Morgan - by Jana Roper
And so the story goes:
William Morgan was an itinerate worker who moved to Batavia, New York about 1824 with his wife Lucinda and two children. Morgan was able to persuade the members of the Lodge of Batavia that he was a Mason, with the reservations of a few members. Morgan participated in the Batavia lodge by giving speeches, visiting other lodges and other activities.
A petition was made for a Royal Arch Chapter about 1826 on which William Morgan's signature did appear. Those who doubted his membership brought forward their doubts and the Petition was dissolved and a new petition was made. Morgan was refused to be allowed to sign the second petition. This angered Morgan, who vowed revenge.
The now, vengeful William Morgan conspires with David Miller who was the editor of the Batavia Advocate and his associates to publish a pamphlet exposing the secrets of Freemasonry. The pamphlet would be named "Illustrations on Freemasonry". They would sell them for $1.00 each and they would be rich.
In 1826, there wasn't a large following in the anti-masonic movement. If they wanted to make money, something would have to happen to someone that would involve Masons. In the early hours of the morning, Morgan is arrested for a debt of $3.00. This same debt was paid the next morning by a Batavia Lodge member. After, the debt is paid, Morgan disappears.
Enter, Lucinda Morgan, the wife of William Morgan. Her husband has just been arrested. She knows the debt was paid by a Mason. But, her husband has disappeared, he would have had to have been kidnapped by the same Masons who helped him. Lucinda, also knows about the pamphlet, she also knows they stand to get rich if Illustrations on Masonry sells. A story is told of how the Masons kidnapped her husband in the wee hours of the morning on September 11, 1826 taking him 60 miles away to Niagara Falls in a wagon, where he is imprisoned, tortured and finally murdered. All of this was done in one to two days. I find this would be rather hard to do, due to the fact that if they were traveling with a wagon and two horses which was customary. On average they would have been able to cover only about 15 miles per day. That 15 miles would only if the terrain was well worn, the roads were in good condition, and weather permitted. Covering 15 miles per day, with a man who's screaming from the back of a wagon "murder! murder!" would have had to have been done in 4 days. Not a one or two days. This was all done without notice of anyone along the roadway.
Lucinda, plays her part well of the grieving widow. She raises enough of a stink that Masons are brought up on charges of murder of which they were all released due to lack of evidence. No body, no murder. Testimony is given by Masons of Batavia that because of the pamphlet printing, and in their efforts to try to put an end to it. Morgan was taken to the Canadian border on horseback, given $500 and the horse on which he was riding. He was never to return to New York, but as soon as he was settled his family and word was received from him to the effect, his family would be sent to him at no expense. They never received word from Morgan.
Immediately, she goes on the Anti-Masonic trail, she gives speeches against Freemasonry and their murderous ways. "Illustrations on Masonry" sells soar to records amounts. More printings are made.
Thirteen months later a body comes to the surfaces of Lake Ontario. Witnesses say the body bore no resemblence to Morgan. Lucinda is taken to identify the body and says that it is not her husband. The body is buried in Canada. Thurlow Weed, a politian and the publisher of the Rochester Telegraph as well as the future Antimasonic Inquirer hears of this story. The body is exhumed, witnesses later say that Weed shaves the whiskers from the face of the body to give it more of a resemblance to Morgan. Lucinda Morgan, now a rich woman, is brought in again. This time she positively identifies this decayed corpse as the body of her husband William Morgan, but states, the clothes the body is clad in, are not those of her husband. Thurwood Weed is heard to remark that "it's a good enough Morgan until after the election." The body is buried again, in a Martyrs grave.
Word comes from a woman named Sarah Munro, who's husband was last seen fishing on Lake Ontario but hasnt' returned from his fishing trip. Sarah gives a description of her husband Timothy's belongings, as well as the clothing that he was wearing at the time of his disappearance. These were the exact items which were found on the body at the time it was found. The body is once again exhumed, the woman identifies the clothing the body was buried in, but one discrepancy that she found was his whiskers were gone. But, she knew it was her husband Timothy Munro. The body is still laying in a grave with the name of William Morgan on it, not that of the true man who rests there, Timothy Munro.
Once again, enter Lucinda Morgan. She is found in later years after the Antimasonic hoopla has died down, in the presence of Mormons. She has remarried, and is married to a Mason. They are both endowed in the Mormon church. After the death of her second husband she becomes the mistress of Joseph Smith, the founder and leader of the Mormons. At Smith's death, she proclaims to one of the wives of Joseph Smith that she was his mistress for four years. Two of those years would have been while she was still married to her second husband. Lucinda dies years later, penniless, and alone in another state.
Another little side note to this story:
In 1932, almost 100 yrs after this all came to be, Thomas Knight produces evidence of William Morgan living in Boston as later as 1830, then is found again in Smyrna where he died of old age.
My questions to this story would be.
1) If this was truly the body of Morgan, why wasn't his wife able to identify him as soon as she saw the body. Why did it take months for her to realize after the second exhumation that it was her husband?
2) How could she have been able to tell if it was her husband in the first place? Knowing the way the human body decomposes, with the harsh New York weather, wild animals and the way a body decomposes during the summer heat. There wouldn't have been enough of a body left to identify after 13 months of exposure. So apparently the body couldn't have been there that long if a positive identification could be made by Lucinda.
3) To be a grieving widow, why wasn't she at home dealing the with pain of her children who had just lost their father? Being a mother myself, My first thoughts would have been of my children, and helping them through their pain. Vengence could always come later.
4) What about Sarah Munro? This woman comes from a small Canadian town, views an exhumed body, which apparently wasn't decayed enough for her to give a positive identification of her husband immediately. How could she have been able to describe with accuracy the personal items found on the body if this wasn't the body of her husband?
5) Why did Lucinda later marry another Mason? If I had even had the slightest idea that my husband had been murdered by Masons, the last thing I would have done is to marry one of the murderers of my husband.