Saratoga, NY Masonic History
From: Reminiscences of Sratoga
Compiled by Cornelius E. Durkee
Reprinted from The Saratogian 1927-28

Masonic History

I have gathered facts relating to the early history of masonry in Saratoga Springs from Sylvester's History of Saratoga County and from that volume prepared by the late James Mingay, entitled, "Proceedings of the Centennial Celebration of Rising Sun Lodge, No. 103, F, and A. M."

It seems that the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York on June 1, 1808 granted to Nichols W. Angle, and thirteen other brethren a dispensation to form a lodge in the Town of Northumberland. On June 14, the brethren named in the dispensation gathered in Reynolds Tavern located at Reynolds Corners about four miles north of Gansevoort. The dispensation signed by DeWitt Clinton being read, Daniel Hicks was appointed Deputy Grand Master and he installed the officers of the New Lodge naming Nicholas W. Angle worshipful master; Stephen King, senior warden; Jared Palmer, junior warden of the new lodge. The balance of the officers staff was then elected.

The members of the new lodge proceeded to the Congregational meeting house where prayer was read by Elijah Porter and ex-Exordium on Masonry by Dr. John H. Steele, after whIch the members returned to the tavern, where ceremonies of installation and consecration were observed. June 20, six days later, Joseph Emerson and Israel M. King were initiated; Sept. 6, 1809, the grand lodge issued a warrant empowering Rising Sun Lodge. No. 185 to confer the degrees of Masonry.

The Town of Northumberland consisted of that part of Saratoga county, extending from the Hudson to the Sacandaga River. north of the town of Saratoga, constituting what is now the towns of Moreau, Wilton, Northumberland, Corinth and Hadley, It was 20 years later before the town of Saratoga Springs was created,

In Saratoga Springs.

The subject of removal of the lodge from Northumberland to Saratoga Springs was agitated from 1816 to 1821. On December 8, 1818, the lodge was moved to Stephen King's Tavern in Wilton about half way to Saratoga Springs, and the lodge remained there until its final removal to Saratoga Springs. In 1821, Sylvester says a series of unfortunate circumstances concurred making it necessary that the lodge, be removed from Wilton to Saratoga Springs but it was not suecessfully brought about until May 25, 1824. Previous to this, however, meetings of the lodge were held in what was then called Drake's building or the Old Congress Hall in 1823.

In Columbian.

The lodge was afterwards moved to the Columbian Hotel on the corner of Broadway and Lake avenue, from there to the building owned by Robert Gardner, opposite the present Worden Hotel, then to the building now occupied by the Blue Bell Tea Room and afterwards to the building then owned by L. P. Close, opposite the United States Hotel, and then to rooms on the top floor of the present Starbuck building, over Starbuck's department store and the Ten Cent store. Lastly, the lodge moved to the Masonic Temple on Broadway opposite the Trolley station, the former House of Pansa, an historic replica of an old Roman house. The temple was destroyed Christmas eve, 1926 and has since been repaired,

For six weeks after it removed from Wilton, the lodge continued in successful operation but from 1830 until 1835, it ceased to make use of its franchise and hence forfeited its warrant. In 1845 the lodge was revived and renumbered 103 and has continued a successful and active body to date. When revived the charter members were G. M. Davison, Robert McDonnell, Alvah Marvin, brother of J. M. Marvin, Gardner Buflard, D. D. Benedict, Joseph White and Joseph M. Wheeler, D. D. Benedict was elected worshipful master.

Chancellor R. H. Walworth, a Knight Templar, a member of a commandry located at Plattsburgh, H. V. Sayles, a sir knight from a commandary at San Francisco, Cal., and C. H. Holden, a sir knight of Appollo Commandery of Troy in 1862 held a meeting In what was then known as Marvin House Row, on DivisIon street, and decided upon forming a Commandery of Knights Templar in Saratoga Springs.

In 1863, In acceptance of these Sir Knights the following members of Rising Sun Lodge and Chapter, George H. Fish, H. A. Van Dorn, L. B. Putnam, W. It. Winchell, Thos. G. Young, C. E. Durkee, C. H, Brown, Charles Carpenter, R. C. Blackail, and J. F. Parkmari of Saratoga. proceeded to Troy and the degrees of Knighthood were conferred upon them by Apollo Commandery of Troy. These together with Sir Knights Walworth, Sayles, and Holden were the Charter members Of the new Commandcry known as Washington Cornmandery. 33. It happens that I am the only charter member mentioned above who is living at this date 1927,

The commandery was chartered by the Grand Commandery on September 14, 1864.

At a meeting of the charter members held in December 1863, the following officers were elected to serve until April 12, 1865. George B. Fish, eminent commander; H. A. Van Dorn, generalissimo; C. H. Holden, captain general; L. B. Putnam, prelate; W. R. Winchell senior warden; H. V. Sayles, junior warden; T. G. Young, treasurer; C. E. Durkee, recorder; C. H. Brown, standard bearer; C. Carpenter, sword bearer; R. C. Blackall, warder; F, T. Parkman, sentinel.

At the election next year to serve March 28, 1866, George B. Fish was continued in office,

At present Washington Commandery is rated as one of the most successful conirnanderies in the state.

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