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Masonic Bios

Jeremy L. Cross


A teacher of the Masonic ritual, who, during his lifetime, was extensively known, and for some time very popular. He was born June 27, 1783, at Haverhill, New Hampshire, and died at the same place in I86I. Cross was admitted into the Masonic Order in 1808, and soon afterward became a pupil of Thomas Smith Webb, whose modifications of the Preston lectures and of the advanced Degrees were generally accepted by the Freemasons of the United States. Cross, having acquired a competent knowledge of Webb's system, began to travel and disseminate it throughout the country. In 1819 he published The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor, in which he borrowed liberally from the previous work of Webb.

In fact, the Chart of Cross is, in nearly all its parts, a mere transcript of the Monitor of Webb, the first edition of which was published in 1797. Webb, it is true, took the same liberty with Preston, from whose Illustrations of Masonry be borrowed largely. The engraving of the emblems constituted, however, an entirely new and original feature in the Hieroglyphic Chart, and, as furnishing aids to the memory, rendered the book of Cross at once very popular; so much so, indeed, that for a long time it almost altogether superseded that of Webb. In 1820 Cross published The Templars Chart, which, as a monitor of the Degrees of chivalry, met with equal success. Both of these works have passed through numerous editions.

Cross received the appointment of Grand Lecturer from many Grand Lodges, and traveled for many years very extensively through the United States, teaching his system of lectures to Lodges, Chapters, Councils, and Encampments.

He possessed few or no scholarly attainments, and his contributions to the literature of Freemasonry are confined to the two compilations already cited. In his latter years he became involved in an effort to establish a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Rite. But he soon withdrew his name, and retired to the place of his nativity, where he died at the advanced age of seventy-eight.

Although Cross was not a man of any very original genius, yet a more recent writer has announced the fact that the symbol in the Third Degree, the broken column, unknown to the system of either Preston or Webb, was invented by him.

- Source: Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry

Jeremy Cross' Weepin g Virgin

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