It all began as a terrible mistake when as part of the Utica Mason's Knights Templar bicentennial celebration, the 200-year-old original charter document was lost somewhere between Newport and Vernon. This week the document and the damaged metal cylinder it was stored in was found, but the news was not all positive.

The document inside had literally dissolved from nearly a month of rain and springtime elements after it was run over and flattened on the roadway not far from the Masonic Temple in Newport, where it had fallen off the roof of Commander SK Stuart W. Card's vehicle. Card said he had mistakenly left the relic while he was loading up his car following an event where he had taken historic relics along with the charter to the nearby chapter in Newport on April 25th. He believes he drove off with the document sitting on top of his car.

Dating back to 1823, the Utica Commandery #3 of the Knights Templar Charter featured signatures from historic figures such as Thomas R. Proctor and the chapter's first Grand Master, the former U.S. Senator, Mayor of New York City, and Governor of New York, DeWitt Clinton.

Over the last month, people including members of the organization had been retracing the route in hopes of finding the document. A member of the Knights Templar had decided this week to take one last drive along the suspected route, when he miraculously found the metal cylinder flattened in the roadway.


"Commander Card and the "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 the reward," according to a news release.

"Insistently,"  Card replied, " Well, you name a charity." which the original reward offers  had mentioned. It's unknown if the Mason who found the document will take Card up on his offer.

Tom Loughlin
Tom Loughlin

Knights Chairman Tom Loughlin told WIBX on Tuesday, that luckily they have an excellent print of the original document, along with other documents signed by dozens of Masons from the era on parchment, which can help tell the complete story of the Knights Templar and this model-day mishap.

”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," said Loughlin. "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 in our home," he said.

Listen to the interview with Chairman Tom Loughlin from Tuesday morning.

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