A Focus on Masonic Research, News, and other Tidbits

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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Did Gist Raise the Baron de Kalb?

A fellow lover of history has caused me to do some research after he posted a comment to the article “Mordecai Gist – The Rock at Camden.” Wayfaring Man - of Audi, Vide, Tace - said,

"According to Ronald E. Heaton (Masonic Membership of the Founding Fathers, Silver Spring Md: Masonic Service Assoc., 1974 pp. 84-5), Baron Johann DeKalb is also thought to be a Mason and is usually believed to be a member of Pennsylvania Lodge No. 29 attached to the Maryland Line. Your research begs the question as to whether Gist raised De Kalb. I would love to know more!"

Wayfaring Man – I want to know more as well and my preliminary internet research has dug up some interesting points but no real answers. The interesting points are all in the dates and the locations.

First, General Mordecai Gist requested and received authority on 4 April 1780, from the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, to hold Lodges in the Maryland Line of the Continental Army. Later, on 27 April 1780, he received a charter for an Army Lodge. Sources vary concerning the number of that Lodge. I have read the numbers 27, 29, and 79. At this time, I don’t know which number is correct and it is possible that there was more than one Army Lodge in the Maryland Line.

The date of 4 April 1780 has some further significance because that is the date that General Washington dispatched DeKalb from New Jersey to Philadelphia to take command of the Maryland and Delaware regiments and to head south with them. On 5 April 1780, many of these regiments were reorganized into brigades. One of those brigades, the 2nd Maryland, was commanded by Gist.

DeKalb’s Masonic record is very fuzzy, but it is generally accepted that he received the degrees in a Pennsylvania Army Lodge that was chartered in April 1780. Sources vary on the number of that lodge – I have read 29 and 79. The important point is that he received the degrees in an Army Lodge chartered in April 1780, which means that he could not have been a Mason prior to then and it puts him in the right place and at the right time for Gist to have been involved with his Masonic degrees. Gist and DeKalb would have been in close proximity to each other from April 1780 until DeKalb’s death on 19 August 1780 following the Battle at Camden, South Carolina.

Additional research is needed.

1 comment:

Wayfaring Man said...

This is another of those topics which could gain a man his Ph.D.