February 16, 1812, marked the birth and beginning of Prince Hall Freemasonry in the State of New York. Boyer Lodge's Charter was issued by Peter Lew, Grand Master of the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
History notes that Boyer Lodge No. 1 was named after Jean Pierre Boyer, a native of Saint-Domingue, who was born around February 15, 1776. He was a courageous soldier and leader of the Haitian Revolution, who served as a General under Toussaint L' Ouverture in the Haitian War of Independence against the French Government. Jean Pierre Boyer served as the fourth President of Haiti from 1818 to 1843, and managed to rule for the longest period of time of any of the revolutionary leaders of his generation. He reunited the north and south of Haiti in 1820 and also invaded and took control of Santo Domingo, which brought all of Hispaniola under one government by 1822. Under President Boyer's leadership, Haiti declared independence from France in 1825, becoming the only free Black nation, then in existence.
President Jean Pierre Boyer recruited freed American blacks to immigrate to the Republic of Haiti, using advertisement opportunities in newspapers, promising free land and political opportunity to black settlers. He sent agents to black communities in the United States to convince them that Haiti was a sovereign state and open to immigration only for blacks. In September of 1824, nearly 6,000 Americans, mostly free people of color, migrated to Haiti within a year, with ships departing from New York, Baltimore and Philadelphia. Boyer ruled the island of Hispaniola until 1843, when he lost the support of the ruling elite and was ousted. He was later exiled to France where he died in 1850.
Since its founding, Boyer Lodge #1 has met continuously for over 200 years. In 1826, The Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Massachusetts helped further expand Black Freemasonry in New York State by the Chartering of Celestial Lodge, Rising Sun Lodge and Hiram Lodge. On March 14, 1845, further progress was achieved when Boyer Lodge #1, Celestial Lodge #2, Rising Sun Lodge #3 and Hiram Lodge #4 convened and erected Boyer Grand Lodge of New York. Thus becoming, "The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of the State of New York.''
Prince Hall Freemasonry derives from historical events which led to a tradition of separate predominantly African-American Freemasonry in North America. It consists of independent Grand Lodges, which are considered regular by the United Grand Lodge of England. Prince Hall was born in 1735 and was a tireless abolitionist and a leader of the free black community in Boston. Hall tried to gain New England's enslaved and free blacks a place in some of the most crucial spheres of society, Freemasonry, education and the military. He is considered the founder of "Black Freemasonry'' in the United States, known today as
Prince Hall Freemasonry.