A printer from Boston

This paper developed from an article entitled, " John J. Pershing, Freemason and General of the Armies" which appeared in the Winter 1973--74 edition of The Royal Arch Mason in which reference is made to members of the Craft who had received Honorary membership in the Grand Lodge of Missouri. The author, writing of those so honored, states, " The fourth was Charles W. Moore in 1847. In this instance we can discover no valid reason why he should have been honored, as he was a commercial printer who lived in Boston.

printerAt the time he was so honored, Charles Whitlock Moore was the presiding Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts," pew members of the Fraternity, in this or any other country have ever been so generally known or so highly respected by the Brotherhood, as" M.E." Charles W. Moore. His long Masonic life, his faithful service in almost every office in Grand and subordinate Bodies of every branch of the Order, his able, vigorous, persistent and successful defense of our principles and our rights against the mad fury of Anti-Masonic folly and demagogism, his publications illustrative of our ritual, and his editorship for a whole generation of the first exclusively Masonic periodical ever published, -- all these services have made his name as familiar as household words to Masons everywhere, and wherever it has been known it has been respected and honored. His opinion was constantly sought in regard to questions of Masonic law and practice, and his conclusions were regarded as final. His life-long experience furnished reasons and precedents, his ripe and mature judgment weighed and balanced arguments, and his clear and forcible statement carried conviction to every mind.

Charles Whitlock Moore was born in Boston, on the 29th of March 1801. Little is known of his parents; but the record in the family Bible informs us that his father held a responsible position in the household King George the third that he came to this country towards the close of the 18th century and opened a music store in Boson. His son, Charles, was apprenticed to the printer's trade and worked in an office in Haverhill.

His long and distinguished Masonic career began in February 1822 when he applied for in Massachusetts initiation Lodge. He was accepted and would have received his degree on the evening of his coming of age but was called to the State of Maine on business. With the consent of Massachusetts Lodge, he was admitted in Kennebec Lodge of Hallowell the following May and was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason on the 12th of June. He returned to Boston in July and on the 10th of October was in St. Andrew's Lodge. The following month he was appointed to the line by Worshipful David Parker and eventually became the Lodge Master of St. Andrew's at the election held in November 5 of 1832.

Brother Moore became a Royal Arch Mason in 1825 in St. Andrews Chapter and having filled most of the offices in that Body, he was, in 1840, elected its High Priest. Companion Moore's activities in Grand Chapter begin before he is ever installed as High Priest of St. Andrew's Chapter. He was appointed by M.E. Josiah J. Fiske bn October 2, 1852 to serve with Companions Michael Roulstone and John Hews as members of the Committee on Charity. On September 8, 1840 he was appointed Grand Lecturer, a position which he filled until 1844.

During 1840, the Charter of King Cyrus Chapter, the second oldest Chapter in our jurisdiction and one which was instrumental in the formation of this Grand Chapter, was declared null and void and returned to Grand Chapter.

It appears that the welfare of Capitular Masonry is important to Companion Moore and during this Anti-Masonic period he serves on several committees which investigate the conditions of Chapters in this jurisdiction.

In 1844 Companion Moore was elected Grand King. At the September 8, 1846 convocation of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts he was chosen to be its Grand High Priest.

During his administration he was a delegate present at the General Grand Chapter Triennial held at Columbus, Ohio in September 1847 when the question was raised regarding the formation of the Grand Chapter of Missouri and during which session Missouri was recognized by the General Grand Chapter.

The Charter of Thomas Chapter of Princeton was restored this year and the Chapter was removed to Fitchburg. M.E. Charles Moore presided at a Special Convocation of Grand Chapter on 30 November 1847 in Boston, at which time M.E. Robert P. Dunlop of Maine was installed as General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the United States by M.E. Paul Dean, his predecessor in that office.

In 1848 Moore appointed to a committee to " consider and report on certain ceremonies relative to the Royal Arch Degree, it being desirable that a uniformity of work should be adopted and practiced by the Chapters under this jurisdiction." During the same year, the Charters of Northampton and King Cyrus Chapters were restored. Grand Chapter united, in October of that year, with other bodies of their fellow citizens in celebrating the introduction of the waters of Lake Cochituate into the city of Boston.

Perhaps the most significant action taken during Companion Moore's administration transpired at the stated convocation of Grand Chapter on the 11th of December 1849, his last day in office. "The Grand High Priest stated that the Grand Chapter had been called at an earlier hour than usual (11 o'clock a.m.) for the purpose of rehearsing and explaining the work and lectures as adopted by the Convention of Royal Arch Masons lately assembled in this city" he work was presided over by M.E. Stephen Lovell, a past Grand Lecturer. Following the conclusion of the work later in the evening, Grand Chapter voted unanimously "that the work and lectures… this day exhibited, be adopted and practiced by all the Chapters under the jurisdiction of this Grand Chapter.

This action is significant for two reasons. First, it established a ritual which has remained the official ritual of this Grand Jurisdiction until the present with no material changes made in the work since that time. Second, it formed the basis of our present Grand Chapter Exemplification Degree team which has exemplified the work annually at Grand Chapter convocations since that time.

Companion Moore's activities in Grand Lodge are equally impressive. In December 1832 he was appointed Grand Pursuivant. At the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge in 1833 he became the Recording Grand Secretary, a position which he held until his appointment as Deputy Grand Master in 1867. In 1868 he was appointed Corresponding Grand Secretary, a position which he held until his death, concluding 41 years of service to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

"During the Anti-Masonic excitement, which raged from 1826 to 1834, he was unwearied in the defense of the Institution. He was the author of the famous 'Declaration of the Freemasons of Boston and Vicinity,' issued in December 1851"after having been widely circulated in the Commonwealth and signed by 1476 Masons" as well as the Memorial, surrendering the Charter of the Grand Lodge, presented to the State Legislature at the Session of 1834. To him more than any other is the Grand Lodge for its triumphant issue from that trying ordeal; and other Grand Lodges were sustained by our example.

He was a delegate from Massachusetts to the Baltimore National Convention of 1843 and of which Most Worshipful Thomas S. Roy says, "Right Worshipful Charles W. Moore was again the representative of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. He was probably the greatest single influence in the Convention. This Convention was called for the purpose of considering the adoption of 'a system of work and lectures" as a 'National and uniform system,' and has been characterized as perhaps the most important Masonic assemblage ever held in America." Although it failed to produce a national system of ritual several proposals from this convention form the basis for precedents adopted by our Grand Lodge.

Companion Moore was equally active in other Masonic Bodies. In 1832 he received the Royal and Select Masters' degrees in Boston Council, over which he presided for ten years. He was made a Knight Templar in Boston Encampment in 1830 and was its Grand Commander in 1837. He later became Grand Commander of DeMolay Encampment of Boston. In 1841 he served as Grand Master of the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He held various offices in the General Grand Encampment of the United States and was, for a time, its third officer, General Grand Generalissimo in 1850.

The Thirty-third Degree of the Scottish Rite was conferred upon him November l5, 18444. He served as an Active member of the Supreme council of the Northern Jurisdiction and as Grand Secretary General of that body from 1844 to 1862.

He was the publisher of many Masonic Articles and Magazines. In 1825, Moore established the Masonic Mirror, which amalgamated with the Bunker Hill Aurora for which he wrote as Masonic editor. In 1841, he began publishing he Freemason's Monthly Magazine, probably the most distinguished of his publications. In 1872, the then Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts referred to it as "the oldest exclusively Masonic Magazine in the world and had been published without interruption for thirty-one years.

At the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge on December 10, 1873, a poll was cast over the Proceedings when it was announced that Rt. Wor. Charles W. Moore lay upon his death bed. In an historic and unprecedented move, Most Worshipful Serano Dwight Nickerson recommended to the Grand Lodge that R. W. Charles W. Moore be elected to the rank of Honorary Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. Such a resolution was presented was offered by Past Grand Master William Sewall Gardner and seconded by Past Grand Master John T. Heard. When every Brother in the large assembly rose in favor of its adoption the Grand Master declared the resolution unanimously adopted.

Charles W. Moore then held the unique distinction of being the only person to be elected an Honorary Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts. In presenting to Grand Lodge Resolutions upon his death, Charles G. Dame said of him: " the purity of his character, the sincerity of his motives, and the course of his whole life make him a bright example of the good citizen, the true man, and the consistent Christian... the Teachings of our beloved Brother, both by precept and example, will continue as a beacon light to direct the steps of our future course.

The Masonic life and service of Charles W. Moore stands as a unique example in many ways in the history of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts and the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts. In any event, we cannot overlook the dedication and devotion of this ardent worker for Masonic interests in Massachusetts in particular and the United States in general and pass him off as one for whom could be found "no valid reason why he should have been so honored, as he was a commercial printer who lived in Boston."


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