THE EARLY HISTORY
Early in the year 1907, certain gentlemen of the Ancient and Accepted Order of the Scottish
Rite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America conceived the idea of forming the Ladies
Auxiliary to the Jonathan Davis Consistory of Washington, DC.
They felt that, as in other branches of Masonry, their
wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters could be of great assistance to them and furthermore could partake of such courtesies
as these Sublime Princes could offer their feminine relatives.
To Illustrious Andrew Laster, 33rd degree, whose untiring
zeal was known to these brethren, was given the task of organizing the Auxiliary. Furnishing with the names of certain ladies,
prominent in Eastern Star Chapters, he proceeded to organizing the auxiliary, hereafter to be known as the Ladies Auxiliary
to Jonathan Davis Consistory.
The growth at first was discouragingly slow, but Mr. Laster was of the stuff that pioneers
are made, so he visited the ladies urging them to attend and sought out new members.
At many times, only two sometimes
one attended the meetings, but he never lost courage. The first president, Mrs. Sarah P. Alexander, labored assiduously until
called from the city, when the vice-president, Mrs. Mary Alice Parker, assumed the reins of the government.
1907, the Auxiliary received a new impetus, new members were added the old ones took on new zeal, and the auxiliary started
on it present course of success.
About this time the new Sovereign Grand Commander, Robert L. Pendleton, of the 33rd
Degree, who was then the Illustrious Deputy for the District of Columbia, conceived the idea of conferring degrees upon the
Ladies of the Auxiliaries in existence at that time, thus bringing them into closer relationship with the Brethren of the
Scottish Rite. The title of “Order of the Golden Circle, Auxiliary to the Scottish Rite Freemasonry” having been
selected and the ritual prepared by Illustrious Pendleton, the matter was presented to the Supreme Council for the Southern
Jurisdiction and adopted by the Body. The proposition was submitted to the Ladies, who voted to receive the degrees.
Ladies, who at that time were members of the Auxiliary, were to be eligible, but thereafter the membership to be limited to
those only possessing Scottish Rite Relationship.
May 6, 1908, the Ill. R.L. Pendleton, assisted by Ill. James O.
Bampfield, Richard Gates, W.H. Severson and Andrew Laster conferred the degrees upon the above named officers.
obligation, signs, and motto were given. The Ladies named their Assembly, The Richard Howell Gleaves Assembly, #2, *Order
of the Golden Circles.
This Assembly was named after the late Richard Howell Gleaves, one of the most prominent Masons
in the United States.
Born in the early part of the 19th century in the grand old commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in
his early manhood, he went to the State of South Carolina.
During the stirring days of reconstruction, he played a
prominent part, at one time being the Lieutenant Governor of the State. He was a typical gentleman, courtly and of the Old
World type of courtesy.
He played a prominent part in the history of Negro Masonry, and the very prosperous condition
of Negro Masons of the District of Columbia today is largely due to his tireless efforts.
The Ladies felt that no
better or fitting memorial could be given him from them than to have his name on their banner under the motto “Peace
After the officers had received their degrees, notices were sent to the remaining members of the former
Auxiliary, and on Tuesday, May 12, 1908, the Auxiliary was now known as The Order of the Golden Circle.
A more beautiful
sight cannot be imagined robed in white, blind folded fifteen ladies were led into the room by the Loyal Lady Guide.
passing through the ordeal of fire and water, the beautiful and sacred obligation was assumed by them, we trust to be kept
in all its significance.
Ill. Deputy Pendleton explained the password and sign.
This Assembly was a plant
of slow but sturdy growth; it comprised a number of ladies who seemed to be of one family circle.
A code of by-laws
was adopted in June, 1908, making the Assembly beneficial after years’ membership and limiting the benefits to sick
They agreed, too, to do charity work in hospitals and to relieve suffering humanity as best they could in a
simple way-such as carrying fruit, flowers, magazines, etc…., to the sick who had no friends o provide them.
symbol, pass and motto of this degree are significant.
The Dove within the Golden Circle signifies the hope that peace
shall reign always within our precincts; the Circle, endless union we shall have.
“Peace be with you!”
Can there be a more beautiful sentiment? May it ever abide with us. May the snowy pinions of the Dove never be sullied by
strife or dissensions!
The Bible upon the alter tells us that------
“We need from day to day
hand for all the way;
We need from hour to hour
That faithful ever present Power”
May our hearts be
ever lifted upward; may our Golden Circle be endless as the circle by which it is represented, may peace and unity abide with
us forever more!
ORDER OF THE GOLDEN CIRCLE DEFINED
The Order of the Golden Circle is designed as a Ladies’
Auxiliary to the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The helpful and beneficial influence of women is felt
all branches of freemasonry and there is no reason why the Scottish Rite Department should be an exception.
of initiation are short but impressive and can prove of benefit to those who will heed their admonition. Bodies of the order
should be organized in every consistorial jurisdiction so that the light may shine and its influence of good is felt wherever
Scottish Rite is practiced. “With this end in view, we send the Order of the Golden Circle on its mission of peace and
The foregoing quotation taken from the Golden Circle ritual gives the general information of the organization
and its mission.
“The purpose of the Order of the Golden Circle is to promote fraternal fellowship,
maintain peace and unity between the members by providing primarily an attractive social program; to assist them in every
way possible in time of need and to promote the interest of the members of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.” (Constitution
of The Order of the Golden Circle)