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February 24, 2009 - 10:58am

William Morgan: No. 3 in "What Made Genesee County Famous"

posted by Philip Anselmo in history, Holland Land Office Museum, William Morgan.

We're nearing the end of the countdown, folks. Only two left to tick off on the list of the Holland Land Office Museum's 25 Things That Made Genesee County Famous. Taking the No. 3 spot was the disappearance of William Morgan, which remains a mystery to this day.

From Pat Weissend, museum director:

Before there was OJ, before the Lindburgh Baby Kidnapping, before Lizzie Borden there was William Morgan. William Morgan was a Batavian who was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by Free Masons in September 1826.

Morgan was a bricklayer who wanted to become a member of the Masonic Fraternity. When a Masonic lodge opened in Batavia, Morgan applied for membership, saying he was a member in the LeRoy lodge. It was discovered that Morgan lied about his membership and his application was denied.

In order to get revenge for his denial, Morgan began to write a book disclosing the secrets of the society. Members of the fraternity threatened Morgan and even set fire to David Miller’s print shop where the book was being published.

You will have to visit the museum's Web site to get the rest of the story—if you haven't already heard it. Weissend also posted the three-part video series that The Batavian put together last month on the disappearance of Morgan.

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