Brother Granniss, son of Asa Lyman and Sarah Potter Granniss, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, February 16, 1855. He had one brother, Freemont, who died several years ago. His early years were spent working on the farm with his father during the summer, and attending the district school at Milton in the winter, with a final year at the Gunnery School, in Washington.

At the age of twenty-one, he commenced his business career as a clerk with the firm of “Baker and Brinsmade,” and later as traveling salesman for “Bennett, Sloane and Company, Wholesale Grocers,” of New Haven. Following two and a half years with that company, he entered into partnership with George Elmore, of Litchfield, at which place they started in the dry goods line, and later conducted a general store under the title of “W. G. Granniss and Company.” Brother Granniss became the oldest businessman in Litchfield. When leaving the store on Monday, April 1, 1940, he remarked that it was the exact day and date upon which he had commenced business sixty years ago, fifty-eight in that identical store.

He was also a pioneer in the sale of automobiles in Litchfield, starting in 1904 with Lester R. Denegar. For a period of three years they handled various makes of the “horseless carriage.” The first electric power in Litchfield was generated in the basement of their establishment by the “Litchfield Electric Light and Power Company,” of which Brother Granniss was one of the original incorporators and in which he served as Vice-President and Director for many years. Brother Granniss also served on the board of directors of the Litchfield Water Company,” and of the “First National Bank” of Litchfield, with a record of forty-two consecutive years in the latter institution.

Politically, Brother Granniss was a staunch Republican. His civic interests are evidenced by his having been instrumental in organizing the Litchfield Fire Department, of which he was a charter member. He served for fifty years as Town Auditor.

Brother Granniss was married three times: his first wife was Miss Louise Glover, of New Preston, Conn. Following her death, he married Miss Grace Granniss, of Terryville, his first cousin, who died in 1939. On March 28, 1940, he married Mary Morrow, of Litchfield, and it was on their honeymoon trip to Florida, by motor, when Brother Granniss was stricken with a heart attack, and died Wednesday night, April 3, at the Presbyterian Hospital, Newark, New Jersey.

The obsequies were held in the Congregational Church, Litchfield, Sunday, April 7, 1940, and the Masonic service was conducted by M. W. Winthrop Buck, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut. The interment was in “Headquarters Cemetery,” Milton, Connecticut.

Brother Granniss was raised in St. Paul’s Lodge No. 11, A. F. & A. M., Litchfield, March 31, 1886, and presided as Worshipful Master in 1890. He was exalted in Darius Chapter No. 16, R. A. M., December 10, 1891, and was elected Principal Sojourner in 1891 and Treasurer in 1896, holding both positions successively, until his death. He was received and greeted in Buel Council No. 20, R. & S. M., February 23, 1893, and served as Thrice Illustrious Master 23 years, from 1902 to 1923, and from 1924 to 1926. At the time of his death, he was Dean of the Past Thrice Illustrious Masters. He was knighted in Clark Commandery No.7, K. T. Waterbury, October 22, 1909. Brother Granniss was a member of the following Scottish Rite Bodies in Waterbury: Doric Lodge of Perfection, Ionic Council, Princes of Jerusalem, Corinthian Chapter, Rose Croix, and Lafayette Consistory S. P. R. S. of Bridgeport. He served as District Deputy of Litchfield County in 1895, 1896, 1898, 1899 and 1900. He was appointed Grand Junior Steward of the Grand Lodge January 17, 1901, by M. W. Fred S. Stevens. In fact, Brother Granniss held all the offices in the Grand Lodge, except Grand Secretary and Grand Treasurer, being elected M. W. Grand Master in 1909. He was also a Charter Member of Ephraim Kirby Chapter No. 75, O. E. S., serving as Worthy Patron from its institution in 1910 until December 15, 1913.

Throughout his entire life Brother Granniss has been held in the highest esteem by all who had the privilege of his acquaintance. His absence will be regretted, not only by the citizens of Litchfield and the several Masonic bodies in which he was actively interested, but also by the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, where he has served on the Committee of Custodians for the past twenty-seven years. Brother Granniss had no children to mourn his loss, but our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his bereaved wife.

Story source:

Left image source:
Herndon, Richard; Burton, Richard “Men of Progress: Biographical Sketches and Portraits of Leaders in Business and Professional Life in and of the State of Connecticut” (Boston: New England Magazine, 1898) p. 32

Right image source:
Pruner, A. William “The History of Saint Paul’s Lodge No. 11, F. & A.M. Litchfield, Connecticut 1781-1931” (Hartford, CT: Finlay Brothers, 1932) p. 44 b