Early History of Aurora Lodge, No. 52, in Fairfield, New York

This essay was written Jane Dieffenbacher, Fairfield Town Historian, and appears in her book "This Green and Pleasant Land: Fairfield, New York".

Aurora Lodge No 52 - Free and Accepted Masons, Fairfield, NY

The ancient craft of Freemasonry attracted many prominent Americans. Based on the Holy Bible, it teaches "Duty to God, to your neighbor and yourself." George Washington, Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, and DeWitt Clinton were Masons, as well as most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. So Fairfield men were in good company when they decided to petition for a local lodge.

The first lodge in Herkimer County was Amicable Lodge No. 22, established in 1792. Meetings were held in Whitestown and Old Fort Schuyler, as Oneida County wasn't set off from Herkimer County until 1798. The location of these meetings was inconvenient for the men of Herkimer and German Flatts, so Amicable Lodge No. 36 was formed in 1798 and held meetings in Little Falls, German Flatts, and Herkimer.

The Masons living in Fairfield and Norway enjoyed the brotherhood of Freemasonry, but not the ten to sixteen mile trips to the meeting places. On September 7, 1796, the petition of the Masons living in the towns of Fairfield and Norway was received at the Grand Lodge asking for "a warrant to hold a lodge in the town of Fairfield, County of Herkimer, to be distinguished by the name of Aurora Lodge and that they will constitute Bro. William Lappon, Master; Bro. William Satterlee, Senior Warden; Bro. David Underhill, Junior Warden of the same." Twenty-one signatures accompanied the petition.

On November 4, 1796, a warrant was issued and the lodge was numbered 52.

The members of Aurora Lodge No. 52 from 1797 to 1799 are listed as follows:

William Lappon
David Underhill
Jeremiah Potter, Jr.
James Giles
James Comins, Jr.
William Comins
Josiah Smith
Westel Willoughby, Jr.
Jarius Tourey
Thomas Manley
Samuel Giles
Oliver Ellis
Robert Knowlton
Rufus Eaton
Angel Potter
Ezekiel Butler
Caleb Bates
Asa Osborn
William Smith
Stephen Carpenter
Moses Mather
Jeremiah Sherwood
Gurdon Bradley
David Mitchell
Samuel Smith
Eleazer Giles
Abner Custiss
Jonathan Sherwood
Stephen Babbitt
Lemuel Potter

In 1817, Stephen Babbitt, Thomas Manley, and Josiah Smith obtained a warrant for the Sprig Lodge No. 279, to meet in Norway. The Rev. Daniel McDonald, Principal of Fairfield Academy, delivered a sermon at the installation of Sprig Lodge in 1818. This group changed its meeting place to Newport in 1820.

In 1819, the majority of members of Aurora Lodge No. 52 were from the Salisbury area. Permission was granted by the Grand Lodge to hold meetings in Salisbury where they stayed until the Charter was forfeited in 1838.

By: Jane Dieffenbacher, Fairfield Town Historian
Copyright © 1997
All Rights Reserved.

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Last Updated: 4/14/97
Text Copyright© 1997 Jane Dieffenbcher
Copyright ©1997 Jane Dieffenbacher/ Martha S. Magill
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