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Lurtin Rufus Ginn, Grand Master, 1905

Brother Ginn was born near Mechanicsburg, Henry County, Indiana, November 11, 1860, and assumed the office of Grand Master when but forty-four years of age, one of the youngest brethren ever elected to this very important Masonic office.

His early education was obtained in the public schools of his native State. After completing his school career he entered the Central Normal College, located at Danville, Indiana, graduating in the classic course of that institution in 1882. Shortly afterward, while teaching in the district schools of Indiana, he took up the study of law, intending to enter that profession, but receiving an appointment to a clerkship in the Treasury Department he removed from Indiana to this city. After locating here he resolved to continue his legal education, and entering the National University Law School, graduated in 1888.

He was appointed law clerk in the office of the Comptroller of the Treasury, July 1, 1901, which position he now holds. His high character and talents and his fidelity and efficiency in the administration of his important office have won for him the confidence of the authorities of the department and the esteem and friendship of many persons prominent in official circles with whom he is brought in contact.

Brother Ginn was raised to the degree of Master Mason in Harmony Lodge, No. 17, April 14, 1887. His capabilities were at once recognized by the brethren of the lodge and he was immediately placed in the official line. Perhaps the greatest efforts of his Masonic career were put forth during the period when he was a junior officer of this lodge, which at that time, by the infusion of young blood, was entering upon the career of phenomenal growth which has since distinguished it. Here he was indefatigable in his devotion, carrying the welfare of the lodge into his daily life and devoting nearly every moment of his unoccupied time to the upbuilding of the Masonic organization, thereby ably assisting in promoting the impetus which the lodge secured at that time. In 1890 he was elected Master, serving for the year 1891, and becoming a permanent member of the Grand Lodge. November 11, 1896, he was elected Grand Pursuivant of the Grand Lodge, thus beginning an official career which ended December 27, 1905, as Grand Master of Masons of this jurisdiction; a career crowned with high honor and great distinction.

The close of his official life witnessed no abatement, however, in his active interest and participation in Fraternity matters, and the years that have since elapsed have been full of valuable service to the jurisdiction. One instance of special importance that may be cited covers his connection with the transfer of control of the New Masonic Temple to the Grand Lodge, a movement initiated by the Masonic Temple Association. Acting upon the invitation of the latter body the then Grand Master, A. B. Coolidge, in December, 1908, appointed Brother Ginn Chairman of the Committee of the Grand Lodge to consider ways and means looking to the taking over of the Temple by the Grand Lodge. This Committee made its report, which was unanimously adopted, without change, and an amendment to the grand constitution inserted providing for a Committee on Masonic Temple to be the proxy of the Grand Lodge at all meetings of the Temple Association. At the request of Grand Master George C. Ober Brother Ginn accepted and is now filling the position of Chairman of this Committee.

When the present Masonic Board of Relief of the District of Columbia was organized in 1887 Brother Ginn was appointed a delegate representing his lodge. In 1892 he was elected Secretary of the Board, to which office he was annually re-elected, declining further service in 1904. January 4, 1906, immediately after retiring from the office of Grand Master, Brother Ginn was elected President of the Board.

To his individual efforts may be largely assigned the success of the local Board of Relief, not only in the proper care of the indigent brethren whom unfortunate circumstances have forced to ask charity at the hands of the Masons of this city, but in protecting the treasuries of the lodges of this jurisdiction against the impostor and the unworthy. The reputation of the local board is second to none in the country, and the colleagues of Brother Ginn on the Board are unanimous in testifying that to his intimate connection with and knowledge of its affairs this reputation is in some measure due. The Masonic "hobo" gives the District of Columbia a wide berth, while the unfortunate but worthy Brother does not apply for succor in vain.

For many years Brother Ginn has attended as delegate from this juris diction the biennial sessions of the Masonic Relief Association of the United States and Canada. September 28, 1905, at the session held at Syracuse, New York, he was elected Second Vice-President, having previously served as Chairman of the Advisory Board, and after serving as First Vice-President was elected to the Presidency of the Association in 1909.

While active in Blue Lodge Masonry, Brother Ginn has identified himself with the Chapter, Commandery, Scottish Rite, and Shrine. He was exalted in Mount Vernon Chapter, No. 3, R. A. M., October 31, 1887, and was its High Priest during the year 1895. He was knighted in Columbia Commandery, No. 2, K. T., October 16, 1891. He received the fourteenth degree in Mithras Lodge of Perfection, A. A. S. R, January 16, 1890, the Order of High Priesthood March 31, 1904, and in the memorable class of May 29, 1893, he traveled the "hot sands of the desert" under the auspices and guidance of Almas Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.

Past Grand Master Ginn's popularity has been evinced by his practically unanimous election to every Masonic office he has held. Personally he is approachable, with a most engaging manner, and while serving as Grand Master he made it a rule to be at all times accessible to any Mason of the jurisdiction, whether an official or of the rank and file, who desired consultation or advice. Recognizing the responsibilities of the Grand Master he devoted himself to the study of the Grand Lodge Constitution, the ancient usages and customs of the Craft, and the deep, underlying principles upon which Masonry is founded, thereby equipping himself so thoroughly that his decisions as Grand Master were in every instance approved by the Grand Lodge and now have the force and effect of law.

He is strong in the love of his brethren because of the pure purposes and high ideals of his own life and of his forceful, earnest endeavors to measure his own conduct on the lines of a truly Masonic conception of his reciprocal duties to mankind. Considerate and sympathetic to those who are in trouble, kind and genial in his every-day life, and more than brotherly to those who approach him Masonically, his character is only to be measured on the broadest gauge of sterling manhood and the highest plane of integrity.

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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