First Grand Master

Thursday, 16 April 2015 12:58

First Grand Master of Michigan

The Man, the Mason, the First Grand Master


A robust man, of strong sinew and muscle. A man with rugged, handsome features, unspoiled by the debilitating ravishes of fast living, that earmarks today's life. This is a physical description of the first leader of Prince Hall Masonry in Michigan. This was Brother John W. Harrison.

 

John Harrison's vocational pursuit is recorded as one of the most important vocations in the time and place of his living. He was a harness maker.

 

Horses, the energy suppliers of the early day transportation system, were controlled in their goings and comings, in their speed of pace, in the direction they were desired to go. These controls were made of heavy, strong home-tanned leather. Fashioned into reins, halters, belly and breast bands, crafted by our first Mason's handiwork. Big John Harrison, the Cass County harness marker.

Thus, it makes no drain on one's imagination, to realize that the lessons gained in harness making, added much to the Deeded experience for guidance and direction used by Mason Harrison, in his leading of the team, that made up the first lodge in our history.

John Harrison, without a doubt, was also a man with great spiritual and humanitarian capacities. He, like many other black men in his community, was an immediate descendant of slaves, or had been in the recent past, a slave himself. And while most commonly published histories are mute, silent, there needs to be no questionable speculation, that Harrison and others of his craft, were deeply involved in the Underground Railway System, the escape method that freed black men and women from the shackles of slavery.