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William M. Ellis, Grand Master, 1844

Born in Philadelphia, Pa., August 28, 1806, he received an academic education, and afterward became principal of the academy at Rockville, Md. Later he entered the Washington Navy Yard as a founder and subsequently became master machinist at that place. During his service at the Yard several first-class engines for our vessels were built under his supervision. In after years he established a private business under the firm name of Ellis & Brother, machinists, and prospered. As a citizen he was active in public affairs, was President of the Anacostia Fire Co., and was for some years a member of the Board of Water Commissioners and of the City Council.

He was one of the founders of the First Presbyterian Church and one of its deacons for forty years. He is described as a model citizen, fond husband, and profound Christian. Quiet and unassuming, beloved, and respected, he was deservedly popular among his associates.

At the time of his death, which occurred March 16, 1868, he was one of the oldest members of the Fraternity in the District and one of the most venerated. In the language of a resolution passed by the Grand Lodge on the occasion of his funeral, under the auspices of that body, "he revered God, he loved his country, he loved his fellow men."

He was initiated in Naval Lodge, No. 4, November 23, 1827; passed December 1, 1827, and raised December 19, 1827, and after serving in several of the subordinate chairs became Master of his lodge in 1835, and afterward in 1848.

He became Senior Grand Warden in 1837; Deputy Grand Master in 1839, and Grand Master in 1844.

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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