Masonic Regalia Trunk – Wood, Metal, Linen – C. 1900.

In 1899, A.J. Moore joins the masonic order in Des Moines Iowa. 2 years before a bachelor and mason named William Ripley AKA A.J. Moore skipped town from Minneapolis on charges of murdering his lover and her sister. He headed west with Pinkertons hot on his heels and was never caught but presumed dead in the inhospitable landscape of the Dakotas. During his chase it was revealed that Mr. Ripley had a good number of aliases, had worked the medicine show circuit and was implicated in a counterfeiting ring in Ohio in the late 80’s. When a middle aged man blew into Des Moines in 1899 all alone he was questioned and released and a lack of records indicates that he lived out his days in peace and quiet. But it begs the question… Did this trunk hold the sash and hat of a murderer? Did his blood stained hands once work the latch and hold the key to this small box? In 1899 the police said no, but they had their doubts as we do now.