The History of Hamilton Lodge 144 F. & A. M.

A few short months before submitting a petition to form a new Lodge, a duel occurred between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, resulting in the death of Hamilton (July 12 1804).  Hamilton Lodge 144 was named for Alexander Hamilton.

Grand Lodge was petitioned October 02, 1804, to form a new Lodge in the Town of Queensbury, Washington County.

The following is a list of brothers who signed the petition:

  • T.W.  Huyck;
  •  Micajah Pettit: Albany Co. Militia 16th Reg. in Revolution, Queensbury Supervisor 1803, merchant & sawmill operator;
  •  Abraham A. Millard;
  •  Warren Ferriss: Dutchess Co. Militia 3rd Reg. in Revolution, built the Glens Falls toll bridge, Queensbury Supervisor 1795-1797;
  •  Dr. Harmon Hoffman: Dutchess Co. Militia 6th Reg. in Revolution, Warrensburg Assessor 1813, Warrensburg Supervisor 1814-1815;
  •  Benjamin Tibbits;
  •  Jeremiah Russell;
  •  David Sanford: Orange Co. Militia 4th Reg. in Revolution, Sanford Ridge Settlement was named after him;
  •  Parker Putnam;
  •  Amasa Willard;
  •  John A. Ferriss: first postmaster appointed in 1808, he also had a hat store and factory, his son Orange was one of the founders of Senate Lodge, Queensbury Supervisor 1813 and 1827-1829;
  •  Henry Spencer: Justice of the Peace and Town Clerk; and
  •  Walter Briggs: Dutchess Co. Militia 6th Reg. in Revolution.

 A Charter was granted on December 22, 1804 (some records show May 28 1805).

The original meeting place and officers are unknown, although it was reported to have been in the Oneida Building (Oneida Corners).  We do know that Aeshel Clark, John Ferriss and Henry Spencer were among its first Masters.

Soon after its institution, the Lodge rooms were located in the rear of the 3rd story of the old Glens Falls Hotel (Glen and Warren Streets), and in whose kitchen the big fire of 1864 was started.  The hotel had been erected in 1804 by John Ferriss.

Among the first initiates are included:

  • William H. McDonald, later one of Queensbury’s most prominent men.  While serving in the New York State Assembly (1822-23 and 1829), he sponsored a bill to finance the Feeder Canal Project and was thereafter known as the father of Glens Falls Feeder; President of Commercial Bank (now First National Bank of Glens Falls) 1853;
  • William Robards, of the Ridge in Queensbury, Warren Co.  first County Judge (1813-1820), merchant, farmer, manufacturer and magistrate, was a man of large influence and wide popularity (Queensbury Supervisor 1790, 1792-1794);
  • John H. Hitchcock, a merchant at the corner of Warren & Glen.

In a report to Grand Lodge dated December 27, 1812 the following is a list of members added to roster:

Nicholas Angle, Jeremiah Russell (Luzerne Supervisor 1793-1800, 1804), Johnathon Griffin, Israel Baldwin, Harman Palmer, Felix Alden, Samuel Day, Obadiah Knapp, Asahel Clark (attorney), Richard Wing, Alanson Fox, Lemuel Payne, Daniel Fairchild, Andrew Parsons, Daniel Scott, and Dorastus W. Alden.

The next report to Grand Lodge on June 01, 1814 added the names of: John Derby, Samuel Skinner (a tavern owner), John Ripley, and Hiram Cole.

John Ferriss, Henry Spencer & Felix Alden were former members of Livingston Lodge #28 of Kingsbury; A.S. Hall from Granville #55; Warren Hitchcock and James Palmeter (Glens Falls Assessor 1839) from Rising Sun 185 of Northumberland; and Moody Ames from Federal #33 of Hoosick.

During 1813-1814 the following were initiated: Bethuel Peck (physician & druggist, later served 2 terms as State Senator; elected President of Glens Falls Insurance Company in 1850) , Royal Leavens, Robert Wilkinson, Isaac Farr, and Levi Rugg.

John Ferriss built the center of educational activity in what is called City Park in 1813 and named it “The Academy”.  After his death in 1840, it ceased to exist.

Historically noteworthy to the State of New York during this period of time was the rise of a notable Mason, DeWitt Clinton.

At age 33, Clinton was elected to the U.S. Senate.  He resigned in 1803 to become Mayor of New York City until 1815.  In 1806 he became the 5th Grand Master of New York State.  He served 14 consecutive terms until 1820.

On December 11, 1809 he dedicated the first “Free School” in New York City.  This school, the first of its kind in the Nation, was built by Masons to provide education free of charge to the poor children of the city. This was forerunner of the public school system in the U.S..

In 1817, while still the Grand Master, DeWitt Clinton was elected Governor of New York.  His greatest achievement was the building of the Erie Canal, sometimes referred to as “Clinton’s Ditch”, which he developed during his third term.   The canal ran 340 miles from Buffalo on Lake Erie to Albany on the Hudson River.  It was opened with full Masonic ceremonies on October 26, 1825.

James Holden, in a speech he made on May 15, 1913 at the dedication ceremony of a new Masonic Temple in Glens Falls, provided the following list of members of Hamilton Lodge as they were initiated or affiliated by years.

  • 1807 Oliver Barritt, Myrtle B.  Hitchcock, Westal Gansevoort, William DeWolfe.
  • 1808 Joseph Hatch, Joseph DeWolfe, Stephen Gorham, Daniel Fairchild, Samuel Day, Levi Curtis, George A. Acker.
  •  1809 Gabriel E. Fox, Joshua Eaton.
  •  1810 Johnathon Freeman, Robert Lewis, Richard Wing, Ezra B. Griffith, Alanson Fox, William Little, Freeman Gazeley.
  •  1811 Daniel D. Scott, Lemuel C. Paine, Andrew Parsons, Solyman B. Fox.
  •  1812 John Derby, Samuel G. Skinner (a tavern owner), John Ripley, Hiram Cole, Francis Austin.
  •  1813 Josiah Randolph, Asa Ripley Jr., Bethuel Peck, Royal Leavens, Robert Wilkinson (attorney).
  •  1814 Frederick Hubbell, William F.G. Lake, Nathaniel Folsom, John Stevens (one of the backers of the failed Warren County Railroad Company), Ebeneezer Storer, Palmer Jenkins (opened a sawmill in Jenkinsville).
  •  1815 Isaac Farr, Levi Rug Jr. (one of the leading physicians in the area at this time) .
  •  1816 Edmund Freeman, James Archibald (1st Supv. of Lake George in 1810) , James White, Alvaro Hawley, Dr. Ripley, George R. Bridges, Warren F. Hitchcock.
  •  1817 Oliver Hubbard, James H. Rogers, Henry G. Braes, Thomas Colton, Harvey Powers, Pownall Shaw (one of the originators of the lime business in this area), Ira Spear, Jeremiah Green, Ebeneezer Hammond, Horace Forbes, William A. Tearse, Moody Ames, James Palmenter, Abraham Wing Jr. (the son of the pioneer; County Surrogate 1827-35, Village President 1847), William Hill Jr..
  •  1818 Martin Kentwood, Seth Fuller, Joseph Whitley, Edward Sumner, William Ferriss, John Robinson, Josiah L. Arms, Alfred Ferriss, John Kendrick, Enoch Gregory, Salma Hawley.
  •  1819 John E. Jones.
  •  1820 Henry R. Filly, Samuel Bishop, Lewis L. Pixley.
  •  1821 Grandus Davenport, Sylvester Rice (from Hudson Lodge #13), Samuel Hunton, William Hill, Daniel Fairchild, Walter Geer, John Dewey, Henry Fox, Samuel Ranger.
  •  1822 Henry Thurston, Enoch Ellis (from Hartford Lodge, later a charter member of Glens Falls Lodge 121, started stagecoach service from Glens Falls to Troy in 1837), Daniel H. Kingsley, Abraham Davenport.
  •  1823 Peter Threehouse, Charles Roberts, Dow Williamson, Seneca M. Fairchild, Stephen Bishop, Gilbert Waldron.
  •  1824 Jonathon Sewell, Godfrey Lake, Asa Palmer, George Miller.
  •  1825 Gridley M. Packard, Jacob Brigham, Humphrey Burlingame, George G.Dickinson, Rainsford Baldwin, A. Taft Pronty, Halsey Burnham.
  •  1826 Lubin Putnam, Israel Putnam, Daniel Ford, David Johnson, Hiram Barber, Oren Warner, Herman Peck, Cirandus Davenport, Martin Eastwood, Asahel Fairchild.
  •  1827 Ira Green (1st Collector of the Village of GLENS FALLS), Stephen Allen.

The following names listed in Vol. 39 of Individual Lodges in the Grand Lodge Library, but not mentioned in the Holden speech were:

Eden Chilson, Orville Clark (State Senator 1844-47), Hyman J. Cool, William H.  Finn, Samuel Forbes, John F. Gazeley, Walter Green, William H.  Lewis, E.G. Lindsay, Henry Martin, William May, Samuel Pange, Asa Ripley, Doeton Ripley, William Roberts, Calvin Robins, John Robertson, Levi Rug, Daniel Sanford, Peter D.  Thorndike, Sylvanus Walker.

Other names in Holden’s speech, but not listed in the membership roster, and may well have been visitors were:

  • 1818 Martin Kentwood
  • 1821 Henry Fox
  • 1822 Henry Thurston
  • 1823 Stephen Bishop, Peter Threehouse, Charles Roberts, Dow Williamson, Gilbert Waldron
  • 1824 Johnathon Sewell, George Miller, Lubin Putnam
  • 1825 Humphrey Burligame
  • 1826 Cirandus Davenport

In 1827 the last report was made to Grand Lodge.  The date this Lodge ceased to exist is unknown.  However, the “Glens Falls Observer” on February 18, 1828, published a resolution of the Lodge acknowledging the death of former Grand Master and New York State Governor DeWitt Clinton.

        “At an extra communication of Hamilton Lodge No. 144, assembled in Masonic Hall in this village the 15th instant, the following resolutions were adopted:

            Resolved that, whereas it has pleased Almighty God, the Supreme Architect of the Universe, in His Divine Providence to call from his labor worthy brother DeWitt Clinton PGM, of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, we feel it our duty to pay his memory, the last tribute of respect.

            Resolved, that the Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of this Lodge show their respect for our deceased Worthy Brother, by wearing the usual badge of mourning thirty days.

        E.G. Lindsey, Secretary”

Lodges in old Washington County as of 1813:

  • Washington #11 Ft. Edward (July 12, 1785)/Sept. 20, 1785
  • Lodge of Unity #517 Ft. William Henry (1787)
  • Aurora #25 Hampton (1793)
  • Montgomery Lodge #23 Stillwater (Oct. 22, 1791)
  • Livingston Lodge #28 Kingsbury (March 6, 1793)
  • Rural Lodge #32 Cambridge (Sept. 4, 1793)
  • North Star Lodge #51 Salem (Sept. 7, 1796)
  • Liberty Lodge #55 Granville (Dec. 7, 1796)
  • Herschell Lodge #89 Hartford (Dec. 3, 1800)
  • Farmers Lodge #96 Easton (Dec. 4, 1802)
  • Rising Sun Lodge #126  Greenwich (1805)
  • Hamilton Lodge #144 Queensbury (1804)
  • Brothers Lodge #147 Ft. Ann (1806)
  • Social Hall Lodge #145 Whitehall (Dec. 6, 1806)
  • Hebron Lodge #216 Hebron (1813)
  • Morning Star Lodge #243 Argyle (1813)

Warren County Early Lodges:

  • Hamilton #144 Queensbury (1804)-formed prior to Warren Co.
  • Rising Virtue #225 Luzerne (1814)
  • Clinton #278 Caldwell (1818)
  • Perry #437 Bolton (1825)

Saratoga County Early Lodges:

  • Montgomery #21 Stillwater (1791)
  • St John’s #24 Half Moon (1792)
  • Franklin #37 Ballston Spa (1794)
  • Orange #43 Waterford (1795)
  • St John’s Lodge #90 Greenfield (1802) (Feb. 20 received charter as St John’s #90, duly organized on June 2)      
  • Malta #106 Malta (1804)
  • Friendship #118 Milton (1805-1828)
  • Union #128 Charlton (1805)
  • Farmers #149 Half Moon (1806)- moved to Clifton Park in 1827
  • Rising Sun Lodge #185 Northumberland (1809) -Petitioned to move to Saratoga Springs in 1821
  • Schuyler #218 Old Saratoga (1813)
  • Galway #267 Galway (1816)
  • Corinthian #446 Corinth (1825 disbanded in 1826)

Past Masters of Hamilton Lodge with dates:

  • not recorded 1806-1813
  • John Ferriss 1814
  • Asahel Clark 1815
  • Henry Spencer 1816
  • Royal Leavens 1817
  • Robert Wilkinson 1818
  • James White 1818-1820
  • Banisher Storer 1821
  • James White 1822-1827
  • Luben Putnam 1828

Grand Lodge declared Hamilton Lodge Charter forfeited in June of 1834 because the Lodge had failed to report for 6 years.  All Masonic Lodges in the area ceased to exist between 1826 and 1847 except Greenfield Center.

Between 1822-1827, a schism occurred between upstate Masons and the Masons in New York City.  Upstate Masons felt that Grand Lodge should be held in Albany and not in New York City, since Albany was more centrally located.  In 1825, Stephen Van Rensselaer was elected Grand Master to heal the wounds.  Van Rensselaer was a prominent upstate public servant.  Early that year it was his vote in the U.S. House of Representatives which gave John Quincy Adams a sufficient majority to win election to the Presidency.  The pact of June 7, 1827 resolved these differences.

On April 12, 1839, the Village of Glens Falls incorporated.  First election of officers was held on June 4, 1839.  Elected were John Ferriss, Trustee; James Palmeter, Dwight Hitchcock, Assessors; William Peck Treasurer; Orange Ferriss Clerk; Ira Green collector; Orange Ferriss Justice of Peace; John Ferriss chosen Pres. of Board of Trustees.

See the full article on www.qmhs.org Queensbury Masonic Historical Society.

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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