Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
Moses Michael Hays was a prominent Jewish Boston businessman renowned for his experience and dedication, not only as a professional, but also as a citizen and philanthropist. He as a dedicated Freemason who was elected to and served as the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts from 1788-1791.
Hays was born on the 9th of March, 1739 to Dutch Jewish immigrants Judah Hays and Rebecca Michaels, descendants of Sephardic Jews from Portugal and Spain. A skilled merchant himself, Judah brought his son into his retail and shipping business to learn and ply his trade. Upon his death in 1764 Judah bequeathed the business to his Moses in 1764, along with the majority of his assets.
Moses continued not only his father's proud tradition in business, but also his dedication of service to his community. He continued his father’s commitment to Congregation Shearith Isreal, serving in leadership positions from 1766-1767. During this time he also married Rachel Myers, the younger sister of Myer Myers, a prominent New York silversmith.
Moses and Rachel relocated to Newport, RI in 1769, where he maintained his shipping business and became one of the first merchants there to underwrite shipbuilding, trade and insurance to the markets of the Far East. In 1784, Hays became a founder and the first depositor of the Massachusetts Bank, which through countless mergers and acquisitions today does business as the Bank of America.
Hays Masonic life in Massachusetts began in November, 1782, when he was was accepted into the Massachusetts Lodge. Six short years later, in 1788 the members of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Hays as their Grand Master, with Paul Revere serving as his Deputy. Moses Michael Hays Lodge, AF&AM was chartered in his name in September, 1931.
In addition to his service to so many communities, Hays provided financial support to beautify Boston Common, established theaters and helped to endow Harvard College. His descendants helped to found the Boston Atheneum and the Massachusetts General Hospital.
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