THE FIRST 100 YEARS
SACRAMENTO LODGE No.40
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES PAST GRAND MASTERS
Note: The biographical sketch of Past Grand Master James Lawrence English is
among the sketches of the original petitioners.
EDMUND CLEMENT ATKINSON
Edmund Clement Atkinson was born in Charleston, Maine, November 17, 1837, the son of Benjamin and Mary H. Clement Atkinson, the youngest of a family of eight children. His early life was spent on the farm and in logging camps. Following a grammar school education at Charleston and then at Bangor, Maine, further education was acquired at Waterville College, now Colby University at Waterville, Maine. Soon after graduation he became an instructor at Comer's Commercial College in Boston, Massachusetts, teaching until 1866. Moving to Wisconsin he established the chain of Atkinson and Reed commercial colleges at Janesville and Oshkosh, Wisconsin and at Rockford, Illinois. In 1869, while residing in Oshkosh, he married Anna I. Mansfield and fathered two sons, Edmund M. and Arthur F. Atkinson. He conferred the third degree upon his son Edmund Mansfield Atkinson in Sacramento Lodge No. 40 on July 25, 1896 and this descendant is now our oldest living member. He received his 50-year gold button on October 4, 1946. In 1872 Brother Edmund Clement Atkinson moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he was business manager of the Western Educational Magazine. Early in 1873 he came to Sacramento, California, and established the Sacramento Business College, later incorporated as the Atkinson Business College of which he was president. While college president he was awarded the honorary degree of Master of Arts by Waterville College. In 1910 he disposed of his college in Sacramento, selling to his former associate, W. E. Copwell, who later sold it to what is now known as Heald Business College and Secretarial School. Brother Atkinson was raised in Western Star Lodge No. 14 of Janesville, Wisconsin on August 20, 1867. He later affiliated with Oshkosh Lodge No. 27 of Oshkosh, Wisconsin and was Senior Deacon of that Lodge when he dimitted May 8, 1877. He affiliated with Sacramento Lodge No. 40 on September 7, 1877 and served as its Worshipful Master during the years 1879, 1880, 1881 and 1882. Our Lodge enjoyed an outstanding reputation as a fraternal body during this period. In 1882, 1883 and 1884, Brother Atkinson was elected and served as Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of California. In 1885 he was Deputy Grand Master and in 1886 was Grand Master. While Grand Master he visited the Lodges of every district in the jurisdiction including Hawaiian Lodge No. 21 at Honolulu. The members of the French Lodge, Le Progres de l'Oceanie Lodge No. 371, Honolulu, of which King Kalahaua was Past Master, united with members of Hawaiian Lodge No. 21 in honoring the Grand Master. At the request of the King, the Grand Master summoned a convocation of Past Masters at Jolani Palace and conferred the degree of Past Master upon his Majesty. According to reliable sources, while in Honolulu, Grand Master Atkinson had the opportunity of communicating Masonic information to the King which not only circumvented the probable assassination of his Majesty but prevented a revolution on the Islands. By command of the King, he was dubbed Sir Edmund, Knight of the Order of Kalahaua and decorated with the badge of the Order. Portions of the official addresses of Brother Atkinson while Grand Master, have become classics in Masonic literature of the United States. Not only was this distinguished Brother active in Blue Lodge circles but he was also a member of Sacramento Chapter No. 3 of Royal Arch Masons, a member of Sacramento Commandery No. 2 Knights Templar and in December 1897 received his honorary 33 degree. When the Scottish Rite was re-organized in Sacramento in 1895 Brother Atkinson was elected Venerable Master of the Isaac Davis Lodge of Perfection No. 4 in which office he served many years. On March 20, 1911, The Great Architect called Brother Atkinson. His funeral services were conducted by Grand Master Dana R. Weller under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of California in the Lodge Room of Sacramento Lodge No. 40, Wednesday, March 22, 1911.
Transcribed by Sally Kaleta.
Proofread by Betty Vickroy.
© 2007 Sally Kaleta.