This Day (Annuit Cœptis Edition)

Happy birthday to Morton Boyte Howell, who was born on this day in 1834, in Norfolk. The encyclopedia is currently Howell-less, but the Library of Congress informs us he was an attorney, a one-term mayor of Nashville (1874–1875), and, as the photograph above would suggest, affiliated with the Knights Templar, a Freemasonry group for Christians.
Sir Morton, as he was known in that latter capacity, appears in the Tennessee report of the 1883 Grand Commandery Knights Templar, where, due to illness, he delivers by proxy his report on Foreign Correspondence, which the powers that be deem “an excellent paper”:

Sir Morton pays his respects to most of the Templar Grand Bodies of the world in his usual courteous style. We note, en passant, that he is sound on the doctrine of the Trinity. How a man can claim to be a firm believer in the Christian religion and deny the divinity of Christ and the unity of the God-Head we can’t see; and what business a man who is not a firm believer in these fundamentals of Christianity has in the Order, we are equally unable to discover.

A more careful reading of the entire document than I am prepared to undertake may explain this rather defensive interjection. As it is, it’s good to see that Sir Morton remained in good standing.
IMAGE: Sir Morton B. Howell by Carl Giers, Nashville, ca. 1860–1870 (Library of Congress)


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