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Charles Frederick Stansbury, Grand Master, 1862 and 1871-74

Born in New York City October 13, 1821, he spent his boyhood and early youth in Washington, at the old family mansion on Seventh Street, N. W., opposite the General Post-Office.

Brother Stansbury was educated at Princeton College, New Jersey, and graduated therefrom when nineteen years old. He subsequently studied medicine, but not having a taste for the practice abandoned it for the law, which was more congenial, making a specialty of patent law.

He was a finished scholar, a zealous student, a forcible and vigorous writer, a pleasing speaker, and as a husband, parent, brother, and friend few men were more loved and revered.

He was appointed by President Pierce as Commissioner of the great English Exposition and World's Fair in 1854, and remained there several years, frequently visiting Continental Europe during the period. In his earlier days he was associated with his brother, Col. Howard M. Stansbury, of the U. S. Topographical Engineers, in making surveys in the Western Territories.

In Masonry Grand Master Stansbury was a star of the first magnitude, not only locally but nationally, and his active participation in all its affairs of the highest and most lasting value. On the occasion of the great calamity which befell Chicago in 1871, he proceeded personally with several brethren to carry to the distressed brethren of that city the offering of the District, and so tactfully was this mission performed that later he was again called to Chicago as one of a commission to examine the record of the Relief Committee.

Prominent among his good works were his untiring efforts on behalf of the long-neglected Washington Monument, and to his active and efficient labors as a member of the Monument Society is the country especially indebted for the renewed interest and work on that structure.

Brother Stansbury was initiated in St John's Lodge, No. 11, February 7, 1857; passed March 13, 1857, and raised May 13, 1857; withdrew July 14, 1865, and affiliated January 31, 1882; was Secretary in 1859, Senior Warden, 1860, and Master, 1861 and 1863. He also held honorary membership in Hiram Lodge, No. 10, being elected thereto in 1873.

He received the Capitular degrees in Washington R. A. Chapter, No. 2, in the spring of 1857.

His death occurred January 31, 1882, and the following extract from the tribute of the special committee of the Grand Lodge reflects perhaps the estimation in which this good man was held by his contemporaries:

"A great leader has passed away, his voice is hushed in death; 'but tho dead, he yet speaketh.' He has left us an example of intelligence and refinement worthy of any age. The home circle has lost a kind husband and father. The community an exemplary and honored citizen. The Masonic Fraternity a tried and trusted leader, an eminent expounder of its principles, a zealous worker, an enthusiastic supporter, a true member. His many valuable contributions to Masonic literature and jurisprudence, his exalted rank and cultivated intellect, his devotion to duty and noble efforts for the good of a beloved Order, make his loss most sensibly felt and lamented, not only as a loyal and popular brother Mason, but as one of its most cultivated, gifted, and refined exemplars, besides a most conscientious and unselfish friend and advisor.'

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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