1875-StewartBW copy
Grand Master and 5th Master

Charles Stewart was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on May 30, 1836. He came with his parents to Galveston, Texas in 1845 and a few years later moved to Houston.1 He began the study of law in 1852 under James W. Henderson and completed his legal preparation in the offices of Jones & Bollinger. He was admitted to the bar in 1854 when eighteen years of age.

He began the practice of law in Falls County and was elected Prosecuting Attorney of the Thirteenth Judicial District in 1856 and re-elected in 1858.

He was a delegate to the Secession Convention of 1861, where he was an ardent supporter of the Southern view. He then enlisted in the Tenth Texas Infantry, afterward Baylor’s Cavalry, and served throughout the war.

In 1866 he moved to Houston where he resided for the remainder of his life. His reputation as a lawyer rose rapidly and he became one of the most brilliant .in Texas. In 1874 he was elected City Attorney and then to the Texas Senate in 1878, where he served for four years. He was then elected to Congress and served ten years, when he retired to private life.

In 1860 he married Miss Rachel Barry at Marlin, the daughter of Bryan Barry. One child, John S. Stewart, survived the father.

Charles Stewart died in the Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio on September 21, 1895. A devoted member of the First Baptist Church, he was laid to rest in Glenwood Cemetery with Masonic honors by Gray Lodge.

Charles Stewart received his craft degrees in Marlin Lodge No. 152, the 1º March 9,1860; 2º April 6, 1860, and 3º December 28, 1860. He demitted from Marlin Lodge on October 29, 1866, and affiliated with Holland Lodge No.1 on April 24, 1867. He was one of the charter members that formed Gray Lodge in 1870 and served as Senior Warden of Gray in 1874 and as Worshipful Master in 1875. While Master of Gray Lodge he also served as Grand Orator of the Grand Lodge of Texas!

In December, 1879, he was elected Grand Junior Warden and served during the year of 1883 as Grand Master of Masons in Texas. His duties in Congress prevented him from being present to preside over the 48th Grand Communication in 1883.

“He received the Royal Arch Degree in Washington Chapter No.2, April 2, 1874, and the Order of the Temple in Ruthven Commandery No.2, K. T., November 1,1876.”

The Standard History of Houston, Texas, described him thus:

Another of the great criminal lawyers of Houston was the Hon. Charles Stewart. He was a man of unsullied character and too big in every way for little things. He was of splendid physique and personal appearance and is described [as] one of the most superb orators that ever faced a jury. He handled many of the most famous criminal cases tried in Harris County in the late seventies and eighties, one of the most famous being that of a young man named Crisom, who had killed a doctor for reproving him for swearing in the presence of ladies. The case was a desperate one, and at the first trial Crisom had been sentenced to death, but was granted a “new trial because of irregularity on the part of the jury that condemned him. At the second trial the prosecution was powerful and it is said that but for the eloquence of Colonel Stewart, Crisom would have undoubtedly been hanged. As it was he escaped with a verdict of manslaughter and a short term in the penitentiary!

Another account refers to him as “earnest, liberal, progressive, and charitable. ..a logical thinker, an eloquent speaker, ripe lawyer, able legislator, good citizen [and] kind.”