Get Today in Masonic History into your Inbox. Sign up today for one of our email lists!

TODAY in Masonic History:

Facebook Twitter Google

Theodorick Bland, Jr. Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Theodorick Bland, Jr. passes away in 1790.

Theodorick Bland, Jr. was an American politician.

Bland was born on March 21st, 1741 Prince George County, colonial Virginia. Through his father he was the second cousin, once removed of Thomas Jefferson. At the age of 12, Bland was sent to England to study in Yorkshire. Later he would go Scotland and graduate with a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1763. Later that year Bland returned to Virgina and began practicing medicine.

In the late 1760's Bland inherited his grandparents plantation. He retired from medicine, in part because of health issues, and became a planter. He also began serving as the Clerk of Prince George County.

Bland was a Whig and aligned himself with the rebels as the American Revolution approached. In June of 1776 he became a member of Virginia calvary. Before long he was a colonel and in command of the 1st Continental Light Dragoon. In 1777 at the Battle of Brandywine, Bland made observations regarding the movements of Lord Cornwallis and Howe's troops. His observations were reported directly to General George Washington. Washington leaned a valuable lesson from the intelligence that Bland provided. So much so that it is believed that Washington sent Bland and his unit on other scouting missions. Some historians have written this off as something of a demotion, others see it as a more tactical use of Bland's skills.

In 1779, Bland retired from military service. Before he completely left, General George Washington asked Bland to become the Warden for captured British soldiers. Bland agreed and for several months acted in that capacity before returning to civilian life and the position of Clerk of Prince George County. Bland also utilized his large stable, he was one of the early leaders in American horse racing, to help supply Washington and his troops with horses. Bland also had access to the stables of friends and family.

In 1780, the Virginia House of Delegates named Bland as a delegate to the Continental Congress. He would serve there until 1783 helping to form the early American Government. It was around this time that his father passed away leaving Bland another plantation.

In 1786, Bland was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates where he served two years. In 1788 he was appointed a delegate to the Virgina Convention to ratify the new United States Constitution. Bland was opposed to the Constitution since he believed that it gave too much power to the central (federal) government.

After the Constitution was adopted, Bland was elected to the First United States Congress, serving in the House of Representatives. He served in the House of Representatives until he passed away on June 1st, 1790. He was the first member of the United States House of Representatives to pass away while in office.

Bland was a member of Williamsburg Lodge No. 6 in Williamsburg, Virgina.