The Order of the Eastern Star (Sisters as Members ~ Brothers as Protectors) is a Christian association of females in aid of masonry. Those who may lawfully be allowed to membership are the daughters, widows, wives, sisters, and mothers of Master Masons who are eighteen (18) years of age and upward, of natural intellect and good understanding. Those who may lawfully be allowed to the Protectorship are Master Masons, in good standing members of Masonic Lodges.The Order of the Eastern Star was established in the United States for Negro Masons in the year 1875. Brother Thornton A. Jackson instituted the first subordinate Court of the Order of the Eastern Star in Washington, D.C. Indiana members were part of the Grand Court of the West, Ohio Jurisdiction.In the fall of 1884, Reverend William Davidson of Oxford, Ohio, at the request of Henry Rogan, came to Indianapolis, Indiana to organize the first Eastern Star Court with W. F. Teister and his wife. Reverend Davidson conferred the degrees on thirty-six (36) members and the Court was named Leah Court No. 1. Other courts soon organized until there were nine (9) active courts in Indiana.Leah Court, wishing to organize a Grand Body in the State of Indiana, applied to withdraw from the Ohio Grand Court of the West and permission was granted to sever connections with Ohio.
On October 25, 1888, a convention was held in Greencastle, Indiana in Rogan Hall No. 19. The proposed new Court for Indiana temporarily named itself Union Grand Court, later becoming Union Court No. 1 with each court assuming a lower number; Hence, Leach Court No. 1 became Leah Court No. 2.The first Grand Senior Worthy Matron was Margaret A. Teister and the first Grand Senior Worthy Patron was Henry A. Rogan.The first Grand Session was held in Terre Haute, Indiana at the Masonic Hall of Queen Esther No. 5 in June 1889. The word “Court was deleted and “Chapter” substituted. In 1891, new charters were issued reflecting the name change on the charters. This action completely severed all connections with the Grand Court of the West and the Indiana Jurisdiction actively engaged in the beliefs and principals of the Order of the Eastern Star.
By 1908 there were 28 Chapters at the Grand Session in South Bend. It was there that a resolution to take steps at once to raise funds to purchase a home for its infirm members and orphans was adopted. The Masonic Grand Lodge was invited to join the home project one equal terms as to ownership, support and management. The Home site was purchased in 1921. It is located in Grant County, Indiana near Marion, Indiana.
To distinguish the Grand Chapter of Indiana from the Caucasian organization the name was changed in 1937 to Queen Esther Grand Chapter. After using that name for ten years, it was found that an incorporated group with the same name had been in Indiana corporate records for twenty-five years. The Grand Chapter incorporated itself in 1947 under the laws of Indiana and chose Prince Hall Grand Chapter as the name. The name was quite in order, as the brother Masons were known as Prince Hall Grand Lodge, as such a Masonic family gave both status and stature that could never be taken from us.
Karyellen Dunn, P.G.W.M.
Jane A. Ware, P.G.W.M., Past Grand Historian
John E. Lyda, P.G.W.P., Past Grand Historian