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*On this date in 1874, the Order of the Eastern Star was created. This is the oldest sorority-based Black women’s organization in America.
Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, was established at 708 O St. NW, Washington, DC in the home of Mrs. Georgiana Thomas. And so it was one hundred years after the founding of the first Black Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, Queen Esther Chapter No. 1, Order of the Eastern Star, was officially instituted. The first Worthy Matron was Sister Martha Welch and the first Worthy Patron was Brother Thornton A. Jackson.
Earlier that year, (August 10, 1874), Thornton Andrew Jackson received 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 McCoy 33, Supreme Patron of the Rite of Adoption of the World. In addition, Thornton Jackson also received a letter from Brother 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, Brother Jackson established the first Eastern Star Chapter among Black women in the United States. In December 1874, Grand Master William H. Myers and Deputy Grand Master William A. Taliaferro, Union Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, were invited to receive the androgynous degrees. They both accepted, thus further cementing the ties that bind the Masonic family together.
Upon the occasion of Grand Master Myers' initiation into the Adoptive Rite, he made the following statement to the sisters of Queen Esther Chapter No. 1-- extolling them to greatness: "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 interests in the general good of this chapter." In 1890, Queen of Sheba Chapter No. 3 and Gethsemane Chapter No. 4, Order of the Eastern Star was established. Thornton A. Jackson within the Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia formed them too. He helped to establish one chapter in Alexandria, Virginia, three chapters in Maryland, and three chapters in Pennsylvania. In each instance when a chapter was organized and established, a regularly constituted Masonic Lodge adopted it. Thus, Brother Jackson was able to bring about more unity within the Masonic Family.
In 1875, Pythagoras Lodge No. 9 presented the officers of Queen Esther Chapter NO. 1 with their first badges, which were known as Rosettes. Worthy Patron Thornton A. Jackson who wished the chapter success and prosperity in the work upon which they were entering made this presentation. He admonished the officers to wear the Rosettes with dignity keeping ever before them the memory of the five Heroines: Adah, Ruth, Esther, Marth, and Electa.
In closing, Brother Jackson stated "To you Queen Esther Chapter and Associates, the representatives of the rays of the beautiful star and from whom comes the most charming, the most prophetic and the most instructive lessons of the Old and New Testaments. May you always through the air of beauty and solemnity around all that you bring thousands to worship Him." This has been the charge as bona fide members of the Order of Eastern Stars since 1875.