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Jesse Washington Lee, Jr., Grand Master, 1888

Past Grand Master Lee is a native of Maryland, having been born in Harford County of that State, July 9, 1833. At the age of twenty-two he entered the U. S. Navy, from which he was discharged October 8, 1857. At the outbreak of the Civil War he offered his services in defense of the Union, and was mustered November 8, 1861, as 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant of the Baltimore Light Infantry. This organization was subsequently consolidated with the Third Maryland Vols. (Inf.), and he became Captain of Company K of that regiment. With his command he participated in the battle of Cedar Mountain and an engagement at Beverly Ford, Virginia He was Deputy Provost Marshal 3rd Dist., Baltimore, Maryland, under Enrollment Act, 1863, 1864, and 1865; Assessor 3rd Dist., Baltimore, Md., 1866; General Service, U. S. A., November 22, 1866. Since then he has held a position of trust in the War Department, particularly distinguishing himself during the late Spanish-American War by his successful administration of the extremely arduous duties of his office.

He first saw Masonic light in St. John's Lodge, No. 11, August 27, 1875, and served as its Master in 1879, 1880, and 1882. Exalted in Potomac Chapter, No. 8, R. A. M., November 3, 1875, he became High Priest of that body in 1880. He was knighted in Potomac Commandery No. 3, K. T., July 16, 1884, but upon the formation of Orient Commandery, No. 5, became one of its charter members, and served as its Commander in 1897. In the Grand Chapter of R. A. M. of the District he reached the position of Grand Principal Sojourner in 1881, but declined further advancement.

After filling successively the several important subordinate offices in the Grand Lodge he was elected Grand Master in December, 1887. His administration, covering the year 1888, was a notably successful and prosperous one, and to him fell the honor of laying the cornerstone of the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1007 G Street, Northwest Altho he did not enter the Masonic Fraternity until early middle life he quickly became one of its best known, most prominent, and popular members, and rose rapidly to the most important positions in the Order. A natural and recognized leader of men he possesses also the distinction of being one of the most impressive ritualizes of the jurisdiction.

In the A. A. S. R. also, many honors have come to him. He was made Perfect Elu February 11, 1888, by Orient Lodge of Perfection, No. 2; Knight Rose Croix, February 24, 1888, by Evangelist Chapter; Kadosh, March 3, 1888, by Robert de Bruce Council, and April 16, 1888, received the thirty-second degree in Albert Pike Consistory. He was Master of Ceremonies in Orient Lodge of Perfection, No. 2, in 1889; First Sub-Preceptor of Robert de Bruce Council of Kadosh for several years, and Orator of Albert Pike Consistory, No. 1, from 1893 to 1895. He was elected a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor by the Supreme Council of the thirty-third degree for the Southern Jurisdiction, U. S. A., October 19, 1897.

Right Worshipful Brother Lee is Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina, of the Grand R. A. Chapter of Arizona, and of the Grand Commandery of Alabama, near the corresponding Grand bodies of the District of Columbia.

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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