The history of Free Masonry in Binghamton Dates back to “June 6, 1778, when a petition was sent to Grand Lodge of New York by General Joshua Whitney (Revolutionary Commander) and others to hold a Lodge in the town of Union, County of Tioga and a warrant was granted.”
This quotation was taken from the printed reports of the Grand Lodge for the year 1778. It appears that the warrant was not in fact issued until January 7, 1779. The warrant, which was obtained upon the recommendation of Union Lodge No. 30 located at Newtown, Tioga County, now Elmira, and now Chemung County, was their first authority for Masonic work. At this time Tioga Lodge No. 77 was organized for Free and Accepted Masons and was an institution of the Town of Union.
A petition was submitted to Grand Lodge to move from the Town of Union to the Village of Binghamton and was signed by the following petitioners:
Officers were: WM John Patterson, SW Peter B. Gurnsey and JW Orren Stoddard. Petitioners Joshua Whitney, William Whitney, Daniel Hudson, Joseph Leonard Rogers, Delano Charles Stone, Joseph Shaw, William Hall, Ira Keeler, Isaah Slupter and Samuel Lee.
The Lodge was instituted and officers were installed on the 26th of December, 1800. “The doings of the Lodge until 1805 cannot be found, as someone seemed to have taken them as a trophy of Anti-Masonic virtue and members have died off” (Quote from notes of DDGM Solon Stoddard). Due to a desire to have the names of the lodge coincide with that of the village which had developed from the settlement of Chenango Point, The Grand Lodge changed its name to Binghamton Lodge No. 79. The warrant was continued until June 1832 when it was declared forfeited. Binghamton Lodge was last represented in the Grand Lodge on June 5th, 1822. Local officers retained their respective stations in the subordinate body until 1827.
That year the Anti-Masonry movement began to be felt in Binghamton and those who had not yet been admitted, those thrown out and many unthinking people, who were deceived by the wild charges that had been made, began to preach destruction against all secret orders, the Masons in particular.
The Morgan Affair brought this feeling to a climax. The lodge room at the time was in the old Broome County Hotel. It was erected by Lewis Squires and his son-in-law Col Abbott, but the former appeared to be in absolute control of the property. The Lodge was in arrears of rent and suspension was unavoidable, so members carefully packed jewels, charters and other valuables of the Lodge in a large chest and carefully carried their treasurers to a place of safe keeping during the night. To show he was an Anti-Mason he advertised that he would burn all Masonic articles in a public place. This act took place on the corner of Court and Washington Streets in the autumn of 1828. People thought Masonry was dead and the prophecies delivered seemed to be justified. By 1850 the clouds had cleared and the future looked bright. Another lodge was organized, this time receiving a warrant to operate as Binghamton Lodge No. 177, having been recommended by Friendship Lodge 153. Again the Lodge did not work under dispensation. The date of warrant was July 15, 1850. The first meeting was on Thursday, August 1st, 1850 and open on the first Degree.