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Niagara Lodge #2 A.F. & A.M., G.R.C.

153 King Street, Niagara on the Lake, Ontario

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF NIAGARA LODGE, NO. 2 (USED FOR THE SUMMONS 1992)

Niagara Lodge, No. 2, descends from several local lodges, the first at Fort Niagara in 1779. It has earlier links with colonial lodges in the Province of New York through John Butler, initiated in Union Lodge, No. 1, Albany, in 1766, and Secretary of Saint Patrick’s Lodge, No. 8, Johnstown, in the Mohawk Valley. In 1775, and the American War of Independence, Butler left the Mohawk Valley, and raised his ranger corps at Fort Niagara. Returning from guerrilla-type raids on the Mohawk in 1780, he found St. John’s Lodge of Friendship established at the Fort. With peace restored in 1783, the Grand Lodge of Quebec (the “Moderns’) recognized St. John’s Lodge of Friendship, No. 2, the following year, dating its warrant retroactively to 1780. The Lodge remained at Fort Niagara while Butler, numerous Rangers and Loyalist refugees settled on the west side of the Niagara River. Butler affiliated with St. John’s Lodge of Friendship, No. 2, and then obtained a warrant in 1787 from The Grand Lodge of Quebec (The “Moderns’) for St. John’s Lodge, No. 19, at Niagara (Niagara-on-the-Lake). Probably by 1790, St. John’s Lodge of Friendship, No. 2, moved from Fort Niagara to Queenston. In 1791, Quebec became Upper and Lower Canada. William Jarvis, the first Provincial Grand Master of Upper Canada appointed by the Grand Lodge of England (the “Ancients”), arrived In 1792. The brethren of St. Johns Lodge of Friendship, No. 2, Queenston, and St. John’s Lodge, No. 19, Niagara, then petitioned Jarvis to dissolve them and form them into one lodge under the “Ancients.” Subsequently, in 1795, Jarvis warranted “No. 2” at Queenston, in effect rewarranting St. John’s Lodge of Friendship, No. 2, with John Butler as Master. Earlier, in 1794, Jarvis warranted the Lodge of Philanthropy, No. 4, at Niagara, some members coming from the old St. Johns Lodge, No. 19. When the Provincial Government moved to York (Toronto) in 1797, Jarvis took the Grand Warrant and Grand Jewels with him. Re-locating the Grand East brought about the “schismatic” Grand Lodge at Niagara in 1802, supported by the two local Lodges. Both Lodges had difficulties working during and after the War of 1812-1814. Jarvis died in 1817, and a new Provincial Grand Master united the Provincial and “schismatic” Grand Lodges in 1822. St. John’s Lodge of Friendship, No. 2, became Dalhousie Lodge, No. 2, but it closed by 1825. The Provincial Grand Lodge last met in 1829 due to the bitter anti-Masonic sentiments aroused by the “Morgan Affair” in 1826, and, at Niagara, the Lodge of Philanthropy, No. 4, became dormant. In 1846, a new Provincial Grand Lodge warranted Niagara Lodge, No. 2, to perpetuate the old lodges at Niagara. It brought together the remaining Masons from Dalhousie Lodge, No. 2, and the Lodge of Philanthropy, No. 4. When fire destroyed its lodge rooms on Queen Street in 1860, the Lodge met in the “Stone Barracks,” built in 1816. The Lodge bought the building for its Masonic Hall in 1877. Grand Lodge met here in 1942, and unveiled a plaque commemorating one hundred and fifty years of active service by the Niagara brethren. This event determined the Bicentennial of Niagara Lodge, No. 2, in 1992.



From A Lodge of Friendship, the history of Niagara Lodge, No. 2.