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Francis Joseph Woodman, Grand Master, 1907

W. Brother Woodman is a native and a citizen of the Granite State, tho he has resided in the District nearly thirty years. Born in Somersworth, New Hampshire, August 7, 1851, his early life was spent in that city, where he passed through the graded schools. At the age of nineteen he entered Phillips Academy at Exeter, New Hampshire, from which he graduated in 1872. In the fall of the same year he matriculated in the academic department of Yale University, and during his course at "Old Eli" he joined the D. K. E. fraternity and the famous Yale Glee Club, of which he was the baritone soloist in his junior and senior years. Graduating in 1876, he returned to his native city and engaged in the management of The Free Press, a weekly newspaper conducted in connection with an extensive printing business. In 1879 he obtained, through a competitive examination, an appointment to a clerkship in the Pension Office, and two years later entered the Columbian (now George Washington) Medical School, from which he graduated in 1885. He advanced through many grades of the Pension Office, including Assistant Chief of Division, Medical Examiner, and Principal Examiner, to Qualified Surgeon, in which capacity he is at the present time chief of the examination section of the medical division. He is an honorary member of Temple Lodge, No. 32, of this jurisdiction, and of Fredericksburg Lodge, No. 4, of Fredericksburg, Virginia, in which Lodge George Washington was made a Mason, and of which the Marquis de LaFayette was an honorary member.

M. W. Brother Woodman's Masonic history began in his senior year at Yale, when he was made a Master Mason in Adelphi Lodge, No. 63, of Fair Haven, Connecticut, December 14, 1875. February 21, 1889, he affiliated with LaFayette Lodge, No. 19, from which he withdrew May 8. 1895, to become a charter member of Takoma Lodge, No. 29. He was Master of the lodge in 1896. In 1897 he was appointed by Grand Master Matthew Trimble to fill a vacancy in the office of Junior Grand Steward, and was thereafter elected to each succeeding station in the progressive line of the Grand Lodge. On December 27, 1906, he was installed as Grand Master for the term which ended at the St John's Day communication in 1907.

His Capitular history also dates from his college days. March 8, 1876, he was exalted in Pulaski Chapter, No. 26, of Fair Haven, Conn. Later he became a charter member of Edwards Chapter, No. 21, of Somersworth, New Hampshire. At the organization of Capitol Chapter, No. 11, November 6, 1807, he was installed as the first High Priest, and served in that office during the following year. In 1900 he was appointed Grand Master of the Second Vail in the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia, and was regularly advanced to the station of Grand High Priest, filling that office with conspicuous ability for the year 1909. He received the Cryptic degrees in the Grand Council of Maryland at Baltimore November 14, 1896, and later affiliated with Washington Council, No. 1, R. and S. M., of Washington.

He was knighted in St. Paul Commandery, of Dover, New Hampshire, March 19, 1878. On the organization of Orient Commandery, No. 5, of Washington, October 19, 1895, he became a charter member, and served as Eminent Commander in 1901.

M. W. Brother Woodman is also an active member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the history of his advancement being as follows: Perfect Elu (fourteenth degree), in Mithras Lodge of Perfection, No. 1. December 16, 1884; Knight Rose Croix (eighteenth degree), in Evangelist Chapter, No. 1, October 14, 1885; Knight Kadosh (thirtieth degree), in Robert de Bruce Council, No. 1, August 4, 1886; Master of the Royal Secret (thirty-second degree), in Albert Pike Consistory, No. 1, August 7, 1886. He was elected Knight Commander of the Court of Honor October 19, 1892, and coroneted Honorary Inspector-General, thirty-third degree, April 13, 1894. In November, 1895, he was made Deputy of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction for the District of Columbia and held that office until December 28, 1909. He is a Past President of the Convention of High Priests; a member of the Royal Order of Scotland, the Red Cross of Constantine, and Almas Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S.

He was a member of Martha Chapter, No. 4, of the Order of the Eastern Star, from which he dimitted in 1909 to become a charter member and the first Worthy Patron of Temple Chapter, No. 13.

In October, 1889, he was commissioned as a medical officer in the National Guard of the District of Columbia. After serving in the successive ranks of Battalion and Regimental Surgeon and as Major in the Medical Corps, he was placed on the retired list as of the last named rank at his own request, after twenty years' continuous service. He is a member and lay reader of St James P. E. Church; also a member of the District of Columbia organizations of the Yale Alumni Association, the D. K. E. fraternity, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Order of Washington.

In every office held by him M. E. Companion Woodman has brought to the discharge of its duties earnestness and zeal, and his administration of the office of Grand Master in 1907, and his more recent occupancy of the office of Grand High Priest, fully sustained his reputation and added to the high position maintained by our Grand Jurisdiction. As Grand Master his performance of the arduous duties incident to laying the cornerstone of the new Masonic Temple, under circumstances peculiarly trying, reflected great credit upon him, and he has always measured up fully to the requirements of every Masonic duty. Of pleasing personality, our jurisdiction has had few Grand Officers more affable and capable than Brother Woodman.

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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