William Power Innes

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William Power Innes, PGM,
William Power Innes, PGM (From the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library Collection)

Most Worshipful Grand Master, 1892

William Power Innes was born in New York City on January 22, 1826. When he was thirteen, his father died and he had to take care of his mother, sister, and brother. At sixteen he entered the employ of the Erie Railroad in the civil engineer’s department. Through the efforts of his mother he was able to pursue the study of mathematics and qualify himself for the profession of a civil engineer. In 1853 he joined a railroad company that was building a railroad across Michigan from Pontiac to Grand Haven. He worked on that project until its completion in 1858. Then he joined the Amboy & Lansing road and was with that Company until 1861.

He obtained permission to raise a regiment of mechanics and engineers and on September 12, 1861 was commissioned its colonel. He served with distinction until October 26, 1864 when he resigned. He was brevetted Brigadier General of U.S. Volunteers, on March 13, 1865, “for gallant and efficient services during the war.”

After his resignation he returned to Grand Rapids, but was soon appointed as military superintendent of the railroads leading into Nashville. He completed this assignment and returned to his home and began a real estate and insurance business. He filled the office of Railroad Commissioner of the State of Michigan; he was a member of the board of public works of Grand Rapids, and was president of the Grand Rapids Street and Cable Company.

He was raised as a Master Mason in Western Union Lodge, No. 146, in Belfast in Alleghany County in New York on January 30, 1851. He received the degree of Royal Arch Mason in Grand Rapids Chapter, No. 7 in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1853. He took the degree of Royal and Select Mason in the Detroit Council, No. 1 in Detroit, in 1854 and the Order of the Temple in Detroit Commandery, No. 1 K.T., in 1856. He was received the Scottish Rite degrees up to and including the thirty-second, in Detroit in 1860. He was Coroneted a thirty-third degree Mason and became a member of the supreme council in Boston in 1866. He was elected Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of Michigan in 1860, was re-elected in 1861, and served until 1862. He was chosen Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery Knights Templar in 1860, and served one year. He was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge in January 1878. He held this office up to January 1892 when he was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master.

He died on August 2, 1893.

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