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  • MM 1855, Pentucket
  • Grand Chaplain 1863-1865


From Proceedings, Page 1873-370:

REV. WILLIAM S. STUDLEY, A.M., LOWELL. Methodist. 1863, 1864, 1865.

He was born in South Russell street, in the city of Boston, on the 26th of May, 1823, and was educated in the Mayhew School, under Masters Clough and Capen.

He learned the art of printing in the office of Dutton & Wentworth, publishers of the Transcript, and at that time printers to the State. He received a parchment diploma from the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association, at the close of his apprenticeship, recommending him "to all men everywhere" as a master workman. During his apprenticeship, he was connected with the "Apprentices' Library," and was President one or more terms.

After learning to be a printer, he spent two years as a student in the classical department of the academy in Wilbraham, Mass. He then passed four years in the college at Middletown, Connecticut, graduating, in 1850, as a Bachelor of Arts, and became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society connected with that institution. He then entered upon the work of the Christian ministry in the Methodist Episcopal Church.

In 1850 he went to Maiden, Mass., where, according to the rules of his church, he preached two years. In 1852 he assumed the pastorship of Trinity Church in Charlestown, Mass., where he remained two years. In 1854 he took charge of Central Church in Lowell, Mass., during two years. Here he was made a Mason, and raised in Pentucket Lodge, of which the late R.W. William North was the Master. Here, too, at this time, he was made a Companion in Mt. Horeb R.A. Chapter.

In 1856 he went to Boston, and had the pastoral care of Grace Church in that city for one year. In 1857 his duties were connected with Summerfield Church, in Brooklyn, N. Y., and continued two years. He then became the pastor of what is now the St. John's Church, Bedford avenue, Brooklyn, where he preached two years. From Brooklyn his labors were transferred to New Bedford, Mass., where he was the pastor of the County-street Church during two years. It was while residing in New Bedford that he was made a Knight Templar in the De Molay Encampment of Boston.

In 1864 he became pastor of the Tremont-street Church, in Boston, and, as the rule of pastoral service in the Methodist Episcopal Church was changed in 1864, he remained there three years. During this period, he was appointed Prelate of the DeMolay Encampment, and Grand Prelate of the Grand Encampment of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. At this time, too, he was initiated into the mysteries of the Thirty-second Degree and the Special Degrees which precede it. During his sojourn in Boston at this time he was chosen an Overseer of Harvard College by the Massachusetts Legislature.

In 1866 he was pastor of Trinity Church, Cincinnati, Ohio, and continued so to act for three years. He returned, in 1869, to his former pastorate of the Summerfield Church, in Brooklyn, which he filled three years. In 1872 he commenced his present pastorate of the Pacific street Church, also in Brooklyn. He took his demit from Pentucket Lodge, in Lowell, in 1872, and affiliated with Commonwealth Lodge No. 409, of Brooklyn, where he now holds the office of Chaplain.

It will be remembered by the Masons of this State, that Brother Studley delivered an able and instructive oration on the occasion of the dedication of the new Masonic Temple, June 24, 1867. Many of his discourses have been published from time to time, but no collection of them has been made. It is to be hoped that the course of his ministerial duties will again bring him among the Masons of this State, with whom hitherto he has been associated in many ways to mutual advantage.

From his oration referred to is copied this selection : —

But, venerable as it is, Masonry is still vigorous in heart and life, and it may be well in this connection to indicate the particular rank to which it is entitled among the moral organizations of the world. What this rank should be is obvious enough to its more intelligent and sober-minded adherents; but some enthusiasts have brought reproach upon the Institution in time past, by claiming for it positions which it never designed to occupy. From being a fraternity of operative architects and builders, organized for their own convenience and protection, as they sojourned here and there in various countries, it has grown to be an organization of almost world-wide social affinities and charitable activities.

And it is neither more nor less than this: an ancient and wide-spread social and charitable brotherhood, deriving its primary principles of government from the precepts of God's word. It was never intended to supersede religion, to take the place of the Ecclesia, to interfere with the sacraments, nor to take charge of man's spiritual culture. It has never aimed to control man's religious faith any further than to insist that its own members, of the lower degrees, shall believe in God, the Father Almighty, and that those of the higher degrees shall superadd a faith in the Christian revelation. Masonry leaves to the church the ministration of the divine ordinances, and the distinctive work of developing man's religious affections toward Gcd. Its specific aim is to develop among men, and especially among its own adherents, a principle of charity; and by this I do not mean merely that spirit of beneficence which leads us to render material aid to the poor and sympathy to the sorrowing, but that broad and catholic charity which the apostle Paul declares to be greater even than faith or hope; that large and enlightened spirit of bntherly love which "suffereth long and is kind, which envieth not, which vaunteth not itself, which is not puffed up, which doth not behave itself unseemly, which seeketh not its own, which is not easily provoked, which thinketh no evil, which rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth, which beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

That this is the teaching as well as the aim of Masonry, they who are familiar with its practical results will bear ample witness. Its history has ever been marked with a spirit of charity and forbearance toward each other among its own disciples; a disposition to bear one another's burdens, to make the kindest allowance for each other's infirmities, to excuse each other's imperfections, and to apologize for each other's faults. In this respect, its theory and aim have been essentially Christian; and its practical results have corresponded with this theory and aim as perfeotly, perhaps, as could be reasonably expected of any mere human organization.

But, however this may be, for centuries past, men of different nationalities, men of diverse views in philosophy, men of widely varying types of religious faith, men of diametrically opposite political sentiments, men of antipodal habits of thought and action on all matters that have divided public interest and opinion, aye, even men who have contended for the mastery of each other in the field of deadly combat, have been brought into harmonious and abiding social relations by simply discovering that they were kinsmen according to our mystic tie.

If it be objected that Masonry restrains the exercise of our sympathies mainly to those who have partaken with us of the knowledge of its mysteries, and that it therefore fails to fulfil the broad requirement of the Christian law to love all mankind as brethren, it may be said, by way of rejoinder, that even Christianity calls for marked and espeoial affection toward each other among its own disciples, for its precept requires us to "do good unto all men as we have opportunity," but "especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

We do not claim for Masonry anything more or other than it is. We confess it to be inferior to Christianity in its subjective work, as well as in its objective aim; but we insist that it tends to the cultivation of dispositions and habits which are in unison with the aim and teachings of the Christian system. It is promotive of good-will, philanthropy, and brotherly kindness. Its members are united to one another by particular obligations, and made acquainted with each other by certain secret signs and tokens. These signs and tokens may be understood at once by those to whom each other's native tongue is altogether unintelligible, and they will insure substantial sympathy from those who are capable of their interpretation.

If that man who makes two blades of grass to grow where but one grew before may justly be considered a physical benefactor of the race, then that institution deserves to be esteemed morally beneficent which is capable of promoting the kindest feelings of fraternity among men of different nations, and parties, and sects; and Masonry has this power. Its mysteries have a surprising influence upon the sympathetic qualities of every understanding heart. Its Lodge is a place of social exchange, where the most interesting truths are mingled with the freest fellowship. "Its laws are reason and equity; its principles are benevolence and love; its religion is purity and truth; its intention is peace on earth, and its disposition is good-will toward men."

Of all the institutions which exist outside and independent of the church of Christ, I know of none that wields such a mighty social and moral influence as Masonry. There is no one which exerts such a wide-spread, harmonizing power. There are other institutions which merit the countenance and support of all such as delight in the increase among men of beneficence and fraternity; but these institutions have not behind them the accumulated force afld weight of centuries. Masonry wears upon its forehead the gathered scars and wrinkles of a thousand years, and yet it is as vigorous to-day, as resolute of moral purpose, as if it bore upon its frontlet only the glittering dew of youth. We offer hearty prayers for the prosperity of all institutions which aim to unite men in bonds of amity and friendship; the world is wide enough, and the demand is great enough, to employ the energies of all; but it must be confessed that Masonry heads the column of that grand army which follows the church of Christ up and down, and to and fro in the earth, conquering peace and fraternity among men. Let us see to it that it never occupies a lower rank; that it never yields its glory to another.
— Abstract of Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, 1868.

Distinguished Brothers