James Miller Brown – Grand Lodge of California Certificates From 1860

Our Ashlar Lodge No. 3 Historian was recently exploring some long overlooked storage areas in Ashlar Masonic Temple when he came across a cardboard storage cylinder containing some documents.

When he took the documents out of the cylinder he discovered some important pieces of Ashlar Lodge No. 3 history: two documents issued to James Miller Brown by the Grand Lodge of California in November 1860.

James Miller Brown (1830-1926) was Worshipful Master of Ashlar Lodge No. 3 in 1874 and 1875. His house is still standing at 528 Hecate Street in Nanaimo.

The first of these documents is an original Master Mason Certificate, issued at San Francisco by the Grand Lodge of California on 30 November 1860 to James Miller Brown of Hiram Lodge, No. 43, Eldorado, California.

James Miller Brown Master Mason scroll, issued by the Grand Lodge of California, San Francisco, on 30 November 1860. The original is displayed in Ashlar Masonic Temple.
James Miller Brown Master Mason scroll, issued by the Grand Lodge of California, San Francisco, on 30 November 1860. The original is displayed in Ashlar Masonic Temple.

The second document is a demit certificate issued to James Miller Brown by Hiram Lodge, No. 43, Eldorado, California, on 26 November 1860.

James Miller Brown, Hiram Lodge No. 43, Grand Lodge of California, demit certificate, dated 26 November 1860. The original is displayed in Ashlar Masonic Temple.
James Miller Brown, Hiram Lodge No. 43, Grand Lodge of California, demit certificate, dated 26 November 1860. The original is displayed in Ashlar Masonic Temple.

A “demit” is issued to a lodge member in good standing, typically at his own request, if the member wishes to cease being a member of a lodge. James Miller Brown obviously wished to discontinue his membership in Hiram Lodge No. 43 when he moved from California to Nanaimo. A demitted member of a lodge is still considered a Freemason in good standing, so, when James Miller Brown became a Charter member of Nanaimo Lodge, No. 1090 in Nanaimo in 1865, he was still considered a Freemason although he wasn’t a member of a lodge at the time.

Here is a photo of James Miller Brown, who is an important figure in our history at Ashlar Lodge No. 3. See our webpage on James Miller Brown for more information about him.

W.B. James Miller Brown (1830-1926), circa 1875
W.B. James Miller Brown (1830-1926), circa 1875

James Miller Brown’s house is still standing at 528 Hecate Street in Nanaimo.

James Miller Brown house, 528 Hecate Street, Nanaimo in January 2017
James Miller Brown house, 528 Hecate Street, Nanaimo in January 2017 (photo by Ashlar Lodge No.3 Historian)

James Miller Brown is buried in Bowen Road Cemetery, Nanaimo, B.C.

The grave marker of James Miller Brown and his second wife Louisa (nee Rumming).
The grave marker of James Miller Brown and his second wife Louisa (nee Rumming). The grave of James Miller Brown‘s first wife, Leah (nee Westwood) is just beyond the three large trees in the center-left background (photo by Ashlar Lodge No.3 Historian)

 

Update: these certificates have now been framed and will go on permanent display in Ashlar Masonic Temple.

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