The Secret History of
Freemasonry in New York

One Lodge Historian’s Search opened a portal to the past

Have you ever looked in your Lodge’s storage closet and noticed very old Lodge records? Well, Huguenot Lodge No. 46 (Tuckahoe, New York) was cleaning out our storage closet and we came across books that dated to the early 1800s. We started looking at them and noticed several last names that are on street signs throughout Westchester and Bronx Counties and this sent us off on an adventure to discover the early history of our Lodge.

It has amazed us how this process opened up to the history of the American Revolution and not just in our local area. Our Lodge had connections to Nova Scotia, Upstate New York, and even as far away as Sri Lanka! As the Lodge historian, I did a lot of the digging in and after sending multiple texts to our Lodge brothers, I thought, why don’t I just start making videos that will make these people come to life more than random isolated texts?

Our video project began with a trip to the Livingston Library to view our Lodge’s first meeting notes from 1796. The Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library of Grand Lodge of New York is one of the world’s largest collections of books, artifacts, memorabilia, and archival holdings relating to the subject of Freemasonry. At the library we learned how we went from Westchester Lodge No. 46, to Huguenot Lodge No. 448 and then to Huguenot Lodge No. 46. We also learned many other important facts, such as the names of the founding brothers of the Lodge, where some of them were raised and the fact that two brothers from Royal Arch No. 2 were the Lodge’s first visitors in 1796.

As we started researching the names of these men, the results were stories about the experiences they lived through and some of the amazing people who were related to them. Some are even portrayed in the musical Hamilton and what we learned about our local area and the Revolutionary War was a complete surprise. These men were common folks and others were from the wealthiest, most powerful and influential families of Colonial New York.

Image: With a catalog of 60,000+ books, 37,000 artifacts, and 13,000 photographs and slides, the Livingston Masonic Library is ideal for Masonic research.
We have produced several videos, but the work continues and we hope people enjoy the videos as much as we have enjoyed making them. We also would love to see our work encourage other Lodges to research their history and discover the interesting brothers of their past as well.

Written by: Bro. Lionel Justo, Huguenot Lodge No. 46, Tuckahoe, New York

Bro. Juston is also a Senior Demolay, Yonkers Chapter and an active member of Yorktown, Diamond, Thistle #555, as well as the Scottish Rite, Valley of the Hudson and Knights of St Andrew.