Tattooed Mason – 1849

Going through personal records I have re found an awesome story.

A TATTOOED FREEMASON
(From the ‘Philadelphia Age’.)
The first masonic funeral that ever occurred in California took place in 1849, and was performed over a brother found drowned in the Bay of San Francisco.
An account of the ceremonies states that on the body of the deceased was found a silver mark of a mason, upon which were engraved the initials of his name.
A little further investigation revealed to the beholder the most singular exhibition of masonic emblems that was ever drawn by the ingenuity of man upon the human skin.
There is nothing in the history or traditions of Freemasonry equal to it.
Beautifully …… upon his left arm, in red and blue ink, which time could not efface, appeared all the emblems of the entire apprenticeship.
There were the Holy Bible, square and compass, the twenty-four inch gauge and common gavel.
There were also the masonic pavement, representing the ground floor of King Solomon’s Temple, the identical tessel which surrounds it, and the blazing star in the centre.
On his right arm, and artistically executed in the same indelible liquid, were the emblems pertaining to the fellow-craft’s degree, viz, the square, the level and the plumb.
There were also the five columns representing the five orders of architecture — the Tuscan, Doric, lonic, Corinthian, and Composite.
In removing his garments from his body, the trowel presented itself, with all the other tools of operative masonry.
Over his heart was the pot of incense.
On the other parts of his body were the beehive, the book of constitutions, guarded by the Tyler’s sword pointing to the naked heart; the All-seeing eye, the anchor and ark, the hour-glass, the scythe, the forty-seventh problem of Euclid, the sun, moon, stars, and comets; the three steps which are emblematical of youth, manhood, and age.
Admirably executed was the weeping virgin, reclining on a broken column upon, which lay the book of constitutions.
In her left hand she held the pot of incense, the Masonic emblem of a pure heart, and on her uplifted hand a sprig of acacia, the emblem of the immortality of the soul.
Immediately beneath her stood winged Time, with his scythe by his side, which cuts the brittle thread of life, and the hour-glass at his feet, which is ever reminding us that our lives are withering away.
The withered and attenuated fingers of the Destroyer were placed amid the long and flowing ringlets of the disconsolate mourner.
Thus were the striking emblems of mortality and immortality blended in one pictorial representation, it was a spectacle such a Mason never saw before, and in all probability such as the fraternity will never witness again.
The brother’s name is unknown.

 

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