From the Commander of Kadosh (May 2020)

posted Apr 29, 2020, 5:50 PM by San Jose Scottish Rite

The 1996 history of the San Jose Scottish Rite Bodies included the name of Ill. Edwin A. Sherman, 33 rd Degree, Grand Cross.  During my travels for the State of California I also came across his grave in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland.


The San Jose Scottish Rite Bodies started when Sovereign Grand Commander Albert Pike came to San Jose and communicated the degrees of the Lodge of Perfection to a class in 1883.  Brother Sherman came in 1885, as the special deputy of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General and organized the Albert G. MacKay Lodge of Perfection No. 13.


The inscription of Brother Sherman’s grave said he was the father of the Oakland Scottish Rite Bodies and had given 60 of service to the craft.  His connection to both the Oakland and San Jose Scottish Rite made me want to find out more about him.


He was born in Massachusetts and became a newspaper reporter in his early adult life.  With the prospect of a war with Mexico looming, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1845.  During the war he assisted in having an Army newspaper printed in a Mexican government printing office.  He was wounded during the war by the windage of a cannon-shot that passed between his knees.


In 1849, after the discovery of gold in California, he traveled to San Francisco.  After a number of business ventures and adventures he returned to Boston in 1854.  He came back to California in 1855 and became Sacramento County’s surveyor later moving to Nevada, in 1860, where he returned to journalism.


With the Civil War looming, he received a commission with the rank of Major in the California National Guard from then Governor Leland Stanford.  During the 1860s and 1870s he supervised a Nevada silver mine and, for a time, was town surveyor of Gold Hill, Nevada.


Brother Sherman moved to Oakland in 1883 and spent his remaining years as a mining expert, author and writer for San Francisco newspapers and magazines as well as a number of Masonic oriented books.  These books included: “50 years of Masonry in California” (1898); The Life of the late Rear Admiral John Drake Sloat” (1902); the “New Edition of the Brief History of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry” (1890).  The full text of these and several of his other writings can be read at Online Books.  Try Googling his full name with books at the end.  The link is Online Books.


One final note about Brother Sherman’s grave.  On one end of the stone tablet covering the grave is written: “under the foundation stone is deposited the heart of Dr. Ygnacia Herrera Y Cairo Ex-Gov. State of Jalisco, Mexico murdered May 21, 1858 a martyr to the cause of Freemasonry”.  This is a story for another issue of the Rite Word.