Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Robert Morris

Poet Laureate of Masonry

Used with the permission of the
Grand Chapter of Missouri,
Order of the Eastern Star

Rob Morris was born Robert Williams Peckham on August 31, 1818 near Boston, Massachusetts. When his father died in 1825 he was placed in a foster home and took the name of one of his foster parents, John Morris. Morris was educated as a lawyer and was a lecturer, educator, author, poet, and song lyricist. Morris is revered in Masonic circles as a founder of the Order of the Eastern Star, an auxiliary of the Masonic Order for women. Morris is also known as the Poet Laureate of Masonry, given the honor in 1884, the first to hold the title since it had been conferred on the first Poet Laureate of Masons, Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Morris reportedly wrote over four hundred poems, many of them devoted to the Masons, their rituals, practices, and beliefs. Morris lived in Tennessee and Mississippi, but spent the last twenty-six years of his life at LaGrange, Kentucky, near Louisville. Morris was also, for a time, president of Oldham College. Morris's home at LaGrange is now maintained as a Shrine in honor of the Master Builder of the Order. Rob Morris died at LaGrange, Kentucky and is buried there.

[See: James B. Lloyd (ed.), Lives of Mississippi Authors, 1817-1967 343-344 (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1981)("He probably taught school in New England before moving to Oxford, Mississippi (c. 1840) where he was named principal of Mt. Sylvan Academy . . . . In 1853 he moved to Lodgeton, Kentcky, and in 1856 served a President of Oldham College in La Grange, Kentucky, to which he moved in 1860. Here he died on 31 July 1888." Id. at 343. The Lives of Mississippi Authors biographical sketch makes no reference to the fact that Morris was educated as a lawyer.][The "Rob Morris" entry in the Grolier Encyclopedia Americana (1989) indicates that Morris is a lawyer.]

Biographical Entry
Masonic Biographies/Famous Freemasons
Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon

Rob Morris: The Man and His Vision

Brother Rob Morris: Master Builder of the Order of the Eastern Star

Recovering a Rite: The Amaranth, Queen of the South, and Eastern Star


The Model Mason

The Beacon Light

The Level and the Square

Selected Poems

Masonic Poetry Through the Ages


Rob Morris, Masonic Odes and Poems (New York: R. Morris/Macoy & Sickels, 1864)(New York: Masonic Publishing Company, 4th ed., facsimile reprint, 1875)(Chicago: Printed by Knight & Leonard, 1876)(1875)(Freemasonry In The Holy Land and Masonic Odes and Poems (Knight & Leonard, 1880)(Masonic Odes and Poems, Bloomington, Illinois: Masonic Book Club, 1990)

_________, The Poetry of Freemasonry (New York: Macoy Publishing & Masonic Supply Co., 1895)(Chicago: Werner Company, 1985)(with portrait and biography by his son, Rob Morris)


Rob Morris, The Lights and Shadows of Freemasonry: Consisting of Masonic Tales, Songs, and Sketches (Louisville, Kentucky: J. F. Brennan, for the author, 5th ed., 1853)(New York: Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing Co., 10th ed., 1870)(1852) [full-text online, Louisville, 1852)] [excerpt from 1852 edition] [excerpt]

__________, Life in the Triangle, or, Freemasonry at the Present Time (Louisville: J. F. Brennan, 1854)

_________, The History of Freemasonry in Kentucky: In Its Relations to the Symbolic Degrees (Louisville: Rob Morris, 1859)("To which are added, in the form of notes and brief historical abstracts, an American Masonic bibliography; a current history of cotemporaneous events in other states and countries; historical and statistical tables, and the entire catalogue of the Masons of Kentucky")

_________, The Elodpement, or, Love and Duty: A Play in Three Acts (Philadelphia: Barnard and Jones, 1860)

_________, Tales of Masonic Life (Louisville, Kentucky: Morris & Monsarrat, 1860) [full-text online] [excerpt]

__________, The Masonic Martyr. The Biography of Eli Bruce, Sheriff of Niagara County, New York, Who for His Attachment to the Principles of Masonry, and His Fidelity to His Trust, Was Imprisoned Twenty-eight Months, in the Canandaigua Jail (Louisville, Kentucky: Morris & Monsarrat, 1861)

_________, The Miniature Monitor: Containing all the Monitorial Instructions in Blue Lodge Masonry, of Thomas Smith Webb (Chicago: E W Jones, 1863)(New York: Clark & Maynard, 1871)(New York: Maynard, Merrill & Co. 1872)

_________, The Dictionary of Freemasonry: Comprising All Topics Proper for Public Explanation, in the Rituals, History and Nomenclature of the Royal Art (Chicago: John C. W. Bailey, 1867)

_________, Freemasonry in the Holy Land; or, Handmarks of Hiram's Builders; Embracing Notes Made During a Series of Masonic Researches, in 1868, in Asia Minor, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Europe, and the Results of Much Correspondence with Freemasons in those Countries (New York: pub. for the author by Masonic Publishing Company, 1872)(Kessinger Publishing, 1875) [Kessinger Publishing is now located in Kila, Montana]

__________, The Twelve Caesars (Julius to Domitian), Illustrated by Readings of Two Hundred and Seventeen of Their Coins and Medals (La Grange, Kentucky: for the author, 1877)

Rob Morris & Albert G. Mackey, Lights and Shadows of The Mystic Tie: Consisting of Facts and Opinions; Tales, Songs And Sketches, Illustrating the Character and Tendency of Freemasonry (New York: Anderson & Co. 1878)

Rob Morris, William Morgan; or Political Anti-Masonry, Its Rise,Growth and Decadence (New York: Robert MacOy, 1883)


Thomas R. Austin, The Well-Spent Life: A Brotherly Testimonial to the Masonic Career of Robert Morris (Louisville, Kentucky: [s.n.], 1878)

Lucien V. Rule, Pioneering in Masonry: The Life and Times of Rob Morris (Louisville, Kentucky: Published for the Author by Press of Brandt & Connors Co., 1922)