Our Story

In response to a call by Richmond Chapter No. 1, a meeting of the chapters in the state of Virginia was held on November 28, 1901, in their Chapter Rooms at 511 West Clay Street, Richmond, Virginia. The purpose for the meeting was to organize a Grand Chapter. Dr. H. L. Harris set forth the purpose (s) of the meeting and the following chapters responded to a roll call:
Richmond Chapter No. 1, Richmond; Queen Esther Chapter No. 2, Norfolk; Ruth Chapter No.3, Newport News; Fannie Lewis Chapter No.4(then 34), Richmond; Suffolk Chapter No. 5 (now Nansemond 31 ), Suffolk; Farmville Chapter No.6 (now Farmville No. 153), Farmville; Electa Chapter No.7, Petersburg.

The first officers were: Grand Worthy Matron, Sister Eva M. Jackson, Petersburg; Grand Associate Matron, Sister A. E. V. Ramsey, Richmond; Grand Worthy Patron, Dr. H. L. Harris, Petersburg; Grand Associate Patron, Brother W. H. Anderson, Richmond; Grand Secretary, Sister Nannie Jones, Richmond; Assistant Grand Secretary, Sister Mary E. Haywood, Newport News; Grand Treasurer, Sister Abigail Dawley, Norfolk; Grand Conductress, Sister Florence Smith, Newport News; Grand Associate Conductress, Sister M. E. Tyler, Richmond; Grand Warder, Sister Mary A. Boothe, Newport News; Grand Lecturers, Sister Lizzie B. Green, Newport News; Brother George E. Dabney, Petersburg; Grand Chaplain, Sister Cecelia Smith, Richmond; Assistant Grand Chaplain, Sister Elizabeth Black, Petersburg; Grand Marshal, Brother Robert Price, Newport News; Grand Adah, Sister Fannie E. Brown, Richmond; Grand Ruth, Sister Bettie Graves, Richmond; Grand Esther, Sister C. J. Banks, Richmond; Grand Martha, Sister Sallie Bartlett, Farmville; Grand Electa, Sister Fannie Wilkerson, Petersburg; Grand Organist, Sister L. A. Coles, Richmond; and Grand Sentinel, Sister Martha Tate, Suffolk. The total membership of the Grand Chapter at that time was 115.

The first annual Grand Session was held June 24, 1902 (St. John’s Day) in Petersburg, Virginia. By this time, two new chapters had been organized. The Constitution Committee presented the constitution and it was received and adopted by the sections. The fourth Tuesday in July of each year was designated as the time for our annual session. The funds collected for the Endowment Department were to be turned over to the Masonic Mutual Relief Association of the Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Virginia and administered by the Lodge under the supervision of the Grand Chapter. In July of 1910 the Grand Chapter was licensed to operate its own Endowment Department and it is still in existence today.

The first Grand Worthy Patron, Dr. H. L. Harris, held the position of Grand Worthy Patron for a total of nineteen (19) years. During his tenure, the Grand Chapter, encompassing sixty (60) Chapters, grew to a total of 2,952 members. An Endowment Board and an Executive Board were instituted. A Juvenile Department was organized in 1904. The Juvenile Department was short-lived. The Grand Chapter was divided into thirteen districts and Deputies appointed to supervise the districts.

During this time and throughout the State of Virginia, the observance of Whit (White) Sunday was implemented. This was a special day initiated whereby all Eastern Star members in all chapters could observe commemorating Pentecost which was the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples following the death of Jesus Christ. A Chapter of Sorrow was also established to observe and pay tribute to our deceased members.

In 1992, a Scholarship Committee was organized and has been in existence for the past twenty-seven (27) years. Realizing that good education is one of the most valuable assets that anyone can possess, we are proud to know that our youth are embarking on higher milestones. The committee presently awards six ( 6) or more scholarships annually contingent upon available funds.

As the Grand Chapter grew, so did its charitable works. The Grand Chapter has supported such organizations as the N.A.A.C.P. (Life membership); Salk Institute for Biological Studies; Virginia Federation of Colored Women’s Club; Tuberculosis (T. B.) Association; United Negro College Fund; MCV Cancer Fund; March of
Dimes; Intervention Crisis Center; Camp Holiday Trails; American Diabetes Associate; Virginia Baptist Children’s Home; Sickle Cell Anemia (SCA) and various local charities in the cities where session were held.

Since 1904 to present, Chapters have been added, merged or Closed. To present we have a total of 89 chapters. The Grand Chapter now has twenty-nine (29) districts to include twenty-two (22) Deputies and two (2) assistant deputies. There is a total of one Hundred forty-one {141) present, past, and/or Grand Worthy and Honorary Grand Worthy Matrons, and forty-three (43) present, past And/or deceased Grand Worthy and Honorary Grand Worthy Patrons. Since Founders Day 2019, {No Founders Day Celebration in 2020, due to COVID-19) we have lost many sisters and brothers. It is very important to express to others that “they are loved and thought about continuously in our hearts each and every day”.

“With Sisterly and Brotherly Love”

Grand Chapter Order Eastern Star of Virginia PHA

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