WARREN, GENERAL JOSEPH

Grand Master of Massachusetts from December 27, 1759, to June 17, 1775, a statesmen of foresight and judgment, President of the Provincial Congress and Major General in the Revolutionary War. Born June 11, 1741, Roxbury, Massachusetts; graduated from Harvard College in 1759; began the practice of medicine in 1763, noted for his success in the smallpox epidemic at Boston in 1764. In 1774, sent to the Provincial Congress to represent the City of Boston and elected President in 1775. This Provincial Congress offered him the appointment of Surgeon General, which he declined. He accepted a Commission as Major General, which was dated three days before the Battle of Bunker Hill. General Warren presided at the meeting of the Colonial Congress, June 16, 1775, which lasted almost the entire night and immediately left for Charlestown, arriving just a few moments before the first attack of the British troops at Bunker Hill.

Here Putnam and Prescott offered him command but he, refusing, seized a musket and fought in the ranks. During this encounter he received a bullet in the head and was instantly killed, being buried in a hastily prepared grave on the battle-field. Joseph Warren was Initiated September 30, 1761, in Saint Andrew Lodge of Boston; Passed, November 2, but no record is extant of his being Raised. Earl of Dalhousie, Grand Master of Masons in Scotland, sent Brother Warren a Commission, dated May 30, 1769, appointing him Grand Master of Masons in Boston and within one hundred miles of the same. This communication was received in December of 1769. He received another Commission, 1773, from the Earl of Dumfries, then Grand Master of Scotland. This Commission was dated March 3, 1772, and extended Brother Warren’s Jurisdiction to the entire Continent of America.

He was assiduous in his Masonic duties, giving constant attendance to the Committees of the Fraternity and taking care of manifold duties with a minute attention remarkable, considering his activity in public causes. The Masonic Brotherhood removed Brother Warren’s body from the shallow grave in the battle-field as soon as possible after the evacuation of Boston, April 6, 1776; held a Masonic funeral service over it and placed it in a tomb in the Granary Burying Ground. Since then the body has been moved several times and now lies in Forest Hills Cemetery. King Solomon’s Lodge, then of Charlestown, erected and dedicated a monument to his memory and later voted to present the land and monument to the Bunker Hill Monument Association and an exact model in marble of the original is now placed within the Bunker Hill Monument.

The completion of the monument was celebrated June 17, 1843, King Solomon’s Lodge, then of Charlestown, conducting the Masonic funeral rites. On this occasion the Masonic Apron of Brother Warren was worn by Past Grand Master Benjamin Russell, a soldier of the Revolution. A statue of General Warren was inaugurated lacy the Brethren June 17, 1857, in the presence of the Grand Officers. See Bylaws of Saint Andrews Royal Arch Chapter, Boston (1866, page 85)

Proceedings, Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 1916 (page 246); also Mackey’s revised History of Freemasonry, volumes v and vi (pages 1572, 1573, 1669, 2016, 2022 and 2025), and Leaflets of Masonic Biography, by C. Moore, 1863 (pages 9 to 48).

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