History can be appreciated and learned through various means. One of the most thrilling ways to learn about an era, people, or place is by studying artifacts themselves. Artifacts are pieces of tangible history that link us to the past and give us opportunities to tell their tales. Some of the artifacts in the Homestead’s collection belonged to the Workman and Temple families themselves, including two that we’ll highlight today that tell us about the families’ participation in the Freemasons.
The two textile pieces were donated by the family and belonged to either David Workman (1797–1855) or his son, William H. Workman (1839–1918). The sash and apron both feature hand-stitched work; the delicate textile appears to be silk, with decorative elements such as silver-braided tassels and metallic masonic symbols. The color blue may signify that the wearer held the level of Master Mason.
Workman and Temple family members belonged to lodges in both England and the Los Angeles region. The Freemasons were (and are) a fraternal organization that holds many traditions and rituals that have a long and rich history. Today, the group continues to be actively involved in their communities.
Special thanks to Michelle Villarreal, the Homestead’s collections coordinator, for sharing this post with us.