Tag Archive for: Greenwood Hills Cemetery

MWB Berryman Jennings – Annual Wreath Laying

Every year a wreath laying ceremony occurs at the gravesite of our first Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother Berryman Jennings.

In 1897 the Grand Lodge of Oregon while in Annual Communication began the process of having a suitable monument for our first Grand Master created and installed at the unmarked grave of MWB Berryman Jennings.  In 1898 the committee assigned by the Grand Lodge of Oregon to install the marker finished their project with a handsome marker in honor of our first GM.

In 1910 the Grand Lodge of Oregon Proceedings show that a $5.00 budget was given to the care of MWB Jennings grave which today would be around $150.00.  The budget for the care of PGM Jennings grave continued until the last entry in 1915.  Further research needs to occur within the budget to see if the yearly budget for the care of the grave continued after 1915 or stopped.

In 1952 the Grand Master of California MWB Louis C. Drapeau visited Oregon for the purpose of laying a wreath at the grave of MWB Jennings.

Recently several photographs surfaced showing many people boarding buses and also pictures around the grave of Berryman Jennings.

With the help of Grand Lodge of Oregon History Committee Chairman Worshipful Brother Michael Robinson a name was placed with at least one of these men in the picture.

The pictured Grand Master on the left is Ralph Nesbitt 1951-52.

It is not clear at this time if these series of photographs are from the wreath laying from the Grand Master of California’s visit in 1952.  The dates appear to match very closely so it might be the pictures of this occasion.  With the Grand Lodge of California Flag in the background of one of these pictures I think it can be safe to say that these pictures are from that moment in history.

Each year in May the Grand Lodge of Oregon decorates MWB Berryman Jennings grave site.

WB Michael Robinson’s paper on the life of our first Grand Master of Oregon is a wonderful insight into Brother Jennings life.  https://oregonscottishrite.files.wordpress.com/2020/06/29-berryman-jennings-story.pdf

Portland Masonic Cemetery / Greenwood Hills Cemetery

Did you know…?

Did you know that there was at one time post Grand Lodge of Oregon creation in 1851 (ca.1860’s) land either purchased, acquired or given for use for burial of Mason’s and their families located in Portland Oregon?

This land is today known as, Greenwood Hills Cemetery.

The research on this Masonic Cemetery is very muddied right now but it was called and referred to by several varied names:  Portland Masonic Cemetery, Masonic Cemetery, Greenwood Cemetery and now Greenwood Hills Cemetery.

At some point which is yet to be determined the ownership was transferred, given or sold to some person, company or organization that in the end changed the name to Greenwood Hillls Cemetery.

The significance of this new find is very important to the history of this jurisdiction.  Important because there was never a point in recorded history until now that a location was known to exist for Brothers and their families to be buried in that was specifically a Masonic Cemetery in the Portland area.

The burials of Freemasons and their families obviously occurred all the time in Portland but the use of a Masonic Cemetery is what makes this unique.

The ownership and management of the Portland Masonic Cemetery / Greenwood Cemetery was held by ‘three pioneer lodges’ in Portland.  Which ‘three’ lodges at this time is not known.

To add to this wonderful story is the recent find of the Tax Survey Map which is more than just a normal tax survey.  It is actually a Plat Map of the Cemetery.

This plat map is a curious creation that resembles to my eye The Golden Ratio

Looking at the plat map of the cemetery excites me.  Makes me think that this is just not a lay out of a cemetery but Freemasons at work creating a lasting example of the secrets of mathematics by perfectly balancing the layout of a cemetery for time immemorial.

To add a bit more to this wonderful new find is three very important Masons who were very much involved in the creation of the Oregon Jurisdiction are buried here:

Orrin Kellogg and Joseph kellogg who were the men who brought the Charter to the Oregon Territory in 1848 to Oregon City which allowed Masonic Work to begin.

Berryman Jennings first Grand Master of Oregon (source 1, source 2)