Gourgas, John James Joseph
A merchant of New York, who was born in France in 1777, and received a member of the Scottish Rite in 1806. His name is intimately connected with the rise and progress of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in the Northern Jurisdiction of the United States. Through his representations and his indefatigable exertions, the Mother Council at Charleston was induced to denounce the Consistory of Joseph Cerneau in the City of New York, and to establish there a Supreme Council for the Northern Jurisdiction, of which Brother Gourgas was elected the secretary-general. He continued to hold this office until 1S32, when he was elected Sovereign Grand Commander. In 1851, on the removal of the Grand East of the Supreme Council to Boston, he resigned his office in favor of Brother Giles Fonda Yates, but continued to take an active interest, so far as his age would permit, in the Rite until his death, which occurred at New York on February 19, 1865, at the ripe old age of eighty-eight, and being at the time probably the oldest possessor of the Thirtieth Degree in the world. Brother Gourgas was distinguished for the purity of his life and the powers of his intellect. His Masonic library was very valuable, and especially rich in manuscripts. His correspondence with Dr. Moses Holbrook, at one time Grand Commander of the Southern Council, is in the archives of that Body, and bears testimony to his large Masonic attainments.
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