Founders of the Scottish Rite Supreme Council, Charleston, SC, USA

Scottish Rite History

By: Brother Don Burbidge, 33º

Orient Historian for the State of South Carolina

Scottish Rite

In 1770 the Reverend Frederick Ludovovs Dalcho was born in London, England. He was the 2nd of 3 children born to John Frederick and Euphemia Dalcho. When he was 15 years of age he embarked on a sea voyage to live with his Uncle Karl Frederick Wiesenthal who had some years before immigrated to Baltimore, Maryland. 

On September 23, 1801, Brother Dalcho delivered his, "Oration," to the "Sublime Grand Lodge of the Ancient York Grand Lodge," located in Charleston, South Carolina where he was a member of St. John’s Lodge No. 31.  He later became a member and Past Master of Union Kilwinning Lodge No. 4.  

In his opening statement, he commented;

"The duty of this evening, to which I am called by the honor of your appointment, is a task infinitely more important, and arduous, than my feeble abilities are equal to: And nothing but the high respect I have for the Society, which have [sic] honored me with the appointment [as Chaplain], could have induced me to have accepted it." 

Again in 1803 Brother Dalcho delivered another “Oration” to the Grand Lodge. 

On October 17, 1806, Brother John Fowler who was a member of the "Illustrious College of Knights of K. H. and of the Original Chapter of Prince Masons of Ireland" took notice of Brother Dalcho’s orations of 1801 and 1803. In a letter written to Brother Dalcho from Brother Fowler he asks for permission to reprint all of Dalcho's “Orations.” Brother Dalcho replied four months later expressing his gratification at the request and readily acceding to it. 

Brother Dalcho began his early career as an army doctor, receiving his medical degree in 1790 from his Uncle Wiesenthal Medical School. Toward the end of the first decade of the nineteenth century, he showed an increasing interest in the affairs of the church and devoted himself to theological studies. During this period, his religious involvement manifested itself into his Masonic service and writings. 

In 1807, at the request of the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons of South Carolina, he published the “Ahiman Rezon,” which was adopted as the code for the government of the lodges under the jurisdiction of that body. This book of constitutions consisted of 50,711 words, and has since has gone through 33 revisions. In 2003 under the direction of Past Grand Master Jack A. Marler, it was again revised and republished as the 34th edition.  

In the “Preface” of the 34th edition Brother Dalcho is still given credit for his great work in creating the first book of constitutions for the South Carolina Masons. 

When the “Ahiman Rezon” was first published in Charleston, SC there existed two separate Grand Lodges, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and Ancient York Masons of South Carolina. The existence of these two Grand Lodges caused much trouble for the brethren of Charleston for many years. 

In 1817 the Ancient York Grand Lodge and the Free and Accepted Masonic Grand Lodges united under the name, “Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina.” Brother Dalcho was instrumental in the union of these two Grand Lodges.     

At the first Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge of the “Ancient Free Masons of South Carolina”, Brother Dalcho was elected Grand Chaplin.   

After the installation of Grand Lodge officers, a procession was formed and paraded to St. Michael's church where Reverend Dalcho delivered his sermon, “Festival of St. John’s.”  

In 1820 Reverend Dalcho’s monumental work was published.  It was called, “An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina.” This monumental undertaking took him 2 years to research and write. It covers the early beginnings of the church in the Carolinas to the date that the book was published. The book is still of such importance that it is used today by researchers, writers, and the church due to the significant information it contains about the birth of the church in South Carolina. 

It must also be mentioned that of all the founders of the Supreme Council Dr. Dalcho is the one that Masonic researchers are interested in the most due to his extensive papers he wrote both as a mason and non mason.


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