In December, 1837, delegates from three Masonic Lodges in the Republic of Texas met in Convention Hall in Houston and formed the Grand Lodge of the Republic. Brother Anson Jones, M. D., was duly elected and thereafter installed the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas.
On December 8, 1939, at the 103rd Grand Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of Texas held in the City of Waco, Brother Ernest Malcolm Wood, M. D., a resident of the City of Anson, Jones County (so named for our first Grand Master) was duly installed Grand Junior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Texas, and thereafter was duly elected and installed in the respective Grand stations of the Grand Lodge, and in December, 1941, was installed Grand Master of Masons in Texas.
Dr. E. M. Wood is the son of Thomas Spencer Wood and Addie D. (Henderson) Wood, both his father and mother being from distinguished pioneer families of Texas, and at the time of his birth his family was residing in McCulloch County, Texas. He attended public schools and the State Normal of Texas and taught school for five years in his early youth, engaged in the drug business for two years, and later graduated from the University of Tennessee Medical Department, and served the State of Texas with honor and distinction as a member of the State Board of Medical Examiners from 1914 to 1916 and on the State Board of Health for six consecutive years.
Few men, if any, have a more outstanding Masonic record reflecting years of sacrifice and labor for the Ancient Craft than our good brother, Dr. Wood, and one cannot help but marvel as to how he could have pursued an active medical career, which has brought him honor and distinction down through the years, and at the same time find time to give so many hours, months and years of his time and services to the Craft, which Masonic service and activity may be in part at least grasped upon an examination of his Masonic records as follows:
He was initiated in Fort McKavett Lodge No. 705 of Fort McKavett, Texas, on December 3, 1898; passed December 30, 1898, and raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason on January 28, 1899, serving as Senior Deacon of this Lodge in 1899. He dimitted on September 15, 1900, and affiliated with Brady Lodge No. 968 at Brady, Texas, on January 5, 1901; served as Secretary in 1901 and dimitted on November 4, 1905. He affiliated with Bertram Lodge No. 583 of Bertram, Texas, on December 16, 1905; served as junior Warden in 1906, Senior Warden in 1907 and Worshipful Master in 1908 and dimitted on April 20, 1913. He affiliated with San Gabriel Lodge No. 89 of Georgetown on May 23, 1913, dimitted February 11, 1916; affiliated with Hutto Lodge No. 801 of Hutto, Texas, on March 25, 1916; dimitted June 14, 1927, and affiliated with Anson Lodge No. 575 on October 6, 1927; served as Worshipful Master in 1929 and Senior Deacon in 1932.
Brother Dr. Wood has served as a member of the Committee on Grand Officers’ Reports of the Grand Lodge of Texas and as Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge del Territorio Norte de la Baja California near the Grand Lodge of Texas.
In the Royal Arch our good and distinguished Brother received the Chapter degrees in Mount Horeb Chapter 57 at Bertram, Texas, being exalted on April 13, 1909; demitted from Mount Horeb Chapter No. 57 in 1925 and affiliated with Anson Chapter No. 294 on September 1, 1925, serving as High Priest of the latter Chapter in 1927, 1928 and 1931. He was elected Excellent Grand Scribe of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas in 1929 and served with honor as Most Excellent Grand High Priest of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas in 1932 and 1933. Brother Dr. Wood has been a director of the Aged Masons Home of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Texas since 1935. He is at present Grand Representative of the Grand Chapter of British Columbia, Royal Arch Masonry, near the Grand Chapter of Texas.
Brother Dr. Wood has been a member also of the Finance Committee of the Grand Chapter of Texas since 1933.
Our Past Grand Master received the Council degrees of the Royal and Select Masters in Mount Horeb Council No. 41 of Bertram, Texas, on April 13, 1909; demitted on May 2, 1925, and affiliated with Anson Council No. 229 on September 1, 1925, and served as Thrice Illustrious Master from 1926 to 1936.
Brother Dr. Wood received the Knight Templar degrees at Abilene, Texas, Commandery and received the Scottish Rite degrees of the Ancient, Free and Accepted Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, in Dallas Consistory, Dallas, Texas.
R.’.W.’.Brother Dr. E. M. Wood was installed as Grand Master of Masons in Texas on December 4, 1941, and three days thereafter came the unwarranted and treacherous attack on this nation at Pearl Harbor, and the plans and program that our Grand Master at that time had worked out and formulated for the year 1942 were then of necessity abandoned and to view the year of his service from an entirely different standpoint, but without delay or complaint this good and true Mason immediately evolved a patriotic program for the Masons of Texas to follow, and one which embraced in its far-reaching scope service to the Master Masons serving in the armed forces of the United States and located in Texas as well as the sons of Masons who also were wearing the uniform of our nation.
Few, if any, Grand Masters have ever been confronted with more trying times and conditions, which daily changed, but through it all our Grand Master maintained his poise and at the conclusion of his successful and outstanding administration Freemasonry in Texas had been materially strengthened and the bonds of brotherhood more strongly cemented, and the approximately 900 Lodges in Texas drawn closer to their Grand Lodge.
Much could be said of the outstanding work and service rendered by the Grand Master, but space does not permit. It is felt, however, that the Grand Officers’ Reports Committee of the Grand Lodge of Texas is best qualified to pass upon Brother Dr. Wood’s year of service and activity, and they have paid him a most deserving and well merited tribute in their report to our Grand Lodge and in part have written upon the pages of Masonic history in Texas their tribute to him as follows:
“Three days after his installation this country was savagely attacked by the most cruel, brutal and uncivilized nation on EARTH, not excluding the unspeakable HUNS. Small wonder that Grand Master has devoted the lion’s share of his time to some kind of service to our Armed Forces. He has spent weary days, sleepless nights, trying to promulgate methods to pass the benefits of Freemasonry on to our boys and other boys of sister Grand Jurisdictions. That he felt, with our great government, through its multitudinous agencies sponsoring the accumulation and disbursement of multiplied millions for recreation and entertainment-that he could not launch an ambitious program or indeed compete in any way with Uncle Sam is NOT surprising, INDEED WAS TO BE EXPECTED. Your Committee refrains from discussing the Grand Master’s address in that regard, but confidently expects that from the action taken this year by Texas Freemasonry -and the discussion of the situation by the appropriate Committee, great good will accrue and Texas Freemasonry will live up to her traditions and her TRUST.
“Your Committee believes that Grand Master has served Texas Freemasonry with fidelity and singleness of purpose; that he has been actuated by the highest and noblest motives; that he has been bowed down under great responsibilities; that he has met these fearlessly, in the light of his life time experience as a Craftsman in the Quarries, and that any material mistakes he may have made-and we allege none-have been such as were unavoidable and peculiarly appertaining to the TIMES.
“We believe that his contribution to Freemasonry may be termed `good and square work’ and that he will take his place in the ranks of Past Grand Masters enshrined in the esteem and affection of the Craft.”
The Masons of Texas join with this Committee above quoted in saying, “Your Committee would place the stamp of its approval on this outstanding work of Grand Master through the year, and assure him of the grateful appreciation of this Grand Lodge.”
Wherever Masons meet, there will be found Brother Dr. Wood. Whatever duty is to be performed, whether it be large or small, we know that the first to volunteer for service to the Craft will be our beloved Past Grand Master, R.’.W.’.Brother Dr. E. M. Wood.