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Theodorick Bland, Jr. is Born

Today in Masonic History Theodorick Bland, Jr. is born in 1741.

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 went to Scotland and graduated with a medical degree from the University of Edinburgh in 1763. Later the same year, Bland returned to Virginia 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 calvalry. 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 learned a valuable lesson from the intelligence Bland provided. So much so it is believed 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 the 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 served there until 1783 helping to form the early American Government. It was around this time 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 Virginia Convention to ratify the new United States Constitution. Bland was opposed to the Constitution since he believed 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 passed away on June 1st, 1790.

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

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.