History of Hamblen Chapter #31 O.E.S.

On December 9th, 1904, Brother A. S. Williams, Worthy Grand Patron of the Grand Chapter in Tennessee, in response to a petition from eighteen ladies and five Master Masons, issued a Dispensation to organize Hamblen Chapter at Morristown, Tenn., and appointed the following officers:

Worthy Matron - Miss Lena McClister

Worthy Patron - Dr. T.A. Hisey

Asso. Matron - Mrs. Helen Trobaugh

He commissioned Past Grand Master J. H. McClister, his Special Deputy, to do the work of the organization.  The time of the meetings to be the second Friday of each month.  This was later changed to the first Tuesday and recently changed to the first Monday of each month.

The following officers were elected at the first stated meeting on December 17th, 1904.

Worthy Matron Miss Lena McClister
Worthy Patron Dr. T.A. Hisey
Asso. Matron Mrs. F. B. Smith
Secretary Miss Mary Hickey
Treasurer Mrs. W. B. Whitaker
Conductress Miss Annabelle Essary
Asso. Conductress Mrs. C. D. Trobaugh
Adah Mrs. T. A. Hisey
Ruth Mrs. S. T. Sheilds
Esther Mrs. James S. Hall
Martha Miss Ethelyne Murphy
Electa Miss Myrtis Trobaugh
Warder Dr. L. H. Milligan
Sentinel S. T. Sheilds

At the fifth Session of Tennessee Grand Chapter, convening in Nashville on January 24th and 25th, 1905, presided over by   Worthy Grand Matron Georgia F. Waite, and Worthy Grand Patron J. Vergil Chapman, Hamblen Chapter No. 31 received it's Charter, dated January 25th, 1905, and the officers elect were installed into their respective office.  The Secretary's report at the end of the first year showed nine new members initiated and per capita was paid on 26 members.

We have our original By-Laws, but the 1920 Membership Ledger and the January 1928 Minute Book are the earliest records now on hand.   At the end of 1928 the records show a total membership of 119.

The April 1929 minutes state the office of Associate Patron was created at Grand Chapter, convening the previous Grand Session, and the office required to be filled by July 1st, 1929.  Bro. E. M. Horner was elected May 7th, 1929 as Hamblen Chapter No. 31's first Associate Patron.

On July 4th, 1930, Hamblen Chapter No. 31 O.E.S. won second prize of $12.50 on a decorated float they had entered in the Independence Day parade.  During 1931 the members collected 295 Octagon soap wrappers to help furnish a boy's room at the orphanage home.

Worthy Grand Matron Robbie Griffin, at her Official Visit to Hamblen Chapter on May 30th, 1934, asked that a Friendship Meeting be observed some time during the year.  Hamblen Chapter No. 31's Friendship Meeting each year is still one of the highlights of our Eastern Star Year.  In 2005 Hamblen Chapter No. 31 recorded over 160 in attendance at Friendship Night.

The first Year Books were presented to Hamblen Chapter in February 1939 by Worthy Matron Quincey Bell, Worthy Patron L. D. Ramsey, and the Secretary, Ruth Cameron (Andrews).

During the war years of 1942-1945 our members were busy in Red Cross work and selling war bonds.  During the last bond drive they sold $17,775.00 worth of bonds.

Hamblen No.31 was honored in 1951 when Past Matron, Bro. Lawrence J. Sharp was elected Grand Master of the First Veil of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee.

Hamblen Chapter celebrated it's Golden Anniversary at the Official Visit of the Worthy Grand Matron on April 23rd, 1955.   The meeting was held in the Isenberg-Siler gymnasium and it was more like a Grand Chapter Session.

The Labrynth was enclosed with a white picket fence built by Worthy Patron Dale Self, and was decorated with a profusion of pink climbing roses to resemble a garden.  The Labrynth was covered with a white cloth, in the center of which was a new white altar.  This was designed and built by Bro. Robert Stallings of Holston Chapter and the glass panels were painted by Sr. Mabel Hollinger of Fountain City Chapter.  The altar was used for the first time that night and dedicated at a later date.  White lilies, greenferns and golden bells were used in the decorations.  All the Grand Officers except three were present  Eight Past Grand Matrons, five Past Grand Patrons, and a number of Grand Committee members and Grand Representatives, Worthy Matrons, Worthy Patrons, Past Matrons and Past Patrons and members from all surrounding Chapters answered roll call.

In February 1956 Hamblen Chapter moved into the  beautiful new Masonic building on West First North street.  It was a joy to have a large all electric kitchen, a spacious dining room, a beautiful meeting room and two rest rooms.

Hamblen Chapter again felt honored in 1970 when one of it's Past Patrons, Bro. Pierce McGinnis, was elected Right Eminent Grand Commander of the Knight Templars of Tennessee.

In March 1970 Sr. Etta Paxton, our first 50 year member, was honored with a special program and presented a 50-year pin.

Early in 1970 a number of our members were granted dimits in order that they might form the Morristown UD Chapter.  We loaned them our Chapter furniture for use in instituting their Chapter on January 20th and the Hamblen officers conducted the initiation of their candidates for them.  Later Hamblen Chapter presented the newly formed Chapter $450.00 to help defray their expenses.

During the late 1920's and 1930's the members raised money by serving dinners to various organizations, and at the County Fairs in a building they had constructed for that purpose.  We also sponsored picture shows at the Princess Theatre and put on two Tom Thumb weddings and one beauty pagent and musical show.  Also, funds were raised serving dinners to the Masons, holding rummage sales, baked goods sales, serving spaghetti dinners, hobo dinners and luncheons.

Social life throughout the years has   consisted of box suppers, square dances, picnics, covered dish dinners, honoring the Masons with dinners and special programs, Christmas parties and other such activities.

Hamblen Chapter has had the honor of supplying three Worthy Grand Patrons - Bro. J. H. McClister, who served two years (1906 & 1907), Bro. T. A. Hisey (1911), and Bro. Glenn Robertson (1941).

The Chapter weathered some pretty lean years during the depression but our Chapter has always been a healthy, wide-awake one and the members could be counted on to meet any emergency.  The Chapter has given financial aid to deserving persons not members of the Order, as well as to our own members, and has remitted dues for sick and elderly members who were no longer capable of doing so.   The Chapter has always supported the Worthy Grand Matron's programs and has always made cash contributions to the projects when requested.

Bro. Glenn Robertson served the Chapter as Worthy Patron for 14 years.  Sr. Pearl Conkin served as a officer in the various stations 24 years, and Sr. Ruby Andrews served for 19 years.

(To view a list of Past Matrons and Past Patrons of Hamblen Chapter No. 31 click here.)



Earl years dues were $1.50, Initation fees were $5.00

In 1928 Hamblen Chapter paid $50.00 to the Masons for rent

At the end of 1928 a balance of $150.15 was on hand

At the end of 1938 a balance of $5.81 was on hand

1929 per capits dues were .50 per member

24 New members initiated between 1928 & 1931

An Appreciation Award to a member having 10 or more years of loyal, dedicated service at Hamblen Chapter No. 31 has been awarded each year since 1972 with the exception of three years.

Hamblen Chapter has had several Appointments over the years:  3 Worthy Grand Patrons; Grand Esther Helen Robinson Bryant 1955; Grand Representatives; Grand Instructors & Grand Committee Members

A new Lodge Hall was erected in 1993 - with Vickie Moore being the first Worthy Matron in the new building

The first meeting in the new building was held on January 4th, 1994





American Flag presented by Hugh M. Cameron in 1960

American Flag presented by Vera Rines in 1998

Crown and Septre presented by Sr. Ruby Carter of May Chapter #24 in 1934

Large white Bible and two small Bibles presneted by Sr. Kate Milligan & Bro. C. Frank Davis in 1935

Several Chapter Emblems (to replace those lost) presented by Sr. Kate Milligan & Bro. Glenn Robertson in 1942

Silver goblet to be used at Elects's station presented by Worthy Cameron in 1948

Gold Altar cloth presented by Worthy Matron Cora Lee Newman in 1954

Refrigerator presented by Sr. Anita and Mr. Henry Medlin in 1956

Gold Altar cloth presented by Sr.Elizabeth Patty in 1954



Electric Signet - 1947

New chairs for the officers - 1949

$800.00 worth of Government "E" Bonds - 1953

Community wheel chair - 1953

White Altar, white pedestals and chairs for star points - 1955

Rug for the Labrynth - W.M. Ruby Foshie Project - 1958

Electric Kitchen Stove - 1959

Outside Eastern Star electric globe - 1964

Refrigerator - 1971

$110.00 contributed to Rainbow Camp - 1972

Dish Washer - 1973

Stove & Refrigerator - 1993

Carpet for front lobby - W.M. Vickie Moore Project - 1991

Rug for the Labrynth - W.M. Vickie Moore Project - 1993