Wednesday, October 30, 2019

They Love The Colonel - Colonel M. W. Quackenbush

This story is taken from the Freemasons in Michigan and was found deep within the pages of a book entitled: The American Tyler-keystone: Devoted to Freemasonry and its Concerdant Others, Volume 5, Issue 15, published in 1891.

The senate chamber has been the scene of many happy events, but not one has ever taken place that gave more pleasure to those that participated than that of the evening of October 1st, when the employees of the capitol building showed their love and esteem for one of their co-workers, Col. M. W. Quackenbush, who looks after the comforts of the employees of the adjutant generals and insurance commissioner's offices. From early morning the Colonel was reminded that he had reached his 76th birthday by the many congratulations he received from his friends, and at the close of work in the afternoon he was called into General Farrar's room, who, on behalf of the military department, presented him with a handsome pair of gold-bowed spectacles. He was then informed that a number of his friends wished to see him in the senate chamber, and thither he hurried, escorted by Insurance Commissioner Magill and his deputy Mr. McKnigh.

Arrived there the Colonel was given the seat of honor when R. H. Wood, in a well-prepared speech, presented him with a properly-inscribed, gold-headed cane in behalf of his capitol friends. The Colonel was about to tender his thanks when H. D. Pugh, with some appropriate remarks, presented him with a very fine meerschaum pipe. Once more the Colonel arose to express his thanks, but again he was asked to take a seat, and Fred A. Bush of the auditor generals office stepped forward and in reading an appropriate and well-sounding poem asked the colonel to rest himself in a handsome and costly plush-covered easy chair that was brought forward. If ever surprise and gratitude were depicted in a man's face, it was on that of Colonel Quackenbush as he slowly arose, wiped the tears from his eyes and with trembling voice thanked the donors for their kind expressions and handsome gifts. At the close of his remarks the boys gave three rousing cheers to the old commander and adjourned to his home on Michigan Avenue West, where a pleasant hour or two was spent in social session.

Colonel M. W, Quackenbush was one of the bravest soldiers that ever went out of Michigan, and his war record is one any man may well feel proud of. He enlisted from Owosso in the fourtheenth Michigan Infantry, in 1861, as major, but through illness of superior officers, he had command of the regiment in all its important engagements during the first two years of the war. Many boys from Lansing and vicinity were members of his regiment, several of whom joined with the capitol employees in extending congratulations and words of good cheer to their old commander.

The Colonel has his orders to report for duty signed by Gov. Blair, and a petition signed by Generals Morgan, Palmer, and Rosecrans to Gov. Blair speaking in the highest terms of his services and asking for his promotion. The language of General Rosecrans is particularly expressive of his bravery and ability. It read:

"Colonel Quackenbush is a brave, indefatigable, honest, and capable officer, worthy to command his regiment, and I sincerely hope you will promote him."

With such excellent testimony there was nothing else for the Governor to do, and the promotion was promptly forthcoming. Although he saw much hard service and bears several wounds as mementoes of that great struggle, in which so many brave Michigan boys fell victims to rebel bullets, Colonel Quackenbush is still a vigorous, sprightly man, and will no doubt live to see many more happy returns of his birthday. He says the cane will be laid away for four years, as he does not expect to need such an aid to navigation until he has passed the four-score mark of life.

M. W. Quackenbush was made in Oriental No. 15, at Ann Arbor (now defunct) in 1846 or 1847; was one of the original members of the Lansing Lodge No. 33, in 1848. He

circulated the petition dated October 10, 1848, for a dispensation for Lansing Lodge, No. 33, and was its first Senior Deacon, 1848 and 1849; S. W. in 1850; W. M. in 1851; dimmed about 1855. He represented the Lodge in the Grand Lodge in 1850, at which time the charter was granted. In 1855 he with B. O. and A. I.. Williams organized Owosso Lodge, No. 81, he becoming its first Master. On February 25, 1864, Salina, Lodge, No. 155, was organized, and here too, became its first Master, being named in the Dispensation, and which he held several years. At Chesaning he assisted in organizing Chesaning Chapter No. 63, R. A. M., and became its first High Priest and later became the first High Priest of Owosso Chapter, No. 89, R. A. M.. At East Saginaw he was at one time Principal Sojourner of Saginaw Valley Chapter, No. 31, and was an officer in St. Bernard Commandery, No. 16. He is now a member of Balwin Lodge, No. 274, at East Tawas and was made an honorary member of Lansing Lodge, No. 33, in 1890. Taking his record as it stands he probably ranks higher as an organizer and earnest, energetic worker than any other Mason in Michigan

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