First NY Masonic Lodge outside of Manhattan informally started by an Irish Military Lodge

On the revolutionary battleground extending between the waters of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River and up to Fort Edward, traitors, double agents, royalists, loyalists, patriots and American Indians were gathering intelligence, trading in goods and being made Masons.  The French forces (who would later march unsuccessfully against Fort Edward, only to be met with canon balls ushered in by the colonial forces) were in Montreal and later the Dutch gathered in Albany.  The British formed an alliance with the Iroquis while the Algonquian tribes cooperated with the Dutch.  The British regiments were attached to lodges which would meet in the off hours of war.  Military lodges were a common theme amongst the Colonies, and the Colonial forces congregated in a lodge at Fort William Henry on Lake George.  In the winter of 1758, the 2nd Battalion of Royal Scots, attached to the Military Masonic Lodge No. 74 under the Irish Constitution, quartered at Albany and initiated several residents in the area into Freemasonry.  When the regiment pulled out of Albany, they left behind a copy of their lodge's charter and a certificate which read as follows:

We, the Master, Warden and Brethren of a Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, No. 74, Registry of Ireland, held in the second Battalion Royal, adorned with all the honors, and assembled in due form, Do hereby declare, certify and attest that Whereas, our body is very numerous by the addition of many new members, merchants and inhabitants of the city of Albany, they having earnestly requested and besought us to enable them to hold a Lodge during our absence from them and we knowing them to be men of undoubted reputation and men of skill and ability in Masonry and desirous to promote the welfare of the Craft:  We have, therefore by unanimous consent and agreement, given them an exact true copy of our Warrant as above, and have properly installed Mr. Richard Cartright, Mr. Henry Bostwick and Mr. W. Ferguson, as Assistant Master and Wardens of our body, allowing them to set and act during our absence, or until they, by our assistance, can procure a separate WARRANT for themselves from the GRAND LODGE IN IRELAND.

Given under our hands and seal of our Lodge in the City of Albany, the eleventh day of April, in the year of MASONRY, 5759, and in the year of our LORD GOD 1759.

THOMAS  PARKER, Junior Warden

The group of Masons left behind in Albany continued to function and flourish as a lodge, and they came under the Grand Lodge of New York in 1807.  On May 12th, 1768, the cornerstone was laid for the first lodge building to be built and owned by Masons for Masonic purposes in North America.


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