The Great Parade of the Nobles of Murat
by Paul Page, Public Relations Chairman

The country was finally developing a firm sense of unity and brotherhood. The great struggle that pitched state against state, brothers against brothers, and fathers against sons was behind the country by 10 years. Masons after the Civil War, as during the Revolution, played a role in forming the basic fabric of the country.

The heat of summer was beginning to leave New York City. Without any air conditioning, most fled the canyons of Manhattan for the cool breezes of the shore and Long Island during the dog days of August. But the start of school and the fall brought the crowds back downtown. The Masonic Hall at 114 East 13th near Union Square was beginning to resume Lodge meetings. Dr. Walter Fleming had an idea. He reasoned Masonry needed something in contrast to the serious ritual of the Blue Lodge. He saw a chance for Master Masons to gather with less ritual and more fun and even a libation now and then. September 26, 1872, he brought 13 brothers together to form the Ancient Accepted Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. Many saw the Shrine as the playground of Masonry. They formed Mecca Temple and started a movement that would later become the greatest philanthropy in the world though that wasn't the plan at the time. The idea caught on and quickly 11 other temples formed.

Indianapolis was a growing state capital. Union Station, which opened in 1853, made the city a crossroads with more than a hundred trains a day passing through. The Ober Building at 107 South Pennsylvania housed a large clothing store. The owner was a Freemason of considerable repute. John Brush was a dark haired, thin faced man with hooded eyes and fragile health. He served in the Union Artillery in the Civil War. Brush was a huge sports fan. He was the co-owner of the Indianapolis Red Stockings, the baseball team that would later become the Cincinnati Reds, and the New York Giants. He helped put forward the idea of a baseball championship. He persevered until the World Series became a reality. But he had a tough streak too. When the Giants won the 1904 NL pennant, Brush refused to allow his team to meet Boston's defending champions in the World Series due to his animosity toward Boston. A permanent agreement between the leagues was eventually made after meeting some of Brush's conditions, and the Giants won the 1905 World Series against the Philadelphia Athletics.

In 1882, the world was changing. The last bare-knuckled championship fight was held. Jesse James was shot in the back. In Indianapolis John Brush decided on another project that would change the face of Indianapolis forever. Brush, who was raised to the sublime degree in New York, pulled five of his Masonic brothers together and traveled to Cincinnati to visit the sixth temple in Shrinedom, Syrian Temple, established February 6, 1877. They wanted a Shrine temple in Indianapolis. At the time there were 450 symbolic lodges in Indiana.

Brush, along with Henry McGaffey, Charles Meyer, Ted Pfafflin, and Cortez Holliday, met with Syrian Temple Potentate William Melish on November 17 and received the future Imperial Sir's full cooperation and support. That night the five crossed the Hot Sands and became nobles of Syrian Temple. The five then worked through the Scottish Rite and Raper Commandery #1 Knights Templar to make an Indianapolis Shrine a reality. In March of 1884, they received demits from Syrian Temple and a charter was issued to the new temple, the 17th in Shrinedom.

Right from the start, the Indianapolis Shrine was special. While we don't know why the name was chosen, our name was the first to not have Arabic origin. The founders chose the name of the son of an innkeeper in France who left theological studies at the outbreak of the French Revolution. His name was Joachim Murat (Mur-ah) and he became a general serving Napoleon in Italy and Egypt. He was so good he was proclaimed the king of Naples in 1808. In the Nubian Desert, there is also an oasis called Bir Murat the general visited often to refresh his soldiers. Actor Rene Auberjonois, most noted for his shape shifter roles in Star Trek, is General Murat's great-great-great grandson. Murat was executed by a firing squad after a failed attempt to regain control of Naples.

Murat was now a reality. Eight men signed the charter and elected John Brush the Potentate of Murat. Brush took the charter home and tucked it away. At the same time, Brush was serving in the Scottish Rite as Sovereign Inspector General 33. Brush had climbed the ladders of York Rite as well, being made a Sir Knight at Raper Commandery #1 in November of 1879. He also served as the Thrice Potent Master of the Adoniram Lodge of Perfection for two years. He was a Mason's Mason.

The new temple was not ready to conduct its own ceremonial at first so the next 12 candidates were inducted without proper ceremony in October of 1884. At that time, it was necessary to be a 32 to enter the Shrine. A month later on November 21, 1884, 15 men were given the work as Murat's first ceremonial conducted by our mother temple, Syrian of Cincinnati, and Illustrious Sir Melish. The following spring, March 27 of 1885, Murat conducted its own ceremonial with 27 candidates. What a class it was. It became a predictor of Murat's greatness. General Lew Wallace, Civil War hero and author of Ben Hur, and later governor of the New Mexico Territory, was inducted along with Thomas Taggart, later a U.S. senator.

Once underway, it was hard to slow down. Brush and his Divan oversaw two more ceremonials that year in May and November. At the first annual meeting on December 18, Murat had 103 members and $75.58 in the bank. In 1886, 44 more had joined as Murat got ready to host its first Imperial Session. Regular meetings were held at the old Scottish Rite at the Townsley and Wiggans Pork House in the first block of South Pennsylvania.

The first Imperial Session to be held in Indianapolis may have started another Shrine tradition. Many of the out-of-town nobles stayed downtown at the Denison House Hotel between Delaware and Pennsylvania along with the Bates and the Grand, one of the top hotels in the city. On June 20, 1887, Murat nobles went to the hotel to escort the Imperial Potentate, Sam Briggs, to the Scottish Rite. The Murat men all wore Fezzes and were well dressed. The procession became more of a parade and was well covered by the newspapers. In his book Parade to Glory, Fred Van Deventer said that moment started the tradition of giant conventions and the Shrine Parade.

Murat's tradition of service to mankind began that year. Yellow fever raced through Jacksonville, FL, and Murat nobles sent $100 to Morocco Temple to aid in its fight of the deadly fever. In 1890, Murat sent monetary help to Kosair Temple in Louisville, KY, for flood relief. Murat also sent aid to the victims of the Johnstown, PA, flood. At the same time, the strong relationship Murat has with the Indianapolis Fire Department began by supporting the Indianapolis Fireman's Fund. Murat was now 342 strong and continued to see men like U.S. Senator Harry New, who later was the Postmaster General, join Murat.

" There is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.” That sentence rang out at the Grand Opera House in the second block of N. Pennsylvania. Noble DeWolf Hopper, a famous Broadway actor who helped open the New York Music Hall, brought his troupe to town. He always closed with "Casey at the Bat,” a poem he recited publicly more than 10,000 times. It was March 14, 1893, and Murat began its relationship with theater as the crowd of nobles and ladies applauded the great player.

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Elias J. Jacoby

Elias J. Jacoby was the fifth Potentate of Murat Shrine and served six terms in that capacity from 1907 to 1912. Under his leadership, the Murat Theater and Mosque were built. He was elected to the Imperial Divan in 1908 and became Imperial Potentate in 1918.

Noble Jacoby was born on January 10, 1855, on a farm near Marion, OH. At age 18, he was teaching in a country school. He graduated with a law degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1883. In 1887, he received a master of arts degree from Ohio Wesleyan University. His law background led him to a 17-year association with Mr. Charles W. Fairbanks who went on to become vice president of the United States.

Older members of Murat may remember the Railroadmen's Building and Savings Association. When the company was established in 1877, Noble Jacoby became its attorney and a director. In 1931, he was elected president of the association which had become the largest of its kind in the United States and the largest financial institution of any kind in Indiana.

Noble Jacoby's Masonic resume reflects his longstanding appreciation and interest in its institutions. He was a 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason. He was High Priest of Keystone Royal Arch Chapter No. 6 in 1904 and Grand High Priest of the Grand Chapter of Indiana in 1910. He was Most Illustrious Master of Indianapolis Council No. 2, Royal & Select Masters in 1907. He also served as Grand Sovereign of the Order of the Red Cross of Constantine in the United States in 1924.

Illustrious Sir Elias J. Jacoby passed away at his home in Indianapolis on December 31, 1935. His legacy of leadership to Murat will never be forgotten.