Dallas Pioneer & Mason Sets Cornerstone of Texas Capitol
2018 marks the 170th year since Tannehill Masonic Lodge was established in what is now Dallas, Texas. As we continue our series highlighting the Masonic and civic pioneers of this great City, we turn the spotlight to Brother Zachariah Ellis Coombes.
Brother Coombes moved to Dallas from Kentucky in 1843 when he was 10 years old. He went back to his native Kentucky to receive his education and subsequently returned to Dallas where he practiced Law with his Masonic Brothers John J. Good and Edward G. Bower at the law firm Good, Bower, and Coombes. Brother Coombes also was very active in government. He was County Judge of Dallas County from 1866 -1867. He served in the State Legislature as a representative from Dallas County in 1884 -1885.
Brother Coombes was Raised as a Master Mason in Kentucky in Bloomfield Lodge # 57. He affiliated with Tannehill Lodge on July 28, 1855. He served Tannehill Lodge as Master from 1869 - 1870. He then went on to serve the Grand Lodge of Texas as Deputy Grand Master in 1875 -1876, and again in 1880, Grand Junior Warden in 1883, Grand Senior Warden in 1885, and Grand Master in 1886. Brother Coombes also served the appendant bodies of Freemasonry as High Priest of Dallas Chapter R.A.M. No. 47 in 1870 and 1875, and as a member of Dallas Commandery No. 6.
On March 2, 1885, the sitting Grand Master of Masons in Texas, Brother Benjamin Botts, was ill and called on Brother Z.E. Coombes to serve in his capacity by setting the cornerstone of the Texas State Capitol.
Brother Coombes was an asset to Tannehill Masonic Lodge, Texas Freemasonry, the City of Dallas, and the State of Texas. He passed away at the age of 63 on November 25, 1895, and was laid to rest in the West Dallas Cemetery (Western Heights Cemetery), which was land originally set aside by W.R. Fisher and himself for use as a cemetery. Upon his passing the lodge resolved:
"Therefore be it resolved: That in the death of Brother Z.E. Coombes this Lodge has sustained an irreparable loss; his family a kind and devoted husband and father; society a bright and shining ornament; the Church a zealous, humble Christian, and his Profession an able and learned member. None knew him but to love him, or named him but to praise."