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Sylvanus Cobb, Jr. Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Sylvanus Cobb, Jr. passes away in 1887.

Sylvanus Cobb, Jr. was an American fiction writer.

Cobb was born on June 5th, 1823 in Waterville, Maine. He joined the United States Navy in 1840 remaining in the service until around 1843.

In 1850, Cobb’s first story was published in the The Flag of Our Union, a weekly story paper published out of Boston, Massachusetts. The story was titled "The Prophet of the Bohmer Wald: a Tale of the Time of Joseph II, Emperor of Germany" and was published the following year in Gleason’s Pictorial.

In the course of his life it is reported, Cobb wrote no less than 120 novels and 800 short stories. Some claimed that he sacrificed quality in his writing for quantity. One biographer of Cobb stated "Mr. Cobb was a fluent writer, who spent little time in perfecting his style. As he summed up his work he wrote in the 31 years that he contributed to the New York Ledger 89,544 large pages of manuscript.” Many of his stories were turned into plays.

Cobb also wrote under a variety of pseudonyms:

  • Austin C. Burdick
  • Charles Castleton
  • Col. Walter B. Dunlap
  • Enoch Fitzwhistler
  • Dr. J.H. Robinson
  • Dr. S. LeCompton Smith
  • Symus, the Pilgrim
  • Amos Winslow, Jr

In 1869, Cobb moved to Hyde Park, Boston, Massachusetts. At his home he had a tower built which contained his study. He spent the rest of his life writing stories while surrounded by his eclectic collection of items. Many of which were arms and armor which he had an interest in.

Cobb passed away on July 20th, 1887.

Cobb was a member of Oxford Lodge No. 18 in Norway, Maine. He served as Worshipful Master of the Lodge for five years. He was also a member of Norfolk Chapter, Royal Arch Mason and served as High Priest, a member of Hyde Park Council Royal & Select Masters serving as Thrice Illustrious Master and Cyprus Commandery Knights Templar where he was the Eminent Commander. All three bodies were in Hyde Park. It is also claimed that he was a member of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.