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William Burnet is Born

Today in Masonic History William Burnet is born in 1730.

William Burnet was an American politician and physician.

Burnet was born on December 13th, 1730 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He graduated from the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University in 1749. After graduating he studied medicine with a doctor in White Plains, New York. He eventually returned to New Jersey where he opened a medical practice.

Burnet became a member of the Committee of Safety, which were essentially a shadow government in the American Colonies leading up to the American Revolution, in 1775. He later joined the Continental Army as a surgeon. He opened a hospital in Newark for wounded soldiers, which he ran through the American Revolution. In 1776 he was appointed Surgeon General of the Eastern Region, a post he held until the end of the Revolution War in 1783.

In 1780, Burnet was elected to the Continental Congress. He served there until 1781 when, out of family necessity, he resigned to care for his ailing wife. His first wife passed away later that same year. After her passing he served as judge in Essex County, New Jersey.

In 1787 Burnet led the New Jersey Medical Society.

Burnet had two wives, the first passed away, and six children. His youngest son David Gouverneur Burnet was a significant player in the fight for Texas Independence.

Burnet passed away on October 7th, 1791.

Burnet's primary lodge is unclear. In 1791 when the Grand Lodge of New Jersey chartered Nova Caesarea Lodge No. 10 in the Ohio territory, Burnet was named it's first master. It appears he never took the position having passed away shortly after his appointment.