly earned.

Brother Gleason was raised a Master Mason in Joseph Warren Lodge February 25, 1868, and after filling various offices was elected Worshipful Master in 1877 and 1879, afterwards filling the office of treasurer for twenty-five years and was treasurer of the Board of Trustees at the time of his death.

He received the degrees in St. Andrew’s Royal Arch Chapter in 1871 and in Boston Council of Royal and Select Masters the same year, and was its Recorder for several years.He was created a Knight Templar in Boston Commandery, K. T., in 1872, and was elected its Eminent Commander in 1888, serving two years.

He was admitted to Boston Lodge of Perfection in 1871 and served as Secretary for two years, and to Giles F. Yates, Princes of Jerusalem, Mount Olivet Chapter of Rose Croix, and Massachusetts Consistory the same year, and was crowned an honorary member of the Supreme Council, 33°, at Boston in 1897.Brother Gleason was a Permanent Member of the Grand Lodge, having been elected Senior Grand Warden in 1888; also an Honorary Member of Joseph Warren Lodge and Boston Commandery.

Brother Gleason never married. Although he belonged to numerous clubs and organizations, his great delight and happiness was the enjoyment of his Masonic affiliations, to which he contributed liberally when any unusual call had to be met. His generosity was further exemplified by presenting to his native town at a cost of many thousand dollars, a town hall, being a memorial to his father and mother, Josiah, Jr., and Susan Reed Morse Gleason.

Brother Gleason was very strict and noncompromising in his ideas of right and wrong, and a man must come up to his standard to meet with his approval. jAlthough Brother Gleason had long since passed the allotted time of life, the call was so sudden he seemed to have been struck down in a the strength of manhood, and his taking away to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns is regretted by all who knew him.

The funeral services were held at the Second Unitarian Church at Brookline, Kev. Dr. Van Ness and Rev. Dr. Hamilton officiating.

The interment was at Wardsboro, Vermont.Peace to his ashes and rest to his soul.

Eugene A. Holton
Samuel F. Hubbard
William B. Lawrence

Distinguished Brothers