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William Graham Everson Passes Away

Today in Masonic History William Graham Everson Passes Away in 1954.

William Graham Everson was an American soldier and Baptist minister.

Everson was born on July 1st, 1879 in Wooster, Ohio. He was raised in Indiana and there he joined the United States Army during the Spanish-American War. He rose to the rank of first sergeant.

In 1901, Everson was ordained as a Baptist minister. He was the pastor of churches in Boston, Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Muncie. He also became well known as a public speaker and lecturer. He was well known on the Chautauqua Circuit. The Chautauqua was an adult learning movement in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century. It was a traveling group of educators in a variety of disciplines. It reached the height of popularity in rural America during the mid 1920's. President Teddy Roosevelt once said of Chautauqua it is "the most American thing in America."

In 1903, Everson graduated from Franklin College. In 1905 he was commissioned as a First Lieutenant in the National Guard as part of the Chaplain Corp. In 1908 he graduated from Newton Theological Seminary. He was promoted to Captain the following year. Eventually reaching the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1918 during World War I.

During World War I Everson was promoted to Colonel and given command of the 332nd Infantry Regiment. His unit was the only American unit to serve east of the Adriatic Sea. They carried out operations in Austria, Dalmatia, Serbia, and Montenegro.

After the war, Everson continued his military service in the National Guard and Reserves. In 1922 he was promoted to Brigadier General and served as Adjutant General of Indiana. In 1923 he graduated from the United States Army War College and the United States Army Command and General Staff College in 1928. In 1929 he was promoted to Major General and appointed as the Chief of the Militia Bureau. He served in the position for two years when he resigned to return to the ministry, although remaining in the reserves. The same year he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Franklin College.

From 1939 to 1943 Everson served as President of Linfield College. In 1945 he reached the mandatory retirement age of the military. After retiring, he moved to Portland, Oregon where he lived out the rest of his life. He passed away on September 13th, 1954.

Everson was a member of Delaware Lodge No. 46 in Muncie, Indiana, it is not clear if this was the lodge in which he was raised. In 1944 he affiliated with Willamette Lodge No. 2, Portland, Oregon. He was also an active member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, the York Rite bodies, Red Cross of Constantine and the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He served as chairman of the advisory committee of the Shriners Hospital for Crippled Children at Portland, Oregon from 1944 to 1947.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.