The fact that this photo was taken in Nanaimo circa 1885 and wound up in a photo collection in Iowa is indicative of how Masonic history, and historical items in general, can appear in unexpected places.
Our thanks to Josh Whartman for letting us know about this photo of Ralph Dixon Craig and for giving us permission to use it online. Unfortunately the photo sold to another collector before Ashlar Lodge No. 3 could acquire it for our historical collection.
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.