History of the Grand Chapter of Kansas

The history of an organization is an important part of the organization’s future; it is the foundation on which the organization is built. Knowing this, Wanda J. Ryan, PGM, envisioned a web page on the Kansas Grand Chapter website where visitors could locate information about Past Grand Matrons and Past Grand Patrons of Kansas. This history page is courtesy of Wanda J. Ryan, PGM. 

Please click on one of the sections below to read more about the history of the Grand Chapter of Kansas.

This history has been extracted from The History of the Order of the Eastern Star, written and published by Reverend Willis D. Engle, Most Worthy Grand Patron and first Right Worthy Grand Secretary of the General Grand Chapter of the Order.

KANSAS.

The first Chapter was Esther No. I, at Burlington, organized in December, 1875, and eighty-two were organized principally through the labors of Harmon G. Reynolds, who called the convention to organize the Grand Chapter, at Emporia, October 18, 1876, when forty-two Chapters were represented, thirty-one of them by proxies, many of the proxies not being members of the Chapters they represented. The Grand Patron was made the executive head of the Grand Chapter, but this was changed in 1877, since which time the Grand Matron has held the authority. The constitution also provided for a Deputy Grand Patron and a Deputy Grand Matron, but these offices were abolished in 1878. The annual per capita dues were fixed at 10 cents, but were raised in 1877 to 20 cents, in 1896 to 30 cents, but were later reduced to 20 cents.

In 1877 delegates were elected to the General Grand Chapter, with discretionary powers, who, for the Grand Chapter, formally gave its allegiance to the General Grand Chapter at its meeting in 1878.

By the provisions of the constitution the annual meetings were held at the same time and place at the meetings of the Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, and owing to the postponement of its meeting from October, 1879, to February 1880, no meeting of the Grand Chapter was held in 1879. The annual meeting was changed in 1882 to such time and place as the Grand Chapter shall designate.

An Eastern Star Association, whose object is to properly celebrate the festal day of the Order was organized by members in Kansas and western Missouri in 1884, which held most enjoyable picnics, which have been participated in by goodly numbers.

A Past Grand Matron’s jewel was presented to the retiring Grand Matron in 1886, and, with few exceptions, all Grand Matrons have been similarly remembered with valuable gifts. In 1891 it was

Resolved, That, in token of the high appreciation of her services, the Grand Chapter extends to its first Grand Matron, Mary A. Hepler, a heartfelt welcome, and authorizes the Grand Secretary to draw an order on the Grand Treasurer refunding to her the amount of her expenses incurred in attending this meeting, and this be done annually so long as she remains in this Grand Jurisdiction.”

In 1893 the Grand Chapter presented Sister Hepler a gold watch, suitably inscribed, and, in 1895, appropriated $10 per month to her during the remainder of her life. Sister Hepler’s services to the Order in Kansas and generally were invaluable, and she well deserved all the kindnesses that the Order bestowed upon her.

The Grand Chapter, in 1891, also voted to appropriate $50 annually to aid Electa Chapter in caring for the orphan, Emma Avery, so long as the Chapter has her in charge.

At the funeral of Lizzie E. Gabriel, Associate Grand Matron, in February 1891, the Knights Templar Commandery, by permission of the Grand Commander, acted as escort to the Chapter, which performed the funeral rites of the Order, and, in 1892, a Chapter of Sorrow was held in her memory, and that of Georgiana SeCoy, Past Grand Matron, by the Grand Chapter. The memory of the different Past Grand officers has been similarly commemorated by the Grand Chapter.

By invitation of the Grand Commandery, the meeting of the Grand Chapter was held at Topeka in 1893. The many courtesies extended to the Order by the different branches of Masonry in Kansas and elsewhere are noted in this history to show the growing recognition of the Order and of its good works. No one who has come into the Order in recent years can so fully appreciate the contrast between the condition of matters in this regard and what formerly prevailed, as can those who were early laborers in its upbuilding. In a historical address delivered by Mary H. Buck, Past Grand Matron, at the twenty-first annual meeting, she said:

“In those days it was deemed expedient to meet at the same time and place as the Masonic Grand Lodge. I well remember the cold stare we received, and the elevated noses of some of the the brethren, as we were compelled at times to pass through their committee rooms and anterooms, going to and from our place of meeting. . . . There was much prejudice to overcome on behalf of our Order in the minds of even the truest and best of Masons, the idea having become fossilized with many that woman never had been and never could be made a Mason – never had and never could keep a secret. But I can safely say we have learned to do even that better than many of them, for if by chance any terrible mystery is revealed ‘to the profane,’ it is usually traceable to the brethren.”

A painting designed by Sister Hepler, giving a pictorial history of the Order in Kansas, was  paid for by contributions from the subordinate Chapters, amounting to $300, and was displayed in the Kansas building at the World’s Fair, and it now adorns the walls of the Kansas Masonic Home. The Galveston flood sufferers were relieved to the extent of $282.

In 1895 the Grand Chapter was invited to attend a reception and ball given by Mt. Olivet Commandery, Knights Templar, and in 1898 the Grand Commandery unanimously adopted the following:

Resolved, That the Grand Commandery of Knights Templar, in annual conclave assembled, hereby extends to the Order of the Eastern Star our knightly and courteous greetings and our sincere wish that their session may be pleasant and harmonious and their legislation wise and judicious.”

In 1908, in response to the circular letter of the General Grand Chapter officers, it was unanimously

Resolved, That we reaffirm the action taken by the Grand Chapter two years ago relative to the use of the square and compasses, the rods in purging the Chapter, and Matron leaving her station to greet newly admitted members; that we continue all the usages.”

The Grand Secretary is paid a salary of $1,000 and allowed $240 for office rent. There were 615 voters in the meeting in 1911, 328 of whom were representatives and 287 were either Grand officers, Past Matrons or Past Patrons.

The general fund receipts in 1911, including balance, were $9,845; disbursement, $4,080; balance, $5,765.

Engle, Rev. Willis D. “Kansas.” In The History of the Order of the Eastern Star, 184–87. Indianapolis, Ind.: Willis D. Engle1912.

This history has been extracted from The History of the Order of the Eastern Star, written and published by Reverend Willis D. Engle, Most Worthy Grand Patron and first Right Worthy Grand Secretary of the General Grand Chapter of the Order.

Kansas – The movement for a Masonic Home was begun by the Grand Chapter in 1885, when a committee was appointed to confer with the Grand Lodge, but little advance was made until 1891, when the Grand Lodge unanimously voted to yield to the solicitations of the Eastern Star and resolved “to co-operate with similar committees from the other regular and recognized Masonic bodies, and the Order of the Eastern Star, to furnish plans for arranging and carrying into effect the action of the Grand Lodge.” At its organization, and continuously since, a sister was made a member of the board of directors, the first time that a woman has served in such a capacity. The regulations were made to provide for the admission of the children of members of the Order.

In 1895, the Grand Lodge having decided to abandon the project on account of the prevailing hard times, the Grand Chapter asked the Grand Lodge to reconsider its action and to take steps toward founding a Home, pledging the heart assistance of the Order. To this request the Grand Lodge acceded, and in 1896 an annual per capita tax of 10 cents was made by the Grand Chapter for the object; a standing committee on the Home was provided for; June 24 was made Masonic Home day, which each subordinate Chapter was requested to devote to raising money for the Home. The contributions of the Order toward the Home have aggregated more than forty-three thousand dollars, in addition to special contributions for particular objects. Emma W. Port, Past Grand Matron, contributed $1,000 as the foundation of an endowment, to which the Grand Chapter added $500 in 1900.

In 1896 the board of directors adopted the following:

“We appreciate and gratefully acknowledge the encouragement, aid and support, moral as well as material, given by the Order of the Eastern Star, and record our conviction that an Order so distinguished and noted for its efforts in behalf of distressed, destitute and helpless humanity is entitled to the active support as well as the commendation of all good Masons.”

The Home was dedicated by the Grand Lodge September 10, 1896, and in his address on the occasion the Grand Master said:

“We do not forget the powerful aid and influence of the Eastern Star and its Chapters. Without their aid, and the support of the women of Masonry, we could boast neither of past success nor future hope.”

Rinda E. Chesney, Past Grand Matron, was the first matron of the Home, while the present one is Mary C. Snedden, Past Most Worthy Grand Matron.

We are pleased to present herewith an illustration of the home, and to quote the following description of it:

“It was erected for Hon. R. E. Lawrence in 1888, when Wichita was in the zenith of her glory and money was no object, and cost $97,000.

“It is built of stone, three stories high, with basement under the entire building; double walls and slate roof render it fireproof. The building is 90 by 90 feet. The reception room is 20 by 25, finished in oak, with massive French plate mirrors and parquet floor. Opening from this room, with folding doors, are the library, parlors, sitting room and matron’s room

“It is one of the many places in this land that cost a fortune and sold for a song. The Masons bought the place for only $21,000. Since buying it they have built an addition connecting the stable (which was as fine as the house) with the house. The addition contains the dining room and kitchen, the original dining room being used as the matron’s room and the original kitchen as the children’s play room. The stable has been fitted up for the old men, the former carriage room, with its beautiful mantel and grate, being their reading room. The Masons bought the Home and Eastern Star furnished it.”

Engle, Rev. Willis D. “Kansas.” In The History of the Order of the Eastern Star, 184–87. Indianapolis, Ind.: Willis D. Engle1912.

YearSession TitleWorthy Grand MatronWorthy Grand Patron
2017-2018“Believe in God’s Miracles” SessionWanda M. RyanStephen (Steve) W. Boyer (Acting)
2016-2017“God’s Gift of Friendship” SessionSusan McGinnisFrancis (Pete) Peterson
2015-2016“Our Hands for God’s Work” SessionPam AbelRichard (Dick) Short
2014-2015“Star Within The Star” SessionDonna M. FaggMichael (Mike) Edwards
2013-2014“Fully Rely On God (F.R.O.G.)” SessionDolores (Dee) SmithLarry D. Swaim
2012-2013“Joy of Music” sessionKimberly D. DellingerRobert D. Hess
2011-2012“In His Amazing Grace” sessionKathryn L. JohnsonRick Stripling
2010-2011“One Nation Under GOD” SessionGayle J. CousatteJohn J. Ryan
2009-2010“Stars Across Kansas” sessionTrudy RiddleJames W. Billings
2008-2009“Family of God” sessionKaren J. AdamsDavid Rake
2007-2008“Footprints Through Life” sessionIsabel AdamsMike Towner
2006-2007“The Spirit of Christmas” sessionNancy J. ZookDon Flickinger
2005-2006“Wings of Change” sessionPaula GettlesDarrell Shanteau
2004-2005“God’s Garden of Love” sessionLynne HendricksRobert Ott
2003-2004“Galaxy of Stars” sessionKathy JohnsonTom Fowler
2002-2003“Angels Among Us” sessionNancy A. WentlingJohnnie W. Cawthorn
2001-2002“Sharing Our Story” sessionPatricia R. (Pat) BrothersWilliam Larson
2000-2001“Castles in the Clouds” sessionCarol HanlinRichard K. Smith
1999-2000“Stargate” sessionKelly L. HerringDarrell M. Holmes
1998-1999“Bond of Love” sessionShirley J. PalmerRoland C. Bonjour
1997-1998“Hands of Friendship” sessionEmily E. RoyerBoyce W. Dougherty
1996-1997“Our Father’s World” sessionNancy S. EvansDean Wyant
1995-1996“The Gift of Life” sessionSherrell K. HeftDonald W. Hendricks
1994-1995“Light Bridges Time” sessionPatricia HansonJohn E. Carlson
1993-1994“Trust in the Lord” sessionPatricia A. (Patti) WhiteDewaine Geiger
1992-1993“Believe in Yourself” sessionMartha J. NorrisThomas J. Owen
1991-1992“Our Prairie Heritage” sessionPatricia BerryKenneth C. Jeffrey
1990-1991“Wings on the Four Winds” sessionKaren S. ClarkD. B. Schwartzkopf
1989-1990“Peace and Harmony” sessionVirginia JohnsonReuben Berg
1988-1989“To God be the Glory” sessionFrances Eckhoff WolcottJerry K. Van Allen
1987-1988“Treasures of Time” sessionMary Ann WilsonFloyd H. Dibbern
1986-1987“Sheaves of Love” sessionRuth E. WilliamsStephen W. Karstadt
1985-1986“Pathways with Purpose” sessionRuth CearleyBuford M. Strader
1984-1985“Melody of Faith” sessionDoris R. NordenDarrel R. Miller
1983-1984“The Miracles of God and Man” sessionMary L. GrahamCharles D. Gallipeau
1982-1983“Crown of Happiness” sessionMarcie HollowayBenjamin F. Green
1981-1982“The Road of Life” sessionJoan K. CrotchettCarl W. Schroeder
1980-1981“Harbor of Hope”Loretta SecrestPaul Cain
1979-1980“Treasures of the Heart” sessionJeanne BeckLynn States
1978-1979“Garden of Faith”Pauline YockeyLeo Whitley
1977-1978“Open Door” SessionDixie KnaussKenith S. McNett
1976-1977“Wonder of It All” SessionJoan DunnKenneth V. Moses
1975-1976“Centennial” sessionJeanette HuettWalter C. Smith
1974-1975“Harmony and Ritual” sessionBeverly RoweThurman D. Miller
1973-1974“God’s Wonderful World” sessionMarilyn JensenRobert M. Nease
1972-1973“Song in My Heart” sessionAgnes HillChristian C. Bomberger
1971-1972“The Way, the Truth, the Life” sessionJean HeerMarvin VanVleck
1970-1971“Chimes of Love” sessionDarlene MackOwen E. Hodgson
1969-1970“Sunflower” sessionRuth CaldwellJames M. Hoggard
1968-1969“Constellation” sessionPearl I. GretzGilbert H. Finlay
1967-1968“Unending Song” sessionKathryn WebbDavid F. Johnson
1966-1967“Gateway to Peace” sessionElnita JezekDr. Carroll C. Arnett
1965-1966“Pearl” sessionPearl CooperArmand H. Bishop
1964-1965“Cathedral” sessionIone JordanJ. Vernon Powell
1963-1964“Led By His Light” sessionMyra WilleDouglas Crotty, Sr.
1962-1963“Friendship and Service” sessionBernadine RussellLaVerne Spears
1961-1962“Shepherd of Peace” sessionBernice B. StutzmanRichard W. Farris
1960-1961“Symphony of Happiness” sessionPearl BaumgartnerSteve W. Church
1959-1960“Adah” sessionAenid HillEugene S. Parker
1958-1959“Melody in E” sessionElsie Van BlaricumEdward E. Fanestil
1957-1958“Stardust” sessionCarolyn L. WarrenCharles S. McGinness
1956-1957“Faith and Friendship” sessionCecil BrownClyde R. Lillard
1955-1956“Golden West” sessionLucy GeckelerClyde Riley
1954-1955“Jewel” sessionJewel LepleyHarry D. Harrison
1953-1954“The Bible” sessionFern L. HaddanMartin H. Potter
1952-1953“Our Father’s World” sessionCatherine T. BeckwithHarold P. Lowe
1951-1952“Daisy” sessionDaisy ForceThomas B. Finigan
1950-1951“Divine Guidance” sessionAlyce McMichaelHerman D. Kopper
1949-1950“Queen Esther” sessionMarguerite WebsterJames H. Parsons
1948-1949“Light of Life” sessionGladys PeacockJ. Herbert Talbert
1947-1948“World Friendship” sessionAnna L. FoustMajor William W. Smith
1946-1947“Chapel” sessionEmma M. PolandForest Hashbarger
1945-1946“Triangle” sessionViola MarcoottSamuel G. Wiles
1944-1945Build Stately MansionsFlorence G. GrantHenry S. Buzick, Jr.
1943-1944“Love and Loyalty” sessionMildred J. RiceMaynard H. Coe
1942-1943“Harmony” sessionMarjorie SchwartzOtto Souders
1941-1942“Art of Living” sessionAnna Mae BradshawHarry A. Wayman
1940-1941“In His Footprints” sessionRose Mae CollierVictor L. Kirk
1939-194064th Annual SessionAdelaide ShepardJ. Forrest Ayres
1938-193963rd Annual Session – Motto: Let us strive to be Kind, Happy and CharitableKathryn H. CampbellCharley B. Erskine
1937-1938“Sunshine” SessionMaud K. VincentWilliam Fred Shea
1936-1937“World Friendship” SessionMargaret H. BallardFred W. Smith
1935-1936“Golden Rule” SessionMaude ClossenRichard H. Cravens
1934-1935“Rose” SessionRose SwallowDr. Douglas A. Meredith
1933-1934“Star of the East” SessionPearl SmithCharles A. Loucks
1932-1933“Lilac Time in Lawrence” SessionMargaret J. StevensonTed C. Senter
1931-1932“Spring Flower” SessionBermetta MillerD. Clarke Kelly
1930-193155th Annual SessionMaude E. WaymanGeorge W. McClelland
1929-193054th Annual SessionJessie N. ThorpWalter B. Hoagland
1928-192953rd Annual SessionArtie T. HarrisonRoy H. Clossen
1927-192852nd Annual SessionMabel ScottCharles W. Reeder
1926-192751st Annual SessionGrace See MartinBen S. Paulen
1925-192650th Annual SessionOlga PhilipCharles W. Garrison
1924-192549th Annual SessionVerna GoughAsa Taylor Hoge
1923-192448th Annual SessionBeatrice WoodcockWalter L. Payne
1922-192347th Annual SessionEvelena CochranGuy L. Hursh
1921-192246th Annual SessionRebecca May Ayers-CraskJohn A. Ferrell
1920-192145th Annual SessionUra FeelyGeorge W. Pogson
1919-192044th Annual SessionJulie K. HohnFred Voiland
1918-191943rd Annual SessionMattie DavisElmer S. Nance
1917-191842nd Annual SessionLilla V. LennenWalter E. Wilson
1916-191741st Annual SessionBlanche WilsonDavid Ayers
1915-191640th Annual SessionMyrtle W. SuitRev. John W. Waldron
1914-191539th Annual SessionEmma M. VietsOscar Rice
1913-191438th Annual SessionMary A. HarringtonSelden H. Kilgore
1912-191337th Annual SessionClara M. BramwellRobert S. Hendricks
1911-191236th Annual SessionMabelle F. LaneJ.E. Porter
1910-191135th Annual SessionAnna B. MorrishDr. J. S. May
1909-191034th Annual SessionMinnie P. BurkeJ. E. Humphrey
1908-190933rd Annual SessionMay CrawfordThomas L. Bond
1907-190832nd Annual SessionElizabeth West ReederC. W. Murphy
1906-190731st Annual SessionAnna M. ApplegateLeslie M. Liepman
1905-190630th Annual SessionCarrie E. YatesE. H. Anderson
1904-190529th Annual SessionKatherine C. HughesJohn C. Fry
1903-190428th Annual SessionKatie Z. CrumbineArthur Davis
1902-190327th Annual SessionDilla BittelGrant W. Harrington
1901-190226th Annual SessionLou A. OlmsteadArthur Edson
1900-190125th Annual SessionEttie S. MainDavid Smythe
1899-190024th Annual SessionEva WheelerE. W. Poindexter
1898-189923rd Annual SessionLibbie B. TownerAlbert Sarbach
1897-189822nd Annual SessionDella BennettEdd Hayes
1896-189721st Annual SessionEllen A. KennerAugust Anderson
1895-189620th Annual SessionHelen B. FarnsworthJohn A. Regnell
1894-189519th Annual SessionLettie TrouslotJohn E. Postlethwaite
1893-189418th Annual SessionElizabeth MagieAlfred Whitman
1892-189317th Annual SessionCarrie O. GettyDavid C. Battey
1891-189216th Annual SessionEudora HallThomas E. McFarland
1890-189115th Annual SessionLillian A. WiggsWilliam Julien
1889-189014th Annual SessionLottie E. YoungGeorge W. Clark
1888-188913th Annual SessionGeorgiana Flinn SeCoyB. R. Stevenson
1887-188812th Annual SessionRinda E. ChesneyDr. R. E. Stevenson
1886-188711th Annual SessionEmma W. PortJ. Iran Brown
1885-188610th Annual SessionPhebe ColtonJulius R. Trouslot
1884-18859th Annual SessionCelestia A. StevensonHenry Parker
1883-18848th Annual SessionAmelia C. PetersDaniel Clayton Young
1882-18837th Annual SessionMary C. SneddenGustavus A. Colton
1881-18826th Annual SessionMyra MottramJudge J. Jay Buck
1880-18815th Annual SessionLavonia J. BeckerWillis Brown
1879-18804th Annual SessionMary H. BuckDaniel W. Coxe
1878-18793rd Annual SessionMary A. HeplerE. D. Hillyer
1877-18782nd Annual SessionMary A. HeplerHerman G. Reynolds
1876-18771st Annual SessionH. F. HeplerH. G. Reynolds

Comments are closed.