ALBANY, N.Y. -- On one of Albany’s oldest streets sits the longest continuously owned Masonic property in the world. And it’s on this property where a lot of connections have been made over the past 250 years, from the working class to U.S. presidents and everyone in between.
"One of the really interesting connections we have actually relates to a former governor of the state of New York, Governor DeWitt Clinton," said Michael Hernandez, historian of the Bloss-DeWitt Clinton Council No. 14.
Clinton was one of the more prominent masons of the early 19th century, even serving as the grand master of the Grand Lodge of the state of New York.
"He was grand high priest of the Grand Chapter of the state of New York, grand master of the Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar of the United States of America and general grand priest of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of the United States of America."
Clinton was about as grand as you could get. So it would make sense that he would gift Albany’s Masters Lodge Number 5 something special. He gave them a sword, but not just any sword.
"Governor DeWitt Clinton gave a French rapier, which he received from General Lafayette."
General Marquis de Lafayette was one of the Revolutionary War’s heroes, close friend to George Washington and world traveler. The sword would also be known for doing a bit of traveling of its own.
"Somewhere between 1847 and 1850 an artist by the name of William T. Carlton took it with him when he moved from Albany to Boston."
In 1885, Governor Clinton’s sword made the trip back home to Albany only to be…
"Within a year afterwards, it was lost again," said Hernandez.
It took another 25 years, with the help of one of Albany’s most illustrious masonic members, to make sure the sword never walked off again.
"Since it was recovered by Most Worshipful James Ten Eyck, it’s resided in this building under lock and key for a period of over 100 years."
This proved to be one of Ten Eyck’s last of many good deeds. He died suddenly just weeks after having the former governor’s sword re-interred at the Lodge. And it’s been there kept safe and sound ever since.