J. Eastman Johnson
Most Worshipful Grand Master 1863
J. Eastman Johnson was born in Alstead, New Hampshire in 1805. He was educated at Union College; taught in Kinderhook Academy; studied law and was admitted to the Bar at Buffalo, New York, in 1833. He moved to St. Joseph County, Michigan, in 1836. He served as the St. Joseph County Prosecuting Attorney for six years, and as Judge of Probate for twelve years. He was a Regent of the University of Michigan for twelve years and Presidential Elector in 1834. Mainly through his efforts and influence, the law authorizing the incorporation of Mutual Fire Insurance Companies in Michigan was enacted, and he was largely instrument in organizing at least two Insurance Companies.
He was the first Secretary of Mt. Hermon Lodge No. 24, of Centreville, Michigan. He recorded the events of the Lodge’s first meeting on April 10, 1843. He served as Secretary for two years. He demitted from Mr. Hermon Lodge in 1857 and organized a new Lodge at White Pigeon. He served as Worshipful Master. of White Pigeon Lodge No. 104 until 1860 when he was elected Judge of Probate and moved to Centreville. At the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge in 1863, he was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master.
Brother Johnson together with Past Grand Master S.C. Coffinberry and Brother Louis A. Leland were exalted to the degree of Royal Arch Mason in Centreville Chapter on January 4, 1853. He was elected and served as High Priest of the Chapter for the 1867 and remained an active member until June 6, 1881 when he withdrew for the purpose of joining the Chapter at Niles. He served 15 years as Grand Secretary and Chairman of the Committee on foreign correspondence of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Michigan.
He received the orders of Christian Knighthood in Detroit Commandery, No. 1 at Detroit, Michigan, and was Coroneted 33rd degree Mason of the Scottish Rite in the Supreme Council for the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States. In 1844 he was united in marriage to Charity Bacon.
He died at his home in Niles on March 14, 1888.