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The murder of William Morgan
These events occurred in the western part of New York in 1826...
  • William Morgan was a Royal Arch mason
  • He determined to publish the secrets of the order
  • He was kidnapped, secretly transported more than 100 miles to a fortress prepared by freemasons.
  • He was held for several days where he underwent insult and abuse
  • He was then privately murdered and (it is believed) his body was dropped into a lake
  • The kidnap abuse and murder was designed and approved of by several hundred of the most respectable and intelligent of the masonic brethren following many meetings
  • These included legislators, judges, sheriffs, clergymen, generals, physicians, lawyers.
  • They deemed it their masonic duty to murder him
  • The company who had agreed to print Morgan's expose was targeted by the same group
  • The printer's building was set on fire - at night - by an incendiary device
  • A family of ten persons occupied the lower part of the building
  • The printers six assistants slept in the upper rooms
  • On another occasion large numbers of masons armed with clubs gathered in the area with the avowed intention of taking away the manuscripts by violence
  • On another occasion a masonic constable arrested the printer under a false charge - carried him to a neighbouring village - confined him - assaulted him - and threatened him with the fate of Morgan.  With the help of friends he escaped
  • The constable, along with others was convicted
  • When inquiries were being made into Morgan's murder a state officer said "Difficulties which have never occurred in any other prosecution have been met at every step. Witnesses have been secreted; they have been sent off to Canada, and into different states of the Union...In one instance, after a party implicated had been arrested and brought into this state (New York) he was decoyed from the custody of individual having him in charge, and finally escaped. These occurrences have been so numerous and various as to forbid the belief that they are the result of individual effort alone.."
  • When the case came to public attention the outcry against masonry was great and many thousands left the ranks of freemasonry.
  • However many, having made a public show of their disapproval later started up new lodges or joined others
For full report of the proceedings of the United States Anti-Masonic convention dealing with this case go to   (This report will open in a new window so you will not leave this site in the process)


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