Joseph Montfort Appointed Freemasons Grand Master

A 1954 image of Montfort's grave in Halifax now in the collection of the N.C. Museum of History

A 1954 image of Montfort’s grave in Halifax now in the collection of the N.C. Museum of History

On January 14, 1771, Joseph Montfort was appointed Grand Master of the Freemasons of America by the Duke of Beaufort, Grand Master of England.

Montford was born in England in 1724 and little is known about Montfort’s early life. After settling in Halifax sometime in the middle of the 18th century, he quickly became active in civic affairs, representing Halifax in the colonial assembly from 1766 to 1774 and eventually serving as a treasurer of the colony.

One of the wealthiest North Carolinians of the time, Montfort owned more than 30,000 acres of land scattered in large tracts of land across the state. Active in the freemasonry movement before the official formation of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina established in 1787, Montford established early masonic lodges across the state.

Montfort died in 1776 and is buried near the Masonic Lodge in Halifax, one of the state’s first.

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