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Harry Standiford, Grand Master, 1901

Brother Standiford was born in Alexandria, Virginia, May 23, 1858. He graduated from St. John's Academy, Alexandria, in 1874, and two years later came to Washington and engaged in the profession of pharmacy, graduating at the National College of Pharmacy in 1879. In 1883 he became the proprietor of a drug store at the southwest corner of Ninth and F Streets, N. W., and built up a large business, which continued until 1889, when he was obliged to vacate the premises on account of the demolition of the building. He then removed to another stand on F Street, between Ninth and Tenth Streets, and continued in the drug business until 1892, when he established a wholesale cigar business, in which he is engaged at the present time.

M. W. Brother Standiford was made a Mason in St. John's Lodge, No. 11, receiving the Master Mason's degree January 25, 1884. His aptitude for Masonic work soon led to his appointment to a place in the official line, and to his election, after filling several subordinate stations, to the office of Worshipful Master for the year 1890.

He received the Royal Arch degree in Washington Chapter, No. 2, October 31, 1884, and was High Priest of the Chapter for the year 1895. He was knighted in Washington Commandery, No. 1, K. T., August 23, 1886.

He became a member of Mithras Lodge of Perfection, A. A. S. R., June 19, 1889, and of Evangelist Chapter Rose Croix, February 26, 1899. He was initiated in Almas Temple, Order of the Mystic Shrine, January 20, 1887, and has been an active member of that organization, serving as Illustrious Potentate in 1897 and 1898, and as representative in the Imperial Council for six years.

At the Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of 1890, before he had retired from the chair of his lodge, he was elected Junior Grand Steward, and entered upon an official career which is probably without parallel in the history of the Grand Lodge. From December 27, 1890, when he took up the rod of the Junior Grand Steward, until December 27, 1901, when he laid down the gavel of the Grand Master, he was continuously in office, and served a full term in every station in the progressive line.

He was appointed Grand Master of the First Vail in the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of the District of Columbia December 11, 1895, and after serving in all but two of the succeeding stations in the progressive line, on December 11, 1901, he was elected and installed Grand High Priest for an extended term which ended in February, 1903, the time of holding the Annual Convocation of the Grand Chapter having been changed from December to February. From December 11 to December 27, 1901, he held the offices of both Grand Master and Grand High Priest.

As Grand Master his investigation of every question was thorough, and when his decision was entered no matter of law or fact had been overlooked. With a high sense of what was due to the dignity and well-being of the Fraternity, he addressed himself to the correction of irregularities, some of which had existed long enough to receive the sanction of ancient usage, and hesitated not to censure where censure was deserved. While maintaining our right of jurisdiction over profanes residing in the District of Columbia, but exercising the right of suffrage in the States, he jealously guarded the rights of another jurisdiction which had been unwittingly invaded by one of our lodges. He rebuked the violation of Masonic confidence, upheld the right of the Fraternity to a careful investigation of the character of applicants, criticized laxity in many details of administration, and commanded orderly procedure in the dispatch of business. Under his administration the financial affairs of the Grand Lodge were placed on a business basis. Tactful as well as forceful, his genial personality disarmed the resentment which some of his official acts might have excited, and his unfailing courtesy won for him the love of all his brethren.

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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