George Washington Masonic Memorial Reenactment
Sat Feb 11th 1:00pm – 2:00pm
St. Marys Masonic Lodge# 109 to Reenact a Piece of History.
News of the death of our nation’s first president traveled slowly. The sad news did not reach St. Marys until February 1, 1800; 49 days later. At the time of his death an active military unit was stationed at Point Peter’s Fort Pickering and gunboats patrolled the St. Marys River guarding the border between the United States and Spanish owned Florida.
St. Marys’ memorial began at daybreak, February 3, 1800, as sixteen-gun salute was Fired from Point Peter, firing on the half hour until sunset. Artillery Captain A. Y. Nicoll led a military procession from the St. Marys waterfront and four sergeants followed carrying the symbolic coffin. Pallbearers were Camden County citizens, many of whom the streets of St. Marys are named.
Next came the traditional white horse, draped in deep morning. White and black plumes waved from his head. His empty saddle carried holsters and pistols with boots reversed in the stirrups. Behind the horse marched George Washington’s Masonic brothers, followed by local citizens. As the parade moved down Osborne Street, more guns fired from the ship “St. Marys,” which was launched only two years before, from John Patterson’s St. Marys shipyard. All vessels anchored in the harbor displayed their colors at half-mast. The new flag of our nation draped the empty coffin and was buried at the corner of Conyers and Osborne Streets. Six live oak trees were planted along the processional route in honor of Washington.
Two hundred and twenty-two years ago, the members of our local military, members of St. Marys Masonic Lodge, and citizens of Camden County gathered in ceremony, to honor this great American and we are proud to recreate the ceremony.