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Daniel Kurtz, Grand Master, 1818-19

One of the sturdy pioneers of Masonry in all its branches in the District of Columbia it is a matter for serious regret that the lapse of time has forever dropped the curtain and excluded from our view much concerning this Brother's general life which might picture him to us in his character as a citizen and as a man.

His Masonic history, however, has been preserved with some degree of completeness and, judging from the fact that for nearly half a century he stood high in the councils of the Fraternity and was a revered, respected, and beloved member of the Order, it requires only the most ordinary imagination to complete the picture and endow him with all the attributes which make for good citizenship and upright manhood.

Brother Kurtz was born at Georgetown, then in Frederick Co., Maryland, October 5, 1784. When a youth he entered the Columbia Bank in that [then] town, afterwards becoming cashier and holding the position until the bank closed, when he was appointed trustee to settle its affairs. He was subsequently appointed chief clerk in the Indian Bureau under the United States Government when, losing his position, by a change of administration, he devoted himself to farming until his death, which occurred August 10, 1846. The farm which he owned and on which he spent the last years of his life was an extensive tract on the west side of the present Rock Creek Park and including a part thereof.

While the date of Brother Kurtz's entry into Masonry is unknown, he was connected with Federal Lodge for some time prior to 1806, his name being inserted in the register about January, 1806. Dimitting therefrom during the same year he became a charter member of Potomac Lodge, No, 43 (now No. 5).

As a delegate from this lodge he took a prominent part in the formation of the Grand Lodge of the District. He filled the position of Master of Potomac Lodge for the years 1811, 1813, 1815, 1823, and 1826; was S. Grand Warden in 1814, Deputy Grand Master, 1815, 1817, and Grand Master, 1818 and 1810.

In local Capitular Masonry his is one of the earliest figures of which we have record, his name appearing on a list of members of the R. A. Chapter, which was a revival of the Royal Arch Encampment attached to Federal Lodge, in the year 1808. He became a charter member of Potomac R. A. Chapter, No. 8, upon its formation in 1818, served as Secretary for the years 1818 and 1819, as High Priest in 1820, and as Treasurer in 1844. He also had the distinction of being the Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Maryland and the District of Columbia during the years 1820-22.

Brother Kurtz was also a charter member of Washington [Commandery] Encampment, No. 1, K. T., and in the Scottish Rite had attained to the 17th degree.

He passed away August 10, 1846.

AHGP District of Columbia

Source: History of the Grand Lodge and Freemasonry in the District of Columbia, compiled by W. Brother Kenton N. Harper, 1911.

 
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