NO. 612, F. AND A. M.,
Captain Franklin Ellis
The History of Columbia County
Everts & Ensign
The first Masonic society in Hillsdale antedates the century, though the exact date of its organization is not now known. It was called Mount Vernon Lodge, and flourished until the anti-Mason excitement swept over the country, when it was wrecked by that storm. Prominent among its members were John B. Sharts, Samuel Judson, Artemus Johnson, John Collin, Joel Blackman, David Persons, Thaddeus Reed, John Pixley, and James Bryan. Several years afterward another lodge was instituted, known as Friendship Lodge, No. 125. It was chartered with seven members, and the first officers were David G. Woodin, Master; Samuel Judson, S. W.; Jefferson B. Bingham, J. W.; James W. White, Sec.; Alfred G. Bidwell, Treas.; Philip Becker, S. D.; John P. Sharts, J. D.
Henry A. Collin was the first initiate, and among the other prominent members were Richard H. Bartlett, Allen Sweet, John Miller, and Frelin Van Deusen. The Masters were Philip Becker, Henry A. Collin, William Elton.
The lodge met in Hillsdale for some time, and flourished to a marked degree; then the place of meeting was changed to Copake for two or three years, and returning again to Hillsdale, it flourished for a time, and in 1858 surrendered its charter.
The present lodge was instituted in 1867, but had been working under a dispensation for some months previous. The first officers were Philip Becker, M.; David C. Baird, S. W.; Martin J. Wagner, J. W.; Eliphalet Dimmick, Sec.; John B. Sharts, Treas.; Samuel Judson, S. D.; Walter Shaver, J. D.
The Masters who have passed the chair are Philip Becker, Philip Becker, Jr., George M. Bullock, and Charles M. Bell. The present officers are Platt Rogers, M.; Theodore P. Melius S. W.; Gilbert A. Deane, J. W.; Grosvenor A. Knox, Treas.; Jacob L. Spade, Sec.; George M. Bullock, S. D.; Latting Bixby, J. D.; David Brusie, S. M. C.; William Atkinson, J. M. C.; William Coons, Chap.; Ezra J. Beardsley, Tyler; H. G. Westlake, F. Vandeusen, Charles M. Bell, Trustees.
The lodge has fitted up the hall at an expense of several hundred dollars, meets regularly twice each month, and is in a prosperous condition, with a membership of ninety-six.
The places of historic interest in Hillsdale are not numerous. The southwestern part of the town was in early times called "Nobletown," and apparently received its name from one Robert Noble, who was a leader of the anti-renters during the troubles in the middle of the last century. Where he lived cannot now be ascertained. There was a gore of land in the south part of the town which was in dispute between Van Rensselaer and Livingston, but a line was finally agreed upon between them. In 1791, Sheriff Hogeboom, while on his return from serving some processes in this section was assailed by a band of disguised men, and was killed by a musket-ball. The scene of this tragedy was near the town line of Claverack, in the Jordan neighborhood. The surrounding hills here huddle together and open out into a broad vale looking to the westward and extending for some miles into the town of Claverack. No one was convicted of the crime, but one Jonathan Arnold suspected, fled, was arrested, tried, and acquitted. On the trial it was proven that he had loaded his gun with a ball, while the others were loaded with blank cartridges.
During the War of 1812 a large number of men were drafted or enlisted from this town, but no record of their names has been preserved.
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