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Masonic Royal Arch Apron Worn by Ebenezer Way (1784-1849)
ca. 1825
James T. Porter (active 1810-1830)
USA: Connecticut, Middletown
Ink and paint on leather, silk
Overall: 15-3/8"h x 14-1/2"w; overall: 16 in x 16 in
Loaned by the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts

White leather Masonic Royal Arch apron with orange pleated silk ribbon trim. The body of the apron shows a Royal Arch design (printed with James T. Porter design and painted) with an archway, checkered flooring, altar, three candlestands and a triangle at center. At sides and bottom are additional Masonic symbols. There is a gold stripe border along the edge of the body and flap. The flap is rounded and has an all-seeing eye with sun rays and clouds. Printed beneath the symbol is "Holiness to the Lord." The top edge is bound with plain weave tape that extends on each side to form ties. At the center, the tape is formed into a loop. Handwritten in black on the back is "This apron was worn in a chapter / of Royal Arch Masons at the / Laying of the corner stone of the / Bunker Hill monument, / June 17, 1825, by Ebenezer Way / of New London, Conn. / It was presented by Sally / (Shannon) Way, widow of said / Ebenezer Way, in June, 1853 to / Ithamar B. Sawtelle of / Townsend, Mass. / And now Townsend, January, / 15, 1889, I give it to / Langdon Shannon Davis of / Brookline, Mass. who is a / grand nephew of the above / Sally (Shannon) Way. / Ithamar B. Sawtelle."

Family history relates that Ebenezer Way (1784-1849), from New London, Connecticut, wore this apron at the Bunker Hill Monument cornerstone laying ceremony in 1825. Decorated with symbols used in Royal Arch Freemasonry, this apron aligned with Way’s membership in Union Royal Arch Chapter No. 7. Descriptions of the procession on the day noted that representatives from Grand Royal Arch Chapters in New England marched, followed by “various subordinate Chapters…bearing banners.” For further information, see Newell, Aimee, et.al., "Curiosities of the Craft: Treasures from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts Collection", 2013, pp. 102-103; and blog post, August 22, 2017, http://nationalheritagemuseum.typepad.com/library_and_archives/2017/08/new-to-the-collection-apron-owned-by-john-mix.html

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