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Hannibal Molson Esq

Born on 3-3-1837. He was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania. He later died on 2-4-1899.
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Hannibal C. Molson was the eldest son of Samuel D. and Maria Couper Molson. He was a barber by trade. He had two children by his wife Jemina, Melissa Molson Rhodes (1859-1884) and Alonzo Molson (1860 ââ?¬â?? 1895). He had one brother, Edward Banks Molson, Sr. (1840 ââ?¬â?? 1896) and a sister Ellen Molson (1842 --?).

Hannibal was foreman of the Rescue Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 for the Norwich, New York Fire Department in 1879. The total number of officers and men was 35. (1880 History of Chenango County, NY, page 342)

Molson, Hannibal C. (Norwich) proprietor of the Hughson House hair dressing saloon and Chairman of State Central Committee of Colored Men (1869/70 Norwich Directory, page 226)

Hannibal C. Molson died February 4, 1899 at Norwich, New York. He is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery in Norwich, Chenango County, New York.

ââ?¬Å?An interesting sketch of his eventful life ââ?¬â?? his Masonic historyââ?¬ is a contemporary biography of Mr. Molson. (This article was extracted from the Cleveland Gazette, dated December 27, 1884)

Hannibal C. Molson, Esq., the M.W. Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of the State of New York, was born March 7, 1837, at Lewistown, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, where his early life was spent until the commencement of the War of the Rebellion. When President Lincoln issued the first call for troops, a company was raised in two houses at Lewistown and among the volunteers occurred the name of the subject of our sketch, the only colored man enrolled. The company started for the seat of war, April 17, 1861, going direct to the Capital of the State, where they were mustered into service for three months, as Company F., 25th Pennsylvania Volunteers.

After serving his enlistment as a private in the regiment, he returned home and gave much of his time and aid in assisting committees of several counties in the State to fill up their quota of men. About this time, he was appointed by Governor Andrews, of Massachusetts to assist in filling the 5th and 55th Regiments of Massachusetts Colored Volunteers, which work he performed with deserving credit.

He removed to the State of New York in 1864, settling at Oxford, entering into a partnership in business with Merritt M. Thompson. The business not being sufficient to warrant the continuance of the partnership, it was dissolved by mutual consent, Mr. Molson withdrawing. During the same year, he removed to Norwich, New York where he still resides having established and continued a lucrative business.

In politics and all matters affecting the prosperity of his race he has been an indefatigable worker. He attended the first State convention of colored men held at Albany, New York, October 14, 15 and 16, 1866 and was chosen as one of the secretaries and so long as the necessities existed for such conventions was in attendance at each and every one. For six years he was chairman of the Colored Menââ?¬â?¢s State Committee, filling the position with credit and ability. In 1874-75, he was janitor and keeper of the Senate of the State of New York. These few facts are sufficient to stamp him as a public spirited and patriotic citizen, who in the daily walks of life, not only has established himself, but as a defender of his native country and his race has given conclusive proof of his fidelity and devotion to the vital interests of both.

Masonic History

Brother Molson first received ââ?¬Å?Masonic Lightââ?¬ at Lewistown, Pa., in the year 1858, within Fidelity Lodge No. 15, which lodge still exists and is in a flourishing condition. For three years he was chosen as the W.M. of his lodge and for five years was D.D.G.M. under the State of Pennsylvania. On removing to Norwich, New York, after forming acquaintances, he called together the prominent colored men of the city, explained to them the principles of Free Masonry, which in due time bore fruit, by the permanent establishment of a lodge in 1865. For fourteen consecutive years he was chosen and served this lodge as its W.M. which is as high an encomium as can be pronounced upon a Mason by his brethren, and one very much desired. This alone is, to a Mason, a recommendation testifying to honor, integrity and fidelity more than pages of fulsome flattery.

In 1870, he was first appointed D.D.G.M. for the Central District of New York, to which office he was annually appointed until 1881 when he was elected R.W.D.G.M., serving this term with such marked ability that at the Annual Grand Communication in June 1884, he was re-elected, an event which has not occurred in the history of the Grand Lodge for a number of years. Brother Molson is a devoted Mason, not for its emoluments, but knowing the beneficial advantages that accrue to those who come under her teachings he is indefatigable in promulgating the tenets of the order. As the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge who has been chosen west of Albany, his administration has been successful and satisfactory, demonstrating the abilities of the sturdy Westerner. May he long continue to serve and enlighten his brethren is the wish and prayer of every Mason.

Hannibal C. Molson, a civil rights activist from Norwich, introduced Lynch (p. 18)

Like Owego, Norwich was a small community with a minute proportion of African-Americans. Out of a village population of 5,048, there were 164 blacks. Hannibal C. Molson, President of the Day, was also President of the New York Colored Citizens State Central Committee in 1869 and organized their State Convention in Binghamton that year. In 1886, he was an officer in the Colored Masons and Commander of the Palestine Commandery. His planning committee prepared an elaborate program, beginning with an artillery volley at 4 a.m. At 9 in the morning Rescue Hook and Ladder Company and a detachment of Civil War veterans marched to the depot to welcome arriving delegations from the southern section of the line, including the Cricket Base Ball Club, the City Guards Banks and over 100 other residents of Binghamton. Although attendance was huge, a local newspaper, the Chenango Union, reported that ââ?¬Å?the attendance was not as expected, owing, it said, to a misunderstanding between the D.L. & W. Railroad Company and the excursionists from Ithaca, Elmira, Owego and Syracuse.ââ?¬ Following the afternoonââ?¬â?¢s long parade having two divisions, the addresses began at the Academy grounds. After the opening prayer and welcome by Mayor George W. Brooks, Molson introduced Lieutenant Governor Jones, a Democrat with a reputation for speaking to groups whenever and wherever possible. But in Norwich, Jones blundered, according to the cityââ?¬â?¢s other newspaper, The Chenango Semi-Weekly Telegraph, which summarized his address in one sentence, stating that his ââ?¬Å?advice was to the effect that the colored people should abolish the color line by acting just as white people did and hinting that the way to do it was by voting the Democratic ticket.ââ?¬ While Lynch formulated his reply, Albert Wilson of New York City read the Emancipation Proclamation. Then Molson introduced Lynch whose speech accomplished two objectives. (Journal of Negro History)

Biographical sketch was submitted by Jeannette L. Molson