James A. Wright.

Historical sketches of the town of Moravia, from 1791 to 1873 online

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the time of the creation of th(^ world. The original
fonnation of the order was in all respects very crude
and uninteresting ; aiming to regulate the afl'airs in-
cident to business relations, and to the duties of i^rac-
tical life ; l)ut it possessed none of the imposing cere-
monials, or exterior disx)lay and grandeur for which
it is now cel(4)rated. A bnv mechanics or masons by
trade, formed a league or union, for the advancement
of their occupation, the better protection of their
rights, and to secure the increased strengtli and in-
fluence which a. societ^^ oi- organization generally
possess. They were governed by certain simple rules
applicable to their business and the times in wliicli
they lived. Among their ancient chargcis Avas the
followinir, which recommends itself to ev(M-v oners,


weiglits, and tlie trin? manner of forming all things
for man's nso, diielly dwellings and buildings of all
kinds, and all other things that make good to man.

Question. Where did it begin (

Answer. It did begin with the first men in the east,
which were before the first men of the west ; and
coming westerly, it hath brought herewith all com-
forts to the lone and comfortless.

Question. Who did bring it westerly i

Answer. The Phpnecians, who being great mer-
chants, came first from the east in Phonecia, for the
convenience of merchandise, both east and west, by
the Red and Midean seas.

Question. How came it in England ?

Answers. Pythagoras, a Grecian, journeyed for
knowledge in Egypt and in Syria, and in ever^^ land
wherein the Phonecians had planted masonry ; gain-
ing entrance in all lodges of masons, he learned much,
and returned and worked in Grecia [Magna, growing
and becoming a mighty wiseacre, and greatly renown-
ed, and here he framed a great lodge at Groton, and
made many masons, some whereof did journey in
France and made many masons, wherefrom in pro-
cess of time, the art passed into England.

Question. What arts hath the masons taught man-
kind ?

Answer. Agriculture, architecture, astronomy, ge-
ometry, numbers, chemistry, music, government and

Question, How came masons more teachers than
other men 1


Answer. Tliey tlieni selves liave only the art of
finding new arts, wliieli arts the first masons received
from God, by the which they find what arts Ilim
pleaseth, and the true way of teaching the snme. —
What other men do find out is only by chance, and
therefore but little, I trow.

Question. T)o all masons know more than other
men ;'

Answer. Not so. They only hath right and occa-
sion more than othei- men to know, and many do
fail in capacity, and mau}^ more do want industry,
that is absolutely necessary for the gaining of all

Question. Are masons better men than others i

Answer. Some masons are not so virtuous as some
other men, but in most part, they be more good than
they would be if they Avere not masons.

Question. Do masons love each other mightily, as
liatli been said ?

Answer. Yea, veril}", and it may not otherwise be ;
for good men and true, knowing each other to be
such, do always love the more, as they be more good."

The following is the closing portion of the note
referred to al)ove, written by John Locke to the Right
Honorable Thomas Earle, of Pembroke, to whom he
sent the manuscript.

"I know not what the effect the sight of this old
paper may have upon j'our lordship, but for my own
part, I cannot deny that it has so much raised my
curiosity as to induce me to enter myself into the
fraternity ; which I am determined to do (if I may be


adiiiitte'd,) the next time I go to London, (and tliat
will be shortly).

I am, my Lord, yonr Lordships most obedient
. and most hnmble servant.


It will be seen from the foregoing extracts, that
Free Masonry originated in the interests of a class of
tradesmen, or architects, for their better protection,
profit, and better knowledge of their trade, which
the order secured to them. From this germ has
grow^n a tree, whose l)ranches extend thronghont
Christendom, and the fruit of which has been glad-
ness and consolation to many in time of weariness
and distress.

Latterly, however, the distinctive characteristics of
the original order, to wit : the advancement of cer-
tain mechanical pursuits and the interests of a class
of tradesmen, have become unimportant and obso-
lete, especially in our ow^n country, where labor in
all its branches, is honorable, and the rights of all
men are guaranteed by constitutional enactments
and enforced b}^ Judicial dictums.

The seeming necessity of the oi-ganization for the
mechanic of the earlier ages, no longer exists or is
no longer applicable to those of the present day. —
But the order thus established has never ceased to
exist, and for the most part flourish. There must be
something attractive in this bond of union ; some-
thing real in this system of brotherhood which has
withstood the chans^es which time has w-rought, the


turmoil and confusion of revolutions, and the rise
and fall of empires. And there c(^rtainly is. Ma-
sonry with such small and almost insignificant begin-
ning, has ontgiown its swaddling clothes, aiid become
a power in the world. Uniting with morality and
benevolence, pecuniary means one of the most essen-
tial elements of successful operation in anj' cause.
Masonry is established on a firm foundation, to wit :
brotherly love and charity. To be a true mason, one
must be, to say the least, a moral man, "he is firmly
to believe in the existence of a Supreme Being, who
will be the Judge of our actions, and i-eward us ac-
cording to merit, to pay Him that worship and vene-
ration which is due to Him as the great architect of
the universe." He is to be loyal to the government,
^peaceable and obedient to the civil j)owers which
yield him protection. He is to avoid all manner of
intemperance or excess w^hicli might obstruct his jier-
formance of the laudable duties of the order, or lead
him into crimes which would reflect dishonor upon
the fraternity. "He is to abstain from all nmlice,
slander, and evil speaking ; from all unmannerly,
scornful, provoking, reproachful, or ungodly lan-
guage, keeping always a tongue of good report."

Another important element is the requirement of giv-
ing pecuniary relief to those who are needy, esj^ecially
if they belong to, or are connected in any way with
the order, though they are not circumscribed in libe-
rality toward destitution wherever it exists.

It is however but just that the funds received into
the treasuiy of the order should be expended when


necessary, upon those wlio have assisted in accumu-
lating such fund. Tlie widows and the orphans of
deceased members of the fraternity, liave received
aid and comfort from this source when but for this
sympathetic and timely action, want and distress
would have been their portion.

The assistino- and comfortino; arm of tlic l)rother-
hood encircles each of its members, and the interests
of his family. And here it may be w(.^ll to say that
the idea of which some are, through ignorance, pos-
sessed that free masons are bound by their obliga-
tions to assist a brother to escape from just punish-
ment, which h(' has incurred, by his own evil acts,
or to protect him in his wrong doing, is a mistaken
idea, and in direct opposition to the teachings aiid
the s])irit of true masonry.

Thus much of the origin and primary object of
free masonry, and its present aims and pretentions.
With the faults or inconsistencies of individual mem-
bers, we have nothing here to do ; these are but a
disgrace to themselves and not an argument which
can with candor be used against the order. Church-
es have their hypocritical m(Mid)e]'s, but religion re-
mains the same. The general principles of free ma-
sonry are correct, and highly moral, and if practi-
cally observed, tend to honor the Great Master and
to establish ])eace and good will to men upon tlie

A lodge of free masons was tlrst established in the
United States at Boston, Mass., April 30* 1734, and
in the state of New York on September oth, 1781.


In 1810 a lodge was constituted in Moravia, (tlien
Seinpronius,) and named "Sylvan Lodge No. 4-1,"'
and has been in active operation without cessation,
since that date. The names of the members who
have held the office of Worshipful Master, which is
the highest official position in the lodge, will appear
hereafter as representatives of Sylvan Lodge to the
Grand Chapter.

A Grand Chapter was organized at Albany, IS. Y.,
March 14, 1798, with BeWitt Clinton as Deputy
Grand High Priest. At a Grand Royal Arch Chap-
ter, held at Albany, IS^. y., February 5th, 1811, the
following dispensation was granted "To Companions
John ISTewcomb and others to hold a Chapter of Roy-
al Arch Masons at Owasco Plats, in the Town of
Sempronius, County of Cayuga, 'N. Y., November
23d, 1810," and thereafter on Pebruary 6th, the action
of the Grand High Priest in granting such dispen-
sation, was ratified, and a warrant issued as follows :

" To Companions John Newcomb, Cyrus Powers,
and David Annable, to hold a Chapter at Owasco
Flats, in Seinpronius, Cayuga County, N. Y., by the
name of ' St. John the Baptist Chapter, No, 30.'"

We give below the names of the representatives of
this Chapter to the Grand Chaptei', held at Albany,
N. Y., annually, to wit ;

1812— John Newcomb. 1844—0. M. Welch.

1813— Cyrus Powers. 1845— Samuel E. Day.

1814^1. Piatt. 1846—0. M. Welch.

1815— Cyrus Powers. 1847— Orsamus Dibble.




1848— Orsamus I)ibblt\


1850— Samuel E. Day.

1851— AVilliam Wade.

1852— Nelson T. Stephens.

George Hart.

William Wade.

1855 — James H. Wood.
185G— "

1857 — William Wade.
1858 — Sanmel E. Day.
1859- N. T. Stephens.
18G0— "

1861— William Wade.
1862— Benjamin L. Avery.
1863— James H. Holden.
1864— "

1865— William Wade.

1867— S. Edwin Day.

1869— " "

1870— Jolin C. Chase.
1871— Henry A. AYliitman.
1872— " " "

1873— Fred B. Heald.

1816— Ithial Piatt.

1817— Elias Hall.

1818 — Not represented.

1819— "

1820— J olm Newcomb.

1821— Ovriis Powers.

1822— ■' "

1823— Not represented.

1824— Joel Bartlett.

1825 — WaiTen Parsons.

1826— "

1827— " "
1828— Channcey Wright.
1829— Orsamus Dibble.
1830 — E])enezer Smith.
1831 — John Locke.
1832— Not represented.
1833— Orsamus Dibble.
1834— Not represented.
1835— Orsamus Dibble.
1836- Henry Carroll.
1837— Orsamus Dibble.
1838— " "
1839— Ebenezer Smith.
1840— Channcey AYright.
1841— AYillianrWade^
1842— Orsamus Dibble.
1843— Samuel E. Day.

At a meeting of the Grand Chapter, held at Albany,
February 8tli, 1849, Orsamus Dibble, a very promi-
nent and zealous mason of this town, was elected
Grand King for the ensuing year.

The order of Free Masons has now in the United
States 4,000 Lodges, and over 500,000 members. In-
deed a powerful organization for good, if the virtues
of the order could keep pace with its steadily increas-
ing membership. -'So mote it be."


Moravia Agricultural Society — Organization —
Rules and Regulations — Officers, &c.

A meeting of the citizens of this town was held at
the "Moravia House," September 18th, 1858, upon
tlie suggestion of H. Alley and Wm. Tallman, (who
drew the notices of the meeting which were posted
about the village by Mr. Alley,) to consult upon the
expediency of holding a Town Fair and Festival.

Gurdon L. Mead was chosen Cliairman, and M. K.
Alley, Secretary. The meeting then decid

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Online LibraryJames A. WrightHistorical sketches of the town of Moravia, from 1791 to 1873 → online text (page 5 of 17)