Order of the Eastern Star

The Order of the Eastern Star is a Masonic appendant body open to both men and women. It was established in 1850 (174 years ago) (1850) by lawyer and educator Rob Morris, a noted Freemason, and adopted and approved as an appendant body of the Masonic Fraternity in 1873. The order is based on some teachings from the Bible,[1] and is open to people of all religious beliefs. It has approximately 10,000 chapters in 18 countries and approximately 500,000 members under its General Grand Chapter.

General Grand Chapter logo

Members of the Order of the Eastern Star are aged 18 and older; men must be Master Masons and women must have specific relationships with Masons. Originally, a woman would have to be the daughter, widow, wife, sister, or mother of a Master Mason. The Order now allows other relatives[2] as well as allowing Job's Daughters, Rainbow Girls, and Members of the Organization of Triangles (NY only) to become members when of age.

History edit

Eureka Masonic College, also known as The Little Red Schoolhouse, birthplace of the Order of the Eastern Star
Signage at the Order of the Eastern Star birthplace, the Little Red Schoolhouse

The Order was created by Rob Morris in 1850 when he was teaching at the Eureka Masonic College in Richland, Mississippi. While confined by illness, he set down the principles of the order in his Rosary of the Eastern Star. By 1855, he had organized a "Supreme Constellation" in New York, which chartered chapters throughout the United States.

In 1866, Dr. Morris started working with Robert Macoy, and handed the Order over to him while Morris was traveling in the Holy Land. Macoy organized the current system of Chapters, and modified Dr. Morris' Rosary into a Ritual.

Similarly to Freemasonry, the Order of Eastern Star was not open to African Americans. Prince Hall Freemasonry was formed in 1784 and the first Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star chapter was founded on December 1, 1874, titled, Queen Esther Chapter, No. 1, in established in Washington, D.C. by Thornton Andrew Jackson.[3]

The "General Grand Chapter" was formed in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 6, 1876. Committees formed at that time created the Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star in more or less its current form.[4]

Emblem and heroines edit

The emblem of the Order is a five-pointed star with the white ray of the star pointing downwards towards the manger. The meaning of the letters FATAL surrounding the center pentagon in the emblem is only revealed to members of the Order. In the Chapter room, the downward-pointing white ray points to the West. The character-building lessons taught in the Order are stories inspired by Biblical figures:

  • Adah (Jephthah's daughter, from the Book of Judges). In Eastern Star, Adah is represented by the color blue and a sword and veil. Adah represents the virtue of obedience.
  • Ruth, the widow from the Book of Ruth. In Eastern Star, Ruth is represented by the color yellow and a sheaf of barley. Ruth represents the virtue of religious principles.
  • Esther, the wife from the Book of Esther. In Eastern Star, Esther is represented by the color white and a crown and scepter. Esther represents the virtue of loyalty.
  • Martha, sister of Mary and Lazarus, from the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John. In Eastern Star, Martha is represented by the color green and a broken column. Martha represents the virtue of endurance in trial.
  • Electa (the "elect lady" from II John), the mother. In Eastern Star, Electa is represented by the color red and a chalice. Electa represents the virtue of endurance of persecution.

Officers edit

Officers representing the heroines of the order sit around the altar in the center of the chapter room.
Eastern Star meeting room

There are 18 main officers in a full chapter:

  • Worthy Matron – presiding officer
  • Worthy Patron – a Master Mason who provides general supervision
  • Associate Matron – assumes the duties of the Worthy Matron in the absence of that officer
  • Associate Patron – assumes the duties of the Worthy Patron in the absence of that officer
  • Secretary – takes care of all correspondence and minutes
  • Treasurer – takes care of monies of the Chapter
  • Conductress – Leads visitors and initiations.
  • Associate Conductress – Prepares candidates for initiation, assists the conductress with introductions and handles the ballot box.
  • Chaplain – leads the Chapter in prayer
  • Marshal – presents the Flag and leads in all ceremonies
  • Organist – provides music for the meetings
  • Adah – Shares the lesson of Duty of Obedience to the will of God
  • Ruth – Shares the lesson of Honor and Justice
  • Esther – Shares the lesson of Loyalty to Family and Friends
  • Martha – Shares the lesson of Faith and Trust in God and Everlasting Life
  • Electa – Shares the lesson of Charity and Hospitality
  • Warder – Sits next to the door inside the meeting room, to make sure those that enter the chapter room are members of the Order.
  • Sentinel – Sits next to the door outside the chapter room, to ensure people who wish to enter are members of the Order.

Traditionally, a woman who is elected Associate Conductress will be elected to Conductress the following year, then the next year Associate Matron, and the next year Worthy Matron. A man elected Associate Patron will usually be elected Worthy Patron the following year. Usually, the woman who is elected to become Associate Matron will let it be known who she wishes to be her Associate Patron, so the next year they will both go to the East together as Worthy Matron and Worthy Patron. There is no male counterpart to the Conductress and Associate Conductress. Only women are allowed to be Matrons, Conductresses, and the Star Points (Adah, Ruth, etc.) and only men can be Patrons.

Once a member has served a term as Worthy Matron or Worthy Patron, they may use the post-nominal letters, PM or PP respectively.

Headquarters edit

The International Temple in Washington, D.C.

The General Grand Chapter headquarters, the International Temple, is located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in the Perry Belmont Mansion. The mansion was built in 1909 for the purpose of entertaining the guests of Perry Belmont. They included Britain's Prince of Wales in 1919. General Grand Chapter purchased the building in 1935. The secretary of General Grand Chapter lives there while serving his or her term of office. The mansion features works of art from around the world, most of which were given as gifts from various international Eastern Star chapters.

Charities edit

The Order has a charitable foundation[5] and from 1986 to 2001 contributed $513,147 to Alzheimer's disease research, juvenile diabetes research, and juvenile asthma research. It also provides bursaries to students of theology and religious music, as well as other scholarships that differ by jurisdiction. In 2000 over $83,000 was donated. Many jurisdictions support a Masonic and/or Eastern Star retirement center or nursing home for older members; some homes are also open to the public. The Elizabeth Bentley OES Scholarship Fund was started in 1947.[6][7]

Notable members edit

African-American Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star edit

The Prince Hall Order of the Eastern Star is the predominantly African-American equivalent of the Order of the Eastern Star.[28]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Installation Ceremony". Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star. Washington, DC: General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. 1995 [1889]. pp. 120–121.
  2. ^ "Eastern Star Membership". General Grand Chapter. Archived from the original on 2010-06-12. Retrieved 2010-06-03. These affiliations include: * Affiliated Master Masons in good standing, * the wives * daughters * legally adopted daughters * mothers * widows * sisters * half sisters * granddaughters * stepmothers * stepdaughters * stepsisters * daughters-in-law * grandmothers * great granddaughters * nieces * great nieces * mothers-in-law * sisters-in-law and daughters of sisters or brothers of affiliated Master Masons in good standing, or if deceased were in good standing at the time of their death
  3. ^ Ayers, Jessie Mae (1992). "Origin and History of the Adoptive Rite Among Black Women". Prince Hall Masonic Directory. Conference of Grand Masters, Prince Hall Masons. Archived from the original on 2007-09-22. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  4. ^ "Rob Morris". Grand Chapter of California. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-10-01.
  5. ^ "OES Charities". Archived from the original on 2016-04-20. Retrieved 2016-04-15.
  6. ^ "Elizabeth Bentley Order Of The Eastern Star Scholarship Award". Yukon, Canada. Archived from the original on 2009-05-05. Retrieved 2009-11-05.
  7. ^ "Eastern Star has enjoyed long history". Black Press. Retrieved 2009-11-05. The Eastern Star Bursary, later named the Elizabeth Bentley OES Scholarship Fund, was started in 1947.[dead link]
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain: Binheim, Max; Elvin, Charles A (1928). Women of the West; a series of biographical sketches of living eminent women in the eleven western states of the United States of America. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  9. ^ Clara Barton, U.S. Nurse Masonic First Day Cover
  10. ^ Leonard, John W., ed. (1915). "BATES, Clara Nettie". Woman's Who's who of America. Vol. 1 (Public domain ed.). p. 82. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  11. ^ District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution (DCDAR) Memory Book Volume IV. Washington, DC: District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution (DCDAR). 1958. p. 92.
  12. ^ Who's who Among Minnesota Women: A History of Woman's Work in Minnesota from Pioneer Days to Date, Told in Biographies, Memorials and Records of Organizations. Mary Dillon Foster. 1924. p. 26. Retrieved 19 June 2022.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  13. ^ "Eastern Star Notes". Herald and News (Public domain ed.). Randolph, Vermont. 15 May 1902. p. 7. Retrieved 16 July 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  14. ^ "Gene L. Bradford" (PDF). Women in the Legislature. Washington State Legislature. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  15. ^ Who's who in New York City and State. L.R. Hamersly Company. 1914. pp. 81–.
  16. ^ "History of Chapter Reviewed on 75th Anniversary - 31 Jul 1955, Sun • Page 19". Medford Mail Tribune: 19. 1955. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  17. ^ Willard, Frances Elizabeth; Livermore, Mary Ashton Rice (1893). A Woman of the Century: Fourteen Hundred-seventy Biographical Sketches Accompanied by Portraits of Leading American Women in All Walks of Life (Public domain ed.). Moulton. pp. 277–.
  18. ^ Goss, Charles Frederic (1912). Cincinnati, the Queen City, 1788-1912. S. J. Clarke Publishing Company. pp. 924–28. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  19. ^   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain: Merritt, Frank Clinton. History of Alameda County, California. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  20. ^ by Helen L. Atkinson at ALASKA INTERNET PUBLISHERS, INC Archived 2007-03-11 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Kate Hamilton Pier is laid to rest on wedding day; many pay tribute". Eagle River News: 4–5. 1925. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  22. ^ Mackey, Albert G. (2013). Encyclopedia Of Freemasonry (Annotated ed.). Jazzybee Verlag. ISBN 9783849631567. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
  23. ^ Tinkham, George Henry (1921). History of Stanislaus County, California: With Biographical Sketches of the Leading Men and Women of the County, who Have Been Identified with Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present. Vol. 1 (Public domain ed.). Histor.
  24. ^ "O.E.S. Chapter Holds Service". Nevada State Journal. 1943-01-30. p. 5. Retrieved 2023-04-13.
  25. ^ Leonard, John William; Marquis, Albert Nelson (1908). "SMITH, Lura Eugenie Brown". Who's who in America. Vol. 5. A.N. Marquis. p. 1759. Retrieved 30 December 2021.
  26. ^ "Thomas, Lee Emmett". Louisiana Historical Association, A Directory of Louisiana Biography (lahistory.org). Archived from the original on September 23, 2010. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  27. ^ Big Muddy online publications Archived 2006-09-14 at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Schmidt, Alvin J. Fraternal Organizations Westport, CT; Greenwood Press p.100

External links edit