A Masonic Lodge was organized in the City of New Brunswick under a Dispensation granted by M.W. John Beatty, Grand Master, dated November 28th, 1793.
At the next session of the Grand Lodge, held January 6th, 1794, a warrant for this Lodge was ordered under the name and number of Washington Lodge No. 12. On November 12th, 1811, the Grand Lodge ordered that a warrant issue to a new Lodge in the City of New Brunswick under the name and number of Mount Moriah Lodge No. 27. For the purpose of uniting the two lodges at New Brunswick, Mount Moriah Lodge surrendered its warrant in the year 1819.
The union of the two Lodges did not occur until the year 1821. The united Lodge was known and distinguished as Union Lodge No. 12. This Lodge continued its regular meetings until the year 1837. It was stricken from the roll of Lodges November 8th, 1842.
At the annual meeting of the Grand Lodge, held January 9th, 1850, M.W. Brother Joseph W. Scott, P.G.M., made some remarks relative to the organization of the Lodge formerly held at New Brunswick.
The following resolution was adopted by the Grand Lodge, viz: “Resolved, That the Warrant of Union Lodge No._ be restored, and the Lodge released from the payment of all dues that have accrued and that old warrant be retained until a proper petition be presented to the Grand Master, provided such petition be presented within one month.”
In compliance with the foregoing order of the Grand Lodge, the brethren at New Brunswick prepared and presented a petition, as follows, viz:
“To the Most Worshipful, the Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted York Masons of the State of New Jersey, and to the Most Worshipful Edward Stewart, Grand Master of the same:
“The petition of the subscribers, citizens of the City of New Brunswick and vicinity in the same State, most respectfully showeth that they are and that each one of them is a regular Master Mason in good standing among the fraternity: that having the prosperity of the fraternity much at heart, they are desirous to exert their endeavors to promote and diffuse the genuine Principles of Masonry. That Union Lodge several years ago in the said City had ceased to work, and had forfeited its warrant that sundry of your petitioners were members of that Lodge at the time when it ceased to work and that all of your petitioners united in the application, that the Warrant of Union Lodge shall be resuscitated and renewed to your petitioners with such number and rank as may be consistent with the rules of the Grand Lodge- and your petitioners do respectfully pray that a Warrant and Constitution may issue to them to open and hold a regular Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the City of New Brunswick aforesaid, at such times as may be necessary and proper; and then and there to discharge the duties of masonry in a regular and constitutional manner according to the original principles, customs and forms of the order and the Laws of the Grand Lodge of the State of New Jersey.
“And your petitioners do promise strict conformity and obedience to all constitutional Laws and regulations of the Grand Lodge.
“And your petitioners do further request and petition that James S. Nevius be in the said Warrant named and appointed as the first Master of the said Lodge, that Haley Fisk be named as the first Senior Warden and that George W. Taylor be named as the first Junior Warden.
“And your petitioners, etc. New Brunswick. February 1st, 1850.
James S. Nevius
Lewis G. Letson
Henry G. Tyer
At an adjourned session of the Grand Lodge, held at the City of Newark, May 13th, 1850, Past Grand Master Scott made the following report which was, on motion, accepted and ordered to be recorded:
“To the Most Worshipful, the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New Jersey, and to the Most Worshipful Edward Stewart, Grand Master of the Same:
“On the 12th day of March, instant, the true and faithful Bro. Elias I. Thompson brought to the City of New Brunswick a warrant from the Grand Lodge bearing date – for the purpose of resuscitating Union Lodge, and Ancient Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the City of New Brunswick under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge.
“From various misfortunes and adverse occurrences, this Lodge had ceased to work and their Warrant had become subject to forfeiture.
“At the last Annual Communication the Grand Lodge as a matter of grace and sympathy, granted them permission to revive, and ordered a Warrant to issue to certain of them, in place of their old Warrant, which had been purloined or lost.
“Accompanying the Warrant was a request from the Grand Master to me, to assemble the brethren named in the Warrant, and such other Master Masons as I should choose, at some convenient time, in the City of New Brunswick, and then, and there reorganize Union Lodge under the new Warrant and to install the Master and Wardens therein named and appointed.
“Accordingly, on the evening of the same 12th of March, and to the end that the Warrant of the Grand Lodge should be received in ancient and accustomed style, I did open an Emergent Grand Lodge and did appoint protem officers, and in open Grand Lodge I did receive from Bro. Elias I. Thompson the aforesaid Warrant and request of the Grand Master, and being possessed of the aforesaid Warrant, I did close the Grand Lodge in due and ancient form and style.
“And I did then and there install the Worshipful Bro. James S. Nevius as the Master of Union Lodge under the said Warrant thus gratuitously granted: and I did deliver to him and his safe keeping the said Warrant and the insignia and implements of his office, and I did charge him to govern his said Lodge in justice, wisdom and brotherly loge and in subjection and allegiance to the Grand Lodge of the State of New Jersey. And I did, with the assistance of Bro. Thompson, install the true and faithful Bro. Haley Fisk as the Senior Warden and the true and faithful Bro. George Taylor as the Junior Warden of the said Lodge. And I did constitute the aforementioned brothers, James S. Nevius, Haley Fisk and George Taylor into a lawful Lodge of Free and Accepted Ancient Masons, with the full power and authority to enter, pass and raise to the sublime degree all such candidates as they should find on diligent and strict examination, to be worthy and well qualified.
“And I did further authorize and empower them, then and there, in my presence, to admit into Union Lodge thus organized, on open motion and vote, provided the said vote should be unanimous, all such worthy Master Masons as should apply, and be at the same time there personally present. And I do further certify and report to the Grand Lodge, that then and there and following Master Masons were admitted into Union Lodge by such vote as aforesaid, in my presence, that is to say, Bros. Edward Elkins, David Mercereau, James Sillcocks, Cornelius DeHart, James M. McIntosh, Lewis Letson, H.N. Burt, N.W. Lindheim and John Acken.
“And I do further certify and report, that Bro. Elias I. Thompson, now a resident of Newark, was in like manner, in my presence, admitted as an honorary member of said Union Lodge.”
From the time of resuscitation, on March 12, 1850 until 1873, the Lodge met in various halls, probably in the Whitehall Tavern on Albany Street. In 1873 there was erected at the corner of George Street and Albany Street a five story Masonic Hall. Included on the ground floor was a large “L” shaped theater, with orchestra, gallery, four boxes and seats for 1200. The Lodge room was on the fifth floor.
Palestine Lodge #111 was constituted in January 1871 and both Lodges met in this building until a disastrous fire destroyed it, December 21, 1896.
In 1894 a Baptist Church, which was located at Remsen Street and Redmond Street, was relocated to a new building on Livingston Avenue. The Masonic Temple Association which represented both Lodges purchased the empty church building, converted it to a Lodge room and continued to meet there until Union Lodge sold it in March 1978, Palestine Lodge #111 having moved out previously.
Union Lodge moved to rented quarters for their first meeting in Odd Fellows Hall in North Brunswick September 18, 1978. In 1985 they purchased the building from Odd Fellows Lodge #6. On October 21, 2000 we celebrated the 150th anniversary of Union Lodge #19.