Today in Masonic History

Today in Masonic History William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey is born in 1895.

William Harrison “Jack” Dempsey was an American boxer.

Dempsey was born William Harrison Dempsey in Manassa, Colorado on June 24th, 1895. His family was poor and they moved around quite often so his father could find work. His parents converted to Mormonism and at the age of eight he was baptized in the Church of Latter Day Saints. Dempsey dropped out of school in elementary school to help support the family. By the age of 16 he left home. To earn money he went to bars and saloons challenging people to fights. He walked in stating “I can’t sing and I can’t dance, but I can lick any SOB in the house.” Bets were made and the barroom brawls ensued. There were few records kept of these events, it is said Dempsey lost very few of these fights. Shortly after Dempsey became a professional fighter.

In Dempsey’s early career he fought under various names. Because of this it is difficult to get an accurate accounting of his early fight record. It was in 1914, Dempsey added the name “Jack” as a tribute to middleweight boxer Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey.

In 1917, the United States entered World War I and Dempsey went to work in a shipyard while he continued to box. He was accused of being a slacker for not going into combat. It was later revealed he did enlist and was deemed 4-F.

Dempsey was a member of Kenwood Lodge #800 in Chicago, Illinois.

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