International Conference on the History of Freemasonry

The George Washington / Lafayette / Mount Nebo Masonic Apron was unveiled to a group of International Historians at an ICHF Conference at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.  The Mount Nebo Apron appeared at the first day of the Conference on May 27, 2011.  After the opening remarks, Mark Tabbert of the National Memorial and George Alwin, Worshipful Master of Mount Nebo Lodge #91, unveiled to the Conference the apron that had long been preserved on the North wall at Mount Nebo Lodge.  After the unveiling, Worshipful Master Alwin made the following remarks:

“George Washington is known as a man of courage from his life as a General.  He is known as a leader from his life as President.  But George Washington was known as a man of character by his life as a Mason.  During his life, Washington received two French aprons as a gift, which he cherished.  One is known as the Watson-Cassoul apron.  The second apron was presented to him by his good friend and fellow Mason, General Lafayette of France.  That apron is before you now.

When Brother Washington passed in 1799, the Lafayette apron was sold at a family estate sale for six dollars.  Thomas Hammond, Husband of Washington's Niece Mildred Washington, bought the apron.  Hammond became a member of Mount Nebo Lodge, Shepherdstown Virginia in 1815 and gave the apron to the Lodge as a gift.  Shepherdstown became part of West Virginia after the Civil War.

In 1892, the apron was loaned to the Grand Lodge of Minnesota for their Annual Communication.  In appreciation for the loan of such a valuable object, the Grand Lodge had a beautiful hand carved frame built to display the apron.  The Grand Lodge transported both the apron and the frame to Chicago, where a camera was available to photograph them.  That photo is included in the Mount Nebo Lodge Bicentennial Brochure.

For over a Century, the George Washington / Lafayette apron has hung in Mount Nebo Lodge, protected from the sun in a dark lodge room.  Without publicity and out of the public eye, it came to be know by many as the "Lost Apron".

Today, to celebrate the Bicentennial of Mount Nebo Lodge #91 in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, I am honored to present to you the George Washington / Lafayette Masonic Apron".

In May of 2011, the apron was unveiled before an assembled group of International Historians at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia.  Finally, all doubt as the authenticity of the Mount Nebo Apron had finally been removed.  Academics from around the world accepted what a small group of Brethren in the Blue Ridge Mountains had realized all along.  For over a Century, the George Washington / Lafayette apron was preserved in a hand carved wooden case, hanging on the north Lodge wall, protected from sunlight.  Through the forming years of the United States, the divisions of the Civil War, the formation of a new State, and years of doubt by many, there was confirmation that a small Lodge in Shepherdstown, Virginia, now West Virginia, has preserved an important item of United States and Masonic History.