Other Destinations

grand matrons and grand patrons history

Prince Hall Conference of
Grand Matrons and Grand Patrons
Order of Eastern Star


Origin and History of the Adoptive Rite
Among Black Women

The Scrolls of Time
Great Women of the Order of Eastern Star

The Trust of the Sparrow
The Strength of the Eagle
The Peace of the Dove

Researched, compiled and written by Past Grand Worthy Matron Jessie Mae Ayers

The basis of this historic achievement follows the lines laid down in print by Prince Hall, the founder of the first organized body of Black Free and Accepted Masons in America, and the rejection he and his colleagues met in obtaining a charter for African Lodge No. 459 in Boston, Massachusetts.

These pages in the history of the Adoptive Rite Among Black Women also focuses on the dreams of Grand Master William H. Myers, Union Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia and Mrs. Georgiana Thomas. In 1874, Grand Master Myers found himself wrestling with the sign posts of the time. There were many who were opposed to any decisions to grant permission for the establishment of the Adoptive Rite for Black Women in the District of Columbia. He finally granted permission for Sir Thornton A. Jackson 33° and his colleagues to establish the first Chapter of Adoptive Rite, Order of the Eastern Star Among Black Women in United States. During this same time frame, Mrs. Georgiana Thomas, a lady of color, nurtured her dream and brainchild of Queen Esther Chapter becoming a reality. All of these dreamers had one thing in common. Each had to struggle with the "Cross Winds of Change."

August 10, 1874, Sir Thorton Andrew Jackson 33° received the 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 Macoy 33°, Supreme Patron of the Rite of Adoption of the World. In addition Sir Thornton A. Jackson 33° also received a letter from Brother C. B. Case granting him the authority to establish chapters of the Order of Eastern Star among eligible Black women. In Audience to the authority granted by Grand Master William H. Myers, Union Grand Lodge, Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia, Sir Thornton Andrew Jackson 33° established the first Eastern Star Chapter among Black Women in the United Sates. On Wednesday, December 1,


1874, Mrs. Georgiana Henson Thomas opened the doors of her home at 708 0 Street, N.W., Washington D.C. and witnessed the establishment of Queen Esther Chapter No. 1. The first chapter of the Adoptive Rite among ladies of color. The first Worthy Matron was Sister Martha Welch and the first Worthy Patron was Brother Thornton A. Jackson.

In the avalanches of remembrances are many great women whose names appear on the scrolls of time, leaving legacies for future generation to emulate. In the exercise of high authority they were guided by the purist principals of justice and moderation. Such was the commitment of Georgiana Henson Thomas. Like Harriet Tubman, "The Moses of the Underground Railroad", Georgiana worked with the underground railroad at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church located at 15th and M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C. She was one of the sixty-three (63) founders of the Plymouth Congregational Church where she served as a Deaconess until her death. She served as the first Grand Royal Matron of the Grand Chapter of the District of Columbia from 1892-1894. Georgiana Henson Thomas also served as the Grand Representative near the Grand East of Illinois in 1904. She passed in July 1941 at the age of ninety-nine.

The Adoptive Rite, Order of the Eastern Star has experienced phenomenal growth since its inception on Wednesday, December 1, 1874. Today there are forty-four (44) Grand Chapters dispersed throughout the United States, Canada, Liberia, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas and the recently formed Grand Chapter of the Caribbean. All of these Grand Chapters are basking under the umbrella of the Grand Lodge in whose jurisdiction they were organized. History has recorded and indicates there now exist three thousand five hundred ninety-three (3,593) subordinates chapters and approximately one hundred eighty thousand seven hundred and nine (180,709) in membership all within the frame work of these Grand Chapters. The first Grand, Chapter of the Adoptive Rite was organized in 1880 at Washington, North Carolina. The first Grand Matron was Sister Julia Foy and the first Grand Patron was Bishop J.W. Hood. This Grand Chapter was followed closely by a Grand Chapter organized in Tennessee. Another great event evolved in Boston, Massachusetts one hundred twenty-five (125) years after the founding of African Lodge No. 459 by Prince Hall. How ironic it was that the Conference of Grand Chapters, Order of the Eastern Star was perfected on September 11-12, 1907 in the same state There seemed to have been a spirit or aura beaming from the attendees as they assembled an mingled at the first conference. The following Grand Chapters were represented: Arkansas California, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New England, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee. The following officers were elected: Kittie Terrell, Illinois, Supreme Grand Royal Matron; Walden Brooks, New England, Supreme Grand Royal Patron; Viola Hart, Georgia.  Supreme Associate Matron and Addie Duffie, Maryland, Supreme Grand Treasurer. The conference was severally style First it was the Supreme United Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star. In 1910, the name was changed to the Interstate Conference of Grand Chapters. In 1924, the name was changed' the International Conference of Grand Chapters. The International Conference of Grand Chapters was officially dismantled by the Prince Hall Conference of Grand Masters in Colorado Springs, Colorado in May, 1976. The conference is now known as the Prince Hall Conference of Grand Chapters, Order of the Eastern Star. The current presiding officers are Grand Worthy Matron Valda A. Lewis, Jurisdiction of Indiana, Conference Chairman; Grand Worthy Patron Odis Ward, Jurisdiction of Nevada, Conference Co-Chairman. All fronts of the Order of Eastern Star are continuing to help humanity through their scholarships, giving to many charitable causes and other humanitarian acts which demonstrate caring and sharing. The order continues to move forward with a great faith, yet remembering that faith without deeds is naught.


Grand Chapters
Order of the Eastern Star
Prince Hall Affiliation




Year and Location of Chapter

1. North Carolina

Grand Chapter

1880 at Washington, N.C.

2. Tennessee

Excelsior Grand Chapter

August 31, 1881 at Nashville

3. California

Gold State Grand Chapter

December, 1882

4. Kansas

Prince Hall Grand Chapter


5. Indiana

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

October 25, 1888

6. Arkansas

Royal Grand Chapter

1885 at Augusta

7. Kentucky

Cecelia Dunlap Grand Chapter

August 13, 1885

8. Connecticut

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

1888 at Washington, N.C. Instituted November 23, 1894

9. Illinois

Eureka Grand Chapter

1889 at Chicago

10. Michigan

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

August 30, 1889 at Chatman, Ontario, Canada

11. Ontario

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

August 30, 1889 at Chatman, Ontario, Canada

12. Mississippi

Bathsheba Grand Chapter

July 4, 1890 at Vicksburg, Mississippi

13. Missouri

Harmony Grand Chapter

December 26, 1890 at St Louis, Missouri

14. District of Columbia

Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter

May 24, 1892

15. Florida

Jerusalem Grand Chapter

January 15, 1893 at of   Jacksonville, Florida

16. Alabama

Mizpah Grand Chapter

July 21, 1894

17. New England

Grand Chapter

Instituted November 23, 1894

18. New York

Eureka Grand Chapter

October 18, 1895 at New York City

19. Maryland

Myra Grand Chapter

November 26, 1896

20. Ohio

Amaranth Grand Chapter

August 3, 1899 at Chicago, Illinois

21. Georgia

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

August 29, 1899 at Savannah, Georgia

22. Washington

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

July 11, 1900 at Tacoma, Wash. Institute July 17, 1925

23. Virginia

Grand Chapter of Virginia

November 28, 1901 Richmond, Virginia

24. Oklahoma

Queen Bathsheba Grand Chapter

1908 at Wagnor, Oklahoma

25. South Carolina

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

June 15, 1901

26. New Jersey

Oziel Grand Chapter

Instituted June 24, 1913

27. West Virginia

Electa Prince Hall Grand Chapter

January 14, 1914

28. Pennsylvania

Deborah Grand Chapter

July 17, 1916 at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

29. Arizona

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

July 11, 1921 at Phoenix, Arizona

30. Nebraska

Amaranthus Grand Chapter

October 15, 1921

31. Delaware

St. Mathews's Grand Chapter

March 15, 1922 at Wilmington, Delaware

32. Colorado

Columbine Grand Chapter

July 24, 1922

33. New Mexico

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

June 1925 at Albuquerque, New Mexico

34. Louisiana

Esther Grand Chapter

January 12, 1938 at New Orleans, Louisiana

35. Massachusetts

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

September 9, 1944

36. Oregon

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

June 26, 1961

37. Bahamas

Prince Hall Grand Chapter


39. Alaska

Prince Hall Grand Chapter

June 10, 1972 at Anchorage, Alaska

40. Rhode Island

Prince Hall Grand Chapter


41. Nevada

Desert Rose Grand Chapter

November 21, 1981

42. Caribbean

Rita-G Grand Chapter

April 24, 1996 Barbados, West Indies

43. Texas

Norris Wright Cuney Grand Chapter

November 9, 1996 at Houston, Texas

44. Iowa*

Prince Hall Grand Chapter


45. Minnesota*

Prince Hall Grand Chapter


46. Wisconsin*

Unity Grand Chapter


*On-going research for these jurisdictions.

It is a fact that without knowledge of one's history there can be no appreciable future. The illuminaries whose deeds and contributions highlighted on the pages of time in each jurisdiction end the Conference of Grand Chapters are rich in history and each should be proud to be "Primus Interpares" (First Among Equals). It is evident they served with zest and zeal moving onward and upward carrying the standard high to brighter horizons. They skillfully orchestrated achievable and infinite goals on the voyage of life.

The many themes of the Conference of Grand Chapters that have come down on the streams of time were easily comprehended because of the oasis of thought transmitted from one to another. These themes have been varied throughout the years yet each brought forth clarity of purpose.  Histories are filled with accounts of explanations of causes and effects of great women of the order; Matriarchs who kept vigil pulling together to make things happen. Their many deeds of incomprehensible valor and self-sacrifice for masonry and their crowning achievements are evident for all humankind to see. If they could make the difference in a transcendent moment in time they made that difference. The Adoptive Rite form 1874 to the present moment in time continues to glitter with proven credibility.


Past Grand Worthy Matron Jessie M. Ayers is a member of Miriam Chapter No. 4 Order of Eastern Star, Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter, Jurisdiction of the District of Columbia.  She served as Grand Worthy Matron in 1989 and was Grand Historian of the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter from 1971-1991. She is currently serving her fifth year as Chairman, History Committee of the Prince Hall Conference of Grand Chapters.


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