Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star Louisiana, Texas, and Florida Early Beginnings

In an attempt to unravel the history of Esther Grand Chapter, certain supporting documents have surfaced which helps us to understand our heritage as a jurisdiction.

Esther Grand Chapter, as we know it today, was formerly Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star of Louisiana, Texas and Florida in 1891-1894. Research indicates that Texas left October 17, 1891.

To date there is no record that denotes exactly when the Grand Chapter went defunct; however we do know that in 1908 it was alive and well.

As far as I have researched, the Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star of Louisiana, Texas, and Florida opened the Ninth Annual Session in Fort Worth, Texas, May 12, 1891, with 11 chapters.

The Grand Worthy Matron was Sis. Emma C. Graves and the Grand Worthy Patron was Bro. A. A. Williams.

The Credentials Committee made the following report of Chapters:

Esther No. 1 New Orleans, LA
Electa No. 2 New Orleans, LA
Star of Bethlehem No. 4 Baton Rouge, LA
Electa No. 4 Galveston, TX
Bethlehem No. 5 Marshall, TX
Rescue No. 6 Fort Worth, TX
Ruth No. 6 Galveston, TX
Queen of Sheba
Adah No. 10 Dallas, TX
Lydia Chapter No. 11
Adah No. 12 Pensacola, FL
Mary No. 12 Bonham, TX (New Chapter added)

The Recommendations were:
1. That the Grand Chapter establish General Laws: Rules and Regulations for the government of subordinate chapters and they must be printed.
2. That gowns would be worn during initiation. Star point colors – Purple for Worthy Matron, Red for Associate Matron, Black for Conductresses, and White for Candidates.
3. That there was a need for quality prospective members not quantity.

The Tenth Annual Session was held in New Orleans, April 13, 1892.

The Grand Worthy Matron was Sis. Emma Burch and the Grand Worthy Patron was Bro. E. A. Williams.

The following chapters were present:

Esther Chapter #1 – New Orleans, LA
Electa #2 –  New Orleans, LA
Rebecca Chapter UD –  Shreveport, LA

The Recommendations were:
To approve the Statues (Rules)

The Eleventh Annual Session was also held in New Orleans, April 12, 1893.

The Grand Worthy Matron was Sis. Emma B. Israel and Grand Worthy Patron was Bro. E. A. Williams.

The following Chapters were present:

Esther #1 – New Orleans, LA
Electa #2 –  New Orleans, LA
Star of Bethlehem #3 –  Baton Rouge, LA
Rebecca #4 – Shreveport, LA

An Election was held and a new Grand Worthy Matron was elected, Sis. D. C. Mead. Bro. E. A. Williams remained as Grand Worthy Patron.

The Recommendations were:
1. To devise some means and include in its Constitution a law to compel attendance of members of this Grand Chapter.
2. To establish a rule in the Order to observe Easter with appropriate Ceremonies.

The Twelfth Annual Session was held in Baton Rouge, April 11, 1894.

The Chapters present were:

Esther #1 – New Orleans
Electa #2 – New Orleans
Star of Bethlehem #3 – Baton Rouge
Rebeka #4 – Shreveport
Martha #5 – New Orleans
Adah # 11 – Pensacola, FL
Ruth #6 – Alexandria

The Recommendation was:
That something should be done and that quickly to bring the members out to their meetings, at least once a month.

The Twenty-fifth Annual Session was held in Plaquemine, LA, June 16, 1908.

The Grand Worthy Matron was Sis. H. W. Johnson of Monroe, LA and the Grand Worthy Patron was Bro. Joshua Thomas of Morgan City, LA.

The Amaranth Degree was conferred. The membership was 1,093 and the net worth was $2,000.00.

The following Chapters were represented:


Esther #1 – New OrleansLook to the East # 11 – Calhoun
Silver Leaf #21 – JeaneretteGolden Fleece # 31 – LeCompte
Electa #2 – New OrleansSalome #1 – Marion
Beulah # 22 – HoumaRose of Sharon # 32 – Baton Rouge
Star of Bethlehem #3 – Baton RougeF. W. Barrington #13 – Monroe
Silver Trowel # 23 – PattersonStar of the East # 33 – Morgan City
Rebecca #4 – ShreveportOziel #14 – East Point
Loyal # 24 – SwartzStar Light # 34 – DeRidder
Martha #5 – New OrleansVenus # 15 – Napoleonville
Mariam # 25 – ShreveportQueen of the South # 35 – Stamboul
Ruth #6 – AlexandriaAdah # 16 – Crawford
St. Thomas # 26 – SimmesportMontrose # 36 – Holland
Queen of the West #7 – Morgan CitySilver Lake #17 – Newellton
Deborah # 27 – New OrleansPride of Homer # 37 – Homer
Queen of Sheba #8 – Lake CharlesPerseverance #18 – Natchitoches
Gilbert # 28 – BaldwinMary Queen # 38 – Benton
Mt. Olive #9 – ThibodauxPride of Shady #19 – Shady
Evergreen # 29 – BerniceQueen Anna # 39 – Algiers
Naomi #10 – FranklinPride of Iberia #20 – New Iberia
Israel # 30 – PlaquemineMaldona # 41 – Yellow Pine

The following Chapters were added:

Coronation – Winnsboro
Lydia – Bastrop
Sun Light – Mound
Victoria – Delhi
Queen Christiana – Jones
Queen Esther – Ponchatoula
Excelsior – Shreveport
Pride of DeSoto – Mansfield


History of Esther Grand Chapter, Order of Eastern Star, Inc. Prince Hall Affiliation Louisiana Jurisdiction

Often in the scheme of creation, new entities are built on the ashes or remains of a fallen entity. So it was that the Order of Eastern Stars had become in dire circumstances as a result of a depleted membership and finances. Grand Master Scott A. Lewis had established a tight control on the discipline of Lodges with respect to their contributions to the Charity Fund. Suitable progress was made and the Grand Lodge’s Charity Fund was able to survive. It was then determined that the Eureka Grand Chapter was hopelessly in debt to the sum of Thirteen Thousand Dollars. It was further decided that it would be better to go into receivership and clear the records and call for a state-wide Convention to elect officers that the womanhood of this State could have confidence in, to work out a plan that would meet the present day’s need. Additionally it was felt that work would be smoother, if each donee was a member of the O.E.S. Many court litigations would be avoided because the donees would have had a say with the jurisprudence of the Order. The economic status of the group would be enhanced with a corresponding loss to the outside lawyers.

By the following year, the Secretary of State had ordered the O.E.S. not to collect any more money, and to advise his office as to what step the organization planned to bring its affairs in order. A Committee on the Eastern Star was formed and recommended that the Grand Lodge “withdraw its recognition from the Eureka Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, State of Louisiana.” It was further recommended that the wives, daughters and unmarried sisters of Master Masons of our affiliation, form themselves into a club, looking forward to the organization of a Grand Chapter that might be recognized.

Since a Masonic Grand Lodge has no authority in interfering in the affairs of a non-Masonic organization, in this case of O.E.S., it is within its authority to withdraw that which they had given, that is, recognition.

By November, the matter of the Eastern Star was improving, as an O.E.S. Club named in honor of John G. Lewis, Sr., was formed with 39 members in New Orleans, and together with two other clubs, W. L. Carroll club in Natchitoches and Pride of Desoto club in Mansfield, plans were being made to hold a session at Bethlehem Temple, 1125 Dauphine Street, in New Orleans on the 12th of January 1938 to form a Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star.

Grand Master Scott A. Lewis in his address at the 76th Convocation in Natchitoches, LA would note that a “new” Order of Eastern Star had been organized and would be known as Esther Grand Chapter. “We must not be misunderstood,” declared Scott, “that any official recognition carries with it any penalty or assumption of liabilities incurred or to be incurred by said — Grand Chapter — that under Masonic law it is a separate and distinct organization.” “The Committee,” continued the Grand Master, “on Jurisprudence recommended that the ‘prayer of recognition be granted and that they (the new O.E.S.) be accorded all of the rights, privileges and honors due by virtue of their affiliation’.”

On January 12, 1938 the Hon. Scott A. Lewis, M.W. Grand Master of Eureka Grand Lodge (now deceased) called together ten subordinate chapters, that had been under the guidance of the Eureka Grand Lodge, F. & A.M. of Louisiana for the purpose of organizing another Eastern Star Grand Chapter. This meeting was held at the Bethlehem Temple with the Hon. Scott A Lewis, Grand Master presiding. After the singing of Pass Me Not, 0 Gentle Savior’ and prayer by Rev. Buchannon, Grand Master Lewis stated the purpose of the meeting was to organize a new Grand Chapter.

Brother John G. Lewis, Jr. was named as general chairman and to preside over the meeting. Brother Lewis, then appointed Mrs. Delia Johnson as secretary along with her Committee on Credentials. The Committee was composed of Sisters: Clara B. Hart, East Gate Chapter No.5, Bogalusa; Came Wilson, New Deborah Chapter No. 2, New Orleans; Ida Long, John G. Lewis Chapter No. 1, New Orleans; Virginia Tolliver, Acme Chapter No. 6, Arnaudville.

The Chairman, Bro. John G. Lewis, proceeded then to name the following persons to serve on the Constitutional Committee: Grand Master Scott A. Lewis, Chairman; Bros.: Victor Williams, Joseph Misshore, George Sylvester, J. J. Coleman; Sisters: Minerva G. Minor, Julia F. Griffin, Annie Bingamon and Fannie J. Smith. The committee was excused to draw up the Constitution.

The meeting recessed and then reconvened after 45 minutes for the committee to draw up the Constitution. The Constitution in its entirety was received and adopted, upon the recommendation of a motion made by Grand Master Scott A. Lewis and seconded by Sis. A. B. Bingamon. Sis. Henrietta Brooks, New Deborah No. 2, then asked – what amount would a member receive at death. Grand Master Scott A. Lewis answered by saying, that would be left to the discretion of the committee on Charity, which the committee would make these donations pro-rate to the 400 Charity per member received from each chapter.

The discussion afterwards arose as to calling the certificates diploma, after which it was agreed upon that each member receive a certificate of membership, and not a diploma. Upon motion and second, the committee was given a vote of thanks and dismissed.

Bro. John G. Lewis named the following to make up a Nominating Committee — Brothers: Shelly Hammond, Chairman; Rev. Buchanon, G. M. Scott A. Lewis; Sisters: Maggie Bethel, Annette Wallace, Frances Hamilton, and Annie Brown.

The report coming from the Nominating Committee, upon motion of Sis. Maggie Bethel and second by Sis. Henrietta Brooks, was received and the vote unanimous that the following persons be named as Grand Officers:

Sis. Minerva G. Minor, New Orleans, LA, Grand Worthy Matron;
Bro. J. J. Coleman, Mansfield, LA, Grand Patron;
A. B. Bigamon, Grand Assoc. Matron, New Orleans;
Bro. Willie Grant, Assoc. Grand Patron, New Orleans;
Sis. Fannie J. Smith, Grand Secretary, Berwick, LA;
and Sis. Clara B. Hart, Grand Treasurer, Bogalusa, LA.

The Grand Matron appointed the following officers:

Sisters: Virginia Toliver, Arnaudville, LA, Grand Conductress;
Julia Griffin, Lafayette, Grand Assoc. Conductress;
Annie Edwards, Bogalusa, Grand Adah;
Maggie Bethel, New Orleans, Grand Ruth;
Lucille Johnson, New Orleans, Grand Esther,
M. E. Welsh, Morgan City, Grand Martha;
Henrietta Brooks, New Orleans, Grand Electa;
E. C. Blond, New Orleans, Grand Chaplain;
D. V. Johnson, New Orleans, Grand Lecturer;
Ellen Blanton, New Orleans, Grand Warder;
Bro. Victor Williams, Bogalusa, Grand Sentinel.

The Chapters that made up the nine Chartered Chapters were:

John G. Lewis No. 1, New Orleans, LA;
New Deborah No. 2, New Orleans, LA;
W. L. Carroll No. 4, Natchitoches, LA;
East Gate No. 5, Bogalusa, LA;
Star of the West No. 50, Berwick, LA;
Acme Chapter No. 6, Arnaudville, LA;
Pride of Desoto No. 3, Mansfield, LA;
Veronica Chapter No. 8, New Orleans, LA;
Queen Esther No. 10, Glencoe, LA.

The Committee on Jurisprudence was appointed: Brothers Joseph Misshore, Chairman; Charles J. Sylvester; Grand Master Scott A. Lewis; Shelly Hammond; Clarence Carter; John G. Lewis, Jr.; Boise Bell; Sisters: Corinne Azamore and Annie Brown. The elected and appointed officers assembled before the altar and were duly installed by Grand Master Scott A. Lewis.

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