The Washington Apron

Mount Nebo No. 91 AF&AM, came into its possession of the apron through Captain Thomas Hammond, husband of Mildred Washington, daughter of Charles  Washington, brother of the First President. Captain Hammond was Master of Mount Nebo in 1848.

Mr. B.B. French, Grand Master of the District of Columbia, wore the apron at the laying of the cornerstone of the Smithsonian Institution in 1847. During the ceremony, Mr. French informed the assembled multitude, (says the Washington Intelligencer of 2 May, 1847) "that he had the honor then to wear the apron worn by the Father of His Country at the laying of the cornerstone of the Capitol of these United States"

The apron was also worn in an elaborate 1848 Fourth of July cornerstone laying ceremony of the Washington Monument. The architect, Robert Mills, was a Mason. The apron was also worn during ceremonies of The George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.

The following was published in “The Shepherdstown Register" of their 100th Anniversary Edition dated December 4, 1949:


OLD MASONIC APRON – It may not be generally known, but it is nevertheless a fact that Mt. Nebo Lodge, No.91, Free Masons, of this town, have in their possession an Apron which has often been worn by Gen. Washington.  It was presented to the Lodge by Thomas Hammond, who married a Miss Washington and was initiated into this Lodge in 1815, it then being the only Lodge in this part of the State except one at Winchester; and family history of the apron is, “that it was presented by the Grand Lodge of France, through Gen. La Fayette to General Washington,” and remained an heirloom in the family until presented to this Lodge which still carefully preserves it.  It is white satin, fringed with black silk, with the following Masonic emblems beautifully wrought in gold and silver tissue:  at the top the cable-town infestoons, then, then the gavel, the square and compasses with their staff, the French and American flags.  Where the staffs intersect are the skull, bone and pilgrim’s sword, and entwined among these is a sprig of cassia.

This apron has been worn on many public occasions.  It was worn by the Grand Masters officiating at the laying of the corner-stone of the Washington Monument, Smithsonian Institute, the monument in the capital square in Richmond, and the Masonic Convocation at Mt. Vernon.”

The Mt. Nebo 91 Washington Apron is currently being studied and preserved at the Mt. Vernon Estates, Mt. Vernon, Virginia.

This apron, a gift of the Grand Lodge of France, was presented to General George Washington through "the great and good patriot and Mason", General Lafayette.