Masonry makes history. Supplies seed money to build U of
Mís 1st hall. Grand Lodge commissions Robert Thom, renowned
painter of history. Worldís greatest recreator of history paints Zion Lodge
scene of September 15, 1817.
(Photo by Mitchell Ozog, 2002)
The formal presentation of Robert
Thomís painting of Masonryís role in the founding of the University of Michigan
was made to the University by the Masonic Foundation of the Grand Lodge, F.
& A.M. of Michigan, Sunday, November 26, 1967 in the Rackham Building at
Ann Arbor. Past Grand Master Roscoe O. Bonisteel was Master of Ceremonies.
Farmer U of M President Harlan Hatcher formally accepted it on behalf of the
depicts the scene in Zion Lodge No. 1 on the night of September 15, 1817, when
the Lodge met in an emergent session for the purpose of making the first
donation to the University. Painstaking research and a long and difficult
search for authentic likenesses of the early 19th century Freemasons
who were the first donors to the stateís great University were an integral part
of the artistís preparation for this recreation of the historic scene.
figures in the foreground left to right, are: Worshipful Master Sylvester Day,
an officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corps; Father Gabriel Richard, Roman
Catholic Priest; John Monteith, Presbyterian Minister; and Judge Augustus
Brevoort Woodward, the prime and driving force behind the birth of the
University. Seated at the desk is Treasurer Abraham Edwards, and standing with
his hand on the desk is Henry Jackson Hunt, Mayor of Detroit; and next to him
is Senior Deacon pro tem, Austin E. Wing. In the doorway at the back is
Ebenezer Reed, Tiler pro tem, publisher of the Detroit Gazette, first Michigan
daily, which was founded in the same year that the University of Michigan had
its birth. Other figures in the background, at the extreme left, seated, Judge
James Abbott; standing at the back, Army Lieutenant Edmund Kirby, who was the
first High Priest under the dispensation of Michiganís first Royal Arch
Chapter, Monroe No. 1, and who was the son of the first General Grand High
Priest of the General Grand chapter, Ephraim Kirby of Rhode Islandí a fellow
Army Lieutenant, Thomas Hunt; and seated between the two military men, at the
rear, George McDougall. At the other side of the door are Junior Deacon Thomas
Rowland (seated); and Senior Warden Robert Irwin. Other background figures are
not identified, but represent lodge members of the day.
Bicentennial 1776-1976, page 17. texts only)††