Masonic Walk in Charleston, South Carolina By: Ill. Brother McDonald “Don” Burbidge, 33°
When you arrive in Charleston, for a visit or vacation, you will want to see and learn something new about the city in which Scottish Rite Masonry happened in the USA. Charleston has so much history and so many places to see. The tours are mind boggling to say the least. Some of the questions you will be asking yourself is do I take a bus, boat, bike, or a carriage tour just to name some of the tours that are available. All of these ways to see Charleston are excellent to say the least. However they do not cover the early Masonic history of, Charleston. In an effort to provide the visitor with a little bit of the Masonic history of Charleston may we suggest a "Masonic Walking Tour" of Charleston? This is a tour that will not require a reservation of any type or a tour guide. A map will be provided and a description of each area you will travel will be provided. The tour starts at the Lodge Alley Inn located on East Bay Street at the Alley made of Belgian blocks. It will end at St. Michael’s church with you standing in front of Ill. Brother Frederick Dalcho’s grave. Point "A" 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. Originally being very close to Charleston's wharf’s, Lodge Alley developed an 18th century seaport character expressed in taverns, storage warehouses, carriage houses, tables, lodges and corner dwellings. It was at Marine Lodge No. 38 that Charlestonians openly defied the British government before the Revolutionary War. On November 7, 1774 as a means of protesting the harsh treatment shown to Boston, Charleston’s Liberty Boys met in the Masonic Lodge-Room 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. When the "Grand Lodge of South Carolina, Ancient York Masons," was formed by the five "Ancient: Lodges in Charleston, January 1, 1787, in which movement Marine Lodge, No. 38, was a prominent factor, it is a noteworthy fact, that at least three of the principal officers were Pennsylvania Masons, viz. Hon. William Drayton, Grand Master; Hon. Mordecai Gist, Deputy Grand Master; Edward Weyman, Esq., Senior Grand Warden. (As you exit the Alley turn to your right go to the next block and turn left again.) Point "B" Philadelphia Street Originally named Kinloch Court but in 1810 changed to Philadelphia Alley and then to by William Johnson who owned much of the property in the vicinity. Later on it was renamed Philadelphia Street. William Johnson had been sent to Philadelphia as a prisoner during Revolutionary War and named the street in admiration of Philadelphia. As you walk down this historic street you will find it is much the same as it was when it was first made. The Street still looks much today as it was originally made when it was first created. About 1/3 of the way down the Street look up to your left and you will see a view of the steeple of St. Phillip’s church over the brick wall that runs most of the length of the Street. Also try to imagine the pistol duels of men protecting their honor and horse carriages traveling down it, see if you can spot the rock in the street with the outline of a metal carriage wheel etched on it. (As you exist the street turn to your left go to Church Street and turn left again.) Point "C" St. Phillip’s Church St. Philip’s church was first erected at the corner of Broad and Meeting Streets between the years 1681 and 1682. The structure was made of black cypress and the foundation was made of brick. After a prosper start it was usually referred to as the "English Church," but the real name was St. Philip’s. As Charles Town evolved into prosperous Colonial City the need for a new church was realized. As early as 1711 the Assembly authorized "a new church built of brick with a tower or steeple, and a ring of bells therein." A decade later the "brick church" was still incomplete. The Assembly passed another bill in December 1720, which empowered the Commissioners to determine what the church would look like. To raise the money for this, the bill also called for "An additional duty of three pence per gallon to be laid on rum, and five pence per gallon on brandy and other spirits." When the new edifice of the "Established Church" rose at the head of one of the town’s principal through fares, the street became known as Church Street as does the present building on the same site. On December 27, 1762 and again in December 1784 Right Rev. Robert Smith presented to the Masons of Charles-Town a Masonic sermon, which he called "Charity Sermon for the Masons No. 100." This sermon is perhaps one of the earliest if not one of the first documented Masonic sermons of its kind presented in Charles-Town to the Masons. Right Rev. Smith established the College of Charleston and the Society for the Widows and Orphans of the Clergy, which still exists today. Rev. Frederick Dalcho, M.D., was a member of the Society for the Widows and Orphans of the Clergy, which his name first appears in the meeting minutes for October 3, 1818. On Christmas Day, 1805, Dr. Dalcho and Mary Elizabeth Threadcraft were married in St. Philip’s Church, by Rev. Dr. Edward Jenkins. This was Dr. Dalcho’s second marriage and his wife was to survive him until December 12, 1852. There were no children, from this marriage. During the summer months of 1814 our late Ill. Brother Frederick Dalcho, M.D. officiated at the church as Rector for the summer months until a new Rector could be found to fill the vacant spot left by the untimely death of Rev. J. D. Simons. Buried in the graveyard of St. Philip’s church you will find the grave of Ill. Brother James Moultrie, Sr. who was a founder of the Supreme Council and the gravesite of Right Rev. Robert Smith. (As you leave St. Phillip’s church head towards the intersection of Broad and Church Street) Point "D" Corner of Broad and Church Street Site of Brother Charles Shepheard's Tavern, also known at various times as Swallow's Tavern, The City Tavern and The Corner Tavern. At this location occurred many historically important events. One was the organization of one of the first Masonic lodges and of The Supreme Council for the Scottish Rite Masons for the entire United States. Solomon's Lodge No. 1, Free and Accepted Masons, was organized on Oct. 29, 1736, at 'Mr. Charles Shepheard 's in Broad Street ‘. The first Scottish Rite lodge, the Supreme Council, 33° , Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, was organized at the same location in 1801. The first record of a theatrical season in Charleston, and one of the first in the country, was announcement in the South Carolina Gazette, Jan. 11, 1735, that on the following 24th, a tragedy called The Orphan, or the Unhappy Marriage, by Thomas Otway, would be "'attempted'' in ''the Courtroom.'' The ''courtroom'' was the long room of Shepheard's Tavern, which was rented for several years prior to 1738 to the provincial government for meetings of the court, since the Province had no suitable building and the Governor and Council could not agree on where one should be built. The use of the same room for court sessions and entertainment’s was not unusual. A dancing master, Henry Holt, gave a ball in the Courtroom a month before The Orphan was presented there. (The Orphan was not the first theatrical production in Charleston. Tony Aston, an English actor, in 1703, wrote and acted what was probably the first professional dramatic performance written and acted in the American colonies.) Shepheard's was also one of the city's post offices. In 1743, Shepheard received and distributed mail arriving on ships and by land. In 1773, when the establishment was Swallow's Tavern, the first Chamber of Commerce in America was formed. Banquets were given for arriving Royal Governors at Shepheard's Tavern. The St. Andrew's Society, and other fraternal organizations in the city, held their meetings and dinners at Shepheard's. After the name changed to "The Corner Tavern" it hosted meetings of the Sons of liberty during the Revolutionary period. The name changed again to the "City Tavern" was burned in 1796 but was soon replaced. The tavern building was demolished in 1928 for the construction, in 1928-29, of the present building. The Classic style building faced with Indiana limestone, which cost $280,000 and was known as the Citizens and Southern Bank in 1906. As you stand on this corner try to imagine what it must have looked like back in 1801 when the streets were made of dirt, no traffic lights, power lines did not exist, and no cars traveled up and down the streets. Look at the map that shows were each founder lived at and you can almost imagine as to what street they traveled on to reach "Shepherd’s Tavern" for that first historic meeting of the Supreme Council on May 31, 1801. (When leaving Broad and Church Street go towards Meeting Street to St. Michael’s Church) Point "E" St. Michael’s Church St. Michael’s church was completed in 1761 and is the oldest church edifice in the city of Charleston. Built on this same spot was the first church of St. Philip’s or as the population called it, "Church of England." By 1727 the town had grown too large for the small church and a more spacious one was built of brick on Church Street which was called St. Philip’s II for a time. When George Washington tour through Charleston in 1791 he attended church services here at St. Michael’s. The clock and ring of eight bells in St. Michael's steeple were imported in 1764 from England. During the year 1811-1812 Ill. Brother Frederick Dalcho and his wife owned pew number 89. The location of this pew is in the same location today as it was in 1811. St. Michael’s church has rich Masonic history from it’s early years on. Ill. Brother Frederick Dalcho was the Assistant Rector along with being the superintendent of the Sunday school children. In a recently discovered letter written by Dalcho he asks the Warden’s of the church for permission to locate a book shelf in the balcony of the church for the Sunday School children to store their books. Following a number of part-time associations with St. Michael’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina, he was retained as an assistant minister on February 23, 1819. In 1824 he established with others, "The Charleston Gospel Messenger and Protestant Episcopal Register", a monthly journal of the Church’s activities. This paper was published monthly until 1853. His monumental work at this period was a history of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina, the first published history of any diocese in America. Consisting of more than 600 pages. All of Dr. Fredrick Dalcho’s book were sold at the, "The Theological Book Store" in Charleston, South Carolina located at 51 Board Street. At and after the installation of The Grand Lodge officers were complete, a procession was formed and paraded to St. Michael’s church where Rev. Brother Dalcho, Grand Chaplain delivered the Divine Service. His sermon was based on the text John12: 36, "While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light." Dalcho remarked in his sermon that: Free-Masonry, like the Religion of the Redeemer, is eminently calculated to dispense "peace on earth, and good will towards men." And if the moral and religious state of the community in which it flourishes, be not increased and refined by its influence, it must be charged to the perversity of the Brotherhood, and not to the principles of the Institution. The general application of its principles and practice to the spiritual and temporal welfare of men cannot be doubted. It binds its members by the strongest sanctions, "to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly before God;" and to "love the Brotherhood." Written in the historic files of St. Michael’s church it is recorded that on May 31, 1801 five-vestry men and a Senior Warden were present. No business was conducted and the meeting was adjourned. The minutes of the said meeting read and confirmed. Ill. Bro. Frederick Dalcho, M. D. and his wife are buried in the graveyard of this historic churchyard. To the author this is the 2nd most important site in Charleston Masonic history. As you stand looking at Ill. Brother Frederick Dalcho’s grave read each word carefully on his marker and you might agree with me. Rev. Frederick Dalcho 1770-1836 Assistant Minister Of St. Michael’s Church Historian of the Diocese Sovereign Grand Commander 1816-1822 Of The Supreme Council, 33° A\ A\ S\ R\ Of Freemasonry Southern Jurisdiction U.S.A. Of all of the known gravesites of the founders only on Ill. Brother Frederick Dalcho is it mention is that he was a member of the Supreme Council. This is due to the fact that the Masons in Charleston had this monument made for their late leader and friend that they loved so much. This ends the "Masonic Walk" tour. Thank you for taking the time to travel it. Ill. Brother McDonald "Don" Burbidge, 33º
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