Leslie L. Hairston
Donielle W. Hembry, Sr., PP
Associate Matron Carol M. Martin, PM
Conductress Tracy A. Hembry, PM
Associate Patron Michael E. Miller, PP
Associate Conductress Essie Loggins-Battle
Highlights of Miriam Chapter No. 4
Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation
Miriam Chapter No. 4, Order of the Eastern Star, Prince Hall Affiliation was organized on April 13, 1897, and it petitioned the Grand Chapter to be set apart from Queen of Sheba No. 2 as an independent chapter. The dispensation was granted on May 25, 1897; and at the residence of Sis. Sarah Robinson, the chapter was named “Miriam” after the great woman of the Bible, the sister of Moses.
The accomplishments of Miriam Chapter are due in no small part to the efforts of and the great ideals and worthy traditions of our Past Matrons and Patrons. They have left a lasting impression on the chapter and this jurisdiction.
In 1905, through the progressive thinking of Honored Lady Nellie J. Williams, serving with Sir Knight J. R. F. Browne, ritualistic work was committed to memory. This set the pattern for ritualistic work in this jurisdiction.
Past Royal Matron Effie N. Coleman in 1926 made a number of contributions. She made scarves for the pedestals, helped to secure the floor carpet with the Eastern Star emblem for the Temple at Virginia Ave., SE and subsequently held a fundraiser to purchase the permanent star on the new Temple floor. Started in Miriam on the white point, she made her most tangible contribution to the Jurisdiction with the introduction of Queen Esther Day. At the 61st Annual Grand Session on December 29, 1953, Queen Esther Day became an annual event. Also, sisters began to wear white to symbolize the queenly dress of Esther. The first annual Queen Esther Day was held in the Masonic Temple on Sunday, October 31, 1954, at 4 p.m.
In 1933, Past Royal Matron Martha P. Morgan was the first Worthy Matron to wind the Labyrinth in a play. It was later adopted by the Grand Chapter as part of the floor work in the first degree. Past Patron Robert E. Anderson, in 1938, organized the “Patrons and Past Patrons Association” of the Grand Chapter. It is still functioning successfully to this day.
It was in 1936, with Worthy Matron Inez W. Cox and Worshipful Master James E. Twine of Felix Lodge No. 3, that fraternal ties of friendship were affected and they became our first big brothers. It wasn’t until 1956, with Past Matron Mary E. Lowe and Worshipful Master James M. Moore, that Hiram Lodge No. 4 was received as our second big brothers.
Past Matron Eleanor M. Davis (Carter) organized the Sunshine Club in 1947. The club was renamed in 1988 “The Eleanor M. Davis Carter Sunshine Club” in honor of its founder. Past Matron Davis went on to become Grand Worthy Matron in 1955. She established the scholarship award in the Grand Chapter. Of her thirteen recommendations, the most lasting was renaming the Grand Chapter to the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter, in honor of our first Grand Royal Matron Georgiana Henson Thomas.
In 1952, Past Matron Mildred Taylor served with Past Patron David P. Crosby (L3) in his first year as Worthy Patron. Past Matron Taylor founded our Chapter newsletter, the “Chapter Chatter” which is still used today. Past Patron Crosby served a total of six years as Worthy Patron; then he was elected in 1959 in a landslide victory as Associate Grand Patron and served as Grand Worthy Patron in 1960. Not stopping there, he went on in 1965 to become Most Worshipful Grand Master. In 1954, Past Matron Taylor and Worthy Patron Crosby married until his death in 1984.
In 1958, Past Matron Eleanor C. Ricks presided in the East with Past Patron John D. Howard (L15). Past Patron Howard after distinguished military career joined the chapter in the late 1940’s. The son of the late Past Grand Worthy Matron Mary L. Howard, he, in 1975, went on to become Most Worshipful Grand Master.
In 1959, Past Patron Nathaniel Lewis (L4) began his seven-year term as Worthy Patron and in 1967, in another landslide victory, became Grand Worthy Patron. While in office, he organized the Grand Chapter Officers to take under their wings the guidance of the subordinate chapter counterparts. This practice has proved to be a great asset to this Jurisdiction, and this practice is continued today.
In 1961, Past Matron Madeline C. Neal obtained special permission from the Grand Lecturers and Ritualistic Committee to portray the Queen of the South Degree in the setting of King Solomon’s Palace. With the support of our brothers in Felix Lodge No.3 and Hiram Lodge No. 4, portraying the parts of Kings, Ambassadors and soldiers, it was truly a beautiful sight to behold.
In 1981, Past Matron Etta W. Scott originated the first Community Outreach Day which has been subsequently adopted by the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter. She was the first Worthy Matron to serve with her husband John D. Scott as Worthy Patron. In 1995, Past Matron Elizabeth L. Howard was the first Matron to serve with her father, Past Patron Clyde E. Howard, Jr.
At the end of 1992, elections were not held in the Chapter and all officers remained in their stations for a second year.
Miriam Chapter celebrated its 100th year in 1997 under the administration of Past Matron Joyce Y. Jones and Worthy Patron Johnny F. Jones. Miriam Chapter obtained its distinguished membership in the “Centennial Club.”
In 1998, Past Matron G. Delores Ellerbe established a dues assistance fund in the Chapter, to help aid members who have been in the Chapter for many years, who might be facing a hardship and are unable to pay his/her dues. To honor Past Matron Lucretia J. Jones, for her more than 19 years as chapter Secretary, the fund was named in her honor. The Lucretia J. Jones Dues Assistance Fund still assists members today.
After leaving office in December 2002, Past Matron Constance H. Francois was elected
to a two-year term as Grand Trustee of the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter. Past Matron Dicey C. Redfearn also served in the position of Grand Trustee for two three-year terms.
In December 2004, Past Matron G. Delores Ellerbe was elected Associate Grand Conductress of the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter.
During 2006, Past Matron Raina L. Taylor started the Miriam Chapter Reunion. It was held in April and was a very successful affair which brought past and present Chapter members together again as one.
In 2007, another husband and wife team served in the East—Junior Past Matron Ella Mae Frances Green and Junior Past Patron Elmer Green III. After many years of dormancy, during the 2007 administration, Worthy Matron Green reestablished the Past Matrons and Past Patrons Council—The Amaryllis Club.
In November 2008, Worthy Matron Deatrice S. Besong was elected Worthy Matron for a second term. She is the first Worthy Matron to be elected to a second term in 102 years.
In 2011, Miriam Chapter is so pleased to have our own Past Matron G. Delores Ellerbe serve as the 10th Grand Worthy Matron of the Georgiana Thomas Grand Chapter from Miriam Chapter. We are also proud that PM Ella Mae Frances Green has been appointed to serve as Grand Lecturer of the Grand Chapter.
Miriam Chapter has had ten Grand Worthy Matrons: Matilda Payne (1905), Janie L. Cox (1910), Lucy A. Stewart (1916), Mary L. Howard (1929), Anna V. Brooks (1936), Naomi J. Williams (1937), Eleanor D. Carter (1955), Alberta F. Taylor (1968), Jessie M. Ayers (1989), and G. Delores Ellerbe (2011-2012). Past Grand Worthy Matron Janie L. Cox progressed even further to the office of International Grand Matron. The Chapter has also had five Grand Worthy Patrons: J.R.F. Browne (1909); J. Thomas Tascoe (1911), Dr. Silas S. Thompson (1915), David P. Crosby (1960), and Nathaniel Lewis (1967); five Past Grand Lecturers: A. Goldena W. Lucas, Olevia Amis, Jessie A. Hood, Pearlie F. Leach, and currently Ella Mae Frances Green; four Assistant Grand Lecturers: A. Goldena W. Lucas, Alberta F. Taylor, Mary L. Miller, Joyce Y. Jones; and five male members have presided as Most Worshipful Grand Master over this Jurisdiction: John P. Turner, George Ambler, David P. Crosby, John D. Howard, and David Brunson – four of whom have served the Chapter as Worthy Patron.
The bright galaxy of Stars of the Chapter has worked very hard and long in supporting this Chapter, the Grand Lodge, and Grand Chapter throughout the years. No task was too great or tedious. Today, we are the heirs of our Past Matrons’ and Patrons’ faith and determination and it has enriched us all. We are proud of our history and the Past Matrons and Patrons who have and continue to uphold the tenants of the Order of the Eastern Star.