A drawing of David Mayer from the collection of the William Breman Musem
WXIA-TV11 in Atlanta has a story today about a Masonic "Passover" tale during the Civil War.
From "Atlanta and the Angel of Death" by Ben Mayer:
The Southern cause is failing. Sherman's army has spent weeks reducing Atlanta's buildings to hollows of char. And yet, a lone mercantile stands among them somehow untouched. Sherman, like the Angel of Death itself, passes over the store on his march to Savannah.Read the rest of the story here.
The story is one my family tells every year at Passover. The storeowner was David Mayer, my great-great-great grandfather. The story goes he hung a Masonic apron on the front porch because he knew Sherman was a Mason, too. And it worked like the lamb's blood from 3,000 years before; Sherman's armies lurched by Whitehall Street on their grim campaign.
Until this year, I knew little about David Mayer. He was relegated to the dusty lore and old family stories stored with our Passover things taken out only once a year, which is just often enough to have the stale taste of Matzoh, the bread of affliction, in our mouths.
There is actually no evidence General William Tecumseh Sherman was Freemason (his father, Charles Sherman, was a Mason, according to the Lancaster, Ohio Historical Society), but there was no shortage of brethren on both sides. And it makes a nice story...