Past Grand Commander's of
the Grand Commandery of Texas

Grand Commander
Henry Scherffius
Title: Grand Commander
Year: 1879 - 1880
Home Commandery: Ruthven No. 2

Masonic Biography

Son of J. A. Scherffius and Anna Barbara Hessert Scherffius, he was born at Seibeldinder, South of Rhine, Bavaria near Sandon, Germany. He arrived in America as a lad, landing in Galveston, Texas. He later moved to Houston.

Mayor of Houston, one term, 1890-1892, during which time Main Street was paved with Bois d'arc blocks, which was the first time that thoroughfare was paved. The first electric street cars were installed, running on the old South End line out as far as McGowan and Fannin and back on Travis. The first electric fire alarm system was installed, and a system of house numbering was inaugurated.

He was County Treasurer of Harris County for 14 years and Chairman of Finance Committee during administration of Mayor James T. D. Wilson.

He was a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason and Knight Templar and served as treasurer of Grand Lodge A.F. & A. M. of Texas.

He was a captain of the seas, and a blockade runner during the Civil War. He was in command of blockade-running vessels which carried out cargoes of cotton from Texas to Havana, Cuba, and to Mexican ports during 1864 and 1865.

Husband of Emily Barnard Scherffius who is buried next to him, but her grave is unmarked. They were married in Harris County, Texas (probably Houston) on May 5, 1864. They had 9 children, and according to his obituary, at the time of his death, two of his younger children were quite ill as the results of imprudent diet taken about 10 days prior and which is also attributed as the cause of their father's last illness. His ailment was classified as "disarrangment of the bowels." The fatal diet is said to have been canned sardines, followed by ice cream, from the effects of which all were taken suddenly and he fatally ill.

One story about the Captain is that he had such confidence in his own abilities as a blockage runner that he was preparing to venture out with his ship, he felt so sure of his return at the appointed time that he invited a number of his friends to attend his wedding on a given date. Some weeks later, he showed up on the date previously named, bringing with him a huge wedding cake baked in Vera Cruz, Mexico.