Scottish Rite California
Founding Fathers
     As we consider the beginnings of the Scottish Rite, we must wonder also about these eleven men who took it upon themselves to formalize a Supreme Council.  What were their names, where did they come from, and what happened later in their lives?  Of course, there isn't time to delve very far into those matters at this time.  But, I do want to list their names with a few facts as follows: JOHN MITCHELL - Received a patent April 2 1795, from Barend Moses Spitzer granting him authority as Deputy Inspector General to create a Lodge of Perfection and several Councils and Chapters wherever such Lodges or Chapters were needed. Born in Ireland in l741, he came to America at an early age, was Deputy Quartermaster General in the Continental Army, and the first Grand Commander of the Supreme Council. FREDERICK DALCHO - A physician.  He served in the Army and for a while was stationed at Fort Johnson.  He formed a partnership with Dr. Isaac Auld, another of the original members, in 1801.  He was an outstanding orator and author.  In 1807 he published the 1st Edition of Ahiman Rezon.  He became an editor of the Charleston Courier, was a lay reader and deacon in the Episcopal Church and in 1818 was ordained a Priest. ALEXANDER FRANCOIS AUGUSTE deGRASSE TILLY - A son of a French Admiral, and perhaps the most famously connected of all the original eleven.  He was the youngest of the members and was named to become the Grand Commander of the West Indian Islands.  He later moved to France and established the Supreme Council of France. JEAN BAPTISTE MARIE DeLAHOGUE - He was a native of Paris and was a member of LaCandeur Lodge in Charleston. THOMAS BARTHOLOMEW BOWEN - Was the first Grand Master of Ceremonies of the new Supreme Council.  He was a Major in the Continental Army and a printer by trade. ABRAHAM ALEXANDER - Was one of the first Sovereign Grand Inspectors General.  He was born in London in 1743, immigrated to Charleston in 1771.  He was a very prominent Jew and had been described as "a Calligraphist of the first order," which may account for his election as the first Grand Secretary General. EMANUEL DE LA MATTA - A Sovereign Grand Inspector General.  He was by trade a merchant and auctioneer.  He was a member of Friendship Lodge and was reported to be quite devoted to the study of Jewish Literature and Masonic Study. ISAAC AULD - An eminent physician, associated in medical practice with Dr. Dalcho.  He was a rigid Congregationalist. ISRAEL DE LIEBEN - A Sovereign Grand Inspector General and the first Grand Treasurer General.  He was born in Prague and emigrated to America upon reaching Majority age.  He was known as "the liberal-headed Jew," who was "tolerant in his religious opinions and was considered to be intelligent, enterprising, liberal and generous. MOSES CLAVA LEVY - Was born in Krakow, Poland.  He was a prosperous merchant, was generous and helpful to the unfortunate and devoted to his adopted city and country. JAMES MOULTRIE - Was the only native South Carolinian among the original members.  He was a Doctor of Medicine, and according to Albert Pike, "was one of the foremost Citizens of South Carolina."      Yes, it was an unusual group, all possessing a strong religious heritage.  Four were Jews, two were from Scotland, two from Ireland, two were Frenchmen and one was a German.  Each representing a rich and varied background.  The four who were Jews were from different countries and reflected quite different upbringing in religious matters.  By profession they were soldiers, physicians, merchants and one was a clergyman.      Pike summarized the founding fathers in this manner: "When and where has there ever been exhibited a more striking proof of the strength and value of Masonic brotherhood?"  It is interesting to note this group lacked but one to equal the number of the Apostles, yet it included no Judas.      One of the interesting ventures in planning for 2001 has been the search for the burial sites of the founders:      A committee was formed at the Charleston Scottish Rite to place markers on the graves of the founders, if located. A large granite plaque was installed on the wall of the Jewish Cemetery in Charleston to indicate that the four Jewish founders were buried in this cemetery.  It is a historic burial ground going back to colonial days and the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in the South.  The history of Jews in Charleston is long and honorable.  Jewish pioneers began to settle in the city not long after the founding of the colony of Carolina.  At first they worshipped in each other’s homes until they became numerous enough to organize a congregation.  In 1749, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (Holy Congregation House of God) was founded more that a quarter of a century before the American Revolution began.      Fifteen years passed before the colonial Jewish community of Charleston acquired a communal cemetery.  In 1764, Isaac Da Costa, a merchant, conveyed in trust to the congregation a plot he had originally bought ten years earlier for a private cemetery.  This cemetery comprises about an acre of land and was originally some distance outside the city limits.  Jewish cemeteries customarily are not in the vicinity of synagogues.  The growth of the city has engulfed the cemetery which now lies in the midst of a tenement district.      Today some 600 tombstones are to be found there.  Others have been lost, and the inscriptions on many of the older stones are illegible.  This is why a plaque was installed by the Supreme Council with all four names on it since one of the four graves has an illegible tombstone.  In accordance with colonial custom, most of the older tombstones are flat stone slabs.  Some lie close to the ground, and others are on raised brick foundations.  There are also some tall and impressive monuments.  While most of the inscriptions are in English, many include Hebrew and quote from the Bible.  Most of the tombs date from the latter part of the 18th and 19th centuries, up to and including the Civil War.      The chief fascination of this old cemetery is its rich historic legacy.  Here lie the remains of many of the notable Jews of a community which, during the period after the Revolution to about 1820, grew to be "the largest, the most cultured and the wealthiest Jewish community in America."  The Cemetery We Rededicate by Thomas J. Tobias (1964), from which much of this article was taken, states that founder Abraham Alexander served as minister of Beth Elohim from 1785 to 1805.  Also, the line "praise the Lord and pass the ammunition," from a World War II ballad, is exemplified by Abraham Alexander, Sr. (d.1816).  He was a London-born Jew, learned in Hebrew, who served for 20 years as volunteer lay minister of Beth Elohim. When the Revolution came, he left his trade as a scrivener (scribe) and his congregational duties to fight as a cavalryman, serving as a lieutenant of dragoons in Sumter’s Brigade and in Col. Hill’s regiment.      For detailed biographies of the four Jewish founders of the Supreme Council, the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, S.J., U.S.A., see the 1959 book The Eleven Gentlemen of Charleston by Ray Baker Harris, then the Librarian and an Honorary Member of the Supreme Council, 33°, as well as a Past Grand Master of Masons in the District of Columbia.      Four are buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Comings Street in Charleston: Dr. Dalcho is in St. Michael's Cemetery. Dr. James Moultrie is in St. Phillip's Cemetery in an unmarked grave.  A marker was placed on his grave just a few weeks ago. DeGrasse and DeLoneguea are buried in Paris.  Arrangements are being made to place markers on their graves.      Still seeking the burial sites of Mitchell, Auld and Bowen.  We know they are in Charleston somewhere, possibly in private family plots.
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