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Albert Gallatin Mackey, Secretary General of the Supreme Council, 1844 to 1881

33°, A. A. S. R., Southern Jurisdiction, U. S. A.

This Brother was born in Charleston, South Carolina, March 12, 1807. When seventeen years of age he was appointed a teacher in the public schools of St Johns, a place near Charleston, and while teaching he studied medicine, was admitted to the South Carolina Medical College, and was graduated in 1832, his Latin thesis obtaining the first prize. Some years afterwards he became Demonstrator of Anatomy in the college from which he had been graduated. He gave up the practice of medicine in 1842 and afterwards devoted himself to literature and Masonry, becoming a frequent contributor to the newspapers, magazines, and journals of the day.

He was made a Mason in 1841 and was elected Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina in 1843 and Grand Lecturer in 1845, holding these offices until 1866. He was elected Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter in 1854, and re-elected every year continuously until 1867. The office of General Grand High Priest of the General Grand Chapter of the United States was filled by him in 1859. The thirty-third degree was conferred on him in 1844 and he was then elected Secretary General, holding the place until his death. Dr. Mackey's first book on Masonry was the "Lexicon," which was published in 1845. Then appeared in succession "The Mystic Tie," "Ahiman Rezon," "Principles of Masonic Law." "Book of the Chapter," "Text Book on Masonic Jurisprudence," "History of Masonry in South Carolina,' "Manual of the Lodge," "Cryptic Masonry," "Symbolism of Freemasonry," "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry," and "Manual of Parliamentary Law." These works made the name of the author famous and they are still in use throughout the United States by many of the various bodies of the Fraternity.

In July, 1865, he was appointed Collector of Customs at Charleston, and in 1868 was elected President of the Constitutional Convention of South Carolina. He gave up political life in 1870, came to Washington, D. C, and devoted his attention to the duties of the office of Secretary General of the Supreme Council. General Pike thus describes Dr. Mackey, "Tall, erect, of spare but vigorous frame, his somewhat harsh but striking features were replete with intelligence and amiability; idolized by his wife and children he loved them devotedly; plotted no harm against any one, and sought no revenge even when he did not forgive, not being of a forgiving race, for he was a McGregor having kinship with Rob Roy."

His ripe scholarship, his profound knowledge of Masonic law and usage, his broad views of Masonic philosophy, his ceaseless and invaluable literary labors in the service of the Order, his noble ideal of its character and mission as well as his genial personal qualities and lofty character united to make him universally known and as widely respected and beloved by the Masonic world

While a resident of Washington, Brother Mackey took an active interest in York Rite Masonry; was a member and regular attendant of the Grand Lodge and a frequent visitor to the subordinate lodges and chapters of this jurisdiction; served for some years as Chairman of the Committee on Jurisprudence of the Grand Lodge, and was always an adviser to assist the deliberation of that body with his knowledge and counsel.

Dr. Mackey died at Fortress Monroe June 20, 1881, and was interred June 26 in Glenwood Cemetery, this city, the Grand Lodge performing the solemn ceremonies of the Order, after religious and Scottish Rite services had been held at All Souls' Church. The Supreme Council in recognition of his great services to it and to Masonry erected a tablet to his memory in the Cemetery.

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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