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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8

Record of Deaths

Record of Deaths.

It gives me unfeigned sorrow to announce officially that which you have already been saddened to learn, and which to our Order has been an irreparable affliction. Death has been doing his relentless work in our fraternity as elsewhere during the past year, and among the many who have fallen by his insatiate hand were two illustrious members of this Grand Lodge.

On the sixth day of January last the startling message flashed over the telegraphic wires, carrying sorrow and gloom to many, many hearts, in every portion of the jurisdiction, "Nathan Porter is dead." Nathan Porter, the man of whom it could with pre-eminent truth be written, as descriptive of his life and character, "He was pure, true, loving, strong, grand!" It is not too much to say, that in the death of Grand Representative Porter this Grand Lodge, his own jurisdiction, and the Order at large has sustained a loss that will be rarely filled as he filled it. Strong as he seemed in his noble manhood, we did not anticipate so early a severance of the fraternal ties that bound him to the hearts of his compeers upon this floor, and his taking away seems to us untimely and inscrutable; but he has left us a heritage of precious unsullied memories, that make us even in our bereavement rich indeed.

Scarce had our first grief for Bro. Porter time to subside into the sad calmness of a life-long regret, when we were summoned to stand by the bier of one who for many years had been intimately identified with the most vital interests of the Order and this Grand Lodge. Frederick D. Stuart, Past Grand Sire, whom so many knew, so many loved, died on the 25th day of January last, venerable in years and covered with the honors his brethren delighted to confer upon him, and of which he was so eminently worthy. We shall miss his genial smile, his hearty greeting, his ready counsel, and his skilful, willing hand.

Representatives! Brothers! Language fails me to portray my own, your sadness, at the thought that these bright lights in our firmament have gone out; that these comrades may never more unite with us in the work of our fraternity, that "the places which knew them shall know them no more forever."

Those voices of counsel are silent in death. The feet that went so willingly on messages of mercy are powerless. The hands so skilful to teach the craft-lore of Odd Fellowship are nerveless. They sleep the sleep that on human dawn knows no waking. They are at rest, while we are in tears.

"Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime;
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time,"

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Representatives, it is for you to take such action as may be a fitting tribute to their memories.

Turning from the members of the Grand Lodge to the Past Grand Officers and Representatives, there are other names of departed, eminent brothers who have mingled with us in years past in the Annual Communications of this Grand Lodge, whom I would fain mention, but I leave the announcement of their deaths to the Representatives of the jurisdictions that they formerly represented, believing that justice will be done to their worth and distinguished services in the Order.

In conclusion I desire to acknowledge my indebtedness to the R. W. Grand Secretary, Bro. Ridgely, and his efficient assistant, Bro. Ross, for their prompt and ready assistance so cheerfully rendered at all times in the discharge of the duties of my office. And to you, Representatives and Officers, for the uniform kindness and forbearance that I have ever received at your hands, I extend the thanks of a grateful heart. With the close of this Annual Session I shall surrender the high position intrusted to me two years ago to my successor in office, and take my place by your side in the great work of human benefaction that is before us. The great good to my fellow-men that I have seen accomplished in the past, increasing from year to year for nearly half a century, from a few hundred dollars a year to millions, will be an ever-present incentive to an increased devotion and attachment to the great cause that has for its purpose the, elevation and good of the race by the promulgation and practice of brotherly kindness and friendship to each other, and whilst I shall never cease to appreciate the high honors I have heretofore enjoyed, I anticipate in the years that may yet be spared to me the greatest pleasure in witnessing the future prosperity and usefulness of this great brotherhood.

J. W. Stokes,

Grand Sire.
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