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District Grand Master (Chile), 1915-1919



From New England Craftsman, Vol. IV, No. 9, June 1909, Page 341:

No doubt the brethren of Massachusetts will be glad to be made acquainted with an officer of the Grand Lodge whose service is performed at a long distance from Boston; and whose face has never been seen by the members of the Grand Lodge at any communication in Masonic Temple.

The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has no less than six lodges located in foreign countries, three of them are in South America in what is called the Chile District. These lodges are assigned to the care of Right Worshipful David Urquhart of Valparaiso. By courtesy of Wor. Brother Waller Scott Shrigley, who resided many years in Chile, we have the privilege of showing the likeness of Rt. Wor. Brother Urquhart.

The lodges under the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in Chile have existed since 1853 when Bethesda Lodge of Valparaiso was constituted. Huelen of Santiago dates from 1876 and St. John's of Concepción from 1884. There was another, Aconcagua, Valparaiso in 1869 which surrendered its charter in 1900. These lodges were established for the convenience of English speaking residents, many of whom may be found in South American cities.

In 1871 a communication was received from the Grand Lodge of Chile protesting against the establishment of Aconcagua Lodge of Valparaiso, which had been working by authority of a Dispensation since October 1869. The Grand Lodge of Chile was organized about nine years after Bethesda Lodge was constituted, by authority of the Scottish Rite. This body was granted a qualified recognition by the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and mutual interchange of fraternal courtesies authorized with the new Grand Lodge as the head of a co-ordinate, independent Masonic power of the Scottish Rite. It did not however intend to surrender any of its rights in the jurisdiction to the new body. This action of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was directed by the advice of Right Worshipful George H. Kendall who was then District Deputy Grand Master for the Chile District.

This incident discloses the importance of the Grand Lodge representatives in a distant field of duty. The Grand Lodge may safely confide in the judgment of its present Chile deputy to furnish sound advice in any emergency that may in the future arise in the district under his charge.

From New England Craftsman, Vol. VI, No. 2, November 1910, Page 57:

David Urquhart
District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, Chili District

This distinguished Scotch resident and meritorious public employee was born in Edinburgh in the year 1846. In 1860 he entered the service of the North British Railway Company at Burntisland, County of Fife, where he remained in the Locomotive Department until the year 1861 when he was transferred to the Workshops of the same Company in Cowlans, Glasgow, where he remained until the year 1873. Having served in the 6th Fifeshire Volunteers Artillery attaining the grade of Sergeant, on his removal to Glasgow he assisted in the raising of the Highland Regiment in that city.

Having contracted with the Chilian Government to serve in the State Railway, he left Scotland on the 1st of April, 1873, and arrived at Valparaiso on the 21st of May of same year. His services were so efficient that his contract was renewed three times in succession and he remained in the service of the State Railway until 1883.

On war being declared in 1879, he was called upon to render most important services both to the forts in Valparaiso and also to the artillery of the Navy and served under the orders of Generals Escala, Maturana and Gana, Admiral Goni and Captains Viel, Lynch, etc. All these commanders spoke very highly of the valuable services rendered to the country by Mr. Urquhart in this difficult period.

During the years 1881 and 1882 he was sent on commission by the Government to inspect the Railway in the Northern Provinces and also to examine and give a detailed report on the state of the Mole in the port of Iquique. After finishing his commission satisfactorily he returned to Valparaiso and was then named Sub-Director of the Fiscal Mole and in the following year he was appointed Director.

Since the year 1884 he has held this important post which he has filled with great competence, his untiring constancy has many times called lor repeated praise from not only the most important ship owners, but also from numerous Commercial Houses of this port, but it has in no way prevented him from filling many other Government commissions with equal satisfaction. In the year 1888 he was called upon in union with Vice-Admiral Viel, Captain Simpson and Colonels Diego, Duble, Almerda and Jose A. Vidaurre, to report on the utility and value of the artillery in the arsenal for coast defence.

In the year 1885 at the Mining and Metallurgic Exhibition the services of Mr. Urquhart as Director of the Fiscal Mole were most valuable and the Committee of the Exhibition awarded him a medal in commemoration of the event together with a note of thanks for his services. In 1898 the Government entrusted to his charge the 42-ton Krupp guns which were in his charge for upwards of four years, and which he delivered satisfactorily to the Engineer Director of Fortifications.

Both the Government, the Military Authorities and the Director of Fortifications sent him a most attentive note thanking him for his important as well as patriotic services, and now with close on 37 years of good Service, Mr. Urquhart can look forward to years of rest in Chile with the satisfactioh of knowing that he has fulfilled his duty. Having become accustomed to the manners of the country, he is an enthusiastic member of the societies of Beneficence, Temperance and Public Instruction.

In view of the many years service in the cause of humanity he has also been presented with a valuable and artistic gold medal as well as many other meritorious illuminated addresses and badges. At the present time he holds the position of President of the "Blas Cuevas Instruction Society," in which position he was able to render important services. Immediately after the great earthquake of Aug. 16, 1906, gathering together 37 families and gave them shelter in the school rooms and under hastily constructed tents in the playground, with the assistance of the Masonic Societies and the town authorities, he was able with the school Professors to organize and open a soup kitchen where twice a day for one month, he supplied hot rations to upwards of 200 people, later on when the Grand Lodg of Massachusetts sent their assistance he was enabled to supply many of the poor with sewing machines, kitchen utensils and clothing which called forth the thanks of those who received the benefit of the Masonic charity as distributed by the District Deputy Grand Master in Chile of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.

On his arrival from Europe, 1908. where he was on holiday, also fulfilling a commission commanded him by the Government, he was met on board by the Directors of Blas Cuevas school who placed the following note in his hands:

Mr. David Urquhart, Pt.
<br. Dear President:

The Directory of the Blas Cuevas school being desirous of manifesting to you the great estimation with which they recognize the work realized by you in favor of popular Instruction, also interpreting the thanks of both the Scholars and their families have agreed to offer you a large portrait of yourself as a respectful homage and as a remembrance of their friendship and esteem.

The Directory highly appreciating the work realized by you, as well as the special and uninterrupted services with which you have contributed to the development of our Institution have no doubt that you will accept our present. modest as to its material value but of inestimable worth, it being the portrait of yourself, which will serve as a reminder in your own home, together with those you love, of your companions in the work.

With feelings of the most high consideration and congratulating you on your safe return we have the honor to be

Your obedient servants,
P. Robert de la Makotiere, Secy.
Belisario Casuvar, Vice-Pres.


Was initiated in St. Andrew's Lodge, Glasgow, 1872, on arriving in Chile, joined Bethesda Lodge where after serving every post in the lodge except secretary, was called to the chair in 1883-1884. In 1888 was elected Treasurer which post he left in 1904, when named D. D. G. M., on visiting Europe in 1898, had the opportunity of representing the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts at Quarterly Communication of Grand Lodge of Scotland and several of her subordinate lodges, more especially at St. Andrew's his mother Lodge where his portrait was hung in Lodge room. On his return to Chile the W. M. sent a gold medal with suitable inscription as a memento of visit to Lodge St. Andrew (465), after an absence of 36 years. Never took higher degree than Mark which was received in Blue Lodge in Glasgow.



From Proceedings, Page 1919-228:

R.W. DAVID URQUHART of Valparaiso, Chile, District Grand Master for the Masonic District of Chile under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, A.F and A.M., died at Valparaiso, Chile, August 25, 1919. It is with much sorrow that I make this announcement. R.W. Brother David Urquhart was not only a giant in physical stature, but no less great in the stature of his life which was one constant expression of Masonic principles. His public work as Director of the Fiscal Mole in Valparaiso was exacting and important, but he found time to answer every call of distress, public or private. He is pointed to as a "splendid type of a true Christian gentleman. " Not Chile alone, but Europe and America recognized and paid tribute to his personal worth.

Bro. Urquhart's Commission

R.W. Brother Urquhart was appointed District Deputy Grand Master for the Masonic District in Chile in 1904 and was appointed District Grand Master for the Chilean Masonic District in 1915. As our representative in Chile he has been faithful in every duty; ever zealous in maintaining the dignity and high reputation of the Fraternity.


From Proceedings, Page 1919-445:

R. W. DAVID URQUHART was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, December 24, 1846. He received his early education in that city, and at the age of fourteen years, was apprenticed for five years to the Locomotive and Marine Department of the Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee Railway Company. He proved to be a good and persevering apprentice and at the conclusion of his apprenticeship he was retained in the service of that company. After the reorganization of railways in Scotland, he was transferred to Cowlairs and placed in charge of the locomotive department.

During his apprenticeship he joined the 6th Fifeshire Volunteer Artillery and became Sergeant. On his removal to Glasgow he became prominent in recruiting the Highland Regiment of that city.

In 1873 he contracted with the Chilean Government to serve in the State Railway service of Chile, and April 1st of that year he sailed from Liverpool for Valparaiso, where he arrived May 21, 1873. He continued in this service until 1883. In 1879, when the war was declared against Peru and Bolivia, he rendered valuable service to the Valparaiso forts and naval artillery. Among those services during the war may be mentioned the building of the torpedo launch La Fresia and the placing of her machinery and armament, delivering the craft in perfect running condition to the naval authorities. During the war he served on several important commissions for the Government, which gratefully honored him. On February 14, 1884, as a token of the Government's appreciation of his ability and fidelity, he was appointed Director of the Fiscal Mole. That position, conferred for his invaluable services to the Republic of Chile, he retained until his decease.

For nearly twenty-five years Bro. Urquhart was President of the Board of Directors who governed a Masonic School in Valparaiso called Blas Cuevas in honor of an illustrious Brother of Chile. In 1908, on his return from a visit to Scotland, as the steamer made fast at the Mole, the Directors of the school with teachers and scholars stepped on board, and presented him with an oil portrait of himself, in behalf of the school, as & remembrance of their friendship and esteem.

It was a permanent custom of Bro. Urquhart to observe, Christmas Eve, his birthday anniversary. One annual observance was a repetition of the others. In the forenoon of that day, December 24, it was the custom of the younger pupils of the school, from seventy-five to one hundred in number, accompanied by their teachers, to visit Bro. Urquhart at his home, where they were entertained as his guests. The children engaged in music, songs, and games and were treated to cakes, toys, sweets, and other delicacies. Before leaving they gave vigorous cheers, over and over again, for their hospitable benefactor. The next morning a half hundred of children from an orphan asylum would call to wish him a "Merry Christmas." The orphans were treated on the same liberal scale as the school children. During the day the brigade of Boy Scouts from the Blas Cuevas School called, headed by their drum and fife corps. They serenaded in front of the residence and the Captain presented Bro. Urquhart a suitable gift, with beautiful flowers. Bro. Urquhart made an address to the brigade urging the Scouts to prove worthy of the uniform they wore and of the flag they proudly carried. The drum corps would strike up "God Save the King" in honor of Bro. Urquhart, for he was to them more than a King. The exercises closed when the brigade marched by the house giving a marching salute.

Many poor, deserving people called, as was their custom, and none went away empty handed. They were given liberal allowances of tea, sugar, and groceries, exemplifying his readiness to aid the distressed and feed the poor. This exhibits but one page of his generous work.

On the 16th day of August, 1906, the city of Valparaiso was nearly destroyed by an earthquake. The mountains toppled into the sea and tenor reigned supreme. It was estimated that three thousand persons were killed, a larger number injured, and one hundred thousand left homeless. Vigorous measures were immediately taken to care for the dead, restore the injured., and shelter the homeless. Bro. Urquhart was among the foremost in rendering assistance. He gave thirty-five families shelter in the school rooms and hastily constructed tents on the play-grounds, and by the Masonic assistance of Brethren in Chile, opened a soup house, where two hundred people were supplied with food twice a day. Later, when the gift from this Grand Lodge arrived in Valparaiso, he supplied many of the poor with sewing machines, kitchen utensils, and clothing, which called forth the hearty thanks of the recipients.

The chairman of this committee can bear personal testimony to the kindness of Bro. Urquhart. When M.W. Bro. Benton was in Chile Bro. Urquhart was his aid and interpreter and devoted his entire time to his entertainment and that of his family. A committee of the Boston Board of Trade, visiting Valparaiso, also acknowledged publicly its obligation to Bro. Urquhart.

Bro. Urquhart received the degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry in St. Andrew's Lodge, Glasgow, Scotland. The Master Mason's degree was conferred March 8, 1873. Twenty-three days later he sailed for Chile. He affiliated with Bethesda Lodge in Valparaiso, October 5, 1874. He was Senior Steward in 1876 and 1877, and, for thirty consecutive years thereafter was an officer of that Lodge. He was Master in 1883 and 1884; was installed as District Deputy Grand Master of the Chilean Masonic District in 1904 and District Grand Master of Chile from 1915 to 1918. As the official representative of Massachusetts Masonry in Chile, he was faithful in every duty, and. zealous in mainlaining the dignity and reputation of the Fraternity,

The Chilean News in a sketch of Bro. Urquhart said: "If our Christian faith should ever be assailed in our presence; or if we are ever told by the flippant insolence of a decadent skepticism that Christianity is a myth and the devotion to Christ crucifed. a disease, we can confound all such atheistic sophistries by pointing to that splendid type of a true Christian gentleman, David Urquhart, who, up to the verge of threescore years and ten of a truly Christian life has displayed a fulIness of vigorous and manly faith in the Nazarene."

Bro. Urquhart was an outspoken and earnest disciple of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah.

"At home, on the beautiful hills of God,
By the valley of rest so fair,
Some day, sometirne, when our task is done,
And silently sinks life's western sun,
With joy we' shall meet him there.' '

Respectfully submitted,
Everett C. Benton,
Albert R. Shrigley,
Oliver A. Roberts,

Distinguished Brothers