An idea in the minds of five fellow Masons of Indianapolis,
many years ago, is today Shrinedom's largest Temple. Only
twelve years before Murat was chartered, Dr. Walter Millard
Fleming called a meeting on September 26, 1872 in Masonic
Hall, 114 East Thirteenth Street, New York City, for the
purpose of formally organizing the first Shrine Temple
in the United States. Dr. Fleming proposed that the first
temple be named Mecca. The original thirteen members were
named as the Charter Members of Mecca Temple.
Ten years later in 1882, five friends decided
they would like to see Indianapolis have a Temple affiliated
new fraternal organization with the imposing name of Ancient
Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. The quintet consisted
of John T. Brush, Henry H McGaffey, Charles F. Meyer, Theodore
Pfafflin and Cortez F. Holliday.They appealed to William
B. Melish, then potentate of the sixth Temple in Shrinedom,
Syrian Temple at Cincinnati
chartered February 6, 1877, to aid them in their endeavors,
be initiated into the order and then to establish a temple
of the Mystic Shrine in Indianapolis. Information regarding
Murat Temple's beginning is contained in extracts from the
official minutes of Syrian
written by Mr. Melish, past Imperial Potentate (1897)
of the order.
Murat was to become the seventeenth Temple in all Shrinedom.
When Murat's charter was issued, June 4, 1884, it
bore the following eight names as charter members: John
T. Brush, Theodore Pfafflin, Charles F. Meyer, Cortez
Henry H. McGaffey,
Charles B. Harris, Goshen, Indiana; F.C. Echelman,
W. Parke of Elkhart, Indiana.
Deserving of special mention among the founders is
John T. Brush, who became the new
Temple's first Potentate
and served in that post 13 years, from 1884 to
1897. The members rejected several attempts of
as Potentate, but finally permitted him to step
down in 1897. Although known then principally as a business
a large clothing store in Indianapolis in the Ober
he went on to leave his lasting imprint on the
of professional baseball. Brush became co-owner
of the Indianapolis
team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings (now the Reds)
and, more especially, the New York Giants. He is
instrumental in founding the World Series. Brush
died November 26, 1912.
Murat, the name selected for the new Temple, is
of unusual interest. It is one of only three
NOT of Arabic origin or connotation. The others
are Aloha at
Honolulu, Hawaii, and Sharon at Tyler, Texas.
The name "Murat" comes
from "Bir Murat," an oasis in the Nubian desert.
When Napoleon's armies were in Egypt between
1798 and 1800, the general in charge was Marshal
King of Naples. General Murat invariably made
provisions for his
troops. One of the desert water holes, called "Bir
the thirst of those armies of Napoleon, so
the Indianapolis Temple bears the name of a
Marshal of France. Murat is the
only Shrine Temple with a French name.
Murat membership was given housing in the Townsley
and Wiggans "Pork
House" by the Indianapolis Valley of
Scottish Rite beginning October 22, 1884.
John T. Brush was their leader and at once
imbued all his co-workers with enthusiasm
that has been handed
down to this year of 1984. Feeling the need
of additional Nobles before setting out upon
a pilgrimage across the desert to Mecca,
on October 30, 1884, the charter members
inducted their first class of twelve members
without full ceremonial.
Murat properly initiated its first Ceremonial
Class, containing 27 candidates from all
parts of the state,
March 27, 1885.
Among the members of that class were General
Lew Wallace, famous Civil War General,
author of several
books including "Ben
Hur," "The Fair God," and "The
Prince of India," and the governor
of the New Mexico Territory; Thomas Taggart,
later mayor of Indianapolis and subsequenly
United States Senator, and F.T. Holiday,
later Recorder of
On December 18, the annual meeting was
held; and the reports showed that at
of the first
of the history
of Murat, there was a balance in the
treasury of $75.58, that
sixty-eight members had been initiated
and that the total membership was one
hundred and five.
years later, Murat's
membership is nearly 10,000.