Hugh McCurdy

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Hugh McCurdy, PGM,
Hugh McCurdy, PGM (From the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library Collection)

Most Worshipful Grand Master 1873

Hugh McCurdy was born in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, Scotland, on December 22, 1829. He emigrated with is parents when he was eight years old to the United States. The family settled for a time in Birmingham, Michigan. He enrolled himself among the pupils of J. R. Corson, who had a select school at Birmingham. While pursuing his rudimentary studies he attracted the notice of Dr. E. Raynale, who had a law library. Later, he moved to Corunna, the capital of Shiawassee County.

Shortly after moving to Corunna the Office of Prosecuting Attorney became vacant by resignation of the incumbent, and Judge Green appointed young McCurdy to fill the vacancy. In the fall of 1856 he was nominated by the Democratic Convention for prosecuting attorney and elected by a handsome majority. In 1860 he received the nomination of his party for Judge of Probate, a large majority elected him. He was elected to the State Senate in 1864, and immediately became one of its most active and influential members. He was again elected Prosecuting Attorney in 1874. For many years he was a member of the Board of Supervisors. In 1865 Judge McCurdy established the First National Bank of Corunna, of which he was President until 1873 when he sold his stock and withdrew from the business.

His Masonic life covers a period of forty-four years. He was raised as a Master Mason on August 15, 1850 in Birmingham Lodge, No. 44. Later, he formed Corunna Lodge, No. 115 and was its first Worshipful Master and served in that office for six successive years.

He received the York Rite degrees in Washington Chapter, No. 15, at Flint, and was exalted to the Holy Royal Arch, on February 5, 1864. He established Corunna Chapter, No. 33, on January 10, 1865, and was its first High Priest. He remained in that position for six consecutive years. On January 12, 1869, he was elected Grand King of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Michigan. On January 12, 1870, he was elected Deputy Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons. On January 10, 1871, he was elected Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter.

On January 10, 1872, he was elected Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. On January 17, 1873, he was unanimously elected Most Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge. At the invitation of Governor Bagley, a Michigan Mason, Most Worshipful Grand Master Hugh McCurdy was invited to participate in a momentous event for the State of Michigan. On October 2, 1873, Grand Master McCurdy in his finest Scottish Brogue conducted a complete Masonic Cornerstone laying ceremony for the new State Capitol Building. After a parade and speakers, the five-ton granite cornerstone with it’s historic documents and memorials was lowered into place and sealed. It was a great occasion for the 7,000 residents of Lansing and a crowd estimated at between 30,000 to 50,000. On May 9, 1877, he was elected Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Michigan. On January 21, 1879, he was elected Most Illustrious Grand Master of the Grand Council of Royal and Select Masons. On November 18, 1873, he was Coroneted a 33 Mason and was created an honorary member of the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the U.S. at Chicago. On August 11, 1892, Sir Knight McCurdy was elected to the highest honor – Most Eminent Grand Master of the Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the United States of America. He died on July 16, 1908.

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