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Freemasonry is the world’s first and largest fraternal organization. Poughkeepsie has had two Masonic Lodges. Since the 18th century locally, Masons have been men of achievement and influence. The first Lodge was Solomon’s Lodge No. 1, but the anti-masonic political movement in the 1820s ensured its demise. A second Lodge, No. 266, was created in 1852. DCHS is fortunate to have the responsibility to archive and preserve important early documents, as well as items from a number of collections where individuals were Masons.
This 1780 certificate for Major Nicholas Fish shows the extraordinary pedigrees of the men involved in Solomon’s Lodge No. 1 at the time. Fish is the ancestor to the generations of public servants named Hamilton Fish, and the document is signed by Capt. James Livingston, Capt. Abraham Swartwout, and Andrew Billings. DCHS Collections.
February 22 is not only the anniversary of the birth of George Washington, but the anniversary of the opening of the Masonic Temple on Poughkeepsie’s Cannon Street in 1895.
Among the souvenirs from that event is a medal commemorating an important visit of George Washington to Poughkeepsie, who was an active Mason. On December 27, 1782, Washington was formally received at the home of Lewis Dubois, who was Grand Master of the Poughkeepsie Masonic Lodge. His home was located on Market Street just north of where the Bardavon is today, and was used for Masonic meetings. The man responsible for the design and gift of the coin to the Masons, Helmus Barratt, was born October 25, 1846 in DCHS’s home, Clinton House on Main Street. He was a founder and life-long Director of the First National Bank and an active Mason and patriotic American.
A Methodist Episcopal Church was built on Cannon Street in 1854. On February 22, 1895, opening ceremonies revealed an enlarged and remodeled building as the new Masonic Temple, keeping the columns and general appearance of the front. DCHS Collections.
Master Mason certificate from Lodge 226, successor to Solomon’s Lodge, dated November 28, 1860 for Joseph Wright. Wright operated a successful dry goods store on Main Street for many years and was perhaps best known as the Colonel of the 400-strong Twenty-first Regiment which was based locally.
Above: Master Mason certificate from Lodge 226, successor to Solomon’s Lodge, dated November 28, 1860 for Joseph Wright. Wright operated a successful dry goods store on Main Street for many years and was perhaps best known as the Colonel of the 400-strong Twenty-first Regiment which was based locally. DCHS Collections.
Click below right for full screen view of 1968 history of Lodge No. 266 by George Ress.
Above: Jewel presented in 1851 “as a token of respect” to A. M. Sweet, first master of the newly created Lodge No. 266. DCHS Collections.