Volume LIXAugust 2012Number 3

"Morgan: The Scandal that Shook Freemasonry"
by Stephen Dafoe Reviewed by Cathy Giaimo, Assistant Librarian,
The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania

The kidnapping and disappearance of Bro. William Morgan in Batavia, N.Y., in September 1826 by local Masons not only besmirched the good name of Freemasonry, it almost caused its demise. Bro. Stephen Dafoe has tackled this sad story with an open mind and a willingness to dive into the historical evidence. By writing this book in a narrative style, he has made the characters that populate this historical work living, breathing human beings.

Morgan was the sort of man who, if he had not had bad luck, he would have had no luck at all. He worked hard but had nothing to show for it. He also enjoyed visiting the local lodges, and even more, the festivities (and libations!) that followed. From time to time, the lodges would help him out financially, but eventually he soured on Freemasonry and perhaps more importantly, the members themselves. With a chip on his shoulder, he set out to expose the rituals with the help of a printer friend, David Miller. It was supposed to be a secret, but when Morgan drank, he bragged to all who were in the tavern. This alarmed the local brothers and set in motion the tragic events that followed.

Morgan's disappearance put a black eye on the Masonic community, which was further damaged by the self-serving interests on both sides of the issue. Bro. Dafoe, nevertheless, reveals the injustice done to Morgan in the name of Masonic brotherhood, as well as the deeds of the Anti-Masons, making Morgan a martyr and trying to destroy the fraternity. Bro. Dafoe has his opinions on Morgan's demise, which he shares with the reader in his final chapter. He also has included, verbatim, relevant source material that was used in his research and puts to rest what some members would rather not know about.

Anti-Masonic feelings continue into this century, either through misinformation or ignorance. If you are interested in the history of Anti-Masonry or in the defense of Freemasonry, please visit the Circulating Library website at www.pagrandlodge.org or call the Library toll-free at (800) 462-0430, ext. 1933.

Brother Jackson Goes to Washington. Yet Again!
by Dr. Glenys A. Waldman, Librarian, The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania

On the cover of the November 1990 issue of "The Pennsylvania Freemason" appeared a famous portrait and an article by this author titled, "Bro. Jackson Goes to Washington. Again."

This time, the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution has again honored your Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania with a request to borrow Bro. Charles Willson Peale's superb portrait of Bro. and General Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), our seventh President (1829-1837). This time, instead of focusing on Bro. Jackson's life, the exhibition is in commemoration of the War of 1812, in which Bro. Jackson played a crucial role as Commander at the decisive Battle of New Orleans. Titled, "1812: A Nation Emerges," the exhibition will run from June 15, 2012, through Jan. 27, 2013.

Nicknamed "Old Hickory," Bro. Jackson was wildly popular - a living legend. In addition to his military and political careers, Bro. Jackson was an avid Freemason. Although the record for Bro. Jackson has not been located, he seems to have been a member of St. Tammany Lodge No. 1, Nashville, Tenn., as early as 1800. It was the first lodge in Tennessee, organized in 1789, under a dispensation from the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. The name was changed to Harmony Lodge No. 1 on Nov. 1, 1800. Bro. Jackson is officially listed as a member in the Lodge Return to the Grand Lodge of North Carolina and Tennessee for 1805. On Dec. 27, 1813, the Grand Lodge of Tennessee was granted its own Constitution. Bro. Jackson was the sixth Grand Master of Masons of Tennessee, serving from Oct. 7, 1822, until Oct. 4, 1824.

Table of Contents | Index of Issues | Home