BY CHARLES H. HALSTEAD.
THE earliest authentic record of masonry in New York, or in fact in the American colonies, is the deputation
appointing Daniel Coxe, of New jersey, to be provincial grand master of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania,
signed by the Duke of Norfolk, grand master of the grand lodge of England, and dated "this fifth day of June,
1730, and of Masonry 5730."
From that date and until 1781 there were five different masonic deputations granted to provincial grand masters
for New York, by the grand lodge of England.
During this period there were two provincial grand lodges in the State of New York, organized at different periods
by authority of rival grand lodges in England, which were termed the "Moderns" and "Ancients."
In 1813 these two grand bodies united into what is now the "United Grand Lodge of England."
The provincial grand lodge authorized by the Atholl warrant, dated September 5, 1781, existed from December 5,
1782, to September 19, 1783, when the British troops evacuated New York City. and as the grand lodge was essentially
a royalist institution, and a majority of its officers and members were connected with the evacuating army, the
brethren were in a quandary, the solution of which we find in the minutes of a grand lodge of emergency, held on
the nineteenth of September, 1783, when "The propriety of leaving the grand warrant by which this lodge is
established in the province of New York, being fully discussed, it was resolved, that the same should be left and
remain in the care of such brethren as may hereafter be appointed to succeed the present grand officers, the most
of whom being under the necessity of leaving New York upon the removal of his majesty's troops."
This necessitated the election of a complete new set of officers, which was immediately done.
The lodges throughout the State, which had received charters from the "Modern" provincial grand lodge,
in the interim between the dissolution of that body and the organization of the "Ancient" Provincial
grand lodge had pursued an independent existence and naturally under their existing conditions, were loath to surrender
their warrants to the new body; therefore, it was a number of years before all the lodges were brought under the
control of the new grand lodge.
This provincial grand lodge, so far as existing records show, made no returns to the parent grand body, and in
all matters acted as an independent grand lodge.
This state of affairs caused some of the lodges to question the legality of its proceedings, and the propriety
of paying grand lodge dues.
This question was settled for all time on the sixth of June, 1787, by the grand lodge adopting the report of a
committee which reported: "Your committee appointed at the last quarterly communication, in consequence of
certain resolutions of St. John's lodge, respecting the warrant under which the grand lodge is established, report
their opinion as follows, viz.: That the grand lodge of this State is established, according to ancient and universal
usages of masonry, upon a constitution formed by the representatives of the regular lodges, convened under a legal
warrant from the grand lodge of England, dated the fifth day of September, in the year of masonry five thousand
seven hundred and eighty one, the most noble Prince John the Third, Duke of Atholl, being the then grand master.
And your committee further beg leave to report that, in their opinion, nothing is necessary or essential in the
future proceedings of the grand lodge upon the subject matter referred to them, but that a committee be appointed
to prepare a draft of the style of warrant to be hereafter granted by the grand lodge. comformable to the said
constitution. All of which is, nevertheless, most respectfully submitted to the wisdom of the most worshipful grand
lodge." In this manner the grand lodge declared itself an independent grand body, supreme within its own jurisdiction.
The date of transition of the grand lodge from a provincial to an independent State masonic organization might
be a subject of difference of opinion, but the grand lodge, however, numbers its annual communications from the
earlier date, viz., 1781, under the charter issued by the "Ancients."
The grand lodge of the State of New York, under this charter, guarantees certain rights and privileges to 775 masonic
lodges having a membership (December 31, 1906), of 146,026 master masons.
At different times the grand lodge has been disrupted by internal strife and schisms which continued several years,
but since June, 1858, peace and harmony have prevailed among the fraternity.
The severest trial that freemasonry has had to endure was the anti masonic crusade that began in 1826, which assailed
the fraternity throughout the land and resulted in many of the lodges having their charters forfeited.
A political party was founded at the time on prejudice and hatred. Politicians mounted the whirlwind, and rode
into power on the storm. Fanatics in the forum, at the bar and in the pulpit inflamed the passions of men and aroused
the bitterest enmity against freemasonry. Men of the highest social and masonic standing were threatened with political
ostracism; to be a mason was to be an object of suspicion and often of persecution; the lodge rooms were deserted,
charters were surrendered, and the craft became disheartened at the situation. Some members of the fraternity openly
declared their withdrawal and were known as "seceding masons" in the community. After ten years of bitter
feeling and hatred against the society of Free and Accepted Masons, the storm of persecution began to subside;
the calmer and better judgment of men prevailed; the craft took courage and masonic lodges again opened their doors
and resumed labor. In 1840 there was not a masonic lodge in Orange County.
It would appear from the meager information given in the proceedings of grand lodge or in the minutes of subordinate
lodges in the early days that the brethren were imbued with the idea that the very existence of the fraternity
depended upon shrouding with great secrecy their every act and surroundings, consequently very few details can
be gathered concerning matters that would make history.
Reuben Lodge, No. 18. - The first mention of a masonic lodge in Orange County is found in the proceedings of grand
lodge on the fourth of June, 1788, where we find this minute: "A petition from F. A. Morris and nine others
praying for a warrant to hold a lodge at Newburgh, under the name of Steuben. Granted."
The charter was issued to Ebenezer Foote, master; Francis Anderson Morris, senior warden, and Peter Nestell, junior
warden, and was dated September 27, 1788. It was signed by Robert R. Livingston, grand master; Richard Harrison,
deputy grand master, and Jacob Morton, grand secretary. Baron de Steuben was an honorary member of the lodge. The
minutes embrace the period between the thirteenth of November, 1788, and the twenty seventh of December, 1792.
Doubtless the charter was surrendered soon after i800, as at the communication of grand lodge of that year report
was made of the irregularities that prevailed in Steuben lodge. This lodge is among the number whose charter cannot
be revived by resolution of grand lodge.
The charter and minute book of Steuben Lodge, No. 18, are in the keeping of Hudson River Lodge, No. 607, as custodian.
St. John's Lodge, No. 21. - Subsequent to the disbandment of the troops in the war of the Revolution the warrant
of St. John's regimental lodge, the first military lodge warranted by New York or any provincial masonic power,
was taken by some of its members to Clark's Town, in the county of Orange, and here it remained until interest
was revived in masonry by some of its officers in 1784, who came at that time under the jurisdiction of the grand
Lodge meetings were held under this warrant at Warwick as well as at Clark's Town, when on the twenty third of
December, 1789, a petition signed by John Smith, David Miller and Thomas Wing, was made to grand lodge stating
that they were the presiding officers of a lodge now held at Warwick, working under an old warrant and known by
the name of St. John's Lodge, and formerly held at Clark's Town, and praying that, as the warrant properly belonged
to the brethren at Clark's Town, "a new warrant be issued to them as officers of a lodge to be held in the
county of Orange, on the west side of the mountain, by the name of St. John's Lodge." The petition was granted
and the warrant dated the twenty sixth March, 1790. On December 4, 1793, the proxy of St. John's Lodge stated to
grand lodge the low condition of the funds and offered as a compromise for the amount due the grand lodge the sum
of Do, which was accepted.
The lodge was represented by proxy in grand lodge as late as 1802, but does not appear thereafter until June 4,
1819, when "the numerical designation of St. John's Lodge, No. 19, held at Warwick, was changed to No. 18."
On June 12, 1822, "all lodges in arrears for dues for three years and upwards were summoned to show cause
why their warrants should not be surrendered," and among the number was St. John's, No. i8. The charter was
declared forfeited on the eighth of June, 1832, by grand lodge.
Orange Lodge, No. 45. - At a meeting of grand lodge held on the second of March, 1796, petitions for warrants were
read and among the number was one "for a lodge to be held in the town of Goshen, by the name of Orange Lodge."
The warrant was dated April 12, 1796.
The lodge was represented by proxy in the grand lodge at the communication of January 2, 1799, but thereafter we
find no mention of it except in the "list of lodges whose charters cannot be revived conformable to resolution
of grand lodge adopted on the fourth of June, 1819."
James' Lodge, No. 65. On the 6th of September, 1797, a petition was presented to grand lodge "From Adam I.
Doll and others, to hold a lodge in the town of Middletown, county of Ulster, by the name of James' Lodge, and
the same was referred to the grand officers." At that time Middletown was embraced in the county of Ulster.
The warrant was dated January 6th, 1798, No other information is obtainable concerning this lodge, but it appears
as one of the lodges whose charters cannot be revived.
Montgomery Lodge, No. 71. The minutes of grand lodge of December 7th, 1796, read: "The petition of Brother
John Schmidt and sundry other brethren, for a warrant to erect and hold a lodge in the town of Montgomery, county
of Ulster, with some accompanying papers, were then severally read, and referred to the presiding officers of the
grand lodge, with powers to order a warrant to be issued if they find the applicants deserving." The warrant
was not issued, however, until the 6th of June, 1798, when the dispensation was returned to grand lodge. The lodge
was represented by proxy in grand lodge up to the 4th of March, 1812. The warrant was doubtless forfeited some
Olive Branch Lodge, No. 102. At the communication of grand lodge, held on the 7th of December, 18o3, we find this
minute: "A similar petition from sundry brethren residing in the town of Minisink, Orange County, praying
a warrant for a lodge to be held in said town, to be known by the name of Olive Branch Lodge, was read and referred
to the grand officers." The lodge was located in the village of West Town, and its meetings were held on the
upper floor of the academy building. On December 4th, 1811, "Olive Branch Lodge, No. 102, prayed that the
payment of their dues (to grand lodge) might be postponed until the next year on account of several losses sustained
by the lodge the present year, which was granted." The lodge was reported as being in arrears for dues for
two years and upwards in 1822. The charter was declared forfeited, June 8, 1832.
Hiram Lodge, No. 131. At the communication of grand lodge, held on the t9th of February, 1806, "A petition
from sundry brethren to establish a lodge at Newburgh, by the name of Hiram Lodge, was read and the prayer thereof
granted." The first officers of the lodge named in the charter were Jonathan Fisk, master; Charles Baker,
senior warden; John R. Drake, junior warden.
General Lafayette was the guest of Hiram Lodge on the occasion of his visit to Newburgh on the t4th of September,
The charter was surrendered to grand lodge in 1835.
The anti masonic furor having subsided, the brethren sought to reopen the lodge, and to that end presented a petition
to grand lodge that the charter might be restored to them, which was granted in June, 1842, but the number of the
lodge was changed to 92. The first officers under the revived charter were Peter F. Hunn, master; Minard Harris,
senior warden; James Belknap, junior warden. The last record of the lodge is dated June 16, 1845, and we infer
that the charter was soon thereafter surrendered to grand lodge. The charter of Hiram Lodge is now in the keeping
of Hudson River Lodge, No. 607, as custodian.
Mount Moriah Lodge, No. 189. A petition was presented to grand lodge to establish: "A lodge in the town of
Wallkill, its meetings to be holden at the house of Thomas Everson or others in the said town of Wallkill."
A charter was granted under date of December 6th, 1809. Doubtless the lodge was held for some years in private
dwellings as on the 2d of December, 1812, at the communication of grand lodge: "A petition from Mount Moriah
Lodge, No. 189, held at Wallkill, Orange County, praying for a remission of dues in consideration of its having
built a commodious lodge room, for the expenses of which it was still in arrears. was presented and read, and the
prayer of the petitioner refused." Doubtless the lodge at that time was held in the upper room of the school
building in the village of Mount Hope, as at a later date masonic emblems. carved in wood, were to be seen in the
room then used for school purposes.
Returns were made to grand lodge as from Wallkill, and also, "Return of Mount Moriah Lodge, No. 189, held
at Mount Hope, Wallkill, county of Orange, and State of New York." The charter of this lodge was declared
forfeited on the 4th of June, 1835.
Corner-Sone Lodge, No. 231. At the communication of grand lodge, held on the 2d of March, 1812, "A petition
for a warrant to hold a lodge in the town of Monroe, in the county of Orange, to be called Corner-Stone Lodge;
recommended by Washington Lodge, No. 220, was read and granted." The warrant was dated May 26, 1814. This
lodge is among the number in arrears for dues for two years and upwards on the 24th of June, 1822. The charter
was declared forfeited on the 24th of June, 1832.
Jerusalem Temple 'Lodge, No. 247. At the communication of grand lodge, held on the 6th of September, 1815: "A
petition from a number of the brethren to hold a lodge in the town of Cornwall, in the county of Orange, to be
called Jerusalem Temple Lodge; recommended by Hiram Lodge, No. 131, was read and granted."
The lodge was constituted at the house of Ebenezer Crissey, in the village of Canterbury on the 5th of October
of the same year; James B. Reynolds, master of Hiram Lodge, No. 131, performed the ceremony. The first officers
named in the charter were Wyatt Carr, master; Abraham Mead, senior warden; Southerland Moore, junior warden. The
charter was declared forfeited June 8th, 1832.
Washington Lodge, No. 220. This lodge was located at Blooming Grove. The charter was dated June 10th, 1813. No
record of its work is extant, but it was one of those lodges that went down in the anti masonic period, and its
charter was declared forfeited by grand lodge on the 5th of June, 1834.
Lawrence Lodge, No. 230. On the 1st of December, 1812, the proceedings of grand lodge read: "A petition for
a warrant to hold a lodge at Ward's Bridge, in the county of Orange, to be called Lawrence Lodge, recommended by
Hiram Lodge, No. 131, was read and granted.
Ward's Bridge was afterwards known as Montgomery. The lodge was doubtless named in honor of the gallant Captain
James Lawrence, who, being mortally wounded in the engagement with the Shannon, uttered: "Don't give up the
ship!" which have become household words in this country. The lodge was reported as inoperative on the 4th
of June, 1819.
Hoffman Lodge, No. 300. At the communication of grand lodge on the 4th of March, 1818, the grand secretary stated
that a warrant had been issued "on the 3d of December, 1817, to John Kirby, Stacey Beecher and Isaac Otis,
to hold a lodge at Wallkill, in the county of Orange, by the name of Hoffman Lodge, No. 300." The lodge held
its meetings in the house of Isaac Otis, at Mechanicstown, which at that time was a more pretentious place than
Middletown. The lodge was named in honor of Martin Hoffman who was grand master of the (city) grand lodge during
1823, 1824 and 1825. He presented the lodge with a copy of the Holy Bible which is still in use by Hoffman Lodge,
No. 412. The charter of this lodge was declared forfeited by grand lodge on the 7th of June, 1833.
Union Lodge, No. 509. The minutes of grand lodge under date of July 9, 1828, read: "A dispensation granted
by the Rt. Worshipful Richard Hatfield, late D. G. M., to hold a lodge in the town of Montgomery, county of Orange,
by the name and style of Union Lodge, recommended by Hiram Lodge, No. 131, at Newburgh, was presented, whereupon
the grand secretary was ordered to issue a warrant appointing William Williamson, the first master, Daniel Cozens,
the first senior warden and Samuel Bookstaver, the first junior warden."
It is rather remarkable that in the midst of the anti masonic excitement a new masonic lodge should have been established
in that locality, but it did not long continue, as we note that the charter was declared forfeited on the 4th of
Mount William Lodge, No. 762. A charter was granted by grand lodge on the 4th of June, 1875, to hold a lodge at
Port Jervis, to be known as Mount William Lodge, No. 762. From the report of the district deputy we find that the
reason given for surrendering the charter was that the numerous societies in that village was a hindrance to increasing
its membership. The warrant was surrendered to grand lodge on the 20th of June, 1882.
The lodges above enumerated have all ceased to exist, and their records, with few exceptions, have been lost. In
some instances the charters have been given to lodges that have since been organized in the same locality and they
are prized for the association connected with them.
The thirteenth masonic district, as now formed, embraces the counties of Orange and Rockland, and contains sixteen
masonic lodges within its jurisdiction. The county of Orange has ten masonic lodges within its borders, and it
is with these we now have to do.
Newburgh Lodge, No. 309. - This lodge is located at Newburgh. The charter is dated June nth, 1853, and was issued
to John Gray, master; Andrew Lawson, senior warden, and Henry O. Heustis, junior warden. The lodge held its communications
in a building situated on the southwest corner of Front and Third streets, known as Crawford's Hall, from the 28th
of July, 1853, at which date the hall was dedicated to masonic purposes. Here it continued until the 24th of June,
1863, when it was moved to the new building erected on the northwest corner of Colden street and Western avenue,
afterwards known as Broadway. In this hall all the masonic bodies in Newburgh met for the succeeding twenty five
years. These quarters becoming inadequate for the membership, a lease of the two upper floors in the new Academy
of Music, situated on the northwest corner of Broadway and Grand street, was secured. This hall was dedicated on
the nth of September, 1888. The membership of Newburgh Lodge on the 1st of June. 1907, was 370 master masons. The
officers were Charles B. Gilchrist, master; Thomas George Courtney, senior warden; Peter Cantline, junior warden;
James D McGiffert, secretary.
Port Jervis Lodge, No. 328. - This lodge is located at Port Jervis. The charter is dated June 30th, 1854, and was
issued to Alfred Barkley, master; John M. Heller, senior warden; and O. H. Mott, junior warden. William H. Stewart
was the first secretary.
The membership of Port Jervis Lodge on the 1st of June, 1907, was 252 master masons. The officers were Jacob Miller,
master; Fred Terwilliger, senior warden; L. C. Senger, Jr., junior warden; Emmet A. Browne, secretary.
Goshen Lodge, No. 305. - This lodge is located at Goshen. The charter is dated June 26th, 1855, and was issued
to Alvin Pease, master; Charles Moneli, senior warden; and Elias Peck, junior warden. Benjamin C. Jackson was the
first secretary. The membership of Goshen Lodge on the 1st of June, 1907, was 107 master masons. The officers were
John F. Halstead, master; William N. Hoffman, senior warden; Charles H. Thompson, junior warden; George Mullenix,
Hoffman Lodge, No. 412. - This lodge is located at Middletown. The charter is dated June 16th, 1857, and was issued
to Alexander Willson, master; Silas R. Martine, senior warden, and Daniel C. Dusenberry, junior warden. E. B. Graham
was the first secretary. The membership of Hoffman Lodge on the 1st of June, 1907, was 487 master masons. The officers
were Nathan D. Mills, master; John H. Galloway, senior warden; Burton L. LaMonte, junior warden; Isaac B. A. Taylor,
Warwick Lodge, No. 544. - This lodge is located at Warwick. The charter is dated July 19, 1864, and was issued
to E. M. Smith, master; Benjamin Corwin, senior warden; Charles W. Douglass, junior warden. John N. Wood was the
first secretary. The membership of Warwick Lodge on the 1st of June, 1907, was ninety eight master masons. The
officers were Calvin C. Crawford, master; Frank Holbert, senior warden; John Mullinbrink, junior warden; Harry
Hudson River Lodge, No 607. - This lodge is located at Newburgh. The charter is dated July 12th, 1866, and was
issued to David A. Scott, master; G. Frederick Wiltsie, senior warden; Samuel Stanton, junior warden. John Alsdorf
was the first secretary. The membership of Hudson River Lodge on the 1st of June, 19o7, was 415 master masons.
The officers were Milton D. Seymour, master; Walter S. Carvey, senior warden; Cyrus H. Johnston, junior warden;
Charles H. Halstead, secretary.
Wallkill Lodge, No. 627. - This lodge is located at Walden. The charter is dated June 24. 1867, and was issued
to Hugh B. Bull, master; Constant W. Wadsworth, senior warden, and Robert Young, junior warden. W: J. Welsh was
the first secretary. The lodge was instituted at Montgomery, but by permission of grand lodge, under date of June
7th, 1878, was moved to Walden. The membership of Wallkill Lodge on the 1st of June, 1907, was 159 master masons.
The officers were George L. Sharp, master; Benjamin S. French, senior warden; Edgar C. Mullen, junior warden Charles
E. Holden, secretary.
Standard Lodge, No. 711. - This lodge is located at Monroe. The charter is dated July 27, 1871, and was issued
to John F. Mackie, master; Nicholas Demurest, senior warden, and Thomas H. Bryan, junior warden. Ezra T. Jackson
was the first secretary. The lodge was instituted at Chester, but held its meetings at East Chester. As many of
the members resided in the vicinity of Monroe a petition was made to grand lodge that the lodge might be moved
to that village, which was done by dispensation on the 8th of February, 1844. The membership of Standard Lodge
on the 1st of June, 1907, was 200 master masons. The officers were Edward D. Woodhull, master; Charles N. Walton,
senior warden; Bernard W. Tench, junior warden; Stacy Gaunt, secretary.
Jerusalem Temple Lodge, No. 721. - This lodge is located at Cornwall-on-Hudson. The charter is dated June 14th,
1872, and was issued to Charles McClean, master; Gustavus H. Black, senior warden, and Henry Rodermond, junior
warden. Charles C. Van Duzer was the first secretary. The lodge was instituted in the village of Canterbury, where
meetings were held until September, 1883, when it was moved to Cornwall-on-Hudson. The membership of Jerusalem
Temple Lodge on the 1st of June, 1907, was seventy master masons. The officers were Harvey A. Call, master; Arthur
H. Walker, senior warden; Walter S. Babcock, junior warden; John M. Noe, secretary.
Lorillard Lodge, No. 858. - This lodge is located at Tuxedo. The charter was granted by grand lodge on the 9th
of may, 1907. The lodge was instituted on the 4th of June. 1907. The membership of Lorillard Lodge on the 1st of
June, 1907, was fifty master masons. The officers were Charles W. Cooley, master; Edwin C. Rushmore, senior warden,
Newton D. Phillips, junior warden; John J. Strudwik, secretary.
The early history of the grand chapter of Royal Arch Masons in the State of New York is so obscure that but little
information concerning its subordinates is obtainable.
It is a well established fact, however, that the Royal Arch degree was conferred in the State of New York under
lodge charters prior to the formation of the grand chapter of New York in 1798. On the r4th of March, 1798, five
chapters organized and established a deputy grand chapter subordinate to the grand chapter of the Northern States
for the State of New York.
Companion DeWitt Clinton was elected deputy grand high priest. The prefix "deputy" was dropped in 1799,
and thereafter they were designated "grand chapters." At one period mark lodges were a distinct organization
yet subject to, and received authority from, the grand chapter. The degree of mark master is now conferred in a
chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and the charters of mark lodges in this State have been surrendered to the grand
chapter. But two mark lodges are known to have been organized in the county of Orange.
Orange Mark Lodge, No. 51. - This lodge was located at Goshen. A charter was granted on the 8th of February, 1809,
to William Elliott, William A. Thompson and Edward Ely.
Hiram Mark Lodge, No. 7. - This lodge was located at Newburgh. A charter was granted on the 3d of February, 1813,
to Sylvanus Jessup, James Williams, and George Gordon.
Orange Chapter, No. 33. - This chapter of Royal Arch Masons was located at Minisink. A charter was granted on the
6th of February, 1812, to Uriah Hulse, James D. Wadsworth and Malcomb Campbell.
Jerusalem Temple Charter, No. 52. - At the annual convocation of grand chapter, held on the 6th of February, 1817,
a charter was granted: "To Comps. James Reynolds, William Ross and William P. Lott, to hold a chapter at Newburgh,
county of Orange, by the name of Jerusalem Temple Chapter, No. 52." The last written record of a convocation
is dated May 1st, 1828. The seal, record book and ledger of Jerusalem Temple Chapter are now in possession of Highland
Chapter, No. 52, Newburgh, N. Y.
The charters of these organizations have either been surrendered or forfeited, as they are no longer in existence.
There are but three chapters of Royal Arch Masons at present located in Orange County.
Highland Chapter, No. 52. - This chapter is located at Newburgh. At the annual convocation of grand chapter held
on the 3d of February, 1864, "A warrant was granted to Comp. John B. Stanbrough, high priest; Comp. Joseph
H. H. Chapman, king; Comp. George C. Pennell, scribe, and others, to hold a chapter at Newburgh, to he known as
Highland Chapter, No. 52." In the application for a warrant the request was made that the old number affixed
to Jerusalem Temple Chapter, "52," be assigned to the new chapter, and the request was granted. The membership
of Highland Chapter on the 1st of June, 1907, was 340 Royal Arch Masons. The officers were James D. McGiffert,
high priest; William D. Traphagen, king; John T. Swann, scribe; Charles H. Halstead, secretary.
Neversink Chapter, No. 186. - This chapter is located at Port Jervis. The officers named in the charter, dated
February 8th, 1865, were Philip Lee, high priest; Charles W. Douglas, king; Lewis L. Adams, scribe. The chapter
was instituted on the 16th of March, 1865. The membership of Neversink Chapter on the 1st of June, 1907, was sixty
six Royal Arch Masons. The officers were S. G. McDonald, high priest; Jacob Miller, king: John Stoll, Jr., scribe;
Herbert Senger, secretary.
Midland Chapter, No. 240. - This chapter is located at Middletown. The charter is dated February 3d, 1870, and
was issued to Alexander Wilson, high priest; Elisha P. Wheeler, king; Moses D. Stivers, scribe. The first secretary
was George H. Decker. The membership of Midland Chapter on the 1st of June, 1907, was 170 Royal Arch Masons. The
officers were Charles V. Wedmore, high priest; William L. Mitchell, king; Frank H. Finn, scribe; John A. Wallace.
The commencement of the Templar Order in New York is involved in great obscurity; yet there were several bodies,
having no authority whatever, which were organized at an early date. The grand encampment (commandery) of New York
was formed on the 22d of January, 1814, by the sovereign grand consistory, which decreed the establishment of the
grand encampment of Sir Knights Templars and appendant orders for the State of New York, and immediately proceeded
to elect officers who were all members of said consistory. In 1816 a warrant was granted to Columbia Commanderv
in New York City; and a warrant on the same day was issued to a new commandery in New Orleans.
The numerous encampments of Knights Templar existing in the State at that time were self created bodies, governed
by their own private laws, acknowledging no superior authority, because, in fact, none heretofore existed.
The grand encampment of New York by its representatives assisted in forming the general grand encampment of the
United States of America on the 11th of December, 182o.
There are but three cornmanderies of Knights Templar in the county of Orange.
Hudson River Commandery, No. 35. - This commander is located at Newburgh. The charter is dated September 27, 1865,
and was issued to Hugh McCutcheon, eminent commander; Lendon S. Straw, generalissimo Isaac C. Chapman, captain
general. The membership on the 1st of June, 1907, was 295 sir knights. The officers were Samuel F. Brown. eminent
commander; Harry L. Barnum, generalissimo; Charles J. Stones, captain general; Sylvester W. Hoidredge, recorder.
Delaware Conmandery, No 44. - This commandery is located at Port Jervis. The charter is dated October 6th, 1869,
and was issued to Charles B. Gray, eminent commander; Joseph W. Weed, generalissimo; Abraham Kirkman, captain general.
Charles T. Branch was the first recorder. The membership on the 1st of June, 1907, was eighty one sir knights.
The officers were Theodore Mackrell, eminent commander; John Stoll, Jr., generalissimo; Harry J. Pippitt, captain
general; Lewis C. Seager, recorder.
Cyprus commandery, No. 67. - This commandery is located at Middletown. The charter is dated October sth, 1904,
and was issued to Charles Reeve Smith, eminent commander; Ira Lee Case, generalissimo; Frank Olin Tompkins, captain
general. Isaac B. A. Taylor was the first recorder. The membership on the 1st of June, 1907, was 114 sir knights.
The officers were Charles Chester Bogart, eminent commander; Charles "Wesley Rodgers, generalissimo; Ames
Everett McIntyre, captain general; Isaac B. A. Taylor, recorder.
Cryptic Masonry has been recognized as a part of the American system of freemasonry in the State of New York since
1807, when a grand council of Royal and Select Masters was duly organized.
This branch of freemasonry has never been popular with the craft in this State, as the degrees, of which there
are three, conferred in a council, have not been made prerequisite to admission to a commandery of Knights .Templar,
although several attempts have been made to that end.
King Solomon Council, No. 31. - This council is at this date located at Poughkeepsie, N. Y. On the Toth of December,
1867, a council of Royal and Select Masters was opened under dispensation at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., which was known
as "Union Council." The first officers were E. H. Parker, T. I. M.; G. Fred Wiltsie, R. I. M.; A. B.
Smith, P. C. W. At the annual assembly of the grand council, held on the 4th of February, 1868, a warrant was issued,
and the name changed to King Solomon Council, No. 31, and the jurisdiction extended to include the city of Newburgh,
N. Y. King Solomon Council held stated assemblies at Newburgh from the 18th of March; 1869, to the 8th of December,
1879, when it was deemed for the interest of the organization that it be removed to Poughkeepsie, where it holds
assemblies at the call of the thrice illustrious master.
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was introduced in the State of New York in 1813, by the formation, in the
city of New York, of a supreme council for the northern jurisdiction. For some time previous a lodge of perfection
of this rite existed at Albany, N. Y.
Adonai Lodge of Perfection, located at Newburgh, N. Y., was granted a charter in September, 1873. The lodge conferred
the degrees from the fourth to the fourteenth inclusive. In 188o the lodge ceased to meet, but the charter was
not surrendered, being held in abeyance subject to the action of the members in this locality.
What is known as the American Adoptive Rite, called the "Order of the Eastern Star," was created by Robert
Morris, a distinguished freemason. It sought to provide an organization that would be of benefit to the wives,
mothers, sisters and daughters of master masons by introducing signs, grips and password that would be recognized
by the craft generally. For a time it was a popular institution, then came a season of depression, until finally
the degrees were rewritten and the ritual made less complex. While this order has not been recognized in this State
as a masonic body by the grand lodge, still it does receive recognition and support from a large number of the
craft who feel that it is a valuable adjunct to freemasonry.
The grand chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star was organized thirty eight years ago. There are at this date
over 350 subordinate chapters in the State, embracing a membership of over 26,000. There are five chapters in Orange
Orange Chapter, No. 33, is located at Port Jervis; Queen Esther Chapter, No. 163, is located at Middletown; Hawthorne
Chapter, No. 163, is located at Monroe. A. J. Moor Chapter, No. 398, is located at Goshen. At this date (June,
1907), these chapters are in a flourishing condition.