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Grand Master 1950-1951


Jethro Harrison Peckham, of Eureka Lodge, No. 22, Portsmouth, was elected and installed the ninety-fifth Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons for the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at the One Hundred and Fifty-ninth Annual Communication held in Providence on Monday, May 15, A. L. 5950, A. D. 1950.

M. W. Brother Peckham was born in Middletown, Rhode Island, September 19, 1888, the elder son of Jethro Jackson Peckham and Annie Coggeshall (Austin) Peckham. He obtained his early education in the public schools of Middletown and Newport, and in August, 1908 entered the Government service in Washington, D. C, as an apprentice draftsman. In 1911 he was transferred to the Navy Yard at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and in 1912 to the Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island.

He was promoted through various grades of the service, and in 1941 was appointed Chief Draftsman of the Torpedo Station at Newport, in which capacity he served until the year 1947 and at which time he was elevated to the position of Chief Engineer in charge of Research. He continued in this position until his retirement from the service in 1949.

He has always been a great lover of flowers, and since his retirement has devoted much of his time to the cultivation of flowers.

On September 26, 1911 he was married to Sarah Cranston Anthony, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and the union has been blessed with a son, William Harrison Peckham, and a daughter, Ruth Anthony (Mrs. Julian Howard Earle). There are five grandchildren,— Joy Earle, William H. Peckham, Jr., Nancy Peckham, Judith Peckham, and Helen Peckham.

Brother Peckham comes from a long line of Pcckhams who have resided in this section of Rhode Island for years. On his father's side, the line goes directly back to John Peckham who was with Dr. John Clarke when he arrived on the Island of Rhode Island in the year 1638, two years after the Providence Plantations was settled.

On his mother's side, he is a direct descendant of William Maxon who was the first white child to be horn on the Island of Rhode Island.

He is a member of the Amicable Congregational Church in Tiverton, Rhode Island.

M. W. Brother Peckham's Masonic record began on February 8, 1918 when he was initiated in Eureka Lodge, No. 22, of Portsmouth. He was passed on February 19, 1918, and was raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason on April 23, 1918. He signed the By-laws and was admitted to membership on May 21, 1918.

He was elected Worshipful Master of his lodge on November 20, 1923, and has continued his active interest in the lodge ever since.

In Grand Lodge he was appointed Assistant Grand Lecturer for the Seventh Masonic District in 1931 and served six years in that office, until his appointment as Grand Lecturer in the year 1937.

On May 20, 1940 he was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the Seventh Masonic District and served in this capacity through the several Masonic Districts; and on May 19, 1947 was elected to the office of R. W. Junior Grand Warden, R. W. Senior Grand Warden in 1949, and due to the fact that Brother Warren A. Sherman died during his term as Deputy Grand Master, he was elected to the office of M. W. Grand Master on May 15, 1950.

He holds membership in the Aquidneck Chapter, No. 9, Royal Arch Masons, of Portsmouth, and served as Excellent High Priest in 1925.

In the Cryptic Rite he served as Thrice Illustrious Master of DeBlois Council, No. 5, of Newport, Rhode Island, in 1923; and in the Grand Council of Rhode Island was elected Most Illustrious Grand Master in April, 1941.

In Christian Knighthood, he is a member of Washington Commandery, No. 4, of Newport, Rhode Island, and served as Eminent Commander of that Commandery in 1932.

He is a member of Van Rensselaer Lodge of Perfection, of Newport, Rhode Island, and a member of Rhode Island Consistory, Valley of Providence, of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite.

He is a member of Palestine Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., in the Oasis of Providence, and has been a member of the Shrine Band for many years.

He is a member of Aquidneck Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, of Newport, Rhode Island, having served two terms as Patron.

He is a member and Past President of the Seventh Masonic District Past Masters' Association.

He was made a Tall Cedar at sight in Massasoit Forest, No. 112, Tall Cedars of Lebanon, in October, 1950.

He also belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and to the Daughters of Rebekah, and to the Modern Woodsmen of America, of which he is Past Consul.

He is a member of the Portsmouth Historical Society, and at the present time is serving as Town Moderator of the Town of Portsmouth, R. I., a Republican in politics, by birth, environment and conviction.

He also, in line with his chosen hobby, is Vice-President of the Rhode Island Gladiolus Society, and a member of the North American Gladiolus Council.

Brother Peekham administered his term as Grand Master with businesslike efficiency and understanding. His opinions and decisions when sought by the brethren were unfailingly sound and fair and he leaves the office of M. W. Grand Master with the respect and best wishes of every member of this Grand Jurisdiction.

Rhode Island People