Grand High Priest

Hezekiah Ward

Born March 10, 1795

Died May 10, 1836

Aged 41 years

Greenwood Cemetery, the original burying ground for the city of Columbia, Tennessee, established in 1809, sits on a bluff overlooking the winding Duck River.  Many notables are buried in the two-acre plot that was set aside over two centuries ago, including, Major Samuel Polk and Jane Know Polk, the parents of the 11th President of the United States, James Knox Polk.  Along with soldiers of the American revolution, Mexican American War, and the Civil War, there are several prominent Masons buried in the small cemetery, including Hezekiah Ward, who held the exalted office of Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in 1831 and 1832.

Hezekiah Ward worked as a carpenter.  He and his wife, Elizabeth Ridley, were married on May 2, 1822.  James Knox Polk, future president served as his bondsman.  The couple had seven children.  Ward died in 1836 at the young age of 41 years.  Ward was buried in a gray marble chest tomb.

The chest tomb side panels features ovals, two of which, depict Masonic motifs.  The end panel obscured by a tall gray tablet has a quarter moon crescent enclosed by the square and compasses. 

The side panel of Ward tomb is imbued with symbolism.  It depicts an oval with a keystone.  The keystone indicates that Hezekiah achieved the Mark Master degree.  The keystone is the architectural device that gives strength and durability to an arch. 

Inside the keystone is a circle with the letters H. T, W, S, S, T, K, S which stands for Hiram the widow’s son sent to King Solomon.  This is a reference to the Biblical passage 1 Kings 7:13-14:

“13 Now King Solomon sent and brought [a]Huram from Tyre

14 He was the son of a widow from the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a bronze worker; he was filled with wisdom and understanding and skill in working with all kinds of bronze work. So, he came to King Solomon and did all his work.”

Within that circle is a coffin representing death next to a tree symbolizing the tree of life. 

In a very short time Hezekiah Ward had made his mark as a Mason achieving the highest office in the state.

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1 Response to Grand High Priest

  1. gsb03632 says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for this!

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