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George C. Whiting, Grand Master, 1837-61 and 1863-67

To this Brother belongs the distinction of the longest service in that capacity in the history of the jurisdiction, with the exception of M. W. Brother French, whose terms aggregated the same number of years. Brother Whiting was born in Fauquier County, Virginia, in 1816, but in his boyhood came to this city with his family and remained throughout his life. It is related as from the lips of Brother Whiting himself that his father, a clerk in one of the Government Departments, had, at the time of the election of Andrew Jackson, strongly espoused the candidacy of Adams and expected early removal from office therefor, but a shower chancing to catch the President on one of his daily walks near the Whiting home he took shelter there, and both the President and the elder Whiting being Masons and recognizing each other as such, a strong friendship sprang up between them which lasted throughout the life of the latter and caused the President to take a personal interest in the affairs of the family when the death of George's father left them dependent upon the young man for support, and to have him appointed to a position in the Treasury Department.

It is also said that during the life of the elder Whiting in Virginia he became seriously involved financially, and that these obligations were all finally wiped out as soon as the son was able to earn sufficient money to do so, an incident which speaks volumes for the character of the man. During his adult life he filled many important positions in the civil department of the Government He was Commissioner of Pensions during the administration of President Buchanan and when succeeded in that position was transferred to a specially created office concerning the African slave trade. He was Acting Secretary of the Interior a number of times and possessed a practical knowledge of the affairs of that Department which rendered his service of great value for many years.

Brother Whiting was a man of many virtues. Noble minded and generous to a fault, urbane and gentle in demeanor, he endeared himself to all with whom he came into contact, while the dignified and impartial manner in which he presided as Grand Master and the learning, skill, and integrity he brought to bear upon the duties of that high office, contributed in the largest measure to the elevation of Masonry in this jurisdiction to a higher plane.

He passed away September 4, 1867, in the fifty-first year of his age and while Grand Master, and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Georgetown, District of Columbia, September 6, the Grand Lodge conducting the Masonic rites in the presence of a concourse of Masons and citizens that testified to the universal esteem in which he had been held. A few years later a suitable monument was erected by the Fraternity to mark the last resting place of this good man and Mason.

In Masonic circles Brother Whiting was for many years a most active and valuable worker. He was initiated in National Lodge, No. 12, March 17; passed March 31, and raised April 29, 1846, and after serving as Junior Deacon for one term, filled the office of Secretary during the years 1850-51; withdrew December 27, 1853, to become a charter member of B. B. French Lodge; served the latter lodge as Senior Warden while U. D., and for the year 1854, filled the office of Worshipful Master during 1855-56, and was elected an honorary member April 3, 1865. He entered the official line of the Grand Lodge as Grand Secretary in 1856, and the following year began his long service as Grand Master, as shown above.

He received the Capitular degrees in Columbia R. A. Chapter, No. 1, April 19, April 26, and May 3, '64.

George C. Whiting Lodge, No. 22, chartered in 1868, takes its name from this eminent Mason.

AHGP District of Columbia

Source: History of the Grand Lodge and Freemasonry in the District of Columbia, compiled by W. Brother Kenton N. Harper, 1911.

 
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