Grand Lodge of New York Masonic Lodge Histories Lodge Nos. 201-230

Charter member of Euclid Lodge No.65 and first Worshipful Master

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Charter member of Euclid Lodge No.65 and first Worshipful Master. He also served as Chaplain in 1851, Secretary in 1852, and Junior Steward in 1853. He was also a charter member and past High Priest (1851, 1852, 1853, and 1855) of Euclid Chapter No.13, Royal Arch Masons. 


  Charles Wylie Keith (1830 - 1897)
  Eliza Dixon Keith (1840 - 1841)
  William Henry Keith (1842 - 1869)
  Edwin Wight Keith (1843 - 1851)

The Masonic Review, Vol. XIV, No. 5, Feb 1856, page 324.

At his residence in Napierville, Illinois, on the 13th of November last [1855], Bro. Aylmer Keith in the fifty-fourth year of his age. Bro. Keith was made a Mason over thirty years ago in the State of New-York, and received the Chapter degrees in Rome, NY, in 1828. Some seventeen years ago he removed to Illinois, and by his efforts a Lodge was established in Napierville, and subsequently a Chapter. He was for several years Master of the Lodge, and became the first H. P. of the Chapter. He was untiring in his attention to his Masonic duties, and his attachment to Masonry ended only with his life. A sincere and devoted Christian, his blameless life was a brilliant commentary upon his profession, and in all the relations of social life was universally beloved.


Euclid Lodge No. 65, A.F. & A.M., Masonic Hall, Naperville, 3 Feb 1852

The committee appointed to procure a cane to be presented to Br. Aylmer Keith made their report and presented the cane to the Lodge with a bill of seven dollars for the cane and engraving – said report and cane were accepted, the committee discharged and the bill ordered to be paid. The Worshipful Master, Naper, in behalf of the Lodge then presented the cane to W. Aylmer Keith remarking in sub-stance as follows.

Worshipful Brother Keith, I rise to perform a pleasing and agreeable duty, that devolved on me as Master of the Lodge, who being desirous of manifesting in a tangible form their appreciation of your course during the period of your connexion with them, and their appreciation of the services rendered this Lodge by you, I have the honor of presenting to you on their behalf this cane as a token of their esteem and fraternal regard.

The time honored custom of presenting gifts and tokens of affection as rewards of merit is alike honorable to the donor and recipient. You will observe that the head of the cane is in-scribed with certain emblems, highly significant to the initiated. May the principles signified by these emblems be the rule and guide of your life and the staff be a support to you in your declining years.”

Br. Keith arose and said, “Worshipful Master and Brethren of Euclid Lodge, I thank you for this token of your affectionate and fraternal regard, and accept it with a grateful heart.” Here appearing very much affected, said, “Brethren, I will add a few words when I am a little more composed.”

After a short pause, Br. Keith arose and spoke as follows.

“Worshipful Master and Brethren of Euclid Lodge, I said on receiving this cane that I accepted with a grateful heart this token of your regard, and although no words that I can use will express the feelings of my heart, I will add that I appreciate the motives that prompted its bestowment. The feeble service that I have rendered this Lodge, from its first organization to the pre-sent time, has not been for hope of gain, but from a sincere love of Masonry, and the good its principles are calculated to impart to those who come under its influence. The objects and aims of Masonry are not selfish, but Masons who understand the true spirit and character of Masonry, are such from a desire of knowledge and of being serviceable to their fellow creatures.”

“As the staff will be a support to my limbs in my declining years, so may the genuine principles of Masonry strengthen and confirm me in the practice of all Masonic virtues and particularly in the Tenets of a Mason’s profession, Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.

The head of this staff is embellished with Masonic emblems, here is the plumb, square and level, these are most beautifully explained in our ritual, „the plumb admonishes us to walk up-rightly in our several stations before God and man, squaring our actions by the square of virtue, ever remembering, that we are travelling upon the level of time to that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns; here is also a Beehive which is emblematical of industry; next the Pot of Incense which is an emblem of a pure heart, which is always an acceptable sacrifice to Deity; and as this glows with fervent heat, so should our hearts continually glow with gratitude to the great and beneficent author of our existence for the manifold blessings and comforts we enjoy; next an Anchor, this is an emblem of a well grounded hope, and my Brethren when we shall have been wafted over this tempestuous sea of troubles, may we be safely anchored in that peaceful harbor, where the wicked cease from troubling and the weary find rest. Here is also a past Masters Jewel which I suppose is intended to denote the relation I sustain to this Lodge. And in the most prominent place is the 47th Problem of Euclid from which this Lodge derives its name, this teaches Masons to be general lovers of the Arts and Sciences.”

“Again my Brethren, I thank you for your gift. And now we as brethren of the Mystic Tie endeavor so to regulate our lives and conduct, that when the chilling winds of death shall come sighing around us, we may be prepared as living stones for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

On motion of Brother Willard T. Jones, Resolved, the whole matter of presenting the cane to Br. Keith including the remarks of the Worshipful Master and of Br. Keith be spread upon the records.

(It is not known what became of the cane. It may have been placed in Aylmer’s coffin when he was buried.)


Numa Leonard was born on 25 Mar 1778 in West Springfield, MA. He died on 31 Jan 1855 in Rome, NY. He was buried in Rome Cemetery, Oneida Co., NY. He married Betsey LANDRUFF.

Brothers who served in the Revolutionary War

William Colbreath

Daniel Green

Thomas Hartwell

Joshua Hatheway

Thomas Selden

Stephen White

Dr. Thomas Hartwell b. 15 Jul 1759, Frederickbury, Duchess, NY; d. 16 Aug 1838; was the first physician in Hoosick Falls [Falls Quequick], from New London, CT, in 1778. He was one of the founders of Federal lodge, No. 33, organized in 1782. m. 16 [26] Aug 1874 Hannah Ashe. 12 years later he moved to the Ohio Valley ca 1800-05.

Thomas Selden, (22 Sep1732, Hadley, MA-1821, Rome, NY), served with the Vermont troops at the battle of Bennington under Capt. Samuel Robinson and, 1781, enlisted under Capt. William Hutchins.


Captain Stephen White, of Ballston, New York, of the revolutionary army [12th Regt., NY Militia]. He was in command of Fort Stanwix or Fort Schuyler, as it was usually known, in 1777. It is said, on good authority [??], that the first flag bearing the stars and stripes was made by his wife and given to the breeze at that fort, August 6 of that year. His wife was Mary Quintard, of Huguenot descent, daughter of Peter Quintard and Elizabeth De Mille. page 26.

Stephen White, a brother [cousin?] of Epenetus White, came from CT to the new settlement in Ball Town [Ballston] in 1771. He was a Captain in Col. Van Schoonhoven's Regiment during the Revolution, and also in the regiment of Col. Marinus Willett. The late Judge Scott received from his father, James Scott, the following interesting reminiscence: "Capt. Stephen White in 1781 commanded a company of nine months men in Col. Willett's regiment. In the fall [25 Oct 1781]] of that year this company distinguished itself in the battle of Johnstown. Capt. White, with several of his men, after a gallant struggle, was captured and taken to Canada. They did not return home until after the peace. During their march to Canada, the Indians formed the death ring around Capt. White, and while the tomahawk hung suspended over his head, he, with a courage and presence of mind seldom equalled, wrested it from the savage, while the other savages exclaimed "brave," and all proceeded on their march." He was exchanged in the Fall of 1782.


William Colbreath/Colbreth/Colbrath/Colbraith (1760-1839] was a Revolutionary War soldier in Leonard Bleecker's (8th) company, Third Regiment, New York line: Ensign. 21 Nov 1770; Lieutenant, 20 Nov 1778; mustered out, Jan 1782; Sheriff of Herkimer County, 1791; Sheriff of Oneida County, 1796. In 1792 petitioned Grand Lodge for a warrant to Amicable Lodge, No. 22, New Hartford, Herkimer County; raised in Masters' Lodge No. 2, Albany, 1777.

In Rome is land that formerly belonged to Gov. [George] Clinton who sold it to Major William Colbrath who sold it to Dominick Lvnch the year Oneida County was organized, March 12th 1798.

William Colbreath, a soldier at the fort, wrote in his diary (still extant): "Aug. 3d. Early this Morning a Continental Flagg made by the Officers of Col. Gansevoorts Regiment was hoisted and a Cannon Levelled at the Enemies Camp was fired . . .”

Marker at Stanton Cemetery, Stanton, Haywood County, Tennessee >

Order of the Cincinnati -- Quebec, Champlain, Tarry Town, Brandywine, Monmouth, Trenton, Philadelphia, Valley Forge, York Town

When Bro. Colbreath died the Stanton Cemetery was not established; someone may not have known his whereabouts but wanted to honor him with the marker.

Institution of the Society of the Cincinnati . . ., by John Schuyler, page 185.

WILLIAM COLBRATH - Lieutenant and Quartermaster 2d New York Regiment.

Appointed on the 21st of November, 1776, Ensign in the 3d Regiment, New York Continental Infantry, on recommendation of Colonel Gansevoort.

In a certificate signed by Colonel Frederick Weissenfels at Quebec, on the 15th of April, 1775, and approved by General Wooster, then Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Forces before Quebec, he is mentioned with officers of his—then Colonel Nicholson's—Regiment as a Second Lieutenant.

Transferred to the 2d Regiment, Continental Infantry—Colonel Van Cortlandt's—on the 1st of January, 1781, and appointed Regimental Quartermaster, Captain (by brevet) on the 30th of September, 1783. Honorably discharged with his regiment on the 3d of November, following. His name appears on the Half-Pay Roll.

----- page 18.

The second town meeting in Whitestown was held at the barn of Capt Needham Maynard, in said town, April 6, 1790. "The following persons were elected: — Major William Colbrath, Supervisor . . .

"Montgomery County, ss.:—This certifies that the freeholders, and other inhabitants of Whitestown, being met in said town for the purpose of choosing Town Officers, on Tuesday, the 6th day of April, 1790, did on said day collect fifty votes for Maj. William Colbrath, and thirty-four votes for Col. Jedediah Sanger, for Supervisor, and William Colbrath was declared to be Supervisor. Then proceeded to the election of other officers, but many people being deprived of the privilege of voting for Supervisor, etc., moved to have the proceedings of the day made null and void, which passed in tie affirmative. The meeting being then adjourned to Wednesday, the 7th inst, at 10 o'clock in the morning, at this place. Wednesday, 10 o'clock in the morning, met according to adjournment, and the poll list being opened and kept open till about five o'clock in the afternoon, at which time the poll list was closed, and upon canvassing the same, found that Jedediah Sanger was unanimously elected Supervisor, with the number of 119 votes, which choice was publicly declared in said meeting, and that he hath produced a certificate from Hugh White, Esq., that he has taken the oath of office.”

Before Whitestown was organized as a town (March 7, 1788) there was living therein, and near Fort Stanwix, William Colbraith (or Colbreath). The year he came cannot now be stated. He was captain of a company under Peter Gansevoort, in the Sullivan expedition of 1779 against the Indians in the western part of New York.

Under date of Sept. 14, [1779] Col. Shreve at Fort Sullivan, orders a "Detachment of 100 men, property officered, one three pounder and artillery men sufficient to work it, twenty small boats with a hundred boatmen under the care of Major Morrison to be Immediately turned out, the whole to be under the command of Captain Reed. Lieutenant Colbrath, from his knowledge of the ground, is requested to go with the party.'' They set out for Kanawaholla the next day.

He was the first sheriff of Herkimer County in 1791, and then resided near Fort Stanwix as above stated. He was also first sheriff of Oneida County, in 1798. He cannot be traced further.

When Oneida county was formed William Colbraith was appointed sheriff and held the office until December of that year. History and tradition are silent as to his life and career after that date.

William Colbraith, resided on the road from Fort Stanwix to what is now the village of Stanwix, in Rome, was made sheriff. He was a jolly Irishman, had been in the war of the Revolution and was captain of a company in Sullivan's army in the expedition against the Senecas in 1779; before 1790 he had settled in Rome on the road before mentioned. page 313.

Among the officers who served under Col. Gansevoort at the siege of Fort Stanwix, now Rome, N. Y., in 1777, and later under General Sullivan in the Indian Campaign of 1779, was Lieut. William Colbreth of the Third New York Continental Line. There were eight regiments of troops from New England, New York and New Jersey in General Sullivan's army and the stories told upon their return home by the veterans of these regiments resulted in the immigration to this locality and westward, of great numbers of very high grade men and women, including a host of the best educated men the East possessed.

Lieut. Colbreth settled at Fort Stanwix at the close of the war, became the first sheriff of Herkimer County and the first sheriff of Oneida County.

At the first term of a court, held in January, 1794, within the limits of Oneida County, as now constituted, Sheriff Colbreth was in attendance and the weather was intensely cold. The Church building in New Hartford, in which the court was convened, was unheated and as night drew near, the members of the bar found the condition unendurable, so they induced the sheriff to repair to a neighboring inn and procure a jug of spirits. "Upon the jugs appearing, it was passed around the bar table and each of the learned counselors in his turn upraised the elegant vessel and by the simplest process imaginable, partook of so much as he deemed a sufficient dose of the delicious fluid.''

While this operation was proceeding, the three judges who presided held a consultation and the first judge announced that he saw no reason why they should sit there and freeze to death and ordered the crier to adjourn the Court, whereupon, Sheriff Colbreth hastily passed the jug to the bench, saying, "No, no, no, Judge, don't adjourn yet; take a little gin, Judge, that will keep you warm.''

The Court did not adjourn just then.


Proceedings of the New York state historical association with the ..., Volume 10, by New York State Historical Association, page 163.

Fort Schuyler, formerly Fort Stanwix, was defended by the Third New York Regiment under its colonel, Peter Gansevoort, and one of the eight companies of that regiment, the fourth, had as its captain, Abraham Swartwout, and the junior commissioned officer of the Eighth Company was Ensign William Colbreath. Each of these men kept a diary of the events of the siege. Fort Schuyler, formerly Fort Stanwix, was built in 1758, nearly twenty years earlier, and early in the spring of 1777, Gansevoort was sent to this place to put it as speedily as possible in a good condition of repair. Later he was joined by the Lieutenant-colonel of the Regiment, Marinus Willett, with further troops, and still later Lieut.-Col. James Mellon of the Ninth Massachusetts with some two hundred men arrived to reinforce him, getting to the post the afternoon of Saturday, August second, within an hour of the time when Barry St. Leger's advance forces, thirty men under Lieut. Bird, with some Indians under Brant, reached the post. The supplies and reinforcements Mellon brought had speedily been gotten within the walls of the post before this happened.

The Swartwout Chronicles were published less than a dozen years ago in a limited edition of but 100 copies. They were most carefully and skillfully edited by Mr. Arthur James Weise of Brooklyn, New York, and I am told that Major William Merrill Swartwout of Albany expended over $10,000 in preparation of these chronicles. The Colbreath Journal has never been published, though parts of it have been quoted in several publications. In the main they support each other quite fully and unitedly they show a state of affairs which may be briefly stated about as follows:

While the news of the flag statute enactment of the 14th of June was not officially promulgated by Congress until September third, it did get abroad and was printed in the newspapers. One of these reached Albany on the 31st, the day when Lieut.-col. James Mellon's party of the Ninth Massachusetts, referred to above, was starting with his reinforcements of two hundred men up the Mohawk River to the relief of Gansevoort. They took along news of the enactment. When they arrived at the fort, about 5 o'clock Saturday afternoon, and the provisions, arms, munitions of war and other supplies were rushed into the post, the knowledge of this statute was received by the garrison.

On Sunday morning, having no ensign and being greatly interested by the news of the statute, the garrison set about the manufacture of a flag. White cloth was found in plenty. According to one rumor, it was supplied by hospital bandages and according to another, from men's shirts. Red also was available. This again, rumor has it, was supplied by the scarlet petticoat of a soldier's wife. But of blue cloth a ransacking of the garrison displayed no trace until Captain Abraham Swartwout sacrificed his blue military cloak to furnish the canton or field upon which the white stars could be sewn. A year later, in fact, we find him writing from Poughkeepsie to Gansevoort, still stationed at Stanwix, requesting an order on the "Commissary for clothing of the State" to supply him, according to promise, with "Eight yards of Broadcloth in lieu of my blue cloak which was used for coulours at Fort Schuyler."

In this manner the ingenuity and the patriotism of the garrison, deeply interested in learning of this flag regulation, and with a strong desire to have an ensign floating above them, supplied the flag which we described.

We are told at considerable length in the pages of the Swartwout Chronicles that it was constructed during the forenoon of Sunday; that in the afternoon a flagstaff was prepared and planted on the northeast bastion, that which was nearest to the enemy's camp, and that the finished flag, which had been so hastily constructed, being fastened to the halyard, the drummer beat the assembly, the garrison congregated in response to the summons; then as the Adjutant of the day stepped forward to read from the paper the resolution of Congress designating the insignia of the new Republic, it was hoisted to the top of the staff and for the first time in history the brilliant colors, the red, the white, and the blue of the Stars and! Stripes, floated over a besieged garrison and for the first time, troops, in battle array, were gazing reverently upwards regarding it as their banner and ensign. It is further stated that a cannon was loaded and fired at the enemy, and from that day to the end of the siege, which lasted about three weeks, not only did it float above these brave defenders, but for some considerable portion of the time it had the honor of flying above five captured ensigns, taken from "Butler's Rangers" of ignoble fame, one of the bodies constituting Barry St. Leger's forces. "They were rather super-abundantly supplied with ensigns considering the amount of honor possessed by this very notorious corps,'' is the remark made by Trevelyan.


Brothers who served in the War of 1812
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