George Washington, The Mason
George Washington joined the Masonic Lodge in Fredericksburg, Virginia at the age of 20 in 1752. His Masonic membership, like the others public titles and duties he performed, was expected from a young man of his social status in colonial Virginia. During the War for Independence, General Washington attended Masonic celebration and religious observances in several states. He also supported Masonic Lodges that formed within army regiments.
At his first inauguration in 1791, President Washington took his oath of office on a Bible from St. John’s Lodge in New York. During his two terms, he visited Masons in North and South Carolina and presided over the cornerstone ceremony for the U.S. Capitol in 1793.
In retirement, Washington became charter Master of the newly chartered Alexandria Lodge No. 22, sat for a portrait in his Masonic regalia, and in death, was buried with Masonic honors.
Such was Washington’s character, that from almost the day he took his Masonic obligations until his death, he became the same man in private that he was in public. In Masonic terms, he remained “a just and upright Mason” and became a true Master Mason. Washington was, in Masonic terms, a “living stone” who became the cornerstone of American civilization. He remains the milestone others civilizations follow into liberty and equality. He is Freemasonry’s “perfect ashlar” upon which countless Master Masons gauge their labors in their own Lodges and in their own communities.
A Timeline of George Washington’s Masonic Activities
November 4, 1752 – Initiated as Entered Apprentice at Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
March 3, 1753 – Passed to the Degree of Fellow Craft at Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4
August 4, 1753 – Raised a Master Masaon at Fredericksburg Lodge No. 4.
December 28, 1778 – Marched in a Masonic procession in celebration of Saint John the Evangelist Day.
June 24, 1779 – Celebrated Saint John the Baptist Day with American Union Military Lodge at West Point, New York
December 27, 1779 – Celebrated Saint John the Evangelist Day with American Union Military Lodge at Morristown, New Jersey
October – Reportedly visited Lodge No. 9 at Yorktown, VA with General Lafayette after defeat of British General Cornwallis
Brothers Watson and Cassoul of Nantes, France present Washington with exquisite silk Masonic apron, acknowledged by letter dated August 10
June 24, 1782 – St. John the Baptist celebration – Marked with American Union Military Lodge at West Point, New York.
December 27, 1782 – St. John the Evangelist Day – Celebrated with Solomon’s Lodge No. 1, Poughkeepsie, New York
June 24, 1784 – St. John the Baptist celebration – Marked with Alexandria Lodge, Alexandria, Virginia
June 24, 1784 – Made an honorary member of Alexandria Lodge No. 39 (Now Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22) Alexandria, Virginia
August 1784 – Presented a Masonic apron made by Madame de Lafayette to General and Bro. de Lafayett
February 12, 1785 – Walked in Masonic funeral procession for Bro. William Ramsay at Alexandria, Virginia
April 28, 1788 – Named Charter Worshipful Master of Alexandria Lodge No. 22 when a new charter from the Grand Lodge of Virginia was issued. Unanimously re-elected Master December 20, 1788 for one year.
Elected honorary member of Holland Lodge No. 8, New York, NY
April 30- Inaugurated President of the United States using Bible from St. John’s Lodge No. 1, New York
April 15, 1791 – Welcomed by members of St. John’s Lodge No. 2, New Bern, NC
May 1791 – Received the greetings of the Grand Lodge of South Carolina by General Mordecai Gist, Grand Master, Charleston, SC
September 18 Acting Grand Master – Laid the cornerstone for the United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. 1794 Sat for William Williams, portraitist, in Masonic regalia at the request of Alexandria Lodge 1797 March 28 Received a Masonic delegation from Alexandria Lodge
April 1, 1798 – Attended Alexandria Lodge No. 22 Proposed a toast at the banquet that followed
December 18, 1799 – Buried at Mount Vernon with Masonic rites as well as those of the church, conducted by Alexandria Lodge