Vancouver Island Masonic History Project

As part of our Vancouver island Masonic History Project, and its section on Vancouver Island Cemeteries- Masonic Interments, this page is about Freemasons interred in Victoria Jewish Cemetery. Note: we are currently updating our website design and our previous page on Victoria Jewish Cemetery is still online here with its associated links while our website updating is underway.

The entrance gate of Victoria Jewish cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
The entrance gate of Victoria Jewish cemetery, Victoria, B.C.

Victoria’s Jewish cemetery is located on Cedar Hill Road near Hillside Avenue. It was consecrated in 1859, making it the oldest Jewish Cemetery in western Canada. The first burial took place in 1861. That first interment was a Freemason named Morris Price, a merchant who was murdered in 1861 in his store in Cayoosh, a settlement near the present town of Lillooet in the B.C. interior. Since Victoria Jewish Cemetery was the nearest Jewish cemetery to Cayoosh at that time, Morris Price‘s body was transported to Victoria for burial. Victoria Lodge, No. 1085 struck a committee to receive Morris Price‘s body and prepare it for burial. The Victoria Freemasons also took charge of Brother Price’s funeral.

Freemasonry has a close, amicable and long-standing relationship with Victoria’s Jewish community. Victoria’s second Mayor, Lumley Franklin, a leading figure in early Victoria’s Jewish community, was a charter member of Victoria’s first Masonic Lodge, Victoria Lodge, No. 1085, in 1858. On 2 June 1863, Victoria Freemasons laid the cornerstone of the city’s Congregation Emanu-El, the oldest synagogue in western Canada. Lumley Franklin was instrumental in financing and building this synagogue.

On 2 June 2013, on the 150th anniversary of the original cornerstone ceremony, the Grand Master of B.C. & Yukon, M.W. Brother J. Murray Webster, presided over a public re-enactment of the 1863 ceremony before an audience consisting of members of Congregation Emanu-El, approximately 400 Freemasons, the Mayor of Victoria, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada and many other interested spectators.

The graves of Harry Burns and Lewis Lewis in Victoria Jewish Cemetery both display the Masonic Square and Compasses
The graves of Harry Burns and Lewis Lewis in Victoria Jewish Cemetery both display the Masonic Square and Compasses

Freemasons Interred In Victoria Jewish Cemetery

Here is a list of the Freemasons we know to be buried in the Victoria Jewish Cemetery (note: this list may not be complete):

  1. David BERMAN (1901-1958
  2. Harry BURNS (1874-1929)
  3. Joshua Philip DAVIES (1846-1903)
  4. Judah Philip DAVIES (1820-1879)
  5. Rabbi Elias FRIEDLANDER (1846-1927) – Chief Rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El
  6. Moses HAMBURGER (1870-1905)
  7. Adolph LANCASTER (1882-1961)
  8. Isador LANCASTER (died 1924, aged 48)
  9. Gustav LEISER (1856-1896)
  10. Max LEISER (1862-1935)
  11. Simon LEISER (1851-1917)
  12. Lewis LEVY (died 1926 in Port Angeles, Washington, aged 73)
  13. Lewis LEWIS (died 1904, aged 78)
  14. Max Harvey MACARA
  15. David OPPENHEIMER
  16. Morris PRICE (died 1861 – the first interment in Victoria Jewish cemetery)
  17. Samuel Davies SCHULTZ (1865-1917) – Canada’s first Jewish judge
  18. Marcus WOLFE (1850-1896) Past Grand Master.

24 January 2017 Update:

On 23 January 2017 the Temple Lodge No.33 Historian and webmaster attended a lecture at the Congregation Emanu-El synagogue which focused on a University of Victoria Anthropology course, ANTH 395, which is using the Victoria Jewish Cemetery as a teaching aid for archaeological methods. One of the projects this course is undertaking is to identify the unmarked burial plots of the Victoria Jewish Cemetery and identify the people whose grave locations have been forgotten.

One of the unmarked graves is that of M.W.B. Marcus Wolfe (died 1896), Past Grand Master, whose grave in Victoria Jewish Cemetery is unmarked and its exact location not known.

Here are the website and Facebook page for the ANTH 395 course.

We are very honoured that students in the ANTH 395 course have regularly used our Temple Lodge No.33 website as a research tool for its work in the Victoria Jewish Cemetery.

Victoria Jewish Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Victoria Jewish Cemetery, Victoria, B.C.
Morris Price grave, Victoria Jewish Cemetery
Morris Price grave, the first interment in Victoria Jewish Cemetery

See our Vancouver Island Cemeteries – Masonic Interments page

For more on Jews and Freemasonry, here is a video of an academic lecture on Jews In English Freemasonry by Professor Aubrey Newman:

Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria, B.C.
Congregation Emanu-El Synagogue, 1461 Blanshard Street, Victoria, B.C.

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