A lot of people hold the Antiques Roadshow fantasy. You realize the a person. Some object or do the job of artwork, inherited or obtained on A spending budget (then relegated For many years in the direction of the back once more of your attic or base from the closet) is disclosed to possess a link to anyone well-identified (wow) or worthy of A huge quantity of dollars (WOW). That pencil sketch around a napkin that you just located cleaning out Aunt Edna’s condominium quickly after she died? A real Picasso. The pocket knife you obtain within a lawn sale to acquire a greenback? Appears to be it belonged to Buffalo Bill Cody. But there’s a flipside to this phenomenon. All of your loved ones includes a treasured relic that has handed from era to era, a piece of qualifications that happens to get the focus of loved ones pleasure, of neighborhood lore and legend. But For instance the story is just too great for getting appropriate?

Curators in this post within the Nationwide Museum of yank Record are sometimes offered objects linked to famed stars or historic figures from The united states’s previous. There may be an obligation on our segment to attempt to do what we can to substantiate the connections to significant people before we glance at obtaining this type of donations. In the standpoint of American historic past, they don’t come about Considerably larger than George Washington and recently the Museum was offered the chance to get a true rarity—a Masonic Apron for sale which was outlined to belong towards the First President. The initial question—was this simple truth or fiction?

Doable Washington Masonic Apron
Could this Masonic apron have belonged to George Washington?

It truly is nicely acknowledged that George Washington was a member around the Freemasons, a fraternal Society that had arrived at The usa from Excellent Britain because of the 1720’s. He turned a member of Fredericksburg Lodge No. four in 1753 to the age of twenty, and would perform the master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22 in 1788. Five years later on, Despite the fact that serving as President, he led the Masonic ceremony to lay the cornerstone of The new U.s. Capitol. Being a Mason, he may have owned within the extremely the very least anyone apron, Possibly additional. These aprons are worn at Masonic conferences, termed lodges, and also at Local community ceremonies and supply to find out the wearer for your member Together with the fraternity, a url around the leather run aprons worn by stone masons of the Middle Ages.

George Washington Freemason Print Harry T. Peters Lithography
Washington depicted for the Freemason In this 1870 lithograph by Strobridge Company of Cincinnati, part of the Harry T. Peters “The united states on Stone” Lithography Collection

The apron by itself experienced no documentation to assist the assert, just the donor’s family members traditions. But this was no mere family members legend that can be shrugged off as wishful thinking. The donor was a descendant of Thomas Hammond, a veteran in the Revolution and experienced married Washington’s niece, Mildred. This lifted a real chance that apron could flawlessly be Washington’s particular.

When Martha Washington died in 1802, a sale of house belongings was held at Mount Vernon for the beneficiaries of her partner’s will (Washington professional died in 1799). Two Masonic Order of Athelstan are already stated in an inventory of Washington’s belongings, and details from your 1802 sale Display screen Thomas Hammond obtained one of these. The subsequent apron was acquired by An additional extended member of your household, Burdett Ashton. Ashton’s apron would eventually occur in the possession of one’s Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, the same lodge the position Washington had once served as learn. This apron had been a present to Basic Washington in advance of long after the victory at Yorktown, and it is properly documented in Washington’s possess correspondence, leaving minimal problem of its authenticity.

The Future of Hammond’s apron is a great deal extra contentious. The Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania guarantees to pretty possess it, as does the Mount Nebo Lodge No. ninety amongst Shepherdstown, West Virginia. But Probably The 2 corporations are mistaken. As an instance the donor’s wife or husband and youngsters tailor made was exact? Experienced this bit of heritage escaped basic general public recognize for two generations and, alternatively, passed down Through generations in the Hammond domestic? It could go on and consider enter and initiatives of curators from in the Museum to test to unravel that thriller…

Editor’s Notice: Part two and Area a few in the series are by now printed.