M.W. Solomon Cowles – 1816-1817
At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge held in Hartford May 15, 1816, a letter was read from M. W. Stephen T. Hosmer in which he stated that he would not serve as Grand Master again. It must have seemed strange to have to choose a new Grand Master to succeed one who had held that position for eighteen years. However, Solomon Cowles had been Grand Junior Warden four years, Grand Senior Warden three years and Deputy Grand Master two years. Experience he had aplenty and, therefore, the delegates chose him to the office, which he held for two years.
Born in Farmington February 20, 1758, to Captain Solomon Cowles who kept an Inn and who got into difficulty over the Prohibition Amendment concerning Tea, he was sent to Princeton for an education. He had been admitted to the Sophomore Class when Dr. Witherspoon, the President, urged him to join a sort of company of Minute Men which was being organized in the college. As a result, education was neglected that the advance of the British through Jersey might be opposed. The winter of 1776 and ’77 was spent by him in winter quarters at Morristown with General Washington. From then on he was present in many engagements and was on hand when Burgoyne surrendered.
Military life had an attraction for him and he must have had an ability in that direction, for after the Revolution he served in the Connecticut Militia attaining the rank of Major-General of the first Division in 1807 and holding the position for eight years.
He was connected with the Mercantile firm of Solomon Cowles & Sons of Farmington and with 48 others in 1795 purchased a million acres of land in the Western Reserve in Ohio. The Hartford Bank had him as a director in 1811 and the town as Treasurer 1823-1831. Among other offices held by him were Trustee of Farmington Academy, member of State Legislature for several terms and Commissioner of Indian affairs in 1775. He was also a member of the Order of Cincinnati and the Connecticut Society for the Promotion and Relief of Persons unlawfully held in Bondage. He became a member of Frederick Lodge, No. 26, December 17,1787, when he received the E. A. Degree. In those days an Entered Apprentice was a full-fledged member. He was passed March 17, 1788, and raised May 6, 1788. The number of Frederick Lodge was afterwards changed to 14. He was elected W. M. In 1798. At intervals, for eleven years he held that office, the last time the year he was elected Grand Master. His death occurred January 6, 1839.
Note–Unfortunately the Grand Lodge has been unable to secure anything in the nature of a likeness.