Newspaper Articles On the Biennial Meeting of the

Supreme Council Meeting inCharleston, South Carolina

On September 21-27, 1924  

By: Ill. Brother McDonald “Don” Burbidge, 33º 

In May 1881, Francis Silas Rodgers built his mansion on a large lot at the southeast corner of Smith and Wentworth Streets. The architect hired to build the house at the time was Mr. Daniel G. Wayne who designed the 13,883 for Mr. Rodgers and his family and grandchildren to live in.  

Mr. Rodgers was a wealthy merchant and cotton grower who spared no expense in the building of his mansion. Mr. Rodgers intentions for building the mansion were that his family and grandchildren live in it. The exterior was covered in Philadelphia pressed brick the windows and quoins were finished in stone. The Architect Mr. Rodgers employed to build his four story 13, 883 square foot mansion was Mr. Daniel G. Wayne.   

In 1920 the Rodgers heirs sold the Mansion to the Scottish Rite Cathedral Association and on May 31, 1940 it was again sold to the Atlantic Coast Life Insurance Company.  

The Supreme Council last met in Charleston, South Carolina on September 21-27, 1924. The “Charleston News and Courier” provided a lot of press coverage on the events that were happening daily along with quoting the various members of the Supreme Council and other members Scottish Rite members in Charleston.  

At the time of this celebration it was noted that the following countries have established their own Supreme Councils either directly or indirectly from the Mother Council established in Charleston on May 31, 1801, Argentine, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Central America, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, England and Wales, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Roumania, Scotland, Serbs Croates and Slovenes, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Urugauy, and Venezuela, and within a few weeks a Supreme Council in Russia was expected to be established.  

In 1813 when Dr. Dalcho was 43 years old he was co-editor of the “Charleston Courier,” which today it is called the “Charleston News and Courier Newspaper.” The building that he once worked at no longer exists. The building was torn down and a new one put up in its place. 

Listed below is the date each article was written along with the complete headline for each story as it was printed by the, “Charleston News and Courier.” An overview of each article is provided to the reader in hopes of getting a better understanding of what went on each day when the Supreme Council met in Charleston.      


September 21, 1924





Charleston Plays an

Important Part in

The History of the

Mother Council





Hold One Session in

Building Where the

First Supreme Coun-

cil Was Formed


The biennial started on a Tuesday and ended on a Saturday 

The history of the organization was provided by Past Grand Master James D. Richardson. 

Growing in numbers and influences, “Admitting into the ranks of the Initiates, men of every creed and country, who are found worthy of such fellowship; are becoming members.” 

Magnificent temples are scattered all over the country from coast to coast. 

Men of brilliant intellect and profound philosophy are proud to be enrolled among its members and today to be known as a Scottish Rite Mason around the world.

Not until 1847 was there a member of the Supreme Council elected outside of the State of South Carolina.


September 21, 1924

Members of the Supreme

Council to Convene Here

City Will Welcome Masons Who Will Ar

rive Tomorrow and Stay Until Sat-

urday for Biennial Session


Not only the citizens of Charleston but the residents of the State of South Carolina are looking forward with great pleasure to the arrival of the members of the Supreme Council, Thirty-third Degree, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction.

The most distinguished Masons in the United States if not in the world, will be present for the meeting.

Rev. Samuel Cary Beckwith is the Deputy of the Supreme Council in South Carolina.  

The local members of the Scottish Rite have been preparing a program and working out the details of the entertainment of the guests. Mr. Jesse Sharpe, Mr. A. Clifford Thompson and Mr. Ben B. Lawrence have been prominent in these preparations. 

The last meeting of the Supreme Council was held in Salt Lake City and Charleston feels honored that it was selected as the next city.



September 23, 1924 






All Masonic Officers Are Required to Wear Re-

gala of Office


Special services for the Supreme Council Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry will be held this in St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. The REV. S. Cary Beckwith, rector, who is deputy in South Carolina, of the Supreme Council, will conduct the services.  

Rev. L. E. McNair will deliver an address, Thirty-third degrees, of Jacksonville, and chaplain of the Supreme Council. Mr. J. Campbell is chairman of the arrangements for these special services. 

A feature of the occasion will be the music, especially arranged for the occasion by Mr. Cotesworth P. Mears, a member of the Rite, who will be assisted by the Scottish Rite Male Quartet. There will be a male chorus of fifty voices. 

Mr. Bissell announces that seating arrangements for the services provide that the main body of the church be reserved for the Masonic fraternity; the center aisle for the Supreme Council and the Knights Templar, who will act as escort. 

Members of the Craft and their ladies will be seated on the side aisles, both of the north and south. In the gallery the people will be seated.  

The Knights Templar will escort the Supreme Council as a guard of honor and all Knights Templar are requested to appear at the church in full uniform. 

While the Supreme Council will not open until tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock, at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, the services at St. Philip’s will mark the first assembling of the council, this being the opening ceremony incident to the series of meetings that will occur during the week.



September 23, 1924



Samuel Cary Beckwith was born November 17, 1870, in Petersburg, Va., received his education at McCabe’s School, the Davis Military School, the Davis Military School and the University of the South, taking his bachelor of arts degree in 1895 and the master of arts degree in 1896. 

Mr. Beckwith was raised to the sublime degree of Master Mason in Landmark Lodge, No. 76, A. F. M., March 2, 1910, and was appointed chaplain November 17, 1923. He received the Thirty-second degree in Dalcho Consistory May 16, 1912, served as wise master of Buist Chapter, 1915 to 1917, as commander of Bethlehem Council, 1922-1923. He was made a Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, October 21, 1919, and received the Thirty-third degree, Inspector General Honorary, October 19, 1923. November 17, 1923, he was appointed Deputy of the Supreme Council in South Carolina, succeeding Hyman Wallace Witcover, Thirty-third degree, who was elected Secretary-General of the Supreme Council. 

September 24, 1924




Chaplain of Supreme

Council of Scottish

Rite Preaches Serv-

ice in St. Philip’s





Big Congregation in

“Westminster of the

South” to Hear the



Speaking to an assemblage that filled “old historic” St. Philip’s Episcopal church last night, the Rev. L. E. McNair, D. D., delivered a forceful and impressive address on the subject of “Selected Lives, the distinction conferred on men of rank and station.” 

Mr. McNair said of his sermon that it implies competency whether on the athletic field, in literary world or in a place of moral leadership. They are men singled out, set apart, trained and commissioned unto a special opportunity. He also stated that his message related to the fact of a selected life and declared that there is no thought to which the soul more profoundly responds that a life specialized unto a purpose. 

In conclusion to his sermon Mr. McNair said: “So may we carry the banner of Masonry; so may our lives produce the evidences of our selection, and may the deliberations of our great country be under the blessing of God, devoted to His glory and fruitful in service of our fellows, our country and mankind.” 

The Rev. S. Cary Beckwith, deputy of the Supreme Council in South Carolina and rector of the parish of St. Philip’s, introduced Dr. McNair, and welcomed the council to Charleston, saying, “We welcome you not as guests but as a loving mother coming back to her home.” 


September 24, 1924 





Grand Commander to Deliver

Allocation Before the

Supreme Council

This Morning




Charleston Men Among Those

Who Will Be Invested as

Knight Commanders of

Court of Honor





10 a. m., Supreme Council assembles in Scottish Rite Cathedral, Grand Commander’s allocation and reference. 

1 p. m., Barbecue at Old Faber Place, followed by sightseeing of places near Charleston.

8:30 p. m., informal reception at Scottish Rite Cathedral, followed by “Plantation Melodies” in auditorium



10 a. m., Council convenes.

1 p. m., Luncheon at Francis Marion Hotel for members of Supreme Council and visiting Masons.

2 p. m., Council reconvenes.

8:30 p. m., Investiture of Knight Commanders Courts of honor.



10 a. m., Council Convenes.

1 p. m., Luncheon at Francis Marion Hotel.

3 p. m., Council reconvenes.

4 p. m., Session of Supreme Council in birthplace of Supreme Council, northeast corner Broad and Church streets.

6:30 p. m., Banquet for thirty-third degree Masons and ladies.

8:30 p. m., Thirty-third degree conferred.


September 25, 1924 





Calls on the Masons

To Take a Leading

Part in Promoting






Informal Reception

Is Held at the Scot-

tish Rite Cathedral

for Guests 

Mayor Stoney, extended the official welcome of the city and also stressed the historical significance of the council and Charleston, adding that this town was the birth place of many good things, prominent among which was the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite. 

The Grand Commander, Mr. Cowles, stated that the meeting was in the nature of a homecoming and reminded the assembled members of the allegiance of the Scottish Rite to the Blue Lodge. He then proceeded with his allocation. 

The Sovereign Grand Commander reaffirmed the intention to urge the adoption by Congress of the Sterling-Reed bill providing for a federal department of education with a secretary in the President’s cabinet and giving federal aid to public schools, and in the general educational program of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction. 

Allusion was made to resolutions introduced at the last meeting of the Supreme Council establishing a fund of fraternal assistance and also looking toward the building of a tuberculosis sanatorium for Masons by the Supreme Council. These matters had been turned over to special committees. 

The Grand Commander referred in eloquent words to the first meeting of the Supreme Council held in City of Charleston in May 1801, and paid touching tribute to the memory of the men who were responsible for the organization of the Scottish Rite in this country.



September 26, 1924




Ceremony Is Held by

Supreme Council of

The Scottish Rite in

The Cathedral Here





Arthur C. Furchgott

to Be Elevated to

Thirty-third Degree

By Council Tonight


The evening session of the Supreme Council was given over last night for the purpose of investing those eligible in South Carolina who were designated at the last session of the Supreme Council to be Knights Commander of the Court of Honor.  

At 1 p. m. the members of the council and visiting Masons were entertained at an informal luncheon at the Francis Marion and afterward a party was made up which left the city for Folly Beach. 

The program last night which featured those eligible to become Knights Commander was not a degree but a ceremonial of investiture, and all members of the Rite who had attained their thirty-second degree and who were in possession of their 1924 identification cards were allowed to witness the service. The ceremony was presided over by Hyman Wallace Witcover, thirty-third degree, and secretary general of the Supreme Council. 

The Supreme Council created the decoration of Knight Commander of the Court of Honor, in 1870. The ritual formulated by Albert Pike was established to point out and to honor those who have deserved well of the Rite. It is an honor that cannot be applied for or bought and the number of Knights Commander that may be designated at any regular session of the Supreme Council is fixed by stature.  

The Masons again discussed the reaffirmation of the resolution in connection with the Oregon education bill, which was taken up by the Supreme Council yesterday.  

“We approve and reassert our belief in the free and compulsory education of the children of our nation in public primary schools supported by public taxation, which all children shall attend and be instructed in the English language only, without regard to race or creed, and we pledge the efforts of the membership of the Rite to promote by all lawful means the organization, extension and development to the highest degree of such schools, and to continually oppose the efforts of any and all who seek to limit, curtail, hinder or destroy the public school system of our land.



September 26, 1924




Speaks for Supreme

Council of Colon,

33rd Degree


At the session of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite yesterday Senor Lesardo Munoz-Sanudo, of Havana delivered an address in Spanish. The Grand Commander, Mr. John H. Cowles, read its translation. 

I take advantage of the opportunity that fills a young heart full of enthusiasm and faith, speaking amidst my hosts in this city, admired always for its lofty virtues, as more than a lover of its traditions, to declare publicly that I am most pleased by the reception given me by the Masons since my arrival last Sunday. 

My visit was made in compliance with the charge laid upon me in Cuba by the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Colon, Thirty-third Degree, Illustrious Brother Dr. Antonio Ruiz, to represent him in the session of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States held this week. To the men of today, as well as to those of tomorrow, a connection binds these two supreme Scottish organizations in such a manner that could be broken only by the dissolution of both, but that while they live the union shall remain inseparable.  

In taking leave of my brethren and other gentlemen of Charleston I assure you that I carry away most grateful memories and I pray you to accept my heartfelt gratitude.



September 26, 1924

Scottish Rite Pioneers

Praised by the Chief


Their Faith Made Possible the Magnificent

Order, Mr. Cowles Says, in Paying

Glowing Tribute to Their Work 

John h. Cowles, grand commander improved the opportunity to pay a glowing tribute to Charleston as the birthplace of the Scottish Rite in this hemisphere. “A poor Old World indeed would be our place of habitation if it were devoid of Sentiment,” he said. “Sentiment rules the world. It is the mainspring of heroic actions; it is the reward of deeds well done. It gives richness and beauty to life, it glorifies joy and lightens the clouds of sorrow.” 

Here we now meet to pay the tribute of our presence and appreciative word to the memory of the men whose faith made possible the magnificent Order of which we are the leaders in this later day. Splendid men they were, Mitchell, Dalcho, and their confreres, men of sterling character, of broad vision, of unconquerable faith. They were prophet-souls, too, and as the prophets have always done, they dreamed, then built an institution that has far surpassed their dreams.  

To organize a regular Supreme Council, 33degree, of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry necessitated adherence to the principles laid down and then in erecting the structure on the foundation explicitly provided in the Grand Constitution revised in 1786. This was a task for men of courage and faith, and these qualities were possessed in full measure by the men who met in this city a century and twenty-three years ago and launched on its career the first Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite ever established, the Mother Council of the world. 

How well their confidence and vision were justified is seen in the marvelous development of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry in the intervening years. In the two jurisdictions in this country there are approximately a half million Thirty-second Degree Masons. The bodies of the Rite are housed in splendid temples of which the supreme examples is the peerless House of the Temple in Washington, fit symbol of a monument to the beautiful, austere and unselfish teaching of our Order. 

What they did, what has developed from their work, are full confirmation of the greatness and divine destiny of the Scottish Rite and are the assurance that in time shall be fulfilled the dream of the poet. “Out of darkness and night: The world rolls into light, It is daybreak everywhere.”


 September 27, 1924 

Scottish Rite Council

Enjoys Its Home-coming


Sovereign Grand Commander Declares Or-

der Is in Unusually Prosperous Condi-

tion  Popular Education Espoused

“I am glad to take advantage of this opportunity to express appreciation for the gracious welcome accorded to the Supreme Council by the Scottish Rite bodies and by the people of Charleston. The local committees have been very zealous in their efforts to make our visit pleasant and despite inclement weather they have succeeded in rendering an entertainment program that made us forget the cloudy skies and rain.

“The best traditions of Southern hospitality have been exemplified and maintained by our gracious hosts,” said Mr. John H. Cowles, thirty-third degree sovereign grand commander of the Scottish Rite Masons, yesterday.

This home coming has been historic and Scottish Rite history will record this visit as of unique sentimental interest. This session has been a pilgrimage to a shrine made by faith, vision and courage of the splendid Masons who in this city establish the foundation of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry that now belts the globe.


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