Murdered for revealing the secrets of the Masonic Lodge

Captain William Morgan

by David Padfield

Captain William Morgan In 1826, Captain William Morgan of Batavia, New York, wrote and printed a book titled: "Illustrations of Freemasonry, by one of the fraternity who has devoted thirty years to the subject."

"Morgan, it appears, was a Royal Arch Mason; and when the fact became known that he was preparing a work to reveal the secrets of Masonry, many of the Masonic fraternity became much excited, and appeared determined to put an end to his disclosures ... a Royal Arch Chapter was installed at Lewiston ... 20 or 30 persons came to the fort from Lewiston. About midnight, 7 persons, stated to be Royal Arch Masons, held a consultation on the plain near the graveyard, as to the manner in which Morgan should be disposed of. The prevailing opinion among them appeared to be, that Morgan had forfeited his life for a breach of his Masonic obligations, and that they ought to see the penalty executed by drowning him in the river." (Historical Collections of the State of New York, John W. Baker, 1842).

On October 7, 1827, a body was found on the beach of Lake Ontario. A coroner's inquest was held on October 17, 1827. The report states that "beyond any shadow of a doubt" the body was that of Capt. William Morgan. It further states that "he came to his death by suffocation by drowning."

In 1882 a large monument to Morgan was placed in the Batavia City Cemetery. It reads: "Sacred to the memory of Wm. Morgan, a native of Virginia, a Capt. in the War of 1812, a respectable citizen of Batavia, and a martyr to the freedom of writing, printing and speaking the truth. He was abducted from near this spot in the year 1826, by Freemasons and murdered for revealing the secrets of their order. The court records of Genesee County, and the files of the Batavia Advocate, kept in the Recorders office contain the history of the events that caused the erection of this monument."

For further study