Master Mason Apron, c. 1800
This apron inscribed on the front in gilt letters: “GEORGE CRAFT; HIRAM LODGE No.28; Frederick Town; Maryland” originally belonged to George Craft (1733-1806). Born in Nuremburg to a German father, John Kraft (1692-?) and an English mother, Mary Monigan (1685-1741), he emigrated to Maryland around 1745 as a ‘redemptioner,’ that is he sold himself into an indenture which obligates an individual to work for no wages for a period of time to cover the cost of their passage. He married Elizabeth Grable (1727-807) from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and had ten children: Anna Craft later Mrs. Jacob Rich (1750-1795), Hannah Craft later Mrs. Peter Colley (1753 or 1760 – 1836), Elizabeth Craft later Mrs. Jonathan Leatherman (1752 or 1755-?), Sara Craft later Mrs. Lacy Hibbs (1759 or 1766-1848), Nancy Craft (1761 or 1767-?), Benjamin Craft(1765-1840), John Craft (1768-1853), Catherine Craft later Mrs. Aaron J. Hibbs (1770-1846), Samuel Craft (1756 or 1772-1848) and David Craft (1763 or 1776-1837). They lived in Maryland prior to moving to Chester, Pennsylvania where their daughter Hannah was born. Sometime between 1759 and 1761 they moved to Antietam in Washington County, Maryland. By 1770 they had settled in Frederick, Maryland where their daughter Catherine was born. However, by 1772 they had moved back to Chester before finally settling in Fayette County, Pennsylvania by 1776 where they were among the early residents of Redstone. George Craft passed away on September 10, 1806 and is buried in Dunlap Creek Presbyterian Cemetery in Redstone in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.
Exactly when George Craft became a Mason is unknown, but he is recorded as a member of Hiram Lodge, No. 28; instituted in 1799 and lapsed in 1808. Little is known about the lodge except that many of the most prominent citizens of Frederick County were members. At a special meeting held on December 23, 1799 “the W. Master [Henry Brother(dates unknown)] announced the painful and afflicting account of the demise of our Illustrious Brother, General WASHINGTON, whereupon it is
Resolved, That a tribute of the highest respect be paid to the memory of our deceased Brother WASINGTON, for this purpose it was determined that a procession be made from Hiram Lodge room Friday next at 11 o’clock precisely, when all regular Masons are invited to assemble in proper Masonic dress, with crape upon hat and left arm, join them and march to the Methodist house of worship, in order to hear an oration suitable to the occasion.”
The lodge met as arranged on December 27th and marched to the church where an oration was delivered by Brother John Tyler (1747-1813). On February 22, 1800 at the house of Revolutionary War hero Captain George Valentine Velte Cregar (1734-1810) the lodge assembled prior to taking part in a procession held before a mock funeral in memory of George Washington and an oration being read by Maryland Governor Thomas Johnson (1732-1819) at the German Reformed Presbyterian Church. If George Craft was a member at this time and participated in these events he probably would have worn this apron. Hiram Lodge, No. 28 is thought to have ceased operations around 1808, but the lodge was not represented at the Grand Lodge of Maryland after May 1806.