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Edwin Markham is Born

Today in Masonic History Edwin Markham is born in 1852.

Edwin Markham was an American poet.

Markham was born Charles Edward Anson Markham on April 23rd, 1852 in Oregon City, Oregon. The youngest of 10 children, his parents were divorced by the age of four. His mother moved him and sister to Lagoon Valley, just north of San Francisco. Starting at the age of twelve he began working on the family farm. His mother did not want him to continue his education. Despite of this, he did continue his education, first at California College in Vacaville, California. There he received a teaching certificate in 1870. Next he graduated from San Jose State Normal School in 1872. Finally he finished his studies of classics at Christian College in Santa Rosa, California.

After graduating, Markham taught literature in El Dorado County in California. In 1879, he became the education superintendent in El Dorado County. In 1890 he accepted a job as principal Tompkins Observation School in Oakland, California.

It was sometime around 1895 when Markham started going by Edwin instead of Charles.

In 1898, Markham met and married his third wife. The couple moved to Rio De Janeiro in 1900 with their son. There they studied the natives, before moving to New York City, New York.

It was also in 1898, Markham first read his most famous poem publically, “The Man with the Hoe.” The poem was about the hardship of laborers. The poem was inspired by a French painting of the same name. The poem led to Markham giving many lectures to labor groups.

In 1922, Markham won a contest with his poem “Lincoln, Man of the People.” Markham read the poem at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. He later read the poem on film.

Markham also gave much of his time to the Poetry Society of America, which he founded in 1910.

Markham passed away on March 7th, 1940.

Markham was a member of Acacia Lodge No. 92 of Coloma, California. He after affiliated with El Dorado Lodge No. 26 in Placerville, California. The Grand Lodge of Oregon nominated him as poet laureate of American Freemasonry. In 1935 he was awarded the Masters Medal of the Grand Lodge of New York. It is unclear what lodge, if any, he was affiliated with in New York.