Masonic Thanksgiving

Masonic Thanksgiving



How Freemasons should mark
this day of Thanksgiving

While President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday to be held on the last Thursday of the month of November, it may not surprise Masons to learn that Bro. George Washington was the first to issue a Presidential Proclamation in 1789. As President, Bro. Washington at the request of Congress, proclaimed November 26, 1789, as a day of “public thanks-giving” to reflect on the creation of the United States and US Constitution.

The striking difference between the Presidents’ proclamations, written almost 75 years apart, is the tone. Washington’s proclamation has a celebratory feel mixed with a sense of obligation, “…with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” This contrasts Lincoln’s proclamation which contains overtones of grief due to the Civil War, looking to God for care and counsel, “…with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation…”.

As we prepare to gather with family, loved ones, and friends let us pause to reflect and appreciate the many blessings and positive moments we have benefited from this year. And let us celebrate the happiness and joy our loved ones have experienced as well. Masonically, Thanksgiving should serve as a day to mark this moment in our travel across the level of time by giving thanks to the Grand Architect for providing the opportunity for guidance and inspiration throughout our journey.

The Working Group at Craftsmen Online wish you and yours a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Written by:
Bro. Michael Arce
Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Craftsmen Online

Masonic Portrait of Brother General George Washington

Masonic Portrait of Brother General George Washington


The Masonic Portrait of Brother General George Washington

George Washington is arguably the most famous Freemason. His portrait, painted by William Joseph Williams is a true Masonic treasure.

Portrait of George Washington

This portrait was painted by William Joseph Williams (1759-1823) who was “widely regarded as the first American portraitist.” Williams agreed to give the portrait of Brother Washington to the local lodge of the Freemasons, Alexandria Masonic Lodge No. 22 in Virginia, of which Washington was a member and Past Master. Lodge officers wrote Washington in 1793 that it would be a source of the most refined gratification the tracing out and contemplating [of] the various ornaments of his character in the resemblance of his person. Williams’s portrait shows Washington as a Virginia Past Master, with Masonic regalia and jewels.

In this portrait, Washington noticeably lacks the charisma of his earlier portraits, and his eyes lack the fire he once had. He comes across more as a common curmudgeon than the American hero we usually envision. Also of note, Williams did not edit out Washington’s smallpox-scarred pockmarked cheeks, the bags under his eyes, the awkward set of his jaw (from numerous dental issues), a scar on Washington’s left cheek, and a mole under his right ear. During the contentious 1790s, Washington lost some of his impenetrable aura and was attacked like any other politician. Just as people were more willing to point out his failures, artists were less willing to edit out his blemishes. This is a portrait of a vulnerable, tired, battle-hardened geriatric who had given thirty years of indispensable and sacrificial service to his country. The indispensable man was spent. This portrait is believed to be the most accurate depiction of Washington ever created.

The original pastel-on-paper Masonic portrait of Washington is in the possession of Alexandria–Washington Lodge No. 22, Alexandria, Virginia.

Written by Wor. Bro. Ronald J. Seifried, DSA
Trustee Chairman and Historian, Jephtha Lodge #494
Co-Editor, Craftsmen Online NY Masonic History column
32° Scottish Rite,  Valley of Rockville Centre
Companion of Asharokan Chapter No. 288, Royal Arch Masons
Member of Suffolk Council No. 76, Cryptic Masons
Author, “Long Island Freemasons,” Arcadia Publishing, 2020