Why was the award named for Brother John Thomson?
Publicly Acclaimed and Cited

Brother Thomson's incomparable Masonic record of service might well have been enough to warrant the distinction of attaching his name to this award, but a singular incident in his life deserves particular notice: he was "publicly acclaimed" and cited by the Humane Society of Philadelphia for saving several persons from drowning in the Delaware River.

Four of Thomson's sons, also were members of Lodge No. 51, one of whom provided this personal recollection, which is on file in the archives of the Grand Lodge:
"Born August 14th, 1799, Penn St. and Lombard in the old City limits. Learned the trade of Oak Cooper which he afterwards conducted successfully. His occupation, requiring his presence on the wharves, frequently gave him many opportunities to rescue persons from drowning who had been misfortunate enough to fall in the docks, and for these services the Humane Society presented him with a Silver Cup"
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