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JOHN B. HAMMATT 1778-1864


  • Junior Grand Warden, 1814
  • Senior Grand Warden, 1815
  • Deputy Grand Master, 1844
  • Grand High Priest, 1840



From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 2, December 1860, Page 58:

The Sixtieth Anniversary of the initiation of this venerable Brother occurred on the 26th ultimo, and was made the occasion, by St. John's Lodge, (of which he has been a member since the year following his admission into Masonry,) of one of the most interesting and gratifying festivals it has ever been our happiness to participate in. A special meeting of the Lodge was convened for the purpose, and especial pains were taken to call together as many of the older members of the fraternity in the city, as it was supposed might be able to attend without risk to their health. And there were accordingly present Brethren who had been Masons — one 60, another 56, another 54, and several ranging between 40 and 50 years, besides some two hundred or more of a later generation. Such an assemblage of the older members of the Order is rarely witnessed. The guest of the occasion was received in due form, the Brethren being arranged in double line, and was welcomed in warm and appropriate terms by the Master of the Lodge, Brother Wyzeman Marshall. A specimen of the work was then given on the third degree, — at the conclusion of which the W. Master again addressed the aged Brother in eloquent and touching words, and concluded by presenting him with a member's Jewel, in gold, suitably inscribed.

To this address Brother Hammatt made a brief reply, referring to his initiation in Columbian Lodge, sixty years ago, saying, that he soon after became a pupil of Thos. Smith Webb, of whom he learned the work and lectures of the first three degrees, and the following year united himself with St. John's Lodge, as a member; and in 1810, having filled most of the subordinate offices, he became its W. Master.

Our Brother was made a Royal Arch Mason in St. Andrew's Chapter, Boston, in 1801, and was elected its H. P. in 1810; and in 1811, he was elected Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of the State. He was knighted in the Boston Encampment in 1805, and continued an active member of it until 1815, when he removed to Alexandria, in the District of Columbia. While a resident there he was commissioned by the Grand Master of Virginia as District Deputy Grand Master, being at the time a member of Alexandria Washington Lodge, No. 22, of which Gen. Washington is said to have been Master at the time of its organization. In 1818, he served as H. P. of Potomac Chapter at Georgetown, and subsequently held the same office in Brook Chapter at Alexandria. In 1820, he became Master of Evangelical Lodge at Alexandria, and in 1826 was elected Dep. Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of the District. In 1830, he returned to Boston, and was subsequently appointed Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

He has also served as G. H. P. of the Grand Chapter of the State, and Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and Commander of the Boston Encampment of Knights Templars. Indeed it would be difficult to name any office in Masonry, except that of Grand Master, which our Brother has not filled, and always to his own credit and the acceptance of his Brethren. He was born in Boston, June 12, 1778.

Brother Hammatt is not the oldest Mason in the United States, nor yet the oldest in our own State, but if there be one living whose whole life has been more earnestly, truthfully, or actively devoted to the best interests of Masonry in this country, he is unknown to us. But this is not the time to write his biography or his eulogy.

At the conclusion of the ceremonies in the Lodge-room, a procession was formed, and the Brethren, to the number of two hundred or more, including the invited guests, were marched to the banquet-hall, where an elegant and bountiful collation had been spread in the best style of the popular host of the Winthrop House. Here an hour or two were spent in a very agreeable way, and we doubt not to the satisfaction of all present.

From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 3, January 1861, Page 72:

In our notice last month of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the initiation of this venerable Brother, by St. John's Lodge, we had room only to refer to the address of the W. Master, Brother Wyzeman Marshall, on presenting him with a li Member's Jewel." At our request, Bro. Marshall has politely furnished us with a copy of the address, and which we have now the pleasure to lay before our readers :—

W. Bro. Hammatt, — For the first time since the formation of this Lodge, — probably, I may say, never before during the history of Masonry in this country, — has a Lodge been called together for a similar purpose. St. John's Lodge has now assembled here, not only as a mark of respect to one of its brightest lights, one of its oldest members, but to present him with a slight token of their appreciation of him as an officer, a friend, a Brother, and a man. My Brother, I do not intend to set forth in glittering array the many services you have done the Order, nor give a biographical sketch of your life, for the time will not allow me to enumerate the particulars which have graced your actions towards our lime-honored institution. I will, therefore, confine myself to a few general remarks.

Sixty years ago, my Brother, this very night, were you admitted to membership in St. John's Lodge; and your name now stands upon our by-laws an emblem of pride to every member thereof. From that time, I may say, to the present moment, you have been an active member — always looking after the interest of the Lodge and the welfare of Masonry. We find you, by our records, on the very night you signed our by-laws, appointed a committee to examine the books of the Secretary and Treasurer. All of your duties in this institution have been marked with that fidelity, zeal and propriety, which have ever characterized your transactions throughout your life; and I trust that the glowing generation may emulate the noble example you have set for them to follow—and, under all the trying scenes they may be called upon to encounter, always remain true to the Constitution and ancient landmarks of our Order. Now, W. Brother, allow me, in behalf of St. John's Lodge, to present yoi with this Member's Badge, upon which is written, St. John's Lodge to W Brother John B. Hammatt, P. M., on the sixtieth anniversary of his membership, Nov. 26th, 1860.

My Brother, this is not presented to you for its intrinsic value, but as a token of the high respect and regard entertained towards you by the members of this, the oldest Lodge in the United States. Long may you live to wear it; and in the sear and yellow leaf of your life, when all things around you seem to decay, when you look towards this jewel, may it serve to remind you that every Brother's heart, not only of this Lodge, but of every Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, beats in friendly unison with your own. May that one thought be to you a satisfying proof that you have always done your duty here, and a sure hope of your Creator's mercy and reward hereafter. (Presents the Jewel.)

And now, my Brother, being in the autumn of a well-spent life, like the tree whose once green leaves, now crimson and golden-hewed, have fallen to the earth — seeming to die, but to appear again in the brighter, greener beauty of renewed freshness and vigor — may you trust again to life beneath a brighter, fairer sky, — there amidst its cloudless spring, to bloom forever.


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XX, No. 8, June 1861, Page 230; biographies of prominent members of Columbian Lodge:

In John B. Hammatt we behold the Nestor of the initiates of our Lodge and fraternity of Boston, and, probably, of Massachusetts. Through his long Masonic life of nearly sixty-one years, he has proved himself "a good man and true." The many stations in the Masonic institution which he has filled, here and elsewhere, are monuments to his industry and devotion to duty. The influence of his example and long tried fidelity will long be felt beneficially by the fraternity of Massachusetts. He was initiated on the 7th of August, 1800, and on the 21st of the same month was passed and raised. He did not take membership here, but joined our sister St. John's Lodge in November of the following year. In that Lodge, as member and officer, he has ever applied himself to advance its good name and prosperity.

It will not be expected of the committee, they presume, to designate all of Bro. Hammatt's numerous Masonic connections. His biography in this respect would occupy a volume. In the Chapter, the Encampment and other branches of Masonry, in his native State and during fifteen years in the State of Virginia, we find him active and prominent. In the latter State, too, he was as interested in Ancient York Masonry as when at home, and rose to leading positions in the Lodge and Grand Lodge.

In the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts he has occupied the following stations, namely, Junior G. Steward in 1804 ; Senior G. Steward in 1805 ; Junior G. Deacon in 1808; Senior G. Deacon in 1809, '10, '11, '12 and '13; Junior G. Warden in 1814; Senior G. Warden in 1815; and Deputy Grand Master in 1844. He served on the Committee of Finance of that body in 1811, '12, '13, '14, '15, '39, '40, '41, '42, '43, '44, '45, '46, '47, '48 and '49; on the Committee on Charity in 1841, '42 and '43; and was a Trustee of the Charity Fund, by election, in 1855. His election to the office of Junior G. Warden in 1814, constituted him a permanent member of the Grand Lodge, in which capacity, for forty-seven years, his efforts — excepting during his non-residence in this Commonwealth — have been unremitting for the welfare of the jurisdiction.


From Proceedings, Page 1959-80:

John B. Hammatt was born in Boston on Hanover Street, where Blackstone Street crosses it, on June 12, 1778. In 1792 he began to serve as an apprentice to Moses Grant, upholsterer and paper-stainer, whose place on business was on Union Street, Boston; and in 1799 he commenced business on his own account.

At the age of 22 he applied for the Masonic degrees in Columbian Lodge in Boston; he was initiated on August 7, 1800, and was passed and raised on August 21, 1800. He was admitted to membership in St. John's Lodge, Boston, the oldest Lodge in the country, in November, 1801.

He was elected Master of St. John's Lodge in 1810. Hammatt was exalted to Royal Arch Masonry in St. Andrew's Chapter in 1801, and became a member June 9, 1802. He filled the office of King in that body in 1808, 1809 and 1813, and that of High Priest in 1810 and 1811. In the Grand Lodge, he was appointed a Steward in 1802, by M. W. Isaiah Thomas; a Deacon in 1807, by M. W. Timothy Bigelow; was elected Junior Grand Warden in December, 1811, and Senior Grand Warden in December, 1814. He was Knighted in Boston Encampment in 1805, and admitted to membership there in 1806.

Brother Hammatt removed to Alexandria, Virginia, in 1815, and returned to Boston in 1830. While in Alexandria, he was commissioned by the Grand Lodge of Virginia as District Deputy Grand Master, in which capacity he visited fourteen Lodges in his District. At the end of the year, he declined a reappointment. He was at the time a member of Alexandria-Washington Lodge, No. 22, which, as Brother Hammatt remarked in a note to a friend, was "the Lodge that General Washington presided over for several years, he having been named in the charter as the first Master." In 1818, he was appointed by the Grand Chapter of Maryland and District of Columbia as the first High Priest of Potomac Chapter in Georgetown, which station he held three years, when he was called to preside over Brook Chapter in Alexandria, which received a charter from the same Grand Chapter. In 1820 he was elected Master of Evangelic Lodge in Alexandria, and served two or three years. In 1826 he was elected Deputy Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia, over which body M. E. William W. Seaton was at the time Grand High Priest. They both retained their offices until 1830. While in the Grand Chapter, Bro. Hammatt was appointed Grand Lecturer by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. After his return to Boston in 1830, he was appointed Deputy Grand Master by M.W. Augustus Peabody; he served as Grand Commander of the Boston Encampment of Knights Templar; Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts; and as Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The following remarks were written into the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts records eulogizing the death of John B. Hammatt at the advanced age of 86:

Death has touched this time-honored Lodge with its very hand, and gently conveyed to bright realms and happier skies our Father, our Patriarch, our venerable Guide, Counsellor and friend. The annual Masonic necrology is enriched by the name of one, who, from the commencement of this century to the period of his departure, has been almost the embodiment of fraternal devotion, in all the departments of the Order in general, but more especially in his long and intimate relations to St. John's Lodge. The narrative of the numerous official positions sustained by Bro. John B. Hammatt, during the long period of more than sixty years, would be but a detailed catalogue, embracing nearly every duty engendered by his fidelity, and heaped on him by the affectionate regard and confidence of his Brethren.

His Masonic life transcends in its activity, and surpassed in its devotion, all others in comparison. There is none to share such a eulogy as can be rendered to him. To the Order, youth, manhood and old age, all alike, were given. He came up to our Temple with the step of his early prime. He forsook it not even when the tottering, feeble frame denoted that the "silver cord" of life was about to be "loosened."

Of those now gathered together, who may listen to this brief tribute to one of the old generation, how few, how very few, are those who remain to testify of him in the days which tried men's souls, in the dark period when "unhallowed hands" were laid upon our Institution, and "maledictions loud and deep" were heaped upon it so unsparingly. That he never shrunk under the pelting storm need not be said; but that he survived to behold the "old flag" triumph and flourish like the "green bay tree," God be thanked!

In the fullness of years, in the maturity of a life prolonged beyond the common duration of human existence, our aged Brother has passed on, raised to the sublime degree of Immortality. Let us reap the rich harvest sown by his example. Let us consecrate ourselves, like him, to the performance of duties devolving on us as Brothers. Let our contention be only how we can "best work, how best agree," and thus acting, whether we are cut down by fewer years of probation, or spared to the "sere and yellow leaf" of a ripened longevity, we shall depart in God's good time to meet together above, to part no more forever.

  • Resolved, That, closing our fraternal connections with Bro. John B. Hammatt in his removal by death, we rejoice and give thanks that he was so long spared to us. That he was so given to us and to the Fraternity, that two generations have passed away, who have reaped the fruits of his devotion to the Order.
  • Resolved, That in all the relations of life, as a citizen, Christian and Brother, he has left the fragrance of a good name, an unspotted reputation. He has left a rich legacy to this Lodge, and the tribute to the memory of John B. Hammatt should be perpetuated not only on our records, but on our hearts.


By R. E. Meyer Weker

MOST EXCELLENT Grand High Priest
Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts'

John Barrett Hammatt, the 17th Grand High Priest of our Capitular Jurisdiction, enjoyed a long, active, and useful career in Free Masonry. While he achieved many titles and honors, he was always a hard worker, who gladly "rolled up his sleeves" and assumed many responsibilities and jobs in the several branches of the American or York Rite.

He was born on Hanover Street, near the corner of Blackstone Street, in the old North End of the City of Boston, Massachusetts, on June 12, 1778, while the War for Independence was still raging. At the youthful age of 14, he was apprenticed to Moses Grant, an upholsterer and stainer on nearby Union Street. Seven years later, in 1799, he opened his own establishment on the same street. His natural industry, plus his skill and dependability, insured his success in business throughout his life.

While, unfortunately, little is known of his family or private life, he did serve as a deacon of a church in his native section of the city. Also, he became a member of Boston's Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, the oldest voluntary military organization in the land, rising to the grade of sergeant. He obviously possessed both religious and patriotic instincts, two of the most essential ingredients of a true Mason.

The fraternal order of Ancient, Free, and Accepted Masons claimed his favorable attention early, for at the age of 22 he submitted his application to Columbian Lodge in Boston. Here he was initiated on August 7, 1800, then passed and raised on August 21, 1800.

Hammatt affiliated with St. John's Lodge, the oldest (1733) Symbolic Lodge in North America in November, 180l, and proceeded "through the chairs", sitting in the East as Worshipful Master in 1811. It is of interest to note that he offered a motion that resulted in the establishment of a Charity Fund in the Lodge. Years later, he was made an Honorary Member of Columbian Lodge, his mother lodge, and of King Solomon's Lodge of Charlestown. In those days, the conferring of Honorary Membership was a rare honor, given only to the most worthy! The records of the latter lodge for October 26, 1812 read,

"VOTED: that the thanks of King Solomon's Lodge be presented to the Right Worshipful and highly respected Brother John B. Hammatt, who is ever active and liberal in the cause of Free Masonry, for his generous services in contributing to beautify and adorn the Altar consecrated to the service of Him whom we as Masons are taught to worship in the Beauty of Holiness."

The Grand Lodge of Masons of Massachusetts, early recognized his great merit, appointing him a Steward in 1802, Junior Grand Deacon in 1808, Senior Grand Deacon 1809-13; and then, he was elected and served as Junior Grand Warden in 181l and Senior Grand Warden in 1815. All of these Grand Lodge positions were filled while Hammatt was only in his 20's and 30's!

In the Capitular Rite, John B. Hammatt was exalted a Royal Arch Mason in St. Andrew's Chapter of Boston, the oldest Royal Arch Chapter in America, in 1802. He filled the offices of King in 1808 and 1809, and High Priest in 1810 and 18ll. Excellent Companion Hammatt received the Degree of High Priesthood in the same Chapter in 1810.

Hammatt was knighted in the Boston Encampment of the Chivalric Rite in 1805. Later, he served as Commander of Boston Commandery, Knights Templar. Our Brother and Companion was a rare man, indeed, as he was noted for his proficiency in the ritual of all the grades of the Masonic Order. He was always ready to aid in each, by his efficient service and sound advice.

In 1815, Hammatt removed from Boston to Alexandria, Virginia, where he resided for the next fifteen years. The extent to which Freemasonry had become a vital part of his very being is evidenced by the fact that he immediately became extremely active fraternally and continued so throughout the time he was there. He affiliated with Alexandria-Washington Lodge, No. 22, whose first Master had been President George Washington. He was commissioned as a District Deputy Grand Master by the Grand Lodge of Virginia, in which capacity he was in charge of and visited fourteen lodges.

At the end of the year, he declined a reappointment. However, Bro. Hammatt became interested in the recently formed Evangelical Lodge, in No. 8 of Alexandria (under D.C.), being chosen as Master 1827, and also, he was called on at various times to fill high offices pro tem in the District of Columbia Grand Lodge. It is not surprising that Wor. Hammatt, a Masonic Scholar, was named Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. (1827-28).

During this time, he was continuing his active interest in Capitular Masonry, more particularly in the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He became the first High Priest of Potomac Royal Arch Chapter, located in his hometown of Georgetown. He also was called to preside over Brooke Royal Arch Chapter, No. 6.

In 1824, he was one of the leaders in the movement to form the new Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the District of Columbia, and later was on committees to procure necessary jewels, consider grievances, prescribe a charter and diplomas for the constituent chapters, etc. In the new Grand Chapter, he was elected Grand Royal Arch Captain; acted as Grand Scribe, pro tem and Grand King, pro tem. On March 5, 1828, Excellent Hammatt was installed as Deputy Grand High Priest. There is no doubt that had he remained in the area, he would have been Grand High Priest of the Jurisdiction.

The writer has been unable to ascertain the definite reasons for John Hammatt's departure from Boston in 1815, or for his return from the District of Columbia area in 1830, a period of fifteen years, but assumes they were of a personal and family nature. Suffice it to say that the latter move was clearly Boston's gain! His superb Masonic record for the remaining years of his long life in this Jurisdiction continued, as he was a born and true Mason, both inside the Temple and in his daily affairs.

Characteristically, soon after coming back to Massachusetts, John B. Hammatt's name appears as one of the signers of the "Declaration of the Freemasons of Boston and Vicinity" (the "Boston Declaration") on December 3l, 1831. This was a public statement issued by a group of several hundred leading citizens and Masons during the height of the Morgan anti-Masonic excitement, proclaiming their full faith and confidence in our Fraternity, despite all the scurrilous attacks leveled against it from many uninformed and vicious sources.

At the conclusion of his terms as Deputy Grand High Priest (1837-40) John B. Hammatt was elected Grand High Priest by the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts on September 8, 1840 and was duly installed on the same day by Most Excellent Simon W. Robinson, later Grand Master. The Grand Chapter Proceedings record that a year later, on September 7, 1841, the latter offered a motion that a vote of thanks be given to Companion Hammatt "for the very able and faithful manner in which he performed the duties of his office the past year". He served only one year as the head of our Capitular Rite. However, Hammatt held the office of Excellent President of the Massachusetts Convention of High Priests from 1841 to 1846.

In 1842, Grand Master Augustus Peabody appointed him Deputy Grand Master of our Grand Lodge.

He also served as head of the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Each of these positions Symbolic, Capitular and Chivalric, he filled ably and honorably, giving unsparingly of his time and effort, to promote and strengthen every branch of the Craft!

One of the greatest tributes that can be paid to any man occurred on December 22, 1859, when authority was granted to seventeen Master Masons for the formation of Hammatt Lodge in East Boston, Massachusetts.

He was then 81 years old, and the dispensation by Most Worshipful John T. Heard read in part, "This Lodge is named in honor of John B. Hammatt, Esq., who has done eminent service in the cause of Masonry." He had the pleasure of visiting this Lodge on several occasions. Today, more than a century later, it meets in Boston and still proudly bears his name.

It might be mentioned that there is a record in Grand Lodge of the initiation in St. John's Lodge, Boston, on June 5, 1854 of one John B. Hammatt, Jr. However, it shows that he received "E.A. only", as he died on July 14, 185l. While it is not certain, it is believed that he was probably our John B. Hammatt's son. Grand Lodge proceedings state that Hammatt was present at the Quarterly Communication on June 12, 1861, his 83rd birthday, which was commented on by the presiding Grand Master!

The Boston Evening Transcript and Boston Post reported the death of John B. Hammatt on June 9, 1864 at the venerable age of 86. Funeral services were held (on the l3th) from the residence of his daughter, No. 52 Waltham Street, Boston. He was widely and sincerely mourned.

When the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts announced his passing to the Grand Lodge, he pointed out that in his more than 60 years of fraternal activity, John B. Hammatt had held nearly every office in Masonry. The resolutions formally adopted by Grand Lodge, among other complimentary reference paid the following tribute:

"His work has been well done and few, if any, in the community have done more to sustain and elevate the character of the Institution of Freemasonry."



From Proceedings, 1864, Page VI-524:

Whereas, it has pleased, the Supreme Architect of the Universe, to remove as we trust, to a better world, our late Brother R. W. John B. Hammatt,

Resolved. That in his death one of the brightest lights in the Masonic horizon has been extinguished; that one of the most devoted friends of the Order, has been called from among us.

Resolved. That his work has been well done, and that few, if any, in this community have done more to sustain and elevate the character of the Institution of Freemasonry, whether we refer to his Masonic efforts, or to the maintenance of that spotless character as a man, which ever sheds its lustre upon all associations with which its possessor is connected.

Resolved. That in calling to mind the virtues of our departed Brother, and his accomplishments as a Mason which endeared him to many friends, and exalted him to the highest honors, we lament that on this occasion so little justice can be done to his memory. For his fidelity to the Order, his punctuality and attention in the path of duty — his unassuming deportment — his courteous and cordial address, his spotless integrity in business, and we have reason to believe, his unfeigned Christian meekness during a protracted Masonic career of above sixty years, deserve more than a brief Resolution on such a life. But his character is written down in our memory. We knew him as among the foremost defenders of our Institutions in the dark days of persecution — He has since been with us in our meridian prosperity, and to whom can we compare this noble and exemplary mason, with more fitness than to one of those Sacred Three whose memorial stands in our memory among the most beautiful emblems of Masonry.

Resolved. That we sincerely condole with the relations and family connections of our late deceased Brother and that we tender to them the assurance of our participation in their sorrow.

Resolved. That these resolutions be entered upon the records of the Grand Lodge, and that an attested Copy thereof be sent to the family of our deceased Brother.



From Masonic Monthly, Vol. I, No. 9, July 1864, Page 416:


On the 9th ultimo died Sir Knight John B. Hammatt, at the advanced age of 86 years. It is but nine months since we had to record the decease of that friend of his youth, manhood and age, and companion in Freemasonry, Sir Knight Robert Lash. They were the two surviving links of a Masonic generation, which had long since passed away. They did not long survive each other. The departure of the one was a warning to the other to prepare to leave this world and pass into a higher sphere.

The remains of Sir Knight Hammatt were followed to their last resting place on earth by the members of that Fraternity which he had so highly honored during his lifetime ; and on the evening of Wednesday, 15th ult,, Boston Encampment of Knights Templar, of which the deceased had so long been a member, gave expression to the high esteem in which they held his memory, by the following preamble and resolution which had been prepared by a Committee consisting of Sir Knights Winslow Lewis, Abraham A. Dame, and John R. Bradford:—

"At last our venerated, our venerable, our loved Bro. Sir Knight John B. Hammatt has reached the haven of his rest; we have laid his aged form in its last earthly abode, " dust to dust," but consigned, in triumphal faith, his imperishable soul to his Father and his God. The poor and weary pilgrim traveling so far, so prolonged a tour of patience through life's journey; the aged warrior who has finished the warfare of existence here, and the pilgrim penitent who has found his long sought asylum, and brought the oblation of a good Hie to the feet of his Redeemer.

"Of this Patriarch of our Institution what can we say enough to satisfy you in the delineations of his characteristics, as the most zealous, the most devoted, the most remarkable member of the Order in New England, if not on the whole continent. To say that he was, for 64 years, a Mason, is only instancing a mere prolongation of existence such, but, adding to this the untiring devotion manifested in all the varied relations to all the departments of our Fraternity; his official duties so multifarious, still so faithfully fulfilled in season or out of season, ever ready and ever duly prepared, whether in lodge, chapter, council or encampment, with all these joined to a pureness of life, of truth, of fraternal affections, and of hospitality, united to an amicable, cordial, loving temper and a sweetness of disposition, all these should stamp his
 memory indelibly on the memories and heart of all; whether the neophytes of the present, the contemporaries of his active excellence, or the aged associates the "long, long ago."

John B. Hammatt was born in this city June 12th, 1778. He was by vocation an upholsterer, and was an apprentice to the late Deacon Moses Grant, and was through life esteemed as an honest and industrious mechanic.

His Masonic career commenced in I800J when he was initiated in Columbian Lodge; became a member of St. John's Lodge in 1801, where he filled every office but that of Treasurer. In 1804 affiliated with St. Andrew's Chapter, where also he held all the offices but that of Treasurer; same also in the Boston Encampment from 1801. Steward of the Grand Lodge three years under Isaiah Thomas; then J. D., S. D., J. W., S. W., then D. G. M. with Augustus Peabody; G. H. P. of Grand Chapter, and held all the offices; was head of the Grand Encampment of Mass. and Rhode Island.

In 1815 he went to Alexandria; became Gr. Lect. of D. C.; D. G. M. and D. D. G. M. of the Grand Lodge of Virginia; Master of Evangelical Lodge of Alexandria; H. P. of Potomac Chapter in Georgetown and G. H. P. of the G. Chapter of D. C.; was also honorary member of St. John's Lodge, Boston, and King Solomon's Lodge, Charlestown.

In 1830 he returned to Boston, and labored in the same spirit as before, until four years ago, when his tottering steps gave indication that his active work was done. But decay laid its effacing hands gently on his old, worn out frame, and the last remnant of his earthly probation was without pain, and quietly his spirit passed away, onward and upward, on the 9th of June.

Departed brother and friend, we would gratefully recall the memories of all that thou hast, done for us, so well, so long, so faithfully, we would now and here impress on our hearts the early devotion of thy active manhood, the persistent, unflinching efforts of thy more matured life, and the mild, sacred, and mellowed influences of thy venerable form and presence. May thy spirit, though unseen, still hover over us, attend us while hero below, and again hail us in that asylum above, reunited to part no more forever!

Resolved, That by the decease of Sir John B. Hammatt we, the members of Boston Encampment have lost the one, pre-eminent above all, for devotion and zeal in the cause of Templarism in particular, and in the labors for the great cause of Freemasonry in general. We feel his departure as if it were the loss of a venerated father, whose lengthened life was given to us, from its earliest manhood to its latest hour. We unitedly and fervently bless his memory, and with filial affection render this last tribute to him, who, for 64 years, was our guide, counsellor, friend and brother.


From Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, Vol. XXIII, No. 9, Page 282:

If long and faithful services, steadfast and unwavering fidelity to principle, strict integrity of character, a blameless life, and a constant practice of the Christian virtues of Charity, Truth, and Benevolence, added to a warm and generous Friendship, can ever entitle the memory of a Brother to the respect and gratitude of generous and sympathizing hearts, then that tribute of love and honor will be freely paid to the memory of him whose recent death we are now called upon to record in our pages, and whose name we have placed at the head of this brief notice.

Brother Hammatt was born in Boston on the 12th of June, 1778, and having received such an education as the public schools of the town at that time afforded, he was apprenticed in 1792, at the age of 14, (the usual age at which boys at that day began their apprenticeship,) to the late Deacon Moses Grant, as an upholsterer and paper-stainer; and in 1799, at the. age of 21, he commenced business on his own account, and so successfully m anaged his affairs, as to secure to himself a competency through a long life.

He was initiated into Masonry by Columbian Lodge, of Boston, in the year 1800, and was admitted to membership in St. John's Lodge in 1801, and of which he was elected Master in 1810. He was exalted to R. A. Masonry in St. Andrew's Chapter in 5801, and became a member June 9, 5802. He filled the office of King in that body in 5808, 5809 and 5813, and of that of High Priest in 5810 and 5811. In the Grand Lodge he was appointed a Steward in 5802, by R. W. Isaiah Thomas; a Deacon in 5807, by R. W. Timothy Bigelow; was elected Junior Grand Warden in December, 5811, and Senior Grand Warden in December, 5814. He was Knighted in the Boston Encampment in 5805, and admitted to membership therein in 5806. Bro. Hammatt removed to Alexandria, D. C., in 5815, and returned to Boston in 5830. While in Alexandria he was commissioned by the Grand Lodge of Virginia as D. Deputy Grand Master, in which capacity he visited fourteen Lodges in his District. At the end of the year, he declined a reappointment. He was at the time a member of Alexandria Washington Lodge, No. 29, of which, it is said, Gen. Washington was its first Master. In 5818 he was appointed by the Grand Chapter of Maryland and District of Columbia, as the first High Priest of Potomac Chapter in Georgetown, which station he held three years, when he was called to preside over Brook Chapter, in Alexandria, which received a Charter from the same Grand Chapter. In 5820 he was elected Master of Evangelic Lodge in Alexandria, and served two or three years. In 5826 he was elected Deputy Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia, over which body R. W. Wm. W. Seaton was at the time Grand High Priest. They both retained their offices until 5830.

While in the Grand Chapter Brother Hammatt was appointed Grand Lecturer by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia. After his return to Boston in 5830, he was appointed Deputy Grand Master by R. W. Augustus Peabody; he served as Grand Commander of the Boston Encampment of Knights Templars; Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts ; and as Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Indeed there are few official places in Masonry that he had not filled, with credit to himself and to the great acceptance of his Brethren, by whom he was universally esteemed and beloved. He was rarely out of office, and as rarely absent from the meetings of any Body to which he belonged. Proficient in the Ritual of the various grades of the Order, he was always ready to fill, temporarily or otherwise, any place that might be vacant, or to aid with his counsel any officer who might need his services. He was probably the oldest Mason in this Commonwealth, and with few rare exceptions, the oldest in the country. He was certainly one of the most efficient and active. Until within the last few years, he had enjoyed almost uninterrupted health during his whole Masonic life, and his great happiness seemed to be in mingling with his Brethren and counselling them in their labors. About eighteen months since, being in feeble health, he fell in the street and sustained a serious injury, from which he never recovered, and which probably shortened his life some years. He died on the third day of June last, and was buried from the residence of his daughter in this city on the sixth. His remains were deposited in the Granary Burying Ground.


'From Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, Vol. 24, Page 127:

The following Resolutions, commemorative of the death of the late Brother John B. Hammatt, were offered by Brother Moore, P. G. M., and adopted by the Grand Encampment of Mass. and Rhode Island, at its late communication in this city: -

In Grand Encampment, Oct. 28, 1864.

Whereas, it has pleased God to remove from his labors on earth, to his rest in heaven, our beloved Companion Sir John Barrett Hammett, who died in this city on the third day of June last, in the eighty-sixth year of his age; therefore.

Resolved, That, in the death of our aged and venerated Associate, we recognize with grateful hearts, the beneficence and wisdom of the Great Author of every good, in sparing him to us and his beloved family, until the "sere and yellow leaf" had ripened on his brow, and existence had become a burden. Then, wisely and mercifully was the "silver cord loosed", the "golden bowl broken", and the spirit, in joy and beauty, returned unto God who gave it.

Resolved, That we will cherish the memory of our deceased Brother, as one who, by his long services, his steadfast and unwavering fidelity, his strict integrity of character, - by a blameless life, and a daily practice of the Christian virtues of charity, beneficence, and truth, had endeared himself to the whole Masonic Family.

Resolved, That we affectionately tender our sympathies to his bereaved children, and other surviving relatives, and invoke for them the protection, guidance and blessing of our father in Heaven.

Distinguished Brothers