The Order of the Eastern Star is according to its own literature, '...the
largest fraternal organization in the world (it is American, but there are chapters
in Italy, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Germany, Australia, Brazil, China and the
Philippines) to which both men and women belong.
The Order of the Eastern Star is an adoptive rite of Freemasonry with
teachings based on the Bible and objectives that are officially charitable and
benevolent. The founder of OES was Dr. Robert Morris, a high degree
Freemason, a lawyer and an 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.
While the Worthy Matron is considered to be the presiding officer of the chapter, the degrees cannot be conferred without a presiding brother in good standing (hence the Patron and Associate Patron). Each chapter retains the right to decide who shall be a member of the organization. Election to the degrees must be unanimous, without debate, and secret.
Adoptive Rite Among Black Women ? 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.
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. 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.
"May the dove of peace hover over you. May the All Seeing Eye, whom the Sun,
Moon and Stars obey ever watch over you. May he keep and protect you in your
every effort to promote interest in the general good of this chapter".
May you always throw an air of beauty and solemnity around all that you bring
thousands to worship Him." This has been our charge as bona fide members of the
Order of Eastern Stars from 1875 to this present moment in time.
Sis. Shirley Douglas
Assoc. Supreme Grand Matron