Our Founder

Dr. H. L. Harris

Dr. Harrison Llewellyn Harris, founder of the Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star of Virginia, PHA, was an esteemed member of Richmond Chapter No. 1 located in Richmond, Virginia.  He served as Grand Worthy Patron from the founding of the Grand Chapter in 1901 until his untimely passing on November 19, 1920.

Harrison L. HarrisThe below is taken from the 1920 proceedings of the MWPHGL of Virginia on the occasion of Past Grand Worthy Patron Harris’ passing.


On account of the relations of the present acting Grand Secretary to the deceased, the following sketch was prepared by a Past Grand master who was an intimate friend of the deceased Grand Secretary, Dr. H. L. Harris.

It can be truthfully said of our brother, Grand Secretary, Dr. H. L. Harris, that “death touched him and he slept.” They who departing leave behind them memories of a life of unselfish devotion never die, for they are among those of whom the messenger on Patmos spoke when he said, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, from henceforth, saith the spirit, they shall rest from their labors and their works shall follow them.”

It is the immaterial whether a man makes loud professions as one of the worshippers or whether he only smites his breast as the other did and asked mercy upon him, a sinner. If he go about doing good, he is a friend of the king.

The life of H. L. Harris can never be written, for the reason that the whole story can never be told. The best we can do is to use his life as a beacon light to guide us on our way.

If it is asked, Shall the deceased be missed? the answer will unhesitantly be yes, for a light has gone out that cannot be rekindled, and a pillar of cloud that directed us during our days and the pillar of fire that lead us through the night have been removed. Our friend and brother has “put out to sea,” and judging him by the life he lead and the splendid examples which he set, we are satisfied that the vessel upon which he embarked made a safe passage and was anchored fast.

“Soldier, rest, they warfare o’er.”

Harrison L. Harris was born near Bull Run, Fairfax county, Va., March 17, 1855. He was educated at Bula Academy, Alexandria, Va., and Howard Medical College, from which he graduated in 1882, and began the practice of his profession in Petersburg, Va., the same year.

The deceased was married to Miss Jennie Arnold, of Alexandria, Va., of which union there remain the following children:
Carrie H. Mackey, H. Llewellyn Harris, Jr., M.D., and W.H. Harris, the present acting Grand Secretary.

For six years the deceased was a member of the Board of Health of Petersburg, Va., and for ten years battalion-surgeon in the Virginia National Guard. He became a member of Acacia Lodge No. 32, A.F. and A. Masons, of Alexandria, Va., of which he was a charter member. At that time he had just reached the age of twenty-one years.

At the Grand Annual Communication of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, assembled at Richmond, Va., in the year 1884, the deceased was elected Grand Secretary, which position he held and the duties of which he discharged with commendable ability and fidelity for more than thirty-six years, and thereby reflected great credit upon himself and brought honor and distinction to the body which he so ably and efficiently served. During his incumbency of the office of Grand Secretary he published “Harris’ Text-Book,” which soon became authority in many Masonic jurisdictions.

The Grand Secretary was attacked with a fatal illness October 23, 1920, of which he died November 19, 1920, at Petersburg, Va.

The funeral ceremonies were under the direction of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge, assisted by Sheba Lodge of Petersburg, Va. Most Worshipful Grand Master (Professor) W.F. Grasty, of Danville, presided. The sermon was preached by the Rev. T. J. King, pastor of the Fifth Street Baptist Church of Richmond, Va., of which the deceased was an honored member. Dr. King took for a text, “Thou wilt guide me with they counsel, and afterwards receive me into glory.”

Among the prominent Masons present at the funeral were Past Grand Master (Dr.) R. Emmett Jones, Past Grand Master J. B. Evans, Grand Treasurer; Past Grand Master (Professor) B. A. Graves, Past Grand Master W. F. Foreman, Past Grand Master J. W. Barnes, C. B. Gilpin, Deputy Grand Master J. C. Robertson, Senior Warden; Hamlin Nelson, Senior Grand Deacon; (Professor) I. W. Taylor, Junior Grand Deacon; and J. H. Brooks, C. H. Jarvis, C. S. Bassett, M.D., R. E. Jefferson, M.D., Throman Clark, the Rev. Sonny Binford, and J. H. Wilson.

The deceased was laid to rest in Blanford Cemetery, Petersburg, Va. The last rites were performed in a most impressive manner by Junior Grand Deacon (Professor) I. W. Taylor, of Danville, Va.

As the sun was setting in the “west to close the day” sadly the great concourse turned away with tearful eyes and left him whom we loved so well calmly slumbering

“In the city of the dead”

Grand Chapter Order Eastern Star of Virginia PHA

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