“I wish to preach not the doctrine of ignoble ease,” said President Roosevelt in a memorable address, “but the doctrine of the strenuous life.” This expression has been quoted the world over and has met with a heartiness of response that is evidence of a conviction of its truth. Few men present a better illustration of a life abounding in activity than Philip Schuyler Malcolm. An irrepressible desire to see the world and to take an active part in its affairs early manifested itself and it has found expression in many climes and under many conditions. Mr. Malcolm is essentially a man of quick apprehension, strong convictions and well grounded principles which have sought a useful outcome for all expenditure of time and energy. As a result he occupies one of the most important government positions in the northwest, and also has gained recognition in Masonic circles as one of the leading men of the order.”
So he was remembered during his life.
Philip Schuyler Malcolm was born on October 30, 1847 in Oswego, New York. His ancestors hold a prominent place in American History.
His great grandfather was William Malcolm, born January 23, 1745 in Glenrothes, Scotland, the son of Richard Malcolm, he descended from a powerful Scottish family, one of whom, Malcolm of Balbeadie – was created a knight-baronet by King Charles II. William Malcolm came to America in his twenties and settled in New York where he was a successful merchant. He served on the New York assembly in 1774 and became an officer in the Northern Department. He took an active part in campaigns of the Continental Army in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, eventually attaining the rank of Brig. General. William Malcolm’s son Samuel married Catherine Van Rensselaer Schuyler the daughter of General Philip John Schuyler, whose ancestors were among the earliest Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam aka New York; arriving in the 1630’s.
Philip Schuyler served on the Continental Congress until he was appointed Major-General on the Continental Army, being the fourth highest in rank, third after Gen. Washington. The product of this union was William Schuyler Malcolm, the father of our subject, who was born on February 23, 1810. He was educated as a Civil Engineer, but chose the nautical life and owned and operated ships on the Great Lakes. Captain Malcolm also sailed the high seas and served as deputy U.S. Marshal. After marriage he served as the first Alderman in Oswego and was appointed assistant engineer for the U.S. Civil Service.
Philip Schuyler Malcolm was trained as an Electrical Engineer and like his father before him chose to follow the transportation industry, in his case Railroads rather than shipping. He started in the general office of the New York and Oswego Midland Railroad before going to the Isthmus of Panama in 1869. He worked for the Panama Railroad for seven years. He went to Melbourne Australia in 1879 and worked for a few years in the Import business. He arrived in Portland in the Spring of 1882 and took a job as the chief clerk of construction with the Villard line of the Oregon Railroad & Navigation company.
Philip married Sarah the daughter of Andrew Roberts, a Scotsman, Freemason and long time merchant in Portland. The couple travelled to New York, were they married on August 5, 1885. Philip then took his new bride and went to London where he worked a short time before returning to Portland and entering into a retail clothing business on 1st and Alder, with his father-in-law. He served two terms as Recorder of Conveyances for Multnomah County and in January 1907 was appointed Collector of Customs for the Port of Portland.
The Masonic career of Philip Schuyler Malcolm was of diverse origin and one of eminent achievements.
He was initiated in Sodus Lodge No. 392 Sodus, Wayne County, New York December 1st 1868 (age 21 years 1 month and 2 days), exalted in Washington R. A. Chapter at Melbourne Australia July 5th 1880. Knighted in Pembroke Commandery under the Grand Priory of England in October 1880 and was elected Eminent Commander in January 1882. He received the degrees 4th to 30th inclusive from Bodies of the Grand Orient of New Granada at Panama 1870 – 1874 and the 32° at Portland Oregon in 1882. Was elected a Knight Commander of the Court of Honour on October 22, 1890, and later that same day elected 33° Honorary Inspector General by the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction. He was awarded the Grand Cross of Honor for the extraordinary services he had rendered on October 26th 1895. He was crowned active member of the Supreme Council October 21st 1911. In the Blue Lodge he passed the chairs of Senior Grand Deacon, Junior and Senior Grand Wardens of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Victoria, Irish Constitution, 1880, 1881 and 1882. He was elected to Worshipful Master of Portland Lodge No. 55 for the year 1887. He was elected Grand Master of Oregon July 11th 1894 and Grand Commander Knights Templar of Oregon October 8th 1894.
When Brother Malcolm arrived in Oregon the Scottish Rite bodies consisting of Lodge, Chapter and Council, had a very small membership, no paraphernalia, and as the officers seldom conferred a degree, they had not committed the work to memory: he was induced to take the office of Wise Master of Ainsworth Chapter of Rose Croix, and in two years had a well drilled corps of officers and six hundred dollars in the Treasury; during his absence in England this was dissipated and work had again practically ceased in the Bodies. So discouraged were the members that when he returned in 1886 a meeting was called for the purpose of surrendering the Charters.
The late George E. Withington 33° Hon., an enthusiastic Scottish Rite Mason, proposed that instead of doing so, they apply for a Consistory, and that Brother Malcolm be selected head of the four Bodies with power to select his own officers, this course was pursued and in a comparatively short time the old Hall was refitted, officers drafted, and the Bodies actively at work. The prosperity of the bodies in Oregon had a marked effect upon the Rite in other States of the Pacific Coast. In 1903 they opened the Cathedral where the Rite meets to this day. This was the first purpose built Scottish Rite Building and was the model for many building erected around the country and the world. By 1913, having performed twenty-eight years of labor in Oregon for Scottish Rite Masonry the Brethren gathered for the “Burning of the Mortgage” on the fine Cathedral erected twelve years prior under his direction.
The membership, was then about 3500 hundred, and value of their property about $500,000 dollars. Illustrious Brother Malcolm continued on another 16 years, and saw the Rite continue to grow and prosper. In the four years following WWI alone over 2,000 men joined the Scottish Rite. Classes were so big they had to have the Reunions at the Portland Municipal Auditorium from June 1918 to January 1922.
Other Valleys were formed throughout the State and the influences of the Oregon Scottish Rite could be felt in every corner of the State. The Grand Cathedral thought to have been built to house the Rite for generations was outgrown and plans were being made to build a larger and grander building.
Honor Men 1921, K.C.C.H. and 33°
With the loss of Brother Malcolm in 1929 and the advent of the Great Depression that same year, these plans fell by the wayside.
Our Beloved Brother Malcolm Passed to the Grand Lodge on High on February 1, 1929 at the age of 82. He was well remembered.
Brother Wallace McCamant’s statement follows:
“Brother Malcolm became a Mason in 1868, a few months after he became of age. During a long life he devoted himself to the service of the Masonic fraternity. He received all of the honors which Masonry has to bestow, but on this occasion it is more fitting that we speak of what he gave to than of what he received from Masonry.
“Brother Malcolm, more than most men who receive the Masonic degrees, appreciated the philosophy which is the basis and the groundwork of Masonry. He studied Masonic literature and history. He had a retentive memory and was one of the most scholarly of Masons. He reflected on the lessons taught in the several degrees and endeavored with marked success to weave these lessons into his life. He was loyal to his Masonic obligations and lived the life of a good Mason.
“H e was zealous in the service of the institution and contributed largely to its prosperity. Under his leadership during a period of 45 years the Scottish Rite bodies in the valley of Portland grew from small beginnings to their present flourishing condition.
“He possessed the qualities of leadership in an eminent degree–tact, wisdom, executive ability, discrimination and poise. His judgment was dependable; he had no off days.
“It is a pleasure to speak of Brother Malcolm’s personal qualities. He was one of the most companionable of men, genial, approachable and welcome in any company. He was always a gentleman, courteous, thoughtful of others and mindful of the opportunities for service that came his way.
“He formed friendships readily and was loyal to his friends through good report and ill. Few men would go so far as he in the service of a friend. His departure is mourned by a large circle of friends here and throughout the union.
“Brother Malcolm was a public-spirited citizen. He was interested in all that made for the welfare of the community. He saw Portland grow from a little town without railway connection with the east or California, and he contributed his full share to making the city a better and more attractive place in which to live.
“He was a man of rare civic courage. He was always ready to stand and be counted in support of those causes which he espoused.
“On the great questions which came before the country in his lifetime it is the mature judgment of history that Brother Malcolm’s views were sound. He led a constructive life. We who have had contacts with him are the better for our association with him.”
Michael D. Robinson 32° KSA, was the second Master Mason Raised in Esoterika Lodge #227, and the first member Raised in that Lodge to serve as Worshipful Master. He was elected Master in 2013 and 2014, and currently serves as Chaplain for that Lodge. Brother Robinson was appointed Historian for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Orient of Oregon in December of 2014, and Secretary of the Eugene Valley in March of 2015. He also serves as Historian for Research Lodge #198 and Eugene Lodge #11. He is the recipient of the “Novus Astorum” from the Scottish Rite in 2010, and the Hiram Award from Esoterika Lodge in 2012.
Brother Robinson has a degree in History from Colorado State University, class of 1982