Most Worshipful Brother James Lowe
Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of Utah 1884
BY CHRISTOPHER DIEHL
*"Sleep on, O friend, until thy waking day,
and ever we, who loved thy presence here,
Will keep for thee. through changes manifold
A tender memory with the years"
The parting hand of Time has once again caused a gap in the Masonic circle in Utah. Past Grand Master James Lowe, who on the morning of October 21, 1883, answered the final summons, will be forever remembered as one of the staunchest and most enduring workmen in the quarry of Utah Freemasonry. It was he who helped mold out the character of the Grand Lodge of Utah, and his name is so stamped on its records that will never be effaced in all the years of the future. Of Bro. Lowe it can well be said that he was born a Freemason; its teachings and principles were a part of his very nature and he would have practiced them had he never worn the lambskin apron. He was a zealous and conscientious Mason, and having labored here below for nearly half a century on the temple of humanity he has earned the final rest that has come to him.
"The fame that a man makes himself is best - That he may call his own."
Bro. Lowe was born in Ipswich, England, October 23th, 1822, of German parents. He came to San Francisco, Cal., in November 1849, by vessel, round Cape Horn, left California in 1852 for Australia, and returning in 1854, lived several years in Michigan, and then settled in Quincy, Ills., where he resided for a large number of years, and where he made many and true friends who will forever cherish his memory. From 1861 to '64 he was private secretary of the Illinois State Senator James W. Singleton, and during the same period was the clerk of the State Senate. From 1860 to '64, he was a member of the Board of Education at Quincy, and for two terms Superintendent of the Public Schools in that City. During the same period he was connected with the Quincy Herald, being the assistant editor, and held a similar position on the German Volksblatt. His was a busy life.
Bro. Lowe came to Utah in the spring of 1868, engaging in prospecting for silver mines, and was fortunate in discovering and locating the Pinion Mine, now the celebrated Crescent, near Park City. In the winter of that year he returned to Quincy, and coming back with his family in 1870, made Salt Lake City his permanent home, developing his mine.
There he toiled for several years, without much success in the earlier years. Later, however, the mine turned out to be valuable and realized enough for Bro. Lowe to make him comfortable during the rest of his days. But he could not be idle, he was born to work, and he did work till (sic) a month previous to his death. During his early residence in Salt Lake City he was Clerk in the U. S. Land Office, and assistant editor of the Salt Lake Evening Journal. Later he opened a land office, in which he was eminently successful. In that branch of law he was considered the best attorney in this city, and had clients all over Utah and in the adjoining Territories.
Is it (not) surprising that the "passing away" of such a man brings sorrow and sadness to many a heart, and that these sad and sorrowful hearts are not confined to the family and relatives, to the nearest friends and Brethren of the deceased, but will be found everywhere and wherever James Lowe was known. He was always trustworthy, energetic and genial, always more thoughtful for others than himself, and ever doing good out of pure goodness of heart. When such a man is taken from the midst of a community, the community is the loser and mourns his death.
In Freemasonry, Bro. Lowe footed every path. He was a Masonic searcher and student and profoundly versed in the history of the institution, its ancient laws, custom and usage upon which he would never permit an infringement. In Lodge and Grand Lodge he was always ready to call a halt when Brethren with less experience and knowledge attempted to walk into the Old Temple on a new road. As a Masonic jurist consult he had but few equals and no superior in Utah, ever holding quick to understand and a ready debater he was indeed a giant, whether in an official position or on the floor.
He was not (at least, not in latter years) a thorough ritualist, because the teachings of Masonry, which unfolds its doctrines, and the symbols which illustrate its principles were to him all, the words of the ritual but cold letters.
Bro. Lowe was initiated in Bodley Lodge No. 1, (in Quincy, Ill.) November 15, 1858, passed January 25, and raised February 28, 1859. In December, 1859, he was appointed Senior Deacon of Bodley Lodge, in 1860 elected Junior Warden, and in 1861 Master, which office he held for three consecutive years. He dimitted from Bodley Lodge November 1, 1877, and a month later affiliated with Wasatch Lodge No. 1, (Salt Lake City, Utah) of which he was Senior Warden in 1878, and Master in 1879. He was appointed Treasurer of the Lodge July 14, 1893, which office he held at the time of his death.
He appeared the first time in the Grand Lodge of Utah, Nov. 11, 1879, serving during the session on the Finance Committee. At the Ninth Annual Communication, held November 9 and 10, 1880, he was appointed a member of the Committee on Lodges, U. D., and elected Junior Grand Warden. January 18, 1882, he was elected Deputy Grand Master, and January 16, 1884, Grand Master. From 1886 to 1890 he was a member of the Jurisprudence Committee, Grand Master Samuel Paul appointed him Grand Chaplain January 18, 1888, to which office he was continuously reappointed and which he held when the grim messenger called him to a brighter world. He was the Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of Illinois, near Utah, since September 10, 1875, and of the Grand Lodge of Prince Edward Island since September 12, 1888.
Bro. Lowe entered Grand Lodge of Illinois as Master of Bodley Lodge in 1862, and again in 1863 and 1864. At the latter session he was appointed on the Finance Committee, and in 1865,-67,-68 occupied the place of Senior Deacon. In 1868,-69,-70 he was Chairman of the Finance Committee and Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of Washington Territory.
He was exalted to the Royal Arch Degree in Quincy Chapter No. 5, Quincy, Ill., June 18, 1859, of which Chapter he was King in 1869 and '70, and secretary in 1860,-61,-67,-68. He dimitted from that Chapter December 25, 1877, and affiliated with Utah Chapter No. 1, February 6, 1878, and was elected and served as its High Priest during 1887.
He received the Degrees of Royal and Select Master in Quincy Council, 1857, and served as its Trice Ill. Grand Master in 1860 and'61. He was one of the petitioners for a dispensation for Utah Council U. D. and one of its members at the time he fell out of the ranks.
He was created a Knight Templar in Beauseant Commandery No. 11, Quincy, April 3, 1861, and its Recorder from 1862 to '67. He dimitted from that Commandery, Nov. 30, 1878 and affiliated with Utah Commandery No. 1, of which he was always an active member, and its Em. Commander in 1883 and ever since, its Prelate.
He received the Scottish Rite Degrees, including the 32, in Carson Consistory, at Springfield, Ills. June 22, 1866, and when it surrendered its Charter, he affiliated with Waukegan, now Quincy Consistory, Dec. 28, 1869. The same day he was elected First Lieutenant Commander, and dimitted from it Sept. 15, 1877.
He was honorary member of the Masonic Veteran Association of the Pacific Coast and its Vice-President for Utah.
Bro. Lowe's whole soul was wrapped up in Freemasonry. To attend a Masonic meeting was to him a pleasure, but the greatest pleasure it ever gave him was when he initiated, passed and raised as Master of Wasatch Lodge his only son, Arthur James Lowe, and whom December 21, 1883, he installed Junior Warden; December 19, 1884, and December 13, 1884, as Senior Warden, and December 14, 1888, W Master of Wasatch Lodge No. 1.
On the 24th day of October, 1893 (his birthday), Utah Commandery No. 1, K. T., laid the last remains of Bro. James Lowe tenderly to an everlasting rest. He sleeps the long sleep at Mt. Olivet Cemetery. His grave will be kept green, it will be strewn with flowers, he will not be forgotten for generations to come.
True friend, wise counselor and zealous Brother.
"Fear no more the heat o' the sun,
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages."
Ref: Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Utah 1894, Page 78
Electronically Transcribed as written without corrections to grammar or spelling by Aaron E. Saathoff, P.M., January, 2005.