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               June, 2010

      Charles Hansen, Editor

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  Order of the Eastern Star
  — by Charles Hansen

       Iast month I asked for suggestions on an article topic, and Virginia Mills suggested the Eastern Star, (thanks Virginia).

       Iy grandmother was a member of the Hillyard Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star and went nearly every month to their meetings. I knew you had to be related to a mason to be a member, but that was all I knew as I was really not interested in either the masons or the star.

       Iikipedia says the Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world that both men and women can join. It was established by Rob Morris in 1850. Rob was a lawyer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts and had been an official with the Freemasons. The Order of the Eastern Star is based on teachings from the bible, but is open to people of all monotheistic faiths. (Monotheistic means belief in one god). The Order of the Eastern Star has approximately 10,000 chapters in twenty countries and about one million members under its General grand Chapter.

       Iembers of the Order are aged 18 and older, men must be Master Masons and women must have a specific relationship with a Mason. Originally, a woman would have to be a daughter, widow, wife, sister, or mother of a Master Mason, but today they allow a few other relatives as well as allowing Job's Daughters, Rainbow Girls, and Triangle Girls to become members when they become of age.

       Ihe emblem of the Order is a five-pointed star with the white ray of the star pointing downward towards the manger. The character-building lessons taught in the Order are stories inspired by Biblical figures:

Adah, (Jephthah's daughter, from Judges)
Ruth, (the widow)
Esther, (the wife)
Martha, (sister of Lazarus, from the Gospel of John)
Electa, (the elect lady , from II John, the mother)

General Grand Chapter logo 

       Ihe General Grand Chapter headquarters, the International Temple, is located in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C., in the former Perry Belmont Mansion. The General Grand Chapter purchased the building in 1935 and the secretary of the General Grand Chapter lives there while serving his or her term of office.

       Ihe Order of Eastern Star has a charitable foundation and from 1986-2001 contributed $513,147 to Alzheimer's disease research, juvenile diabetes research, and juvenile asthma research.

       Iome famous members: Clara Barton, Caroline Ingalls, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Carrie Ingalls Swanzey (daughter of Caroline and sister of Laura), Eleanor Roosevelt, Maya Angelou, Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Mother (Past Grand Matron of Scotland).

       Io, if you find the five pointed star on the tombstone of an ancestor you know he or she was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, and related to a Master Mason.

       Iears ago I went to a seminar on Masons and they said they will not give information on former Masons unless you need it to become a member, so if you contact them looking for information on your ancestor, tell them you might want to join, but are not sure you qualify without information on your ancestor.

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