February 22nd, 1732, was the birth of one of our Nation’s greatest Founders and Patriots, his name, George Washington. Much has been written and spoken about Washington the General or Washington the President, however, what about Washington the Freemason? Here is some History on Brother Washington’s Masonic Life.
In 1752, at the age of 22, George Washington joined a Masonic Lodge in Fredericksburg Virginia. It was not until August 8th of that year that he would be raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. There are various pieces of correspondence which mention his Lodge in Fredericksburg, including the election of Lodge Officers and their regular business meetings. One only imagines what the discussions in the Lodge room and after during collation were centered on.
As the American War for Independence against the British was in full gear, Brother General Washington still mindful of his Masonic cable-tow, attended the Feast of St. John service on December 28th in 1778. The Feast of Saint John was sponsored by the Grand Lodge in Pennsylvania, where Washington had traveled to meet with the Continental Congress to request further support for his Army.
In the years following the final victory to secure independence in America, Bro. George Washington is contacted by several Masonic Lodge’s to either join them for an event or to inform him of his honorary membership. On one such occasion, Washington is recorded as accepting an invitation to join Alexandria Lodge No. 39 for their John the Baptist day on June 24th, 1784, where he also is given honorary membership to the Lodge.
After gaining approval to be re-chartered to Virginia, Alexandria Lodge No. 39 of Pennsylvania, becomes Alexandria Lodge No. 22 with Wor. George Washington named as their Lodge’s Master. This charter is still kept by Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22. After a re-election, Wor. Washington stayed in the East another year which ended on December 27th, 1789. It should be noted that in January of 1789 Washington had been unanimously elected President of the United States. Despite this tremendous responsibility he remained loyal to the Lodge who had elected him as Master. All Officers and members should consider this when feeling burdened with an aspect of their own Lodge. When he was inaugurated President, Brother Washington took the Oath of Office on a Masonic Bible from St. John’s Lodge No. 1 from New York.
When the cornerstone of the Capital Building is laid in 1793, Brother President Washington served as the Master of the Ceremony. Even as the President, he wore a Masonic apron during this ceremony. The apron worn by him on that day is owned by Alexandria Lodge No. 22.
Our Grand Lodge in Massachusetts has it’s own direct history to Brother Washington as you will find out. Upon returning home following his time as President, Washington receives a congratulatory letter from the Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts, M.W. Paul Revere. With the death of Brother Washington in 1799, the Grand Lodge in Boston conveyed their deepest sympathies to Martha Washington and respectfully requested to be given a lock of Brother Washington’s hair. The lock of hair given to them is kept in a small urn made by Paul Revere and is displayed once a year during the Feast of Saint John Ceremony by our Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.
Brother George Washington’a body was laid to rest on December 18th, 1799 where a Masonic Funeral ceremony from members of Alexandria Lodge No. 22 concluded the service. Freemason, General, President and Patriot. Brother George Washington lived using the principles of the Fraternity and entered the celestial Lodge above as a “Just and Upright Mason”.
Wor. William C. Jubinville, Master
Mount Holyoke Lodge