Grand Chapter of British Columbia & Yukon

Order of the Eastern Star

History of the Order of the Eastern Star

The Order of the Eastern Star (OES) is a Free Masonic appendant body open to both men and women. It was established in 1850 by lawyer and educator Dr. Rob Morris, a noted Freemason. While the OES, like other Masonic organizations, requires its members to believe in a supreme being, this belief does not necessarily have to be well-defined; however, people who explicitly have no religious or spiritual beliefs are not permitted.

Dr. Rob Morris, Poet Laureate of Masonry, was the founder of our organization. He felt that the female relatives of Master Masons should also share, in a small way, the benefits of this great fraternal Order.

Dr. Morris had travelled many years and had written many books on Masonry which are valued references in many Masonic Libraries. Never quite satisfied that all the good in Masonry should be confined to men, Dr. Morris felt that Masonry should be for the whole family. However, by the laws of that Ancient Order, women are not eligible for its degrees.  Knowing he could not change the Ancient Landmarks of Masonry, Dr. Morris sought some method by which women could share with the Masonic Brother the same inspiration that “prompts man to noble deeds.”

Although he harbored these feelings for years, it wasn’t until 1850, while confined to his home after an accident, that Dr. Morris fully developed the Eastern Star Degrees in their present initiatory form. During this time, he carefully thought out the symbolism and significance of the floor plan and the corps of officers.  He conferred the degrees upon his wife and daughters, and some neighbours, presumably having an idea to clothe the ladies with certain words or signs whereby they might make themselves known to Master Masons. It was through his dedication that the ritual, with its fundamental principles, was first published in 1849-50.

These signs and so-called mysteries of the Order were communicated freely to all Master Masons and their relatives.  Dr. Morris and other prominent Master Masons gave many lectures and conferred the degrees on many ladies throughout the nation.

The Grand Chapter of British Columbia and Yukon was constituted in 1912.