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The Grand Marshal position is an appointed office in the 1792 Grand Constitutions and after; this list includes all persons installed in that office beginning in 1792 (but does not include pro tem officers). Beginning in 1878, the Grand Marshal generally served the three years of a Grand Master's term, and the outgoing Grand Marshal was elected to Senior Grand Warden without opposition (with the exception of M. W. Richard J. Stewart, who was elevated to Grand Master). With one exception (Erwin D. Hill, who died in office in 1991), Grand Marshals have served the entirety of a Grand Master's term. Subsequent to this time two Grand Marshals, R. W. Robert J. McKechnie and M. W. Whitfield W. Johnson, served for two different Grand Masters, and R. W. Charles E. Phipps served three Grand Masters.


From TROWEL, Spring 2013, Page 25:

Grand Marshal to Grand Master
By Rt. Wor. Walter H. Hunt

The marshal of the lodge waits at the tyled door; he offers a slight bow to another man, with a marshal’s collar like his own, but his apron is purple, and the baton he carries and the collar he wears is gold. He escorts his guest to the west of the altar and stands back as the other man says, “Worshipful Master: the Grand Master is in the outer apartments for the purpose of making a fraternal visit to your lodge — and he will now be received.” A few polite words are spoken and the man with the gold baton and collar and purple Grand Lodge apron returns to the door. Soon he will enter the lodge room to applause and say, “The Most Worshipful . . . the Grand Master.”

He is the grand marshal of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and any master and any lodge receiving the Grand Master will get to know him quite well.

I was in the Grand Lodge library at a recent Quarterly Communication, and a Grand Lodge permanent member, who was incidentally a past grand marshal, asked me an interesting question. “How many grand marshals have been elected Grand Master?” He named a few recent ones. “Three or four, right?”

I named a few more, and a quick perusal of my resources turned up others. The actual answer is twelve; of the 87 Grand Masters to serve our Grand Lodge, twelve of them have served as grand marshal, arranging processions and announcing the Grand Master and making sure the protocol is followed and the seating is correct. No Grand Master can do without his grand marshal. In recent times — at least for the last century — the grand marshal is rewarded with election to the post of senior grand warden, making him a permanent member of our Grand Lodge. Our current Grand Master, a past deputy grand master, did not receive this award; instead, he was elevated to his present status. Here are the men who have moved from the baton to the tricorne.

Benjamin Russell. The man who defined the grand marshal’s role, he was first appointed grand marshal by Most Worshipful Paul Revere in 1795, and served in that capacity for fifteen years during the terms of Grand Masters Revere, Bartlett, Dunn, Thomas and Bigelow. He was elected junior and senior grand warden before becoming Grand Master in 1814–1816.

Edward A. Raymond. He was grand marshal during an extremely difficult period in Massachusetts Masonic history, the early 1830s. He served in this capacity for Grand Master Elijah Crane, his successor John Abbot, and during the first year of the term of Joshua Flint. He was elected Grand Master in 1849 and served three years.

Winslow Lewis, Jr. Dr. Lewis served in many capacities in Grand Lodge, and spent a year as grand marshal for Grand Master Augustus Peabody in 1845. Lewis was elected Grand Master for 1855 and 1856, declining a third term due to ill health, but returned to serve in the Oriental Chair in 1860.

John T. Heard. Colonel Heard was appointed grand marshal in 1851 by Edward Raymond, and again in 1852 by George Randall. Heard was only in his early forties at that time, and soon afterward became Grand Master; he was the superintendent of the Craft after, and before, Winslow Lewis — 1857–1859.

William D. Coolidge. He was Winslow Lewis’ grand marshal in 1856. He was elected Grand Master in 1861 and served two years, but was defeated in open election in December 1862 by William Parkman.

William Sewall Gardner. Judge Gardner served as grand marshal for John T. Heard from 1857 to 1859, when he was only in his early thirties; he was one of the first prominent figures from the Lowell area (other than John Abbot, whose Masonic career largely predates the establishment of that city). Gardner became Grand Master in 1869, and during his term made significant improvements in the organization of the Grand Lodge, including publication of the Proceedings from 1733 onward.

Melvin Maynard Johnson. Melvin Johnson was an active participant in Grand Lodge activities from an early age, and was appointed by Grand Master John Albert Blake as his grand marshal from 1906 to 1908. He became Grand Master in 1914 at age 43, and during and after his own term made an enormous impact on Massachusetts Freemasonry. He was a great speaker, a brilliant lawyer and a prominent Masonic scholar.

Herbert H. Jaynes. Grand Master Thomas Roy appointed Jaynes as his grand marshal from 1951 to 1953. He was elected Grand Master in 1969 and served three busy years in the East; the Proceedings for his terms are extensive, due to the large number of anniversaries and celebrations taking place throughout the jurisdiction — his grand marshal was quite busy!

Whitfield Whittemore Johnson, Esq. Whitfield Johnson was appointed grand marshal by Arthur Coolidge in 1944; Grand Master Coolidge declined further election to serve as president of the Massachusetts Senate. His successor, Grand Master Samuel H. Wragg, appointed Johnson as his grand marshal for each of his three years in the East. Johnson became Grand Master in 1954, and during his three years made significant changes and improvements in the Grand Lodge’s legal code.

Laurence E. Eaton. Laurence Eaton was Whitfield Johnson’s grand marshal for three years from 1954–1956, and was elected Grand Master in his own right in 1960. As Grand Master, he made a number of clarifications and rulings regarding protocol and decorum, as well as lodge organization.

Albert T. Ames. Albert Ames served as grand marshal for Grand Master Arthur H. Melanson from 1978 to 1980, and remained extremely active in Grand Lodge as senior grand warden and in other capacities. He was Grand Master from 1987–1989, and is presently the senior Past Grand Master of our Grand Lodge.

Richard James Stewart. Grand marshal for the late Grand Master Roger Pageau, Most Worshipful Brother Stewart was elected Grand Master beginning in 2011.

Our Grand Lodge has a few past grand marshals wearing the gold collar and carrying the gold baton. Will any of them join this distinguished group? Only time will tell.


Living Past Grand Marshals are in italic.
Grand Marshals who served as Grand Master are in BOLD CAPS.

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