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Daniel Burgh, Grand Master, 1823

This Brother was one of the pioneer Masons in the history of the Grand Lodge, and, while he served the Fraternity with fidelity and distinction for nearly a quarter of century, dropped away in the latter years of his life from active participation in the affairs of the Order, and we must assume, in the light of the reputation he won during his years of service as a man of intellect, of worth, and of executive ability, that his passing into an obscurity which the intervening years have rendered impenetrable was due to failing health or other circumstances beyond his control.

For a number of years he was Doorkeeper of the House of Representatives and later the Chief Clerk in the office of the Clerk of the House, and while so serving built and occupied the large house at the corner of New Jersey Avenue and I Street, N. W. During the year 1817, and for several years thereafter he was President of the Board of Common Councilmen. That he was also a citizen militant is shown by the fact that he commanded the artillery at the battle of Bladensburg.

His entire Masonic life was spent as a member of Federal Lodge, No. 1. He was initiated July 1, 1811; passed February 3, 1812, and raised December 7, 1812; served as Secretary for the year 1813; Junior Warden, 1815; Senior Warden, 1816-17, and Worshipful Master, 1818-20.

In the Grand Lodge line he served as Grand Secretary from 1815 to 1821, inclusive, as Deputy Grand Master, 1822 to 1824, and as Grand Master in 1825.

W. Bro. Burch was among the early leaders of thought along progressive lines, and during his incumbency of the Grand East aroused interest in a movement to erect a suitable Masonic edifice in this city, and to further the project of a suitable monument to Gen. Washington. In addition to these general movements he advocated and was instrumental in inaugurating one of the earliest movements looking to a revision of the ritual. Apparently a convincing speaker his recommendations appear to have always won respectful recognition and usually resulted in action.

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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