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Who Was Ill. Bro. Frederick Dalcho?
By: McDonald “Don” Burbidge, 33°

     No one…could have been more honestly devoted to the studies in general, of the Christian Ministry, than Rev. Frederick Dalcho or have been found more willing so as to surrender himself to it, as “to spend and be spent” in it’s work… In this office he served with great faithfulness to his church.
     In the character of his preaching, there was a striking adherence to “the old paths” of truth; and the essential doctrines of the gospel, as held in the Church of whom he was a Minister, was his fond and constant theme. Affectionate, earnest, solemn, in exhortation and admonition, which were his duty, he always observed the
sobriety of a sound mind and a sound faith. He was unusually well versed in the Scriptures, and had read extensively the writings of most of the Divines of the Parent Church. He was familiar with polemic theology, but not fond of controversies.

     All text shown in “Italic” was written by Ill. Bro. Frederick Dalcho. This was done to provide the reader a way of getting to know him through his writings.

1770
     October - Frederick Dalcho was born to John Frederick and Euphemia Dalcho in the Borough of Holborn, London, in a parish known as St. Giles-In-The-Fields.

1779

     On August 26 - Frederick Dalcho father passed away at the Age of 58.

1787

     May 23 - Frederick Dalcho arrived at Baltimore, Maryland on a sailing vessel “after a boisterous passage of 8 weeks on the sea from London.” He was 15 years of age and went to live with his father’s sister who was married to Dr. Wiesenthal. Under the guidance of Dr. Wiesenthal young Frederick pursued his education.

1790

     Dr. Dalcho received his medical degree from his Uncle Wiesenthal’s Medical School. His Uncle was also a Mason.

1792

     April 9th - Frederick Dalcho was appointed a “Surgeon’s Mate” in the Army. While stationed in Savannah, Georgia Dr. Dalcho joined a Masonic Lodge believed to be Hyram Lodge No. 2, Ancient York Mason.

1794

     April 17th - Dr. Dalcho married Miss Vanderlocht of Savannah, Georgia. The marriage was of brief duration as she died on June 4, 1795.

     May 2nd - Dr. Dalcho was appointed a Lieutenant of Artillery in the Army.

     May 10th - Dr. Dalcho was transferred to Fort Fidius located in Georgia on the Oconee River.

1796

     Dr. Dalcho was transferred from Savannah; Georgia to Fort Johnson located in the Charleston harbor.

     Dr. Dalcho resigned his commission to become a ship’s surgeon to the factoring firm of McClure and Company and made several trips to Africa while in their employment.

1797

     Dr. Dalcho returned to the Army for an additional 15 months service.

1799

     Dr. Dalcho left the sea and settled down to practice medicine with his good friend Dr. Isaac Auld.

1800

     Dr. Dalcho was a contributor to the “Medical Repository and the Recorder.”

1801

     May 31 - Dr. Dalcho along with John Mitchell opened the first Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite in America at Shepheard’s Tavern located at the corner of Broad and Church Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Dalcho was elected to the office of Lt. Grand Commander and John Mitchell was elected Sov.  Grand Commander.

It should also be noted that Dr. James Moultrie was elected as Sov Gr Inspector General who is also a member of St. Philip’s Church and is buried in the churchyard.

     July 1 - Dr. Dalcho was elected as the 66th member of the Medical Society and opened a drug store facing the Bay, which he later moved to the northeast corners of Church and Tradd Street and operated with his long time friend Dr. Isaac Auld.

1802

     Dr. Dalcho Volunteered to serve as attending physician of the new Charleston Dispensary for a term of one year.

1803

     January 10th – Dr. Dalcho helps to established the “Charleston Courier” newspaper with Aaron S. Willington and Edmund Morford.

           Dr. Dalcho wrote and delivered an “Oration” entitled;

An
Oration
Delivered In The
Sublime Grand Lodge
Of South Carolina, In Charleston
On the 21st of March, A. L. 5807

     I have before mentioned to you, that in the sublime degrees of a Mason, we are bound to be true and faithful to the government of the country in which we live. Nay, more, we are sworn to discover to the lawful authority any knowledge which we may posses of the establishment of a conspiracy against it.

1805

     September 2nd - Dr. Dalcho was elected to the standing committee to establish a Botanic Garden located at the northwest corner of Meeting and Columbus Streets. The Medical Society placed the following article in the locale newspaper announcing the opening of the Botanic Garden; in part it reads;

     “Innumerable are the advantages which will result from this establishment. It will induce in young persons, a taste for the studies of Nature. “The structure of a feather or flower is more likely to impress their minds with a just notion of infinite power and wisdom, than the most profound discourses on such abstract subjects, as are beyond the limits of their capacity to comprehend.  Botany is a branch of natural history that possesses many advantages; it contributes to health of body, and cheerfulness of disposition, by presenting an inducement to take air and exercise----it is adapted to the simplest capacity, which renders it attainable to every rank in life.”

Reference: Charleston Courier
Date: August 8, 1805

1805

     December 24th - Dr. Dalcho delivered the “Oration” before the Medical Society of South Carolina, at the Anniversary Meeting of which he was the Secretary. In his opening statement he commented that;

     “Agreeable to the rules of our society, it is the duty of our president to nominate a member “to prepare and record, at each Anniversary, a review of the weather and diseases of the current year, together with such medical observations as may appear to him to be useful, and connected with the objects of the institution.” He has done me the Honor to nominate me for the present Anniversary.  I could have wished his choice to have fallen upon some person more worthy of this distinguished honor; upon one, whose capacious mind, illumined by the rays of science, could have rendered his subject more worthy of your attention; who could have recorded the medical occurrences of the passing year, in language suited to the dignity of his theme. Little accustomed to write upon medical subjects, I have only been induced to acquiesce in the nomination, by my sincere desire to contribute every talent which I posses, to the service of our society, and to the advancement of our profession. Before an audience so imposing I should stand abashed, did I not feel conscious of receiving your candid indulgence.”

     December 25th – Dr. Edward Jenkins married Dr. Dalcho and Miss Mary Elizabeth Threadcraft at St. Philip’s Church. They were childless throughout their marriage.

1806

     January 10th - Dr. Dalcho became co-editor of the Charleston Courier, a vigorous Federalist paper, then in its fourth year of publication.

1807

     Dr. Dalcho published the “Ahiman Rezon or a book of Constitutions” at the request of the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons for the state of South Carolina. With the help of Dr. Dalcho the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and that of Ancient York Masons of South Carolina united under the name of “The Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina” which continues to exist to the present time.

     John Fowler who was directed by the Original Chapter of Prince Masons of Ireland to write Dr. Frederick Dalcho and ask his permission to reprint his orations from 1801, 1803, and 1807. Dr. Dalcho replied on February 25, 1808, expressing his gratification at the request and readily acceding to it.

1808

     December 21- Dr. Dalcho sent a response letter back to John Fowler who lived in Ireland at the time. At this time it seems that John Fowler wanted Dr. Dalcho to visit Ireland with the intent of establishing a Sovereign Grand Council of Inspectors General of the Thirty-third Degree for Ireland, to which Brother Dalcho kindly promised to accede, however because President Jefferson had stopped all trade with Europe as well as with Great Britain at this time Brother Dalcho was unable to assist in the creation of a Supreme Council for Ireland.

1809

     Dr. Dalcho was elected “Corresponding Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Ancient York Masons, and from that time directed the influences of his high position to the reconciliation of the Masonic difficulties in South Carolina.

1812

     November 22, Dr. Frederick Dalcho mother dies at the age of 81; both of Dalcho’s parents are now buried at the German Evangelical Church of St. Marie-in-the-Savoy, London.

1813

     Dr. Dalcho resigned as co-editor of the Charleston Courier and as a member of the Medical Society of South Carolina, which the Medical Society refused and made him an honorary member for life.

     Dr. Frederick Dalcho accepted the call of the vestry of St. Paul’s, Stono, to officiate as Lay Reader without any compensation, as he was not yet ordained.” He began his service, which was to last only for the winter and spring season. It should also be stated that Dr. Frederick Dalcho was the first rector of this church since 1784.

1814

     Rev. Dalcho kept St. Philip’s Church open after the death of Rev. James Dewar Simons for the summer. Written in the minutes of St. Philip’s Church record is the following report;

     Special meeting of the Vestry of St. Philip’s, Friday 27th May 1814. The Rev. James Dewar Simons, Rector of this Church, having departed this life, between the hours of nine and ten o’clock this morning, the Vestry was called upon the Solemn and awful occasion. Resolved Unanimously, that in consideration of the long, able and eminent services of there many beloved and greatly lamented Rectors and Divine, and in testimony as well as sincere veneration and affection to his Person while living, as with deep and unfeigned sorrow and regret which is felt on the mournful event, the following honors be paid to his Memory.

     The pulpit, the reading desk, the communion table and organ gallery to be hung with “Black Broad Cloth.” The vestry of St. Michael’s is requested to have the Bells of that church tolled muffled during the funeral procession.

     That the Rev. Dalcho be requested to read the funeral service and the Rev. Doctor Percy to deliver a funeral oration on the melancholy occasion.

1817

     Dr. Dalcho resigned from St. Paul’s Stono Church and on February 2, became assistant minister at St. Paul’s Radcliffeborough located in Charleston, South Carolina.

     Dr. Dalcho publishes a book on the theological works titled;

A Letter
On Public Baptism
As Established By
“The Protestant Episcopal Church
in the
United States of America

     This work was produced after some parish members asked Dr. Dalcho to perform a private Baptism in their home for their children. Due to the rules and regulations of the church he could not honor this request that was asked of him.  At the end of his letter Dr. Dalcho made the following statement in hopes that the individuals would understand why he had to turn down their request;

     From this exposition of the Rubrics of the Church, and of the duties of the Clergy, I flatter myself, my Dear Sir, you will be satisfied that I have acted from a sense of duty in refusing to comply with your request. And I trust you will do me the justice to believe, that no other motive could have influenced me in the discharge of the Sacred Office, or have induced me to oppose the wishes of my friends.

                                           I am, Dear Sir,

                                               Yours, &c.

     Rev. Dalcho undertook the task of completing and editing the register of the Church at St. Paul’s Radcliffeborough located at Charleston, South Carolina.

     February 23rd - Dr. Dalcho was retained as an assistant minister for St. Michael’s Church.

     October 8th - Rev. Dalcho was elected Assistant minister of St. Michael’s Church for one year at a salary of $1,000.00.

1820

     August - Dr. Dalcho published another story,

Evidences
Of the
Divinity of Jesus Christ;
With
The Testimony
Of
Christian and Heathen Writers,
That He was Called
GOD,
And Worshipped as GOD,
In the
First Three Centuries

     Dr. Dalcho had his chief work published,” An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina. It took Dr. Dalcho two years to write his book.

     The book covered the first settlement in the province, to The War of the Revolution; with notices of the Present State of the Church in each parish; and some account of the early civil history of Carolina, never before published. Also included are the laws relating to religious worship; the Journals and rules of the Convention of South Carolina, the Constitution and Canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and an index with a list of subscribers.

1822

     Dr. Frederick Dalcho published his second edition of the “Ahiman Rezon.” In the opening page of his second edition Dalcho wrote the following;

     “Freemasonry comprehends within its circle every branch of useful knowledge and learning, and stamps an indelible mark of pre- eminence on its genuine professors, which neither chance, power, nor fortune can bestow. When its rules, are strictly observed, it is a sure foundation of tranquility, amidst the various disappointments of life. It is a friend that will not deceive, but will comfort and assist us in prosperity and adversity. It is a blessing that will remain with all times, circumstances, and places, and to which recourse may be had, when other earthly comforts sink into disregard.”

1823

     Dr. Dalcho became involved in an unpleasant controversy with some of his Masonic associates, in consequence of difficulties and dissentions, which at that time, existed in the Ancient Rite his feelings were so wounded by the unmasonic spirit which seemed to actuate his antagonists and former friends that Dr. Dalcho resigned the Office of Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge, and Grand Commander of the Supreme Council, and retired for the remainder of his life from all participation in the active duties of Masonry. At the end of the year Dr. Dalcho withdrew his membership from the Grand Lodge which marked the end of his Masonic career. In Dr. Dalcho’s resignation letter to the Grand Lodge he states in part the following:

     “Every friend of the Masonic institution, as well as every member, of our Order, must have felt, not only deeply interested, but greatly grieved, at the unhappy difference which, for a few weeks, has existed in the Grand Lodge. As an old Mason, and particularly as a religious man, I confess that it introduced in my mind the most painful sensations. Believing, as I conscientiously do, that genuine freemasonry is a powerful auxiliary to the religion I profess, I cannot but be solicitous to see it practiced in its native purity and truth. That charity which covert a multitude of sins; and that Brotherly-love, which makes the friend of his species, are fundamental principles of both. And where these principles are permitted to govern our feelings and our conduct, whether in the domestic and social circle, in the Lodges of the Fraternity, or the community in which we live, there peace and happiness, the types of celestial enjoyment, must necessarily reign.

1824

     Dr. Dalcho established “The Charleston Gospel Messenger and Protestant Episcopal Register” a monthly journal of the church’s activities.  The first volumes of these registers included many highly interesting and some well-elaborated and learned essays from his pen.

1826

On May 16 - Dr. Dalcho published another address,

An
Address
Delivered in St. Michael’s Church
Charleston Protestant Episcopal
Sunday School Society,
At Their
Seventh Anniversary
May 16

Being the Tuesday in Whitsun Week
1826

     The evening prayer was read by the Rev. Dr. Gadsen, Rector of St. Philip’s Church, and an Address, adapted to the occasion, was delivered by the Rev. Dr. Dalcho, Assistant Minister of St. Michael’s Church.

     It should also be noted that a recently discovered letter written by Rev. Dalcho dated 1828 shows that he was the superintendent of the Sunday Schools Children which was attended by 800 children.

     After Service, the members of the Society met to receive the Report of the Managers, to elect Officers, &c.

     On motion of Mr. Thayer, the thanks of the Society were returned to Dr. Dalcho for his appropriate Address, and a copy therefore requested for publication.

1827

     Dr. Dalcho delivered a sermon before the Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina at St. Michael's church located in Charleston, South Carolina. Again, as in 1807 a decade earlier, his text was John 12:36.

     Dalcho remarked: “ May the light of the everlasting Gospel burn in your hearts with a pure and steady flame, guiding your footsteps unto all righteousness, and directing your conduct in every scene and condition of life." Free-Masonry, like the Religion of the Redeemer, is eminently Calculated to dispense “peace on earth, and good will towards men. ” Let me then, earnestly beseech you, in the name of your Savior, to endeavor, by a life of piety and devotion to flee from the wrath to come, that you walk before him as becomes your Christian calling; that you fulfill the Royal law according to the Scriptures to love your neighbor as yourself; and finally that you afford to the world a bright example of piety and faith, by walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless, for so is the will of God, that with well-doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

1836

     On November 24th - Dr. Frederick Dalcho passed away at his resident which was located at 54 Meeting Street. His physician was Dr. Campbell and he listed his death as “Paralysis."

     Dr. Dalcho’s wife Mary passed away 16 years later in December 1852 at the age of 66 years. Her resting-place is in an unmarked grave next to Dr. Dalcho’s at St. Michael’s church.

Printed in the Charleston News and Courier;

     The Clergy of the Episcopal Church and of other denominations; the Members of St. Michael’s congregation, and of the other congregations of the Episcopal Church in this city, and the Friends and Acquaintances are invited to attend the Funeral of the late Rev. Dr. DALCHO, from his house in Meeting street, This Afternoon, at 4 O’clock precisely.

Nov.25
Reference: The Charleston News and Courier
Dated: Friday Morning Nov. 25, 1836

     Rev. Dr. Dalcho’s life of great industry was now over. His remains were laid to rest in St. Michael’s Church Cemetery on the south side. The vestry defrayed the expenses of his mahogany coffin and interment in the churchyard, and caused a memorial tablet to be erected to him. This tablet was to have been placed inside the church, but because of a certain animosity towards the Masons at the time, it was erected outside against the south wall. In 1847, and again in 1852, the suggestion was made that it should be brought inside the building. Action was taken on neither occasion. Not until many years later was Dr. Dalcho’s tablet brought inside the church, which he loved and served for seventeen years.

     The Church, showing their due respect for their late Assistant Minister was draped in black merino. The Masonic Grand Lodge was ordered to be clothed in mourning, for the space of six weeks” at its Quarterly Communication on the 16th of December.

1857

     December 10, Dr. Joseph Johnson, M.D.  (a member of St. Philip’s Church) provides us with a first hand description of Dr. Frederick Dalcho from one that knew him personally and as a Mason.

     “Dr. Dalcho was about five and a half feet in height, muscular and well proportioned. Having been accidentally wounded in his lungs, he became occasionally asthmatic, and his voice, naturally pleasant, was thus sometimes oppressed. His features were well marked, denoting a vigorous and well-cultivated intellect, as well as a thoughtful and earnest spirit. His kind, amiable and genial disposition, his fine social qualities, his extensive information and liberal principles made him a great and general favorite in the community.

     Dr. Dalcho posed a spiritual quality throughout his life. Ordained to the ministry after a varied career and displayed throughout his life a gentleness and goodness of nature which would have put to shame more prominent theologians.

     Although Rev. Frederick Dalcho passed away on November 24, 1836, the lives he touched through his addresses, sermons, and the other writings he left behind will continue to inspire others for generations to come.

     In closing I would like to leave you with this one last passage written by Rev. Dalcho in December 1805 for the Medical Society Oration he delivered for that year. To me this is what Rev. Dalcho had intended to accomplish throughout his life.

     “Let us, gentleman, cheerful and resolutely determine to make our society as useful as it is respectable, to make it the school of instruction, and the deposit of important information for our posterity. The ardent pursuit of scientific information, which it adds respectability and honor to a country, is of incalculable depth; an inexhaustible source of usefulness and profit. The human mind, vast and capacious in its resources, is bounded by no limits, but the GREAT FIRST CAUSE, and yields to no impediments, but the disorganization of matter. The hearts expands with virtue and benevolence, as the mind extends its information. The riches of the ancients become our property, and the labors of the learned, become our amusement. Compared to the learned, of the present day, the ancients were but the pupils of science; and we, in turn, will have to yield the palm of knowledge to those who will succeed us, and who, probably, will look back upon us, but as the removers of literary rubbish, or the pliers up of disjointed facts.”

     (Oration before the Medical Society by Dr. Frederick Dalcho on December 24th, 1805).

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