THE ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR
is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both men and women may belong. Eastern Star is a social Order comprised of persons with religious convictions and spiritual values, but is not a religion. Its appeal rests in the true beauty of the refreshing and character building lessons that are so sincerely portrayed in its ritualistic work. A deep fraternal bond exists between its members. It is the wholesome relationship of brotherly and sisterly love brought about through high principles exemplified in our daily lives which makes us near and dear to each other. While this is an Order composed of people of spiritual convictions it is open to all faiths. The personal welfare of our members is vital to all Stars and it is considered a privilege to help one whenever we can. It is a social order of members with sincere and purposeful objectives.
Order of the Eastern Star History
The founder of OES was Dr. Robert Morris, a lawyer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts, who was a Master Mason and Past Grand Master of Kentucky. Dr. Morris intended his creation to become a female branch of Freemasonry, but he failed to overcome the great opposition this idea engendered. After his first published ritual in 1849-50, he became associated with Robert Macoy who wrote and published a ritual based on Morris' in 1867. The first Grand Chapter was organized in Michigan in the same year.
On August 10, 1874, Thornton Andrew Jackson received the several degrees of the Rite of Adoption of the Order of the Eastern Star from Brother C.B. Case, a Deputy and agent of Illustrious Robert Macoy 33, Supreme Patron of the Rite of Adoption of the World. In addition, Thornton Jackson also received a letter from Bro. C. B. Case granting him the authority to establish chapters of the Eastern Star among eligible black women. In obedience to the authority granted by William H. Myers, Grand Master, Union Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, Bro. Thorton Andrew Jackson established the first Eastern Star Chapter among black women in the United States.
On December 1, 1874, Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, was established at 708 - O Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. in the home of Mrs. Georgiana Thomas. The first Worthy Matron was Sister Martha Welch and the first Worthy Patron was Bro. Thornton A. Jackson.
On April 28, 1890, Queen of Sheba Chapter No. 3 and on October 20, 1890, Gethsemane Chapter No. 4, Order of the Eastern Star, were established by Thornton A. Jackson within the Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia. He was also instrumental and helped to establish one (1) chapter in Alexandria, Virginia, three (3) chapters in Maryland and three chapters in Pennsylvania. In each instance when a chapter was organized and established, it was adopted by a regularly constituted Masonic Lodge.
And so it was one hundred years after the founding of the first Black Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons that the Order of the Eastern Star was established for women of color.
The above article was edited from the Prince Hall Masonic Directory, 4th Edition 1992. Conference of Grand Masters, Prince Hall Masons.