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George Harold Walker, Grand Master, 1903

Born in Pontypool, Monmouthshire, England, November 27, 1851, he came to this country in 1857, and after spending a year in Northern New York removed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his early education was obtained in the public schools and in printing and newspaper offices. In 1865, he removed to Cleveland, Ohio, where he was employed as printer and reporter by the Cleveland Leader until 1873, when he entered Cornell University, working in a printing office at Ithaca to help pay his way at college. Returning to the Cleveland Leader, he was engaged as an editorial writer until 1880, when he was employed by the Cleveland Herald, coming to Washington as the representative of that journal in 1881. He soon returned to the Leader, which he represented at Washington until 1891, serving also for several years as correspondent of the San Francisco Chronicle. In 1887 he became a member of the celebrated Gridiron Club, which he served as treasurer for many years. During his long and successful career as a newspaper man he was brought into contact with many distinguished public men, notably Presidents Garfield and McKinley, with whom he was in close confidential relations.

Graduating from the law department of the Columbian University, in 1893 he abandoned journalism for the legal profession, and entered upon practice in this city, in which he continued until 1897, when he was appointed by President McKinley an Assistant Attorney of the Department of Justice, in which honorable position he remained until his death. M. W. Brother Walker was made a Master Mason in Hiram Lodge, No. 10, November 17, 1882, from which time his progress in the Fraternity was steadily upward. He was exalted in Mount Horeb Chapter, No. 7, R. A. M., March 1, 1883; greeted in Washington Council, No. 1, R. & S. M., January 31, 1888; knighted in Washington Commandery, No. 1, April 25, 1883; received the degrees of the Scottish Rite in Mithras Lodge of Perfection, Evangelist Chapter, Rose Croix, Robert de Bruce Council of Kadosh, and Albert Pike Consistory in 1889; and the thirty-third degree (honorary) in the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction, October 22, 1897.

He was Worshipful Master of Hiram Lodge in 1888; High Priest of Mount Horeb Chapter in 1886; Thrice Illustrious Master of Washington Council in 1895; Commander of Washington Commandery in 1896; and Wise Master of Evangelist Chapter, Rose Croix, in 1896.

M. W. Brother Walker was also an active worker in the Order of the Mystic Shrine, being one of the founders of Almas Temple, of this city, in December, 1885, and serving that body four years as Illustrious Potentate and eleven years as Recorder. For many years he was a representative of Almas Temple in the Imperial Council for North America, and in 1894, as Chairman of the Committee on Revision of Ritual, he submitted a revision, largely his own work, which was adopted, and is now the ritual in use throughout North America.

In the Masonic Grand Bodies of the District of Columbia M. W. Brother Walker filled numerous official stations and rendered conspicuous service. He was Grand Master of Masons of the District of Columbia in 1903; Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in 1894; and at the time of his death held the office of Grand Generalissimo in the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar.

Honors came to M. W. Brother Walker as a just reward for his great usefulness to the Fraternity, and not of his own seeking. William of Orange said of Godolphin that he was "never in the way and never out of the way/1 and this could be said with equal truth of our beloved Brother. Modest and unobtrusive, content to follow when it was not for him to lead, he was ever dependable, and his time and means and the resources of his trained and well-balanced mind were freely given to the service of all branches of Masonry. Of genial and kindly disposition, and full of love for his fellow men, he abhorred piques and quarrels, and his influence always made for harmony and conservatism. He was a courteous and dignified presiding officer, an engaging speaker, and an accomplished writer. High on the roll of those who have served the Fraternity with ability and distinction, his name will be written among the noblest of Masons and the truest of men.

He passed away May 5, 1906.

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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