William Cuscaden’s Jewel

Antique artifact of William Cuscaden's Jewel.

This magnificent jewel was presented on April 12, 1831, to Worshipful Master William Cuscaden by Benevolent Lodge No. 142, New York. It is made of gold, silver and composite metal, with inlaid rhinestones and an amethyst, and with what may be a ruby at the top.

Brother Cuscaden was first seen on the Annual Return of the Lodge of December 27, 1823-December 27, 1824. He served as Senior Deacon in 1825 and as Junior Warden in 1826. There is no record of him serving in any office in 1827 or 1828, but on December 8, 1829 he was elected Master of the Lodge.

Benevolent Lodge No. 142 was warranted on September 3, 1806. A new Warrant was granted on December 6, 1837, the Master and certain members having helped to form St. John’s Grand Lodge and having withheld the Warrant from loyal members. (The St. John’s faction became Benevolent Lodge No. 1 under St. John’s Grand Lodge jurisdiction.) In June of 1849, the Lodge helped to form the Phillips Grand Lodge, but on August 14th, the Master and a faction took the warrant and acknowledged the legitimate body. From this time to the Union there were two Lodges known as Benevolent Lodge No. 28 (see Benevolent Lodge No. 28, Phillips Grand Lodge.)

On September 27, 1837, Worshipful Brother Cuscaden was elected to the office of the Grand Treasurer of the first St. John’s Grand Lodge, serving as such until December 5, 1837, where the list of officers shows Alexander Cuscaden taking over as Grand Treasurer, while William Cuscaden served as Grand Marshal.

The original Warrant of 1806 was returned to Benevolent Lodge No. 28 of the legitimate Grand Lodge on June 7, 1883. (See A53-131 Print, 1850 Masonic Union, in the Art Collection of the Online Virtual Museum to view more of the history of the Union of the St. John’s Grand Lodge and the Grand Lodge of New York.)

Benevolent Lodge No. 28 merged on February 13, 1974 with Independent Royal Arch Lodge No. 2, New York, NY. Click here to see the full record of the jewel and the history of St. John’s Grand Lodge.

Note: Image and research by Catherine M. Walter, Curator