May History Fact of the Month
MW Roger Chew Weightman: Lebanon's first petitioner, Major General, Printer, Past Grand Master
The centennial history book of Lebanon Lodge #7 includes biographical sketches of Past Masters and in one case a Past Senior Warden, Roger Chew Weightman.
Br. Weightman was a printer by profession and was the first to petition Lebanon Lodge after its founding. He was initiated on December 6 of 1811, passed two weeks later, and raised 8 days later. He went on to serve as Senior Deacon and Senior Warden of the lodge. He was also very active in the DC Militia. When the war of 1812 began he was called away and never progressed to the oriental chair.
He was active in the Battle of Blandensburg and was captured by the British Troops marching to burn the White House. The White House reported that the British Admiral teased him by telling him to take a memento, and when he choose something of value the admiral said he had to choose something worthless. (See https://www.whitehousehistory.org/the-burning-of-washington).
After the war, our brother settled into a number of public offices for Washington, including Alderman in 1821-1823, He served as the 8th Mayor of DC from 1824-1827, when he resigned to become the cashier of the Bank of Washington. In an interesting note, in1822 he ran against Mayor Carbery and fought the matter in court during Carbery’s entire term. We also know that there were handbills printed promising voters for him would be rewarded and insulting Carbery, if he did not print himself, he was certainly involved in this.
He would plan the inauguration of John Quincy Adams, work to build the Washington Monument, involved in The Columbian Institute for the Promotion of Arts and Sciences. In 1833, the Grand Lodge elected him as Grand Master, though he never served as Master of a lodge.
He and his family would throw tremendous balls for the elite 400 of Washington which became a social scene of the year until his wife’s passing in 1839.
His interests in military history never ceased. During the civil war, he helped organize and defend Washington, which would put him at odds with his oldest son. Richard Hanson Weightman who fought under Gen Sterling Price and killed in 1861 in Springfield Missouri
The Grand Lodge Historian, Br. K. N. Harper said “He had an unsullied reputation and possessed many ennobling traits of character and was a successful business man and a dignified courtly gentleman.”
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