The Order of the Eastern Star in Suffolk
Its common knowledge to just about every Freemason that the Order of the Eastern Star (OES) is affiliated with Freemasonry. But it’s not common knowledge what the OES really is or much of it’s history. So in this post we’ll explore the OES and it’s origins to raise awareness of this wonderful organization.
So let’s start with the founding of the OES. From the Grand Chapter Website…
History Of Order Of The Eastern Star
The history of the Order of the Eastern Star is divided into three Eras:
1. The First Era extended from 1850 to 1866, under the leadership of Dr. Rob Morris, Poet Laureate of Masonry.
2. The Second Era extended from 1866 to 1876, under the leadership of Robert Macoy of New York.
3. The Third Era extends from 1876, when the General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star, was established to the present time.
Of these eras, the first is perhaps the most important as it prepared the way for the other two.
The real origin of the Order of the Eastern Star, like Masonry, will always be shrouded in mystery. Many researchers believe it had a French origin as early as 1703. By some, this is claimed to be the first inception of “Female Masonry” or “Androgynous Degrees” — (degrees for both men and women).
There appeared at this time, to be a demand for “Side Degrees” or Degrees conferred on ladies, and quite a list sprang up — “Heroines of Jericho”, “Danger in the Dark”, “Tall Cedars of Lebanon”, etc. These were extensively used but soon fell into decay for lack of lasting worth.
As to the real origin of the Eastern Star degrees in its Initiatory form, there is not the least shadow of doubt that the honor belongs to Dr. Rob Morris and its real origin comes under the First Era.
Dr. Morris had traveled many years. He had written many books on Masonry which are valued references in many Masonic Libraries.
Never quite satisfied that all the good in Masonry should be confined to men, Dr. Morris felt that Masonry should be for the whole family. But by the laws of that Ancient Order, women are not eligible for its degrees. Knowing he could not change the Ancient Landmarks of Masonry, Dr. Morris sought some method by which women could share with the Masonic Brother the same inspiration that “prompts man to noble deeds.”
Although he harbored these feelings for years, it wasn’t until 1850, while confined to his home after an accident, that Dr. Morris fully developed the Eastern Star Degrees in their present initiatory form.
During this time, he carefully thought out the symbolism and significance of the floor plan and the corps of officers. He conferred the degrees upon his wife and daughters, and some neighbors, presumably having an idea to clothe the ladies with certain words or signs whereby they might make themselves known to Master Masons.
These signs and so-called mysteries of the Order were communicated freely to all Master Masons and their relatives. Dr. Morris and other prominent Master Masons gave many lectures and conferred the degrees on many ladies throughout the nation.
As we learn that Bro. Rob Morris was the founder of the OES we should include some infomation about this esteemed Brother.
Dr. Robert Morris – Born August 31, 1818. Was first brought to Masonic light March 5, 1846, in Oxford Lodge, at a place of the same name in Mississippi.
The life of Brother Morris was so active and untiring for the benefit of the Institution of Freemasonry, that he had the opportunity of filling very many positions in all the departments of Freemasonry, and was Grand Master of Freemasons of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky in 1858-9.
His service to the Order of the Eastern Star was devoted and valuable. He was also an organizer of the Conservators, ‘Brethren who aroused much interest and some resentment over proposed changes and standardization of Masonic ceremonies.
His writings cover Masonic jurisprudence, rituals and handbooks, Masonic belles-lettres, history and biography, travels and contributions to the Review, Freystone, Advocate, New York Dispatch, and other papers and periodicals. His Masonic songs and poetic effusions stand out prominently. He was the author of We Meet upon the Level, which is sufficient to render his name immortal. A complete biography of Brother Rob Morris would fill volumes. He died in 1888.
– Source: Mackey’s Encyclopedia of Freemasonry
Membership in the OES is for men and women and a great way to get involved and maybe your wife would be interested.
Joining Order of the Eastern Star
- Affiliated Master Masons in good standing
- great granddaughters
- great nieces
- the wives
- legally adopted daughters
- half sisters
And first and second female cousins of affiliated Master Masons in good standing, or if deceased in good standing at the time of their death; as well as members – either active for three (3) years or majority – in the International Order of the Rainbow of Girls or in Job’s Daughters International, each of whom having attained at least the age of eighteen (18) years, are eligible to membership in the Order of the Eastern Star.
How to join: To inquire about membership, talk to a current member, or contact a local chapter. To find chapters in your area, contact the Grand Secretary of that state or province. Petitions are carefully read, eligibility investigated and election to membership must be by a vote of the Chapter. The Order strives to select persons of mental, moral, and spiritual quality who will work together in harmony to perform its objectives.
OES Chapters in Suffolk
There are 5 OES Chapters within the Suffolk District. They are listed below with links (if available) for each. There is a District website here for Suffolk OES with more information about the Chapters listed below.
- Amityville Chapter #700 – meets at Amityville Masonic Temple
- Adah Chapter #52 – meets at Smithtown Masonic Temple
- Pyramid Chapter #594 – meets at Babylon Masonic Temple
- Metlakhatla Chapter #439 – meets at Connetquot Masonic Temple
- Riverside – Sunrise Chapter #399 – meets at Riverhead Masonic Temple