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The Order of the Eastern Star is a Masonic appendant body open to both men and women. It was established in 1850 by lawyer and educator Rob Morris, a noted Freemason, but was only adopted and approved as an appendant body of the Masonic Fraternity in 1873. The order is based on teachings from the Bible, but is open to people of all religious beliefs. It has approximately 10,000 chapters in twenty countries and approximately 500,000 members under its General Grand Chapter.
Members of the Order are aged 18 and older; men must be Master Masons and women must have specific relationships with Masons. Originally, a woman would have to be the daughter, widow, wife, sister, or mother of a master Mason, but the Order now allows other relatives as well as allowing Job's Daughters, Rainbow Girls, Members of the Organization of Triangles (NY only) and members of the Constellation of Junior Stars (NY only) to become members when of age.
The Order was created by Rob Morris in 1850 when he was teaching at the Eureka Masonic College in Richland, Mississippi. While confined by illness, he set down the principles of the order in his Rosary of the Eastern Star. By 1855, he had organized a "Supreme Constellation" in New York, which chartered chapters throughout the United States.
In 1866, Dr. Morris started working with Robert Macoy, and handed the Order over to him while Morris was traveling in the Holy Land. Macoy organized the current system of Chapters, and modified Dr. Morris' Rosary into a Ritual.
On December 1, 1874, Queen Esther Chapter No. 1 became the first Prince Hall Affiliate chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star when it was established inWashington, D.C. by Thornton Andrew Jackson.
The "General Grand Chapter" was formed in Indianapolis, Indiana on November 6, 1876. Committees formed at that time created the Ritual of the Order of the Eastern Star in more or less its current form.
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