In 1857 there was much confusion in the craft. Brothers Enoch Rosekrans and Orange Ferriss demitted from Glens Falls Lodge 121. At the 121 Annual Communication held on December 16, 1857, Austin Holden also requested a dimit, which was denied because he was Master of the Lodge. At that meeting Holden made a motion to form a new Lodge in Glens Falls. The motion was withdrawn after much discussion. James Ferguson (one of the early physicians in Glens Falls) made a motion for 121 to surrender its charter due to the lack of harmony in the craft. This motion was also withdrawn. A petition to form a new Lodge was sent to Grand Lodge without the recommendation of 121. The petition was rejected.
On January 20, 1858, Avery Tiffany, the first Master of Glens Falls Lodge 121, Enoch Rosekrans and others submitted a petition to form another Lodge.
The Charter members of Senate Lodge were:
- Enoch Rosekrans (then Justice of the Supreme Court 1855-71; District Attorney 1835-45; County Judge 1847-51; Village President 1855),
- Orange Ferriss (afterward Congressman 1866 – 2 terms ; Appointed Surrogate Judge of Warren Co. by Gov. Seward in 1841, served 12 years; U.S. Commissioner of Southern Claims 1871; 2nd Auditor of U.S. Treasury 1888-1891),
- Dr. James Ferguson,
- Keyes Cool (Presidential elector in 1840; presided over meeting at Numan Hall after the fall of Ft. Sumter where it was enthusiastically resolved that Glens Falls should do its share in the upcoming struggle.) and Hyman Cool (brothers and leaders in the lime and building industries),
- Xurry Maynard (afterward a charter member and Master of Cambridge Lodge #481),
- Samuel Ranger (his family owned a large tract of land in what is now the center of the city),
- Zabina Ellis (pioneer in Warren County journalism).
The Charter was granted on June 11, 1859, and the Lodge first met on the third story of the Fonda & Numan Building on Warren Street.
There is much speculation as to the separation of the two Lodges. During that period, there was social unrest, including two civil causes which were being expounded by many of the people in the area supporting the Fraternity. The first was the Temperance Movement. Two of the foremost leaders in the area advocating temperance were Austin Holden and Orange Ferriss.
The Fraternity assisted the Temperance societies which were in the area. Both Sons of Temperance ca. 1850 and the Independent Order of Good Templats ca. 1871, had use of the Lodge rooms for meetings. Around 1850 the custom of the day was to hold a Masonic meeting, then at its close, those members belonging to the Sons of Temperance would stay on, their non-Masonic members entering at this time. Orange Ferriss addressed the Glens Falls Temperance Society on September 15, 1837.
Section 3 of the original Glens Falls By-Laws reads: “No member or candidate shall be admitted as a member of this Lodge who shall make, buy, sell or use as a beverage any spiritous or malt liquors, wine or cider.” At a meeting of 121 held February 16, 1848, the following resolution was adopted: “That the members of this Lodge attend the Temperance Celebration on the 22nd as temperance men.” A large Masonic group attended the Temperance celebration which was held on February 22, 1848.
The other civil cause was the American Party, sometimes known as the Know-Nothings. The political views of this group were extreme, especially with respect to their desires to curtail immigration from foreign countries, and make more stringent our naturalization laws, and also a revulsion to the program in our government with respect to slavery. The people associated with this group included: Zabina Ellis, editor of the Free Press; Avery Tiffany; James Ferguson; Bethuel Peck.
Zabina Ellis retired from publishing in 1843. Came out of retirement in 1851, bought The Clarion, which became the Free Press. In 1854 supported Know-Nothing Party, and continued to do so.
Nativism began to gain support around 1841. This was chiefly an anti-Catholic movement which grew as the number of Catholic immigrants increased and the government began to support parochial schools.
This movement first came forward as the American Republican Party which was formed in 1843. In 1845 it evolved into the Native American Party, and by the early 1850’s, changed its name to the American Party.
The American Party culminated with the nominating of Millard Fillmore for President in 1856. He accepted nomination in a published letter from Paris on May 21, 1856. He was also nominated by the Whig Party. The American Party platform as established on February 21, 1856, contained a total of 16 points, with the predominant theme “Americans to Rule America”. Just before the election, it was revised to contain only 8 key points and was substantially toned down. The main issue during the campaign was slavery. The anti-slavery contingent abandoned the American Party and jumped to the newly formed Republican Party.
After their crushing defeat in the 1856 elections, remnants of the American Party and the Whig Party joined to form the Constitutional Union Party in the 1860 Presidential election. Abraham Lincoln elected President (Republican).
It is interesting to note that the first initiates were Frederick Ranger, son of Samuel Ranger who was at one time a member of Hamilton Lodge and one time Justice of the Peace; and Leonard McDonald, son of William McDonald, the first initiate in Hamilton Lodge on December 22, 1806.
The first year added 15 new members, among them being Hiram Harris, long the editor of the Democratic weekly paradoxically named the Republican, and two no less stalwart Republican local leaders, Jerome Lapham (Chairman Town War Committee 1864-65; Member of State Assembly 1865; Village President 1867; State Senator 1862-63) and Meredith Little.
The first Lodge room was in what was colloquially known as the “Masonic Block” on Warren Street, located where the Vermillia market afterward stood.
Members in public life:
- John Dix Governor of NY 1911-1912;
- Enoch Rosekrans, Justice of Supreme Court (Supreme Court of NY 1855-71);
- James Holden State Historian;
- Daniel DeLong and Austin Holden State Assemblymen;
- E.H. Brereton State Senator;
- George Raley County Judge;
- S.D. Kendrick Mayor of Glens Falls;
- Sterling Higley City Chamberlain;
- Gerald Solomon U.S. Congress;
- Edison Fitch Grand Master of Quebec;
- Congressman Orange Ferriss: County Judge 1851-63, U.S. Congress 1866-71, Commissioner Southern Claims 1871-87, Second Auditor of U.S. Treasury 1880;
- Judge Andrew Cheritree Town Supervisor of Luzerne; District Attorney 1871; County Judge 1882-1900;
- Senator Henry E.H. Brereton;
- Assemblymen Austin Holden, Jerome Lapham, Delcour Potter, James Porteous, William Cameron (Supervisor of Queensbury 1890), Howard Conkling, Charles Hitchcock (State Assembly 1899,1901; Supervisor Town of Queensbury, Village Treasurer)
- Loyal Davis (School Commissioner Warren County 1887 & 1900-02; State Assembly 1903-04; Town of Queensbury Supervisor 1906-07; County Attorney 1908; Captain Company K, 2nd NY Volunteer Infantry 1898; Lt. Col. 2nd Regiment N.G.N.Y. 1908; Chairman Warren County Republican Committee 1891-92 & 1902-06; Chairman Glens Falls Republican Committee 1908), Daniel DeLong, Stewart MacFarland
- County Clerks W. Scott Whitney, William VanCott,
- Sheriff Richard Hall
- School Commissioners Adam Armstrong, Daniel Ketchum, Franklin Gunn,
- Mayors Charles Cool, Samuel Kendrick, Orville Smith,
- Postmasters Hiram Harris (Glens Falls Republican), Carlos Morgan, Henry Sherman,
- Col. James Hannah
- Majors John Fassett, John Barker, Buell Streeter(Surgeon during Civil War; U.S. Examining Surgeon for Pensioners 1885-1900)
- Lt. Col. John Cunningham (Pres. Glens Falls Insurance Company)
- Captains Robert Hall, Charles Shreve, Henry Clarke, Leonard Howard
- Lts. Edgar Wing, George Wing
This article taken from the Queensbury Masonic Historical Society website (www.qmhs.org). QMHS is chartered by NY State Department of Education.