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From Proceedings, Page 1873-374:


He was made a Knight Templar in the Boston Commandery on the 17th of June, 1863, and was admitted a member on the 16th of September following. He succeeded the Rev. William R. Alger as Prelate, and deceased on the 19th of January, 1872, while still holding the office. Brother William Ellison, the Recorder of the Commandery, has kindly presented the record of that body relative to the decease of Brother Robinson. It stands thus : —

"One of the most touching and most fraternal usages which obtains in our affiliation is that of enshrining in eulogy the names and memories of those who have been our co-laborers and knightly associates in the several departments of Freemasonry, and who are pre-eminently the representative men of this great Brotherhood.

"It has fallen to the lot of your committee to perform this office for one whose name had been a household word in Boston Commandery, and whose memory will be cherished by his associate Knights, and live in the hearts of all true Masons, when the marble tablet, man's outward token of honor and regret, shall have crumbled into dust.

"Sir John P. Robinson, late Prelate of Boston Commandery, departed this life on the 19th day of January, 1872, at the age of 65 years. His short and sudden illness, and early death, came upon us almost like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. The sable wings of death enfolded him, and his spirit left its earthly casket, and crossing the dark river entered into that 'blissful abode where the weary are at rest.'

"Upright in his every act, always with a smile upon his lips, he was earnest and honest in his every thought, true in his friendship, warm in his attachments, conscientious in the discharge of his duties, modest and unpretending in his conduct.
"Resolved, That in the death of Sir John P. Robinson, Boston Commandery has sustained the loss of an excellent officer, and the Masonic Fraternity one whose daily life was a truthful exemplification of its holy precepts, and whose active zeal in the faithful fulfilment of official duties is eminently worthy of our imitation and emulation.

"Resolved, That to our institution he gave the earnest devotion of a heart thoroughly imbued with its great and glorious principles, and by a strict and watchful zeal in its behalf he added additional lustre to its beauties, and moral force to its high commands.

"Resolved, That as a man, a citizen and a Christian minister, he was quiet and unobtrusive in his daily walk and conversation, yet active and faithful in the discharge of every duty in all the relations of life.

"Resolved, That Boston Commandery tender to his family our heartfelt sympathy for the great loss they have sustained, and unite with them and a sorrowing Brotherhood in mourning the lo*ss by death of our honored and beloved friend and Brother."

Brother Alfred F. Chapman writes : —

"Comp. Rev. John P. Robinson received the degrees in Royal Arch Masonry in St. Andrew's Chapter in the following order: — On one and the same evening, February 21, 1861, he was advanced to the Degree of Mark Master Mason, regularly passed the Chair, and was received and acknowledged a Most Excellent Master. On March 16, 1861, he was exalted to the sublime degree of Royal Arch Mason, and was elected a member April 3d, following.

"He succeeded Companion Gaylord as Chaplain, at the Annual Convocation in 1862, and continued to hold that office until the time of his death. He was also one of the Grand Chaplains of the Grand Chapter for nearly the same length of time; but at the Annual Convocation of that Body in December, 1871, he was compelled by reason of ill-health to decline further service.

"In his relations with these bodies he was known as a genial eomparrion, full of entertaining reminiscences; for in his earlier years he had travelled much in his own country, especially in the South, and knew quite intimately most of the leading clergymen of the times, and many of the statesmen.

"As a conscientious and Christian minister of the Gospel, he practically illustrated the principles of the Degrees and Orders in Masonry which he loved so well, and finally on January 19, A.D. 1872, as a sheaf rich and ripe for the harvest, he was 'gathered into the land where his fathers have gone before him,' aged 65 years and 5 months."

The following tribute to his memory is from the pen of Rev. E.M.P. Wells, D.D.: —

"I very much regret that I have but half an hour in which to comply with your request in expressing my opinion respecting our excellent and beloved Brother Robinson. I hardly feel justified in giving so brief and hurried an account of so high value, such love, such fidelity, such constant and hard work, such unyielding fidelity, such self-sacrificing, so 'pitiful, so courteous,' in short so submissive and devoted to the will, the worship and the work of God; and so loving, so laborious, and so longing for the welfare of men.

"His great, his most extraordinary work was with sailors. In this he strangely disappointed me, and proved to me how much I was mistaken. At a time when he was out of employment, he was often with me to consult as to what he should do or what course he should take. He one day asked me if I thought he would do for a missionary to sailors. I said I thought he was better calculated for a parish, and to work with those with whom he was acquainted. He said he thought he would succeed with them, and do them good. I was sorry that he had got his mind so set upon the subject, for I felt quite sure that sailors could not sympathize with him, and I doubted if he could with them. Still I did not like to discourage him any more, and I said to him he had better go down upon the wharves and get among the sailors, and talk to them, and see if they would talk with him. I perceived that he felt that he had gained something, and was pleased. I thought he might try a little further, and that he would thus find out if he could or could not succeed, and thus prove whether it was he or I that was mistaken. He obtained a hall suitably and neatly fitted up for church services. He procured Bibles, prayer-books, and tracts, also working for the destitute; and in all of which the merchants of Boston aided him very nobly. They were much pleased with his useful and faithful efforts. He thus disappointed me, and I rejoiced at it, and loved him for it, and thanked God that I was mistaken. I am still of the same opinion that by nature he was not calculated for the work; but I believe that our good Father, seeing the ardent and loving desire of His heart, fitted him for his great and blessed success. Our good Brother Taylor, whom the kind-hearted sailors called 'Father Taylor,' said, that 'Brother Robinson was one of the best and most successful seaman's missionaries whom he ever knew.' He went on from one success to another, till he obtained and left for his parish, a very nice church, well and handsomely finished, and all paid for, — St. Mary's Church, on Parmenter street."

The Rev. William S. Bartlett, of Chelsea, has obligingly written thus : —

"In answer to your favor of this date, I send you such information as is in my possession.

"John Palmer Robinson, born in Maryland [?]; ordained deacon by Bishop White, Dec. 20th, 1827; rector of Sherwood Church and St. John's, now Western Run Parish, Baltimore Co., 1836; of St. Paul's, Queen Anne's Co., 1837, both in Maryland. In 1840 he removed to Massachusetts, and became rector of St. Michael's Church, Marblehead; afterwards rector of Christ Church, Quincy. Subsequently, he was missionary to seamen in the port of Boston for years. Resigning that position, he became rector of St. Mary's Church for sailor's, in the same city in the year 18??, and died in that office in 1872."


From Moore's Freemason's Monthly, Vol. XXXI, No. 4, February 1872, Page 105:

A past Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of this commonwealth, died suddenly at his residence in this city on Friday, Jan. 19, 1872, aged 65 years. The funeral services took place on Monday, Jan. 22, at St. Mary's Church, of which the deceased had been, the pastor for many years. The services were conducted by Bishop Eastburn, assisted by the Rev. E. M. P. Wells, in the presence of many clergymen, and prominent lay members of the diocese.

The different Masonic bodies of which the deceased was an active member were largely represented, though there was no display of regalia. Bro. Robinson was a member of Massachusetts Lodge, Boston Council of Royal and Select Masters, prelate in the Boston Commandery of Knights Templars and chaplain in Saint Andrew's Royal Arch Chapter. He was also an efficient worker in the Howard Benevolent Society, nearly every member of which was present. The lesson was read by the Rev. E. M. P. Wells, after which the beautiful hymn "Jesus, Lover of My Soul," was sung, the congregation joining with the choir. Bishop Eastburn then made a brief address, touching upon the many virtues of the deceased, and referring to his long and earnest labors in behalf of the church, closing with an admonition to those present to prepare for that summons which, sooner or later, comes to alL After the conclusion of the services the funeral cortege proceeded to Mt. Auburn, where the remains of the deceased were deposited. The following clergymen officiated as Pall-bearers ; Rev. Dr. A. H. Vinton, Rev. N. G. Allen, Rev. J. I. T. Coolidge, Rev. Samuel B. Babcock, Rev. Mr, Clinch, and Rev. Mr. Hoppin. The deceased was a sincere and devoted brother, and was ready at all times and on all occasions, to contribute according to his opportunities to the services of oar Institution, and in the promotion of its usefulness.

Distinguished Brothers