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NY Masonic Control “In Plain Sight”

Sunday, July 24, 2016 5:42
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Left. The assassination of William Morgan, engraved by artist Pierre Méjanel.
After a national scandal almost two hundred years ago, Freemasonry is still a visible presence in Western New York.

By Richard W. Keene

In 1826, a signal event occurred in Western New York that shook the nation and the world. William Morgan, a Freemason, printer, and family man living in Batavia was kidnapped and presumably murdered by his fellow Masons. 

In the firestorm that followed, the United States Anti-Masonic Political Party was formed. The Anti-Masonic Party opposed the election of Freemason and Democratic party presidential candidate Andrew Jackson in 1828.
As news of the abduction and murder of Morgan spread, many New York Freemasons renounced lodge memberships, published secret lodge ceremonies, and joined with Anti-Masons in exposing Masonry as a corrupting and controlling influence in government (1, 2).

To this day, Masons proclaim their innocence in Morgan’s disappearance, but some facts are indisputable. In 1827, Mason and New York Governor at the time, Dewitt Clinton, removed fellow Mason and Niagara County Sheriff, Eli Bruce, from office for suspicion in the abduction of Morgan and for obstructing justice by running interference to protect his fellow conspirators. Eli Bruce was tried and convicted in Morgan’s disappearance a year later.

Anti-Masons at the time asserted that seven counties in Western New York had sheriffs that were high Masons at or above the Royal Arch degree. Most judges and individuals serving on petit juries were Masons. Grand juries were often comprised of Masons because these juries were appointed by the local sheriff who was a Mason.

Anti-Masons complained that Masons illicitly operated behind the scenes of government and, in doing so, acted as a secret unelected influence that violated laws, sacredness of private property, personal liberty, human life, and due process.


Despite the furor of the Morgan Affair long ago, Freemasonry presently exhibits an open presence in New York that suggests it exerts as much influence in government as it did two hundred years ago. Masonic lodges are sometimes built adjacent to, or as integral part of government buildings, and Masonic symbols appear in plain sight on major public structures.

In the Village of Middleport, for example, the local lodge is situated on Main Street where it sits immediately adjacent to the Police Department. The Police Department, in turn, is right next to Village Administrative offices, meaning that the Police department shares a wall with Village Administration on one side and the lodge on the other.

A number of local residents have privately complained about abuse of authority and corruption within the Middleport police department. The head of the lodge occupies a seat on the Middleport  planning board.


In the nearby Town of Yates, the lodge is located within the municipal building itself. Local residents joke that after public meetings are held on the first floor of the Town Hall, Masons then adjourn upstairs where all consequential government decisions are made.

Sometimes Masonic symbols openly appear on public structures. For example, at the Buffalo-Niagara International Airport, a compass and square symbol is ‘hidden in plain sight’ immediately over the security entrance through which all passengers must pass (Figure 3).



This rendition of the ubiquitous symbol shows a compass set at thirty three degrees and the square set at it’s usual ninety degrees. What this particular rendition of the compass and square symbolizes might be worthwhile to explore in a separate narrative.

Despite the obvious conjunction of Masonic symbols and lodges with government buildings, public discussion of Masonry falls into the category of verboten conversation. Whenever I’ve broached the subject with local residents, a singular reaction seems to prevail: As soon as the word Mason is spoken, there is a a hushing of the voice, slight lowering of the head, eyes darting quickly back and forth to see who’s watching, and further conversation on the subject of Masonry terminates.


(2) Proceedings of the United States Anti-Masonic Convention. Philadelphia: P. Trimble: 1830. Print. 


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  • stompk

    Every town you enter in Colorado has all the Masonic signs set up at each entry point. It’s disgusting really.

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