Albany Masonic Lodge

Masonry probably first came to Albany during the Seven Years War. A British army lodge is said to have met in Albany in 1758. When those soldiers moved on the following Spring, an Albany Lodge was unveiled with Richard Cartwright, Henry Bostwick, and William Ferguson installed as wardens “to set and act during our absence, or until they . . . can procure a separate warrant for themselves from the Grand Lodge of Ireland.”

The Albany group applied to the provincial Grand Master and received a charter as “Union Lodge No. 1” dated February 21, 1765. Cartwright was named Master, William Benson senior warden, and John Visscher junior warden. No records of its early meetings have been found and the lodge was thought to have met at Cartwright’s Southside tavern.

On October 18, 1766 the city council granted Dr. Samuel Stringer a deed “for a Lott of ground on the Hill near the Fort adjoining the English Burying Ground” on which to erect a lodge building.

On December 20. 1767, a new warrant empowered a second lodge called the “Ineffable Lodge of Perfection” with William Gamble, Francis Pfister, Thomas Swords, Thomas Lynott, and Richard Cartwright as named members. A week later, members of the Union Lodge together with the above-named members of the Ineffable Lodge paraded through the Streets of Albany. Founder of the Johnstown, Albany house-owner Sir William Johnson had a special affinity for his Albany brethren up until his untimely death in the summer of 1774.

On April 12, 1768, the cornerstone of the new Masonic building was laid at the corner of what became known as the northwest corner of Lodge Street and Maiden Lane. That building became Masonic headquarters in Albany although the Union Lodge still held some meetings at Cartwrights!

Masonic minute books date from 1767. Membership rolls for Union Lodge are part of those records and have been transcribed and printed in a number of sources. The following numbered list of members helps us understand the extent of Masonry in colonial Albany:

1. Peter W. Yates, Master
2. John W. Wendell, S.W.
3. Leonard Gansevoort, J.W.
4. Abrm. Bloodgood
5. John Roorbach
6. William Hambalton
7. Henry Van Weort
8. John Cole
9. Mathew Visscher
10. Edward S. Willett
11. Richd. Cartwright
12. John Visscher
13. Benjn. Egburton
14. Thomas J. Diamond
15. John Van Valkenburgh
16. John A. Bradt
17. Peter Gansevoort, Jun.
18. Ab. Jacob Lansingh
19. Henry Van Veghten
20. Anthony J. Ten Eyck
21. Jacob G. Lansingh
22. Dirck Gardenier
23. John Hooghkirk
24. Richard Hanson
25. Daniel G. Van Antwerp
26. Chris. P. Yates
27. Mathew Watson
28. Jacob Van dusen
29. Robert Hoaksley
30. Thomas L. Witbeck
31. Arent N. Van Pettin
32. John D. Vosburgh
33. Frans. J. Winne
34. Joshua Lockwood
35. Jacobus Vanderpoel
36. Corns. Van Santvoord, Jr.
37. John A. Lansing
38. Arthur B. Nugent
39. Gerrit Witbeck
40. James Mager
41. William Govey
42. John Bortell
43. Nicholas Joralemon
44. John D. Goes
45. Donald Cameron
46. Elisha Tallmadge
47. Jacob Best
48. Jno. Van Beuren
49. John T. Visscher
50. David Utter

A printed list of members of the Masters’Lodge contained somewhat different names:

William Gamble 1768 W.M.
Samuel Stringer 1768-80 W.M.
Jeremiah Van Rensselaer 1768 W.M.
Francis Pfister 1768
Thomas Lynott
Stephen Tuttle
Thomas Swords
Stephen March
William Hogan
Henry Beasley
Thomas s. Diamond
Peter Schuyler
James Bain 1769

Renowned portraitist Ezra Ames painted a number of his Masonic brethren.

About leader

District Deputy Grand Master Saratoga-Warren District 1998-2000; Grand Lodge Leadership Services Committee; Leadership Development Course Coordinator; Vice Chairman Grand Master's Educational Task Force; Vice Chairman Grand Lodge Child ID Committee; District Deputy Grand High Priest 14th Capitular District; Grand Master of the 1st Veil 2010; Grand Master 2nd Veil 2011; Grand Master 3rd Veil 2012 Grand Royal Arch Captain 2013 Grand Principal Sojourner 2014 Grand Captain of the Host 2015 Warren County Historical Society Board of Trustees; Queensbury Masonic Historical Society Charter Member; State Chairman Lodges & Buildings Committee Deputy Grand Master's Advisory Committee
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