Current as of:
The world was much larger in those days. News from abroad was old before it reached our shores. President Buchanan had been inaugurated in March, slavery and its spread into the new territories was the great issue of the day, and talk of secession filled the southern air. It was a year of prosperity, yet a year that saw anger, hatred and violence; forerunners of a storm that would cost a half million American lives. Nevertheless, it was a year that saw the workings of a force greater than any storm -- amid all the quarreling, America was entering even then on a continental destiny.
Gloversville was a sprawling, recently incorporated village of about 1,300 souls, with the name of Timothy Miller appearing on the records as its first Treasurer. Then, it was a leather and glove manufacturing center. To quote a history of Fulton County: "In those portions of the city occupied by the leather mills, one can see acres of lamb, sheep, calf, hog, goat, deer, kangaroo and dog skins hung upon racks to dry. Cart loads of skins in every process of dressing are met on every street and alley, and every thoroughfare contains its share of glove shops."
Against such a backdrop of history, a group of Masons led by Village Treasurer, Timothy Miller, met during the winter of 1857 and resolved to petition the Grand Lodge of the State for a dispensation to form a Masonic Lodge in the newly incorporated village. On April 9th 1857 a dispensation was received empowering and authorizing the following brethren to act in the capacity of a Lodge: Timothy Miller, Moses S. Adams, William Ward, George W. Hogeboom, John Sunderlin, Daniel Potter, all members of St. Patrick's Lodge No. 4 in Johnstown; William S. Ingraham and Flavel B. Sprague of Fish House Lodge No. 298, and John Hyman of Temple No. 14 in Troy.
Timothy Miller was appointed Master, Moses Adams, Senior Warden and W. S. Ingraham, Junior Warden. During the period of dispensation the by-laws of St. Patrick's Lodge were adopted as Gloversville's by-laws with the exception of the meeting night, which was the second and fourth Thursday. The Lodge received its Charter on July 27, 1857 from R\W\ Nathan S. Johnson, the District Deputy Grand Master at that time.
At the first communication, the first petition, that of Nathan J. Burton was received. It is not recorded how many attended that communication but it is stated that all visitors were from St. Patrick's Lodge. At the third communication of the Lodge, Burke was initiated and passed; the conferring of two degrees in an evening being a common practice at that time. The initiation fee was $15.00. Our early brethren must have felt encouraged at their progress, for at their fourth communication they appointed a committee to procure the necessary regalia, implements and working tools. One can only guess as to what they were using to this time -- borrowed perhaps or improvised, but shortly thereafter the committee moved for an expenditure of $102.00 for the acquisition of the necessary materials.
Before the year ended, another noteworthy event was to take place. In November a special communication was held, the particular object of which was "to receive from our venerable and R\W\ Brother Oliver Rice, who this day visits us, a set of lodge jewels used in time past by Constellation Lodge, a lodge formerly located in Mayfield, NY, said jewels to be deposited with Gloversville Lodge for their use hereafter."
The ensuing years saw the adoption of by-laws and the setting of dues at $2.00 yearly, payable quarterly, and the lodge enjoyed a steady growth. The passing years also brought the great war between the North and South, and Masonic brotherhood, recorded in so many incidents of the war was exemplified by our own Lodge. Southern lodges appealed to us for aid and aid was promptly forthcoming. The name of Brother Frederick M. Lloyd is the only lodge Brother listed as lost in action, and the lodge was quick to respond to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln with resolutions lamenting the vile assassination of the lamented President of the United States.
By the war's end the lodge had grown to nearly 150 members and a committee was appointed to "get the ballot box suitably altered and repaired". It apparently saw much greater and severe use then than now. Still another glimpse of history is caught in October 1871 when a communication was read from the Grand Master requesting aid and relief for the suffering of the Chicago fire. On a motion by Brother A. D. L. Baker, the sum of $209 was raised in a very few minutes. Gloversville Masons always seemed to have been most liberal to those in distress, for a few years later, despite hard times, a large sum was collected for the relief of Southern brethren suffering from the scourge of yellow fever.
Intense Masonic interest was evident in all reports, and communications were well attended, with half the membership turning out for a regular meeting. Funerals were also well attended with thirty to fifty members usually attending. It was a fairly common practice for the lodge to assume the funeral expenses of a deceased member, and Masonic relief arrived quickly when needed.
Gloversville Masons participated in many public events, one of the most notable of which was the laying of the cornerstone of the old Post Office on South Main Street in 1905. With special permission from the federal government, the lodge laid the cornerstone with appropriate ceremony. More than half the records placed in the cornerstone were Masonic in nature and when the building was demolished in 1945 these documents were returned to the Lodge.
From 1857 to 1875 the Lodge had used rooms in the Frederick Young Building, present site of the City National Bank, with a yearly rental of $100. In 1875 the Lodge moved to 21 West Fulton Street at a yearly rental of $350, reduced soon after to $250. This remained the home of the Lodge until 1898 when the Lodge moved to the southeast corner of Main and Fremont Streets, where it remained until December 21, 1920 when the new Temple at the corner of North Main Street and First Avenue was completed. The total cost of the building and furnishings amounted to nearly $125,000, and the membership went to work immediately to reduce the indebtedness. Well over $30,000 in bonds were purchased by the members and given to the lodge as well as gifts of money and furnishings.
On the evening of December 21st, following the Temple dedication, the
first regular communication was held. Five candidates were initiated
and eleven petitions for degrees were received as well as three for dual
membership and one for affiliation. The ensuing years have seen good
times and bad, but they have always seen a dedicated group of brethren
working for the good of the fraternity. As the working tools of life are
laid down by our older brethren, they are just as quickly grasped by younger
hands eager to carry on in a changing world.
For further information regarding Gloversville Lodge No. 429
contact the Secretary - Bro. Sean Gittens
Physical address: 22 N. Perry Street, Johnstown, NY 12095
Mailing address: P. O. Box - 896, Johnstown, NY 12095-0896
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