Historical Sketch

by W.’. Kenneth D. Bartlett on October 25, 1944

The first record bears this date: October 4, 1773.
The minute book of Masters Lodge, of Albany, revels that a petition had been
received, requesting that certain brothers “be formed into a regular body by
the name of St. George’s Lodge in Schenectady.”
Upon this application being presented to Sir John Johnson, Knight,
Provincial Grand Master of the Most Antient and Honourable Society of Free
and Accepted Masons in the Province of New York in America, a
dispensation was granted, under a date of June 21, 1774 ” to assemble
together and hold a lodge in said town by the name of St. George’s Lodge,
No. 1, and to initiate and make Masons according to the strict rules of
Masonry.” This dispensation expired on the feast of St. John the Baptist,
December 27, 1774.
Thr first recorded meeting eas held on August 18, 1774, when the
by-laws were adopted. The first minute book does not record this or other
apparent meetings that were held prior to the formal organization of the
lodge on October 1, 1774.
On December 19,1774 a second dispensation was issued by Sir John
Johnson in which it was stated that “whereas the former dispensation,
according to its own Limitations, will expire on the 27th of December, and
whereas the obtaining of a warrant is unavoidably impeded and delayed – we
do hereby – in every particular renew, continue and prlong the duration of the
said dispensation.”
The warrant, when received, was found to bear the date of September 14,
1774. “It was issued to St. George’s Lodge, No. 1, of the Township of
Schenectady,” by virtue of the power and authority vested in us, by a
deputation bearing the date the 14th day of September, in the year of our
Lord 1767 from Lord Blaney, then Grand Master of England.” From the date
of the deputation and the warrant it appears that the original charter was
issued to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the appointment of Sir. John
Johnson as Provincial Grand Master. Sir. John was the fifth Grand Master
appointed, and because of the outcome of the Revolutionary War he
became the last Grand Master to the Province of New York.
Following the Revolution, St. George’s ackowledged (in 1784) the
authority of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, which had been
formed by authority of the Grand Lodge of England in 1781. St. George’s
was represented, by proxy, for the first time at Grand Lodge on April 6, 1792.
In 1800 the Number 7 was assigned to old Number 1. In 1819 a long-
standing controversy, as to the proper age and standing of all lodges, was
investigated and settled by Grand Lodge, and as a result of this action St.
George’s was assigned the Number 8. In 1839, following the Morgan Trouble,
it was given the Number 6. St. George’s is the sixth oldest lodge working in
the State of New York and one of about thirteen Colonial Lodges, organized
before 1775, that are still functioning after more that 170 years of Masonic
activity.
Although St. George’s recognized the authority of Grand Lodge of the
State of New York it continued to operate under the original English Charter,
“a better charter of valid Masonic right, given by the Mother Grand Lodge of
England, than any emanating from the Grand Lodge of New York.” In 1819
the lodge was declared clandestine by the Grand Lodge of New York—the
last of the old lodges to surrender its original charter. The charter of 1822
was signed by the Most Worshipful Daniel D. Tompkins, Grand Master
(then Vice-President of the United States). It stipulated that this charter was
“to take and hold date from September 14, 1774, the date of its old this day
surrendered,” and that the old charter should be returned to the lodge “for
safe-keeping but not to be used for Masonic purposes.” As no
representative of the lodge was present at the Grand Lodge session of 1822,
the old charter was never returned and still remains, presumably, in the
possession of Grand Lodge.
During the quiet years of the Morgan Trouble, the Lodge met at least once
or twice a year, and in 1843 it was discovered that the charter of 1822 had
been mislaid . . . Presumably lost . . . Possibly stolen. The Grand Lodge of
the State of New York issued a dispensation, dated January 5 1844, to
permit the installation of the officers and to carry on the customary work of
the Lodge.
The new charter, under which we are now working, was issued on June 8,
1844 to replace the old charter of 1822. Finally, on April 4, 1949 the
original charter of 1822 was found and returned to the lodge and in due time
to the Grand Lodge. Thus, St. George’s has worked under three
dispensations ans three charters during more than 170 years of continuous
Masonic existence.
Since old St. George’s was first opened, in due form, the Lodge has given
Masonic birth to thousands of upright men and Masons—eminet statesmen,
scholars, jurists and divines; and many noted in industry, manufacturing,
business, and finance have gone forth from her midst. She has been noted
far and wide for charity, fraternity, and a steadfast belief in the Fatherhood of
God and the Brotherhood of Man. In countries throughout the world her sons
continue to uphold the standard of her excellence. Under her patronage and
protection many new lodges and concordant orders have gone forth in
infancy and have achieved places of honor in our Masonic world. All reflect
credit upon our common Masonic Mother. Her sons have builded her
different homes, but regardless of size, style or location, they have always
been used to promote those great Masonic principles that are enduring in
every age.

W.’. Kenneth D. Bartlett

Lodge Historian

October

This information was contained in the By-Laws of St. George’s Lodge
Number 6 that were Proposed on December 14, 1944, Approved by Grand
Lodge on March 31, 1945 and Adopted on April 26, 1945.

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