Frederick Dalcho

A Man of Accomplishment, A Man of Peace

Right Worshipful Brother Barry A. Rickman, 32 KCCH: Past District Deputy Grand Master

The following article was edited from the 1990 Edition of Transactions published by The South Carolina Masonic Research Society.

As a man, Dr. Dalcho was characterized by great cheerfulness of disposition and suavity of manners. He was kind, generous and amiable, with an inclination, in his moments of confidential intercourse, to the indulgence of much humor.

Such was the life of Rev. Brother Frederick Dalcho, M.D., as described by Brother Albert G. Mackey. But just who was this peace loving man?  Who and what helped to influence his life?  These answers and more we will attempt to uncover as we peer into the life of this industrious and extraordinary man we call Brother Dalcho.

In mid October of 1770, John Frederick and Euphemia Dalcho presented their son Frederick for baptism at the Church of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, in the Borough of Holborn, London, England.  Records show that in 1772, John Frederick Dalcho was paying property taxes at 43 Great St. Andrew Street.  It is reasonably safe to assume this is where Dalcho was born.  His mother remained there at least until 1789 operating an inn. A military man, Frederick Dalcho’s father was an officer under Frederick the Great. Dalcho’s father was wounded in the Seven Years War and later died at age 58 on August 26, 1779 in retirement, while his son was still a child. Frederick Dalcho’s mother, of Prussian descent, was born Euphemia Wiesenthal, daughter of Johann Mattheus Wisenthal. She passed away on November 22, 1812 at the ripe age of 81.  Both of Dalcho s parents are buried at the German Evangelical Church of St. Marie in-the-Savoy, London.  In 1787, young Frederick went to live in Baltimore, Maryland with his uncle, Dr. Charles Frederick Wiesenthal, a noted and highly respected physician in that city.  It is here with his uncle that Dalcho began to receive an education in the classics and began his study of botany and medicine, all of which would play important roles in his life in years to come.

Dalcho received his degree in medicine in 1790.  It was obtained from the medical school that his cousin Dr. Andrew Wiesenthal, son of Dr. Charles Frederick Wiesenthal, helped to establish.  It was in 1792 that Dalcho received the symbolic degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry.  He stated in his “Ahiman Rezon” of 1822: “The author received them in.. .an Ancient York Lodge, 30 years ago, from one of the most intelligent and zealous Masons in Savannah, Georgia.” Regrettably, Dalcho does not tell us the identity of this brother.  On April 11, 1792, he became a Surgeon s Mate in the United States Army in Savannah, Georgia.  While in Savannah, he married Eliza Vanderlocht, the widow of William Vanderlocht, as reported by the “Georgia Gazette” on April 17, 1794.  But this was to be a short marriage for on June 4, 1795, the “Gazette” stated that she had died.

At a time when the red man and white settlers were battling over land in Georgia, Fort Fidius was established by the United States Government for the Federal troops.  This Fort s purpose was to restore the health to “the troops at Rock Landing” who were helping to keep the peace.  Fidius was located just south a few miles of Milledgeville on the northern bank of the Oconee River.  On May 10 of 1794, a revengeful attack was carried out by the Georgia militia. It was on a Creek Indian camp just across the river from Fort Fidius.  At the sound of shots being fired, “Doctor Frederick Dalcho” was ordered by Captain Richard Brooke Roberts, commander of Fort Fidius, to cross the river and ascertain what had happened. Dalcho reported back saying:

On rising out of the cane-brake, I saw two different parties of militia; the one on the edge of the cane-brake, employed in plundering the Indian Camps; the other at some considerable distance, on the hill, I inquired for the commanding officer, whom I found to be Major Adams.  I demanded, in the name of the United States, the cause of their attacking the Indians, who were on a friendly visit, with Major Seagrove, at this post, and while they were under the protection of the United States?  He told me, that, in consequence of the death of Lieutenant Hay, on the Apalachy, he had raised one hundred and fifty men, to pursue and destroy any party of Indians he might gain intelligence of; that an Indian who was wounded at that time was not in our garrison, under the care of the surgeon, from which he supposed he was one of the party who are now here, and that he was determined not to return until the whole of them were killed; that he would advance to the mouth of the canyon, and take them from the fort: for he was able to do it…Just before I left them, Major Adams swore he would have hair before tomorrow night; and that Brigadier General Clarke had marched against the Creek towns.

Two days later, on May 12, he was advanced to “First Lieutenant of Artillerists and Engineers…and Paymaster to the regular troops in the State of Georgia.”  In the fall of 1795, he resigned his commission as First Lieutenant and began employment with McClure and Company, a factoring firm, as ship’s surgeon and made several trading voyages to Africa.  Later, Dalcho reentered the Army and served from March of 1797 to June 1799, completing his service duty at Fort Johnson on James Island near Charleston, South Carolina. Upon leaving, he settled in Charleston to practice medicine with Dr. Isaac Auld as his associate.

On July 1, 1801, at the age of 30, Dalcho was elected by the South Carolina Medical Society as its 66th member.  In the fall of that year, he moved his drugstore from facing the Bay to the corner of Tradd and Church Streets.  Dr. Dalcho was very energetic within the Medical Society. He delivered two papers to the Society in 1802; one on tetanus and the other on vaccination.  He also served on several committees, one of which was to “examine a slave ship, Washington, reported as carrying measles” and volunteered his time to the Charleston Dispensary along with his friend Dr. Auld.

Dalcho left Charleston in the summer of 1803 and did not return until August the following year.  Upon his return, he advertised in the “City Gazette t on August 14, 1804, his “practice of physic.” In December, of the same year, he became the Society s secretary.  This was to bring him in contact with many other physicians on a personal as well as professional level.  During this time, he became an honorary member of the Medical and Chemical Society of Philadelphia and of the Academy of Arts, Sciences and Belles Lettres of Marseilles. During the first decade of the 19th century, the Doctor contributed articles to the “Medical Repository” and the “Recorder.”

Dalcho moved his practice to 54 Meeting Street in February of 1805.  In September of the same year, he helped establish the Botanic Gardens with Dr. Isaac Auld and served as its secretary.  The Gardens were on a piece of land located at the northwest corner of Meeting and Columbus Streets, belonging to the Medical Society.  However, because of financial difficulties, the Gardens had to be closed around the year 1830.

Frederick Dalcho s second marriage was performed by Rev. Dr. Edward Jenkins to Mary Elizabeth Threadcraft.  The ceremony took place in St. Philip s Church in Charleston on the celebrated day of Christ s birth 1805.  No children were to be from either of his marriages, but his second wife was to survive him.

In July of 1809, Dr. Dalcho s interest in the Society began to wane and he resigned as its secretary and four years later resigned entirely from the Medical Society.  The Society, however, refused to accept his resignation and bestowed upon him an honorary membership.  Despite his resignation from the Society, he was present at the Medical School of the College of South Carolina in 1824 for its first election of professors.

In less than a month after Dalcho’s second marriage, he focused his writing talents on a young four year old Federalist paper, the “Charleston Courier” as its co-editor.  He stayed with the paper almost seven years, leaving it the first of January, 1813 for a new role in life.  Frederick Dalcho had answered the calling of the Supreme Architect.  In January of 1813, Frederick Dalcho began his ministry by answering the call of the Episcopal Church as Lay Reader without salary for the Vestry of St. Paul’s, Stono.  Bishop Theodore Dehon of South Carolina consecrated the Church on January 10, 1813.  St. Paul s invited Dalcho back for the year 1814, and he accepted their invitation commencing on January 18 of that year becoming its first established Minister since 1784.  St. Paul s was generous enough to pay Dalcho $400 for the previous year s service and the same for 1814 as well.  He was ordained Deacon on February 15, 1814, by Bishop Dehon and Priest on June 12, 1818, by Bishop William White of Pennsylvania.  During the summer of 1814, Rev. Dalcho kept St. Philip’s Church open after the death of its Rector, Rev. James Dewar Simons. He attended the Diocesan Convention in 1815, and in February of 1816, he began the task of getting a parsonage started for St. Paul’s.  He continued to serve at St. Paul s, Stono, until February 2, 1817, whereupon his resignation, he became the Assistant Minister of St. Paul s, Radcliffeborough.

As a result of the death of Bishop Dehon on August 6, 1817, Rev. Dalcho was called upon frequently to fill the pulpit at St. Michael s until Bishop Dehon s replacement could be secured.  This took place in the month of February, 1818, when Rev. Nathaniel Bowen was retained as Rector.  On October 8, 1818, Bowen also became third Bishop of South Carolina, along with his normal duties as Rector.  With the demands on the Bishop increasing, Dalcho was elected by St. Michael’s on February 23, 1819, as its Assistant Minister for $1,000 for one year s service.  Two days later Rev. Dalcho accepted his new position saying:

Will you have the goodness to express to the Vestry my unfeigned gratitude for this additional mark of their confidence & esteem, & further, to assure them that, I shall endeavor, with the Divine Assistance, to perform the Duties of the Office with faithfulness to God, & I most humbly pray, to the Satisfaction of the Vestry & the Congregation.

He was St. Michael s first minister to be retained on a yearly basis and was continued in this fashion until 1833.  In 1821, his salary was raised to $1,200 which stayed constant until his retirement.

Rev. Dalcho served St. Michael s continuously until 1834 except for a summer trip north in 1826 for reasons of regaining his health.  During his tenure at St. Michael s, he served his Diocese as secretary of the convention and secretary of its Standing Committee from 1815 through 1836.  He served as a member of the Board of Trustees and as librarian for the Society for the Advancement of Christianity in South Carolina.  He was also a member of the Clergy Relief Society.

It was in the year 1820 that Dalcho had his chief work published, “An Historical Account of the Protestant Episcopal Church in South Carolina.” It has grown to be of paramount importance on the history of the Church in South Carolina. Gray Temple, eleventh Bishop of South Carolina, stated in August of 1970, the 300th anniversary of the Episcopal Church in the state:

This book by Dr. Dalcho tells the story of the early years of this Diocese; it traces the vicissitudes which befell the “Established Church” during and after the Revolution, and gives an account of how the Episcopal Church in the United States came into being in South Carolina. . . . it is one which can be read with profit by every Episcopalian who lives in South Carolina.

The text, which is over 600 pages, was the first Diocesan history recorded in the United States.  This work is considered as the cornerstone for the history of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.  Other theological writings of Dalcho include “The Evidence from Prophecy for the Truth of Christianity, and the Divinity of Christ” and “Evidences of the Divinity of Jesus Christ.”  In 1824, he helped establish “The Charleston Gospel Messenger and Protestant Episcopal Register.”  This was a monthly journal of the affairs of the Church.

He was its first projector, and for several years, with great industry and perfect disinterestedness, took the chief trouble of conducting it on himself. The first volumes of it contain many highly interesting and some well elaborated and learned essays from his pen.

It has already been established that Frederick Dalcho was made a Mason in 1792.  It is possible that Dalcho’s first impressions of Freemasonry came by way of his uncle, Dr. Charles Frederick Wiesenthal.  He was a member of the Fraternity belonging to Joppa Lodge in 1765 and later to Lodge No. 16 in Baltimore.

Exactly where Brother Dalcho became a Mason is unclear and different historians vary on their assumptions. Brother Albert G. Mackey, among others, claims in his “History of Freemasonry in South Carolina” that Dalcho was made a Mason in South Carolina but does not cite his source to substantiate his claim. On the other hand, Brother Ray Baker Harris in his “Eleven Gentlemen of Charleston” has this to say:

We have previously quoted Dalcho s own statement he received the symbolic degrees “in an Ancient York Lodge” at Savannah, Georgia, in 1792. This was not, apparently, Solomon s Lodge No. 1, as its minutes for 1792-1795 are extant and do not show Frederick Dalcho either as a member or visitor during that time.  The lodge in Savannah which placed the greatest emphasis on its “Ancient” character, even obtaining its first charter from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania for that purpose, was Hiram Lodge No. 2.  It had been Hiram No. 42 under Pennsylvania, but in 1786 joined with Solomon s Lodge and others in the formation of the Grand Lodge of Georgia.  Other lodges in Savannah at the time were L Esperance Lodge No. 31 the membership of which was largely French Roman Catholic, and Union Lodge No. 10 (later No. 3) in which the Royal Arch first appeared in Georgia and its membership included many of the most prominent citizens of Savannah.  The records of all these lodges, except Solomon s, were destroyed in the Savannah fires of 1792 and 1820, which also burned many Grand Lodge records.  The logical assumption, however, is that Dalcho received the degrees in either Hiram Lodge or Union Lodge.

Dalcho further states in his “Ahiman Rezon” of 1822, “I was made in an Ancient York Lodge, and have never been a member of any other.”  The reasonable supposition through Dalcho’s own words and the thoughts of Harris is that he was made a Nasoii in Savannah. After settling in Charleston, he appears as a visitor in the minutes of LaCandeur Lodge No. 36.  It is curious to note that this Lodge s membership, as was L Esperance in Savannah, was also made up of nearly all French Roman Catholics.  It was founded by its first Worshipful Master and Dalcho’s friend, Jean Baptiste Marie de Ia Hogue.  He was also one of the founders of the Supreme Council. In “The Free-Masons Vocal Assistant and Register” of 1807, it lists Brother Dalcho, as a Past Master of Lodge No. 8, which was Union Lodge, meeting in Charleston “at B. Robinson s Hotel, on the Bay.”  In the year 1822, the By-Laws of Union Kilwmnning Lodge No. 4 in Charleston record “Rev. Dr. F. Dalcho, As’t. Minister, St. Michael’s Ch.” as having joined with that Lodge in 1817.  He is later to be found in the Grand Lodge Proceedings of 1823, listed as a Past Master of the same Lodge.

He delivered three orations at St. Michael’s Church to the Craft in 1799, 1801 and 1803.  The last of these, when published, included a history of Freemasonry in South Carolina, the first for almost half a century.  In 1808, these works were reprinted with the permission of the author in Dublin, Ireland under the name “Orations of Rev. Dalcho.” This publication is extremely rare with only two copies known to exist.  One is located in the Library of Lodge Quatuor Coronati and the other at Worcester.

Very active in Grand Lodge affairs, Brother Dalcho was Corresponding Grand Secretary in 1808 of the newly formed Grand Lodge of South Carolina.  Later, in 1817, he became the Grand Chaplain of the fledgling Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina, which he held until resigning the station in 1823.

At its Quarterly Conuttunication on Saturday, March 28, 1807, the Grand Lodge of South Carolina, Ancient York Masons, appointed a committee to examine the “Ahiman Rezon” as compiled by Brother Frederick Dalcho.  The Committee, finding it to be sufficient, recommended that it be published.  This work was a first for South Carolina Freemasonry.  Its title page bore the Latin words Indocti Discant, Ament Meminisse Periti meaning, let the unlearned learn, let the experts love to remember.  It contained such items as a code to govern the Lodges under the Ancient York Mason s jurisdiction, a list of Lodges and their meeting times, a list of the Grand Lodge officers since its inception, prayers, charges, assorted ceremonies, duties of officers, general regulations of the Craft in South Carolina and much more.  Seeing the need of such a work, a second edition was ordered published in 1822 by the new Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina.  It was greatly expanded upon from the first edition, including a history of Freemasonry and the establishment of the Grand Lodge in South Carolina.

It was Brother Dalcho’s thinking that Freemasonry should not be “divided against itself.”  He worked diligently for many years to see that a union between the “Ancients” and the “Moderns”, two rival Grand Lodges in the state, would be consummated.  The first union in 1808 went afoul the following year, but this did not discourage him from working to dispel the discord existing in Freemasonry.  The union was tried once again in 1817 with success as Dalcho led the way.  Brother Dalcho s account of the differences between the “Ancients” and “Moderns” was supported by Brother Robert F. Gould as he stated, “Dalcho lived .at the time and knew whereof he affirmed, and his statements are in substantial accord with evidence from other sources.”  With the installation of Grand Lodge officers complete, a procession was formed and paraded to St. Michael’s church where Rev. Brother Dalcho, Grand Chaplain, delivered the Devine Service.  His sermon was based on the text John 12:36, “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.”

Rev. Brother Dalcho truly was a man of peace.

Brother Dalcho was extremely active in the Ancient and Accepted Rite, receiving his degrees in 1801.  On the 24th day of May, 1801, he was made Sovereign Grand Inspector General by Brother John Mitchell and on May 31, he, along with Mitchell, established at Charleston, The Supreme Council of Sovereign Grand Inspectors-General of the Thirty-Third and Last Degree for the United States of America.  Brothers Mitchell and Dalcho then continued to elevate others until the constitutional number of nine was met. Dalcho was “appointed Grand Secretary” of this newly formed body.  In the “Register” of 1802, which is now deposited in the archives of the Supreme Council in Washington, D.C., he is listed as Sublime Grand Master of the Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection of South Carolina; Senior Most Enlightened of the Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem in South Carolina; Most Excellent Perfect Senior Warden of the Sovereign Chapter of Rose Croix de Hereden, in South Carolina; Thrice Illustrious Lieutenant Grand Commander of the Knights of K. H. and members of the Grand Consistory of Princes of the Royal Secret in South Carolina; and Lieutenant Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Grand Inspectors, General of the Thirty Third Degree in South Carolina.  Dalcho succeeded as the second Grand Commander upon the death of Colonel Mitchell on January 25, 1816.  He served in this capacity until his resignation on November 7, 1823.  In a warrant issued by the Grand Council of Princes of Jerusalem dated February 27, 1803, Dalcho is listed as the Senior Warden of American Eagle Mark Lodge No. 1.

In the year 1823, Freemasonry in South Carolina suffered a devasting blow. Not only did Brother Dalcho resign as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge, but he also resigned as Grand Commander of the Supreme Council.  The back-to-back resignations stemmed from a controversy which erupted concerning the Supreme Council and a clandestine Consistory known as, The Sovereign Grand Consistory and Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third and Last Degree of the Ancient Scottish Rite of Heredom, established in Charleston by Joseph Cerneau of New York City. Brother Dalcho, performing once again as the peacemaker, literally became a victim as he tried to reconcile the differences.  This objective was accomplished but not without injury.  The disaqreement being so bitter, Brother Mackey says of Brother Dalcho:

His feelings were so wounded by the unmasonic spirit which seemed to actuate his antagonists and former friends, that he 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.

The Freemasons of South Carolina would now be without one of their wisest and noblest of brothers.  The brother who worked so hard for peace had now withdrawn entirely from the Masonic world.  His last known communication to the Freemasons in South Carolina is dated October 31, 1823, and reads in part:

Intrusted with the “ministry of reconciliation,” by Divine authority, I interposed between our Brethren, who, unhappily, were at variance, and as a mutual friend, endeavored to heal the wounds which misrepresentation and misunderstanding had made.  And it gives me real pleasure to state to the Grand Lodge, that from the candid and very honourable [sic] and brotherly manner in which my mediation was received and accepted by both parties, I feel the delightful assurance that the genuine principles of our ancient and honourable [sic] Order had neither lost their influence over the human heart, nor fled to other climes. I found in all with whom I had occasion to converse on the subject, a sincere disposition to restore harmony to the Grand Lodge, and to pour the balm of Masonic affection into the troubled bosom.  I cannot express to you, my dear Brethren, the delight it afforded me to be, under God, the happy instrument of producing this reconciliation. I know, however, that you will see, with me, the important effects it must necessarily produce on the respectability of our Order, and, with me, will rejoice in the success of my mediation.

At the December Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge in 1823, the following resolutions were offered and adopted:

The Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina, having received with regret the resignation of their Chaplain, feel themselves called upon to express their sentiments on this occasion.  Dr. Dalcho has been a distinguished member of this body for upwards of four and twenty years.  His profound knowledge of the Masonic Constitutions is universally known; and his learned exposition of the principles, rites and ceremonies of our Order, in two editions of the “Ahiman Rezon”, published under the sanction of this Grand Lodge, has received the highest approbation in this and several other states.  During his long services he has uniformly manifested his love for the Craft, and his reverence for the genuine principles of our ancient and honorable institution.  With these remembrances of his great worth, and in accordance with the affectionate feelings of the Grand Lodge, it is

Resolved, that the Grand Lodge deeply regret the late resignation of the Most Reverend Brother Dalcho; and that as a testimonial of its respect for his character, and its grateful acknowledgment of his services, a Committee be appointed to cause an engraved likeness of him to be made, of such size that it may conveniently be placed in the second edition of the “Ahiman Rezon”; and that every Lodge and every Brother having a copy of that work, be entitled to a copy of the engraving to place therein.

Resolved, that a sum not exceeding one hundred dollars, be appropriated for defraying the expense incurred by the foregoing resolution; and the Grand Master is hereby authorized to give an order on the Grand Treasurer, accordingly.

These resolutions were acted upon and an engraving was executed by A. B. Durand. A portrait was also painted of Brother Dalcho by the renowned artist Charles Fraser who is today remembered for his miniatures.  His portraits were of almost all of the prominent families in Charleston during the first half of the nineteenth century.  It is sad to announce that today neither the engraving nor the portrait can be located. Once the above resolutions were adopted, Dalcho was then bestowed an honorary membership in Grand Lodge.

With the second edition of his “Ahiman Rezon” ready for the press and the absence of other Masonic responsibilities, Dalcho now turned his entire energies towards his parish at St. Michael s. It was in 1834 when Bev. Dalcho s advanced age began to take its toll on him. A committee sent by the Vestry in 1835 to say:

It is a painful circumstance, but must be admitted by all, that the present Assistant Minister is no longer able to perform the duties of his Station, in Consequence of the Infirmities of advancing years, in consideration of which, and as an expression of the Congregation, for the fidelity with which he has served them for so long a period, The Committee would recommend that the Rev. Frederick Dalcho be relieved from the duties of Assistant Minister of St. Michael’s church, and that a provision be made for him, by appropriating the sum of $800 per annum, payable to him quarterly so long as he remains in this State, or may be unemployed by other Churches, performing such services for the Congregation of St. Michael s as may be designated by the Rector.

Dalcho replied to the committee s report in this manner:

A Committee of your Body did me the Honor to deliver me an Extract from a Report in relation to the Assistant Minister of St. Michael s Church:  The purpose of their visit being stated in the most delicate manner, I gave my willing consent to the arrangement which was proposed to be made in its ministry, for reasons which appeared to me under the existing circumstances to be expedient.

On November 24 in the year 1836, Brother Dalcho died at his home on Meeting Street.  His life of great industry was now over.  His remains were laid to rest in St. Michael s Church cemetery on the south side, with the Vestry defraying his expenses of interment and a mahogany coffin.  The Church, showing their due respect for their late Assistant Minister was draped in black merino.  “Grand Lodge was ordered to be clothed in mourning for the space of six weeks” at its Quarterly Communication on the 16th of December. A friend described him saying:

Dr. Dalcho was about 5 1/2 feet in height, muscular and well proportioned.  Having been accidentally wounded in the 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.

A memorial tablet was erected to him in his honor by the Vestry, but because of the Anti-Masonic feelings caused by the William Morgan affair, it was placed outside.  This tablet, many years later, was relocated on the west wall of the sanctuary in the church that he dearly loved and served for so long.  The inscription on the tablet was written by none other than Bishop Nathaniel Bowen.  The latter portion reads:

Fidelity, industry, and Prudence, were the characteristics of his ministry. He loved the Church, delighted, to the last, in its service, and found in death, the solace & support of the Faith, which with exemplary constancy he had preached. Steadfast & uniform in his own peculiar convictions & action, as a member & minister of the P. E. Church, he lived & died “in perfect Charity with all men.”

But fortunately, for Freemasonry, Brother Dalcho s story does not end with his departure from this world.  He has been remembered in several ways.  Of special interest, he was not forgotten by the brethren of Virginia.  A charter signed by Grand Commander Albert Pike in 1890 was issued to Dalcho Consistory No. 1 in Richmond.  His memory has also been kept alive by the Craft of South Carolina. At the Annual Communication in November, 1870, the Grand Lodge issued a charter for a Lodge to the brethren “near Oak Grove” in, what was then, Marion County.  This Lodge was to be known as Dalcho Lodge No. 160 and is now located at Latta in Dillon County.  On January 9 of 1911 a charter was issued by the Supreme Council in Washington, D.C. for Dalcho Consistory located in the Valley of Charleston.  Then in April, 1977, Brother James D. Penley, Jr., Acting Grand Master, recommended to the brethren at the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge “that a medal be struck of bronze or a like material, without great intrinsic value, to be known as the Dalcho Medal.” Two years later, the Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina paid a lasting tribute to Rev. Brother Frederick Dalcho, M.D., by instituting a new award in his honor.  The award is in the form of a certificate of merit and button. It is the second highest award that can be presented by the Grand Master to a deserving Master Mason for outstanding Masonic service.

Frederick Dalcho did much to help mold and shape Freemasonry in South Carolina. Among other things, he was Freemasonry’s first historian in South Carolina; the compiler and author of our first “Ahiman Rezon”; one of the founders of the Mother Supreme Council of the World, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A.; the first Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Ancient Freemasons of South Carolina; the mediator who patiently worked to merge and blend the “Modern” and “Ancient” Masons together as one.

Dalcho is virtually unmatched in his genuine and loving concern for the virtues, tenants and principles upon which our fraternity is built. He gave endlessly and tirelessly of himself, so others could benefit the many gifts life had to offer.  A man of peace, he sought nothing for himself and only the best for those around him.

There have been others who have contributed greatly to Freemasonry’s cause, but when we look at all Brother Dalcho accomplished there is no wonder he was so well thought of by his contemporaries.  He was a firm believer that “. . .time, patience and perseverance will accomplish all things.”


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  • Smith, Alice R. Huger and D. E. Huger Smith, Charles Fraser, Gamier & Company, Charleston, S.C., 2nd Edition, 1967.
  • Vibert, Lionel, The Rare Books of Freemasonry, “The Bookman’s Journal”

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