The William Mercer Wilson Medal is given to one who represents the Craft well and looks for no reward or publicity for the work that he performs within the lodge or outside of the lodge – a modest man who for reasons of his own has not gone onto become a Worshipful Master of the Lodge, but has given that opportunity unselfishly to many others in his Masonic career. Generally, he is a mild mannered, soft spoken individual who labours quietly and patiently in the pursuit of brotherly love, and making life better for all with whom he comes into contact. Their presence makes a difference in their lodge. This is a William Mercer Wilson Medal recipient.
One of the most prominent Canadian figures of his time, William Mercer Wilson attained great eminence in political, military, municipal, legal and Masonic circles. Born in Scotland in 1813, he came to Canada in 1832. He was appointed a commissioner to hold courts of justice in the Talbot District in 1834. He took a leading part in quelling the Rebellion of 1837–1838, being cavalry commander at Simcoe with the rank of captain. In 1840, he was appointed public notary and registrar of the Surrogate Court. The same year he was admitted as a Mason at St. John’s and in 1842 became Master of the Lodge, a post he held at intervals for ten years. In 1873, he was elected first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada. He was active in municipal affairs, being councillor and reeve in Simcoe town council, and warden of Norfolk. He retired from the militia in 1869 with rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. William Mercer Wilson died during his eleventh year as Grand Master, 16th January, 1875, in his 62nd year.
In July 1944, Most Worshipful Brother Timothy Clark Wardley, in his annual communication to Grand Lodge, presented the idea of a special medal for outstanding Masonic service. This medal, now known as the “William Mercer Wilson Medal”, may be awarded only to one who, for one reason or another, did not aspire or attain the position of the Worshipful Master of a Craft Lodge.
The awarding of this honour also extends certain privileges and courtesies to the recipients. The owner of The William Mercer Wilson Medal is entitled, like anyone who has achieved the position of Worshipful Master of a Craft Lodge, the honour of sitting in the East. He is entitled to grand honours. He or they should also be referred to in the preamble to any toasts or tributes at which they are present and to this end all Tyler’s and Directors of Ceremonies should be vigilant in their identification of visitors. It would also be of great assistance if any brother who is accompanying a recipient of the medal while visiting would inform the Master, Tyler and Director of Ceremonies of their presence.
These worthy brethren deserve to be recognized.