Archive for the ‘Murder Of William Morgan’ Category


It will be seen (says the Lancaster Examiner, on concluding the report of the trial of Elisha Adams,) that the perseverance of antimasons has at length traced this tragedy clearly to the end of the fourth act; and probably, as "murder will out," they may be able to lift the curtain once more, and yet trace it to the close of the fifth – The legal evidence adduced, (corroborated to by the admissions of adhering masons, who are now suffering punishment for their compliance with the obligations of unlawful oaths,) places it beyond doubt that a MURDER was perpetrated BY MASONS, in conformity with masonic duty. This fact, it is scarcely possible for the most incredulous to disbelieve. The plot was hatched in the lodges; it was communicated to masons, far and near; it was sanctioned and approved by them; and it was executed by "honorable and respectable" men, various masons possessing the confidence and decorated with the honors of the Craft; and the whole proceeding was based on the principles of the order, and deemed a justifiable and necessary infliction of the penalty incurred by an unfaithful brother, for the violation of his masonic oaths. A freeman was deprived of life and liberty, by the decree of a self-constituted association which arrogates to itself the attribute to sovereignty, in the infliction of capital punishment on its unfaithful members. The transaction in all its particulars and circumstances, is as startling as it is horrible. A secret, organized, and irresponsible power exists in our land claiming and exercising the right of disposition of the life of a citizen according to its own bloody code, and in violation of the laws of the land. It DECREES A MURDER, and its influence is so great and extensive that it baffles detection and defies justice: – for years in succession it contrives to prevent an elucidation of the crime, and screens the guilty perpetrators from deserved punishment. It prevails on even highminded men to justify the deed, or to laugh at it, to deny it, to prevaricate, to perjure themselves, to stifle inquiry, to mislead pursuit, to villify those engaged in developing the mystery and to laud to the skies an Institution which is stained with human blood, and which has not cast out from its communion the convicts who are now in some degree, expiating in penitentiaries, the guilt wherein they became involved by their masonic obedience.
Let those who are indeed freemen, who owe no allegiance but to God and their country, who are not restrained by unlawful oaths from performing their public duties with a good conscience, and who are not compelled by secret ties to stand aloof when the dearest rights of man are outraged, reflect on the events in the masonic history of the last four years, and be convinced that our boasted civil institutions have been rendered nearly powerless, by the masonic conspiracy to capture and murder a freeman and to sustain the perpetrators of that atrocious crime. If our laws may at this early day be thus outraged, and the exertions of retributive justice defied and defeated by a secret combination, what kind of influence may we suppose that freemasonry would exert on the country and the government, in after years if the actors in this daring outrage should escape conviction and punishment?
Circumstances strongly point at Col. William King, (now deceased,) as one of the select few engaged in the consummation of the murder. It was to him that Adams delivered the key of the magazine; it was he who requested Adams to bring the boat to the wharf at midnight; it was in his behalf that masonic power exerted itself so singularly after he fled to the western wilds; and it was he who died so suddenly and mysteriously, after he had returned to New York and surrendered himself. The following affidivat , sworn to by one whose character as a private citizen, and as a minister of the gospel, the Vermont Republican says "is entirely above reproach," will show that masons at a distance were, as such, apprized of what was doing in New York with reference to Morgan; that the murder was announced in and to the Lodge, and that Col. KING was then and there named as one of the perpetrators of the crime. We copy the affidavit from the Middlebury (Vt.) Republican of the 16th instant, which has just and opportunely reached us.

Note: The affidavit of Perly Hall can be found in the blog category "Murder Of William Morgan" and was posted on April 21, 2009.

Source: Star, March 30, 1831, page 2


Abduction and Murder of Wm. Morgan.
[Concluded from No. 48 of 1st. Vol. of the STAR.]

Orson Parkhurst, the person who drove Platt’s carriage, containing Morgan, from Rochester westward, as soon as the outrages became a matter of public investigation, was found to be absent. No trace of him could be found; and attempts were made to mislead the committees, by representing that he had gone to Michigan, and other places, widely different from the place of his actual concealment. The most diligent inquiries were made respecting him for months, and even years, and all hopes of penetrating the concealment which screened him, were nearly abandoned, when his place of residence was discovered, in August, 1829. Prompt, efficient, and secret measures were immediately taken, to secure his attendance as a witness, and he was unexpectedly arrested in the eastern part of Vermont. He had supposed that all danger of finding him had passed; and he was living in the fancied security, that if any danger of this kind threatened him, he should receive timely information. He was regularly advised by his Rochester brethren of all that transpired; and twice during his absence, George Ketchum, a pensioned agent of the Fraternity, had visited him. – Twice also, had he left his place of residence, and at each time, spent some months hiding in another state. He was brought as far as Albany; in the mean time, the fraternity at Rochester had become suspicious of the true state of the case, and sent on to Albany, that he must, at all events, be abstracted from the person having him in charge. Possessed of these instructions, agents were employed to keep a vigilant watch; and when he left Albany, in charge of the agent of the state, he was followed by an agent of the fraternity. He was thus pursued westward, nearly two hundred miles. At Montezuma, an unknown person came on board the canal boat in which Parkhurst was, just at night. He did not give his name, and no one knew him. That night, the unknown individual and Parkhurst escaped from the boat, and no tidings have been heard of him since. Parkhurst was himself a mason, and if he had testified to the truth, would have been a most important witness. It is believed, that his testimony would have disclosed the agency of several persons in Rochester in the conspiracy, against whom no proof had hitherto been found. They had therefore a deep stake in his absence.
The driver of the stage west, on the morning when Morgan was carried through Rochester, might, by his testimony, have thrown some light upon the subject. He also left the place, and when at length it was ascertained, in August, 1829, where he was, measures were taken to secure his attendance as a witness. Although these measures were taken with every precaution of secrecy yet, by some unaccountable means, he became informed of them, and fled just before the offier arrived to arrest him & the information that might have been derived from his testimony was entirely lost.
Isaac Farwell was present at Sol C. Wright’s, on the evening of the 13th of September, when the party was there with Morgan; and as they remained at that place several hours, and procured an accession to the number ot the conspirators, his testimony was exceedingly important. He, however, with the assistance of members of the masonic fraternity, so skilfully avoided the process that was issued to compel his attendance, that the public prosecutor only succeeded once in getting him before a grand jury. After that, he forfeited the bonds which he had given for his appearance to testify on trial; and not all the constant exertions of vigilant officers were sufficient to discover him again. For many months, he was secretly flying from county to county, and as the approach of courts rendered new exertions to secure him probable, hiding in Canada, without the jurisdiction of state process. Just previous to the last special circuit, held in Niagara county, the prosecuting officer of that county ascertained that he had passed through Lockport but a short time previous, and supposing that it was his intention to visit his family, who resided three miles from that place, he sent an officer there to secure him. Farewell did not visit his family, though he had not seen them for many months. It was subsequently ascertained, by an appearance so open, and that he was taken by the wife of Solomon C. Wright, and smuggled off to Canada the same night, without ever being permitted to visit his own house, or to inform his wife that he was in that vicinity. These are not the only instances of witnesses absconding or being secreted, but if all were to be enumerated, the detail would be found to be too tedious. There are circumstances existing in relation to some of them, which leave the irresistible presumption upon the mind that they were hired, at a heavy expense, to leave their houses & their business, in order that their testimony might not place the reputation, the liberty, and the lives of some members of the fraternity at hazard.
Edward Giddins was told , if he would leave the country to save his friends, any amount of money which he should demand was ready for him, and had been furnished for the express purpose. An extravagant sum was offered for his property, if he would go, by a mason, who said he was authorized to make the purchase, and that the money had been furnished by the grand lodge for the purpose.
The conduct of masonic witnesses on the stand after their attendance had been secured, is also worthy of a few remarks. With very few exceptions, they manifested an evident reluctance to testify. In some other cases, they testified with obvious and palpable falsehood. Some of them exercised a piece of casuistry, in relation to their judicial oath, which is not a little remarkable. It seems that those implicated had argued themselves into the belief, that there was no greater sin than the breaking of a masonic oath; that if they told the truth in relation to the outrage, they should divulge a secret which they were masonically bound to keep, which would criminate themselves; and that, therefore, their only course was to testify that "they knew nothing about the affair." Strange as is the infatuation manifested by this reasoning there was not wanting a counsellor of the supreme court, a royal arch mason, to advise them, that if they were implicated in the affair, they might safely swear, that "they knew nothing about it," instead of protecting themselves from answering at all, on the ground that it would criminate themselves. Certain it is, that many witnesses, to whom circumstances almost unerringly pointed, as having a knowledge of, or being implicated in, some portion of the transaction, did come forward and solemnly make oath, that "they knew nothing about the affair." Some others, who did pretend to give an account of their knowledge of the transaction, testified in such a way, as to leave an impression upon the mind of every auditor, that they had not satisfied that part of their judicial oath, which required them to tell the whole truth. No man, who heard the testimony of Hiram Hubbard, Ezra Platt, Solomon C. Wright, & some others, could believe for a moment, even from their own statements, that they had disclosed all they knew of the affair. The evidence that was extracted from witnesses of this character, was absolutely wrung from them, so reluctant did they appear to disclose. Witnesses, on several instances, came into court with their own counsel, a circumstance unheard of in courts of justice before, to advise with them what questions they were legally bound to answer. They would frequently refuse decidedly to answer a question, even after its propriety had been argued by their own counsel, and decided by the court, and continue in such contumacious conduct until the order was made out for their commitment, and then their firmness would give way, and a reluctant answer would be forced from them. Some of them, of more determination of purpose, or having more important secrets to conceal, stood out in their refusal to answer until the last: In March, 1829, Isaac Allen refused to answer a question, before the grand jury of Monroe county; the jury reported him to the court, which determined, after solemn argument, that the witness could not protect himself from answering the question. He, however, still refused, and was committed for the contempt. In June, 1829, Eli Bruce was taken before the grand jury of Genesee county, on a habeas corpus, as a witness, and he refused to be sworn. At a special circuit, held in June last, at Lockport, in Niagara county, Orsamus Turner was called as a witness, on the trial of Ezekiel Jewett, the keeper of Fort Niagara at the time of Morgan’s confinement there. The three following questions were successively put to Turner, as a witness: "Was the defendant one of the persons consulted with, in relation to separating Morgan from his friends at Batavia, as a means of suppressing the contemplated publication of a book concerning the secret of freemasonry?" "Do you know that the defendant, Ezekiel Jewett, was applied to for a place, in or about fort Niagara, for the purpose of confining William Morgan?" "Were you ever present when the subject of preparing a place at fort Niagara, or at any other place within the county of Niagara for the confinement of Morgan, was discussed in presence of defendant?" He successively refused to answer these questions; and he was sentenced, for this contumacious conduct, for the first contempt, to thirty days imprisonment, and $250 fine, and for the two last, to thirty days imprisonment, for each contempt.
On the same trial, Eli Bruce and John Whitney, were called as witnesses, and successively refused to be sworn. Bruce was sentence to thirty days imprisonment, for this contempt; & Whitney to like imprisonment, and also to pay a fine of $250. These individuals, are all liable under the laws of the state of New York, to be further punished for their contempts, after conviction upon an indictment, by imprisonment for one year each, and by a fine of $250. It is evident that no slight cause could have induced them to take this course, and subject themselves to such punishment.

Source: Star, May 4, 1831, page 1

Special Affidavit

Posted: April 21, 2009 in Murder Of William Morgan

I, PERLY HALL, of Berkshire, in the County of Franklin, and state of Vermont, of lawful age, do testify and say, that in the month of August 1826, I was present at a communication of Missisqui Lodge in Enosburg. After the usual ceremonies of opening &c, were gone through with, a distinguished member of the Lodge arose and observed that he had some business to lay before the Lodge, saying that he had received information from a member of the fraternity at the west who was master of a lodge in that country, that a man by the name of Wm. Morgan was about to publish the secrets of Freemasonry, and soliciting advice with regard to the measures to be pursued towards him. He then said he had received two letters on the subject, the last of which he had read and which he had received since writing an answer to the first, in which he advised them to use no violent measures, but to let the man alone. The Lodge was not called to act on the subject, but were cautioned to look out for deceivers.
Subsequently the author of the letters above mentioned removed into this state and was therefore subpoenaed to attend as a witness in the abduction trials then pending at the west. After his return, during an intermission at a communication of said Lodge, in presence of the members of said lodge, he was enquired by a member with regard to the abduction of Morgan. He said MORGAN WAS KILLED, and that COL. WM. KING AND TWO OTHERS, whose names I do not recollect, the one a Col. and the other a Judge (I think) EXECUTED THE PENALTY OF HIS OBLIGATION, or words to that effect. The reply was, that it must have been an honorable business, as honorable men were engaged in it. "Truly," said he, "the most honorable men we have in that country!" And he further observed that he did not know but the whole business would yet come to light as there was one who was called upon as evidence who it was feared, would disclose the whole truth; that the Sheriff said if he did he should never get home alive! On hearing these remarks, I left the room in surprise.

                                                                                                                                      PERLY HALL.

Sworn to before me this 3rd day of March, A.D. 1831.                                   ELIAS BARCOCK, Jr. J.P.

Mr. Editor, – When uniting with the fraternity I did not expect to be called upon to support iniquity or secret murder; I wish therefore the above to be made public.     PERLY HALL

Source: Star, March 30, 1831, page 2

Those who were not Masons, soon ascertained that the lodge-going members of the fraternity in the village, were kept constantly informed of the proceedings of the committee, and of the information which they had collected. One of the masonic members of this committee, then a knight templar, stated at a lodge meeting, soon after the committee was appointed, "that he had no doubt that what had been done with Morgan was intended for the best, but it had turned out otherwise, and was an unfortunate business. That he did not wish to know any thing about it, he was on the committee, and cautioned them if they knew any thing about the business, to keep it to themselves, as he was in a delicate situation." The other members of the committee soon ascertained, that no assistance could be expected from freemasons in aid of the investigation, and felt themselves compelled to withdraw from them, and pursue their inquiries by themselves.
When the different committees had by great diligence succeeded in tracing Morgan to Lewiston, they appointed delegates from among their own members, to proceed to that place, and push their inquiries as to his final fate. They went there to the number of seventeen, in the month of January 1827. The members of the fraternity in that place and the vicinity, were obviously alarmed and excited, and collected from Lewiston, Niagara Falls, Youngstown, and other places in the vicinity to the number of forty or fifty, some of them armed, exhibiting and expressing the utmost vindictiveness towards the convention on account of the purpose of their meeting. They heaped epithets of insult and reproach upon these quiet men, who had come from a great distance with no other purpose than the lawful investigation of an outrage against the laws. They came rudely into the room where they met and after insultingly taking the light and looking around into the faces of those who were there, extinguished it and left them in darkness. – Their object evidently was to provoke the members of the convention to violence and resistance, and thus to bring on a general affray, which must have terminated in bloodshed. So disgraceful a result was only prevented by the moderation of the convention. A general conference was had between the two parties, when the district attorney of Niagara county then a royal arch mason, reproached them for coming into his county to investigate a crime which they could look after themselves, & lavished upon them the most vituperative language and vindictive abuse. It is almost needless to say that the convention were not deterred by this violent conduct from pursuing their inquiries.
Soon after the conviction of Chesebro and others at Canandaigua, and while the Lewiston convention were holding their meeting, Burrage Smith and John Whitney, of Rochester, privately left their places of residence. One of the Rochester committee, soon after saw Burrage Smith in Albany and informed Bowen Whiting Esq. district attorney of Ontario county, who was also there, of the fact. Mr. Whiting applied to John O. Cole, police justice of Albany, and an officer of the grand chapter of the state, for a warrant to arrest Smith for the conspiracy. The magistrate made out the warrant early in the morning of the 2nd of February, 1827, and retained it, to place it in the hands of an officer for service. Though a constable came into his office soon after the warrant was made out, and was there again more than once in the forenoon, yet the warrant was not put into a constable’s hands until the middle of the afternoon. – The constable went immediately to the public house where he was directed to serve it, and was told by the barkeeper, to whom he stated that he had a warrant for Smith, that he was too late; Smith had escaped. It was soon afterwards ascertained that Smith and Whitney had both fled from the nothern parts of the United States, and that money had been furnished to one of them from the funds of the grand chapter, to enable them to flee from their homes, as fugitives from justice.
In December, after the abduction, Colonel William King, left the State of New York, and procured the appointment of sutler at Cantonment Towson in the territory of Arkansas, whither he removed. In December, 1827, Messrs. Garlinghouse, Bates and Mead received requisitions from the governor of the state of New York, addressed to the governors of Louisiana and Arkansas, for the surrender of William King, charged with the murder, and Burrage Smith and John Whitney, charged with the abduction of William Morgan as fugitives from justice. They went to Arkansas, and obtained the necessary papers from Governor Izard, and proceeded to Cantonment Towson, which they reached February 14, 1828.
Mr. Garlinghouse went alone, and privately presented his papers to Captain R.B. Hyde, the commandant at the station, while his companion remained without the fort. He exhibited the order of the governor – a letter from the adjutant general under the direction of the secretary of war, and a letter from Colonel Arbuckle, commanding officer at Cantonment Gibson, and requested Captain Hyde, to give assistance in the arrest of William King, then sutler at the station. He refused to assist, or afford assistance, and refused to furnish a guard for his removal, but send he would send for Lieutenant Colquhon to accompany him to King’s store. He went out for that purpose, and was absent a short time. Soon after his return, a report was brought in, that Lieutenant Colquhon could not be found. Another officer was then sent for, with whom Garlinghouse went to King’s store, but found he had gone away with Lieutenant Colquhon, and after diligent search he could not be found. Clark Sanders states, that Captain Hyde had a conversation with Lieutenant Colquhon in his short absence to find a messenger to send for him, and that Lieutenant Colquhon stated to Mr. Bates that he informed King that some one was in pursuit of him, and went with him into the woods, when he, (the Lieutenant,) came back and ascertained that King was to be arrested for the murder of William Morgan, and then directed King’s clerk to take his (King’s) horse into the woods, which he did, and King rode off. It is understood that Captain Hyde, and Lieutenant Colquhon were masons. King was not arrested, neither were Smith and Whitney, though they were heard of frequently.
Preparations were made in the winter of 1827, by the Batavia committee, to procure the arrest of Richard Howard, of Buffalo, for a supposed agency in setting fire to Col. Miller’s office. He, however, fled before he was arrested, and from the affidavit of John Mann, taken in February of that year, there is reason to believe that he feared punishment for a higher crime than midnight arson. From another affidavit made by Avery Allyn, in March, 1829, it would appear that this Richard Howard came to the city of New York, in February, or March, 1827, and attended a masonic meeting at St. John’s Hall, in that city, where he confessed in open lodge, that he assisted in putting Morgan to death, and that he was furnished with funds by the knight’s companions, then present, to escape to Europe, and that after being secreted from pursuit by members of the fraternity, he did escape; certain it is, that no information has been received of this Howard since he absconded, and that the officers of justice have not been able to penetrate the veil of secrecy which concealed his flight.
One great difficulty that has been met with in the prosecution of the conspirators, is that of procuring the the attendance of masonic witnesses. Witnesses who still belonged to the institution, were reluctant in their attendance at court, and frequently refused to obey the ordinary process of subpoena or evaded its service. This was so often the case, that it was frequently necessary to procure their arrest long before the courts, at which their attendance was wanted, should sit, and place them under heavy bond to ensure their attendance. This unusual course was necessarily adopted in several instances, when the inefficacy of the ordinary process had been made most abundantly manifest. Difficulties never encountered in any other prosecution were here encountered at every court, and at every step. Witnesses have been secreted and sent off without the jurisdiction of the courts, and remained concealed for many months before any information could be obtained respecting them. These occurrences were so frequent, and of such a character as to forbid the belief that they were the result of individual effort alone. They evinced that extended combination, which almost irresistably presses upon the mind the conviction, that they were the result of the secret and mystic agency of freemasonry, which alone from its peculiar organization possesses the means of such extensive and secret concert. Some facts under this head may illustrate the branch of the subject. In the summer of 1827, Elisha Adams, the same man to whom Giddins transferred the keys of the magazine, was served with a subpoena to attend a court at Canandaigua. He started in obedience to the process, and came as far as Rochester. From this place all trace of him was lost. He had disappeared, and was not heard of for months, though the most diligent inquiries were made respecting him, and even public inquiries in the newspapers were made for him throughout the country. In the spring of 1828, it was ascertained that he was residing in a secluded manner in the northern part of Vermont. Measures were taken for his arrest with such secrecy and despatch, that he was apprended about 3 o’clock in the morning, and before he could be advised that his place of residence had become known. He expressed no surprise at his arrest, but said that he did expect to have been informed before any process could be served upon him. In the course of his journey to Rochester, he conversed freely and fully with the agent having him in charge, and frequently avowed his determination "to make a clean breast of it," when called upon as a witness, by telling the truth. As it was known that he was a reluctant agent of the conspirators, confidence was placed in his promises in this particular. He continued in this frame of mind until he arrived at Rochester, where he was at once surrounded by the counsel for the conspirators, and the guilty royal arch companions of that place, who soon succeeded in establishing their mysterious influence over his conscience, and subjecting him to that obligation of their peculiar code, which under the most fearful penalties enjoins the keeping of a companion’s secret in all cases, "murder and treason not excepted." After his interview with these men, he manifested a determination not to testify, and from his declarations to an old friend, we are led to believe that he was deterred from telling the truth by threats of a fate as horrible as was that of Morgan.

Source: Star, March 9, 1831, page 2


Mr. Whittlesey from the Committee next herein mentioned, made the following Report on the abduction and murder of WILLIAM MORGAN, and on the conduct and measures of the Masonic Fraternity to prevent convictions, &c.

[Continued from week before last.]

In addition to the difficulties thrown in the way of investigation, by the silence of the public press, thus coerced, the public mind was distracted and misled by false statements, in relation to the reappearance of Morgan, published in prints under masonic control; so much so, that public belief upon this subject was for a long time unsettled, and the efforts of the investigation paralyzed. There can be little doubt but that the authors of such statements contemplated such results, and hoped, if possible, by these means to avert punishment from the guilty, or to excite doubts as to the guilt of the agents in the abduction. It should not be forgotten either, that Corydon Fox, who was heedlessly selected to drive the carriage from Lewiston to fort Niagara, not being at the time a mason, was, a few days after, admitted to a membership in the fraternity, without fee or reward, in hope, doubtless, that his masonic obligations, thus thurst upon him, would effectually seal his lips, as to the transactions which he witnessed, on that fateful night.
At the time of Morgan’s abduction, the sheriffs of the different counties of the State of New York had the sole power of selecting, and summoning the grand juries for the several courts within their respective counties; and such selections were made a short time previous to the session of each court. At the same period, also, the sheriffs of the respective counties of Erie, Niagara, Genessee, Orleans, Livingston, Monroe, and Ontario, which were the theatre of the outrage, were all masons, and it is believed, that all of them were of the degree of royal arch.
A grand jury, which met in Genessee county after the abduction, was convened in February, 1827; Doctor Samuel S. Butler, of Strafford, in that county, was appointed foreman. He was a knight templar, and a large portion of the jury were masons. He said to one of the juryman, also a knight templar, "a majority of the jurors are masons: we have got the stuff in our own hands and our friends must not be indicted."
The first grand jury which was summoned in Niagara county, (of which Eli Bruce was sheriff,) after inquiries began to be made in relation to the outrage, met in January, 1827. Sixteen masons were summoned on that grand jury, and several who were friendly to the institution. No examination was, however, made before that grand jury, as the witnesses had been supoenaed to attend at that time in Canandaigua upon the trial of Chesebro and others. At the court of Oyer and Terminer, held in Niagara county, in April, 1827, the sheriff again summoned the grand jurors. There were twenty-one members present, thirteen of them were freemasons, and six friendly to them. Paul Haws, who has since been found to be an important witness, and Norman Shepherd since indicted for the Morgan conspiracy, were two of these grand jurors. At the May sessions, a majority of masons were summoned on the jury, and at the September sessions, about half of the jurors were freemasons, but there were a number who were warmly in favour of the institution. – Eli Bruce, however, was indicted at Canadaigua, a short time before the September sessions.
Complaint was made against Eli Bruce, Sheriff of the county, before the April grand jury, for being concerned in the abduction of Morgan. The foreman, a freemason, examined the witnesses. In the course of the examination, one of the other jurors ventured to ask a witness some questions. The foreman called this juror aside and privately solicited him, thereafter, to refrain from asking questions. Some of the jurors had been furnished with questions in writing, to put to particular witnesses, with a view of eliciting the truth. It was known that such papers were in the room, and the jury voted, by a large majority, that no use should be made of them. One juror insisted, however, on making use of them. One witness stated that he knew nothing which would go to convict any person upon; being called upon to state what he did know, he asked to be excused, because he was poor, and his testimony might prove his ruin. A large majority of the jury voted to excuse him from answering, One of the jurors pertinaciously insisted upon the witness’ answer, and after a long debate, finally obtained his answer. One witness, notwithstanding all the cunning in keeping the questions, did testify to Bruce’s acknowledgement of his agency in carrying Morgan to Niagara. Several witnesses were afterwards called to impeach the testimony of this witness, and one or two did answer that he was not to be believed on his oath. One witness testified, that he had been informed by a respectable individual in Canada, in whom the witness had full confidence, that Morgan had been carried to fort Niagara, thence to the Canada shore, and was from thence returned to the fort again – that Morgan had been put to death, and that his body was in the bottom of Niagara river, and might be found, if searched for immediately, and that he, (the informant,) could tell the place where it could be found. The witness stated that he received this information from a mason, who enjoined the witness to keep his name a secret, as if known, his life would be the forfeit. One juror insisted that the witness should name the person who gave him this information, but he refused, and nearly, if not quite all the other jurors present, sustained the witness in his refusal, and he was allowed to retire without answering the question. – While this jury was in session, the foreman took Eli Bruce privately into a side room, and was there with him some time. This grand-jury, so far from finding any indictment against Eli Bruce, or any other person, drew up a presentment to the court, that they had discovered nothing which would authorise them to find a bill against any person, and also framed and sent a memorial to the governor, in which they stated that there was not a shadow of testimony implicating Eli Bruce, as guilty of, or accessory to the abduction of Morgan, with the exception of one witness, who was so contradicted, and whose general reputation was so bad, that they did not place any reliance upon it.
It is very certain that a series of questions to be propounded to the witnesses, had been so framed, that the witnesses could answer without eliciting any dangerous information. This must have been the case, or real perjury must have been repeatedly committed, on the investigation before them. All the important witnesses to trace the whole abduction from Rochester to fort Niagara, were examined before this grand jury; the same witnesses, upon whose testimony, bills have been found in other cases, and convictions had. Thirteen of the witnesses examined before this grand jury, have been since indicted, not one of whom protected himself on the examination, on the ground that he should criminate himself. Three of them David Hague, Orasmus Turner, and Jared Darrow, have since been shown by the testimony of Eli Bruce, himself, to have had a criminal agency in the abduction. Edward Giddins, in his published "Statement of Facts," says, he was subpoenaed before this grand jury, which much alarmed those who were implicated. One of them informed Giddins that he would go and see the foreman, and state to him Giddins’ situation, that he might know how to question him, so that his answers might not injure others. He subsequently informed Giddins that he had told the foreman what Giddins knew of the affair, and that the foreman would put no question but what Giddins could safely answer.
Hiram B. Hopkins, a royal arch mason, a deputy under Bruce, and personally knowing to the abduction of Morgan at the time, says, in a published letter, dated, February 28, 1830. – "After the abduction of Capt. Morgan, I used frequently to ask the masons how they expected to escape punishment for that outrage, adding that if I found guilty the perpetrators of the deed would have to suffer the reward due to their crimes. They have told me time and again, that they would never be brought to punishment, because all were masons with whom they had to deal and particularly the sheriffs of those counties in which the offence was committed, were all masons, who had the selecting of the grand juries; that no grand jury would be summoned without  being two thirds masons. And when the time arrived for summoning the grand jury for this county, (Niagara,) I had my orders not to summon any but such as were particularly friendly to the masonic institution. Says Bruce, we must have at least two thirds of them masons, and the others friendly to the order. If we have all masons they will suspect us. The jury was accordingly summoned. The subject of the abduction was brought before them. The district attorney was a royal arch mason who knew all about the Morgan affair, in my opinion, and the foreman of the jury was one of the warmest zealots of the order in the county. If I mistake not, more than two thirds of the jury were masons. The district attorney and foreman, so framed the questions propounded to the witnesses, that after thus examining them, they drew up an instrument signed by all the jury, the substance of which was, that they had no reason to believe that Morgan had ever passed through this county."
When the inhabitants of Monroe county first held their meeting, to take into consideration the outrages, and devise means for their investigation, the meeting at that time, placed so much confidence in the professions of willingness, made by members of the fraternity, to aid in the investigation of these outrages, that they appointed four or five masons upon the committee of investigation. This committee, after their appointment, held their meetings, and commenced upon their inquiries, and at the same time entered into an honorary obligation with each other, not to disclose any information which might be obtained by the committee, only so far as was necessary to procure the arrest of offenders that might be discovered.

[To be continued…]

Note: Now, I realize that these abstracts are quite lengthy, so I believe that a little light entertainment is needed at this juncture of the proceedings. Please enjoy a good laugh at the following:


A MASONIC HALL FOR SALE. – The pretended followers of the wise Solomon, in Harrisburg, it seems tired of upholding the "handmaid of Religion," have authorised a committee to advertise and dispose of their "Masonic Hall." It is to be sold, Lodge, furniture and all, we suppose, consisting of squares, compasses, paper crowns, polls, blue ribbons, aprons, robes, canvas caps, red breeches, cow-ropes, skulls, skeletons, Aaron’s rod, and all the paraphernalia of the order, to the highest bidder on the 17th of March next. Any man wishing to be "exalted" to a "high and bright" Mason, by purchasing Morgan’s book, some of the Masonic clothing, and retiring to a garret, will be able to pass through the sublime ceremonies, and bring himself to light much more rapidly than if he were to travel to "Jerusalem" through a lodge room, and with shins less bruised. – Lancaster Herald.

Source: Star, March 9, 1831, page 2

Here’s another corker. After reading all of the testimony from the witnesses who had testified, under oath that they saw Morgan being abducted and knew that he was murdered by Freemasons, let us see what the Freemasons actually have to say about their involvement in the Morgan affair:  I have already proved that they are not being honest about Answers 2, 5 and 6.


Mr. Whittlesey from the Committee next herein mentioned, made the following Report on the abduction and murder of WILLIAM MORGAN, and on the conduct and measures of the Masonic Fraternity to prevent convictions, &c.


The stage which had left Rochester early the same morning, arrived at Murdoch’s tavern before the carriage containing Morgan passed. A gentleman of high standing, of Rochester, was one of the passengers in the stage; when the stage arrived at Murdoch’s tavern, this gentleman called the man aside who then had charge of the tavern, and asked him if he was a royal arch mason; being answered in the negative, he asked for writing materials, with which he wrote a note and despatched a boy with it to Jeremiah Brown residing in that vicinity. Jeremiah Brown came to the tavern soon after, and held a conversation with him. When the stage went on, Brown and the gentleman went on, in it. Soon after, Brown returned to the tavern with two horses, riding one and leading the other. When the carriage containing Morgan came along, which was soon after; Elihu Mather, who was then driving it, beckoned to Brown after the carriage had passed the house a short distance, and Brown went up to him, and appeared to hold some conversation with him. The carriage drove on. Brown took his horses and followed on after it; but it would seem that he left his horses, and got on to the carriage himself. Burrage Smith had followed the Morgan carriage in a sulkey, but he had not overtaken it when the carriage arrived at Murdoch’s. The carriage stopped at evening, at the tavern of Solomon C. Wright, in New Fane, Niagara county, where the road turns off to Lockport, and about three miles distant therefrom. It was here driven into the barn and the doors closed, and the party remained at this place some time, to procure refreshments, and to make arrangements for relieving those who had travelled in the carriage with Morgan all day, and the whole of the previous night, and who must necessarily have been greatly fatigued.
Burrage Smith went to Lockport in his sulkey, and together with Jared Darrow called upon Eli Bruce, the sheriff of Niagara county, and informed him that Morgan was in their possession, and was going to Canada; and requested Bruce’s assistance in getting him along. Bruce and some others went to Wright’s, where several persons were assembled. Bruce and David Hague got into the carriage with Morgan; Elihu Mather drove, and Jeremiah Brown was on the box with him, and they left Wright’s about ten o’clock in the evening. The persons who came there with Morgan, probably most of them went to Lockport that night, and went into Lewiston the next day in a stage coach. At Molyneux’s tavern, six miles distant, they stopped; and Bruce procured Molyneux’s horses, in exchange for Mather’s. An individual accompanied the carriage on horse back. Brown then drove, and they reached Lewiston, fourteen miles distant from Molyneux’s, somewhat after midnight. The carriage was driven around to a back street, and unharnessed. Samuel Burton, one of the proprietors of the stage line, at Lewiston, was called upon for assistance. He called up Corydon Fox, one of his drivers, and directed him to harness a carriage. He did so, and drove up to the tavern. Bruce got upon the box with him, and by his direction, Fox drove around to the back street, where the other carriage was unharnessed, when Morgan was taken out of the one carriage, and put into the carriage which Fox drove. Bruce and Hague got in with him, and Fox, by Bruce’s direction, drove to Youngstown. They called at the house of Colonel William King, at Youngstown, and stopped. Bruce alighted and called up King, who came out with Bruce and both got into the carriage. Fox drove on towards the fort, by Bruce’s direction, and when arrived at the burying ground near the fort, he was told to stop. He did so, when the persons having Morgan in charge, got out, together with Morgan, and all four walked off, arm in arm, towards the fort, and Fox was told he might return. Morgan was hoodwinked and bound at this time. It appears that arrangements had been previously made, for the reception of Morgan upon the Canada side of the river, with persons residing upon that side. After the party left the carriage, they went to the ferry house, and Colonel King called up Edward Giddins, who then kept the ferry. All of them crossed the river, together with Giddins, and landed nearly opposite to the fort, at some distance from any dwelling. Mr. Giddins and David Hague remained at the boat with Morgan, while Colonel King and Sheriff Bruce went into the village of Niagara, to see the masons with whom it had been arranged to receive their victim: They were absent about two hours, and returned with two other men, one of whom was Edward McBride, then a member of the parliament of Upper Canada. After some conference, it was determined to bring Morgan back again, inasmuch as the arrangements for his reception in Canada were not yet complete. This event had probably been anticipated, as both Giddins and the keeper of the fort had been requested, two or three days previous, to prepare the magazine for the reception of Morgan, which they had accordingly done, by removing the principal part of the public property from it. After the refusal of the Canada masons to receive Morgan, the same persons who had taken him across the river, re-crossed with him, and placed him in the magazine, which had been so prepared for his reception and locked him in. This was some time before day dawn, on the morning of the 14th of September, 1826. Morgan was left in charge of Edward Giddins. The fort was unoccupied by troops, and indeed was entirely deserted, except by Giddins and the keeper, and their respective families.
On the 14th day of September, 1826, a royal arch chapter was installed at Lewiston; which event called together a very considerable assemblage of masons, of that degree, from Rochester, Buffalo, Lockport and other places in that vicinity. It would appear from the testimony of one or two witnesses, and the statements of others, that scarce an individual mason, attending that installation, could have been ignorant of the fact, that Morgan was at that time confined in the magazine of fort Niagara. It appears to have been a subject of conversation among them, and several were then informed that such was the fact. On the day of the installation, Giddins remained at the fort, to see that all was kept safe. He, together with John Jackson, went to the magazine, for the purpose of carrying Morgan food. Morgan refused to admit them, and said he would starve rather than fall into their hands; and he made so great an outcry as to render it necessary to dispatch Jackson to Lewiston, to procure the assistance of some one to silence him. David Hague came down in haste, a distance of seven miles, but did not succeed in quieting Morgan. Two other persons were then sent down from Lewiston, and one of them, (Loton Lawson) of whom Morgan seemed to have a great dread went into the magazine, and succeeded in stilling him. In the evening, twenty or thirty persons, besides those belonging to the fort, came from Lewiston, and were at the fort. About midnight, seven persons, all royal arch masons, held a consultation on the plain near the grave yard, some rods distant from the fort, as to the manner in which Morgan should be disposed of. There seemed to be but one opinion among them all: that Morgan had forfeited his life, for a breach of his masonic obligations; and that it was their duty as masons, to see that the penalty was executed. They came to a determination to proceed in a body and seize Morgan, and perform their own duty, by casting him into the river. After they had started to carry this determination into effect, one of the company discovered a reluctance to go such lengths, which encouraged others to remonstrate, and the project was abandoned for that time. On the night of the 15th, a similar consultation was held between four persons, as to the disposition of Morgan, but nothing was decided upon. – At this consultation, Colonel King became offended with Mr. Giddins, for expressing a desire that Morgan should be released; and Giddins surrendered to him the key of the magazine, which was afterwards entrusted to the care of Elisha Adams. It is known that Morgan remained confined until the 19th of September.
As to the disposition of Morgan, after the evening of the 14th of September, nothing has yet been made known judicially, but circumstances are strong, to induce the belief, that he was put to death on the night of the 19th of September, 1826, by being cast into the depths of Niagara river. Several persons have been informed, by those who were understood to be cognizant of the guilty secret, that such was the fact, and Hiram B. Hopkins, has testified, that he as a mason, was informed in January 1827, that Morgan was murdered. William P. Daniels who was called as a witness, at the late trials at Lockport, refused to answer a question, on the ground that he might criminate himself as an accessory to the crime of murder, although he was told expressly by the judge that he must have better evidence, that a murder had been committed, than the public possessed, before he could decline answering on such ground.
It will strike anyone, on hearing a recital of the facts connected with the abduction of William Morgan, that the combination to effect that measure, must have been very extensive, embracing a large number of individuals. The judicial examinations of the subject have brought out very many names as connected in a nearer or more remote degree, with the transaction at some stage of its progress. The bare seizure and transportation of a man from such a distance, rendered the employment of many agents, a matter of absolute necessity, and it is now well known that many knew of it, who took no active part in the infraction of the laws. It was probably known to numbers of the lodge-going masons, in several of the western counties of New York, that some measures were contemplated to be taken for the suppression of Morgan’s intended publication; and it has been judicially proven, that measures, which contemplated the use of violence, to effect this object, were matter of discussion among masons in the lodge room.
It would be naturally supposed, that a conspiracy, so wide spread, the execution and knowledge of which was confided to so many individuals, would not oppose formidable difficulties to a complete exposure by judicial investigation. In the history of crime those which employ the most accomplices, are usually the easiest of detection, particularly if the agency of some partake but slightly of guilt. But such was not the case in the investigation of this violation of the laws, and the difficulties which were encountered, will be hereafter noticed.
In January, 1827, the trial of Nicholas G. Chesebro, Edward Sawyer, Loton Lawson and John Sheldon, for their agency in the conspiracy, was brought on before Judge Throop, at Canandaigua; the three first, under the advice of counsel, pleaded guilty, and the only question, as to the last to be tried, was the identity of the man. This course excluded the testimony in relation to the conspiracy, which was anxiously looked for by the public. Lawson was sentenced to two years imprisonment in the county jail of Ontario county, Chesebro to one year, and Sawyer, to one month. Sheldon was found guilty and sentenced to three months imprisonment.
In April, 1827, Jesse French, James Hurlburt, Roswell Willcox, and James Ganson, were tried at Batavia, in Gennessee county, for the forcible arrest of David C. Miller. They were all found guilty, but Ganson: French was sentenced to an imprisonment of one year, Willcox for six months, and Hurlburt for three months.
In February, 1827, several of the persons who went in the carriage from Canandaigua to Batavia, and arrested Morgan, and brought him to Canandaigua, were tried at the general session in Ontario, for forcibly seizing, and falsely imprisoning William Morgan, and they were acquitted, on the ground that they were protected by the warrant for his arrest. In August, 1827, Harris Seymour, Henry Howard, Holloway Hayward, Moses Roberts, James Ganson, Chauncey H. Coe, Hiram Hubbard, and James Lakey were tried at Canandaigua, for a conspiracy to kidnap and carry away William Morgan, and were all acquited. Application had been made to De Witt Clinton then governor of the state of New York, for the removal of Eli Bruce, sheriff of Niagara county, for his participation in the abduction of Morgan. The sheriffs in the state of New York are elected by the people, but the constitution provides for their removal by the executive, for good cause shown, on charges preferred, after giving the officer time for his defence. This application was pending before the governor, for a long time, but on the 26th day of September, 1827, he issued his proclamation removing Eli Bruce from the office of sheriff.
Eli Bruce, Orsamus Turner, and Jared Darrow, were tried at Canandaigua, in August, 1828, for their agency in the conspiracy; Eli Bruce was found guilty, the two last were acquitted. A question of law, arising out of the indictment, was carried up to the supreme court, decided against the defendant, and he was sentenced to an imprisonment of two years and four months in Canandaigua jail.
In May, 1829, John Whitney and James Gillis were tried at Canandaigua. John Whitney was convicted and sentenced to an imprisonment of one year and three months. The Jury could not agree in the case of Gillis.
In November, 1829, Elihu Mather was tried at Albion, in Orleans county, and after a trial which consumed nearly two weeks, he was acquitted by the verdict of the jury. A motion for a new trial was made by the special attorney, but the supreme court denied it.
In June, 1830, Ezekiel Jewet, and Jeremiah Brown, were tried at Lockport, in Niagara county, and were severally acquitted. In addition to these trials, there are indictments now pending and undetermined, against eighteen persons, some of which will probably not be further prosecuted.
David Hague, William King, and Burrage Smith are dead; William King died suddenly, the morning after he received information of the testimony of Eli Bruce on the trial of John Whitney.
Having thus given a brief history of the abduction of William Morgan, and noticed the trials growing out of that transaction, it now becomes the duty of your committee, to furnish a statement of the conduct and measures of numbers of the masonic fraternity, to prevent the conviction of those implicated in these gross violations of the laws of the land. Appalling as is the conviction which is pressed upon us by the history of that abduction, that hundreds of respectable men, in the western counties of the state of New York, could be found, who would be willing to violate the laws of the state and the sacredness of private property, personal liberty, and human life, to prevent the publication of the secrets of freemasonry; yet, it would be infinitely more alarming, if it should be found, that great numbers of the members of that fraternity, had made use of every possible device to prevent the discovery of a high handed offence, and to obstruct the administration of justice, and the due execution of the laws. The first, however extensive the combination may have been, was but a single outrage; and like hundreds of other fearful crimes, might have been punished and forgotten, and the public have felt secure in the protection of the laws, in witnessing the unobstructed execution of their penalties. The latter, by unhinging the whole administration of justice, would exhibit a state of facts deeply alarming to a community, who eminently repose upon the laws under which they live for protection, and rely undoubtingly upon their due and impartial administration.
When rumours of these outrages first became public, the citizens of the community, in which they were perpetrated, felt themselves called upon to investigate how it was that a peaceable citizen should be forciby seized in a populous village, and transported against his will, one hundred and fifty miles, through a thickly settled country. As worthy of a free government, they deemed themselves bound to ascertain why, and by whom, a fellow citizen, enjoying the same privileges, was abstracted from the protection of the laws, under circumstances which created well grounded suspicions of a horrible fate. The inquiries for information in relation to Morgan, were answered by taunts, reproaches, and ridicule. At first, the members of the fraternity were bold enough, openly to declare, "That if Morgan had been put to death, his fate was no more than he deserved; he had forfeited his life." These declarations were made by perhaps hundreds of freemasons, within two months after the abduction, and there is scarce an individual, who at that early period took any interest in the investigation, but can call to mind distinctly, many such declarations, made by respectable and influential men.
When intimations were thrown out that an appeal would be made to the laws, more than one freemason has been heard to say, that the judges were masons, the sheriffs were masons, and the jurymen would be masons, and set at defiance the requirements of justice.
There seems to have been a determination on the part of the fraternity, not only to suppress all information in relation to the outrages, but even to repress inquiries and questionings, which might tend to elucidate it. Individuals who ventured to make remarks which such an infraction of the laws were calculated to elicit, were made the subjects of unreasonable abuse, and vindictive hostility, by the lodge-going member of the fraternity. The public press, which has, in almost every other instance of alarming crime, been made in some measure the means of its investigation, or at least of making public its details, was, in this instance with a single exception at first, awed into the most slavish silence, by the influence of freemasonry. The conductors of many of the public prints in western New York, were themselves masons, and the proprietors of others, who did not belong to the fraternity, were soon given to understand that it would be most fatal to their interests, to publish any thing in relation to the ill fated Morgan. A single instance may illustrate this species of influence. In the month of October, or November, 1826, Elihu F. Marshall, a quaker and the conductor of a paper, called "The Album," published in the village of Rochester, ventured to say, in an editorial article, that the unlawful abduction of William Morgan ought to be the subject of investigation. The paper with an article of this import had no sooner appeared, than Edward Doyle, a knight templar, and treasurer of the Monroe Encampment, rushed into the office of the Album in a storm of rage, ordered his paper to be discontinued, and his advertisements stopped, and told Marshall if he did not cease publishing articles against the masonic fraternity, many others would take the same course, but that if he retracted the next week, all might yet be well. Doyle then went to the printing office of a royal arch mason, and boasted "that he had shut the quaker’s mouth." We regret to add, that the timid editor quailed under the masonic threat, and in his next paper made a partial retraction of his previous article.


Source: Star, February 28, 1831, page 1

LOCKPORT, 28th Feb. 1831.
The People, vs. Elisha Adams.

On the opening of the Court this morning, the Jury, which had been out from about 7 o’clock, Saturday morning, appeared, and on being asked if they had agreed, the foreman said he had not. They were asked if there was any probability of their agreeing, to which a negative answer was given. The court intimated that if any juryman had doubts which could be removed by the court, he, the judge, should be happy to do it. One of the jurors observed that one of his fellows deemed the proof to be illegal. The judge remarked that the province of the jury was to judge of the credibility only. The juror further observed that the fellow juror, could not believe the witnesses who were accomplices. The judge told the doubting juror to stand up. He did so, and it was WILLIAM WILSON, OF THE TOWN OF LEWISTON, A MASTER MASON! He told the Court he could not believe part of the evidence, and they could not agree. Eleven of the jurors agreed very shortly after they retired. – Albany Journal

From the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Commercial Advertiser of New York, notices the recent trials at Lockport, of those concerned in the Morgan affair, in the following strain:

"We shall devote this paper tomorrow, almost exclusively, to the publication of matter of high import which will make a deep sensation in this community. We speak of the trial of Adams, at Lockport, on an indictment as one of the Morgan Conspirators, and to which a brief reference was made in the paper of Monday. A flood of light has at length blazed upon this dark transaction, so long in its essential particulars concealed, but which, it has at last been made to appear clear as the noon day sun ended in the foulest murder. A mass of new evidence has been brought to light, and the horrid mystery is disclosed. The relation of Giddins, bearing the impress of truth on every feature, is a narrative which, like the tale of the ghost in Hamlet, whose lightest word "Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young blood; Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres; They knotted and combined locks to part, Like quills upon the fretful porcupine."
We are speaking extravagantly. – Such in reality will be the feeling of every honest man who reads the details of the unexampled acts of perfidy which ended in the murder of William Morgan, as now disclosed. But notwithstanding the fact, that the testimony against Adams, was clear as though written with a sunbeam, yet the jury has been discharged – not being able to agree. There were eleven for convicting the prisoner, and one resolutely against it. – This one man, we are sorry to be obliged to add, is a mason.
This will prove a firebrand to the Anti-masonic excitement.

A "Reverend" Kidnapper. – One of the persons indicted for participating in the abduction of Morgan and who has not yet been tried, is the REV. Mr. Cummings of Rochester, N.Y. It was this worthy Masonic prelate who gave the following toast at the installation of the Chapter at Lewiston on the 14th Sept. 1826. [It was generally known at this installation that Morgan was then confined at Fort Niagara only 10 miles distant.]

Source: Star, March 23, 1831, page 2