M.W. Pierpont Edwards 1789-1790

Pierpont Edwards

Pierpont Edwards

The first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut was the youngest son of that famous New England preacher and philosopher Jonathan Edwards and Sarah Pierpont, daughter of James Pierpont, a founder of Yale College. He was born in Northampton, Mass., April 8, 1750. His father removed to Stockbridge in that year to act as a missionary to the Housatonic Indians. Pierpont, who is said to have assisted his father and was able to “think in the Indian language”, must have been precocious for his father was called to the Presidency of Princeton in 1757.

Graduating from Princeton in 1768 he removed to New Haven where he began the practice of law in 1771. Shortly thereafter, December 1775, he received Masonic Light in Hiram Lodge, No. 1. His ability and prominence were soon recognized by his Lodge, for he served as Worshipful Master in the trying years of 1777 and 1778. He must have been absent from some of the stated communications for we know that he took part in at least two hard-fought battles of the Revolution. When his fellow townsman and member of his own Lodge, Benedict Arnold, proved unfaithful to his trust, Edwards was appointed the administrator of his estate.

He was frequently chosen a member of the General Assembly and had represented Connecticut in the Continental Congress. In 1788 Edwards was in the forefront of the struggle urging his state to ratify the new Constitution of the United States.

The movement to establish a Grand Lodge in Connecticut which should be independent of both Massachusetts and New York had begun shortly after the close of the Revolution. A number of meetings were held between 1783 and 1789 and Edwards had been named as Grand Master. The accepted date of his officially attaining that office and becoming our first Grand Master is given as July 8, 1789, which is the date of ‘ the Constitution of our Grand Lodge. This office he held until May 1791, and during this time had the pleasure of affixing his name to the charters of five new Lodges: Moriah Lodge, No. 15, Temple Lodge, No. 16, Federal Lodge, No. 17, Hiram Lodge, No. 18, and Washington Lodge, No. 19. Two old Lodges, King Solomon’s, No.7, and St. Paul’s, No. 11, also received new charters with his signature.

In his later years he was the founder of the Toleration Party, an offshoot of the Federalist Party, and in which we find William Judd and Oliver Wolcott prominent. At the time of his death April 5, 1826, in Bridgeport, he was Judge of the United States District Court. His son, Henry W., was Governor of Connecticut for two terms.