M.W. BROTHER ANDREW HENDERSON
13 June 1853 - 19 September 1935
By W. Brother James A. Lundie
M.W. Brother Andrew Henderson was probably the oldest man to hold the office of Grand Master in this jurisdiction, having been born in Sorel, Quebec, 13 June 1853. He was educated in Montreal where, after serving as an apprentice to a druggist, he studied medicine in McGill University: graduating in 1880, in the same class with his friend and confrere, Sir William Osler. He spent two years as assistant and house surgeon at the Montreal General Hospital after his graduation. He came west to Calgary in 1883, and was the first civilian medical man to reach that point. His coming to Calgary is thus described by him in a letter quoted in the report of the Canadian Medical Association at its 65th Annual Meeting at Calgary in June, 1934. He says :
"Left for the North West in 1883, arriving at the end of track ten miles east of Maple Creek [Sask.] en route to Calgary ... The journey from the end of the track to Calgary was made by cayuse in spells! and ocupied the following six weeks, fording the Saskatchewan, Medicine Hat and the Bow River at Calgary. I arrived at Calgary on June 8th, 1883, and at once, located on the east side of the Elbow River near the old Hudson's Bay Fort." Archdeacon Tims of that city, who knew him intimately, says : "I remember him well as a very genial fellow. During the Riel Rebellion, if I remember right, he looked after the men of the North West Mounted Police in Calgary and I remember very well his being called in to see one of the officers [Lt. Col. Ouimet] of an Eastern contingent ... He attended Major General Strange, who broke a leg just after he returned home after the Rebellion, and had to set it no less than three times. Each time the Doctor had to travel by road some forty-five miles to the Military Colonization Ranch for the purpose."
Later, he served as surgeon for the Canadian Pacific Railway on the division from Medicine Hat to the first crossing of the Columbia River at Golden, BC. In 1887, he became medical director on the construction of the Western Extension of the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway. After this was completed, he made his home in St. Paul, where he carried on a general practice, and also lectured on clinical medicine at the University of Minnesota. At St. Paul, he became acquainted with the promoters of the Powell River Paper Company, and, at their request, he came to Powell River, BC in 1909, and took charge of their medical service and founded St. Luke's Hospital. This work he carried on until his retirement in 1922, but he continued to reside at Powell River until his death, 19 September 1935.
Following his retirement, Dr. Henderson still maintained an active interest in the affairs of the community. He filled the position of Coroner, was Secretary of the School Board, and was Medical Health Officer for the District. He was an Honourary member of numerous organizations, and was always ready with timely counsel to both young and older members of the community, who often sought his advice. Powell River, at the time of his arrival, consisted only of a few scattered huts hastily erected. He lived to see it grow to a modern industrial community, one in which he was a moving spirit, and in which his influence will long be felt. In 1930, his fellow graduates of McGill University gave him a banquet at the Vancouver Club in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of his graduation. MW Bro. Henderson was initiated in Bow River Lodge, then No. 28 Grand Lodge of Manitoba now No.1, Grand Register Alberta on 20 October 1884, he then being 31 years of age. He became Junior Warden of his mother lodge in 1886, and Senior Warden in 1887. He took his demit therefrom on 9 April 1888. On 23 April 1889, he became a member of Summit Lodge, No. 163, Grand Register Minnesota at St. Paul. On 9 January 1891, he left Summit Lodge to become a Charter Member of Triune Lodge, No. 190 in the same city. He became Worshipful Master of this Lodge in 1894, and took his demit therefrom, 21 December 1920.
He naturally took the leadership in Freemasonry in Powell River. A number of meetings were held in which was discussed the question of obtaining a charter for a lodge at that place. On 11 May 1915, a dispensation was issued by MW Bro. James Stark. Bro. Henderson became its first Master and at his request it was called "Triune Lodge" in memory of the Lodge in Minnesota, of which he had been a member and in which he had been the Worshipful Master.
From the time of his acceptance of office until his death, he was the guiding spirit of his lodge. He brought it into existence, guided its infancy and as long as he lived, he watched over its maturity. He first attended Grand Lodge in 1917 as Master of this lodge, and from time to time was ordinarily present at its meetings. In 1918, he was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for District 12, and his report in 1919 shows his faithful discharge of his duties as such. As a token of the appreciation in which he was held by his lodge and his good work therein, as a Freemason, he was made an honourary member with full rights and privileges on 22 August 1922.
Few that were present at Grand Lodge in Victoria in June, 1922 have forgotten the forcible and witty speech made by Bro. Henderson in pressing the claim of Powell River as the next place of meeting. His audience was convulsed with laughter which resulted in his invitation being accepted. At the meeting there in 1929, Bro. Henderson was duly elected Junior Grand Warden. He passed through the various offices of Senior Grand Warden and Deputy Grand Master and in 1933, was elected Grand Master, at a second meeting of Grand Lodge in his home town.
Notwithstanding his advanced years, he visited all our northern lodges, White Horse, No. 46, Yukon Lodge, No. 45 and Atlinto Lodge, No. 42. He also visited many lodges in Victoria, Vancouver, and, at the Okanagan and surrounding districts. He did not long survive his tenure of office as Grand Master, as he passed away 19 September 1935, at the age of 82 years.
A good citizen, a worthy Freemason, devoted to the Craft in every way, a charming and witty companion, MW Bro. Henderson was a man who had the affection and respect of all who had the good fortune to be numbered among his friends.
Annual Proceedings, Vancouver : Grand Lodge of British Columbia, 1937. pp. 172-174.