Recently, we’ve added two more Masonic aprons from the past to our collection of beautiful old Masonic aprons of the past currently on display in the Albert L. Einolf Museum.
These two beautiful hand-crafted aprons were found this year in an old carton of miscellaneous paper and pamphlets, rolled in a ball, and buried away on a shelf on the 3rd floor storage room at the Lancaster Masonic Center.
The Museum Curator from Grand Lodge upon reviewing photos sent to him ventured an opinion that they looked to be mid-18th century.
No reference or identification was found with them that would have identified who would have proudly been the owners. Another small mystery of Freemasonry in Lodge 43.
Sometime after the aprons were found, a typewritten letter dated 1905 from a Worshipful Master in Pittsburgh was uncovered in another carton in storage.
The letter went on to say the Worshipful Master had been in communication with an 80-year woman from Ohio who was making inquiries about her deceased fathers masonic affiliation with that Pittsburgh lodge. After doing some research he was able to report back to her that her father did not belong to the Pittsburgh lodge, but rather, had been raised In Lodge 43 in 1812!
She was so grateful for his assistance, sent him her father’s masonic apron, and he in turn feeling the apron should belong to Lodge 43 sent it on to us in 1905.
Her father’s last name was Lightner. The letter refers to him as Isaac. We had a Nathaniel Lightner, a former mayor of Lancaster, raised in 1812. One and the same or a possible relation to Isaac, or simply an error in association with the Lightner name?
A bit of a mystery, but still could one of these beautiful aprons perhaps had been her fathers?
Nathaniel Gilchrist P.M.
Library and Museum Curator