Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Opinion

January 18, 2014

NIAGARA DISCOVERIES: Two William Morgans left marks on local history

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Editor’s note: Over the next few Saturdays, Niagara Discoveries author Ann Marie Linnabery will introduce people with the same name who influenced local history differently. Today, meet two William Morgans.

If you say the name William Morgan in Lockport, you are liable to get a response that is either derisive or along the lines of “oh, yeah, wasn’t he the guy who …”

The first William Morgan who had an effect on Niagara County history did not even live here. This William Morgan lived in Batavia, in 1826, and he had a grudge against the Masonic fraternity.

In September of that year, Morgan publicly announced that he would publish a book in which he would reveal the secrets of Masonry. To prevent this from happening, Morgan was arrested on trumped-up charges and removed to Canandaigua to answer the charges. 

While there, Morgan was kidnapped by a number of men and conveyed across several western New York counties through a network of horses and carriages along what are now Routes 5 and 104. When the party arrived in Niagara County, there was talk of placing Morgan in a jail cell in Lockport, but this plan was changed and he was taken to Fort Niagara. From there Morgan disappeared and was never heard from again. 

The backlash against the Masonic fraternity nearly ended its existence in western New York state. Eli Bruce, Sheriff of Niagara County from Lockport, was tried and convicted for his part in what became known as the “Morgan Affair.” He served 28 months in jail and died not long after his release. He is called the “Masonic Martyr.”

Morgan’s disappearance and its aftermath resulted in the establishment of a new political party, the Anti-Masons. This party’s sole platform was to put an end to the Masonic order. The party attracted new, young politicians including William Seward of Auburn, Frances Granger of Canandaigua and Albert Tracy of Buffalo. For the next 10 years, the Anti-Masons won many local elections, as well as seats in the New York State Legislature. 

Text Only
Opinion
Featured Ads
Photos


Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Front page
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
Seasonal Content
Helium debate
Helium
Section Teases

Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.