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1818 – Henry Brush

Henry Brush was born in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York on the 12th day of February 1777 the son of Lemuel and Amy (Holmes) Brush. He was educated in the town of Poughkeepsie, New York, where he subsequently studied law in the office of Governor Clinton, and was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of that state on the 11th day of August 1803. Realizing the opportunities that lay in the Northwest Territory, he left New York, settling in Zanesville, Ohio, where he was admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Ohio in 1805. Shortly thereafter he left Zanesville and set up permanent residency in Chillicothe, where he commenced the practice of law. It was the custom of that day for lawyers to travel a great distance to attend courts. These journeys were usually performed on horseback, through forests and swamps, over miserable roads, and to a great distance. The circuit of the courts, as then arranged, embraced Cincinnati and Marietta on the Ohio; Vincennes, on the Walbash; and Detroit, in Michigan. In company with such men as the late Judge Burnet, General Cass and others, Brother Brush traveled this extensive circuit, and endured all the toils of pioneer life; but with them, also, he won a name that was long to be remembered and cherished for generations to come.

Brother Brush was made a Mason in Scioto Lodge No.6 at Chillicothe, then working under a charter from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. The records of the Lodge show that under date of December 21,1807, at a special meeting, the petition of Henry Brush was presented, referred to a committee, which reported favorably. A ballot was taken, the applicant accepted and initiated all on the same evening. Brother Brush was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft and raised a Master Mason on January 16, 1808. He was elected Senior Warden of Scioto Lodge on December 7, 1808 and on December 6, 1809, was elected Worshipful Master of the Lodge, which office he afterward filled for several terms.At the session of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in January 1809, Brother Brush was one of the delegates from Scioto Lodge and is there designated as a Past Master. At this session of the Grand Lodge, the question was raised as to the legality of its organization, which question was referred to a committee consisting of Brothers Lewis Cass, Henry Brush and C. A. Stewart. Brother Brush was also on the committee which reported the first code of laws for the government of the Grand Lodge of Ohio. At this session, as well, he was elected Grand secretary, and re-elected until 1812 at which time he was elected Senior Grand Warden.

At the Grand Lodge session of 1813 he was elected to the office of Most Worshipful Grand Master, and re-elected up to 1818.

About the year 1823 he was elected to Congress, and served two years. He was also appointed one of the Supreme Court Judges of the State of Ohio, serving with distinction until he retired to return to private practice.

This biography of Past Grand Master Brush would not be complete without referring to his military career, for he was as devoted and fearless as a patriot, as he was true and faithful as a Mason. In the summer of 1812, General Hull was in possession of Detroit, but in great need of supplies for his army. The Governor convened a public meeting of the citizens of Chillicothe, and communicating the information, called for volunteers. In one hour a company of 95 men was organized, with Henry Brush as captain. In twenty-four hours more, by the untiring efforts of Brother Brush and others, they were equipped and on their way to Urbana to take charge of a pack of horses and a drove of beef cattle.

On August 9, 1812 Major Brush, having merged his company with others along the way, reached the River Raisin with his battalion where they halted and threw up defenses. The English, under General Brock, had posted a strong defense at Brownstown on the road from the Raisin to Detroit for the purpose of intercepting Major Brush’s command. To proceed with his small force was impossible, and Major Brush received orders from General Hull to remain where he was until reinforcements could reach him. Two detachments, sent to Major Brush’s aid, were beaten back. On August 16m 1812 General Brock moved against General Hull in Detroit, however, rather than against Major Brush. General Hull surrendered and by a supplemental article to the Treaty of capitulation included the command of Major Brush among the forces surrendered to the British. Brush, however, believing it impossible that Hull would agree to such surrender, convened a council of war at which it was unanimously resolved that the battalion should disregard the treaty and make their way back to Ohio. Hotly pursued the next day by Tecumseh with a force of 300 mounted Indians, the march became a race for life. By extraordinary efforts, the battalion reached and crossed the Maumee in safety, and the bloodthirsty Indians gave up the pursuit. The company reached their homes in Chillicothe on the 23 of August, without losing a man.

During the campaign of General Harrison in 1813, Brother Brush served as his aid-de-camp, with the rank of Colonel.

In the year 1830, Brother Brush united with the Episcopal Church and remained a worthy and consistent member of that faith until his death. In the spring of 1844 he ceased his practice at the Bar and retired to his farm, near London, Ohio in Madison county, where he passed away on the 19th day of January 1855 just short of his 78th birthday.

M. W. Brother Brush never married. He was about six feet in height of slender form, but erect and of commanding presence. He was buried with the honors of Masonry by Chandler Lodge No. 138. Interred in the Oak Hill Cemetery, London, Ohio.