Rob Morris (Freemason)

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Rob Morris
Born(1818-08-31)August 31, 1818
DiedJuly 31, 1888(1888-07-31) (aged 69)
Resting placeLa Grange, Kentucky
Known forPoetry and Freemasonry
TitlePoet Laureate of Freemasonry
PredecessorRobert Burns
Eureka Masonic College, also known as The Little Red Schoolhouse. Birthplace of the Order of the Eastern Star
Order of the Eastern Star signage at the Little Red Schoolhouse

Rob Morris was a prominent American poet and Freemason. He also created the first ritual for what was to become the Order of the Eastern Star.

Early life[edit]

Many references state that Rob Morris was born on August 31, 1818, near Boston, Massachusetts.[1] However, there is some evidence that he was born Robert Williams Peckham, in New York City, and that he adopted the name of his foster parents after the death of his birth parents, later shortening his name to Rob to avoid confusion with another poet named Robert Morris.[2] He grew up in New York, where he (apparently)cite? also went to college.

He worked as a teacher for 10 years before moving to Oxford, Mississippi,[3] where he continued teaching at Mount Sylvan Academy, a school established by Freemasons. While living in Oxford, he met Charlotte Mendenhall, whom he married on August 26, 1841.

Eastern Star[edit]

After he became a Mason on March 5, 1846, he became convinced that there needed to be a way for female relatives of Masons to share in some measure in the benefits of Freemasonry. While teaching at the Eureka Masonic College ("The Little Red Brick School Building") in Pickens, Mississippi in 1849-1850, he wrote Eastern Star's first ritual, titled The Rosary of the Eastern Star. He organized a "Supreme Constellation" in 1845 to charter Star chapters. In 1866, because of his planned travel abroad, he handed over the organizational authority of Eastern Star to Robert Macoy.[1]

He later served as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1858-9.[4] Upon being given a job as professor of the Masonic University, he moved to La Grange, Kentucky in 1860.


Over the years, he wrote over 400 poems, many of which were devoted to Eastern Star and Masonry. While traveling in the Holy Land, he wrote the words to the hymn "O Galilee". In 1854, he wrote "The Level and the Square", which may be his best-known poem.

Poet Laureate[edit]

Because of his many works on Masonic subjects, on December 17, 1884, he was crowned the "Poet Laureate of Freemasonry", an honor which had not been granted since the death of Robert Burns in 1796.[3]


His health began to fail in 1887, and in June 1888, he became paralyzed.[2] He died on July 31, 1888, and is buried at La Grange, Kentucky. The Rob Morris Home is kept as a shrine to Rob Morris by the Kentucky Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. He and his wife are buried at the Valley of Rest within the town limits of LaGrange, KY.<ref Nancy Stearns Theiss, History Center Director, Oldham County, KY, from the Courier Journal, January 8, 2017, page 16a).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Rob Morris". Grand Chapter of California, Order of the Eastern Star. Archived from the original on 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  2. ^ a b Dotson, Raymond (1984-08-27). "Brother Rob Morris". Archived from the original on 2007-10-06. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  3. ^ a b Morris, Rob. "Biography of Rob Morris, L.L.D.". Poetry of Freemasonry. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-7661-0032-4. Retrieved 2007-08-01.
  4. ^ "Past Grand Masters". Grand Lodge of Kentucky. Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2007-08-01.