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William Morgan by Noel Holmes
The history of William Morgan and the aftermath of his disappearance in 1826 continues to fuel the flames of anti-masonic rhetoric.
Cummings' notes on Morgan
These quotes are taken from Bibliography of Anti-masonry by William Leon Cummings.[1] They are provided here as further information to that found on the related pages noted on the left.
1. William L. Stone says: "Morgan, by his own confession, was a private soldier in the army and nothing more." [p. 19.]
2. All efforts have failed to determine in what lodge, if any, Morgan was made a Mason. Samuel D. Greene, in his book, The Broken Seal, [2] claims that Morgan was a member of Batavia Lodge, No. 433, but this is clearly false. [p. 23]
3. That he visited the lodge at LeRoy, Lockport and some other towns is clearly established. [p. 24.]
4. A mis-statement very frequently made by writers, who would have known it to be untrue if they had taken the trouble to look up the records, is that Morgan gained admission as a visitor to Wells Lodge, No. 282, at Batavia. Wells Lodge was warranted June 5, 1817, at Rochester, and surrendered its charter at the same time as the other Masonic bodies in Monroe County, in 1830. The returns made to the Grand Lodge during its thirteen years of existence show that its places of meeting (Rochester, Gates and Brighton) were all within the present city limits of the city of Rochester.
The origin of the statement, so frequently repeated, that Wells Lodge was located at Batavia, is evidently due to the fact that Morris in his book, William Morgan, or Political Anti-masonry, inadvertantly makes it on page 61. Although he later corrects this (page 81) nearly every writer since 1883 has repeated the incorrect statement. [p. 24.]
5. By some means or other Morgan succeeded in convincing the officers and members of Western Star chapter, No. 35, at LeRoy, N.Y. (Now at Batavia, N.Y.), that he was in possession of the required preliminary degrees and he was exalted to the degree of Royal Arch Mason in that chapter on May 31, 1825. [p. 24-25.]
6. David C. Miller, proprietor of the "Republican Advocate", undertook the publication of Morgan’s manuscript. [p. 26.]
7. The establishment of a rival paper had diverted a considerable amount of business from the "Advocate" office, and Miller’s finances were at a low ebb. This is evidenced by the fact that Daniel Johns was permitted to buy into the "syndicate" with an investment of less than fifty dollars. [p. 26.]
8. Morgan’s Illustrations is not merely a copy of an earlier exposé as has been freguently asserted. It shows indications that the writer was fairly familiar with the actual working of Lodges at that period. [p. 27.]
9. Brother David McGregor, Grand Historian of the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter of New Jersey, through an intensive study of the shipping news of the time, has proved beyond the possibility of doubt that the vessels on which it is reported that Morgan sailed, and the captains in charge of these vessels, were voyaging to entirely different parts of the world at the time Morgan is said to have taken passage. [p. 30.]
10. In this connection it should be remembered that Governor Clinton issued three proclamations dealing with the matter. The first dated October 4, 1826, mentions the law violations and outrages claimed to have been committed on the persons and citizens of Batavia, and urges all good citizens to co-operate with the authorities to maintain law and order; the second, dated October 26, 1826, states that the whereabouts of Morgan are still unknown, and offers a reward of $300.00 for the discovery of the offenders, or $100.00 for the discovery of each and every one of them, to be paid on conviction, and a further reward of $200.00 for authentic information of the place where Morgan had been conveyed. In the third proclamation, dated March 19, 1827, the amount of the reward was increased to $1000.00 for the discovery of William Morgan, if alive, and if murdered, the sum of $2000.00 for the discovery and conviction of the offenders.
At the instance [sic] of Governor Clinton, Sir P. Maitland, Governor of Uppper Canada, issued an offer of £ 50 reward for any information respecting William Morgan. This was dated January 31, 1827, and was published in the "Upper Canada Gazette" in February, 1827. [pp. 30-31.]
11. The first printed mention I have found of Miller’s being an Entered Apprentice Mason appears in the "Masonic Intelligencer", of Batavia, N.Y., March 14, 1827. It is as follows:
About 18 years ago Miller took the Entered Apprentice Degree in an Albany, N.Y., lodge. He found it convenient to leave that vicinity. He afterwards applied for the second and third degrees in the lodge at Stafford, N.Y., but did not receive them, due to lack of proper vouchers.
Miller signed his name to a certificate that the Illustrations of Masonry, by Morgan, was a fair and full exposition (LeRoy convention, July 4, 1828). In both cases he appended to his signature the statement that he had received one degree of Masonry, but says nothing as to the time or place of receiving it.
The best evidence we have that Miller was an Entered Apprentice is his own statement to that effect. There seems to be no reason for disputing this statement, even if we are unable to determine where he received the degree. If he was desirous of receiving the other two degrees at any time between 1821 and 1825, the most logical place for him to have made application would have been to the lodge at Stafford. There was no lodge in Batavia at that time, Olive Branch Lodge No. 215 having removed to East Bethany in 1821, and Batavia Lodge, No. 433, was not formed until 1825. [p. 33-34.]
12. Masonic writers have quite generally disputed Miller’s right to the title of colonel. He was, however, fully entitled to this. The records of the War Department at Washington show that his service in the War of 1812 began on September 1, 1814, and ended November 1, 1814, during which time he served as quartermaster sergeant on the staff of Major General Peter B. Porter, in his corps of detached New York Militia. However, "The Military Minutes of the Council of Appointment for the State of New York," (Albany, N.Y. 1901—4 vols.) show that he was appointed captain of the 164th Regiment of Infantry in Genesee County in 1817, and lieutenant colonel of the same regiment in 1820. Thus, the title of colonel came to him through the State Militia and not in the Federal service. [pp. 34-35.]
13. At the time of his disappearance she was left wih two small children, one born in 1824 and the other in 1826. The elder of these, a daughter, married David Bates Smith, a Mississipi River steamboat captain, and died near Mehama, Oregon, in November, 1882. The son, Thomas Morgan, died in east St. Louis, Illinois, in 1863. There was probably another daughter, who died in infancy. [p. 35.]
14. Morris claims that Mrs. Harris (formerly Mrs. Morgan) joined the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity, and was a nurse in a hospital in Memphis Tennissee, during the war of 1861-1865. Both McLenachan and Knight have copied this statement. I have been unable to verify it from other sources, and the statement itself seems rather questionable. Neither the War Department records nor the records of the church contain any information concerning her. Furthermore, it has been ascertained that there were such requirements for membership in the Roman Catholic sisterhoods, as age, financial resources, etc., with which it would seem that she would have been unable to comply. [p. 36.]
Recently discovered evidence proves that she died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Lucinda Wesley Smith, in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1856, thus rendering untenable the theory that she was in any way connected with the hospital service during the War Between the States. [p. 36.]
15. It has been impossible to establish the time of his settling in Batavia. He had evidently lived there for some time prior to 1825. He was a Mason, but there is no record of the lodge in which he received the degrees. He affiliated with Batavia Lodge, No. 433, September 20, 1825, and was expelled from that lodge on August 15, 1826.
The "Republican Advocate" of February 15, 1828, carries a notice of the death of his wife, Margaret, at Batavia, February 12, 1828, aged 41 years.
On November 23, 1830, he married Mrs. Lucinda Morgan. Not long afterward he became connected with the Mormon movement and rose to high rank in the councils of the church. [p. 37.]
16. The first actual "anti-Masonic" convention was probably held at Seneca, N.Y., on January 13, 1827. Others followed in rapid succession, some nineteen of these being held in New York State during that year. [p. 40.]
A convention of Baptist churches, held at Milton, Saratoga County, New York, on September 12th and 13th, 1827, was probably the first organized religious opposition to freemasonry. [p. 40.]

1. William Leon Cummings, Bibliography of Anti-masonry. With a Sketch of the "Morgan Affair" and an Appendix Containing Several Important Documents Etc. North Carolina Lodge of Research, No. 666. Syracuse, N.Y., September 24, 1933. pb. 128 pp.f
2. Samuel D. Greene, The Broken Seal; or Personal Reminiscences of the Morgan Abduction and Murder. Boston, 1870. 12mo pp. 304, Chicago 873.


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