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District of Columbia

The District of Columbia lies partly in the State of Maryland and partly in the State of Virginia. It was set apart by Act of Congress on July 16, 1790, for the capital of the United States. Some months previously, on April 21, 1769, Potomac Lodge, No. 9, had been organized in Georgetown by the Grand Lodge of Maryland but later it ceased work. Potomac Lodge, No. 43, warranted on November 11, 1806, was the first Lodge in the State to endure. A Convention was held on December 11, 1810, by five Lodges, namely Federal, No. 15; Brooke, No. 47; Columbia, No. 35; Washington Naval, No. 41, and Potomac, No.43. The organization of a Grand Lodge was fully completed on February 19, 1811.

The first Chapter or Encampment, as it was called in the District of Columbia, worked under the Charter of Federal Lodge, No. 15, F. A. A. M., of the Jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Maryland. A meeting took place on Monday, December 14, 1795, to make arrangements for the new Chapter. Two other meetings were held, one on December 16, 1795, and one on June 17, 1797, before the Chapter was finally constituted. In February, 1799, it was decided that the Royal Arch Encampment should be broken up. A Dispensation dated August 30, 1822, was issued by the General Grand High Priest to the Chapters in the District of Columbia to organize a Grand Chapter. Representatives of Federal Chapter, No. 3; Union, No. 4; Brooke, No. 6, and Potomac, No. 8, were present at a Convention held on Tuesday, February 10, 1824. Potomac Chapter, however, decided to continue under her old Charter. After January 8, 1833, the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia no longer existed and the Chapters were placed under the Jurisdiction of the Grand Chapter of Maryland. In the year 1867 steps were taken to reorganize a Grand Chapter by Columbia, No. 15; Washington, No. 16; Mount Vernon, No. 20, and Potomac, No. 8, and it was duly constituted in Washington at the Opera House on May 23 1867. After encountering much trouble and opposition, the Grand Chapter of the District was admitted to the General Grand chapter in 1868 and a short time after was joined by 'Potomac Chapter, No. 8. The Select Degrees were at first conferred in Chapters. When the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia was organized in 1867 it resolved to drop the Select Degrees from Chapter work, and Companion Benjamin B. French issued Dispensations to form three Councils for the District. These, however, ceased work after a short time.

Washington Council No. 1, chartered August 14, 1883; Adoniram Council No. 2, chartered November 9, 1909, and Columbia No. 3, chartered September 30, 1918, through their representatives at a Convention held at Washington on April 5, 1919, General Grand Master George A. Newell, presiding, formed the Grand Council, Royal and Select Masters of the District of Columbia, Companion George E. Corson being the first Grand Master and John A. Colborn, Grand Recorder.

The first Commandery organized was Washington, No. 1, in the City of Washington, December 1, 1824, chartered January 14, 1825. Representatives of Washington, No. 1; Columbia, No. 2; Potomac, No. 3; De Molay Mounted, No. 4, and Orient, No. 5, met in Convention, January 14, 1896, and constituted the Grand Commandery by authority of a Warrant dated December , 1895. The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was first introduced to Washington when Mithras Lodge of Perfection, No. 1; Evangelist Chapter of Rose Croix, No. 1; Robert de Bruce Council of kadosh, No. 1, and Albert Pike Consistory, No. 1, were chartered on December 30, 1870; December 7, 1871; January 29, 1874, and January 12, 1876, respectively.

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