Masonic & Scottish Rite Time Line - Charleston, SC By: Ill. Brother McDonald “Don” Burbidge, 33°
Masonic & Scottish Rite Time Line Charleston, South Carolina 1731 to 1792 Listed below is a time table that traces the Masonic events in Charleston, South Carolina starting on January 8, 1731 with the arrival of Brother Thomas Whitemarsh who is said to be the first Mason in the Carolina’s by Brother Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia and ending in the year 1850. The areas to be covered are Lodge formations, persons, arrivals, births, and deaths of the many men who made Masonic history through out the years in Charleston along with a brief history of the many events of historic value. 1731 Brother Thomas Whitemarsh arrives in Charleston to start the eighth paper printed in America and publishes the first issue on January 8. Brother Whitemarsh is also one of the first Masons in Charles Town and an apprentice of Benjamin Franklin. Brother Whitemarsh was made a Mason at St. John’s Lodge in Philadelphia on July 5, 1731. Possible the first Mason in the Carolina’s according to Benjamin Franklin. 1732 (Jan 8) The South Carolina Gazette publishes its first edition and is published by Thomas Whitemarsh who is one of the first known Masons in the Carolina’s. 1733 Brother Thomas Whitemarsh dies and is buried at St. Philip’s Church 1734 (Feb 2) After the death of its first editor, The South Carolina Gazette resumes publication under Lewis Timothy, who is backed by Ben Franklin. 1735 Solomon’s Lodge No. 1 is established in Charleston. 1736 October 28: Solomon’s Lodge No. 1 is established in Charles Town and printed in the Gazette is the following announcement. “Last night a Lodge of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, was held, for the first time, at Mr. Charles Shepheard’s, in Broad Street, when John Hammerton, Esq., Secretary and Receiver General for this Province was unanimously chosen Master, who was pleased to appoint Mr. Thomas Denne, Senior Warden, Mr. Tho. Harbin, Junior Warden, and Mr. James Gordon, Secretary.” 1737 First systematic, scientific recording of weather information Dr. John Lining (1708-1760) took observations of Charles Town's weather three times a day from his home on Broad Street. He recorded temperature, rainfall, atmospheric pressure, humidity, wind direction, and wind speed. May 21- at the request of the Ancients and honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, At the Theatre in Queen Street, On Thursday next the 26th Instant, will be performed a Comedy called the RECRUITING OFFICER, with a Prologue, Epilogue and Song suitable to the Occasion, to which will be added a new Dance called HARLEQUIN and the CLOWN, and the Song of MAD TOM improper Habiliments. [George Farquhar.] July 2, The sloop “Free-Mason arrives in Charles Town Harbor. July 21, “last Thursday, (21st July, 1737), John Hammerton, Esq., Receiver General of his Majesty'’ Quit-rents, Secretary and one of his Majesty’s Honorable Council, who has been the first Master of the Lodge of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free Masons in this place, and intending to embark on broad the ship Molly Galley, John Caruthers, Master, for London, at a Lodge held that evening, resigned his office, for the true and faithful discharge of which he received the thanks of the whole Society, who were 30 in number. James Graeme, Esq., was then unanimously chosen Master in his room, and having been duly installed into that office with the usual ceremonies, was pleased to chose and appoint James Wright, Esq., who was Junior Warden, to be Senior Warden, and Maurice Lewis, Esq., Junior Warden.” December 8, Arrival at Charles-Town the ship “Free Mason.” December 29, On Tuesday last, being St. John’s day, all the members of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons in this place met at Mr. Seaman’s, Master of Solomon’s Lodge, from whence they proceeded, all properly clothed, under the sound of French horns, to wait on James Graeme, Esq., Provincial Grand Master, at his house in Broad Street, where they were received by all the members of the Grand Lodge. After a short stay there, they all went in procession and with the ensigns of their Order into the Court-Room at Mr. Charles Shepheard’s house, making a very grand show. Here, to a numerous audience of Ladies and Gentlemen, who were admitted by tickets, the Grand Master made a very elegant speech in praise of Masonry, which we hear was universally applauded. The Grand Lodge withdrew in order to proceed to the election of a Grand Master for the ensuing year, when James Graeme, Esq., was unanimously re-chosen Grand Master, Maurice Lewis, Esq., Senior Grand Warden, John Crookshanks, Esq., Junior Grand Warden, James Mitchie, Esq., Grand Treasurer, and James Gordon, Esq., Grand Secretary. 1738 January 26, We hear that at Mr. William Flud’s, at the sign of the Harp and Crown, is held a Lodge of Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, belonging to the Lodge of St. John. Dr. Newman Oglethorpe being chosen Master. Brother Lewis Timothy dies and is buried at St. Philip’s Church. December 28, The day was ushered in with firing of guns at sunrise from several ships in the Harbour, with all their colors flying. At 9 o'clock all the members of Solomon’s Lodge, belonging to the Ancient and Honorable Order of Free and Accepted Masons, met at the house of Honorable James Crokatt, Esq., Master of the said Lodge. At 10, proceeded from thence, properly clothed with the Ensigns of their Order, and Music before them, to the house of the Provincial Grand Master, James Graeme, Esq., where a Grand Lodge was held. James Wright, Esq., elected Provincial Grand Master for the ensuing year, then the following officers were chosen, viz.: Maurice Lewis, Esq., Deputy Provincial Grand Master; Mr. George Seaman, Senior Grand Warden; James Graeme, Esq., Junior Grand Warden; James Michie, Esq., Grand Treasurer, and Mr. James Gordon, Grand Sectary. At 11 o’clock, both Lodges went in procession to Church to attend Divine Service, and in the same order returned to the house of Mr. Charles Shepheard, where, in the Court-Room, to a numerous assembly of ladies and gentlemen, the newly elected Provincial Grand Master made a very eloquent speech of the usefulness of Societies, and the benefit arising there from to mankind. The assembly having been dismissed, Solomon’s Lodge proceeded to the election of their officers for the ensuing year, when Mr. John Houghton, was chosen Master; Dr. John Lining, Senior Warden, Mr. David McClellan, Junior Warden; Mr. Arthur Strahan, Secretary, and Mr. Alexander Murrary, Treasurer. After an elegant dinner all brethren were invited by Capt. Thomas White on board the Hope; there several loyal health’s were drank, and at their coming on board and return to shore, they were saluted by the discharge of 39 guns, being the same number observed in each of the different salutes of this day, so that in all there were about 250 guns fired. The evening was concluded with a ball and entertainment for the ladies, and the whole was performed with much grandeur and decorum.” December 31, Meeting of Solomon’s Lodge and Provincial Grand Lodge at Charleston, South Carolina. Graeme again chosen Provincial Grand Master. Benj. Smith elected Master of the Lodge. 1740 November 18, A large part of Charleston was destroyed by fire. The Fraternity there contributed two hundred and fifty dollars to the relief fund. 1741 Brother John Lining is the first person in America to carry out systematic weather observations. Ill. Bro. John Mitchell is born in Ireland. Henry Middleton starts work on his gardens at Middleton Place. 1744 Ill. Bro. Jean Baptiste Delahogue is born in Paris, France. 1748 (Dec 28) A group of citizens form the Charleston Library Society, a subscription library still in existence. One of the original broad members is Dr. John Lining. 1752 Charlestonians adopt Benjamin Franklin and Dr. John Lining’s lighting rod to protect their homes during thunder storms. 1753 Dr. John Lining writes the first description on Yellow Fever in America to Dr. Robert Whytt at Edinburg (The Royal Society). 1755 Jan. 9, And in the Evening, they [the Masons] went to the new Theater, where the Tragedy called the Distressed Mother was presented with an occasional Prologue and Epilogue, and some Masons Songs between the Acts. [Ambrose Phillips.] The third lodge established in Charles Town and listed under the Grand Lodge of England is named “Union Lodge No. 248.” Union Kilwinning No.4 is established in Charleston. The warrant for this Lodge was granted May 3 by the Provincial Grand Lodge of South Carolina, to the following persons: Samuel Bowman, D. Campbell, John Cooper, Robert Wells, William Michie, John Bassnett and John Stewart. It received the designation of “Union Lodge No. 4.” There is an angular circumstance connected with the early history of this Lodge, which can alone explain its change of name from “Union” to “Union Kilwinning.” A Masonic production of Phillips’ The Distressed Mother is included in “some Masons Songs between the Acts.” 1756 The fourth Lodge is formed in Charles-Town and is listed as the Grand Lodge of England as “Master’s No. 249.” 1758 The use of music in connection with Masonic ceremonies. Benjamin Yarnold, organist and Mason, composed “an ANTHEM…played by several masterly Hands” in 1758 for the service in St. Michael’s Church celebrating St. John’s Day. 1759 Jan. 1, WEDNESDAY last being St. John the Evangelist’s Day, the Ancient and Honorable Fraternity of FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS, had a grand Procession from the Lodge-Room…to St. Michael’s church; where, besides the usual Service, an ANTHEM suitable to the Occasion set to Music by Brother Benjamin Yarnold, was sung, and played by several masterly Hands. 1762 First musical society The St Cecilia Society was founded in Charles Town. Feb. 20, PROPOSAL for Printing…An Anthem, and An ODE for voices and Instruments, Composed by Benjamin Yarnold, Organist of St. Philip, Charles- Town, South-Carolina: Being the same that was performed before The Ancient Fraternity of FREE-MASONS, at the Installation of the Hon. Benjamin Smith, Esq.; Grand Master in South-Carolina. September 18, NOTICE is hereby given, to all members of the Fellowship Society, that they are desired to assemble at the house of Mr. Daniel Cannon, on Wednesday the 20th of October next…to chose the several officers for the ensuing six months. F. Nicholson, Secretary. Right Rev. Robert Smith delivers a sermon “Charity Sermon for the Masons No. 100” at St. Philip’s Church. This is one of the earliest known sermons in Charles Town. 1766 Franklin Lodge No.2, Charleston, South Carolina. The Provincial Grand Lodge of South Carolina constituted marine Lodge No. 7 on the 22nd of December 1766. It’s number was subsequently changed to 2, and in 1823, it took the title of Franklin Lodge No. 2. In 1839, by permission of the Grand Lodge, it was amalgamated with Union Kilwinning Lodge No. 4, and its property was placed in the possession of the latter body. The vacant number has never been filled on the registry of the Grand Lodge. December 8, The provincial GRAND ANNIVERSARY and General Communication of the most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons in South Carolina, is appointed to be holden in Charles-Town, on Saturday the 27th of December…The present Masters and Wardens of the seven regular constituted Lodges, under the provincial Jurisdiction…are particularly desired to be present. December 29, The new lodge of Free Masons, constituted last Monday, is held at Mr. Benjamin Backhouse's on the Bay, where they are to meet the second and last Monday of every month. Ill. Bro. James Moultrie is born to Dr. John and Eleanor Moultrie in September at Charleston, South Carolina who was one of the two American born founders of the Supreme Council. 1767 June 12, Tuesday the 3rd day of February, being the Quarterly Meeting of the Friendly Society, all the Members are desired to give their attendance. 1769 Feb. 2, A New Edition of al the works of the celebrated John Wilkes, Esq.; is now publishing by Mr. James Rivington, Bookseller, in New York, in 3 Vols. Octavo, at the low price of Two Dollars and a Quarter…Subscription taken in at the Printing-Office. In March, the Sons of Liberty once again held a public meeting under the Liberty Tree. The occasion was a celebration of the repeal of the Stamp Act. 1770 Isaac Auld is born on February 25 at Norristown, Pennsylvania. Mar. 8, On Tuesday last the Appointment of the Hon. Egerton Leigh, to be Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons in this Province, was notified in due Form…And at the Close of the Ceremony, the following Lines, composed by a Brother, and set to Music by Peter Valton, were sung and played. June 28th, On Tuesday will be published, LIBERTY. A poem dedicated to the Sons of Liberty in South Carolina. By Rusticus. 1772 Dec. 31, [The] Antient and Honorable Fraternity of FREE and ACCEPTED MASONS here, held their annual Festival on Monday…the whole Society (upwards of 200 in Number) went to Mr. Pike’s new Suite of Rooms, where the following ODE, by Sir Egerton, was performed, with Voices and Instruments, to universal Satisfaction; the Music composed by their Brother, Peter Valton. 1773 March 22, On Wednesday last the Friendly Brothers of St. Patrick, held an Anniversary Meeting at Mr. Holliday’s Tavern; where they had a very elegant Entertainment. April 26, Friday last, being St. George’s Day, upward of Fifty Gentlemen, Natives of Old England, assembled and dined together at Holliday’s Tavern, These Gentlemen have formed themselves into a Society, to meet annually…which has taken the Name of The Sons and Friends of St. George. On November 26th Monday, Benjamin Franklin signed partnership with Louis Timothee [Timothy] to succeed Whitmarsh (d. c. 20 Sept 1733) in South Carolina (A 81; P 1:205, 33942). The partnership agreement mentions that Timothee is "now bound on a Voyage to Charlestown in South Carolina." Evidently Timothee sailed in November. His wife stayed behind to conclude their affairs and probably had Timothee's power of attorney. The Lodge Alley Inn is named after the adjoining ten-foot wide alley, Lodge Alley. Paved in Belgian blocks, the alley was created by adjacent landowners to allow access from their homes on State Street to their ships and docks one block away on East Bay Street. It takes its name from the Lodge of Freemasons, First established in the alley in 1773. Lodge Alley is located in an area of the old walled city of Charleston where the French Huguenots once had warehouses and dwellings. May 31: The Maine Lodge of Masons, which is the Junior in this Town, is the First that is possessed of a Lodge Room, having lately purchased a very convenient one. 1774 November 7 as a means of protesting the harsh treatment shown to Boston, Charleston’s Liberty Boys met in the Masonic Lodge-Room in Lodge Alley and constructed a “rolling stage” or parade float. Upon it effigies of the Pope, the Devil, Lord North, and Governor Thomas Hutchinson of Massachusetts were displayed. The appearance of the float marked the end of a three-day period in which Charleston’s Tea Party was equally important as a symbol of defiance to British oppression. The Ancient Grand Lodge of England charters Charleston Lodge No. 190 which Meets at the “City Tavern.” This is the sixth Lodge chartered in Charleston. (July 7) Charlestonians Henry Middleton, John Rutledge, Edward Rutledge, Thomas Lynch, and Christopher Gadsden are named delegates to the First Continental Congress. (Oct 22) Henry Middleton is chosen President of the Continental Congress. 1776 (August 5) Declaration of Independence arrives at the city. Maj. Barnard Elliot reads it under the Liberty Tree near present-day 80 Alexander St.. William Henry Drayton and Arthur Middleton design the Great Seal of South Carolina; with matrices executed by Charles Town silversmith George Smithson. It would be used for the last time to seal the Ordinance of Secession in 1860. 1780 (Feb 10) British troops under Sir Henry Clinton land on Seabrook Island, and make preparations to lay siege to the city. South Carolina Gazette editor Peter Timothy takes a spyglass up the steeple of St. Michael's Church and reports seeing smoke from hundreds of British campfires. (April 4th) With the American forces that occupied Charleston “Military Lodge No. 27, Maryland Line, is chartered by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania (Ancient) and is the seventh lodge to operate in Charleston. (Sept 3) The British capture Henry Lauren’s on his way to the Netherlands and is imprisoned in the Tower of London. 1781 On June 25th, Colonial John Mitchell was advanced to a higher degree. Brother Barend M. Spitzer, in a convention of Inspectors holden at the city of Philadelphia, conferred the degrees, and the rank of an Inspector upon Colonial John Mitchell. 1782 (Dec 14) Defeated British Army marches out of city, ending the occupation. (Dec. 23rd) The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania chartered Lodge No. 38 in Charleston. 1783 (June 25th) The Gazette reported the celebration of St. Jon the Baptist by “the Ancient York Masons Lodges of this city.” (July 12) The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania chartered Lodge No. 40 and it is called “St. Andrew’s Lodge.” Ill. Bro. John Mitchell becomes Master of the Lodge of Perfection established at Charleston. 1784 Right Rev. Robert Smith delivers his sermon “Charity Sermon for the Masons No.100” again at St. Philips Church in Charleston. Brother Thomas Bartholomew Bowen arrives in Charleston and proceeds to establish a newspaper that goes through various title changes. Columbian Herald was a semi-weekly, tri-weekly, daily, various title changes. Established November 23, by Thomas B. Bowen and John Markland as the semi-weekly Columbian Herald, or Patriotic Courier of North America. Issued tri- weekly from June 6, 1785 to November 24, 1785 when it became the semi-weekly Columbian Herald or the Independent Courier of North America. In the fall of 1790 the paper became tri-weekly and early in 1792 changed title to the Columbian Herald and the General Advertiser but by July 23, 1793 was once more the tri-weekly Columbian Herald and the General Advertiser. Four days later it became the Columbian Herald or the Southern Star. As of October 7, 1795 paper was the daily Columbian Herald or the New Daily Advertiser. Paper ceased with issue no. 1888 on December 17, 1796. 1785 (March 19) The General Assembly charters the College of Charleston, making it the oldest municipal college in the country today. Right Rev. Robert Smith of St. Philip’s Church is the founder and first president of the College of Charleston. 1787 (March 24th) The “Ancient” Masons in South Carolina organized the “Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons. (May) A Constitutional Draft for the Convention in Philadelphia is prepared by Charles Pinckney. (Sept 17) South Carolina delegates Pierce Butler, Charles Pinckney, John Rutledge, and Charles C. Pinckney sign the U.S. Constitution. St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 10, Charleston, South Carolina. St. Andrew’s Lodge received its warrant from the G.L. of Pennsylvania, at some period previous to 1787, as “Lodge No. 47.” It was one of the four Ancient York Lodges in Charleston that united in that year in the formation of the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons of South Carolina. Col. John Mitchell is elected Master of Lodge No. 8, Charleston 1788 St. Andrew’s Lodge No. 40, surrendered its Warrant of 1787, and together with Lodges Nos. 38 and 47 of Pennsylvania, and Nos. 190 and 236 under the Athol Grand Lodge of England, formed the Grand Lodge of South Carolina. 1789 Orange Lodge no. 14 held it’s first meeting on May 28th 1791 Ill. Brother John Mitchell arrives in Charleston, South Carolina. When Brother George Washington toured the southern states in 1791, he was met by the Intendant of Charleston on Queen Street one block from Lodge Alley. May 7, 1791 President George Washington, with the City Intendment and Wardens, visited the Orphans House, and Col. John Mitchell is listed as the senior Commissioner receiving him, afterwards entertaining him at breakfast in the Commissioners’ Room. 1792 December 8, Henry Laurens passes away. His remains are cremated and his ashes interred at his estate called, “Mepkin” which is located 30 miles above Charleston on the Cooper River. He is the first recorded white person to be cremated in America. Henry Laurens was a member of the Continental Congress on January 10, 1777 and served as President November 1, 1777 through December 9, 1778, elected Minister to Holland while a member of the Continental Congress on October 21, 1779. Member of Solomen’s Lodge No.1 Charleston, South Carolina and served as Treasurer in 1755 and as Grand Steward in 1754.
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