Each month Ashlar Lodge No. 3 features one of our Deceased Brethren as a way of remembering our Deceased Brethren and highlighting the contributions they have made to Nanaimo and the surrounding area.
Our Featured Deceased Brother for July 2017 is Joseph Foy (died 9 February 1915). Bro. Joseph Foy joined Ashlar Lodge No. 3 in 1913. He was a manager at the South Wellington coal mine. He died on 9 February 1915 after going into the mine in an attempt to rescue miners trapped underground following a flood in the mine.
During a research trip to Bowen Road Cemetery in Nanaimo on 14 January 2017 I made an unfortunate and disturbing discovery: the grave stone of a deceased Freemason has been vandalized and defaced, presumably because of the Masonic Square and Compasses carving prominently displayed on it.
Bro. Joseph Foy’s gravestone depicted a very well executed Square and Compasses in marble, which faced the roadway in Bowen Road Cemetery. The photo below, which I took in 2014, shows how it appeared before being vandalized and defaced.
Here is how it appeared on 14 January 2017.
Someone has smeared a layer of concrete over the carving of the Square and Compasses on Joseph Foy’s grave.
I am speculating that this was done because Brother Joseph Foy’s grave is immediately adjacent to the road which runs through Bowen Road Cemetery and someone has taken exception to the Masonic Square and Compasses being prominently displayed in a very visible location immediately adjacent to the road.
The opposite side of Joseph Foy’s headstone also displays a Square and Compasses carving, identical to the one which has been smeared with concrete, but this carving has not been touched. The photo below shows how it appeared on January 14, 2017:
I am speculating that the vandal(s) did not see the Square and Compasses carving on the opposite side of the Joseph Foy headstone since it faces away from the road. Whatever the reason, this Square and Compasses carving on the opposite side of the Joseph Foy gravestone has not, so far at least, been vandalized, damaged or defaced.
In the meantime, we need to be aware that a person or persons has/have deliberately targeted, vandalized and defaced a Masonic symbol on the grave of a deceased Brother – a coal mine manager who died trying to rescue coal miners trapped in a flooded mine shaft – and we need to be keeping a watchful eye on other grave markers which display Masonic symbols.