By Kevin Fox
On January 30th Kahoka #40 Order of the Eastern Star will celebrate the 100th anniversary of it’s formation at the chapter’s building in Wayland. Kahoka #40 has on its roll 149 members with regular attendees of the twice-monthly meetings of around 25. OES, as it is known, shares an affiliation with the Masons. It is a charitable sorority and in order to be a member you must be the wife, daughter, sister, stepchild or grandchild of a Mason. OES, like the Masons, does a great deal of charitable work that goes unknown or reported. For example, Kahoka #40 OES supports the MoCHIP Program which assists in making a computer disc for parents containing all needed information of their child as well as photo, finger prints and DNA to assist in the recovery of the child, if they are lost or abducted. This project was a huge success two years ago when held on Old Settler’s Day. They also support the American Cancer Society as well as the local Relay for Life. OES also supports Children’s Miracle Network or Dream Factory that assists seriously ill children realize a wish that they may have. The ESTARL scholarship fund, which is applied to those wanting to get into some field of the ministry, is also supported by OES.
OES is also a social fraternity as well, and men can also belong as well. OES receives a lot of visitations from other chapters and guests from other chapters at meetings is very common. The Kahoka Chapter is one of the more active chapters in the State of Missouri.
History of the Eastern Star Chapters in Kahoka
Compiled and presented at the 100th Anniversary by Shawn McAfee, Kahoka #40 OES Secretary
Kahoka has had three Eastern Star Organizations. The first Chapter was America Chapter # 132. America Chapter # 132 was organized August 15th, 1875. Edna Samsone was the first Worthy Matron. G.N. Samsone was Worthy Patron. The secretary was Sadie Trowbridge and the total membership was 37 members, consisting of 22 women and 15 men. The charter members of this Chapter were Ed. C. Trowbridge, Josephine Sackett, Mary A Brown, Ben E. Turner, Maggie Brown, Rosa Wheat, Rebecca Moore, Hettie Giles, Alice J. Martin, Miranda Wallace, Luzerne Sink, Lottie Todd, Flora Wallace, Mary H. Greenleaf, Emma Tinsman, and Mary E. Martin.
For several years the Chapter did not send a report to Grand Chapter and in 1886, the Worthy Grand Matron Sarah Hibbard wrote, "After considerable correspondence with a defunct chapter’s members in Kahoka, I succeeded in raising the dead. They wrote me that they thought they could continue life if their Grand Chapter dues were remitted up to 1885." She chose to remit the dues and America Chapter #132 continued. In 1887 the Worthy Matron was Emma Turner, C.B. Turner was the Worthy Patron & S. Neeper was secretary. In 1888 the Worthy Matron was Katherine Crawford, J.O. Lackey was Worthy Patron & Eva M. Crawford was Secretary. America Chapter # 132 continued until 1892 when it reported delinquent and the Charter was arrested. There were 32 members when
the chapter disbanded after 17 years.
In 1897, Fannie Perrin organized the second chapter of Kahoka. She was District Deputy of the First District. The charter was granted on January 21st 1897. It was named Catherine Chapter No. 70 of Kahoka. Miss Amelia Cherry was the first Worthy Matron, Dr. J. R. Bridges was Worthy Patron and Maggie May Martin was Secretary. In 1898, Lenna Bridges served as Secretary with Miss Amelia Cherry & Dr. J. R. Bridges serving a second year as W.M. & W.P. In 1900 the Chapter relinquished its Charter for the reason that there were not enough members sufficiently interested to conduct the work successfully. The minutes stated that there was a probability that an application for a new Chapter would be made in the future.
On Thursday evening January 30th, 1908 a meeting was called. There were present: Sister Grace Pile, Worthy Matron; Brother E. P. Spangler, Worthy Patron; Sister Bessie Bennet, Associate Matron; Sister Fannie Woodruff, Treasurer; Sister Louise Turner, Secretary; Sister Edith Hiller, Conductress; Sister Ella Wells, Associate Conductress; Sister Maggie Martin, Marshal; Sister Laura Kearns, Adah; Sister Clyda Black, Ruth; Sister Mable Hess, Esther; Sister Elizabeth Seaton, Martha; Sister Lenna Bridges, Electa; Sister Lenore Howell, Chaplain; Sister Maude Jordon, Warder; Brother John Sanford, Sentinel; & Sister Ruby Sanford, Organist. The minutes of this meeting are as follows: "A specific session of the Grand Chapter Order of the Eastern Star of Missouri was Opened in the Masonic hall, Kahoka Mo, January 30th, 1908 for the purpose of instituting under dispensation, Kahoka Chapter, The Grand Chapter was opened by H.A. Hatfield, Worthy Grand Patron. There were present Nelle Page, the Worthy Grand Matron and Alice Odor, Grand Chaplain."
"The petitioners being in waiting were introduced by Nelle Page, Worthy Grand Matron and after taking the pledge of fidelity were solemnly instituted as Kahoka Chapter under dispensation according to the ceremonies of the Order. Petitioners present were Grace Pile, Edith Hiller, E. P. Spangler, Bessie Bennett, Fannie Woodruff, Ella Wells, Maggie Martin, Laura Kearns, Clyda Black, Mable Hess, Elizabeth Seaton, Lenna Bridges, Ruby Sanford, Lenore Howell, Maude Jordon, Lucy White & Louise Turner. Katie Sutton, Grand Secretary, then closed the Grand Chapter. Kahoka Chapter under dispensation was then opened in special session in due form by the above named officers. The work of the order was exemplified in full form and ceremonies explained. The officers as above given were selected. Committees were appointed for drafting the By-laws, consisting of Mrs. White, Mrs. Bennett and Mr. Spangler, to report at the next meeting. Time of meeting decided on as the first and third Thursday of each month. Kahoka Chapter under dispensation was then closed in due form. (signed) Louise Turner, Secretary."
The names of the charter members were as follows. Grace Pile, Bessie Bennett, E.P. Spangler, Fannie Woodruff, Louise Turner, Edith Hiller, Ella Wells, Maggie Martin, Laura Kearns, Clyda Black, Mable Hess, Elizabeth Seaton, Lenna Bridges, Ruby Sanford, Lenora Howell, Maude Jordan, Lucy White, Lou Spangler, Emma Dawson, Margaret Montgomery, Ollie Martin, Lenna Montgomery, Olive Montgomery, & Ida Whiteside. Two past members of Katherine Chapter No. 70 affiliated, they were H. B. Montgomery & Clifford Montgomery.
When the By-Laws were read at the second meeting on February 6th, 1908 the time was changed. Stated meetings were to be held on the second and fourth Thursday. At the second meeting a committee was appointed to see about the purchase or rental of an organ. At the third meeting on February 13th Kahoka Chapter received 26 petitions. Almost every meeting of the Chapter while under dispensation had new petitions for membership.
"At a meeting on September 10th, 1908 ten dollars was approved as cost for the Charter. The Grand Lecturer Mrs. G. Wyatt was present. The work was thoroughly demonstrated by the lecturer. Kahoka Chapter under dispensation was closed to meet after Grand Chapter at which time the Charter would be granted. After Grand Chapter the officers could be regularly installed. The Charter was granted on October 3rd, 1908 by Grand Chapter and on October 29th, 1908 a meeting was called for the purpose of constituting the Charter and installing the officers. Sister Nelle Page, Past Grand Matron, and members of Canton Chapter were deputized by the Worthy Grand Matron Lillian R. Miller of Macon, Mo to put on the work. All the former officers were retained with the exception of Organist. Sister Ruby Sanford was ill and Sister Lilliam Bull filled the position.
The work was successfully carried on under the splendid leadership of Miss Page and after a social hour for the new Kahoka Chapter #40 was then closed in due form. (signed) Louise Turner, Secretary."
At the receipt of the Charter Kahoka Chapter #40 had about 75 members. The Masonic Hall in 1908 was located on the West Side of the square over what was the McLaughlin Grocery Store in later years. In 1917 the Chapter joined Hiram Lodge #362 & the Royal Arch Lodge at the corner of Morgan and Elm Street in Kahoka. A big time was had by all, as there was a joint installation of officers for Kahoka Chapter #40, and Hiram Lodge #362 & the Royal Arch Lodge on the same day. Mrs. Flora Woodruff was the first worthy matron at this location. A.W. Pile was the first Worthy Patron at the new location. Other officers were Melville Townsend, Associate Matron; Ella Crear, Treasurer; Mollie Williams, Conductress; Florence Geeslin, Associate Conductress; Lilliam Townsend, Chaplain; Gladys Warne, Adah; Daisy Danford, Ruth; Ada Ingold, Esther; Myrtle Blum, Martha; Alma Johnsen, Electa; Maude Lewis, Warder; N.T. Chery, Sentinel; Annie Story, Marshal; Iva Crawford, Secretary, Eva Bridges, Organist.
In 1964 the old Masonic Hall was torn down and a new bank building was built. In return for the sell of the property Hiram Lodge #362 secured a 99-year rent free lease from the Exchange Bank and the bank built a lodge hall in the basement of the bank. Kahoka Chapter #40 met in the library after the old Masonic Hall was raised until it’s first meeting in the new Lodge Hall on May 27th, 1965. Officers in 1965 were: Twila Wendling, Worthy Matron; Art Brightwell, Worthy Patron; Iona Orcutt, Associate Matron; Harry Muhrer, Associate Patron; Wilma Gray, Secretary; Ruth Dinger, Treasurer; Thelma Welker, Conductress; Willie Huckey, Associate Conductress; Janett Ragan, Chaplain; Janet Nixon, Marshal;
Rachel McWhorter, Organist; Helen Brightwell, Adah; Joy Armstrong, Ruth; Olive Evans, Esther; June Hardy, Martha; Eva Hoskins, Electa, Catherine Watson, Warder and Marie Muhrer, Sentinel. Sister Joanne Ragan was District Deputy.
Kahoka Chapter #40 remained in this location until Hiram Lodge #362 merged with St. Francisville Lodge #588 of Wayland on January 6th, 2004. Kahoka Chapter #40 sent out notice to all members and on April 8th, 2004 voted to move it’s location to the Wayland Masonic hall. Under dispensation to move location granted by Worthy Grand Matron Debbie Royce the chapter was moved to the current location in May 2004, holding it’s first meeting at the current site on June 10th, 2004. Officers in 2004 were Delma Smith, Worthy Matron; Donald Whitaker, Worthy Patron; Amy Clark, Associate Matron; Ralph Lerch, Associate Patron; Esther Justice, Conductress; Roberta McAfee, Associate Conductress;Shawn McAfee, Secretary; Kathy Frazier, Treasurer; Edith Dochtorman, Chaplain; Anne Schock, Marshall; Joshua Justice, Organist; Erma Dee Jones, Adah; Lynn Bailey, Ruth; Neva Selway, Esther; Linda Whitaker, Martha; Amber Frederick, Electa; Marilyn Zinnert, Warder; and Patty Lerch, Sentinel.
On October 13th, 1983 Luray Chapter #528 voted to consolidate into Kahoka. On April 11th, 1991 Wayland Chapter #469 voted to consolidate into Kahoka. This was followed by votes to consolidate on March 14th, 1996 by Carter #107 of Memphis and January 13th, 2000 by Williamstown #547 of the 15th District. In 1965 there were twelve OES Chapters in District one. They included Emerald Ray #158 of Greentop, Prairie Queen #10 of Queen City, Glenwood #277, Lancaster # 241, Downing #233, Carter #107 of Memphis, Gorin # 139, Rutledge #343, Luray # 528, Wyaconda # 205, Wayland # 469 and Kahoka Chapter #40.
Today Rutledge #543 and Kahoka Chapter #40 are the only two chapters remaining in the 1st District. Today we have three past Grand Officers in our Chapter: Carol Shaffer, Past Grand Ruth; Joanne Ragan, Past Grand Esther; and Erma Dee Jones, Past Grand Chaplain. Our small chapter is a very active chapter known by the state officers as a distant place to travel with great hospitality. As we begin our 100th year we are making a consorted effort to get our little Order out in the public eye by helping with local as well as statewide charities. In the past few months we raised almost a thousand dollars to help our county high school band travel to Pearl Harbor to perform on the U.S.S. Missouri and we’re in discussion about what projects we can tackle in our community that will be of public good and gain recognition for our Chapter. As we start our next 100 years we look forward with excitement and anticipation that our Star will shine in this community and the public at large will esteem it with respect.