Madison Whitaker’s Masonic sash
From Masonic Milam Lodge No. 2
Madison Whitaker (1811‒1893) immigrated to Texas from Tennessee in 1835. He settled in Nacogdoches and joined the Masonic Milam Lodge No. 2 a few years later. As a Mason, Whitaker and his lodge helped found Nacogdoches University in 1845 and afterward he held several positions there.
Whitaker fought at the Battle of San Jacinto and served briefly as a Texas Ranger. He married Henrietta Fitts in 1841, and they had eight children. He earned his living primarily as a farmer and slave owner in Nacogdoches. Later he was a representative in the state legislature and an active member of the Texas Veterans Association, a group founded in 1873 for veterans of the Texas Revolution.
Whitaker would have worn this sash and apron as part of the Scottish Rite 4th degree. A Mason may join the Scottish Rite after he completes the first three Masonic degrees. The key is the major symbol of the 4th degree and is known as the “key to the mystery.”
Masonic Milam Lodge No. 2 was established in Texas in August 1837. Named for fallen Texas Revolution veteran Ben Milam, it was originally called Milam Lodge No. 40 because it was chartered by the Grand Lodge of Louisiana as its 40th lodge. The first three lodges in Texas were formed under the Louisiana lodge before the Grand Lodge of Texas was formed in December 1837. Those three lodges were then renumbered one through three under the Texas lodge. The lodge in Nacogdoches is the oldest in the state still operating in its original location.
San Jacinto Museum of History, La Porte
Clothing and Accessories
Time Period: 1835 - 1844
This artifact is not on view.