Joseph Montfort. Image from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina.

Freemasonry Grand Master, Joseph Montfort

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

Montfort was born in England in 1724. Little is known about his 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 scattered in large tracts across the state. Active in the Freemasonry movement before the official formation of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina established in 1787, Montfort 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.

Montfort's grave in Halifax, North Carolina

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

Images from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and N.C. Museum of History.

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