North Carolina OES History
Margaret Dixon, GAM 2010
When the Adoptive Rite was first introduced in North Carolina it was composed of the Eastern Star Degree only. At a later period Robert McCoy who gave to Robert Morris the credit of being the founder of the Adoptive Rite, wrote the Ritual, first of “The Queen of the South Degree,” which was received by our Grand Chapter, in North Carolina, directly from the author, by the Grand Patron of North Carolina, the Honorable J.W. Hood.
At a later period, Mr. McCoy wrote the Ritual of “The Amaranth,” in order to give a greater diversion to the work, which completed his purpose to improve upon the plan of the original author of the Adoptive Rite, by preparing a Ritual for the benefit of the female relatives of the Masonic Fraternity, including symbolic representation of the highest and purest principles of morality and religion, set forth by symbols so beautifully, that the most refined and cultured lady could find nothing in the order but that which was commendable.
In his book ”HISTORY OF THE MOST WORSHIPFUL PRINCE HALL GRAND LODGE OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS OF NORTH CAROLINA AND JURISDICTION, INC. 1864 – 2000”, Brother Joseph Walkes, Jr, dedicates a chapter to the Order of the Eastern Star. He Writes, “The Order of the Eastern star is unique within Prince Hall Freemasonry, as it is organized along different lines…. Brother Harry A Williamson, the scholarly New York Prince Hall Freemason wrote that
’ We are the only racial group that hitches the Star to Craft Masonry’. The Prince Hall Order organized its Order of the Eastern Star Grand Chapters along side of its Grand Lodges to be truly “adopted” by them.
It is noted in Brother Walkes history that North Carolina stands on the forefront in the formation of Chapters of the Order of the Eastern Star in this Nation. On March 7, 1992, Past Grand Matron, Marian E, Covington in a report to the Phyllis Chapter of the Phylaxis Society cited the fact that “Prince Hall Free Masonry has always given credit to Queen Esther Chapter #1in Washington, D.C. as the first Chapter being organized on December 1,1874 in the home of and by Georgiana Thomas, from whom that Grand Chapter’s name was adopted. Sister Covington presented information citing documents that offer evidence contrary to that claim. Brother Walkes in his history writes” handwritten minutes attached to some early proceedings established that there was a Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star working in Washington, NC before August 3, 1872.
No dispute exists however that North Carolina is recognized as having organized the first Grand Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star in all of Prince Hall Freemasonry. It was organized in the City of Washington, NC in the year 1880. Chapters existing at that time included Jeptha Chapter #1 in Washington, NC, Ruth Chapter # 2 in Raleigh, NC, Queen Esther Chapter # 3 in Fayetteville, NC, Jepthah # 4 in Wilmington, NC, and one in Smithfield. The first Grand Worthy Matron was Sister Julia Foye of Raleigh, NC. The first Grand Patron was Bishop James Walker Hood of Jeptha Chapter # 1 Washington, NC. Bishop Hood was also Grand Master of this great jurisdiction at that time.