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               September 2010

      Charles Hansen, Editor

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  The Knights of Pythias
  — by Charles Hansen

       I had not heard of the Knights of Pythias until I researched my great grandparents, and they were both buried in the Knights of Pythias Cemetery in Trenton, Missouri. Turned out there were seven family members buried in that cemetery; my great grandfather Robert Forsyth Kelly and his three wives, Vada Belle Hert, Lillie McDaniel Virts, and Catherine Elizabeth Struck. His mom and dad Thomas D. Kelly and Margaret Josephine Forsyth, and we think Robert Lester Kelly, brother of my grandfather who died young. When we visited the cemetery, no stones for any of our family, so we contacted the cemetery and they arranged for stones for each, and so I want to get back sometime to see the stones we paid for.

       This is from Wikipedia on the Knights of Pythias:  The Knights of Pythias is a fraternal organization and secrete society founded at Washington D.C., on 19 February 1864.

       The Knights of Pythias was the first fraternal organization to receive a charter under an act of the United States Congress. It was founded by Justus H. Rathbone, who had been inspired by a play by the Irish poet John Banim about the legend of Damon and Pythias. This legend illustrates the ideals of loyalty, honor and friendship that are central to the order.

       The order has over two thousand lodges in the United States and around the world, with a total membership of over 50,000 in 2003.

       The order's auxiliaries are the Pythian Sisters, the less serious Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan, The Nomads of Avrudaka, and two youth organizations: the Pythian Sunshine Girls and the Junior Order, Knights of Pythias for boys.

       A member must be at least 18 years of age. He cannot be a professional gambler, or involved with illegal drugs or alcohol and he must have a belief in a Supreme Being. I declare upon honor that I believe in a Supreme Being, that I am not a professional gambler, or unlawfully engaged in the wholesale or retail sale of intoxicating liquors or narcotics; and that I believe in the maintenance of the order and the upholding of constituted authority in the government in which I live. Moreover, I declare upon honor that I am not a Communist or Fascist; that I do not advocate nor am I a member of any organization that advocates the overthrow of the Government of the Country of which I am a Citizen, by force or violence or other unlawful means; and that I do not seek by force or violence to deny to other persons their rights under the laws of such country.

       Some famous members of the Knights of Pythias:

Hugo Black, U.S. Supreme Court Justice
William Jennings Bryan, U.S. Senator
Warren G. Harding, U.S. President
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, U.S. Vice President
Nelson A. Rockefeller, U.S. Vice President
Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. President
Robert Byrd, U.S. Senator
Bob Jones, Sr., Founder of Bob Jones University, Prominent Evangelist Leader
William McKinley, U.S. President
James E. West, first professional Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America

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