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Good news, and bad news, for 200-year-old charter

Posted 5/23/23

Earlier this month, during the Utica Commandery’s 200-year-old charter and the document’s metal case — were lost in transport. The items have been found.

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Good news, and bad news, for 200-year-old charter


UTICA — Minutes after sitting down to breakfast at a local diner with the rest of the Knight Templar Erie Canal Races Honor Guard, Stuart Card, commander of the Utica Knights Templar Commandery, got a phone call with good news and bad news, according to a report by Sir Knight Thomas E. Loughlin.

Card’s wife, Brenda, was on the line, Loughlin said, adding the commander’s face went expressionless as she described an item which had been given to her by a Mason brother after a last-ditch search turned it up on a Newport street.

She described a metal item, approximating the measurements of the lost cylinder containing the charter, but it was no longer cylindrical. It was completely flattened and without its end caps.

Card and the object’s finder conversed in the presence of the assembled Knights, with the Mason brother heard on the other end to say, “I’m not here for the money” after Card mentioned a reward offered for help finding the group’s lost 200-year-old charter — last seen in the now-flattened metal cylinder. Insistently, Card replied, “Well, you name a charity,” which the original reward offers had mentioned.

Earlier this month, during the Utica Commandery’s 200th anniversary weekend celebration, the group’s 200-year-old charter signed by then Gov. DeWitt Clinton and the document’s metal case — were lost in transport.

As the Templars readied to leave the diner, Card noted the irony of having the DeWitt Clinton- signed charter being found while the organization it created was performing duties at a race named for the fabled waterway the former governor championed where the track itself was just feet away from Clinton’s own handiwork.

Later in a letter to the Knights, Card later wrote: “I cannot help seeing in this synchronicity, the Hand of The One who we thank for guiding all our efforts as Knights Templar.”

Added Loughlin, “we now close this sad and unfortunate chapter in our bicentennial and refocus our efforts ahead to the rest of our 200th year and onward. The rainwater-destroyed charter will be replaced by a high quality replica, girded by the original charter’s ribbon and lead Templar seal which survived. The retrieved container will remain a revered relic.”


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