James E Forrest (1924-1925)

PM Forrest, by far, has been the most written about and active Mason found in the Morning News' Archives.

It made research both easy and hard, easy in the fact that he was written up in the Dallas Morning News between 1904 to 1943, easily 100 times or more; hard because with so much data that it was not easy as to what to leave in and what to take out.

I estimate that Forrest was born in 1881, but could not find where he was born.

He went to the University of Michigan and studied law. Also he was on the Varsity track team. There was no information as to where he spent his formative years.

In 1904, Bro. James took his bar examination in Dallas and scored a 92 on his finals.

1906, Bro. James was inducted into office as Assistant Post Master of Dallas, Texas. This particular article indicated that he had been in Dallas for several years. That year the Post Office took in for the month of July, about $2,100 in postage sales.

1908, James was a field judge for a State track meet at the State Fair Grounds

1911, James was elected as Captain General in the Knights Templar.

On April 9, 1912, Bro James was married to Miss Marguerite Walker of Dallas. They resided at 3507 Lexington, in Highland Park. They had two daughters, Lynette and Marguerite.

PM Forrest was very active in the Scottish Rite and especially the Shrine. 1912. He was referred to as the boy potentate, he was the youngest ever to be the Illustrious Potentate at the ripe old age of 30. At some point in his Masonic years, he was honored as a 33rd degree KCCH Scottish Rite.

Between  the years of 1908 and 1940, James served in many rolls. As example: A field and track judge;  An interlocutor,  that’s the main  announcer of a Shrine Minstrel Show; Ceremonial director, Hella Temple ceremony;  President of the Shrine Directors Association of North America.;  President of Highland Park Celebration Association;  Chairman of the WRR Radio Commission of Dallas, the first such commission;  Part of the team that helped raise $800,000 to build the YWCA 5 story building in down town Dallas;  Secretary of the Fat men of Dallas club, another name in that club  that you will recognize, was John De Grazier, treasure;  Bro. James was a member of the Dallas Boneheads Club, it was said that he was a “Hard Boiled Bone Head”.  Highland Park Society of Arts, chose Forrest as their Parade Marshal; Broken into four divisions, with four Majors presiding over the divisions, PM Forrest, a major, was instrumental in raising $55, 000. to finance the “Circle 10 Boy Scouts of America”;  Elected  Forman of the new Grand Jury on “Murder and Robbery”;  Honored Guest at the Post Office banquet, Bro. James was the principal speaker;  

In Rotary, he was a Chairman of the Rotarian barbecue,; He was very active in the Dallas Community Chest fund raisers; Installed as Senior General of the Red Cross Knights;  A member of the executive committee of Highland Park Parent League;  Michigan University Alumni in Dallas,  Forest was the entertainment chairman.

In 1919 James became the vice president of Steiner Oil Company, a Dallas based company.

1922, Highland Park Masonic Lodge moved into new quarters at Knox and Travis St.  James was Junior Warden that year...interesting, the article mentions that the lodge would spend about $6,000 on lodge furniture, there would be leather-cushioned seats and settees and quartered oak was to be used in all woodwork. This indicates new furniture, not used from Tannehill Lodge as has been speculated.

That same year, PM Forrest went on to become president of Central Bitulithic Company, which won many street paving contracts:  such as  Junius St., College St., Fitzhugh Avenue to name a few.

Also later that year, as past potentate, James and other Shriners’ went to San Francisco to the Shriners’ national convention, of which about 285,000 Shiner’s converged on the city. It was said that every one knew about Dallas Shrines’ by the time the 4 day convention was over.

1943, at age 62, Brother James E. Forrest, was laid to rest.

J. Darrell Kirkley, PM
11-18-2008

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