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Henry Kedglie Simpson, Grand Master, 1909

Born in Philadelphia, August 8, 1851, he moved to Washington with his parents in 1859, and has ever since resided in the eastern section of this city. He received his education in the public schools of Philadelphia and Washington, graduating in 1868 from the Spencerian Business College with the highest honors of his class. In 1873 he passed the departmental competitive examination and was appointed to a clerkship in the U. S. Treasury Department, advancing through many grades to the position of assistant in the disbursing office of that Department In 1889 he resigned from the Government service to accept the position of Secretary of the People's Fire Insurance Company, and remained with the company until it was reinsured by the Royal Fire Insurance Company of England. The new company, gladly availing itself of his valuable experience and services, placed him in charge of its extensive business interests in the eastern section of the District, a position he still fills to the great satisfaction of the company.

He is also Secretary of the Eastern Building and Loan Association; Treasurer of the National Capital Investment Company; Director and Vice-President of the Masonic Mutual Life Association of the District of Columbia; member of the Board of Trade, and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Dispensary and Casualty Hospital, of which board he has been a member since 1889. He has been a member of the National Rifles since the organization of that company in 1880; one of its Board of Directors; its Secretary for several years, and its Treasurer until 1908. He participated in many of the company's competitive drill contests, each one of which added laurels to its already deserved fame.

From his youth up he has been closely identified with religious and charitable work; has been a member of the Metropolitan Presbyterian Church since its foundation; Superintendent of its Sunday School for several years; held the offices of Trustee and Deacon; and for many years past has been a devoted and influential member of the Board of Elders. M. W. Brother Simpson is a man of great uprightness of character; an esteemed, worthy, and respected citizen, fulfilling in a most exemplary manner all social and domestic ties; and at the same time an earnest, zealous, and accomplished Mason, maintaining the dignity of Grand Master with a personal kindness which made friends of all his brethren. His addresses were instructive, filled with pathos and humor, and pointed with anecdote, and always held his hearers in the closest attention. While he has attained the highest honor in the gift of Masonry, he is still an earnest worker in another branch of the Order, and the full record of his services to the Craft is yet to be written.

M. W. Brother Simpson was made a Master Mason October 6, 1876, in Lebanon Lodge, No. 7, of this jurisdiction, and after filling various official stations became its Worshipful Master in 1887. In 1898 he was elected Junior Grand Steward in the Grand Lodge, and after serving a term in each succeeding station in the line was, on December 27, 1908, elected and installed Grand Master for the year 1909. He is also an honorary contributing member of Temple Lodge, No. 32.

On March 24, 1882, he was exalted in Eureka Chapter, No. 4, R. A. M., and became its High Priest in 1888. In 1897 he was appointed Grand Master of the First Vail in the Grand Chapter, filled all the stations, except that of Grand Royal Arch Captain, and was installed Grand High Priest, serving the Royal Craft with conspicuous distinction for the year ending in February, 1906.

He received the Cryptic degrees in Washington Council, No. 1, Royal and Select Masters, February 16, 1903.

On July 26, 1882, he received the orders of knighthood in Washington Commandery, No. 1, K. T., and was Eminent Commander for the year 1894. On the organization of the Grand Commandery, January 14, 1896, he was elected Grand Prelate, and re-elected each succeeding year thereafter until 1905, when he was elected to the official line as Grand Warder, and now occupies the station of Grand Captain-General.

M. W. Brother Simpson is an active member of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, the history of his advancement being as follows: Made a Perfect Elu (fourteenth degree) in Mithras Lodge of Perfection, No. 1, July 4, 1886, a Knight Rose Croix (eighteenth degree) in Evangelist Chapter, No. 1, February 24, 1888; a Knight Kadosh (thirtieth degree) in Robert de Bruce Council, No. 1, February 15, 1889; a Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret (thirty-second degree) in Albert Pike Consistory, No. 1, April 15, 1889; and elected a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor October 19, 1897, by the Supreme Council, thirty-third degree (mother Council of the world), Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.

He is also a member of the Royal Order of Scotland, of the Convention of Anointed High Priests, of the Masonic Veteran Association, of Almas Temple, A. A. O. N. M. S., and of Temple Chapter, No. 13, O. E S.

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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