The first lodge of Freemasons in New Jersey was warranted at Newark, May 13, 1761, by George Harrison, Provincial Grand Master of New York. Jeremy Gridley, Provincial Grand Master at Boston, warranted lodges at Elizabethtown in 1762 and at Princeton in 1765. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania chartered a lodge at Baskingridge in 1767 with other Pennsylvania Lodges being chartered Middletown Point in 1779 and Burlington in 1781.
The Grand Lodge of New Jersey was formed in a unique manner. In 1786 individual freemasons assembled at New Brunswick and rather than representing local lodges as convention delegates, this meeting wrote a declaration calling for the creation of a grand lodge. Early the following year, on January 30, 1787, the Grand Lodge of New Jersey was created. David Brearley, Chief Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court and a signer of the U.S. Constitution was installed as the first Grand Master. The first lodges chartered between 1787 and 1791 were: Baskingridge № 1, Baskingridge; St. John’s № 2, Newark; Trinity № 3, Freehold; Hiram № 4, Morristown; Trenton № 5, Trenton; Union № 6, Hackensack; Unity № 7, Kingwood; Harmony № 8, Newton; and Brearley № 9 at Bridgetown.
In 1898 the New Jersey freemasons established a Masonic home for widows, orphans and indigent members. Today, the 450 facility estate in Burlington country provides a wide-range of services from retirement living to hospice care. The Grand Lodge of New Jersey and local lodges also support and sponsor many charities and philanthropic efforts.
Today, Grand Master Gregory J. Scott presides over the Grand Lodge of New Jersey comprised of 116 lodges with a membership over 17,000 brothers. New Jersey has had such prominent members as Signer of the Declaration of Independence Richard Stockton (1730-1781), Vice President of the United States Garret A. Hobart (1844-1899), US Congressman Gordon Canfield (1898-1972) and entertainer and humanitarian Danny Thomas (1914 -1991).The Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of New Jersey