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Mitchell, John

In what Charles Sumner Lobingier described as "the first direct step toward the formation of the Mother Supreme Council" of the Scottish Rite, John Mitchell received a patent from Barend Moses Spitzer vw hich raised him to 'sthe degree of K. H. and further to the highest degree in Masonry," and granted him authority to establish a Lodge of Perfection and the several Councils and Chapters where there are no such Lodges or Councils.' This was dated April 2, 1795, seven years before the new (to be) Supreme Council's Manifesto.

Little is known about Mitchell's early life except that he was born in Ireland about 1741, came to Pennsylvania, and must have early shown himself possessed of great native ability as well as patriotism because in 1776 he was appointed Muster-Master of the Pennsylvania Navy; the following year was appointed its Acting Commissary (one of the most thankless and difficult positions in the Colonial forces); and then was appointed Deputy Quartermaster- General of the Continental Army, and continued to be such until 1780. In 1791 he moved to Charleston, S. C.,where, seven years later, he became active in the Society of the Cincinnati, and continued active in it until 1816. He became Worshipful Master of Lodge No. 8, in Charleston; was Junior Grand Warden of the (Ancient) Grand Lodge of South Carolina; and in 1799 and in M 1800 was its Deputy Grand Master. On June 24, 175)9, he, with two others, issued a circular to the Lodges urging them to support the proposal for a General (or National) Grand Lodge.

NOTE: Little or nothing is known about Spitzer, except that he possessed authority from a French Council. His name is Jewish but very little reliance ean be placed on names of that period especially in the West Indies, because many Gentiles had Jewish names--descendants of some Gentile of Franee or Spain adopted into a Jewish family--and many Jews had Gentile names. French, Italian, and German Fascist .anti-Masons between the two World Wars published everywhere and many times statements that the Scottish Rite was made" by Jews. It would make no difference if it had been, but as a matter of record the Rite was remade" by Frenchmen and only a few Jews were active in it during the formative period of the Mother Supreme Couneil. Frederick Dalcho said that he believed Spitzer to have been a Prussian but wasn't sure Mitehell himself was one of the outstanding men of the Colonies; and the more that is learned about them the more of the founders of the American Rites are found to have been men of his calibre. It once was the fashion to believe that the Craft had begun obscurely, in out-ofthe-way corners, in tents or log cabins, and by "uncouth pioneers" it is knownthatonthecontraryitsfounderawere the founders of Colonies, and of high office in their administrations or in trade or in the armies, and that Lodges were far more conspicuous in their activities then than now).

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