On May 19, 1911, a delegation from Alexandria-Washington Lodge No. 22, which included Lawrence Washington, George Washington’s great-great-grandnephew, visited President William Howard Taft in the East Room of the White House.
They presented President Taft with the ceremonial apron and trowel that George Washington wore for laying the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. Pictures of President Taft were made as part of the effort to raise funds for the George Washington National Masonic Monument in Alexandria, Va.
The apron was a gift to Washington from Elkanah Watson upon news of the defeat of the British at Yorktown. Watson was a Freemason who served as one of America’s agents abroad during the war.
The apron is now housed at the George Washington Masonic National Monument in Alexandria, Va.
In all, 14 Presidents of the United States were Freemasons, including all three from Tennessee – Andrew Jackson, James Polk and Andrew Johnson. In addition, Lyndon Johnson was initiated an entered apprentice but did not receive the higher masonic degrees.